Copyright Amit Pahuja

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Monsoon Drive with the great HVK family !

July 17, 2016

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