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Old 22nd October 2013, 12:29   #1
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Default Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Let me start with a vote of thanks!

My heartfelt gratitude and big thank you to @CJP, @ampere, @NPV, @Lukeskywalker and @rudra for their posts and valuable suggestions!

These were my main tour guides -

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...s-1312-km.html (Roadtrip : Bangalore > Rameshwaram > Madurai > Bangalore - 4 Days, 1312 KM)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...rspective.html (Exploring Rameshwaram - From a Non Religious Perspective)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...nda-amaze.html (Amazing Discovery Drive: Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai in a Honda Amaze)

I have been hearing about Rameshwaram and Pamban bridge for some time now, but Rameshwaram was always associated with not so interesting reasons, especially being a non-Hindu. Even when I talked to a few friends – even those has been to Rameshwaram multiple times - , none had a spark which would motivate me.

Some even asked - 'Rameshwaram? of all places?'

Distance? 600+ km!! No way!!

I started the search, but nothing much emerged other than the pamban bridge. Driving 1200+km to see a bridge would be a crime. Then I stumbled upon the Amaze drive by Rudra which gave me what I was looking for! By the time I finished this thread, I was determined to go to the Land's End. Wasn't sure if those were real, or they looked beautiful because of Rudra's photography skills. Couldn't believe the place could be so beautiful, especially with the feedback I got about the town.


Did more search and found some more threads and information about the drive from Bangalore. Srihari’s travelogue was the ideal one for me, and the title – “non-religious perspective” – was more than enough motivation! And the amount of details he provided – just amazing! It was almost a virtual tour.
Having taken lot of information from the forum, I thought it was a minimum courtesy that I share some of my experiences for the sake of others!
So, here is my version, a truly non-religious perspective of Rameshwaram, and mostly on Dhanushkodi – a beauty reclaimed by nature! There are not too many temple pictures, just pure nature at its best!
Attached Thumbnails
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2730.jpg  


Last edited by samm : 29th October 2013 at 11:04.
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Old 23rd October 2013, 14:41   #2
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Default Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by nature! - Planning and Kick-off

Next task was to find a family who is adventurous enough to venture into this 1200+km drive without knowing what to expect. It could be tough for us alone, with a 2 year kid with travel sickness and unknown territory. My wife’s close friend in Kerala agreed, and they were willing to come over to Bangalore for this trip. Now, we are a group with at least 3 people with travel sickness!

Hotel booking:

Daiwik was the first choice (from Rudra’s thread), but soon found out that it would be too expensive for us. At 3.8K (for double room, all inclusive)+ 1K (extra bed), it would come to 10K per family for two days just for stay and breakfast.
Next was Queen Palace, they had a mini suite for 4, so with 1 extra bed it would come to 3.8K per day for 2 families. Looked interesting option, but without our friend's train ticket confirmation we didn't want to confirm booking. Indecision led to inaction. There were no rooms for the Dussera weekend by the time we called up after deciding.

The subsequent frantic search ended at Brindavan Residency, where the offer was 2.5K for 2 double beds, in single room. Extra beds free. No restaurant, but they serves food in room, if required. Booked this, and waited for the day to arrive.

It was made clear that 2 full days will be devoid of non-veg fare. Everyone being pure NV, it wasn’t an easy task!!

The pre-trip drama:

Phailin was performing at its best. Had heard about it 3 days before, but there was no way I was going to discuss about it! It would have come out in the open any time and jeopardized the dream trip, but luckily, it came out only after our family friends reached Bangalore. BTW, they didn't get train ticket confirmed, and drove to Bangalore in their car.

There were warnings from our home towns to avoid this trip and go somewhere else. The weather reports were clear, and I was reassuring everyone that there are no issues in the TN coast. Still, there was a fear that such a huge storm is sure to cause heavy downpour. That would have put the whole trip in a mess even if we managed to reach there. Finally, my wife called up the hotel and they said there is not even a drop of rain, and the sky is as blue as it can get.

All clear! Ready to take-off!

Last edited by samm : 29th October 2013 at 11:06. Reason: formatting and spacing changes
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Old 23rd October 2013, 14:59   #3
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Default Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by nature! - Onward Journey

Onward Journey - 12th Sunday, 2PM

Loaded two mid-sized strolley suitcases, bags with chappals, snacks and fruits, few pillows, blankets, and about 12L water into the car. Made sure all 3 rows are free of luggage for the 4 adults + 4 kids team. Started from Domlur, Bangalore on 12th Sunday after lunch. Knowing that there is absolutely no chance of a non-veg meal the next two days, we packed good quantity of Meghna special biriyani. Got it in quick time, and started the drive at around 2.15PM.

The drive was good, and by Godís grace, uneventful.

Passed Electronic city toll at around 2.30PM, Salem at around 4.45PM, and reached Madurai ring road at around 8.30PM after dinner. Road from Salem till Madurai was so great, that even 110-120kph appeared slow.

We had the map from @ampere to bypass the city, but the traffic looked less, and we ventured on the route though the city. Pretty soon, I realized the meaning of the one single question posed to meĖ ďDo you know how to get through Madurai?Ē. We missed the correct route just by a lane, and added about 3-4 kms and about 15-20 minutes, though, luckily got away without much problem with help from Google maps. If it was a working day, it would have been a disaster. The return route was fixed on the spot! If someone is reading this, just make sure you listen to advice on team-bhp!!

Roads all through were superb, except for the diversions near KA border, Hosur and a few places before Krishnagiri. The road beyond Madurai is a two lane road, but absolutely smooth. There was not one pothole which could mar the travel comfort. Surely, one of the best drives Iíve ever done.

The Pamban:

Paid Rs.100/- toll and landed on the bridge at 11PM in the night. It was an amazing feeling! More so, on the thought that we were standing in the middle of sea, with no one else in the vicinity. One side was absolutely dark, with just the noise of water. The other side was surreal, with the reflection of the moon from the vast sea! Absolutely thrilling! We could even feel the slight sway of the bridge, and in the middle of the night, it just adds to the thrill (or fear??)! Spent about half an hour on it walking up and down, and reached the hotel at 11.30PM. Note that we need to pay 50/- as entry fee to Municipality area.

A note on the tolls:

Need to pay the pamban bridge toll only once, as long as you donít pass the toll booth again towards the bridge. The toll is about half km before you reach the bridge, and there is none after crossing it towards Rameshwaram. So, you can travel on the bridge as many times as you want. Also, they didnít collect toll on return.

Municipality toll (which is about 9 km after pamban) receipt is valid for 1-2 days, so you can keep showing it till they ask you to pay again. We managed with one receipt for 2 days.

Snaps from the pamban. Sorry, no midnight pics... Also not lucky enough to see a train on the bridge in daylight. We did see it just before starting back on the second day, but at 7PM.

In bright sunlight:
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2941.jpg

View from the bridge. Small fishing boats. Most of the catch is dried. Did not see any fish stalls.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2939.jpg

View to the left, from Rameshwaram side. Pretty colorful. All shades of blue and green.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2967.jpg

View towards Rameshwaram:
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2974.jpg

The passage for ships:
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2977.jpg

Sunset:
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_3073.jpg

After sunset. Took using a 2 sec exposure, using the bridge railing as support. Some color shades are lost in downsizing to upload. This is the best I could manage in the darkness.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_3081.jpg

Glass boating, just before reaching Pamban. Boats are all RIP.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_3087.jpg

Last edited by samm : 30th October 2013 at 22:43.
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Old 23rd October 2013, 23:55   #4
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Default Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by nature! - Sight seeing

Monday, 14th October 2013:

Woke up pretty late and went for breakfast to Queen Palace. Unfortunately, everything was over by the time we reached at 11.30. Had Tea, and soon after at 12.15 noon, they served us lunch. The pure veg meal was pretty good, and with no breakfast, actually it tasted fantastic!

Called the jeep guy (Kumaran - contact given by Srihari), and he came over to the hotel by 2PM to the dream destination Dhanushkodi. Rate was 1400/-. Pictures will do the talking from here, my vocab isn't good enough to describe the place. For best results use a high quality display (use a Mac!) - my windows laptop isn't showing the pictures half good.

Journey to the land's end
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2750.jpg

Dead straight road. In the peninsular stretch beyond Rameshwaram
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2751.jpg

Absolutely no turns or up and downs. Sea is visible on both sides though the bushes.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2753.jpg

Endless beaches. The Bay of Bengal is on the left horizon.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2759.jpg

Indian Ocean on the right side (driving towards the tip)
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_3042.jpg

Some backwater after the high tides.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2761.jpg

A boat at its final resting place
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2822.jpg

One house for the locals. Was supposedly used for storing weapons in the past - when?? by whom?? no idea!. Nevertheless looked interesting.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2797.jpg

Ruins...
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2787.jpg

The old railway station. Adding one more to the numerous pics on the web!
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-t20131014_144914.jpg

Communication tower (i'm told) for coast guard. Was hard to get it with the too bright sky
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2902.jpg

Exclusively for 4x4s!
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2900.jpg

At the land's end!
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2824.jpg

Had to try this. Used a CPL filter.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_3063.jpg

Tuesday, 15th October 2013:

After the Dhanushkodi dream materialized, it was time to check out Rameshwaram, in addition to a drive in our car to whatever distance possible to the Land's End. This time, we stopped along the road to Dhanushkodi and ventured to the Indian Ocean side. Endless sand beds with absolutely no one else. Some of the pics above are from the second drive.

Next, we went along the coastal road, from Hotel Tamilnadu side. Deserted single lane road, with stunning scenery. Small sand beaches without any waves. Didn't look deep either, but didn't venture into water.

View from behind the temple. Lot of people are taking dip, and rituals going on there. Not a very nice place. Water isn't too clean in this area and the municipality is doing a great job in cleaning it up regularly.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2711.jpg

During the drive along the coast
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2722.jpg

Amazing scenery
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2727.jpg

Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2735.jpg

How can a BHP-ian not take the car near water! The wheel did spin before I could pull it back on road
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-t20131014_132636.jpg

Where the ferry starts. 60/- per person for about 30-45 mins. Nothing great. They could have extended it to the Dhanushkodi area, and it would have been fantastic.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2712.jpg

Bridge over shallow waters for boarding
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2986.jpg

The ferry boat
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2988.jpg

A formation!
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2992.jpg

Some shots from Rameshwaram town:

Everyone in the party, I'm behind the camera.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2693.jpg

Lakshman Theertham. One of the several theerthams.
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2703.jpg

List of big time donators? Couldn't understand what this was about
Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-tdsc_2709.jpg

Temple + Restaurant... "Pure vegetarian meals available hear". The English is very localized, to view it in a different perspective. In front of a church like building - "God will make piece to your heart", and at another location, to top them all - "Both Room"!! I specifically mention this to acknowledge the fact that the locals take extra effort to make outsiders comfortable. Their attitude deserves a kudos. Without those localized English sub-titles, it would have been impossible for people like us to read many boards.

Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!-20131015_164151.jpg

Last edited by samm : 30th October 2013 at 23:00.
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Old 28th October 2013, 12:57   #5
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Default Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by nature! - Return Jouney and Trip stats

Started back to Bangalore on Tuesday, 15th October at 7PM from the Pamban Bridge. Enjoyed the evening, the sunset and the night from the bridge before starting back. When we just came off the bridge, head the train siren, and just got lucky to see the train on the bridge as well.

My friend drove the first 5 hours, till 12 midnight, and I took the wheel from 12 to 5AM, when we reached Bangalore. It was pouring for almost 75% of the return trip, and in many stretches, we couldn't go beyond 60kmph.
Overall, maintained 80-100kmph wherever possible.

Thank you for bearing with me for this long thread!

Here are the finer details:

Toyota Innova 8 Seater, 4 Adults, 4 kids. Expenses shown are for the full group.

Trip Stats:

Distance (Total) : 1320 km (onwards - 600 + local - 110 + return-610)
Fuel: 99 Litres
Overall FE: 13.3 (onward - 13kmpl, return - 14kmpl, local - 11.9). These were checked Full-to-Full.
Speed: Onward - 100-120 kmph; return - 80-100kmph, with stretches of 60kmph
Air pressure: 35 psi
A/c : Full time, both front and rear.
Travel Time:
Onwards (from Madiwala to Pamban,Rameshwaram): 9-9.15 hrs, including all stops
Return (from Pamban to Domlur) : 10 hrs, including all stops

Hotel/Restaurants:
Day 1 : Brindavan Residency. 4 Bed room. Total cost: 2200/-
Pros: Outstanding customer service, very economical, clean, Just 2 minutes walk from the beach.
Cons: No Restaurant (only room service), a little small sized room (esp the 4 bed one), locality average

Day 2: Queen Palace. Mini Suite. Total cost: 3875/-
Pros: Very good room, spacious, mini fridge, location - on the main road, close to bus stand, very clean, Excellent food in restaurant. Reasonable price, esp when compared to Daiwik.
Cons: Non-existent customer service - ask for anything only to get frustrated. You will have the luxury of seeing previous nights dinner plates next day morning. Risk of A/c leak (not a major issue), and we faced no-water situation in the morning till 10.30AM (may be we were unlucky!)

Overall Expense Summary:
Stay : 6075
Toll: 1077
Diesel: 5650
Food: 4400
Boat: 420
Jeep:1400

Total: 19082. Per family:9540.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip, and all of us will remember for a long time to come! Without this forum, I can certainly say that this trip would have never happened!

Last edited by samm : 30th October 2013 at 15:28.
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Old 31st October 2013, 17:11   #6
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 31st October 2013, 19:48   #7
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Nice writeup! Reminded me of my trip last December.

Loved land's end. I found it kinda haunting to be in Dhanushkodi.

And btw - why only veg food? I did manage to get some very decent non-veg food in Rameswaram

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Old 31st October 2013, 20:44   #8
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

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Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Loved land's end. I found it kinda haunting to be in Dhanushkodi.

And btw - why only veg food? I did manage to get some very decent non-veg food in Rameswaram
Thanks for your comments!

We were too excited with the environment, didn't think too much about the disaster.

Which were the non-veg restaurants? Do share if you remember the names. I couldn't find any. Also based on various posts, I had a pretty strong impression that non-veg was disallowed in restaurants in Rameshwaram.
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Old 1st November 2013, 17:16   #9
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Well crafted travelogue and nice pics too!!

In all these days I had postponed my trip to Dhanushkodi twice due to some or other last minute hiccups. But seeing your pics I must say you have made me more determined to make a successful outing this time.
Thanks mate for the detailed report and you have made my planning much easier .
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Old 2nd November 2013, 12:31   #10
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

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Originally Posted by DragonHawk View Post
Well crafted travelogue and nice pics too!!

In all these days I had postponed my trip to Dhanushkodi twice due to some or other last minute hiccups. But seeing your pics I must say you have made me more determined to make a successful outing this time.
Thanks mate for the detailed report and you have made my planning much easier .
Feeling good to be of motivation to you! I was also tempted by the travelogues of BHPians referred at the beginning of my thread. Do refer them, you should get some more information.

To be frank, the place is better than what the pictures show you. Never miss this place, and try to make it by December, beyond which the weather will become pretty hot.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 12:44   #11
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Quote:
Originally Posted by samm View Post
Thanks for your comments!

We were too excited with the environment, didn't think too much about the disaster.

Which were the non-veg restaurants? Do share if you remember the names. I couldn't find any. Also based on various posts, I had a pretty strong impression that non-veg was disallowed in restaurants in Rameshwaram.
Oh, I don't remember the names of the restaurants. They are small eateries more like and were on the Rameswaram - Dhanushkodi road. Actually I was also surprised since they were quite close to the temple itself. I'm a hard core non veggie so scouted out these 2 places. IIRC, pretty good parottas, chicken, biryani etc.
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Old 6th November 2013, 14:01   #12
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Excellent thread. Very crisp, yet very informative. I am really tempted to make my year end road trip to the land's end now. Thank's again buddy.

One quick question I have though - You mentioned about a Jeep driver - Kumaran. I did not get that context. Were you tired to drive to Land's end or did the terrain ask for a localized experience behind the wheel in that stretch?

Cheers!

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Old 6th November 2013, 14:26   #13
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raveesh_k View Post
Excellent thread. Very crisp, yet very informative. I am really tempted to make my year end road trip to the land's end now. Thank's again buddy.

One quick question I have though - You mentioned about a Jeep driver - Kumaran. I did not get that context. Were you tired to drive to Land's end or did the terrain ask for a localized experience behind the wheel in that stretch?

Cheers!
Thanks for your comments! I strongly recommend this place.

The road to Dhanushkodi ends about 5-6 km before the tip. From that point, it just sand bed. You need a 4x4 with high GC to drive on that (Check Srihari's thread, where he talks about taking his Safari through that!)

Even if you have a 4x4 car, you will need an expert in that area, to know the correct route, else you might end up inside slush (from high tide) or even get stuck in sand. There was no way I could have taken my Innova on that! We did drive till the end of the road next day, for some more fun.

Forget Dhanushkodi, even at Rameshwaram, I took my car on a small sand stretch to take some pics close to water, and it was some effort to pull it back on road!

Another point, if you are driving, you probably cant enjoy the atmosphere fully. But, it will be surely fun to drive on the sand bed as Srihari will testify!

Last edited by samm : 6th November 2013 at 14:27.
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Old 6th November 2013, 14:44   #14
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Yeah, I did check his thread. Thanks for adding in your bit of experience. Another question that struck my mind after reading Hari's post was - what could possibly be the best time to visit this place. Many have recommended Dec, but thats the time many Sabrimala pilgrims hit the temple. The temple and the areas around would be packed I guess, but how manageable is the town otherwise.
Appreciate your advice.

Cheers!
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Old 6th November 2013, 15:17   #15
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Default Re: Dhanushkodi - Beauty reclaimed by Nature!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raveesh_k View Post
Another question that struck my mind after reading Hari's post was - what could possibly be the best time to visit this place. Many have recommended Dec, but thats the time many Sabrimala pilgrims hit the temple. The temple and the areas around would be packed I guess, but how manageable is the town otherwise.
Appreciate your advice.

Cheers!
I don't know too much about when it will get crowded, but Oct, Nov and Dec will be the best time.

We went in the Dussera weekend, there wasn't any crowd in the town. Did get stuck for 10-15 minutes due to some temple procession, but nothing bad at all.

On the town in general, it is really small, and if you stay in Daiwik or Queens, the place will be nice as well. There aren't too many good restaurants, just a couple of them on the main road towards the temple.

We went only on two main routes - one behind the temple, near Hotel Tamilnadu and the other one was Dhanuskodi road. The roads are narrow in the town, but there wasn't much traffic to be of any major concern.

You can possibly try during a weekend (extend if required), instead of pushing to late December. It will be an enjoyable drive and trip. Try exploring some more areas!
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