Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 8th April 2009, 15:59   #1
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots

I love Tirunelveli. My family hails from a small village in the district, Kallidaikurichi. Some of my happiest moments have been spent here, and pretty much every holiday when I was in school was wiled away in the green, boundary-less heaven that is Nellai.

Its also a place that fills me with immense pride. Pride in my family. Pride in my great-grandfather, and the industry that he built in this small out-of-the-way place. In the year of our Independence, my great-grandfather, Sri S.N.N. Sankaralingam Iyer, founded India Cements, strategically aimed at leveraging the high-quality limestone (a key ingredient of cement) available in the area, and the demand for cement brought about by the spike in infrastructure activities during this key period in our country's development.

Enough of the history lesson. Let's jump into the trip!

Vehicle: Forza - My Palio MJD

Day 1 - Thursday, 2 April
Bangalore - Karur (~320 km.)
We left Cooke Town pretty late in the afternoon (around 3.30). Used the Krishnarajapuram - Outer Ring Road - Sarjapur Road - Attibele route, which got us to Hosur in an hour. Traffic was sparse, and we made Krishnagiri by 5.15 or so.

The Krishnagiri - Salem stretch was excellent as usual, and I spent the better part of the drive tagging a Skoda vRS (I love you Pete's!). By the time we were over the downhill section with all its speed breakers, it was getting quite dark. Put up with the bug graveyard that was my windscreen until we reached Salem (NOTE: The last 20-odd km. or so, after the speed breakers, is quite tricky with lots of change-overs due to road construction).

At 7.45 PM, we stopped at an IndianOil bunk on the Salem by-pass to clean the windshield. The staff were very courteous, despite us not buying any gas from them. In fact, one of the boys who worked at the bunk cleaned my windshield for me, and wouldn't take no for an answer. Later, he refused to accept a tip. This bunk can be accessed in the service lane immediately after crossing the first big round-about, on the left side of the road when proceeding towards Karur.

The wife wanted some tea as she had a headache. Fancy this: I've been driving for the better part of 4 hours and hearing her talk about the road conditions and my pursuit of the vRS, and she says she has the headache! Women, I tell you! (and if you're reading this sweetheart, I didn't write this paragraph)

The Salem - Namakkal stretch (55 km or so) is horrible. Lots of diversions, with no warning signs, and horrible levelling. In fact, even the strips of road connecting one side of the road to the other (used when taking the diversion) are pathetic!

The Namakkal - Karur stretch (50 km or so) is a little better. There are not too many diversions, and the levelling is much better. The roads are a bit wider too.

I'm glad I have 4 Philips H4 80Ws in my headlamps; the truck and tourist taxi traffic on these roads don't believe in dipping their lights at all. I believe I may have blinded a few of these morons in the process of asserting my right to the road and proper visibility. Serves them right...nyaah!

Contd. tomorrow, with pics!
Ice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2009, 16:09   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
ASHISHPALLOD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BRMT
Posts: 1,987
Thanked: 285 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
I love Tirunelveli. My family hails from a small village in the district, Kallidaikurichi.
Nice start of travelogue.

Is Tirunelveli the place in between Kanyakumari and Madurai?

@HAPPYWHEELS--congratulations for your 2000 post.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 8th April 2009 at 16:26.
ASHISHPALLOD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2009, 16:24   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dubai
Posts: 3,860
Thanked: 128 Times
Default

A nice one!

Good history too!

Waiting for the rest and also wishing you all the best that your wife do not end up reading this.

EDIT: And my post number 2,000! Yahoo!!!

Last edited by HappyWheels : 8th April 2009 at 16:26.
HappyWheels is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2009, 16:30   #4
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
Nice start of travelogue.

Is Tirunelveli the place in between Kanyakumari and Madurai?

@HAPPYWHEELS--congratulations for your 2000 post.
Ashish,

Yup, Tirunelveli is between Kanyakumari and Madurai.

Happywheels - congrats on 2000!
Ice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2009, 22:19   #5
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default Contd...Day 2 Karur - Tirunelveli

Day 2 - Friday, 3 April

We took our time departing for Tirunelveli, knowing fully well that a good breakfast was going to be useful on the long drive ahead. How wrong we were. Not on the quality of the breakfast, but on the length of the drive. But more on that later.

We stayed at the Residency Hotel, Karur. While on the Karur by-pass, you will cross a long flyover. Post this flyover, hang a left at the first major junction - the hotel appears a scant 300 metres from the turnoff, on the opposite side of the road. Rooms are reasonable, and of awesome quality! A standard double room costs Rs.1,700 for a night (including complimentary breakfast the next day), and you are assured a good night's sleep in a comfortable (even luxurious) hotel.

We re-fueled at Karur, and found that Forza had been a little thirsty. However, 13.8 kmpl. is nothing to sneeze at considering I was consistently pushing towards the 150-160 kmph mark the previous day while tangoing with the red vRS. And the AC was on. And i kept downshifting. And the tires are wider than stock. And....my Forza is a little thirsty. I don't worry too much about the mileage, so there!

The road from Karur to Madurai via Dindigul is horrible, to say the least. Except for occasional stretches of 3-5 kms. each, the roads require some very careful driving. The points where the new road meets the old road are completely disregarded, with 6" bumps greeting you with nary a marking. The 20 km. marking the entry to Madurai town deserve special mention in this award of horrors, with the road degenrating into a scarred dual carriageway littered with unruly traffic.

The Madurai - Tirunelveli stretch was definitely the best 170 km. I had driven in 2 days. I hammered down a personal best 1 hour 15 minutes, much better than the 2 hours I took in 2005. The road is WIDE, and 4-laned with impeccable levelling and surfacing. Note however that the towns of Virudhanagar, Sattur, and Kovilpatti require a bit of a detour as the flyovers bypassing these towns is still being built. Not a big issue, though.

Our first destination was my grandad's brother's farm about 15 km. before Tirunelveli town. The place is quite large, with a walled area of 200 acres or so. But the best part about the farm is the garage containing my great-grandfather's cars. One particular specimen, a Buick of uncertain age was waiting for me...

contd. tommorow. Leaving you with a teaser...
Attached Images
 
Ice is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 00:31   #6
BHPian
 
GSMINC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 353
Thanked: 94 Times
Default

Ice, buddy,
the mere mention of the word Nellai always gladdens my heart, The grand Nellaiappar Gandhimathi temple, Iruttu Kadai Halwa, breakfast at Saravanabhava opp the temple, my regular room at Hotel Aryas on the ring road, visiting lord Muruga at Tiruchendur, visiting Lord Perumal at the 9 temples of Nava tirupati's or at Nangur or at Srivilliputhur, & the list goes on & on.
Infact the purest & chaste Tamil is spoken in Tirunelveli.
Ther is even a famous joke about the purity of tamil spoken.
It seems the tamil word for IT IS THERE is IRUKKINDRADHU.
IRUKKINDRADHU is pronounced exactly as it is supposed to be only in Nellai, but as it goes north & finally reaches Chennai (Madras Bashai) it is pronounced as KEEDHU BAA.
IRUKKINDRADHU becomes KEEDHU BAA.
GSMINC is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 00:47   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
anekho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: .
Posts: 1,995
Thanked: 659 Times
Default

really enjoying your travelogue Ice!
looking forward to the rest

cheers
anekho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 07:59   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
akroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posts: 2,414
Thanked: 29 Times
Default

Nice travelogue Ice, Hope to see some pics too.
Nice bit of history as well.

Abhi
akroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 08:15   #9
BHPian
 
muralisk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hyderabad, Bangalore
Posts: 674
Thanked: 9 Times
Default

Very nice narrative and I like the style. And it's coming in portions, so people are eager to see the whole thing. I am sure you have lot of pics to upload as well.
muralisk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 08:41   #10
BHPian
 
mail4loys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 375
Thanked: 6 Times
Default

nice travelogue! your post brings memories of my younger age where i lived in and around Nagercoil. waiting for your update and photos!
mail4loys is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 12:40   #11
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default Contd..Day 3 - In Tirunelveli

Day 3 - In Tirunelveli (Thaazhaiyuthu to be precise)

I woke up to the howling of a bow-legged Doberman outside my door. My great-uncle had been too kind - my wife and I had been put up in the guest house, complete with air conditioning and a luxurious bathroom. The only catch - entering our room entailed a jog (I wasn't going any slower than that!) past the trophy room, replete with stuffed panthers, bears, and a couple of majestic tigers.

Now before someone sets Maneka Gandhi on my family, let me explain. My grandfather and his brother (the one I was staying with) were both avid hunters in the '50s and early '60s. They quit hunting in '65, after they realized that there were no more man-eaters in the Mundanthurai-Singampatti-Kalakkad forest range. Then, Project Tiger came into force in '73 and in a classic case of poacher turned ranger, these two gun-toting brothers became game wardens! Since then, they've had their hands full with poachers and smugglers in the forest that has been their stomping grounds for much of their life. My grandfather donated all his trophies and skins to WWF, and his brother donated 200 acres of land adjoining his to the Forest Department. This piece of land later became a deer park.

Anyway, I stepped out of the guest house and was greeted by an awesome sight!

Name:  IMG_22571.JPG
Views: 4415
Size:  160.5 KB

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2258.jpg

After a hurried (and totally involuntary) introduction to Veera, the afore-mentioned bowlegged Doberman, I ran towards the beauty. Veera followed, probably turned on by my (sexy?) yellow shorts. My great-uncle (henceforth referred to as KSR, which is short for Kallidaikurrichi Sanakaralingam Iyer Raman) yelled out "Surprise!". Never was a truer word spoken. The last time I had seen this Buick, it was languishing in a garage at the India Cements factory. It was my great-grandfather's car, now completely restored!

As I neared her, I could hear the 8-cylinder gurgling away, wiping out a couple of oil wells every minute. I jumped in, and ran my eyes over the dash. All the gauges were pretty much original, and in working condition.

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2260.jpg


The mechanics who had driven the car from the garage to the house were kind enough to open the hood for me, and I caught a peek at the monster 8, as well as a mean-looking horn probably nicked off a railway loco by my great-granddad in a moment of weakness.

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2268.jpg

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2269.jpg

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2270.jpg

Name:  IMG_22711.JPG
Views: 3925
Size:  98.9 KB

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2272.jpg

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2273.jpg


I also spotted a funny looking opening on the firewall. KSR explained that it was the best way to keep your feet cool while driving. He's probably right, but I doubt Buick engineers designed customized orifices for the Indian market back then. Anyway, its an easy on-ramp for rats, and a metal grill is being installed to protect the interiors. It also necessitates the driver to pull over and offer a highway tree his patronage rather than complete his ablutions on the fly.

Name:  IMG_22741.JPG
Views: 3877
Size:  118.4 KB

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of the car from different angles. Be back in a bit with the next installment!

Name:  IMG_22611.JPG
Views: 3804
Size:  94.9 KB

Name:  IMG_22621.JPG
Views: 3818
Size:  116.7 KB

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2263.jpg

Name:  IMG_22641.JPG
Views: 3871
Size:  98.9 KB

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2265.jpg

Name:  IMG_2266.JPG
Views: 3971
Size:  115.9 KB

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2267.jpg

Name:  IMG_22751.JPG
Views: 3694
Size:  66.8 KB

Last edited by Ice : 9th April 2009 at 12:56.
Ice is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 13:01   #12
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSMINC View Post
Ice, buddy,
the mere mention of the word Nellai always gladdens my heart,
ditto!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSMINC View Post
Infact the purest & chaste Tamil is spoken in Tirunelveli.
Ther is even a famous joke about the purity of tamil spoken.
It seems the tamil word for IT IS THERE is IRUKKINDRADHU.
IRUKKINDRADHU is pronounced exactly as it is supposed to be only in Nellai, but as it goes north & finally reaches Chennai (Madras Bashai) it is pronounced as KEEDHU BAA.
IRUKKINDRADHU becomes KEEDHU BAA.
Good one! I was born in Tirunelveli but brought up in Madras, and I can attest to the garbage Tamizh that Madras holds dear and lends its name to. Tamizh is inherently respectful, and the level of respect is diluted as one proceeds northwards. Of course, when one is in Tirunelveli, respect is a given if you have an aruvaal strategically placed down the back of your shirt!
Ice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 17:31   #13
BHPian
 
GSMINC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 353
Thanked: 94 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
when one is in Tirunelveli, respect is a given if you have an aruvaal strategically placed down the back of your shirt!
True in all southern districts of tamil nadu, esp in Madurai & downwards
GSMINC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2009, 18:52   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
rjstyles69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bengalooru..
Posts: 4,345
Thanked: 789 Times
Default

You got my attention Ice am glued , its seldom one gets to write a travelogue coupled with his experience on enjoying a vintage.
rjstyles69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th April 2009, 19:34   #15
Ice
BHPian
 
Ice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 304
Thanked: 76 Times
Default Contd..Day 3 - In Tirunelveli

Sorry for the delay in posting - I've been out of town (and out of commission) this past weekend.

Day 3 - Moving into the mountains


After admiring the Buick from every angle, KSR asked me to take her for a spin around the farm. With abundant caution, I depressed the clutch and slotted her into reverse. The gears work in much the same way as an old Amby's, and I wasn't too much out of my depth. I cranked the wheel to the left to ease her on to the driveway, with much difficulty. Its not often that you have to judge a 90 deg reverse maneuver with the car's derriere seemingly in the next State! With a personal advisory board consisting of 4 mechanics, 2 drivers, 1 wife, and 1 very nervous KSR, I finally managed to get the old girl pointed in the right direction. And then we were off!

She didn't so much move as glide away from rest. The steering feedback was spongy, but the gas pedal definitely felt connected to all the right areas. She hustled along like an old nanny rushing to hide the brandy bottle after her daily sneaky snifter. Before I knew it, the Buick hood ornament signalled a rapidly approaching coconut tree. I swung the wheel to port (nautical terms seem justified when piloting this behemoth) and negotiated the turn smoothly enough.

I cruised around the farm, finally making my way back to the port of origination, where a visibly worried KSR was chewing thoughtfully on a lower lip. All smooth so far. And then I decided to brake test the battle-ship. I pressed down on the brake pedal slowly but firmly, and she reluctantly pulled to a graceful halt. Whereupon the ultra-soft suspension made the car dance a couple of times in the same spot, scaring me to no end. Its very difficult to explain this particular jig but I'll try - has anyone seen a Sumo at full clip (preferably driven by a taxi wallah) suddenly deciding to respect the red light and the stop line? This jig was similar to what the Sumo would have shown off, to the power of a 100. Scary stuff.

The mechanics whisked the Buick off the moment I alighted from the cockpit. The wife, KSR, and I hurried off for a quick lunch, and then headed off to our cottage deep inside the Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary. Mundanthurai is a good hour and a half's drive from Tirunelveli town, and is in the Western Ghats. It is a Project Tiger-sanctioned sanctuary, with no hotels or resorts to attract tourists. The only truly touristy place in Mundanthurai are the Baanathirtham Falls (approached by boat these days due to a terminal road breakdown), the Agastiyar Falls at the base of the sanctuary, and the Papanasam Sivan temple just before the chain gate. These three attractions are frequented by day-trippers, and hence the resort companies have stayed away from Mundanthurai, leaving it largely untouched and as good a place as any to spot the elusive Tiger.

KSR bought 30 acres of land in the heart of Mundanthurai in the early '60s, on the condition that no commercial establishment be set up on it. Once Project Tiger came into force, purchasing of land inside the sanctuary was strictly prohibited. KSR's 30 acres, and the cottage built on it, used to be accessible by the Baanathirtham road. After the '92 floods, this road was wiped out and never rebuilt. Now, to get to the cottage, we need to veer off the ghat road onto a short jeep track (which Forza tackled very well, thank you!). After a couple of hundred metres, the cars were parked in a clearing, and we trekked the last 500 metres. The last step of this epic journey was a dicey trip across a Thamiraparani River tributary, made on a bridge constructed with rolled-out industrial spec oil cans and steel rods. You then hurry up a flight of steep stairs (in case a leopard or two is lying await for a quick human snack) and voila - the cottage!

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2334.jpg

Name:  IMG_23351.JPG
Views: 3601
Size:  104.0 KB

Name:  IMG_22931.JPG
Views: 3593
Size:  119.4 KB

Name:  IMG_2296.JPG
Views: 3843
Size:  131.3 KB

Name:  IMG_22971.JPG
Views: 3548
Size:  70.1 KB

After a quick cuppa joe, we set out for some wildlife spotting. Unluckily, no tigers were spotted in our 3 hour expedition. However, we spotted a few wild Sambhars.

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2317.jpg

Bangalore - Tirunelveli: Back to my roots-img_2318.jpg

The spotting expedition lasted 4 hours, all spent on a bouncy open-top MM 550. We made our way back to the cottage, and repeated the exercise of crossing the river and climbing the stairs in pitch darkness. We were greeted by the caretaker, who had spotted a leopard a few minutes prior to our arrival, in the front yard of the cottage! Needless to say, I picked at my dinner and slept that night with an aruvaal handy! I'll leave you with a picture taken from the 1st floor balcony of the cottage in daylight. In the dark, it feels as if you are on another planet, with no human life anywhere nearby. And it feels strangely pleasing!

Name:  IMG_23191.JPG
Views: 3503
Size:  82.3 KB
Ice is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Civved : Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam - A Journey Back to Our Roots laluks Travelogues 260 26th January 2013 20:37
Dad goes back to his roots after 40 years! MYB Travelogues 10 21st November 2012 13:14
Electrical Issues after fitting Roots Spyder in Hyundai i10 Sportz BIBIN004 Technical Stuff 10 10th May 2011 18:35
Bangalore- Madurai- Thekkady- Rameswaram- Tirunelveli- Madurai- Bangalore: Dec 2010 DrVjy Street Experiences 9 20th February 2011 20:14
Bangalore - Karur - Tirunelveli - Karaiyar Dam - Baana theertham Falls funda2max Travelogues 7 18th August 2009 15:48


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 14:10.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks