In previous article we’ve been with Chiranthana to Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh — the Western corner of India. This time we are going to visit the Southern Corner of India — Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
What was the starting and end points for 4th part of the journey?
From Riding on top of the world, Khardung La to riding in the Restricted Area of Arunachal Pradesh, the 9 days road trip was like from Mountain to Mountain biking. Valleys and Ghats and Forests and under construction Roads. On reaching Dibrugarh on the same day after touching the Eastern End, Tezu, in the mid night, took out my Google Maps and looked the road to the Southern Tip, Kanyakumari, which was the next target of my route. On screen, the road looked good, wider roads, part of the Golden Quadrilateral from Kolkata. But, to reach the City of Joy, I still had to travel around 1400 kms. Already crossed midnight at Dibrugarh, after having a hot sip of tea, decided to stretch my memorable day’s journey of touching the 3rd corner into the night and early in the morning.
How did it go?
I had to travel on the same route, until Kishanganj, only after that, I could take a deviation towards South, ie.,towards Kolkata. That night, nearing Shibsagar, around 3 am in the morning, I had to take a rest in front of a closed shop. Thought of giving my spine, a flat bed to strengthen itself for the longer ride on the morrow. Around 6 am in the morning, I heard a voice of a small boy, asking me to wake up and he enquired me, if I wanted a cup of tea. The tea stall was just next to the closed door of the shop. While having a fresh cup of tea, the boy enquired about my travel. When I asked him how much to pay, He cutely denied to accept any money, though many come on bikes this way, I have not seen a rider sleep on the foot path next to my shop, though finding me crazy, he said that, he felt very happy about me. In what sense? I’m still wondering.
The ride continued on the same road, the same place where I had to stay put in front of a shop the other day, due to rain, when I left early at 4.30am. Reached Jorhat and Kaziranga National Park and took a break, took some selfies and reached Kaliabor for lunch. Navmii offered me two routes to Siliguri. One via Guwahati through Nagaon, from where I came a couple of days back, or to take Tezpur road and reach Nalbari, once again, a common place one has to reach, to go to Siliguri. Either of the routes had to touch Nalbari. Since I had already come from Nagaon, I instantly decided to go through Tezpur and find new horizons, ready for new challenges. The entry itself was a mesmerizing one, passing over the great Brahmaputra, the width of the bridge, about 3 kms. The road from Tezpur to Nalbari, though was a single road, it was a refreshing ride with less traffic and greenery on either side of the road. That night, I left Assam and reached West Bengal through Alipurduar, a stop near Sevokke, worked wonders after having a look at the Coronation Bridge over Teesta River. The sign board of Darjeeling State was inviting me to give a flying visit to the Tea County, which was just about 50 kms towards right, from the spot. Having spent 10 minutes at the fork of the road, I finally took the Left turn, which I felt, was the Right thing to do at that time.
My plan, after Siliguri, was to go 30 kms north and to enter Nepal on my bike. Riding inside the country almost throughout the border, there was this opening, which didn’t need any pass or permit, forget passport, to break into another country. I was riding in my neighboring country, coming from almost 10000 Kms from Bangalore, after touching 3 corners of Indian Political borders and heading towards the southern tip. Having had a local Nepali cuisine, came back to India and headed towards Kishanganj, the last common point from Leh-Tezu and Tezu-Kanyakumari Route. Almost driving in the middle of the congested road through the State boundaries of Bihar and West Bengal and also between International boundaries of Nepal and Bangladesh, it gave an unusual feeling of being an Indian at some point and being a rider from Karnataka at some points and again being an Indian rider, once again. This time, it stuck with me, until I reached the Tamil Nadu border.
Enroute, I met the same person at the WB/Bihar Border Toll Plaza shop, where I had taken rest for the night, with my Wrinkly Foot. The thought of yet another full night ride, came to an halt, with the chain losing its strength, once again, near Purnea Raiganj Junction.
Many attempts were made to find a mechanic, who, I thought, would cut a link and make it rideable. Since it was already around 8pm and moreover a Sunday, the chances of getting a bike mechanic on a national highway, just blew out.
Googled and found that a Yamaha show room was available in Raiganj, about 50 kms from the spot. Without having found a lodge or a room for the night stay, just rode at a very slow pace, trying to find a spot to rest on the way to Raiganj.
The next day, at the Yamaha Show room at Raiganj, decided to change the chain and chain sprocket set. After giving the bike, new chain strength relieved me of the tension of the chain, man ko chain mila.
The next day, riding through the busy Malda streets, made me to apply for PIL for construction of fly over to cross to the other end, above the city. Immediately after that, almost through touching distance of Jharkand state, driving over the Holy River Ganges, on Farrakka Barrage, gave me Goosebumps. After crossing Berhampore, the dinner was taken at a Dhabha, which served a special fish fry. The owner told that the Dhabha was open Chabbis hours of the day. I thought I heard it wrong as I was poor in Hindi numerical, I asked him wasn’t it Chowbees hours?? He told, the hotel didn’t have a main door to be shut. Hence, it is open 26 hours of the day !! after he saw my vehicle and my avatar, he offered me to take rest in his hotel itself for the night. He also offered me a bottle of beer for my achievement. The next day, he served a hot stuffed paranta, which made me rejuvenated and refreshed and fully charged. Just One Paranta.
After taking his leave and thanking him for the stay, I continued my journey and came till Krishnanagar, where the 4 lane highway was under construction and I had to do another off roading, which made my bike stuck in the slush, difficult to move an inch. With the help of the localite, got my bike removed from the awkward situation. Through Santipur and Ranaghat, reached the City of Joy. I wanted to see Calcutta from my child hood days. The Yellow Taxis, The Tram, The Bridge on the Hoogly near Howrah. I decided to take a day off from the ride. Booked a hotel room and went for a drive within the city of joy. In the afternoon, I just checked what my GPS Tracker was telling about my previous route. For my dismay, I found it was not working and was stuck 3 days before. I called the service engineer, who in turn gave me the Delhi office number, who arranged for the service personnel to visit me in Kolkata. Since he told that he was in siliguri, I had to wait the whole night and he would be available at 10 in the morning. The next day, something happened and that person was to come around 4 in the evening. I looked at myself in one of the mirrors in my room. Found myself too shabby and the dust of about 13 states were on my body. I thought the time had come for myself to get a fresh look. Got my haircut done sitting on a chair on the road side, came back and freshened up. Called the service engineer, and he was still on the road. I felt, this was too much of waiting. I told the Delhi office to arrange for a service engineer at Chennai, which was about 1800 kms and would have taken 3 more days to reach there. Having got the assurance from the Tracker Office, the same evening, I left Kolkata, enthusiastic of the Golden Quadrilateral ride.
Since the ride was started only after 6pm, the days ride on Golden Quadrilateral was a very welcoming one. It was like reassuring me, if you wanna ride the whole night, its your wish. Smooth 6 lane highway at my disposal, the bike giving no problem except for the GPS Tracker, which was always on my mind, the GQ was taken gleefully. The entire night was spent riding on this beautiful highway, the next day morning, I had already passed Cuttack, near Bhubaneshwar, had my breakfast, the day was the last day of the Puri Jagannath Temple Chariot Festival. Me and my don, decided to visit the holy city, through the town of the famous Sun Temple, Konark. My don got through the heavy security, almost 5 kilometres from the Puri temple, went straight in front of the temple chariot street, took some snaps and headed towards Andra Pradesh. While on the way back, I noted, even 2 wheelers were not allowed on that day, 14th July 2016. We were just too lucky to have gone near the temple on that auspicious day, and felt happy about the great escape.
The ride continued, came across beautiful concrete road through the villages, fully grown tress and painted white on the barks, gave a wonderful look.
My friends used to call and enquire about my whereabouts, next place of visit, route to be taken, et al. Sridhara, my school classmate, immediately warned me about the days route. Entry into Andhra Pradesh through Orissa. He wanted me to travel real fast on the highway, not to stop anywhere till I reached atleast Srikakulam. Giving due respect to his concern, I entered AP border, similarity being the initials and the shiver which gave me when I entered another AP border (Arunachal Pradesh). Took the Log Book entry in Telugu, the state language and the evening ride through the Eastern Ghats, crossing Amalapuram, Ichchapuram, reminded me of a super hit telugu song of yesteryears… Aa ante Amalapuram, Aa ante Aahapuram, Ee ante Ichchapuram… until that time, I thought, the lyrics was just like that.. now that I had already seen Two towns, named in that song.. I now believe even the third exists somewhere in Andhra.
Around 7 pm, took a short break in a tea shop. Paid for the tea and lighted a cigarette. After i finished smoking, I sat on a chair to relax my legs a bit. Until then, some youngsters who were looking at my bike and my Army green Pants came near me. I thought, this might be another enquiry session about my ride and route. As i was getting ready with my answers, one of the person asked in telugu.. Did you finish your tea? Paid the bill?? Smoked?? Now be going from this area. Suddenly a shiver started lightly; not showing in on my face, but, garnering courage, told them, coming from Kolkata, still a long way to go until I reach Chennai, hence relaxing a bit. Their voice and tone changed drastically and now words came in request mode. Sir.. vellandi sir.. please leave, the place is not right to travel alone. You can take rest after reaching Srikakulam, which was about 70 kms from there.
Thanking them for their concern, started the bike and just rode, even bypassed Srikakulam and reached almost near Vizianagaram before stopping for the night.
After a much needed rest in a Dhabha, spending some quality time with the owner of a petrol bunk which was adjacent to the Dhabha, slept on the Khatia one of the last Khatia stop of my journey.
Still 800 kms to reach Chennai, the next day, started on the GQ and decided to make it at least by midnight; but, managed to reach Ongole by midnight.
Morning by 10am, I was in Chennai. I had travelled to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and finally to Chennai. There are lakhs of people who have seen all the 4 metros of India. Thousands who have visited all these places on bikes. But, very few of them actually connecting all the 4 metros on road, by bike. And on this day, I had joined that elite group of riders. Though I hadn’t rode only on the Golden Quadrilateral which connects all the 4 metros, part of my trip was on the GQ, the East-West Corridor and also on the North-South Corridor. I had rode on almost 30-40% of the Three Major Highway Projects of Nhai.
Half of the day was spent by calling the GPS Tracker device managers, the supporting staff and getting them to know exactly where I was standing, which place should I come.. all these because, Even though I reached Chennai by 10am, it was not until 1pm I could get them, because of the language barrier. I didn’t know tamil, and they wouldn’t speak any other language apart from tamil. Finally, I managed to get the defective GPS Tracker device replaced, thanked them with ice cream and Juice and left.
My moto friend, Chidananda, who helped me with the route in Northern Corner, had come to organise a rally in Sriperambudur Race Track, which was about 40 kms from Chennai. He invited me to join him for dinner at the Track. The offer was irresistible. I had to back up at the last minute, since, the Fourth Corner, Kanyakumari, was still about 700Kms and I was driving almost for a month. 18th June to 16th July. The next day was 17th July and I had decided not to miss the deadline of connecting all 4 corners of India in a month. I called my another friend Dinesh, who lived in Chennai, if he could meet me, unfortunately, he had been to Bengaluru for a meeting. I had a chance to call my Online-Rummy Friend, who happened to be a Chennaite, had a quick meeting and left for the 4th corner, the night I had to stay in a Bus Stop near Athimanam, the feeling of virtually living a dogs life came in front of me. It was all a part of life; riding on the off roading road of Leh and the 6 lane highway of the GQ in a month, made me to know the difference between the luxury and the difficulties of life.
17th July 2016, the 30th day of my ride, after getting up in the Bus Stop, had a yummy coffee at Only Coffee point, reached Madurai at 5pm. Yet another 250kms to go to my destination of the day. I had made up my mind, come what may, rain or shine, I am reaching Kanyakumari by the EOD. The tracker problem of the vehicle vanished from my mind, the bike was responding very well to my requests and challenges. At about 10pm in the night of my 30th day of the ride, I had connected all 4 extreme corners of India, on bike.
Immediately, I went in search of the Kanyakumari Police Station for the most important entry in my log book. The inspector in charge, just signed and sealed. He felt, it was enough to prove that I had been there at that time. Thanking him, went in search of a Lodge, to take a much needed rest, this time, inside 4 walls of a hotel.
Since I had missed the important Sun Set, the plan was to wake up early in the morning to view the famous sun rise at the Sun Rise Point of Kanyakumari.
What happened the next day, the ride is not completed unless it is finished at the starting point, unexpected diversion in the route to finish, formation of yet another ring route at the 4th corner which wasn’t needed, the only road in the 14000 km ride where the bike has to pay toll, the lessons learnt, the moto of the ride, all these and much more in the Conclusion part of this wonderful series.
Next time: All good has to end sometime. Next article will be the last one in the series. We will follow Chiranthana to the final destination of his epic journey.
See all articles about Four Corners of India Trip:
- Introduction. The Incredible Four Corners of India Solo Motorcycle Ride
- Part 1. The Western Corner of India
- Part 2. The Northern Corner of India
- Part 3. The Eastern Corner of India
- Part 4. The Southern Corner of India
- Conclusion. Present and future records
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