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Old 13th January 2012, 10:54   #31
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

NPV, the turn off into ECR at KK is some 5-6 kms after the town when you are going on NH7 towards Tirunelveli. There is only a small sign board in TAMIL which indicates Tiruchendur.

The Rs 50 toll - I think that is a standard levy. I have paid it in KK also in earlier times, and if I am not mistaken, many pilgrim spots also have these kinds of levies.
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Old 13th January 2012, 22:19   #32
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

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NPV, the turn off into ECR at KK is some 5-6 kms after the town when you are going on NH7 towards Tirunelveli. There is only a small sign board in TAMIL which indicates Tiruchendur.

The Rs 50 toll - I think that is a standard levy. I have paid it in KK also in earlier times, and if I am not mistaken, many pilgrim spots also have these kinds of levies.
Thanks HVK. I saw a turn off for Anjugramam and I think that's the one for ECR on NH7 when driving from Kanyakumari towards Tirunelveli.
I'm not sure the Rs.50 toll is the typical temple town toll since it was the Pamban Bridge toll. There was a separate Rs.30 toll after Pamban bridge collected by Rameshwaram Municipal town. After @dreamdiesel mentioned it, I suspect the bridge toll for cars may be lower and they collect Rs.50 from anyone who is not aware (in fact this may be for other types of goods/heavy vehicles).

I also could not locate the turn off from NH7 to NH7A for Tirunelveli to Tuticorin, which is the town signage that I should have followed for this - is it Kovilpatti ?
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Old 13th January 2012, 23:16   #33
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

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I also could not locate the turn off from NH7 to NH7A for Tirunelveli to Tuticorin, which is the town signage that I should have followed for this - is it Kovilpatti ?
When you are coming from KK side, you can turn off for Tuticorin from the Tirunelveli bypass itself.

If coming from Madurai side, you can turn off NH7 to Torumangalam town or take the Madurai bypass (airport side) to get to the Tuticorin highway.
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Old 14th January 2012, 15:18   #34
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

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When you are coming from KK side, you can turn off for Tuticorin from the Tirunelveli bypass itself.

If coming from Madurai side, you can turn off NH7 to Torumangalam town or take the Madurai bypass (airport side) to get to the Tuticorin highway.
For Tuticorin - when driving from Kanyakumari towards Tirunelveli I was directed to take a right turn after Nanguneri toll plaza and that was the first sign for Tuticorin on my route but I ended up on SH40 and SH176 that took me to Tiruchendur and then to Tuticorin, with the latter stretch being quite bad. The attendants at the toll plaza also were unable to help with directions for NH7A which I think is much better.
I guess I should have driven further on the NH7 till the next toll plaza and then taken a right turn somewhere for NH7A and I was hoping you'd be able to give me some pointers for that.
Also, on my Madurai - KK journey I do not remember seeing any turn off marked Tuticorin (NH7A) except the SH40 one via Tiruchendur hence the confusion.

Last edited by NPV : 14th January 2012 at 15:25.
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Old 14th January 2012, 20:12   #35
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

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Also, on my Madurai - KK journey I do not remember seeing any turn off marked Tuticorin (NH7A) except the SH40 one via Tiruchendur hence the confusion.
Tuticorin (NH7A) and Tiruchendur (SH40) share the same exit The exit is about 25 km from Kayathar toll, ~ 5-10 km from capsi restraurant. Infact I remember seeing Tuticorin on the exit board as well.

Thanks for your tip on Tuticorin-Tiruchendur being bad, avoided it and took Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur both ways.
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Old 15th January 2012, 08:36   #36
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Day 5 - Dec 28 Rameshwaram-Dhanushkodi-Rameshwaram

One of the best experiences on this trip - a drive to Dhanushkodi, here's a virtual tour.

Another lovely day beckons, well it's not a bright sunny day but quite pleasant. We ha
ve breakfast at the hotel's restaurant and are at the lobby by 8.15am. The jeep arrives a little later and by 8.30am we're on our way to Dhanushkodi and we were really excited since we'd heard a lot about the jeep drive along the ruts in the sand and on or very close to the water. My daughter's innocence knew no bounds since she even thought we'll be driving in water a few feet high and was asking us if water will enter the jeep, will we need to swim, etc - I tried my best to explain what I knew but she wouldn't listen. The driver was a very friendly person and quickly started chatting about the place and it's history. The road was good and looked quite new actually. Both sides of the road had trees and marshy land that were preventing clear views of the sea and ocean's water beyond. In about 30 minutes we were at the Dhanushkodi checkpost and Surprise - the parking area is full ! Several cars are parked on either side of the road and the rest of the road is used by jeeps and other vehicles that will take the visitors on the tour. I felt it was a good decision to leave the car at the hotel and take the Jeep. At the checkpost, I found that there were only old trucks on offer for the tour (charging Rs.200-250 per person) but no Jeeps, so another reason I felt our decision was good.

Our ride for the Dhanushkodi visit
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Dhanushkodi Road
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Dhanushkodi Checkpost
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Shop near checkpost
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In a few minutes we were on the sandy ruts and it was fun. The driver mentioned that they usually do not venture further into the water since it damages their vehicles so they stick to the path created over they years. He also mentioned that the water is extremely salty so very high chances of vehicles developing rust. My daughter's expectations of the jeep ride collapsed at this point and she almost started crying so we had to pacify her quickly and then settled down after the short break - the driver also played his part explaining to my daughter why we can't go further into the water.

As we went along, it was a beautiful sight for the eyes - created by the vistas offered by vast expanses of bluish waters, whitish sand and land (islands ?) in the distant horizon - an amazing experience ! We then approached old, dilapidated structures and lots of shacks with vendors. Our driver showed us the old railway track, railway station, post office, church and several other buildings that were ruined in the 1964 storm and the place never recovered from that devastation. We stopped near the church and stepped out to take pictures and go closer to the beach and water on the other side of the building. The shacks had food, shells and other small trinkets on offer and there were several children all around who would first approach visitors trying to sell sea shells and if turned down they would start begging - a very sad sight indeed. These were children of fishermen who lived there in very deplorable conditions and I really hope our governments and NGO's do something quickly to help them. One of the recent developments is they now have a school built with support from our former President Dr. Abdul Kalam - here's one great human being who really made a difference to the lives of people.

Drive on the Sandy Ruts
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On the drive - some of the beautiful sights
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Submerged Railway track
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Ruins - Railway station
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Ruins - Church
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Ruins - Hospital
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Beach near ruins
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More ruins
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School
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Near the checkpost - Traffic is Bangalored !
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Leaving Dhanushkodi
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On our way back to the hotel we decided to give the Kothandaramar Temple a miss this time (one more place for next time) and reached the hotel by 11am.

To be continued...

Last edited by NPV : 15th January 2012 at 08:51.
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Old 15th January 2012, 09:46   #37
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Continued...

Day 5 - Dec 28 Rameshwaram-Bangalore

Back at the hotel after the visit to Dhanuhkodi, we now had to decide on our plans for the return leg of our journey.

@Fauji Sir's Chettinad travelogue and recommendation to visit the Chettinad Palace and other places during my travel planning conversations were still in our minds so we contemplated a stop at Karaikudi for lunch, a visit to the Palace and then head back to Bangalore maybe with an overnight stop at Karur or Salem. Alternately we could try to find accomodation in Karaikudi itself but I wan't sure if we could stay at The Bangala since I suspected they would definitely be full. Finally we decided that the Chettinad trip deserved more time and probably we could combine that with a visit to Trichy, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam sometime later this year or next. We decided on the NH49 Rameshwaram-Madurai-then NH7-Dindigul-Bangalore route and we started from Hotel Queen Palace at 11.30am.

I could not resist the temptation of another stop on the Pamban Bridge for some more breathtaking views and at least a couple of photographs. Here, I realised that it was quite dark for this time of the day and seemed like it would rain sometime soon as you can see from the pictures here.

Pamban Viaduct
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Pamban Bridge and the Rail line
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After a few minutes I received a call from my friend enquiring about our safety since he'd just seen reports of rough weather at sea in Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. I told him that we did not see or experience any bad weather that morning and we were on our way back towards Madurai and Bangalore.

Around 12.30pm we were nearing Ramanathapuram and decided to have an early lunch probably at Garish Park where we ate the previous day. This time I saw another place Hotel Raja Rajeswari that seemed decent and decided to stop for lunch. The place was neat and we had simple vegetarian meals served on plantain leaves.

Hotel Raja Rajeswari - our lunch stop
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At 1pm we started from the restaurant and headed straight on the same road (NH49). For about 2-3 Km the traffic was heavy but once we passed the other side of the town, it was pure bliss. NH49 is 2 laned but the surface is awesome all the way to Madurai and traffic was minimal. There was just one small 0.5 Km stretch just after Paramagudi town where some patch work was in progress. By 2.45pm we were at the Madurai Airport/Ring Road junction which was familar from our Madurai-Kanyakumari journey 3 days ago so I turned left at this junction towards Tirumangalam/NH7 (follow signage for Tirunelveli/Kanyakumari here) junction and almost felt like a local

By 3pm we were at the NH7 junction heading towards Dindigul and Bangalore. I always prefer to begin long drives during the early morning hours but this time we started around noon so I looked forward to a sedate drive and we could probably take more breaks if required. We stopped for coffee near Dindigul shortly. It was getting dark and as expected the traffic wasn't heavy but after Karur when nearing Namakkal and all the way till about 15-20 Km beyond Salem, traffic was very dense with lots of trucks, cars, 2 wheelers, cyclists, etc - truck traffic on the NH jostled for space with Salem city/suburban traffic. Adding to this, the traffic lights at the circles in Salem (4 road junctions) were not well managed so it was a crawl. This was my first experience of such traffic on this stretch. To top all this, we also had mini buses and cars cutting us off at couple of toll plazas

After we negotiated this stretch it was much more darker but there were just trucks and cars on the highway, just perfect for us. We took a long break for dinner at A2B Thoppur after which I was feeling very fresh. The drive all the way to Bangalore was uneventful. In fact, driving into the city was a very nice experience compared to most of our trips where we would reach in the early evening hours and be consumed by rush hour traffic. We reached home at 11pm after a wonderful trip covering 1784 Km and full of experiences that I've shared here with all of you.

Trip+Expense log for the Day 5 drive.
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Trip Summary:
Total distance : 1784 Km
Total fuel (Petrol) : 107.29 Litres
Fuel Effiiency : 16.62 Km/L

I hope you will enjoy reading this travelogue as much as I did writing this.
Hope this helps others in planning a similar trip.
Here's wishing everyone a wonderful new year 2012 !
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Old 15th January 2012, 13:28   #38
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

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Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
Tuticorin (NH7A) and Tiruchendur (SH40) share the same exit The exit is about 25 km from Kayathar toll, ~ 5-10 km from capsi restraurant. Infact I remember seeing Tuticorin on the exit board as well.

Thanks for your tip on Tuticorin-Tiruchendur being bad, avoided it and took Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur both ways.
Yes, I just realised that my confusion was due to the shared exit for both NH7A and SH40 and the attendant at the toll plaza confused me further saying I had to go to Tiruchendur to go to Tuticorin
So after taking that exit, I should have actually got onto NH7A instead of SH40 !
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Old 26th January 2012, 19:32   #39
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

A list of places one can visit when in Rameshwaram, this one is from the Queen Palace hotel's travel desk.

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Hope this helps anyone visiting Rameshwaram.

Last edited by NPV : 26th January 2012 at 19:33.
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Old 27th January 2012, 15:23   #40
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Wow! nice travel log NPV really enjoyed it. I had similar plans during my parents visit this last Nov, but since they did not want to do such long road trips it got shelved. But after reading your log this is definitly on the cards for this year.
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Old 27th January 2012, 16:23   #41
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Very nice travelogue, NPV! The Padmanabhapuram Palace was very beautiful, thanks for sharing! Love those old buildings (woodwork included )!
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Old 27th January 2012, 16:58   #42
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Very nice TV ! the details are very good. this gives a great reference who are planning a similar trip
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Old 28th January 2012, 08:32   #43
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Wow! nice travel log NPV really enjoyed it. I had similar plans during my parents visit this last Nov, but since they did not want to do such long road trips it got shelved. But after reading your log this is definitly on the cards for this year.
Thanks. Precisely why I planned to drive not more than 500Km each day, only exception being the last one from Rameshwaram-Bangalore though we could have stayed overnight at Karur/Salem, we decided against it.

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Very nice travelogue, NPV! The Padmanabhapuram Palace was very beautiful, thanks for sharing! Love those old buildings (woodwork included )!
Thanks. Some more beatutiful pictures of the Padmanabhapuram Palace can be found in other threads here at team BHP, most recently in roamingrao's "Saagar se Shikhar tak" thread - do see them when you get a chance.

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Very nice TV ! the details are very good. this gives a great reference who are planning a similar trip
Thanks. I'm sure you meant TL (Travelogue ?)
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Old 28th January 2012, 11:18   #44
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Nice Travelogue NPV. Even, I was at KK during this period from 24th Dec to 27th December. From there we proceeded towards Kochi our next destination.

During End of December Kanyakumari was full of crowds. We had to stand in queue for 1.5 hours for just to board ferry to Vivekanand Rocks.

Our stay at Vivekananda Kendra was very comfortable, cheap and relaxing. They have their private beach as well on east side of KK. Next time when we visit we will again stay in Vivekanand Kendra.
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Old 29th January 2012, 19:05   #45
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Thanks. Precisely why I planned to drive not more than 500Km each day, only exception being the last one from Rameshwaram-Bangalore though we could have stayed overnight at Karur/Salem, we decided against it.
Yeah, its good to break up but i prefer to push the miles so that i get to spend more time at the place, but after the latest incident on the highway i am quite vary of the speeds to carry on such long drives. What were u averaging mainly on these quite good roads?
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