Travel and friends

Like I said during the last Goa Trip

 “If you want to know your friends, travel with them. If you want to know yourself, travel alone!”. 

So it was for the Yercaud trip too. I got to discover a lot about my co-travellers, their driving and how each of us complement each other. Plan was to go with my college friends but plans change. One of the guys pulled out and I pulled in Anand (aka Andy) – ex-colleague and very good friend. Other two guys I’ve known from my college days – Murali and Navneeth. The former works in the US and the latter finished his masters there.

What I learnt about these guys:
Andy – Safe, Fast day driver and a human GPS
Navneeth – very Safe, fast-enough driver. OH, and super trip planner
Murali – Keeps the group alive with jokes and his enthusiasm
I – Safe, fast night driver. Photos and blogs.

*Safety not as perceived by the passengers, but as per record – technically. 🙂

All of us love the outdoors and trekking.

Read about the Yercaud Trip here.

cheers

Yercaud Trip : Weekend getaway

UPDATE: all Yercaud trip pics will be updated here.
The plan:
Chennai – Yercaud – Chennai
Total Dist – 720 Kms
start: Thursday morning
Come back : Saturday eve
Mode : car

A perfect weekend getaway from Chennai. Best time to visit Yercaud is from March to May.

Nav had already booked a resort, Heaven’s Ledge, in Yercaud Gowri Estate. The contact there told us to be there by 3:30 PM so as to not miss the beautiful sunset.

Thursday, 22 Dec

Murali and his cousin (Navneeth) were to start at 9 AM, pick me up by 9:30.

“You can take a guy out of India but you can’t take India out of that guy”

They started at 10:30 AM! 🙂

They picked Andy and me up by 11 AM and thus began one of the most memorable trips.

Note: there is a CCD and other eateries at a HP petrol bunk, that comes on your left (your side of the road), 15 KMs after Vellore on NH48. Good place to stop and grab a bite without entering Vellore city.

The route we took is given below:


View Larger Map

We stopped for tea around 3PM at Tirupattur Junction. It was short 10 mins break and Andy took over after that.
Patch of bad roads for a couple of Kms after Tirupattur slowed us a bit, otherwise the roads were well maintained.

Like I said Andy is fast and we reached Kuppanur by 4:45PM, thats where we take a diversion to Yercaud. Beautiful Ghat roads – Curvy, narrow and well-maitained. The narrow roads could be dangerous, so be careful. Take the curves slow and watch out for vehichles coming in the other direction, honk (not too much!).

Ghat Roads


Navneeth really wanted to see that promised sunset and Andy was doing everything in his power to reach there on time. we reached Yercaud junction and had to go 15 kms further up. We reached Heaven’s ledge by 5:45 PM, thankfully the sun was still setting and we could get a glimpse of the beauty.

First Impression


awesome! As we drove in to the ledge, it IS literally a ledge. Edge of a cliff cleared for camping purpose. I’ve stayed in a lot of places but this has to be no.1 in the list. The scenic view was stunning.

The view from Heaven’s Ledge

Sunset

The person in-charge showed us the sunset and then showed as to the camp – a tent pitched in the ledge.Sunset lasted long as the hues changed showcasing various beautiful colors.

Tent

It was lovely, comfortable and kept us safe from the wind. It was cold but the wind made it worse and since we were in cleared up area and on the ledge, the wind was stronger and it was really chilly.
The VIDEO of the tent is here.

Tent at Heaven’s Ledge

The daylight was showing off its colors till 7, after which the solar lamp lit up. The guide started a campfire and we blissfully basked in its warmth. There was/is no network for Airtel or Vodafone – which is what we had, but the guide told us that Aircel and BSNL networks were available there.

We had home-made dinner brought to us and it was yummy! We had asked for Veg food as our group was predominantly veg and it’s better to have veg food while traveling. We sat around talking and eating. The time went by and by the time we hit our beds it was midnight. Around that time the solar light finished its share of stored-up charge and went to sleep too. It was dark and we slept in our tents listening to the sound of wind in the trees and rustling of leaves. Sudden strong wind would shake the dew from the trees that would fall on our tents.

FRIDAY – 23 Dec

In the morning it got real chilly which woke us up. We got out of the tent by 7:30 and went straight to the fire that was being used to boil water.

FIRE – Thanks to the person who started it all!

Trek


We washed up and we had a spicy home-made breakfast brought to us. We started the trek around 10 AM and trekked 5 Kms through the mountains. This was the highlight of the trip. The trails – there was hardly any! Our guide had a Aruval (larger form of a sickle) with him and cut the shrubs and branches as he went along. We trekked with branches brushing against us and through caves and under the rocks. He took us to various view points, some of them had a 4000ft fall. The sight, trek and the experience was beautiful. we came back to our place by 12:30 PM and had lunch at 1PM.

During the Trek From Heaven’s Ledge.

The plan was to leave this place after lunch and go to a hotel in the city, go around the city to various tourist sites and then leave for Chennai on Saturday afternoon.

But somewhere during the course of lunch, one of us suggested that so far the experince has been awesome and we will be bored to death staying in a hotel and then going to “touristy” places. (Andy and I have come to Yercaud couple of years back and it didn’t have anything to offer. The tourist sites had very less to offer and we returned home after 3 hours of sight seeing.) I seconded the idea that we should leave Yercaud by Friday evening and head to Chennai. Everyone agreed.

Boating in a well 🙂


We went to a private lake (small one, more of a well) for boating. We had to walk till the well and came across Orange trees which had yummy looking oranges and when we did pluck and eat, our eyes were not wrong. The oranges were delicious.

If you really want to do boating in a big lake, go to Yercaud lake.

Return


We packed our bags and started to Chennai by 3PM. On our way back we stopped by the Yercaud junction. Who goes to a hill station in India and not have Chilly bajjis? no one! We too had some delicious bajjis and came our way to Chennai.

On the way back we took a break for dinner at CCD and reached Chennai by 10:30PM.

Some things that went our way:

1. December is not usually the time for trips to Yercaud, as people find the weather too cold for comfort. Because of that we had less crowd in the campsite. I do not know how crowded it will be if you go during summer time.

2. We went on a week day – Thursday. Another reason for less crowd.

3. We took the tents and not cottages (which are also present on the estate) and that saved us from the crowd.

“its not the destination, it’s the company that makes a trip worth it!” 

Cheers

You can read all the tweets sent during the trip here.

More photos will be upload at PotOfShots.com

A walk in Goa

Got out of my home-stay I was staying in and walked to Candolim beach, 500 mtrs away, and started walking south. The sea to my right and the shacks on my left. I had a camera in my hand, the sea breeze on me, sound of the waves in my ears, water lapping at my feet and the beautiful sight of the setting sun. It was the best walk ever. The walk in Goa.

The sight was beautiful, kids playing with their dad and mom watching them, an old couple holding hands and walking in silence, comfortably; young couple chatting, perhaps about their wonderful future; man, around 45ish kite-surfing; dogs playfully chasing the waves. I wonder if that is paradise.

This is what differentiates Goa – tourists leave their burdens and worries at the state border. And the coastline is purely tourist turf (Esp Candolim and southwards it is not very crowded), we do not get to see a lot of local folks except for shopkeepers and hawkers. It is beautiful just to be there. This is my third time to Goa in three years and it always fascinates me, every-time there is more to receive from this beautiful place and so much to surrender to it. It is in silence that we know ourselves more!

When you go to Goa, go there to be there, nothing else!

It was a walk to remember…

cheers
joe

another blog on travel and whole trip coming up in a while.

The Goa Trip 2011

Third year in a row to Goa. I’m still excited about it, that’s Goa!! We leave to Goa on the 9th Dec and come back to Chennai 13th Dec night.

4 of us are going in a Ford Figo. You can follow me(@joejayanth) and Suvish (@suvishV) in twitter for regular updates or/and follow #GoaTrip11 – either you can read that as Goa Trip or Goat RIP, I sincerely hope its not the latter.


Time-Speed theory

The time-speed theory is about the speed of time, sort of the relativity theory. You would have noticed that when you are doing something that you hate to do, for example, a post-lunch boring meeting or a college lecture, every minute feels like an hour. On the other hand, when you are doing something interesting, example tea break or vacations, time flies really fast.


 The speed of time also slows down when you are looking forward to some super fun stuff. I am planning a roadtrip to Goa with some friends of mine. I have a week to kill before the trip. Since I am looking forward to that trip, the time seems to go so slow. The ideal way to confuse time or solve this problem and speed up time would be to schedule a boring meeting next week, this will make time go fast till the meeting, just before the meeting begins, cancel the meeting – that would be nice way to fool time AND get fired from job! Can’t do that.

SO, the plan is to do something interesting everyday (that way Time is obliged to go fast!) and next Friday will come sooner OR at the least it would come on the normal pace, wont slow down the occurrence of Friday, because this short interesting days will negate the elongation of time(due to the Friday expectancy)!

This blog would have felt like it took a lot of time to read, right?! – hence proved!

cheers

Road trip on a bike vs car

First let me establish my credibility on this subject of road trips (RT). I do a lot of them! I’m addicted to travel. The longest car drive I’ve gone on was a 900 Km drive over 4 days and the longest I did on a bike was the recent Masinagudi trip – 1400 kms in two days. I have done close to 6 car trips and 2 bike trips.

I’ve never done a LONG RT in a bike, so this Masinagudi trip was the first. I had quiet an enlightenment of the differences between bike trips and car trips.

  1. Bike is much smaller than it looks. I was in a bullet and even that seemed smaller to all the stuff I was carrying. I had a backpack filled with biscuits, water, juice, two sets of clothes, rain protection gear and MY CAMERA(DSLR). (And the other rider just had shorts and raincoat in a pouch! ) I didn’t have lot of space in the back. But I was able to adjust due to my thin frame.
  2. Take two plastic covers, big ones.  One, to keep all the stuff in when it starts to pour and another to put the trash in. Believe me, India is beautiful. Some of the places I’ve gone through is so beautiful, I can’t begin to describe it. Hence, I carry a cam to show everyone that. So please keep the place clean, wherever you go. 
  3. It’s a bike, you need more protection. Wear shoes, jeans and a tough denim jacket if you do not have professional gear. Most importantly, wear a helmet. It might be no one’s fault when an accident happens. But, better safe than sorry. 
  4. If it’s not a high-tech helmet you are wearing, the chances are there is no provision for ventilation. When you are riding/sitting pillion for quiet some time, you begin to feel sleepy for two reasons – highways are smooth, so monotonous and the when you have the visor of your helmet closed, you don’t get fresh air in. So to avoid falling asleep, and eventually falling off the bike, you better open the visor for some time after an interval of time
  5. Take all the time you need to gear up before you get on that bike. Gear up well
  6. Bum is gonna hurt so bad after a long ride on a bike, you wont even want to sit for at least 3 days after the ride, unless you are an IRON BUTT. 🙂

please add more tips for bike RT’s, if you got any!

cheers

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