M'balipuram, GKCpuram, Darasuram & Tanjore

#1 Jun 30th, 2008, 12:52
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#1
I would be most grateful for some additional input, especially from those who have been to these places:

I will be in Chennai for a function and plan to leave that evening
to M'balipuram for an overnight stay. Any recommendations for modestly priced, clean and quiet hotels?
1. Early morning around 7am: sightseeing at M'balipuram till around 11am.
Q: Is that enough time for a decent visit? [Ive been there donkeys years ago and dont remember much]

2. Proceed by taxi thereafter along the ECR to Gangakondacholapuram.
Q: Will we reach by around 4pm? No idea about the roads or travel time. Assuming we reach by 4 or 5pm, is it enough time for sightseeing that same evening?

3. Proceed to Kumbakonam & overnight. Hotels? Someone suggested Hotel Rayas.
Q:Any feedback on hotels?

4. Around 7am proceed to Thanjavur to visit the Brihadeeswara temple till closing time [12noon]. Shop and look around at Tanjore then head back to Kumbakonam.
Q: Travel time from K to Th? Speciality shopping suggestions at both places? I read somewhere that Kumbakonam serves the best coffee ! Looking forward to that.

5. Visit Darasuram at 4pm and then proceed to Pondicherry.
Q: Travel time & road conditions?

6. Overnight Pondy
Q:hotel suggestions please - modestly priced, clean and quiet.

7. Sightsee at Pondy till around lunch time, then head to the airport for our return flt to Bombay.
Q:Pondy Sightseeing suggestions please?
How much time is required to travel from Pondy to Chennai airport?

Many thanks in advance.
#2 Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:59
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#2
I would be most grateful for some additional input, especially from those who have been to these places:

I will be in Chennai for a function and plan to leave that evening
to M'balipuram for an overnight stay. Any recommendations for modestly priced, clean and quiet hotels?

You could start from Chennai around 6 pm and you will reach the undermentioned property by 7.30 pm with ease.
I could say Hotel Tamilnadu Beach Resort complex (5 kms before Mahabalipuram / Mamallapuram) is best to try out. A nice property next to the sea where you have plenty of space to roam around , except few foreign tourists and Hotel employees/ Security No body else will be there and you have Private beach , Swimming pool(If you take room , Breakfast and Swimming pool access are free) . Few photos & Description of this place, I have kept it here.. You could have a look to get an idea.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...y-chennai.html

1. Early morning around 7am: sightseeing at M'balipuram till around 11am.
Q: Is that enough time for a decent visit? [Ive been there donkeys years ago and dont remember much]

You could try early rise to see sunrise and have nice walk along the beach in the hotel complex before you start to mahabalipuram & yes 4 hours is decent enough to cover all the places in Mahabalipuram (It's my view)


2. Proceed by taxi thereafter along the ECR to Gangakondacholapuram.
Q: Will we reach by around 4pm? No idea about the roads or travel time. Assuming we reach by 4 or 5pm, is it enough time for sightseeing that same evening?

If you start at mahabalipuram by 11 am , Pondycherry you will reach by 1 pm , Cuddalore by 1.30 pm,Chidambaram by 3.30 pm and yes you could reach G.C by 5pm !.Not sure on the sightseeing part as I have not visited this place.

3. Proceed to Kumbakonam & overnight. Hotels? Someone suggested Hotel Rayas.
Q:Any feedback on hotels?



4. Around 7am proceed to Thanjavur to visit the Brihadeeswara temple till closing time [12noon]. Shop and look around at Tanjore then head back to Kumbakonam.
Q: Travel time from K to Th? Speciality shopping suggestions at both places? I read somewhere that Kumbakonam serves the best coffee ! Looking forward to that.

Kumbakonam is 39 kms from Thanjavur with narrow winding good roads with lotssssss of traffic for the entire stretch and it will take around 1 1/2 hours .
5. Visit Darasuram at 4pm and then proceed to Pondicherry.
Q: Travel time & road conditions?

Darasuram is very near to kumbakonam . If you start by 4pm at kumbakonam, you need to travel via Mayiladudurai, Sirkazhi(Excellent temple Arch .Stop for 1/2 an hour),Vaitheeswaran kovil ( excellent temple , stop for 1/2 an hour),Chidambaram, Cuddalore to reach pondycherry. With all the stops mentioned above you can reach pondicherry by 9pm max.Road condition is excellent all through.(Till Cuddalore, the road will be narrow , winding, with Kms and kms of paddy fields in both sides).
6. Overnight Pondy
Q:hotel suggestions please - modestly priced, clean and quiet.

7. Sightsee at Pondy till around lunch time, then head to the airport for our return flt to Bombay.
Q:Pondy Sightseeing suggestions please?

Auroville , Aurabindo ashram must-see and you could spend some time near the sea and also walk across/Drive along in old pondicherry to experience the neatly laid roads and french architecture
How much time is required to travel from Pondy to Chennai airport?

From pondy, you need to take the same ECR back to chennai until Kovalam. Just before Kovalam back waters, you can turn left (Toll road), and drive for 3 kms to reach old Mahabalipuram road (OMR / IT Highway).Once you touch OMR,Turn right and then take immediate left and Vandalur zoo is 18 kms from this point (and road is excellent all through) .Once you touch Vandalur Zoo , that's GST Road (Chennai - Trichy NH-45 Highway). Turn right and drive straight to airport via Tambaram.

(OR)

From Pondy,you could take ECR and You could drive all the way back to Guindy and continue driving till Airport and this is some what circuitous but not much difference and time consuming but more straight forward and easy route

It will take around 4 hours for pondy -Chennai airport !

Hope this helps & Have a very Nice Trip !!

Many thanks in advance.
#3 Jul 2nd, 2008, 10:51
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#3
Thank you so very much PMV for your considerable efforts and valuable input.

I had also considered Hotel TN at M'balipuram as first choice, but I thought there might be something closer to the monuments as we would rather spend the limited time on the monuments than on the beach.

Did not realise it takes so long from Pondy to the airport!

Thanks again, and will post my experiences.
#4 Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:42
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by snonymous View Post I would be most grateful for some additional input, especially from those who have been to these places:

I will be in Chennai for a function and plan to leave that evening
to M'balipuram for an overnight stay. Any recommendations for modestly priced, clean and quiet hotels?
I would suggest either Mamalla Bhavan Heritage or Hotel Mahabs. Both are close to the bus stand; about Rs 1000; and have good in-house restaurants. Hotel Mahabs has a nice swimming pool.

Quote:
1. Early morning around 7am: sightseeing at M'balipuram till around 11am.
Q: Is that enough time for a decent visit? [Ive been there donkeys years ago and dont remember much]
Yes, that's enough time for the main sights: Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butterball, Five Rathas and the Shore Temple.

Quote:
2. Proceed by taxi thereafter along the ECR to Gangakondacholapuram.
Q: Will we reach by around 4pm? No idea about the roads or travel time. Assuming we reach by 4 or 5pm, is it enough time for sightseeing that same evening?
pmvelu's comments on travel times to GC are about right. The only thing to see there is the temple; an hour is enough.

Quote:
3. Proceed to Kumbakonam & overnight. Hotels? Someone suggested Hotel Rayas.
Q:Any feedback on hotels?
Haven't stayed there but Hotel Rayas looks nice from the outside. Good location near the main central tank.


Quote:
5. Visit Darasuram at 4pm and then proceed to Pondicherry.
Q: Travel time & road conditions?
Again, I agree with pmvelu's comments, except that Vaitheeswaran kovil is before Sirkazhi, not after.


Quote:
6. Overnight Pondy
Q:hotel suggestions please - modestly priced, clean and quiet.
Park Guest House (Rs 400-800) or Sea Side Guest House (Rs 600-1200) belonging to the Aurobindo Ashram are both very nice. (Tell them you are coming to visit the Ashram.)


Quote:
7. Sightsee at Pondy till around lunch time, then head to the airport for our return flt to Bombay.
Q:Pondy Sightseeing suggestions please?
Beach promenade, Aurobindo Ashram, Manakkula Vinayaka Temple (with elephant), hand-made paper factory, Botanical Gardens. You won't have enough time to see Auroville.

Quote:
How much time is required to travel from Pondy to Chennai airport?
What time is your flight? Allow four hours travel time and two hours for check-in.
It's all part of the adventure of travelling!
http://indiajp.blogspot.com/
Last edited by Jean-Philipe; Jul 3rd, 2008 at 09:47.. Reason: Add comment on Auroville
#5 Jul 3rd, 2008, 12:24
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#5
Many thanks Jean-Philipe for your comprehensive response. Hotel Mahabs mahabsinn.com looks promising, as its much closer to the monuments than the Hotel TN. Ive also found the e mail links to the 2 ashram beach hotels in Pondy.

I was earlier under the impression that GKC, Darasuram and the Tanjore Br complexes were closed between 12 and 4pm, but from the ASI website I find they are open all day. I also notice that guided tour operators offer all 3 in one day, and now you too say that 1hr is enough for GKC. This means we can change our plans, given the limited time we have at our disposal.

Pondicherry sounds a tad over rated from what I can see on the internet whereas Tanjore and Mahabalipuram sound like they deserve a longer stay. It may be better to stay at Mahabalipuram on the way back, given the proximity to the airport. We havent booked our return flight yet, may be take the 1915hrs on Saturday or at a stretch, around Sunday mid-day but most definitely not later than that.

How long would it actually take to go from Chennai to Tanjore direct, without stopping anywhere en route? Internet info suggests 5-8 hrs.

Thanks.
#6 Jul 3rd, 2008, 19:20
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#6
@Jean,

You are right . Vaitheeswaran Kovil is Before Sirkazhi.. Thanks for correcting it !

@snonymous,

For Chennai-Tanjore , the Normal route is :

Chennai - Tindivanam-Neyveli (Thermal Plant city but highway passes through Byepass) -Kumbakonam- Tanjore (Road is just average in patches after Tindivanam for the last 100 kms + and in this route it will take for sure 7 hours atleast ! --> Road is bit average & Winding but you could see Kms and kms of Paddy fields and Lots of water bodies enroute ! [AROUND 350 KMS]

OR If you need better roads all through,

Option 1 :-
You could take the ECR from chennai and drive through Pondy-Cuddalore- Chidambaram- Mayiladurai-Kumbakonam-thanjavur . This Entire strech is Neat & Excellent and you could reach tanjore in 7 to 7.5 Hours ---> Scenic Road but distance wise it's bit more
[Around 375 kms]
Option 2 :-

You could take Chennai - Trichy (NH-45) .Road is excellent all through and trichy you could reach in 6 hours followed by 1 hour drive to Tanjore ( Trichy -Tanjore is 60 kms) ---> Roads excellent all through but no Views / Scenery etc.[Around 375 kms]

If at all if you plan for direct travel with no stoppages in between you could very well try out the Night Train "Cholan express" too which starts at late night in chennai and reaches tanjore the next day morning .
#7 Jul 3rd, 2008, 22:31
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#7
Thank you.

Looks like we have now decided on Chennai-Kumbakonam [2nts] via your Option1 route hoping to make it within 6hrs without any stops; followed by 1 nt at M'balipuram, maybe stretching it to 2 nts.

I was just reading about Trichy, there is so very much to see in this region, one really ought to spend at least a month to do it justice. Im not going to read any more, else I will get carried away and want to squeeze in too much in too little time.

Anyway this trip will be a brief introduction, with a lengthier follow up as and when feasible.

Thanks for your input, both of you. PMV I love your description of Muttukadu in another post!
#8 Jul 5th, 2008, 22:40
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#8

Trichy etc

I know Im being annoying now.

We are seriously considering Day1: Early morning Kumbakonam to Tanjore [Periya Kovil] then to Trichy [Ranganathaswamy & Jambulingam kovils] and back to K'konam by evening. Visit the Grand Anaicut en route.

Day2: Darasuram, Sarangapani Temple, Konerirajapuram nataraja, Gangaikondacholapuram, then onward to Mahabalipuram for the night.

Day3: M'puram and depart in the afternoon.

How realistic are my plans for Day1&2 in terms of travel times etc. Or should we just stick to Tanjore for Day1, Day2 as is and leave Trichy for another visit?

Thanks in advance
#9 Jul 5th, 2008, 23:59
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#9
@snonymous,

In My view, Day 1 Plan looks possible only BUT on the first day If you could start @ 6 am from kumbakonam , you could return back to kumbakonam @ around 8 pm after covering all the places you have mentioned and this includes Breakfast/ Lunch breaks.. Also If time permits & If it sounds interesting, you could visit samayapuram Mariamman temple [20 kms in Trichy-Chennai highway] and nothing great in architecture or Carvings but the Deity there is considered to be so powerful & I visited this temple quite a few times !

Approximately ,
Kumbakonam - Tanjore -> 1 Hour
Big Temple visit --> 2 Hours
Tanjore- Trichy ---> 1.15 hours


Day 2 & 3 plan looks perfect and very much possible!!
#10 Jul 6th, 2008, 16:37
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#10
Thanks again PMV.

Yes the proposed Day-1 is stretching it a bit. We will see how it goes after the Periya Kovil visit. Its so tempting to also visit Trichy, really one needs at least a month to see all these places properly, and even them Im sure there would still be places left to see!

Anyway, we head South on Tuesday. Will post after Im back. Thanks again.
#11 Jul 15th, 2008, 15:46
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#11

Fantastic trip

We returned late Saturday. It was a hectic whirlwind trip but well worth the effort. We did Chennai Trichy by road, stayed at Srirangam for the night, visiting the Sri Ranganathaswamy complex next morning - fantastic sculptures. Then to Trichy for a brief visit followed by the scenic route to the Grand Anaicut, spent some time there and then on to the Thanjavur Big Temple, with a night halt at Kumbakonam. The next morning we visited Darasuram and Konerirajapuram, proceeding to Gangaikonda'puram after lunch, with a night halt at Mahabalipuram. Next morning M'puram followed by a visit to Dakshinachitra en route to the airport. Took lots of photos, but it might take a while to sort them out. Will post a detailed trip report later whenever I get the time. Thanks to all of you for your invaluable suggestions.
#12 Jul 15th, 2008, 16:44
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#12
Great to know you have covered all the places as you wished !

Hope you are going to come up with the detailed Trip report with Finer Details , as usual!!
#13 Jul 23rd, 2008, 16:25
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#13
For those who are interested, Ive posted my trip report in a separate thread:
If it is Thursday, it must be Gangaikondacholapuram!

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