The car goes only upto the beginning of the trek or end of the village. After that it is a steep climb and one has to walk for nearly 2 km. In the rainy season the place is beautiful.
It was ten months I have visited my parents in Nagercoil along with my family. In between I had gone twice alone. So this time my wife and daughter accompanied me in the visit. After two days of rest along with my sisters family we went to Kanyakumar. On the way our first stop was in the Pothayadi Sai Baba temple early in the morning for the Aarti. My sister visits their regularly and is a peaceful place.
The next place was the sunset point in Kanyakumari. There was a slight drizzle and the climate was good so we spend sometime there enjoying the angry waves pounding the rocks. We had our breakfast of idli and vada with sambar purchased from a local hotel in Nagercoil. We found a nice place by the side of the road near beach to have our breakfast.
We went to the boat jetty after our breakfast. It was a long time since my sister visited the Vivekananda rock, though myself, wife and daughter have visited the rock many times. Being a Sunday the boat house was crowded but they plied three boats into service instead of two boats . So the wait was not longer. We reached the rocks saw the "Amman padam" the imprint of the goddess Kanyakumari on the rock, the Vivekananda rock and the meditation hall. My sister was in deep meditation inside the hall. After taking some photographs we were back to the land. The boat ticket costs Rs.50/- per person and the Rock entry costs Rs.20/- per person.
Our next stop was Sothavilai beach, though it was 1 pm, the cloudy sky and the drizzle made us go the beach. Sothavilai beach is around 15 km west of Kanyakumari.
Our next day's program was little adventurous , we planned to go to Marunthuvaazh malai in Pothayadi on th eway to Kanyakumari from Nagercoil. It is a small hill with a temple in the hill, with the followers of Saint Shri Narayana Guru visiting the temple. There are steps leading to the temple requiring 10 to 15 mts of uphill climb. But the real adventure is trekking to the top of the hill where the cave in which Shri Narayana guru meditated is situated. Further up in the hill top is a small Hanuman temple. The view is magnificent and Kanyakumari, sea on three sides are visible. The trek is moderate and one has to walk over a rocky surface for most of the part. Take food and water with you and start early in the morning. Avoid trek in heavy rains.
By the time we climbed down it was around 1.30 pm. We had a glass of sherbath and were back in Nagercoil in another one hour for lunch.
After two days of rest in Nagercoil we were on another small adventure cum holy trip to Kaali Mala. Kaalimala is nearly 55 km from Nagercoil off the Kulasekaram-Nedumangad highway and nearly 13 km from Thirparappu falls. It has a history related with the erstwhile king of Travancore, who was helped by the Kaanis or the tribals of this place and by the goddess Kaali.
The car goes only upto the beginning of the trek or end of the village. After that it is a steep climb and one has to walk for nearly 2 km. In the rainy season the place is beautiful.
At the top of the hill there is a Kaali temple and a Sastha temple. After the puja we were given gruel (Kanji) as Prasad. After having the kanji we climbed down and were back in Nagercoil after an hour long journey
After breakfast in Madikeri we started for Wayanad. We took the Virajpet _ Thirunelly route. Kutta is the last town on the Karnataka side and Tholpatty on Kerala side. This route passes through many coffee estates, Nagerhole forest and Tholpetty forest. We first went to Kuruva Island but it seems one has to get the entry token quite early in the morning since the number of visitors are restricted to 50 or 100. So we could not get entry tickets and we proceeded to our place of stay on Sulthan Bathery.
We reached our Hotel Green Palace residency which was in the heart of Bathery town. It was lunch time. The Hotel has an underground parking. There was no restaurant. The rooms were clean and adequate in size.
Since we were hungry we freshened up quickly and went for lunch. There was a small restaurant in the same Hotel complex. It was small but, neat and cheap. Food quality was good for the price. The restaurant's name is Red Chilli.
After an hours rest we started for Edakkal caves. An important place in Wayanad. Important not because it is fancy but historically. It is the second oldest rock carving in the world, the oldest being in France. It is a long walk in the paved walkway and a steep climb. It is usually crowded in the weekends and holidays.
Next day after breakfast in a small restaurant near by our hotel we proceeded towards Meenmutty falls.
We travelled through Kalpetta into the narrow mist filled roads and finally reached Meenmutty falls. We were quite early. After parking our car and getting the entry ticket we trekked along a narrow path to the lower level of the falls which is like a pond of collected water. One can peacefully bathe in this level if there is no crowd. Then we trekked to the upper level which is little bit tricky. Climbing on the rocks with the help of support ropes. But there are forest guards to help you out. The falls is at the upper level and one is not allowed to take bath here. The way down is much more easier through a forest trek.
By the time we climbed down we were hungry. So we had bread omelets in one of the small restaurants near to the parking lot. Then we were off to the Banasura Sagar Dam. The Banasura Sagar dam is beautiful, scenic spot and is one of the largest earthern dams. It is long walk to the dam top but alternatively you can buy tickets for the Jeep ride. Once on the top you can have the beautiful view of the huge dam. There is a play area, two small shops selling snacks and a boat ride. We walked across the garden, spent sometime on the swings in the garden.
It was lunch time and we have spent nearly two hours in the dam. Next to the dam was Dam view Restaurant where we had the Kerala fish curry rice. The food was average. Then we proceeded towards Pookode lake.The road passed through some tea plantations.
Pookode lake is medium sized lake but beautiful surrounded by trees on three sides. Usually this place is crowded. It has rowing and pedal boats, there is long paved walkway around the lake and some souvenir shops.
It was getting dark and we left Pookode lake and wre back in our hotel in Sulthan Bathery through Kalpetta. After dinner and good nights rest the next day morning we first planned to go to Soochipara falls.
The Google map showed a shortcut road to Soochipara falls around the Karappuzha Dam. Then through an estate road and then on to the main road which also traversed through the estates. Finally we reached the Falls car parking and then walked to the ticket counter. From there it is a medium distance trek to the falls. The way itself is beautiful and the falls was also beautiful. The pond under the falls is good enough for bathing, if you are filled with enthusiasm then you can take bath directly in the falls. But one has to be very careful since the rock edges are sharp and very slippery. But it is worth the effort.
Good place to have lunch in Meppadi is MRR restaurant. Clean, good food and car parking.
Our next stop was Karapuzha dam. In my earlier visit there was no garden or building. Now there is an amphitheater styled building and a beautiful garden. Though the garden is still under development has lot of flowers. The dam is beautiful but not well kept now.
It was already evening but still we wanted to make it to the flower show happening in the 'FRI' @ Ambalavayil "Poopoli". Again Google map indicated short cuts through small roads and we made it. Definitely it was fantastic and short of time we could spend only three hours there and if we had more time then it is worth at least half a days visit. There were innumerable flowers, vegetables, cactus and some general shops. We could not stay for the entertainment shows on the stage. It was night and we returned to the hotel dead tired.
Next day after break fast we through Gundulpet, Chamraj nagar, Thimbam hills, Bannari, Salem we reached back Chennai ending our week long trip.
The way back (Bannari amman temple and a hotel after Sathyamangalam)
It was quite early morning, 4.15 am to be exact, in a fog filled we started our trip from Tambaram to Coorg via Bangalore and Mysore. After three and half hours we reached Krishnagiri where we stopped for the breakfast. The food was good. There was lot if parking space and some long distance buses also stopped for the tea. Then we crossed Hosur and reached the outskirts of Bangalore where we took the NICE road which was really a nice road. Having avoided the city traffic took the Mysore highway exit. The Mysore highway was crowded on many places added to that was a VIP visit. But the roads were mostly good and before noon we could reach the Mysore Madikeri road through the Brindavan garden road without going to the Mysore city.
It was lunch time and we stopped at Hotel Nava Green. The ambience was very good. The food was homely, taste average and variety is limited.
After lunch we proceeded towards the Golden Temple at Bylakuppe. It is a sacred place and beautiful place. A must visit. The Golden statue of Buddha and the peacefulness interrupted by the occasional chatter of the tourists were really awesome. We sat there for sometime and were wandering there for nearly half an hour in the small garden surrounding the temple. The car parking charge was Rs.30/- Then we were on our way to the Hotel in Madikeri.
We took a wrong turn while coming out of the Golden temple travelled couple of kilometers, realized the mistake and came back then we were off in the Mysore _ Mangalore highway. The roads were scenic with either trees or coffee estates lining both the sides of the road. We reached our
Hotel Coorg Regency which was at the beginning of the Town of Madikeri and on the main highway. The rooms were spacious, neat and clean. There is a separate restaurant downstairs. We did the check-in and then took rest for sometime after a pretty long drive.
In the evening we took a stroll to Raja's seat, nice views and a very good place to relax in Madikeri. The views of the many hills around Madikeri and further down is magnificent. We were in time for the sunset. After spending nearly two hours in the park we walked down to Hotel Shri Shanthi Sagar. It is in the first floor next to Hotel Mercara. The food taste was excellent, especially the Kadai Mushroom.
It was a good nights rest after a tiresome day especially for me since I was the first one to wakeup and then drive for the next eleven hours and accompany my family for the two tourist spots.
In the morning we woke up and planned to have breakfast in the restaurant downstairs next to the Hotel, the Hotel Green Land. Food was tasty and the ambience was good but during the lunch time this place gets crowded since it is on the Mangalore highway.
After breakfast and a light cleaning of the car we proceeded towards our first place of interest the Dubare Elephant camp. I took the Chettali road instead of the NH275, it was a narrow long winding road but beautiful forest and country side, driving my I 10 automatic was a joy. We reached Dubare Elephant camp in time for the bathing of elephants. The car park is huge and by the banks of the river Cauveri. We crossed the river in small boat paying a fee of Rs.30/- per person. On the other bank the entry fee to the elephant camp was another Rs.30/- per person. The whole place was beautiful and we were excited to see the elephants bathing and now it was time for food. All elephants were lined up and you are allowed to feed the elephant by paying Rs.20/- We paid Rs.20/- to feed a baby elephant and another Rs.20/- to feed an adult elephant. We took photographs. The whole area was with the visitors filled with joy. Then some of the elephants had not taken bath earlier were led to the river for bathing. One corner had a wild elephant which was getting domesticated, that was little painful to watch.
It was nearly 11.30 am and the Elephant camp was closed for lunch and will open again in the evening 4pm for visitors. So with a happy heart we went to our next destination Nisargadharma. The entry ticket is at the left side of the entrance and we entered the Nisargadharma forest through the hanging bridge. Once you are inside you are greeted by the statue of Mother Cauveri and then into the vast expanse of trees. There are lively statues, deer park which now seems to have less deers. Further down you can climb down into the Cauveri river if it is not rainy season. Walk down further into the trail you can trek for more than a kilometer of forest, but this portion is less frequented by visitors, but if you choose to walk then after nearly 1 1/2 km you reach back near the entrance.
It was lunch time when we completed our light trek and after a few minutes rest we came out and proceeded towards the Fish Curry Rice restaurant nearby. It is a Mangalore style restaurant and specialty is Fish curry and rice though other varieties are available. I took biryani while my wife and daughter ordered fish curry rice. The ambience is very good, food tasty and the price though not cheap is not very expensive either.
Our next stop was Abby falls, Though this place was really beautiful now there is lack of maintenance. The hanging bridge is broken and inaccessible. There was some trash left by the visitors. Still it is a beautiful falls though one cannot take bath here.
We were back in Madikeri after the somewhat narrow and winding road to & from Abby falls. We went to the Madikeri fort and museum in the heart of the town. The museum though small houses some pretty old artefacts. The fort is huge and houses many Government offices, there is a small temple for Lord Ganesha also.
After a visit to Rajas seat once again, dinner and a good nights sleep we were off to Baganmandala nest day. The road to Bagmandala is a mixed lot, some stretches good and some bad, but re-layering was going on when we went. There were not many visitors in Bagmandala, in the Sangam the water was very less. We went to the temple and worshipped the god.
Just out of the Bagamandala is the checkpost of the Talakaveri hill and one has to pay Rs.30/- for the car. It is a uphill winding road which one has to drive carefully. There are couple of shops on the way up selling honey, coffee and home made wine. There are two small restaurants. There are three parking lots and cars can be parked in the last one close to the steps. It is a beautiful temple and holy. If you climb up 300 steps then you can reach the top of the Brammagiri hill where the access is limited to barren patch but the view is good.
We were back in Madikeri a little late for the lunch and I was little bit hungry and tired. After lunch and some rest we went for shopping and the Omkareshwara temple. Architecture of the temple is a fusion of Hindu and Islamic traditions. So it is worth the visit. We went just before closing and there was very little crowd and the calm and peace penetrated us.
The dinner was at Coorg cuisine and ethnic restaurant serving authentic Karnataka cuisine. We ordered Akki roti and local flavor Chicken gravy. The food preparation was different. This was our last day in Coorg and the next day we were to travel to Wayanad....
My earlier visit to Athirapally was in a scooter and alone. This time I went by train and with family. Earlier time it was summer and this time it is onset of monsoon. Each visit has its own charm. Some of the photos.
Vazhachal & Chapra
Kodungalur Baghavathi Temple
On 15th July 017 early morning myself and my wife got into our Ola Taxi and reached the Central railway station Chennai. We were a bit early for our train. We were to catch the Garib Rath to Delhi_Hazrat Nizzamuddin. We were on a two week trip to Haridwar, Varanasi, Mussoorie, Dehradun and Varanasi.
The travel by Garib Rath was good, fast, cheap and on time. We reached Delhi only half hour late i.e. by 11 am next day. We went to the New Delhi Railway station by bus. After lunch in a small restaurant we were in the platform for more than two hours. The layover time was more than four hours. There was lot of commotion in the platform because of Kanwar Yatra. Many people flocking to Haridwar for the Holy dip in the Ganges. Our train Jan Shatapti to Haridwar reached Haridwar late by nearly two hours. It was 9.30 pm by the time we reached the Hotel. Had dinner and rested overnight.
Hotel Aditya is where we stayed in Haridwar. It is right next to Vishnu Ghat with its own private Ghat. The hotel is neat clean and spacious. We stayed in non-Ganges facing rooms. But spent time sitting on the banks of Ganges with the chair provided by the Hotel. The rooms were average sized, neat and clean bathrooms with hot water. There is a small kitchen with limited but good food. If your aim is to bathe in the Ganges then this is the place to be in. The hotel is value for money.
We got up in the morning and had a bath in the Ganges. Mentally energizing though the water was cold. After the breakfast in the hotel we set out for a walk seeing the enormous crowd of the Kanwar Yatris. The never ending slogan of "Bham Bham Bole". Then we proceeded to Mansa Devi temple. Since the vehicles are banned in most of the roads, one has to walk towards most of the places.
One can walk up the small hillock or else take the rope way. They charge Rs.75/- for the ropeway. We took the ropeway and worshipped the goddess Mansa Devi. There was a heavy crowd and I lost my mobile in the rush. So I rushed back to the room called the call center and blocked my number. The afternoon was spent on buying a new mobile phone and another SIM but the SIM did not get activated because it is in a different Telecom circle.
On the way back to the room we went to Maya Devi temple which is one of the Sakthi sthals. An important temple which draws less visitors and is not known to many. Rest of the evening was spent on downloading the apps in my new mobile and a long walk along the Ganges. Spent some time sitting on the banks of the Ganges . After dinner packed the belongings and next day after the breakfast took a cycle rickshaw to the railway station.
Just for a fare of Rs.10/- in a passenger train we went to Rishikesh. After nearly two hours of journey we reached the Rishikesh station and took an auto to reach our Hotel Trihari.
Hotel Trihari, Rishikesh is a nice place to stay well maintained rooms if you are in the last room then you can have the view of the hills. The ambience of the restaurant is also very good.
After lunch and brief rest we started for a long walk. Our first stop was the ISKCON temple - the Madhuban Ashram, a comparatively small but beautiful temple which has a hotel and restaurant also. After attending the 'aarti' there we continued our walk towards Lakshman Jhula. Due to the Kanwar Yatra even walking was made one way and we had to walk through the circuitous route to reach the Laksshman Jhula.
We took a little rest near the Lakshman Jhula. View of the Ganges from the Jhula was great. The fast flowing and turbulent waters of the Holy Ganges. But what we saw on the other banks of the Jhula made it remember for days to come.
It was the Tryambakeshwar temple. Definitely what looked like a shopping complex with shuttered shops turned out to be a eleven story temple with most of the innumerous Hindu gods. Being a Hindu to me it was wonderful. The view of the Ganges from the top of the temple was great.
To cap it we participated in the Ganga Aarti of the temple which unlike the public aarti's was more pious and holy being conducted inside the temple campus and was also less crowded. We felt blessed at the end of the day and walked back to our Hotel after having a light dinner.
The next day morning it was a visit to Triveni Ghat, it was nearly a 2 km walk. On the way we went to a small temple with a small museum attached to it. It was nice.
In the Triveni Ghat both myself and my wife had a holy bath in the Ganges. The water current was very high so one venture further than the second step in the ghat. One has to use small mugs to take bath, no dip is possible.
Back to the room after the bath and a good lunch. We ventured back to Triveni Ghat again in the evening to watch the Ganga Aarti. It was good. But the earlier days aarti was more intimate and holy.
The next day after breakfast we got into an auto to the main bus stand. The bus stand is quite close the hotel. Auto charges were only Rs.50/- Our next destination was Missouri. There was no direct bus to Missouri, we took a bus to Dehradun, the fare was around Rs.50/- per person. The route was very good, lined with trees on either side. The journey took more than two hours. In Dehradun we had to go from our dropping point to the "Hill bus stand" which was near the Railway station. We took an auto to the new bus stand and at 1 pm we got the bus to Missouri. After crossing the city the bus climbed atop the hill, the rise was sharp. The bus was full and the bus conductor was a lady who looked like a college going girl. The travel route was quite scenic. By 2.30 pm we reached the "Picture palace" bus stand of Missouri. The bus stop was lined with taxis. The place got its name from the theatre which was there earlier. My Hotel was quite close and we walked. But the climb was steep to reach the hotel.
We were staying in Hotel Super in Missouri, it is close to the Mall road and the Picture Palace bus stand, the reason I chose it. Since it was late I ordered lunch with the Hotel. The lunch was horrible to say the least. We took some rest and went for a long walk. Had dinner on the Mall road.
After a good night's sleep and freshening up, we went to Lovely Omelet and a good bread & omelet. Lovely Omelet is a famous shop and he has been on many travel magazines and TV. The break fast was good.
After breakfast we continued our walk in the Mall road it was good experience to walk. After the end of the Mall road we continued towards the Company Garden which is a small garden with a restaurant, wax museum, and a small boat house strictly for kids. We were back in Mall road for lunch. It was more than 10 km walk in total.
In the evening we went for a stroll in the Mall road. Its a nice place to relax , have a walk in the Mall road and do nothing. The next day we were on to Dehradun in the bus. The bus reached by noon and our hotel was close to the Hill bus stand & Railway station.
In the evening we took an auto to the Forest Research Institute or FRI in short. It is a huge place with a beautiful very long lawn and a wonderful large building. The building is an architectural marvel and it houses the tree museum. Though I did not go inside the museum, I spent nearly an hour feasting on the beauty of the building and the lawn. Next our visit was to the Tapkeshwar temple.
Tapkaleshwar temple is one of the old temples in Dehradun and very holy. There was heavy rain when we visited. We felt the holiness and peace exude throughout the place. We returned back to the room. We went for a small walk and my wife twisted her ankle and fell down. She had a muscle tear. The pain increased heavily over the night. Next day was a Sunday and most of the hospital were on leave and we went to Dehradun medical college and showed her leg in the Emergency. She was given an injection and semi plaster was put on her leg. Next day we visited the hospital again and no fracture was observed. But we were grounded for two days and it was not possible to go out anywhere.
Next day evening we got our train to Varanasi which took 24 hrs to reach Varanasi from Dehradun. The train was very slow and waited pretty long time for crossings. The train was near empty after Lucknow. We took an auto from the Varanasi junction to our Hotel Ganges Grand. It was raining heavily and roads near the Hotel were closed due to the Kanwar Yatra. Luckily hotel sent people to pickup my luggage and it was a small walk but by the time we reached hotel we were covered with mud.
Hotel Ganges Grand was a LKasi Viswanath temple website. So we got up uxurious, clean quiet hotel in a happening place. Close to Kasi Viswanath temple and Dasaswamedh Ghat. The in house restaurant was good. We had already booked for the early morning "Mangal Aart" through the Kasi Viswananth temple website. So we got up in the midnight had bath and were in the Gate no 1 of the temple by 1.30 am. They allowed us in by 2.45 am. It was an experience of a life time, to sit near the deity and witnessing the puja being performed by the Pandits for nearly 45 mts. Then we went inside the sanctum sanctorum and were allowed to worship and touch the deity. We were blessed.
After the Holy Darshan we were back in the hotel took, some rest, had breakfast and booked for a day trip in around Varanasi.
We visited couple of temples inside Varanasi including the famous Sankat Mochan temple and then after lunch went to the new Kasi Viswanath temple in Banares Hindu University campus. The temple was big surrounded by lush gardens. A good place to worship and spend some time. From the temple we went to Ramnagar fort on the outskirts of Varanasi.
Apart from the antiquity of the fort, the real surprise was the museum. You see the dilapidated buildings it houses one of the wonderful museums. The entry fee was very less, I think it was Rs.15/- But what we saw inside was a huge collection of cars, palanquins and chariots used by the Royal family. Also there were a huge display of fire arms, vessels and dresses used by the Royal family. That was wonderful feast to the eyes and the mind. Due to limited time we could spend only an hour and we moved our next location. The Buddhist Holy place of Saranath.
The Temple, stupa and the third holiest Bodh tree with a large bell. Once we were inside the main temple we could feel the peace overcome our hearts and never wanted to leave. By the side of the temple is a Bodh tree which is considered third holiest Bodh tree. There is also a huge bell and the prayer wheels. We also went to the Chinese temple nearby. By the time we returned to hotel we were dead tired but there was one more place to go. We went to the Dasaswamedh Ghat and sprinkled water on our head. We decided against taking Holy dip in the Ganges because it was already night and was cold and my wife's leg under bandage.
After a good nights rest we started quite early for our flight back to Chennai. Varanasi is famous for its traffic jams and a chaotic traffic so always start early. We were in airport well ahead of time due our driver who circumvented some areas where traffic totally came to a stand still. Finally we were back home after a wonderful and holy journey.
I went in peak summer so there was not much water but after rainy season one can see lot of water flowing. The whole place is scenic. The top level is like a river where one can bathe and in the bottom level one can have the full view of the falls.
Chapra & Vazhachal
If you want to enjoy sub zero temperature for an hour go to Snow Storm which is in the road to Chalakudy nearly 15 km from the falls. It is entertaining for mainly kids.
Athirapally to Valparai (through Malakapara forests)
The next day after breakfast I started to Valparai through the Malakapara forest. In the Vazhachal check post one has to make the entry of your vehicle and declare the number of plastic bottles you carry. Retain the form since you will have to handover the same when you exit at Malakapara check post.
This route is one of the scenic routes, less frequented by travelers, with lot of elephants and birds.
Valparai and Sholayar
I reached Aliyar dam by lunch. I took lunch in one of the small time food shops opposite the dam entrance the food was tasty and quality was good. I did not expect it to be. Reached my hotel in Bhavani in the evening. Had a refreshing bath after riding in the scorching sun in the afternoon. Then went to Sangameshwar temple. A beautiful temple. Next day after breakfast started for Chennai through Salem and Vilupuram and reached home in the evening.
It was more than a year since myself and my father went on a road trip some tourist spots of Karnataka, kerala and TamilNadu covering nearly 2500 kms and taking nearly 17 days. By the way my father is 84 years old and I am 52 years. So it was high time we planned our second road trip.
So it started with my train journey from Chennai to Nagercoil and on the return journey my father travelled with me to Chennai and we were on the go. The plan was to travel nearly 3200 km. Of this around 1900 km with father travelling on the western side of Tamil Nadu and return back to Chennai with my wife and daughter via the East Coast road covering the eastern side Tamil Nadu. The journey with my father was planned for 16 days. The return journey was much shorter with four days.
The Initial one week was spent on planning, booking hotel rooms and accompanying my father to relatives houses in and around Chennai. Also we made a trip to my sisters house in Pondy. Travelling altogether a distance of 367 km. We were able to spend three days in Pondicherry.
On 15th April 2016 myself and my father in my i10 started off to Yercaud. We started at 5.30 am. We had our breakfast in Ulundurpet, usual South Indian favorite of Idli & Vada. We reached 'Hotel KC' in Yercaud at 11.15 am. It was clean and comfortable . Had our lunch in the Elite Saravana Bhavan. The food was tasty. Self-service.
After a good nights rest next day we started off to Gobichettypalayam
We started at around 11 am from Yercaud and had our lunch in the Saravana Bhavan in Vaikundam on the way. My brother is building his new house and the roof concreting was going on we stopped on the way and then reached his house in the afternoon. We spent rest of the day in rest.
Having ridden 40 trips starting from 3km to a max distance of 100 km to Kalpakkam, Chengalpet, Mahabalipuram, the next obvious target was a trip to Pondicherry. With more than 280 km from my home for trip to Pondy and back and especially with the onset of the summer it looked daunting. But somehow I wanted to go through the next step. With a small backpack packed with three shorts, few other essentials and my Hercules Rodeo NFS Pro MTB Bicycle I was all set to go.
On the day of travel I got up at 3.45 am, freshened up, had a cup of tea. Tied the backpack to the small carrier fixed to the seat post. At around 4.30 am I started my journey. The first resting point was near Mambakkam, 10 km from my home. Had a brief rest near Pudupakkam & Kelambakkam. It was 7.30 am when I reached Tiruporur and I took a break for the breakfast of Idli & Vada. It seems it was an auspicious day, lot of crowd near the temple.
After an hours ride reached the ECR on the outskirts of Mahabalipuram. The next stop was Kalpakkam at 10.30 am. One has to go through the Kalpakkam township because the road bridge on the ECR in this area was washed away in the recent floods. There was grass, park bench and shade of trees in the township where I was able to take a 15 minutes break from the hot sun.
Another two hours of ride in the very hot sun crossed the Maarg Swornabhoomi and stopped at a vegetarian restaurant, the only one available in that stretch.
On the way
The night stay_Hotel Priso
After riding around two salt panes in the hot sun I was totally exhausted and around 4.30 pm I reached Marakkanam. But I was forced to ride further because no suitable Hotel was available. So I rode to Ganapathychettikulam and found Hotel Priso on the road to PIMS (Pondichery Institute of Medical Sciences). It was a newly opened one.
After a much need shower and dinner, had a good nights sleep in comfort. Woke up in the morning and started further inside the Pondy city after a bath and breakfast. Reached my Hotel in Rangapillai street, which was next to Nehru street and close to the beach. Checked into the Hotel and after lunch had a three hour sleep.
Beach and around
After spending the evening in the beautiful Pondy beach and overnight sleep, once again it was beach and Bharathi Park in the morning. I purchased rear light for my bicycle in the Nehru street since the one I was having was damaged while coming to Pondy. After a brief rest in the afternoon I went to my sisters house in Olugaret for overnight stay. She gave me a call earlier in the day.
,With packed breakfast from my sister it was again 4.30 am when I started my ride back to home, Chennai. Front and rear lights helped very much to ride through the darkness. I reached the ECR toll gate by breakfast time. I had my B.fast infront of a closed shop. It was Kalpakkam for lunch and there in the Atomic Energy quarters under the shade I took brief rest. Riding ,the hot sun I was able to reach by 4.3 pm my Hotel in Mahabalipuram for an overnight stay.
The Vinodhara Guest House in Othavadi street is a budget accommodation but is neat and clean. Also it is close to beach. Had a good nights rest and got up at 6 am in the morning. After b.fast at 7.30 am started back home via OMR- Tirporur, Mambakkam and was in home well before lunch. Concluding my 282 km bicycle ride.
It started two months ago. Suddenly one day I decided to buy a Bicycle. We have a TI cycle show room near our house. Looking at what was available with them I finally decided to buy Hercules Rodeo NFS Pro- a MTB bike. That cost me Rs. 11,800/- More details of my childhood cycling fancy is in my post http://paamaran.weebly.com/2959-29902965302129953015 . But this post is in Tamil.
Once I got the bicycle I slowly started with a 13 km ride and reached 51 km ride to Kovalam & back. That was sort of an achievement to me - a novice to cycling with no prior interest or experience in cycling except for a three year three km per day ride to school in my childhood.
Having done my 51km ride I decide to embark on my next step of progress, a two day cycling trip to Mahabalipuram.
Prior to starting I booked a budget hotel, packed a set of shorts, T-shirt and toiletries - nothing more because my bicycle has no luggage rack and I have to keep to the minimum.
On the planned day got up at 5am and was ready to leave at around 5.45 am. It's rainy season. After a two hour ride via, Mambakkam reached Kelambakkam. It started raining heavily and I took shelter in a bus stop. After waiting for half an hour the rains slowed down.
After my breakfast of Idli & Vada I took the Old Mahabalipuram road (OMR) to Mahabalipuram. The road travels through Tirupporur. The road has less traffic. Tirupporur is the only small town available and there are a few shops at Alathur. The road is beautiful with very few villages and negligible traffic. After resting at frequent intervals I reached Mahabalipuram at 11.30 am.
I had booked a room at Vasundhara Guest House a budget hotel in the Othavadai street. Being a rainy season and weekday there were no other guests in the hotel. So it was peaceful.
After a cold shower and couple of minutes of rest I went for lunch. A new restaurant with the name "Chettinad Virundhu" has opened in Mahabalipuram town quite close to the bus stand. The food is good and the rates are moderate.
Rest of the afternoon I rested in the room. It was raining continuously and when there was a brief lull in the rains I walked down to the beach. The beach was just five minutes walk from the Hotel. It was pleasant to be there. Not many people. Rest of the night it was raining and I rested well before next days travel back to Chennai.
After breakfast at the Ananda Bhavan Hotel and a brief time in the beach I checked out of the hotel and started back to Chennai.
I took the ECR (East Coast Road) on the way back. The OMR was almost flat but ECR was having small climbs. There were no rains, there was wind which reduced the heat but made the ride difficult. I started at around 9 a.m. and reached home at around 1.45 pm. in time for lunch. In between I stopped for tea in Kelambakkam and Mambakkam. As usual I had frequent stops to get rest. Contrast to the OMR, there was more traffic. OMR had lot of greenery but ECR had less greenery. But the constant view of the sea on your side was good.
Overall I reached back without any problem and the ride was smooth. The satisfaction doing what looked like something impossible filled my heart.