Bangalore - Pondicherry - Bangalore Trip: An exhaustive report


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Well, after some planning and lot of change in plans of dates and schedule, we finally could get our way for Pondicherry trip. I had planned a two day leave at office, wiz Thursday and Friday so that this could be a nice one and after return, a Sunday could be used to relax and get things in place before office life begun.
Preparation:
Umika’s(My 10 months daughter) First long trip: First of all, since this was going to be a long journey for our 10 months daughter, we had thought out that the preparations have to be done so that this could be an enjoyable trip with umika. Often, with kids, if the planning is not in place, it could lead to tough time. My wife, made a list and packed every possible item required for umika and hence this was a long list of items to be taken along. Truck load already for the trip ready!

Car Checkup: Also a day before, i got the wheel alignment and balancing done. The front left tyre was giving some vovelling effect and hence this was on the top from the list of TO-Dos before the long drive. The wheel alignment and balancing got the steering response absolutely smooth. I was feeling very happy about it.
A day before the trip, I also took the car to my mechanic and got a basic check up done. He saw that the engine oil was little low, which he topped up. Also he checked the gearbox oil, which he found to be requiring change. I mentioned to him that the gear box oil hasn’t been changed in past 3 years and he was a little taken aback. He showed me the condition of the oil and mentioned that it’s high time that its changed since it would cause humming as time goes by. the gearbox oil had run almost 25k and hence His advice made sense and the gearbox oil was completely flushed out and 2 ltrs of fresh oil was filled up. Timing was checked and everything else seemed to be perfect. My baby was now ready for the drive. The last thing which I got done was get the air pressure checked that evening and voila, we were all set of Thursday morning’s early leave.
Maps and distances: The third aspect of the planning was that I had read extensively about Bangalore-Pondicherry road conditions and also printed couple of guide maps which would help navigate through the route in case we get stuck. Also all the advices on the TAI and blogs written by people were taken into consideration.


Course of journey:
1.1. Beginning: The plan was to start by 4 am so that we could cover the best part faster and then have more time to cover the proclaimed bad portion of the drive, between Krishnagiri to Tiruvanamalai. After an early rise at 3:15 am, we got all the packing done and finally by time we rolled out, it was 4:25 am. I was still happy with the timings since for making this happen too, my wife had to stretch too hard and this was pretty cool from all means. Bangalore was still asleep as we left CV Raman nagar and within 25-30 mins of drive, we were cruising through the elevated express way from madivala and in a jiffy we crossed the toll bridge. The road was excellent from there and it was no time when we crossed the second toll bridge near hosur was well. It was absolutely dark and very less traffic and we could cruise easily above three digit speed. The car was responding fantastically well and quite very stable and at the back seat my wife and daughter dozed off in no time. In around an hour and fifteen mins we were at krishnagiri. The roads are absolutely amazing and the trip looked to be in a great shape.
From krishnagiri, one has to take the Chennai road hence, from the main crossing, its a left turn. After taking left, around 1 km from there, there is a sign board which would guide you towards Pondicherry road(take right) wiz via Tiruvanamali-tindivanam. I was getting ready for a single lane road with patches around it as learnt during planning. As soon as we took right from the main road, it really turned out to be a one lane road and a huge crater awaited us there. As I negotiated this turn, soon reality hit me. There are no patches done on the road and “Road is in ok shape” would be an understatement. From this point onwards the horrible road started and then if I am not exaggerating, there was no stretch of even 1 km where one could go in top gear. There was a fabia going in front of me and we both were doing almost 25-30 kmph and the this person driving the fabia, may be a new rider, tried to go through couple of places at a little higher speed and the car banged very badly. while i glided past negotiating that crater, i could see the person driving the fabia stunned in the driving seat. i am sure a new car could survive the way he banged the car else, it could have been disastrous. The road is terrible in condition and I can go on writing about the same!
Conclusion: Avoid this road at any cost. This nightmare continued till tiruvanamali. Imagine! From krishnagiri to tiruvanamalai, a stretch of around 115 kms, we took around 3.5 hours or so to crossing. I felt as if I have cursed my car by putting It through this condition ;-) but then there was no looking back!

While at tiruvanamalai, we stopped for a while near the famous temple and I got down and took couple of shots. I was not in mood to stop there but rather at the outskirts of the town since it was quite dusty. Proceeding further, I found my way towards Tindivanam main road which could be little dodgy considering that you would be passing through the busy thiruvanamali town. As soon as we got on to the right track, at the outskirts it was time to break the journey.
I parked at a corner of the road and we had our breakfast there. From here, the road was promising to be better atleast from the account of other travelers. We started from this pitstop in 30 mins time and nice parathas with tea were making it feel heaven now. Also the bad roads had taken toll on the mood hence it was a great relief to drive on good food. The road from Thiruvanamali to tindivanam was much better however one needs to be cautious about not getting too carried away, since as soon as you start to cruise, there were bad patches awaiting. We could do the stretch quite well and I was looking forward to crossing via Gingee. At gingee the weather was nice and the nice scenic picture made me to stop quickly for taking some shots. The fort could be seen and it was either all green wherever you could see, or it was rocky in the background.
From gingee, in another while, we reached Tindivanam. Again a dusty town with lot of trading happening all around. A point to mention, people are extremely helpful throughout. Wherever in doubt, if you stop to ask people, you get precise pointers and it was very helpful. Through the way we didnt take any wrong turns, all thanks to people through the stretch.
Tindivanam town puts you on to the NH66 again but contrastingly, this is the best stretch and I was shocked to comprehend that this stretch and the Krishnagiri - Thiruvanamali both are called as NH66. From tindivanam to Pondicherry, it was a distance of 45 kms and the road was just dream to drive. I was doing a constant 110-115 kmph through this stretch and we hit Pondicherry in around 30 mins. it was 11:30 as we entered Pondicherry and planned to "Give time a break"....

As i continue to write further, here are some shots taken while going towards pondicherry. further details coming soon.
 

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Re: Bangalore-Pondicherry-Bangalore Trip:An exhaustive report

Nice start buddy, love the angle at which the picture is taken of the temple. Waiting for more pics and of course the beach.

Btw - I guess you missed my post, when you were seeking assistance for the Pondy trip. I had mentioned, that the road is bad, from Krishnagiri to Tiruvanamalai. The alternate is go to Kanchipuram and take the road that leads to Tindivanam. Hope you took this route on the way back.
 
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Re: Bangalore-Pondicherry-Bangalore Trip:An exhaustive report

Thx much for your comments! lots and lots of pics coming soon.

yes avindu, i guess i missed out on that! i read at lot of places and people mentioned that road is bad but still doable and hence i went for it. didnt realize that it was that bad.
though i would be writing an account of return journey, while on the way back, i took the tindivanam-from gingee outer towards vellore route...this was much better experience.
 
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Re: Bangalore-Pondicherry-Bangalore Trip:An exhaustive report

Saurabh,

Nice start and Stunning temple tower pics.

One question: Is the 4-laning of Dindivanam - Pondicherry route complete ?
 
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Re: Bangalore-Pondicherry-Bangalore Trip:An exhaustive report

absolutely! thats a rocking road. only when you reach pondi, thats where they are working on erecting and creating toll boths after which there are diversion and lot of traffic..before that tindivanam-pondi is heavenly.
 
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Hey Saurabh.
I have done this stretch earlier, Thats the famous Arunachaleshwara Temple.
Which i had visited after the Golden Temple in Vellore.
Yeah the roads has small potholes, which is doable.
I was doing constant 80 kmph on that stretch.
I guess you would have seen some Ashram on that road, where you would have taken left U turn to Tiruvannamalai.
 
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Hey Saurabh.
I have done this stretch earlier, Thats the famous Arunachaleshwara Temple.
Which i had visited after the Golden Temple in Vellore.
Yeah the roads has small potholes, which is doable.
I was doing constant 80 kmph on that stretch.
I guess you would have seen some Ashram on that road, where you would have taken left U turn to Tiruvannamalai.
Mukesh, i really got confused with your message. are you talking about the krishnagiri-tiruvanamalai stretch? were you able to do 80 on that? if so, then cheers mate, but i am sure you cant call them pot holes and rather calling them manholes wont be wrong [evil]

Hope my town gave a great time to you!!

Great pictures.
Thx Ilango. More pics coming today.
 
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Mukesh, i really got confused with your message. are you talking about the krishnagiri-tiruvanamalai stretch? were you able to do 80 on that? if so, then cheers mate, but i am sure you cant call them pot holes and rather calling them manholes wont be wrong [evil]


Thx Ilango. More pics coming today.
Yes Saurabh thats the one.
As soon as you take left below the bridge towards Krishnagiri.
You will be taking 1st right on that stretch.
 
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continuing the trip report further, we hit pondicherry at 11:30 and now we were straight heading towards the white town, or essentially the beach facing french residential area. The weather was a little towards warm side and the traffic was subdued but still a feeling of relief from Bangalore's jams. after passing through the major market area, we were nearing the white town and soon as the cityscape changed, it was very evident that we have reached the destination.
the beauty of this is just across a 'Nallah', a seweage drain which runs through this area. on one side of this drain, the complete cityscape is no different from any other town in tamil nadu, with usual hustle bustle, crowds, shops and what not. on the other side of this drain, is a different world all together. its the french white town. The complete architecture changes. Huge walls, with beautiful colors and contrasting window panes, wide roads, doors and windows in a very different model, all the roads & streets clearly named and in French. Through this area too you can find stores but not the usual ones...its more targetted towards the visitors, mainly foreigners. most of them would be botiques or cafe which cater the needs at premium pricing, again mainly due to the end customer. Also the famous aurbindoashram and murgan temple both located inside this french town, the beauty is seamless throughout.
While you move around this area, things have changed very fast since the last time i came here 6 years back. now the french town is lot dirty with surprisingly lot of places the garbage dumped on the roads. Lot many no of boutiques have opened up and now you could see some houses here and there in the normal indian architecture. earlier i never saw such a thing and it was almost a feel as if you were somewhere out of india. Now, you feel at home at most of the places in the white town as well.
After searching through, we came across the place where were to put up for this trip on the RU ROMAN ROLLAND Street. this was a colonial heritage guest house with our host, a french lady. She had a beautiful property and various available rooms on various themes. We took our room with a hall outside to sit and relax and finally checked in at 1 pm. The room was pretty comfortable and the guest house had extremely inspiring touches of wood work and colors all around. We decided to checkin, take rest for a while and then go out by 3:30 or so!
It was a good long journey and feeling of reaching the destination, beautiful french town surroundings, chilling AC and a great decor room were all setting of how fantastic this trip could be.
Leaving with some photographs:
 

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The same day, after relaxing for sometime we came out at 3:30 and were now looking for some place to eat out. we found a nice sleepy and very beautiful cafe near by and tried some delicacies there before heading home. from here, we went to the promenade and took the long walk about the beach. the feeling was fantastic. it was a little dusty this afternoon and wind was quite strong.
the same trend of people litering around continued here and i was again surprised. may the times moved much faster and as lot of other members have mentioned that these days lot of people are visiting pondi, hence there is quite much of garbage lying all around wherever you go. also the beach side, especially near Le Cafe has been primarily taken over by lots of hawkers and the spot is no more where you could just retire and see very lesser interferences. may be i was still in the dream of pondi of 6-7 years back. As we moved around, i also saw the famous park(dont remember the park) which has a statue of one of the french colonels has also been closed. Also the complete stretch is quite crowded now!
well, but promises of La Cafe remains there! their food and service was intact and we spent time in the evening there watching the sea from there. the plan was to move around the beach and the french town for the rest of the time and have a relaxing time.
there was some yoga festival going on in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue and lot of people had gathered there. the evening, with the setting sun broke lot of colors and from a dusty afternoon it was a colorful sunset. we went to Rendevezous and had some beer and food and well, retired to the comfortable heritage guest house by 10 pm.
Some more pics!
 

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Akash

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Excellent pictures Saurabh. Keep them coming. I just went through your post, and i really appreciate the preparations you did before starting off for your journey.
 
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Well, i rose up immediately as i heard my wife calling me "its 5:50...Sunrise time!" yep! didnt really feel like getting up and was about to say that "Can we cancel the plan of going out" but suddenly realized that this is what i desperately wanted to do and we need to push for it.
Hence, not feeling too inclined from the comfort perspective, i still got up and washed up! i had read somewhere that the sunrise time is around 6:10 am at Pondicherry during that period. our daughter was asleep while we took her and left the room in next 5 mins. the beach was just 100 mts away, or so to a walk of less than 1 min.
The weather was not opening up and i was a little disappointed to see this! this was quite cloudy and i was just thinking if we would get to see the sunrise over the sea coastline or not. we took a walk and soon the light began to come through but sun was not to be seen! we enjoyed the weather and this place was more or less a regular place for the locals who throng here for morning walks and discussions! there were few tourists like us, which i could make out, were walking around for the sunrise.
though the sun disappointed us by not showing up early, it did come through before it got too late and we got some beautiful moments and i could take few pictures are well. After a good morning walk around the beach , we came back to the Resort at 8 am.
The day was looking beautiful and we were to get ready for the next move.
 

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