The AP Triangle – by Ajay Sharma

The AP Triangle:

Well this ride isn’t about a sail in the Bermuda triangle, but still it wasn’t a bit less interesting than that. We have our own AP triangle to travel in Andhra pradesh from Hyderabad. Hyderabad – Nagarjuna Sagar - Srisalem – Hyderabad. A journey in a triangle.

The Preparations:
This ride just happened, like a jiff. My friend was visiting me from Delhi, who is as crazy and as keen on traveling as me, so he wanted me to take him for a ride. Well at that time I had Medak in mind to go, but Anand suggested me to go for a Sagar – Srisalem ride. As it turned out to be, a fellow wanderer Stephen Jhonson also wanted to ride out there. So we decided to hit the road on Saturday, 28th Feb, 2004.

The riders: Ajay, Nishant (pillion) and Stephen Jhonson.

Before We Ride:
Well we all had some work to catch up satruday morning so we had decided to leave by 12.00 noon. But it wasn’t supposed to be that. I had a test cropped up at last minute in college, so I called Stephen that we have to postpone the ride by two hours and we decided to start by 2. But than Jhonny calls up and says he has some work so can make it by 2.30 pm only and finally we both met at the Panjagutta at 3.00 pm. All set to go, as I kicked start my bike, something very strange happened. My 6 years old CAT Shoe gave up. The whole sole came apart turning my shoes into air conditioned and I felt the ground through it. So thus started the great shoe hunt in Hyderabad. As I had just enough dough for the ride, I didn’t wanted to spend on an expensive shoes, so after a lot of searching, finally got a good deal on a bata sports shoes at secenderabad. But this made us awfully late and finally we were able to start from Secunderabad at 4.30 PM.

Way to SAGAR:
As soon as we left
behind the crazy traffic of the city, it was fun. I had never been to sagar or salem before. So was quite excited about it as lots of wanderers have done this route and had lots of story to tell. Little did I knew that after this ride I will have my own story to tell, a different one though. We took our first stop 100 kms out of Hyderabad, it was dusk time and I never like to ride at that time as its neither dark nor there is enough light to ride, and its quite irritating to ride with few vehicles with there lights on and few without them. So we decided to have a break and eat at a road side dhaba. We all had a hearty lunch cum snack, though that place had nothing much to offer, but they made excellent egg bhurji, so we just hogged on to Parantha’s and Egg Bhurji. After the dark we resumed again towards sagar, and on the way there was this Honda Passion guy, who over took us both and was quite happy about it. He had his kid behind him as pillion. Me and Jhonny decided to Have some fun with him. We started taking turns to over take him and wait for him to let him overtake us again and lots of time he was in middle of the both the bikes. Sagar road is quite lonely at night and it’s quite scary for a normal person experiencing this, so that guy slowed down or maybe stopped until both of us have disappeared out of sight. Soon we hit the ghats section just before the sagar and boy what fun it is to maneuver through the ghats in night. We thumped into Nagarjuna Sagar at around 9.00 pm and tried to get accommodation in the couple of hotels, but being a weekend all non ac rooms were full and we didn’t wanted to waste our money on an ac room. So we decided to check out one more Hotel on the other side of the dam. But there also, all non ac rooms were full, but we were able to talk that guy into giving us a 100 Rs Student discount 😉 for an ac room.

There was the Moon in the Sky:

After having dinner and freshening up, we all were supp
osed to sleep as we were a bit tired driving in the night and we wanted to get up early and look around and see the dam. But I had another plan in the mind. There was a lovely moon in the sky and I wanted to see it in the water at the dam. I told Nishant and Jhonny that I m going to the dam, and both of them said “ At this time? Paagal hai tu”. It was around 11.30 in the night at that time. I said I wanna go and enjoy. Well but while I was preparing to leave, they both also got tempted and before we knew all three of us were standing on the dam. It was such a clear and calm water, with the reflection of the moon that it got me spell bounded. I wanted to take my bike down to the water level, but as I didn’t knew the way around that place and really dark couldn’t find a way to go that low, though we tried few of the off roading which lead us to a grave yard, and also asked a guy there about going to the water and he got scared and ran away. Than even tried to go and have a look at that power station but ended up being chased by the security. Took loads of pictures of my bike and jhonny’s TB under the moon, in the night at the dam. We freaked out on the dam till around 1.30 am, and than we decided to head back to room and sleep.

No water and the Water Fall:
I was the last o
ne to wake up the Sunday morning and found, both Nishant and Jhonny all ready and dressed up. I told them to go order for break fast while I take bath and get ready. But as soon as I had applied the soap, the water ran out and there was no water, I had to shout and scream for the hotel people to get some water, while waiting for it, I saw out side the window and was quite irritated to see a huge dam filled with so much water and still there was water problem here. Soon we ate our breakfast and headed for the Ethipothola – the water fall. Its an AP tourism maintained sited with a commanding view of the water fall. A nice place to sit, but a bit commercial for my taste. Jhonny and Nishant wanted to get down in the water 😉 but a certain guy’s advice (crocodiles in water) changed there mind.

Jaana Hai:
It was already 11.00 pm and we were still at Ethipothala. So we decided to hurry up and try to reach sri salem as soon as possible. The stretch from N. Sagar to Srisalem is a very good stretch (though roads are not that good) but they are interior roads and I love interior roads. Lots of small ghati sections. At certain p
lace we found lots and lots of red chillies drying at the fields. So we all stopped for some photo shoots, but jhonny and nishant were more interested in some fresh chillies right from the field. So I think they got around 2 kgs of dried red chillies. Around 85 kms before Sri Salem comes a Hillock very peculiar in shape, like a gumbat of a temple or something. From the road only one can get a commanding view of it. A small photo stop. On the way Jhonny also gave a life to a localite, who lived around 40 kms before Sir – Salem. It sure was hot and I could feel the heat burning my head, but didn’tknew what was store for me next.

The fall of the warrior:
Just 80 kms before the Sri – Salem, we were ripping like hell, as we were in hurry to reach Salem, but suddenly I felt a sharp sting on my right hands thumb. It pained so acutely that while riding only I had to tear open my driving gloves in order to rub it. The bikes came to halt, Jhonny asked what happened, but all I could see on my hand was a large around half inch long sting, I thought it might be a honey bee, maybe with an extra large sting, so I had just put some water and continued again. We reached at kinda foot hill of sri – salem, the place from where the ghat sections start, for next 50 kms till Sri – Salem. This was the place where the localite to whom jhonny gave lift, wanted to get off, it was his village. So he was just bidding good bye and was maybe asking something and nishant was with him, at that time I had to get off my bike, and just had to lie down on the road side. After this, till evening 6 pm I only remember in bits and pieces, later jhonny and nishant told me
about what I had been doing all this while. Well I was asked to lie down in shade; the sting of that insect was quite poisonous. I had rashes and marks all over my arms and chest. They asked me to drink loads of cold water. Later somehow I gathered enough strength to get on my feet and got on my bike. Once on my bike I was feeling comfortable and safe. From here was the ghat section, and well my pillion nishant later told me, that it was the most scariest ride of his life. I was not in my senses and could hardly see or think. He told me I was swaying my bike from left to right and he had to tap me on my shoulder every 30 seconds to ask if I m awake if I m feeling good. This went on till he suddenly jerked my shoulder and I applied my brakes full on, only to see feets away from a drop. I was totally zonked out. I just got off the bike and slept off there at road side. Jhonny and nishant waited for me to get up, they did some walk in the jungle it was around 3.00 pm at that time and later I just remember waking up at a punnami hotel room at 6.00 pm. Nishant told me from that point onwards he drove my bike till all the way to sri salem, and as I wasn’t feeling good they took up the room and I just fell asleep, they had also given me some medicines which I dunno.

Back to Senses:
I woke up at around 6.00 pm, surprised to find myself in a hotel room and jhonny and nishant watching tv. They told me whatever had happened, and I still had this severe head ache. I again slept off for another half an hour, meanwhile I asked jhonny to call up Anand, as he was the only person who knew we were on this ride. After hearing all this anand was at the tenter hook, all worried about us. It was already getting dark, and we were told lots of time earlier not to cross dindi after 9.00 pm in any. Its not safe to do those ghats in night and the naxals roaming that area. So I propsed jhonny and nishant to ride ahead as I m in no state to drive rite now and will come back to hyd next day morning, but they didn’t wanted to leave me back, and nishant had a train early next morning to catch and jhonny office, so well we finally decided to leave by 8.30 pm from sri salem, after I had another bath and some snacks.

A Night at Ghats:
I never knew ghats could be so majestic and commanding at night. Me and Jhonny were riding real close to each other, a small stop over at the sri salem dam was amazing. It was well lit up, and no one was there, it was quite a place to be in night. From here we wanted to go fast till dindi, as we were told that the gate there gets closed after 10.30 pm and it was already 9.30 pm, so we rushed and rushed, but I also wanted to enjoy the jungles and the ghats at night. So we did stopped at some places, and man what a remoteness, it was so quite that once we shut off our bull’s engines, I could here every voice of the jungle. And to add to it, it was kinda spooky too. All in all I cant describe how a night ride to sri salem is. It just amazing.

Back Home:

Untill we crossed dhindi, anand and lison were at the edge of there seats, quite worried. I called them up from dhindi and than they were relieved and assured we gonna make it back alive, and I guess they even popped a bear to celebrate;). We reached back to Hyderabad at 12.45 am, and rushed straight to Bashar restaurant to munch on some biryanis as we had not eaten anything substaintial since breakfast. It
was just amazing, the ride through the AP Triangle – enchanting, thrilling, dangerous and for me lil bad luck. But still I loved that experience.

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