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Old 6th December 2007, 17:19   #1
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Arrow Full Travelogue uploaded.abad-bangy-tanjore-rameswaram-tvm-bangy-abad

Hai TBHpers,

At long last, I've uploaded the tirp logs of my 6500 KM trip from Ahmedabad to South and Back on the following URL:


Some photos of the trip uploaded into PICASA

Picasa Web Albums - ramky - A'bad-Bangy-T...

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I am struggling to write a descriptive travellogue in bits and pieces which will include details of the Scorp; should be complete this weekend, will upload that then.

Happy Driving,


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Old 6th December 2007, 17:39   #2
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That's a detailed log. Thanks, Ramkya1. FE looks a little on the lower side. 11.5 would have been good.
And waiting for the full report.

Last edited by condor : 6th December 2007 at 17:41.
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Old 6th December 2007, 17:41   #3
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This has to be the longest road trip ever reported on tbhp..
Fantastic pics and nice trip log.

Keep them coming.
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Old 6th December 2007, 17:44   #4
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Great pics!

We'll wait for the narrative - I'm sure you have some interesting stories from the drive!
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Old 6th December 2007, 18:40   #5
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Ramky Sir, Nice log, infact I copied your format and tried for Kol trip but it failed (I already told you how?)

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Old 7th December 2007, 18:10   #6
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Originally Posted by kpzen View Post
This has to be the longest road trip ever reported on tbhp..
wait till Jan-08 and you will find a travelogue of 15,000 kms on road in Bolero..to be done by Tiger (of t-bhp) - Bangalore to Uttranchal...
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Old 7th December 2007, 20:34   #7
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Arrow Other Long Trips

Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
wait till Jan-08 and you will find a travelogue of 15,000 kms on road in Bolero..to be done by Tiger (of t-bhp) - Bangalore to Uttranchal...
I know of ther people who have done longer trips than mine (6500) but a 15,000/- kms trip sure would take the cake. All the best.

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Old 11th December 2007, 12:22   #8
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It is not 15000kms!!!, it will be around 7500-8000kms. Since we are taking longer route( Blr-Mumbai-Delhi-Naini) dist has increased by around 1000kms.

Waiting for 21st Dec.... ~55hrs drive from Blr to Naini without any night halt..
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Old 11th December 2007, 15:10   #9
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Arrow Travelogue- Part One

Trying to remove tags, 1st attempt, let's see if this works out

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Old 11th December 2007, 15:45   #10
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Arrow 2nd Try, Travelogue, Part One

This travelogue is about our trip to South; Ahemdabad, Satara, Banagalore, Tanjore, Ramesweram, Trivandrum, Palakkad, Bangalore, Mettur, Bangalore, Satara & back to Ahmedabad, 20 days, 6434 kms. This is the annual peri Diwali family driving holiday we've been doing for the last 5 years; somehow our small family of four; me, wife & 2 sons have found this more enjoyable, much to the consternation and disbelief of some friends / relatives. We find the closed cabin of an automobile therapeutic to square off negative transactions built over 11 months of stressed personal / professional life; it's amazing how much more we discover about our own selves and family members, if only we change the paradigm & drive thro life by overtaking one issue / vehicle at a time !!!! Over the years I’ve found that it helps bond with friends and relatives en-route, helps examine / explore the truly amazing and Incredible India and see the country as it is in 3D and not as we want it to be.

The check list included the usual, route tracking, booking thro our travel agent for the hotels/ confirmations, information to relatives that hell is let loose the devils are landing and checking out the Scorp for the journey. Courtesy the Scorp, this year we will have lots of space to dump luggage on the 3rd row and hopefully the ride would be more comfortable. We added a foot pump, GPS and new Music/Video CD’s to the collection to jazz up the ride. Turned out that FM stations and Music CD’s were more than enough to keep us company.

We were 4 till B”lore and 3 for the rest of the trip; self (driver, cleaner, mechanic, loader) Anu / Wife ( log-maintainer, navigator, spare-driver, accountant) 12 year son, Nidish ( keep logs when needed, CD’s, music, video/ games, electrical equipment and loved the food department he handled), 17 year Son Brijesh till Bangalore (he would fly back to A’bad on 13th to attend CAT exam preps), no duty assigned, generally offered great comments on everything around and fiddled with the FM stations and surprisingly even stayed on one FM channel for 30 mts.!!!! The reclining single-middle row seat looked like M&M had spent all the research money on seats for this teenager.

8-11-07:We decided to start on 8th, peri-Diwali period the roads would be clear of traffic which turned out to be true till Bangalore. The last minute chek-list on 7th night turned out to be a horror, the amount of luggage filled out our hall had my Mother-in-law gaping, loading it into the Scorp early on 8th morning was done before 5 am and we were on our way. The entry / exit into the expressway was uneventful; once warmed up, the truck seemed eager to run and I gave her pedal, kept it steady above 100 to gain time; we would need lots of it in the section coming up around Surat. Soon as we cleared the Baroda exit we hit rough roads and a block, in stark contrast to the arrow straight Expressway, this road was like a scene from Mad Comic, people driving left, right, middle, in, out and everywhere !!!! We were lucky to find the left shoulder being used by the regular morning-milk-jeeps and followed suit. The Scorp did yeomen duty here, we could grind thro craters, ridges and go off the road till Nyay Mandir for about 30 kms where we stopped for B’kfast, by this time I was feeling like Bruce Wills on Die Hard. The block was light due to the Diwali period and the left lane, off-road section was mercifully life-saving till Baleswar toll gate @ 315 kms, after that blissful 215 kms of 4 track till Manor toll gate, covered this in 2 hrs 45 minutes, another 300 kms to do thro bad Mumbai section before nightfall and reach Satara was looming large. The 30 kms rough section till Hotel Fountain was irritating, good food, couple of burps and a chewing gum @ Hotel Fountain eased the pain a little.

Post lunch we fired up the laptop and plugged it into the car inverter. The saved maps in JPG format which H.V. Kumar had sent was a life saver and his directions were perfect to the T. Though we were worried, Anu navigated me pat through the underpass after the ghats, over the bridge, Mulund toll gate, Airoli and under all the bridges till the Niral Bridge; to be honest I was a little stressed here till we hit the Expressway entry and had telephonic assurance from Kumar we were on the right track ; I had goggled this section thoroughly and knew the perils of climbing the wrong over bridge. Goggling this sections proved to be time-well spent for on this leg and on the return one. Stopped @ Food plaza around 4 pm for a strong coffee and a call to Dr.Mandar @ Pune; set up the meet around BP and we were off heading to Pune.

Traffic was heavy in Pune BP, we overshot the landmark; after lots of confusion Mandar told us to stay put in the BP and caught up with us, could not meet Anupam so we did a talcon on the BP. It was great meeting Mandar in flesh after seeing his great posts @ yahoo Scorp group and talking to him on phone, enjoyed the kerbside conference. Light was fading, we bid adios @ 6 pm & had to use the headlights till Satara; it gets dark sooner in December. Money spent on a 100V bulb / relay kit and the 2 fog lamps on the bumper helped speed-up; the visibility was up and clear, few flashes would soon push most lumbering traffic to the slow lane, we could zip past on the 4 track. On two track roads, most oncoming traffic would soon veer away (probably cursing), except trucks who will bore down on high-beam; thumb-rule is to slow down, agree to their greater weight and ignorance and save your life !!!!! By the time we reached Mahendra Executive @ 8pm, air was nippy; we were happy for the clean rooms, hot-water-shower, bed and warm food. Found the hotel OK, they have a system of telephonic reservations, maintain the records, the service fast / courteous and food decent. The parking space was ample, security OK (felt safe leaving most luggage on the truck) watchman was alert & cleaned up the truck overnight, for a perfunctory tip, he even saluted me (ex-military) next day morning @ 6 am.

9-11-07[/FONT]At @ 5am, an un-Godly hour, the mobile alarm poked us awake, post coffee, we loaded the truck. The morning was cold, the ionized mountain air energizing and the truck fired on first click. Rolled for 10 KM slowly, waited for the slow right swing of the temp gauge and prodded the beast up. Bright headlight, silky roads, Hanuman Chalisa on (will tell you this story in a minute), misting windshields, wipers swishing on-off, re-assuring muffled roar of the beast, streaking wind outside and a sense of quiet content creeping up the right pedal thro your spine; what more can one ask from life ………. or am I wired wrong

The Hanuman Chalisa is one agreement we have with Anu on every trip, it must be on first thing in the morning for 15 minutes, not subject to discussion non- negotiable!!! Difficult as it was initially, we have grown to like and memorize it; gives a psychological anchor or re-assurance everyday morning.

We hit a wall of fog around Taswada toll gate, 42 Kms on and slow down. The sun was up and glowing somewhere east, visibility was about 100 mtrs with full lights and the flashers on; like driving thro sweet-corn-soup, felt like I could roll down the glass and touch it. Stopped for a coffee break; hoping for the fog to clear; this one showed no signs of budging, we decided to push on. The road was 4 track, smooth and the white centre line the only clearly visible life-line. Maxed the GPS map; was hugely useful to give clear indications of the curves ahead, cross-roads, junctions and places coming up so I could slow down or speed up. Some curves through the haze were sharp, this was a whole new experience of almost 90+ kms through disorienting fog, some sections of it would clear for 4/5 kms and would hit us again. On the return-leg, this section was clear in daylight and we realized how much we missed the scenery, pure mountain country and great landscapes.

We pass toll gates and Hubli / Dharward BP and stopped at A1 plaza for breakfast after the BP. We used the A1 plazas during this trip for food, but fueled, regular diesel, mainly at IOC/ BP which are cheaper. Was wondering where were the reported bad sections around Chitradurga and thought that must’ve been an exaggeration when he hit the first stretch around 415 km @ 1140 am. The 4 track work was going on; diversions galore and just when you start breathing in deep to squeeze the pedal, you see another piece of slow moving traffic or hit the gravel road / grave-yard for small cars. Around 10 kms on it gets worse, we had to grind on 1st thro huge craters, billowing / vision-blocking dust, ricocheting stones and twisting traffic; buses, tractors, cars, trucks, bullock-carts all trying to weave the best patch. We stupidly follow a truck closely and slip into an Arizona Dish, crawl up the steep, the spinning wheels of the truck bite, spit gravel, does a jig-jerk-n-move; tearing roar of its engine all-pervading. I grip the wheel hard and curse silently, others hang on to the handles and pray that the 20-wheeled-monster in front does not slip back and slam into us!!!! It was a moonscape in some sections, up to 300-500 meters, one after another and smooth section in between. We speeded up a little and hit an unmarked bump head on, shook all the nuts and bolts of the Scorp and our innards plenty, we slowed down and rolled resigned to wicked fate thro crowded Ranibennur town and out. After this town the freq of bad roads reduce, we hit the toll plaza around 700 kms into 4 track runway and make good progress till Tumkur A1 plaza & swing in for a needed coffee break, 30 mts. We use this break to check out the TBHP mails / (Ranjit’s 2 page, blow-by-blow mail was accurate like a blue-print), directions to reach HAL, log on to Google for one final check and psyche the nav. team. TBHP, Tumkur to Bangalore outer, the traffic gets thicker, took 1 hr for 45 kms, till the pinya junction and veer off left to ring road, Hebbal, KR puram flyover and go over the hanging flyover instead of under it. Too late, we circle it twice and find a friendly soul who directs us to Marthahalli signal from where we find HAL Museum and Vidya’s (my neice) flat. We park for the day and boy, it felt good to see them and cuddle up for the cold night

Cold morning breaks @ Bangy and we stir to plan for the day. We check the check-list of calls to be made to friends and relatives. Need to handle relatives like RDX, if they hear we are at one place and not at theirs, egos would be hurt, rumors would start and soon stories would grow ears and horns. Strategic decision reached, we have lunch with relatives in once place, wash the family stories in a closed circle and have fun. Vidya decide on a Veg. Thali joint, Annapoorni, Cambridge road; we call up the list and have 10 confirmations by 9 AM and book the tables. It was a great family lunch with lots of interesting catching-up stories and touching base; who’s where, who’s making money & who’s loosing, who’s married / breaking up etc., the restaurant was happy to see us finish, we proceeded to go sit at the Ulsoor lake around Vivekananda statue. Some frantically necking couples looked surprised to see a crowd butting their privacy, gave way muttering under their breath. Our kids played, adults talked and birds sang till we bid adios, decided to split around 5 PM. Reached home around 6 pm and went out to dinner with a friend. It was a late night.

We wanted to relax on 11th and conserve energy for the long drive ahead and called our friends home to watch a movie together. There was time enough to catch up with Aby of TBHP, he was a model of politeness to my children; we hit it off well. Unofrtunately, had only short time before rushing off to Srini’s place on the other end of town, Bansankari, for dinner


The alarm beeped @ 4 am, (common alarm, have a heart) promptly shut it off and woke up late groggy @ 530, hurriedly packed, said good bye and left @ 615am, cleared ring road, hit Hosur road which was already packed with zooming quails/innovas. Had to watch out for their “sodium-in-water” antics till we cleared Elec. City and piped the Krishnagiri toll plaza @ 720 am. As predicted by many TBHpers from there roads turned bad, lots of pot holes and slowing traffic. Not as bad as reported and we made OK time for another 90 kms before good 4 track roads began about 20 kms before Salem. That was like being let loose inside a ladies hostel for a convict after 5 years solitary; stood on the right pedal and did 20 kms in 12 mts in which one scared-****less-shivering-almost-dead-dog and innumerable butterflies were causalities. From Salem town thro Namakkal, Thottiyam and Mushiri to Trichy was about 185 Kms of in 4 hours, including 40 mts halt @ Hotel Golden Palace, Namakkal. The drive from Mushiri to Trichy was beautiful, banana plantations, curvy roads hugging the Cauvery on one side and meandering canals full of water; a beaming bouquet laid out in million hues of green.

From Hotel Famina, Trichy, near the bus stand, we got a off-duty room boy to guide us around towards our targets for the evening, Srirangam temple and Rock-fort temples. Srirangam has special meaning to my life, lots of child-hood summer holidays spent with my maternal uncles place, time spent around the temple, ice-creams eaten in Michael’s and films seen with cousins and friends. The last visit was 20+ years ago; Trichy skeleton was same, lots of flesh, blood and how the torso has grown !!!! It was exciting showing Anu and Nidish the house we used to stay in, where we used to frolic in the Kaveri Canal behind and the Ammantapam River spot where we used to play cricket on the river-bed. I barged into a couple of houses where friends used to live, nobody known there now, only nostalgia and staring new faces everywhere. Getting inside the temple washed the pain away, the uncrowded Darshan soothed the soul. By the time we reached the parking near rock-fort, it was 735pm, closing time for the hill-top temple 0800pm was too close. We rushed up the hill-steps panting and reached in time for the Arati going on around 0755 pm; took rest on the rocks there. The panoramic sight of the city was amazing; distant sunset, a train trundling thro the Kaveri bridge and blinking lights of an ebbing day were sight out of a picture-post card, re-touching sights of bygone days. We go down leisurely and reach the hotel by 0830 and the area was alive. The Famina campus is a cacophony of sound, a super market, food-mall and a live street around it, spend some time watching the people drama unfold around us in the food mall, have dinner and hit the sack around 10pm

How’s the Scorp coping up with all this, very well indeed. It’s being tanked up like never before, checked first thing in the morning for all oil levels, water levels, tyre pressure levels and being pumped up to 32 on all tyres and getting cleaned up so far every day morning by someone (average cost of cleaning so far per day has been about Rs.30/-). In return, the Scorp has been behaving well, responding in need and tunneling thro the traffic with grace. Only in the mornings the gears throw attitude @ you, after the oils get circulated (me thinks) it becomes smoother, when the tyres are deflated it handles funny and I had to use the foot pump in 4 -5 places to pump up. There’s this perennial Diesel leak when fuelling, fuel dripping, specially when its nearing full, need to check this out thoroughly. There’s also these strong smells creeping into the cabin, when passing thro distillery areas, dust clouds and such; the cabin is not as tightly sealed in as other cars. One cardinal rule I did not break throughout; did not cross 120 unless I could see at least 500 mtrs clearly ahead knowing it would be fatal to break or turn at high speeds. Had one scare though, a zombie looking women jumped into the highway form the left, I twisted the wheel right, over steered and almost rammed into the divider; lesion learned, keep away from the divider wall @ high speed, anyone one/ animal can jump, you’d over steer and spoil the party

Till Trichy was more or less known roads, we drive into the unknown to Tanjore and beyond on 13th morning 9 am. The distance to Tanjore was only 80 and we leisurely do this in 3 hours, road after BHEL good and smooth, lots of road work going on but the surface & signage clear. We circle a couple of times in Tanjore till we locate Hotel Oriental Towers, big rooms and a big tariff. I bargain a little to settle @ 1750/- net, they seem to be having lots of Firangi & Malaysian groups and stick to their pricy rates, one of those demand-exceed-supply scenes. We have lunch and start planning with our maps, informations, emails for covering the Navagraha temple circuit and other temples. Many of the temples open around 6am, close @ 1 pm, re-open around 4 pm and close @ 8pm; timing and planning was everything. Call the travel desk and they come up with 3 guides, all priced around 1500/- per day, Blistering Barnacles, this sounded worse than Veerappan and his gang + Bofers rolled into one. I ring up a couple of hotels + TTDC, they all come up with the same 3 names, boy-o-boy this is pretty organized!!!! Ultimately, I realize the choices 1) Drive around Tanjore trying to locate these temples myself, will take 3 days, 2) Hire a cab and cover it in two days @ about 1800/- per day 3) Hire one of these scoundrels for 2 days, cover all 9 temples and extract as much time as I can from them in vengeance to compensate for my lost pride. Anu and Nidish get cheesed-off; tells me to hell with the pride, let’s finish the circuit and get on with the journey, don’t haggle like a Gujju you have become. Well… we decide to hire the guide, feeling like someone has jumped over my self-esteem with studded shoes, I quietly slink to the lobby and haggle with the guide directly, settle for Rs.1000/- a day, no food. Some salvage…. the guide, Mr.Rajan, an elderly soul, a seasoned one at that, gives in a little.

He suggests another friend for the evening trip to the Big Temple as he is engaged. That one comes at 300/- for the day, these prices suck.. but what could we do? We reach the temple and try to park in the parking lot. I was irritated, angry at these rates and turn slowly…. Crunch, crunch @ crunchy…. Something big going on under the scorp…. With a sinking feeling I realize a big rock covered in grass has hit our bottom and ripped it!!!! With shaking legs I get out and see the bugger….. it’s stuck solid into the underchasis front cross bar, has ripped the front black plastic shield and liquid dripping down!!!!! Holy Cow… here goes the trip I thought, put the mat under the chassis and go under for a deeper look with the led torch. The rock is stuck solid, the liquid dripping is mercifully A/C condensation water and nothing critical looked broken. By this time, the taxi drivers mill around us and guide me out of the mess. They keep 2 bricks under the front tyres and ask me to reverse slowly, the front portion raises & the boulder is now clear to be pulled way; that done I go under again to check. The cross bar is bent a little, otherwise things looked ship-shape, may the Lord be praised!!!

The guide for the evening, Kalivardharn, finds us and he explains the story of this UNESCO World Heritage Monument. The temple itself is a piece of marvel, built in the 11th century, using only human power. More of the story in this URL

Brihadeeswarar Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some of the statues had fantastic details and the stone faces were full of expressions, even the Nandi looked peaceful. The art Gallery next door is also worth a look-see, closes @ 6 pm. Some of the priceless bronze statues dating back to 7th century are classy, the expressions caught on the faces of these statues are amazing. All in all, a good day’s work for us.

14-11-07[/FONT]: Hiring the guide for 2 days turns out to be wisest investment of the trip, we could never have done anywhere near what we covered without Rajan; 25 years in the game, he knew the roads like the back of his hand, knew the timings and back-doors of the temples, knew the priests / pests inside the temple, know where to tip-where not to, knew the stories / puranas and was an encyclopedia of the region.. We were lucky for the catch; this guy was constantly on the mobile talking to travel agencies getting booked for Foreigners and sometimes denying dates, all in the range of 1 – 1.5 K a day!!!! He also stretched to show us more than planned, offered to pay for his food though we didn’t allow him; by the end of 2 days he turned out to be OK to be friendly with. Now the action packed 2 days…

This is one of the oldest temples around here, 7th century, we offer prayers and depart. Thin crowd and friendly priests made it smooth. You wouldn’t believe such a small temple with bad approach roads would be so important to many; believed to give long and comfortable life, I need that plenty

We head towards Kumbakonam for the next stop @ Swamimalai, one of the L.Karthikenya’s famous 6 abodes. There was a huge crowd, Rajan’s (guide) influence + some money worked wonders, we could finish the Darshan right in front of the deity, a satisfying experience.

Swamimalai - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You need to tip/ take priority ticket / grease the palms in most temples to get close to God or get priority. Confirming to this unfair and personally painful practice was urgent to save time and serve forced priorities; no amount of prayers / worship we did could wash away the bad-taste it left and the tinge of residual feel of guilt. Well, we had to make some choices

We head towards Kumbakonam, the town of more than 100 temples and take L turn near the Big Kumbaswara temple towards the Mahamaham tank (south Kumba Mela, once in 12 years, 50 lakh believers take the holy dip here). Stop @ the tank for photos and to touch the holy water was 10 minutes job before the next stop @ the bronze factory on the way.

The factory is a big affair, managed by a guy from Rajastan, they’re in the process of making the biggest Nataraj Statue in the world, in Bronze. Saw how difficult the finish is and kept all the information for future reference, everything was pretty expensive, they were decent enough not to push. We rushed in time for the Tirunagewsaram temple for the RAHU worship, the deity that can increase personal power...


Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th December 2007 at 15:46.
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Old 11th December 2007, 15:50   #11
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Arrow Travelogue - Part Two


Huge crowd there, for Rs.50/- per head, one can get up-close and personal with a miracle we witnessed, looked awesome. When they pour milk on the idol it turns into light blue !!!!! I’m one of the skeptics about miracles, but when you see it you have to believe it. It could be a chemical reaction of milk with something on the stone, the collected milk at the base also has a slight blue tinge!!!!!!! Things are pretty organized there, the pooja, the abishekam and even the Prasad is neatly packed into yellow colour bags. There too, Ranan-power eased things.

Lunch time saw us at Hotel Paradise Resort @ Kumbakonam. This was a surprise in the middle of a religious / country setting, a 3 star resort, well maintained, beautifully landscaped, clean and impressive with good food. During lunch, met the owner Mr.Raman, ex-US-software-professional to check out his packages for some friends abroad who wanted to do the Navagraha circuit, sounded reasonable. For our efforts we got a 20% discount on the tab.. well that was a surprise gift too

The post-lunch leisurely drive towards Gangaikonda cholapuram, UNESCO Heritage Monument was eventful. We passed the Kavery river bridge and then the Killidam bridge and saw an unbelievable sight. There were live crocodiles, we counted 4, mouths agape on the sand & people bathing hardly 1 km away!!!!!!!!!!

It was surreal, like a scene form a sci-fi movie; huge, fearsome, lively crocs on display which looked hungry, ready to attack, people peacefully washing cloths, bating, frolicking in water….. our paradigms were shaken. Rajan told us calmly, these crocs do not disturb even animals, they eat only fish !!!!! Lord-love-a-duck, this one’s for the books, domesticated crocs indeed!!! We stopped for 7 minutes on the narrow bridge hoping one of the crocs would plunge into water go grab a man, no such luck, traffic piled behind us, horns started to blare, Rajan got uncomfortable and we reluctantly moved. I have seen many strange sights, this one would take the cake.

We reach the Temple around 4 pm; go inside for a look-see. The Shiva inside was majestic, the many pillars like legs of Colossus and the architecture exquisite. Rajan’s narratives augmented the silent story on stone; a must-see site for anyone. More of the story @

Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

Towards Chidambaram about 28 kms from this site is a good IOC pump with lots of space, bang in the middle of miles and miles of green paddy fields. It’s riveting, the greens soothing and resembled Kerala greens in every way. The coffee and service after Diesel was exemplary, we just sat and soaked in the local scenes stuck to our seats for 20 minutes or so. Rajan had to prod us to move, otherwise we would miss the timings @ Chidambaram temple and the Crystal Linga Pooja @ 6 PM. We rush in time for the Abishek Darshan on the Crystal Shivling; this is one of the biggest crystal Shivas available in the world, very vary valuable and old. This temple is also famous for the dancing Shiva as the deity; don’t think anywhere else a non-linga Shiva is worshipped. Rs.50/- gets you close to the deity, more money to the priests gets you personalized service!!!

Chidambaram Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Word of caution here, reportedly, and specially @ this temple, the money making touts / priests are crafty, they’d ask you to write your name/ address on some register for charity and demand Rs.5000/- (they think big here) or come up with some such scheme. They offered the register to us, we bowed & steered clear away from them. It’s at times like this you realize the value of good guides.

Next stop, Vaitheswaran Temple, the temple for MARS, God of Valor, Victory and Strength

Vaitheeswaran Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The water in the tank is believed to cure all skin diseases, this is the place where Ramayan Jadayu was cremated, where you are supposed to do the Sevvai, packet of Jaugary and sugar to be diluted into the pond. They don’t allow the dilution anymore, you have to thro it into a designated place, the packets of Jaugary /Sugar are sold for 50/-; bargain, you’d get it for 10/-. The temple itself was magnificent, big and visit-worthy. We could get up-close for a worship thanks to Rajan-connection and our stock of 10/- rupees got depleted plenty. By 0730pm urgency was mandated, Suryan temple would close @ 8 pm. When we reached, the temple was closed & we decide to come again the next day. The SUKRAN temple at Kanchanar , temple famous for life, wealth and property; was also closed, but we could get the Darshan from outside.

Kanjanur Sukran

We stop on the way after Thiruvadai Marudur for Dinner, nice, hot, clean veg. place. On the way back we pass the Papanasam temple and back to Hotel Oriental @ 10 40 PM and hit the sack ASAP. It was a tiring day, we covered 300 kms and covered most of what we planned and some more.

15-11-07: A pleasant morning saw us having breakfast with Rajan @ hotel restaurant, food pretty good. Today we need to cover the rest of the Navagraha and also cover Velankanni, a hectic schedule of 300 + kms. We start late waiting for the car to get washed and reach Alangudi for the GURU temple, temple of education and many other things.


Though unplanned, it turns out to be the famous GURUPAYERCHI day, the whole place was packed with cars and people. Heavy barricades, guards and arrangements were made for lakhs of devotees who would visit that day and the next, we were worried. We circled for parking, used all the by-lanes guided by Rajan and got as near to the temple as possible. Guarat license plate, a friendly cop allowed us to park near the temple (otherwise it would have been 1 km of walk) and special Darshan ticket @ Rs.100/- per head later we whizzed past the crowd and had a great darshan.

On the way to Suryanar temple we passed the famous Pattai Katti Mariyamman temple; people come from far and wide / abroad to see the annual ritual of taking live devotees thro the streets as if dead; reportedly, once on the dead journey, devotees stop breathing and become dead till they reach the temple and come alive!!!!! This would be something to see.

We reach SURYA temple, bestower of health and prosperity, built in 1100 AD. Have darshan @ the Ganapathy there, lots of marriages there, it’s the wedding season. Inside the small temple, we could get up close for a close Darshan URL:Sree Surya Bhagawan

We finish that @ 12 noon, the next stop Ketu temple 70 km away would close @ 1 PM. The road was bad in this patch, 20 kms of gravel in one section, we head towards Poompuhar Beach to kill time and grab lunch. This is a basic town, devastated by the Tsunami on 2004. Reportedly, 1500 years back this was a flourishing port, swallowed by a Tsunami, still under water

There’s a beautiful temple on the beach, which was submerged in the recent 04 tsunami. We find a wayside small restaurant, had to wait for 30 mts for food to be prepared for, turned out to be great basic hot lunch on a banana leaf, cost Rs.100/- for 4 of us with all the extras !!!!!! We head for Perumballam 10 kms away and reach there, around 320 to wait for the temple to open at 4. We were lucky, lots of Ayyappa crowd and the temple opened @ 330, good Darshan and drive off to touch the next very important temple, the Sani Temple, 45 kms off near the cost. We leave Karaikal behind and follow the sea on the East Coast Road, god surface till Nagur, pass Trirukadeyr where the famous Abirami temple is and detour 3 kms to enter the Tranquebar fort gates.

Nordic Culture > Tranquebar, the Danish East Indies - Scandinavica.com

Tranquebar is the only living Indian connection with Denmark and is a great photo spot / beach / museum; there’s a also a 3 star resort which offers good food. We spend 10 minutes on the beach, take some snaps, enter the beautiful / soothing / green country roads of Tirunallar @ the SANI TEMPLE, the God of bad times, one who is close to even Yama

Puja at Darbaranyeswarar Temple (Sani Sthalam):Saranam

The temple setting is classic, huge-sprawling-typical-TN-temple, you feel like you’ve stepped back 50 years in time, the semantics and mood of how a temple should be is captured in an freeze-frame. Of all temples we visited in Tanjore, we felt happiest inside here, we did not do any special pooja, was only in front of the deity for a brief 5-7 minutes, hardly spent Rs.10/- for lighting the lamps. After the worship, I personally felt irrationally happy, me-thinks it has a lot to do with the highly charged/ ionized air your could sense (the air felt different, charged & cracking with energy), Rajan said this happens to lots of people. Sitting in front of a laptop, in a digitalized world, dealing with facts/figures, using logic as the fuel food to deal with daily problems in life and writing about something intangible / unexplainable / meta-physical, sounds absurd; well….. that was what we felt inside the temple and I feel compelled to share it.

That done in the fading light at 540 pm, we take the now congested costal road towards Nagur Durgah and Nagapattinam. The single track road deteriorate, evening traffic is thicker, slow and unorganized. There’s a huge rush at the Dargah, parking restrictions and no chance of doing the visit under 30 mts, Rajan recommends a skip and we muscle through the irritating traffic. The full might of the headlights and road-presence of the Scorp comes in handy, we pass Nagapattinam which was completely knocked out in the Tsunami of 04,

Nagapattinam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

head for Valankanni. We pass the point where NH 67 starts, take a L Turn towards the Church on the East Coast Highway being made. Constructions work is in full swing, sections of huge craters, gravel, mud and nothing. The Scorp’s power, big wheels and GC is God-sent on bad roads, we appreciate this having driven/ travelled long-distance in a sedan for the past many years. We’re soon past this pain and reach the parking lot of Velankanni Church at 7 pm.

Vailankanni (Velankanni) - Church of Our Lady of Health, Annai Vailankanni

The parking lots are relatively empty, low crowd, we get inside the Church, walk around, take some snaps and sit inside for 20 mts quietly to enjoy the silent rest. This Church is a must see, beautifully located, the maintenance and cleanliness something to learn and the disciple of the devotees there worth emulating. Rajan tells us to hurry, we have to reach Sikkal, before 9pm and reach back base Tanjore, 90 kms away. We start @ 750 pm from Velankanni and reach Skkkal, 13 kms away in 30 mts to visit the famous Singaravadivelar temple, the abode of Lord Karthikeya, we were a lucky to hit the temple on an auspicious Sasthi Festival day, unlucky to find parking difficult, thick crowds made even walking difficult. We somehow manage to park and get inside the temple, the architecture of the temple worth seeing; Ranjan Power makes things easy, we have a great darshan and hurry back towards Thiruvvaiar for the dinner stop. Hotel Park has lots of space to park, the staff busy watching India/Pak cricket match in progress and dish out OK dinner. The road through Thiruvvaiyar, Needamangalam, Ammapatti, Tanjore was OK, we did the 60 kms in 1 hour, some sections follows the river, small sections are bad but by and large surface good, though single track.

We bid adios to Rajan, take his address / details and seek his guidance for the next day’s trip to Rameswaram. He was ever ready at 11 pm, whipped out his Maps / distances and offered lots of useful information for the onward journey till Terechendur.

16-11-07: Knowing we have to do only 270 kms, we get up late to a leisurely breakfast, have the truck washed and head out to fill gas, there’s a good IOC station next door. Oriental Towers has a huge parking lot, I talk to many taxi drivers about the best route to Rameswaram, one Scorpio taxi has just arrived from Tuticorin on this route, the driver practically crying, there’s no road here!!!! Drivers recommend to take the Pudikottai, Devakottai, Ramanathapuram route which is drivable and fast. We start @ 11 am, leave Tanjore behind, the single track 33 kms till Pudukottai has smooth surface and stop for a Coffee, only 2/3 decent veg b’kfast places, finish a quick Dosa / Vada stop and head to Karaikudi. The road for the next 20 kms rough but great vistas with desolate country. The population thins out, you hardly see anybody, mostly green paddy fields. At Karaikudi, 1 pm, we search out Hotel Annapoorna for lunch, the only decent place for lunch. Road till Ramanathapuram, 90 kms away, has some rough sections including the E Coast Road agony, but drivable; took 100 mts for us to cover. From R’puram to Rameswaram, 70 kms is great road though single track with one of the best scenes in India. We pass Mandapam and stop on the Pamban bridge @ 4pm.

Pamban Bridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The longest sea bridge in India @ 2.3 kms, takes your breath away; Bay of Bangal and Indian Ocean on both sides, the cantilever railway bridge on one side, the fishing port with bobbing boats dotting the sky line, salty wind whistling through, looked like a dream-scape. We spend 10 mts for some snaps and reach Hotel Royal Park @ 5 pm, this is one of the few decent options here. We check in, check for a guide and decide to relax for the day and watch TV. During dinner the guide, Kannan meets us and tells us to be ready @ 8 am next day for the temple visit. We found everything expensive in Rameswaram; the hotel manager told the sob-story how getting quality people is next to impossible, most people fisher folks, everything expensive, most of the services cornered by politicians, everything had to come in from the mainland. An anti-thesis for the Ram Rajya and the temple he established.

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Arrow Travelogue - Part Three


8 in the morning, the guide, Kannan, plays hide and seek on the mobile till we catch up with him near the temple. Most guides fix up with you and also with others and never keep their timings; they keep as many fish (us) hooked as possible and try to harvest the maximum, we had the entire day to ourselves and did not push him (actually had no choice) and waited patiently, near the temple entrance. Many touts / guides solicited us, we said Kannan has already nailed us, they grudgingly moved away. Kannan appears sheepishly saying he had a “Graky” he had to scalp quickly and leads us inside narrating the story of the temple. He’s a seasoned one here, tells us the dos and don’ts, was with us from 9 to 12 and took us right in front of the main Lord Shiva deity for a separate Rs.50/- per head official ticket. The Rs.250/- we paid him (he tried for more, but didn’t realize he’s dealing with a semi-Gujju) was worth the money.

The temple is magnificent; huge, the 3rd prakara with its 1000’s of pillars awe-inspiring and the sea-side setting classic. The longest prakara with 1220 richly carved pillars has a corridor of 760 feet is highly photogenic.

Rameshwaram Temple Tamil Nadu, Temple of Rameshwaram, Ramaswamy Temple Tamil Nadu

Rameswaram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I take the holy dip on the sea and walk dripping to visit the Hanuman temple (you’re supposed to visit here first) and proceed for the 22 “Theertas” (22 different wells from which water is drawn by a bucket by the guide/ aide and poured on you); the well waters were pleasantly warmer than the outside temp around 17 and felt good, different wells had different tastes, you can make out some of them are soft, hard, sweet, salty, bitter, leaden, tingy etc., There’s a crowd in each well, many pilgrims spend huge sums for this opportunity, come from all over the world and sometimes fall prey to the scalping touts, one must fix the price and mutually understand what exactly you’re getting for the price. Ideal package would be like a place to change wet cloths, keep your dry cloths / valuables in tact, guidance to bath in the sea, pouring water form the well on all the 22 Thirtas, narration of the story of the Temple / deities, worship at Hanuman temple and main temple up close and undivided time for the whole time, cost of guide anywhere between 250/- to 500/-. Kannan also fix us a 4 W D jeep for the ride to Gulf of Mannar and the end of the land for a negotiated Rs.800/- net. Initially I felt raped at this price but later realized the full worth. We get back to the hotel, left the scorp, change for the ride to sea, get into the rickety jeep and stock lots of water on the advise of the jeep driver.

The jeep rumbled on till the tarmac ended at the beach @ Dahushkodi, made the required entries into the Navy outpost and engaged the 4WD. The 11 km drive till the tale of Gulf of Mannar, was something to remember for a life time; this 22 kms was worth every rupee we paid, there was no road, only sand, sea, slush, sea-weed and more sand.

Gulf of Mannar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The driver was a pro, used the gears smoothly, in on place we got stuck on the sand, he rocked the jeep back and forth and got away; needs real expertese to drive on this terrain. You see only fisher folk (300 families live here !!!!) and tourists / pilgrims, we grinded past the old Dahushkodi rly station and reach the Shivaling / Nandi. The wind as strong, different seas on both sides, from this point Sri Lanka was about 20 kms. Fantastic photo spot, soon the sun started biting; we started back in 30 mts. Reached back the hotel in time for lunch and had a nice nap till 4 pm and drove out in the same direction to the Ramanath temple. This is located in an island, connected by a 1 kms + driveway through the sea. Just to sit on this drive-way and listen to the wind + surf was soothing, by sun-set we got back to our hotel.


arly morning consultation for a route check to Terichendur with the hotel reception and taxi drivers on the parking lot again ruled out the costal route as an option. Though 100 kms shorter, it would be a risk, 0 facilities on the way, only bullock-cart roads in many places with salt pans most of the way. We track the maps for the Paramakudi, Narikudi, Thiruchuli, Tutucorin, Terichendur route about 290 kms away, the road turned out to be better than bargained for. Start @ 8 am, Stop @ Pamban again for a final photo/video shoot, gas up at Ramanathapuram IOC (great service with a smile) , 56 kms from Hotel Royal Park and were zipping past Paramakudi and took a LT before Arupukottai, practically a BP. The roads turn hostile here, narrow single track, uneven and bumpy for the next 70 kms till we entered velvety NH 45 B for the next 40 kms till we reach Tuticorin BP. Cross Tuticorin and enter the twisty narrow track road that goes to Terichendur and reach TTDC Terichendur at 1 pm. With TTDC, its good to carry all reservation details, mails etc, they’d make a drama about giving you rooms, there are only 2 A/C rooms, they are BIG, clean, functional with 24 hr., hot water, beach behind 500 mtrs away. All the eating joints are a walk away and so is the temple. We found another new hotel nearby, there are lots nearby, you can explore, but none with the Rs.750/- tag of TTDC. For a basic tip to could get a lot done @ TTDC, if you have a short stay, comfortable at a non-5 star-hotel and can compromise a little on all round quality, this is the place. We walk out to Mani Iyer restaurant for lunch, OK and basic and take rest till 4. At 5 we walk to the temple, one of the most important 6 Karthikeyas temple, dates back 2000 years, only one on a sea-shore. We were soon accosted by dozens of touts/ priests, I deploy 1 weeks experience with temples / touts and I shout 50/- for an hour (reminded me of the stock-exchange floor), many of them look at me as if I am a lunatic and peel away, we were free of the pests. One labile specimen stalked us still, I up the ante to 60/-, he says yes and we are set. He whisks us in, for a special darshan its Rs.50/- per head (he doesn’t take a ticket but maneuvers us through the 1 km queue, through the guards and out through the gate, all in 15 minutes flat, some exchange of money took place at the exit), we sat right in front of the deity for 5 minutes and had an Aarathy.

Tiruchendur Subramanya Swami Devasthanam

We were through by 545 pm and sat on the beach. The sand was fine, the wind and surf was up, light fading and the sun gone. One thing anyone can notice was the high number of “ladies of the night” wandering around, pretty shocking for a temple town, the parade in wild abandon in stark immoral contrast to the sprit with which families come to this religious space. Well that’s something the police (they should facilitate the trade at lest 1 km away from the temple !!!!) and the TN Tourism need to take care of. We found lots of bargain pirated tamil / Malayalam CD/DVD movies / music around the temple, some of them vintage not available anywhere else in the country.

B’Kfast @ Mini Iyer Hotel and tank up at the IOC pump @ 820 am, head towards Valliyur, we pass Sathankulam, Ittamozhi and slow down for 70 kms on the bumpy country roads, some sections barely could fit the Scorp, many times we obediently got off the road to give way, the green paddy fields was another panorama with the distant rolling western Ghats in the back-drop. Took a RT @ Valliyur into NH 47 B and drove into windmill country. There were windmills everywhere for 6/7 square km and the corridor between the mountains form TN to Kerala changed to hilly, congested and road-hugging. At the fork of a dental college, the LTurn of 27 kms takes you to Kanyakumari (we have seen the Cape many times) we took the RT towards Nagarcoil. Before the town we take the road to Sucheendram; the only place in the world where you can see Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva on the same Shivling, the 22 feet Hanuman statue made from a single block and is one of the tallest statues. The musical pillars of the temple and the architecture in detail on stone are also one of a kind. Predictably we got a guide for Rs.25/- (fixed up before the tour, as my expertise with this species increased the rates dropped) and he showed us around, helped with the pooja and was a very happy, non-greedy specimen at that!!!!

We head out of Nagarcoil @ 1130 to Trivandrum, the traffic was very heavy, we cross Kerala Border @ Marthandam, pass Parassala / Neyattinkara and reach Trivandrum Club around 120 PM where rooms are ready thro friends, have lots of them there. We make it a policy on the date of arrival to check into hotels only whatever the compulsions are unless we know the people and scene pretty well; has saved us from many tricky situations. We call Sharat / Bundu family, someone we know for a long-long time and spend the day & dinner there. Many friends collect there and we celebrate the past / present and catch up, reach back the TVM Club late.
Early morning we finish the darshan at Padmanabha temple, huge crowd and it felt strange not to be approached by touts / guides. During breakfast Sharat force us to vacate from TVM club and took us to their big, now empty banglow at PTP nagar, only his parents stay there. We check in there and Sharat insists for us to take a massage / steam @ this Ayurvedic place, Devaki Health Spa, owned by Dhanwantari Matam. It’s all about oil massage and relaxation, I skeptically agree thinking after all I need a break!!! Another calculated thought was, it must have been 10 years since my shaved scalp has seen any oil and would suck it in litters and I would get value for money !!!! Me and Anu reported there promptly @ 10 and spent a great 2 hours on the massage, oil bath and steam. At the end of the experience I felt so drained, muscles of my body assaulted, my head was tingling, skin all shiny and glorious sleep desending. Well.. it was great for a first experience, would recommend it highly for anyone to try it once. We have lunch and sit to watch the old Mohanlal Comedy. At 5 pm its time to move to the Shangumugam Beach with Sharat’s family. On the way, we drop in to say hai to H.V.Kumar’s Brother in law and pay respects to his Mother there. From Bangalore till Trivandrum, rain which had co-operated, comes down in torrents at the beach, we were forced to sit inside the Scorp and watch the rain; a huge let-down. We dine out at this nice restaurant, Panchali and call it a day at 1030pm

From here on we know the roads, territory pretty well and feel psychologically more secure. We leave PTP nagar @ 0730 am, pass Kayamkulam @ 10, Aleppy at 11 and reach the Vytilla Jn. @ 1220, check in @ Abad Metro. While through Aleppey I call Dr.Rajesh a cyber friend from Scoripo group, unfortunately he’s away towards Kottayam and we miss each other. When we reach Cochin, there is a huge confusion in reservations, the South Asian Fisheries convention is on, Abad guys try their best to shove us 10 KM off to Chullikal which is located off-beat. Emails, reservation slips and a little bit of aggression gets us a compromised room for the day, they throw in lunch as a consolation. In the evening we meet some friends, go to Ernakulathappan temple and have dinner @ BTH with friends. Have so many fond memories which filled wonderful 10 years of our life around Cochin, wild-bachelor days, newly married life, children born here and mostly joys of a rewarding professional life. Have so many friends/ family there, staying @ one place and not going to another is suicidal, we opt for neutral territory, Abad Metro.

Important day for the Scorp, 10K kms service, had booked it previous day on phone @ TVS, looked like they were waiting for this. Guess my booking thro the help line @ Delhi had something to do with this, we got exemplary service. They explained the service, were courteous, called me @ 3 PM, again explained what they did, topped up all oils, fixed up a couple of rattles, did a test drive and the service adviser refused a big tip !!!!! He was offended, I thought, they did not charge me anything. This was unnerving, now I am conditioned from all the temple exposures to tip at the drop of a hat, here is a guy getting offended at a tip. This is Utopia indeed…. Kerala seems to have transformed or TVS has values it imparts into its employees, made me very happy as a Scorp customer.

The day was spent visiting family, friends and having lunch, dinner with them, there was lots of catching up to do.

Had one more close relative call @ Edapally, reached there for B’kfst @ 820 and started @ around 1130, reached the NH47, 17 cross @ 1145, Angamaly @ 1225, Trichur BP @ 110 and got stuck for 10 mts at Kuthiran. The other side of Kuthiran is still bad, trucks and buses jam the road and crawl up/down. We drive thro the left shoulder to do some off-roading and clear the block, reach V’Cherry for lunch at Aaryas. That done, we reach home @ Nemarrah at around 315PM, where the locked up village house is opened, our man Friday, Ponnu who’s with us for the last 30 year gets things organized. There’s tons of of things to do, we leave for Palakkad, meet our family Advocate and have dinner @ a friends place, reach back late.

Early morning 6 am, did pooja @ the family deities in and around and started for the important visit to Guryvayoor. We start @ 10 am thro. Pazayanoor, ottapalam, shornur and halt @ Pattambi for a lunch stop @ a relatives place. Great river nearby, an appetizing bath and a quick lunch later we reach Guruvayoor @ 430 PM. The Shabarimala Crowd was everywhere, a queue of 2 hours gives us the Darshan and we head back thro Trichur, Vadakkamcherry to Nemmarah.

Sunday, we head to Palakkad hitting one friend after another, breakfast, lunch and tea. Finish at least 8 houses and its 6 PM, time to head with a car load of friends to Malampuza Dam; on Sunday’s the Dam and the Gardens would be lit up & the dam full of water post-rains. Water was full, but the gardens had an uncared look, had no spirit, spent some time on the dam, had dinner with friends at Palakkad, said good-bye and reached back Nemarah late. [/SIZE]
Give detailed instuctions to our man Ponnu to take care of the house and surrounding land; this would take care of things for 3 months till somebody from the family visits again and we head back North for the return leg journey.

Start @ 730am, visit the hilltop Gangotri Hanuman temple located in a scenic hill near the school. Have the pooja / darshan and head towards Tripallur to hit the NH 47, reach the RTurn @ Chandranagar round turn @ 915, Madukarai / CBE BP @ 950, from there for the next 27 kms, its bliss, you are checked @ 4 points, needs to keep the token and we zip out at 1010 am. B’kfast stop @ A1 plaza, hit Avahashi, the 4 track work is in progress here around, there’s lane changing but the road smooth. We take L Turn @ Bhavani, go thro the town and are on to Mettur 50 kms away. Reach Mettur dam and relatives house @ 12 noon, have lunch and take rest till 340 pm. We are quickly past Mechari, join bad roads till Krishnagiri Toll Gate by 530 and the face painful grinding traffic thro Info city, Silk Board, Ring road, Marthahalli, Hal and home. From Info city to HAL, about 80 kms took us 3 hours!!! We were glad to get back to Vidya/Prasad’s home for hot dinner and bed. They’re pretty upset we’re not going to extent the stay for one more day, there’d be other times.

Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th December 2007 at 16:10. Reason: Those Tags
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Old 11th December 2007, 16:12   #13
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Arrow Travelogue- Part 4 / Last Part

The need to get back to base was taking over, calls from my office, Anu’s school becoming more frequent and frantic; even Nidish has started doing homework on the mobile !!!!! We head out of Bangy late at 7 am, hit Tumkur toll plaza and let rip on the 4 track, change track to reach the A1 plaza on the other side for a quick b’k fast after 70 kms @ 845 am, fill up fuel @ IOC and take a U turn @ 920 towards Hubli. You get 4 track for 280 kms from Bangy, great roads to test out, here we decide to test the scorp on a straight downhill section and touch our speed record of 145, normally we never cross 120 on clear stretches. The road turns sour from there on for the next 150 kms, about 70 kms very bad, on and off. If you read my account of 9th you’d understand the pain & torture, body and rubber has to go through. Some sections are blue-murder, unmarked humps; just when you pick up speed it jars your joints and leaves your flabbers ghasted!!!! On the return run we were mentally prepared for this section and the pain was bearable. Being cooped up in the Scorpy for almost 20 days, it becomes a home away form home, the pedals, wheels and controls an extension of your body, you communicate with the beast better, you understand the rattles, beats and squeaks unconsciously; where your mind flows there the truck rolls.

We pass through beautiful windmill country too, in contrast to the narrow, hilly, green, thickly vegetated Nagarcoil Windmill landscape, this is vast, brown-small hills and desolate country. The Hubli BP gates shimmers in the distance like Manna @ 3 pm; we gleefully pay the toll fees and settle down for the silk run till Satara, 340 kms away, which we covered in 4 hours. This I think is great timings as the last 140 kms was in darkness, the souped-up headlights and fog lamps helping a great deal. We gave chase to a red wagon-R all the way from Nippani to Satara; this guy was amazing, kept an unbeatable speed, had superlative driving skills and was using the gears to F1 effect which I could make out from the way he accelerated away from dead stops. With envy I realized the Wagon R though looks flimsy and underpowered is a great little car. We reach Hotel Mahendra to a warm welcome, hot food, hot running water and friendly service. In 20 days the temp has dropped further, the temp gauge was @ 15 on that night.

Last stretch home, wake up, check out and start @ 7 am. Call Sudhir @ Pune who’s heading to Hubli on his Scorp. We fix the meeting point 65 KM up after Khambhatti Ghats at the IOC pump and decide to wait for each other. Sudir is headed for a long trip down south and was in constant contact with me throughout taking feedback on the road, I was looking forward to meeting him. We reach the pump, gas up and wait for 10 minutes, Sudhir calls and says he has passed and somehow missed the pump and is already into the Ghats. Well.. one of those things, we decide to meet up later. We enter expressway @ 9 am and stop @ the food plaza for B’Kfast. We were just about to start when the watchman points out to the rear right flat tyre, fortunately the puncture guy is right behind the restaurant. First I fix the rates, Rs.30 to fix the spare, Rs.120/- for one puncture on the Tubeless. When I show him the puncture Kit I have, he settles for Rs.50/- per puncture, I salvage some investment on the puncture kit. Fortunately there was only one puncture, after 1 hr we’re on our way to Mumbai.

I was pretty apprehensive about the turns and exits through Mumbai but had a general idea of the terrain from time spent on Google. I surprised myself by choosing the correct bridges, through Aeroli & Mulund faultlessly till Godebandar toll naka. From there till Surat over bridge the road was good/ OK, we reached @ 5 pm and got stuck in the traffic jam for almost 1 hour, grinded till Ankleswar where a grid-lock caught us for 45 mts. No words can describe the chaos; ambulances, woman, children, old people, people on urgent business, you name them you have them all helpless and cursing, it was a scene straight out of hell. If you have a score to settle with some, this is the road through which to send them, they’d beg for mercy, we were lucky, on a holiday with all the time in the world to wait. At long last, the snarl gives way and we cover the next 145 kms till Baroda expressway in 3 hours !!!!! Once on the expressway, we let go and exited in 45 mts and reach home by 1045

Some gadgets that helped a lot. The steering pedal lock, Rs.275/- has a unique key, gave piece of mind at night.

Glass Holders, Rs.150/-, useful to keep those grass scratch-free and at arms length

Pressure Guage (You need to do trial and error with this to arrive at correct reading), foot pump (used it many times to pump up in the mornings, in order to get the correct cold pressure), Tubeless Puncture kit ( useful once, never know when you’d hit nails), 12 V invertor, Rs.1400/- (for laptop, video games, camera battery charger, small and handy), 12 V reading lamps, Rs.175/- (very useful when dark to check for fallen things under the seat, read maps, write logs, read addresses etc., we got the blue light ones, highly recommend this gadget with yellow lights), rubber bands (cannot emphasis the utility of t his simple gadget, to close envelopes, hold things together, keep plugs tight etc.,) 80 gb external drive to take all those videos and phots.

GPS receiver (repeating the utility would be an overkill), universal plug, (to plug in all kinds of gadgets into the invertor), 12 V multiplug with 2 sockets (both the GPS and receiver got plugged into this one), the led torch, Rs.225/- (lasted long time for the whole 20 days on 2 AAA batteries, pretty powerful at night)

Total trip took 6434 kms, 20 days, 611 ltrs of petrol= 10.53 km/ltr. The Scorpio exceeded my expectations in every way, except the mileage; a CRDE should give at lest 11, I don’t know if it was the higher speeds or my driving style which spoilt the averages.

Some points which may be of interest on long drives. It’s the smooth, long, straight, 4 track roads you need to be careful about, with the car running 100+, the steady sounds can lull your senses and you tend to nod off, I almost did in 2/3 places and stopped pronto. These stretches are killers, please stop have a stretch / coffee and snap out of it. The congested, bad stretches have you alert and cursing and you can never go to sleep on these.

Go fully equipped, with medicines, credit cards, pumps, puncture kit and the works. If it’s temples, get a guide and keep a bundle of 10 rupee notes ready to oil the works.

Hope you'd forgive the long posts, felt it might be useful to some of you who may travel that route and would tred the same path. Apologies if I have been too long..........

Happy Driving,


Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th December 2007 at 16:19. Reason: Tags
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Old 11th December 2007, 16:51   #14
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Nice Travelogue Ramky Sir, couldnt believe that this is your first writeup, it was indeed nice....I only completed Part 1, will do the rest later, got to go in a meeting now...

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Old 11th December 2007, 17:28   #15
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Arrow More photos and 2 videos

PPl, one last one......... then I am finished.

Temple that went under, Poompuhar, 20 feet walls went under the Tsunami, 04.

Velankanni Church

East coast Road, a huge pain.

On the Pambam Bridge

Inside Rameswaram Temple

One of the longest corridors in the world.

Gulf of Mannar, from the end of the land, its 20 km to Srilanka.

Ramanath Temple

Pamban Railway Bridge

Malampuzha Dam, Palakkad

Scorpio @ Bhavani

Some town near Tumkur

Beautiful Hubli BP, one of the best BP's in India

Break Inspectors on 4 track near Nippani

4 track flyaway

Flying on the flyaway

Somewhere on the 4 track road near, Belgaum

The 4 WD trip to Dahushkodi video on youtube

Road to Poompuhar Beach, youtube video

I promise to load no more for at least some months, cross my heart...

Happy Driving,


Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th December 2007 at 17:31.
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