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Day 0 – 25th Dec 2010: Bangalore to Chidambaram (412 Km)
Day 1 – 26th Dec 2010: Chidambaram to Point Calimere (208 Km)
Day 2 – 27th Dec 2010: Point Calimere to Ramanathapuram (370 Km)
Day 3 – 28th Dec 2010: Ramanathapuram to Kanyakumari (291 Km)
Day 4 – 29th Dec 2010: Kanyakumari to Vathalagundu (413 Km)
Day 5 – 30th Dec 2010: Vathalagundu to Bangalore (508 Km)

Route Map (Interactive)

Day 4 – Dec 29th, 2010

Waking up early, I drive down to see the sunrise after a bath.
A huge crowd is already cramped in the small area to waiting for the sun to rise.

A serpentine queue waited for the ferry tickets which was to open two hours later. I could imagine myself doing the same when I come for family vacations.
Jostling among the crowd and maneuvering around I manage to get a front row seat of the sun’s theater.
The thousand strong crowd would be disappointed. The clouds play spoil sport and the sun never appeared.
The sky however was more cooperative and marvelled with some great colors.

Km 1284 (03)

It didn’t take me long to gather my bags and find the shortest way out-of-town. The home ward journey had begun.
I hoped to split off the highway and escape the dreariness of the newly constructed National Highway drives.

Km 1290 (09)

The sun is up as I join the NH7. Charging North towards the windmills I think of Don Quixote and whatever I have read of him.
I wish the crowds waited long enough to get a good viewing of the sunrise.

Km 1361 (80)

Discontented with the highway ride, I look for an escape and decide on heading towards Kuttalam/Tenkasi.
So just before Tirunelveli I turn west on a smaller undivided road towards Ambasamudram.
As I stop at a junction to ask for directions, the sight of fresh bhajis made me realize that I need to have some breakfast.
Tea, cake and hot bhajis later, I hit the road.
Driving on the narrow road with little traffic is fun. The overcast skies with a hint of rain in the air make me croak like a frog anticipating rain. The hills up ahead beckon with open arms. It is here that I belong.

Km 1381 (100)

At a junction, after some direction hunting I am directed towards Ambasamudram. The drive continues to be fun with an occasional smattering of rain. Nothing worse enough to force me to stop.

Km 1437 (156)

Kuttalam looks like a popular tourist place. a large number of hotels and eateries line the road. The falls itself are crowded with several people cleansing themselves – probably of their sins.

Km 1442 (161)

The main falls though much bigger seem to have the same amount of water as 5 falls.
Resisting an attempt to lure me into an oil massage from a persistent sales boy, I move on.

Km 1448 (167)

The temple at Tenkasi (South Kasi) is visible from way outside the town. The large size of the Gopuram attracts me to the temple which is surprisingly not thronged by a huge crowd.

I stop opposite the temple for a guava which attracts me with its bright green color. Once dismounted I continue for a full-fledged tiffin of sweet bun, rice bath, keshri bath, two vada and double coffee.

My stomach leaves Tenkasi in a content state.

Km 1486 (205)

On my 5th day on the road, I tire out after small stretches. Taking a break on the roadside, I open up the maps.
My current route takes me to Madurai. Not wanting to go there I look for alternatives. I could head into Kerala, but then I would have to come back via Coimbatore and repeat last year’s route (Kerala Bike Trip). Instead I decide to head towards Theni via Peraiyur.

Km 1544 (263)

Stopping at an abandoned bus shelter, I sleep a while. My back and legs appreciate the rest and I head on well refreshed.

Km 1558 (277)

Pitter-patter rain drops on the petrol tank.
I stop under a tree and wait. There is no place to sit so I stand. As I am contemplating sitting on the ground, the rain stops and I head on.

Km 1570 (289)

Taking a left to Peraiyur, the road again enters rural Tamil Nadu. There is ragi spread out on the road for free thrashing.
The road is narrow but empty.

Km 1622 (341)

Joining  the NH49 (Madurai-Theni road) I stop for tea.
The shop is making fresh boondi.
These are small deep fried dough balls dipped in sugar syrup. When we were kids in Chandigarh, we befriended a nearby temple priest and he would give up lots of boondi in exchange for phantom comics.
Having my fill of boondi, I head toward Theni.
A board says Munnar 100Km. A short run and I am tempted.

Km 1651 (372)

Theni is again a disappointment. I was hoping for a smallish hill station. It turned out to be a small city in the foot hills.
As usual there are no rooms ‘available’ and I turn towards Dindigul hoping to find something there or on the way.
Once I contemplated making a run for Bangalore. It would be an all night drive. Glad I decided against it.

Km 1692 (413)

Periyakulam is a disappointment. The lodge on the main street stinks inside out and I decide to take my chance at Dindigul.
The road to Kodaikanal stretches on the left. I know I would come one of these days.
Suddenly out of nowhere, I see a brightly lit building on the right. Slowing down, I find a large hotel in the middle of nowhere.
And even more surprising, the young boys at the reception have a room.
Plonking down the cash, I take the keys before they change their mind.

The bed feels nice and I doze off as soon as I lie down.
Waking up a while later, I take a bath and head out for dinner.
The hotel is located on the outskirts of Batlagundu. Walking up to the town I find several places to eat.
Settling down on one, I order a dosa which was not so nice. So I walk down to a biryani place. The biryani they served was heavily flavoured and spicy rice with chicken separate.
I gobbled it down with a bottle of sprite.

Returning back to the room, I went over the maps. The fact that Kodaikanal was nearby kept coming back to my mind.

Km 1692 (413)

Day end.

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