Masinagudi, a beautiful small little hamlet in the middle of a Jungle. Optimum Stay: two nights and a day.
The first one hour was nice. I was telling myself “This is easy!”. The next hour, it got numb. I said to myself “This isn’t all that bad!”. And then it started – began to burn. It refers to the part of the body that’s on the seat! Yes, I went by Royal Enfield from Chennai. 1400 kms, two days. I had a good time, partly scary – was the pillion when the bike was doing 120 kmph and mostly awesome – great place, great ride (my whole body will agree except for the cells that had to sacrifice sensitivity by constantly rubbing against the seat and some muscles in the back), great photos.
The route we took (google maps) Chennai – Krishnagiri – Hosur – NICE road – Mysore – Bandipur – Masinagudi
We came back :(google maps) Masinagudi – Gundlupet – Asanur – Chamaraja Nagar – Dhimbam – Sathyamangalam – Salem (dont get into erode, take the bypass) – Krishnagiri – Chennai
Experience and route! On the way to Masinagudi, the roads till Mysore are boring – wide, monotonous. From Mysore to Bandipur the road is a bit narrow but the view on the sides is great. Bandipur to Masinagudi stretch is pure bliss, why wouldn’t it be, its surrounded by forest and we were lucky to spot a tusker, Wild Boar, Bisons, Peacock/hens, Deers. And the weather was awesome. PLEASE DO NOT LITTER. And then we entered Masinagudi. Small hamlet, beautiful place. We didn’t have anything booked in advance so we had to settle for something not that great. The climate was awesome- slight drizzle and cold – a welcome change for Chennaites.
Coming back: Next day morning, we started from Masinagudi by 9 AM, Went through Gundlupet which has a lot of old temple ruins, we didn’s stop as we wanted to reach Chennai by 10PM, at least. Stopped at a home mess, Banneri Amma mess, in a small village and had delicious idlis for breakfast. Entered forest roads and were on it till Asanur. We had no luck with sighting animals. Then to Dhimbam, Bannari (famous temple there) and superb ghat roads.
We reached Sathyamangalam by 12 noon, took a thirty minutes rest and left for Salem. Took the Erode bypass and reached Salem by 2:45. Had yum lunch at Hotel Raja’s and left Salem by 3:30 and reached Krishnagiri by 5 and then Chennai by 9:15.
If you are in Chennai and want to go on a trip for a weekend or a long weekend (say 3 days), Pichavaram + Pondicherryis a pretty good plan.Some facts about Pichavaram first:
You should be prepared to spend 3 hours in a boat
If you can’t swim and are afraid, don’t worry, the water is only 3 to 5 feet deep
If you are afraid of snakes, the TTDC rooms at Pichavaram are NOT the place to stay
The last one hour of the boat ride is really boring
There are NO crocodiles in the backwaters – So they say!
Bonus fact: The Pizza hut in Pondy serves BEER!! 🙂
There are two ways to do a trip – one, do it our way (the wrong way) and the other, learn from our mistakes and YOU do it the right way!Right Way – From Chennai to Pichavaram!It will take 5 hours by car, from Chennai to Pichavaram. That time includes a quick 30 mins for breakfast. The earlier you reach Pichavaram, the better. The reason you might be going to Pichavaram is the boat ride through the mangrove forests. It gets really really hot and humid. So go early, if you start from Chennai at 5 AM, you can reach Pichavaram by 10 AM. Finish the boat ride by 2 PM and head back to Pondicherry. Or if you can manage the heat (its really hot!), you can start late from Chennai.
Start from Chennai @ 7 AM Saturday. Have a good breakfast at Pondicherry (Pondy) by 9 AM (If you are really hungry, then you can stop at some restaurant on the highway). Have breakfast and start from Pondy @ 10 30 AM and reach Pichavaram by noon. Do what you went there to do and bail out of there before sundown. Leave Pichavaram by 5 PM. Reach Pondy by 7 PM. Book a place, have dinner, take a walk with your girl friend (oops.. getting carried away, are we!). You can start from there Sunday morning or afternoon and reach Chennai by sundown.hope that was helpful!
What we did! The wrong way! 🙂
Will tell you how we went about the plan to go to Pichavaram
We(4 people, 2 could drive) started from Chennai, by car, on Saturday morning at 7:30. The plan was to go Pondy from Chennai via Thindivanam, as the roads are better, bigger. We reached Pondy by 11:30, stayed there till 3:30 and reached Chidambaram (We overshot Pichavaram, which is 6 Kms before Chidambaram) by 5:00. The road is two-lane and have to be careful driving on those. Even though Pichavaram is only 70 Kms from Pondy, it takes one and a half hours to reach.
There is a hotel at Chidambaram to stay. Take that choice if you have to spend the night there, its a much better and safer option than spending the night at the Pichavaram TTDC room. Since we were four guys and didn’t know what Pichavaram had to offer, we started from Chidambaram at 5 30 and went to Pichavaram. That’s a 6 Kms from Chidambaram and then Off-road (almost) for another 10 Kms. It goes through small villages. Picturesque! yes. But safe, no! goats, kids, people in the middle of the road. And the road is 1.5 lane I guess! 🙂
We went to the TTDC guest house. Built right on the banks of the backwaters. Beautiful view! They serve dinner there and the rooms cost INR 400 for 2 beds. Its poorly maintained. The plaster on the wall is peeling off and there was snake in the bathroom. That was the next day morning. Wait… will get there in a while!
We had dinner at the TTDC place. I could see only 4 rooms and only two of those were occupied (that too by us!). We heard that we might get to meet the occasional fox or snake(s). The electricity went off for a two mins, I guess, twice. And THAT IS SCARY. So, Please don’t go with family. FREAKY!! That’s when we realized why there are no occupants.
We were told that the boat trip lasts for 4 hours – 3 hours on the water and 1 hour at the beach.
So we decided to go boating real early @ 7 AM so that we can be back by 11. We were planning on having lunch at Pondy.
A row boat, that can accommodate 4 people + 1 boatman, costs INR 600. Motor boat costs INR 2000 and motor boats are not allowed to go through the mangrove forests, so we were told. We took the row boat and had to “gift” the boatman another INR 400 to take us through the mangrove forest.
It takes close to 1.5 hours to reach the shore. And an awesome beach. It’s a beautiful place to be… worth all the trouble – power cuts, drive, money, snakes. Had lot of shells and some skull too 🙂
You can spend an hour at the beach. It gets really hot. And we hadn’t had anything to eat too. We got only water bottles and cola with us. After spending an hour at the beach, we went back on the boat, which was really boring this time. We reached our rooms by 11 AM and took a quick shower before leaving for Pondy. And as entered the bathroom, from the corner of my eye I could sense some movement at the corner of the bathroom – a snake!! Got my camera out and shot a pic- the sole reason many of you are here at this blogspot!
After a quick shower from another bathroom, we pushed off to Pondy for lunch. We reached Pondy by 1:30. After lunch guys got “carried away”. So, we started from Pondy at 5:30 and reached Tambaram, Chennai at 7 PM. It took us 45 mins from Tambaram to Guindy 🙂
And that was the trip that we did! – Wrong Way BUT FUN!!
It was good! 🙂 One of my team mates (colleagues) got married on 27th Jan. First of all, Congrats to him and God bless his married life!The reception was on 26th Jan. That being a national holiday, we guys (from office) decided to go for the reception. We started from Chennai on the 25th night by train. I have to mention that Indian railways has gone really bad now. Earlier it used to be only rats, now there are rats and the resident cockroaches. But then there is an improvement too, to be able to charge laptops and mobile phones. So I was able to watch a movie till 4 AM. 🙂
We reached Tanjore by 7 o’clock in the morning of 26th Jan. We got out of the train and were greeted with this wonderful view.
Went to the hotel (The Oriental Towers)
Its a real good hotel for a town like Tanjore. Eight storey, I guess.
Well maintained, has a swimming pool and if you get a room like mine (room no. 715) then you can have beautiful view of the temple top.
Then we went to visit the periya temple (means “Big Temple”)and yes it is really big!
Built by this Chola Raja
Then we went to the Tanjore Sivagangai Park. Not much to see there, but if you are going with kids, it’s definitely a great place. There is a mini zoo with peacocks (and Peahens), foxes, deers, Guinea pigs, rabbits, pigeons, parrot, oh and lots of “love birds”... 🙂
This time when my good friend Deepak made his visit to India, we thought we will do a trip. The plan was to go to Blore, pick up Andy and then decide on where to go.
And you will read on to understand the title of the blog and my pitiable state of my health. 🙂
Deepak and me started from Chennai on Saturday at 9:30 AM, reached Blore by 2 PM. I had a bad burger (didn’t know that then but it did taste different ) at McD Blore. Over the BAD burger we decided we will go Ooty, by the end of that BAD burger two things happened:
1. I felt like puking 2. Somehow, someone suggested we go to Gokarna. Seemed good, so we all agreed on that. It was only 480 Kms from Blore and two out of the three of us could drive. Thus Ooty got cancelled. And Gokarna began.
We walked around for a while and my whole body started aching, which generally means I’m gonna crash down with fever. The cool evening breeze didn’t help the cause either.
By dinner I had fever and with one of the drivers down there was no way we could have done the 480 Km drive. So we decided to go some place closer – Coorg.
Thus Gokarna got cancelled. And Coorg began.
We started out from Blore by close to 10 PM. On the way I started shivering and the fever started. We figured a stop at Barista would do us good. Nice place on the highway.
As we sat there and discussed about the route, we realized the roads were real bad for a night drive. So we decided to go to Nagarhole. Thus Coorg got cancelled. And Nagarhole began! 🙂
We began from Barista by midnight. The roads had lots of bumps and some part of it didn’t dividers. So Deepak had to go slow. At some places there were no sign boards and of course no soul on the road to ask.
Sign boards, sign boards everywhere, not one useful one!!
Somehow we managed to reach Hunsur by 4 AM. All the while me shivering and the body temperature increasing. It must have been close to 104 degrees fahrenheit. At 4 AM we saw a “Coorg Cafe” open. We went in to get something hot and I was almost blacking out. My mouth started tasting funny and I knew it was coming. So had run out of the cafe and puked. BAD BAD McD BURGER!! We were in the middle of a freaking forest, no hospitals nearby and I was burning. Guys decided its better to get back alive than stay there and have one of us dead. So by 5 AM we found a malayali lodge (There’s a malayali everywhere. Thank God!) It was dingy but had bed and we were happy for that. We took a 3 hour nap and drove back to Blore, reached by 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
Thus Everything got cancelled !!
That was the account of how we almost went to Ooty / Gokarna / Coorg / Nagerhole. 🙂