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Friday, October 29, 2010

Kodaikanal bike trip part 4

Day 3 Around Kodaikanal
Trip Distance: 34 km
Total Distance: 428 Km

Got up a bit late at around 8 am thanks to our drinks party the previous night; and after a tasty breakfast of Idli sambhar prepared by the caretaker we pushed off for kodaikanal sightseeing.

Even though the home stay was not an expensive one, the caretaker really knew a thing or two about good service (and it was not as if we were the only guests).

Anyways back to the local sightseeing, we had a handicap to start off the day with and that was our lack of knowledge on places to visit in Kodaikanal – somehow both Arun and I had forgotten to do a research - both thinking that other would have the required information.

So it transpired that when we drove out in the morning we had no idea where to go other than the famous Pillar rocks.

Once at town junction, I suddenly had a brainwave to get a tour brochure from a travel agent as these tour guide\brochures mentions all the “need to see” places in that area.

So having made up my mind I stopped my bike at the very next travel agent I happened to see, however Arun somehow missed my stop signal and rode on, by the time I came out of the travel agents office armed with a tour brochure -we were well and truly separated .

To complicate matters I was having network issues with Airtel and he it seems had nearly run out of talk time.

I decided the best place to wait for him would be the cross roads at Cockers stop hotel , however I soon grew impatient waiting for him there (even though it was just quarter of an hour’s wait ) and decided to move on towards Pillar rocks .

It was logical to assume that he would meet me in Pillar rock as it was our primary destination.

Road was beautiful but I couldn’t really enjoy the drive as I had to make those occasional stops to check if Arun was behind me – even calls to his phone was going nowhere.

Finally just as I crossed Dolphin’s falls and got into a rhythm I got a frantic call from Arun- now it so happened that he had got pulled over by cops and he wanted me to reach him at the earliest.

It was a relief to find out that he was ahead of me all this time but at the same time there was a bit of apprehension as to the reason the cops stopped him for - Did the dude ram into any local vehicle or worse pedestrian?

When I finally arrived at the scene a minute or so later, I was relieved to find out that he was stopped during a routine checking of vehicles going towards pillar rocks – probably to discourage drunk driving and teenagers driving without valid documentation.

They were a bit surprised to find a KA and KL registered bikes and were satisfied once I showed them the documents for Arun’s bike.

It was only when I took out my documents to show that I realized with dismay that I was only carrying the Xerox copies and my originals including my drivers license was still at homestay where I left it for safe keeping due to fear of rains – wonderful now I’ll have to pay a bribe to these cops.

Surprisingly these Tamil Nadu cops were of different breed – once I explained the situation to them they politely let me go – no bribe nothing – only amusing fact was the breath test they did – but that was being done on all motorists.

Good thing we had brushed in the morning else the smell of previous nights party would have clearly stood out.

We scooted off the moment the cops let us go least they changed their minds and demanded some chai pani haha.
Eventually we reached pillar rocks and were immediately taken aback by the crowd ( mostly school children)

Pillar Rocks
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Covered in mist
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Atleast 2 schools were having an excursion at that time and that was not good for obvious reasons. Too much noise – long queues but was funny to see serious looking teachers running around trying to maintain discipline – kind of reminded of our school outing and the hard times we gave our teacher.

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Occasional breaks in mist
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Not much of an opportunity for photo session due to persistent mist, clicked few shots when the opportunity arose and we decided to move on.

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Considering the crowd we decided to go to the last point and then back track with an aim to get some peace.

Trying out photography on a nearby mountain stream while waiting for the mist to clear
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Next stop Pine forest

Arun on his Thunder Bird
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We stopped at Pine forest for sometime and even managed to take few snaps keeping an eye on the monkeys . However pretty soon we decided to move on as monkeys were kind of becoming a annoyance – and it was good we turned back when we did, because another adventurous group of monkeys were having time of their lives on our bikes.

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Both our bikes suffered - my bike seat had a small tear towards the rear – small but big enough for it to be visible and allow in water if it rains- and I had just replaced the seat cover some days back.

Arun’s bike seat had more damage with roughly a two inch tear on main seat and random tears on the pillion backrest. Damn the monkeys what’s so fascinating about bike seats anyways?.

Few snaps inside the pine forest

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We wanted to go for a long walk inside the forest but somehow we weren't comfortable leaving our bikes alone with the monkeys

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Its pretty relaxing without the heavy biking gear 
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There was also a big scratch on the fuel tank of my bike which I notice once back in Trivandrum – so its difficult to know if it was result of the monkeys or as a result of my Tank bag which had started to slip towards the end of the trip.

The monkey incident kind of spoiled our mood especially Arun’s, as his was a rental bike he was concerned how much the renter would charge- I tried my best to calm him by advising him seat covers are not really that expensive and his damage would be covered under a maximum Rs 500/- ( which proved to be correct as time will show)

Well carried on to the next point Guna caves – which was a total scam – if the entry was free I wouldn’t have felt so cheated but after charging an entry fee and a fee for the camera you walk to the spot to find no caves – the supposedly caves are just couple of vertical looking overgrown fissures covered by a grills – I mean they don’t even look like caves – The Chamundi hill fissures in Karnataka look more like caves than these ones.

When inquired where the so called caves were , one of the locals pointed to the two sorry looking fissures covered by grill - he further informed us that it has been covered up for years now.

Great !

Why promote something which is no longer there !

It seems we were destined to waste more time, as soon as we got out from Guna Caves we got stuck in a traffic jam created due to reluctance of people to give way.

Next stop was Suicide point where we didn’t stop for long as the entire place was covered in mist and nothing was visible from the looks of it – also it seemed that in order to reach the view point one has to climb down some steep path.

One look at the path and I decided to skip it as it would have been a very tiring return climb and definitely a no go for Arun haha.

Lets face it, we were certain that traveling on bike we had seen much better views than what could be seen from such viewpoints – same reason why we skipped Green valley view.

Majority of these view points are for people traveling in cars or big coaches as they don’t have the luxury of panoramic view from their window seat or the option to stop at will.

We were a bit interested in checking out Berijam Lake, however it seems that you need prior approval from some govt office in Kodaikanal town and further more only 4 wheelers are allowed.

Seemed a bit discriminatory against bikers, come on what are they afraid of ?

If we can bike through forest like Madumali, Bandipur, Ranny then what’s so big about this ?

Attitude of the watchman manning the gate was pretty irritating – probably having worked in the same position for years I guess he started to believe he owned the place, especially the way he was behaving rudely with people- didn’t knew tamil else I would have told him where he stood.

As I was uncertain how much we would have understood if I spoke in Hindi or English, I decided to give it a skip.

Having said that I must point out that majority of people in Kodaikanal are very friendly & sweet ; and would answer your question with a smile – which is very refreshing.

By now it was close to 1pm so we pushed off to find a good place in town to have lunch and probably a drink, found such a place in Kodai International.

Back view of Kodai International
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Its a beautiful place and not really that expensive to stay considering its supposed to be the second best hotel in Kodai after Carlton.

What a view from that section of the hotel , with the waterfall in back drop
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Interestingly much to Arun's relief they opened the bar even though there were only the two of us- which we felt was a nice gesture, they could have easily said no.

Big man finally gets a proper drink
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Couple of drinks later we moved down to the restaurant and hogged on some real tasty Biryani followed by some great service.

Truly enjoyed the Kodai service, which was not prompted by greed of tip.
At one time the waiter even went out of the restaurant just to check if it was raining or not for us – amazing they wouldn’t have done that even in a 5 star.

Will definitely stay there if I ever visit kodaikanal again.

Seconds before we attack the delicious biryani
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In the middle of the luncheon it started to rain cats & dogs slightly spoiling our plans .

Not that we had any real plan anyways other than to do some boating and visit Coakers walk.

By the time rains let down it was getting a bit late, so we rushed to the lake to do some spot of boating which was short lived as the paddle boat started to list uncomfortably towards Arun's side. Which forced me to end our boating prematurely much to Arun’s relief.

We then decided to make good use of what little daylight we had , by hopping across to Coakers walk

Beautiful view from entrance of Coakers walk- an indicator of whats in store
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Coakers walk is a kilometer long (didn’t measure it) paved walkway which runs along a slope offering some great views. It was one of those few places in Kodai where paying an entrance fee was really worth it.

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Delay in reaching this place meant we were deprived of some great photography opportunities due to bad light; saw a great rainbow which unfortunately was fading away by the time we reached

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Enchanting view of Kodaikanal valley
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Few hurried shots in and around Coakers walk in fading daylight
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Dont know why but have this fascination with trees growing at impossible angles on cliff tops - I believe its a reminder that " Life goes on, against all odds"
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A true hero
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Parting shot at Coakers walk
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Sun has set now
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After an hours time our departure from Coakers walk was hastened by threat of another rain, which turned out to be a false alarm, setting the scene for an awesome campfire drinks party with Ganesh and his friends.

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Preparing for camp fire
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Alcohol + chicken kebabs + some great friends + awesome camp fire+ some great biking stories = great evening
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Can still feel the warmth
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Enjoying the warmth of alcohol inside and fire outside :)
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Arun and me a trip to remember
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Shot of my room low light combined with sleep equals to poor effort to capture the room

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Next Kodaikanal to Vagamon coming soon.......


  1. great one mate.......reminds me of my trip.....beautiful pics2 go with d story

  2. Hey. Its very nice to see your updates yaar. I have one doubt. Me and my boy are going for vacation. We need a bike for rent in Kodai. Could you revert if any bike services are there to my mail

  3. I and some of my friends are planning to visit Kodaikanal on the upcoming Friday.Is there any way we can rent a car or bike from there for sight seeing ?
    Please let me know , if u do have any info.
    Thnx in advance (

  4. Hey

    Is there an option to hire bike from dindugal to kodai.

    1. Not aware of any such option , try checking with people from that area