Leg 2 – Hyderabad to Pench

28th Feb 2005


Leave Raj’s house. Its good that his place is located right next to the Highway and it just takes a couple of mins ride to the highway. His son was sorry to see Tweety leave as he was thinking that the big yellow bike will be an upgrade to his small yellow cycle. GR came guided me till the hiwghway, and then I was on my own again. The Roads out from Hyderabad are really good, and within no time Tweety was humming along at 100kmph.
with GR jr
Gr Jr
09:02 – 09:36
Stopped for breakfast at Hariyana Punjab Dhaba. The roads are good and wide, and travel is easy. Hardly any traffic on the roads made the ride quite enjoyable. I am travelling on the North – South corridor, and the milestones show Shriragar as being 2000+ odd kms away. Unfortunately, I did not get pics of those , but I was able to get the milestone to Varanasi. Its wierd – when you don’t want something, you will find it in abundance, but the moment you want it – it disaapears ! The dhaba was the first indication that I am moving towards north of india. In much of south and central india, when you go and ask what’s there for nashta (breakfast), you will be given the usual list of idlis and dosas. But here, for the first time in my travels, I got the replies as paranta! Finally decided on having a egg paranta (which came with curd), and tea.
11:10 – 11:20
But break after a short stretch of ghats known as ‘Mehboob Ghats’. There would be some history behind it, but I did not have the time to figure it out.
12:05 – 12:20

Passed through the town of Adilabad. Was stopped by the police constables just on the outskirts.
“License” they demanded – and then had a look at my bike.
“Where?” demanded one.
“Delhi.” I replied. ” I am coming from pune, went to Hyderabad and now am going to Delhi”.
“Alone?” with surprise in his eyes.
“Yes” was my affirmative answer.
“Ok. Pass” said the officer and did not even want to take a look at my license. Straightaway started talking to his colleage that this chap is going on bike to Delhi !
Stopped for maaza break. Its getting kind of warm – though not hot.

Yeah ! the first thousand kms are up !!! Its a great feeling. The roads are not too good now, but a fort on the right side, with a few small rustic houses conjure up an image of olden times. Things have not changed much here, even though we are now living in the internet age.
I guess that is what democracy is all about – at least in India. If you know what it means, you can earn crores in scams, else you still live life which was more common a 100 years back.
1000+ kms now !
13:55 – 14:30

Lunch stop and a call home. The dhabas are becoming scarse now, and I had overshot this place while overtaking some trucks, so doubled back. Lunch was simple dal, roti and curd and checking out the route on the Lonely Planet map book. I figure out that I am at Sonegaon after talking to the local people there and showing the maps. The owner of the place could surprisingly read the map, and correctly identified the place. Had a talk with my dad, and told him that I will be shifting 1 day more after Pench as I was planning to stop at Bhopal and check out Sanchi Stupa.

Passed through another small ghat called Hinganghat. I just love the ghat roads, and this bike makes the sweeping runs through the ghats in such a cool manner that its just awesome. Passed a few 2 wheelers – who gave me wierd looks which seemed to suggest “how the heck can he go so fast here!”.

Stopped to lubriacte the chain and tighten it. Since this bike is built on similar lines of the CBZ ( in fact, if this had  been bought out by bajaj, they would have given it a name like CBZ 220 dtsi 😉 ), any roadside mechanic could do this job. This chap however, had the opinion that it did not matter if the notches on two sides did not match. Had a big argument with him that he is not the one who is going to ride this bike, and he better do as I say. Ultimately he gave in after getting to know I will be going to Delhi and not the next town, and the work done (Rs. 15) I started off again.
Stopped at Mohammed Ali Petrol Pump which is just outside of Nagpur. I had reached Nagpur at 3:50 and was going to fill in petrol. But seeing the rates there, I told the attendent that this is too high – whereupon he helfully told me about the Ali petrol pump outside nagpur, where because of lesser taxes, the petrol would be less. The petrol pump is quite good, and credit cards are accepted there – with a Rs2 surcharge which is the dialing cost for the credit card link. Its also got a convenience store where I had a cup of tea and bought shaving cream.

After Nagpur, the road passes through jungles. The roads are now again quite good, and the jungle canopy gives a nice feeling. the temperature is less now, and gunning the bike through the roads is a peaceful experience. Stopped the bike for some self timer shots … and to just listen to the sounds of the trees.
Got tempted to stop and take a pic. Tried a couple of times with the self timer to finally get the shot right.
Self shot
Somewhere Near Pench
Reached Kwasa. This is the place from where the road to Pench National Park leaves the highway. The information that I would be arriving  was to have already been given to the Forest Check post here, and that was where I went. Saw a couple of chaps lounging in chairs outside the checkpost, chewing paan. I introduced myself , and told them that I had a reservation in the Forest rest house.
“Humko koi inphormation nahi mila hai ” (we have got no information), said the chap there.
I told him that I was coming from Pune and that I was supposed to leave my bike here, and take a forest jeep inside the forest and stay for a day. But the chap was lazy and did not want to check out any facts. Instead he started talking about how he had has no information. Finally he asked me “Yeh batao. Idhar tak tum aye kaise bike par?” (how did you come here on the bike ? ).
I was at the end of my patience with someone who was not even willing to help out one wee bit so I just replied curtly “Chala ke.” (I rode over).
There was no cell coverage here , and I went off to the STD booth and called up the Conservator of Forest there , Mrs Gopa Pandey.  She was shocked to find out that there was no one there, when she had already sent out the information that I would be coming. So she asked me to contact Mr Afridi, and ask him to call her back. Thanking her, I hung up and asked around who was Mr Afridi. It turned out to be the same person whom I had talked to earlier. I told him he has to call up Mrs Gopa, and he did so , taking the number from me. Only after that he realized that he has to do something. Thankfully the jeep came, and after parking my bike there, and putting my luggage into the jeep, I set off for Pench. Thankfully Afridi was not coming – some people I just can’t stand. Though he was a ranger there – I can bet that looking after the wildlife was the last thing in his mind. Its people like these who are giving a helping hand to eliminate the wildlife from India.

Pench ! Here I come ! With the driver and a forest guard I set off for Pench. I spent the next day there in search of the elusive tiger. Around this time, the news about the Tigers being poached to extinction in Rajisthan had started to come. Quite a sad scene for India. Might as well change the national emblem to a dodo – if all we want is to have an extinct animal as the National Animal.

The day spent there did not turn up even a spoor of the tiger, though the jungles had quite a lot of other fauna to keep me occupied. Check the gallery for more pics from Pench.


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