Thursday, September 10, 2015

Monsoon Motorcycle Ride through Kerala and Karnataka: The Journey through Pictures

One motorcycle, 2 people, 2 states, 3 weeks, 2,300 kms (including 1700km winding Western Ghat roads), lots of rain, sensationally green terrain and an insane number of bridges…that’s how I can summarize this gorgeous motorcycling holiday that I did in August. This ride was special for me as after my 2008-2009 epic motorcycle ride across India, this was the first time that I embarked on a motorcycle journey that was more than a week. 

Full time traveling for me began on my motorcycle and hence getting back on the bike and feeling the wind on my face every day was pretty special to me. It is one space that I am unbelievably comfortable in. If you are a motorcycling lover, you will perfectly empathize with me.

The route of this trip was Bangalore –> Thekkady –> Kumarakom –> Kochi –> Poyillkavu Beach (near Kozhikode) –> Bekal –> Kundapur –> Mavinkatte –> Agumbe –> Sringeri –> Mavinkatte –> Bangalore. Most of the ride was through dense greenery and that was fresh due to the on-going monsoon season. The rains were not as hard as other years, but the greenery was very pleasing to the eye and it was an absolute pleasure to drop the speed and soak in nature’s bounty at leisure.

Except for a scary flat tyre at 80 kmph on the first day, there were hardly any blemishes during this journey. Instead, it was full of happy memories. On this trip, I participated in my first volunteering project where I worked with other volunteers, an NGO and the local community to build a kindergarten school, took classes in other schools and engaged in other community development activities.

I also ended up discovering a serene beach in Kerala, which I never knew existed (It is called the Poyillkavu beach north of Kozhikode). I stayed at beautiful homestays and properties in remote countryside. Some of these properties are real gems. I tasted some delicious local food (and which has added some small inches to my waist line). Ohlan, Solan and Puttu-Kadalai Curry are my absolute favorites from this trip. And oh! How can I forget the delicious Banana Halwa and Jackfruit papad that I had at a home in Sringeri!

It was not all adventure and riding on this trip. There was some spirituality too through visits to the beautiful Sharadamba temple at Sringeri and the Mookambika temple at Kollur.

Walking the super long Maravanthe Beach, eating temple food at  a Durga Parameshwari temple at Mavinkatte, hiking the hills of Thekkady, watching chinese fishing nets in working motion at Kochi, exploring Bekal fort in the rains and driving through the rainforests of Agumbe during the Independence day weekend were other special moments from this road trip.

In my previous posts, I have shared details about the homestay gems where I stayed on this trip. I also intend to share with you my first volunteering experience in detail along with more posts from this motorcycling trip.

In the meanwhile, you can enjoy my monsoon motorcycle journey through the pictures below.

A pit stop next to the rubber plantations of Kerala 

One of the many scenic pit stops on the trip. This time next to a rubber plantation enroute Thekkady to Kottayam.

A traditional Kerala meal at Thekkady 

So yummy traditional Kerala meal. Coconut oil and fresh coconut tastes so good. More or less every day of my stay in Kerala, I gorged on such delicious food. 

My motorcycle fully loaded after a long time 

After a long gap of 6 years, me and my motorcycle buddy got decked up for this road trip. As always, it was a blast!

Early morning at Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady 

Early morning boat cruise inside the Periyar tiger reserve treated us to this fantastic landscape view along with sights of gaur, wild boar, sambar and many fishing birds.

A bridge view from near Kumarakom, Kerala 

One of the many river canals near Kumarakom. These backwaters are so beautiful. No wonder, the world wants to spend at least one of their many holidays here.

Backwater view from near Kochi, Kerala 

I stayed right next to this view for 3 days. Located in the Kumbalangi village about 15 kms from Kochi, this place was my backwater paradise getaway. 

Painting at Vasco Da Game Square, Kochi 

A painting from the Vasco da Gama square of Kochi that signifies why we are one of the most secular countries in the world.

Bekal Fort and Bekal Beach, Kerala 

Bekal Fort and the Bekal Beach – a truly magical place in North Kerala. The waves hitting the rocks here and the flying surf is a treat to the eyes and a realization that there are stronger powers on mother earth.

Remote stretch of Kappad Beach, Kozhikode, Kerala 

The remote stretch of Poyillkavu beach north of Kozhikode, an off beat serene village beach getaway.

With locals at Bekal Beach, Kerala 

Me posing with local boys of Bekal at Bekal beach.

Volunteering at a kindergarten school at Mavinkatte, Karnataka 

My first volunteering experience. We worked on a kindergarten school, a vegetable garden, fencing, water system and so much more. It was so much fun and satisfying.

Celebrating Independence day in the rainforests around Agumbe and Sringeri 

The Indian flag flew high and proudly on my motorcycle on Independence day. That Independence day weekend took me to Sringeri and Agumbe. It was full of lush green rainforests, fresh paddy fields and many plantations.

8th century Sharadamba temple, Sringeri 

The 8th century Sharadamba temple by the banks of the Tungabhadra river at Sringeri, a beautiful piece of architecture.

Admiring the beautiful Sirimane Falls in rain 

Watching the Sirimane Falls tumbling down in rain is quite a sight. It is such sights that make the monsoons my favorite season.

Maravanthe Beach, Karnataka 

Walking the NH 17 highway with the Maravanthe beach on one side and the Sownparnika river on the other is quite a surreal experience. These days, the beach is maintained very well, mangroves seem to be coming back and hopefully the turtles will return too.

At the completion of the Kindergarten school in Mavinkatte, Karnataka 

All the volunteers pose in front of the kindergarten school on completion of the volunteering work. It was nice working with these highly motivated individuals.

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