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Old 23rd May 2010, 12:27   #631
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Yes, Kumar sir. The food in Annapoorna was excellent. It was probably the best we had sampled in a long time. They had an AC hall too.

The Musiri - Trichy route was very good. We took that route at your recommendation and could enjoy the drive. Thank you once again.

Can anyone identify the fortress and the huge stone mountain from the pics I posted earlier?
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Old 23rd May 2010, 22:36   #632
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Can anyone identify the fortress and the huge stone mountain from the pics I posted earlier?
I thought that is the Namakkal Fort.
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Old 24th May 2010, 09:16   #633
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Dear Chevy Lover,
Once you finish with your this tour diary kindly put in your valuable tips and advice on safe highway driving which would definitely help many a novices who venture into the speedier hoghway domain without sufficient experience. Such people would other than getting involved in accidents act as catalysts also for creating accidents.
Please find some time. Your efforts would definitely go a long way boss.
Sure you are giving advixes throughout your journey logs but lies scattered in your exploit logs.
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Old 24th May 2010, 11:49   #634
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@Rajeev, I am not an expert in highway driving nor do I have the experience like the great HVK sir, Ramky sir and many other distinguished members of Team BHP.

I will put down some tips for safe driving, entirely based on my experiences and what I do to avoid mishaps. I am sure that will help.
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Old 24th May 2010, 16:15   #635
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Rajeev, there is already a thread on highway driving etiquettes. Please go through link below.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...tte-rules.html (Highway driving etiquette and rules)
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Old 24th May 2010, 17:57   #636
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Rajeev, there is already a thread on highway driving etiquettes. Please go through link below.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...tte-rules.html (Highway driving etiquette and rules)
Thanks for the link Rabnawaz. Rajeev, there is everything you need to know there. I will post my rules of driving too later on!

Please go through this link also.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ong-drive.html (A Guide on Essentials of a Long Drive)

It is an excellent thread by Technocrat. Often preparation for the drive is given least importance. But once you read this thread, you will understand how vital, the planning part is!
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Old 24th May 2010, 22:27   #637
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Thumbs up Day 6… Day spent in prayers….

We returned back to our hotel after our visit to the church by 11pm. We were surprised to note that we had a total of 4 litres of water to drink after we arrived at Velankanni. Such was the energy sapping humidity we faced there. We had to keep ourselves hydrated and drank water whenever possible.

We had kept the AC in our room switched on and did not give the key at the reception. That way, the AC was working all the time we were away. We returned back to a very cool room and quickly called it a day, after a refreshing bath.

Day 6… Day spent in prayers….

We woke up by 8 am on Day 6 of our journey. We quickly freshened up and had our breakfast of Idlis and Vada from Manna restaurant. We had to attend the English Holy Mass at 10 am in the Basilica. We took our Chevy out of the parking and drove to the church. We had an inkling, as to what was in store for us en-route to the church. We saw about 35 – 40 buses coming from all parts of the country and devotees were pouring out from the vehicles.

We spent half an hour searching for a parking spot. The church grounds were completely occupied by pilgrims and their vehicles . Frustrated, we turned back and went to our hotel. We parked our Chevy and took out our umbrellas and decided to walk to the church. We lost a bit of time because of the driving we did. We reached the church only by about 10.10 am and attended the rest of the Holy Mass.

The Mass and the blessing got over by 11.30 am. We then went to the Shrine and offered our prayers and spent a lot of time there.

We fulfilled our obligations and then went to the church store and bought some bottles of holy oil. We returned back to our hotel by 1 pm. The heat was blistering and we were soaking in our own sweat. We kept on buying bottles of mineral water and before we knew, the bottles were empty! I was glad that we took our SPF 40 sunscreen. Surely saved us from getting severely sunburned!

We reached the hotel by 1.15 pm and immediately ordered our lunch in our room. I had kept the AC on in the morning and we were very relieved to be back in the cool climes of our room. We again had our favourite Chicken Biriyanis and as always, the food was awesome.

We rested for some time in our room. We had to do our checkout by 6 pm. We decided to leave early and not to spend much time there. We had a very long drive ahead of us to Salem. We would make Salem our base then go to our next destination from there.

We got up after a short siesta by 4.30 pm and decided to check out. We thought of visiting Our Lady’s Tank on our way back. There is a way to reach Our Lady’s Tank from the backside. That way we wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the Tank, from the Basilica, which was almost a kilometre away.

We checked out by 5.30 pm and straightaway drove to Our Lady’s Tank. We saved a lot of time and energy by driving there. The Tank was fully crowded and we must have seen about 80,000 - 100,000 people there! We went inside the shrine and offered our prayers. We also got Holy Water from the counter.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-shrine_of_our_ladys_tank.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-lakhs_of_pilgrims.jpg

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

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-shrine_of_our_ladys_tank.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-offerings_by_pilgrims-for_the_gift_of_a_child.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8-our_ladys_tank.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9-people_crowding_at_our_ladys_tank.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10-altar_at_shrine_of_our_ladys_tank.jpg

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

We were so surprised to see such huge crowds. I think that was the first time we ever saw so many people together in our lives!!!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 24th May 2010 at 22:44.
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Old 24th May 2010, 23:03   #638
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There are two places in TN where people irrespective of which religion they belong to, flock with faith. One of them is Velankanni. Another is Nagoor Dargah. Guess, the financial crises that crippled the world has awakened the faith in god amongst people across religions!
One other place where scores of people flock with faith is Shabari Mala. So nice to see so many offering prayers CL
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Old 25th May 2010, 06:01   #639
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There are two places in TN where people irrespective of which religion they belong to, flock with faith. One of them is Velankanni. Another is Nagoor Dargah. Guess, the financial crises that crippled the world has awakened the faith in god amongst people across religions!
One other place where scores of people flock with faith is Shabari Mala. So nice to see so many offering prayers CL
MX6 you missed the other place. Dalaal Street
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Old 25th May 2010, 13:26   #640
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@MX6, yes, it was very satisfying seeing thousands flock to the church in Velankanni. But as far as I know, people have always visited all the three pilgrim centres you mentioned, irrespective of the economic condition worldwide. Maybe the crowd increased a little this year!!

@Ampere, Dalal Streetwallas follow a seperate religion, the religion of money!
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Old 25th May 2010, 21:34   #641
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Exclamation Drive to Salem...

We returned back to our car by 6 pm and were shocked to see what some mischievous kids had done to my beloved Chevy. All my windows had messages written in Tamil on it. Thankfully, all the writing was only on the dust that had accumulated on the glass. I also had a personal message etched on the driver's side glass for me! It read ‘I Love You’! Well, that surely lifted my spirits!

We spent about 10 minutes washing off the dust and the writings on the glass. We then started our drive back to Salem. We had a really long drive ahead of us, but we were quite rejuvenated after our short afternoon nap and were looking forward to a fast drive back to Salem. Our odometer read 88,108 kms. We had covered a total of 2025 kilometres. We had about 300 odd kilometres to cover to reach Salem.

We finally started off our journey by 6.25 pm after a short prayer. We were very happy that we were able to do our annual pilgrimage and vowed to come back next year.

We soon reached the main road and took the left turn towards Tanjavur. There was heavy traffic on the road and we had to follow some buses most of the time. The maximum speed we could garner was 60 kmph and that too, for a very short period of time. Overtaking was hazardous as there were vehicles coming from the other side at regular intervals.

Since the road was very narrow, we had to be extremely careful. Even bicycles were coming from the opposite side keeping to the center of the road, without any lights. Another hazard was the innumerable bullock carts travelling without any lights. I had to use all my projectors most of the time to be on the safer side. I had clear vision of the road for about 400 – 500 metres.

We were following a couple of tourist buses for close to 15 kilometres without any chance to overtake. Finally, I saw an opportunity and gunned my Chevy forward only to abort the overtaking at the last moment, because of a bullock cart coming from the opposite side!!!

I finally overtook the two buses when I got the chance. We soon passed the railway crossing and the road was still quite good. We could maintain 70 - 80 kmph in that stretch. I was really angry to see the local guys treating the highway like their backyard and sitting on the road. Some people were standing on the road having a conversation. The most irritating sight I saw was some dumb local people standing on the road, with their cycles near them, occupying half the road. There was an ambassador car coming from the opposite side and I had to brake really hard to avoid those mentally retarded guys. I blasted my Hellas for an eternity at them and thankfully they bolted away! Future travellers do note this tip. Be careful whenever you are near a village.

We continued our drive on very good roads and reached Tanjavur town at 8.55 pm, covering exactly 100 kilometres. My average speed was just 40 kmph till then. I went to a pump near the city and filled up for Rs. 1000 @ Rs. 38.30/ litre.

We took a small break at the Spencer’s Super Market near the town. We replenished our stock of chocolates and soon re-started our drive. The road from Tanjavur to Trichy had some road work still going on and we slowed down. We had to drive on the right lane for a long time, as the work in the left lane was still incomplete. I switched on my blinkers to warn on-coming vehicles that I was in their lane. It worked wonders and most of the oncoming vehicles were warned in advance about my Chevy.

We reached Trichy by 10.30 pm and continued our drive without stopping there. The highway was two-laned and we kept up good speeds. We took the Musiri route to Salem.

Soon, we took a long break at a road side restaurant and had our dinner there. We had Dosas and Omelettes and rested there for some time.
We restarted our drive by 11.30 and had a safe, uneventful drive till Salem. We reached the outskirts of Salem by 2.30 am.

We went to Hotel Salem South Gate in the bypass and enquired about rooms. We had stayed there once in 2008. But we had no luck this time, as the AC rooms were full. We reluctantly went inside the city and straightaway drove to Hotel Shrie shanth. To our utter dismay, that hotel was full too.

We then decided to drive around a bit and soon found a small hotel, Hotel Leela Palace. We immediately checked in, took out our luggage, freshened up and crashed in our bed. The time was 3.30 am then. The AC was very good and we dozed off in no time. It was one very hard day behind the wheels for me!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 25th May 2010 at 21:44.
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Old 25th May 2010, 21:50   #642
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We then decided to drive around a bit and soon found a small hotel, Hotel Leela Palace. We immediately checked in, took out our luggage, freshened up and crashed in our bed. The time was 3.30 am then. The AC was very good and we dozed off in no time. It was one very hard day behind the wheels for me!
Some small hotel! Dont say that in Bangalore. Its the biggest!
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Old 25th May 2010, 22:07   #643
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Some small hotel! Dont say that in Bangalore. Its the biggest!
ampere, he is talking about Hotel Leela Palace in Salem!
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Old 25th May 2010, 22:14   #644
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ampere, he is talking about Hotel Leela Palace in Salem!
Sir that was the pun! I knew he was talking about Salem! Thats why I said not to say the same in Bangalore! Had a good laugh at this

Once I spent quite some money to stay at Cenney's Gateway. The price is about 3K, but really liked the place. Very good comfort. (But for the price)
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Old 25th May 2010, 22:22   #645
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Sir that was the pun! I knew he was talking about Salem! Thats why I said not to say the same in Bangalore! Had a good laugh at this

Once I spent quite some money to stay at Cenney's Gateway. The price is about 3K, but really liked the place. Very good comfort. (But for the price)
Thought you had missed the point
There is also a Salem Palace hotel in Salem,I believe.
Now if CL has woken up from his "crashed" sleep, we should be hearing more from him!

CL, did I hear you say that the Trichy-Musiri-Namakkal road was splendid - which is also what I thought, but a friend today called it "horrible"
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