Traversing Kerala on Onam day; The #28States28Plates drive heads over to god's own country!
After a couple of days of rest in the beautiful place that is Coorg, it was time for us to start the journey towards the west coast. The plan was to head over to Kerala for lunch and then cross back into Karnataka to reach our halt for the night — Udupi. Lucky for us. It was Onam on the day we were heading to Kerala. That meant us getting an Onam Sadhya! What is it you ask? A traditional multi-course meal served during the festival.
Also lucky for us, our photographer Abhishek is a Keralite! So it was decided that we go to his place for the feast since Onam is traditionally celebrated there.
Abhishek resides in the beautiful town of Chittarikkal, getting to which required us to take the Malayora Highway. We started the journey quite late, as it was only a 3-hour drive. Calling the Malayora Highway the main road is a bit of an overkill because it is a single lane route that ascends and descends through densely forested hills. The roads were terrible, but fortunately, the views continued to be great.
After a slow drive through the hills, we entered Kerala. The drive from the border to Chittarikkal was a half an hour journey. Soon, the roads started to get better and better. One stretch, in particular, was a joy to drive on! A proper windy bit of smooth tarmac, with lovely camber changes and, you guessed it right, coconut trees on either side. Kerala does have some really good roads, but when the roads start getting bad, they are really bad, all of which the Kiger handled like a champ. We arrived at Abhishek's house which is situated by a slow-moving stream. After the welcoming pineapple drink, we jumped straight into the Onam Sadhya. A meal that had over 10 dishes, from Kerala style vegetables to a super yummy ada pradhaman to top it all off. This was a pretty special day for Abhishek, who returned home for Onam, after four years. After clicking some pictures and eating till our tummies couldn't take any more, we left Chittarikkal to head onto Udupi.
Chittarikkal to Udupi was about a 170km drive, all on a traffic-heavy two-lane road. We reached Udupi in the evening, after what was a pretty boring drive. Earlier, we had planned to take the halt at Mangalore, but as Udupi was just an hour away, we decided to push ahead to gain an hour the next day. Just as we entered Udupi, a lot of memories and nostalgia rekindled for our correspondent Karan, because he went to college here! After a quick visit to his alma mater, we went straight to the hotel because we had to get up early the next day. The next stop on the drive is Goa and yes, we are very excited, to say the least.