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Old 14th October 2009, 12:13   #46
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Default Superbe travelogue!

The Narration and set of pictures is simply fantastic!

I really appreciate that you have mentioned the minutest of details, and i am sure this will go a long way in providing some Valuable info and tips on Traveling to this Magnificent part of our country.Thank you..

I was actually under the impression that a vacation to the islands is super expensive, in terms of Traveling to and fro, lodging and adventure activities..etc, i am happy to find out that im wrong!
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Old 14th October 2009, 13:37   #47
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Really Hotstuff..........................
Can I add some more pictures of mine from some years back ?
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Old 14th October 2009, 13:49   #48
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This is definitely one of the best travelogues that I have read in the recent times.

I am certainly going to refer this travelogue when I plan a trip for Port Blair. Great narration style and fabulous pics.

Thanks for giving us all a beautiful virtual tour of Andamans



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Old 14th October 2009, 16:13   #49
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Very nice! It is truly a beautiful place - we stayed in the islands for a couple of weeks. The pictures brought back many memories.

Another recommendation for people going to the Andamans is an excursion from Port Blair down the Grand Trunk Road to Baratang, Rangat & beyond.
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:11   #50
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Wonderful travelogue. Quite detailed... and the pictures makes the story complete. Thank you!
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:39   #51
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Wonderful travelogue and nice pics. I have been thinking about the Andamans trip for a long time but was clueless on how to go about it and the places to visit. Now that I have a brief encyclopedia, I guess in the near future. Thanks again for the detailed log, I bet you guys had fun!
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Old 15th October 2009, 00:04   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratos View Post
...Its hard to believe that people live away on these islands in dense numbers even when it is far away from the mainland, yet a part of India
- Port Blair has a large population of folks from West Bengal and Tamilnadu. So PB has a lot in common with these two states in terms of customs, festivals and life in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
...you stuck to veg food when sea food is plenty. Any reason for this choice?
- Normally well cooked veg food is a safer option when we are driving around the country. Though we do tend to indulge in some food tasting sessions whenever possible, we try to play it safe when we have a long drive ahead of us... Delhi-Belly and Driving are not such an ideal combo so our ideal travel diet would be light food, bottled water and fruits to munch on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sli_ce View Post
...I was actually under the impression that a vacation to the islands is super expensive, in terms of Traveling to and fro, lodging and adventure activities..etc,
- If planned well in advance (atleast 2 months), you can get some great deals on tickets + accomodation. Also try to time your visits to the period where the 'off season' is about to end. You can get off season rates... and almost 'peak-season' weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayurpalav View Post
...Can I add some more pictures of mine from some years back ?
- Sure, please do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amip View Post
...Another recommendation for people going to the Andamans is an excursion from Port Blair down the Grand Trunk Road to Baratang, Rangat & beyond.
- Good thought! Would have been a very scenic drive indeed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by babupaul View Post
...I bet you guys had fun!
- We sure did
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Old 15th October 2009, 00:43   #53
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Lightbulb 24th Sep 2009 - Port Blair to Chennai & drive to Alambarai, Pondicherry, Chidambaram.

I keep coming across this quotation in many 'touristy' places. Which goes like: “Leave only foot prints, take only memories”? Memories taken, but along with our foot prints, we also left some more stuff on the Andamans... including my toothbrush

Murphy's Law does tend to catch up with you when you least expect it. I somehow forgot to set the alarm on the mobile and we woke up only when the cab guy arrived to take us to the airport.

6.55am flight, gates close by around 6.30am, it takes around 15 minutes to reach the airport, add in around 20 minutes for the security procedures and baggage check-in; which means that we should leave the hotel at least by 5.45am and it was already 5.30am.

Bhago.. bhago... freshened up quickly and literally ran down to the cab. (Hotel has no lift remember?)

It was only much later that we realized that we had left behind a cover in the hotel which had some stuff that Sangeetha had bought for herself and it also had my tooth-brush!

Thankfully the airport was not crowded and we managed to complete the check-in process in time and we were back again to enjoy Mr.Mallya's hospitality for another couple of hours.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-001.jpg


Reached Chennai and took a taxi to our relative's house. It had been quite some time since I sat in an Ambassador, and it still is one amazing car.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-002.jpg


The long drive part of the trip started from the 24th of Sep 09. The route followed is as below:

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-antndrive-map.jpg


Why so many temples covered?
Well... temples were the focal point of arts, crafts and traditions during the ancient times. They are living museums showcasing the work of the best craftsmen from those times.

Sangeetha had already been to some of these places in the past... and she would speak about the huge temples, the extraordinary carvings etc. Also, I had seen quite a few documentaries on TV and read a few books on Temples of Tamilnadu and was keenly looking forward to seeing them myself. That is the story behind this itinerary.

We had an early lunch and by 12.30pm we were ready to hit the road for the driving part of our trip. We asked around and reached the East Coast Road that goes towards Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-003.jpg


We have already been to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry during a previous trip, so they were not on our must-see list for this time. Our plan was to by-pass Mahabalipuram, stop in Pondicherry for some food and tea in the evening and proceed towards Chidambaram.

A small stop at the 'Tiger Cave' that is just beside the road, a few kilometers before Mahabalipuram...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-004.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-005.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-006.jpg


An interesting looking bird we saw near the caves...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-007.jpg


More birds, in the back-waters that line the ECR...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-008.jpg


We came across this board about the 'Alambarai fort' which is around 10 - 12 kms deviation from the main road. I was keen on seeing the fort; Sangeetha said "I haven't heard or read about this fort anywhere"; so we decided to check it out...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-009.jpg


The fort is right next to the beach; however it is totally in ruins. Nothing much remains except for a few walls...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-010.jpg


You can get a good view of the sea from here though...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-011.jpg


Next stop, Pondicherry! The cops here still use the funny looking cap that is a relic from the French era...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-012.jpg


Though it has been quite a while since we had last been to Pondy, we still could remember the route to the French quarter...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-013.jpg


We stopped at the Promenade hotel for tea and Pizza...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-014.jpg


They serve a range of excellent thin crust oven fresh pizzas...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-015.jpg


Yummy!

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-016.jpg


The beach-road does tend to get a little crowded towards the evening, since it is a popular hangout for the locals and tourists alike...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-017.jpg


There are a number of eateries to suit all budgets and the avenue is dotted with historical buildings from the French colonial era.

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-018.jpg


After a small stroll around this place, we were ready to move on to our destination for the day; Chidambaram...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-019.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-020.jpg


We reached Chidambaram by around 7.45pm, found a lodge quite close to the main temple, parked the car and proceeded towards the temple for a darshan.

Our modus-operandi throughout the trip was to finish off with the darshan as fast as possible, usually on the night that we arrive there. The next morning we would just explore the temple and the monuments around at a leisurely pace.

Since we were travelling during the 'Dussehra' or 'Navarathri' period, most temples were open till quite late into the night, which suited us fine. Else most of these places shut by 8pm.

Chidambaram is the place where Shiva is worshipped in the form of 'Nataraja'; and the idol is incredibly beautiful! Chidambaram is also one of the five holiest Shiva temples. This Wikipedia link provides extensive info: Chidambaram Temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The main entrance gopuram of the temple...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-021.jpg


After a quick darshan, we found a restaurant for dinner. In many places in Tamilnadu, meals are not served at night. Dinner usually consists of dosa / uthapam / idly etc.

Bangles by the roadside...

'Xing'ing around ! - Andaman & Nicobar and Tamilnadu.-022.jpg


Walked back to the hotel and we shut down for the night by around 10.30pm. We planned to wake up really early the next day to check out the temple and proceed further.

Last edited by hotstuff : 15th October 2009 at 00:46.
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Old 15th October 2009, 10:51   #54
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Excellent writing as usual hotstuff. Wonderful photos with your detailed posts make me feel as if I had made the travel.

Can I add a few details about the temples you visited which may be of interest , as you write about them
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Old 15th October 2009, 11:02   #55
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Super duper travelogue, Fantastic pics, Just loved every bit of it. In depth details is what makes me feel as if I'm experiencing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
An interesting looking bird we saw near the caves...

Attachment 210371
This bird is a Wood pecker.

Last edited by sushrutha : 15th October 2009 at 11:04.
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Old 15th October 2009, 15:54   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
I keep coming across this quotation in many 'touristy' places. Which goes like: “Leave only foot prints, take only memories”? Memories taken, but along with our foot prints, we also left some more stuff on the Andamans... including my toothbrush



Attachment 210386


Walked back to the hotel and we shut down for the night by around 10.30pm. We planned to wake up really early the next day to check out the temple and proceed further.

Well done... Looking good. Cant wait for more.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:28   #57
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Good one. I loved the photos of the bangles and the pizza. Is there a way to take your car over to Andaman? Say by some ship or something?
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:31   #58
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And Chidambaram is also one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalas, where Shiva is worshipped as Ether. It's led to the term Chidambara Rahasyam as well! I'd been to all these places 20 odd years back. It was my brother who did all the driving then (I had to wait 4 more years to get my license!). Inspired by your travelogue, I yearn to do a trip around the famous temples of Tamil nadu again!
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Old 15th October 2009, 18:23   #59
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Hi there,
Excellent stuff. Really a treat..

Regards, and -"Happy Diwali".
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Old 15th October 2009, 19:40   #60
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Brilliant travelogue. I felt like I was on a guided tour to Andamans.
Awesome stuff bro.
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