Touring God's own country in a Nano

  • Jul 11th 2013

Thus starts the days of "Chotu" and us.

 

Scene No: 1 --- Vaalparai, one day trip

•Location :150 kilometers away from the Kochi, Kerala

 

•Route: Kochi – Athirapally – Sholayar forest range – Vaalparai –Aliyar Dam – Pollachi

 

–Palakkad –Thrissur– Kochi.

 

•Total mileage: 350 Kilometers

 

•Terrain: Hilly winding roads through dense forest.

 

Fuel station: Please note that once you cross Chalakuddy there is no fuel station till Vaalparai but you can get fuels from stores near Athirapally paying a higher cost.

 

Vaalparai is a hill station located in Tamil Nadu. Everyone warned of taking Chotu through the forest

roads, but I knew he wouldn't let me down and he didn't. We reached Vaalparai which is separated from

Kerala by a 40 km stretch of dense forest. The high ground clearance helped him take us through tough

off roads in the forest. Once you have crossed check post after almost 5 km, we will be in the middle

of a dense forest. Our first halt was in the middle of forest, when we met a group of wild elephants just after

the Sholayar dam. As we wanted to thread new path we decided to climb down through the other side

of the hill, hence decided to take the Pollachi route. Now the challenges are more as you have 41

hairpins to cover before you reach the land. After a small halt at Allayer dam we started off and reached

Palakkad through a by-pass located just 5 km before Pollachi junction, from Palakkad through national

highway we reached back to Kochi

 

Back View of Tata Nano at Vagamon, Kerela

 

Scene No: 2 ---- Vagamon, One day trip.

 

Location :100 kilometers away from the Kochi, Kerala

 

•Route: Kochi – Moovathupuzha – Vengallori – Vagamon –Teekoy – Pala –Piravom– Kochi.

 

•Total mileage: 250 Kilometers

 

•Terrain: Hilly slopes in the lap of nature.

Vagamon is one of the most beautiful places in the state of Kerala. We started early morning

from Kochi to meet the misty roads, dangerous turns, mighty winds and romantic rains. Even

when most of the powerful diesel cars was striving hard to vroom ahead, Chotu made

overtaking lorries and other cars even in dangerous U-turns seem like 'a piece of cake'. The

tyres assisted him with their great grip and took all four of us on board to the top of the hills.

The Vagamon hills, Thangal Para, Parunthumpara and Pine forests, all were ready to greet us

with their unexplainable beauty. Heavy mist required us to be more cautious on roads, which

were windy and dangerous with smooth curves. The winds that blew carry the romance of

green tea leaves with them and food from the home stay near pine forest was delicious.

Parunthumpara was the pick of the lot with scenic beauty which cannot be imitated by any

known artist in the world. Literally we would love to jump off the heights and fly in the sky! By

evening as mist started to play its role we climbed after having slept in the hands of Mother

Nature back to Kochi!

 

Wading its way through the Pine forests in Kerela - Tata Nano

 

Scene No: 3 ---- North Kerala, Two day trip.

 

•Location :Kannur, Kasargod, Coorg

 

•Route: Kochi – Varapuzha – Kodungaloor – Thalikulam ––Kozhikode – Kannur

 

–Thaliparambu– Iritty–Coorg–Kannur–Nileswaram–Kasargod–Kannur–Malapuram–

 

Thrissur–Kochi.

 

•Total mileage: 250 Kilometers

 

•Terrain: Drive inn beach, narrow winding slopes, highway.

We knew that it is going to be a tough task to cover this distance in a stretch but with Chotu

bustling with energy, it looked easy. We started off from Kochi at 6pm on a Friday and reached

Kannur in 7 hours. It was a treat for kids to see a Nano in their locality. After night stay at a

friend's house we started off at early morning 7 am to Coorg. Throughout the path the smiling

face of Chotu brought innocent smiles onto the faces of those kids. After covering bad roads,

tight turns, slippery slopes we reached Coorg in 4 hours. We were welcomed by the breezy

wind, refreshing smell of tea leaves and scenic beauty. We went to the Tibetan colony, where

one can see the people who preach Buddhism, pray and do rituals in their manners. After

covering Coorg we returned to Kannur and next morning went to Kasargod. At Kasargod the

historic and beautiful Bekel fort built in the sea shore welcomed us by the roaring sound of sea.

It is a place worth going! From there we went to the Parissinikadavu snake park to meet the

cobras. Time was running out and we had to start back to Kochi .We concluded the longest trip

by going for a beach ride at the Muzhippilangadi drive in beach which is the longest drive in

beach in Asia. It was great to see people looking at us with astonishment seeing little Chotu

plunging into sea water just like kids run around. After 2 days of thrilling experiences we

returned, only to gear up for the next trip!

 

Running Across the Muzhippilangadi Beach in Tata Nano

 

Scene No: 4---- Idukki, Kottayam - Two days trip.

 

•Location :120 kilometers away from the Kochi, Kerala

 

•Route: Kochi – Piravom – Pala – Mundakayam ––Panchalimedu – Ramakalmedu –

 

Parunthumpara–Kochi

 

•Total mileage: 525 Kilometers

 

•Terrain: off roads, very narrow strip of roads, hill top.

 

We started on a fine morning and our first pit stop was Kattapana which was our base for

the next 2 days. Our first destination was Panchalimedu, a place which cannot be explained in

words. With cool breeze and thick fog, light green grasses and light rain, nature was at its best

reinforcing her beauty. From reviews which said that the hilly roads to the place are too narrow

and tricky we had a doubt if this would be a difficult task for Chotu. From the misty hill the next

station was to the place well known for strong winds, Ramakalmedu! Literally it is difficult to

stand or at least walk as our motion was now partly controlled by the mighty winds.

Ramakalmedu is located just 30 km away from the well- known tourist spot Thekkady, and it

separates Tamil Nadu from Kerala. The view of a large number of wind mills was so amazing

that we decided to go little closer to a windmill, fortunately or unfortunately we lost the way

and ended up in a path which had no road but large stones and gutter. The high ground

clearance, tough tyres and easy maneuvering made Nano get past these tough conditions and

take us right in front of the giant wind mills. The place was so quiet and unexplored that we

were the only humans around that region. The sound made by the fan blades was mysterious.

Coupled by strong winds blowing all around us, this was the best part of the trip. After

successfully completing 4th adventure trip we started back to Kochi.

 

Scene No: 5---- Munnar, One day trip.

 

•Location :120 kilometers away from the Kochi, Kerala

 

•Route: Kochi – Permbavoor – Neriyamangalam – Munnar –Marayur – Kanthaloor –Chinnar–

 

Mattupetty–Kochi

 

•Total mileage: 525 Kilometers

 

•Terrain: off roads, very narrow strip of roads, hill top.

 

This time our aim was to explore a place which could offer all the variants of nature like forests,

hills, dams, view points, etc and thus we came down to Munnar. The place well known as

honeymoon destination was also a place which had in its bouquet a fruit garden, waterfalls,

echo point, dam and dense forest. We reached Munnar at around 9am. After a short breakfast

we started off to Marayur which is one of the few sandalwood forests in India. Marayur located

at about 40 km away from Munnar was characterized by the scenic beauty and also by different

and unique varieties of flowers and more over it is home to different varieties of butterflies.

The sizzling music of breeze on the sandal trees and the sounds of birds added an extra glint of

beauty to the already-handsome Chotu. We went straight from Marayur to Kanthaloor a place

known for oranges, apples and many other fruits. We bought some oranges at a very low price

and had it to pump up the energy. Next pit stop was Chinnar. The path to Chinnar was through

dense forests. At the Kerala border in Chinnar we decided to go back to Munnar to cover the

Mattupetty dam and echo point. At around 6.30 pm we started back to Kochi, driving through

the mist and narrow roads thanks to high power headlamps and fog lamps.

 

The story will be incomplete if I don't mention about the MRF Tyres. In the trip to Vagamon, we

stayed at a resort Vagamon heights which are located amidst thick forest. From the gate the

distance to the reception was 1.3 km and is through forest roads with large stones, sticky mud. I

decided to take Chotu through the path which was till then explored only by jeeps. Thanks to

the strong MRF Tyres, Chotu sailed through sharp stones, sticky mud and small streams with

ease and according to the resort owner; it was after several years that a vehicle other than a

jeep went through the forest path. Chotu was welcomed to the reception area with claps and

appreciation.

 

Now after 23000 kilometers TATA Nano still looks as fresh as new with no rattling sounds and

no power loss. TATA Nano aka Chotu still urges to explore new and thrilling locations.

Nevertheless all the trips were on a small budget which for bachelors like us is of prime

importance. We are sure that our experience is only going to get better this time. As a proud

owner of Nano which is not just a city car but also a friend to hang out with, in all terrains, we

congratulate team TATA for such a wonderful creation.

 

TEAM NANO

 

Vishnu R

 

Vineeth S

 

Vivek G Menon

 

Dilip Mathew

 

Aravind Venugopal

 

Nithin R S

 

Arjun

 

Raj Nair

 

Arundas Nair

 

and Chotu

 

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