Thursday, August 21, 2008

Independence day weekend ride

After the Lepakshi ride, we had decided that we need to do a longish weekend ride with the same group together… Pallavi took up the responsibility of looking for a very exotic and remote location that can be easily covered in day’s ride. She came up with this place Cardamom House; somewhere in Tamil Nadu past Dindigul and off a small town called Athoor… and boy did she find us the best place to stay?

The discussion on logistics and all started a week prior to the ride, I as always get a bit hassled about longish riding and started looking up the weather websites checking on the weather forecast for the coming weekend… I generally get more worried when I have to ride with the wifey; otherwise I am generally a very careless biker. Not only did I look up the weather forecast but also shared the same with the entire gang! And the reactions I got on that…. Guess will have to write another blog entry for those :p

Anyway, we were to start at 5am on Friday. Thursday evening onwards it rained and rained and rained and then rained some more (u get the idea) it was pouring till 4am… I was mighty scared that we’ll get stuck in the rains and the ride will turn into a disaster. Anyhow, we finished our coffee and shared a can of Red-Bull, donned our rain pants and finally rolled out at 4:30 made it to the meeting point at 05:10 Doc had decided that he would join us in his car, everyone was there and we started off, the rain had turned into a very slight drizzle but the rain lashing the entire night had washed out the roads and there was a thin mist of mud that got onto the helmet visor too easily, must say the truck traffic was amazing for 5am!

Our first stop was at Hosur at the IBP GHAR, it’s like the Reliance A1 plaza but the service was okayish, and fuel was cheap (58/- for hi octane speed!) just had a chai there and rolled out again, the rains had relatively stopped but we still were too chicken to remove our rain pants. Then came Dharampuri, strangely the cops here were diverting the traffic towards the new NHAI bypass and I happily turned on that route just to realize that all the other bikers had gone ahead through the town :( after around 10kms I turned back and regrouped with the biker guys at a small chai tapri that was also serving hot puri-bhaji and omelets for breakfast. Hogged amazing food here, met some RTMC guys who were riding towards Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram… after our breakfast and pleasantries we started again, took relative breaks for chai and some butt-breaks and reached Dindigul at around 1:30 from here asked for directions for Cardamom House and reached this amazing destination at around 2pm.
This place is managed by an elderly British gent who meets, greets and befriends all his guests. We were welcomed with an amazing mocktail of mango juice with cardamom here  after the mocktail and a nice beer, I rushed to freshen up; this is when I discovered the amazing rooms! I think the resort has around 10 rooms (not sure though) with an amazing view of the lake below and the hills in the distance. My room was the last on the verandah, with cane chairs in the porch and a complete bookshelf. I had a shower and went for lunch, after lunch we tried to sleep and relax for a while but I woke up in less than an hour and went out to explore the resort. Oh what an amazing place! So much lush greenery! Only problem was that the air was heavy with humidity.

The owner of the place had organized a party in the evening celebrating the Indian independence, met some amazing people from Texas, New Zealand and Europe; chatted with them and then took the party back to Rocky’s cottage, sat there in the moonlight talking, laughing and just having fun.

Morning came at 6am! The area had a very fresh aroma; I sat out in the porch over a cup of coffee. Once the wifey woke up we strolled out to walk around the lake. Clicked a lot of pictures and saw much too many birds! Came back and had an amazing breakfast, one great thing about this place is that everything they cook is made at the resort and grown on their farm, even the bread we ate was baked in their ovens! Post breakfast we retired to our room I tried reading a wild western and the wifey read ‘The Lost Horizon’ (the story of the Shangri-La) I was sitting here and thinking that we are in our Shangri-La… after lunch I sat with Mr. Ramdas who I nicknamed RD over a bottle of beer and talked for hours… snoozed off in the afternoon only to wake to a heavy rain! Yes, an amazing view… rains falling on the lake, the plains and coming over the hills… the rain lasted just long enough to make the entire area more beautiful, I was too tempted to ride out solo on those beaten country roads; road for a good 10kilometers, oh I forgot to tell you, the resort also housed two twelve year old Diesel bullets! Prateek and I tried our hands on those as well just to realize that the bulls need a lot of servicing and maintenance.

The evening was a quiet affair with some nice dinner and again a session at Roky’s cottage under the moonlight.

The next morning we started at 7am after a nice breakfast, wifey had decided that she will come with Doc and RD in the car so I was solo… YIPPIEEE! I had such an amazing time ripping the bike to speeds I couldn’t even think about generally, especially after getting the K&N performance air-filter. We stopped straight at Salem for a small butt break, after that the roads just became too inviting for me… I broke formation and rode like a crazy maniac for kilometers together… just to stop at the Tamil Nadu tourism hotel at Hosur. Had a heavy lunch and came back to Bangalore by 5pm.

Overall this was an amazing ride with amazing friends and a very well deserved weekend away form Bangalore. A few pointers that I would want to suggest if you plan to go there any time soon…

1) carry loads of water along
2) there are enough dhabas to eat on the way but keeping something handsy will help a lot
3) most of the people in TN do understand English and will not give you wrong directions.
4) The resort is slightly expensive but worth every penny you spend here.
5) The last 20kms from Athoor to the resort are a bit bad, if you are in a 4wheeler make sure you have decent ground clearance.

link to my pictures, Rocky's Pictures, Pallavi's pictures,


--xh-- said...

:-D saw the pics and the resort looks amazing... will visit the place after i get hitched... (ie,m no plan to visit the place any time soon :P )

Rocky said...

Hey LJ, nicely captured... u can insert a few photos in you blog. Yes we all had great fun. Am looking fwd to return to Cardamom house with longer lens ;)


Oreen said...

this is nicely documented. and rocky is right abt the pictures. but i know what you feel while uploading pics to blogger. it is damn slow and irritating. add about five pics . . . and this is a travelogue.

Love said...

@ XH - oh you should spend your honeymooning time here! such a romantic and relaxing place...

@ Rocky - thanks dada, i'm sure i'll join you for your longer lense adventures :p

@ Oreen - i still think this is written shabbily :-/ have updates the pictures tho :)

gunj said...

hey d pictures are amazing:)