South India on Royal Enfield Himalayan

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GF-kam, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    HELMET CAM VIEW OF INDIA ADVENTURE :ricky

    25 minutes of HD video footage. Hopefully the video will give you some sense of the roads, traffic, and countryside.

    I spent days distilling two weeks of collective helmet cam footage. I finally edited at least a hundred clips down to 25 minutes. I didn't want to overlay any soundtrack so you can hear fist hand what it sounds like. I also have some helpful vlog. The only thing that's missing is smellovision.:imaposer

    This will likely be my first edition. I'll probably post a version with some of my favorite soundtrack / music.

    Best viewed on nice big HD resolution laptop and earbuds / headset. I hope you'll find it helpful if you're thinking about a trip to India. Grab your popcorn :lurk




    ...more coming.
    #61
  2. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile Supporter

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    You are if nothing else a survivor! Not my style of riding or driving.
    #62
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  3. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    I hear you.

    Our three local hosts debriefed us well about handling traffic and what to expect. When we could our chase vehicle served as a shield. Moreover, I carried a little Ganesh ( Hindu god ) with me and everyone wrapped a mini prayer flag between the front mirrors. Other than the big cities, riding in the countryside is very peaceful and mellow.

    Best analogy I can give about traffic is that it's similar to shuffling in line at a sports event or concert. Or TSA line at busy airport. Everyone courteously moves along.

    As you know, most people think we're nuts just for getting on a motorcycle. Not to mention adventure riding. I guess we're all survivors.


    Kam
    #63
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  4. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Cont. Day 7 & 8: Sightseeing in Hassan


    Eventually we leave the Coorg region and arrive at our next destination in Hassan. Our plan is to spend an extra day in Hassan to see some temples. Specifically Jainism. Maybe professor Mahi can tell us more.

    First stop would be Shravanabelagola . Can you say that three times fast. We all tried to pronounce it and failed. At least I did.

    The view of Shravanabelagola below. You have to climb all 700+ granite steps barefoot to see Lord Bahubali.
    [​IMG]IMG_8057 by Kam A, on Flickr

    View towards Shravanabelagola from very top at temple.
    [​IMG]IMG_0247 by Kam A, on Flickr



    Never ending steps. I think as you get older it gets harder on your knees coming down than going up. I felt my calves for next three days.
    [​IMG]IMG_8073 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Stairs going straight up.
    [​IMG]DSCN1876 by Kam A, on Flickr

    We were well advised to do the pilgrimage early in the day when the temperatures were cooler. The steps are carved into the face of the granite mountain. At midday the steps can get extremely hot. I did mention you have to walk barefoot.
    [​IMG]IMG_8056 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Gommateshwara statue. The world's largest monolithic statue.
    [​IMG]DSCN1899 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Workers building scaffolding from rope and sticks to wash the statue.
    [​IMG]DSCN1897 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1903 by Kam A, on Flickr

    We saw a couple of priest with nothing on. Part of Jainism. One of the vows is to have no possessions which convey comfort. Not even from the sun. Help Mahi !!
    [​IMG]DSCN1906 by Kam A, on Flickr

    We notice some boxes for donations for the priests who live and maintain the temple. I made some contributions in hope that good Karma with keep me protected on future adventures.
    [​IMG]DSCN1901 by Kam A, on Flickr

    I think there is a head anointing ceremony called Mahamasthabhisheka every 12 years.

    Various chambers surrounding the big statue.
    [​IMG]DSCN1900 by Kam A, on Flickr

    The statue anointing ceremony.
    [​IMG]

    After lunch we head over to two other temples.
    [​IMG]IMG_0259 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Couple giving offering and receiving blessing from the temple priest.
    [​IMG]IMG_0257 by Kam A, on Flickr




    Our hotel in Hassan.
    [​IMG]IMG_8049 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_8051 by Kam A, on Flickr


    [​IMG]IMG_8052 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Time to let the bikes rest for a day.
    [​IMG]IMG_8047 by Kam A, on Flickr

    My memory is fading. But, I vaguely remember stoping at a place called A2B Vegetarian Restaurant and Sweets. Just off one of the main highway. The food was awesome. Especially the endless display of Indian sweets. https://www.aabsweets.in/menu


    I think the next temple was Chennakeshava Temple. I remember the guide saying it took over hundred years to build. More on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chennakeshava_Temple,_Belur
    [​IMG]DSCN1911 by Kam A, on Flickr



    [​IMG]DSCN1932 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Ceiling.
    [​IMG]DSCN1928 by Kam A, on Flickr

    I vaguely remember the craftsman were able to carve this level of detail in part because they started with something similar to soapstone which would then get hard as granite.
    [​IMG]DSCN1925 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1924 by Kam A, on Flickr


    [​IMG]DSCN1923 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1926 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1920 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1915 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1914 by Kam A, on Flickr


    Hopefully my professor won't give me a lashing for forgetting my history lesson.
    #64
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  5. LectricRider

    LectricRider n00b

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    Kam, you have accurately labeled the spots we visited. The Gommateshwara at Shravanabelagola statue was carved from a single granite rock on the hill. It dates back to about 983 CE. Detailed account on wikipedia here.

    The statue is dedicated to a god from the Jain religion, which dates to about 500 BCE. It is a religion that has non-violence, kindness and austerity as core principles, and in one of the sects of this religion, the priests take austerity to an extreme form, denying themselves the luxury of clothing. More background on the Jain religion here.

    The Belur and Halebid temples, the ones with the exquisite carvings, their construction commenced in 1125 CE and continued for about a 100 years. They were built by the Hoysala kings. More detail on the temples here.

    Here is a short piece I wrote a few years ago on the Hoysala rationale for building these temples.
    #65
  6. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

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    Call that style of traffic driving "Cooperative Chaos"
    #66
  7. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile Supporter

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    Good call on the donations at the temple! I could care less which religion one subscribes to or not, there is something to the whole karma deal.
    #67
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  8. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    JAGGERY ANYONE


    I am not talking about the Mike Jagger chicken dance.

    [​IMG]

    I am talking about making raw cane sugar in pure unprocessed form. Jaggery is the non centrifuge method of making cane sugar. The process involves a sequence of boiling the cane sugar and extracting impurities. Then boiling off the liquid and catalyzing crystallization. Eventually you end up with pure cane sugar. Jaggery is used throughout India for cooking and baking. Back in the U.S. I've been eating pure cane sugar crystals for years in my tea and coffee. You can find it in Cosco.



    Mahi and I stopped at a very modest place along the road near Hampi Resort and watched the process. In India everything is used in the process. For instance once the sugarcane is crushed to extract the raw cane sugar juice, the hard fibers of cane ( husk ) are left to dry. After they are dry, they will be used as fuel to boil large vats of cane sugar juice.

    Mahi engaging farmer to make sure it was OK to watch them make jaggery.
    [​IMG]IMG_8474 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_8473 by Kam A, on Flickr


    You can see the crushed and pulverized cane husk in background. Once it is dry, it will be used at fuel.
    [​IMG]IMG_8472 by Kam A, on Flickr

    A sequence of boiling large vats from left to right. First vat one looks like raw sugarcane juice. Then impurities are slowly float to the surface. They skim the impurities and move the liquid to the next vat. Eventually, they will have can sugar ( jaggery ). They will filter the semi liquid jaggery through a screen cloth and let it cool down. Last step is to pack the can sugar into buckets which are first lined with plastic.
    [​IMG]IMG_8471 by Kam A, on Flickr

    So you can see this is the step of screening the hot molten jaggery through screening cloth.
    [​IMG]IMG_8470 by Kam A, on Flickr

    This is what you end up with. These giant bucket size molds of jaggery. Then boxed and shipped to the markets. At the markets, the jaggery will be used to bake sweets, candy, or molded into smaller bars for retail sale.
    [​IMG]IMG_8468 by Kam A, on Flickr
    #68
  9. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Hey, I just noticed the tag on the bottle of Sula wine me and Mahi polished off says ....." Save water, drink wine." Indeed ! :dutch
    #69
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  10. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    WEATHER

    Did I mention the weather was summer like the entire trip. Mid to high 80s Fahrenheit . During the entire trip it was sunny, except a tiny bit of rain on first evening. This is a great time of year for a winter trip. From November through February weather is perfect for this trip.

    We left around November 20th and returned December 6th.

    Also great time of year to travel in general, since most kids are in school. We essentially had most of our hotels and beaches to ourselves.

    90+ Fahrenheit in Goa. Our couple enjoying sunset on one of the beaches in Goa.
    [​IMG]IMG_20181203_174028249 by Kam A, on Flickr



    I am looking out my window and it continues to rain every other day in Virginia. Same weather pattern for past year. Grey, dark , wet, and gloomy. :(

    Kam
    #70
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  11. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    ..more on Royal Enfield Himalayan

    Now that you've seen the diverse terrains we road our bikes on , I 'd like a make a few additional comments about our choice in bikes. That being the Royal Enfield Himalayan. I'll try to be brief and encourage you to visit the ADV forum dedicated to RE Himalayan bike for additional information.

    As both me and Mahi noted, we chose the RE Himalayan because they were ready available through rental shops and we felt it would be more fun. Also most of us also ride GS bikes and have dual-sport bikes. So, we liked the option of being able to ride off-road.

    As noted above, when you choose a bike, you need to carefully determine the network of dealers, mechanics, and parts distribution. You don't want to be stranded somewhere waiting for some exotic part to be shipped. As Mahi noted, no issues going with Royal Enfield models. Probably one of the largest dealer networks in India and everyone knows how to work on them. The bike has long suspension travel, fairly large gas tank, nice upright position, a fairing that actually did work for me, and 30" inch seat height. The lower seat height gives you tremendous confidence maneuvering off-road or in city traffic. Not to mention paddling the bike around gas station and parking lots. I wish I could say all these things about my 35" inch BMW F800 GS "Darth Vader."

    Overall I was very impressed with bike. I was so impressed with the characteristics of the RE Himalayan, that I would consider it in my quiver of bikes. The bike is very well balanced. The center is gravity is so on the bike it makes the bike feel like a 300 lb. bike vs. a 400 lb. one. Moreover, since the center of gravity is so low, it makes it very easy lifting a downed bike vs. a conventional top heavy GS.

    The RE Himalayan is gaining status as a very capable and affordable Round The World ( RTW ) adventure bike. All you have to do is Google the number of Youtube channels and videos about the RE Himalayan. Especially by the dudes and gals who do bike reviews.

    This is my own road side review during trip. I said 60 MPH. But, top speed really is 70 MPH for me.




    Another excellent and credible review I found is by Nathan The Postman. If you don't know Nathan, he's one of those RTW riders and social media inmates who does bike reviews. He was one the first to circumnavigate the planet on one of those 100 cc. Honda postal delivery bikes in Australia. Nathan has both big bikes like BWM R1200 GS and small bikes. Moreover, real world experience adventure riding both on and off-road on all continents. He likes the RE Himalayan so much, who runs group tours with them. So, I find his review very credible. I think he's spot on and among early adopters for what he does outside of India.




    You can Google Nathan's other reviews comparing the RE Himalayan to BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys 300, and few other bikes in same class. As of now, he feels the RE Himalayan is best value for most affordable and capable RTW bike. I guess we'll have wait for the KTM 390 Adventure.

    Kam
    #71
  12. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    I'm totally in. Great pictures and detailed report with insightd to a region not explored as much. Yeah, I'm in!
    #72
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  13. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Day 9: Jog Falls in Karnataka

    From Hassan we head to Jog Falls. Our next stop will be Sharavathi Adventure Camp. Beautiful lodges overlooking lake. Kind of a nature camp.

    [​IMG]DJI_0114 by Kam A, on Flickr

    dgi Mavic Air view of trampoline on lake. I am very impressed how stable and clear the drone is. Like I said earlier, pricing is approaching the stationary mounted GoPro type devices. This will be transformational.




    To be continued. I think I'll head out for a ride.
    #73
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  14. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    cont. Day 9: Jog Falls stop:

    After settling in, we walked across the street from the lodges to the small marina on the lake. Unfortunately we arrived near dusk, and didn't have much time to play with all these toys. Seems like Archana is the first to beat us to the toys. Once again, we seem to be the only guests at the Sharavathi Adventure Camp.

    [​IMG]DJI_0137 by Kam A, on Flickr



    View from dinning room over the lake.

    [​IMG]IMG_8121 by Kam A, on Flickr


    Entrance to this Jungle Lodge & Resort.
    [​IMG]DSCN1949 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Must be one of the mascots.
    [​IMG]DSCN1947 by Kam A, on Flickr






    Nice open air dinning room.

    [​IMG]IMG_8123 by Kam A, on Flickr


    The individual lodges we stayed in.
    [​IMG]DSCN1937 by Kam A, on Flickr


    Nice rooms with great views from balcony.


    [​IMG]IMG_8128
    by Kam A, on Flickr

    Sure beats camping. Send me to this camp anytime :-)
    [​IMG]DSCN1968 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1966 by Kam A, on Flickr

    I cannot find a lot of footage of overnight stay at Jog Falls. I think most of us crashed early that night. I know a couple of us missed dinner. I guess the riding and trip were finally catching up with us.

    A couple of sunset shots.
    [​IMG]DSCN1964 by Kam A, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN1956 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Sun going down quickly.
    [​IMG]DSCN1955 by Kam A, on Flickr

    " Common kids! Time to pack that drone and call it a day. Anyone bring any beer ?? "
    [​IMG]DSCN1950 by Kam A, on Flickr
    #74
  15. voodoochilled

    voodoochilled Been here awhile

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    I'm loving your trip report @GF-kam
    Greetings from upstate NY!
    Expat Indian and Himalayan+RE Bullet owner here but certainly not as well versed in Indian history as @LectricRider. Planning a mototrip of my own to India this November from Pune to Goa and back along the Konkan coast...hope to bring along a couple of friends from NY and rent us a few Himalayans if all goes well.
    Subscribed to this thread. Keep 'em coming!

    @Sarang Greetings from a fellow Puneite. I'm hoping to connect with fellow local riders to help me plan this trip in November! :D
    #75
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  16. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Goa trip photos coming up next. Sounds like you have a similar trip coming up. Thanks.

    Kam
    #76
  17. Sarang

    Sarang Adventurer

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    Nice to see you here @voodoochilled
    November is a wonderful time to do Konkan and Goa trip. I did a Goa ride last November on the GS. It was super fun.
    It is a busy time in India due to Diwali holidays so advance planning will certainly help in securing good deals on hotel stays etc.
    Let's stay in touch and let me know if you need any help.
    #77
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  18. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    #78
  19. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    DAY 10, 11, 12: South Goa


    I cannot believe we're embarking on day 11. Our plan is to spend the next three days exploring South Goa, where we're staying, and Bainguinim. Goa is known for its beaches and Portuguese Indian influence. This area was once a Portuguese colony and major port facing the Arabian Sea.

    We arrive in South Goa on Friday, November 30th and plan to head out on December 3. At this point we're all ready to chill for a few days.

    I took this photo on our ride from Jog Falls to Goa. I cannot tell who's the cat in this photo. Looks like Vidur is just as interested in eating the birds in the cage. I think we were way overdue for lunch.

    [​IMG]IMG_8136 by Kam A, on Flickr

    Finally we stop in some town (?) for lunch. This was a fish tank at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch. This piranha wasn't on the lunch menu. But, it was the biggest piranha I ever saw. The owner told me they were as big as a gold fish when he first put them in the tank. This guy was about 14" inches long and look ferocious.

    " I ain't going swimming in these waters."

    [​IMG]IMG_8139 by Kam A, on Flickr

    As usual, we sit down for a what seems a like a two hour lunch. At this point we're feeling the temperature climb from the 80s into the high 90s Fahrenheit. Big jump in temperature.

    As we approach our hotel in Quitol, south Goa, the streets start looking different. Kind of like we're leaving the agricultural countryside and approaching an older city. We see colorful homes with walls along each property. The landscape is also lusher and more tropical looking. The roads are treelined with coconut trees. Kind of reminds we of some of the places in the West Indies ( Caribbean ). I had no idea what was in store for us when we finally parked our bikes at the end of a narrow dead end street.




    ...more to come. I find out we have a singer and rockstar in our motley crew. Stay tuned.

    [​IMG]
    #79
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  20. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Hi Voodoochilled,

    Glad you're enjoying the ride report. Looks like you'll be overlapping with some of the places we visited. Great time of year to get away from winter in upstate New York. Hampi is another very interesting and historical place. Might consider that in your loop. You might want to check with Vidur also. You can contact him through https://travelmynation.in He might have some suggestions too.

    Kam
    #80
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