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Old 29th July 2009, 11:48   #16
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Nice travelogue and very informative description with a pinch of amazing pictures.
Waiting for the next part!
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Old 29th July 2009, 14:36   #17
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wonderful travelouge DD, waiting for another part, nice pictures too.Reminded me of my tour to kodai few years back with friends.The best thing to explore kodai is to hire those cycles and go on touring.
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Old 29th July 2009, 21:05   #18
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Default Bangalore - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Bangalore in Swift D

Day 3 (18th July, 2009): Kodaikanal
Trip Meter – 593kms to 655kms

I am up by 8:00AM after a comfortable sleep. Buffet breakfast is served up to 9:30AM in the restaurant. We just freshen up for breakfast and are in the restaurant in the next 30mins. Restaurant is crowded and breakfast was pretty good with almost 6-7 types of South Indian dishes. Back in the room by 9:00AM, just laze around sitting outside at the porch looking at the nice garden they have there. By 10:30AM we are ready to explore Kodaikanal.

I am not sure about what places I have to visit. I had taken a printout of a few places I intended to visit. We decide to head towards Pillar Rocks which is about 10kms from Kodaikanal. We take the road towards Coaker’s Walk and continue towards the road towards Pillar Rocks. Being a weekend the roads are crowded and full of tourists. Within 10-15mins from Coaker’s Walk we stop at place called the Upper Lake Viewpoint from where you can see the Kodaikanal Lake somewhat Star shaped. Stop here for 15mins and we continue our drive towards Pillar Rocks.

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View from Upper Lake Viewpoint

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View from Upper Lake Viewpoint

In about 30mins we come across Pine forest which is a nice picnic place. The road we have travelled is narrow and you will encounter regular potholes. At Pine forest you have a huge area covered with straight pine trees and I guess a place where many Bollywood films were shot. There is no proper parking space here for vehicles with tourist buses, cars parked on the roads leading to traffic jams. Find a parking place quite far away from the place and walk towards the pine forest. The entrance to the forests was packed with people selling various things. We make our way inside and walk for about 10mins deep inside. Spend about 30mins at this place taking pictures and walking around, and then we head back to the car.

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Pine Forest on the way to Pillar Rocks

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Pine Forest on the way to Pillar Rocks

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Tall straight pine trees

We continue further ahead on this road and about 3-4kms we come across a huge traffic jam. Slowly crawl in the traffic and park the car with some off-roading. Not sure what this place was, we ask around and find that it’s called Guna Caves/Devils Kitchen. After purchasing the tickets we walk towards the caves. All along the walkway there are numerous shops and monkeys trying to snatch food from tourists. The pathway was slippery because of the rains the previous night and we slowly make our way towards the caves. After about half a kilometer of walk we see that the entrances to these cases have been fenced. I was told this happened after a group of buys decided to venture deep inside the caves and never returned. Though there were nice views from here, really did not like the place as most of the places were fenced. We quickly make our way out of this place and get back to the car. A little further ahead from this place is Pillar Rocks.

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View from Guna Caves/Devils Kitchen

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View from Guna Caves/Devils Kitchen

Pillar Rocks is another tourist place at Kodaikanal where three granite boulders which are seen standing vertically shoulder to shoulder. These rocks are measuring a height of about 400 feet from the ground and the chambers that are seen between the two pillars are known as Devil's Kitchen. When we were there the fog had completely covered the pillar rocks and in about five minutes the fog cleared to reveal the straight standing rocks. This place was a little crowded and we spent another 30mins taking pictures and decide to head back to Kodaikanal for lunch. It’s already 2:30PM by now.

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Fog Covered Pillar Rocks

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Fog clearing away

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Pillar Rocks

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Pillar Rocks

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Pillar Rocks

On the way back to Kodaikanal we also stop at a place called Green Valley view. Park the car and walk all the way up to the viewpoint and its completely foggy, absolutely no views at all. Disappointed we head back to the car. On the way we buy some chocolates and oils from the numerous shops lining the walkway towards Green Valley View. Its 3:00PM by now and we are really hungry. Leave Green Valley and head back towards Kodaikanal town. On the way we pass through Kodaikanal Golf course.

We are back at Kodaikanal and head back to the same restaurant “Tava” where we had lunch yesterday. My wife absolutely loved this place and was desperately looking forward for the lunch here. After yet another tasty lunch at Tava we now head back to the hotel as we were pretty tired with all the travelling and walking we did from morning. Also the lunch was a bit heavy. On the way back to the hotel we stop at Spencer’s mini supermarket to pick up some water bottles and other essentials. Spencer’s mini supermarket is located next to Club Astoria Multi Cuisine Restaurant very near to Kodaikanal Lake. Once done with shopping we head back to the hotel for some rest. It’s around 4:00PM by now.

Relax for about 30mins at the cottage and we decide to go boating at the Kodaikanal Lake which we missed yesterday due to rains. We are the TTDC boat house by 5:00PM and hire a 2 seated pedal boat for an hour. The next hour is spent lazily pedaling the pedal boat going round the lake, chasing ducks (just one) and enjoy the quietness in the middle of the lake. The lake is well maintained. After we are done with boating we head back to the same shop where we had Masala tea and Mirchi Bajjis yesterday. About 15mins we are done with the tea and snacks. We decide to go over to Coaker’s Walk again.

Bangalore - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Bangalore in Swift D-dsc08138.jpg
Kodaikanal Lake

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Chasing Ducks at Kodaikanal Lake

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Boat house at Kodaikanal Lake

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Kodaikanal Lake

With very little daylight left, we are at Coaker’s Walk. Spend around 30mins here talking a walk in the fog. The place was completely deserted. Along the walk there are many beautiful bungalows; lucky people. Once it’s completely dark, we leave the place and head back to the hotel. It’s been a beautiful 2 days at Kodaikanal and I am sure I will be back. I am sure the next time I am here I will be better prepared on what places to visit. This time it was mostly the touristy places at Kodaikanal and had very little time to find out more.

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Fog filled Coaker’s Walk

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View of the town from Coaker’s Walk

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The Carlton at night beside Kodaikanal Lake

Before going to the hotel shopped for some fruits at Kodaikanal. By 9:00PM we decide to head out for dinner. We decide to go to Club Astoria Multi Cuisine Restaurant next to Spencer’s mini supermarket. Nice quite dinner, but I felt the portions were less. After dinner we go around a deserted Kodaikanal Lake for a drive and head back to the hotel. I am off to sleep by 11:30PM.

Continued….
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Old 29th July 2009, 21:42   #19
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Default Bangalore - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Bangalore in Swift D

Day 4 (19th July, 2009): Kodaikanal – Palani – Dharapuram – Kangayam – Chennimalai – Bhavani – Mettur – Dharmapuri – Krishnagiri – Bangalore
Trip Meter – 655kms to 1129kms

I am up by 8:30AM on a cold Sunday morning. Today we drive back to Bangalore. We decide to leave Kodaikanal by 11:00AM so that we reach Bangalore before it gets dark. The drive back is around 455kms. We head over to the restaurant for the buffet breakfast. Back in the room by 10:00AM, after a small walk in the garden post breakfast. Have the bags packed and we check out of the hotel by 11:00AM. Head over to the IOC fuel outlet nearby and fill up diesel (for Rs.500/13.5lts) and also the air pressure for the tyres checked. On the way out of Kodaikanal, wifey stopped for buying fruits for friends back home. I really loved the lychees grown at Kodaikanal.

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Fruit stall on the way out of Kodaikanal

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Fog around

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Swift D - My Ride

Out of Kodaikanal, after the Silver cascade waterfalls we get the Junction where straight goes to Madurai and the left towards Palani. We take the left towards Palani which is about 65kms from Kodaikanal. The drive towards Palani is very scenic. We stop at a few places for photographs and some places were completely covered with fog. I can see the plains down below baking in the sun standing at the top covered in fog. The roads are narrow at few places and it’s a good idea to keep honking at every turn. There are about 14 hairpin bends you will encounter on the way down.

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Directions at the junction after Silver Cascade waterfalls

Bangalore - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Bangalore in Swift D-dsc08219.jpg
Narrow ghat roads on the way to Palani

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On the way to Palani

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Beautiful Scenery all along

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Stopped for a small break

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Ghat road

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Are these Magic Mushrooms at Kodaikanal???

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Fog covered hills

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Over the edge

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Going downhill on fog filled ghat road

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Can see the plains below. Palani temple hill can be seen.

As we lose altitude and finally reach the plains I switch on the AC. We are on the outskirts of Palani by 1:00PM. We enter Palani which was not needed at all as I later realized and simply had to pay Rs.30 as entry fee into the temple town. I will list out the directions to bypass Palani town if coming from Kodaikanal and going towards Dharapuram.
  • Coming from Kodaikanal you will reach a junction where NH 206 cuts across from Dindigul going towards Pollachi. Straight takes you into Palani. Take the left here at NH 206 towards Pollachi.
  • After travelling ahead for a few kilometers you will get a T junction, where left goes to Pollachi (NH 206) and right towards Palani. Take the right here towards Palani.
  • After travelling for about 2kms you will get another T junction. Right goes into Palani. Take the left here at this junction and immediate right (bypass) which takes you to the SH towards Dharapuram.
As you must have realized it was indeed a frustrating experience and I learnt it the hard way. I was later helped by an elderly auto rickshaw driver who spoke only Tamil and I understand only little of Tamil and can only speak a few words or simple sentences. All the signboards/directions were in Tamil here at Palani which did not help either. So we finally out of Palani take the road towards Dharapuram. The road is a 2 lane SH in good condition. I have absolutely had no complaints about roads in Tamil Nadu. All the places I have been in Tamil Nadu were well connected with very good quality roads. Dharapuram is about 38kms from Palani. From Dharapuram we take the road towards Kangayam.

By 2:30PM we are at Kangayam and decide to have Lunch here. I look for a place near the Kangayam Bus stand for a crowded place which usually means the food there is in great demand. Find a decent place called Gayathri Veg and Non Veg. We have normal Vegetarian meals and spicy Chettinad Chicken which was really good. After a heavy lunch we leave the place by 3:15PM and take the road towards Erode, the road just behind Kangayam Main Bus Stand.

From Kangayam towards Erode, at a town called Chennimalai we take the left towards Perundurai. From Perundurai we drive towards Bhavani which is about 27kms. From Bhavani, Mettur is around 49kms. At Mettur the Kaveri River was full with the water being released from Mettur Dam. We cross the bridge over river Kaveri, take the left towards Mettur Thermal plant and head towards Dharmapuri. We meet the NH7 near Thoppur at around 5:30PM. All along the SH we travelled till we met NH7 almost all the signboards were in Tamil and this was really confusing for travelers who don’t read the local language. The entire SH is very well maintained and you can easily cruise at 70-80kmph. Pay Rs.48 as toll charges near Thoppur and head towards Dharmapuri on the super smooth NH7. Pay Rs.25 as toll charges at Krishnagiri and we stop at the Café Coffee Day outlet after Krishnagiri around 6:45PM. We spend about 20mins here and continue the drive back to Bangalore. Enter Karnataka; encounter some Jam near Attibele and Chandapura and through Electronic City and back at my home in Jayanagar by 8:30PM.

The car returned a mileage of around 20.9kmpl with about 65% AC Usage. I always kept a constant 100-110kmph on NH, sometimes pushing the car over 140kmph on 4-5 occasions and constant 70-90kmph on SH.

The trip to Madurai and Kodaikanal took us into interiors of Tamil Nadu and was a well deserved break. I got to explore new places and I am sure I will be back at these places for more. Thank you guys for all your encouraging words throughout the travelogue and I am sure this travelogue will be helpful for fellow travelers in some way. The Swift D performed brilliantly, never let me down and was an effective mile muncher. All it requires now is a good wash. I have planned my next road trip which will take me through the hills of Munnar, Forests of Thekkady, Backwaters of Allepey and Cochin in the month of September, maybe Kodaikanal again on the way to Munnar. You never know.

Regards,
Godwin
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Old 29th July 2009, 21:50   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
That's a rattle snake, one of the deadliest around..Your second post seems to be a bit short [:P],finished it quickly..
Keep them coming!!
Sir, I felt Day 1 was quite lengthy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Nice travelogue and very informative description with a pinch of amazing pictures.
Waiting for the next part!
Thanks pulsar56.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijaythacker View Post
wonderful travelouge DD, waiting for another part, nice pictures too.Reminded me of my tour to kodai few years back with friends.The best thing to explore kodai is to hire those cycles and go on touring.
Yes, I loved cycling near Kodai Lake. Its been a long time since I rode a cycle. Loved it!!!
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Old 30th July 2009, 10:23   #21
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Nice travelogue. Sad that you finished fast.
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Old 30th July 2009, 12:34   #22
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Hmm..Hmm..a nice read..Simple,sweet and to the point.
Good to see people who live Life.You are doing that at ease..
I wish your family a lot of nice journeys in future.
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Old 17th August 2009, 14:11   #23
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Excellent post. I'm taking your post for my drive
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