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Old 22nd May 2010, 12:07   #616
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Wow. Look! There's an air conditioned play school in Namakkal! My god. Namakkal has gone top notch with air conditioned play schools!
Ranjith's missing so much of food. Saravanas, Annapoornas, hell even his mother in law's puttu! Add 5 - 6 hours break time for food during your trip Ranjith.
You have very sharp eyes, my friend. Nothing escapes them. We didn't pay much attention to the board. It is surprising that even such a small town has an AC play school. I wonder what the fees would be there?

I think Ranjith has gone to Pune's Vaishali restaurant after all the discussion about food!
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Old 22nd May 2010, 15:05   #617
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Thumbs up Nature at its best....

Our drive on the highway to Trichy was very relaxing. There was not much traffic and the road was very picturesque. There were huge trees flanking the highway and it helped a great deal in keeping the harsh sunrays at bay. Needless to say, we enjoyed the drive tremendously at 60 – 80 kmph. There was natural beauty all around us!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-highway_to_trichy.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-who_taught_this_guy_riding.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3-highway_to_trichy.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-4-highway_to_trichy-the_thousandth_luna_we_saw.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-a_typical_hut.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-highway_to_trichy.jpg

We saw many interesting sight en-route. A huge fortress on top of a stone hill, a shop full of big cans for storing water, a nice temple, some cheerful flower sellers in the sweltering heat, a shop selling colourful balls, etc. There was a photo opportunity at every turn.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-7-water_seems_to_be_a_big_problem_here.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8-a_fortress.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9-fortress.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10-a_fort_on_top_of_a_hill.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-11-nice_temple.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-12-colourful_balls.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-13-a_flowerman.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-14-another_flowerman.jpg
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Old 22nd May 2010, 16:05   #618
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Ranjith's missing so much of food. Saravanas, Annapoornas, hell even his mother in law's puttu! Add 5 - 6 hours break time for food during your trip Ranjith.
Yes I am Great foodie especially NV , but I have to resist myself on my long drives particularly on Pune - blr and Mysore - Pune otherwise it will be the same story as unoczar. Just read his Delhi - Shimla log.

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I think Ranjith has gone to Pune's Vaishali restaurant after all the discussion about food!
Yes, I got the parcel via my return flight to Pune and had it as my dinner . Vaishali is good but you can't get the Annapoorna's, Saravana Bhavan taste . What do you say ?

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Old 22nd May 2010, 16:35   #619
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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
You have very sharp eyes, my friend. Nothing escapes them. We didn't pay much attention to the board. It is surprising that even such a small town has an AC play school. I wonder what the fees would be there?

I think Ranjith has gone to Pune's Vaishali restaurant after all the discussion about food!
Ranjith didn't go to Vaishali. Ranjith and I met up at Kalyaninagar Adlabs just a while ago.
I bored him with all my expedition stories.

Khoj, you better sharpen your nazar when you try spot me tomorrow. I stood for 2 mins next to Ranjith and he couldn't recognise me.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 18:12   #620
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Thumbs up Velankanni… finally……….

We continued our drive on super smooth roads and soon reached Musiri. From Musiri, we took a diversion and joined the highway from Chennai to Dindigul. That way, we soon bypassed Trichy town by 2.45pm. The road was four laned there. I finally touched 100 kmph for the first time that day. The road was brilliant.

We continued our drive for 6 -7 kilometres and then saw the diversion to the left towards Tanjavur and Velankanni. There was road construction going on all over and we had to take numerous diversions. We took a small break in Tanjavur town and replenished our stock of water and fruits. The city was a bit congested and we left the city soon and continued our drive towards Nagapattinam.

We reached Needamangalam after 4 pm. The road was very narrow after Needamangalam and I had to drive doubly vigilantly because of potholed roads. The road was flanked on both sides by huge palm trees.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-highway_to_nagapattinam.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-highway_to_nagapattinam.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3-highway_to_nagapattinam.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-4-highway_to_nagapattinam.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-a_natural_arch.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-see_where_the_bus_is.jpg

I was driving very fast then and at times I touched 80 km/hr. The highway to Nagapattinam was full of twists and turns. We saw buses being driven very rashly and some minibuses were literally running amok in crowded village roads. I slowed down to about 70 km/hr and finally managed to reach Velankanni by 6 pm. The road condition from Nagapattinam to Velankanni was okay.

Our odometer read 88, 106 kms and we had covered 309 kilometers from Erode. We checked out Hotel Picnic and Hotel Sea Gate in Velankanni. I had stayed in both these hotels during my earlier visits with my family, before my marriage and Hotel Sea Gate was where we stayed last year. To our utter shock, both the hotels were fully occupied and our hearts missed a beat. If Sea Gate was full, then it was indeed bad news.

We thought of staying in MGM Resorts if nothing else worked out. But before we turned back, I wanted to check out Hotel Golden Sand also. Luckily, there were rooms available there. We immediately blocked a deluxe AC room. The tariff was Rs. 1690 inclusive of taxes. The tariff was very much inflated and the room was not of good standards. We had no other option but to decide to check in as we had seen bus loads of pilgrims arriving at that time. I had also overheard a family from Quilon, Kerala, speaking about non-availability of rooms in other small hotels.

What we understood was that May is the month of the Rosary and pilgrims flock to Velankanni from all over the world! We decided not to tempt fate and checked into Hotel Golden Sand by 6.20 pm. The Hotel had good parking facility for cars. So I was happy. We were exhausted after the gruelling bone-crunching drive from Tanjavur.

It was sweltering hot in Velankanni even at 6 pm. We were sweating profusely after all the hotel hopping we did. All we wanted to do was sleep. We went to our room, which was on the first floor and switched on the AC in our room, freshened up and promptly crashed on the bed. We were really tired after the energy sapping drive in the blazing hot sun. I don’t have words to explain the humidity in Velankanni. We were so tired. :-(

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-7-room_in_golden_sand.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8-room.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9-room.jpg

We took bath immediately and decided to have an early dinner. We went to ‘MANNA’, the south Indian restaurant of the hotel. We ordered Biriyani and Chicken and Fish fry. We were looking forward to sampling some typical Kerala dishes after some months. The food was excellent but the hotel guys did not switch on the AC in the restaurant citing technical problems and we were soaked in sweat in 20 seconds flat!

We ran back to our room after our dinner. We were shocked to note that the window AC was very ineffective and even with the fan switched on, we were sweating.

We then decided to pay a visit to the church. We decided against taking our Chevy to the Church as it would be difficult to get a parking spot. We slowly walked to the church after having some ice creams from a shop near the hotel.

We first went to the Church Of Preparation for Reconciliation, near to the Basilica. The church was very beautiful and it looked awesome with the lighting. I took out my camera and started clicking. All these pics were clicked hand-held.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10-church_of_preparation_for_reconciliation.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-11-church_of_preparation_for_reconciliation.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-12-the_altar.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-13-the_altar.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-14-church_of_preparation_for_reconciliation.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-15-mother_marys_picture_on_stained_glass.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-16-church_of_preparation_for_reconciliation.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-17-institution_of_the_holy_eucharist.jpg

We were shocked to see hundreds of pilgrims sleeping on the ground near the Church.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-18-church_of_preparation_for_reconciliation-pilgrims_sleeping_on_the_ground.jpg

We had absolutely no idea about what we were about see!!!
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Old 22nd May 2010, 18:19   #621
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I did not know May would be so crowded at the church.
A thanksgiving at the chuch is long overdue from me.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:00   #622
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Hi,

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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
The road was very narrow after Needamangalam and I had to drive doubly vigilantly because of potholed roads.
Potholes? I don't remember potholes.

On 22-04-2010, I had travelled down that road from thanjavur to Thirunallar. I had done the 113km in 2 hrs 9 minutes between 0508 and 0717hrs non stop.

The return journey was made in a running time of 2 hrs 32 minutes between 0854 and 1235 hours.

That road is fun to drive.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:21   #623
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Hi,
Potholes? I don't remember potholes.

On 22-04-2010, I had travelled down that road from thanjavur to Thirunallar. I had done the 113km in 2 hrs 9 minutes between 0508 and 0717hrs non stop.

The return journey was made in a running time of 2 hrs 32 minutes between 0854 and 1235 hours.

That road is fun to drive.
Hi Rajesh, there were lots of diversions because of road widening work and the road was not in good condition in some stretches. So I had to be doubly vigilant and control my speed! Yes, overall it was indeed fun to drive on that road!

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
I did not know May would be so crowded at the church.
A thanksgiving at the chuch is long overdue from me.
You can never imagine the scenes which you will witness through my pics shortly. There were tens of thousands of pilgrims sleeping near the church without a roof over their heads!!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 22nd May 2010 at 19:23.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:35   #624
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Hi,

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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
there were lots of diversions because of road widening work and the road was not in good condition in some stretches.
The road works and diversions were in the Tituchi Thanjavur section. The Thanjavur - Nagapattinam and onwards did not have any diversions or potholes.

That stretch is always fun because it is narrow with lots of curves and the road surface is more than decent.

I have driven those roads when the road surface has not been as good as now.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:46   #625
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Hi,

The road works and diversions were in the Tituchi Thanjavur section. The Thanjavur - Nagapattinam and onwards did not have any diversions or potholes.
Guess, I spoke about whole stretch as having diversions. Yes, the diversions were only between Trichy and Tanjavur!
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Old 22nd May 2010, 21:31   #626
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Exclamation Scenes from Velankanni....

We let our camera capture some scenes which touched our hearts and some scenes which filled us with rage! Let's have a look at Velankanni after 10 pm.....

Devotees sleeping in the Church compound! So sad to see them sleeping totally exposed to the elements of nature and thieves! The temperature at that time was over 38 degree Celsius.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-velankanni_church.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-devotees_sleeping_in_the_church_compound.jpg

Drama being staged near the Church.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3-drama_near_the_church.jpg

Church from a different angle. Devotees sleeping on the footpath.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-4-church.jpg

A queue for drinking water! It was heartbreaking to see people jostle for space and fight for the right to fill up water first!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-queue_for_drinking_water.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-drinking_water-so_precious.jpg

These boys have nowhere to sleep. And the Church is proudly announcing the construction of a new Church. If only they had shown some compassion to the devotees and planned to build a dormitory for them!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-7-nowhere_to_sleep-when_church_is_going_to_be_built.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8-new_church.jpg

Another small Church. There were pilgrims everywhere.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9-another_small_church.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10-devotees_everywhere.jpg

Road leading to the Church.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-11-road_to_church.jpg

Roadside hotel serving hot food. Wonder how clean and hygienic the food is!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-12-roadside_hotel.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-13-parotta_being_made.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-14-parotta_chef.jpg

Nothing like tender coconuts to quench your thirst!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-15-nothing_like_tender_coconut_to_quench_your_thirst.jpg

Velankanni has become so very commercialized! We felt as though we were standing in a commercial street. Everything you see here, were destroyed by the Tsunami. God's wrath? Maybe!!!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-16-dvd_mall.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-17-shops.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-18-toy_shop.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-19-sweets_everywhere.jpg

Exploiting the devotee's weak point.
Even halwa shops are named after saints! And the woman in the white circle reminds me of an infamous politician!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-21-exploiting_the_devotion_of_pilgrims.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-20-exploiting_devotees_weak_point-future_cm.jpg

Parish Priest's office and residence.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-22-parish_priests_office.jpg

Velankanni Shrine. So majestic!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-23-velankanni_shrine.jpg

Devotees sleeping in the church compound! We had never seen such a sad scene!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-24-devotees_sleeping_in_the_church_compound.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-24a-devotees_sleeping_in_the_church_compound.jpg

Velankanni Shrine.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-25-shrine.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-26-velankanni_church_at_night.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-26a-mother_marys_figure_made_on_the_window.jpg

The beautiful Church altar. Photography is prohibited. But I was able to get these prized pics after some acrobatics. The second pic is clearer!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-28-church_altar-photography_is_prohibited_during_day_time.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-29-a_prized_catch-a_beautiful_pic_of_the_altar.jpg

A note :-

All these pics were snapped with my camera hand-held. The time was 10 - 10.45 pm. Lighting was a huge problem. I clicked some snaps in near darkness. Hence photo quality is not up to the mark. My apologies for the same.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 22nd May 2010 at 21:41.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 22:43   #627
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Thanks CL for that photo of Avalanchi lake. Thoroughly enjoyed them today, both in picture and in reality! The only word to describe is Ethereal!

Man you guys just rip the road as if its your home. Always on the move!

The church snaps look very good. I saw what people said is a replica at Elliots beach in Chennai last month.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 23:00   #628
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Thanks CL for that photo of Avalanchi lake. Thoroughly enjoyed them today, both in picture and in reality! The only word to describe is Ethereal!

Man you guys just rip the road as if its your home. Always on the move!

The church snaps look very good. I saw what people said is a replica at Elliots beach in Chennai last month.
Hey Ampere, so good to hear from you. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed seeing Avalanche Lake. Superb man! Hope your family liked the place too! So how was the drive? Hired a vehicle? And when is your travelogue coming up??? We won't let you escape easily, Ampere!

The Church was awesome at night. Sadly, they switched off about 75% of the flood lights by 9.30 pm. So we did not get to see the Church in all its grandeur! We were late by half an hour!

Well, we cannot resist driving in the highways! See the pics I posted? It is kind of addictive! No wonder, HVK sir is on the road most of the time!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 22nd May 2010 at 23:02.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 23:08   #629
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CL,

As you say, even I am addicted to Ooty and Chikmagulur. The place was amazing and pristine. Did not take my car but hired a cab. Did not want to disturb my beast. It was cooling off at the hotel!

As Laluks mentioned, we also went to see the trout hatchery. The pump house was closed.

Only place I could not go was Upper Bhavani, where you have the power plant. Looks like one needs a permission from the Electricity Board to visit the place. However I must say I have seen forests, Himalayas, Western Ghats, East India and so on. But this one on the Nilgiris looked impregnable! And also the transformation for a tea garden to a forest happens so suddenly, that one is left gasping. One starts wondering, where did the tea estates go?
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Old 23rd May 2010, 07:35   #630
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You make my mouth watery CL by saying what you had... I miss TN hotels badly the Annaporna's, Saravana Bhavan's . This June on vacation trip I am going to full fill it.

You will not believe it last time I had got parcel from Annaporna and had it in Pune.
Yes, ampere, Annapoorna is a must-visit if you are in Coimbatore - I never tore of eating there, especially the idlis and pongals! I would have expected them to have one on the Coimbatore bypass too, but looks ,like the earlier enterprise is missing now. I recently visited Annapoorna (in Mettupalayam road) in Jan after a very very long time and I found the food as good as ever.

CL, good that you took the Namakkal-Musiri-Trichy road, the Karur-TRichy road (NH67) is also being widened and am told it is in a bad shape. Any one has a current update, mine is a couple of months old.
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