Saturday, 19 May 2018

Marina of Madras - Sunrise over an urban Beach

Marina of Madras - Sunrise over an urban Beach
February mornings take their sweet time to light up. Although winter had fled from the coastal Tamil Nadu sunrise timing was still very late. Chennai being one of the four metros of Golden Quadrilateral circuit deserved an overnight halt. Like most other prominent cities of India Chennai too has her fair share of tourist delights, ranging from mainstream sandy beaches to chaotic old-world market place. For me, Madras strikes a chord way better with its historical aura than Chennai. When you refer to this megalopolis by its present name Chennai, your imaginations can't fly beyond a busy commercial hub with good health infrastructures. The moment you call her Madras, you can literally smell a bustling, old port city with so much more to explore! If you hail from the northern half of India, Madras can rekindle your time-travel fantasy with sirens of passenger ships leaving the dock, or week-long train journey on metre gauge rails from your faraway hometown. From Eluru I had driven to Chennai on the third day of my Golden Quadrilateral motorcycle trip. Being least ambitious, Chennai plans could fit into a simple algorithm- to experience the city traffic, locate my hotel, avoid further temptation of venturing out, feast like a greedy king, jump onto the bed right after, and wake up before the crack of dawn to catch a vibrant sunrise over the wide canvas of Marina.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Gopalpur on Sea - Picturesque but not Pristine

Gopalpur on Sea - Picturesque but not Pristine
The tourism casket of Odisha cocoons much more than just Puri and Bhitarkanika. In this write up you'll be acquainted with Gopalpur, a humble beach town located in the Ganjam district of Odisha, officially mentioned as Gopalpur-on-Sea. West coast of India is certainly more popular among tourists when it comes to choosing beach retreats. But if you look carefully, the east coast is our unsung hero. There are myriad picturesque beach towns ornamenting the east coast, right from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, with well developed tourist infrastructures. The irony is, majority of us expect our weekend beach retreats to be secluded, yet capable of pampering us with every possible tourist amenities. Too much to ask for, right? Among thousands of mainstream tourists there are a handful of genuine travellers who lookout for offbeat travel destinations. It is due to their continual wanderlust, a couple of pristine beaches are born on the travel map of coastal India every few years. As soon as the discovery reaches public domain the thoughtless human invasion in the name of tourism becomes inevitable.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu - the Story

Golden Quadrilateral Ride with Benu
Penning a motorcycle diary is way tougher than executing the ride. Sitting inside a capsule, sorting out a few trip photographs from a huge pile of them, scratching your head, fiddling with memories, searching for a right word to represent the real-time emotion, unidirectional exchange of silly smile with the cold laptop screen, tireless finger tutting over the keyboard etc might apparently sound like the most enjoyable process to participate in this crazy world. But take it from me, unless you've done all of these at a persistent basis throughout your nomadic life it won't be easy for you to appreciate my point. I am not shy to admit that munching those 6,261 kilometres in a span of 13 days while gliding over the Golden Quadrilateral and ticking off one item from my bucket list was less patience consuming than writing about it.

Once I sit with a wide open mind, kick out all imps of distractions and pamper myself with honey-bunny recollections of #GQRideWithBenu, there is simply so much to scribble! After all it was my first dream great Indian road trip, and that too on a butter smooth inline four engine. Don't worry, I'm not shifting to that free flowing writer mode anytime soon. Having briefed on the conception, planning and itinerary, today I'll share with you the Golden Quadrilateral ride story in a day-wise yet highly summarised form. In case you're not particularly comfortable with numbers, excuse me for starting this narration with a pinch of relevant travel stats. Despite my best efforts this article shall get lengthier and visually richer than its sibling posts. So, if you have poverty of time or a stable internet connection you better take a rain check.

Travel data from #GQRideWithBenu:
* Route taken: The Golden Quadrilateral circuit in a clockwise manner, starting from my hometown, Bardhaman (Click here to view the route map).
* Time of the year: Had started somewhere in the third week of February, 2018. The weather was so pleasant that I can confidently recommend you to plan your GQ road trip during the same time of the year. If I repeat the circuit in future I'll probably choose mid-February for a slightly cooler environment.
* Days spent: 13 days which included 11 days of actual motorcycling and 2 rest days.
* Distance covered ~ 6,261 kilometres.
Fuel burnt ~ 300 litres of Petrol.
* Maximum distance clocked in a single day ~ 790 kilometres.
* Overall journey time ~ 93 hours (including all brief physiological, recreational and mechanical breaks).
* Took overnight halts at: Gopalpur on Sea, Eluru, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hubli, Mumbai, Udaipur, New Delhi, Agra and Varanasi.
* States traversed: West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

And here comes the slothful story teller...