Even after I finished my lunch with a whole deep fried Tilapia fish, my mind was still hanging around the hairpin curves and the aerial view of Aliyar Dam. When I started off from Kochi, I was not sure what to expect on such a solo motorcycle trip through the winding roads of Kerala and the vast plains of Tamil Nadu. However, though a far view but an enchanting sight of Athirappilly falls, the lush green forests between Vazhachal and Malakkappara, and the hairpin bends of Valparai to Aliyar dam have titillated my feelings for gaining a place among the solo riders of India. While starting off from Aliyar to Marayoor, I knew that I was exploring one of the best places for road trip in India.
Nicely marinated in the local masalas (spices) of south-western Tamil Nadu, the colorful tilapia fishes easily lured my taste buds. I was like a dog with two tails after enjoying the lightly tangy and extremely spicy soft flesh of tilapia from one of the roadside restaurants near Aliyar Dam.
I was delighted that afternoon, for I spent a few hours on my Royal Enfield Classic 350 through the most exciting roads of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Though I was running late in comparison to my plans, I was relaxed and unswerving. When starting off to Marayoor from Aliyar dam, a Bollywood song escaped my lips – Hum Jo Chalne Lage, which matched my mood then.
Coconut grooves and occasional barren plains offered companionship to me for the rest of my journey until Thirumoothy hills. Bright sky, red soil, and multicolored sides first galvanized me and then consumed me completely. The long stretch of barricade, painted in yellow toned white with orange stripes, conveyed my proximity to Thirumoorthy Dam or Thirumoorthymala Dam. At the dam I met an elderly couple who narrated the story of Thirumoorthy Hills and its name. The story was reassuring my decision of connecting Thirumoorthy on my ride through one of the best places for road trip in India.
Long ago, an abbot named Atri Maharshi lived on the foothills here. He and his wife had a peaceful pious life. One day, after visiting Atri Maharshi and his wife Anasuya, sage Narada praised Anasuya for her Pativrityam (devotion to husband) in front of the wives of Lords Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The goddesses, who were jealous about Anasuya, pleaded to their husbands to reduce Anasuya’s pativrrityam.
On the mission of pleasing their wives, the lords set off to Atri Maharshi’s house during his absence. Pretending as travelers they approached Anasuya and requested – ‘Bhavathi Bhakshyam Dehi’ , meaning ‘mother, please offer us food’. Anasuya welcomed the travelers and offered food to them. It was then they demanded her to serve food without clothes. Though their strange demand puzzled her, she recalled the way they addressed her. She was sure that someone who addressed her as ‘mother’ won’t have any bad intention. Thus she served them food, nude. She also arranged a place for the guests to take rest.
Meanwhile, Atri Maharshi returned and she explained the whole story to him. Understanding the guests as the Gods, he praised them and they woke up in their natural look. The Gods appreciated Anasuya’s wit and Pativrityam. They offered a boon for her to which she requested the Gods to born as her children. The trinity (thirumoorthy) thus born as her children on these foothills. Since then the range of hills here is known as Thirumoorthy hills.
Riding my bike a kilometer or slightly longer, I reached the temple that is famous as Thirumoorthy temple at Thirumoorthy Hills. Lack of time in my hands to complete my exploration of one of the best places for road trip in India, I did not stop at the temple but returned to the dam and then continued my journey to Marayoor.
As I passed through some of the most captivating villages of Tamil Nadu, clouds formed dark on the sky and for several times I had to stop to escape the down pour. The shower erupted the beauty of virgin lands and I was entering the jungles of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. A few monkeys were the only wildlife I could spot then but a planned jungle walk or a watchtower experience would have given me a chance to see an attacking tiger or a strolling troupe of elephants. As I was approaching Marayoor, I was once again on the curvy roads of Kerala with peaks and slopes. Before I enter Marayoor town, the Sun had vanished from that part of Earth.
Read my complete bike ride to experience one of the best places for road trip in India here,