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Old 17th August 2016, 16:18   #1
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Default Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

People might question the motive behind driving down to Pondicherry from Kolkata and that too in a Thar. Moreover Zoom cars are quite popular in Chennai and one can easily fly down to Chennai and avail their services. My reply would be, three reasons - I don't like to fly and try to avoid it at all cost, the Bolero would be much slower than the Thar on the superb road between Kolkata and Chennai and lastly, the more uncomfortable the vehicle is the less chance of falling asleep behind the wheels

This was an impromptu decision, though I had been contemplating to do this drive for almost a week. My wife was in Chennai at that point and I thought of giving her a surprise. Thursday night I tossed a coin and it was in favour of the drive, though I would have kept on tossing if it was otherwise. This was going to be my fourth drive to Chennai, I know the road by heart. The Thar was already serviced the week before. Friday morning I requested my boss if I could work from Chennai the next week. He obliged.

I was armed with four sandwiches picked up from Tea Junction for the trip. Chennai is 1800 odd kilometers from Kolkata and the roads are superb. Within 10 minutes from office I got stuck at a traffic snarl over a bridge. One by one I started working on the sandwiches. An hour later I was still stuck and the sandwiches were all gone . After almost an hour and half, traffic started moving and I started driving like a bat out of hell.

There was heavy rain en route but I was able to maintain a steady pace till Vizag after filling up diesel in Bhubaneshwar. By 4 am I was entering the outskirts of Vizag when disaster struck. I could see kilometers after kilometers of trucks, buses, tractors and small cars in queue on the highway. There was almost no way to bypass the mess. Things started moving at snail's pace and I was frantically searching for detours. I was quite skeptical at following the detours suggested by google maps as my previous experience has not been that good. But I was left with no choice. After almost 5 hours of struggle through multiple detours and off-roading I was finally able to see clear stretch in front of me. Later I came to know that the traffic jam was due to Godavari festival and it is the same situation every year.

Detour through a village
Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_4862.jpg

From Vijaywada onward the drive was peaceful and fast. I just stopped once or twice to take a few snaps and for filling up diesel.

Chennai was still some distance away!!
Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_4869.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-dsc_3774.jpg

Finally reached Chennai. I was quite happy considering the fact that my previous solo drive in India was less than 300 kms.

For the record, Thar gave an overall mileage of just above 8 kmpl.

Went straight to Ibis hotel in Sipcot -
Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8041.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:38. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 17th August 2016, 19:28   #2
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

There was no way we could head towards Pondicherry after reaching Chennai at 9 in the evening. So had to postpone the plan to next day. Not having slept for the last several hours, the small room and the bed in Ibis hotel looked as inviting as a palatial suite
Started for Pondicherry early next morning. The ECR route is beautiful and is a must visit for the drivers out there. It is scenic but dangerous as well, and the people drive at breakneck speed. At one point it seemed like all the luxury cars of Chennai and Pondicherry were treating the road as a racetrack.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8069.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8059.jpg

Reached Pondicherry and went straight to LB2 lounge run by a guy named Upendra. We have known him since our first visit in 2012. He is from Delhi but settled in Pondicherry as he liked the place so much.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8079.jpg

We had booked a room at Palais De Mahe. The hotel was fabulous. No wonder it has got a five star rating on Trip Advisor.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8414.jpg

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Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8371.jpg

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Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8349.jpg


Pondicherry is a place for gastronomic delight. We go berserk every time we go there. This time also we checked out a few places and none of them failed to impress us.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-dsc_3854.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-2015_0718_061224_001.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8599.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-dessert.jpg

We hired a scooty and roamed around Pondicherry.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8588.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-dsc_3825.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8290.jpg

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Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8483.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8488.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8506.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8514.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-roam-around.jpg

Found this immaculately maintained Fiat!

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8449.jpg

We went till Auroville and the scooty was fun on the highway -

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8654.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-dsc_3825_collage.jpg


Next day we had to start back for Chennai with a heavy heart. We stayed in Chennai for a week and it was soon time to go back to Kolkata.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8730.jpg

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8731.jpg

The Thar behaved superbly during the entire 4000 Kilometer odd trip, reassuring my faith on the vehicle as a long distance tourer. Hope to be back to Pondicherry in future and wish that it remains the same for years to come!

One last pic

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_8233.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:40.
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Old 17th August 2016, 23:23   #3
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th August 2016, 00:52   #4
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

I love your spirit and passion for driving. Great travelogue and crisp writing. Keep up the good work.
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Old 18th August 2016, 02:18   #5
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Short & crisp travelogue for a long marathon drive! Rated 5*. The pics are nice and the food pics are mouth watering!

Thanks for sharing this beautiful travelogue, it rekindled the nice memories of my Bangalore days. Visited Pondicherry and ECR few times in my humble Maruti Alto and Honda Unicorn.

ECR is among one of my favourite roads till now in terms of the surrounding beauty it offers. But as you mentioned its dangerous too. Few drivers and riders use this road as a racing track. My most memorable drive on ECR was in 2010 November when Chennai was hit by a depression on Bay of Bengal. It was raining heavily with heavy wind. My Alto was literally swaying side ways by the force of wind and i could see the huge waves crashing on the sea shore!

A pic from that trip near Mahabalipuram.
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Another one from our single day Bangalore- Pondicherry - Bangalore trip.

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-img_0535.jpg

And lastly a one from our bike trip. The board behind reads Kolkata- 1906 kms. In our college days doing Bangalore - Kolkata was not possible except college vacation's. On this week end trip when we saw the board mentioning the name of our native, it made us super happy and we stopped there to click this pic!

Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar-100_1167.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:45. Reason: Original post edited. Trying not to encourage certain practices. Thanks.
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Old 18th August 2016, 09:45   #6
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Within 10 minutes from office I got stuck at a traffic snarl over a bridge. One by one I started working on the sandwiches. An hour later I was still stuck and the sandwiches were all gone .



LOL. It was fun reading the opening paragraphs. The food pics made this t'log complete :P

Pondy is one place which I want to go. The pics do suggest a very planned place with a beach.

Thanks for sharing :-)
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Old 18th August 2016, 10:23   #7
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Thar gave an overall mileage of just above 8 kmpl.
I like this kind of unplanned suprise long drives, though I havent done one for long now.
Why 8 kmpl, isnt that a bit low?

How was the return journey? How much time it took?
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Old 18th August 2016, 10:52   #8
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
There was no way we could head towards Pondicherry after reaching Chennai at 9 in the evening. So had to postpone the plan to next day. Not having slept for the last several hours, the small room and the bed in Ibis hotel looked as inviting as a palatial suite
...
BlackPearl , as always the TL is completely full with information and inputs , the nice clips adds up as a topping , awesome overall

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:45. Reason: Please avoid quoting long posts as is. Quote only the minimum required part.
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Old 18th August 2016, 10:54   #9
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Wow. Kolkata to Pondicherry solo, that too in a Thar. Hats off to you. I do have the same question as other BHPian, why only 8 Kmpl on a highway trip?

I'm from Chennai, and I have visited Pondy many times that I have lost count now. Though ECR route is very scenic many accidents do happen because of irresponsible drivers using it as a racetrack. Most of the times, I do avoid ECR road and take Chennai - Dhindivanam - Pondy route. But in last few months, they started widening the ECR road with a median till Mahabalipuram. Hope people will learn to drive and be responsible on roads.

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:47. Reason: Original post edited. Trying not to encourage certain practices. Thanks.
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Old 18th August 2016, 11:14   #10
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Sorry to say but there is hardly anything in this travelogue. You reached Chennai in a Thar. What all places you stopped? How was the food? What is the route you have taken? What about hotel tariff and food prices in Pondicherry?
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Old 18th August 2016, 11:28   #11
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
People might question the motive behind driving down to Pondicherry from Kolkata and that too in a Thar.
Think of the Devil, here he comes

I keep visiting Pondicherry quite often. Small and very beautiful city! I love the traditional coffee joints (my favority KBS Kofe Bar), definitely for not for fans of CCD!

Way to Go!

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th August 2016 at 17:47. Reason: Original post edited. Trying not to encourage certain practices. Thanks.
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Old 18th August 2016, 13:37   #12
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder_p8 View Post
Sorry to say but there is hardly anything in this travelogue. You reached Chennai in a Thar. What all places you stopped? How was the food? What is the route you have taken? What about hotel tariff and food prices in Pondicherry?
Agreeing completely with spyder. I was also in huge expectation about this travelogue as I am planning a trip to Pondicherry with my family during September. Please be kind enough to share some more details such as good hotels to stay and their tariffs, if the details are available with you, and some good and tasty food plazas in Pondicherry.
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Old 18th August 2016, 14:32   #13
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Loved the spirit of the drive, BlackPearl. The best way to surprise your wife is to do something like this!
Quote:
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Pondicherry is a place for gastronomic delight.
I loved the FoodPorn-style photographs, especially now that I am starting to get used to spectacular plating and presentations without drooling all over the place and being overwhelmed by hunger pangs.

Rated a 5-star travelogue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder_p8 View Post
Sorry to say but there is hardly anything in this travelogue. You reached Chennai in a Thar. What all places you stopped? How was the food? What is the route you have taken? What about hotel tariff and food prices in Pondicherry?
When was the last time anyone posted about hotel tariffs and food prices on a travelogue? BP has named the hotels, and the route waypoints. I am afraid I find this post unnecessarily critical and nit-picking in nature. God (and Team-BHP) knows I have posted enough travelogues (and read through a lot more) myself, but "I had 3 parathas and the price of each paratha was Rs.28 plus 14.38% taxes" is not part of any travelogue I've come across.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeevan Sukumar View Post
Agreeing completely with spyder
Please be kind enough to share some more details such as good hotels to stay and their tariffs... and some good and tasty food plazas in Pondicherry.
BlackPearl did mention about using TripAdvisor.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 18th August 2016 at 15:03. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 18th August 2016, 14:35   #14
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Small but beautiful read, BP! And the pics are droolworthy!

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 18th August 2016 at 15:03. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 18th August 2016, 18:18   #15
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Default Re: Kolkata to Pondicherry in a Thar

Awesome thread BP. With the amount of travelogues and driving you do, very soon you will contacted by Google maps for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
When was the last time anyone posted about hotel tariffs and food prices on a travelogue? BP has named the hotels, and the route waypoints. I am afraid I find this post unnecessarily critical and nit-picking in nature. God (and Team-BHP) knows I have posted enough travelogues (and read through a lot more) myself, but "I had 3 parathas and the price of each paratha was Rs.28 plus 14.38% taxes" is not part of any travelogue I've come across.
I completely echo SS. Very few people mention hotel rates and the price they paid for one cup of tea. Someone like me donot even keep track of them. Also hotel rates change daily. He did give his feedback on the hotel and snaps for one to see and form their opinion. Like it, find it and book it.

And little off topic, its very difficult to get information on hotel enroute from BP. He never stops on the way. He has even done Goa-Kolkata in one stretch of 36 hours non stop. No doubt 3 out of the 5 travelogues featured on the home page are his.

Last edited by Altocumulus : 18th August 2016 at 18:26.
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