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Old 23rd June 2010, 15:41   #1
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Default Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...

Romancing blue hills, falls and flowers…

It had been on my vacation list for quite long time, over fifteen years. Every time we came back to India for vacation, we wished to visit this place and each time it got thwarted by parents, relatives and friends, as they insisted on spending time with them. Finally when we came back to India for good, we had the sure chance of visiting this dream place. And I wanted to plan it to perfection. And I did.
The place? Heaven on earth, the queen of mountains… Ooty.
Plan was hatched couple of months ago, when I wanted to visit my college mate, batch mate, room mate, shirt mate, towel mate et al, my best and only friend till now, who lives in Coimbatore. We lost connection right after our graduation and recently caught up with each other last year, the ‘recently’ was in fact just 27 years later. He came to Chennai on an official tour and I met him briefly for few minutes. And sure wasn’t enough to catch up all those twenty seven years. And combined with that was this dream place calling. So evolved the vacation plan to visit Coimby and Ooty, one week, away from my routine work and wifey’s routine home-making. And even more bored was my second wife, taking me to office and home every day and just around Chennai on week ends. This one was really bored and was raring for a long drive. Yes, I am talking about my Mitsubishi Cedia. She was all excited when I made the plan to drive all the way from Chennai – Coimbatore – Ooty and back by car. What else she can ask for? A thrilling mountain drive uphill and downhill on butter-smooth roads, with silencing valleys, soothing green plantations and skyscraping dense forests laced either side.

The itinerary?

13-6-10 Sunday – Chennai – Salem – Coimbatore drive.
13,14 and 15-6-10 – Halt at Coimbatore, visit temples and friend.
16-6-10 – Coimbatore – Ooty drive.
16, 17-6-10 – Ooty.
18-6-10- Ooty – Salem – drive and halt overnight.
19-6-10 – Salem-Chennai drive- arrive for Lunch and rest.

Couple of days before I took the car to Maya Motors for a thorough check up and top up of all vital fluids.
Sunday morning. Ready to go. Packed up all things in car, filled tank to full, set the trip meters to Zero.
7:30 am. Departed home at Kilpak Chennai, stop at Balaji Bhavan for a tummy full breakfast.
7: 50 am. Start the journey. Took Poonamali high road, was out of the city and was cruising down the NH4 before 8 am. Steady speed, no drag-racing, controlled driving, enjoying the entire route sceneries. At Ranipet, took NH46and at Krishnagiri, took right turn towards Salem on NH7. Reached Salem at around 12:15 pm.
Running hours: 4 hours and 25 minutes. Kilometers: 365.

Stopped for Lunch at Cenneys’ hotel. Wifey is a pure veggie and we didn’t have much choice at that hotel However, finished formality with some veg rice items and continued out journey.
Started at 1:30 pm. Took NH47 up to Avinashi and took to right on Avinashi Road, reached hotel Heritage Inn at Coimbatore. 330 pm. NH47 is double Toll way for about 110 kms from Salem and then it is single road with two ay traffic. And at some places traffic was crawling and madness of coming on the wrong way added to the chaos.

Running Hours:3 hours. Kilometers: 175.

Checked in at Hotel, relaxed and refreshed ourselves. No outing that evening. Just called my friend to tell ‘we arrived’.

The drive was absolute delight for me. Roads were fantastic and by now I am well used to expect the most unexpected on even Free ways and e prepared, alert and cautious all along. Basically I always prefer day driving as far as possible. Though there would be more vehicles, pedestrians, cows and goats, blind 2 and 3 wheelers, trucks and bullock carts, the visibility is one thing and alertness is the second thing I would prefer day driving for. Moreover, having spent 15+ years in the middle east, having driven more than 300,000 kilometers (3 Lac kms), always watching sand sand and more sands all along the high way, driving in India offers dynamically changing scenarios all along the route and you can only enjoy and assimilate the beauty of India only when you do day driving. The route from Kirshnagiri to Salem was beautiful and the weather was just close to 27-28 Deg. C, no rains. With overcast skies, the drive was thoroughly enjoyable. And when the Cedia cruises at 100-120 kmph, effortlessly and almost silent, I grasped the every minute of the experience deed into my soul. Occasionally wifey talking and in the background Ilayaraja’s 90’s hit songs flowing through the music system like honey chocolates. Oh man, it was divine.

After 540 kilometers of driving, I was still fresh as I was in the morning, was capable of going another 300 kilometers if need be.

We made our program for next day morning to visit the Perur Shiva Temple and after dinner at the same hotel, we retired for the day.

Some teaser pictures taken just before Krishnagiri.
Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00461.jpg
Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00462.jpg
Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00463.jpg

(Loads of pictures coming up folks)

Coming up - A Temple 2000 years old and a Friendship 30 years old.

Last edited by RajaTaurus : 23rd June 2010 at 15:52.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 16:56   #2
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Over 1200 KMs in 6 days
spending time with long lost (not forgotten) friend and his family
reliving the studenthood memories
visiting 2000 year old temple
visiting queen of hills..ooty
celebrating 30 years old friendship

one word...WoW.. you seems to be on a truely nostaligic trip

waiting for more
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Old 23rd June 2010, 17:49   #3
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I remember going to a very old shiva temple in coimbatore. Got to get the details from my wife. My memory is fading you see. But the name I don't think is perur temple. Could be different.
And your start point has got memories in me. I used to stay in Kilpauk. Every evening, a visit to Mummy Daddy shopping center was a must. Weekends we used to go to a restaurant in Purasaiwalkam (silver star - not sure whether it exists now) to have dahi vada.
Once or twice a year, we used to catch up with a movie of Rajni or Kamal in Abhirami or her relatives. Once a month it was a visit to Shiva Vishnu temple.
The last I'd been to Kilpauk was in the year 1991.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 19:28   #4
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I stayed at Cenneys on my way to Munnar. I liked the place for the rooms.
But it was pricey!
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Old 23rd June 2010, 22:42   #5
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I love the travelogues. Specially, the ones focused on south India and Leh. I would love to see your Ooty part. I was there last year this time.

I hope you would be posting some pics of your car too.
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Old 24th June 2010, 10:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I remember going to a very old shiva temple in coimbatore. Got to get the details from my wife. My memory is fading you see. But the name I don't think is perur temple. Could be different.
And your start point has got memories in me. I used to stay in Kilpauk. Every evening, a visit to Mummy Daddy shopping center was a must. Weekends we used to go to a restaurant in Purasaiwalkam (silver star - not sure whether it exists now) to have dahi vada.
Once or twice a year, we used to catch up with a movie of Rajni or Kamal in Abhirami or her relatives. Once a month it was a visit to Shiva Vishnu temple.
The last I'd been to Kilpauk was in the year 1991.
That has to be Avinashi lingam temple, which is also as old as Perur, bigger and more popular. I selected Perur, for is nearer, smaller and less crowded.
I stay in Kilpak near to the New Avadi road signal. not far away from Mummy Daddy.
Keep watching...
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Old 24th June 2010, 11:09   #7
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Default A Temple 2000 years old and a Friendship 30 years old

A Temple 2000 years old and a Friendship 30 years old

Day-2:
Got up, after breakfast at hotel, arranged a cab to go to the Perur Temple, about 10 kms from city on the road to Siruvani dam. We selected this temple over the Shiva Temple at Avinashi, for 2 reasons: one being closer to the town and secondly smaller temple, so would be less crowded. Both are ancient temples built by Chola kings more than 2000 years ago.

I have always made part of my travel to visit ancient temples, reflecting Tamil culture and architecture. And this temple was built by Karikal Cholan, about 2000 years ago using just stones and lime mortars. Not as huge and magnificient as the Tanjavur Big temples which were actually built 1,000 years later than this temple.

We reached the temple in about 30 minutes and there was sparse crowd there. A newly wed couple had come there with all the sajaavats and garlands for Shiva’s blessings and the marriage group was inside the temple. There was a photographer too, (must have taken special permission). And in the gap, I took some snaps of the temple from inside.

Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00464.jpg

The temple itself is built with stones and once you enter inside, you feel the divine ambience of such an ancient temple. 2000 years – people had been visiting this place, praying, singing, dancing and celebrating festivals and it felt as if all those vibrations were still there, inside the temple. The construction in itself was a marvel, using those porous stones and lime mortar which traps air inside, giving the perfect insulation possible for keeping the temple cool. And these stones also absorb water molecules inside and let it evaporate inside the temple, providing natural air conditioning.

Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00465.jpg

Look at those monolithic decorative pillars and the lintels on those, supporting the roof. Everything was made of stone - The flooring, walls, pillars and the roof, except couple of doors which were made of wood. And standing upright for 2 Millennia and still looking fresh and strong. One difference between these temples and Egyptian pyramids is – pyramids were built for dead humans, while Tamil temples were built for providing relief, peace of mind and enlightening the souls of living humans. Pyramids were just an arrangement of huge stone blocks while these temples have intricate carvings on the structural elements depicting the way man lived those days.

This picture I took while moving, just to avoid being caught. An intricate stone carving protected by fence. Pardon the quality of the picture please.

Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00467.jpg

Inside the temple there is a chain made out of stone and a lotus that rotates, also carved out of stone. And the elephant Kalyani was blessing all the devotees and visitors.

Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00468.jpg

After the temple visit, we got back to the city for some shopping and lunch at hotel Annapurna at Peoples Park. Wouldn’t rate as top class food, but the hotel was neat. We got back to hotel at around 3 pm and rested for couple of hours.

My friend’s family arrived on time at 5 pm. He has two cute daughters, one doing her 4th year engineering and the second in her 10th standard. We never met them before and it was first time meeting. After hi-hellos, we went to our room and started talking. The girls and the ladies were amazed and awe struck from the way me and my friend were talking as if we were in touch all along. There seemed to be no gap at all. Another thing that stunned the girls was my reaction /answers to some of their questions. The elder girl said “Uncle, we feel that we are hearing the same things, even the same words, just in another voice”. She even wondered “We are not sure after 30 years we would ever have any friend whom we could talk like you two are talking”.

Me and my friend:
Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00470.jpg

The Restaurant.
Romancing the Blue hills and falls and flowers and...-img00471.jpg

The girls had booked dinner tables at their favorite restaurant called ‘That’s Y Food”. (Yes the girls book and the Dad only pays.) A bit funny name that was for a restaurant. It was more of Chinese - partly multi cuisine - restaurant. In fact it was a big house converted into a restaurant in one of Coimbatore’s posh neighborhood. They ordered and we enjoyed sumptuous chicken, chicken and more chicken. While my wife had to be contented with rotis and subjies, I went about those chicken dishes full blast.
We spent great time with the family and returned to hotel close to midnight. With the same plan of more temples for next morning session and meet them in the evening, retired for the day.

Coming up... Day-2 Annur Temples.
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Old 24th June 2010, 11:11   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
I love the travelogues. Specially, the ones focused on south India and Leh. I would love to see your Ooty part. I was there last year this time.

I hope you would be posting some pics of your car too.
Yes, my car pics are coming up too. Please keep watching.
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Old 24th June 2010, 11:33   #9
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ah, a friend after 30yrs! Man, now that's really a emotional time.

2000year old temple is something I should definitely visit. Will grab the first chance to see it. Thanks for bringing it on here.
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Old 24th June 2010, 11:50   #10
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A nice start to your travelogue there! And I think I recognize you from your photo!
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Old 24th June 2010, 12:13   #11
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Beautiful write up. And 365 kms in 4 hrs 25 mins is just perfect. I usually take the same amount of time to reach chennai from Bangalore, a distance of 325kms approx.
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Old 24th June 2010, 12:18   #12
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I checked with my wife for the name of the temple we visited.
She said Patteeshwarar in Perur temple.
Guess I was groggy those days. Surprisingly, I'm unable to search out the photos I took on that trip except for another place we visited called Dhyanalingam (Isha yoga centre). Guess the only reason would be that they must not have allowed my camera inside Perur temple.
I remember seeing a big bell in the temple I visited and also loads of honey combs nearby. I will have to go down there again to get recollection of the place.
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Old 24th June 2010, 12:31   #13
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Meeting a friend after 27 years, I bet you guys spent a whole lot of time trying to catch up with each others life. I am not sure if you guys get enough time to talk?

Do you have any photo of the Chain made of stone. I am eager to see it. I cant imagine how they were able to make that some 2000 years ago.
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Old 24th June 2010, 14:01   #14
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Originally Posted by sylvan View Post
Beautiful write up. And 365 kms in 4 hrs 25 mins is just perfect. I usually take the same amount of time to reach chennai from Bangalore, a distance of 325kms approx.
Yes. I did Chennai Bangalore in 4 1/2 hrs last August.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I checked with my wife for the name of the temple we visited.
She said Patteeshwarar in Perur temple.
Guess I was groggy those days. Surprisingly, I'm unable to search out the photos I took on that trip except for another place we visited called Dhyanalingam (Isha yoga centre). Guess the only reason would be that they must not have allowed my camera inside Perur temple.
I remember seeing a big bell in the temple I visited and also loads of honey combs nearby. I will have to go down there again to get recollection of the place.
Yes. This is the same temple.
There is a board that says 'photography strictly prohibited'. I was lucky to have the marriage party going around with few cameramen clicking them. Might have got permission I guessed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElantraGT View Post
Meeting a friend after 27 years, I bet you guys spent a whole lot of time trying to catch up with each others life. I am not sure if you guys get enough time to talk?

Do you have any photo of the Chain made of stone. I am eager to see it. I cant imagine how they were able to make that some 2000 years ago.
Obviously not enough. And that gives us more chances to meet often and they are coming over to Chennai very soon, which they were delaying for past 2 years for various reasons.

Well, the chain and Lotus are on the roof and I would have needed a bigger camera with flash, obviously inviting attention, which I didn't want anyway. My pictures are all from my Blackberry,easy to disguise as talking on phone,which is lesser offence inside temples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
A nice start to your travelogue there! And I think I recognize you from your photo!
Thanks for the visit Gans, Keep watching.

Last edited by Eddy : 24th June 2010 at 14:39. Reason: Please use the edit / multiquote option instead of posting back to back posts within 20 mins. Thanks.
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Old 24th June 2010, 14:16   #15
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Quote:
The elder girl said “Uncle, we feel that we are hearing the same things, even the same words, just in another voice”. She even wondered “We are not sure after 30 years we would ever have any friend whom we could talk like you two are talking”.
Just makes me feel emotional, you should've been very proud isn't it? And the "same words in another voice" explains everything on meet up after 30 years. Good going & will keep watching.
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