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Old 11th February 2011, 17:12   #16
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

THURSDAY:

Next day had an early breakfast in the room itself. Excellent idlis and dosas, didn't expect such quality from TTDC. Started at 8AM. I decided to take a route that goes through towns, so that we can see village and town life - instead of taking the national highway. So chose to take this route back: Thanjavur -> Kumbakonam -> Chidambaram -> Pondicherry -> Chennai. Turned out to be a bad decision. Most of the state highway roads were in bad condition and traffic was congested in all the towns. But we still enjoyed the drive, looking at old-style houses, village life, cattle, green fields on both sides etc.

The bridge between Sirkazhi and Chidambaram is being built, and we had to pass through a village one-lane road. By one-lane I mean exactly one lane. We were lucky no other vehicle came in the opposite direction till we were through. I am attaching a few pictures of this stretch below.

On the way to Pondy we found an interesting village with lots of shops selling cane items and mats. So we stopped and picked up some cane baskets and cane stools. Very happy with the purchases! I wonder what village it is? My mom says it must be "Pathamadai".

In Pondy we stopped at Hotel Sarguru (a family favorite) for lunch. After that, it was a usual ECR drive to Mahabs, then took OMR at Mahabs. I was fortunate to reach Chennai at around 3PM, just before the peak-hour traffic. Sathyabama buses were the only traffic to contend with.

Overall a wonderful trip, a much-needed vacation and my first long trip in the Figo!

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1272-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1276-fileminimizer.jpg

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Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1283-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1284-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1287-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1288-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1289-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1290-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1294-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1298-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1300-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1304-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1305-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1306-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1310-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1311-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1313-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1315-fileminimizer.jpg

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Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1324-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1325-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1326-fileminimizer.jpg

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-1328-fileminimizer.jpg
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Old 11th February 2011, 18:10   #17
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

That is one long photo-log! But real fun re-visiting the places that we have already seen! Esp. Azhagar Kovil. Its awesome place!

A comment about the 50Km drive you mentioned. From the Udumalpet if you come to Munnar, its about 90Km and views are even more stunning. But I always wondered, how is it from Bodi side! Definitely would like to do it some time.

About the Kumbonam route: Yes beyond Chidambaram towards Pondy, its real bad (I mean crowded). I truly enjoyed the green fields around Kumbakonam/Papanasam. That real fun.
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Old 11th February 2011, 18:23   #18
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

I did the Madurai-Munnar (thro' Theni, Bodi) drive in dec 2010 end and thanks for reviving my memories. Am not able to write a TL even though i did this drive earlier to you.

Very nice photos and i missed having idlis in 'Murugan Idli Kadai'. Came to know of this place only after i returned to Bangalore.
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Old 11th February 2011, 19:21   #19
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post

WEDNESDAY:

Started at six! Non-stop drive all the way to Thanjavur. I drove via Bodhi-Theni-Madurai-Trichy. When we started off, the mist was very thick and we could hardly see the road. At around 7:30 the vehicles started hurtling at us from the opposite direction. I don't know why Munnar drivers never honk! Is it some kind of superstition that honking at a blind corner is bad?!

It was traficcy up to Madurai, and it took all of half an hour (10 AM to 10:30) to drive from one end of Madurai to the other. But after that it was the NH45 to Trichy where I touched 145kmph, and held a steady 120. The road from Trichy-Thanjavur is also almost four-laned and I could hold 100 for the most part. Reached Thanjavur by 12 noon.
From Theni you could have taken the Dindigul route. Theni -> Dindigul -> Trichy. That's a much shorter route. No need to go all the way to Madurai.
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Old 11th February 2011, 19:21   #20
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

i thoroughly enjoyed reading your travelogue and glancing through all the beautiful pics.
Just like you,I am also itching to go for a long drive and waiting for one good opportunity.
Did you feel tired anytime while doing this trip i.e driving figo?
How do you rate the comfort?
Comparison with xeta would be great as that is also a very comfortable highway car.
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Old 12th February 2011, 00:40   #21
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
That is one long photo-log! But real fun re-visiting the places that we have already seen! Esp. Azhagar Kovil. Its awesome place!

A comment about the 50Km drive you mentioned. From the Udumalpet if you come to Munnar, its about 90Km and views are even more stunning. But I always wondered, how is it from Bodi side! Definitely would like to do it some time.

About the Kumbonam route: Yes beyond Chidambaram towards Pondy, its real bad (I mean crowded). I truly enjoyed the green fields around Kumbakonam/Papanasam. That real fun.
Yes, it was real fun! I should try the Udumalpet route next time (maybe combine with Valparai?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh K R View Post
I did the Madurai-Munnar (thro' Theni, Bodi) drive in dec 2010 end and thanks for reviving my memories. Am not able to write a TL even though i did this drive earlier to you.

Very nice photos and i missed having idlis in 'Murugan Idli Kadai'. Came to know of this place only after i returned to Bangalore.
Do write a TL! The best thing in Murugan Idli Kadai is the chutneys. They have two brown chutneys that look exactly alike, but taste completely different. The green chutney is from heaven itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crossroads View Post
From Theni you could have taken the Dindigul route. Theni -> Dindigul -> Trichy. That's a much shorter route. No need to go all the way to Madurai.
Actually I was a bit hesitant about it because in maps it shows that this route would mean I need to go thru Trichy town. Not sure whether that's true. So decided to stick with the known route i.e the one through which I came, because I wanted to reach Thanjavur asap as the palace closes by 5pm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rock18 View Post
i thoroughly enjoyed reading your travelogue and glancing through all the beautiful pics.
Just like you,I am also itching to go for a long drive and waiting for one good opportunity.
Did you feel tired anytime while doing this trip i.e driving figo?
How do you rate the comfort?
Comparison with xeta would be great as that is also a very comfortable highway car.
Thanks! Figo felt very good to drive. The only thing I noticed is (possibly) a slight wheel alignment issue. The car slightly pulled to the left sometimes. But I kept getting confused whether it is due to the natural slant in the road or more than that. Need to get it checked. Comfort-wise, it is superb. I actually expected it to be not as good as Xeta, but it turned out to be better in fact. In Xeta I felt a little bit of back pain (slightly) but I didn't feel that in Figo. Of course, after driving continuously for ~450km wearing shoes, the right foot had an ache for some time (not for long though). The surprising thing is that I didn't feel tired or sleepy any time during the trip. I attribute it to the superb steering which makes the car a delight to chuck around both in the town traffic and on the highway.

There was some unavoidable speed-breaker-scraping though. There is a HUGE speed breaker at a railway crossing near Chidambaram. As soon as I saw it I knew I'm going to scrape the bottom, did everything I could to minimize it - but ended up scraping it unavoidably.
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Old 12th February 2011, 07:05   #22
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Default Re: Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai

That is a real modem burner! Nice pictures. The place where you bought cane items must have been Kollidam. Pathamadai is near Tirunelveli.
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Old 12th February 2011, 10:34   #23
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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
That is a real modem burner! Nice pictures. The place where you bought cane items must have been Kollidam. Pathamadai is near Tirunelveli.
Oh, thanks! Took a looooong time to upload all these photos in this travelogue and also to Picasa. I found a nice free program called FileMinimizer that reduced JPEG size in bulk without losing quality.

I didn't get the name of the place, it was a very small village with around 10 shops full of cane chairs and stuff. Picked up these two cane stools and also some small brickabracks like baskets etc.

Chennai - Madurai - Alagar Kovil - Munnar - Thanjavur - Chennai-picture-fileminimizer.jpg

Last edited by rajushank84 : 12th February 2011 at 10:36.
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Old 12th February 2011, 12:21   #24
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Raju - It was a real fine TL with lot of photos. Even I have driven many times to Kumbakonam router i travel via neyveli and come back via chidambaram) your photos gave a nice memory. You should bargain well in these cane shops. I bought "joola" (unjal) long back.
Almost you have covered everything in your nice tour. Your TL reminds there are lot of interesting places inside Tamilnadu to see.
Snaps are good. your TL gave a real break this weekend from routine TV watching...
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Old 12th February 2011, 12:24   #25
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Quote:
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Raju - It was a real fine TL with lot of photos. Even I have driven many times to Kumbakonam router i travel via neyveli and come back via chidambaram) your photos gave a nice memory. You should bargain well in these cane shops. I bought "joola" (unjal) long back.
Almost you have covered everything in your nice tour. Your TL reminds there are lot of interesting places inside Tamilnadu to see.
Snaps are good. your TL gave a real break this weekend from routine TV watching...
Thanks, RGK! I'm not that good at bargaining, totally paid Rs.550 for both these cane stools together. How much did you get the unjal for?
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Old 12th February 2011, 13:18   #26
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I got big one seater Unjal for 400 (i think during August 2002) and small one for 150 (during July 2004). At that time it was more than 600 and 300 in chennai.
The quality was really good that it is still fine.
Your stool quality is good. one of the trader told that the cane used should be a round one and not a semicircle which becomes when you bisect a circular cane into two longitudinally.
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Old 12th February 2011, 14:31   #27
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Did you calculate the FE figures for the trip? I bet it must have been around 24 kmpl!
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Old 12th February 2011, 21:42   #28
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Did you calculate the FE figures for the trip? I bet it must have been around 24 kmpl!
Hmm, actually not that much. I calculated twice:

1. Filled tank the day before leaving & reset the tripmeter, and then after Madurai & Alagar Kovil on the way to Theni I filled up again and divided the tripmeter reading by the # of litres filled. It worked out to 18.6. Reset the tripmeter again.

2. Then after going to Munnar & back and driving to Thanjavur, I filled the tank once again and divided the tripmeter reading by the # of litres. This time it was 17.6. I guess the reduction is because of all the hill driving.

Well, I have to mention I wasn't exactly driving in an FE-friendly manner. When roads were smooth I was doing 100-120, and when they weren't smooth I was in 2nd or 3rd gear - neither is a formula for great FE I guess.

Last edited by rajushank84 : 12th February 2011 at 21:44.
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Old 12th February 2011, 22:34   #29
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Surprising. It is a diesel, isn't it? The Fiesta engine is known to be very thrifty.
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Old 12th February 2011, 22:40   #30
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Yup its a diesel. Is it expected to deliver more? I don't know...
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