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Friday, November 27, 2009

Motorcycling through country roads to Kodaikanal and Kolli Hills in Tamil Nadu, India

15 Old Skool Bikers met again and this time the destination was Kodaikanal and Kolli Hills in Tamil Nadu. Both places are hill stations. While, Kodaikanal is the more popular one nestled in the Nilgiris, Kolli Hills is a lesser known tropical beauty.


The riding theme was to take the lesser populated yet pretty country roads to reach our destination(s).


The route we followed was: Bangalore –> Anekal –> Denkanikota –> Anchetti –> Pennaguram –> Mechcheri –> Iddapadi –> Sankari –> Tiruchengodu –> Namakkal (Day 1 Halt) –> Mohanur –> Palani –> Kodaikanal (Day 2 and 3 Halt) –> Karur –> Kolli Hills (Day 4 Halt).


So, over 5 days, 13 motorcycles thumped through ideal biking terrain and that included off-roading. The first day involved riding through jungle terrain and through small meandering streams that tested our riding skills and temperament. A authentic rustic plantain leaf lunch at a small village was a bonus.


The second day included a visit to the temple by the River Cauvery at Mohanur. The Cauvery, which is a small, but rapid river in Karnataka is a docile, but wide river at Mohanur. And, this formed a complete contrast to folks like me who have grown up seeing various stretches of the turbulent and roaring Cauvery in the tropical jungles of Karnataka.


There were these umpteen pit stops at these small tea shops and then there was a piping hot lunch at steaming Palani. Then there was the cooling effect as we started climbing the winding roads that led from Palani to Kodaikanal.


This was where I nearly met with an accident as a tried to overtake at a blind spot. Knew that this was my bad, but thankfully averted the accident by inches. My pillion had his heart in his mouth.


The evening at Kodaikanal was nippy and very nice unlike the ruthless heat of Palani. The large group split into smaller ones to either go out shopping, taste the wares in the bazaar or warm themselves up in the confines of a hotel with some brew.


The next morning involved a half day trek that took us to Dolphin Nose, Echo point and beyond. These picturesque locations made for a great photographic experience. The trek in itself was easy as we went tumbling down, but proved a stiff one as we made our ascent.


The best part of this trek was the opportunity to sample the exotic fruits of the Nilgiris that included Tea Tomato, Star Fruit, Jack Fruit, Passion Fruit and others.


The half day trek had worked up quite an appetite within us and in spite of the fact that we had gorged on the exotic Nilgiri fruits, we enjoyed a sumptuous meal of masala omelettes.


The later half of the evening was spent in visiting the panoramic view point of Pillar rocks and the upper lake region from where one can see the Kodaikanal lake that is shaped like the map of India. There were a couple of other places that I visited, but weren’t quite as eventful.

It was an early wake up call the next morning and we descended down the winding roads in misty weather. The progress was slow but steady.  The drive till Karur was fairly uneventful. Then we got rain heading towards us and the entire world around us wore a fresh look. Now, I have climbed hill stations and winding roads throughout India, but I have never seen 70 continuous hairpin bends in any place. One can see such hairpin bends while climbing Kolli hills and all in 20 kilometres. Though the hairpin bends are 70 (seventy) in number, they are pretty smooth.




Kolli hills is a relaxed tropical hill station (Semmadu) undiscovered by the outside world and hence has retained its old world charm. There are gushing waterfalls nearby, dense green forests and the entire town shuts down by 7 in the evening. A soothing environment! The next morning, after a relaxed breakfast, we made our way back to Bangalore after what had been 4 great days of riding through country roads.



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