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Old 11th January 2011, 22:36   #31
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

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Trying to beat HVK in his own game???
I dont think thats possible for any of us...!!!
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Old 11th January 2011, 22:54   #32
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

Day 11 : Kovalam.
Waking up on the river, we strolled out to the paddy farms and to the other side of the river where we watched some fishermen set up their nets. Seeing them diving into the water on such a chilly morning sent shivers through my spine.

King on a wire!!
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Sunrise near the docking point
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Fishermen setting up nets
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Coming back to the boat, we resumed our angling and started from where we left off last night, catching another couple of fish before letting the go back...

Hooked
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We took off from the docking point, had a hearty breakfast of idlis with amazing sambhar enroute as we made our way back to the jetty at Kumarakom.

Comparable to a 6 lane expressway?
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After disembarking at around 10am, we started towards Kovalam on NH47 weaving through towns and villages all the way. We had booked the Thapovan heritage at Nelikennu beach around 5 kms from Kovalam on the Poovar road.

Thapovan Heritage
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Cottages facing the beach over a cliff
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The sea facing cottages at Thapovan are beautiful and after a quick dip in the roaring waves (the slope is quite steep and the waves crash and retreat violently making it a tad too dangerous to venture beyond knee deep levels) and a hearty lunch at the inhouse restaurant I fell asleep on the sun beds that were laid out outside the room while wifey went in for some spa treatment.

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We sat by the rocks on the beach near the resort taking in the sunset and then ventured out to Kovalam beach.

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Hawa Beach at night
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We had a leisurely stroll through Hawa and Lighthouse beach and then had a scrumptious seafood platter at one of the many seafood hotels that line the promenade.

Yummy...crab, lobster, prawns, pomfret, squid and french fries with Barley water....now thats a meal
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We crashed early for the night since we were hoping to wake up real early and make it to Kanyakumari for the sunrise.

Last edited by nix1976in : 11th January 2011 at 22:56.
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Old 12th January 2011, 08:19   #33
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
In 2 pages you packed almost all of South India and that too amazingly well!
Very nice indeed. The Periyaar Snaps have come out really well.
Thanks Ampere...glad you liked the snaps. Stay tuned, some more coming up.
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Old 12th January 2011, 08:52   #34
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

"Comparable to a 6 lane expressway" pic is excellent..
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Old 12th January 2011, 11:44   #35
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

Amazing pictures.
Short and crisp few liners about each place.

Sometimes these kind of long journeys becomes a pain after first 2 days.But you have planned it well with great breaks and rejuvenating experience in each phase.


The sunset pictures and kumarakom pics are beautiful. You got some nice cover by those clouds.

Waiting for the gears and stay details.
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Old 12th January 2011, 16:49   #36
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

NIX1976in - you have covered some serious distances in a relatively short period. The Xylo must be a good vehicle for long drives.

Your narrative and photographs are really good, and you seem to have managed a really fun holiday (took me a while to figure out the barley water caption)- thanks for sharing.

Did you plan the entire itenary by yourself?
How did you decide the route and places to stay?
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Old 12th January 2011, 18:21   #37
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Day 12 : Kanyakumari, Madurai and Kodaikanal

This was going to be long day...started out at around 5am and raced through the empty streets to the TN border on NH47. Reached Kanyakumari around 6.30am and were shocked to see hordes of people already there. The whole area was reverberating with hymns and people chanting their prayers and the sun came up to loud cheers of the crowd. The rising sun formed a nice backdrop to the Thiruvallar's monument and the Vivekananda rock memorial.

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Moving out after an hour, we joined the amazing NH7 for a quick dash to Madurai. It was an extremely fast run to Madurai and we made it by 10.30am.

The awesome NH7.
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The darshan was quick and we were able to spend quite sometime inside the sanctum sanctorum. Had another great breakfast of vada's and dosa's at one of the many hotels outside the temple and hopped back onto NH7 for a run to Kodaikanal.

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The 1000 pillar temple and museum
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Meenakshi Temple in the rain!
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Branched off the highway and started the arduous climb up to Kodai. The ghats are steep and narrow and one has to be careful with the state buses that run amok here.

Atop the Kodai Ghats
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Rat Tail falls
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Silver Cascade Falls
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We finally made it to Villa Retreat, our destination for the day by 3pm and checked in. We had a corner room on the upper level which gave us beautiful views of the valley below. We had a quick lunch and went off to Kodai Lake. The smell of neeligiri is thick in the air and the narrow leafy bylanes are perfect for honeymooners.

Villa Retreat
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It started drizzling at the lake which soon transformed into a downpour of some of the coldest rainwater I had ever experienced. Coming back, we took a small stroll across Coakers walk but the fog had set in strong and absolutely nothing was visible.

Kodai lake...was drizzling all the time.
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Church near Coakers Walk
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As evening set in, the fog let up a bit and we could see the jewel box as advertised on Coakers walk right from our room. It was am amazing sight but inspite of fidding with the camera settings, I couldn’t capture it on film. The rain lowered the temperature even further and it was freezing when we walked across to the Carlton for dinner.

Carlton, Kodaikanal
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Coming back, I watched some TV and we crashed for the night...next destination Hogennakkal.
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Old 12th January 2011, 18:50   #38
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

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Originally Posted by mykal shoemaker View Post
Amazing pictures.
Short and crisp few liners about each place.

Sometimes these kind of long journeys becomes a pain after first 2 days.But you have planned it well with great breaks and rejuvenating experience in each phase.


The sunset pictures and kumarakom pics are beautiful. You got some nice cover by those clouds.

Waiting for the gears and stay details.
Thanks Buddy, the plan stood me in good stead and I was never fatigued at any point of time. Stay tuned for more.
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Old 12th January 2011, 19:28   #39
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

The place Villa Retreat takes me back in time when we stayed their. Coffee at the garden was just too good and so was the food at Carlton!
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Old 12th January 2011, 21:34   #40
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

Spectacular photos of the backwaters and the amazing angles of the mandapam in Madurai temple with the light streaming on the pillars!

What was your assessment of driving conditions of Kerala roads?

Your choice of hotels is becoming better and better - please do share details on tariffs and contact information.
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Old 12th January 2011, 21:34   #41
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

Day 13 : Hogennakkal.

Woke up easy and started the long winding descent down the ghat, stopped at Sarvana Bhavan in Vatalgundu for some amazing paper roast dosa, vada and idlis.

Early morning snaps of Villa Retreat.
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Kodai Ghats
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View from Kodai Ghats
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Joined NH7 and dashed through to the Dharmpuri exit and made our way to Adhiyamaan Palace which was our destination for the night. Checked in and started towards Hogennakkal which is around 35kms from here.

NH7
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Ever since I watched the promo's of the movie Raavan, I was itching to make it to Hogennakkal and the place did not disappoint me. We hired a coracle and dived into the river. Hundreds of small waterfalls line the river edge and its quite an adventure to ride through the mild rapids in the coracle. The guy took us around the river, under the waterfall and spun us round and round for a couple of hours before dropping us back. The fried fish on the island seemed tempting but I averted the temptation hoping for a better meal back at the hotel.

Coracle Parking Point!
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Hogenakkal waterfalls
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Kingfisher at Hogenakkal
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4 Kings on one throne!
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The a/c deluxe room at the Adhiyamaan palace complete with a jacuzzi rivals any star hotel and I was pretty happy with it for the meager rent they took. The location too is very convenient. Spent the evening watching TV and had a great meal at the restaurant below before calling it a day.
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Old 12th January 2011, 21:40   #42
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Spectacular photos of the backwaters and the amazing angles of the mandapam in Madurai temple with the light streaming on the pillars!

What was your assessment of driving conditions of Kerala roads?

Your choice of hotels is becoming better and better - please do share details on tariffs and contact information.
Thanks HV, Most of the roads in Kerala are good and I had no problems anywhere as such except when the highway passes through each and every town and village cutting down the average speed drastically.

I will surely share my plan details once I am done with the log.

Last edited by nix1976in : 12th January 2011 at 21:41.
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Old 12th January 2011, 23:38   #43
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Hi Nikhil,
A loooong trip but definitely worthwhile especially when done in ones own vehicle. Your photos say it all. I especially liked the Munnar photos. You have captured the picturesque valley very well. I also like the Kushalnagar monastery snaps . I did not go there when I drove by from Mysore to Kerala but seeing the photos I will plan it for my next trip for sure. Thanks for sharing. So did you hit Tamil Nadu ? Do we have the pleasure of any more photos ?
Thanks buddy, yes this was my longest trip thus far ( my trip to Rajasthan went up to 4200kms while this one clocked almost 5000 kms) but not for once was I fatigued or even slightly bored.

I guess you must have seen the TN snaps already...stay tuned for some more.

Last edited by nix1976in : 12th January 2011 at 23:39.
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Old 13th January 2011, 10:38   #44
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NIX1976in - you have covered some serious distances in a relatively short period. The Xylo must be a good vehicle for long drives.

Your narrative and photographs are really good, and you seem to have managed a really fun holiday (took me a while to figure out the barley water caption)- thanks for sharing.

Did you plan the entire itenary by yourself?
How did you decide the route and places to stay?

Thanks KMT, The Xylo is an amazing vehicle for highway drives, not an ounce of fatigue at at any point.

Glad you liked the snaps and the narration.

Yes, I planned the itenary by myself. Google maps is a great start point to figure out the places to visit and the map the routes. Trip Advisor comes in handy to identify where to stay since it offers reveiws by actual people who have stayed at the place, however on the homestays I make sure to chat up with the hosts and then take a call.

On a side note, I also understand that the homestay owners too prefer to chat up with the potential guest and then make up their mind wether to let the person stay with them or not. I feel they are not so much in it for the business than for the pleasure of knowing new people and hosting them at their house and giving them a glimpse of their way of living.

Like the feeling of being in Rajasthan comes up by staying in heritage palaces and havelies, the same arises in Kerala and Karnataka by staying with such warm people in their ancestral homes.

Last edited by nix1976in : 13th January 2011 at 10:41.
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Old 13th January 2011, 11:28   #45
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Default Re: Southern Odyssey : 5000 kms through South India

As promised here are a few pics of namdroling tibetian temple at Bylakuppe (sounds more like Bailekuppe), during our visit in early 2007.

Look at the temple's tomb in the red circle in the first photo. :-)
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