ECR Drive | Below Pondy!


Went on a wild drive on the ECR….. Totally unplanned and totally uncanny!

With no reservations and no travel plans we just embarked from Bangalore. It was a crazy drive from Bangalore towards Madurai. A Real Crazy drive….we left Home at 6AM and we were inside Bell Hotels in Madurai at 11Am ordering Biriyani. With a Stop in between at Krishnagiri for Breakfast.

Finished up the early lunch and came out to find the car dint start. Apparently the diesel Maruti Swift had a specific problem with heater plus timing relay and wanted to be idled out for a few minutes before switching it off and we were unaware. Dint start, called mechanic but before he could come, it just started.

Headed towards Rameswaram. The Madurai – Rameswaram road has been of the same quality since the last time i went there years ago. Loaded with Sand Lorries AKA in terrific terms, Arai Body Lorry. And the entire road almost till Manamadurai is filled with these people and they make sure you dont go fast as either there is a guy in front of you not allowing you to overtake him or there is another guy heading in the opposite direction without even bothering there are other people in the same road. Nightmare!

Manamadurai hasnt really changed and off to Paramakudi and Ramanathapuram. Nothing interesting on the way and we headed off to Rameswaram from Ramnad…… The entire road is filled with goats! Government has apparently given free goats to the farmers to be raised for meat and they graze on the road corners only. If you are heading this way, please be very careful. We reached Mandapam, paid toll for the bridge and we climbed up. A few changes and some points to be mentioned here.

1. Fiber Glass Bottom boats available for Corel watching
2. We were able to Stop in the Bridge and have a look at the sea and Railway bridge. I still remember last time, around 9 years ago being chased away by Military.
3. If you want to see Turquoise waters without travelling to Lakshadweep or Andamans in India, Rameshwaram is the place.
4. The Lagoon is clearly visible with near calm sea

Went inside the city and found no decent hotel to stay near the temple…..drove back and lodged ourselves in Queens Palace Hotel near Bus Stand. Trust me, the room quality offered for that price is a steal. But dont expect professional service. Local boys do the Roomservice, tip them generously and they were willing to bring anything.

It was around 4 and we took off to Dhanushkodi. We stopped at Mukundaraya Chathram. And told not possible to drive further and were also suggested, wait for sometime some one will ask you to be taken further. Sounded vague and we just moved to a place where some old vans and mini pickup trucks were standing. And yes, people asked how many of us….. it was a collective trip system. Each Van goes inside in the salt plains towards End of Land and Ruined Dhanushkodi with a fixed price of 1600 Per trip. So, Tourists usually formed groups to split cost. We joined ourselves with a Christian family from Coimbatore.

There was no road. A first few hundred meters were sand and the vehicle struggled and moved ahead to the salt plains. Tyre marks have formed close to around 2 ft deep in the salt plains and all the vehicles use that with a lot of precision. With some gaps in between where the oncoming vehicles give way for the opposite side vehicles and cross over. It was a totally un organised yet very effective Track and Signal less railway system. The vehicle was going at 3 ft water at some places and went to the end of the land. All Three sides were only water and the Adam’s bridge, or in other words, the “Ram Setu” was clearly visible in the form of Sand Dunes. Google maps cannot be wrong! :)

Used my GPS to catch the Co-Ordinates and here what I was.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:9.15364,79.44688

Next Day, Darshan in the temple, and me headed out of Rameshwaram. To mention the glass bottom boat ride, Our people have successfully scratched the viewing glass to such an extent that nothing is visible. Yes, the green corals were clearly visible from outside and it was a gorgeous site. No fishes were seen though.

Off in the ECR and still no destination. The ECR has been done meticulously well even if it is only a two way road. We went via Thondi, Mimisal. Places which I have read only in books. The dry weather of Ramnad district was s scorch! No breaks, we went to Muthupettai and halted for Lunch. Definitely the find of the year. Hotel Shibana, The most awesome Biriyani I’ve ever had and I’m not at all exaggerating. Super spicy and super tasty and the meat was amazingly cooked. It was a great result of slow firewood cooking.

Then we moved and stopped in Velankanni.

Walked inside the temple, had a one to one discussion from heart with Mother. I still remember those eyes! Every life changing event in my life has happened only after visiting there. Either I had voluntarily gone or the situation always plotted my visit there. This time it was a bit of both. Still,it was Divine! as always!

Off from Velankanni and the crazy Puducherry and Tamilnadu Border play started. For a few Kilometers it is  Pondy and again it becomes TN. And it continues again and again for a long distance. There is only sparkling difference. In Pondy Region there are atleast 10 to 15 Wine Shops for every Kilometer whereas TN portion is Dry. Totally Dry. There is totally nothing.

After the Most Tormented Roads of Cuddalore City(?) we reached Pondy and settled in the room.

The next day, off to the beach, found a boat and hopped in side till the land dis appeared. Doing this on a country boat, with the waves pounding your boat with such force and then the sudden silence once you get inside the sea, the vastness, the deep waters, makes you feel so tiny. The only sound you hear is the song sang by the fisherman who took us inside and distant whirring motors of other boats. The only thing visible was the Mobile phone towers…….so tiny!

Its quite an experience!

Off to the shore and off to party! The Hunt for a disco! There was this place called Asian House and the great guide (Jackass) who told us to go there promptly warned us of the dress code and which forced me to buy a shoe. We reached at 8.45PM to see a board that the party ends at 9.30! LAME!

What was more lamer was to see couple of guys walking out of the disc in Chappals! LAMER!!

Then we drove to a place called Ocean Spray which was very nice infact in looks and a sloppy Disc. It was so not crowded that a family moved inside with all auntys and uncles, a Typical Tamil family, And was exploring every corners of the Night club! Infact, the senior most aunty tried her luck with shaking the booty alone in the dance floor with the whole crowd around her cheering her. I dont know what to call the Aunt’s passion for exploration but for a Night Club…..LAMEST!

Then we chose enough and we drove back to Bangalore Via, Krishnagiri!

Please avoid the road and come via Chengelpet and Chennai. Much Much Better!!!!!

And the Entire Trip is dedicated to the most beautiful Chin Shake of the year by these Girls, with love, I call them Chammak Babes! ;-)
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