The princess in the city of the 1000 pillar temple

Well... I had to go somewhere on this 2nd Sep... Initially, the plan was to go to Bangalore... but that is now postponed till 17th of Sep. It has been more than 2 months since I got my T'Bird and still it has not run for a longer distance. Bangalore was not possible for numerous reasons. The bike has not completed the run-in period of 3000 kms, and hence the bike has not opened up, the top speed i had driven up was only 65. Rahul also wants come for the Bangalore trip and he was also not ready to drive till Bangalore as he is short of leaves. and Finally, I was also not feeling 100% as I am also having throat infection. But anyway, I was longing for a trip on my bike. So considering the weather (its monsoon ;-)), the condition of the bike and the risk, Bang-trip was postponed.

So, finally we decided to go on a relatively shorter trip. The first idea is always Nagarjunasagar but as we have already been to NS a month back, It didnt tempt us too much. So Warangal was decided as the spot. Which is some 150 kms from Hyderabad. Again, as can be expected, we ran into troubles because of the route and the weather. Warangal, and particularly the route to Warangal is a naxalite affected area... and is considered to be risky. We almost finalized the trip and on Friday, it started raining heavily. It looked as if the skies wont open up the next day, so till the last moment we were in a dilemma about the trip.

Anyways, I had loads n loads of work on Friday so went home at midnight and was tired as hell... and even forgot that we decided to get up at 5:45 am.

5:37 am: Rahul calls up... He is bloody awake so early. I am fuckin irritated and ofcourse sleepy
5:55 am: We decide to go for Chilkur Balaji, a temple which is 30 kms from Hyd
6:30 am: Now, out of the blue, Prash calls up and the trip is on, not only that we decide to meet up at 7:30
7:00 am: I get up have a quick shower, pack up my bag and am ready to roar at 7:30
7:40 am: I am waiting at the Hyderabad House, Road No. 2... Nobody turns up... Is the trip still on ????
7:45 am: Finally, Prash and Rahul reach there and we start off after fuelling the tank...

First things first... What about the directions.... I had casually asked a fellow biker about the way... and He had told me that the highway starts from Uppal. Uppal is near Tarnaka, where Prash has some of his relatives... So we are heading towards Tarnaka.... We keep on asking the way every 5 min as none of us has gone that way. Finally at 8:15 we hit the highway. One interesting thing I found was that none of the boards were showing Warangal, instead each of the boards were showing Hanamkonda which was enough for us to get more confused. Thank god, we were on the right track. Hanamkonda is the city where the 1000 pillar temple was constructed, Hanamkonda and Warangal are twin-cities.

Unlike Gujarat, if you are travelling in Andhra Pradesh, you wont find good motels or eateries on highways. We were hungry but decided to sacrifice on food as the weather was good and there was every chance that it might rain, we didnt want to take any risk !!! (And in any case, It was tougher on Prashant's part more than any of us )

I am not pushing the bike too hard and am driving on 60-70 as its the maiden trip on my Princess. Me and Prash are on my Princess (thats what I call my beast, quite unusual a name for T'Bird.. .but that is what I'll call her until I come up with a better one ) and Rahul is on his CBZ. Rahul is driving faster than me at around 80 but I continue to drive on 60-70. Its a good idea not to keep the bike on a steady speed for a longer time, I keep on varying the speed. I also learn some lessons the hard way. First one, It is very tough on the driver as well as the pillion if there are two people on the bike. Secondly, It is better to have Saddle bags ( Anyways, I am going for it before the Bang. trip... )

The road is good, the traffic is less. You will find the odd trucks coming your way... and thats it... There are patches of lush green fields alongwith the road. To our surprise, not only the skies have opened up, but even the weather is perfect for driving. Its somewhat cloudy and bright day. We decide to stop after completing 100 kms.

After 60 kms, Prash Asks, "My butts are paining big time, Can we take a break ?"... "Butt Naturally" I reply and we take our first 10 minute break.

We all meet up at Hotel Sudha in Jangaon which is some 100 kms from Uppal. Order by Idlis, Dosas, Cold Drink.... and before leaving, a cup of tea...

The last 50 kms are very cool... with empty roads and lush green fields.... We reach Hanamkonda at 11:45... We havent booked any hotels so start searching for hotels.... Basically, Hanamkonda-Kazipet-Warangal are group of 3 cities. The first one we find out is, APTDC (Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation)'s Punnami Resort... we ignore and go ahead. We are advised to stay in Hotel Ratna which is nearby the Warangal Railway Station. We face the first scare after reaching there. None of the AC rooms are available and the climate there is too hot. We rush to another Hotel, Ashoka.. again all the rooms are booked. We suddenly remember that there was one Punnami Resort. We step on the accelerator and rush to Punnami.... There are rooms available and we get a good AC room costing some 800 for 3 of us.
My back is aching.... and thats when you find the hot water shower like heaven.... We inquire about the places to go and have lunch. There are basically 3 places... The Warangal fort (or whatever is remained of it), The 1000 Pillar temple in Hanamkonda and then there is one more temple.

Again the bikes are ready to roar... and we are again having a hard time inquiring about the fort.... finally we reach there after an hour.... Have a usual photo session. We decide to go to the 1000 pillar temple the next day morning and so there is only one place left... The Kali temple... Rahul goes inside the temple and worshipping his god while Me and Prashant have a talk to our own resp. gods at our home...

We are damn tired... and getting desperate to go to the bed.... Finish off the dinner early.. have a small walk, watch the new show "The Lost" and all of of us are sound asleep...

The Next day...

7:30 Wake up
8:00 Ready for the last place on our list after having a good breakfast
8:50 Touched the doorsteps of the 1000 Pillar temple... the place we came to see
9:30 Check out... and back on the roads
10:00 This time we know quite a few things about the road... so without any break we are back in Hyderabd at 12:45

While coming back I also cross the first speed barrier and see the speedometer at 80kmph. This was the first trip and it went on very smoothly. Thunderbird is really a very good bike after a 350kms trip the condition of my bike is much better than the CBZ even if it had 2 people on it. The best think I found out was that the bike is steady as a rock. The mileage is very good at around 40kmpl.

Well.. There are a few learnings from this trip....
1: Get out of Hyderabad and hit the highway before 6:30
2: Saddle bags. It is a must.
3: Have water bottles and keep drinking the water
4: Always book the hotel before you reach the destination.

Well that was the the first trip... and I am waiting for the second one.. This one would be the real test. From Hyderabad to Bangalore.... !!!