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Old 8th November 2012, 12:27   #1
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Default Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

This has been a long pending trip, after reading several travelogues on T-BHP, esp. the one that was written in considerable detail by @NPV, we finally decided to do this trip at the next available opportunity. The puja holidays was just ideal, I managed to get some leave along with a weekend and the trip was on.

I would like to call out @Fauji, @DreamDiesel, @maheshramaling, @ampere and most of all@npv for helping us plan our trip. Thank you folks.

Since my photography skills are better than my writing skills, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking .

The drive from Bangalore to Madurai was just excellent, barring some roadwork in the Hosur to Krishnagiri sector, the rest of the journey was smooth. Excellent highway, low traffic and we maintained consistent speeds.

Near Karur, an old man decided to test our brakes kamikaze style by cycling into the middle of the highway . I had to do a panic stop, and we missed the old gent by about 5 feet. The stop was dramatic, from about 120 kmph to a dead stop - smoking tires, squealing children in the car, and a panic stricken wife. Somehow I felt a lot calmer, almost seeing the whole episode in slow motion.

Just outside Karur is a great coffee shop called 'Only Coffee' fantastic coffee, coffee cakes, murukkus, and clean toilets.

At Madurai, we took the Airport Ring Road as advised and it was here we started noticing a considerable Police presence. As we drove onwards to Rameshwaram, passing through Sivaganga district, the police presence only increased. We also noticed a lot of vehicles crammed with people mostly young men hanging off the doors, the roof tops and the vehicles moving at considerable speed along the highway, waving yellow flags with a Tiger on it. At our next stop, we asked the local policemen what this was about. And they explained that it was the 211th Death Anniversary of the Marudhu Brothers. More details at the link.

On the day that were driving into Rameshwaram, group violence broke out in Sivaganga district on the occasion of the 'guru puja' and a sub inspector had been stabbed to death. The Hindu carried an article about the killing, linked here. The police were not taking any chances and all the roads had deployed a considerable number of policemen. There were small groups of policemen every two km, with larger contingents at every village and small town.

Closer to Rameshwaram on our way from Mandapam a bus full of supporters traveling in the opposite direction, nearly ran us off the road. And someone from the bus dropped a plastic bag filled with bottles on our car. We were doing about 80 kph, and the bus was doing considerably more, the bag hit us with a huge bang, bounced off the bonnet, hit the wind shield, banged off the roof and disintegrated. This left a dimple on the bonnet and scratched the paint on the Innova. The disintegrating bag and bottles invited a wild cheer from the bus and consternation from us.

After this rather harrowing experience, we arrived at the Pamban Bridge at about 3:36 pm, just in time to see the train leave across the bridge.

The train on the bridge
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Sunset panorama from the Pamban Bridge
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We visited the temple in the evening, the pictures speak for themselves. The restoration work being carried out inside the temple is 'interesting'. Am not sure if the interior of the temple was garishly painted originally. In any case that is exactly what the restoration is all about.

Shops inside the Rameshwaram Temple
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Details of the pillars - Rameshwaram Temple
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Cow outside the temple entrance, and the street outside the temple
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An interesting thing we noticed in Rameshwaram is that weddings are announced to the general public through giant, colorful posters at prominent locations in the town. Here is one such poster.
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The next morning we hired a Jeep (Mahindra Commander I think) for the drive to Danushkodi. The twisted railway tracks along the way, the driver reminded us were remnants from the '64 cyclone.

The Jeep
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The twisted railway tracks along the arrow straight road to Danushkodi
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The Police and Naval outpost, from here on it is 4x4 country
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Mules way out in the water on the sand bar
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The sun rises, as the Jeep negotiates the sand
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Remnants of the Railway Station, the water tower for the steam engines
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A little temple showcases the parts of the Ramayana that took place here. A slab of pumice stone kept in a puddle of water to demonstrate it's flotation properties.
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The ruins of the small town that was Danushkodi
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This cute little girl, Kavitha - she sells sea shells on the sea shore
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Local fisher folk repair their nets, even as a strong easterly winds blows the spray back to the sea. Since this was the North-Eastern Monsoon season, we could not travel right up to lands end, it was inundated and not accessible.
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A murder of crows scrabble about in the garbage, while a puppy looks on. This is near the temple that commemorates the crowning of Vibishana by Lord Rama.
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Just reached the limits of max pics allowed in a post. Next stop, Madurai.

Last edited by CJP : 9th December 2012 at 21:43.
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Old 10th December 2012, 14:22   #2
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th December 2012, 15:35   #3
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Beautiful Click, loved it.
Thanks a lot for the details of Dhanuskodi
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Old 10th December 2012, 16:37   #4
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Nice travelogue CJP. However "The cute girl" picture is the highlight. Loved the composition.

The ruins of Danushkodi looks like a film set.

Last edited by arup.misra : 10th December 2012 at 16:40.
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Old 12th December 2012, 07:21   #5
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

@CJP - Super start to a great travelogue, thanks for sharing .

Awesome pictures, timing and composition impecabble as always . Loved the picture of the train below Pamban bridge.
Some eerie similarities with the trip experiences - we also had some scary moments on the NH7 highway at a junction when nearing Madurai. Also, there was a huge public gathering/meeting at Rameswaram almost outside the hotel - it was just a few days after some communal violence had broken out in Sivaganga district, but nothing untoward happened.
Thanks for all the details and links for events and trivia, enriches the travelogue reading experience. Look forward to the rest of the journey experience.

Last edited by NPV : 12th December 2012 at 07:25.
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Old 12th December 2012, 07:49   #6
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Very nice pictures CJP, Thanks for sharing

We did this circuit Dec 2011 and relived it seeing your pictures. You should try going going back to Dhanuskodi, to go till the end of the land. We managed to get there and see it, very nice indeed.

The drive in the jeep till the end of the land is an experience in itself

On side of the road is Indian ocean ( with rough sea ) and on the other side Bay Of Bengal ( calm as you like )
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Old 12th December 2012, 09:49   #7
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Crisp and clear log. Loved the pics. For some reason, I feel that the ruins pics in b/w takes the cake. Cinematic Thanks.
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Old 12th December 2012, 09:59   #8
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

I loved the pictures of ruins of Dhanushkodi & one of Kavita girl. your pictures for sure do the talking.
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Old 14th December 2012, 20:49   #9
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Default Re: Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Madurai - Rameswaram by road in end of October is always risky due to these Guru Poojas of Kings / Leaders. These events were taken over by casteist groups & with political parties vying to please them they get more aggressive every year. Even in Madurai shops in central business area wear are deserted look, schools declare leave in afternoon on Oct 30 every year. This year is no better - The Hindu report here.

Hope your return trip to Madurai was uneventful. Lovely pictures of Dhanushkodi & the little girl!
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Old 15th December 2012, 13:19   #10
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Default Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM

Continuing from my previous thread

Later that night, we drove around Rameshwaram town, and here are a couple of pictures of a sculpture depicting the churning of the ocean. And the next morning, the ocean did churn as hurricane Neelam, battered the coast.
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The next morning, just before we left for Madurai, the family wanted to just drive up to Danushkodi in the Innova, our earlier trip was done in Kannan's rickety Mahindra Commander. Since we were planning to leave for Madurai from Rameshwaram, only by late morning. The drive seemed a good idea. It was an overcast day and there was an almost continuous drizzle and an occasional strong Easterly wind blowing in from the sea. The rain intensified as we drove, the pics tell the story of the early part of hurricane Neelam.

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As hurricane Neelam hit Rameshwaram, we drove out of Rameshwaram to Madurai. Enroute to Madurai, we chanced on this giant statue of a green Godess, Masani Ammal. We backed up grabbed a few shots, met the head priestess, sought her blessings and continued on our way to Madurai. The statue is really big, and towers over the countryside.
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We reached Madurai just a little after 2pm in the afternoon, having passed several Police check posts, relay runners celebrating the Thevar anniversary and a peculiar tense but festive mood across the city. We stopped on on way for some delicious Chettinad style biriyani - homely, delicious and just awesome.

That evening we visited the Meenakshi Temple. These are a small set of over 200 pics I shot. The temple complex needs at least a couple of days to appreciate fully. Since we were in a hurry, having had a small medical emergency earlier in the day, we decided to make the best of our short stay in Madurai and spent the entire evening at the temple.

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It was a great road trip, we had a ton of fun, I hope you enjoy the pics. Until next time.

Last edited by CJP : 15th December 2012 at 22:03.
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