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Old 16th January 2010, 16:22   #16
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After having been pleasantly surprised by our maiden Bangalore trip within the first month of buying our first car (DOB: 24th Sept) and driven by yours-faithfully who learnt driving lately and got a license only on Aug 20th 2009, we conjured up the courage to do a trip to Coimbatore to my parents place on Oct 30-31, Nov1. Parents had accompanied us for the Bangalore trip in mid-Oct (during Diwali,) and had gone back to Coimbatore. We thought if Bangalore, why not Coimbatore and lets make it a surprise. Myself, wifey and daughter were mentally prepared Thursday for the Friday morning drive. I made preliminary info-gathering about the route beyond Krishnagiri towards Salem and then to Coimbatore. The whole Mettur-Sathy-Gobi or Salem-Avinashi or Bhavani or Omalur blah blah threads on TBHP were playing cat-n-mouse that whole week. Then suddenly on Thursday night we were at the kitchen and had spread out our big Southern India map on the counter (I do this quite often. Even though I cannot go, just reading thru the roads makes me feel good - the wanderer that I am.) So, myself and wifey just looked at each other - mom-n-dad were here just a week or so ago, lets do something else, we can do Coimbatore later in the year (- still got to write my Xmas-NY 9 day trip travelogue - now it appears I have been covering all the trips on T-BHP since we bought our Sparky. Sholinghur done. Next would be chandragiri.)

Oh - Lets do this coastal route - till Pondy - lets stretch it - till Velankanni - I had always wanted to do Tranquebar on the coast as well - since it was unique to India - A "Danish" settlement at some point in history. Whats further down Velankanni - Pt. Calimere - good. Lets go upto that. Then what - Go to Rameshwaram, Kaniyakumari - C'mon - give me a break - we just have 3 days!!!!

Ok, lets see till where we could go... And so we started at 5:06 am - 1443 km on the ODO - onto the OMR and then into the ECR south towards Mahaps...
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Old 16th January 2010, 17:10   #17
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Reached Pondicherry around 8:00 AM. Just before entering the main town - rather the beach round we filled up the tank to benefit from the UT petrol charges.

Rs 42.54 / litre - 31.27 litres.

Gandhi statue at Pondy - ODO = 1585km.

Had breakfast at the Le Cafe - continental - bread/stuffed-omelette. Very good ambience. Started at 9:00 am towards Cuddalore. Little crowded with office goers maybe. It was Friday - I had bunked!

Had heard about the Pichavaram picnic spot. Reached Pichavaram - close to Chidambaram (detour of 10km.) only to find college lovebirds ;-) Ah and yes from the top of the tower we did see an uncle and aunty taking the boat ride thru the marshy back-waters.

To be continued...
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Old 19th January 2010, 13:32   #18
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Lovely Pictures. But why have you not updated after the first set, waiting for the rest to come
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Old 19th January 2010, 19:42   #19
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I was at Pichavaram on 16 jan I did not find the place so empty as your photos have shown probably it was because I had gone there on a holiday.Update your photos.

Last edited by gajadonga : 19th January 2010 at 19:44.
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Old 19th January 2010, 22:13   #20
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Ok. Here comes some more... Talking of Pichavaram, indeed we were there on a Friday. Very few people.

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We moved on towards Tranquebar - our next stop - not knowing where we would have our lunch. There were'nt very noticable places to eat. We were hoping maybe we could hit Karaikal and have our lunch.

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On our way we saw a land just being tilled,

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some rice fields with a little growth and some near to full-growth. This part has good monsoon and good harvest looks like.

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We reached Tranquebar at 1:30 or so and were very hungry.

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There is a Hotel TamilNadu there but the lunch was closed. He suggested we go to "The Bungalow on the beach" - which has a restaurant. A possible tie-up?

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Earlier in the day my wife was reading the "Lonely Planet" - our bible, we only use this and nothing else when we travel. An other post dedicated to our priced possession some other day. She told me that the Tranquebar - Danish fort is closed on Fridays! Damn! However all the disappointment vanished with our 2 hr experience at the Hotel.

The lunch was excellent, Rs.350/- Continental. And here is the menu: (courtesy - wife who's sitting next to me right now)

Lentil-soup/Mutton-soup
Green-salad/boiled-egg-tartar-salad
French bread
Rice/Chicken-curry
Beet-root-halva/Caramalised-banana-with-vanilla-icecream

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Great looking swimming pool:
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Walk up the stairs, the balcony:
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Great views:
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And then I notice something on the roof, a lot of carbon-emission for the transportation of this one, I thought! They could have used some locally made tiles, but probably no factory close by.

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More later...
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Old 15th August 2010, 20:10   #21
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As we pushed out of Tranquebar we saw some old monuments. Some of them just transports you to that age. From the coast hotel TBOTB as we go through till the main arch gate - 3rd snap, we can also see The Gate House which is also maintained by the Neemrana folks.

Neemrana Gate House, near Karikal, Tranquebar

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It was 3:50 PM (30th October 2009) and we had spent quite some time for lunch but it was worth it. But we had to make a move on to visit the church at Vellankani and it was getting overcast at 3:53 PM.

Puzzle - Plot the route-tbar4.jpg
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Old 16th August 2010, 05:19   #22
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We reached Velankanni at around 5:15 PM. As we went through Karaikal town and then later Nagai it started pouring and my first experience with rain while driving the Sparky. School kids on the streets, a bit difficult as a newbie to go through those narrow town streets. As any other small town Velankanni town is crowded, unorganized and add to it the rain and it was all slurry, muddy-waters. But a good thing was the parking area - it was huge and dead in front of the church. Luckily it was not a festival day and not crowded and we could park easily. The church - wow! What a marvellous piece of architecture! What grandeur! Really really beautiful. Worth all the pain to reach here.
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However, we had no place to stay. We could have stayed in a hotel there, but instead thought lets cover some distance, lets atleast touch Tanjore. About 100 km on the NH67. We could not get much time at the church (wifey was especially disappointed) and we hurried up as more dark clouds had gathered above us and we rushed into the car.

It was one heck of a drive on the NH67. No lights, rain, rash driving by taxis/buses. This road is built on a raised mud platform - mostly, so the left and right edges actually slope down to say at times 10 ft. And it was just over a month of rookie driving. Somehow pulled this through and we were at 8:30 pm at The Oriental Towers in Tanjore.
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Next day morning we were to visit the Big Temple and head back via Trichy to Chennai.
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Last edited by jeevmenon : 16th August 2010 at 05:24.
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Old 16th August 2010, 08:02   #23
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Great going ! Better late than never!
I guess the other Tranquebar TL spurred you around.
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Old 16th August 2010, 08:31   #24
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I was expecting more from Pichavarm, as I heard they're the mangroove forest of the south & would like to see how true it is. The Tranquebar looks cool though, is it only a dine in or do they provide accomodation?

Last edited by aargee : 16th August 2010 at 08:34.
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Old 16th August 2010, 08:40   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Great going ! Better late than never!
I guess the other Tranquebar TL spurred you around.
Ha ha... Indeed, ampere. I am picking up all my old unfinished TLs. And no out-of-city drive this past weekend meant more time on t-bhp and more writing. There is Parambikulam (Dad's car) and Valparai which need to be started, but lemme finish the existing pending work.

@aargee: It was hot at Pichavaram, just tower views, it did not look much enticing in that weather. Maybe some other winter day through the Mangroves.

Btw, not much activity by you both over the weekend. You guys just work on weekdays?

Last edited by jeevmenon : 16th August 2010 at 08:42.
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Old 16th August 2010, 10:12   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeevmenon View Post
Btw, not much activity by you both over the weekend. You guys just work on weekdays?

Doubly whammy over the weekend. On Sat went through the local villages through Anchetty and hit Mettur via Hogenakkal. (~500 Km)

On Sunday drove through almost empty NH7 (towards HYD) and enjoyed the temple of Lepakshi! (~220 Km)

How is that for a work over the weekend?
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Old 16th August 2010, 11:12   #27
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@ampere: Wow! By work on weekends I meant replies/new-posts on the TL pages on t-bhp pages. The one you did is the usual work we know of the travel-bug hit guys do Anyway - great escapades - looking forward to hearing about your escapades of Sat/Sun!
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Old 16th August 2010, 11:38   #28
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The Hotel Tamil Nadu at Pichavaram has one of the dirtiest restaurants I have ever visited!

How good was Hotel Oriental Towers in Thanjavur? I find from its web-site that it is horribly over-priced!
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Old 16th August 2010, 14:06   #29
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I remember we paid Rs 900+90 for the double non-AC. It had very good parking with trees around, a nice huge reception area. The A/C one was close to 2K if I remember. The restaurant below - we three had dinner for Rs 410/-. Overall not bad I feel, but wifey feels overpriced. But then has anyone checked room rents at hotels opposite Trichy bus stand. Those are expensive I felt.

Pichavaram restaurant: hmm, we just had a glance before scaling the spiral tower.
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Old 16th August 2010, 14:11   #30
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Default Thanjavur temple celebrates 1000 yrs on Sept 26th

As we are parked at Thanjavur here is something I found today:

India's biggest temple turns 1000: Rediff.com News

Sept 26th is a Sunday. Maybe T-BHP folks can plan for a trip to coincide with it.
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