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Biking the East Coast Road

This post was supposed to be written couple of weeks back. But, thanks to my laziness, it had to wait for this long to get published.

Anyways, here's a (pretty old) news - two months back, I bought an Yamaha FZS. Ever since, the weekends have become the time for bike rides. So far, I have rode my Yamaha to an less known village near Tada, Mahabalipuram, Ennore, Poondi and almost all the places inside Chennai. But none satisfied my passion for a long journey.

So, I eyed the East Coast Road (ECR) - the bikers paradise. ECR starts at Chennai and runs till Tuticorin, covering a total of 690 Kilometres, along the coast of Bay of Bengal. It's a scenic, well maintained roadway with comparatively less traffic. So, I decided to bike the entire stretch in one day.

On a windy Friday morning, the alarm went off at 4'O clock. In another one hour, I was all set to ride and pulled my Yamaha into the road. The morning was so chill, thanks to the December fog, and it even drizzling a bit. I didn't had a coat or hand gloves. So, the moment I started riding the bike, the chill wind made me to shiver. For a moment I thought, "Should I continue or should I go back to my room and get under the warm covers?".

On second thought, moments like these are unavoidable and I had to learn to cope with them if I ever want to go for a long ride. So, continued along the Old Mahablipuram road which joins the ECR near Mahabalipuram.

My plan was to ride only the ECR, take bypass road wherever possible, never enter into any cities (those are for some other time), and reach Rameshwaram town in the evening for the sunset.

The ride was mostly uneventful, except that I nearly missed hitting a cow, and lost my way near Karaikkal and ran over a snake which was taking a nap in the middle of the road (apparently, snakes don't know traffic rules). All the time, I was maintaining an average speed of 65~70 KMph.

But, by the time I reached near Ramanathapuram around 5.30 in the evening, I realized that I couldn't make it to Rameshwaram for sunset. The light was already going down. So, I had to stop at a place called Sambai to take some sunset photos.

After the short photo shoot, I continued along the ECR towards Rameshwaram (which is not on the ECR route) with the plan to stay there in the night and be at Pamban bridge for the sun rise. When I reached Rameshwaram by 7.30 PM, I was dead tired and badly wanted to take a room and hit the bed. But my day wasn't ended yet.

Almost all the hotels I enquired for a room, responded with the same answer "No rooms available", even though there are plenty of rooms free. It was not even a season time, I guess. But then, in one of the hotel, they said, they don't give rooms to single as per the police order. I thought, I can't go back and get married just to get a room in this island. So, I rode back to Ramanathapuram (50 KMs away) and got a room in the first hotel I saw.

The next day, again 4'O clock in the morning, checked out from the hotel (those hotel boys must be hating me for waking them up so early) and started riding back to Rameshwaram.

By 5.30 AM, I was at Pamban bridge. It was still dark and windy. The sun was not out yet. That day there was a cyclone warning at Pamban, so the sea wind was at its full force.

I stood there. Before me, was the dark and fierce sea and the longest Pamban bridge that connects the Rameshwaram island to the main land India. The chillness, the wind, the sound of a never ending waves, and the feeling that you are standing over the sea, the vibration of the bridge - it's all a magical experience. It's totally worth for the day long journey it took to reach the place.

But unfortunately, it was all cloudy and there wasn't any sun rise that I was hoping for. Anyways, once the light came out, took lots of Photos. I was even lucky that a train was going in the Pamban tracks.

After a hour long photo shoot, started my journy back in ECR, and continued along the route towards Tuticorin. I went till Sayalgudi and had to take a diversion from ECR to reach my home town from there.

Overall, it's a once in a life time experience and I'm hoping to do it again if I ever get a chance. Anybody in? :)