While deciding our routes on this journey, we made it a point to avoid highways and ride through the country side as much as possible. And though I have said things against them, Kanyakumari to Tirunelveli is one highway you don’t want to miss. Whether you are riding or driving, this road will make you want to come back to Kanyakumari again & again.
An immaculate 6 lane road running through one of India’s biggest windmill farms, endless paddy fields overlooked by the last of majestic looking Western Ghats – those 50km will remain etched in my memory forever. Even though we took more stops than necessary to admire the road and the beauty running along with it, Tirunelveli arrived quickly.
Since, the bike had just reached the 6000km mark,
we thought of getting its scheduled service their itself. We located the service center easily on the highway with google maps, and later came to know we were super lucky to find it open. Thing is, it was a Sunday morning, and Tamils take their Sunday seriously – everything except this showroom was shut.
We talked to the main guy there, who initially denied any possibility of the service. But one look at the luggage on the bike, the number plate, a second look at out clothes, and he tried everything to get our servicing done. Good people. Within a couple of hours, the bike shone like new. We thanked them, and then thanked them more. Then we went to check the Nellaiappar Temple.
We reached the temple at 12:25 pm and people told us that the temple was closed from 12:30 & 4pm, so we won’t get an entry. Dejected, we decided to have lunch nearby and keep going towards Rameshwaram. As we were loading the bike after lunch, some people came around to inquire & chat. There they told that the temple is closed from 1pm to 4pm, not 12:30 to 4pm. Cursing ourselves and the people who misinformed us, we left the place as quickly as possible.
While leaving the city, DK felt something odd about the tyre pressures, so we took a stop at an air shop. It had been more than 4 weeks since we last checked air. Sheer negligence. Now, the rookies that we are, at the air shop we stood blankfaced when the guy asked how much pressure did we want. Looking at our helplessness, the good man himself said that people generally keep 40psi in the back tyre of bullets. We had no other option but to nod in agreement. Things got interesting when on checking the pressure, he found it to be 50psi. God knows what we had been riding on. And God knows how we had completed 6000 on the bike. So instead of filling it, we removed some air from our tyre, agreed to visit more temples in the future and left the damned city as quickly as possible.
The road from Tirunelveli to Rameshwaram passes through an arid region. The landscape looks so barren that one might confuse whether he is riding in Tamil Nadu or Rajasthan. So hot was the day, that we had to find a small temple with shades & a handpump to spend the harsh hours of the day.
It is times like these when one understands the importance of small temples on the road. These always have a good old tree and a source of water that make them ideal stops during harsh weather. A lot of peace comes free with such stops.
Having slept for an hour or so under neem beside the road, we continued the journey. Being short on time now, we decided to halt at Ramnad for night. As you enter the city, you see a huge lake on one side of the road. The sun was setting as we neared this lake. So we took a small break, clicked some good pictures, set off for Ramnad. Ramnad, though a district HQ, is a small town with limited and not impressive options for staying. But we, being used to ordinary rooms, had no problem in finding one. We had rode around 350km that day, and had to get up early next morning to reach Rameshwaram before sunrise. So we slept.