Day 1 : Bangalore – Pondy ( 380kms)
Myself and Venky geared up to ride along the eastern coastal belt of Tamilnadu from Pondicherry to Rameshwaram ( Classic 350 / Thunderbird 350). Fellow biker friends weren’t so receptive to this idea as mercury soars during this time of year (March). For us it was about the journey of traversing through the fishing hamlets and historical places that inspired us to hit the road.
On 14th March 2016 we set out from Bangalore to Pondicherry via Karimangalam –Harur – Theerthamalai – Tiruvannamalai – Pondicherry covering distance of 380kms in 8 Hours which includes our breakfast stop and tea breaks.
Initial 100kms was cruise on 6 Lane NH7 and we had our breakfast at Krishna Inn before Krishnagiri. One has to continue 25 Kms further from Krishnagiri towards Salem where you will come across signboard directing you to take a left for Karimangalam. Ride gets interesting from here on SH18/SH60A –riding through fertile agriculture fields, forest reserve. Tamarind trees dots both sides of road providing much needed cover from Sun which inched up as the day progressed. Every frame seemed worth a capture and it remained so until the end of the ride. Paddy Fields, Vegetable farms, Sunflower, Sugarcane were the ones that we came across frequently. Farmers toiled their way in the blistering morning sun.
It was encouraging to note school kids all decked waiting for school bus the farming community do realize the importance of primary education. Monday Market at Harur is big affair…. Farmers and merchants bring their produce for sale . We were lucky to pass through as it was early part of day when the merchants were setting up their stalls. Vegetables, Groceries, Flowers, Home Utilities you get them all at fair price and great quality. Guess its been the traditional way to promote rural economy for ages and it still works efficiently. Winding roads kept us in good spirits and alert too against the sudden appearance of cattle and sheep that cross roads. Harur to Theerthamalai stretch passes through forest reserve, sign boards indicating frequent animal crossings. We spotted Monkeys in this stretch which are used to being fed by travellers.
Mystic Charm of Tiruvannamalai greeted us as we entered the temple town. Tiruvannamalai town is known for Annamalaiyar Temple – One of the Panchabootha sthala (Fire) and Annamalaiyar Hill. Millions of Devotees take part in Karthigai Deepam festival and seek divine’s blessing by circumventing the Hill by foot( Distance of 14kms). Its popular belief that lord appears in form of Fire on this auspicious full moon day.
Ashrams of Ramana and Yogi Ramsuratkumar are popular destinations. We circumvented the Holy Arunachala Hill absorbing the positive energy emancipating from Herbs and yogis.
Now were into last leg of Day 1 ride 100 kms on NH234/NH45A to Pondy. This stretch was mix of farms and Rocky terrains as we headed towards the bay of Bengal. Roads were in good condition all the way through. Union Territory of Pondicherry was gleaming in afternoon sun and we were more than eager to hit the beach. Erstwhile French Colony has retained its charm in old part of town around Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Pondy boasts of Premier educational institutions namely JIPMER, Pondicherry Medical and Engineering Colleges which every aspiring student aims to get admission. Guided by friendly souls we had lunch at Hotel Krishna (Opposite JIPMER) . No frills menu with traditional Tamil Lunch – Rice, Sambar, Kootu , Poriyal , Rasam and Curd. Post sumptuous lunch we headed to shacks that dot the beach line bordering pondy and chennai. Non tourist season was blessing as beach looked deserted and clean, accommodation easy to get at a bargain. End of Day 1 we chilled in the beach, reliving the ride and planning the day 2 leg to Tarangambadi.
Route Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Gu1GQL3ssAL2