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Old 1st February 2015, 00:36   #1
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Default Tour Down South in a Honda City

A long weekend always brings loads of joy and excitement and the ever hated Monday being a holiday is certainly an icing on the cake.
It was not a regular planned trip as one would do,it was rather unlooked for when i asked my dad on (24/jan) saturday morning "Pa, what'ya say about a road trip!".
He looked up , scratched his head probably thinking for a while and to my surprise nodded a "yes". It has been a long long time since our last road trip
and this was quite different as it was the first long road trip for me not as a passenger but as the person behind the wheel.

The decided trip was from Chennai to Madurai to Tenkasi to Courtallam and back to Chennai.

A proposed itinerary was drafted just in time.
Chennai - Madurai [sat/24/Jan]
+Overnight stay at Madurai

Madurai - Tenkasi [sun/25/Jan]
+visit to Meenakshi temple
+visit to Srivilliputhur temple

Tenkasi <-> Courtalam [sun/25/Jan]
+visit to Courtalam five falls
+visit to Kashi Viswanath temple
+back to Tenkasi to rest for the night

Tenkasi - Ambasamudharam -Tirunelveli - Chennai [Mon/26/Jan]
+visit to Manimutharu Dam and Falls


Vehicle: Stock Honda city iVtec '14 with ~2500kms on odo.

Clothes were packed swiftly and we left our residence(Ambattur) at 15:00 local time.Sat-Nav was configured and
we had ~460 Kms to scale with about six hours as target (I usually never prefer night driving).
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Old 1st February 2015, 01:42   #2
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Snails on Chengalpattu NH45 freeway:
It was 15:40 when we were approaching Perungalathur doing around 80Kmph on NH45.What looked like a freeway turned topsy-turvy into a bumper to bumper slow moving traffic
and it lasted for about an hour and half till we reached Vandalur. 4 kilometers took around one and a half hours.
Post Vandalur, route began to clear and it quite became a proper freeway on crossing Guduvanchery. It was 17:20 when we reached Chengalpattu Toll booth.
Things started to look pretty tight.

Tour Down South in a Honda City-chntrchwy.jpg

Speed ahead to Madurai:

Time was running out.We had wasted substantial amount of daytime on NH45 and now had to scale 400 odd Kms in 4 hours .Chances to avoid night travel looked bleak.
Doing a steady speed of a 100 Kmph with occasional bursts of 120 Kmph, we reached Trichy at 21:30 and Madurai at 22:40.
Checked into the hotel at around 22:50 and was done for the day.
There were five tolls three of which came every 100 kms and two of them appeared within 50 kms distance. I lost count of the individual tariffs but the total came to be around 450 rupees (one way tariffs).

Temple saga:

At seven in the morning after a warm shower left for Meenakshi Temple which was less than a kilometer from our hotel.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-meenakshi.jpg

Gold lotus in the pond of the temple.
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Natraj ( dancing Shiva) Idol in the museum at Meenakshi temple.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-meenakshnatraj.jpg

Had a good darshan and left for the hotel to checkout.

At around 10:00,we left Madurai for Srivilliputhur(80 kms).
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Reached Srivilliputhur Temple at around 11:30.

Feast your eyes on this temple with its huge tower (164ft) housing one of the oldest architectural marvels of south India.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-srivilliputhur.jpg

After a good dharshan at srivilliputhur Vishnu temple followed by lunch we left for TenKasi at 13:30 local time.
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Tour Down South in a Honda City-tenkasiroute.jpg
hills on Route to Tenkasi.
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We reached TenKasi (90kms) at around 15:00 local time , booked a Hotel and checked in. Rested ourselves for nearly two hours and at around 16:40 left for Courtallam (~13kms).
Tour Down South in a Honda City-cortallamroute.jpg
a view of Kashi Viswanath temple (a Km away) from our hotel.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-longshotkashiviswana.jpg
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Old 1st February 2015, 02:08   #3
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Default re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Five Falls experience:

Knowing it was off the season ,we still decided to venture into this from the advice of the locals that there is water pouring from one of the falls.
Thus, We landed at Five falls at around 17:30 with enough luck to witness water sputtering in one of the five falls.

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We had a dip in the plummeting water for about half an hour followed by the consumption of hot steaming chilly bajjis .


Next on charts was Kasi Vishwanath temple (of Lord Shiva) which was just a kilometer away from our hotel ,to which we paid a visit on returning from Courtallam.
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We passed the night at the hotel.

Beautiful landscape view from our hotel at sunrise.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-hotel2.jpg

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a panorama view:
Tour Down South in a Honda City-panaroma.jpg

An overloaded Hay truck covering most of the road caught my attention.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-oversiztruck.jpg

A Venture into the village:
It was a sparkling Monday morning with zero chances of rains. We checked out at 7:00 ,had breakfast and left at 8:00 for Manimutharu dam (50kms).We took a slightly different and shorter route though the villages.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-villageraod2.jpg

Tour Down South in a Honda City-fields1.jpg

Tour Down South in a Honda City-scenicvillage1.jpg
After an hour of dodging bullock carts and wishing speed breakers to be lesser in size and numbers, we arrived at Manimutharu dam at 9:30.Spent some valuable time enjoying the serene and scenic beauty of nature.
The way to the dam (no vehicles allowed beyond this point).
Tour Down South in a Honda City-manimuthardamsluice.jpg

Irrigation canal.
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Found a sweet spot for bird watching.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-bird2.jpg
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Neatly constructed path.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-waytodam.jpg

The Dam water.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-manimuthardam2.jpg

The Dam.
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Stairs to climb a huge rock.
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Old 1st February 2015, 02:33   #4
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Default re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Water .. Water.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-damwater1.jpg

More Water.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-damwater2.jpg

Climbing up that rock probably gave me the best opportunity to shoot pictures with a wider angle.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-viewfromahill1.jpg
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Tour Down South in a Honda City-viewfromahill5.jpg

Back to travel.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-village.jpg

The next destination was Manimutharu falls(near Tirunelveli). I should say the following was one of the best experiences in driving that I ever had.

Trip into Wilderness
Without doing a research on the road conditions I collected the entry pass just to find that we were in the middle of a forest with shrubs and trees on both sides accompanied by roads that looked quite good.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-wild0.jpg
We began to proceed into the wilderness with "Go-slow" boards showing symbols of deer passing.A small thought lingered in my head "If this is a forest kinda setup ,would bad roads be imminent?".
Tour Down South in a Honda City-wild6.jpg
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Just to put my doubts to rest, A section of almost no trace of tarmac appeared with huge craters all over its surface. I began to sweat."Now ,here I am in a forest with moon like roads sitting jolly well in a Honda city!".
I maintained speed at 8-10Kmph. Maneuvered carefully (scraping the engine guard twice though) through three kilometers of torture and finally reached to the top of a cliff into a small parking spot.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-wild5.jpg

Tour Down South in a Honda City-wild3.jpg

Tour Down South in a Honda City-wild4.jpg

Climbed out of the seat and found a few jeep, Tata Sumo drivers glaring at me for a few seconds probably thinking "what's a sedan doing up here?".
I shrugged and grinned . I stooped down and examined the under-body to reassure myself that the suspensions were "okay" and the Chassis was also "okay" and it was indeed the engine guard which had some marks
but wasn't visible easily due to all that dirt. Trundling down a couple of meters exposed the view of a wide array of thick water curtains pushing with all its might downstream.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-manimuthfalls1.jpg
The water from this thing was way more torrential than the five falls (which was nicked by me as a bathroom shower :P).
Tour Down South in a Honda City-manimuthfalls2.jpg

I took my towels and headed straight towards it. following the bath, we enjoyed a cup of tea and whilst returning we successfully scaled the bad stretch without any scraping noises.
(Though ,Occasionally made my family stand out whilst doing this to improve ground clearance).
Note: I would recommend to all travelers who fancy a water source off seasons. It's not the Courtallam its this a small forest in the middle of nowhere with its gorgeous falls.

Back home:
After all this experience and enjoyment we left Tirunelveli towards chennai (~670km) (taking madurai-trichy-chennai route) at 14:00. Thus reaching Chennai at around 23:30.

The trip meter sums it up.
Tour Down South in a Honda City-afe.jpg.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 11:58   #5
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Default re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd February 2015, 13:42   #6
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Default Re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Nice! Greenery and water are always welcome. Especially those parts which are less explored.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 14:08   #7
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Default Re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Excellent one! I always wanted to travel to Courtallam to rekindle my childhood memories. Courtallam visit is a must for all during the onam holidays.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 19:28   #8
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Default Re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Nice! Greenery and water are always welcome. Especially those parts which are less explored.
Exactly! The village drive at Ambasamudhram was the best , the indefinitely vast expanse of paddy fields , the breeze and almost zero traffic. Just like a picture from a dream!.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 21:17   #9
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Default Re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Brief description with maximum inputs and neat pictures!! The tower (Gopuram) of Sri Villiputtur Temple is the one which is part of TN Government symbol. During my December drive to Trivandrum and Kochi thought of covering Courtallam en route however due to Christmas holidays couldn't find better accommodation. This is indeed a useful one to me to plan my trip.
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Old 4th February 2015, 09:31   #10
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Default Re: Tour Down South in a Honda City

Nice travelogue. This part of the country always amazes with its unknown beauties. The 'bathroom shower' is amazing and offers a nice bath and makes it more enjoyable, unlike the big ones.
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