It was around 10 PM yesterday when i arrived. I was tired, had back pain, had a running nose, was sunburnt, fatigued yet had an exhausting smile on my face. The reason for the smile was that i had returned safely from a solo ride to all the 3 oceans around this country covering 2003.5 kms on my bike! Was i truly alone? Well i was under the open sky, with the air, the clouds, the wind, the sun, the moon and the unknown.
Until my last birthday, i didn't know how to ride a bike! Never even pretended to strike a pose and get a picture clicked for social media. I only learnt somewhere around June last year and the way to travel for me hasn't been the same. All my bike rides have had one thing common, people. I have always curious to learn how i am when i am all by myself, when i am solely responsible for the amazing experiences and also responsible for the troublesome ones. Also, i have always wanted to know if i truly enjoyed my own company or not. The concept of getting out of my comfort zone, thanks to Get Beyond Limits has pretty much changed the direction of my life and redefined that i can or can do.
I have not been very fond of birthdays from a very young age. It was very difficult for me to live with the anticipation if a surprise was planned for me or finding out about the surprise and then pretending not to know or experiencing so much of love for a day or dealing with so much of attention.
Was i scared to even think about attempting a solo trip that too 2000+ kms, all the 3 oceans around India that too on a bike? More than scared i was excited i guess. Yes i did make a few excuses to myself convincing me to not do something like this but deep down inside i knew could and wanted to do it. I guess the core inside you doesn’t really understand any logics.
Coming back to birthday, when i had turned 25 and then 26, i had major midlife crises. Being on a path which is very different from a lot of people, your mid life crises can be interesting. Trust me. This time i knew that when my birthday comes, i shall be ready to face the mid life crisis sitting in front of not 1, not 2 but 3 oceans and do some meaningful life introspection! But did i do it? Read on to find out.
DAY 1: Bangalore to Madhurai: 438 Kms, 12 Hours
The journey begins on a rainy day in Bangalore. I woke up early, got my stuff ready and was moderately excited when i flagged off. The amazing thing about going solo is you are on your own! You make it on time, it's all because of your actions and if you dont, it is once again all because of your actions. Pretty much what i like to believe what life is.
The ride was super fun till Salem. Beyond Salem, it was too hot! Really hot.
The views were just too good! No cameras can do justice to the views i saw. Difficult to express what i felt really but if at some point in life i learn to paint, these views will be one of the first things that i will paint!
Meenakshi temple is just too beautiful in Madhurai. It is pure representation of continuous hard work, planning and dedication. Being very fond of history of a place and the architecture, i spent a lot of time in the temple to find a board which might speak about the history of the temple but all i found was SPECIAL DARSHAN Rs 100/- NORMAL DARSHAN FREE besides some boards which were not of much help. Irrespective, i had a great time.
Being in Madhurai, there is one thing one should not miss. Is called Jigarthanda.
WHAT DID I LEARN? Speed and control for sure.
RIDING CLOSE TO THE EASTERN COAST OF INDIA
DAY 2: Madhurai to Rameshwaram, 176 Kms, 4 hours
Looking at rameshwaram on Google Maps i was shocked that the entire city of Rameshwaram isn't directly a part of the V shape of India but joined by a bridge called Pamban bridge.
Rameshwaram basically is an island out in the Bay of Bengal along side a thin road which has an ocean on either sides called Dhanushkoda. Wow! I thought this would be like a ridge walk in mountaineering terms only with the sea on either sides. Once i got there, trust me it didn't disappoint.
Soon after i crossed Madhurai, the highways changed. The sambar got tastier for me and i knew i was in the heart of Tamil Nadu. I ordered Paisome in one of the shops. It was very very tasty! Sadly for me, an ant thought the same. I told the same aunty behind the Paisome about the ant, she made a sad face, went to the kitchen and brought back another cup of Piasome with exactly the same quantity but without the ant. Hmmmmm i smiled at her and it doesnt matter what i did next. I enjoyed it.
As i got closer to Rameshwaram i could see the terrain change. It got windy and i knew i was approaching ocean number 1. I approached the famous Pamban bridge and again it didn't disappoint.
Spending the day at Rameshwaram was very peaceful after i could figure out where to stay. I somehow found peace in the religious chaos in the city. Just to sit and observe and spot other people who were in search of peace in this beautiful city and not let the commotion affect them.
Also, it was my birthday so i tried my best to call back a lot of people who called me but it was just too beautiful and windy. Apologies if you had called me and i couldn't get back. It was too windy but i acknowledge the effort in my heart instead of calling back.
WHAT DID I LEARN? Extreme and continuous heat can cause heat strokes
DAY 3: Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi to Secret Beach to Kanyakumari, 10 Hours, 331 Kms
One of the best days during the trip that is before the sun decided to show its mighty power. Feel free to read up about the ghost town of Dhanushkodi where 1800 people died together and has been deemed unfit to live. On top of this, the road to get to Dhanushkodi is literally one road with the ocean on either sides. I decided to take this before the sun rose. I as rode, besides the ocean i could even see the sky paint a painting for me in the entire canvas called the sky showcased all its colours ranging from dark to light. As i approached the dead end of the last Indian road towards Sri Lanka, i saw old ruined structures. I am very found of Churches because of the architecture. A ruined church makes it even better. Picking it up and placing it on a beach? I couldn't have asked for more. This church and other structures were part of the ghost town of Dhanushkodi. I didn't take a picture of the church. Something are better of in the memory than the camera.
Reaching the dead end, i got down from Hodor aka my bike and walked as far as i could.
Here is my GPS location. Don't ask me how but i managed to reach here. I had the ocean on all 3 sides around me!
Unexplainable is the word i would choose to explain how i felt. You would be surprised by how clean this place was.
My plan to today was very metaphoric. In my own ways, i woke the sun today (unlike any other day of my life) and i wanted to put it to sleep at the southernmost point which is connected to the Indian land aka Kanyakumari. To accomplish this fancy sounding plan, i had to leave at the earliest.
During my return towards Rameshwaram, i saw a temple surrounded by water on almost all the sides and kind of in the middle of nowhere. I knew that i didn't have the time to go there but i followed my gut over logic, it was one of the best decisions!
On the road to the temple, i offered lift to a baba. I actually wanted to see him closely and see who had a bigger beard.
As i dropped him to a very normal temple, i saw someone walk on water! That’s right. A local person was walking through a water body around 800 meters in width with some luggage on his head.
I saw 2 people looking at each other and asking if either of them wanted to cross the water body on foot. In a few seconds i saw them turn around. But me on the other hand am familiar with the concept of Get Beyond Limits. Of course you need to be sure that the things are safe but the local was doing it, i guessed so can i. If at any point i felt it was getting deep, i would turn around. This was the plan and it made sense to me and off i went to walk on water myself.
As i slowly crossed the water body, i encountered one of the most peaceful beaches of my life! Absolutely unadulterated by human inhabitation. I have no clue what is called but it definitely holds a special place in my memory. At the beach i found these amazing shells at the beach. I guess someone or something which best understands colours is mother nature.
I picked some up and have got them to Bangalore, if anyone wants a few then feel free to let me know. My contact details are at the end of the 2nd part of the blog. If at all in life i will learn to paint, i will make one of them my colour mixing pellet. Rest are up for grabs by someone who wants them.
I spent some time here and got onto Hodor and asked it to take me to Kanyakumari hoping that this delay didn't affect me reaching the southernmost point of the Indian landmass and i could put the sun to sleep in my own ways.
Did i reach Kanyakumari in time to see the sun call it a day? Read on to the other part to find out: