Monsoon Drive with the great HVK family !


HVK Monsoon Drive 2016

The FUN,

The Suspense,

The Thrillful drives,

The Wet Roads,

The Convoy drive,

The Picture perfect location,

The Misty mornings,

Great friends we met,

Local Food,

ramKy's Jumps,

Joe's Dance Moves

&

God's Own Country !!!

WOW ! What an event !

Yes it was and awesome event and a great meeting of all HVK'ians from Kerala and other places. We had great Fun and enjoyed the Monsoon drive to the fullest with all of our friends. Being a traveler and a landscape photographer I always enjoy the trip that give me an opportunity to discover new places, drive on different terrains, give me an opportunity to capture the beautiful places, enjoy local food, create stories, make wonderful pictures and this event provided all of these opportunities to the fullest.

It all started with a post on Facebook by chief or a.k.a. the king of Highways "HVK" where he announced the meet and this year it was being planned for Kerala (South), Maharashtra (West) and now also in Karnataka (Mysore) as I understand. It was announced few weeks back and somehow I could manage to get a slot for 4 of us to be a part of the event. We were I guess lucky and yes we got the seat on the HVK Monsoon drive ... Excited planned everything in just 2 days .. got the car checked, prepared my photography arsenal and got all set for the drive. It was not so great start though as our car broke down on the first day :(( and we lost about full day getting it fixed. Anyway so got that fixed and moved further with our plans to reach Kochi on that night. We spent couple of days visiting beautiful countryside in Kerala and also finished some personal stuff.

The drive day was well awaited and we were all excited to start the drive on the morning of the drive. It all started early morning from Kochi as the base camp. We were still not aware of the destination or even the direction of the drive as it was all kept top secret. So we just waited for the directions and the moment we got that, we cranked our engines and zoomed forward as instructed. The instructions were regularly coming to us through WhatsApp wherever and whenever we has data network that was poor as Airtel I guess only works on Himalayas and not in City limits :)) so we relied on the poor coverage of Airtel network for the driving instructions...

This year the communication channel was through WhatsApp and there was NO CONVOY !! Yes NO CONVOY from the hotels or any base location to the day destination. The suspense was kept till the end and the communication was through the WhatsApp. All the members were requested to send the location at regular intervals of 15 minutes to the MD team and they were giving further instructions. It was certainly FUN format. We initially got a feeling that we are in a TSD rally but then we realised we were not after a while.

On the way to the unknown destination, we stopped by for taking some beautiful pictures of the backwaters. Kochi during rains was awesome countryside

Kerala Backwaters

Chinese fishing nets installed on the backwaters

SWISS time house .. this came after the Lighthouse we were sent to ... waited for the signal here to proceed further

Some shots on the beach side

Some shots on the beach side

Some shots on the beach side

Some shots on the beach side .. of my beloved Scorpio :)

Some fun on the way .. love safe watersplashing like this .. thanks for by second half to capture this

Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Fishermen on the beautiful backwater water streams

Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Kerala's beautiful backwaters

Photo opp here .. My beast with the Gentle boat

Sheru.. guarding the beach while his girlfriend sleeping under the shade :)

Technology everywhere .. don't know if its a curse or a blessing ..

Notice the man sitting here at beautiful beach and busy on his Phone :(( while the blessed should "Dog" sleeps like a child ...

.... and we left our stamp there that we are headed for the HVK MD 2016

Cherai beach visitors

Houseboats and the lovely Backwaters

Lovely Serene Backwaters

And our Sheru's girlfriend in deep thoughts ..

Some local Church on the Cherai beach road

Lottery man. Good to see a lot of Lottery tickets on sale still in Kochi ... should have tried my luck :)

We were using Airtel telecom services that really is a BAD choice for Kerala and due to that we were cut off from the communications many a times which made us loose some time and since we didn't knew where to proceed, we ended up wasting a lot of time or just driving without knowing where to go ..

Heavenly Backwaters

Chinese Fishing nets @ Heavenly Backwaters

Local fisherman fishing @ Heavenly Backwaters

Heavenly Backwaters

Its Lunch time !

It was already around 2pm and we were hungry, so we were told to have lunch at pooravambaloor or Aluva something like that and we stopped somewhere in the town to have lunch. The place where we halted for lunch had a good restaurant and fed us well.

Hungry tummy's

Spicy Duck Fry

Yummmmmm Biryani

Sweet Falooda Desert - surprisingly it didn't hd Falooda in it :))

Black pepper chicken

My powerhorse

So we finished our lunch and zipped through the narrow lanes of Aluva town to reach our destination - The Parakeet Resorts, Munnar.

It took us almost ~3hrs of drive from Aluva to the resort with one coffee break in between. I was very very sleepy after having that heavenly lunch so stopped for a quick coffee break - the guy made a good coffee "the way I like it" and it was awesome break !

By evening 6pm we reached our resort. "The Parakkat Nature resort". Good place to stay for a night ! The facility was nice and comfortable and brand new property with excellent hospitable staff.

Entrance of Parakkat Nature resort

Entrance of Parakkat Nature resort

Introduction to the Resort and the plan

The welcome kit (above)

Inside view of the Resort lobby (below)

Artefacts kept in the lobby - everything was glossy and golden'ish other than this poor Elephant :)

Gold coated artefacts ??

The rooms were good and clean and specially neat toilets. Since it was just inaugurated 20 days ago, there was certainly a lot of improvement areas but I'm not gong to get not that as this is not about the resort but about the excellent evening we spent there and enjoyed to the fullest.

Our room - the room has 20+ rooms with all different and unique interiors. Though we did not see all of them but the fellow HVK'ians described them to be good and tastefully done.

Round bed - felt like in a boutique hotel in Dubai :)

Good room sizes and comfortable furnishing with clean and good quality Linen

Nice bathrooms with shower

We asked for 2 extra beds so this is what we got. Very comfortable !

Mesmerising View from the resort balcony

Night View from the resort dining area

Mesmerising View from the resort

Opening ceremony / ice breaker session by Ramky sir

Ramky - our great host with Ajay did a fantabulous job of keeping the HVK'ian family entertained including kids. Well done guys !

Shibu describing his experience of the drive and sharing his view on offloading circuit they were put onto by the team that they loved it. The guys in the pictures on the screen are the hero's who made this event happen.

Kaleem sir. Don't know what to say about him but he's truly an inspiration for people like me to learn from him the passion for road travel and safe trips. In the background is our great group photographer Biju sir. Love his pictures ! and yes he uses a PENTAX !

Chief - HVK - Kumar - whatever you call him, he's THE MAN behind all this. The group, the drive, the meet, the fun, the suspense, the excitement - he's the man behind it ! PERIOD !

One thing I REALLY like about our chief is that even though he does most of the work by himself - but he provides excellent opportunities to his team to contribute and be accountable for the various aspects of the event/meet. I wish to be a part of the core team someday !

For those who don't know these gentlemen, from Left to Right - Shibu - The off roader champ of India, Biju - the Picture man and HVK - the Chief !

HVK'ians

The day concluded with a great Dinner and networking with the fellow HVK'ians.

Day 2 - the official day of the Monsoon Drive

The next day started with a great cool rainy morning. We go ready and had breakfast as were supposed to start the drive at 9AM sharp or a.k.a., HVK time :)

Early morning rains. Views from the balcony area of the room allotted to us.

Panorama of the Bison valley and the resort dining area

Having breakfast with Kaleem sir

Once we finished the breakfast, we checked out of our rooms, loaded the luggage int our beloved cars and were ready to Rock 'n Roll.

Stickering in progress.

Stickers being pasted on the cars and numbers allotted

That's me :)

Convoy formation

Climbing the steep road

Climbing the steep road

From here the convoy drive started. We were in the first convoy with HVK :)

The Convoy drive

The Convoy drive

The Convoy drive

The Convoy drive

Some water plashing opps here :))

The Convoy drive ... The Convoy drive ... The Convoy drive

The Convoy drive

Beautiful valley views of the tea plantations

Beautiful valley views of the tea plantations

Our convoy zipping through the narrow and some not so narrow lanes ..

The drive continues ..

Steep climbs . .we did it in 2nd gear

Our cameraman ..

Steep U-turns

Good roads

Chief briefing the convoy in between the drive ..

The HVK convoy ... Qualis is not a part of our convoy !

Beautiful valley views of the tea plantations

Beautiful valley views of the tea plantations

Beautiful valley views of the tea plantations & waterfall

Beautiful valley views of the waterfall

Our Road Towards Suryanelli ...

Anaerangal / Suryanelli reservoir ...

Views to live for !!

See the clouds coming down to welcome us into the valley

Where Convoy stopped for Photo ops

Tea plantation everywhere - would have been good to get some Garam Garam CHAI here !!

Me with the beast

Family

Duster on the muddy rocky terrain ..

Little off-soft roading

Was fun driving down to the lake

Getting down to the lake

Mesmerising views of the lake and the cold/rainy weather was awesome

Awesome views of the Lake

Convoy parking in a horizontal line as directed by Chief

Awesome views of the Lake with the slow rains made it an awesome experience

Awesome views of the Lake

Awesome views of the Lake - perfect for a professional couple shoot

Awesome views of the Lake

Our convoy lining up for the group Convoy photo

Lovely weather and gusting winds caused few casualties of Umbrellas :)

Awesome views of the Lake

Awesome views of the Lake

Awesome views of the Lake

Awesome views of the Lake

Vally Views

Our fleet of cars as spotted at the valley

Our fleet of cars as spotted at the valley behind the rocks

Our fleet of cars as spotted at the valley

Thats me in a Batman jacket :)

HVK'ians

That's our Ramky sir jumping from the top of that 2feet HIGH Rock :) You must visit his Facebook page if you want to see all of his jumps from various Rocks and Places ! Happy Jumping Ramky Sir...

HVK'ians busy photographing and enjoying the event

HVK'ians cars also posing for Photos

Ramey sir made all of the HVK'ians jump.. jump .. and jump

That's a FULL GROUP PHOTO of HVK'ians including me :)

Happily jumping HVK'ians

After a lot of jumping and jumping and HVK dance pics, everybody was free to do whatever they wished to. Though some people decided to leave immediately, we hung around for some fun drive and taking some pictures of our beast in the valley. It was lovely driving here and FUN. Enjoy the pics !

Look at the trees bent behind because of the gusting wind

Photo opps

Photo opps

Photo opps

The last picture we took of this place .. goodbye. We had great FUN !

On the way back to namma Bengaluru from Munnar, Kerala

Waterfall - shot from the car windshield

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

I would dare anyone to eat and be alive next morning !! Look at the grease on that hot plate !!

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru .. GUY MATA on the road

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

On the way back we always stop at this restaurant "Thalapakkatti". The food is amazing here specially the Black Pepper Chicken. If anyone has not tried this, please dO SO. Its fantabulous !

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru

Some shots on the way back to Bengaluru - the roads till Bangalore were awesome and we could drive at an average speed of 110~120 mph.

We started around 1:30 pm from the Lake and reached home early morning at 00:20 am at our place in Bangalore. It was a great fun drive with the convoy and the whole trip was pretty good and wetty :) All through we enjoyed the drive and collected good and not so good experiences. But overall was a great short and memorable trip. Happy SAFE driving !

Check out more pictures and Videos here on my website www.amitpahuja@com


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