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Old 22nd April 2012, 23:20   #1
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Default Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar

Every other year there will be plans to make a pilgrimage to Velankanni but things did not materialize. This time it was different. It was a normal Monday (9th April 2012) afternoon, things were slow on the work front and all of sudden out of nowhere me and my wife are debating about travel to Velankanni. Still debating when should be travel and with next couple of hours we decide we will travel the next day. Couple of phone calls and my leave is approved and packing has already started. Plans are so dynamic that over the next couple of hours Poondi is also added to the pilgrimage list and detours to Pichavaram and Tranquebar are also planned.

Day 1: 10th April 2012

I always prefer 3.00 am start for my long drives to beat the city traffic. My wife and 3 year old daughter always supportive of this plan since they get to sleep the most part trip.

This time start is delayed to 3.30 am due to uncertainty of boat timings in Pichavaram. Slow and steady start and quick 10 min break out near Vandalur the outskirts of Chennai to charge myself with a cup of tea.

Planned to drive to Pichavaram via Tindivanam and Pondy avoiding ECR for safety reasons. First 30 min of the drive quite number of lorries was giving us company but then it was steady drive. Reached Pondy outskirts earlier than expected and stopped on the other end of Pondy towards Cuddalore for Petrol refill around 6.00 am .
No part of this section I stepped on the accelerator with Max speed of 90 km /hr and the mileage was a 18kmpl with 75 % AC, considering Indica XETA is not well known for mileage and previous average on the highways was around 14.5 kmpl.

Resuming after the fuel stop and driving through not so great roads was able to reach Pichavaram by 7.15 am. The traditional traffic section of Pondy – Cuddalore was cleared with ease due to the early morning start.

Pichavaram boating (TTDC) has just opened the gates and only the security was there. Had the packed sandwiches for breakfast and spent time wandering in the premises. At 8.00 am sharp boating started. We opted for row boat for couple of hours. Motor boats would start only after 11.00 am since the water level was very low due to low tide. Boatman had a tough time to row in these levels. As usual he struck a deal for Rs 200 to take us to dense forest region and we agreed. It was good ride where we saw few birds and hundreds of fishes jumping out of the water and last but not least thousands of crabs.

Finished the boating at 10.00 am sharp and started on our journey. Road were decent but nothing worth to be mentioned and after couple of hours we reached Tranquebar also known as Tharangambadi, the beautiful beach with the Danish Fort. The color of the water is green and was amazing. Hardly few folks were on the beach and we did not have time to venture out in the waters. Sun’s heat was scorching and we left within 30 minutes taking pictures and exploring the place. Another hour of drive with a stop in Karaikal for fuel refill we reached Velankanni.

Key note : People driving in this sector ( or around ) should refill fuel at Karaikal to get the benefit of UT prices. Karaikal is a part of Pondicherry and the prices are Rs 6 less compared to other places.

Accommodation: Hotel Picnic , Rs 1200 per day rent including taxes. Decent A/C room. This hotel is a part of Segate group and rooms were full there and we took to this place. Good thing about this place is that the A/C was working on generators even during power cuts. This was a blessing considering the heat and the well known TN power cuts.

Day 2 : 11th April 2012

Started from Velankanni at 9.30 am with our next destination as Poondi Bascilla near Thirukattupalli, Thanjavur. The roads were good and reached at 1.00 pm . Distance of around 125 kms were covered in decent time considering the road conditions and day time traffic enroute.

We left this place at 2.00 pm with our target to reach Chennai as early as possible.

There were 2 route options left. Take the decent road to Trichy and then the Highways or the Google maps suggested short cut to reach the Highway bypassing Trichy and Srirangam. This is the major blunder I committed and spent the next 1.30 hours in the virtually non-existent roads. My newly changed XM1+ tyres would have killed me for the torture it went through. Even the people enroute was not sure about the route. Around the same time my parents started calling me and warning us about the earthquake and tsunami. I was not worried about Tsunami since I had left the coastline early in the morning and had no idea on where on earth I was driving. We were literally lost but tried to enjoy the route. We even stopped and started picking Tamarinds . Our child hood days were back and our daughter had a best fun and laughter seeing both her parents were throwing stones at trees and having fun. After around 50 kms of drive, I could see the Trichy – Chennai highways and sighed a heavy relief. Stopped for quick chilled drink to beat the heat and recollect my drive.
After this experience I feel I could take my Xeta for some soft off-roading rallies or drive to ladakh.

Now the road sign said “ Chennai 297 kms” . I had a task cut off and some brisk driving with a extended fuel stop in A2B and later for a Dhaba dinner near Chennai outskirts reached home at 9.00 pm.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 23:47   #2
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Let the pics do the talking.
Attached Thumbnails
Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100375.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100381.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100395.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100398.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100406.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100410.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100416.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100421.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100424.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100425.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100432.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100436.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100445.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100450.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100455.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100456.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100465.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100469.jpg  

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Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100475.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100478.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100489.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100509.jpg  

Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranquebar-p1100533.jpg  

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Old 24th April 2012, 17:07   #3
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Nice travelogue, Marlon. And great snaps too !!! Co-incidence that this thread came up when we are planning a 1-day trip to Velankanni on the 1st-May holiday coming up. Like you, plan to leave as early as possible (3 to 4AM) and be back at Chennai late in the night.

Since my Dad used to work at Karaikkal, I have done this Velankanni/Tranquebar trip many times and have almost always dropped in at the Danish fort (locals refer to it as Dutch Kottai (Kottai = fort in Tamil, for those that don't follow Tamil). When I first came to this Fort in 2006, I never knew that even the Danes had reached our shores, inspite of history being a favourite subject at school. From then, there has been quite some effort in renovating the fort by the ASI and it is commendable. Though the nearby temple did not get any attention and with each passing year, it seemed to be devastated by the waves. Not sure how it is today.
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Old 25th April 2012, 17:38   #4
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Nice travelogue. I think we shall also plan a trip on this line. The photos look good.
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Old 12th August 2013, 11:52   #5
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Can anyone update on the status of this road, if the route is taken via ECR other than it being two lane and accident prone to nagapattinam is the condition of the road presently good.
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Old 12th August 2013, 12:06   #6
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Quote:
Originally Posted by abishek2222 View Post
Can anyone update on the status of this road, if the route is taken via ECR other than it being two lane and accident prone to nagapattinam is the condition of the road presently good.
Which section of ECR are you referring to ? If Pichavaram/Chidambaram (or south of Pondi) is where you want to travel, you should do Chennai-Tindivanam-Ulundurpet-Vridhachalam-Sethiyarthoppu-Chidambaram. That is much faster than ECR all the way.
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Old 12th August 2013, 12:53   #7
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Which section of ECR are you referring to ? If Pichavaram/Chidambaram is where you want to travel, you should do Chennai-Tindivanam-Ulundurpet-Vridhachalam-Sethiyarthoppu-Chidambaram. .
travelling towards Velankanni Town
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Old 12th August 2013, 13:33   #8
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

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Originally Posted by abishek2222 View Post
travelling towards Velankanni Town
My answer remains the same.

Chennai-Tindivanam-Ulundurpet-Vridhachalam-Sethiyarthoppu-Chidambaram-Sirkazhi-Karaikal-Nagore-Velankanni
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Old 12th August 2013, 14:40   #9
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post

Chennai-Tindivanam-Ulundurpet-Vridhachalam-Sethiyarthoppu-Chidambaram-Sirkazhi-Karaikal-Nagore-Velankanni
Is this is a better road than the ECR?
is the above route the road with the best road conditons

Last edited by abishek2222 : 12th August 2013 at 14:47.
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Old 12th August 2013, 16:17   #10
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Default Re: Pilgrimage (Chennai) to Velankanni & Poondi with detours to Pichavaram & Tranqueb

Quote:
Originally Posted by abishek2222 View Post
Is this is a better road than the ECR?
is the above route the road with the best road conditons
Of course.

- ECR is a 2-lane end to end. You can experience dangerous drivers on these stretches. No bypasses for towns. Hence progress quite slow.

On the other hand:
- Chennai-Ulundurpet is 4-lane. (Thats why if you note, many prefer Chennai-Tindivanam-Pondi for driving to Pondi instead of ECR.)
- Ulundurpet-Vridhachalam-Sethiyarthoppu is pretty decent.
- Beyond Chidambaram its anyway ECR I think. Heavy on traffic.
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