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Old 23rd April 2008, 14:26   #1
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Smile Road trip from Trivandrum to Velankanni

This is the second part of my travelogue posted earlier - My Road Trip from Pune to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Here is the link to the first post. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...tml#post790597

Day 1: Finally reached Kerala!!! As mentioned in the first part of my travelogue, we collected my sister and her family from Quilon and reached Trivandrum by 11 am. My sister has three kids, two boys and one girl, all less than 6yrs old. It was a great feeling going back to Trivandrum after two and a half years after my marriage. My family members were seeing my Chevy for the first time and they loved my Baby!!!

We had a quick lunch and then decided to leave for Velankanni Church as soon as possible. Our stuff was already packed. My family members were also ready for the trip. I removed my Pioneer woofer and made space for the entire luggage. After a quick wash, my Chevy was ready for the long journey ahead! I noticed that even after running 1500 kilometres odd, with AC on all the time, there was no change in the coolant level or any other oil levels. So I was really happy! My family finally finished their packing by 4 pm and we were ready to hit the road. We put all luggages in my Chevy and finally started from Trivandrum by 5 pm. There were 6 adults and 3 children in my Chevy. My Dad, Mom, Brother-in-law, Sister, her 3 kids, my Wife and I. I took the wheels again. My bro took the front seat. My wifey, Dad and Mom took the second row and my sister and her 3 kids took the last row. Everyone was very comfortable and complimented about the legroom in my Tavera. My Chevy’s triple AC was a huge hit too and everyone loved it.

We decided to take the Trivandrum – Nagercoil- Madurai – Tanjavur – Nagapattinam – Velankanni route. There was horrible traffic on the Trivandrum - Nagercoil stretch. This highway is one of the busiest roads in the country and only two-laned. There were so many trucks on the road and it was impossible to go above 50 - 60 km/hr most of the time. Once we crossed the Kerala border, traffic became lesser, but more dangerous because of the narrow highway and the super fast driving of Tamil Nadu Govt. buses. They would overtake even if they saw a vehicle coming from the opposite direction and expected the other vehicle to give way.

The highway to Nagercoil was very scenic with lots of Banana plantations. It took me 2 hours to reach Nagercoil, which is at a distance of about 75 kilometers. We filled up at Nagercoil and continued to the next major town, Tirunelveli. The roads improved tremendously after Nagercoil. There was 4-laning work going on at most places. We reached Tirunelveli, which is at a distance of about 175 kilometers from Trivandrum; by 9 pm. Travel time from TVM was 4 hours. My stock headlights were very inadequate and I had a terrible time driving on totally dark highways!!!

We had our dinner in Tirunelveli by 9:30 pm. I was completely exhausted after all the driving from Goa and also on day 1. Wifey and I had not slept well the previous night. Just 2 hours of siesta in Trichur!!!

The total distance I drove from Trichur to Trivandrum to Nagercoil to Tirunelveli was about 490 kilometers. I was in no condition to drive further and my Brother took the wheels after dinner, with Dad in the front passenger seat. My wife and I, along with my sister’s youngest daughter took the third row seat. My Mom, Sister and her two sons were in the second row.

We hit the highway to Madurai by 10:30 pm and my brother, who drives a Nissan X-trail and a Honda SUV in Dubai, liked my Chevy a lot and settled down pretty well. My Dad started singing songs to ward off sleep! My wife and I dozed off in no time. We had a smooth ride up to Madurai. Dad and brother were talking constantly to keep away from dozing off. We reached Madurai by 2 am and my brother was too exhausted to carry on. I volunteered to drive further, but seeing that my eyes were swollen because of the lack of sleep and high beam glare, Dad did not allow me to drive on. So we decided to halt for the night and found a good hotel. It was HOT in Madurai even at 2 am! We started sweating in no time!!! The first thing we did after checking in, was to take bath (at 3 am in the night)!!! After living in Pune, the humidity in Madurai was too much for us!

Day 2: We woke up only by 9 am. We had a sumptuous breakfast. We decided not to check out from the Madurai hotel, as someone had told us that it was difficult to get rooms in Velankanni. There was a festival going on, it seems! So we decided to return back to Madurai after visiting the Church.

We then went to buy a spare tyre for my Chevy. Please read my earlier travelogue for the incident which led to the tyre burst! It took us a lot of time to find an authorized Goodyear dealer. It was so very hot in Madurai and my family members were really suffering because of the heat. They simply refused to come out of the car!!! So I kept my engine and AC on, when the tyre was being changed. The temperature was definitely about 45 degrees! I found out that the burst tyre had a deep cut on the side. It must have been caused by some very sharp object on the road in Kankavli. :-(

After this delay, we managed to hit the road by 11:30 am. We took the highway to Tanjavur. I took the wheels again and my brother in law was beside me again. It was a pleasure to have him with me, as he kept on joking and talking and made our drive very very interesting! :-)

The highway became very narrow and the bus drivers were becoming more suicidal after every hour! It had to be the heat that was driving them nuts!! We had a very pleasant drive up to Tanjavur. The roads were very good and freshly laid. We got lost twice, so we started asking for directions at every turn and junction. We reached Thanjavur by 3 pm and had our lunch. There are not many good hotels on the highways. So anybody going on that route must carry lots of food & snacks!!

We left by 4:30 pm for Nagapattinam. The roads were not good and it took me a lot of time to reach Nagapattinam, which is the major town before Velankanni. We did not stop anywhere and managed to reach Velankanni by 7:30 pm. The whole place was very crowded and it was very very hot! We were surprised to find the temperature close to 40 degrees in Velankanni at 8 pm.

We went to the Velankanni church and attended the Holy mass and spent a lot of time inside the church. We also went to Our Lady’s tank and offered our prayers. More details about the church in Velankanni can be found here Vailankanni (Velankanni) - Church of Our Lady of Health, Annai Vailankanni. Please see the photos of the shrine here Vailankanni (Velankanni) - Photogallery .

After finishing our prayers, we had our dinner in a newly opened MGM resort by 9:30 pm. We really got upset to find out that there were rooms available in MGM. It was a big headache driving back to Madurai again and that too, at night! But we had no other option as we had conveniently left our entire luggage in Madurai!!!

I took the wheels again, as my brother was feeling sleepy because of some of his cough medication. My wifey, who has been my trusty and most brilliant navigator all through our journey, jumped in beside me and we hit the roads again and started our journey back to Madurai by 11 pm. I was confident that I could drive as long as wifey was awake by my side!!!

My family members dozed off almost immediately. The AC was so comfortable, I guess! I have to say a word of praise for my dear wifey! She did not blink even once during the night drive! She was concentration personified!

We filled up gas from Nagapattinam. Overall fuel efficiency was around 15.7 km/ltr. The highway to Madurai was pretty deserted. There was light truck traffic though. I noticed that the truckers in Tamil Nadu were very chivalrous. They never used the high beam and gave me plenty of space all the time. The drive was very tedious and wifey and I spoke continuously to keep each other wide awake!

Chevy performed remarkably well throughout the drive. There was no problem whatsoever!!! I maintained speeds in excess of 100 km/hr and enjoyed the drive!

Day 3: We reached Tanjavur, which is about 90 kilometers away from Velankanni, by 12:30 am and stopped for refreshments. I had driven very fast and covered the 90 odd kilometers in one and a half hours. My folks were fast asleep. I switched off the engine, to give Chevy some rest! Almost instantly, there were cries of protest from the back row travelers about the heat! So the engine and triple AC was on switched on again!!! I parked Chevy near some shops and wifey and I had tea and biscuits.

I was feeling a bit lethargic and took a nap for half an hour. But wifey did not sleep as people were staring inside our car from the shops. We started our drive to Madurai by 1:30 am. My wifey was sitting beside me warning me about every turn on the road as I ripped along the highway at 100 km/hr most of the time.

I drove till 4 am and became completely exhausted. My wifey was still awake and vigilant! We stopped for tea in a roadside hotel and freshened up. My brother-in-law, who had had a good sleep, took the wheels. Dad took the front passenger seat. My Brother and Dad had a good time for the rest of the drive chatting and singing!!! Wifey and I retired to the third row and slept peacefully. We reached Madurai by 6 am. We checked into the same hotel and slept till 11 am.

We started from Madurai after lunch by 2 pm. The highway to Nagercoil was very very good. I hadn’t seen the roads the previous night, as I was asleep and my brother was driving. I took the wheels again and constantly kept speeds of 120 km/hr. My Chevy’s pulling was amazing, even with nine people on board and with the triple AC switched on all the time!!! I drove very fast on the Madurai – Nagercoil highway and reached Tirunelveli by 4:30 pm. We stopped for tea there.

We started the final stretch of our journey by 5 pm. I could maintain speeds of over 120 the entire stretch and I crossed Nagercoil by 7 pm. Once we entered Kerala, there was heavy traffic. We finally reached Trivandrum by 9 pm.

We had covered close to 900 kilometers in 3 days. Our journey was really incredible and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Chevy was simply superb!!! This was one of our most unforgettable rides ever in my Chevy! My family loved the journey so much that they came with me to Varkala Beach after two days!!!
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Old 23rd April 2008, 14:41   #2
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Hey that was a nicely written detailed report and i suppose it was quite a journey all the way.

Last edited by VJ_MAVRICK : 23rd April 2008 at 14:43.
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Old 23rd April 2008, 14:47   #3
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Nice writeup chevy_lover but where are the pics !!

And pls checkout hotel if you are leaving the place, you will surely get some accomodation or otherwise you could have always gone to some other hotel near velankanni..

Abhi
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Old 23rd April 2008, 14:48   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
Hey that was a nicely written detailed report and i suppose it was quite a journey all the way.
Thanks Mavrick, It was an awesome journey! We enjoyed the trip to the maximum. We also did not face any problems whatsoever!
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Old 23rd April 2008, 14:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Nice writeup chevy_lover but where are the pics !!

And pls checkout hotel if you are leaving the place, you will surely get some accomodation or otherwise you could have always gone to some other hotel near velankanni..

Abhi
Some pics are there in the links, to give a general idea about the shrine. I did not have a digital cam then. I had taken some snaps from my N70. I will post it as soon as possible. Some pics will also be posted on my earlier travelouge.

I agree about the hotel. We should have checked out. But some relatives back home told us that they could not find accommodation in Velankanni, when they visited. So we acted too smart, which wasn't necessary!!!
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Old 24th April 2008, 14:30   #6
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Good report. Yes Thanjavur to Velankanni is not too good. I just did that stretch a month back.

I can imagine all the driving you'll did. Somehow I cannot bring myself to drive during the night time. But thats just me !!
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Old 1st May 2008, 01:11   #7
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Default Pics of Velankanni!!!

Guys, Some pics we clicked.
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Road trip from Trivandrum to Velankanni-velankanni10.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2008, 03:48   #8
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Default A Hill!

Has anyone seen this? Near Nagercoil!!
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Road trip from Trivandrum to Velankanni-hill.jpg  

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Old 5th May 2008, 15:38   #9
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nagercoil- TVM is always a pain. if you just stay put in the queue, its tolerable. its impossible to try and overtake on that section. you'll either give yourself a stroke or have an accident.
TN state bus drivers are complete #&%&@*ds (this coming from a guy who has dealt with kerala and karnataka buses regularly)
the TN lorry drivers are very nice though. a complete contrast. wonder how that happened.
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Old 5th May 2008, 16:07   #10
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@rippergeo

On the other hand - you enter a TNSTC bus for a ride. They go painfully slow (atleast on Hosur - Coimbatore route)! They may drive on the wrong lanes, however, you feel like kicking yourself for going too slow. Ofcourse, they have 'proudly' exhibited 'Express' labels on them!
This is coming from a person who drives a 4 gear, 11+ years old M800. Also, I have experienced both Kerala and Karnataka STCs. Not saying that they are the best drivers though
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Old 6th May 2008, 15:04   #11
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
the TN lorry drivers are very nice though. a complete contrast. wonder how that happened.
TN lorry drivers are nice??? Is that a comparative statement? :-) The NP lorry drivers are ok, but have you ever dealt with water and petrol tankers, sand or gravel carrying lorries? They are the bane of the roads and have created all sorts of problems and accidents.
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Old 6th May 2008, 16:46   #12
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Originally Posted by csentil View Post
TN lorry drivers are nice??? Is that a comparative statement? :-) The NP lorry drivers are ok, but have you ever dealt with water and petrol tankers, sand or gravel carrying lorries? They are the bane of the roads and have created all sorts of problems and accidents.
its only a personal opinion.
I feel less threatened in TN than in kerala, except for the intercity buses in TN- they are homicidal.
TN trucks stick to the left, move when you honk, use the dipper and dont try to run you over.
they are better than the KL7 lorries


anyway, lets not start a competition as to who deals with the worst lorries.
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