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Old 16th May 2017, 17:42   #1
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Default Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Yes, you read it right. I named my steed "Blue BOLT". BOLT was sitting idle at a corner since my last trip to Sriharikota and was eagerly waiting for yet another sprint.

Since temperatures was soaring in Hyderabad, we decided to visit any hill station which is cool enough. Places considered were Wayanad and Coorg. Quickly searched for weather conditions and it was not inspiring enough. Then my wife proposed Kodaikanal. She visited Kodai on a industrial trip 12 years back through college and could not remember what she saw. I have been to Kodai twice in last 15 years on wheels driven by someone else. So it was decided to visited Madurai, Kodaikanal and Valparai. I added Rameswaram to the list at the last minute and the itinerary looked like this:

Dates: 29th April - 7th May 2017

Day 0/1- Hyderabad-Bangalore-Madurai
Day 1 - Madurai-Rameswaram
Day 2 - Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi-Kodaikanal
Day 3 - Kodaikanal
Day 4 - kodaikanal
Day 5 - kodaikanal-Valparai
Day 6 - Valparai
Day 7 - Valparai-Bangalore
day 8 - Bangalore-Lepakshi-Hyderabad

Distance covered in this trip:

ODO at start of the trip: 29160 Kms
ODO at the end of the trip: 32244 kms
Total distance (door-door): 3084 kms

Preparations for the trip:
  • Got my Blue BOLT serviced couple of days before the trip.
  • Since I have 2 kids aged 6yrs and 3yrs, I never dared to buy a DLSR and always used a Canon point and shoot camera. But for this trip I decided to buy my first DSLR and brought "Nikon D3400 Digital Camera Kit (Black) with Lens AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR with 16 GB (Class 10) SD Card and DSLR Bag" from Amazon. I am very much satisfied by the performance and image quality.
  • I did not want to run into a situation where I had to wait in long queues at toll booths. So, 2 weeks before the trip, I contacted ICICI FASTag at their toll free number and applied for a FASTag account. The RFID tag was stuck on my BOLT's windshield exactly a week later.

    ICICI FASTag Toll Free Number: 18002100104
  • Lot of songs were loaded into the drives, phones were filled with offline videos and games a day prior.
  • Above all, kids were prepared for this trip much earlier and were energetic as usual.

Day 0: 29th April, 2017

Started from Hyderabad at 4PM. There was lot of traffic in city and could reach Shamshabad airport at 5 PM. There after the traffic was less and we could do some decent speeds till Jadcherla.

Break at Jadcherla

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0001.jpg]

After this it was continuous drive till Anantapur and stopped for dinner. Reached Bangalore at 12.30 AM and met my friend in Marathahalli. Started again at 2.30 AM and drove continuously until we reached Madurai at 9 AM.

Day 1 - Madurai-Rameswaram: 30th April 2017

Hotels:
Hotel Lotus (Madurai), standard room with breakfast, 1600/-
Hotel Blue Star (Rameswaram), standard room, 1300/-

Reached Madurai at 9 AM. The hotel is located in a very narrow street towards the rear of Madurai Residency. Took sometime to figure out the location. They had parking for only 5-6 cars in the cellar. Check-in was smooth. They do not have restaurant but gives you a breakfast slip which should be shown at the restaurant opposite to the hotel to avail the complimentary breakfast. Returned to the hotel and slept for few hours. Woke up at 2 PM, had lunch and got ready for darshan. I think the temple opens at 4PM after break. There was a long queue for free darshan. Hence we decided to go for special darshan tickets which were priced from 50/- and upwards. Took 100/- tickets and got into the queue. Here we came to know that this queue is same for 50/- and 100Rs. Cursed ourselves for not asking this before and wasted few bucks. Came out of the temple by 5.15 PM and reached hotel after having the famous "Jigarthanda".

Few photos from Madurai

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_155529.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_160459.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_161215.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_163034.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_171124.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_171209.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_171221.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170430_174433.jpg

Sudden change in plan

Reached hotel at 5.30 PM. While planning the itinerary, I always felt bad that I was not able to include Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi on my list. But after reaching the hotel, I was in no mood to take rest. Quickly searched for hotels in Rameswaram online and booked Hotel Blue star for the night and I did not regret my decision to leave my one night stay booking in Madurai.

Started from Madurai at 6PM and reached Rameswaram at 10 PM. We need to be extremely cautious when driving at night as lot of road widening is in progress. Hotel Blue Star is located in a narrow street and has parking for 4-5 cars in a small open area in front of it. Quickly had Parota, Dosai for dinner and slept like a log after long time.

Day 2 - Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi-Kodaikanal: 1st May, 2017

Woke up fresh at 5 AM and went to the sea for a dip and then for bathing in the 22 Thirthas inside the temple. Officials pour holy water from small ponds inside the temple. Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Lot of information is already available on various sources online and so will not go much deeper into this.

Note: Since all the Thirthas are inside the temple, we are allowed to carry a bag of dry clothes. There are designated areas where we can change to dry clothes after visiting the Thirthas and proceed for darshan. Hence there is no need to go back to the hotel to change and then come back for darshan.

I did not carry my mobile in the temple, so no photos here.

After good darshan, came out of the temple at 8.30 AM, had breakfast and checked out of the hotel by 9.15 AM and proceeded towards Dhanushkodi.

Dhanushkodi: Dream destination (at least for me): I wanted to visit this place since very long time and here I was driving to tick this off my list.

Reached at 10.15 AM. Waited for few minutes before we boarded the maxi cab. We were charged 150/- per head for 2 hrs. of trip. It was very heart breaking to see what nature has done to this beautiful town in 1964 Rameswaram cyclone. But still this place and the beach was very clean and neatly maintained. The water was crystal clear and in superb blue colour. There were few shacks selling coconut water, few soft drinks and snacks.

I think the newly laid road is still not open to the public as we were not allowed to drive.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0046.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0059.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0115.jpg

The plan was to start as early as from Dhanushkodi to Kodaikanal but it was only at 1 PM we were able to start. Reached Pamban bridge at 1.30 PM and clicked few pictures. Picked up lunch on the way and had in car since I did not want to waste any time dining at a restaurant. Had mentally prepared myself to climb the kodai ghat at night. There were lot of vehicles coming down the ghat. After driving carefully, we reached our stay for next 2 nights at "Country Club Valley Vista" around 10 PM. Quickly had our dinner and called it a day. Few pics from the rest of the journey to Kodaikanal.

Photos from Pamban Bridge


Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0124.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0160.jpg  


Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 22:05. Reason: Updating the thread
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Old 29th May 2017, 18:18   #2
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0162.jpg

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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0181.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0184.jpg

Day 3 - Kodaikanal: 2nd May, 2017
Hotel: Country club valley Vista, Deluxe room, 4000 INR (including breakfast and dinner)

Woke up leisurely at 8 AM, had quick breakfast and then set out for a tour around Kodaikanal. Country Club is located around 7 kms from main city and was a pain to travel to get to some points of visit.

First visit was to the Bear shola Falls (minus water). All points of interest are located at what the locals call as forest zone after a small check post. Crossed this check post and was stuck in traffic Jam for next 2 hrs. Immediately reversed and came back to the Kodai Lake and went for boating. After this it was time for lunch and had it in a nearby restaurant. Again went to the check post hopping for the jam to clear and visit the rest of points of interest but to my dismay the road was still jammed. Again reversed and came back to Kodai Lake, parked the car and went to "Coakers Walk". Spent rest of the evening here and then returned to Valley Vista. Had dinner and called it a day. Plan was to start as early as possible the next day to skip the traffic jam.

Few photos from day 3.

View from the room and Breakfast area.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0196.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0198.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0227.jpg

Kids are equally entertained.
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0234.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0235.jpg

Bear Shola Falls
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Upper Lake View
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0274.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0278.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0284.jpg

Kodai Lake
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0301.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:34.
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Old 29th May 2017, 18:32   #3
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Few photos from Coakers Walk:

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0304.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0308.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0329.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0345.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0346.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0354.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0355.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0404.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0412.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0414.jpg

Day 4 - kodaikanal: 3rd May, 2017
Hotel: Seven Roads Grand Inn, standard room, 1905 INR

While planning this trip, I knew that 2 days is not justified for Kodaikanal. Hence I booked another night stay in Kodaikanal, very near to the bus stop.
This was actually a good decision, as I got another day to explore Kodaikanal. After the previous days experience, started early at 8.30 AM after breakfast and was hopping not to get stuck in jam again. Crossed the check post and after few minutes for drive, was again stuck in jam. I made up my mind not to reverse as it was still early in the day and knew that the crowd could pick up in next few hours. After 30 minutes the vehicles started to move. At this point there was a view point which had a parking but was filled with slush and all the vehicles were parked haphazardly on the road. This was the main cause for the traffic jam on the earlier day. The place was full of tourists and parking was a problem. The same was the sight near the pine forest. Hence skipped these 2 places and dashed towards Guna Caves. There was good parking area near Guna caves and was not a problem to get a spot. Quickly parked the BOLT and dashed towards the view point. The place was filled but we could still get some few pics before we left.

Guna Caves.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0423.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0438.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0461.jpg

Next was Pillar Rocks. The place was filled with fog and this was what we wanted in the trip. We spent around an hour just enjoying the views and seeing the fog shift directions. There was a small play area to keep kids busy while you are lost in your self.

Pillar Rocks:
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0476.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0558.jpg

After Pillar rocks we moved to "Green Valley View". Quickly parked the Blue BOLT. Horse riding was available at this place and my son wanted to ride. After this we went through the small narrow lane filled with all kinds of shops on both sides to reach the view point. There were lot of monkeys here. Did not waster much time here as the place was filled with tourists.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0564.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0571.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:41.
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Old 29th May 2017, 19:39   #4
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Few more

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0576.jpg

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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0583.jpg

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0588.jpg

We moved on to "Dolphins Nose". It was a trek downhill and requires good fitness. It is a strict "no" to people with infants as it involves trek on unpaved path and requires lot of fitness. This is my personal opinion. We did not know this when we started trekking. In the middle of the trek, we reached a point where views were decent. We settled here with no intention to trek further. We were exhausted and enjoyed the views for next one hour. I was frightened with the thought that I have to trek uphill with my daughter on my shoulders as she is no fan of walking for long time. She has been walking since the beginning of the day. There were few shacks selling soft drinks, tea, coffee. I picked up 2 Gatorade bottles and handed one to my son and the other to my daughter. I said them that a sip of Gatorade will give instant energy for them to climb few steps and asked them to try and test. This trick worked as my daughter used to take a sip and climb carefully taking my support. After we reached the top, I said her sorry and carried her till the spot where I parked the car.

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Had lunch and passed our time cycling near the lake in the evening. Returned to the hotel, had dinner and called it a day.

Day 5 - kodaikanal-Valparai: 4th May 2017
Hotel:
Monica Garden Bungalow (Valparai),Tent with breakfast, 7300 INR.


Started to Valparai at 10 AM from Kodaikanal and made a brief stop at Silver Cascade Falls.

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The route to Valparai was very scenic and beautiful. I loved this route the most in our trip. At some stretches the road was very narrow and should be carefully negotiated if there is any vehicle coming in opposite direction. After multiple breaks, we reached Aliyar dam at 2.30 PM. It was very hot. So dropped the idea to park and check out the dam. The view of the reservoir while climbing the ghat are more beautiful than it could be when parked and visited.

Few Pics of Aliyar dam taken enroute.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0720.jpg
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Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0746.jpg

I had lot of expectations on Valparai and were spellbound with the views that Valparai had in offer. There were tea estates all around, the route was scenic and it was not humid, were lucky to spot the Nilgiri Thar. We could have not asked for more. There was a small tea stall on the road with tea estates all around. We just stopped and enjoyed the beauty of this place to the fullest.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0784.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0796.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0799.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0806.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0811.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0817.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0818.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0848.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:43.
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Old 29th May 2017, 21:06   #5
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Continued

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0874.jpg

Cricket ground
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0893.jpg

Jack Fruits
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0900.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0902.jpg

Reached Monica Garden Bungalow at 4.30 PM. This was a huge property in middle of tea estates and had a big garden. I booked one tent for 2 nights including breakfast. The food was decent and very tasty.

Few pics of the property

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0905.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0906.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0914.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0918.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0919.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0921.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0924.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0927.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0940.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0942.jpg

The staff in the bungalow were very welcoming and offered a trip across the town after 6 PM. Quickly had our packed lunch and were waiting for the staff to show us around. They took us to the Sholayar back waters for a perfect sunset.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0979.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0984.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0990.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0992.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0995.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0997.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0010.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0018.jpg

After this we were driving towards the Stanmore Property when our guide suddenly asked me to stop and asked us to look at a direction he was pointing, to see a lone tusker which moved away from its group couple of days back. According to him lone tuskers are very dangerous and aggressive. We watched it for around 30 minutes and drove away when it started to get nearer. I would like to appreciate the alertness of our guide without whom we would have just drove away without seeing the tusker.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0024.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0026.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0028.jpg

After this we went to the Stanmore property to take a look. Our guide informed us that the wood used to build this property where imported form Indonesia. The property was very costly. Couple of pictures from Stanmore property.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0033.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0034.jpg

Returned to Monica Bungalow, had our pre ordered dinner and called it a day.

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:47.
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Old 29th May 2017, 21:45   #6
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Day 6 - Valparai: 5th May, 2017

Woke up early and had our breakfast. It was simple and tasty with Idly, Dosa, bread, omlette and juice. After breakfast we set out to see the rest of the places in Valparai with our guide.

First place to visit was Nallamudi Poonjolai view point and temple. It was quite far from the bungalow and took around 45 minutes to reach. This is actually a valley view point. One has to walk a distance of around 500 mts in middle of tea estates from the parking area. We were alone and were walking towards the view point. I was enjoying the view when I suddenly spotted a bison in middle of the tea estates. Since we were alone with 2 kids, did not want to risk walking further and returned to the point where we started. After sometime there was group who visited and we walked along with them.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0046.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0049.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0051.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0055.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0059.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0061.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0064.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0069.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0075.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0081.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0083.jpg

Next place to visit was Nirar dam. The route towards the dam is narrow and broken for around 3 kms from the check post where we are allowed to go to the dam. We have seen many dams and were not interested. Our guide spoke to someone in the office at the dam and got the permission to take us to a tunnel at the back of the dam. It was around 300mts away and were accompanied by one of their staff. We were taken to the gates of the tunnel which according to the staff are opened when there is heavy water inflow during monsoons.

Tunnel at Nirar dam.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0091.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0094.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0095.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0097.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0098.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0099.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0102.jpg

It was time for lunch and returned to the bungalow. Enroute we stopped for few minutes at Koolangal river for snaps.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0103.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0110.jpg

After lunch it rained for around an hour. After it stopped we stepped out to visit rest of the places along with our guide. First place to visit was Balaji Temple. The temple was located quite a distance from the bungalow. Photos were not allowed inside the temple so here are only few which were taken outside.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_165536.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_165538.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_165726.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_165753.jpg

After the visit to the temple, I asked our guide to take us to the place where we can see Lion-tailed macaque. We drove for around 8 kms but could not find even a single one. He then took us to "Puthuthottam Estate" where he was confident we could see these species but it was a thad disappointment as we could not find even there. The estate was very vast but I felt it was not properly maintained. There were lot of adventure games for kids to pass their time. Since it was already 6 PM and we had nothing more to cover, my son enjoyed these games to an extent.


Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_174800.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_175514.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_180401.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_175457.jpg  

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170505_181823.jpg  


Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:50.
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Old 30th May 2017, 17:10   #7
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Day 7 - Valparai-Bangalore: 6th May, 2017

The previous night we were quiet disappointed that we did not see even a single Lion-tailed macaque. My son woke up early and saw Lion-tailed macaque right in front of the tent, sitting on a jack fruit tree. Hearing this I jumped from my bed, took my camera gear and ran out. By the time I came out, it already shifted its base to another tree quite high up and my 18-55mm lens could not capture it. All the below pics were taken on my 70-300mm lens.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170506_092917.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0173.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0175.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0197.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0242.jpg

By now we were totally happy and satisfied that we were able to cover and see what ever we wanted to. Quickly checked out, had our break fast, settled our bills and started our return journey to Bangalore. Initial plan was to visit Athirappilly Falls but since it was already 10.30 AM, we decided to skip and drive directly towards Bangalore. It was a smooth drive all the way. Reached outskirts around 7.30 PM. Booked a hotel near Airport and reached by 9.30 PM. Since it was getting late we pre ordered our dinner. Checked in had our dinner and finished the day.

Day 8 - Bangalore-Lepakshi-Hyderabad: 7th May, 2017
Hotel: Tranzotel, Deluxe suite, 1500 INR

We took it easy this day and woke up leisurely and checked out. Tranzotel was generally a service apartment and had beautifully appointed rooms. It had a drawing room, kitchen, bedroom and a wash room. They also provided a kettle and small refrigerator in the kitchen. The hotel had a small parking area in front of it. I will suggest this to anyone who is looking for a budget transit stay.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170507_092015.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170507_091253.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170507_092244.jpg

After checkout stopped for breakfast at Udipi Swada.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170507_095547.jpg

There were lot of bikers and the restaurant was filled with them in no time.
These are their bikes.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170507_103129.jpg

I always missed an opportunity to visit Lepakshi (which is around 120 KMS from Bangalore towards Hyderabad) whenever I visited Bangalore either because I usually reach / start when it is dark or lack of time. But today I had lot of time and took the diversion towards Lepakshi from the highway. The atmosphere in the temple was very divine and serene. The temple is basically dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra. Below are the few pics from Lepakshi and the Lepakshi Nandi.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0321.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0324.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0336.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0355.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0378.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0381.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0388.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0398.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 30th May 2017 at 20:48.
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Old 30th May 2017, 20:51   #8
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Lepakshi Nandi: :

Lepakshi Nandi is at a distance of 200 mts from the temple and according to Wikipedia, the Nandi sculpture is around 4.5 mts high and 8.2m high.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0427.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0430.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0432.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0443.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0447.jpg

For people who want to stay, AP tourism is running one of their hotels here. The hotel was pretty clean, has a restaurant and children's play area.

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0425.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0426.jpg

Started back to Hyderabad at 1PM. Picked up lunch from one of the hotels in Anantapur and had in car. My BIL was visiting Kurnool for some personal work and I picked him at 5 PM form Kurnool. Reached Shamshabad at 7.30 PM and picked up my sister who returned from Vizag after attending her friends marriage. This was like a family get together after 10 days. Had dinner in Haveli and returned home taking lot of memories from the trip.

Routes taken:

Hyderabad-Madurai


Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-hyderabad-madurai.jpg

Madurai-Rameswaram

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-madurairameswaram.jpg

Rameswaram-Country Club valley Vista

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-rameswaramkodai.jpg

Kodaikanal-Valparai

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-kodaivalaprai.jpg

Valparai-Tranzotel (Bangalore)

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-valparaitranzotel.jpg

Tranzotel-Lepakshi-Hyderabad

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-bangalorehyderabad.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 21:56.
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Old 30th May 2017, 21:34   #9
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Default re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

What I liked:

1) The trip.
2) Spent lot of time with my family after long time.
3) The roads were excellent throughout keeping few stretches between Madurai and Rameswaram aside.
4) Fast tag worked every where except Electronic City Toll gate when going to Madurai. The system was unable to detect my RFID tag.
5) Always prefer reaching Bangalore around midnight or early morning keeping traffic conditions in view.
6) Tamilnadu has lot of so called "mess" in every small village too. Since I studied in Tamilnadu for 4 years staying in a village, I knew that the food in these "mess" will be very tasty. So we never went to a restaurant in Madurai, Rameswaram and Valparai. Packed meals and had in car to save time.
7) Enjoyed what nature had in offer.
8) Wild life- Nilgiri Thar and Lion-Tailed macaque was a priority on my list
9)Jigarthanda in Madurai was very good.

What I did not like:

GPS signal lost. This voice was very irritating for every 2 mins. I always use google maps during my trips. Almost 95% is accurate. But this time, google maps was not that good. As soon as I entered Bangalore, I set the map to Marathahalli and further to Madurai. The GPS signal was erratic and kept disconnecting every 2 mins. I use Airtel Data services and never faced any problems. This time it was other way around even after multiple reboots. I always make a note of important places of a route in a sheet and take help of the locals when in doubt. This time I had to fully depend on that sheet and locals. This continued until I returned to Bangalore.

Blue BOLT gained some decent weight during this trip

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0003.jpg

Overall weight gained in 27 months of ownership

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-20170531_120423.jpg

Vote of Thanks:

Special thanks to BHPIAN's arun_josie, NPV, bejoy and mpksuhas for answering my queries on Bangalore-Madurai thread.

Special thanks to BHPIAN "shifu" for answering all my questions patiently before posting this travelogue.

Very special thanks to my family for keeping their energy levels very high through out this long trip and to my Blue BOLT for taking the responsibility and bringing us safely back.

Blue BOLT

Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0850.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0274.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0849.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0852.jpg
Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai-dsc_0116.jpg

Last edited by HighwayHopper : 31st May 2017 at 22:00.
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Old 31st May 2017, 22:17   #10
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Mod note: Thread moved to Travelogue Section. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12th June 2017, 17:04   #11
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Default Re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Wow. A 3k kms round trip, in peak summer! Very inspiring...
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Old 11th July 2017, 17:05   #12
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Default Re: Blue Bolt - Summer Sprint of 3084 km! Hyderabad, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kodaikanal & Valparai

Quote:
Originally Posted by shifu View Post
Wow. A 3k kms round trip, in peak summer! Very inspiring...
Thanks Shifu. Yes, summers are not easy but we stayed on the hills most of the time. It was raining in Valparai bringing down the temperatures and Kodai was at its best. I had to align this trip with kids holidays.
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