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Old 7th October 2017, 00:14   #1
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Default Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

Visiting Kaniyakumari and the Swami Vivekanand memorial has been a childhood desire. And being able to drive there with my wife and kid felt even better.

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Come Durga Pujo every year, wife and I are either Pandal hopping in Bangalore OR homeward bound to Noida where my wife gets heavily involved in her colonyís Pujo. This year though we wanted to do something different. Then one of us mumbled ďroad tripĒ and the other pounced on the idea . Kaniyakumari has always been on the wish list and the choice was clear. But we didnít want to drive 1300Kms round trip and visit just one place. So we looked for more options- Kodaikanal was shot down by wife because we had already done quite a few hill stations in the recent past. We decided on Rameshwaram then. So Kaniyakumari and Rameshwaram it was for Durga Pujo!
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Old 7th October 2017, 00:21   #2
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Default re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

We didn’t really know what to expect from both the destinations. It was decided we spend 2 nights each and return on the 5th day. Although some digging told us 1day each was enough. But with our 5 year old son in tow, we didn’t want to over exert. Hotels were booked online month and a half early. Initially we wanted to visit Rameshwaram first and then Kaniyakumari. But due to Dusshera rush we couldn’t find any decent accommodation in Kaniyakumari. So the plan was flipped and we did Kaniyakumari first, Rameshwaram second. This was a good thing as you will see later on.

Trip Total: 1840Kms
Final FE: 18Km/L


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The car was at 9600+ kms a week before the trip, so took it for the 10k service. Oil change, filter change and other formal checks done. Wheel balancing/alignement/rotation was left out for after the trip. Usually get it done from outside.

On the eve of the trip had a minor incident when a tempo guy swerved into my lane while I was overtaking him. I had to brake hard. All was safe. But immediately after the incident I started getting a mild thud sound every time I applied the brakes. Wife and I were panic-stricken and turned pale. Couldn’t get any help from mass as it was well past 8:00PM. Called a few friends from our noble and trusted S-Cross whatsapp group and enquired about it. And they assured it was because the ABS had come into action and would subside eventually. Which it did. We were relieved somewhat.

Day 1(Wed, 27th Sep, 2017)
Total kms: 662
Time taken: 9hrs, 30mins
We started by 6:00AM, an hour late because my wife decided in her sleep that it was weekend and switched off the alarm. The sky had opened up and pouring in Bangalore. Anyhow we hit the north-south corridor, NH44 in no time as the holiday rush had not started yet. Tolls were pleasantly deserted and we made good time in spite of not having fastag(I have recently purchased one from Paytm).


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I have done the NH44 route and driven through Salem quite a few times but the small hills visible from the highway never looked so green and enticing with a cloud cover on top. Both my wife and I look forward to such vistas. A drive that simply embraces with the beauty all around as much as the road itself. Umpteen photography stops were made.

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One breakfast pit stop before Salem and a coffee break at a CCD put us in Kaniyakumari by 3:30PM. The highlight of the day’s drive was- I drove 662 kms in my bathroom slippers as the sneakers were soaking wet from the Bangalore rains. I was in no mood to go back to the apartment and get another pair.

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The hotel(Ocean Heritage) was close to the shore, with views of the Swami Vivekananda Memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue from the terrace. Clean and well furnished rooms. Pricey food for the quality served. Rest was as per expectations. We tanked up and after a quick afternoon siesta walked down to the nearby temple and Triveni Sangam point- Confluence of 3 seas(Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea). Walked along the promenade towards the View point. We liked the views but beyond that not much special- crowded, unclean and not maintained well. We were thanking our stars that it was a week day and imagining the crowd during the upcoming Dusshera weekend. We were in Puducherry last year and found it to be much cleaner and better maintained. Back at the hotel we had early dinner and went to bed. The hotel reception had provided a leaflet containing list of places to visit nearby from which we picked a few for the next day.

Last edited by jaunthead : 7th October 2017 at 00:43.
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Old 7th October 2017, 00:42   #3
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Day 2(Thur, 28th Sep, 2017)
Total Kms: 140
Time: 3 hours
I wanted to checkout the sunrise but wife and kid were snoring away. Went up to the terrace to click pictures. The views were just great! You get to see the beginning of Western Ghats, and boy did the hills look dramatic with wind turbines lined up along the shore. Pictures probably aren’t doing much justice here.

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After breakfast, first order of things was the Swami Vivekananda rock memorial. Queued up for the tickets(34 bucks per head) for the boat ride to the memorial. They have an expensive option(170 bucks per head) where you don’t need to stand in queue and simply walk up to the next available boat. But this being a weekday with less crowd, we didn’t have to wait.

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I was happy to finally set foot on the rock. The place was beautiful with the stout figure of Swami Vivekananda’s statue in the main memorial hall, views of the ocean. There is also a temple of Devi Kanniya Kumari. The other Island with statue of Thiruvalluvar was off limits due to ongoing repair work. Visited the book store on the island, spent some time gazing at the ocean. And we were ready to head back.

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Got back to the hotel by 11:00AM. After a short break we started driving towards Kovalam, Kerala. The road we took was picturesque and the weather made it even better. The previous night we had decided to visit a few places nearby-
Mathoor Thotti Paalam- A 378m long Aqueduct
Thirparappu Water Falls
Padmanabhapuram Palace

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The best was the Aqueduct. Awesome views. There was a small stream flowing below, people taking a dip. Looked like something out of the movies. The water fall was too crowded and looked more man made than natural to me. We left in a hurry. Next was the Padmanbhapuram palace. It was vast and intriguing, a 16th century wooden palace. But very poorly maintained, no lights, no major antiquities on display at the time.

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We finished up with the itinerary and headed back to Kaniyakumari hoping to catch the sunset at the sunset point. We were lucky to reach on time and also the skies had cleared for a great show.

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We bid adieu to Kaniyakumari, the southernmost point of Indian mainland(yes mainland, the southernmost point of India is in Andaman and Nicobar Islands- Indira point) and looked forward to next day’s drive to Rameshwaram.

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Old 7th October 2017, 00:50   #4
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Day 3(Fri, 29th Sep, 2017)
Total kms: 310
Time: 6hrs
The previous night we didnít find a spot to park in front of the hotel. I was provided a parking spot half a km away on the premises of another hotel also belonging to the same hotel owner. It was secured but I was still sleepless imagining all kinds of ugly things people might be doing to our car. After breakfast I rushed to the car and was relieved to see all was good. Checkout was completed and we were out of Kaniyakumari by 9:30.

On the way to Rameshwaram lies Vattakottai Fort(Or circular fort), needs a slight detour but worth visiting. An 18th century fort built by the Dutch East India Company by the Bay of Bengal. Fort itself is not too big but indulges you in commanding views of sea on one side and the western ghats on the other.

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Upon returning to the car I realized how messy the windscreen was. I had murdered quite a few bugs and dragonflies during our drive so far. One fried dragonfly grins through the radiator grill even now, difficult to reach. Used some 3m glass cleaner I was carrying to remove what was possible. On we went.


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Drive to Rameshwaram was uneventful. Except we missed one turn which took us through a desolate road. But since it was daytime we rather enjoyed it. Made it to the hotel in 6 hours, by 3:30PM.
The Pamban bridge entrance was thrilling. We stopped for a few pics as the traffic was not heavy. The town is smallish and a pilgrimage spot similar to Haridwar. Beware, when you enter Rameshwaram a checkpost with folks in plain clothes will collect 100 bucks as a municipality tax. I was peeved but nothing to do but pay up.


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Our accommodation was just about adequate but not too happy with the room. It was close to the Ramanathswamy temple which we visited in the evening. For the next day we looked at options to visit and were uncertain about what to do. Chalked up a rough plan which included Dhanushkodi, APJ Abdul Kalamís newly opened memorial and a few temple shrines.

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Old 7th October 2017, 01:03   #5
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Day 4(Sat, 30th Sep, 2017)
Total kms: 675
Time: 15hrs approx
I wanted to visit Dhanushkodi early to experience the sunrise, but my wife and son wouldnít step out of the bed. I poked at them until they finally gave in by 5:30AM.

And then I experienced a glorious drive. The road to Dhanushkodi is stuff of dreams- flat, straight and empty with the sea on either side. The sun was still hanging near the horizon. I could floor the pedal, but I couldnít help taking it slow and soaking in all of it. Made a small video edit from my dashcam capture, hope you like it.



At the end of the road is Dhanushkodi point where Ram Setu begins. A sand bar curves and extends towards Gulf of Mannar. I walked a bit through the shallow waters. Bathing was prohibited but people didnít care and had jumped in with their entire family. Water was no more than knee deep. My kid loved this stretch of sand and waves.

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We returned to the hotel to cleanup and have breakfast. Wanted to finish the sightseeing as early as possible as temperatures soar very high in the afternoon. We visited Ram Padam shrine from where Lord Ram started his journey for Lanka. Then the APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial. The memorial was beautifully done with huge murals, photographs, statues and personal belongings of the late President, scientist and a great human being.

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After that we headed towards Khushi beach which is on the other side of Pamban bridge. Today the traffic had just swelled up since the Dusshera weekend had started. I was cursing the people stopping their cars on the bridge to take pictures and causing a traffic jam of epic proportions. My wife like a good samaritan reminded me that we did the same the day before. But little did I know I would be crossing this bridge 3 times that day.

We landed at Khushi beach and were happy to see there was very little crowd and the beach was clean enough. The heat was high. But something was missing. I asked my kid if we should jump in the water. He gave me a confident NO! My kid loves water, the sea, the waves. I asked why, and he said where are the waves? And we realized what was missing. This beach faced north and there was zero sea breeze at the time, hence the heat and lack of waves. It was so calm as if we were sitting next to a village pond. So we perched up on a beach shack wondering what to do now.
It hit us then- we had nothing more to do in Rameshwaram. So my wife suggested- why donít we return home. It was 12:30PM by then and return trip to Bangalore would take around 11 hours. Also we had paid for one more nightís stay. But we still decided to leave as it was pointless to just sit in a hotel room. We were glad we came to Rameshwaram second. I was a little worried that it might get tiresome for wife and kid but she was confident. So we headed back to the hotel to pack up and checkout. Crossed the Pamban bridge a second time. Cursed the photography frenzied travelers some more.
On the way to the hotel I came up with an idea to make our way to Coonoor instead of heading home since we still had 2 full days of vacation left. But unfortunately we couldnít find any decent accommodation so the plan was dropped. We checked out by 1:30PM. Tanked up at a local pump and crossed the Pamban bridge a 3rd time, but this time I was too dejected to curse. It took about half hour to cross each time.

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From Rameshwaram we took the NH87 towards Madurai. The roads were mostly well paved but only one side was opened for traffic as the highway construction was not finished. Also it took us through towns which were a pain to drive through. Especially Madurai it felt like we were being taken around the city for a Madurai darshan by Google maps. After that NH7(NH44) was as lovely as it can be. From Rameshwaram I drove straight for 6 and half hours as I wanted to cover as much road possible in daylight. Stopped a little before Salem, and then at Saisangeet after Salem to pick up some dinner. The brisk pace at which I drove on the highway almost made me forget where I live. I was jolted back to reality when I hit some potholes perfectly lined up for me as I entered Bangalore. Touched home before 12:00AM and went horizontal for the next 10 hours.



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Old 7th October 2017, 01:06   #6
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One highlight(literally) of the trip was the recent upgrade to Morimoto D2S Bi-xenon projector kit. Bhpian Sudeepg embarked on a massive DIY project which I helped with a bit. Both our cars have been upgraded and you can read more about it on Sudeepgís thread (DIY: S-Cross Headlight Upgrade to Morimoto Mini D2S Stage III Bi-Xenons). The light output is simply fantastic and helped me finish the last dayís night drive with ease.



The S-cross 1.6 is simply built for open roads. Drive it the whole day and you still donít feel any fatigue. This has been the longest trip we have taken in it or any other car we owned before. And my love for it keeps growing with every trip. The handling and ride are simply phenomenal, a tourer unparalled in the category. Cruising at triple digit speeds with the 1.6 engine is just a charm. Too bad Maruti decided to axe the 1.6 engine.

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So our vacation was shortened by a day but we didnít mind it much. Next day we caught up with Judwaa2 and showered some love on our brown beast at a car wash. Both my wife and I love to get on the road and cherish our road trips. Thankfully my kid is a great sport in the car as well. This was certainly one trip that we will have fond memories of. Most of the pics here are courtesy my wife. Thanks to her I have been able to post some awesome ones as well as a few I thought I had missed. This is my first travelogue on TBHP. Thanks for taking your time to read and hope you liked it.


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Old 9th October 2017, 13:10   #7
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Default Re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

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This is my first travelogue on TBHP. Thanks for taking your time to read and hope you liked it.
A well written, short and crisp report. I really loved the dashcam video of "Road to Dhanushkodi". Truly beautiful

Wish you many more fun-filled memorable trips. Thank you for sharing
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Old 9th October 2017, 13:28   #8
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Default Re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

Excellent travelogue! Recent travelogues to Dhanushkodi is rekindling my drive to drive there, always wanted to but did not due to the last couple of miles in hired jeep. Now with the newly laid road I can drive all the way.

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On the way to Rameshwaram lies Vattakottai Fort(Or circular fort), needs a slight detour but worth visiting. An 18th century fort built by the Dutch East India Company by the Bay of Bengal. Fort itself is not too big but indulges you in commanding views of sea on one side and the western ghats on the other.
A small correction here, Vattakottai was built by Travancore kings. De Lennoy was a dutch commander who served under Raja Marthanda Varma after the Dutch lost the battle of Colachel to Marthanda Varma. Vattakottai was built for the Kingdom of Travancore under the supervision of De Lennoy, it never belonged to the Dutch nor was it built by them.
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Old 9th October 2017, 13:37   #9
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A small correction here, Vattakottai was built by Travancore kings.
Thank you Sankar for the correction.
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Old 9th October 2017, 21:58   #10
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Default Re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

Great travelogue and great pics Jaunthead!

Your post has rekindled my desire to visit Rameshwaram (Dhanushkodi, to be precise)

Visited the place as a kid and still have vivid memories. Was discussing with my wife and mom on how a trip is due. We might do it soon - may be around Diwali. And if we do, it is Thanks to your Travelogue, pics and the superb video
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Old 9th October 2017, 22:59   #11
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Great travelogue and great pics Jaunthead!

Your post has rekindled my desire to visit Rameshwaram (Dhanushkodi, to be precise) ...

.. And if we do, it is Thanks to your Travelogue, pics and the superb video
Thanks Vigkey. Hope you comeback with some awesome pics of you own and share with us
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Old 10th October 2017, 10:12   #12
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Great travelogue coupled with good snaps. The post is kindling the desire to revisit Dhanushkodi.
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Old 10th October 2017, 10:49   #13
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Default Re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

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Visiting Kaniyakumari and the Swami Vivekanand memorial has been a childhood desire. And being able to drive there with my wife and kid felt even better.

!
Nice Travelogue and very similar to what I undertook in the last week of December 2015.
Here are my trip details

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...bangalore.html (Unforgettable round trip from Bangalore - Kanyakumari - Rameswaram - Bangalore)
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Old 10th October 2017, 15:00   #14
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Default Re: Road Trip to Kanyakumari & Rameswaram on Durga Puja

Great write-up supplemented well with your photographs. Totally loved them. After reading through this travelogue, I'm tempted to do this trip now.

Would you have driven back home that same day if you were on the stock headlights?
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Old 10th October 2017, 16:14   #15
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Would you have driven back home that same day if you were on the stock headlights?
Ha ha, no way sir. Probably if the night drive was limited to an hr or so I would still venture. But with more than 50% of the 11 hr journey in dark, no way!

Fact is innately I was more raring to do the return trip as an excuse to switch on the HLs
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