This a travel report of the trip Chromepet to Kodaikanal, Srivilliputhur, Sivakasi and Chromepet
Son’s school quarterly vacation started on 24-09-2015, so planned to visit Kodaikanal on 25th to 28th of September.
Availed the Holiday home at Sterling Kodai by the Lake and booked for 3 days.
This report is all about the travel and return to Home, the stay at Kodai and the horrible sterling resort.
On 25th started from home by 6:15 am, and as customary halted at Vandaloor Eraniamman temple for Pooja and proceeded on NH45.
|Poojai at Vandaloor Eraniamman Temple|
Paranur toll plaza was crowded as usual, the exclusive Fastag lane which is supposed to make way for quick entry and exit was all broken down of its installed sensors.
Traffic was medium and was cruising on a safe speed, first halt was Siruvachur Madhurakaliamman temple, this temple is open on Fridays and Mondays. As it was a Friday took a right turn from NH45 in to Siruvachhur.
|NH45 road at its best|
|Watering truck for median plants with an indigenous way of Traffic cone fitment|
|NH45 inviting roads|
The google map was showing to take the service Road
and I thought there will be an underpass to cross the road, so entered the service road but no underpass is there only a median opening is present, so no need to get in to the service road.
Visited the temple by 10:30 am and it was crowded, have to follow a zig zag queue barricades and waited for 30 minutes to have Madhurakaliamman darshan.
After the darshan continued our journey towards Dindigul, since Aristo flyover is still under construction went on NH45B till Manikandam and took a right turn near Indra ganesan college to take the Poongudi Ramji nagar road to connect with NH45 to Dindigul. This connecting road is broken at many places.
|Have halted at the same place on the last two trips unknowingly|
|Tea break halt at NH45 km 290|
|Poongudi road farming on the fields|
|Truck on the Rail for railway work moified truck|
After reaching NH 45, the drive was completely on a traffic less road, halted at Manaparai by 12:30 to get the famous murukku, the murukku shop at the Manaparai Underpass location always serves the freshly prepared crispy murukku, with the vat always preparing the fresh murukku. So far we had bought on four different occasions and all the time it was crispy fresh each time.
|Manaparai Murukku shop|
Thought of halting at Inamkulathur to taste their famous Biryani, but Inamkulathur is not located in the Highway, have to enter a village road and travel few kilometres to reach the place, so skipped it.
The next toll plaza on the Trichy Dindigul road at Ponnamabalaptti charges 90rs, so thought of avoiding the toll plaza by taking a detour at Vaiampatti, entered the side road and it was non existing road so didn’t want to take a risk, returned to Highway and continued the journey.
Halted at Vadamadurai BP pump for a petrol fill, amazing fuel efficiency of 18 km, achieved a 400km run with 22 Litres
By 1.30 pm entered Dindigul left the highway and entered the city road, we were searching for Aachi’s Hotel after reading the review in the websites. Took the turn after the bus stand and that road was not having any hotel, again retraced and found the hotel is situated just opposite to the bus stand.
Located Aachi’s mess and had a good lunch. The biryani quantity is more, last time we had at Ponram we had to order one more plate, here the first serving itself was stomachful.
|After Lunch at Aachi's |
|Dindigul Bus stand|
After finishing a sumptuous lunch continued to Kodaikanal. The food aroma stayed in the hand for many hours. A restaurant worth the money.
The road within dindigul took me to their market place it was crowded waded through and touched the theni road for Vathalakundu.
Reached Vathalakundu around 3 pm and stopped at the kodaikanal diversion had tender coconuts and started our ascend to Kodaikanal, the hill road has seen many breaches, land slide due to rain and highway department workers were attending it, few places the road was completely washed off have to travel on gravel road.
|Kodaikanal Ghat Road|
|Collapsed toll plaza|
|Washed away roads on the Kodaikanal|
There is an entry ticket of 40 rs for kodaikanal,On reaching Kodaikanal by 5 pm, tried to contact the resort to get the directions, the cellphone signal was not there, and the sterling resort staff were ending the call even if gets connected.
The person at reception was not able to understand that for a newcomer how to speak out the directions, we entered in to another road and from local enquiry somehow able to locate the resort and reached there by 5:15pm, total run of 515 km in 11 hours with break for 2 hours which included Temple visit, lunch and tea break.
Climate was cool, it was raining, the resort does not have any parking space and have to park the vehicles on the road itself.
|Guna Caves or Devils Kitchen|
|That feeling you get at the mist covered region|
The room was at the far end of the resort and one has to climb a steep gradient to reach the room at the first floor. Night had the food at the sterling restaurant. Food was not at all to the liking.
Next day had the complimentary breakfast and enquired with the hotel travel desk for sight seeing, the travel desk fellow handed out a pamphlet and told me to ask the reception for the charges. On the previous day while checking in, the travel desk was empty, so enquired with the reception staff regarding sight seeing, the reception fellow told to check with the travel desk. So now one can visualize how they treat their customers, they take you for a ride. My second not so good experience.
Wherever the person is addressed as a fellow it is to differentiate the fellow who offers discourteous service and it clearly shows their lackadaisical approach in dealing with the customers.
The reception fellow told an indica for sight seeing will cost 1800rs, came out and took a taxi at the observatory road taxi stand who agreed for 1200 rs. We got in to the taxi an omni with lot of room and leg space, the first visit was to Moier point, it is narrow road and all who visited kodaikanal, parked their vehicles on the road side itself and ensured no one is able to travel ahead, after frequent stop go stoppage finally cleared the blockade and visited, pine forest, guna caves, pillar rocks, silent valley all these places the mist was so thick that none of the valleys and view points were visible. It was completely covered with fog so that nothing is visible, came disappointed.
|At Pine Forest|
|At Pillar Rocks|
Then visited Lake view point and dropped by 2 pm.
On the way saw the golf course, purchased the chocolates, which were not at all good tasting, visited liril falls, it is nothing short of a small drain, hard to believe the liril girl bathed here. Visited a spice shop and purchased spices. The shopkeeper was telling us those were authentic spices, and also can be couriered if ordered to them over phone.
Had lunch at Rahman hotel at the observatory road, it was crowded and cleanliness was not there but had to take the food.
Had a stroll in the lake and reached room. Nishanth tried his hand in Gun shooting, bicycles were available in plenty to roam around the lake at 20 rs per hour rental, Sterling had its own cycle hiring facility, thought it will be free for inmates, no not at all they charged 60 rs per hour. So much for their customer caring nature, third bad impression
|View of the haphazardly parked vehicles at Moire point|
Night heavy rainfall. Afraid whether road will be blocked for coming down, luckily the road was not blocked.
Next day 27th September 15, 2015, visited a small temple on the lake had a leisurely walk and returned to the room.
On 28th September 15, 2015 morning we planned to vacate the rooms by 6 am itself, previous day informed the hotel reception to prepare the bills and told them that they had mentioned a 20% discount on food and beverages. I had told the billing person to include all the discount entitled to me. He told it will be taken care.
On the morning the reception staff was a different one, this person will never listen to any of the previous day’s issues and told there is no discount eligible and on top of that he informed he will charge room charges for an additional person since my son was staying in the same room. Had an argument in the morning itself and got the additional person stay charges removed. The room was not at all good, the sofa was to be used as an additional bed, it had a partition on the middle where our waist rests so it is not fit for sleeping. The bathroom for some strange reason the walls and the floors were always wet. It had those water bubbles which one will observe on a glass filled with cold water. The clock in the room was not functioning, lighting is so dull one cannot read anything.
Scolded him and started journey by 6.20 am on 28th September 2015, towards Srivilliputhur.
At the morning the Kodai ghat road was almost free, had a good view in silver cascade the falls was flowing to its glory within 90 minutes reached Vathalakundu and proceeded towards Usilampatti for Srivilliputhur, on that day Stalin was visiting Vathalagundu for namakku naamae scheme, the place where he was putting up was on the way to Usilampatti there was a huge gathering of party persons, public and police, crossed the place and reached Usilampatti for a tea break, there were no hotels around for breakfast continued the journey towards Srivilliputhur and reached by 10 am.
Visited temple, got palkova, here too there were no hotels asked the palkova shop where to find a hotel for taking breakfast they were not able to guide us to a good hotel. The palkova was so good in taste we particularly liked the brown one, which they call it as Pall Halva. A mouthwatering one.
After Andal temple visit, went to Madavarvilagam Vaithyanatha swami temple. By 11:30 started to Sivakasi from Srivilliputhur, entered Sivakasi at 12 pm, looking for some cracker shop, was not able to locate any shop, went and enquired with a teashop whether any crackers shops are there, he directed to another person telling that person deals in crackers, This person over phone called another fellow and told, that person knows firecracker factories where you can get a good discount.
After nearly a 25 minute wait came a person, and then he enquired how much crackers I will be buying, I told him I need it for personal use not more than 2000rs, then the person was disappointed, he was expecting crackers worth 50000 or above will be purchased so that he can get a good commission.
Thanked them and continued on the Thiruthangal road near to standard fireworks and a women’s college found a Soni cracker showroom Lakshmi agencies, they welcomed us and displayed all the varieties and told us we can choose any amount, selected all the favourite and fancy crackers and got a good 300rs discount also. Felt happy at the shop and started towards Virudhunagar.
As we had skipped the breakfast, we were looking for a good hotel and we planned to have food at the Burmakadai, reached Virudhunagar and in the bypass itself a newly opened Burmakadai restaurant was there.
Entered at 1 pm ordered biryani, kadai chops, kola meat balls, icecream and had a perfect lunch.
While taking the order enquired about the parotta, the server informed it is not yet made ready, while finishing the lunch once again checked and that time he answered the parotta is ready, so ordered one set parotta with mutton curry. The oil fried beauty arrived completely soaked in the mutton gravy. The parotta and curry was delightfully awesome, had it been shown earlier we would have tried for its different taste with one more serving, anyway satisfied that we didn’t miss the famous Virudhunagar parotta.
Started 2 pm from hotel towards next halt Melur where a friend was waiting for us.
Just before Thirumanagalam entered Thirumanagalam after the CSI church took the right turn and entered karpaga nagar road to avoid Kappalur toll, this road is also in good condition it takes to Madurai ring road avoiding Kappalur toll plaza.
Reached Othakadai BP pump just before 3 pm and filled petrol, the BP staff was courteous and pump was well maintained. All the fuel saving achieved in the previous run was eaten up by the ghat road of Kodai.
Reached Melur by 3.15 pm and met the friend, he had come along with the family spent half an hour informed them if we stay still some more time we will be very late in reaching home, had a cool drink, shared palkova and then started towards home by 3:45 pm.
Crossed Trichy by 5 pm, continued on NH45 stopped for tea break at 6 pm, continued and reached Vikravandi by 7 pm, it was dark and road visibility was poor continued and as usual there was a traffic jam at Vandalur, then at Perungalathur, it was a 20 minute jam and reached home safely by 9:15 pm. Total run in a 15 hours driving was 694 km. Felt very tired and retired to bed.
Toll Charges as on September 2015
Paranur Chengalpet 40
Athur Tindivanam 40
Melur Chittampatti 70
Viralimalai boothakudi 65
Athur Tindivanam 40
Paranur Chengalpet 40