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Old 22nd August 2013, 07:31   #16
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The Thiruvannamalai Temple with the Malai (Rock) in the background. Legend has it that this rock was previously a giant ruby. For Devotees its a must-do to take a walk around the rock, a distance of 3.5 kilometers

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The four gopurams of the Temple, one very rarely gets to see four similar gopurams, the other Temple which I think has them is the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai

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The scale model of the Temple, there is parking place for about 30 cars infront of the Temple, I did not know this and parked on the street outside, luckily, I did not get fined of pulled up by the Cops

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Legend has it that music Maestro Illayaraja is a big fan of this Temple and comes down whenever possible, its not rare to catch him quietly taking a walk around the rock in the background. The famous Rajinikath hit Annamalai has a title song that was picturised inside this Temple

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Watch out for these guys, they are sitting inside the Temple on the main pathway. Either they are fake sadhus or not very committed ones. They give unsolicited free advice for money, I clicked a picture of these guys and they wanted money from me, I pretended deaf and walked away!

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The main temple which houses the Shiva Lingam. The thing to watch out is that the Temple closes from 13:00 to 15:30
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Last edited by TheARUN : 22nd August 2013 at 08:29.
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Old 25th August 2013, 09:55   #17
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Default Re: Bangalore to Velankanni. And everything in between

The Itenary

- Left Bangalore at 11:00 on Independence day, took the Varthur-Sarjapur route to reach Hosur, topped up with mobile currency at Attibelle since all the phones will be on roaming, we all had a heavy breakfast, so decided to drive on after Hosur. The road is good but since it is two laned and has plenty of small villges enroute it slows you down, the only plus point is that you will not get caught up in any traffic jam on Hosur road and are guaranteed to reach the toll plaza at Attibelle in an hour
- There is a huge flyover coming up in Hosur and some remodelling that is being done at the RTO checkpost, both of these ensure that there is a huge pile up of traffic and the taxis stopping to get temporary permits into Tamil Nadu do not help either
- After Hosur, took the Palakod diversion and proceeded on that route, the road is getting bad, this again is two laned, we made an unscheduled halt at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. This Church is becoming very famous after the miracles that have been reported from believers who drink the holy water that is found just 1.5 feet beneath the surface. We had a few kebabs at the Church Canteen and ice cream moving back to the main road. The road to the Church is a complete mess, its one of those worst village tracks and has a few 'ghat' sections thrown in, but its only a couple of kilometres so manageable and all vehicles traverse it without too much trouble
- Once back on the main road, we headed towards Dharmapuri and reached the six lane highway a little after Dharmapuri, from there the toll plaza was quite near and we proceeded on the highway towards Salem, there is a ghat section in between and we stopped for tender coconut on the roadside, plenty of monkeys there and the tender coconuts also cost 20 each, the same rate as in Bangalore
- Arrived at Salem at 16:00 and stopped on the outskirts after Salem for lunch, at a Tamil dhaba, we were too late for lunch and too early for dinner so had to make do with whatever was left-over from lunch time, proceeded then to Namakkal. If you stick on the highway from silk-board Bangalore, there is no trouble till Namakkal, its a beautiful road
- We were at Namakkal a little after 17:00, we were in a dilemma, to break for the night at Namakkal or keep going to Trichy. From past experience I knew that the Trichy stretch was two laned and 90 kilometres would take 3 hours which means we would reach Trichy around 20:00, but everyone decided that it would be worthwhile and I reluctantly agreed to press on. For most part of the 90 kilometres drive to Trichy you have the river Cauvery giving you company on one side of the road, with the good rains we have had, quite a sight it was, the road being so close to the river, had its foundations soaked in water and was an undulating surface, still better than the time I had been on it last time
- We halted for the night at Trichy, after 3 attempts, managed to get a room for Rs.1,800 near the bus stand and we had dinner at one of the hotels near the bus stand. The rates are exorbitant for the place, what decent hotels in Bangalore would charge you, and then crashed for the night
- It was a early morning rise for us and we took an auto to Sri-rangam. Did not want to take the Safari there since it was my first time and was not sure of the one-ways and the parking. Sri-rangam is a must visit if you are in Trichy, its like a different world, everything here revolves around the temple, you get transported to world that existed centuries ago. The darshan queue is long, should be able to get your darshan in 5 hours time, there is the usual 50 rupees and 250 rupees queues that promise a quicker darshan.
- From Sri-rangam we came back, had breakfast at another hotel near the bus stand and left for Thanjavur. The highway between Thanjavur and Trichy is six-laned and empty! I did 145kmph on the Safari here the last time but did not venture beyond 70kmph this time, in no time you are in Thanjavur and its easy to find your way to the big temple, as soon as you enter Thanjavur, look out for the huge gopuram and head in that direction
- The Thanjavur temple is magnificient, its more of an archaeological site than a temple, just like how the Taj Mahal is not only a tomb, there are guides who take you around and explain the nicer details, there are shops in front of the Temple on the other side of the road that sell the Thanjavur doll, its a unique doll, dances with the mind, used to be made of clay in the earlier days and was delicate, but now they use fiberglass and its unbreakable, they are available in all sizes and bargain your heart out
- From Thanjavur it was Velankanni, we stopped at a small town to have lunch, which was biryani. Tamil Nadu is getting famous for parota and biryani, two alien dishes, can find them at even the smallest village. Reached Velankanni a little after 15:00, got a room at Hotel Golden Sand and checked in. From there paid a visit to the shrine, tonsuring and then hit the beach, we all spent a good few hours at the beach, back to the room, bath and hit the street for food
- The next day was spent visiting the shrines around the Church, shopping, beach and then topped off with the procession around the Church
- On Sunday we left for Bangalore, took the scenic ECR route that touches Chidambaram and then branches off towards Thiruvannamalai, the road is two carriageway but good and has very less traffic though this is the only road connecting Velankanni and Chennai. The high point was when we were stunned suddenly by a convoy of the Finance Minister near his Home Town, about 20 Ambassadors, 7-8 Boleros, 2-3 Innovas with Mr P Chidambaram seated in a Jaguar, all vehicles had their headlights on and some of them had their horns blaring all the time
- We passed through Neyveli, one of the greatest mines in the country, we could not see anything, the township starts off from the main road and extends to deep inside, moved on an reached Thirvannamalai around 13:00, we rushed for the darshan and quickly toured the Temple, lunch was prasadam that was sold in the temple premises, we started towards Bangalore, the road to Krishnagiri is still being built, I saw it being 18 months ago but still no change, it took a laborious 3 hours to traverse 90 kilometres, the hatch backs were taking more time while the busses were taking less, riding rough-shod over potholes
- Had lunch after Krishnagiri at a roadside dhaba and reached Bangalore before night-fall

Last edited by TheARUN : 27th August 2013 at 07:06.
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Old 27th August 2013, 07:13   #18
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Default Re: Bangalore to Velankanni. And everything in between

While in Tamil Nadu, watch out for the below

- Auto drivers, for them the minimum fare is Rs.100, they will refuse to ply for anything less and cheat you shamelessly, you will understand it better if you have watched the hindi movie 'Traffic' - where a new beggar is advised by a veteran beggar - 'don't feel shy to ask for money, these people are all sinners, and their sins get washed away when they give us money, so beg with pride, demand that they give you money'
- Never venture into a hotel that does not have the rates plastered on the wall, the owner will look at the vehicle you drove in and the clothes you are wearing and bill you accordingly
- Never buy electronic stuff, they are all cheap imports, and a duplicate Samsung will be sold to you at more than the price of an original one. I got quoted Rs.9,000 MRP and discount of Rs.4,000 with a selling price of Rs.5,000 for a Micromax bolt, I pulled out my phone and went to Flipkart and showed then the MRP of 3,000 that Flipkart sells this phone for, they shooed me away since I risked spoiling their business
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Old 28th August 2013, 18:35   #19
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Default Re: Bangalore to Velankanni. And everything in between

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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