Showing posts with label Tamilnadu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tamilnadu. Show all posts


Coonoor - Acre Wild

We followed road suggested by Mr. Vijay to reach Coonoor, which was quite deserted except few local people we were the only one on that road. This road goes via tea gardens and gives a treat to your eyes. Once we reached Coonoor we parked next to the bus stand and had a quick thali lunch in nearby busy restaurant. After that we headed towards our Farmstay - Wild Acre. The direction given by Mr. Mansoor is very accurate and we reached without any trouble. The location is just back of Coonoor bus stand and very well marked.

After putting our stuffs and a small introduction of the cheese and farm and its produce from Deepak we went out to explore Coonoor. We went to the botanical garden which has trees from all over the world. We must admire those British for bringing tree or plant from faraway places and making themselves feel at home far away from their motherland. Be it Shillong (summer capital of Assam in British days) or Coonoor, they have similarities with parks, lakes well planned roads in hills and old British Bungalows. Coming back to the botanical garden, it is well maintained but Indian common culture of eating and playing cricket anywhere and everywhere within the park will surely take a toll slowly on the green patches.

Aarush demanded to take a boat ride and as he was upset about leaving RedHill behind ;   we managed to get our turn quickly as there was no proper queue for boating. It took 10 minutes to complete the paddling.And after some photo shoots of here and there we left the botanical garden behind.

Next we drove through Wellington – a Indian Army Area. The whole area is under Indian Army and they have officer training camp and many other training facilities. Also there is a golf course which is really worth its name. After driving cluelessly we headed back to Acre Wild. We went down from our cottage to main dining area for dinner around 8 and literally forced them to cook on time. The food was OK, the quality and service was on the negative side. Though Mr. Monsoon appeared briefly and promised he will join ; but after many minutes of waiting and as food was getting cold we had our dinner and told them again and again to keep the breakfast ready for next day on time.

Next day we woke up around 7.00am and took morning walk through the farm and some picture shots of birds and surrounding scenic area before we went for breakfast. The breakfast included freshly baked bread and farm made cheese. It was much better than dinner we must admit. We met another family from Bangalore who were visiting Coonoor for the second time. We shared our previous night dinner experience and it seems they had the same on their first night and opted for self prepared dinner.

We had a big plan to ride the World Heritage Blue rail from Coonoor to Ooty and visit Ooty city and comeback. The railway station is a small one and parking was a nightmare as there were many many taxi, vans waiting for tourist coming in the peak of summer vacation. We booked the ticket of 1st class train ticket. And Parking attendee told me to wait and park once parking lots get little free after all passengers came to Coonoor moves out. It sound simple but it was not was too congested and as I was driving backwards; scratched my bumper and everyone was honking at me. In mean time, Pamela was calling to tell the train is about to leave.

In that process I missed the train and had to drive from Connor to Ooty while Aarush and Pamela went by train. Pamela & Aarush were really upset, Aarush cried whole way thinking his dad was lost..... it was total disaster.Now after driving from Conoor to Ooty (via the main highway this time) was waiting at the railway station.  Pamela appeared unhappy with the situation but looking at car dent she didn't had anything else to say.

Having own car was bliss on other side, we reached botanical garden of Ooty to start with but with rotten mood. This time parking was OK and as we were taking a stroll within garden it started to rain. We took shelter in the glass house.  After botanical garden we drove to Ooty main market from there we came to Café Coffee Day for a break and it rained again. Lucky us, we dodged the rain twice. We saw tourists drenched in the sudden rain and shivering in cold.

We had a late lunch at XXX and bought the famous Ooty chocolate from king's Star.

After that we went to Rose Graden, by this time we could feel the chillness in Ooty’s air after the rain as day was coming to an end. After taking a full round of the rose garden we headed back to Coonoor. The Rose Garden is really big and has many varieties of rose from Japanese green to black rose.

We bought some packets of Maggi before entering Acre Wild. It was raining like dogs and cat as we had self prepared dinner. It was a day which ended with high note as we had our car and saved from rain.

Next day the breakfast was again a disappointment as no cheese no fresh bread. It was simple plain toast and omelet. Mrs. Mansoor joined us for breakfast as both the guest were leaving for Banglore. May be she was there to ensure we settled our bills properly or not. Any way I would not rate this place for hospitality. They have functional kitchen, clean bathroom and it is your choice to stay there or not. May be coming out of a great hospitality of Red Hills our expectation was high as we read many positive comments in travel forum and blogs.

Before heading back to Ooty we went around Wellington one more time. Crossing Ooty with traffic reminded us of reality. Traffic police tried their best to prevent us from going via the shortest route (36 hairpin bend). But we convinced them we will drive slow and maintain 2nd gear all along. Coming down a steep hill is always riskier than going up but we just followed the rules mentioned on the road. We drove in 2nd gear, no speeding, no overtaking and following lane.

We stopped Popeye's at Masinagudi, it is a fast food center with French Fires and burgers & wraps. The place is clean and has a clean toilet the food is decent and run by a lovely couple. What else to ask in the middle of nowhere.

We came across few tuskers of forest department as we cross Masinagudi jungle range. We did not stopped around Mysore and finally stopped at Café Coffee Day for a refreshment.


A magical gateway called - RedHill

The drive to Ooty was thrilling with those 36 hairpin turns. We reached the outskirt of the city and asked for direction to Emerald/Avalanche and reached bypassing central Ooty town. We passed Ooty lake on Lake Road and crossed Good Shepherd School, Fern Hill Road and at last drove on Avalanche Road. The place ‘Avalanche’ gets its name as there was a massive land slide in early 1800. From Emerald (after the bridge) we took a left and the road condition continued to degrade as we crossed Avalanche Lake. We called the Mr. Vijay few times just to ensure we are on the right track, road is full of small stones and pebbles. It is easy to start doubting oneself and its direction, as there no one to ask for directions from. It is treat we enjoyed the pristine beauty of the surroundings while ensuring not scraping bottom of my car.

When we started in the morning it was clear sky but the sky was getting darker every hours. We were the only guest during lunch time, the food was Indian freshly made and tasty. Post lunch it was dark sky as we returned to our room for a siesta and it started to rain. It was a pleasure to enjoy the rain only from the hill top. Rain made it even more pristine with each leaves shining after talking bath. Once Aarush woke up he found his newly found best friend waiting for him. It is German Sheppard named Moby who is so friendly that after a while we were not scared that Aarush was almost touching his teeth. While we were having evening coffee we met another family. They were also from Bangalore and we mingled up very well. This family of four had 2 boys who became Aarush new hero. And adult had fun chatting while taking a stroll. Aarush was happy as it was all boys and “Moby’ the German Sheppard of Red Hill kept him busy.

At evening, temperature started to drop and we enjoyed a lovely conversation in front of a working fire place. It is unimaginable when whole India is basking with summer in Middle of April we are seating in front a Fireplace. We planned for next day’s activity with our host. Dinner served was continental - absolutely great one. After a long time really had a true continental dish in home setting.

Next day we woke up at 5, big thanks to Pamela for her determination to capture the Sun rise. We captured a perfect rise. After a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast we were all set for the big hike. Mr. Vijay arranged for the guide and we started to climb up. The climb was steep but best part was Aarush walked most part himself. We took many small breaks in between to look down at the lakes. After each climb the view got better and effort worth it. From the peak you get a panoramic view of lakes. When I uploaded picture from my mobile people commented was it ‘Scotland’ ?

After climbing down and having our lunch we continued with chit chat. Most times as time permitted Mr. & Mrs Vijay joined us. After evening tea we left for Parsons Valley Dama and soundings. This time all the guest travelled in Mr.Vijay’s Scorpio and the driver drove gently to ensure spotting wild life. We spotted a herd of Sambar deer and black color Nilgiri langur. They are just like normal grey langur in height and etc. only deference is body color.

On the way back Aarush fall asleep after a full day of activities. And we let him sleep as he was very tired from the long hike and continuous running with Moby. We were joined by another couple from Bangalore where the gentleman just came for a long hike next day as his preparation to Mt. Everest base camp.

Next morning the sunrise was not perfect as it was covered by sun. Post breakfast we were supposed to move out but for once we did not want to leave this beauty of soundings and wonderful hospitability of Mr. Vijay. And we lingered there enough and made a move to our next and last stop ‘Connor’ which is only

Even after months of this trip Aarush is still a big fan of him and looking forward when he will go back to Red Hill.



The long waited Summer Vacation of 2012 ; earlier we used to escape the peak season madness now we are in the madness since both Aarush and Pamela are now part of active school. And we are going to be like this for years to come with no other choice. With that said, still wanted to avoid the crowded destinations. We wanted to visit ‘ Nilgiris’ the number uno summer destination of South India and picked Mudumalai, Ooty(Red Hills) and Connoor. We booked Red Hills Nature resort first, Wild Acres in Connoor second and at last Jungle Lodge at Masinagudi. All these booking were done with at least month in advance keeping in mind pick season.

We started from Bangalore on Sunday 15th April. The plan was to start very early morning but the alarm in BlackBerry was only for weekdays and it did not buzzed as it was Sunday (alarm only on weekday). We started from our home around 6:30 AM the traffic in Bangalore-Mysore was as usual crazy. Reached Mysore around 9 AM and stopped at Kamat near Mysore-Zoo for breakfast. From there the road to Masinagudi is 100KM and we had to travel on typical Indian 2 Lane Highway (undivided). The drive was nice only in the last part of Karnataka side there were many unmarked speed breaker in Bandipur Forest range. On the way we spotted many spotted deers. We reached Masinagudi in high noon with scorching heat and filled up the tank with diesel there. The road to JungleHut is well marked and we reached around 12 there.

Host welcomed us with warm greetings and invited Aarush for b’day party later in the evening. Aarush was very keen to jump in the swimming pool right then & there and we pursued him for later. The lunch was great with many choice and felt like a great start for vacation. We retired to our hut and took a small nap. Around 16:30 we went for a open jeep road side safari. We saw many spotted dears on our way to mayor dam. On our way back we spotted wild Boar, peacocks; the driver/guide was great and he took us to a detour and we spotted Mongoose and Sambar Deer. Sambar Deer was very shy and camouflaged and being dark could not take any picture.

Coming back to JungleHut we found the B’day part just finished but there were cakes and etc. We celebrated the same and got freshened up. The dinner was excellent with a touch of continental food. Aarush was very happy as there were many others around his age group and had a good time before retiring to bed. It was decided next morning Pamela will go for walk into the nearby jungle in the early morning . This track sound very promising as the Sunday Morning people were able to spot a leopard.

Pamela and another lady left for tracking early next morning and they spotted one sloth bear just outside the resort. Rest of the track they spotted plenty of birds no more luck with big cat. Me & Aarush dipped into the pool and had great fun; being Monday most of the guest left for home and the resort became little deserted. Within the resort we spotted woodpecker and other birds. In the afternoon post lunch we went back to Bandipur (Karnataka Side) for safari. And were extremely lucky to see one sleeping tiger. Apart from these we spotted many dears, peacocks (in umpteen no.) wild boar, elephants as well.

Tuesday morning it was my turn for morning jungle safari. I was alone with the guide we spotted sambar deer and others. While trekking we could hear noise of wild animal roaring from very nearby (it seems animal spotted us) but I couldn’t see any. Well, after breakfast we headed out for Ooty.


South Trip

Our trip to South  was one for which we hardly planned meticulously. Moreover, my son got fractured elbow but then also our spirit was on high although bit dampened that whether we will enjoy or not; kind of excitement mixed with anxiety, hope and happiness. I still remember the moment we sat in the car and started for the trip which was going to be one of the longest drive with Aarush.

We  left Bangalore on 11th December 2010. As nothing much planned we packed some fruits and snacks which could be of help in desperate times and of course a camera to capture the moments.

Our route-

Bangalore -> Madurai(via Salem) -> Rameshwaram -> Kanyakumari -> Kovalam –> Kumarakom -> Malampuzha (via Palghat) -> Bangalore.

View Road Trip December 2010 in a larger map

Although the principle best followed in the case of accommodation is – ‘To each to his own’. In this trip no prior booking was done as we didn’t knew which night where we will be. It was on-spot which Santanu liked most. Well the trip was a great one on our Indica as we sold the car within 3 weeks after returning to Bangalore. It was a sad separation but too much hassle to keep her with change of registration and etc. And now after almost two years all the travel-logs are now published.


Kanyakumari : Where the Seas Meet

Continuing from Madurai (2010-December); we setup the alarm clock to ensure we do not miss the sunrise. But to our surprise we were awaken early by anxiety and whispers from the corridors. We went to see if the Sun was rising soon but the horizon was dark and there was faint rays of light. We let Aarush sleep and went to the rooftop where we saw every hotel rooftop is full of people as all are waiting for the Sun-rise. After some wait the magnificent sunrise did happen but it was quite late around 6.30am but worth watching. This is a small video of the same.
After a very ordinary breakfast in one of the small stall we went to see Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue, a Indian version of the Statue of Liberty . It was 8:30 in the morning in December but the Sun was really hot, it was quite along queue for ferry ride to that spot but worth going. When we reached Rock Memorial the Sun was on full blast it became tough to move around with bear foot.

Thiruvalluvar is ancient Tamil poet who lived almost two thousand years back. His work is part of everyday Tamil life but not very known beyond South India. This huge statue definitely stole all the limelight in the southern tip of mainland India. Personally felt it too huge and little eye-sore but again that I my personal view.
On return from ferry ride we came to hotel it was noon and Kanyakumari(Virgin goddess) temple was closed. We had to wait till 4PM for it to reopen or move forward. After temples of Madurai and Rameshwarm I was bit tired of temple queues. And in this temple all males must enter only in dhoti (the traditional Indian dress) and shirtless. So we escaped Kanyakumari Temple, located on the shore and headed towards next spot – Kovalam.(target was to reach before sunset).


Yercaud - March'12

Yercaud is mentioned as poor man's Ooty in 52 weekends gateway but the article also mention it is a smart choice compared to Ooty. We were supposed to visit Yercaud in 2011 September but after wonderful vacation of Munnar and just before Gujarat we cancelled the booking as it was becoming too much travelling in short span.  I strongly believe in the words of Tagore that good things in life needs to scared or they will become mediocre :-)

Now after a short break around Anandhama we pushed for Yercaud as it gave us a perfect destination of little bit driving and get away from Bangalore heat. We did not booked any hotel as we kept everything for last minute.  So on the D’day we left basement parking around 5AM to avoid Bangalore traffic.And we did hate to navigate rush escaping traffics from Bangalore. We stopped for a quick stop after crossing Tamilnadu border to fill the tank and realized somehow fuel tank release was not working. After playing with screwdrivers it finally opened which was a great relief otherwise we would have to wait till 9/10 for a mechanic. As usual stopped at A2B before Krishnagiri for Breakfast.We crossed Salem town and took the road to Yercaud. Soon we were on the hill road which gain altitude quite quickly with many twist and 20 sharp hairpins bends. But driving these 32 KM was fun, The first hotel we enquired for accommodation was GRT but the price they were offering on spot was bit steep for our budget. Bit disappointed there as last night when we checked the same on internet it was showing quite low with discount. May be the GRT guys will save those offers for late comers as days come to end. Next we tried Shevaroys resort near lake and decided to stay there for the night. This is an old landmark resort in Yercaud. The place is a decent one but would recommend you check on internet before deciding on this.

We wanted to visited the famous Botanical Garden but it was closed due to weekend (what a weird place who keeps their top destination closed for tourist). May be they do not want any visitors ?. We drove towards Servarayan temple and Cauvery Point road. On the way Aarush fell asleep and we went to Pagoda point. Pagoda gives a nice view of the plain below. From there we went to Lady's Seat & Gent's Seat .Here, we could see the ghat road from Salem via which we reached Yercaud. We also got the ariel view of GRT hotel. Next to this was Horticulture Farm and it has Rose graden. There was not a single rose as they were freshly trimmed so we have to make ourselfves happy with other green beauties.

We came to hotel and it was around 15:00 and went straight for a very late lunch and by this time Aarush also woke up. After lunch we went for a small plantation walk within the resort which is pretty nice. Aarush had some fun time in the children's play area. Finally, we entered room; got freshen up & took a beauty sleep and had an early dinner same evening.

Next day, we went for a morning walk around lake before breakfast and after breakfast we visited famous Montfort School. This school was started for anglo-indians around WW-I. The architecture and natural beauty around it is really worth spending some time there. It is a one of the convent residential institution in South India. The school was having admissions test on that day and we could only spot expensive cars and anxious parents who were dressed in their best.

After that we returned to room and started for Bangalore. On the way we stopped at A2B just after crossing Dharmapuri for lunch. Aaursh was very sleepy but he played role of a cranky child all along. After Hosur, we forced him to sleep and reached home safely in next hour.

The NH7 was excellent with many toll plazas which was constantly emptying my wallet ;) so not sure is it the best hill station or not but definitely it did not felt crowded like Coorg.



After complete rest and rainy night we woke up to find a perfect morning in Madurai. Breakfast at the hotel was quite elaborate and we did a good one before starting for Rameshwaram. The hotel guys were kind enough to give us elaborate maps which really helped us to exit Madurai without asking for any direction. One thing we noticed in Tamil-Nadu the direction boards are mostly in Tamil and less of English compared to Karnataka. The distance between Madurai and Rameshwaram is around 170 KM. The road is mostly undivided 2 lane Indian highway. There are few patch of the road which has pot holes otherwise the road is in good condition. The general scenery was very green and the key factor Vaigai river flows along the highway NH49.While going we did not stopped and directly reached Ramanathaswamy Temple. We crossed the unique Pamban Bridge and left photo shot for our return. We had to pay around 30 INR as entry fee for Rameshraam.
As soon as we entered the temple we were approached by a guide who was fluent with Hindi and agreed for a mutual price. He guided through many kunds ( holy water – hole) where we had to wash our head. There is a catch 22 situation you might get drenched in the water but when you enter the temple to pray you must be in dry cloth. We literally dashed through the huge complex and this guide used all kind of tricks like pushing, back door entry to ensure we get the a good glimpse of the dieties with minimal wait. It was good to have him otherwise it would have taken us long time to go around. The walkway is always moist while hallways are dark so be careful with your steps. I was bitten by some insect badly on one of my foot.
After temple visit we went to Dhanushkodi to see the beach;  drive was worth. From there you can see Sri-Lanka’s shore line. The beach was not very clean and more over it was hot noon so returned back quickly.One of the attraction of Rameshwaram is Abdul Kalam’s house. But it was very sad to say the approach road was full of knee-deep water and it felt like driving over sewage water to reach the great man’s birth place. Definitely Rameshraam city council needs to spend some money to make this ex-house of the great Indian a true attraction.At 3.30 pm after lunch when we started back towards Madurai.  We stopped at Pamban Bridge for some photo shoot. This is the first sea bridge in India connecting Rameshwaram and mainland India built by British in 1914.  Mid way we encountered a big torrential Northeast Monsoon. It was almost 6:30 in the evening when we reached the outskirts of Madurai. We had two options either to stay back in Madurai for the night or drive down to Kanayakumari.
After calling friends and gaining confidence on the road condition we opted for the second one. The NH-7 between Madurai and Kanayakumari was very new which meant even though it is a 4 lane divided highway the toll collection has not started yet. That had one major draw back as you need to be extra vigilant as road marks were also not proper.
We stopped for refueling (near Tiruneveli exit) and stretched our legs. At the end the main highway goes towards Kerala and we needed to take an turn which we missed and had to make an U-turn after missing it for the first time. It was 11 in the night when we reached Kanyakumari . We settled for hotel Samudra, the room was very basic but we were OK and did not had any energy left to find a better place. The best part of this hotel is it was just adjacent to sea where you can hear the sound of waves.
Indeed it was a long driving day with almost 600 KM from the morning.
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Started very early morning around 5.45 from our parking lot and with one stop at A2B restaurant at Krishnagiri reached Madurai exactly by 11.30AM. Then took some time to find out decent hotel two friends recommended “Royal Court” near Madurai railway station. The hotel is clean and neat the management was great to upgrade our room to executive suite as the original room smelt cigarettes.
After settling we had a vegetarian south Indian lunch at market area. Then after taking a well deserved afternoon siesta we went to so called religious hotspot – Meenakshi Temple. It has four entrances we entered via South gate after leaving our shoes with the temple authorized shoe stand. The shops near the gates also offer to keep your shops but they expect you buy something from them in return. Best thing is the city municipality have golf carts to take you around to any of four gates your wish to enter. Like Tirupati they have fast track system where if you buy costly ticket and can bypass some queue. Santanu preferred to go by general path as crowd was not much. Within two hours we were done. Would like you to go through more details of Meenakshi Temple this website is quite useful. The writer has well explained about temple interiors.
By 7.30 PM we were done and were just about to return it rained heavily all of sudden almost stopping everything that whole street was full of water because of poor drainage. Being one way road it was bit difficult to walk of our own and we got into one cycle-rickshaw to go back to hotel. But the rickshaw driver had to stop as rain was too heavy; it brought a great relief from the humidity and heat. Had dinner around 9.00PM at hotel as Santanu got some food packed from a near by Anna Meenakshi Restaurant and then went to bed early.



Almost after one and half year we went for a long weekend out of Bangalore; our very first road trip of 2010. We were looking for something near to beach and thought of heading towards Pondichery but due to unavailability of any sea facing hotel we opted of Auroville. Certain thing really happens for good. The road was Bangalore -> Krishnagiri -> Tiruvanamalli ->Tindivanam-> Auroville.
As usual Santanu had production outage @ work and went to sleep around 2 AM thanks to ‘new era new tool’ at work. Started early morning around 05.50; had breakfast at A2B (Krishnagiri) then around 07.50  we hit the road. Non stop drive to Pondichery and reached around 13:00. The road between Krishnagiri and Tiruvanamalli is undivided state highway with lots of pot holes. You need to be very careful as most parts of the roads are good but suddenly you get one big pot holes. Road between Tindivanam and Pondicherry is newly done 4 lane highway.

We booked our room at "Center Guest House" through the website just two weeks ahead. They sent letter confirming it and with fine prints where we were supposed to send the advance by Demand Draft now in the age of credit cards we didn’t pay attention to the bottom part of the mail till day before the trip. On contacting over phone they said to come over as there was no other booking. Their rates include meal for three times a day, bicycle and Yoga. . Its non-alcoholic and public smoking is strongly discouraged; it is not a place for vacation – most come here to meditate. Most Indian come and visit the Auroville as day trip from Pondicherry.
Me and my hubby fell in love seeing the place and particularly when they showed our room which is tucked between trees and you can see butterflies, birds. Was just mesmerized to see the greenery all around. Had Indian buffet lunch at dining hall and after relaxing for a while went out to look for cycle. The dining hall had two baby chairs as well which is so uncommon in India.
We found one cycle which had baby chair fixed; most cycles were tall and typical DESI type with hard seat. After maneuvering for a while I managed to get onto one finally as I am not used to these types of cycles; Voila... We cycled here and there without thinking much and looking at maps.
Best part is they have so many trails that you will never be bored and the same time you will not be lost. The roads are in spiral in Auroville just like the Paris is planned. Greenery is all around, few houses and buildings with lots of shades from tress to make it more pleasant. If you feel you are lost in this forest ask anyone be Indian or foreigner they will guide you. Most residents or visitors are from France as you can hear French all around you.

Its really place far off from city noise, pollution and traffic soaking in the best nature has to offer. Negative thing about Aurorville is you are forced to give up your fast paced city life. Everything gets closed for lunch even lots of the facilities are only available for those who stay longer like 8-10 days. If you stay longer you get an Auroville cards which is like a pre-paid cash card but gives exclusive access to some restaurants, café and others center like yoga.
We went to the visitor center and spent a good amount time in the various boutique shops and picked a school bag for Aarush.  Once it started to get dark we headed back to Guest House. We all had shower as this place is quite hot and humid. Had continental buffet dinner at night they do serve early evening between 7.00 - 7:30 PM. By 10.00 PM they expect to be pin drop silence so every one around is sleeping well. We also slept early.

Day -2

After breakfast we went to bicycle stand and found someone has taken away Pamela’s cycle and she has to find a new one all over again. Once we started paddling we decided to go beach. The ride was a smooth one but once we were off Green zone there were cars and as usual they did not have any courtesy for cyclist. The 8 KM long ride was fun. The access to the beach is not direct you need to access the trough a narrow lane. Both the lane and the beach are very dirty have not seen any thing dirtier than this.
From beach we came to Visitor center and watched video on Matri mandir. For the first time visitor watching of the video is a must and after  that one gets a pass to the vista point to see Matri-mandir. Inside access is rusticated but open to all who wish to meditate.    After that we came back to guesthouse for lunch. Santanu decided against touching the car which means we had to postpone the trip to Pondicherry for the last day of the trip. We went out with the cycle around 4 went to Solar Kitchen to start with. As Solar kitchen only except Auroville cards we could only smell aroma of good food and see other enjoying with our stomach rumbling we left that place. After riding the cycle till dark we came back to guest house and called it a day.


We started early with quick breakfast and checkout by 9AM and headed towards Pondicherry. The destination was French Quarter and Aurobindo Ashram. We paid a quick visit to the Ashram. Children under 3 years are not allowed. After walking around French quarter we went to a restaurant and Aarush had his breakfast brunch. There was nothing much to do in Pondicherry and we found it hotter than Auroville. We headed back to Auroville again for our lunch as we wanted to try Roma’s Kitchen.

The food there was excellent one of the best pasta I had in India. The place is frequented by non-Indians and we noticed they all were having Indian dishes.We enjoyed our Pasta while Aarush was too busy running and playing with two French girls who were bit older than him. He was so happy that he was crying while we tried to put him car. By 14:30 noon we started from there; the drive was OK and we reached Krishnagiri by 18:30. But from there to Bangalore was long journey as there was a major accident on the road and we reached home at 21:30.
If you are looking for a doing nothing kind of a weekend Auroville is great. The best part is as most visitor who comes here from abroad lots of small things like baby chair; clean bathroom is common. The food is bit blend in Indian context but we liked it. People are courteous and helpful.
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Really do not recollect how I came first time to Team-BHP web site, specifically their forum. And from then on is kind of hooked though not a car freak myself with limited understanding for these electro-mechanical wonders. What fascinates me is travelogue section of this forum. It is great to find so many passionate soul sharing their trips and tricks. Last November got an unexpected mail about a meet-up @ Yelagiri for Bangalore team-bhpean; was not sure to join or not. Too much of work at office made it very difficult to commit.

On that special day somehow we started early @ 6:30 from home. Little -A was sleeping when we started and there was thick fog when we reached Dakshin Honda on Hosur Road. We saw many cars with BHP bumper sticker waiting on the side of the road. Soon we crossed Karnataka border and reached the town of Hosur. The road condition changed. Suddenly all pot-holes were gone and driving become really cool. Definitely politicians and bureaucrats of Karnataka need to learn something from their neighbor.
We stopped at A2B for breakfast, around 70 KM from Silk Board Junction with Petrol Pump next to it which you can't miss it. There was lots of crowd; it took us a while to get a decent place to sit and much longer to get our idli-sambar. We left for Yelagiri Hills and soon left NH7 for NH46 after first toll booth. There are signs for Chennai which you need to follow ; continuing on NH7 will take you to Salem. So after driving another 50 KM we crossed another toll booth from where we left NH46 for Yelagiri. This state road was not that great but OK. The last 14 KM is on the hilly section with hairpin turns. As we were quite early; not much traffic before or behind us. Plenty of monkeys along the road, they target cars for easy food if you are not careful.

We reached Yelagiri lake around 10-ish. Took a full round of the lake. With Aarush we had no plan for hiking and boating so decided for lunch. It was around 11:30 when we reached Hotel Hills. The hotel was not ready for lunch yet and Aarush had his lunch at reception while watching some Tamil songs at big screen. He was too sleepy to finish his lunch; we decided it might be a better idea to start for Bangalore while he sleeps skipping our lunch.
According to Outlook 52 weekend from Bangalore a typical weekend at Yelagiri would be --
Good breakfast, a gentle walk, lots of rest followed by lunch more rest another stroll in the evening then Dinner -- lots more rest, A blissful weekend.

On the way back we stopped again at A2B for a very late lunch. After crossing Hosur, entry to Bangalore was painful. There is a huge construction site around Electronic city for the mega fly-over on NH-7. We visited one of my college mate in HSR layout on the way back as we reached Bangalore well before Sunset.

View Bangalore to Yelagiri Hills in a larger map

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...