Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Travelogue for Kalvaryan Hills and Falls

Again Travelogue is on a trip with my gives me great pride and joy to bring you a travelogue of my maiden bike trip with hills.

25th July 2010 04:15hrs
The Alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button.
5 more minutes.
The Alarm goes off again.
I say to my self - Wake up you have a long time.

I am up in no time. I gave wake up ring to rest of my team. I quickly finish off the morning chores. I have taken the things into small bag and started out from the house at 4:50 AM headed to Mr.Kalaichelvan house, reached 5:00 AM, he was waiting for me. I had small chat over with him, confirmed our plan as per scheduled planned earlier. We reset the speedometer to count the number of KMs for this journey. Started at 5.05 AM and reached Madagadipet 5:30 AM, Meanwhile Mr. Venkataramanagopal was also asked to accompany us at Madagadipet, I was asked both of them to pickup Mr. Srinivasan and Mr. Udayasankar. I left to Mr.Murugavel's house by bus - 5 Kms and he was waited for me. 6:10 AM, We are all up and ready to roll with 3 Bikes & 6 folks. Before starting the travel earlier that day, I had been given information to fill the fuel, checking the Tier PSI and necessary tools for bike in case of emergency with First Aid.

The Team:
Hero Honda Hunk - Mr.Venkat and Mr.Srinivasan
Bajaj Pulsar 150CC - Mr.Kalaichelvan and Mr.Udaysankar
Hero Honda Splendor - Mr.Karunagaran and Mr.Murugavel.

Pondicherry - Madagadipet - Villupuram - Ulundurpet - Kallakuruchi - Kacherapalayam - Comugui Dam - Periyar Falls - Vellimalai - Megam Falls
( To & Fro)

Date: 25th July 2010

Mr. Venkat - Hero Honda Hunk and Mr.Kalai Bajaj Pulsar 150CC & co has started from Madagadipet (23km from Pondicherry), Myself and Mr.Murugavel - Hero Honda Splendor has started from vallavanur (30 KM from Pondicherry) rolling towards Kalvarayan Hills. I had hand sum of travel experience to kallakurchi in my past history. Mr.Kalaichelvan had visited the Kalvarayan hills many times, so he was the navigator for us.
After an hour of travel of NH45 - 4 Lane, we have reached ulundurpet which is 40 KM from Villupuram, After the Ulundurpet Toll Plaza - one must take right to go 5 Km to ulunderpet. Steadily as we made progress towards our destination our speed from a 60 ~ 80KMPh ; 100kmph at one time, had gradually to 60 kmph and by the time we reached ulundurpet we were hardly even doing 40 kmph. Speed is thrill but Safe is life. I wanted my teams to follow the safer and controlling speed through the journey, Time to time I was giving safety alarm to the team members. Mr.Venkat has never droved his bike below 90 KMPL, He always want to flash others eyes through the bike.. Mr.Srinivasan had fearful bilinear. Ulunderpet - Kallakuruchi the roads was pretty much good, except few stretches, where the double road work is under progress. We have not wanted any breaks and rest, so we continued our journey towards kallakuchi. We reached kallakuruchi by 8:15 AM. We had a good breakfast at vegetarian hotel near to the bus terminal. As usual some peoples are always to take a grand for delaying the schedule as a part of the tour. This time Mr. Venkat and Mr. Murugavel has taken a lead and wasted hand sum of time to purchase underwears cloths. We have spent more than 20 minutes to find out the shop.
Kalvarayan Hills : The Kalvarayan hills are situated on the western side of Kallakurichi Taluk. Covering over an area of 600 sq. kms. approximately with the height ranging from 315 mts. to 1190 mts. these hills offer a temperate climate and a peaceful atmosphere. There is a beautiful botanical garden on the hills. There are two waterfalls here. The area is best suited for trekking. A summer festival is also held every year in the month of May.
9:15 AM, We moved towards Kacherapalayam which is 30 KM from Kallakuruchi which is down hill of kalvarayan hill. Roads condition are goody with our bikes. The Kachirapalayam has divided the road to Vellimalai, which is top hill of the kalvarayan hill, enrooted to Comugi Dam. The hill area has stared with as forest checkpost, we were escaped from frisking the security check - Really we are Good Peoples :) :).... After 3 KM we reached Coomugi DAM - Waterless DAM - 10:30 AM, It's not so big but it's giving significant contributions to the farmers and people of the area in villupuram District. Gomugi DAM is located at down hill of the kalvarayan hills starting point. We have been informed that water level will be good once the monsoon season starts. I have decided to comes once again after the monsoon, We took some snaps to recall the memories. We were engaged about 10~15minuts there, Meanwhile Mr.Murugavel interestingly made some fun on that, loved such kind of body language. Near to the Coomugi Dam, the Yellow Board displayed that 16 Km ahead to “ The Periyar Falls “.
This is the first time I have got an opportunity to ride the bike on hill road. It was more interestingly testing bike riding conditions, how to handle clutch, Brake and Accelerator strategies. The newly laid roads and it's good surfaces has taken us to the pleasant journey till the end.
We blown the horn and keep forward to cross each curve and bends. The real nature start from here and it was wonderful sight driving through that wild greenery all the way. The real Ghats are beautiful for the eyes. The climate was cloudy and sunny, but we were not seen sun lights throughout the journey. The nature has created and added more advantages towards pleasant journey. The chilled air makes more and lovely atmosphere travel. The roads are not broad, but one can manage, when coming by 4 wheelers. We witnessed traffic signals and safety reflectors are placed then and there where it is needed, some areas constructions is undergoing. The hills stations are God's gift to the world and it's lovers and it's the acting warrior to the pollution environment.
After 45 Minutes travel we have reached The Periyar Falls, but negatively we witnessed water force was coming like our village pump set. The Government contractors were working for renovation work at the Periyar Falls. We were not attracted much at this point of time, we took some snaps over this place and headed towards further to the destination - Megam Falls.
11:30 AM; We reached the place called Vellimalai, We purchased lunch and snacks for us before going to the Falls. The Yellow Board Arrow shows that Kacherapalayam 31 KM, Kallakuruchi 43KM, on other Arrow shows that Salem 78KM. We were traveled 31KM on Hill. We were fully packed snacks and fruits what we needed for further course of travel. One elderly aged gentleman have given caution message about the herrdels that we are going to face before attempting to reach the Falls. We were already prepared ourselves for challenging the task.
We were headed towards Megam Falls which is approximately 5 KM from the Main Roads, The roads are quite pathetic driving down the hills and the dry mud path makes it vulnerable for a pleasant drive. Some of the stretches and hair pin bends are in very bad state and further it doesn't show any sign of good hope for the roads. The road made with sandstone with low ground clearance which was created severe challenge while driving our bikes. The sandstone mud along with steeper road has given many challenges; especially gripness between tire and road were completely low. Mr.Venkat bike was unable to control his bike along with me due to very poor road gripness as wells as deadly slope. Luckily we both were escaped without any hurting but due to sudden force and steeper slope it pulled me down without applying any movement. I lost my gravity, after few seconds managed and stopped my self without falling further. Other members had rescued Mr.Venkat and make them to his bike straight.
We were informed that this is the first slope and yet to come more like this. We were prepared our mindset and moved our bikes more cautiously with 1st gear & 2nd gear. One must have apply the thumb rule of handling the bike – One should not release gear and apply brake along with clutch. It will make the bike move still easier down the slope. Applying brake at regular intervals would give time for brake drum cooling or else it will fail to stop the rear wheel of the bike. After further crossing very dangerous 4 ~ 5 hair pin bends, danger sound came from back, We immediately stopped and turned. Mr.Venkat and Murugavel has fallen on steep hair bend edge of the road. The bike was almost fallen edge to the deep and dead pit, a feet away from falling edge. A great escape from life, All our body language and eyes were witnessed the danger level. The steeper mud road is not user friendly and slope all are elevating to 70 ~ 80 degree angle . I can say the road gripness level become less then zero level as well as low ground clearance. We all are moved less then 8 KMPH with first gear. Mr.Venkat got very small amount injury in his fore hand while trying to lift his fallen bike. Mr.Murugavel was attempted a diving and rolled twice from fallen bike. Murugavel found quite normal without any hurting, escaped the incident spontaneously. One should not reduce the gear less than 2nd gear and should not apply Clutch, which made him to slide along the rough road and lost his centre of gravity.
After the 2nd attempt of the accident, We have decided not to travel in doubles. We walked down hill for about 500 meters to reach a flat land – Dead End where we have parked our bikes. where as some of us handled the bike more safely to reach the falls destination. Before leaving to falls we had started to think how we can go return upward hill with this deadly mud slope.
The single step foot path has Down Hill – Deadly steeper & hairpin bends which lead us to the Megam Falls. Here our foot gripness was vital role for safe steps. Our Foot Toes, Forehead and heels of the Foot, leg knee joints have worked to the core level. One must have proper fitness body can handle without hassle free workout. We moved more and more cautiously with side foot walking instead of normal walking. Luckily the mud was not wet, it helps more for grip ness between our foot and ground. We were able to hear the falling water sound which is creating by falls. Everyone was really excited about the trip ... Remotely did we know that we were in for a really adventurous trip....Adventure is an adventure and we continued ...
After 15 Minutes of travel we reached the falls. Again we had challenge to cross deadly and dangerous cliffs. While seeing we thought it was very difficult to approach, but forward with more cautiously approach finds us to reach down hill without any hazards. Like Monkeys we were jumped between the stones and moved to near the falls. We were fully covered by stones and our voice reflecting echo's were really amazing. If any task if we approach from outside it will be difficult, when you are approaching it will be very easy as much easy as you can do.. The simple theory of life – Here we applied.
The wrist watch shown 12:00 PM Noon: The climate was cloudy and little sunny, but no down pour from sky. We took our own time for settle our baggage and things. Water level is one step ahead of low level, can be enjoyable without second thought. The water came from top the hill from 500 Meters height, The hill is not a part of Western Ghats. Normally here the rainy session will start from July to October – South East Monsoon. The Megam Falls looks as much as beautiful between the month of September to December.
We witnessed poisonous insects in water; it is dangerous to the life. We all took oil bath with more n more fun has taken more time without our knowledge. we were enjoying ourselves getting wet in the waterfall ... we had pleased atmosphere physically and mentally. We 6 are spend for about 2 Hours. By the time we thought to leave, 8 Peoples have came from Pondicherry, Ariyankuppam – My native place. They were recognized me, but I couldn't. I felt embarrassed.
14:00hrs, We have stared towards uphill from Falls, Deadly sharp slope – One must climb with great gripness both from hand and foot towards up hill. The Photo figures shows, How we were managed to come up. After very very careful attention of each steps and resting body as on when it needed. After 15 Minutes of walk we were able to manage and reached the place where our bikes parked. We took time to complete our Mini Lunch. Drinking water shortage has created panic among us. Our friends namely Murugavel, Venkat and Kalai have taken their bike towards uphill where Venkat has fallen 1st time. We, myself, uday and Srinivasan were walked towards up hill, We were reached top hill after 40 Minutes of walking. I loved my first trekking experience and difficulties which we explored. The ghat was a lovely drive
15:00hrs, We started to destination Pondicherry. One small park and boat house we were witnessed near to location. I ride the bike with great happiness. We never found any difficulties while approaching down hill, 15:40hrs reached downhill.
We have crossed Kallakuruchi by 16:30hrs and Ulunderpet by 15:15hrs. We had small refreshment at Toll Plaza - Ulunderpet. Steadily as we made progress towards pondicherry, our speed ranges from from a 80 ~ 90KMPh, We have crossed villupuram by 18:15 and reached pondicherry by 19:15hrs.
Total Distance Covered : 373 kms
Distance Chart from different places :
Chennai to Kallakurichi : 234 KM
Kallakurichi to Kacherapalayam : 12 KM
Kacherapalayam to Coomughi Dam : 3 KM
Coomughi Dam to Periyar Falls : 16 KM
Periyar Falls to Velli Malai : 12 KM
Velli Malai to Megam Falls : 5 KM
Best Time to Visit :
October, November and December - After the Monsoon Session
We thank all our team members who admitted our request to join our adventure like mindly without any hesitation and had a safe and sane driving with us. A Special thanks to our navigator Mr. Kalaichelvan for having taken us around to such a discreet place in tamilnadu unexplored. May this trip enable us to plan and go for further more adventures in this forth coming days. Hope sure that we had a great time and lots of experience in handling bike, pupils and places. My Friends thanked me for my exact programing and scheduling carried out to reach our destination and back to our home town in time.
The bonding between bike, hills and me has increased with this trip. This journey is added new dimension of traveling experience to me and brings so much of happiness. A splendiferous journey makes Super Special Sunday once again in this year.
I would appreciates your valuable feedback. Hope to have a second trip in this year during seasonal time. Interested friends can contact us at the below mentioned email id. Probably my next trip to megam falls would fall in the month of October 2010
Thank you,
P Karunagaran

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