One often wonders, why many souls are drawn to the hills and mountains. Whether they’re draped in green or snow, these towering landscapes always makes our hearts soar.
Maybe it’s the sense of achievement in scaling their heights, be it on a motorcycle, hiking or running .. the joy is unparalleled and soon , the mountains and hills become an addiction.And so it has been for me. When the gods decided to hear my plea, and made it possible for me to go to kolli. ( An accidental rhyme there :P)
Last minute trips are always the best. They’re even better when your constant rider (Charles) has a bike malfunction just before the ride and decides to bring along a KTM 390 😛
With a surprise for Praveen at the paranur toll, the ride kicked off on Saturday morning, in pleasant weather. A breezy 350-ish km meant an easy – paced ride, perfect for freshers of whom there were many. The accompanying Isuzu 4×4 pickup, with John and Bharath at the helm was our support car and an awesome companion. The long and impressive line of 25+ well organized bikers along with the pick up caused many a head turn! Getting to know each other at the breakfast halt, we went on with little halts for rest and talks till we reached the base point of kolli hills. The 70 hair pin bends might have sent jitters through the new riders, but the expert instructions and support from the seasoned riders made it accident- less ascend.
Riding the loops – 70 constant bends with hardly a straight stretch in between was such a thrill to experience, even as a pillion. It must have been even more blissful for the riders , a challenge for their skills and for their machines.
Once we saw the sign 70/70 hair pin bends, done and dusted, it was surprising that it was over pretty fast and I for one, wished we had more of them!
The kolli hills are distinct.. with vast paddy fields stretching between the hills, plantations of Bananas, jackfruit trees, ruby red pineapples and lots more flora than one expects to see in the hills. The paddy fields were exploding with life and they were a bright emerald green , brimming with chlorophyll. Everywhere we went, it was picture perfect and totally Instagram-worthy, so obviously, we had many a photo shoot!
We reached the beautiful, secluded campsite fairly early and set about unloading and setting up tents and the campfire. Volunteers quickly started chopping up veggies, marinating meat and cooking rice. Under the expert guidance of chef Charles, we collectively made the veg paneer-mushroom gravy, while Dinesh was solely responsible for the chicken gravy 😛
The cloudless sky providing a front row seat to see the stars and constellations, it was a magical night.
The next morning, with dew on our tents, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise. Packing up and starting to masila waterfalls, we saw more breathtaking green meadows. Though the falls was not big, it was cold, refreshing and mercifully, not crowded. Many hot paniyarams and herbal soups later, we gathered for a proper group pic and with an unwilling heart, prepared to say goodbye to kolli.
The beautiful views accompanied us all the way down.. Where we were encountered an off road rail.. Just the thing missing from our ride so far. The true challenge of mettle , especially for the new riders, they skilfully handled each steep slope. Cautiously making their way down slippery and rocky bits, the riders helped each other out of tricky situations and made it unscathed to the bottom. Phew!
A last big break for lunch, after which we saw riders departing to their nearby hometowns. The long ride in the midday sun , with a full belly was quite a task, but with the lead riders stopping for breaks at the correct times, they ensured that everyone was kept energized. A great job by both Praveens, Charles and Vishwa who took turns in leading and sweeping the pack.
The traffic, the chaos, city life and Monday blues beckoned us on our way back to Chennai.. but in our hearts we had the memories of the hills and we knew that we’d be back on the road soon. With our bikes, our friends, old and new, ready for another adventure with the Emperors.PS- Special thanks to Charles for making this desperately needed dream-come true.
To Praveen – for yet another successful, super fun and mishap free ride. It’s been one of the best rides so far!
To all the freshers – congrats on your maiden successful ride. May it be the first of many more to come.
To Aishwarya- on being the newest addition to the women riders, great company and an inspiration for all girls.
To Dinesh and Balaji for the brilliant fun , the spontaneous anecdotes, endless kalaichifying and amazing support.
To RE Praveen , for rising to the occasion every time as a capable co organizer and skilled mechanic.
To Vishwa for making an appearance a year after marriage ( a big feat in itself ) and guiding the freshers and your constant support to the organizers.
To the fellow doctors – Shammugam and Arthi – for showing that doctors can indeed be fun !
To my fellow pillions- for staying with your riders even through sore bottoms, being the perfect companions all the way.
To everyone else who made the weekend very memorable.