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Old 14th September 2008, 17:40   #1
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Default A quick trip on Onam day

Had been wanting to take out my new Indigo Dicor XL for a long drive. But even after 40 days, tight schedules at work and kids' school kept me from doing it. There was only one reason that I wanted to do a highway run - wanted to check her performance on the Highway.

Friday Sep 12 turned out to be Holiday for kids due to Onam. Wife came up with a good idea that we visit the Thennangur Panduranga temple if I could take a little time off from work in the morning. Sounded a good idea - a 200 km drive + a visit to a Krishna temple on an auspicious day. Sis in law also agreed to join in with her 2 kids that made it 3 adults and 4 kids enough to crowd the car to its limit.

I estimated 2 hrs one way with a 1 hr halt at the temple. That meant that if I left at 6.00 AM I can be back in city by 11.00 and reach office by 11.30.

Went to bed late on Sep 11 - around 12.00 AM and managed to sleep till 4.00 AM only - cause the excitement of a highway drive in the new car (I don't dare call it a long drive). Did my yoga and was ready along with my wife and kids at 5.50. But plans are always made only to be delayed - Sis in law and kids were late by 15 mins. Pulled out of my apartment in Koyambedu exactly at 6.12. Since I had tanked up the previous night, I had no need to stop for fuel. Route followed was Guindy - Tambaram - Chengalpattu - Uthiramerur-Thennangur.

Morning traffic was considerably light except at Tambaram where there was a jam as early as 6.40 AM - darn STC buses. These drivers have a penchant for haphazard halts at bus stops. Passed Vandalur only to be surprised by vehicles coming on the wrong direction - suspected a road accident. and yes after 5 kms found one - A chicken laden truck had brushed the rear quarter of a city bus and turned turtle. Traffic was light after I crossed the spot. Kept up a steady 85-90kmph till the exit from GQ towards Uthiramerur. This is right after Captain's college south of Chengalpattu.

6 months back this road all the way up to Kancheepuram - Vandavasi Road was very good and wide enough. This was why I had estimated 2 hrs for the 110 km drive. But the road has become potholed almost the entire stretch. However there are some good stretches around Uthiramerur and Manampathy. some of these stretches are also bordered by huge old tamarind trees that make it a very scenic road. Since we were running late I did not stop to take pics. Managed to reach Thennagur by 8.20 AM - 20 mins behind schedule.

A brief note on Thennangur - it is a small village off the Kancheepuram - Vandavasi Road. The Panduranga temple here was established by his Holiness Swami Haridas Giri. The temple follows the Puri Jagannath temple architecture. A speciality is that the Ardhamandpam's false ceiling is made of sculpted FRP. Tanjore paintings depicting Krishna's life line the walls. The deity is that of Lord Panduranga and Ma Rakumaba - Guruji's favorite. Temple and its properties are managed by a trust that does a lot of social service in the neighborhood. Check here for more details on this temple - :::>>>:::...Ga Trust

Darshan at the temple was hassle free as it was working day. Had to literally drag the ladies out as they were reluctant to leave the beautiful temple. Next upset in plan - the only decent eatery had closed - was told that it was over some disagreement. 7 grumbling tummies and no scope for a decent breakfast - decided to get back to Vandalur Sangeetha (the once Team's Padmam) a good 1 hr drive back. Managed to leave Thennangur at 9.30 AM after picking up some biscuit packs from the small shops around the temple. Sun had come up but the tree lined roads were pleasant to drive through.

Nearing Chengalpattu, on the GQ bypass, the overpass over Chengalpattu - Kancheepuram road was closed and traffic was being diverted. Could see a lot of cops and vehicles - oh no not one more big accident!!. Some of these highway accidents can be really nasty. Only when I neared the spot did I realize that it was film shooting that was taking place.

After finishing of breakfast called up office to leave instructions as I was almost an hour late now. Decided to take the ORR to avoid city traffic. Here again the Adayar River bridge was closed for traffic to allow a film shooting. Can't understand how the authorities allow this at a busy time of the day.

The last 6 kms from Maduravoyal to Koyambedu was the worst part of the entire drive - pot holed roads - slow moving traffic. Any way reached home by 12.05 PM safe and sound.

Did not get time to shoot many pics - was not able to load them as they are over 1MB. Will resize them and upload later.

A quick highway drive; fairly good roads outside GQ. Comfortable drive. Sis in law was in the rear seat with the three older kids (14,13 and 10 years) and still found the seating comfortable enough. I did not feel any fatigue at all - in fact I was supercharged by the time I reached office. Distance traveled - 216 KMs - overall FE (door to door) 16kmpl - (max speed 95 kmph, 100% AC on).
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Old 16th September 2008, 17:59   #2
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Nice report.

Once you take the right turn to Uthiremurur, roads were uneven. Its better not to exceed 80 kmph.
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