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Old 13th September 2014, 00:48   #31
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

Hi trammway, amazing TL. After reading Fauji's below TL

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ing-menus.html (Fauji's Drivologues: Charming Chettinad - Magnificent Mansions & Mouth Watering Menus)
to Chettinadu mansion I was mesmerized and ensured that I need to make it out one day and now your TL adds more oil to add my desire.

Just need to check couple of points before planning, as per fauji's TL he was able to visit couple of mansion's in karaikudi

"Our first stop was at A.M.A. House and Our second stop for the day was at the house of “Achi” or Ms Meenakshi Meyyapan. Beautifully maintained by her, this is again another example of how these mansions would have even in their hey days."

But you were not able to get permission to visit the above place, is it something we need to plan in advance to get permission or is it they have stopped allowing visitors to these places ?
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Old 13th September 2014, 08:55   #32
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But you were not able to get permission to visit the above place, is it something we need to plan in advance to get permission or is it they have stopped allowing visitors to these places ?
If you do a deep dive on Fauji’s posts, Ms. Meenakshi meyyappan (aka. Aachi) run business is called Bangala and that itself a mansion used by the Chettiyars as Gentleman club in the past. Again the second house that the travelogue talks about is Ms. Meenakshi meyyappan’s own house at Karaikudi. Hence if you stay in one of the mansion converted to hotel setup (i.e. Bangala (Karaikudi), Heritage (Kaanaadukaathaan etc.) then you have a greater chance of entering them without any planning issue. Knowing about Aachi’s house taking part of the exhibition, if you stay at Bangala, it makes more sense to get accommodation and go with the flow even though it is little bit higher side but maintenance of this humongous mansions do incur lots of expenses to the hotel operators.

I’m also quoting the following from Fauji’s answer:

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Bangala guys have leased out a mansion which they maintain and show it to their guests. They charge Rs 50 as entry fee. A guide is also provided at Rs 300 for the whole tour for half day. Same thing is done by Visalam also. I am not sure whether the Chettinad Palace has any entry fees as such and what i understood is that the family is not encouraging visitors inside which if true is really sad. Otherwise, people are friendly and you can just walk into any mansions.
Even though the government of India recognized this village as Heritage one, there is absolutely no visitor information available about mansions available for public visits, hence the Team-BHP travelogues are the only guide to the heritage village. There are also lots of video footage of other mansions including the palace are available on the internet posted by visitors that can give you some hints planning your trip too.

As mentioned in the first post, my trip was totally adhoc in nature and even called Bangala to get accommodation while approaching Karaikudi but the rooms weren't available on that day. The two person accommodation rent per day conveyed to me was Rs.6000 and same with Fauji too, hence it is pretty consistent.

One mansion for sure even if you go on adhoc mode will allow you for a fee is that in the Athenkudi(again be warned, this mansion also featured in many Tamil movies hence if they are renting out for a shooting then that particular day you will have issue),When we were stepping out of the mansion, the next batch of visitors entered and the person who charged us told the new group that the fee per person was Rs.50, so I tend to believe that the entrance fee is charged based on his mood at that very moment.

Last edited by trammway : 13th September 2014 at 08:59.
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Old 13th September 2014, 11:20   #33
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

Wow, just wow..

The last set of pictures on Thanjavur temple and The Karaikudi house are simply inexplicable..

What history we Indians have.. It is second to none in this planet.

It is sad that most of today's youth ape the west thinking that they are the superior beings. I wish each of our state governments actively promote our History and Culture to all the citizens, every Indian needs to know what his/her DNA is made of.

I 've been reading quite a lot about Indian history and Hinduism in the past few years and I'm just in awe after realizing who we are.

The white invaders took advantage of our Goodness and made us their slaves, what Irony!!

I wish the current and future generations take great pride in knowing who we are, we are second to none on this planet, and equally superior to any superior being in this world!
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Old 13th September 2014, 14:53   #34
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

What an amazing travelogue!!! Thanks for sharing this.

Thanks for bringing in Athengudi which is my native.
Great pictures. I hope you dont mind of me putting this picture of my house to show what kind of history Indians have.
Attached Thumbnails
Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours-chettinad-house.jpg  

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Old 13th September 2014, 16:58   #35
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Few Facts:
  • Total time for the trip: 72 hours
  • Total distance covered: 1724 kms (trip meter says)
  • Fuel Economy: 8.7 kmpl hence 198 liters of diesel for the trip
  • Lodging expense: Rs. 1000 (Kanyakumari morning refresh) + Rs. 2800 ( 1 AC + 2 Non-AC rooms Karaikudi) + Thiruchendur ( on a special Sr. Citizen rate Rs. 1550) = Rs. 5350
  • Chennai to Kanyakumari had lots of toll roads but return from Kanyakumari to Chennai had only 4 of them.
  • Padmanabapuram palace, Kanyakumari had city/town access fees
  • Attraction entry fees paid at: Padmanabapuram Palace, Athenkudi Palatial Mansion and Thiruchendur special dharshan
  • Tanjavur temple was best for car parking as no fee charged and just opposite to the temple entrance.
  • Worst road was between Kanyakumari and Thiruchendur (this is the same location of Kudankulam atomic project)
  • Throughout our trip, food was good with different flavors indicating the local culture and preparation tactics.
  • Attractions (places) covered: 9
  • Children learned the subjects: Science (Dhanushkodi), Heritage (Karaikudi), Culture (Kanyakumari), History ( Tanjavur, Athenkudi, Padmanabapuram Palace), Architecture (Thanjavur, Karaikudi, Kaanaadukaathaan, Athenkudi, Padmanabapuram Palace, Rameswaram) & They learned generosity & humanity everywhere throughout the trip.
  • Primary Building Materials witnessed: 11th Century = Granite, 16th Century = Wood / Terracotta, 18th Century = Chunammbu & Bricks, 19th Century = Imported artifacts, wood, Cement & Brick & 20th century = shrunk living area with hallow blocks ;-)
  • Is the time of the trip correct: Yes, I would say perfect timing. Only thing that we couldn't predict is that sight of Sunrise (Cloud god needs to have some mercy)
  • Floating Stone:
    As per Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI) article with reference Mar. Fish. Infor. Serv., T&E Ser., No. 182, 2004 :-

    It is believed that a floating stone kept near the fire faced Hanuman temple in Rameshwaram was one of the stones used to build the legendary bridge in Ramayana between India and Srilanka

    The floating stone on a closer examination reveals that it is a coral. Corals of the genus Favia, Platygyra etc. are kept floating in a tank filled with water. This is in conformity with the massive floating coral belonging to the genus Favia kept floating in the aquarium at Mandapam Regional Center of CMFRI. According to Terry Hughes (personal communication) the scientific explanation for this is as follows : 'Coral skeletons are not solid, they have many holes or cavities that are usually filled with water. The size and number of cavities determines the skeletal density (specific gravity) of a coral, which varies from 0.9 to >2gm/cc.

    Tall corals need to be more dense to stop them breaking, whereas massive corals like Favia and Platygyra are less dense. Corals less than 1gm/cc will float if most of the water is replaced by air'. Hiraya Yamano, a Japanese scientist has also come across such kind of floating corals in high latitude reefs. He believes that the low calcification rate in high latitudes contributed to this phenomenon. According to him, the high turbidity in the tropics reduces the calcification rate which may be the reason for the low specific gravity of the floating corals. The coral belonging to the genus Favia which has been kept floating in CMFRI aquarium is obtained from the seashore adjacent to the institute. It looks a fossilized form with many cavities and crevices. With the help of radiocarbon dating the age of this coral can be exactly determined. Also this kind of radiocarbon studies on corals and floating chronologies are widely used in predicting the past sea level and sea surface temperatures. So the floating coral is of great scientific significance.


    The above article from CMRI makes me to think that our country needs to more excavation in Palk straight to identify the submerged Lemuria continent (Kumari kandam in Tamil inscription reference from 2500 year old findings), more than having sentimental aspect I trust scientific evidences of this place may even give answer to the unidentified tablets of Indus Vally Civilization.

~~~THE END~~~

Last edited by trammway : 13th September 2014 at 17:22.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 18:31   #36
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

Enchanting Tamil Nadu indeed.

Very nice travelogue trammway. Pretty nice description right from the very beginning to the end. The chettinad architecture (I only heard of their cuisine earlier) has been a revelation.

I was in Tamilnadu coupla weeks ago visiting kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Madurai and Srirangam.
The NH7 starting point and the immediate lake is an interesting episode for anyone driving through there. The detour for the same through the temple premises should, I believe, be better marked.

We visited dhanushkodi but only uptil where the tarmac was laid. We did think about driving further but did not want to take the risk with our 2wd duster. I shall definitely be back later with family to view the fossilised corals and the ghost town.

The roads of Tamilnadu are really good and hurried up our tour time greatly. Definitely will be back for Tanjavur, Mahabalipuram, Kanchi etc..

Looking forward to reading your Agra travelogue next. :-)
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Old 7th January 2015, 11:42   #37
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

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One mansion for sure even if you go on adhoc mode will allow you for a fee is that in the Athenkudi(again be warned, this mansion also featured in many Tamil movies hence if they are renting out for a shooting then that particular day you will have issue),When we were stepping out of the mansion, the next batch of visitors entered and the person who charged us told the new group that the fee per person was Rs.50, so I tend to believe that the entrance fee is charged based on his mood at that very moment.
Thanks a lot trammway, finally I have made the trip during the Christmas holidays from bangalore to karaikudi ,Kanadukathan and Athenkudi and I was able to visit only the Athenkudi house, I paid Rs50 as entrance fee ( I still feel it is totally worth it ) . As you mentioned in your TL all these places should be preserved as it has great history attached to it and I was informed that Athenkudi house was built for Rs 7,00,000 in year 1920-30 with most of the items imported from abroad ( Just thinking how much it will cost today to built a similar house).

Actually while visiting Athenkudi, we happened to visit a place called Chokalingapudhur en route and happened to see almost double the number of houses as we had in Athenkudi but not even a single house was maintained well. It was really pain to look at those magnificent structures getting spoilt due to lack of interest by their owners and also by government. I will try and upload the pictures soon of these spoiled cities.
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Old 12th January 2015, 12:23   #38
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It was really pain to look at those magnificent structures getting spoilt due to lack of interest by their owners and also by government. I will try and upload the pictures soon of these spoiled cities.
Great to know that you have made it to this exotic villages.

I share the same pain as you do. It was very sad that the current owners are not appreciating the values that these palatial houses brings to them in terms of culture and ingenious architecture that has been used.

There are more and more of such houses are getting demolished for the wood and antiques from these houses.

Please update those pictures for pleasure of our eyes.
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Old 18th January 2015, 20:37   #39
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Default Re: Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours

An amazing Travelogue with a beautiful historical perspective. The way you summed up the learnings in the end shows the keenness you have in the subject. India is a land of so much heritage and travels like these really bring out those beautiful historical tenets.

Enchanting Tamil Nadu was indeed enchanting, and will inspire many like me to hit the roads to explore the history. As far as Taj Mahal is concerned, I am sure it will satisfy your hunger for history. Happy miles crunching...
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Old 18th January 2015, 21:01   #40
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Amazing travelogue and must be a great learning experience for children.

Quote:
Thiruchendur ( on a special Sr. Citizen rate Rs. 1550)
I am very curious to know as where in Tiruchendur one can avail the special rate for senior citizens.
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Old 18th January 2015, 23:23   #41
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I am very curious to know as where in Tiruchendur one can avail the special rate for senior citizens.
Quota/Special rate system works only with Government organisation. In my case it was TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation). The TTDC hotel was adjacent to the temple and easily walkable distance.

Visit this link for more information, however call up the manager and ask for Senior Citizen Discount.

http://www.ttdconline.com/hotelnamedisplay.do#

TIP: I got to know from another friend who was in Tiruchendur last week that the family room that we were staying is now having some wet wall issue and he was suggesting to ask for the newly renovated blocks.

Last edited by trammway : 18th January 2015 at 23:25.
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Old 17th February 2015, 11:19   #42
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Wow, what a travelogue. Chettinad, Thanjavur, Rameswaram.. The places I'd love to drive to and explore in detail. SOmetimes I feel there's no place in the world like Tamil Nadu and over last 4-5 years I've been trying to explore and learn more and more about TN, people and culture. Being in Trivandrum, we have easy access to the areas like Thirunelveli/ Thenkasi etc. that are under 4 hours drive.

I wish you would travel more through TN and come up with more pics and travelogues. I got kind of goosebumps seeing many pics. Just sharing some of my pics through TN.

Dawn near Nagercoil
Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours-dsc_1045.png

The greenery near Thuckalay during monsoon
Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours-dsc03663.jpg

On a sunny morning
Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours-dsc_0755.jpg

Drive into rain. On the NH to Thirunelveli
Enchanting Tamil Nadu in 72 hours-dsc_0762.jpg
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Old 26th February 2015, 04:15   #43
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Wow, what a travelogue. Chettinad, Thanjavur, Rameswaram..
Thank you for the comments. Yes, those are scenic pictures and shows how real Tamilnadu landscape will look if we get proper water on the plains. wherever the water flows in Tamilnadu it will show lush green scenery. Unfortunately water is the primary concern throughout the state and lots of dry land around.

I have more trips planned for other locations of Tamilnadu in the coming days if I continue to stay in India. But for sure I will cover my hometown(Tiruvannamalai) before I pack my bag.

Last edited by trammway : 26th February 2015 at 04:16.
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Old 26th February 2015, 08:15   #44
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I have more trips planned for other locations of Tamilnadu in the coming days if I continue to stay in India. But for sure I will cover my hometown(Tiruvannamalai) before I pack my bag.
There are beautiful hills around Tiruvannamalai to be covered. You can places around Vellore/Tiruvannalamala/Polur section. There is also observatory close by at Alangayam on the Javadi hills. An early morning drive around these regions in winter would be just pefect.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 08:35   #45
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There are beautiful hills around Tiruvannamalai to be covered. You can places around Vellore/Tiruvannalamala/Polur section. There is also observatory close by at Alangayam on the Javadi hills. An early morning drive around these regions in winter would be just pefect.


Indeed those are beautiful locations, I believe you are referring to Parvadhamalai as it falls between Polur and Tiruvannamalai.

I was thinking of Thiruvarangam that is ancient Chola era temple considered to be older than Srirangam.

There are pockets near Thanippadi where scenic trekking is possible and finally yes the Jawadhu (correct spelling) hills range where Kavanur is a village that hosts the world's second largest observatory called Vainu Pappu Observatory. There are multiple telescopes inside in it and the largest one is mounted on a rotating dome at the 8th story of a building. Near to this village is where the Jamunamararthur village in which the Bheema falls is located.

Apart from this the crocodile farm at Sathanur dam is one place not to be missed if you are interested in zoology matters. I have witnessed multiple crocodile hatching from it shell as a young boy but now I realize how cute those moments were and pure feast to video/photo cameras.

Having spent good amount of my life here, almost I lived in each of these places and now it's time to visit again to capture the beauty of these places for informational purposes.

Last edited by trammway : 2nd March 2015 at 08:39.
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