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Old 26th December 2013, 11:18   #1
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Default Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Whenever I saw the sign board in Silk Board which read, Kanyakumari 6xx kms (fellow Bangaloreans would have surely seen this board by now), I used to wonder when I would relish going to this amazing place. With the year end shut down of this year, there was no better opportunity to kick start preparations for a mini Tamil Nadu trip.

This travelogue covers trip from Bangalore to Salem-Trichy-Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari-Madurai.
Few Statistics:
Ride used: A year old Ford Figo TDCI
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights (22nd to 25th Dec 2013)
Total kms: 1703
Total Toll Paid: INR. 1180/- (Cursed NHAI a few times)
Total Fuel Cost: INR. 4500/- (Diesel)

No matter how much homework goes into the preparation..
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-100_2547.jpg

In reality, roads would be as complicated as this. Add to that the all local language approach in Tamil Nadu, tourists are sure to have a tough time locating the right roads.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-2.jpg

I have listed out the day wise break up of the trip, note that all the driving was done single handed and during day time to ensure safety and more importantly, enjoy the drive.

Day 1: Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Namakkal-Trichy

After spending a sleepless night the previous night, my parents and myself (a total of 3 adults for this trip) got up early at 5.00 am and started the journey at 6.05 am. There was heavy mist, but I wanted to save time by starting early and beat Bangalore and toll traffic till Krishnagiri. Thankfully it worked.

Just to give an idea of the amount of light at 6.05 am, for those who get up late.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-20131222_060110.jpg

As I stay in KR Puram, chose to take the Kadugodi, Gunjur, Sarjapur, Attibele road to reach Hosur Road. We could have also chosen the ORR instead, but the former road is in itself a treat to drive in the morning. Had beakfast at Sarvana Bhavan, this one comes ~4 kms before the Krishnagiri toll, by far, the best and reasonable option available for breakfast.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-hotel1.jpg
The sun just starting to beat down.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-roadview1.jpg
After having a quick breakfast, continued to Namakkal in the expressway. From here onwards, there is a 2 laned well laid road to Trichy. There are patchy stretches here and there, but Bangaloreans wouldn't complain of road quality.

By 12.30 pm, reached Srirangam, a small town which comes just before Trichy, which has the famous Srirangam temple. That was the first planned destination. The temple was quite crowded?? yes, but whether the crowd was created to get the cash registers flooded with the "Special Darshans", only god knows.

A view of the majestic Gopuram.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-20131222_131445.jpg
Temple internal boundary wall (Multiple layers of such boundaries present)
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-srirangamexterior.jpg

Once darshan was done, the remaining day was to be spent at a relative's place relaxing and preparing for the next day's trip. During the first day of the trip, I got a good chance to see the innumerable number of instances where there was a clear intent shown in developing the road infrastructure in Tamil Nadu. Its about the finishing that they bring, which I feel is missed in comparison to the road infrastructure projects in Bangalore.

As one would expect, there was a good amount of pampering done in terms of home made food for the rest of the day.

Day 2: Trichy-Pudukottai-Karaikudi-Devakottai Road-Ramanathapuram-Rameswaram

Day 2 was expected to be the best day of the trip, and it indeed was. There is a wonderfully laid two laned relatively empty stretch of road that whirls its way to Ramanathapuram from Trichy. Just when I was about to realise that I had a wonderful ride, once I crossed Rameshwaram, I was in for a surprise. Sea on both sides of the road, yes, the land at one point becomes so narrow that we can see sea on either sides. I would let the pics do the talking of what I experienced in Pamban bridge from here on.

A normal and panoramic view of what once could see before reaching Pamban Bridge
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-20131223_115102.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-20131223_115022.jpg
View from the Pamban Bridge
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-bridge1.jpg
A parallel bridge where a train was spotted
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-100_2606.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-100_2649.jpg
The bridge, from the other side.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-100_2645.jpg

Once Pamban Bridge was crossed, I drove further to reach Rameshwaram. Once a decent hotel was found dynamically (Aarya's Residency, AC Room, double bed, INR 1350/-, would rate 9/10) and lunch was taken, visited the famous Rameshwaram temple. That was by far the largest temple I had visited yet (that would change soon). Surprisingly lesser crowd, no unnecessary queue build up, peaceful visit. To reach the temple which was 1.2 kms away, chose to use the local auto to experience the Piaggio 3 wheeler ride (and also save my parking space).

From the temple, I took the local bus to Dhanushkodi (frequency is very good, and priced very reasonably, INR 12/- per head for a 23 km ride). Yet again, the scenery around was similar, yet amazing, sea on either sides and a single lone road. I had planned to watch and capture the sunset at the Dhanushkodi beach. It was picture perfect, or maybe not, the readers should decide. Here go the pics.

Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-s21.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-s22.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-s23.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-s24.jpg
The sky was clear enough to spot the star.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-star.jpg
The shops at Dhanushkodi beach have some interesting stuff.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-shop1.jpg

After a satisfactory day, when things went as planned, went back to the hotel to get some much needed rest to prep up for the next day of the trip.

Day 3: Rameshwaram-Ramanathapuram-East Coast Road-Tuticorn-Tirunelvelli-Kanyakumari

There is a usual route taken in general, Rameshwaram-Madurai, and the 4 laned expressway from then on. But I wanted to try the country side two laned road for some stretch. I wasn't disappointed at all. Excellent road, would rate the two laned roads very high on fun factor than the expressways. Started at 7.30 am after drinking a full packet of Glucon-D to keep the internal body temperature at check. and reached Kanyakumari by 1 pm.

There was so much expected from Kanyakumari, more so after the kind of greeting I got from the Kathadimalai windmill project. There are hundreds of windmills, for 20+ kms at a stretch, and they deserve a special mention here. From what I learnt from the locals, the wind energy creates more power than required, and the project is a success.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-windmill2.jpg
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-windmill.jpg
Also spotted the scenic mountains on the way
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-mountain.jpg

We reached Kanyakumari by 1 pm, had lunch, and my mom had negotiated for a relaxed shopping for atleast a couple of hours. Found a hotel here till 7 am next morning (Hotel Sun Sea Residency, Non AC, Non Sea View [where did I have the time to see the sea through the window], INR 1350/-, Rating 6/10 ). By 5 pm, headed to the sunset point to watch the sun set, again! But alas, it was a cloudy day. The sun was hiding behind the clouds, as if to say, "You cannot see me above the beauty of the sea/ocean for two days back to back!". Add to that, the ride to Vivekananda Rock Memorial was cancelled due to safety reasons citing heavy winds. After a quick visit to another commercially oriented (no offence meant to the goddess, or the temple, but surely to the management) Kanyakumari temple, headed back to hotel unsatisfied.

This was the closest I could manage to reach the rock memorial.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-k2.jpg
A cloudy sunset indeed.
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-k2sunset.jpg


Day 4: Kanyakumari-Madurai-Bangalore

Started early, 6.00 am to be precise, and was apprehensive about the time it would take to reach Madurai, because I also wanted to drive back to Bangalore the same day. Thanks to the 4+ laned expressway all through, I could cover 700 kms in a day. I reached Madurai by 9.00 am, with a 30 minute breakfast included. That was the quickest I drove a 240+ kms stretch in such less time.

On the way, was fortunate enough to spot this extremely good place for breakfast. Steaming hot tasty food was served. (If I didn't mention where I had food earlier, it was because I felt that I didn't make the best choice)
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-hotel2.jpg

Madurai City was surprisingly well organised, decided to keep the cameras in the car to witness the temple without the distraction of having to take pictures every now and then (I personally feel that the real experience of the place is missed trying to see things through the View Finder). The Madurai Meenakshi Temple, now replaced the Rameshwaram temple as the biggest temple I visited yet. The temple is a must visit, it has some excellent carvings, illuminated by special lights, the pillars, the walls, the detailing, all in all, a majestic piece of art.

Headed back to Bangalore the same day, spotting several Team-BHP stickers on the way, in toll plazas, restaurants et al, Every time I watched a Team-BHP clad car, I would get as excited as I would when I would spot the innumerable number of peacocks by the road on this trip. I'm still new to this forum, and this is my very first travelogue. Thanks for your patience for reading such a long travelogue, if you managed to reach this far. Cheers!

Last edited by GTO : 27th December 2013 at 14:36. Reason: Moving out
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Old 27th December 2013, 14:36   #2
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th December 2013, 17:26   #3
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Well written for your first travelogue, read through entirely. Been reading many write ups about Rameshwaram, sure will do that soon. Is it enough to take the bus to Dhanushkodi or did you feel a private jeep would have taken you to more view points and a different experience. Keep driving and writing.
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Old 27th December 2013, 19:27   #4
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Quote:
Originally Posted by majumon View Post
Well written for your first travelogue, read through entirely. Been reading many write ups about Rameshwaram, sure will do that soon. Is it enough to take the bus to Dhanushkodi or did you feel a private jeep would have taken you to more view points and a different experience. Keep driving and writing.
Thanks majumon, Yes, a jeep would have taken me further, however, I learnt that there was nothing much once we go beyond the point where the bus takes us. My suggestion would be to take our own car instead, so that we can enjoy the umpteen number of view points on the way between Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi.
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Old 27th December 2013, 22:09   #5
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

As you rightly said the best part would have to be Trichy-Rameshwaram. NH210via Pudukottai/Karakudi used to be quite bad. Now its one of the very good roads to drive.
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Old 28th December 2013, 09:07   #6
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Good writeup complimented by very good pictures.
I just loved the pictorial representation of the complicated roads .
The picture with the train in the middle of the water was very nice as I haven't seen anything like that before.

cheers,
pdma.
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Old 28th December 2013, 11:43   #7
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
As you rightly said the best part would have to be Trichy-Rameshwaram. NH210via Pudukottai/Karakudi used to be quite bad. Now its one of the very good roads to drive.
In addition, Rameshwaram to Ramanathapuram, the East Coast Road, starting from Ramanathapuram till the Tuticorn by-pass road is equally good. There are few bad patches here and there. But all in all, a treat to drive with a good road handler like Ford Figo.
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Old 28th December 2013, 17:53   #8
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Talking Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Brilliant Travelogue!! I did the same route in june but it was slightly different, Chennai-Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari-Kodaikanal-Chennai totally 1880kms.
The best bit of this route was the Trichy-Rameshwaram stretch, absolute driver's paradise what with peacocks and all. The other best two laned road was between Rameshwaram-Tuticorin along the ECR absolutely stunning. But I made the mistake of continuing along the ECR via Tiruchendur-Kudankulam to Kanyakumari the most horrible road in the entire journey. Tamilnadu's roadworks are getting better by the day. The four-laned highways were absolutely stunning from Dindigul to Chennai that I did 410kms in 5 hours. Left Dindigul at 11:00am was parked at home in Chennai at 4:10pm.

P.S. You should have taken a Jeep to Dhanushkodi that too in the morning the tip where the Indian ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet is very picturesque. Perfect Excuse for another Roadtrip.
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Old 28th December 2013, 18:56   #9
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post
The other best two laned road was between Rameshwaram-Tuticorin along the ECR absolutely stunning. But I made the mistake of continuing along the ECR via Tiruchendur-Kudankulam to Kanyakumari the most horrible road in the entire journey. Tamilnadu's roadworks are getting better by the day.
Thanks Shanksta for your comments. My dad who is from Tamil Nadu had to do all the route enquiries, and I (born and brought up in Blore with no knowledge of the local language) kept asking him the names on almost every milestone I could possibly see!

I took the wrong route as well as you mentioned, after Tuticorn for 15 kms. However, a local truck driver gave the right suggestion/directions. I was back to that Tirunelvelli 4 way lane in no time.
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Old 29th December 2013, 19:44   #10
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

That was a well written travelogue, with the photos interspersed aptly to keep the interest going. I was wondering what are the times that you would have clocked in each leg of the journey as I was planning a trip sometime later on this route and it would help plan the "pit stops". It would be great if you could share.
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Old 30th December 2013, 10:30   #11
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Here go the times and the pit stops:

Day 1: Bangalore to Trichy 06:00 hrs to 12:30 hrs Rest at Trichy.
Day 2: Trichy to Rameshwaram 7:00 hrs to 14:30 hrs Rest at Rameshwaram.
Day 3: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari 9:00 hrs to 13:30 hrs Rest at Kanyakumari.
Day 4: Kanyakumari to Madurai 06:00 hrs to 9:00 hrs, Temple Visit, Madurai to Bangalore (back home) 13:00 hrs to 19:30 hrs.

The timings include relaxed breaks for food/snacks. The last bit of Madurai to Bangalore had many such breaks in between, so could be done faster.

The two laned roads that you can expect:
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu-2lane-road.jpg
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Old 1st January 2014, 23:39   #12
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Wow. This is a short yet amazing travelogue. I too worked in Electronic City and saw that sign board a few times. Hope to cover this stretch in 2014. The pics look amazing.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 09:33   #13
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

@Pahwa, Thanks, and by the way, Cover the stretch during winter preferably, to avoid the scorching heat otherwise.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:09   #14
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Short and sweet travelogue with useful information.

FYI - I was looking for that inspirational sign board! Perhaps, you can post a pic of the same?
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Old 2nd January 2014, 12:56   #15
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Default Re: Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu

Very good TLog kaushik! I too had looked at this signboard for years but never attempted it :( Some or the other thing kept spoiling my plan. But not more! Will head out there soon!

By the way, is there any specific season to enjoy these places better with lesser crowd? Or let me ask - how would be a early summer trip with kids? Doable without much prep like reservations?
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