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Sep '10

Trip to the ever enchanting Tamilnadu—Bangalore-Tiruvananamali-Madurai-Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi-Tiruchendur-Kanyakumari-Trivandrum-Bangalore.

Tamil Nadu is a historic place which boasts of rich cultural heritage and traditions. Its peculiar styles of temples, its movies etc etc.Everything & anything about tamilnadu is incredible. Despite of the diversity in the state, people of many beliefs live together, worship and respect all other religions.

So here ,Myself ,wify,bro & parents decided to visit this enchanting state.
Resons for the trip:-
1)For Me & wife-we know no other way to spent a long weekend.
2)For my parents-They are about to retire and wanted to take leave from office & go some were before they retire ;-) .
3)For my bro -he had just finished his studies & wanted a break.

We had 5 days at our disposal and wanted to utilize these days fully. So after a long discussion the routes & places were finalized.
It was going to be a 2500 km drive from bangalore back to bangalore.
My parents were very comcerned about me driving the entire stretch.so this time we planned to hire one of our family friends Travera along with a driver .but its another case that i ended up driving most of it.you know cannot resist myself on those butter smooth highways.
So without much delay here goes the Travelouge.

4:00 am
Bangalore -hosur-krishnagiri-chengam-tiruvanamalai.
Left my apartment in marthahlli around 4:00 am & proceeded towards krishnagiri.I was at the wheels for the fact that our driver was pretty new to bangalore & was not sure of the way so i offered to take the vehicle out of the city limits.(For people who are wondering how my driver didn’t know bangalore–My parents ,teh vehicle & teh driver had travelled from keral the day before)
It was the first time that i was driving a travera & Few things that quickly stuck me about this vehicle was that it was spacious,its 2nd row was the best of the lot.& its third row also was not bad.i would say more spacious than a quails.& another thing was that in spite this being a 7 year old vehicle & being used pretty rashly the vehicle had power & was moving from stand still pretty quickly ,but once i hit the over bridge at electronic city i started feeling the age of the vehicle.110-120 kph max.that was it.with the entire foot down on the pedal this was it.the needle never went above 120.
We reached krishnagiri pretty quickly & then i exchanged the wheels & preferred to take a back seat.After krishna giri we have to take the chennai deviation & take the 2nd right on this road.this will take you to tiruvanamalai.

We reached tiruvananamali by 10:00 am and visited the temple.

After temple visit we took brunch from a hotel which is just in front of the temple.And then proceeded to raman mahrshii ashram which is near by the temple.

Around 12:00 we left the ashram & proceeded towards Madurai.The route we took was
Tiruvanmalai -asanur-trichy-madurai.
We had initially planned to stay at trichy & visit all the temples near by trichy but then the time constraints & the fact that we will have to drop either rameswaram or kanykumari made us to decide against staying at trichy.
The road from tiruvanamali to madurai starts as a small 2 lane road whose intial 8 km is in pathetic state thanks to the construction going on.but after that the road becomes alright & eventually it merges with the 4 lane highway NH45B (i don’t remember exactly –my mistake-lack of a notepad & pen during the trip) which will go till madurai by passing trichy.I forgot the exact places in between but you can rely on the national GPS system availble ,which is to pronounce the place you want to head to and put a question mark on ur face and any body will direct you.
We bypased trichy sometime around 2:00 and before that we visited samyapuram mahamayee temple just before trichy which was open at noon 2:00 as well.

The Samayapuram Mahamayi is a very powerful Goddess with a long legend. Thousands of pilgrims visit every day and the deity is extremely awe-inspiring with her enormous size.
The temple lies on the bank of the river Peru Valai Vayakkal and it is deemed a Mahasakti-Peetha. Many legends are woven round this thirtha kshetra.

The temple was too good & with little rush we finished our darshan & came out by 3:00.after that we took the highway again & proceeded towards maduraii..
The drive to madurai was entirely through well laid 4 lane highway & we managed to hit madurai by 5:00 in the eve,

Before entering madurai we procededed further to tirupanakundaram temple situated 25 kms ahead of madurai on madurai-kanyakumari route.
The highway becomes a two lane road just after the deviation which leads to the madurai city. we have to proceed till we pass 3 toll gates on this route.Ask the people at the toll gates for re confirmation,however my memory tells me that we have to take the 2 nd right after the 3rd toll gate,This road is a small village road which will go ahead and intersect again on a highway,from here we have to take right & then a immediate left (its almost like crossing the the highway diagonally) & then proceed further on the road whcih will lead to a T junction from here we have to take a right turn & that will lead you to the temple.
The temple was a very unique one.
Thiruparankundram temple is a Murugan temple. This temple is a rock cut temple and is one of the six abodes(Arupadaiveedu) of Lord Murugan. This is the Murugan’s first and important shrine among other temples. This is were Muruga married his first wife Thevanai (the daughter of Indiran), in the presence of Sun and Moon. This is the only place we can see Muruga with his first wife Dheyvanai, most(or all)other shrines have Muruga with both his wives Dheyvanai & Valli along with his children and relatives. The presiding deity Sri Subramaniyaswamy is seen in rockcut temple, which is unique to this temple. Abishekam is performed only to the presiding deity Sri Subramaniya swamy. Unlike other temples, where Nandhi is seen in front of Shiva, here Perumal is seen.

We finished the darshan in 1 hour & then proceeded towards Madurai.there was lot of traffic & it took almost 1 hour to reach madurai.It was 8 in the night When we approached mdurai meenakshi temple it was insane rush near the temple complex. we decided to stay close to madurai meenakshi temple so that we could visit the temple in the early morning without bothering to take our vehicle.The hotel we stayed was .We stayed in the so called VIP room in the hotel which was a AC room with a wonderful view of the temple complex.Though the Hotel is nothing to write about & also we had severe pblm with the water pressure in the bathroom because of the tank & our suite being on the same level.but the view of the complex from our room compensated for all these small pblms we faced.The hotels name is sree devi.i guess its the only hotel closest to the templex complex.I would not recommend that hotel but why we selected that was that we were on a strict budget.refer this link for a complete list of hotels near madurai.


Day 2:-
Morning 5;00 we freshned up & went to meenakshi aman temple.There was no rush & the darshan was a soothing experience.

One of the sculptures on madurai meenaksi temple goupuram

After darshan we took breakfast from a hotel near the temple complex.
we checked out from the temple by 9:00 & the Next destination was Palamudircholai.It is 25 kms from madurai & its better to ask the ever helping locals for route.
It is one of the Six Hill abodes of Muruga. A few miles off Alagar boil hill temple, it is one of the Arupadiveedus – six important temples held dear to Murugan. It is visited by all throughout the year. Its legends are many and sanctity, great. Murugan’s boyhood sports were played here. It is called Tirumaliruncholai in legends and Chola malai in Tamil literature. It is surrounded by big trees, shurbs and creepers that bear delicious fruits of different sizes and tastes. And ripe fruits always fall from the trees. Hence it is aptly called Palamudircholai.

There are two more temples here near by one vishnu temple at the foot hill & another kali temple at the top.We visited all the three temples & have to say all of them were very good temples to visit.I want to write about all those temples but then this travelouge will go onto 10-15 pages if i do so.
anyways we came out of this place by 12:00 and then our destination was rameswaram.we had to head back to madurai to take the deviation to rameswram.we were on the road leading to rameswaram by 1:00 pm & after that it was a straight road leading through ramanath puram to rameswaram.we reched rameswaram by 4:00 pm &checked into a hotel called Shanmuga Paradise (ph:-04573-222984,222945,221860).The hotel was decent one with Ac rooms.

Rameswaram is a island which is connected to the indian subcontienent by The pamban bridge.

Rameswaram is as ancient as Ramayana. This place was noted in Ramayana. Devotees hailed Rameswaram as the Varanasi of the south. This island people Trust Sea for their living. It is treated as a holy place, devotees bathe in the sea and bathing gate is popular there. Rameswaram is known for its long corridors and towers and 36 theerthams. Veranda is 197metres long south to north. The temple is facing the east. The sea is just 100metres away from the entrance of the temple. Sea is very calm, that water is considered scared.
There is a wonderful story beside this name Rameswaram. Rama sacred this place by worshipping lord shiva after the war against Ravana. So both devotees of siva & vishne both visit Rameswaram with devotion.
We freshened ourselves and decided to go to the temple by 5:00.we took bath in the sea for some time & then proceeded to the temple for darshan
Ramnathswamy temple was built in the 17th century. Situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the island, this temple is famous for its 1200 gigantic granite columns. The 54 metre tall gopuram (gate-tower), 1220 metres of magnificent corridors and the flamboyant columns embellish and render fame to the temple. There are 22 sacred wells or otherwise called as theerthams inside this temple & it is beleived to be asupisious to take dip all these 22 wells.The water in each of the 22 sacred wells in the temple tastes different. Myself ,dad & mom did this ritual this time and was a good experience.
By 8:00 in the night we were out of the temple after having a nice darshana and then we retired for the day after dinner from a near by hotel.

4:45 am.
we get a call from the jeep driver we had arranged on the last day for a tip to dhanuskodi.we had asked him to come by 5:00 and the plan was hit dhanushkodi before 6:00 so as to capture the sunrise.
Dhanushkodi is a 45 min drive from rameswaram.There is road till almost 10 kms & then after wards its all sand.so only 4*4’s can traverse that area.The jeep driver charged as 900 ruppes for this trip but then it was worth it.
Dhanushkodi has the only land border between India and Sri Lanka which is one of the smallest in the world just 50 yards in length on a sand dune in Palk Strait. Before the 1964 cyclone, Dhanushkodi was a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage town. Since Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) is just 18 miles away, there were many weekly ferry services between Dhanushkodi and Thalaimannar of Ceylon, transporting travellers and goods across the sea. There were hotels, textile shops and dharmashalas catering to these pilgrims and travellers. The Railway line to Dhanushkodi–which did not touch Rameshwaram then and destroyed in the 1964 cyclone-went directly from Mandapam to Dhanushkodi. Dhanushkodi in those days boasted of a railway station, a small railway hospital, a post office and some state government departments like fisheries etc. It was here in this island in January 1897, Swami Vivekananda after his triumphant visit to the west to attend parliament of religions held in USA in September 1893, set his foot on Indian soil from Columbo.
On that fateful night (December 22) at 23.55 hours while entering Dhanushkodi railway station, the train No.653, Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger, a daily regular service which left Pamban with 110 passengers and 5 railway staff, was only few yards before Dhanushkodi Railway station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave. The whole train was washed away killing all 115 on the spot. Lot of people died in the cyclonic storm. All dwelling houses and other structures in Dhanushkodi were marooned in the storm . Following this disaster, the Government of Madras declared the town as Ghost town and unfit for living after the storm.Only few fisherfolks now live there.
I had visited dhanushkodi couple of years before when i was a kid & from that day this place has been always a favorite place of mine.

Dhanushkodi was a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage town before the 1964 cyclone.The entire village was washed away in this cyclone along with a train.

Every time I go there the place seems to haunt me with its broken houses & boats.

The drive to dhanushkodi is always a great experience with a striaght road connecting rameswaram & dhanushkodi which is covered from both sides by sea.

Indian govt had declared dhanushkodi as ghost city & nowadays only a few fishing floks live there.

However we could not capture sunrise here thanks to the clouds but we did manage to click some snaps & returned to rameswaram by 7:00.While returnng back we also visited kothandaram temple near dhanushkodi.We came back had a qucik breakfast and after freshening up we checked out of the room by 9:00.The next plan was kanyakumari.before that we visited the ramarpadam a near by temple were imprints of rama’s feet are present & then proceeded towards kanyakumar.

The route was rameshwaram-ramanathpuram-ecr-turicorin-tiruchendur –kanyakumari.
The ecr road was a delight to drive & we reached tiruchendur by 4:00 in the eve,
Tiruchendur is the headquarters of the Thiruchendur Taluk. Tiruchendur is famous for the Murugan Temple on the beach. Tiruchendur temple is located on the shore of the Bay of Bengal. Tiruchendur temple is the second of the six abodes of Lord Murugan, enshrining Senthilandavar and is very popular with pilgrims.

The location of the temple is ideal and draws a perennial stream of devotees. The temple overlooking the sea is an inspiring sight.
The other abodes are situated on top hills; this one is located on the seashore in the southern part of the state.
We got a excellent darshan here & then by 5:15we started our journey towards kanyakumari.the roads were again awesome & then we managed to be in kanyakumari by 7:00 in the night.
we checked hotel sangam which is one of the hotels seen on the left while entering kanyakumari & then retired for the day after having dinner.The hotel is again a decent one with nice AC rooms.

5:00 am
Woke up & after freshening up we went to catch a glimpse ofthe sunrise.it was 6:10 by the time sun rose & then we went ahead for a quick darshan of the kanyakuamri devi.

The temple overlooks the shoreline. It is dedicated to Parvati as Devi Kanya, the Virgin Goddess who did penance to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva. The deity, Devi Kanyakumari is’ the protector of India’s shores’ has an exceptionally brilliant diamond on her nose ring which is supposed to shine out to sea. 
After darshan we took breakfast rom the adjacent saravana bhavan & proceedded towards vivekanada rocks.There were some school kids who had come for an exccursion & thanks to them the queue in front of the counter was too long.we suddenly dropped the plan of viveanada rock then decided to head to trivandrum.
on the way we visited suchindaram
Just 13 kms. from Kanniyakumari, Suchindram has a temple dedicated to a deity who is the representation of the combined forces of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. It is one of the few temples in the country where the Trinities are worshipped. The temple has a beautiful gopuram, musical pillars and an excellent statue of the Hanuman, apart from a valuable collection of art from different periods.
Then procedded to trivandrum.it was by 2:00 that we reached near padmanabhswami temple(my bro had some official work at trivandrum health service office & hence the delay)& we checked into a near by lodge called Rajadhani lodge near the sri padmanabhaswami temple.Evening we visited padmanabhswami temple & then retired.

day5:-This was the travel back to bangalore.we checked out early morning & decided to take the trivandrum-nagercoil-madurai-dindigul-salem-hosur bangalore route.The roads were excellent.Only pblm with the entire stretch between kanyakumari & madurai was that there was not even a single hotel were we could have some food.We were forced to go to maduraii for lunch & then come back to the highway.Anyways apart from this small problem we reached our home around 6:00 in the eve including a 1 hour break for lunch at maduraii.

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