Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day 1 & 2: Chennai - Hyderabad - Aurangabad - Planned unplanned trip V

 Day 1: 18th November, 2017 Saturday

1:30 am, Went to bed after work

4:30 am, Got up, packed my bags and got ready. Today my plan is to go to Hyderabad, as the road will be better and it will take me north.

Started at 5:30 am from home.

Road was really good. With welcoming shower in the coastal regions. Had to stop and cover the bags with covers to continue my ride. Just loved to ride in the rain. I was not prepared for wet ride, else would have already packed everything in covers like I did for the Monsoon Mumbai ride.

After riding for 630 KM, 8.5 hours, reached Hyderabad at 2:00 pm. Got a room in Malakpet, was lazy to move around. Took rest and forced myself out of the bed. In Hyderabad I have my favorite places. Took some rest, went to Birla mandhir, followed by Charminar and walked there for some time.

Charminar, Hyderabad street view

Then got some kababs and my favorite Shadab Biryani. I just love their biryani, I once traveled just to have this biryani and came back the same day.

Shadab biriyani, Hyderabad street view

Planning for the next day, I was deciding to go to Ajanta (600km from Hyderabad), finish it and go for Ellora caves which is 120km from Ajanta. To travel should take until evening, then to go around Ajanta and Ellora should take the next one whole day.

Day 2: 19th November, 2017 Sunday

After a good night sleep, I got up late. Was able to start from Hyderabad only by 6:30 am. From Hyderabad to Nizamabad, the road was really good. After that for about 300km, the stretch was one of the worst in this whole trip, which took a heavy toll on my back. Had to take frequent breaks and stretch my back. Got some good palm toddy on the way, which was really refreshing.

Palm kallu, in a pet bottle, Telangana

During this time I had also changed my destination from Ajanta to Aurangabad to make it easy between Ajanta and Ellora, and also to move north the next day.

After all this riding, reached Aurangabad at 5 pm. 560km in 10.5 hours, really bad average. First went to Bibi Ka Maqbara, which is also called the Mini Taj Mahal. I reached here with all the luggage still with me. The parking person said he will take care of the bags. Trusted him, left the bags in the bike itself and went in to check out the Mini Taj.

Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad front view

Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad view of the front arch

Then took a room in Aurangabad for two days, as it will take a full day to roam Ajanta (90 km E) and Ellora (30 km NW) caves, take rest and go to the next destination. Next was to explore the city, find some good eat outs. Was suggested some fancy restaurant by the hotel people. Had to pass after going there. Few more places after different suggestions. Finally landed in a street close to the railway station. The kind of place I would eat any day. Got some tandoori roti, gravy, kababs and went to room.

While again finalizing the plan for the next day, came to know that Ajanta is closed on Mondays. How can they even leave a holiday for these places. Grrrrr. This was better than to have Ellora closed, as I was eager to see the Kailasha temple, which is the largest monolithic (built using a single stone) structure in the world.

Had to live with it and went to bed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Chennai to Delhi 3,350km Solo Bike Ride - Planned unplanned trip V

This is a write up on a solo ride from Chennai to Delhi covering 3,350 km in 9 days. If you are interested in any of this episode,  you can read the detailed pages below.

For places covered and photo only, click here.

Photos taken using phone only for this trip. As my camera is sold and lens was sold to go for this trip :P Traveling vs Photography, had to pick travel.

Long story short:

Here is the how the route turned out to be when the trip got completed.

Google map image. Route of Solo bike ride from Chennai to Delhi

Run up to Day 1: Deciding on the location and the preparation

After confusion between Cambodia or Delhi, decided to go on a solo bike ride to Delhi.

Day 1: Chennai to Hyderabad

Moving northwards, stopped in Hyderabad for my favorite Biryani.

Day 2: Hyderabad to Aurangabad. Difficult road and evening in Aurangabad (Same page along with Day 1)
- Mini Taj

Day 3: Spanner in the plan. Roam in Ellora caves and cut short Aurangabad.
- Ellora caves.

Day 4: Roam in Indore and leave to  Udaipur, pit stop in Ujjain
- Rajwada
- Lal baag Palace
- Ujjain
- Hunting for good Rajastani food

Day 5: Roaming in Udaipur and leave to Jaiput. Pit stop in Ajmer
- Jagdish Mandhir
- Udaipur city palace, one of the best pic of this trip. Very well maintained palace.
- Jag mandhir - Could skip, worth for the city and palace views.
- Ajmer Dharga - Got caught in the cob web of narrow streets.

Day 6: Roam in Jaipur and stay for the day as Taj is closed on Fridays
- Amer fort - Another best pick of this trip. Splendid history and the Muhal connection.
- Nahargarh fort - Has the world's largest canon
- Jaigarh fort
- Jaipur citi palace - Commercial center than a palace to tour.
- Janthar manthar - Wisdom and vision.
- Hawa mahal
- Hunting for Dhal Batti - My new found love.

Day 7: Late start from Jaipur and ride to Agra (Same page along with Day 6)

Day 8: Roam in Agra and ride to Delhi in smog
- Fatehpur sikri - Fell in love with this beautiful place.
- Taj Mahal - Crown jewel of this trip.
- Agra fort - Stands second compared with Fathepur Sikri
- Negotiate for delayed check-out
- India Gate - Destination photo

Day 9a: Roam in Delhi
- Check details regarding bike luggage procedures
- Chandni Chowk - Modern art
- Red fort - More of a city than a fort. Just massive.
- Humayum Tomb
- Qutub minar - Majestic in structure, size and history.
- Shopping

Day 9b and 10: Stuck in a cob web and took 5.5 hours to complete the parcel procedures (must read if you want to avoid the mistakes that I did)

Here are links to the previous Solo Planned Unplanned trips:

Planned Unplanned Trip 1: Start in Thiruchandur and end in Tenkasi.
Planned Unplanned Trip 2: Start and stop in Coimbatore. Surprise till the end.
Planned Unplanned Trip 3: Keep riding west, covering Karnataka and come back to Chennai.
Planned Unplanned Trip 4: Reach Mumbai, plan for to and fro planned on the way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chennai to Delhi, Solo bike ride - Deciding the location and preparing

<< Planned Unplanned Trip V Index
>< Deciding on the location and preparing for the trip
>>Day 1 & 2: Chennai to Hyderabad for Biryani and off to Aurangabad
>> Day 3: Exploring Ellora caves and change in plan
>> Day 4: Roaming in Indore and rest in Udaipur
>> Day 5: Roaming in Udaipur, pit-stop in Ajmer dharga, amazing street food and rest in Jaipur
>> Day 6 & 7: Roam in Jaipur, change in plan and left to Agra the next day
>> Day 8: Roaming in the magnificent Agra and leave to Delhi
>> Day 9: Plan to exit and roam in Delhi
>> Day 9 took me in to 10, with trouble parceling the bike by train and challenges at every turn. Best experience.

This is my fifth planned unplanned trip.

This year has been a dry year in terms of travel due to the ankle injury which took about 9 months to heal on its own. When I felt better and confident, this year’s trip came back from the back burner. With Muruga’s tempting offer for Sikkim, I had to decline the offer to think about the Planned Unplanned Solo for this year. Planning it along with US Thanks giving will mean, 9 days off, in which only 3 days actually away from work.

The confusion was between going to Cambodia, to see the world’s largest temple, the Angkor Wat. Second option was to go on a solo bike ride to Delhi from Chennai. This process was going on for a couple of weeks without being able to decide between these two options. It was then I spoke to Mahilan, with whom I had done some traveling and he is in to his own adventure. As he was getting married, he was planning for his honeymoon trip. Me being me, I was giving him some suggestions on how to select the location. In the process I got the points to make my decision, it was to consider opposite to what Mahilan has to consider to make his decision. Not to plan for a leisure trip, not to get in to a complete planned trip, stay away from the comfort zone. All these I would not have the luxury to do at a later years. Do it now and don’t regret this was something I missed.

Finally decided on the solo ride to Delhi. As usual, there were few conditions and constrains for this travel that I have to play with in.

1.    Leave from Chennai after work on 17/Nov/2017 (Saturday)
2.    Be back to Chennai on 27th (Monday) and start with my work

That’s it, everything else was to be planned on the go. Had booked my return flight ticket to get in to a serious mode. Planned to send the bike by train from Delhi to Chennai. It actually got in to so much trouble.

First task was to refine the list of items to carry and start working on it a couple of weeks before. Another point to be noted is all of this should be less than 22 kg for the travel back.

Items to carry

  • Headphone – To be used during navigation, I don't listen to songs while riding. Instead sing myself :P But I did not use the headphone for this trip, as the mobile mount was good for navigation. With the bike charger, was not worried of keeping the mobile on all the time.
  • Inform on ways to track on emergency – To give away my iphone finder login, in case I have to be tracked if there is no contact for a day
  • Bike insurance - 4 copies xerox, also to be used for bike parcel
  • RC xerox - 4 xerox copies
  • Emission certificate – Needed outside Tamil Nadu
  • Riding jacket
  • Riding pant
  • Riding gloves
  • Riding shoes
  • Socks x 4 – Out of which I had used only one, which was inside my shoe after the last trip, comfy :P
  • Helmet
  • Clear riding glass – In case there is any trouble in the helmet front glass
  • Bike mobile charger – One of the best buy for this ride. Definitely makes a huge difference on the road. You need not be under pressure to keep your mobile on when needed. I have faced this several times.
  • Mobile holder (Ram mount)  – This is again for navigation
  • Puncher kit
  • Shampoo (To check puncher)
  • Bungee cord – This is to tie my primary 50L back to the rear seat
  • Plastic cover – To pack, laundry bag, water proof when necessary, etc.
  • Foldable knife
  • Matches
  • Lighter – Fire during wet condition
  • Candle
  • Mobile Charger x 2 – To charge the mobile and power back the same time
  • Android and IPhone charger cables (for power bank and phone)
  • Mobile sim remover (can be used a pick)
  • Towel
  • Walking shoes/sandal
  • Torch light
  • Secondary bag – This bag carries all my quick access items and also the items I need when I am geared up. When I get off my bike, I can stuff my gloves, mobile holder in to this without having to remove the primary bag.
  • Groundnuts burfi - For quick sugar and protein fix when needed.

First aid kit
  • Savlon
  • Cotton
  • Micropore
  • Pain relief Spray
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • H2O2
  • Gauze bandage
  • Cotton absorption pads

The previous week, got the bike serviced, changed the oil and front brake pads. Rear was also weak, still had to forego due to the cost. Radiator was also weak, gave it a careful wash to hold for this ride.

With all set, assembled everything the previous night before going to bed.

Work was done for the day, got all the items assembled. All set and time to go to bed