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Old 01-03-2013, 05:10 AM   #5
naveenroy OP
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Bangalore, India
Oddometer: 57
Day 1 - 22nd Dec - 300 kms - Bangalore to Pondicherry

Originally Posted by Pete_Tallahassee View Post
I drove a VW bus (AKA= Hippie Van) around your country in 1973. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai was an incredible sight.
I look forward to your pictures and ride report.
Good Luck to you.
Thanks for your kind words! Drove around in a VW Bus in 1973 - amazing. What places did you visit? I wasn't even around then Yup, some of the old architecture is amazing here in India.

Anyway, let me continue with my ride report. As said earlier, my plan for the first day of riding was to reach Pondicherry - an erstwhile French colony. It has officially been renamed to Puducherry - the name meaning the same. "Pudu" in Tamil means "new" though we all still call it by its "original" name. Sounds cooler :)

My plan was to start my ride early in the morning and reach Pondicherry by afternoon, get a room in a hotel and take some rest. A friend who knows Pondicherry well was supposed to meet me there and we had plans of visting places. While I was planning all this, a friend - Jijo decided to join me from Bangalore to Krishnagiri - from where he would go ahead to Thrissur - his home town.

Morning dawned fine and I was all ready at around 5:30 AM.

P1010003 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

I use Cramster saddle-bags and the Cramster tank-bag. These are pretty good enough for the short rides that I do. They fit well and are "relatively" water-resistant.

My odo reading before starting on the ride

P1010004 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

This is me and Jijo - who rides a KTM Duke 200 just after we tanked up at Hosur - just out of Bangalore. The early morning traffic was a little hectic. This is firstly it being a Saturday and secondly because a lot of people were leaving the city for the holidays. Cars piss me off!! :)

P1010005 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

Soon after that, we reached Krishnagiri and stopped for a chai (tea) and smoke. This is where me and Jijo would part ways on the ride. We did "nearly" catch up later on the ride :). More on that when I get there.

Thats me - looking a little pissed? Maybe the cars did that to me

P1010007 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

After this small stop, I took the road to Chennai and soon had to move away from the National Highway to a State highway - with no way of knowing how good the roads were. In the beginning, roads were pretty good - my teeth rattled a lot but I was able to maintain speeds of up to 80 kmph. But soon, the roads deteriorated and I saw that there was a lot of road work going on. Or should I say - the roads were being paved over, but I did not see any machinery in sight. An already small 2 lane "highway" was just a one lane now. It was scary trying to avoid cars and buses who would not judge your oncoming speed and not give way!

So I took a break to enjoy the scenery at a small lake - later found that it was a bird sanctuary?

P1010009 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

P1010010 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

Moving on and I stopped for break fast at some small town. Don't even remember the name of the place but stopped at a roadside joint for some idlis (rice cakes). Its insane how cheap food is at places like this!

Riding on and I reached the small town of Gingee. Off the road is the Gingee fort -

P1010013 by Naveen Roy, on Flickr

I remember reading about it ages ago in history lessons but the Wikipedia entry has more information about this fort. It says it is in good condition even now. And it was so impregnable in its time that Shivaji the founder of the Maratha empire called it "most impregnable fortress in India".

History lesson over and I carried on with my ride. Roads were improving and I soon reached Tindivanam. This is where I saw the first signs of the road work being completed. Really neat 4 lane highway greeted me and I rode on to Pondicherry. I soon settled in a small inn and took a well deserved rest. I'd done some 300 kms in 5 hours. Not bad, not great - considering the roads. I'd waited for my friend to arrive - she never did so I just walked around the French Quarter - taking in the french architecture that still survives.

I didn't take any pictures then - since I always thought I could do that the next day. Little did I know what was in store

Btw - booze is damn cheap in Pondicherry :)

naveenroy screwed with this post 01-08-2013 at 01:13 AM Reason: Inserted pics inline
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