To wander among the hills where not many people have traveled, the mist rolling in around you, the high ranges will fascinate you. And often it is an experience that you can never forget. Once smitten, you go back for more. Its perennially captivating misty ambiance will haunt you once you come back home. The roads less trodden and the spots less explored will entice you forever. That is why we took this ride on our loyal Royal Enfield Himalayan to Urumbikkara.
‘An out and out off-road trip.’ That was how Javeens Royal Enfield, Kottayam, the organizers of the trip had defined it. We didn’t really get the meaning of the definition when we cruised through the road from Kuttikkanam to Elappara en route to Urumbikkara. We couldn’t really find any space for off-roading there. But, we got the answer soon. The wild features of the area began to unfold as we cruised past Madamma kulam and the tea estate.
It seemed an audacious act to call the path, strewn with wayward rubbles, a ‘road’. It gave us a lot of fun and excitement as we rode through the small pebbles at the start of the path; but, the size of the stones grew bigger as we rode ahead, making the ride really challenging.
The path, overlaid with pebbles, meandered through with steep ascends and descends. Every time we thought: ‘this bit was the most challenging’; but, the real challenge was yet to come. We followed the tyre imprints of the jeeps. 50-50 tyres of our bikes immensely helped us to ride through marshy areas. There was no instance of bike skidding or going out of control.
As we rode on, we saw the reservoir of the ruined dam at a distance. We entered a sphere of multi layered, marshy land, which triggered a new excitement in us. The riders were all pumped up. What followed were some memorable moments of sheer off-roading pleasure. We really enjoyed the moments as the bikes slid from one layer of the land to the other, recalling our nostalgic childhood slides. The higher ground clearance of ‘Himalayan’ made the sliding easy. Meanwhile, one of the bikes plunged into an area which was too slimy. We rose to the occasion and at once joined together to lift the bike out of the muck. However, this instance gave us a lesson to be prepared to face the challenges that can come on our way while off-roading.
Next came a steep climb. At first, the way was covered by soil and stones. Later, the soil disappeared and only rubbles were seen. The bike’s long travel suspension and 21 inch tyre helped us to ride though the rough rubbles. Another commendable feature of Himalayan is that we can effortlessly ride standing on the bike. On extremely rough surfaces, this is the way forward. Mist grew denser as we rode deeper into the area. We halted for a brief time at the foot of a cross made of PVC pipe, erected on a large rock.
After the rest, we began our ride downhill. The path, covered with sand, was steep. Himalayan’s brake had been criticized by some reviewers for not having enough power. It is in such situations that this peculiarity is going to be really beneficial. There is less chance for skidding when the front brake is applied. You can easily control the disc brake.
With the nature manifesting her wild expressions, the uphill ride was a taxing task. Whereas the soothing mist encircling gave a romantic air to our downhill ride. It was an adventurous experience crossing a small canal on the way. Each Himalayan cruised ahead, splitting the waters and making way. Our off-roading, which commenced at 2.30 pm, came to an end when we reached Mundakayam at 7 pm.
Himalayan – a bike that lives up the expectations
‘Built for all roads. Built for no roads.’ This tagline of Himalayan really makes sense. Himalayan gives us confidence when faced by uneven paths overlaid with rough rubbles. Long ride suspension and greater ground clearance helped us in our ride downhill. 21 inch front tyre made the ride easier. The bike runs smoothly over the rubbles. Ordinary bikes will definitely falter on such situations, as rides on such bikes over the rubbles will be a hell for the riders with constant jerking and wobbling. For about 20 kilometers of the off-roading, I was on the rear seat. But, I felt no trouble at all. ‘Comfortable!’ That is what I would call the experience!
How to reach Urumbikkara?
Mundakayam- Koottickal- Wembly-- Urumbikkara (total distance: 20km)
Mundakayam- Yendayar- Vadakkemala-- Urumbikkara (total distance: 20km)
Kuttickanam- Ashly Estate- Urumbikkara-- (total distance: 7 km)
Elappara- Memala- Uppukulam -Urumbikkara- (total distance: 13 km)
There are frequent buses to Mundakayam and Kuttikanam from Ernakulam and Kottayam. The nearest major railway station is Kottayam. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery.