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Old 23rd July 2010, 16:22   #16
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Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
15th July ha!! that's my birthday..
Well, belated birthday wishes to you. Hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did
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Old 23rd July 2010, 16:29   #17
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Well, belated birthday wishes to you. Hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did
I like the way you articulate things in detail. Well i would be waiting to see how the rest of the T-Log unfolds.

Cheers !
Otomobil.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 17:27   #18
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Smile Madurai to Thekkady

“Sir, Mr. Kumar, he’s in the next cabin with the rest of his family. He’ll be coming here to sleep.” Damn, damn and bigger DAMN. Oh well, the best laid plans of men and mice..

Note: My sincere apologies to folks who thought otherwise. I wished it too.

Earlier on the attendant had come in and made our beds for us. Yes, he lays down the sheet, fluffs the pillow, and unfolds your blanket. Good job.

Anyway my wife and I decide to call it a day and we both lie down, me on the lower berth and she on the upper, she prefers the upper berth and I prefer the lower. Just as I am about to doze off, Mr. Kumar comes in and gets on the berth above mine. The rocking motion of the train puts me to sleep like a baby. Rock a bye baby on the train, when the train moves the berths will rock..

At around five in the morning I’m woken up by my son jumping onto my berth. He jumps onto me and then falls asleep again on top of me. And me? I can’t get back to sleep. Very soon the attendant comes and wakes up Mr. Kumar. I guess we are near Dindigul, so that should mean around an hour more for Madurai. I lie there for some more time and then slowly sit up after moving my son to the side. The sun’s orange rays are lightly visible on the horizon although the sun has not yet risen. I keeping looking out enjoying the view. Very soon the landscape starts giving way to houses and buildings, kachha ones at first and then pukka. This tells me that we are nearing Madurai. I wake up my wife and we wait for the station to arrive. I also say a silent prayer to the Good Lord asking for a nice cab this time.

We alight at Madurai and our driver Mr. Areef is waiting for us at the gate. He has a placard with my name and a Club Mahindra background. He takes our bags and proceeds to the car. My prayers have been answered, it’s a clean, neat, good looking AC Indica. Thank God for Kerala taxis.

It’s around a 4 hour drive to Thekkady and we definitely need to eat breakfast. So we ask our driver if he knows where Murugan Idli house is. He says yes. “Is it nearby?” “Sir, it’s inside the town.” I look at the road and the traffic is not yet heavy. While I would like to eat at MIH, I also do not want to be sitting in traffic on the way back after breakfast. So decision made, we decide to try MIH on our way back and give it a miss this time. So he takes us to Modern restaurant near the station where I have idli, my wife dosa and son, poori. I liked the poori the best.

Half an hour later we are back in the cab and on our way. The traffic is just beginning to build up.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0196.jpg
Scene in Madurai city. Traffic still relatively good.


With time we leave the buildings behind and the scenery starts changing for the better. The concrete gives way to dry plains which then transform to light brown and green plains with shrubs and thorny bushes – typical TN style. With each passing kilometer the views are getting better. And then there it is, the first views of the hills.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0197.jpg


Some random shots follow.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0198.jpg

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0202.jpg

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0200.jpg
There’s a temple on the top of the hill. This is a very common thing that I’ve seen in TN, temples right on the top of hills. If anyone knows why, could you please enlighten me?


By now my son has fallen asleep at the back. I’m also yearning for a tea. So we ask our driver to stop at a road side tea shop and he obliges. Not immediately but after around 10 minutes. “Malayalee tea shop sir, makes nice tea.”

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0205.jpg
Our ride with the tea shop in the back ground.

In between this we pass through some towns too.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0206.jpg


My son wakes up right after our tea stop. He sits drowsily at the back for some time and then the questioning starts – “Have we reached Kerala?” “No, not yet”. And five minutes later “Have we reached Kerala?” “No, not yet”. And another five minutes later “Have we reached Kerala?” “No, not yet. You’ll know when we reach”. Thankfully this seems to placate him and he goes into his day dream world. The roads have become pretty deserted by now and also straight. The Indica is doing a steady 60 kmph and the ride is smooth. I’m beginning to regret not having driven down. This would definitely have been a nice stretch to drive. I start imagining what it would be like.

“It’s OK dear, may be next time”. I’m pulled back to reality by those words from my wife. I also realize that my hand is on the gear and the driver is giving me a weird look. Oooppps. “Hey, maybe if I ask him nicely he’d allow me to drive” says my heart. “Nah, bad idea” counters my head.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0201.jpg

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0203.jpg


We’re soon near Kambham and the scenery has changed to farms. With the mountains as the background and the clouds palying hide and seek with the mountains this is really a very pretty sight. There are a lot of vineyards in this area.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0208.jpg

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0213.jpg
You can see the grapes in the above picture.


As we pass Kambham we reach the TN check post. We pass by and very soon the ghat section starts. This is a forest area and we are surrounded by tall trees. It’s very green. Just as we start the ascend the rain comes pouring down. “We’ve reached Kerala, haven’t we?” asks my son. “Yes, we have” I reply. “I knew it, it always rains when I am at Ammachi’s house too.” Ammachi (grandmother) by the way stays at Trivandrum.

A short six kilometers later and we’ve reached a landmark.

Thekkady Vacation - Four days, three nights, two places, one family-dsc_0219.jpg

Yes, we’re at Kumily town. Can’t help thinking that this would have looked a lot better with the posts and the wires out of the way – maybe one day it will. We take the road to the left from here. We drive for a very short while and as we make a turn it suddenly appears to our left….

P.S. - Next post tomorrow guys, ran out of pictures
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Old 23rd July 2010, 17:45   #19
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Nice snaps and story writing. By any chance you watch those daily soaps?
Because at the end there is always a question mark on something dramatic happening in the next episode.
But sadly nothing happens, as the serial cannot close down!

Nice story. Your first I-AC travel reminded me of my first, when my dad took me on an LTC to Darjeeling.
We boarded the famed (and really so) Cormandel at Vijayawada for Howrah.
We had that coupe for almost 40 hours. And it was pure bliss!
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Old 23rd July 2010, 17:48   #20
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Nice snaps and story writing. By any chance you watch those daily soaps?
Thanks for the compliment ampere. But no, I do not watch the soaps, we don't own a TV
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Old 23rd July 2010, 17:52   #21
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I like this travelogue - a long time since I saw a AC 1 coach.

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 18:48   #22
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Ok now that you've asked for it, here it is. There's a popular saying in Tamil that goes Kundru Irukkum Idamellan Kumaran irukkum Idam. Roughly translates to Kumaran resides in all places where there's a hill.
So mostly Karthikeya or Kumara or kumaraswamy or subramanya resides on these hills.
This is from the fact that Karthikeya fought with his family because he was hoodwinked by his brother Ganesha over a divine fruit that gives Gnyana (wisdom) to the person who consumes it.
Narada gives the fruit to Shiva and Shiva hands it to Shakti. Now Shakti being the mother can't have the fruit when she has two kids. Narada now says that the fruit can't be cut.
So the challenge set up is, the one who circumnavigates the universe first wins the fruit.
Karthikeya gets on to his peacock and goes around while Ganesha says parents are the whole universe and just walks around them.
Karthikeya cries foul, disowns his family and all possession and just wears langot, carries a stick and comes and stands like a pauper on the hill we now know as Pazhani (palani), which is derived from Pazham Nee (you are the fruit).
This is because, Avvai who is sent to pacify him asks Karthikeya, you are the fruit of wisdom yourself. Why do you need one separately?
And once Karthikeya calms down, Shiva and Shakti bless him saying that every hill would be a home for Karthikeya.
That's the legend behind this concept of hill temples. But then, most of the hill temples are Karthikeya's in TN. There's also a controversy that the tirupati temple is actually that of Karthikeya and not of Venkatachalapathy. I've been trying to do some research on that for some time. But seems like just bogus. Searching for references from Sanga period for this.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 19:02   #23
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I like this travelogue - a long time since I saw a AC 1 coach.

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue.
Thank you vkochar. The rest will follow in due time. Need to get the pics for the rest.

@MX6 - Thanks for the explanation. Always wondered on this.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 19:37   #24
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Belated Happy Anniversary @SafeDrive

Excellent travelogue and the way you are building it up makes a strong case for some script writing assignment soon


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I also realize that my hand is on the gear and the driver is giving me a weird look. Oooppps.
I am sure the driver would have got goose bumps!
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Old 23rd July 2010, 21:31   #25
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Belated Happy Anniversary @SafeDrive

Excellent travelogue and the way you are building it up makes a strong case for some script writing assignment soon
I could do with the extra income Meer. Thanks for your wishes.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 22:14   #26
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@SafeDrive - I heared they serve pot coffee in 1st A/C, isn't that true anymore? I wish to travel in 1st A/C provided there's a private toilet too in addition to bin; IIRC, there're only about 8 tickets available & the distribution is 2 + 4 + 2. This means, one room for 2 travellers, another room for 4 travellers & last one again for 2 travellers.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:22   #27
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Hey SafeDrive, firstly belated anniversary for completing a decade. I hope it was happy and peaceful .

You do have a way with your writing and I'm enjoying it every bit. BTW did you try Dosa at Supreme in Madurai. IIRC its right opposite the station.

Looking forward to more pictures.

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@SafeDrive - I heared they serve pot coffee in 1st A/C, isn't that true anymore? I wish to travel in 1st A/C provided there's a private toilet too in addition to bin; IIRC, there're only about 8 tickets available & the distribution is 2 + 4 + 2. This means, one room for 2 travellers, another room for 4 travellers & last one again for 2 travellers.
In the Rajdhani, the food is served in BoneChina. And the half 2nd AC/ 1st AC the config is 4+4+2.

As Suman rightly said, the rat race has made our lives devoid of these simple pleasures and to compensate for that, this year my annual vacation doesn't include any driving at all. But it does include a 1st AC trip from HYD to CCU
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:34   #28
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Belated nniversary wishes Safe Drive. BTW, my Birthday falls on the same day. I am sure you have married on a good day.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:45   #29
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Very well written 'trainlogue' SafeDrive, loved seeing and reading it, waiting for you to continue ! Really miss those train journeys that we used to make when life was a little less hectic !
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Old 24th July 2010, 12:02   #30
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We are waiting for updates Safedrive Sir. Hope you write one about your HK trip too

Never knew Ist ACs would be so comfortable. Will try it shortly provided you approve a vacation.

P.S - Safedrive is my Manager
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