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Old 21st November 2010, 14:11   #1
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Thumbs up Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour

After 18 months of planning and working out on over 10 draft itineraries, we finalised to visit the following places this November:
  • Chennai
  • Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram)
  • Pondicherry and Auroville
  • Villupuram (Railway JN)
  • Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi
  • Madurai
  • Kanchipuram
  • Vellore and Sripuram
and if time permits Horsely Hills and Mahanandi in AP.

Cars: Indica Xeta GLS and Indica DLS
Total travellers: 9 adults and 1 infant
Total Distance Traveled (Circular): 2300+ Km (1167~1175 Km by each car and 195 Km by Bus and 884 Km by Train and another 75 Km by 3 x Autos etc; )

Dates of Travel: 13th November 2010 to 18th November 2010
Route Taken: NH9 - Hayathnagar, Hyderabad -> Narkatpally -> SH5 -> SH52 (DO NOT TOUCH THIS ROAD) -> NH5 -> Gudur -> NH5 -> Chennai -> ECR -> Tiger Cave -> Mahabalipuram -> ECR -> Pondicherry -> ECR -> Auroville -> ECR -> Pondicherry -> NH45A -> Villupuram Railway Station -> Train # 6713 -> Rameswaram -> Dhanushkodi -> NH49 -> SH34 -> Madurai -> Train # 6724 -> Villupuram Railway Station -> Old NH 45, SH 5 and SH 116 -> Kanchipuram (Go upto Chengalpattu on NH 45 and turn left instead here. DO NOT turn left at Tindivanam) -> NH4 -> Vellore -> Sripuram -> SH9 -> NH4 -> NH219 -> NH205 -> NH7 -> Hyderabad

Booked the train tickets 3 months in advance and also ordered a few things to make life easier such as a In car Netbook Vacuum suction mount from UK and a couple of X-Mini Max II capsule speakers, 12V DC Car Tyre Inflator and a mini tripod for the DIY In car Camcorder mount. Both the cars are in great condition after recent servicing and wheel alignment and balancing. I wanted to make sure I go to this tour with GPS so I can get along without asking anyone for directions and GPS really helped a lot this time.

Maps & GPS Logs:

Complete Global Tour Map:
Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-global.png

Exact Map generated from GPS Logs on the routes traveled by car - Color legend indicates the speed at that particular location
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Size:  140.1 KB

Maps from approximate routes traveled by Train and Mini-Bus
Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-tntour.png

ZIP Archive of GPS Logs in original Mireo viaGPS .BIN Format : TNTourBINFormatGPSLog.zip

ZIP Archive of GPS Logs Converted to .KML Format : TNTourKMLFormatGPSLog.zip

Rest of the Videologue Coming soon!
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Old 21st November 2010, 19:48   #2
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This is what I was waiting for. Will be doing Chennai-Rameshwaram-Chennai-mahabalipuram-Pondy-Kanchipuram-Chennai from 25 to 29 Dec. Mate start posting the details as I am sure your posts will help me plan better.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 21:46   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueDreamer View Post
......
ZIP Archive of GPS Logs in original Mireo viaGPS .BIN Format : Attachment 457095

ZIP Archive of GPS Logs Converted to .KML Format : Attachment 457096
Hi,
How does one convert the Mireo .bin files to something useful, like .gpx

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 22nd November 2010, 21:52   #4
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Use a converter like atn.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 22:04   #5
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^^^^
Link please.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 23rd November 2010, 13:23   #6
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Thumbs up Day 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
This is what I was waiting for. Will be doing Chennai-Rameshwaram-Chennai-mahabalipuram-Pondy-Kanchipuram-Chennai from 25 to 29 Dec. Mate start posting the details as I am sure your posts will help me plan better.
Happy to know this might help you. I will post the rest of it soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
How does one convert the Mireo .bin files to something useful, like .gpx

Regards
Sutripta
You can even try GPS Visualizer Online Converter

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 1 :

So by 12th night everything was packed and we all woke up by 3:30 AM and started the journey by 5:15 AM and reached NH9 at LB Nagar X Rds by 5:40 AM and waited for my cousin and family. I was a foggy morning and in less than 20 minutes, all the windows had mist formation.

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-nh9.jpg

After final checks, including tyre pressure and everything else on checklists, we resumed our journey. The first few KMs which were already four laned was good to drive and then from Chityal the usual NH9 peak traffic starts. As we neared Narketpally, we found ourselves stuck in 8 ~ 10 KM traffic jam.

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-nh9jam.jpg
Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-nh9jam2.jpg

The under construction road on the left helped us to some extent in getting away from the Jam. The lorry and transport vehicle drivers even get down here for sometime and did some are seen brushing and washing face here.

Note: This is almost a daily affair in this stretch. So plan accordingly.

Video of Day - 1 - Part 1 Upload in progress...

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-ghar1.png

You can find BP Ghar Company Owned and Company Operated outlets on the highway to the left near Chityal and Ongole as shown in the above image.

Around 8:30 AM, we stopped at a Hotel on the highway in Narketpally for breakfast and then took a right turn into SH5 (Nalgonda State Highway). Originally planned to pass through SH1 and visit a temple near Narsaraopet but due to time lost in the traffic jam, we decided to stick to SH52 and continue down to Addanki Road to reach NH5 near Ongole as this would save 35 Kms and help us reach faster. This was the worst mistake we did in this entire tour and we can call the journey through this SH as "Torture on Wheels".

Video of Day - 1 - Part 2 Editing in progress...

Due to the rains and movement of heavy vehicles, the road on this route had almost vanished and in place we can see some craters and this is a good place for off-roading especially on a rainy day. But if you are coming here on a pleasure trip, AVOID this route. We lost good 3 hours here and one hour in NH9 traffic jam.

The roads were so bad that we scraped our bumpers 4 ~ 5 times in this and the average speed in this 150 Km stretch was under 30Kmph.

We were running behind schedule by 4 hours. Originally we planned to reach Addanki by 1:00 ~ 1:30 PM but instead reached Addanki at 4 PM. We were told that the SH1 was much better than this route currently. But I think based on the State Highway conditions overall during our trip, I suggest anyone planning on this route to stick to National Highways and avoid SH.

It would be wise to go up to Vijayawada on NH9 and turn into NH5. It would take 5 hours maximum in the current situation to VJA and from there onwards, NH5 is a breeze. We maintained an average of 75~80 Kmph on NH5. One could easily do VJA - Ongole in 2.5 Hours. So anyone could target Ongole at 2 or 2:30 PM from Hyderabad if they take NH9 and NH5. But never touch SH you are sure the road has improved.

So after having our lunch at 4PM, we started off to Chennai at 4:30 PM. We were around 345 Km away from the destination and behind the schedule by 4 hours. The SH blew away the Fuel Economy and I had to refuel at Ongole at an IOC outlet though the target was BP Ghar. FE so far was 10.75 on our Indica Xeta which normally gives me over 15 on any NH.

Below is the list of Toll Gates on NH-5 after Ongole up to Chennai:
  • Ongole - Rs 45.00
  • Tanguturu - Rs 45.00
  • Singarayakonda - Rs 35.00
  • Nellore - Rs 20.00
  • Sulurpet - Rs 40.00
By 9 PM, we were 175 Km away from Chennai where we had reservation at a hotel but since some of us are tired of sitting from morning 5 AM, it was decided to halt at Nellore but we already crossed it. So next choice was Gudur where we called it a day. Surprisingly we found a newly constructed hotel with A/c Rooms in this place near the Railway Station.

Overall, Day 1 was spoiled due to the worst roads on the SH and was disappointing.

Rest of the Videologue Coming soon!

Last edited by TrueDreamer : 23rd November 2010 at 13:27.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 14:25   #7
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Mate, sounds really interesting. Good narration as well.

Keep going and don't make us wait
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Old 23rd November 2010, 15:02   #8
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True Dreamer, nice narration and you have been adding some wonderful info in your travelogue with details of your GPS logs and addresses of the BP COCO pumps. You have done your research well.
In june this year we went to Annavaram from hyderabad. Started at 2 in the morning, but even then it was the same situation on NH9, got stuck in the jam and could cover only 90kms in first 3 hours of journey.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 22:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reisender View Post
Mate, sounds really interesting. Good narration as well.

Keep going and don't make us wait
Thanks for the feedback Will continue asap but the 1080p Full HD videos do take a while to upload to YouTube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
True Dreamer, nice narration and you have been adding some wonderful info in your travelogue with details of your GPS logs and addresses of the BP COCO pumps. You have done your research well.
In june this year we went to Annavaram from hyderabad. Started at 2 in the morning, but even then it was the same situation on NH9, got stuck in the jam and could cover only 90kms in first 3 hours of journey.
Thank you. Yes, The planning was in place for last 18 months but the majority was in last 3 months especially on fuel stations, hotels, restaurants, pit stops, restrooms, Tata Motors authorized service outlets, etc., along the way.

Lets hope GMR finishes the expansion on time so travel time cuts down and safety on this highway increases.

Day 1 Part 1 Full HD (1920 x 1080) Video:

Photos from "Torture On Wheels" - State Highway 52

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-shtow1.jpg

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-shtow2.jpg
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Old 23rd November 2010, 23:12   #10
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Great!!! Would be interesting to know how you've mounted the camcorder inside the car. Any snaps of the camcorder and nettop mounting?
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:35   #11
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Great Log True Dreamer,

Enjoyed the narration and pictures, eagerly waiting for TN part :-)

Thanks,
Srinivas.R
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:45   #12
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Timely thread for me. I am visiting Pondi in December and will be seeking info. from your travelogue.
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Old 24th November 2010, 23:16   #13
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Thumbs up Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Vampire View Post
Great!!! Would be interesting to know how you've mounted the camcorder inside the car. Any snaps of the camcorder and nettop mounting?
In Car Camcorder setup in our cars was a DIY stuff inspired from the following Youtube video.



As mentioned in the OP, Netbook was mounted on a specialised vacuum suction mount holder imported from UK.

Click here for Mount Info Page. This is really good to hold the netbook for GPS Navigation and In Car Entertainment. I tried Centrafuse (uses Destinator core) and a bunch of GPS apps such as Destinator, Garmin, etc,. But I am best satisfied and using Windows Mobile 6.1.4 Emulator to run a Mireo viaGPS with 201008 India map from MapMyIndia. The newer version of Emulator had issues with setting the virtual com port inside the emulator.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sriswe View Post
Great Log True Dreamer,

Enjoyed the narration and pictures, eagerly waiting for TN part :-)

Thanks,
Srinivas.R
Thanks, In this post, I am covering Day 2 which covers Chennai, Mahabalipuram from TN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skartik2 View Post
Timely thread for me. I am visiting Pondi in December and will be seeking info. from your travelogue.
Thanks, this post will also have some info from Pondicherry. I hope this helps you

----------------------------------------------
Day 1 Part - 2 and other videos will come later.
----------------------------------------------

Be watchful for cattle crossing around Nellore bypass.

Day 2:

After having a good sleep in Gudur, a small town, we started a little late around 8:30 AM to Chennai completely fresh. Breakfast was not bad at the local hotel near Railway Station. With in 10 minutes, we are back to NH5 and enjoying the smooth roads and the greenery on the sides.

L&T and others maintaining the highway seem to be doing a good job here with the toll they are collecting. We reached Chennai outskirts in an hour and half. But there seems to be some part of NH5 after Gummidipoondi, Chennai under repair / expansion but the traffic flow is good and no complaints here.

Those who are following the GPS logs provided, kindly note that we took a right turn after you see the Toll Road ends board in Chennai city. But you need not take this right and can proceed straight upto Basin Bridge or follow what your GPS tells you to take you to Mahabalipuram / Pondicherry.

Due to lack of time, we had to skip certain places on the way to Mahabalipuram.ECR is pretty good after the toll but one thing I did not like on these highways here are the number of barricades in the form of abandoned police check posts.

Next we went to Tiger Cave on the way to Mahabalipuram. It is 4 Kms away from Mahabalipuram and you see a board pointing to it. Entry is free but you will need to pay Rs 20 per car parking.

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-tiger_cave1.jpg

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-tiger_cave_notice.jpg

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-tiger_cave_beach.jpg

Beach here is very much better with some good waves when compared to the beaches in Chennai. Even in terms of visitors, this beach scores well. It is not crowded and not isolated. You will lose track of time on his beach. We spent about 2 hours here unknowingly. So keep a track on time. There are some private wooden boats which we felt unsafe so skipped them. But there are some people who are using these boats to go into the sea. But we really enjoyed the beach here when compared to other beaches on the east coastal line of India.

It was 2 PM and we headed to A2B Adyar Anand Bhavan in Mahabalipuram and its 3 PM by the time we are out. As we had planned to visit Ashram at Pondicherry in the evening, we had to skip Panch Pandava Rathas and Shore Temple. We anyway had another TN Tour to cover Kanyakumari and other places and hence did not mind skipping these for this time.

The rest of ECR was good but the barricades are irritating for sure. Once a french colony, Pondicherry is very much silent and you can still see some signboards in French. Even the traffic is very little and the beach area is very cool. You can see a big statue of Mahatma Gandhi and a memorial for World War even close by.

I am informed that the beach here was once very violent and submerged the land slowly and people had to stop it from further cutting in with the help of huge rocks (probably cut from nearby hills).

Name:  pondy_beach.jpg
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Size:  28.2 KB

Attaching an photo of the rocks for an idea. Photo taken from internet to give an idea of the rocks. Right now, there are more rocks than you can see in this photo. As it was dark already, we could not take much photos here.

Our uncle managed accommodation in a new guest house related to or managed by Aurobindo society and the attached restaurant was good as well.

Day 2 was very good and we took it slow to enjoy every moment especially on the beach at Tiger Cave. Day 2 and Day 3 will continue in my next post.

I will post the videos from Day 2 and others once I finish writing. Rest of the Videologue Coming soon!

Last edited by TrueDreamer : 24th November 2010 at 23:26.
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Old 26th November 2010, 09:11   #14
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Thumbs up Day 3

Day 2 (Ctd): After reaching Pondicherry, we went to Auro Ashram. Infants are not allowed here as they cite the reason "They are noisy and disturb the peace in the ashram" - I boycotted the ashram personally for this amazing reason and spent time at the beach. You can not get into the waters here as it is blocked by stones. But some locals are seen on the stones to have a "bath".

If you are planning to stay for another day here and want to have food from their Dining Hall, you will need to purchase a ticket for Rs 20 which includes Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Don't expect anything fancy in this but it is supposed to be healthy one.

Day 3:

In the morning, for breakfast we went to the Dining Hall. I could see a lot of volunteers of all ages here doing service. For breakfast, you are provided with a Wheat bread with butter, a banana, Milk and a couple of other things.

Then we left for Auroville. From the visitors car parking, you will need to walk in for a couple of kilometers inside. However there are exemptions for senior citizens here and they could drive up to a further point to decrease the distance you need to walk. Carry some drinking water with you as you may feel thirsty during the walk.

It opens only by 9:30 AM and we reached there by 8 AM. We utilized this time to have some delicious dosas at a restaurant at a restaurant inside Auroville Visitors center as some of us are not happy with the morning breakfast at Auro Ashram Dining Hall.

To get an entry into Matrimandir, you must make your reservation at Auroville 2 or 3 days in ahead depending on the visitors. If you do not have a ticket, you can only watch it from outside. We went there few days before a special occasion there and a lot of visitors including many foreigners were present. We could not manage entry into Matrimandir for lack of ticket this time but here are some photos from outside.

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-dsc02008.jpg

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-dsc02024.jpg

Full HD Videologue with GPS Logs of 2300+ Kms in 6 Days of Tamil Nadu & Pondy Tour-matri_3.jpg

There is a lot of greenery around and after spending sometime in the gardens here, we went back to our car parking area to proceed back to the guest house. Paid Rs 20 to the parking attendant (Rs 10 per car) and we are back to the Guest house. The roads are very much narrow along the route here up to ECR.

I was looking for an Internet cafe and found La Coromandel Restaurant with WiFi and the speed was close to 2Mbps here surprisingly when the entire former french area did not even have a single internet cafe. Anyone thinking PocketInternet from Aircel would help you surf during your vacations, think again. After wasting money on a useless prepaid connection especially for pocket internet after talking to their Customer Care who promised I would be able to access internet in Pondicherry while roaming. Forget internet, I could not even make a voice call to anyone due to lack of signal. You see a lot of Aircel hoardings around with no signal anywhere near Matrimandir or Ashram or Beach Road.

After having lunch, we proceeded to Villupuram Railway Station. Though there is no dedicated car parking, we could park our cars safely and paid Rs 25 per car per day. Anyone at SCR listening?

At Secunderabad Railway Station, its Rs 20 for first two hours near the 10th platform exit and even more higher near the 1st platform main entrance.

After having mild dinner, we boarded the train to Rameswaram.

I will post the videos from Day 3 and others once I finish writing. Rest of the Videologue Coming soon!
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