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Old 21st February 2010, 10:49   #1
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Default TamilNadu-Kerala 8 day tour query

Hello guys...

I am planning a 8 or 9 days of travelling across south TamilNadu and Kerala.
My priority places for this trip are:
1. Kodaikanal
2. Madurai Temple
3. Rameshwaram
4. Danushkodi .. Possible ??
5. Kanyakumari

I basically am travelling with wife and my parents. My parents want to stay a while in each of these places instead of just rushing around. A night's stay at madurai, a sunrise & 2 sunsets in Kanyakumari....

Please help me plan this trip with information on the Hotels (clean budget stays for around 1000 a room/night). My vehicle is a Fiesta.

Based on the suggestions i get, i would want to drive back through TVM, Kochin. (wanna show my parents the backwaters of Kumarakom).
I can probably take the Wayanad route to Bangalore.

Thanks in Advance.
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Old 21st February 2010, 12:18   #2
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Where are you starting your trip from? Kodai and Kumarakom might be the costly places to stay in your whole trip. Rest of the places, you'd get damn good places for your budget.
Assuming you leave Kodai in the afternoon, you can reach the temple town of Madurai by evening. There's a 100 rs Darshan ticket which takes you quick on to the alter. I was surprised by the way they handled things in Madurai temple in my last trip. They let people in, in batches of 8 at both Meenakshi and Chokkan sanctums and didn't push people out (a far cry from Jarugandi one hears in Tirupati - ofcourse the crowd is also a far cry from tirupati).
After an over night stay at Madurai, you can proceed to Rameshwaram early in the morning.
Not sure whether you are allowed to drive on Dhanushkodi. You may be tempted to take the local transport (hear there are some vans or minivans or mahindra vehicles), but I'd not do that with aged parents.
You can leave by 3 or 4 from rameshwaram and take the coastal route to Kanyakumari.
After your two nights and 1 day in Kanyakumari, head out to TVM which takes max of 2 hours (traffic once in Kerala is a bummer). so you leave after catching your second sunrise you can make it quicker in to TVM.
If you are a temple guy, you may have a quick visit of Padmanabhaswamy temple. It attracted more tourist ever since it was discovered the whole statue is of gold. The priests covered it with black material ages back to save it from invaders!
If you want to check out things enroute to TVM, do a pit stop at Padmanabhapuram palace. It's a great place!
The last time I went to Kodai was in 1997. So no idea about prices now.
Madurai, you'd get good hotels near Periyar busstand for your budget. Ideally, you should park your car and take Auto rickshaws to the temple. They'd charge you 30 bucks per auto to the nearest gopura which I guess would be in West chithirai street, close to a landmark called Hindu fund office or Fund office.
You can leave your footwear there at the free place. It's well organised. Stay away from people who volunteer to be guides or offer to safe guard your footwear. There's quite a lot of history associated with the temple. You may buy a guide book for the same which makes your visit all the more enriching.
Photography is allowed in certain areas for a camera fee.
Lunch can be had at Modern Cafe which is walking distance once you come out of the temple. Remember which gopura you entered in so that you know where you've left your footwear.
Modern cafe is highly recommended.
Rameshwaram is more of a sleepy town so you should be getting loads of hotels for your budget.
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Old 21st February 2010, 14:16   #3
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With your priority being the ones listed above i think u wont get more than 2-3 days to spend in kerala .I would suggest the following places in kerala

start soon after the sunrise in kanyakumari

1. Padmanabhapuram palace (on the way to tvm from kanyakumari)
2. padmanabhaswamy temple in trivandrum
3. Leave for Varkala by around 3 pm. U can reach varkala by 4pm. Relax at the beach and leave for Aleppey for stay
4. Next day go on a house boat trip to Kumarakom. Return by day 3 morning
U can leave for bangalore afternoon or by night
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Old 21st February 2010, 14:42   #4
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If your return destination is Bangalore, then you could consider Northern Kerala seriously. Wayanad(Kalpetta), Thalassery, Kannur, Nileswaram are good options. From each of these places, drive to Bangalore is 5 hours.

From Thiruvananthapuram to the above destinations in Kerala would be around 10 hours drive.

I agree with MX6 that Kumarakom would be expensive.

Are you starting the trip from Bangalore? Depending on the starting point, a route can be charted out. Some options coming to my mind listed below.

Bangalore-Madurai-Kodaikanal-Munnar-Kumarakom-Kanyakumari-Rameswaram-Bangalore
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Old 21st February 2010, 14:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbraj View Post
Bangalore-Madurai-Kodaikanal-Munnar-Kumarakom-Kanyakumari-Rameswaram-Bangalore
That's what I've asked whether he's starting/ ending at Bangalore.
With TVM in his itinerary, I'd go with B'lore, Kodai, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Padmanabhapuram, TVM, Kumarakom, Calicut, Bangalore.

In case he wants to drive through wildlife, he can have a look at Mundanthurai which is a tiger reserve.
Also Papanasam and Manimuthar are amazing places that doesn't often fall in the radar of travellers. Instead of the regular Bandipur and Kerala back waters, one can look at these places too. It's more laid back and we have lesser crowd. Perfect haunt for people who want relaxed pace.
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Old 21st February 2010, 15:51   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
With TVM in his itinerary, I'd go with B'lore, Kodai, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Padmanabhapuram, TVM, Kumarakom, Calicut, Bangalore.
The first part of this is fine, but the last leg could turn out to be very tiring.

It is not an easy task driving from TVM to Kozhikode to Bangalore. Kerala is a populous state and most of the roads including highways are two lane with no dividers. Traffic on these roads are very high, with lots of 2/3 wheelers jostling for space.

That is why I suggested to decide whether North Kerala is indeed an option considering Kodai, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari are already options. It could turn out to be a whirlwind tour in 8 days, especially with parents on board.

Of course, IMO, Wayanad, Kasargod are better destinations compared to the usual Munnar/Kumarakom routine.
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Old 21st February 2010, 22:30   #7
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Thnx Guys.

I would be starting from Bangalore and end at Bangalore.

MX6 --> Thnx for your detailed info. 1 Question: Is the Coastal Road from Rameshwaram till Kanyakumari in good condition? OR i need to come back closer to Madurai to travel to Kanyakumari? How long could be the trip from Rameshwaram to KK.

I would prefer the route suggested by you :
B'lore, Kodai, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Padmanabhapuram, TVM, Kumarakom, Calicut, Bangalore
Just because, i dont wanna do Kodai-Munnar one after the other. Agree?

Soccerfan --> Stay at Cochin could work out to my benefit, instead of Kumarakom /Allepey for sure i suppose. I had been to Kumarakom/Munnar for my HM in 2008 June. Had stayed at KL resort.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-day-trip.html (Bangalore - Munnar - Kumarakom - Wayanad... 8 Day trip!!)

sbraj --> I liked your idea of moving from TN sector to Kerala sector from Kodai to Munnar. But how is the route btw these 2 places?? If i remember, the road was almost non-existent from top-station towards Kodai. Is that the road?

Thnx Again.
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Old 21st February 2010, 22:42   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
Thnx Guys.

I would be starting from Bangalore and end at Bangalore.

MX6 --> Thnx for your detailed info. 1 Question: Is the Coastal Road from Rameshwaram till Kanyakumari in good condition? OR i need to come back closer to Madurai to travel to Kanyakumari? How long could be the trip from Rameshwaram to KK.

I would prefer the route suggested by you :
B'lore, Kodai, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Padmanabhapuram, TVM, Kumarakom, Calicut, Bangalore
Just because, i dont wanna do Kodai-Munnar one after the other. Agree?

Soccerfan --> Stay at Cochin could work out to my benefit, instead of Kumarakom /Allepey for sure i suppose. I had been to Kumarakom/Munnar for my HM in 2008 June. Had stayed at KL resort.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-day-trip.html (Bangalore - Munnar - Kumarakom - Wayanad... 8 Day trip!!)

sbraj --> I liked your idea of moving from TN sector to Kerala sector from Kodai to Munnar. But how is the route btw these 2 places?? If i remember, the road was almost non-existent from top-station towards Kodai. Is that the road?

Thnx Again.
Since you have already been to Kumarakom,stay at Kochi and on day 3 try out Vazhachal, Athirappaly waterfalls and drive to Valparai and then to Pollachi
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Old 22nd February 2010, 00:02   #9
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The route plan could be as follows:

Bangalore-NH7-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Toppur-Salem-Namakkal-Karur-Dindigul-Off NH7-Vathalagundu-Kodaikanal
Great roads, a day's drive.

Kodaikanal-Vathalagundu-Dindigul-Madurai
Great roads, 3-4 hour drive
Possibel toleave Kodai early in teh morning, arrive at Madurai before 10 am, finsih darshan before the main Meenakshi temple closes for midday and proceed to Rameswaram.
Alternatively, leave in afternoon, reach Madurai by evening, have darshan taht day (or early next morning) and stay overnight at Madurai

Madurai-Ramanathapuram-Rameswaram
Road is not great, has some patchy sections, but you can still do it in under 5 hours.
Leave Madurai early morning, reach Rameswaram before lunch.

Dhanushkodi is half an hour's drive from Rameswaram. Ideally, park your car at teh check post and take the 4x4 vehicles that will take you to the land's end.

Rameswaram-Ramanthapuram-Kizhakarai-Vembar-Tuticorin-Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari
The new East Coast Road is fantastic till Tuticorin, and is OK rest of teh way. You could take half a day to reach Kanyakumari. Reach Kanyakumari by tea time, spend teh night there.

Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Trivandrum
Trivandrum-Kollam-Alapuzha-Kumarakom

The 85 kms to Trivandrum is a bad drive - excellent drive, but very congested trafic corridor. Ideally, leave as early as possible from KK (say, sunrise) and reach Trivandrum in 2hours before 8 am.
You do not have to stay back in Trivandrum, assuming you finish darshan of Padmanabhaswamy Temple before 11 am, and if you fancy, drop in at Kovalam. You could proceed to Kumarakom the same day and reach there for the night (3-4 hours from Trivandrum).

Kumarakom-Kochi-Trissur-Kozhikode-Kalpetta-Sultan's Battery-Gundulpet-Mysore-Bangalore
A day's drive. Ensure you cross Sultan's Battery before 7 pm, since the road to Mysore close by 9 pm.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 00:08   #10
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  • Please bear in mind that temples in TN/KL close around midday and do not reopen till around 4-5 pm.
  • Temples like Padmanabhaswamy Temple follow the old tradition for men wearing dhotis and women wearing saris.
  • Astamudi backwaters off Kollam is a good alternative to Kumarakom.
  • Cheaper alternative is also to stay in Alapuzha town instead of the Kumarakom backwaters.
  • Expect b
ad traffic jams in Kochi bypass also.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 00:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The route plan could be as follows:

Bangalore-NH7-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Toppur-Salem-Namakkal-Karur-Dindigul-Off NH7-Vathalagundu-Kodaikanal
Great roads, a day's drive.

Kodaikanal-Vathalagundu-Dindigul-Madurai
Great roads, 3-4 hour drive
Possibel toleave Kodai early in teh morning, arrive at Madurai before 10 am, finsih darshan before the main Meenakshi temple closes for midday and proceed to Rameswaram.
Alternatively, leave in afternoon, reach Madurai by evening, have darshan taht day (or early next morning) and stay overnight at Madurai

Madurai-Ramanathapuram-Rameswaram
Road is not great, has some patchy sections, but you can still do it in under 5 hours.
Leave Madurai early morning, reach Rameswaram before lunch.

Dhanushkodi is half an hour's drive from Rameswaram. Ideally, park your car at teh check post and take the 4x4 vehicles that will take you to the land's end.

Rameswaram-Ramanthapuram-Kizhakarai-Vembar-Tuticorin-Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari
The new East Coast Road is fantastic till Tuticorin, and is OK rest of teh way. You could take half a day to reach Kanyakumari. Reach Kanyakumari by tea time, spend teh night there.

Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Trivandrum
Trivandrum-Kollam-Alapuzha-Kumarakom

The 85 kms to Trivandrum is a bad drive - excellent drive, but very congested trafic corridor. Ideally, leave as early as possible from KK (say, sunrise) and reach Trivandrum in 2hours before 8 am.
You do not have to stay back in Trivandrum, assuming you finish darshan of Padmanabhaswamy Temple before 11 am, and if you fancy, drop in at Kovalam. You could proceed to Kumarakom the same day and reach there for the night (3-4 hours from Trivandrum).

Kumarakom-Kochi-Trissur-Kozhikode-Kalpetta-Sultan's Battery-Gundulpet-Mysore-Bangalore
A day's drive. Ensure you cross Sultan's Battery before 7 pm, since the road to Mysore close by 9 pm.
Well, the High Vay King has shown the path now. I'm very happy to note that it's very similar to what I'd suggested!
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Old 22nd February 2010, 01:01   #12
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Thanks HVK for the detailed Info. Things like the temple timings are usually forgotten. Thanks for providing those details too.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 06:32   #13
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On the way back from Kumarakom, you can even visit the Vaikam temple. Its on the way (30KM from Kumarakom). Also if you dont want the full one day drive all the way till Bangalore, you can halt at Gruvayur and start the next day. That breaks the journey nicely. It would be about 5-6 hours drive max up to Guruvayur. Kanoos residency @ Guruvaur is a very good place to stay. If possible you can have a darshan in the evening and start early morning. I have seen that at Guruvayur evening visits to the temple are easier than the morning ones, even if you go for an early morning one.


PS: BTW it was your previous travelogue, which introduced me to Sienna village. I had been there in Dec. Really a good place !

Last edited by ampere : 22nd February 2010 at 06:35.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 08:36   #14
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Quote:
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PS: BTW it was your previous travelogue, which introduced me to Sienna village. I had been there in Dec. Really a good place !
Hey Thanks ampere.. I am happy it worked out well for you!

Btw, All

I was checking these hotels for Kodai. Pls let me know if you know of the hotels listed in the below link, which could be opted for.

http://www.hotelsinkodai.com/budget.html
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Old 22nd February 2010, 09:33   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
Hey Thanks ampere.. I am happy it worked out well for you!

Btw, All

I was checking these hotels for Kodai. Pls let me know if you know of the hotels listed in the below link, which could be opted for.

http://www.hotelsinkodai.com/budget.html
I had been to Villa Retreat. Next to Coaker's Walk. Paid about 9K for 3 days with food included. Decent place I would say (though not on your list). But this was about 2 years back. So the costing may not be in tune with the times.

The place had an amazing view. It was like one is at Coaker's Walk during the stay ! Food was so-so and not that great
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