17th September 2012
Day 2: Encounter with the Cops
Route Taken: Hampi- Hubli- Dharwad – Haliyal – Dandeli
I had hit the bed early yesterday as I wanted to start the day early. The basic idea was to explore Hampi as much as possible and also to check if I can spend one more day here without getting bored because I had a feeling that I might get bored of the ancient temples at some point of time. Also the thought that I wanted to do other places also. There was a continuous conflict between the Biker and the photographer. Both wanted me to give maximum time to them.
I got up at around 6:00 AM and was read to started for Hampi by 6:30 AM. Most of the shops were yet to open so I decided to see some archeologically relevant places before breakfast. I took my riding gear and started, on seeing this the hotel guy commented “ sir you are going just 12 kms, why so much protective gears?” And all I said was ATGATT.
I went to Hampi and from once you enter Hampi you come to a junction kind of point, where if you head straight you will reach Virupaksha temple and if you take a right turn , then the road will take you to Kamlapur. Enroute Kamlapur there are quite a few temples worth a visit there. I just thought of scanning that road first and then go for breakfast and if I find something very interesting then I will come back after breakfast. I went for about 4-5 kms and then decided to turn back as I was feeling hungry. While returning I saw a ‘Nariyal-pani’ wala on the way, so decided to stop there and have a sip of the healthy fluid.
I had an elongated discussion with the gentleman who was selling ‘nariyal pani’. He also enquired about my riding partners, and on learning that I am alone he said that ‘many people come here, but very very rare people come from Mumbai alone. He also gave me a list of the things that I should not miss while in Hampi. I told him that I had planned to go to other places also but cancelled the entire plan because of what the watchman had told me previous night. He then said that if I wait for 30 minutes, then he can come with me and show me all the places in a span of 4-5 hours and then I would be able to carry out with my original plan. He advised me not to fall in the trap of the available guides there and offered his service to show me around. I told him that I will go for breakfast and then will come back to him if needed. Before leaving for breakfast I clicked a few pics .
As I was having breakfast, I decided not to go back to him and just see whatever possible on my own. I asked around a few people and they guided me to the places. I guess the pics will speak more about the next 5 hours.
At around 12:30 noon I felt that I should start for Dandeli, but the other thought that was coming to my mind was that I have not explored the Kamlapur side and so the Million-dollar question again was? Should I ride or stay back and click.
I choose to ride. I thought that I will come again to Hampi but today I need to reach Dandeli. Immediately I started for Hospet. Reached Hotel and packed my baggage and went for lunch. Asked the hotel guy about the nearest decent hotel. He directed me to a hotel with ‘meals system’ in the same building, saying that the food is very good here and we also have our lunch here only.
I had 3 chapati, 2 kind of sabji, salad, dal, 3 papad and was surprised when he told me the bill. It was just INR 25.00 . I was like WHAT? Just 25?
Encounter 1: Anyways after the super economic meal I started for Dandeli. It was not a good time to start I guess, the sun was at its peak and it was a hitting hard on me. As if that was not enough, a traffic police guy stopped me and asked me for documents and this is what followed:
Cop: Documents please.
Me: sure sir *took out my documents*
Cop: where is the NOC?
Cop: yes, since your bike is MH registered you need to have NOC to ride in KA.
Me: Sir I have been in KA for just 2 days.
Cop: So what you need a NOC
Me: *very politely* Sir AFAIK I don’t need a NOC for atleast 6 months if I go to another state. All i have to do is prove that I m not riding in that state for more than 6 months.
Cop: It seems you know a lot, anyways don’t ride fast.
Me: thank you sir.
While riding out from Hospet I decided to visit Tungabhadra dam also. The dam is located at the point where the road from Hospet joins the main highway for Hubli, and I guess is within 10 kms from Hospet. We need to park out vehicles outside the gate and then walk till the dam.
As soon as I parked my bike some people came over to me and started the cliché conversation “ which bike? What’s the mileage? What’s the top speed?” and all. As I always do I smiled and answered their queries.
Then we entered the next level of conversation ‘where are you from? Where are your friends? Are you riding alone?? When did you start?”
Actually I had this conversation almost with every person who I had a talk with on the road. I kept my knee guards in a stall near the entry gate. They told me that the dam gates are approx 1 km from the entry gate, I started walking and that 1 km seemed to be more than 10 kms, but finally I made it and could see the mighty Tungabhadra dam. I was a bit disappointed as I could not find a spot which gave me a clear shot of the dam. Still I somehow clicked some pics and moved on. While on my way back I took a ticket and walked through the garden.
Soon I was on NH67 and was very hopeful that I would cover up the lost time as I didn’t want to ride through the jungle roads of Dandeli after dark. I was kind of pinning the throttle for the first time in the ride still my bike couldn’t cross 110-115 kmph, this started to worry me, but I noticed that the wind was very strong and was not at all assisting me. The crosswinds really slowed me down but after a certain point I crouched and in that position was comfortably doing 120+kmph. This time I didn’t stop on NH67, primarily because I was running late and secondly as I had already clicked a few pics on my onward journey towards Hospet.
Encounter 2: I reached Hospet at around 4:45 PM. Plan was to take the Dharawad-Dandeli route. All the time-distance calculation that were active on my mind were brought to a standstill by the whistle of a traffic cop. I obediently stopped and asked him what happened. He said “you have entered a NO ENTRY road”. I was like “OK sir, Its my fault give me a challan”. He said that the challan book was with his Boss and he will come in 5 mins. It was almost 20 mins now but still his Boss didn’t turn up and he kept on saying that he needs his boss for the challan. Then I waited for another 10 mins and in the meantime an Auto rickshaw guy came to me and said “sir challan-wallan is not there, he wants you to give money to him, just give him 100 bucks and say sorry and leave, otherwise you will be here till he is in duty”. He even told me the technique, that fold the 100 ka note in our hand, and tell him to shake hands and then pass it on to him. I did the same as directed and surprisingly the cop grabbed the 100 ka note and said “don’t do this again”. I said nothing and started off. I cursed him for wasting my 40 mins.
Now I was running super late now, I had no choice but to ride faster. But I was super hungry also, so stopped for some snacks in Hubli and grabbed a few pakodas and a couple of cups of chai. Asked for directions to Dandeli and started off. I soon saw an open stretch of road with minimal traffic. I started pushing.
Encounter 3: All was fine when suddenly I saw a cop ahead who was signalling me to stop.
Me: what happened sir?
Cop: There is a speed limit here.
Me: How much?
Cop: 30 kmph
Me: *with a smile* sorry I was doing 9o+ kmph. Please give me the challan.
Cop: *takes out his blackberry and types something and gives me a challlan* here it is.
Me: 300 INR is it?
I take out my wallet and see that I just have 220 bucks left on me. I tell him that and then he points me to a person standing nearby. We discuss the options for a while and the final solution was. The person who was well-known by the cops will pay Rs 100 from my side to the cops right now and will come with me to the nearest ATM, where I would withdraw money and return him his Rs 100.
Without wasting any time I agreed to it and went to the nearest ATM on my way and returned him the amount. We had a small chit chat session also. He asked me some cliché questions and I answered them. He suggested me that keep within the speed limits in Dharwad and once you cross the NH4, then there will be no one stopping you. I did as directed and I took the Dandeli road (SH 28). Once I crossed the city limits, I tried to make up as much as possible, but it had already started getting dark and there was no way that I could make it to Dandeli as planned in daylight. I still decided to ride on and soon it was completely dark. And I could make out that I was riding through a jungle I was happy that there were some lights around and there were some other vehicles also on that road. I reached Haliyal at around 7:45 PM. Enquired about the route and the availability of ATM and petrol bunks in Dandeli. The person said that you get everything in Dandeli, and before I could leave he asked me “ doesn’t your back hurt if you are riding for so long?” I didn’t have time to elongate the conversation so just said “ No, I guess my body is used to it” and pushed ahead.
After a few kms from Haliyal, things started getting a bit spooky, there was a stretch of about 7-8 kms where apart from my bike, I couldn’t spot a single source of light.
I wanted to stop and click, but then I calculated in my mind that I need to stop ->keep the lights on in the bike, so need to keep the engine running -> then get off the bike -> take off my gloves and Helmet -> take off my backpack -> take out the camera bag from it -> take out the camera -> shoot -> and the do the reverse of all the things I did till now, that was for sure a 15-20 minute job, and I knew anything could come out of the bushes. Frankly I was shit scared and didn’t want to stop, but somehow I made myself believe that I need to click this and stopped my bike and clicked.
I was frustrated with the things that happened in the second half of the day, but soon something worse happened.
I had kept my helmet on my tank, as I always do and moved away from the bike to click it, soon I could hear that the helmet fell from the bike. I immediately ran towards my bike and thanks to the darkness couldn’t find my helmet only. I then turned my bike’s headlight around and saw that the helmet has rolled into the bushes, I picked it up only to realize that the visor was missing. I soon found out the visor also, tried to fit it into the helmet. But then I saw that the visor lock that locks it with the helmet on the right hand side is gone, so it cannot be kept in place and it would keep dangling from the left side. It got really pissed by my ignorance, because my friend Ashutosh always used to tell me not to keep the helmet on the tank. I then thought that on the last day of the trip I will have to do atleast 650 kms and that is not possible without a properly functioning visor. I then decided to move ahead and not waste any more time in the wild jungle.
Soon I reached Dandeli, I inquired for a forest camp and some people directed me to a kind-of resort. Upon entering that resort I got a feeling that it would be too expensive and so was it. Then someone suggested ‘State Lodge’ to me, but still I wanted to camp at the night. I went to the Karnataka state tourism’s guest house, but they said that I need a prior permission to stay there. With no option left I went to The State Lodge. It was decent one, a typical non-AC double bed room costs around Rs 350/-. Booked a room for 2 days, as the plan was to stay there and do some activities. Inquired in the reception about the options available for river rafting and other activities. Got a contact no of the concerned person and got the details. But as always decide that I will take a call in the morning.
Went out and tried to hunt for a good restaurant, but then had to satisfy myself with a not so good masala-dosa and some cold drink. After coming back I saw my helmet, and decided to fix it, luckily I was carrying a black cello tape, somehow fixed the visor, with some limited functionality.
That was all for the day. Did around 290 kms for the day. I was happy that a frustrating day had finally come to an end and hoped that the next day would be better.