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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:21   #1
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Default Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

It was a week before the good friday long weekend, and I was thinking of what to plan.
I was just back from a drive to kanchipuram and vellore the week before, and the TN highways were calling me again!
I started browsing through the travelogues forum here, and hit upon Ranga's thread on the navagraha temples visit.
I read through the entire thread, which is so informative, and kind of decided that this might be a good choice.
Thought it would be a win-win, since I would get to drive my figo on the awesome TN highways again, and my parents would feel good visiting all the temples too.

I made a rough plan for the 3 days, assuming that We could cover all the 9 navagraha temples in a single day (which was mentioned to be tough by some members). But then got to know that parents had to attend a wedding on friday morning, and so, we would be able to leave only after lunch.
After a lot of thought on whether to go ahead with the plan, choose some other place, cancel the trip, I decided we will go through with the trip.
Called up atleast 10 hotels in trichy and tanjavore for booking, but all of them were fully booked.
Finally managed to get a booking at PLA recidency, tanjavore. Phone number - 04362-278393

We were able to leave bangalore only by 4 PM. Started from banashankari, and took the electronic city elevated flyover towards hosur.
After some traffic through hosur, I was cruising through the superb roads towards krishnagiri. The weather was great as well, with signs of rain in the air!

Last edited by figo_united : 3rd May 2011 at 17:41.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:39   #2
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

NH7 near krishnagiri
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3219.jpg


Starting to drizzle
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Short break
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3225.jpg


What car is this? I forgot the name, and the pic is distorted too
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3231.jpg


I was doing 3 figure speed consistently on the awesome NH7, till it started raining. It got really heavy, and visibility reduced. So had to slow down and crossed salem around 7PM and headed towards namakkal.


The wipers in full action near salem
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3233.jpg
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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:52   #3
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

NH7 bypasses namakkal, so look out for the exit from NH7 around 50kms after salem.
By that time, it was raining really heavily for atleast an hour.
After taking the exit from NH7, there is a double road that leads to the city center. lot of water had collected on the road, and it was increasing as I moved further. Some of the two wheelers parked on the road side were almost half immersed in water. To add to that, there was a traffic jam because of a conked omni. I was following a swift dzire, and could see that around half of the rear bumper of the dzire was inside the water! A lorry overtook me from the left, and I could feel the figo floating in water!!!

I was quite worried by that time, and was keeping the throttle up to try and prevent water from entering the exhaust.
Thankfully, the traffic started moving, and as soon as I saw another road without water, I moved over and parked on a safe spot.
Also found a saravana bhavan nearby, and decided to have dinner and wait for the water on the roads to clear.

There are two routes from namakkal to trichy. One through musuri, and the other one through thorayur. I had read in some threads here that the musuri route is quite bad and many suggested to take the other route. I checked with a local there, and he suggested me to take the musuri route itself, since the other route had some deviations to take, and it would have been difficult to find people on the road, given that it would be quite late in the night and also it was raining.

So, I took the musri route itself. The initial stretch on this route is quite good. But it was difficult to drive in the night because of the heavy rain. There are 3-4 very bad patches of around half a km each on this route, but the rest of the road is quite driveable.
Reached trichy around 11:30PM, and it had stopped raining by then. Look out for the milk dairy where you find the deviation towards tanjavur.

The trichy tanjavur route is 4 laned now, and is very good too. There is a toll booth midway, but they are on trial operation. No toll collected, just the entry of the vehichles moving by.

Reached tanjavore by 12:30 and checked into PLA recidency. I had booked for a standard AC room, had also called them to confirm it and inform them I will be late when I was in namakkal , but when I went there, they tell me only the deluxe suite is available!

Didnt have any other option at that hour, with my parents, knowing that most of the other lodges were fully booked. I had to take it up, although I was irritated that they were trying to rip me off, by taking advantage of the situation
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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:54   #4
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

Started from the hotel around 6:45 next morning. My plan was to reach kumbhakonam and hire a guide and visit all 9 temples on the same day.
Since the moon temple in tingaLur was on the way to kumbhakonam, I decided to finish the visit on the way.
Take the road towards thiruvayoor from tanjavur to reach the moon temple.

Road to TingaLur
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3247.jpg



Moon temple in TingaLur
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3250.jpg


Since it was quite early in the morning, the temple was not crowded and we finished the darshan within 10 minutes, and headed towards kumbhakoNam.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 18:11   #5
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

Reached kumbhakonam around 8:15 and went to the adi kumbeshwar temple.
Again had a quick darshan, and then inquired outside as to where I can get a guide. I was told to check at the venkataramana lodge. I went to an auto stand to check again, and one of the auto drivers volunteered to accompany us as a guide and quoted Rs 500. Since I remembered reading in ranga's thread that guides charge anywhere between 800-1000, I felt it was reasonable given that he would be with us for the whole day and assured we would be able to finish all 9 temples the same day.

Moreover, as I realised later, being a driver himself, he also helped me with the overtakings on the narrow roads and parking near temples too. So I guess money well spent!

If anybody needs, His number is 09362718887, His name is Balu and he will be available the auto stand near the adi kumbeshwar temple in kumbhakoNam.

After a quick breakfast, we started towards the rahu temple in thirunageshwaram. It is around 10kms from kumbhakonam.
It was nice to kick off the journey with an easy darshan, and we also went to the nearby Uppillayappan temple. Its just around 1km from the Rahu temple, and worth a visit.

Our guide then told that there are two options for the journey ahead, go towards thirunallar, finish the 6 temples in that circuit and come back to kumbhakonam and then visit the guru temple in alangudi, or go to alangudi first and continue from there on towards the other temples in reverse direction.


We decided to take the first option since he told that the route towards tirunallar has some really bad patches and might be difficult in the dark.
Also, if we go to alangudi at the end, we could reach tanjavore directly from there through the highway via nedamangalam.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 18:19   #6
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

Tirunallar is around 60kms from kumbhakonam, where the famous shani temple is located.
The route towards tirunallar from kumbhakonam has some really bad patches, and we needed almost 1.5 hours to reach. We have to go via kollumangudi to reach tirunallar.

There is a pond near the temple where people take bath, and leave their old clothes behind as a traditional practice, and then proceed to have the darshan of the god. Since we were on a tight schedule for the day, we just stood in the water for a while, sprinkled it over us, and left some old clothes of each of us, that mom had brought from home

Being a saturday, the temple was very crowded and we opted for the Rs.20 darshan, which also had a big queue around the temple. It took us more than 2 hours to get the darshan.

I wanted to stop for refuelling ourselves, as well as the figo. But our guide suggested that we will be passing through karaikal town, which is in pondichery and the fuel price will be lesser than that in tamilnadu, and we could have lunch there as well.
Karaikal is just around 5kms from tirunallar, and the diesel price was 39.1. Filled in a full tank at a BP bunk, and headed into the town to have lunch.

Our next destination was the kethu temple in keezha perumpallam. It is around 45 kms from tirunallar.
The road is quite good in this stretch, but a bit narrow. The oncoming TN state transport buses dont make it easy for you. We reached there around 3:45, after the stops at karaikal.


Tree outside the kethu temple where people tie some sacred threads
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3280.jpg


Lots of pigeons on the gopuram.
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3284.jpg



We had a very quick darshan here, since there were not too many people, and left the place around 4.

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Old 5th May 2011, 19:18   #7
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The budha temple in thiruvengadu is around 8kms from keezha perumpallam and takes around 15 minutes to reach.
The temple is quite picturesque with a nice clean pond and very good paintings on the gopurams.


Colorful Gopuram at the budha temple
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3291.jpg


Pond at the temple complex
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3297.jpg



We had a quick darshan here too, and then spent around 15 minutes resting near the pond.

We next headed towards the Mangala temple also known as the chevvai/vaitheeshwaran koil which is around 15kms from the budha temple.
There are a lot of novelty stalls at this temple entrance.


The line of stalls at the entrance.
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3304.jpg



Vaitheeshwaran/Mangala temple
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3307.jpg



There is a nice pond at this temple as well, and we could see lots of fishes in it.

Pond at the Vaitheeshwaran koil
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3313.jpg


Pepper and salt can be offerred to the god here. Again, the darshan was quick and we could leave the temple in 15 minutes. Had a refreshing tender coconut before leaving the temple.

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Old 5th May 2011, 19:26   #8
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The next temple we visited was the shukran temple in kanjanoor, which is about 35kms from vaitheeshwaran koil.
We had to pass through mailaduthurai, but the main road towards mailaduthurai was blocked by the police, apparently due to an accident there, and we had to take a detour. our guide took us through a very narrow village route which was supposed to be shorter than the alternate route that had to be taken. We took more than an hour and reached there around 6:30PM.


Shukran temple.
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We had a quick darshan here, and had the tasty puliyogare and curd rice prasadam. We then started towards the suryan koil.

The Suryan koil is just about 5 kms from the shukran temple.
This is apparently the only temple in South India dedicated exclusively to the Sun God. All the other 9 planets are also enshrined separately around the main sanctum. We saw a big map of the navagraha temple circuit displayed in this temple.

We had darshan of the Sun god, and also all the 9 other planet shrines which took around 30 minutes.

We then headed towars kumbhakonam to visit the last of the 9 temples, the guru temple in alangudi. kumbhakonam is around 15 kms and we reached there around 8PM, and dropped off our guide there since we would be going to tanjavur directly from alangudi. He lead us to the road towards alangudi and also gave us info on the route to be taken to tanjavur later.


Alangudi is around 17 kms from kumbhakonam and took us around half an hour to reach. Our guide had told us that the temple would be open till 9-9:30 during weekends. We reached the temple around 8:30, and took an archanam ticket since that was the last place to visit for the day, we still had a lot of time.
The temple is quite big, and the diety is very well decorated. As we came out, we saw groups of people hurrrying inside, since it was nearing closing time.
We left alangudi around 9, and headed towards tanjavur via nedamangalam. Tanjavur is around 40 kms from alanguDi, and the road is very good, apart from passing through a couple of cities where there is some traffic.

We reached tanjavur around 9:45, and the trip meter read exactly 700, making it exactly 300kms for the day of visiting all the 9 navagraha temples.
We had dinner and checked in to rest for the day. I was quite tired driving and badly needed a rest.
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Old 5th May 2011, 19:36   #9
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Started the next day with a good breakfast at the saravana bhavan hotel, and headed towards the famous brihadeshwara temple. There are enough sign boards on the road to help you reach the "Big Temple".

The temple is simply amazing in terms of the architecture and the way it is maintained. The archaelogical survey of India maintains this temple, and we could see some chemical rennovation being done.
You can see a huge nandi idol as soon as you enter the main gopuram., and in front of that is the main sanctum.

Since it was pretty early in the morning (around 8AM), it was not too crowded inspite of being a sunday.
We went into the main sanctum, but it was closed by the screens as the decorations were being done. Once the screens were pulled out, I was amazed by the sight of the huge shiva linga. Its easily the biggest I have seen till now. We had a very good darshan and enjoyed the temple surroundings for sometime.
Here are some pics from the temple.



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3344.jpg



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3349.jpg



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3354.jpg



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3356.jpg



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3359.jpg



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3362.jpg



I got to know that there is a palace in tanjavur as well and headed there next, but was told it opens only after 10. It was nice driving inside the narrow palace premises though. Stopped near the art museum for a while and then decided to head towards the srirangam temple near thrichy around 10AM.
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Old 5th May 2011, 19:45   #10
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Back on the roads towards thrichy from tanjavur.


Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3374.jpg




Spotted a honda city exclusive near thrichy.
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3376.jpg


We reached the Srirangam temple around 11AM, and parked on a side road near the temple. There were a lot of people around, probably since it was a sunday. We went straight to the temple complex and joined the queue to enter the main complex.



The srirangam temple gopuram
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3395.jpg




Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3387.jpg




A picture of lord ranganatha at the entrance.
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3393.jpg



There is a common queue into the temple complex, which then seperates into three lines - A general queue, a Rs.50 special entrance, and a Rs.250 special entrance. We opted for the Rs.50 Special entrance and joined the corresponding queue. People are allowed into the main sanctum in batches, and the queue moves in a similar manner as well.
It took more than 2 hours for us to get the darshan of lord ranganatha and it was an amazing sight.

We then came back to the main complex and had the yummy sakkare pongal, puliyogare and curd rice. That was a very tasty lunch, and also saved us the time and effort of searching for a good restaurant! The dishes are available in two quantities, for Rs.6 and Rs.10 and the pongal is easily one of the best I have had.

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Old 6th May 2011, 00:29   #11
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We then had to travel towards namakkal, and I was very tempted to try the alternate route that was mentioned. I had taken the musuri route while coming since it was night, and now wanted to try out the thuraiyur route which some of them had suggested to be the better one in some of the threads here.
So I enquired the exit towards thuraiyur and started towards namakkal around 2PM. The exit towards the SH-62 is quite crowded with lot of trucks, but then starts the good roads with lots of trees on the roadsides.


Thrichy-Thuraiyur stretch of the SH-62
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3399.jpg




After around 45kms, A deviation to the left has to be taken at thuraiyur. Its quite easy to spot the left turn too.

The next stetch is also equally good, and more picturesque as well with lots of greenery and some hills around.



Thuraiyur to namakkal stretch

Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3402.jpg





My figo, with a dirty running board/door, thanks to the broken mud flaps!
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3413.jpg





Namakkal is 60kms from thuraiyur and a total of 100 kms from thrichy. We reached namakkal around 4:15PM and headed straight towards the anjaneya temple.

We saw a temple towards of right with a big door, and parked the car nearby and went inside. The timing boards indicated that it would open at 4:30, and we rested for a while in a cool corner of the spacious temple.

Around 4:30, the main temple was yet to be opened, but the other shrine within the same complex did open, and we went in there and got to know that it is the lakshmi diety. We had the darshan there and came back to the main temple, still thinking that it is the anjaneya temple. It was open by then, and that is when we realised that it is actually the narasimha swamy temple!

It was very hot inside the sanctum, and the narasimha idol was quite huge.



Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in namakkal.
Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3419.jpg





We then headed towards the famous anjaneya temple nearby.
The lord anjaneya idol is very huge and a good sight.



Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3423.jpg




Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue-img_3425.jpg



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Old 6th May 2011, 00:38   #12
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Around 5:15PM, we started from namakkal and took the awesome NH7 back towards bangalore.

The drive was thoroughly enjoyable, cruising constantly in 3 figure speeds.
There was a period of very heavy rain around the dharmapuri-krishnagiri stretch, and I saw a lot of cars stopped on the service road. I managed to keep moving very slowly till the rain subsided.

After the usual break at the HPCL complex at shoolagiri for dinner and refuel, We reached bangalore at 10:30PM.


Overall, It was quite a hectic and tiring drive, but can anyone really regret a drive on the TN roads?

My mom has already placed a request for the next drive in TN to be on the Madurai-Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari stretch, which I did on my bike during the new year vacation of 2010(Will try to post the travelogue of that memorable trip too). Hoping to take a week off sometime this year and complete that.


Hope this information is useful to people planning a visit to the navagraha temples. I have not included detailed info on each temple since it is available in other threads and other websites as well. The route also may vary depending from where you are starting the temple visit.
Starting from tanjavur and back, this seems to be the best route to cover all 9 of them.

I have also attached the trip log [Navagraha Trip Log.xls] with distances and timings.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Navagraha Trip Log.xls (15.0 KB, 534 views)
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Old 6th May 2011, 08:14   #13
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Default Re: Navagraha Temples Visit + Tanjavore + Srirangam + Namakkal Travelogue

That was one amazing ride you had! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Also glad to hear that Thuraiyur route is a good to drive! Definitely worth taking it.

300Km in a day and covering all temples was also amazing.
Dont these temples close during the daytime (esp noon time) ?
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Old 6th May 2011, 09:48   #14
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Nice travelogue with a lot of information, figo_united.
Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_united View Post
found a saravana bhavan nearby, and decided to have dinner.
Quote:
Started the next day with a good breakfast at the saravana bhavan hotel
I am sure you are also a fan of Hotel Saravana Bhavan [HSB] as I am. But, I regret to inform you that HSB you visited at Namakkal and Thanjavur are the fake ones. The genuine HSB chains in India are located at Chennai [many outlets], Kanchipuram [two], Vellore [one] and New Delhi [two]. I have found many fake HSB outlets in Kochi, Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Theni, Periyakulam and many other places in Tamil Nadu encashing on the popularity of original HSB. Please visit HSB's website for the locations of their genuine outlets:

Saravanaa Bhavan - Home
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:02   #15
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That's an excellent drive dude. Your trip log will be quite handy for anyone who wants to cover Navagraha temples in a day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Dont these temples close during the daytime (esp noon time) ?
Even I'm wondering about this. Normally other temples around this region will be closed between 12 Noon to 4 PM. Seems Navagraha temples quite clearly is not part of this.
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