Saturday, August 16, 2008

Swift Drive - Bangalore > Chennai > Pondicherry: Album

This is in continuation of my post here. Mind you, this is not going to be a travelogue for this road trip, for details there are lot of other good references.

The trip was planned with my friends, but ended up being a family trip with of course, Kashi joining in. We started quite early at around 4am and picked Kashi en route. The one thing I had always wanted is to drive my Swift when it's raining hard. It was granted on this long drive quite a few times, but mostly when it was dark - clearly not what I wanted completely. Nevertheless, I now like it all for the cold, risky (almost zero visibility at some points) and strangely peaceful moments (it's just you, the car and the rain).

Below is my car from my home on the 1st floor, at around 4am. The 37-odd kilometers from Madiwala to Hosur was adventurous, to put it mildly. Diversions, roads under construction, heavy downpour, dark night, oncoming trucks, huge pot-holes and hunger.

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After we crossed Krishnagiri, my brother Raghu took over the driver's seat and for the first time, I took the back seat on a trip.

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We visited Sripuram, off Vellore for the Golden Temple. Quite honestly, the site was more Gold than being a temple and we are pretty sure that we will not visit it again. We tried visiting Kancheepuram, but the temples were closed for lunch until evening. So, we set off to Chennai under the hot Sun - again, Raghu drove some miles.

In Chennai, we had lunch - which was quite good. When we came back, the Traffic police had locked the car wheels for parking at the wrong place. It took about an hour to get it sorted, and my temper had risen with the heat of the streets. We followed a bus leading to ECR (East Coast Road) leading to Pondicherry and that took until about 5pm. En route, we made a quick halt at the Mahabalipuram and it was worth it, as can be seen below.

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The drive on the ECR was quite good, at around the Sunset time. When we reached Pondy, it was around 8pm and we were in no mood to search for a good accommodation, so we settled for a good one off MG Road. After a brief refreshment, me, Kashi and Raghu set off for some DVD-shopping and added a huge collection to our libraries.

Next morning, we re-filled the Petrol at about 9 rupees less than the rate in Bangalore and I was happy about it. We visited Aurobindo Ashram and Vinayaka temple, as we drove through the French colonial buildings.

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The below snap is on the Rocky beach nearby.

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Then the final visit was to Auroville, a futuristic global village - the center piece is below, the meditating center. Visit it if have lot of time and don't expect much.

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On the way back home from Pondy, we had a pretty decent lunch and were blessed with rain and cool weather. The drive back again had huge rain around Hosur and we reached home at around 9.15pm.

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Click here for the complete Flickr photostream of this album. None of us thought we could do this in a couple of days, and that's the question I get when I mention this trip - how many days? It feels blissful.

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