Chargeplus Review

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I set off on my all India Trip with a very short notice, so I did not have a charger nor a power bank and my phone would often run out of battery. When I was in Hyderabad I was gifted a Bolt charger by the Wanderers biking club, was really happy and excited to finally get a charger. But within no time, i had trouble with it and it stopped working and I had to go back to my old ways of stopping at a Dhaba or a restaurant and charging the phone.So when I saw a post by Motonomous on Facebook and about the competition they were having, where one can win a mobile charger and other helmet goodies, I was kinda hoping I get my hands on the charger and thankfully after a month I did receive the Resonate Chargeplus because I won the photo2motocontest.       


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I was in Agra when i received the parcel and it came in a nice sturdy box that contains
1 USB charger
1 Charger Holder
2 Ring Terminal
1 Quick Splice
4 Cable Tie
1 User Manual

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The installation of the Chargeplus is very easy if you follow their simple steps as mentioned in the manual.But I came across the long 3M cable and wondered why would they provide so much additional wire that I had to roll and place above the battery. But then I read that this was done for a reason, if you are camping then you can run the USB cable all the way to the tent and put up a WiFi Dongle (or) a USB Light (or) a 5V mosquito repellent. I’ve used Chargeplus for the last 6000 kms or so and after about a few weeks of usage my reviews are mentioned below. 


Chargeplus mobile charger review:


 Value for money (6/10)


Available at Rs 2799 on Amazon, which is pretty awesome. The actual price is Rs 3,499 which is a bit too pricey considering there are so many other chargers out there in the market. But the Chargeplus does look like an expensive gadget with good built quality and something that will last long.  



Charging ability (10/10)


Ever since I’ve had the Chargeplus my phone hasn’t died. Even when I was in Varanasi and there was a power cut for the whole day it didn’t really bother me coz I knew had the Chargeplus to rely on to keep my phone running. Intelligent charging and the Cabling is UL Certified which is completely safe and has another intelligent circuit that constantly monitors voltage of the battery and at 12.1V cuts it off (3) automatically, thus ensuring there is enough power left in the battery, the minimum required to start a motorcycle.  



 Durability (9/10)

My bike blue and me have ridden through bad roads, no roads rocky terrain, mountains, snow and sand dunes, but thankfully it didn’t give away, also went through extreme weather changes, rode with it on the dirt track and many off-road trails, but the wires are still intact and there is no damage to the charger.The company offers 1 year replacement warranty. 




Weatherproofing (9/10)


The entire unit is built to ensure a longer life and withstand all adverse weatherI have used this device a lot in the rains, no matter how much water falls the phone and charger are in good condition.   

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I have used it in extreme heat and extreme cold conditions and it still managed to work. Apparently has some kind of short-circuit protection, and over-heating protection.



Ease of use (10/10)


Flip the cover to keep the water away from the USB socket and all you need is to peel it off and connect the cable to the USB port every time you have to use it. It’s light, it’s small, fixed on the bike and no one would even take the trouble to steal it. 



 Looks (9/10) 


The Chargeplus looks more like a microphone attached to my handlebar, which often gets curious visitors. While charging there’s a yellow light that shines up at the USB port, this happens only when the wire is connected to a phone or any other device. It’s a small decent looking functional charger out there.


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Verdict (9/10) : 


Recommended charger especially for long  trips and an essential device for any tourer’s bike. The best thing about this device is the reliability, the speed of charge, and the ease of use. Even though the price is high, it’s more like a one-time investment.                                              



Wicked Ride – Monsoon ride to Hampi

Hampi, one of the most sought-after destination for motorcycle riders from Bangalore, a UNESCO world heritage site, set against a striking landscape on the
banks of the Tungabhadra River, where on one side large boulders nestle the beautiful ruins offering an insight into its glorious past and the other
side, banana plantations, narrow irrigation canals and paddy fields offer much needed respite from the heat.

An important religious centre, Hampi is a popular destination among travellers and bikers from India and Overseas alike.
So whether you like to explore the magnificent architecture and history, or you like to stroll by the river and among the paddy fields, sit under a tree and read a book, Hampi has something to offer for every kind of traveler.


The Bucket-List
Hampi has a large number of sites dotted across a large area, but the enamoring Stone Chariot, Elephant stables , Queen’s Bath, the towering Virupaksha
Temple and many mindboggling stone statues are the most popular ones.

The route:
Bangalore – Chitradurga – Turn right towards Hospet and follow the road to Hampi.
The road is dry, arid and not something to rave about.
But at the journey’s end lies the fabled city of Hampi; one with the remains of a glorious golden era, of richness and pride, of culture and thriving trade.

                                                           
                                                                 Itinerary        

Journey Days Destination Accommodation
Day 1 Bangalore – Hampi Goan Cottage Tent/sharing
Day 2 Hampi Goan Cottage Cottage/sharing
Day 3 Hampi – Bangalore
Package cost : Rs. 3000/person / APAI( Rs. )

Package Includes:
At Goan Corner: Accommodation in Cottage/Room with Morning tea/coffee, Campfire, Music, Lunch and Dinner.

Activities:
Outdoor games – Volley ball, Trekking , Zip Line, rope activities on water.

At Hampi: Accommodation on multiple sharing, Morning tea/coffee and Evening hi-tea with light snacks, Campfire, Music

Activities:
Outdoor games – River Side Lunch (on request- only for groups)
Sightseeing: sunset point, Guided Trek, Remote dam

Package Excludes: Extra Meal (Breakfast – Rs 200/- per head and Lunch or Dinner – Rs 300 per head)
Note: A minimum of 4-6 packs in total must be requested on a particular day to make this package possible. If in case it does not happen, the money will be refunded to you.

Distance one way~ 350 kms Routing ~ Bangalore > Chitradurga > Hospet > Hampi 
Riding Speed ~ 80kph to 90kph Starting and Dispersion Point ~ Opp to Taj Vivanta, Tumkur Road, 
Tentative Itinerary: Day 1: 04:45 AM: Assembly and briefing 05:00 AM: Start of ride 01:00 PM:
Reach Hampi ~ Vittala Temple and Virupaksha Temple visits (Optional) ~ River Crossing on the Ferry ~ Bonfire and Snacks in the evening ~ Leisure time in cottages amidst paddy fields.
Registration Inclusions: 1. One Snacks – Chips, Peanuts, Soft drinks 2. One Dinner – Veg/Non Veg (Italian Pasta/Biryani), Roti/Chapati, Dessert 3. One Breakfast – Tea, hash brown potato, fried tomato, baked beans, scrambled egg & cornflakes with milk 4. Accomodation – Cottages / Huts on 2 sharing and 3 sharing basis. It is a rustic traveller’s or bikers accomodation and not a resort (See Pics) 5. Ferry Charges (Both for the members and for the bikes) 6. Temple guide charges 7. An experienced backup mechanic for the entire ride 8. Hampi ride Sticker for motorcycle/helmet 
Registration Exclusions: 1. Temple entries  2. Bike Fuel charges and any breakdown consumable’s charges 3. Expenses of food/snacks en-route at the pit stops. 4. Bike Rentals 5. Anything else not mentioned in the inclusions Registration Details:
Come join us for an unforgettable journey

Varkala – Love at first sight

  “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”


When I decided to explore the South, I did not have a set destination in my mind nor a set goal. I was only seeking knowledge and bliss. I rode through numerous beautiful places including Munnar, Cochin , Vipin, Allapey and came across many people and these experiences touched my soul but it was Varkala that left an imprint in my heart.
I had made a pit stop at my aunt’s place 160 kms away from Allapey. She packed me lasagne as I got ready to head towards Varkala.


I had no idea what awaited me at Varkala, I had not planned a stay of many days there, but when I reached I had a stunning view of the vast sea across the cliff. It was love at first sight.




First view of the Varkala shore


The view mesmerised me, yes but it was the benevolence of the people I met that made my stay even more delightful.

I walked up to the cliff where all the hotels are situated. I approached a man named Bilal who owns ‘Ashiyana’. Every essence of his inn is warm and welcoming, maybe because it is owned by someone who also holds a good heart. I say this because when I told him I was on my own and informed of my grand plans riding he was more than willing to accommodate my stay within a reasonable budget and made me feel at home.

Big and spacious rooms at Ashiyana



It is true, you do not need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination and Varkala is one such. Over there I was at a constant awe of the exquisite view sprawling beside the cliff and spent most of my first day walking across it. 
And I just sat there on the beach watching the sun set and the rain clouds singing to their tune.


The inns and the cafes are all perched perilously upon the dizzying cliff. They play soothing music and are adorned with fairy lights in the evenings, bringing a smile to my face. 


Varkala is not just about gazing at the sea, it is also about experiencing it, run, jump, float, swim and even surf. I really wanted to surf when I saw the group that offered it however before that I needed to take a 5 day course in surfing. At that point I had not planned to stay that long so I passed that opportunity, my only regret in this trip.

I had to make do with a photograph. Until next time.

During my stay I learnt that there is an elephant camp a few kilometres from there. I decided to explore it and it turned out to be one of my favourite experiences because of the way that day unfolded. While riding towards the elephant camp I realised there was the Kapil beach on one side and a lake on the other. I promised myself that on my return I would stop at the lake.



At the elephant camp Anandan was waiting for me. Anandan is this gentle majestic creature who loves playing with water and would  bathe me through his trunk every time I splash water on him! I had such a merry time.

Anandan enjoying his bath
On my way back from the elephant camp I noticed that some fishermen were fishing on the lake I had noticed earlier. I asked them if I could join them and they took it upon themselves to teach me how to fish. I always thought fishing was a skill but that day I felt it is an art, to be able to wait patiently, knowing where to look for the fish really requires an understanding of the nature. I clearly lack the sense since I only caught a cockle. Brushing aside my defeat with the fish I decided to join them instead and took a plunge into this magnificent lake where the water was clear and blue which is actually quite rare in South India. It was truly a memorable day.


Having heard about my exquisite experience my family decided to join me at Varkala and made my stay even more eventful. 

We went for a boat ride on the sea, ran wild shopping at the local market which catered to amazing goods which are true to India. We walked two whole kilometres getting to a beach where the sand is as  black as the night sky.

Kim kim’s beautiful curles

You have got to go and feel the sand at black beach 

I made sure they try the tasty jaffles while enjoying the eye pleasing beauty of the sea from atop of the restaurants perched on the cliff. We made merry swimming and then singing at the same food joints that turn lively in the night.

I wish I could wake up to this view every morning 🙂

Yummalicious jaffles

A. Julia lighting up the night
And I had to take them back to that magnificent lake!

swimming at the lake

I did not want to leave this serene place

Varkala to me has been a learning experience. I gained a lot, I gained friends, I gained knowledge. I absorbed the little joys of life through some talented and kind people. I had a brief stint at Yoga through Jess and the yoga master that Bilal’s wife arranged for me. I met a very talented musician David whose beats spoke a thousand emotions. Everything and everyone around me just radiated positive energy, which  helped reinforce my belief in my dreams and I’m ever so thankful to my uncle Derrick for taking care of the entire expense at Varkala. 

Yoga class at 6 am definitely rejuvenates you for the rest of the day


To me Varkala is not just about sitting on the beach, to me this place is about appreciating the small packages of joy that life has to offer and having faith that good exists.

My rendezvous with South India

In the end we only regret the chances we did not take and I for one am not living in regret because I took up this opportunity to explore my wanderlust spirit. And I am really glad that my spirit does not just aimlessly meander but is also open to soaking in all the experiences these places have to offer. The past week around the quaint South have been nothing but an array of experiences and then I realized, adventures are the best way to learn.

It started out with an emotional journey to Trivandrum from Varkala, as I was bidding farewell to my friends that I made at Varkala. 
 
My inspiration for this short trip was the Indian classical dance ‘Kathakali’, I always wanted to tap my feet to their tune. So when I found out that they were offering a class in Trivandrum I made way over there, to the dance organization ‘Margi’ that offers short lessons and full day courses.
After my tête-à-tête with kathakali, I was back on the road towards Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India. It was a pleasant journey except for the fact that the roads were single lanes and the Kerala State Transport buses were being driven in an erratic manner, the bus drivers were under the illusion that they were all Micheal Schumachers and to top it all it started to rain and that’s when I had a fall. Its in situations such as these that the helmet and the safety gears come in hand.

It was almost after 125 kms of riding that I had my first glimpse of Kanyakumari and before I knew it I was already at the edge of the town facing the ocean and I could see the shops selling shells, pearls, corals and different varieties of stones. I headed straight to the hotel Manickam where I was given a room facing the ocean, along with an amazing view of the ‘Our Lady of Ransom Church’ and the ‘Pooviyoor Theppekulam’.

Our Lady of Ransom Church
Pooviyoor Theppekulam
Garden Restaurant at Hotel Maadhini – The Malai kofta and the Kerala paratha here is a must have!
The next day early morning at 5 o’clock I woke up and walked up to the edge of the beach and as I stood there waiting for the sun to rise through the heavy clouds I had a pretty view of the Indian ocean getting merged with the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal.
A bridge of rocks towards the Indian Ocean
Vivekanda rock memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue
All the boats had a photo of a deity
Thiriveni Sangamam

The Hindus consider it holy to take a dip here

.
Wandering Monk Exibition
I can so relate to the term ‘Wandering’
Kanyakumari was followed by Tirunelveli where more than the destination I was blown away by the ride because the scenic view had a charming appeal with the freshness of the greenery and the windmills which stood along the way.
At Tirunelveli I met up with my friends and they took me out for dinner and insisted that I try the famous halwa of that place (you should try it too, I insist!).

Navaratri preparation at my friend Amritha’s house

The next morning I rode to Tiger falls and the Main falls which lies around 100 kms away.

I made it to the temple city Madurai after a smooth ride of 170 kms just in time for the Navratri festival and I could not have been there at a better time. The entire area was lit up including the Meenakshi temple and I got the opportunity to view some of India’s most talented people performing Bharatnatyam and singing classical music. That feel in those festive moments is something I will never be able to brush away from my soul.
Temple view from the terrace of a local shop – Kashmir Handloom House
Meenakshi Temple
Lighting decorations at the Temple
Owing to the spectacular festival delicious food was being served at the temple for only ten rupees.
Little talents of India
I was told by the guides at Meenakshi temple that the Gandhi Museum is a must visit place at Madurai
.

Located in a quiet corner, it is a well maintained memorial of Gandhiji. It comprises of photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations as well as the blood stained cloth that was worn by Mahatma Gandhi on the day of his assassination. The museum depicts various phases of Mahatma Gandhi right from his childhood days till the day he was taken to the crematorium. The pictures displayed here are carefully compiled making sure that the spectator feels inspired from the life of this true patriot.

On the way back to the hotel I came across this breathtaking view of horses and cows grazing on the almost dried up river bed.
As I was nearing Rameshwaram while riding from Madurai for almost 190 kms, I came across a small narrow path that runs to the beach. My instinct always tells me to take risks and explore places, so I went for it and that path opened up to a vast expanse of sea, the view was so blue that day and what a clean and private beach that was.

I rode to Rameshwaram to view the famous Pamban bridge. People usually go there to watch the bridge split when the ships go by or to see the train pass by which apparently passes by only twice a day. I got lucky though, as soon as I reached I chanced a view of the train pass by, it was majestic!

My selfie moment with the train against the blue water
While strolling in Rameshwaram I came across ‘Blue Coral Cottage’ who were offering snorkeling. I was lost under the sea for almost 3 hours.

Pardon the dates, its set wrong on my Go Pro
Its a whole different world under the water
Sea cucumber
Sea lotus

**Watch the video till the end to see what the sea Lotus does….

I also had the opportunity to have lunch with the local fishermen who were so kind to share their cuisine with me.

Ate fresh fish curry which was caught while snorkeling
In front of the home of former President of India Abdul Kalam
Riding back to Madurai

Concluding my voyage around the coast I finally made my way up the hills to Kodaikanal. It was such a relief after riding for days in the heat, to find myself in such a misty and cold place.

My first view of Kodai
My favorite spot on the hill
the view at Coakers Walk in Kodai
United 21 Resort at Kodai
As you can see my entire travelogue is overflowing with a mélange of memories and that in itself is such a high, who needs magic mushrooms?!

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