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Old 5th January 2010, 23:57   #1
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Smile A weekend trip to Pondicherry

Dear All,
This is my first attempt to write a travelogue in this forum. Kindly correct me in case of mistakes.
We had been planning for a trip (by car of course) for a long time. Though we have made one trip each to Chennai and Shivanasamudra in June, 2009, there was nothing much to write about.
Finally we decided to go to Pondicherry on an extended Christmas weekend. In fact we had planned the Pondicherry trip in January, 2009 but had to cancel at the last moment due to some personal issues.

Start Date: 25-Dec-09
End Date: 28-Dec-09
Members: Me, wife and son
Vehicle: Toyota Innova Diesel G1

Route followed: Bangalore – Krishnagiri – Uthangarai – Chengam –Tiruvannamalai – Gingee – Tindivanam – Pondicherry.

Previous Day Preparations
  • Tanked up and got the air pressure checked.
  • Reconfirmed the vehicle documents
  • Reconfirmed spare tyre changing kit.
  • Reconfirmed spare bulb and first aid kit in the vehicle.
Day 1 (25-Dec-09)
The alarm went off at 4:30 AM. We had planned to leave home at 5:30 AM. to beat the Holiday Traffic. Finished off the remaining packing and was ready by 5:20 AM. But our son was very excited with the “GIFTS” that Santa Claus had presented him. Due to this we got delayed by about half an hour. Anyways we set off at 6:10 AM.
We took the Diary Circle route to reach Hosur Road. The traffic was moderate (however we encountered heavy traffic near Electronics City), but were able to cruise at about 70 Kmph on Hosur Road.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02933.jpg

The Hosur Road stretch had only moderate traffic.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02934.jpg

We reached Krishnagiri at about 7:30 AM. However got stuck near the toll booth for about 20 mins.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02936.jpg
The LONG queue at the Krishnagiri Toll Gate

Finally could get out of Krishnagiri toll gate at 7:50 AM. The road after the toll booth was smooth and we were easily clocking speeds above 100 Kmph. This is the dream road for any car lover. Took the left turn towards Chennai and after a drive of about a Kilometer turned right to take NH 66. The nightmare started hereafter. The road condition though was good in patches, but as has been mentioned in many travelogues by our respected bhpians, the road condition worsens when we least expect it. And when we think we have gone through all the potholes, one more appears from no where. I was tempted to drive around 80 Kmph, but after driving in about 2 or 3 potholes, decided to maintain a safe 60 to 70 Kmph.
Reached Samalapatti at about 9 AM. The railway crossing gate was closed but fortunately the train passed off soon and off we went. My wife and son were munching away the snacks at the back seat. I was not very hungry at that time and decided to drive for another hour. Soon passed Uthangarai and decided to break at Singarapettai at about 10 AM. We could not locate any decent eateries, so decided to stop over by the road and finish my share of sandwiches and juice. We set off after 15 minutes.
Reached Chengam at around 11 AM.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02937.jpg
A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02938.jpg
Some greenery on the way

I faintly remembered reading somewhere that the roads improved considerably after Chengam, so was tempted to press the accelerator a little more. Decided otherwise after the Left Front wheel hit a pothole. We crossed Thiruvannamalai at 11:30 AM and cruised through Gingee at 12 noon. I really wanted to stop over near the fort, but after glancing at the watch decided to proceed.
When we reached Tindivanam at around 12:30, the roads were crowded and NH 66 was made ONE WAY just before entering the town. We took a detour and joined NH 66 just near the Polo Mint flyover. The ride from hereon was smooth. The stretch of NH 66 from Tindivanam to Pondicherry is being repaired and being converted to 4 lane.
We reached Pondicherry city at 1:10 PM. Drove upto the Rajiv Gandhi Square and took a right turn towards Cuddalore Road. The traffic was moderate. After crossing the Chunambur Lake and Resort spotted the direction board for Kailash Beach Resort. Took the left turn and kept following the directions. After driving for about 2 Kms, we reached a Y intersection. There were no directions at this intersection!!! With a confused mind I approached a local gentleman coming towards me on a bicycle. As soon as he saw me from a distance (may be he observed the KA registered vehicle), he showed me a ‘V’ sign with his right hand. As he came near me I figured out he is trying to tell me the resort is 2 Kms ahead !!!!
We reached the resort at 1:25 PM sharp. Initially they had booked us at their newly constructed block near the Parking Lot. But may be due some cancellations, they accommodated us in the main block itself. After the initial formalities, we checked in our room at 1:40 PM. The room was very spacious and clean.
We were too tired to drive back to the city for lunch, so decided to try out the hotel restaurant itself. The food was sort of OK, but nothing great to write home about.
After lunch, my son enjoyed himself in the children pool for about half an hour.
A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02939.jpg
Son enjoying himself in the pool

After that returned to the room and took a short nap.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02942.jpg
A view of the resort in the evening

When we woke up it was almost 6 PM. Freshened up and headed for the beach road. Our plan was to walk down the beach road and have dinner in some restaurant. As we approached the beach road we found that a portion of the beach road was closed owing to the festive season. Parked the vehicle in one of the by lanes and walked towards the beach road.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02955.jpg
With son on the beach road

The beach was crowded probably due to the peak tourist season. The weather was pleasant and perfect for a leisurely walk. After strolling for about an hour or so, decided to have dinner.
We entered the Ajanta Sea View Hotel seeking a table in the Roof top restaurant. But was utterly surprised when we were rudely informed that “SERVICE WAS CLOSED”. My watch showed 9:30 PM.!!!!
Next we approached Sea Gulls restaurant. The response was quite similar here too, but got hold of the manager and requested (read pleaded) him for a table for three. After much cajoling he relented. After a quick dinner returned to the hotel.

End of Day 1.
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Old 6th January 2010, 00:15   #2
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[quote=samish_g;1667182]

Dear Samish,

It is nice you are giving a good travelogue. In the mean time you can mention the over all toll from bangalore to Pondy. Bit more about the road condition on your return trip. So sad for the rude behavior of the restaurant people at dinner. Have a nice holidays and continue the thread.
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Old 6th January 2010, 01:14   #3
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Samish, it's coming out nice. Please continue.

For the pile-up in toll gate - half of bangalore went out that day.
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Old 6th January 2010, 05:09   #4
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Samish, Nice piece of travelogue there. This is the first time I am seeing pics of kailash beach resort. how was your experience there? Does it adds value to the charge (it charges higher than St. James Resort)?

And yes in the eveings, beach road dont allow traffic. During my drive also I had to park in the parallel bylanes and then walk on beach road.

Never seen such a huge line of vehicles in Krishnagiri Toll Gate. May be I generally cross this toll gate before dawn whenever I start early from bangalore.

keep the pics flowing. Feels great to revisit Pondi through your pics.
Abhi
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Old 6th January 2010, 10:48   #5
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Good detailed start.... hope you will continue....
Howz the drive....
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Old 6th January 2010, 16:04   #6
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Hi Samish,

I opened this thread for your 2nd day experience. But unfortunately I got dis appointed. Any how waiting for the rest of the travel experience. Take your time and post.
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Old 6th January 2010, 16:30   #7
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Samish,
Would be interested to know the charges of the Resort you stayed in.. I am planning for a trip to Pondy too, anyone knows of good hotel. resort to suit budget travellers in range of < Rs 2000 per day.

Last edited by xingamazon : 6th January 2010 at 16:31. Reason: Mistaken spelling
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Old 6th January 2010, 16:37   #8
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Samish, Can you please post more pics of the resort ? How far is the resort from the beach ?
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Old 6th January 2010, 22:18   #9
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[quote=navan49;1667206]
Quote:
Originally Posted by samish_g View Post

Dear Samish,

It is nice you are giving a good travelogue. In the mean time you can mention the over all toll from bangalore to Pondy. Bit more about the road condition on your return trip. So sad for the rude behavior of the restaurant people at dinner. Have a nice holidays and continue the thread.
Thank you Navan for the comments. The toll from Bangalore to Pondicherry is Rs. 25 (for one way). You have to pay at Krishnagiri toll gate. I am sorry for the delayed posts as I generally browse after 9 PM. So please bear with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
Samish, it's coming out nice. Please continue.

For the pile-up in toll gate - half of bangalore went out that day.
Thank you Sir for the comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Samish, Nice piece of travelogue there. This is the first time I am seeing pics of kailash beach resort. how was your experience there? Does it adds value to the charge (it charges higher than St. James Resort)?

And yes in the eveings, beach road dont allow traffic. During my drive also I had to park in the parallel bylanes and then walk on beach road.

Never seen such a huge line of vehicles in Krishnagiri Toll Gate. May be I generally cross this toll gate before dawn whenever I start early from bangalore.

keep the pics flowing. Feels great to revisit Pondi through your pics.
Abhi
Thank you Abhi Sir for the encouraging remarks. It feels great to receive such encouragement from the King of travelogues.
In my humble opinion, I think Kailash Beach Resort is worth. Actually we were left with very little choice. We finalised the plan may be a week ahead of the departure. Many resorts were totally booked. This was the only one available.
You are right, we were late leaving home and expectedly got a long queue at the Krishnagiri Toll gate. This will serve us a lesson for the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinay.pillai View Post
Good detailed start.... hope you will continue....
Howz the drive....
Sure Sir. I access the net late in the day. So please bear with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xingamazon View Post
Samish,
Would be interested to know the charges of the Resort you stayed in.. I am planning for a trip to Pondy too, anyone knows of good hotel. resort to suit budget travellers in range of < Rs 2000 per day.
The resort charges were Rs. 3000/- approximately. It was high as this was the peak season. But since we did not have any outing for a long time, settled for this rate.
When are you planning to visit? If you visit after !5-Jan, the rates will be comparitively lower. You can also bargain during the lean season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s3va View Post
Samish, Can you please post more pics of the resort ? How far is the resort from the beach ?
The beach is about 300 meters from the resort. It is a private beach owned by the resort.
However the main beach (near the French Colony) is about 10 Kms from the hotel
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:03   #10
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Keep the travelogue going, good start. I had been in Sept and a beautiful place to relax.
Post more pics of the resort and the beach attached to the resort. Want to try the resort next time.
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:37   #11
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Cool Day 2

Continuing further .....

Day 2: Dec-26 (Saturday)
Today our plan was to enjoy ourselves in the beach in the morning and visit Aurobindo Ashram in the afternoon. Actually had planned to see the sunrise but got up late. So had to postpone it to the next day.
Anyway after finishing breakfast in the hotel, headed straight for the beach. It was about 8:30 AM then.
The weather was pleasant and we all had a blast.
I purposefully did not carry the camera (sorry for that) as suggested by one of my friends. His camera malfunctioned due to water and sand entry.
Initially my son was a bit apprehensive on seeing the waves, but once he got the feel of the cool water, he was game for it. Later I had to drag him towards the hotel. He relented after I promised him that we will play for a while in the hotel pool. So after cleaning up, moved towards the hotel pool.
He played in the pool for another hour and finally he returned to the room fully satisfied.
We decided to go to the city for lunch. Our friends had suggested Le Promenade and we proceeded towards it. Had a sumptuous buffet lunch there. The sea food was excellent. Though a touch expensive, but we felt it was worth the penny.

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02959.jpg
A view of the beach from the restaurant

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02960.jpg
Another view of the beach from the restaurant

A weekend trip to Pondicherry-dsc02968.jpg
Son in front of one of the models displayed for christmas

After lunch moved towards Aurobindo Ashram which is a stone's throw distance away from Le Promenade.
Though being a holiday, the crowd was moderate and we were inside the Ashram within ten minutes. We spend about half an hour in the Ashram going through the book stall and the sayings of Rishi Aurobindo.
It was only about 4:30 PM by then and had a lot of time to kill (as had no specific plans in mind). So walked down the Old French Colonies. We spotted a shop named "AUROSHIKHA" . It had a good collection of gift items and did some shopping here. The watch read 5:15 PM and still had some time in hand.
Wife suggested we visit the shopping street (do we guys have a say in such situations??). Walked down the road to join Mission Street. This road is something similar to our Commercial Street (though Mission Street is wider in my opinion). It has a good collection of local brands as well as national brands. Here too did some shopping. After that had some snacks and coffee in a coffee bar in Nehru Street. By this time son had become cranky (he did not get his customary afternoon nap) and wife was suffering from throat pain.
So decided to return to the hotel and take rest. After freshening up, we decided to have dinner in the hotel itself as neither wife nor son was in the mood to drive to the city for dinner.
After dinner hit the sack early. We had plans to see the sunrise the next morning.

End of Day 2.
Will be continued.....
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:47   #12
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Did you visit the Manakula Vinayagar Temple just near the Ashram. Your son could have enjoyed the temple elephant there. See the elephant picture in front of the temple.e
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Old 6th January 2010, 23:55   #13
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No Navan. We did not visit the temple. May be next time.
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Old 10th January 2010, 09:27   #14
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hey nice!

can you please post some more details regarding distance covered and may be some stuff on the way?
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Old 12th January 2010, 21:52   #15
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First of all Sorry Gentleman. I was out of station for some official work, so could not update the remainder of the travelogue.
Thank you @unoczar. The distance covered from Bangalore (residence at Basavanagudi) to Pondicherry (Kailash Beach Resort) is about 314 Kms (as per odometer reading).
Weel, on the way there is Gingee Fort. It is the only well known spot on the way. There is a lot of greenery however around Chengam. Other than this there is nothing special. Actually was more focussed on the road as its condition was not that great.
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