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Old 30th December 2011, 09:20   #1
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Default Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

It is almost the end of November and I'm really hoping to get a break from work for a long road trip - yes, it's been about 7 months since our trip to Munnar (we also drove to Mangalore/Udupi during the Independence Day long weekend but no time away from work that time). Now that December was round the corner, I started dreaming about a road trip. December means a week of school holidays for my daughter so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to plan for a trip if I could manage to get time off.

Thankfully, everything fell into place with my leave being approved, and also making good progress on the work front that will allow me to take the break.

I begin to think seriously about where to go, though my heart is still inclined towards Madurai, Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari. Post 2001, my longest drive in a single day was about 550 Km (Munnar-Bangalore) earlier this year. I prefer to do day drives, typically start early and stop driving by sunset. This also works really well for my 7 year old daughter as we've seen on so many of our earlier trips. I plan to start on Saturday Dec 24 and get back by Wednesday Dec 27. Around this time we are also invited by a relative for a function at Nedumangad, near Trivandrum on Dec 26. I immediately think of Poovar island (inspired by travelogues of @laluks) which should be nearby so it's Bangalore-Poovar-Nedumangad-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore. As with any other trip, I was already trying to get feedback from our team-BHP friends on route, etc here

However, I could not find accomondation at the Poovar Island Resort or any other hotel/resort in the Trivandrum/Kovalam area. We also decided to skip the function at Nedumangad so it was time to think of plan B ! Also, I could not find accomodation for Rameshwaram on Dec 25 so back to drawing board again. I finally decide on Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore and make the hotel bookings, for the first time using an online travel website so I'm still hoping for the best and keeping my fingers crossed !

I added Padmanabhapuram, Suchindram and Dhanushkodi to the list of places to visit based on invaluable inputs from team-BHPians 'Lord of the roads' @hvkumar, @rameshnanda, 'Route king' @ampere, @dreamdiesel, @narayans80, my colleague @ajitkumarlb and my friend, philosopher and guide Captain @Fauji - Sir thanks so much for the encouragement at the last minute when I had doubts over the route due to the various conflicts/protests. Fauji sir also suggested returning via Karaikudi and visiting the Chettinad Palace there. This was a stretch goal for me so I planned to make the final decision on this one at Rameshwaram.

Oh, before I forget 'Dizzy' is our trustworthy almost 3 year old Blue Angel Swift Dzire Vxi that's nearing 25k Km. Dizzy will be our ride for this trip. She has always been so nice and trouble-free on all our trips so I'm hoping she will be the same on this trip as well.

So we're all set for this journey (at least I think so) starting from Bangalore on Dec 24:
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We returned to Bangalore on Dec 28, successfully completing a wonderful 1784 Km trip:
Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days-img00636201112282307.jpg

But as you all know, the story can't be so rosy - in between was all the fun and action including a 'tryst' each with cops at Madurai, Nagercoil, Padmanabhapuram and Thoothukudi.

Coming soon on your favourite browser, watch this space for details !

Last edited by NPV : 30th December 2011 at 09:27.
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Old 30th December 2011, 15:01   #2
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Above all, am very interested in your "trysts" with my "favourite" cops!
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Old 30th December 2011, 15:33   #3
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Cool NPV! Even I have plans to visit Kanyakumari & Rameshwaram sometime in the next 2-3 months although from Chennai. Waiting eagerly to know more on the details of your trip!
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Old 30th December 2011, 18:42   #4
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Above all, am very interested in your "trysts" with my "favourite" cops!
Yes HVK sir, as the story unfolds you will find out more but all of them were not necessarily bad 'trysts'

Originally Posted by SuperSlick View Post
Cool NPV! Even I have plans to visit Kanyakumari & Rameshwaram sometime in the next 2-3 months although from Chennai. Waiting eagerly to know more on the details of your trip!
SuperSlick, I hope you will have enough information when my travelogue is complete, will try to give as much detail of routing, road conditions, tolls, hotels based on my experience. I plan not to focus so much on the history since there are better threads here and elsewhere. Incidentally, our member @roamingrao is also updating his travelogue with rich content (lot of detailed information and lovely pictures to accompany) related to history of the temples at Madurai, Kanyakumari so that will make my job easier
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Old 30th December 2011, 18:49   #5
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Originally Posted by NPV View Post
SuperSlick, I hope you will have enough information when my travelogue is complete, will try to give as much detail of routing, road conditions, tolls, hotels based on my experience...
That would be nice, awaiting your travelogue and the details of your trip. Am planning this route, not sure when would be able to do it. As yours is very recent trip, I believe it`ll help me get the required information.

Last edited by AvonA7 : 30th December 2011 at 18:51.
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Old 30th December 2011, 20:43   #6
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Looking forward to reading your experiences and comparing with my experiences.

I just completed Bangalore - Madurai - kanyakumari - rameshwaram - Bangalore over dec 25 to dec 29. Fabulous trip.
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Old 30th December 2011, 21:01   #7
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

The Stay
On the evening of Dec 1 (I thought this was early enough) I started calling the hotels to book rooms but to my utter disappointment found all of them fully booked ! Then I came across an online travel website travelguru that had rooms available in the same hotels where I was planning to stay. Since the hotels were already recommended by my friends and team-BHPians, I did not mind paying a little more to get the bookings done at the same hotels. So I booked the following hotels:

Dec 24 - Hotel Supreme, Madurai Rs.2042 including taxes (Rs.1690 + taxes)
Dec 25-26 - Hotel Sea View, Kanyakumari Rs.10386 including taxes (Rs.4577 * 2 + taxes)
Dec 27 - Hotel Queen Palace, Rameshwaram Rs.2642 including taxes (Rs.2280 + taxes)

After reading some of the forum posts on team-BHP, I still had doubts about car parking at Hotel Supreme so I called them and they mentioned they have parking in their campus but some friends said it is a separate parking lot outside the hotel and they usually have a security guard there. This conflicting information wasn't very comforting and I did not want to take a chance. So, I called a friend who recommended Hotel Metropole which unlike Supreme, New College House, etc was not so close to the temple and city centre but still a good choice and had basement parking. I decided to go with this and room was booked by my friend on my behalf and I canceled the booking at Hotel Supreme.

The Plan
Each leg of the journey was planned for daytime drives, with the exception of the last one (our return to Bangalore) since we hadn't yet decided.With the hotels booked, our plan now looked like this:

Dec 24 - Bangalore - Madurai, stay at Hotel Metropole. Visit Meenakshi Temple. Total drive ~450 Km
Dec 25 - Madurai - Kanyakumari, stay at Hotel Sea View. Visit Vivekananda Rock and Devi Temple. Total drive ~250 Km
Dec 26 - Kanyakumari - Suchindram, Visit Shiva Temple - Near Thuckalay, Visit Padmanbhapuram Palace - Kanyakumari, Stay at Hotel Sea View. Total drive ~90 Km
Dec 27 - Kanyakumari - Rameshwaram, stay at Hotel Queen Palace. Visit Ramanatha Swamy Temple and Dhanushkodi. Total drive ~350 Km

This was the initial plan but of course, as you know we will need to make course corrections and tweaks as we go along.

Days leading up to the Trip day (Dec 24)
The weeks leading up to the eve just flew by with the pressures of work and our daily lives and then suddenly so many things come to mind.
One sunday I had the car tested and got the pollution control certificate.

I also received a renewal notice from the car insurance company with current policy expiry mentioned as 27 Dec. On double checking my records, I found this was an error on their side - I had an attested amendment from them mentioning expiry as Jan 17. I still enquired with my dad's friend who is our inusrance agent and he confirmed that it was Jan 17 so that was a false alarm !

As usual we planned our packing of bags a couple of days before the trip. My wife is the expert in this department (no underpacking or overpacking, it's always perfect) and I just give her my clothes for the trip and she takes care of the rest. By the way, packing stuff for a child especially for a road trip is never easy but luckily I don't have to worry a bit. The bags were mostly packed by Dec 23.

I wanted to have the car quickly checked so I got an early morning appointment at the Maruti Service Centre for 23 Dec. On Dec 22 we were informed about an event at my daughter's school. After dropping off my daughter and wife at school that day I headed to the Maruti service centre. A quick check confirmed everything was in order so we were all set so I headed back to work. On my way back home that evening, I filled the car with about 10 litres of Petrol so that in total the car has about half a tank or approximately 17 litres of petrol - enough to take us about 200 Km so that we can tank up at Salem or before (on my trips to the TN side I never tank up at Bangalore). That evening we completed packing of the bags and loaded them into the car - this is another practice that works wonderfully well for us.

I've noticed that the most hectic day is usually the day before the trip and this time was no different ! Another thing is that I usually never get a good night's sleep before a trip but this time I managed to hit the sack by about 10.30 pm after setting 2 alarms for 3.45 am and 4 am on different mobile phones just to be doubly sure of an early start.

Last edited by NPV : 30th December 2011 at 21:13.
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Old 1st January 2012, 00:16   #8
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Day 1 - Dec 24 Bangalore - Madurai
I'm woken up by the shrill sound of the alarm going off at 3.45am ! I get up quickly and in about 30 minutes I'm ready. My daughter wakes up without any complaints (luckily) and in the next 30 minutes or so all of us are ready. In the meantime I do a final check of the bags in the car, make sure trip accessories like tyre pressure gauge, trip log book, road atlas, vehicle documents, day wise route maps etc are all there in the right places.

We leave home at 5:05am, it's quite cold outside and the temperature shows up as 11 deg. C on the dash. We are quickly past the Inner Ring Road, then turn off to Hosur Road and onto the BETL Elevated Expressway all in 20 minutes which is simply unimaginable at any other saner time of the day. The drive on the elevated tollway is a breeze till we pay the toll. Immediately after the toll, there is a lot of fog and visibility is poor so I slow down and then it gets better as we near the Attibele toll plaza.

We usually stop for breakfast at A2B (Adayar Ananda Bhavan) which is inside a Bharat Petroleum campus near Shoolagiri but today we're quite early so we decide to skip this place and instead go to the A2B in Thoppur or some other restaurant near Salem. Around 7am, as we near the toll plaza at Thoppur we decide to have breakfast at A2B so I make a U-turn just before the toll plaza. Since we're stopping here for breakfast I also tanked up the car at BP Bunk to avoid another stop just for fuel. After a good breakfast, we're back on the road. City traffic starts building up as we near Salem. At Salem I usually stop to tank up the car at the BP Petrol Bunk run by Salem District Lorry Owners Association. This one is just after the first 2 circles at Salem and just before the NH47 turn off so it's perfect for me when I'm going towards Coimbatore. Today I don't stop here and proceed straight towards Namakkal. Traffic is quite heavy after the NH47 turn off till the place where NH7 gradually turns right towards Namakkal. Here again, there are lots of college buses especially of one particular engineering college. I try counting them but give up since there are just too many and most of them are driving slowly on the right lane ! NH7 is a beautiful highway and it's a bliss to drive on. The best part is the Namakkal-Karur-Dindigul stretch which I'd driven on 2 occasions earlier once when we visited Kodai and the other on our drive back from Munnar. But this would be my drive past Dindigul to Madurai and beyong so I was really looking forward to this trip.

Meanwhile, we're making good progress and I'm enjoying the drive, so far so good ! As we near a turn off to Vedasandur on the left, there is a wide intersection for traffic from the right to cross over and this is just at the middle of an inclined curve on NH7. Suddenly I notice a Tata Sumo is directly ahead of me in the middle of the intersection partly in my lane and partly in the left lane - I honk, brake lightly and slow down all the time expecting the Sumo to dart across to the other side, but guess what, he stays put and he's stopped at an angle where he can't even see my car fully (so I did not see him early either). I brake hard, cut across slightly to the right of the Sumo (but not to the other side and oncoming lanes) to avoid him and find that the break in the median is quite long so I can safely get back to the lane I was on before 2 seconds. My wife had shock and awe written all over her face and she rolled the window down to look at the Sumo and finds there are 3 guys laughing out loudly

Strangely, I was calm, did not react and kept driving. My wife kept asking if I was alright and if I wanted to stop and take a break. No, I just wanted to cotinue driving since I was feeling fresh. It took some time for the incident to sink in and it was then that I realized that I was able to react quickly and make the right decision in a split second to avoid the collision. All this happened at a speed not more than 70 kmph, but after this I was even more alert at all junctions and life goes on.

We take a quick 10 minute break after Dindigul to have a cup of coffee at a roadside stall and by 11am we're near the 2 laned turn off towards Madurai city near Samayanallur. I missed this turn and drove straight before realising it on seeing a small sign for Tirunelveli. I stop 1 Km ahead and call the hotel. They tell me to take the next left turn after the Vaigai bridge on NH7. Just about 2-3 Km later I see the signage for Madurai and turn left. Going straight on this road with less traffic got us to a big junction where we asked for directions to the hotel. At the junction we turned left and again found a good samaritan on a 2 wheeler. He said he was going in the same direction and was kind enough to pilot us close to the Hotel Metropole. The hotel is bang opposite Raja Muthaiah Mandram of the Chettinad Cement group and near the district courts. I enquired with the security guard of the hotel about the parking and drove straight to the basement. The parking lot was decent and can accomodate about 10 cars. I got a good spot near the ramp so it should be easy when going out. We checked in to the hotel and found the room to be very nice and comfortable. We relaxed for a few minutes and then I remembered a post by our @J.Ravi sir. I wanted to try Sabaree for lunch so we went down to the reception and enquired with the lady there. She was surprised at first and then thought we're regular travelers to Madurai ! She was shocked when I mentioned this was our first visit to Madurai and then asked her for New College House (a landmark that is near Hotel Sabaree) - this is the power of team-BHP !

By the time we reached Madurai, the temperature had gradually risen to about 30 deg. C but luckily not humid.

The experience of Madurai traffic when we drove to the hotel made me decide to use the services of an autorickshaw which would be quicker and there would be no need to worry about parking. Soon we were in a auto headed towards Sabaree. We reached Sabaree in about 10 minutes and the timing seemed to be perfect since we found a table quickly at their Family Room section and we saw that the crowds were beginning to pour in for lunch. The food was awesome, vegetarian Tamil Nadu food at it's best, nothing flashy just tasty food with Sambar, Rasam, Vathal/Kara Kozhambu, etc. Ravi sir thanks so much for this recommendation

After lunch we did some quick shopping - facial tissues for use in the car (despite the last minute check at Bangalore I missed this one and the box was empty so we had to refill). Just opposite Sabaree was the New College House building that had a super market. We found what we were looking for but my daughter has a craze for stationery items so she started picking up pencils, erasers, etc so it was time for us to quickly pay the bill and go out (of course with one set each of pencils and erasers).
We took another autorickshaw ride back to the hotel. We had asked the hotel receptionist about approximate auto fares so we were not taken for a 'ride' (we paid Rs.80 each way). The surprising thing is autos do not even have a fare meter so it's all negotiated when boarding the auto.

Hotel Sree Sabaree
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New College House building
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After reaching the hotel I received a call from a friend in Bangalore, actually a friend's friend whom I met the previous week at Bangalore. He mentioned he has another friend at Madurai who can help me with the Meenakshi temple visit. I reluctanly took his mobile number down all the while thinking why we should trouble someone whom we've never met and we had no plans for any special puja, etc at the temple. Then I received a call from the 'friend' in Madurai and I told him the same - no special puja, don't want to trouble you, etc. He said it was Sabarimala season so crowds would be heavy and he was ready to help us out and even offered to get his car ! Our new friend turned up at the hotel at 5pm as promised but he had come there in an autorickshaw. Our friend is a Madurai local and a Manager in a leading MNC there. He explained that due to the crowds, parking was difficult to find for atleast a Km or two near the temple so he thought it's better to go by an autorickshaw and the driver was his friend (on a lighter note, this seemed like chain marketing for friends !). Once we reached the temple and saw the crowds there it was obvious it would take at least 2 hours or more even with the special darshan ticket. After leaving our footwear at the counter outside, we headed towads the west entrance of the temple. Now, our friend calls someone on his phone and we find 2 cops join the line just behind us and start talking to our friend, little did we realise they were our angels for the temple darshan.

Meenakshi Temple West entrance
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Temple Gopuram
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So here was our first 'tryst' with cops !
Our friendly cops made sure we quickly got to the special darshan queue and ensured that we had a very good darshan like other VIPs who also had made similar arrangements. After good darshan of the Meenakshi and Shiva deities, we spent some time admiring the 1000 pillar mandapam that is being converted into an art museum. The exhibits are awesome with sculptures, paintings, etc but work is still in progress and most exhibits have details in Tamil only. What I don't understand however is why they're changing the flooring - polished brown coloured granite is being laid over the centuries old stone slabs (so much for history, archealogy, preservation, restoration, etc but it might just be me ranting !).
We spent some time sitting on the steps of the Golden Lotus Tank. Here, I noticed that the concreted tank bed was being drilled out. Our friend mentioned that the concreting was done few years ago but now they're finding that water is stagnating and the tank is drying up so they want to restore it to the old state with just a mud base (moral of the story seems to be - don't play with nature but I just hope they realise it !).

Golden Lotus Tank - 1
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Golden Lotus Tank - 2. Notice the concreted being drilled out.
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The paitings on the ceilings and walls are a treat with one of them on the ceiling even giving a 3D effect and looks the same when seen from any angle/direction. We were told that some of the pillars can reproduce sounds of specific indian musical instruments but we did not experience this (next time for sure). There was also the 'growing' Hanuman on one of the pillars which was good to see. This sculpture on the pillar has apparently grown 3-4 inches the past few centuries. I don't think even a full week would be enough to find out more and more astonishing things at this temple (remember Aisa Bhi Hota Hai and Surabhi ?) and the fact that this was built by our countrymen centuries ago makes me feel really proud of the achievement.

Paintings on Ceiling
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Paintings on Walls
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My wife wanted to buy some kumkum scented with 'Thaazam Poo' (Fragrant Screw Pine) which is a specialty of Madurai. Our angel cops referred us to a shop inside the temple campus so my wife was happy to find what she was looking for. I was really thankful to the angels and our friend who made this possible so I asked our friend how much we should pay them. He said Rs.300 should be enough. I actually gave them Rs.400. After refusing to accept it for a good 5 minutes they relented finally. After this, we headed back to the hotel in our 'auto' friend's autorickshaw. Again I asked our friend how much I should pay for the auto, he said Rs.200 but I gave him Rs.250 - it was definitely worth it. On the way back to the hotel, my wife requested a stop at a gift shop and quickly shopped for a dress for our friend's 10-month old baby (he had mentioned this during an earlier conversation). This was our surprise gift for him since we knew he was just going out of his way to help us. He really was our Madurai god that evening, thanks a ton Mr.V ! I also added a new friend to my already long list, but I'm not complaining !

We decided to order room service from the hotel's restaurant and retired for the night by 10pm.

Here's the Trip+Expense log for the day.
I have tried to include as much information as possible for Food, Fuel options (including the places we stopped at as well as others we noticed) and all tolls. Hope this helps others in their future trips.
Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5
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Day 1 Summary:
Total Distance = 449 Km
Tolls = Rs.382

Next morning we planned to leave to Kanyakumari after breakfast at the hotel, at least by 9am.

Last edited by NPV : 1st January 2012 at 00:33.
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Old 1st January 2012, 06:43   #9
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Lovely pictures of the temple waiting for the rest of the story to unfold. Are you back in BLR already?

A2B is a real good place to have food/brakefast. We tried it for the first time in Dec 24th Chennai trip. Now i think we will be regular there.

And a very happy new year to you.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 22:27   #10
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Day 2 (morning) - Dec 25 Madurai - Kanyakumari

I'm again woken up by the alarm at 6am and feel fresh after a good night's sleep. We get ready and head to the roof top restaurant of the hotel for breakfast (complimentary breakfast was included in the tariff plan). A very nice breakfast spread was on offer and we had the usual South Indian fare of Idly, Vada, Pongal and a glass of coffee. After breakfast we get back to the room, do a final check of bags and check-out. I start the car and look at the watch and am surprised - it's just 8.30am so we're good on the time front. The previous day I had asked Mr. V for directions to Kanyakumari from the hotel and he had asked me to get on to the Ring Road towards Airport/Tirumangalam direction and I should be on NH7 South to Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari.

We turn left after the district courts near the hotel and then ask for Ring Road. We find it quickly, turn off to the right, pay the Rs.60 toll and we're on our way ! After this toll, there is an intersection where you can find signage for Rameshwaram (left turn off) - this is the NH49 to Rameshwaram/Ramanathpuram. Making a note of this helped since we reached this place on our return journey and knew exactly where to turn. The Ring Road is good for the most part except some places where there are few craters but these can be avoided as long as traffic is not very dense. By around 9am we were at the Tirumangalam junction and merged left onto NH7. This stretch is again a beauty to drive on with hardly any traffic. Several times I noticed that ours was the only vehicle for at least 2-3 Km with no one else in sight. NH7 is definitely a great achievement for NHAI with several bridges, intersections with other roads, etc and very well maintainted. Just one word of caution - be alert at all times expecting 'anything' to come your way suddenly because there are several curves and bridges where people may just try to cross the road or a 2-wheeler may be coming in the wrong direction in your lane ! I had couple of such experiences but being alert helped.

We saw the first toll plaza around 9:40am. The toll plaza just had glass counters and attendants inside but there was no overhead shelter, signage, etc that we're used to seeing at other plazas on NH7. I thought this was still not operational and they were probably doing a test run of systems, etc but that wasn't the case. We paid the Rs.40 toll and on asking the attendant I was told this toll is operational since 7 months and tenders have just been floated for completion of the work at the plaza. The same was the situation at the other 2 toll plazas after this one.
Around 10:30am, we saw a sign for Capsi Restaurant and stopped there for a quick break - I remembered a mention of this place by @ajitkumarlb (later by @roamingrao also). I had a refreshing cup of Tea while my wife had Lime juice. We were the only customers at the restaurant and my daughter loved the kids play area there. The place is well maintained with neat toilets and I would definitely recommend it. We headed out of this place around 11am.

Capsi Restaurant
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View of NH7 from Capsi
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Dizzy gets some rest
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Inside Capsi (owner a racing fan ?)
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Kids Play area
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Daughter's day out-1
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Daughter's day out-2
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One more quick stop for fuel at a BP Bunk and after that we were nearing Kanyakumari. It was windmill country for about 20-30 Km upto Kanyakumari with each of them spinning away to glory and they were all over the place. Lovely sight and the road is right in the middle of this windmill territory !

Windmill country
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Suddenly I saw a diversion (NH7 seemed to end very abruptly here) to the left marked Kanyakumari so I turned left wondering why this was necessary. We were now on the old road to Kanyakumari town. After about 6 Km I stopped to confirm with a local that we're indeed in the right direction - yes we were was the reply and he also mentioned that the diversion was because there is a bridge on the NH7 that is incomplete. About 1 Km later we saw a turn off to the right marked Nagercoil (this is NH47). We proceeded straight and just about 0.5 Km later we turned left to reach Hotel Sea View right in front of one section of the beach ! I managed to find one spot in the covered parking lot and then we checked-in. The staff at the hotel were very courteous and helpful and in few minutes we were in our Sea-facing room - it had an amazing view of the Sea, a rocky Pier, a Church, Vivekananda Rock, Tiruvalluvar Statue and the Ferry station. After a few minutes of taking in the sights on offer and freshning up, my mind was already on our plans for that day and the next. I'd heard from folks in team-BHP as well as seen on other websites that Padmanabhapuram Palace is closed on Mondays so maybe we should visit today but wasn't sure if they'd be closed on account of Christmas. The hotel staff confirmed they're open so we decided to visit the Palace and Suchindram temple the same evening (a change from our original plan). We had lunch at the hotel's restaurant and got some rest.

Hotel Sea View (t and e missing !)
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Neighbouring Hotel Sea Face
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View from the hotel room - Pier
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View from the hotel room - Church & Fishermen colony
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View from the hotel room - Vivekananda Rock & Tiruvalluvar Statue
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Trip+Expense log for the Day 2 morning drive.
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Day 2 Morning Summary:
Total Distance = 258 Km
Tolls = Rs.205

We planned to leave by 3:15pm for the visits to Padmanabhapuram Palace and Suchindram Temple.

Last edited by NPV : 2nd January 2012 at 22:35.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 23:27   #11
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Thanks for your travelogue, very well explained. Even I visited to Virudhunagar (after madurai) during this time as its my hometown. I suggest to drive in middle lane because many a times locals come from opposite side in right lane
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Old 2nd January 2012, 23:44   #12
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

@NPV, Capsi looks like a good place. Where is the exact location?
Beyond Virudunagar?

Food in Madurai is always nice! I used to end up mostly at Arthy.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 02:13   #13
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Pretty nicely covered. Wonder how do you manage such a detailed log with timings. I don't even remember most of the places during my first drive and couple of drives on the same route is when I start learning the place names. And really nice to see t-bhp positives during the travel!
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Old 3rd January 2012, 07:12   #14
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Happy New Year folks !
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Lovely pictures of the temple...
Thanks Mayank. We were back in Bangalore on Dec 28.

Originally Posted by raka1o View Post
I suggest to drive in middle lane because many a times locals come from opposite side in right lane
Do you mean the left lane or driving partially on both lanes right in the middle ? I'm wary of doing this

Originally Posted by ampere View Post
@NPV, Capsi looks like a good place. Where is the exact location?
Beyond Virudunagar?
Capsi is right on NH7 about 130-140Km from Madurai, few Km after the second toll on NH7 when going from Madurai to Kanyakumari.
I also remember @ajithkumarlb mentioned that Capsi is about 7Km from the place NH7A (Tuticorin-Tirunelveli) merges with NH7.

Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Pretty nicely covered. Wonder how do you manage such a detailed log with timings.
The credit goes to my wife and daughter who helped log all the details I just reconciled/aggregated the information for the travelogue.

Last edited by NPV : 3rd January 2012 at 07:14.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 16:59   #15
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Default Re: Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days

Here's a pic of Golden lotus tank when it had water in it.

Dizzy Drive :Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Bangalore in 5 days-portamarai-kulam.jpg

Next time anyone is in Madurai, do try out the meals at Modern Cafe. Nothing to beat Modern Cafe especially over the meals served in Plantain leaf! Modern Cafe is quite famous and is walkable from West tower of the temple.

For people who don't want to motor down their own cars, leaving it in the hotel's car park is the best option. One can take the Autorickshaw from there to Hindu Fund office (the closest point from where one can walk to the West tower.

Also it was nice to see the College house building photo here!
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