Category Archives: Travel

Chennai to Thanjavur – Tamil Nadu Road Trip

26 Dec 2017 / 27 Dec 2017

The second leg of our Tamil Nadu road trip was our journey from Chennai to Thanjavuru.  (The first leg was Bengaluru to Chennai). We had never traveled on this route and I ended up spending a good amount of time trying to figure out the best route to take.  Finally we decided to take the scenic East Coast Road over the one Google recommended as being the fastest.  In retrospect, this choice of scenery over speed worked out very well for us.  The total distance was 332 KM and we took 8 hours and 1 minute to travel including several breaks we took along the scenic route.

We left Avadi (in the outskirts of Chennai) and took the Outer Ring Road and joined the East Coast Road at Kovalam.  We paid toll near Kovalam and the the entire stretch from there was along the beach and was awesome to drive as well as watch the scenery.  We were planning to break for breakfast somewhere near Mahabalipuram and luckily found a beach resort called Golden Sun Beach Resort.  We parked at 9:17 AM and were told by the resort guys that breakfast will be served from 9:30.  Never the one to lose a good opportunity, we headed out to the private beach and had fun there.  Our little one who is 3 years old  had never been to a beach and was very excited to get her feet in the water.

We ended up spending about 1.5 hours at this resort and had a decent breakfast.  We left the place and drove towards Pondicherry, our next transit point.

The road from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry was very scenic and with little traffic.  The drive was great.

Soon, we were in Pondicherry and couldn’t resist getting out and onto Auroville Beach.  An hour later, we were back on the road till we found ourselves hungry and were looking for a place to have our Lunch.  Luckily, we found Hotel Aryas which was a small restaurant.  I chatted up with the owner in broken Tamil who wanted to move my car as it was positioned right on top of the water refill tank on the ground 🙂 We had good hygienic food and used the clean washrooms before heading out to Thanjavur.  This was a stretch where I knew my co-passengers would doze off and I made the most of it.  A long non-stop drive to Thanjavur.  On the way, we crossed Kollidam river but it did not have much water.  Finally, we were at our Thanjavur hotel at 5 PM.

All of us took a quick shower  and headed off in an auto rickshaw to see the historic Brihadeeswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.  This is a 1000+ year old temple built by Rajaraja Chola 1.  The dome at the top itself weights 80 tonnes.  We were quite amazed to see the unparalleled Chola architecture and would come back next morning for better pics as it was already past sunset when we visited the temple.

 

No doubt this is a UNESCO heritage site.

The area around the temple with barricades to control the flow of traffic.

From Thanjavur, we would make our way to another historic place – Rameswaram – but that’s topic for another blog post 🙂

 

I am no stranger to road trips!

I am no stranger to road trips!

We used to love driving out of London to Brighton, Birmingham etc between 2007 and 2010.  The mother of all our road trips in UK, however, was the one shown below where we were pretty much on the road every day for 10 full days.

UK+Ireland Road Trip

We were packing up from UK and there wouldn’t be another opportunity like this.  We shipped all our stuff, hired a car and spent 10 days on the road starting from London going North to Lake District, onwards to Scotland and then we took our car across the ocean in a ferry into Northern Ireland and then onto Ireland; and then all the way back to London before getting on a flight to India.  It was awesome!  Google Maps was still not very popular then.  I used a Garmin Nuvi in this trip

Garmin Nuvi

Here are some pics from this trip, feels like yesterday!!

 

Mumbai – Bengaluru

While we were living in Mumbai, we did a few road trips from Mumbai but none more than a few hours.  The next real road trip was was a one way trip when we were relocating from Mumbai.  We just decided to drive down from Mumbai to Bengaluru in 2012.  It worked out cheaper than shipping the car and we had more fun as well.  The roads were patchy at places but overall, we couldn’t complain.  This was a  2-day trip with an overnight stop in Hassan.

 

Bengaluru – Hyderabad – Rajahmundry – Hyderabad – Bengaluru

Our next road trip was in December 2016 when we decided to hit to road to my in-laws place in Rajahmundry via Hyderabad.  The roads were mostly good; except for major works happening in the outskirts of Vijayawada (new capital coming up nearby).

This seems to be now becoming an annual ritual.  We did a Tamil Nadu road trip in Dec 2017 but more about that later.