Sadras Dutch Fort – Kanchipuram – India

Meena infront of the main Sadras Entrance.

A Historical place poorly maintained by Archaeological survey of India. Sathurangapattinam is a little town on ECR road some 70 CM from Chennai .Not an active tourist spot now as it is not maintained properly, however the same is having historical background. An inscription found in Sadras dated to 1359 mention this place as Rajanarayanan Pattinam .

A cannon on display at the entrance.

Modern Sadras was established as part of Dutch Coromandel in the seventeenth century, which was even before center for weaving superfine muslin cloth for export besides Pearl and edible oil. The magnificent Sadras Fort, built for commercial purposes by the Dutch, is a vast compound enclosing a huge granary, stable and structures used to mount elephants; unfortunately only one of these structures survives.

Entry is free. Do not miss the tea from the upside opposite shop. The songs played from old black & white movies in the tea shop kicks in nostalgia. What better that sip tea while watching this beautiful fort!.

The dutch grave sight here is particularly unique! Alot of ornate carving and the double grave is well worth a look.

The dutch cemetery

How to Reach :

While travelling from chennai towards pondichery via mamallapuram take left turn from Vengambakkam junction on ECR to reach Sadras fort ( about 4.5 km) .

A blog from our visit to Sadras. Subscribe for more travel content.

This place is worth a visit. Back of the fort you have a small beach protected by the police at all time. Do not forget to meet the watchman, he will tell you a lot about this place.

5 Tyre options for KTM Duke 390 – 2019.

The KTM duke 390 comes with Metzler as stock tyre, which cost around 10% of the total bike price. This shows how important the choice of your tyre is when it comes to KTM duke 390. Below are all few tyre options, their price, how long they last and the best tyre for different riding condition. I am going to talk about the 5 brands of tyre that I have used and list other brand tyres in case you want to research more.

MRF revz c1

If you are a person who mostly cruise at 100-120 KM/h, this tyre is perfect for you. Any speed higher than 120, I would not advise you to use this tyre. Again an all-weather tyre and supports any condition. I uses this tyre on my trip to Rameswaram and rode for 4 hours on wet muddy road without any issues.

Note : I would recommend that you keep your front tyre to Michelin or Metzeler and only the rear as MRF Rev. This tyre will last twice as much of Metzeler. It is good at cohering on wet road with confidence.

Pro:

Cheap and last longer.

Lean decently when rains were pouring and this tyre always inspired confidence. Very good performance on dry roads.

Perfect if you use your Bike daily for work and fun.

Comes with the same H rating as Michelin.

Cons :

After using Metzeler, you will find this tyre disappointing.

Price : 6000 for pair

Kilometer range : 25000 KM and more

Verdict : Get this tyre for commute, highway riding or cruising.

 

Metzeler M5 Sport-tech

The bike by default comes as Metzeler M5. This is the best your bike can have, especially when you are on highway and on wet road. You can literally connect yourself with the tyre on the road . The current model of KTM bikes comes with H rated Metzelers which provides 30% more grip than the earlier W rated Metzelers.

Pro :

Grip and safety. Good at cornering with confidence.

Good for highways, ghat road and track.

Cons :

Does not last longer (11000 KM to 15000 KM)

Expensive (14 K for a pair)

Original tyre are not easily available.

Not suitable for off-Road.

Price : ₹14000

Kilometers range: 11000 KM to 15000 KM

Verdict : This is expensive but after having used this tyre if you go to any other brand you will not like them. My first tyre change was and after 2000 KM, changed back to Metzeler. Having used KTM 390 for 3 years, I would strongly recommend to get Metzeler.

Mental Health in India

I think there is already a mental health crisis in India. According to NCRB, among the age of 0-18, the second biggest driver for suicide is Failure in Examination.

To arrest this problem the country has hardly any functional mental healthcare infrastructure in place. India Today reported that “there is a massive scarcity of mental health experts in the country, with less than one psychiatrist per lakh of population. The number of psychiatric nurses, psychiatric societies and workers are even less. WHO estimates that the country has 0.047 psychologists per 100,000 people. In a recent reply to a question tabled in the Lok Sabha, the minister for Health and Welfare was forced to admit that “10-20 million (1-2% of population) suffered from severe mental disorders.

It’s still not too late to realize this, but the country’s mental state is in deep shit.Indian society is currently in a state of cultural change. The pull between tradition and modernity has put the Indian youth in a spot.

A lot of people have been talking about it these days and it is not a new trend or something that people have realized. Mental health is around for a while and it went unaddressed and now we realize how big problem it is. Mental health issues gaining a lot of attention at the moment with many influencers talking about it and hopefully soon we start taking it seriously. While the country get equipped with the enough doctors and facility, one of the thing w can do is talk more openly about it, write more openly about it and be there for each other.

 

Reference :

http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/8/AS187.pdf

Click to access chapter-2%20suicides.pdf

Bike Ride to Hogenakkal falls

BIKE Ride :

The bike journey is entertaining. The Chennai-Banaglore highway is so satisfying to bike on. Started at 5:30 in morning to avoid the city traffic, reached Ambur at around 8:30 AM and the water falls before noon.

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The road from Hogennekal to Dharmapuri is again a bliss, surrounded by trees through village, cutting mountains and few segment on the ghat road which was so good on my 390 cc, 43 horse powered machine.

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The falls :

·         There are group of people who keep coming back of you for oil massage. Kind of irritating after you have said no multiple times. Sot 200 for oil massage. It is a sight to see though.

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·         The place is crowded, long queue everywhere.

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·         The Entry fee Rs. 50 to see the falls and touch the water and get access to the temple.

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·         The falls in mighty and it worth seeing.

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Boating in Hogenakkal Falls :

Boating is fun. It’s a small boat to carry 4 people. I went alone. The boat started to leak while returning. There is nothing to do here apart from boating.

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What do do :

  • See the Falls.
  • Boating.
  • Massage (I would not want to do that)

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Do check out my YouTube video blog of my whole journey from Chennai to the falls and don’t forget to subscribe.

Alamparai Fort – ECR

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Alamparai(Alampara) fort is a war ruin fort on the East coast road. It is 100 KM from Chennai. Not much is known about the place historically even after my attempt to gather information locally and on net.

 

History :

Alampara fort was built by Mugal(Nawab of Arcot) as docking station for smaller ships in mid-17th century for exporting salt and cloths. The Fort change hands from Mugals to French and then to British within 20 years and was subsequently destroyed.DSC_3334

 

What to do at Alamparai Fort :

  • Bike Ride on ECR – The Bike ride on the scenic ECR is very energizing from Chennai. Start early as possible. Plenty of fresh palm fruit, jack-fruit and coconuts on the road.DSC_3494
  • Lighthouse : There is an old working lighthouse surrounded by a clean lake as added beauty.DSC_7575
  • Boating : You can hire a boat for ₹500-700 rupees for 10-12 people. Get into the water with a safety jacket and rope tied around you.DSC_7400
  • Food : You can come early and villagers there to cook for you. White rice with fish curry. Advance payment need to be made. Cost around 100 per person.DSC_7168
  • Beach : Alamaparai has a big beach. Since the beach is mostly untouched and hardly people visit, it is clean. More like your own private beach, so bring your food, snacks, tent, water, chairs…DSC_3437
  • Fort : The ruin fort is unguarded so you could go around and climb the fort.DSC_7198

 

How to get to Alamapari :

  1. Bike or Car – 50 KM from Kalpakkam via ECR road.
  2. Public Bus – Take Bus from CMBT or Thiruvanmiyur towards Pondicherry and get down at Kadapakkam Bus Stop. The fort is 2KM from this stop and plenty of share-auto available.

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Check out the videos I made I visited here last with my friends.

Why is petrol so expensive in India

As a biker we have lot of expense to cater.

  1. Insurance
  2. Tyre
  3. Service

But nothing impact our riding budget more than the cost of petrol.

2014 election was fought on corruption and price rise. The PM in almost every speech spoke about how expensive the cost of petrol were and how it was a burden to common men. He even spoke that his first priority were to fix the cost of petrol when elected and once elected he did just like he promised but only in reverse.

PM tweet during in 2012.

The cost of petrol depends on three major factor.

  1. Cost of petrol internationally
  2. Dollar-rupees rate
  3. Tax

Apart from this 3 factors, we have transportation, refinery and company profit which remain constant unlike the top three factor.

Comparison of Petrol cost year by year based on international crude price oil.

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The current international crude cost is all time low. It went as low as $37 at one point of time compared to above $100 during the previous government. The current government has still fail to reduce the petrol price, failed to control the dollar price and have increased the tax on oil by more than 100%.

Here is a calculation of how oil brought for Rs 31 is sold to us for 80 and above.

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There is a debate to bring petrol/diesel under GST which will reduce the price of petrol by half. Petrol would be selling around 45-50 compared to current 80-85. Hope the government does this and reduce the burden on common man.

 

Check out my YouTube Video

Bike Ride to Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake is about  100 KM from Chennai. The first half of bike ride is not very graceful on AH 45 with heavy  traffic of trucks toward Andhra Pradesh.

Travel : If you are starting from Chennai, take the outer ring road from Tamabaram crossing Ambattur and connect to AH 45 which is also known as the grand truck road. Till city traffic the roads are usually busy. Start as early as possible.

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Best time to visit : October to March is consider the best time to visit Pulicat if you want to see migrant birds. Always start early in the morning, it gets very hot by 10-11 AM.

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What to see :

  • Boating – There are few island and you can hire a board for 1000-1500 for 3 hours. If you have the safety gear to get into the water it adds to the activity. Don’t come to Pulicat without the plan of boating, this is the only decent thing to do here.
  • Church – There is an old church on the beach, visit this at last.

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  • Light House : The light house closes by 10 AM and opens only by 3 PM in the evening. The lighthouse is next to the Pulicat government school. The place is scenic with a long bridge separating the school with the rest of the city.
  • Dutch Cemetery – Few graves of Dutch when they ruled Chennai. Nothing interesting here.
  • Birds Sanctuary : Lot of birds comes to pulicat from different parts of world, you can see many just strolling on the road.

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Food : There are plenty of place to eat. Mostly home cooked food. There is a small hotel near to the old dutch cemetery where you get decent breakfast and Fish curry with white rice in the afternoon. Cheap and spicy.

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The place is very scenic, Photographer’s paradise.

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I have made a video of my last travel to Pulicat, Do check that out an let me know what places you have been to in Tamil Nadu that you would recommend me to travel in the comment section below.

 

Sundari Akka Fish shop in Marina

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Having been bombarded by various review about sundari akka fish shop in Chennai, I too decided to visit her place.

Located next to the public swimming pool near on the Marina Beach. Open-Air Restaurant with no Ceiling or Walls, Beach facing, Self-Service and Live Kitchen. The Model is simple, you get Rice and Gravy of the Day. Sambar and Rasam is available too. Boiled Egg, Fish Fry, Prawns etc totally depending on the availability. There was Crab Gravy, Fish Fry(Mackerel and Pomfret), prawn fry(the prawns were good and big size), Vaala Meen Karuvattu Kozhambu, Vanjiram Fry. Typical Home Style Curries, tastes as if it is straight out of your own Akka’s Kitchen. Fish Fry perfectly Masalafied and Tawa Fried.

 

Approximate rate is ₹100 – ₹120/Plate for Fish Fry and Prawns depending on the size, Rice and Gravy of the day ₹50, Boiled Egg ₹10.

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Location:

Next to Public swimming pool in Marina. There’s a Parking Lot near the entrance of the Swimming Pool complex at Marina Beach. Sundari Akka’s shop is on the right as soon you enter the parking lot. Landmark: Near Durai Cool Bar.

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Cost :

Prawn fry (₹110).

Vanjiram (₹220).

It costs 50 for fish rice . I feel it’s a bit OVERPRICED considering the shop and ambience and no seating arrangements.

Taste :  4/5

It has got few downside too:

The lady(Sudari akka) is quite arrogant and rude. Throws lot of attitude as though she’s offering free food.

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It’s a typical road shop. No tables and few chairs.

I personally feel it is expensive for the service you get there.

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Try going once for the experience. I think it is famous for the social media hype.

Ever since her husband Sekhar died of a heart attack in 2005,  50-year-old Sundari akka has been serving free food on his death anniversary every year as a tribute to him.

 

Do Check out my YouTube channel, I make videos related to Bike travel around Chennai.

Motorbike trip to Pondicherry

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Distance : 160 KM
The number one and the most striking thing about visiting Pondicherry is the journey along ECR road. The 2 lane roads covered with tress passing through backwaters, lakes, villages with the coast on one side and backwaters on the other.  A lot of local vendors selling local delicacy on the road. Jack-fruit, coconut water, fresh fish, watermelon and different fruits at its own season.

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Stop by in as many place as you can, it’s a short ride, what is the point to hurry. You miss out so many things when you go fast. Relax, slow down, enjoy the scenic beauty, the water, the smell.

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Food :
A lot of French hotel. Pondicherry used to be French colony and still the city retain some taste of it. Great place to try out food. A lot of place near Auroville and when in the city try “Boston café”, This place was good, I had all my meals here. Yes, alcohol is cheap, Not sure how much though.

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Places to see:
On ECR towards Pondicherry, you have Alampari fort. Go there , you could see broken fort, light house and a beautiful beach.

Auroville is another place to see, quit disappointing if you have not made advance booking for meditation at Matrimandir. Rent a cycle and roam around the Auroville.

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Beach : There are plenty of beach in Pondicherry, two of the my favorite beach were the one back of our hotel named Veerampattinam Beach and the rock beach which is inside the city surrounded by eateries, craft shops, desi clothes and plenty to shop from.

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Bike Rent : Get a bike on rental, your hotel will arrange that. I had my own bike.

Check out My YouTube video on Pondicherry trip below. Do subscribe to my channel for more travel videos.

 

Laloo, our fallen hero.

Sushil Modi(BJP-Bihar) son got married last week and Tejaswi Yadav(Laloo’s son) had threaten to disrupt the wedding.
Year 1994 –
Congress has been decimated after Narasimha Rao rule and so was BJP post 1992 riot. A huge opportunity for other parties to make a mark on national level. In competition was Janta Dal and so was Laloo Yadav in the race to become the PM. Before the election Laloo has been convicted of the fodder case.
Bhabua –
Murali Manohar Joshi(BJP) and Laloo Yadav(JD) were schedule to come to Bhabua, my hometown in Bihar on the same day for election campaign. The whole town was cover by banners and poster of Murali ji, the only senior BJP leader to come and campaign in my town. Newspaper Ads, flags, microphones and everything else done to bring people for Murali ji’s meeting to be held at the Jagjivan stadium. 5000 people gathered around 11 am and the meeting was over.
Loved Politician.
In comes Laloo Yadav on his trademark yellow helicopter, flew over the town for 10 min and landed in the aerodrum. Our aerodrum was used as helipad only during election, all the other time we played cricket on it. 10,000 people even before the man have taken the stage. The crowd kept increasing. We Biharis loved this man. No campaigning was needed nor someone had to shut down electricity so the crowd move to the meeting. Laloo was loved and no matter what people flung to see him with no advertisement or prachar for his arrival.
Laloo and Mr Vajpayee often attacked at each other. Vajpayee was the one to put Laloo back to his place from national level. But when Vajpayee visited Bihar during rule as Prime Minister, Laloo personally made sure that his food and stay was well taken care of. They had lunch together on the second day of his visit and Laloo knowing Vajpayee fond for curd had homemade curd ready for Mr Vajpayee(It came in Newspaper).

Advani Episode :

Even before 1996, Laloo had ordered a must needed arrest of Advani in 1990 while on his Rath Yatra spewing hatred all around the country. Post his arrest, Laloo met him at prison and made sure he was comfortable and apart of his movement he was free to do anything. Laloo knew the arrest would cost him the government and it did.

Laloo in Delhi to convince Advani to stop his Rath yatra.

Initial Days

Sankarshan Thakur’s book on Laloo describe him as a man who genuinely care about his people during his early days. Late nights he would come out to distribute blanket and food to the people left unaided on MG setu. Laloo was known a messiah for a reason.
Laloo made another arrest of a guy during a protest in Patna, I don’t remember his name(recroded in the book by Sankarshan Thakur). Post arrest, Laloo made a visit to prison with homemade food and advise him on why he got his arrested. Laloo said ‘no one knew till last evening, today Bihar knows you. This is good for you. Now eat and take rest.’
What point are you trying to make?
The point I am trying to make here is Laloo always kept his personal and political life separately. He never mixed his political anger with his personal affairs.
Coming back to Tejaswi Yadav threat to Sushil Modi, Laloo rebukes his son and he himself attended the wedding.

I have different political principles and different religious belief and still after argument I can sit with my friends and drink or ask for help without any hitches. You know why? Because we are grown up, because we are matured. Laloo is matured to keep his personal and political alignment in different tracks. Be like Laloo.Be Matured.
Laloo, our fallen hero.