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Old 13th October 2008, 18:10   #1
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Default Gave Time a Break : Trip to Pondicherry

I have always enjoyed reading various travelogues here on TBHP, but never really taken the effort to actually sit down and write one myself. Well, here goes my first effort towards writing one.

It had been ages since we actually took a holiday, savoring time just for ourselves, and doing nothing in particular. With the Dasara hols approaching, we thought this was our chance. The intention was head to some place near Bangalore, and to which the roads were actually roads, and not craters with tar patches. The initial round of searches brought Yercaud into the line of sight. It seemed pretty convenient, and there were a few travelogues on the forum itself, telling us what it was we needed to expect. To add to the fun, there was also a TBHP Tri State meet which was planned along the same time. Talk about co-incidence!

Spoke to Rajan (Patchyboy) who was the organizer and came to realize that owing to popular demand, the plan for the meet was to be there on Saturday, and back on a Sunday. IMO, among the most saddening things in life is to go back to work immediately after returning from a trip.

Things suddenly didnt seem to be on track. Spoke to Riju following this, who suggested Pondicherry. Another round of searches among the travelogues, and it seemed worth looking at. Road conditions were a concern, going by some of the reports, but a rather recent log from Akroy didnt really mention any particular bad stretches. Spoke to a couple of colleagues at work, who confirmed that roads were relaid, and nothing to worry. The location was thereby finalized.

Next step was deciding on a place to stay. With the long weekend meaning there would be a strong influx of visitors to Pondy, we had to decide and act quick. Once again thanks to Riju who told me where to look for info, and some places were shortlisted. However, upon enquiry, many of these places were already booked, or else quoted sky-high rates. A friend who had been to Pondy in the not-so-distant past suggested a place called Ajanta Beach guest house. According to him, it was safe and also not too expensive. (Contact # 0413 2338898). A search on the net threw up some comments which we were later to realize was quite apt. However, they did have rooms within our budget, and the venue of our stay was also decided.

Woke up early at about 3AM, and completed what was left of the packing. Started out from home at about 4AM. The route we were to take was Bangalore-> Krishnagiri-> Tiruvanamalai-> Gingee-> Tindivanam-> Pondicherry.

I am not going into the details of the route such as where to turn and look for what as they have been explained in rather detail in the other travlogues. Refer Dadu's and Akroy's travelogues for more info. However, be warned about the lack of proper road directions and road signs. Knowing Tamil would be an added bonus in asking for directions, and also reading boards written in Tamil. Between my wife and myself, she can read a bit of Tamil, while i can speak it, so life was easy.

We breakfasted in Tiruvanamalai at a decent looking restaurant which served the usual dosas, vadas and the likes. Food was tasty, and we were amazed at how much we devoured. Feeling extremely satisfied, tipped the old waiter generously and proceeded with our journey.

Soon the sun was up in all its glory and there was no other option but to use the air-conditioning. This was the starting of our friendship with the red hot ball of fire through this trip.

Gingee Fort
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We took a few breaks along the way just to feel the air, and also to stretch our legs. It was a delight to watch the villagers carry on with their daily chores in their fields.

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Roads were a blessing, with no major traffic and no crazy speedbreakers which we have now come to expect almost anywhere having stayed in Bangalore. Villages through which we passed had sensible folk who respected the right of the highway, and didnt bring about the need for any screeching tyres and frantic pumping of brakes.

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We reached Pondicherry limits at about 11AM, a good 7 hours since we started, clocking speeds of a max of 110kmph, and sticking to the usual 80-100kmph self-imposed limits. The breaks in between also added up to the total time taken. For a change we had decided to enjoy the journey, rather than revel in the time in which we had completed a trip, which was the practice earlier.

Entering Pondicherry we were amazed by the change in the road conditions and also the general neatness of the place. What however struck me even more was the crazy two-wheeler traffic. I thought i had seen it all having been in Bangalore and other major cities, but no, this was even crazier! As you approach a junction, be prepared for a couple of two wheelers to come jumping out of nowhere, and even taking turns which could put Rossi to shame, all this sans helmets or any sort of protection. This led me to conclude that probably two-wheelers here didnt come with brakes and hence the above behavior. Needless to say, i exercised the brakes of my car to a large extent here.

Our hotel being situated on the Beach road, finding it was no major task. All you had to do was listen to your ears and follow your nose to guide you. Pondicherry as such is not difficult to get around, and getting hang of the streets and finding your way is rather easy. Reaching the hotel we were offerred a room which was priced at Rs900/- (no taxes applicable) for dual occupancy, with A/C. Another choice was a sea-facing room meant for 4, which came at Rs.1700/- for 24 hours. We decided on the latter.

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Hotel Ajanta Beach Guest House

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View from our sea-facing balcony

The room had just been vacated by some others earlier, and hence was still being cleaned as we reached. It was sea facing alright, but not as we had thought it would be. Nevertheless, it was really hot, and we decided to get some rest, before we decided to explore the place.
With the A/C chiiling the room, and tired out from the sun's onslaught,we took a nap......

To be Continued.
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Old 13th October 2008, 18:29   #2
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Nicely written benbsb29

Waiting for more.
And pics too...
Keep them coming.
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Old 13th October 2008, 18:30   #3
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Benny the report and the pics do indicate that you had a good time in Pondy. During our last pondy meet had been to the restaurant in Ajantha(if i recollect it correctly) facing the sea and it was nice for one to cool off on that terrace joint.
One can immediately notice the difference in roads once you cross over Karnataka and needless to say the two wheelers in Pondy are a bit crazier as you mentioned as i had witnessed some sudden jerking stunts too on my trip down there. That sea view road was really litup bright during the night and it was a nice sight to see. Keep the pics flowing.
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Old 13th October 2008, 18:42   #4
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Aah so the boy was in Pondy drooling on the french maal eh ? Hope you chaps had a nice time.
Also the 2 wheelers in Pondy are in a different league itself. Dont forget the tuk tuk types auto's(?) which are all over the place and the menacing private buses.

OT :Yeda pishika post pics in 800x600 size.
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Old 13th October 2008, 18:51   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
the two wheelers in Pondy are a bit crazier as you mentioned as i had witnessed some sudden jerking stunts too on my trip down there.
Well, you can see lots of such stunts especially(after night fall) on the beach road adjacent to ajantha guest house. that road is a show off place for lots of bike crazy teenagers with silly modded bikes in pondy.
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Old 13th October 2008, 19:00   #6
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Good holiday there Benny, Ajanta Guest house is a very nice place to stay, I have stayed there on many occasions but in those days it was a single storied quaint bungalow, I love the food there though. carry on with the travelogue, good pics.
Cheers
Hari.
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Old 13th October 2008, 19:06   #7
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Nice pictures Benny, nicely written too. You have visited this Pondicherry in right time. I am looking forward to visit there next year!

All the best

Ravi.
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Old 13th October 2008, 19:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yzfrj View Post
Nicely written benbsb29

Waiting for more.
And pics too...
Keep them coming.
Thanks yzfrj. Am still in the process of recreating the sequence of events, so the write-up will take some time coming. Do hang around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
Benny the report and the pics do indicate that you had a good time in Pondy. During our last pondy meet had been to the restaurant in Ajantha(if i recollect it correctly) facing the sea and it was nice for one to cool off on that terrace joint.
I suppose the terrace joint is actually part of a renovation exercise. I stayed in the side facing room, which was more old-fashioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
One can immediately notice the difference in roads once you cross over Karnataka and needless to say the two wheelers in Pondy are a bit crazier as you mentioned as i had witnessed some sudden jerking stunts too on my trip down there. That sea view road was really litup bright during the night and it was a nice sight to see. Keep the pics flowing.
The Promenade is a joy to behold. Absolutely loved the place!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Aah so the boy was in Pondy drooling on the french maal eh ? Hope you chaps had a nice time.
Also the 2 wheelers in Pondy are in a different league itself. Dont forget the tuk tuk types auto's(?) which are all over the place and the menacing private buses.

OT :Yeda pishika post pics in 800x600 size.
Thankfully, tuk-tuks were less of a problem to me over the 2 wheelers. These would just pop out of a blind corner and proceed like they owned the road.

Limiting myself to the current resolution of pics as i'm uploading these from home on a limited bandwidth plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by badboyscad View Post
Well, you can see lots of such stunts especially(after night fall) on the beach road adjacent to ajantha guest house. that road is a show off place for lots of bike crazy teenagers with silly modded bikes in pondy.
I saw an R15 showing off on this street in the evening.
At 11PM, there were autowallahs playing their din-chak music and playing carroms sitting along the roadside. Hows that?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Good holiday there Benny, Ajanta Guest house is a very nice place to stay, I have stayed there on many occasions but in those days it was a single storied quaint bungalow, I love the food there though. carry on with the travelogue, good pics.
Thanks Hari. I believe the place has been renovated and hence the more modern looking frontside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravibhat View Post
Nice pictures Benny, nicely written too. You have visited this Pondicherry in right time. I am looking forward to visit there next year!
Ravi, the only problem i had was the harsh afternoon sun. Else, the timing was perfect.
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Old 13th October 2008, 20:47   #9
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Hey Benny boy! nice pictures & waiting for more. Also how come I don't find MIKE yet? he he- keep them coming.

Hmmm- 7 hours drive from bangalore? What's the distance from Bangalore to Pondy? about ~350 KMS?
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Old 13th October 2008, 21:08   #10
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Ha, so you had fun in Pondy. Nice one there.

Thats a good view from Ajanta Hotel. Waiting for the rest of the pics.

Btw, the PP of pics are good.
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Old 13th October 2008, 21:59   #11
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Aah Benny, finally you took dear MiKe onto highway. Good writeup and nice pics.

Ajantha has an excellent restaurant. Eager to see the remaining part. Could you take bath in the beach there?

Abhi
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Old 13th October 2008, 22:07   #12
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Nice pics. AH the Ajanta Beach is a wonder. And on the way to Pondicherry the Gingee fort is good especially the entrance to it, i.e. through fully compounded kinda.
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Old 13th October 2008, 23:08   #13
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Originally Posted by nevertouchme View Post
Hey Benny boy! nice pictures & waiting for more. Also how come I don't find MIKE yet? he he- keep them coming.

Hmmm- 7 hours drive from bangalore? What's the distance from Bangalore to Pondy? about ~350 KMS?
Jai, thanks for dropping by. The odometer reading as we started out from home in Bangalore was 22939, and had clocked its way to 23257, a distance of 318 kms one-way.

As for Mike's pics, only about 3 snaps from the whole trip. None spectacular as such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Ha, so you had fun in Pondy. Nice one there.

Thats a good view from Ajanta Hotel. Waiting for the rest of the pics.

Btw, the PP of pics are good.
Mahesh, thanks for the nice comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Aah Benny, finally you took dear MiKe onto highway. Good writeup and nice pics.

Ajantha has an excellent restaurant. Eager to see the remaining part. Could you take bath in the beach there?
Abhi, i would be putting up the rest of the events shortly. As for the beach road, i dont think it is possible to bathe there. They have put up huge rocks all along the shore, possibly post the Tsunami.

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Originally Posted by anup7649 View Post
Nice pics. AH the Ajanta Beach is a wonder. And on the way to Pondicherry the Gingee fort is good especially the entrance to it, i.e. through fully compounded kinda.
Gingee fort certainly looks inviting. The climb all the way up would be quite daunting, though.
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Old 14th October 2008, 00:06   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
ACould you take bath in the beach there?
Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
JThey have put up huge rocks all along the shore, possibly post the Tsunami.

Gingee fort certainly looks inviting. The climb all the way up would be quite daunting, though.
A bath in that beach is suicide. there are some nice beaches (especially auro beach & areas near it) with shallow waters in the ECR where you can take a swim.

gingee fort certainly looks inviting, but be sure to have bottles of water while climbing, it could get pretty exhausting (especially climbing the queen's fort).temperature tends to get pretty high at the top of the rock.
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Old 14th October 2008, 09:17   #15
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A bath in that beach is suicide. there are some nice beaches (especially auro beach & areas near it) with shallow waters in the ECR where you can take a swim.
I know that you cannot bath in the sea in front of beach road.

That is the reason I asked Benny that whether he could bath in the sea in any beach in Pondi? Could you go there?

There are some places around Auroville (on ECR) where you can go to the beach and take bath.

Hope I could convey what I meant.
Abhi
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