Bengaluru to Chennai is certainly one of the easiest road trips, even for the first timers, with a well laid out and wide national highways. A single straight stretch with an only diversion at Krishnagiri is an easy route to navigate and a well illuminated and directed path for one to never get lost. A beautiful way cutting itself across mountains, fields, lakes and villages with calm, silent and slight touch of nature makes it a pleasant riding experience. However, weather can be harsh in all the biking gear towards the end of Chennai, especially in the mornings. Presence of number of view spots en-route certainly makes it count to be a road trip more than a road ride.
Are you mad!! was the very first reaction from many, to the idea of a bike ride to Chennai and back to Bengaluru, that would be 800 km in 48 hrs. Why not the reaction, when it was my first road ride and then there are all the front pages newspaper headlines and an undebatable confidence on our fellow road cruiser’s ability to pop out from anywhere and everywhere. Disappointed!! after all my convincing efforts, it was the end from my parents, but “yaar, ye dil hai jo manta nahi” (brother, this heart disagrees to agree). This ride was personally very important for me to prove myself a point that come may all the challenges, we can do anything if we want to, and we should do everything, to make what we want to happen. This is the positivity and energy with which I wanted to start 2018, so officially the ride was off but unofficially the lights were set to green.
There will always be a resistance from our loved ones, not because they don’t understand our desire or passion but because they care and don’t want us to put ourselves even in a way of slightest danger. Either by convention or by rejection sometimes we got to take a step to do what we want to by adapting “risk minimization techniques” and being safe for the ones who need us back with them. Drive safe and responsibly.
This is happy me en-route to Chennai on Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 (what an amazing cruiser it is!!!). Love for my motorcycle just quadrupled seeing it cruise over the road with such a magnificent performance and comfort.
Bengaluru to Chennai: via Krishnagiri Dam
The trip started on Thursday, 28th Dec, 2017 at 7:20 AM with an overwhelming surprise to one my best friends, Preeti, whose door just got knocked a few moments ago to be me my trip mate. Surprised and unbelieving!!!, yet being an adventure lover she enthusiastically got ready and we head to hit the road.
It was definitely a pain traversing our way out of Bangalore city via Electronic city with all the IT employees rushing to their daily not to joyous jobs. By the time we crossed Bengaluru it was already an hour, 8:20 AM. This could have been avoided starting much early in the day or on a weekend ride.
Of the two routes, one via Kolar-Chitoor and other via Hosur-Vellore, we went with the later, for it being a well laid out and wider NH roadway.
The start was scary with a bus driver about to hit us from behind, even after being stuck in a slow moving traffic and being cautious to kept left and then constantly shouting in his frustration. I have got to realize over the trip that in city ride is far dangerous than the Highway cruise. We ignored and kept ourselves mentally calm as there was 400 km to travel. Once we crossed Bengaluru it was a straight stretch over NH 44 to cruise for next 85 km to reach Krishnagiri Reservoir project. The last 20 km detour from highway into the Krishnagiri village can easily be navigated using Google Maps. We reached the place at 10:40 AM and it served us as a first pit stop and a location to explore on the way.
Last time I saw a dam was years back in school days as part of an educational trip. Time, when we would walk in a single line, be it boarding a bus or walking up the dam and then the Geography teacher would make us understand something, we are not listening to and end up giving an assignment, we end up copying to. Well, grown up now, it feels amazing to the thought of a having a man-made reservoir of water for days of scarcity, architecture of a mega structure and then all the Socio-Political controversies surrounding the ownership and sharing of water.
The place is an open public space with a garden spread over a wide area being used locals as a picnic spot and by teenage lovers to bunk classes and hang around in the corners of the place.
After spending 40 mins exploring the place we came out to taste the fish being sold just outside the entrance gate of the dam, which tasted really good and spicy. There are hardly any food shops near by except for the fish, sweet corn and a pan shop selling chips etc. It is better to have something either before reaching the place or after visiting the place, however one can try the fish there.
Seeing a family occupying an open place little far from us and celebrating picnic, I could remember my childhood days when our family, relatives and friends used to set out to an expedition in new year’s week and we used to cook, eat, play, dance, have games and win prizes and savor the day of togetherness. With a smile and a old memory we left with a thought on how being away from home for education and employment have distanced our relations and how restaurants, resorts and house parties have replaced these low cost, more personalized and free natural spots.
That’s the things with road trips, it induces in more thoughts and experiences than one would asks for.
Bengaluru to Chennai: via Vellore
We started from dam at 12:00 PM on NH 44 and continued on to NH 48 for next 130 Km to reach Vellore by 2:30 PM with small break in between. It is a wide NH stretch to cruise at top speed, with eyes open for vehicles and humans popping out from villages nearby, however I maintained 80 km/hr top speed to be on a safer end. As second pit stop we planned to visit Siripuram Temple (Golden Temple of Vellore) of deity Maha Lakshmi, which is 10 Km detour from NH. Being a time of religious festival there was a huge rush. We opted for a paid darshan (entrance) for Rs 250 and it took us 2 hrs. to return back to our bikes. During lesser peak times it should be 1 hr. for paid and 2 hrs for free darshan.
We were very interested in visiting the temple because of its architecture. The temple is situated in a 100 acres of land with a wide star shaped pathway, around the temple, to be traveled by the devotes to reach the sanctum. The star shape is a resemblance of deities Shakti Chakra, as in Hindu religion. The temple is said to have been constructed with twelve layers of gold foil using 15,000 kg of gold. One can find gods and goodness and other mythological engravements on them. The temple at night, in illumination, looks no less than a majestic palace with shining gold plated temple walls, arches and roof. We wish we could have stayed there till night to see this golden beauty but we had 147 km to be covered to reach Chennai and we didn’t wanted to risk riding at night. Photography is strictly prohibited in the temple premises.
Bengaluru to Chennai: final stretch to Destination
We started at 4:30 PM from the temple towards Chennai, on our final stretch to destination. Towards the end of Chennai we had to travel through a rough road and the body was starting to show a bit of strain and tiredness but the excitement of being able to pass 350 km by now was overcoming all the pains. The front wheel disc brake started to sound as if it was gliding against some metal surface. We pretty much reached our destination but this was not a great sign for starting early tomorrow’s return journey. We certainly don’t want breaks to ditch when we are right in the middle of road and cruising past vehicles. For the moment we sign off the 400 km ride to rest for the day.
Chennai to Bengaluru: Murphy’s Law
At this point I have to introduce a new rider who will be travelling with us back to Bengaluru on his Bajaj Avenger 150cc. Sam, has been my best buddy since my graduation days and we had great connect in terms of thoughts, emotions and interests. At night we worked on identifying the problem and realized the sound the brake was producing just got louder and more frequent. After lot of effort, we decided to get it checked first thing in the morning before we cross Chennai so we don’t have to find ourselves abandoned in middle of nowhere waiting for assistance.
Murphy’s Law: Everything that has to go wrong will go wrong
The fix was a simple greasing of cylindrical tube to which disc brake are connected and has been gliding against. But the identification of problem, process and fix delayed us. However we didn’t want to hurry and not enjoy the road trip chasing the schedule. We started at 11:30 AM to Kanchipuram which is 47 Km from Chennai and reached there by 1:00 PM, only to find the famous temple of deity Sri. Kanchi Kamakshi closed for afternoon and to be open in the evening at 4:00 PM. Certainly we had to let it go. But we did find few interesting things to observe, one was Kanchipuram silk, a premium saree material, used predominantly for religious occasions, dressing goddesses and brides. Impressively we observed, the weaver was weaving a saree with linings and designs made using gold, pricing the masterpiece at Rs. 1,50,000 only.
Chennai to Bengaluru: via Fort Vellore
Starting at 2:00 PM continuing on NH 48 for next 70 km we reached Vellore at 2:50 PM and it was the time for exploring the majestic Fort Vellore. From outside the fort is, beautifully designed, hard to miss, spread over a huge area and guarded by a water pit all around it. The strong rocky look was definitely impressive and had to be explored.
As we entered the fort, disappointment dawned on our faces because there was nothing inside, I mean nothing at all. It tells no stories, It was all open area inside with a temple and shops, concrete roads and whitewashed inner fort walls. It felt like a normal open public area in a village, guarded by impressive and strong fort walls. What a shameful poor maintenance of a great heritage.
We did have some fun there, thanks to the parrot astrologer. We let him predict the future of Preeti, she was the obvious bait. And it was funny at what he said “parents, study, friends, carrier, health, money all good in coming year, but sister ko thoda thoda tension (Preeti will have little little tension) family bhagwan to puja karega, sab badhiya (pray to the family god and all will be well)”. That was a great recitation of a common script. We asked about her marriage, her boyfriend to play around. The giggles were a great sprinkles to wash over the disappointed of the fort.
Unplanned but we wanted to visit Siripuram temple once more for Sam. We took a different path from last time, thanks to Google maps shortest route suggestion and we ended up at the road dead end. In our determination to reach the place we traveled back to main road and asked a stationed police constable for the way. We head out on his direction and soon Google map started rerouting and we followed it to end up at the same place but from a different path. We parked our bike just by the side and banged our head, took rest for few minutes and decided to move on. Especially in tiring trips, wrong routes or not having get to see what one would want, just not only disappoints mentally but effects physically.
Chennai to Bengaluru: back to home
Close to close initial stops was exciting but it did consume lot of time. It was already 5:20 PM and we had 210 km to travel to reach Bangalore. From there on we stopped at every 70 km at cafes, there are plenty of them on the way, to rest and flavour the ride experience.
After crossing Krishnagiri, towards the end of Bengaluru, we traveled through Perandapalli forest region. It felt as if we had crossed some invisible border, there was a sudden chillness in the climate and we were shivering as we drove through this stretch. There was no point in pausing for a while, so instead we drove to complete the stretch and reach any cafe and get some heat. We traveled and traveled but it was not ending any time soon. We improvised, we took a halt at a road side and started dancing, yeah, dancing to music on our speakers and using headlight heat for body chillness. It was a literally a bonfire on a road trip. Crazy stuff!!!
Though chilliness continued for some more kms but the fun part was a great soothing to chillness, body pains and burning in the bums due to constant seating. Soon we left the forest region and entered Bengaluru and so started the headache of traffic. After all the free crushing over the highways, great breeze and surroundings. The whole decor of Bangalore with congestion, concrete structures, honking seemed unbearable but yeah, this is what it is going to be everyday from tomorrow. ITS THE END OF THE TRIP.
This may not be one of the great adventurous experience of riding over off tracks and routes passing through forests and hills as one would experience in hill station rides but every route tells its own tales. If your a riding enthusiast this certainly is a trip to be undertaken where you don’t just get to to reach from source to destination rather you get to explore all the places en-route and experience of cultural and social changes as we cross geographical boundaries.
Now, its time for your ride story.
Drive safe and responsibly.