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Old 19th July 2010, 21:25   #1
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Default Weekend Excursions from Chennai (The Usual Suspects!)

I am originally from Bombay and I changed jobs in Jan 2010 and got posted to Chennai. The surprise upon joining was that I had an option to work out of either Mumbai or Chennai as the clients I managed had a split site strategy - however - I needed to be in Chennai for six months to "normalize" the process. So the option was to move the family of wife + 1 kid - to Chennai for six months, or, stay by myself in Chennai and visit Mumbai occasionally. I chose the latter for logistical reasons and took up a PG accomodation.

The first couple of months were busy with the new job - but then once I settled in - I found I had just too much time on my hands on the weekends (funnily this never happens when you are at home with the family!). So I started the tour of the usual suspects - Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Bangalore and Tirupati.

This travelogue will be a pictoral description of these destinations that I visited (with the exception of Bangalore). I'd appreciate some constructive criticism of the photographs that I have taken as photography is my hobby and any feedback helps (just try to keep it as non technical as possible!).

Enjoy!
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Old 19th July 2010, 22:10   #2
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That is an area we want to visit during this year end. I look forward to your posts and pictures.
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Old 19th July 2010, 23:45   #3
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Default Mahabalipuram

The first place I visited was Mahabalipuram. Funny thing is that in my previous stint in Chennai - 2006 to 2008, I just could not manage to go there - Don't ask me why?! However, this time I would ensure that I would go there not once but twice! (more on that later).

I started on a Saturday at 100 PM from Chennai. I was staying at Mylapore and took the straight route to Thiruvanmiyur, from where the East Coast Road (or ECR as they call it) starts. Its a pretty straightforward 45 Kms drive to Mahabalipuram.

So let the pictures begin (The First Set):

The first snap begins with a shot of a very enterprising beggar - It was hot and she needed water - what better way than to fill her bottle from a leaking water tanker at a traffic light! Its then followed by some snaps of the Toll Naka at the start of the ECR and some views from the ECR (the toll is 45 Rs Return for Mahabalipuram). Incidentally, this is the same route that one takes to go to Pondicherry. Finally the snaps are of Mahabalipuram - Entrance Fees for Indians - 10 Rs. and for foreigners - 150 Rs.!!!
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Last edited by sirajbose : 19th July 2010 at 23:49. Reason: Added Snap Details
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Old 20th July 2010, 00:00   #4
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Default Mahabalipuram (Continued)

The Second Set Of Pictures....
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Old 20th July 2010, 00:10   #5
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Default Mahabalipuram (Continued)

The third and final set....

Some random shots of the market place outside the temple, a view of the beach and a quaint little hotel, where you can get a chilled glass of beverage at 300 PM in the afternoon!
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Old 20th July 2010, 00:56   #6
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Default Mahabalipuram - Revisited

Just a couple of weeks back it was a non happening weekend again. So how do I spice it up - Spending Therapy - Noooo not the mall kind guys, but the Pet Pooja kinds. I had heard that Radisson Temple Bay at Mahabalipuram is an awesome property and had also heard that the breakfast buffet was good.

So I get into my trusted car and drive down there - and discover that not only is the food great and the spread exhaustive - its reasonably priced as well - some 450 bucks (inclusive of taxes).

But the icing on the cake was the property itself - It has a swimming pool which runs the entire breadth of all its rooms and cottages! Its to be seen to be believed. I would really suggest people from Chennai who are planning to go to Pondicherry - to stop by here for a hearty breakfast and then proceed to Pondicherry.

Enjoy the snaps...
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Old 20th July 2010, 11:22   #7
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Default Great hang outs

ECR provides a lot of options for weekend get aways for all kinds of people (beachlors and family) and of all budget.

Those where golden days when we (a group of 10 guys) used to simply ride along ECR and stop at which ever location impresed us and have fun during the weekends.
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Old 20th July 2010, 19:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsr_rpm View Post
ECR provides a lot of options for weekend get aways for all kinds of people (beachlors and family) and of all budget.

Those where golden days when we (a group of 10 guys) used to simply ride along ECR and stop at which ever location impresed us and have fun during the weekends.
Yes, even now the whole of ECR is dotted with these small resorts. Over the weekends most of these are booked by corporates for their offsite meetings (Reward & Recognition, Strategy Meet, etc). For families its advisable to avoid these days and make the most of the weekdays. Not only do you get resorts which are sparsely populated, you also end up getting some awesome deals!
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Old 20th July 2010, 23:20   #9
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By the way, I have also heard, since ECR a 2 Lane belter, its very dangerous off-late.
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Old 20th July 2010, 23:50   #10
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Offlate ECR has become a real dangerous road to drive especially till Kalpakkam; but one cannot ride tension free as it has to be double cautious on road, never know from where who will jump.

@Bose - Pics are excellent & you've covered all the places around Mahabalipuram. I strongly agree that Temple bay is excellent for once in a while experience & truly a unforgettable food. IIRC, it used to be GRT Temple bay isn't it? Has Radisson group bought it over from GRT?I need to try breakfast once over there, though I've had lunch twice from there. Did you have a chance to visit Asiana on OMR? I heard they're good too.Keep your travelogue coming, though I'm a Chennaite, would love to see the places still through your camera
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Old 20th July 2010, 23:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
By the way, I have also heard, since ECR a 2 Lane belter, its very dangerous off-late.
ECR has always been a 2 lane belter - no divider in between - and its always a little dangerous - but its an excellent road - butter smooth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
@Bose - Pics are excellent & you've covered all the places around Mahabalipuram. I strongly agree that Temple bay is excellent for once in a while experience & truly a unforgettable food. IIRC, it used to be GRT Temple bay isn't it? Has Radisson group bought it over from GRT?I need to try breakfast once over there, though I've had lunch twice from there. Did you have a chance to visit Asiana on OMR? I heard they're good too.Keep your travelogue coming, though I'm a Chennaite, would love to see the places still through your camera
Thanks for your generous comments on the pictures. Yes, Temple Bay used to be with the GRT family. Unsure whether its been taken over by Radisson completely or not as it still features on the GRT site - Radisson Temple Bay

By the way - What is Asiana - is it a resort as well? And is it on the Old Mahabalipuram Road versus the ECR?

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st July 2010 at 19:57. Reason: Posts merged. Please use the MULTIQUOTE button instead of making multiple consecutive posts in the same thread. Thanks.
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Old 21st July 2010, 00:38   #12
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Lovely pics. The temple bay looks great indeed. Is the swimming facility only for persons staying there or included in Rs 450/- buffet?
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Old 21st July 2010, 00:44   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Lovely pics. The temple bay looks great indeed. Is the swimming facility only for persons staying there or included in Rs 450/- buffet?
Thanks for the appreciation. Actually I had the audacity to ask the same question to the hotel staff and the looks I got were priceless!

BTW - Love your signature!
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Old 21st July 2010, 00:56   #14
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@Bose - Here you go on Asiana hotels. Pls do make a advance booking before you hit them to avoid unnecessary waiting time. I heard that people from the entire IT highway flood up during weekdays (not sure on weekends) & they're made to wait. So advance reservation helps.
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Old 21st July 2010, 01:04   #15
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Default Pondicherry

Pondicherry was the next logical destination. For people from Chennai - the biggest reason for going to Chennai is simple - Alcohol. The existing regulations in Tamil Nadu enforces alcohol to sold only through government regulated shops called as TASMAC. These shops open at 600 and the rush in from 600 in the morning is to be seen to be believed! The only other places than can sell Alcohol in TN are bars / restaurants attached to a hotel hence the prices go up. This is why getting even a bottle of Kingfisher is an arduous task in Chennai. Forget about brands like Smirnoff and Bacardi - no places even stock it and if you quiz them for unique brands such as Tuborg - the reactions are priceless!

So Pondicherry it was - with three of my colleagues who are hard core non soft drink drinkers (makes it sound politically correct, right?). So these pics are less about Pondicherry overall as a city (could not cover all the places to see as my colleagues were - lets say a little less than stable!) but more random snaps.

Pondicherry is around 100 kms from Mahabalipuram. You take the same East Coast Road. The return trip toll from Chennai is 85 bucks. The first set of snaps shows glimpses of the ECR, the place we stayed and some pictures of the moon (yes, you read that right - it was so beautiful, I could not resist trying to capture its beauty).
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