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Old 16th November 2010, 23:31   #1
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Default 5 Days out of Chennai

December is when the travel bug hits everyone. We are planning to go to the Andaman Islands but have planned a long break journey at Chennai. Shall be flying down on 25th and then fly out to Port Blair on 30th. Now how to best plan the days in Chennai. My tentative plan is:-
25th Night take the setu express to Rameshwarm, Spend 26th at Rameshwaram and take the night train back to Chennai.
Possible offshoot could be getting down in Pondy on 27th morning and then take the evening bus to Chennai.
28th drive to Mahabalipuram, Covelong, Kanchipuram and back to Chennai.
29th Chennai.

Friends please suggest other places that can be seen in and around Chennai; what makes more sense-travelling to Rameshwaram or drop it all together and drive down to Pondy from Chennai and on the way back up go via Kanchipuram?

All help and suggestions solicited and requested. We are a family of 4 with 2 children aged 5yrs and 15 months.
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Old 17th November 2010, 02:58   #2
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I am not so familiar with train/bus journeys. However I would suggest the following by assuming its easy to get good train/bus services to these places.

The following are the places that you can visit around Chennai.

Trichy (Temple-350 kms from Chennai)
Thanjavur (Historical place-60 kms from Trichy)
Kumbakonam (Temple-90 kms from Trichy or 40 kms from Thanjavur)
Madurai (Famous Meenakshi Temple-450 kms from Chennai)
Pondicherry (Beaches and Aurobindo Ashram -150 kms from Chennai)
Pichavaram Forests ( Close to Pondicherry, there is one travelogue regarding this, I personally did not visit this place but the travelogue shows some amazing pics of this place)
Mahabalipuram (Heritage site - 60 kms from Chennai)
Rameshwaram (Famous temple , 550 kms from Chennai)
Hogenakkal Waterfalls (350 kms from chennai - Lots of travlogues on this forum )
Kolimalai hills (350 kms from Chennai, route to this place includes the famous 70 hair pin bends)

Depending on your interests you can pick and choose any of these places to visit.

Additional details:

1. If you plan to visit Madura, Trichy falls on the way. Kumbakonam and Tanjavur can be reached by taking detours from Trichy
2. Mahabalipuram falls on the way to Pondicherry. Further down south is Rameshwaram. Madurai Rameshwaram is 120 odd kms
3. Hogenakkal falls on a completely different route.
4. Kolli hills is again on a different route although closer to Hogenakkal (150 kms type). If you would ask me, I would leave out Kolli hills considering your shortage of time.

I have also taken the liberty to give a few options. Hope this is OK.
Option 1 - Pilgrimage

Day 1: Chennai - Trichy. Reach Trichy by morning of 26th afternoon.
Stay at Trichy,visit temple in the evening.

Day 2 (27th) - Hire a cab
Leave early morning.
Trichy - Tanjavur - 60 odd kms (1.5hrs)
Tanjavur - Kumbakonam - 40 odd kms (1.5hrs)
Kumbakonam - Trichy 90 kms (2hrs)
Reach Trichy by evening and take a bus to Madurai. (Trichy Madurai is 120 odd kms and 2.5 hrs) and crash at Madurai for the night.

Day 3.(28th)
Visit Madurai temple early morning and head to Rameshwaram
Madura Rameshwaram is around 200kms (takes 5 hrs )
Reach rameshwaram by afternoon. Visit temple etc.
Crash at rameshwaram for the Night.

Day 4 (29th) Leave Rameshwaram towards Chennai. If possible visit Mahabalipuram. (One would need not more than 2 hrs at this place).


Option 2: This is fairly straight forward.
Day1
Visit Mahabalipuram on the way to Pondicherry. Enjoy Pondicherry
Day2: Visit Pichavaram Forests. Leave towards Chennai by night.
Day 3: Visit Hogenakkal. I am not sure of any good place to stay here (Since I drove ahead but other members can help)
Day 4: Head back to Chennai and take rest.

If you ask me about my favorite places among these, my pics would be Thanjore, Rameshwaram and Hogenakkal ( i have not visited Pichavaram forests)


Apart from the afore mentioned, you can also visit

1. Munnar (650 kms from Chennai),Thekkady(100 odd kms from Munnar), Gavi (very close to Thekkady, Gavi I have not been here but the travelogue in team-bhp shows me what I have missed)
2. Kodaikanal (550 kms from chennai)
3. Ooty and Conoor (550 kms from Chennai)

These options if you want to go to a greater distance and if u plan to invest all the 4 days at one place only.

Last edited by himavanth_m : 17th November 2010 at 03:08. Reason: Added new places
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Old 17th November 2010, 08:12   #3
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I think if you are a temple man, Trichy/Tanjore/Kumbakonam circuit is the best.

Take a night train to Trichy (Nellai or Rockfort).
Hotel in Trichy : Royal Southern. Take a cab go around Trichy/Tanjore one day.
And Kumbakonam the other day. Come back and take the train back to Chennai to be in time for your flight.

I would suggest keep Madurai out of it. Needs more time.
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Old 17th November 2010, 08:56   #4
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I'm assuming that you've 27, 28 & 29 full days reserved for Chennai & surrounding places for touring. Help me understand, if this is incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Possible offshoot could be getting down in Pondy on 27th morning and then take the evening bus to Chennai.
28th drive to Mahabalipuram, Covelong, Kanchipuram and back to Chennai.
29th Chennai.
There is nothing much exciting at Covelong beach; Mahabalipuram is enroute to Pondicherry; you can cover Mahabalipuram, say in about 2-3 hours max.

So I would say, start of early morning from Chennai, go to Mahabalipuram, a travel through ECR (East Coast Road) during morning hours is really scenic. Spend sometime at Mahabs, have breakfast & head towards Pondicherry for lunch. Stay over half a day or may be until lunch of next day at Pondicherry & head back to Chennai before dinner.

If you're interested with Tirupathi darshan (richest temple in Asia & one of the richest in world), book a ticket with ITDC or APSRTC for one day quick darshan. You can conveniently get your trip done with Volvo A/C.

Another option would be for a day's visit to Kanchipuram, land of temples & be warned to take your Wifey for she might leave you bankrupt purchasing the famous Kanchipuram silk sarees

Could you also share you preffered mode of transport? Like, if you hire a cab, its convenient but costs a bomb, if you use public transport, costs less, but needs very careful planning & hence the question.

Last edited by aargee : 17th November 2010 at 08:57.
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Old 18th November 2010, 11:44   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions friends.
@him: Have only 4 days so many of the places are out of bounds. Plus have already been to almost the entire places except those mentioned south of Chennai.
@aargee: have an option of a self driven car ex chennai. Not much of a temple man. But Rameshwaram sort of holds some charm to go venture out into the sea but it can be left to some other time as well.
Haha cannot dare to leave her behind as she is the one who has set her heart on Kanchi and has told me to chalk out the route around this place.
My confusion is: Should I make it hectic and include Rameshwaram or drop it and confine myself to Mahabalipuram, Pondy, Kanchi? I have half days at my disposal on 26th Dec and 6th Jan as well in Chennai.
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Old 18th November 2010, 12:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
@aargee: have an option of a self driven car ex chennai.
Good good, in that case, you can do a lot, when you enjoy driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Haha cannot dare...out the route around this place.
Enjoy

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Should I make it hectic and include Rameshwaram or drop it and confine myself to Mahabalipuram, Pondy, Kanchi?
There's nothing hectic, if you plan to drive to Rameshwaram, then it might sound little hectic. But you seem to take train & that too night journey. So goahed if you want to continue, but remember, when you come on 27th morning, you may or may not be in a position to drive to Pondy. So you can safely say, you WILL reach Pondy for dinner, considering that you can spend lunch at Mahabs. How does that sound?

Otherwise, spend 27th around Chennai (which you may not be interested too, being an ex-Chennai), 28th take a trip to one of those theme park in ECR, your eldest might enjoy, go to Mahabs by evening & then drive off to Pondy. Spend 28th at Pondy, Auroville & come back to Chennai on 28th for dinner. 29th probably you can go to Kanchipuram for shopping.

Another option would be is to spend one more day around Rameshwaram, come back to Chennai on 28th & do the above trip excluding Kanchipuram.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
I have half days at my disposal on 26th Dec and 6th Jan as well in Chennai.
Sry, I couldn't get. Are you saying half a day to spend on 26th Dec & 6th Jan in Chennai? In that case, do a cool window shopping at Spencers.
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Old 18th November 2010, 15:42   #7
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@argee: M not ex chennai. What I meant was that Ill have a car in Chennai which I can drive around. Just checked my tickets again, I am reaching Chennai on 25th Evening and then again on 6th Jan morning from Portblair. So will ahve entire 26th Dec and half a day on 6th Jan. So the final paln could be like this:-
25th Dec night train to Rameshwaram
26th Day at Rameshwaram. Night train back to Chennai.
27th Spend the day in and around Chennai visiting the theme parks and the Marina beach.
28th Drive to Mahabalipuram and onwards to Pondy. Night stay at Pondy.
29th Drive back to Chennai via Kanchipuram.
30th Flight to Portblair.
6th Jan : Arrival from Portblair. Spend the entire afternoon and evening at Chennai.
7th Jan Fly back to Delhi.

Last edited by wanderernomad : 18th November 2010 at 15:46.
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Old 18th November 2010, 15:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
@argee: M not ex chennai.
Oh!!! Sorry, since the post was unclear, I misunderstood it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
I am reaching Chennai on 25th Evening and then again on 6th Jan morning from Portblair. So will ahve entire 26th Dec and half a day on 6th Jan.
Ok, so it would be...
25 Eve - Arrive in Chennai
26, 27, 28, 29 - Four solid days
30th & 6th Mornings - Chennai

Other than Pondi, like @himavanth_m said, you may want to consider visiting Kolli hills that has 72 hair pin bends & you might enjoy driving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
So the final paln could be like this:-
Sounds excellent & very practical without hurrying up.

Last edited by aargee : 18th November 2010 at 15:52.
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Old 18th November 2010, 16:18   #9
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Excellent plan and not too hectic.
If possible check out Pichavaram which is close to Pondicherry. Link to the travelogue below
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...10-2010-a.html (Pondicherry and Pichavaram Forest trip-Sep 10, 2010)

@aargee: I did not get a chance to explore kolli hills much apart from driving on the 72 hairpin bends. Is there anything else special that I must see at kolli hills apart from the drive?
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Old 18th November 2010, 16:34   #10
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Quote:
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@aargee: I did not get a chance to explore kolli hills much apart from driving on the 72 hairpin bends. Is there anything else special that I must see at kolli hills apart from the drive?
A friend of mine did a recent trip to Kolli hills & visited the following places...
Watch tower by the forest department
View point
Mudhumakkal Thalli, 2000 yrs old Cemetry
1200 yrs old Lord Shiva temple
Masila falls
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Old 18th November 2010, 16:34   #11
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At Rameshwaram, is it possible to get a room upon reaching? I mean can I get a room just for the day from the morning to evening? How far is Chennai Egmore from Chennai Airport? The travelling time that is. I am presently booked on the 143o flight from Delhi. Need to check if I can get it done on a morning flight.
Haha just checked from Air India. My flight has already been rescheduled to 1030 and arrival at 1315, so I can safely book the Setu Express, I think for Rameshwaram.

Last edited by wanderernomad : 18th November 2010 at 16:40.
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Old 18th November 2010, 17:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
At Rameshwaram, is it possible...morning to evening?
Sry, I'm not aware

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
How far is Chennai Egmore from Chennai Airport? The travelling time that is.
Keep aside about 1.5 hours safely during peak hours by public transport & takes lesser time by prepaid taxi. During non peak hours it should not take more than 45 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
My flight...I think for Rameshwaram.
Ok
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Old 22nd November 2010, 23:11   #13
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Though I ahve got the train tickets booked to Rameshwaram, am thinking of dropping it all together due to kids. Why subject them to 2 night journeys and full day wanderings? If I do drop Rameshwaram I think I can do Pondy and Pench Forest at a more leisurely pace while soaking in the Chennai sights too.
What are the places to visit in Chennai specially for shopping for local artifacts and curios?
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Old 23rd November 2010, 09:51   #14
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I'm giving a quick places to visit in Chennai here, add to that Guindy national park & Vandaloor zoo, Mahabalipuram & Croc park . For shopping, you can walk into Spencer plaza, Ampa Skywalk mall, Citi Centre, Express Avenue all of them are very decent & upscale shopping complexes.

Yes, you can include Pichavaram & Pondicherry as leisure trips.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 14:34   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
At Rameshwaram, is it possible to get a room upon reaching? I mean can I get a room just for the day from the morning to evening? How far is Chennai Egmore from Chennai Airport? The travelling time that is. I am presently booked on the 143o flight from Delhi. Need to check if I can get it done on a morning flight.
Haha just checked from Air India. My flight has already been rescheduled to 1030 and arrival at 1315, so I can safely book the Setu Express, I think for Rameshwaram.
Yes it is possible to get a room after reaching there but you need to negotiate hard.
to avoide risk please do search in Justdial for hotels and book it well in advance

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
A friend of mine did a recent trip to Kolli hills & visited the following places...
Watch tower by the forest department
View point
Mudhumakkal Thalli, 2000 yrs old Cemetry
1200 yrs old Lord Shiva temple
Masila falls
aargee where is this kolli hills? distance ?

are there any decent place to stay there ,i am looking for a two day driving trip within 300kms range (ie 1 night stay)
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