AshimSen

96 months ago

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Day 5 - Kadapa to Chennai

Distance: 272.4 Km / 169.7 Mi Duration: 05:55:22

DAY 5 - KADAPA TO CHENNAI

The best hotel of Kadapa (as claimed by the booking manager) was an historical stay for me. I am lucky that I did get a room for the night by just walking in without prior reservation. What I did not anticipate that I would be accorded VVIP status which is rarely accorded to any Full-tariff paying guest. The mosquitos of district Kadapa decided to throw me a full Andhra Pradesh welcome & spared no inch in their hospitality. For evasive actions around 3 am I slept in my denims, socks, gloves & bacalava + riding jacket (AC was set to its minimum at 16 deg). The welcoming teams of the villages dengue & Malaria (who were thwarted) kept me awake till 3:00am. I finally surfaced to hit the road around 9:00am. The sun was up & it was hot outside. My bike finally hit the road around 10:30 am. My shower was a showpiece & hot water was was supplied by housekeeping in a bucket.

My journey had to cross a forest area in AP & I was looking forward to this journey as I was expecting dense foliage's on either side. What I saw was very disappointing. Since this is a main highway to reach Tirupati (worlds richest place of worship) the roads were dotted with small towns & farms dotted these villages. Due to this urbanisation the forest had to pay a heavy price. I was expecting a thick forest like the hair on the scalp of a teenager with full thick healthy mane & what I saw was a balding pate with sparse hair growth that too intermittently grew sparingly amidst huge bald patches. The forest had practically disappeared. All that was left were hills with small trees that looked like a shrub potted in the balcony of house. The rains in these parts has not been bountiful & hence the land was dry. I was in shock. The lakes, riverbeds I crossed was bone dry. Its not drought but the rains are delayed and its expected to start by month end (hopefully) according to weather websites. (For those who do have sparse hair problem or a balding pate must use the serum invented by my classmate Caroline Mathen - a scientist. This serum has shown amazing results on my ex-bald friends thanks to her. It will be available very soon commercially, till then you know who to send private message to. I hope she develops a serum that gets our declining forest back to strength)

As I left Kadapa city, the bustle & traffic on the road was back to its minimum & I could ride in peace. I was having clutch problems, it was getting stuck & and I had to manually push the lever to allow it to get it back into its right position for maximum throttle. I called up Triumph Bombay & they organised a local dealership team to pick my bike the moment I reached the Park Hyatt, Chennai. I was still in Kadapa district when I crossed the village of Vontimitta & was mesmerised by the ancient Kondandarama temple. It was built in 1500's and looks magnificent while facing the highway. I was so enamoured by it that I stopped my bike to gaze this amazing dravidian construction. It is also stated to be the largest temple in the region & thats a tall order. The temple was built in the reign of Cholas & people still flock in droves to worship here. The architecture that mesmerised me to stop and see in awe had the same effect on a French traveller in 1652. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama & has to ponds in its precincts which are called as the Rama Pond & Laxmana pond. If you happen to be in this region then do visit this place.

As I was nearing Tirupati the foliage became thicker & greener. Maybe its because it was a bamboo forest. Bamboos have a tendency to shoot up swifter & their growth rate is very high. Whatever might be the case it felt like I was crossing a forest (thou a small patch) Once I came out of the forest area I decided to have lunch as I was hungry. I stopped on the outskirts of Tirupati and had an amazing Veg Thali. The hotel was filled with pilgrims who were returning from their Tirupati temple visit & were journeying back home. There was a group of 20 couples from Pune, Maharashtra who were speaking in Marathi & were finding the veg fare very bland. They found the idli & dosa served to them were not good when compared to their local udipi joints in Pune. They also found me to be weird & mad to bike from Bombay. They thought I was a hippie who had nothing better to do in life. Being filmi, before I started the bike I asked them in chaste marathi if they were from proper Pune or its outskirts. It took them 5 minutes to answer outskirts. In the pin drop silence I started my engine and headed for Chennai. I still cannot kill the smirk on my face.

As I started to get close to Chennai I was experiencing crazy traffic a 30 mins ride to hotel took me 90 mins. Our cities have gone crazy with vehicles. Its good to see buying power but its shameful when the buying power outstrips our infrastructure by miles. Soon it will become so bad that soon we will leave our cars on the road & prefer walking as it would be faster to reach destinations that way.

Today distance covered - 270.4 kms Total distance from Bombay - 1419.7 kms Tomorrow - staying back in Chennai to get bike serviced.

Forest check post

Forest check post

Kodandarama temple built in 1500 in Vontimitta

Kodandarama temple built in 1500 in Vontimitta

Bamboo forest stretch

Bamboo forest stretch

Small stretch that has some forest feel

Small stretch that has some forest feel

Once a thick forest area

Once a thick forest area

Dry riverbed

Dry riverbed

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