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Old 1st October 2010, 21:51   #1
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Default Guidance required on Tamil Nadu Tour

Dear Team Members,

I am planning a 9 day tour to Tamil Nadu from Bangalore starting on 9th October. I am the sole driver and will be driving a 2008 Indica Xeta with 5 members including me.
I like to travel in a leisurely way spending quality time at few important places rather than visting all and sundry places on the way. I am comfortable driving around 85-100 km/hr on good roads and I dont wish to drive after night fall except may be on return journey to Bangalore.

This is my iternary, I request experienced travellers to guide me on best routes, restaurants and any changes/additions.

Day 1: Leave Bangalore around 0630 and reach Thanjavur for night halt after visiting Srirangam. I have not planned to enter Trichy.

Day 2: Spend entire day in Thanjavur and nearby places like Kumbakonam ( Suggestions required here)

Day 3: Travel to Rameswaram (Suggest best route)

Day 4: Whole day in Rameswaram including visit to Dhanuskodi.

Day 5: Travel to Kanyakumari via Tiruchendur. Is it possible to reach Kanyakumari by evening after spending an hour or two at Tiruchendur? I am not very certain about route to be taken.

Day 6: Entire day reserved for Kanyakumari, planning to view both sunrise & sunset.

Day 7: Travel to Madurai, visiting Suchindram on the way. Is it worth going to Kovalam during day time? In case I go what is the best way to reach Madurai from there?

Day 8: Madurai & nearby places.

Day 9: Return trip to Bangalore via Palani. How do I rejoin NH7 from Palani as I dont intend to travel via Bhavani.

Considering I will be driving an Indica, I prefer good roads even if distance is bit long. I have planned in such a way so I will not be driving long distances on consecutive days.

I will staying overnight in Thanjavur, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari & Madurai, please suggest good hotels for family stay with safe parking areas. My budget would be around 2K per night for a family room of 5.

Thanking everyone in advance.
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Old 1st October 2010, 22:24   #2
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Leisure travel with long drives is always a good idea (Even I like to take it that way). Take the pace as it comes. !!

1. Very much possible to reach Tanjore by evening. Only caveat is that temple at Srirangam, should not be closed by the time you reach there. Even if you start by 5:30, it would take minimum 5 hours to reach Sirarangam.

2. Tanjore/Kumbakonam can be done in a day. Good that you are not starting to Rameshwaram the same day.

3. Best route to Rameshwaram from Tanjore:
Tanjore-Pudukottai-Karaikudi-Devipatnam-Rameshwaram.

4. Rameshwaram-KK: There are two issues. If you dont want to go to Tiruchendur, then you can come down till Tuticorin via ECR and then go to Tirunelveli and continue to KK via the excellent NH7 (Check with @LongDriveLover who did this recently.
But since you want to go to Tiruchendur you will need to continue on ECR. Road condition is not all that great. HVK can comment on this.

Again not sure when you reach Tiruchendur, will the temple be open.

5. KK-Madurai via Suchindram: Very much possible. I have done it myself.
TVM beach option would be quite a detour. I would suggest continue to Madurai. (You would have had enough of sea. Why Kovalam?)

6. Madurai-Palani is about 120 km. The route is through Dindigul where you branch off NH7. So while coming from Palani, you can take the same road back to re-join at Dindigul.

I see in GM a place called Vedasandur which provides a shorter access to NH7. Here is the link:

National Highway 7 to Palani, Tamil Nadu - Google Maps

This is strictly as per GM. I have no idea of the road.
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Old 1st October 2010, 22:50   #3
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Lots of temples in and around Thanjavur/Kumbakonam. Too many to be listed! Best person to consult is GSMINC who is an expert on Thanjavur region temples.

Route suggested by ampere from Thanjavur to Rameswaram is the best one, but unsure how good the road is - known to break up from time to time. Last heard it was in good condition.

Lovely ECR from Rameswaram to Tuticorin, via Ramanathapuram, Kizhakarai, Sikkal & Vembar. From there, the road is not bad to Tiruchendur. You will have to race against time to get to the temple before it closes at midday. You can do Rameswaram-Tiruchendur in under 4-5 hours. Make sure you do not get into Tuticorin city, take the bypass to Tiruchendur.

Tiruchendur-KK road is also good. You can be in KK easily for sunset time.

As ampere says, I would not go to Kovalam, too much of a detour and congestion.

Suchindram is 12-13 kms from KK on the way to Nagercoil. From there, you can go to NH7 via either Nagercoil or a point somewhere on Nagercoil-NH7 road (check out locally for actual road details).

Turn off for Palani on NH7 at Dindigul bypass. YOu will first see the left turn towards Kodaikanal/Theni, followed by the second left turn (1-2 kms further) towards Palani - clear signages.

You can come back either to Dindigul or Vedsandur (as ampere said). That road is also supposed to be in good condition.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 09:40   #4
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Thank you hvkumar & ampere,

On second thoughts I have decided to drop Tiruchendur and will drive directly to Kanyakumari from Rameswaram via Tirunelveli.

My young daughter loves playing in beaches, that is the only reason I planned to visit Kovalam. Are there any good beaches to spend couple of hours in Kanyakumari or nearby places.

Thank you.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 09:51   #5
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@KReddy, you may want to visit the Shangumugam beach in Trivandrum, which is just about 80 Kms from Kanyakumari & shouldn't take more than 2 hours drive, one way. The beaches are good & clean in Trivandrum than Kanyakumari.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 10:20   #6
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Dhanushkodi itself has one of the most beautiful beaches. You don't need to go all the way till TVM for a good beach.

@AArgee, @Reddy wants to go to Madurai on the way after visiting TVM. Thats why we felt, it may be quite a detour to hit TVM and then continue on the way to Madurai.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 10:33   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreddy View Post
Dear Team Members,

Day 2: Spend entire day in Thanjavur and nearby places like Kumbakonam ( Suggestions required here)
There are one too many. You need to set an agenda of what kind of temples you want. Thirukadayur is famous because of the amount of marriages happen there. Tanjavur itself has Periakovil which can take up 3-4 hours. Then the powerful temples of all the navagrahas. If you want to appease Shani bahavan, Tirunallar is the place. Then Alangudi, Vaitheeswarankovil for naadi josyam .. That is if you are into all these stuff. So, plan what you want to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kreddy View Post
Day 7: Travel to Madurai, visiting Suchindram on the way. Is it worth going to Kovalam during day time? In case I go what is the best way to reach Madurai from there?
Kanyakumari to Suchindram is less than 30 minutes. The temple stays open till 12:00 I suppose. You may have to navigate through Nagercoil town if you want to continue to Madurai from Suchindram.

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Old 2nd October 2010, 10:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anainar View Post
Kanyakumari to Suchindram is less than 30 minutes. The temple stays open till 12:00 I suppose. You may have to navigate through Nagercoil town if you want to continue to Madurai from Suchindram.
Nainar
There is a bypass which avoids Nagarkoil directly. When I went, I had hired a cab. The driver knew about the road and we did not have to go into Nagarkoil town.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 13:53   #9
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Better route from Tanjore to Rameswaram is Tanjore - Pattukkottai - Sethubhavachatram - Thondi - Devipattinam - Rameswaram.

Ramanathapuram Bypass is over and so take left after crossing 10kms from Devipattinam.

Sethubhavachatram to Ramanathapuram is around 160 kms via ECR and can be done in 2 hrs.

So Tanjore to Rameswaram might take 4-5 hrs at the max.

And Rameswaram to kanyakumari via Tuticorin and Tirunelveli is 320 kms and might take 5-6 hrs.

My suggestion for your stay in Rameswaram is Hotel Tamilnadu. It was recently renovated and very close to the Temple.
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Old 6th October 2010, 22:55   #10
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Dear Team,

Thank you all for your help. I have finally decided on following routes. Is it OK or can it be tweaked further?

Bangalore to Thanjavur via Srirangam

Bangalore - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Namakkal - Thottiyam - Musiri - Srirangam - Thanjavur.

Is it required to enter Trichy here?

Thanjavur to Rameswaram

Here I have 2 options

1. Thanjavur - Pudukkotai - Karaikudi - Devakottai - Devipattinam - Ramanathapuram - Rameswaram

or

2. Thanjavur - Pattukkotai - Sethubhava Chattram - Tondi - Devipattinam - Ramnathapuram - Rameswaram.

Is second option through ECR better? How about facilities on the way? Please suggest.

Rameswaram to Kanyakumari

Rameswaram - Ramanathapuram - Kizhakarai - Sikkal - Vembar - Tuticorin - Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari to Madurai and to Bangalore via Palani is straight forward.

Please provide your valuable suggestions.



2.
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Old 7th October 2010, 09:40   #11
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Harshavarthan, is the Nagapattinam-Tondi-Ramanathapuram fully renovated and in good condition? I remember it used to be the worst road in TN!

kreddy, some answers:
Going to Thanjavur, you do not have to enter Trichy city. When you are coming on NH45 after crossing Srirangam (and Kaveri bridge) you will enter Trichy bypass, and shortly, you will see the left turn onto Nh67 for Thanjavur.

In your drive to Rameswaram from Thanjavur, you will have hotels in Pudukottai and Karaikudi but on teh second route expect no facilities, even petrol pumps are few and far between.

Rameswaram to KK on ECR via Turicorin and Tiruchendur (and not Tirunelveli) is a lovely route.
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Old 7th October 2010, 10:26   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreddy View Post
Kanyakumari to Madurai and to Bangalore via Palani is straight forward.
Why do you want to go via Palani from Madurai to Bangalore?
Unless you want to goto Palani specifically, Madurai to Bangalore is straight route.

Madurai-Dindigul-Karur-Namakkal-Salem-Dharmapuri-Krishnagiri-Hosur-Bangalore.

Drive from Madurai to Salem is awesome. Excellent Roads. You don't have to enter Dindigul-Karur-Namakkal. Infact, you won't even recognize you are crossing these towns.

-Ravi
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:08   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreddy View Post
Dear Team,

Thanjavur to Rameswaram

Here I have 2 options

1. Thanjavur - Pudukkotai - Karaikudi - Devakottai - Devipattinam - Ramanathapuram - Rameswaram

or

2. Thanjavur - Pattukkotai - Sethubhava Chattram - Tondi - Devipattinam - Ramnathapuram - Rameswaram.

Is second option through ECR better? How about facilities on the way? Please suggest.


2.
Karaikudi to Devipattinam road is not very good.

And yes. Sethubhava Chattram to Ramanathapuram is ECR. There is no facilities available in this route except small tea shops and a few fuel pumps. But this stretch can easily be covered in 3 hours. My brother always prefers this route.

@hvkumar

Road renovation work between Nagapattinam and Tuticurin is completely over including the by pass in Thiruthuraipoondi, Muthupettai and Ramanathapuram. This 220 kms stretch from Nagapattinam to Ramanathapuram usually takes less than 3 hrs for me in my santro. Now one of THE best roads in TN .

My parents went to Kanyakumari before 3 weeks via Tiruchendur and they said the road between Turicurin to kanyakumari via Tiruchendur is not so good. They returned via Tirunelveli - Tuticurin and then to Ramanathapuaram.

Last edited by Harshavarthan : 7th October 2010 at 11:13. Reason: Did not notice the last suggestion made by hvkumar.
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:31   #14
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Harshavarthan, that is great news indeed. That means you can now do a true coastal drive in TN, with the ECR stretching from Madras till KK!
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Old 7th October 2010, 11:43   #15
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No. Not yet. The renovation road work between Pondicherry to Nagapattinam and Tuticurin to kanyakumari are not yet completed. By-pass roads in Sirkali and Nagapattinam is also not over though chidambaram By-pass is ready for use.
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