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Old 3rd November 2016, 11:27   #1
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Default A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

It was a 4-day holiday for kids and a long time since we ventured out for a trip apart from the regular drives to home town. So, just before a week from this holiday, we decided to go on a trip. But a 4-day weekend means, any place around 500 Kms from Bangalore will be heavily crowded and getting a booking at short notice would be difficult as well. So without any second thoughts, we started looking at offbeat locations.


Rameswaram was on my radar for a long time, especially to visit the Pamban bridge and Dhanushkodi. So, I started searching for hotels and I was getting a good deal through MakeMyTrip for a hotel in Madurai at a good price. My friend had recently stayed there and he gave a good feedback as well. So, I booked a reservation for us and we were good to go.

Tentative Plan:


Day 1: Bangalore to Madurai.


Day 2: Drive to Rameswaram – Pamban bridge, Ram Sethu point, Dhanushkodi. And drive back to Madurai for some shopping.


Day 3: Drive to Thanjavur - Brihadeeswarar temple, Thanjavur Maratha Palace. And then drive to Chennai.


After a day’s stay in Chennai, drive back to Bangalore.


A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-capture.png

Last edited by arun_josie : 4th November 2016 at 10:05.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 11:33   #2
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Default Day 1 - Bangalore to Madurai

Day 1 - Bangalore to Madurai:

  • This being a Friday and the Diwali weekend, I was prepared for crowded toll booths and heavy traffic till we crossed Salem.
  • Plan was to hit the Bannerghatta Rd – NICE road by 2:00 PM, but we got delayed and reached there by 3:00 PM only, this meant heavy traffic on the road towards Salem.
  • From Electronic City, it was like a procession with speed not more than 40-50Kmph
  • Attibele toll was very crowded but thanks to a dedicated Fastag lane, we cleared it with minimal time loss. However it took at least 5mins to enter the Fastag lane.
  • TN Check post at the border was a mess with trucks all over and it took around 10 minutes here as well.
  • Till Shoolagiri, I couldn’t go more than 70Kmph, because it was so crowded.
  • Fastag again helped us in Krishnagiri toll. But like attibele it took some time to enter the Fastag lane.
  • The heavy traffic continued even after Krishnagiri.
  • Thoppur toll was another mess and every vehicle was allowed in Fastag lane.
  • Luckily, there was not much traffic while crossing Salem. I was expecting this to be bad due to the fly-over construction work, but I was wrong.
  • After Salem, I was able to maintain some good speeds.
  • However, since most of the hotels were crowed, we decided to do a non-stop drive to Madurai.
  • Entered Madurai by 8:30 PM, and it took another 40 minutes to reach the hotel.
Some pics taken at the toll booths,

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d1_1optimized.gi.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d1_2optimized.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d1_3optimized.jpg


Hotel Star Residency (http://www.starresidencyhotels.in)

I booked this hotel through Makemy trip and got at a pricing of 1100/- per day for an executive room with A/C. Its, 3500/- if we book directly in their website.
  • Spacious parking opposite to the hotel.
  • Rooms are spacious too and very clean.
  • Breakfast was complimentary and it had a good spread.
  • We felt that the room service dining was costly.
For food, we decided to try some local food joints and headed to Amma mess(not to be confused with Amma Unavagam) in an auto rickshaw. They served some nice non-veg food. The place was little dingy though.

This is the parking lot of the hotel. Nothing like getting a view of your car from your hotel room.

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d1_4optimized.jpg

Last edited by arun_josie : 4th November 2016 at 08:08.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 11:58   #3
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Default Day 2: Pamban Bridge - Rameswaram - Dhanushkodi - Ram Sethu

Day 2: Pamban Bridge - Rameswaram - Dhanushkodi - Ram Sethu Point:

Plan was to start by 8:00 AM after breakfast. It was the complimentary buffet breakfast provided by the hotel. After breakfast, we hit the roads by 8:15 AM and within minutes we exited the city as the traffic was almost nil.

Route taken:

Manamadurai - Paramakudi – Rameswaram

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-capture.png
  • Traffic was very less all through.
  • Initially the road condition was average but it just got better and better.
  • 4L construction going on, so there were many diversions.
  • Stopped at Paramakudi for refueling
  • We reached Pamban bridge by 11:00 AM.
Few pics on the Paramakudi - Rameswaram stretch

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_a1optimized.jpg

4 Lane road under construction

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_a2optimized.jpg

Some nice smooth tarmac

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_1optimized.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_2optimized.jpg

It’s a “No Parking” zone on the Pamban bridge, but police allowed everyone to stop the vehicles in an orderly manner and allowed us to enjoy the view. We waited for around one hour for a train to pass because our kids wouldn’t allow us to proceed without seeing the train. And they didn’t have issues waiting in that hot sun as well.

This is just when we entered Pamban Bridge

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_4optimized.jpg

The railway bridge

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_3optimized.jpg

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A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_8optimized.jpg

This part of the bridge can open for ships to sail through.

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After a long wait the train arrives, we waited for one hour

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Last edited by arun_josie : 4th November 2016 at 08:53.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 17:28   #4
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Default Dhanushkodi and Van ride to Ram Sethu point

Dhanushkodi:

Rameswaram - Dhanushkodi stretch

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_13optimized.jpg

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A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_15-1optimized.jpg


The last 5Kms is a newly laid road, but police are not allowing tourist/private vehicles. We felt that this could be because of the local van operators who will lose business if all vehicles are allowed. After seeing couple of private vehicles on this stretch, I requested the police at the check-post and he flatly rejected and asked me to take the van ride which goes through some rough sandy terrain. With no options left, we decided to take the Van ride.

Van ride to Ram Sethu point:
  • They charge 150/- per head.
  • They stuff around 17-18 people in one van and these operators were very rude as well. When we went there was a van with 16 passengers already and this guy wanted to accommodate us(2+2) as well by asking one individual to get out. But we didn’t agree to it but still this guy was fighting with that individual asking him to come in the next van.
  • These vans were very cramped and the ride is very bumpy.
  • They were ill maintained and on couple of locations it just wouldn’t move forward.
  • They took us to Ram Sethu point, and through the ruins of Dhanushkodi.
  • It took 1 hour and 30 minutes overall for this roundtrip.
  • This ride was a good experience.
This is the Van stand

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_16optimized.jpg

Tough sandy terrain

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_18optimized.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_19optimized.jpg

Now through the water

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_20optimized.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_21optimized.jpg

Other side is Ram Sethu point and this van took us there

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_22optimized.jpg

Here is a small video clip while going towards Ram Sethu point(clarity is not good for the first 17 seconds)



This is the Van which took us around

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_23optimized.jpg

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Some ruins on the way

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_26optimized.jpg

Drive on the newly laid road:

After the van ride, I again requested the police at the check-post and he was still not willing to let me go. Finally after repeated request, he was ok for me to go till 2-3Kms. Knowing the local language really helped here.

So, it was only us on this road and few other two wheelers. As I promised him, I went till 3 Kms, enjoyed this scenic route and took few clicks of my Linea and returned back. It was very nice driving on this road with sea on both the sides and lovely newly laid tarmac.

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d2_27optimized.jpg

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A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-unnamed.jpg

Return back to Madurai:

Now it was time to drive back after lunch. But since most of the hotels were closed due to diwali, we decided to drive back to Madurai. Started at around 3:00 PM and reached Madurai by 5:45 PM.

After entering Madurai, we came across a famous Jigarthanda shop and decided to taste it as we were already hungry. It was yumm.
Later, my wife had to skip the shopping plans because all shops were closed due to Diwali. I thanked my stars for it


Last edited by arun_josie : 4th November 2016 at 10:55.
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Old 3rd November 2016, 19:06   #5
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Default Madurai - Thanjavur

Drive to Thanjavur - Chennai:

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-capture.png

Plan was same as the previous day, to start after breakfast by 8:00 AM. And we were able to stick to this plan and started exactly at 8 am.
  • Again, getting out of the city was a breeze.
  • Its 4L all the way to Thanjavur via Trichy.
  • Traffic was very less.
  • 2 tolls between Madurai and Trichy, both had Fastag lanes but it’s not implemented yet.
  • 1 toll between Trichy and Thanjavur, Fastag worked flawlessly
  • I liked this complete stretch because it was green all over and the climate was cloudy.
  • Reached Thanjavur by 10:30 AM.
Madurai - Trichy Highway


A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d3_1optimized.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d3_2optimized.jpg

A quick stop

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d3_3optimized.jpg

Trichy - Thanjavur Highway


A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d3_4optimized.jpg


Thanjavur:

The roads inside thanjavur are really well-maintained with proper markings and they were clean as well. The plan was to visit Brihadeeswarar temple and Thanjavur Maratha Palace. We followed GPS and were able to reach Brihadeeswarar temple without any issues. The parking was opposite to this temple so no issues there as well.

Roads inside Thanjavur town

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-20161030_115854optimized.jpg

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Brihadeeswarar temple:

  • The parking was opposite to this temple. so no issues there as well.
  • It was not much crowded. So kids were able to run around.
  • It was too hot and the kids were losing steam. We bought some Temple Prasadham and water at the Prasadham stall to keep the kids revved up.
  • There were some handicraft stalls inside the temple premise near the cloakroom. So, the kids got some doodads and my wife bought a Tanjavur Thalayaatti Bommai as a souvenir.
Spacious parking which is located opposite to this temple


A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-bt1.jpg

Layout of this temple

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-bt2.jpg

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Old 3rd November 2016, 19:22   #6
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Default Thanjavur Maratha Palace:

Thanjavur Maratha Palace:
  • This is around 2-3 Kms from Brihadeshwara temple.
  • There is no proper parking and we had to park the car on the road.
  • This place was not crowded at all.
  • The Palace had an Art gallery filled with sculptures from pre-historic era.
  • The handicraft exhibition that is usually open round the year was closed due to Diwali, much to my wife’s disappointment.
A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-tp1.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-tp2.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-tp3.jpg

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-tp4.jpg

Wall graffiti by the vandals

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-tp5.jpg

After visiting these two places, all of us were tired and decided to move on towards Chennai. Initial plan was to take the Ariyalur – Perambalur route. But since the plan was to do a non-Stop drive, we decided to take the Trichy route which is more comfortable and not time consuming as well.

As soon as we hit the highway, there was an A2B in about 2Kms. We decided to stop here for lunch.

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-d3_26optimized.jpg

After lunch we started around 1:45 PM and stopped at a BP to fill fuel. From this point, it was a non-stop drive and reached Chennai(Guindy) by 7:15 PM.


4th/5th day – Chennai and return to Bangalore:

The day was spent visiting friends and family.

Since the return to Bangalore was on the last day of vacation, we decided to start by 10:00 AM from Guindy so that we can avoid the toll traffic. As planned, we started by 10:00 AM and it was a breeze through all the toll plazas except Attibele.

For lunch we took parcel from “Star Biriyani”, Ambur. This place was very crowded. So taking parcel made more sense as they have a separate
counter for parcels.

We reached home by 3:30 PM.

Overall, it was a fun-filled trip even though the locations were little offbeat. What we loved about this trip was that these locations were not crowded. The roads to these locations were good with less traffic.

Some Numbers:

Distance: 1827 Kms
Duration: 32H:32M
Avg Speed: 56 Kmph
FE: 18.9

And my Linea crossed 96K and 97K during this trip






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Old 4th November 2016, 11:21   #7
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

Note from Mod : Thread moved to Travelogue section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 4th November 2016, 12:14   #8
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

That reminds me of the Dhanushkodi trip we did in last Dec. Any idea behind the purpose of the new wide road that has got built in Dhanushkodi ? Some said it is supposed to connect to Srilanka which I don't think is correct. Looking at the width of the road, thought it was meant for heavy traffic and large container trucks
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Old 4th November 2016, 12:28   #9
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

Awesome trip Arun

Dhanushkodi has been on my list for very long and always kept it on hold thinking I will do it when I venture to Kanyakumari taking pit stops in Madurai/ Dhanushkodi and so on. Seems like your T log has a lot of facts and figures to help make my decision. I am thinking it would be a good weekend trip too - leave Bangalore early AM and same day complete Pamban bridge, Dhanushkodi!

Lets see how this comes up! Thanks for all the details though.
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Old 4th November 2016, 12:58   #10
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

Thanks for sharing the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
The last 5Kms is a newly laid road, but police are not allowing tourist/private vehicles. We felt that this could be because of the local van operators who will lose business if all vehicles are allowed.
The road has been built, but is awaiting inauguration (we all know the drills and the circus associated with inaugurations). That could be the reason why traffic is not allowed yet.

There is a dedicated thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...anushkodi.html (Govt plans 10 kms road to Land's End at Dhanushkodi)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
That reminds me of the Dhanushkodi trip we did in last Dec. Any idea behind the purpose of the new wide road that has got built in Dhanushkodi ? Some said it is supposed to connect to Srilanka which I don't think is correct. Looking at the width of the road, thought it was meant for heavy traffic and large container trucks
There is an active proposal under consideration to connect Sri Lanka and India:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...sri-lanka.html (On the anvil: 22,000 crore hybrid bridge-tunnel connecting India & Sri Lanka)
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Old 4th November 2016, 13:39   #11
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Looking at the width of the road, thought it was meant for heavy traffic and large container trucks
I don't think this road will be used by containers. Below information explains on why this is a 12 metre road,

Quote:
The 12-metre-wide road, with seven metres for carriage and 2.5 metres pave shoulders on either side, has been laid as per the design obtained from the Department of Ocean Engineering of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras.

As the road was flanked by shores, gabion boxes were erected as suggested by the IIT-M on both sides to protect it from possible tidal action.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...cle8190642.ece
Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
Awesome trip Arun

I am thinking it would be a good weekend trip too - leave Bangalore early AM and same day complete Pamban bridge, Dhanushkodi!

Lets see how this comes up! Thanks for all the details though.
Thanks Avinash!

Yes, you can combine this with Kanyakumari or if its a 2-day trip then you can cover Pamban Bridge/Dhanushkodi/Rameswaram Temple etc. or Pamban,Dhanushkodi on first day and Madurai on the second day.

A 4AM start from bangalore means, you can reach Pamban bridge by 1PM. And Dhanushkodi is another 30Kms from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklord View Post
Thanks for sharing the travelogue.

The road has been built, but is awaiting inauguration (we all know the drills and the circus associated with inaugurations). That could be the reason why traffic is not allowed yet.

There is a dedicated thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...anushkodi.html (Govt plans 10 kms road to Land's End at Dhanushkodi)
Thanks darklord for this update. I thought this road is already open.
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Old 4th November 2016, 16:20   #12
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Default re: A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur

Brihadeeshwara Temple looks impressive. Quick wiki search revealed that its an UNESCO world heritage site! Will definitely visit this place some time in the future. If you have any more pics of this Chola temple in your camera, do post.
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Old 4th November 2016, 23:49   #13
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17 pilgrims get stuck in seawater(Van ride), rescued - Dhanushkodi:

When we took the van ride, we really didn't have any fear even though the route of this van is along the seashore and at places it goes through the sea as well to reach the Ram Sethu point. But couple of days back, 17 pilgrims got stuck inside a van in seawater. This news really sends shivers down my spine. We didn't realize the risk when we went on this ride.

A quick visit to Pamban Bridge (Rameswaram), Dhanushkodi & Thanjavur-14963362_1337719032906604_1643871443430019304_n.jpg

People from a rescue van trying to save pilgrims from another van which got stuck in slush on the way to Dhanushkodi on Wednesday.

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Here is the complete news.

Quote:

Sources said the pilgrims, including eight women and children from Tirunelveli, engaged the van service at Muhuntharayar Chathiram to visit Dhanushkodi in the afternoon.

Local fishermen rescued 17 pilgrims after the van in which they were travelling to Dhanushkodi on the marshy terrain got stuck in a ditch after being hit by the waves when the sea became rough on Wednesday afternoon.

Sources said the pilgrims, including eight women and children from Tirunelveli, engaged the van service at Muhuntharayar Chathiram to visit Dhanushkodi in the afternoon. The mishap occurred after one-km-long drive.

The pilgrims panicked after they were caught in the water. They chose to remain in the van as the water level rose to waist deep. Van drivers took another van from Muhuntharayar Chathiram and reached the spot to rescue the pilgrims, but that van too got stuck in the slush.

Finding the two vans ‘marooned’ and the pilgrims crying for help, local fishermen rushed to the spot and rescued them. The fishermen formed a human chain and helped the pilgrims reach the road nearby and walk back to Muhutharayar Chathiram.

National Highways has made ready a new road to Dhanushkodi and up to Arichalmunai, the eastern end of the island, covering a distance of 9.5 km, from Muhuntharayar Chathiram at a cost of about Rs. 66 crore, but it is yet to be thrown open for traffic.

As the road awaited formal inauguration, scores of pilgrims, who visited the island, took the risky and rough van rides to reach Dhanushkodi as they believed that their pilgrimage could not complete without a visit to the sacred place.


Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...cle9297800.ece
Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Brihadeeshwara Temple looks impressive. Quick wiki search revealed that its an UNESCO world heritage site! Will definitely visit this place some time in the future. If you have any more pics of this Chola temple in your camera, do post.
Sure, I will see if I have anymore pics. Yes, this temple was given the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987.
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Old 5th November 2016, 01:07   #14
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Nice travelogue Arun! I had planned a drive to Dhanushkoti with my cousin three years back by just wearing a white shirt and mundu but it never happened . I'll definitely plan one in future. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.
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Old 5th November 2016, 08:07   #15
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Nice trip there Arun!

The pictures from those toll booths are sad though. I was in Bangalore over that weekend with my friends and Friday was mad. The ride from airport to city took a long time even though it wasn't office hours. But we had the city to ourselves for the next 3 days. Everyone had gotten out.

Coming back to your trip, its really bad that cops don't allow one to take the car to Ram Sethu point. Had plans to do this sometime, but not very sure now.
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