So about a month back, sitting at work, my friend Nanda and I were just browsing through the Royal Enfield website, when we came across a Royal Enfield Reunion in Munnar. So without hesitating we registered for the event and since my friend owns a bullet, we decided to ride all the way to the event from Bangalore where we live. Although I have been doing trekking and car trips for a few years, this was my first long bike ride. The distance from Bangalore to Munnar is about 500 kms. There are 3 routes to Munnar from Bangalore:
Looking at thedifferent routes and reading through several blogs, we decided to reach Munnar from Bangalore via Satyamangalam so in that way we can cover the scenic Dhimbam Ghats and return via Salem which has nice wide highways.
We started at 6.15 in the morning from Mekhri Circle in Bangalore, where we had decided to meet. We had delicious thatte idli for breakfast at Bidadi at about 7 AM. From Bidadi, I started riding the Bullet. From the moment the bike started, I fell in love with it. I had never before rode the machine and my previous impression was that it was bulky and just a big hyped up motorbike and nothing else. But boy was I proved wrong. It’s a mean machine which does whatever we want on the highway and does not even cough and for the entire road trip, I think the bike was the only thing which wasn’t tired 🙂 .As soon as we left Bangalore behind, it started getting hot and the highway traffic was way more than I expected in NH 209. I rode from Bidadi to Malavalli. My friend took over from Malavalli to Chamarajnagar and again I continued from Chamarajnagar until the start of the Dhimbam ghats, where I didn’t have the confidence to descend the 27 steep hair pin bends.Then we exchanged riding the bike until Satyamangalam, where we decided to have lunch. After lunch, which was delicious, I rode non-stop from Sathyamangalam to Udumalpet which is around 130 kms in about 2 hours and it was one of the best feelings I ever had. This is a very scenic road with beautiful agricultural fields and huge windmills and it was a joy to ride this stretch.
Now from Udumalpet is where the real fun started. Now according to our rather lame planning, we should have reached Munnar by 6, but we reached Udumalpet only at about 3.45, which by our pretty inexperienced standards was very good. But we had no clue what was in store for us as we went. From Udumalpet, we entered the thick Annamalai tiger reserve, crossed into Chinnar wildlife reserve which is in Kerala. Hoped to see some elephants but just saw a
beautiful peacock. Crossed Chinnar and we still had 60 odd Kms to go to reach Munnar We reached Maravoor by around 6. Maravoor is a tiny little town right in the middle of the Ghats, which is famous for Sandalwood forests. It really is an amazing sight, those forests, and the scenary from Chinnar to Maravoor in the monsoons is absolutely breathtaking. From Maravoor at about 6.30 PM, a huge thick mist covered the road and riding in those roads, with visibility close to zero was the most dangerous thing I have ever experienced. We drove in that fog for about a kilometer when we thankfully saw a truck in front of us. Requested the truck driver to go slow so that we can follow his tail lights and finally reached Munnar at 8 PM,with hearts in our mouths only to find out that the resort where the event was being held was another 20 kms away. So both of us took deep breaths and continued the ride although this time the visibility was not as bad because it was a National Highway and the road markings and signboards were crystal clear ( but still engulfed in fog though). Finally at about 9 PM reached the resort, took some rest and appreciated the beauty of the place only the next day. My sincere advice to any biker who is going for a long ride for the first time, be prepared for such unexpected events and try to reach the destination before nightfall
After a day’s rest in the resort and having fun with 200 fellow Royal Enfield enthusiasts, we started the return journey the day after. The return journey was uneventful in itself, although as I mentioned we could appreciate the beauty of the place only in the morning, with lush Greenery and dotted with many waterfalls along the way.
The NH 47 and NH 7 which we took while returning is a wide 6 lane highway and a joy to drive although we again encountered heavy rains and strong cross winds near Salem up until Krishnagiri. Finally we reached Bangalore at 7 PM to end what was an amazing road trip.
Hopefully this is the start of many more travels and travel blogs
PS: Feel free to comment on my blog and to give suggestions and to ask questions if you have any