Monday, July 11, 2016

Athulyanadeshwarar Siruvanthadu Lakshmi Narasimhan Poovarasankuppam

Saturday 9-7-16 being a holiday for Nishanth, as usual planned for a Outing.
This time it was decided to visit Thirukovilur Arakandanallur Athulyanadheswarar temple, then my brother told about Lakshmi narasimhar at Poovarasankuppam, so that was also included.

Planned to start by 5:30 am, but as usual it was delayed and left by 6 am from Chromepet home.
Had a small pooja halt at Vandalur Eraniamman and starting from the temple a fellow in the mahindra van try to bully me, didn't want to start an argument at the temple so i moved on, reached chengalpet Paranur toll plaza queue was there waited patiently reached here by 6:50 am, moved on reached Tindivanam toll plaza by 7:30am, here still bigger queue was there took the Tindivanam Gingee road and spotted a Jack fruit vendor, bought one jackfruit, continued to gingee and found mango being sold, sample taste of neelam variety was too sweet, took some Neelam mango and at Alampoondi took the diversion to Tirukovilur through Mazhavanthangal road.

Gingee Tindivanam road is now much improved to its earlier condition. Again road widening work is in progress, Transtroy company grader was working in the stretch

It was an isolated road with sparse traffic, lush fields and forest, bit lonely road but good road reached villupuram thiruvannamalai road and took thirukovilur road at Kandachipuram.

Level crossing at  Thirukovilur was closed , a passenger train hauled by WAP7 with 6 coaches crossed then we crossed and reached the temple with local enquiry as it is located in a small road.

Reached the temple had a nice view of  Thirukovilur and Veerataneshwar temple gopuram.
Athulyanadheshwarar temple was closed, came around the temple and had breakfast at Tirukovilur.

Now the car was giving a strange sound and petrol smell was emanating, so opened the bonnet and checked the engine bay the petrol hose has developed a leak and petrol was spilling in to the engine bay.

Planned to go to Veerataneshwar temple also, as the car developed snag, so plan was changed and started to Villupuram.

Soon contacted the Villupuram service centre and asked for directions and informed about the leaking fuel hose. The service centre Arasu Hyundai, patiently explained the route directions and reached without much trouble.

Started 10:30 from Tirukovilur to Villupuram. Entered Villupuram town and located the service centre by 11:30 am.

Car was taken in to the service station at 11:45 am and it took 3 hours to get it serviced, to replace the leaking fuel hose, by now totally 10 to 12 litres petrol has spilled.

By 3 pm car was handed over by that time we were very hungry, came to Villupuram ponnusamy hotel they had only lunch ordered 3 lunch and fruit juice, finished the food and  started by 3:45 from Villupuram towards Siruvanthadu.

Took the Villupuram Pondicherry road till Valavanur and took a right turn into Siruvanthadu road reached by 4:30 pm.

Siruvanthadu is lined with so many silk saree traders, we located one shop and purchased sarees, after that proceeded to Poovarsankuppam and had a good darshan of the Lakshminarasimhar.

Came out of temple by 5:30 pm and started towards Chennai, came to Koliyanur and took the Chennai turn, here Guava, and Sapotta fruit were available, they were tasting really good, we felt bad since we purchased one kg only.

Since the fuel was leaking all the way from chennai, the tank was nearing empty by now, located an IOCL fuel pump at Vikravandi and tanked up fuel.

Started and came to Vikravandi toll as usual a long wait, cleared toll and continued the journey it was dark by the time crossed Tindivanam. After Madurantakam the traffic was heavy, luckily there was no traffic jam at guduvanchery or at Vandalur, there was a brief stoppage but we moved on soon, Continued and came home by 8:30 pm

Total up and down 445 Km
Toll Charges
Paranur  toll return ticket 75 Rs
Athur toll return ticket 75 Rs
Vikravandi  single toll 75 Rs
Photos follow soon, download pending
Mazhavanthangal road with  Lush greenery on the sides

Rocky hills of Gingee

Thirukovilur Level Crossing a WAP7 crossing with a Passenger train

Athulyanadheswarar Araknadanllur or Thirukovilur

This Gopuram built with Japanese participation

Thirukovilur Panaromic View with Veerateshawar Gopuram at the Background

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wishing a Happy New Year 2016

Wishing all my friends and well wishers a Very Happy New Year

Let this New Year Bring all the prosperity to us.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chasing the Chennai Rain Dec 2015, Drive to Nagercoil

It was Dec 1, 2015, residents of Chennai were not knowing what is in store for the day, it was raining from morning and the intensity kept on increasing throughout the day to make a record 500mm rainfall in a single day, all roads were under sheet of water.

We were no exception, our house was inundated with three feet water, have to move to a neighbour's house on the first floor, our friendly neighbour took care of our food requirements for the next two days.

We waited and prayed for the water to recede, on 3rd December entered the house cleaned and assessed the damage, many household electronic items were swept away in water, we salvaged whatever we could.

Cleaned the house of the slush and we moved in to our House. But rain was unrelenting, we were afraid still what destruction it want to make, already it has caused major damage. No power, no cellphone network, landline phone was not working, all electronic equipment were damaged due to rain water.

In all this medley, we had already  booked the Bus tickets for attending a marriage in the family at Nagercoil on 5th December. Knowing the weather conditions and the rain damage made, cancelled the tickets on 4-12-15.

To understand the intensity of rain damage, All trains from Chennai Egmore, Central were suspended from Dec2 to Dec 7, Chennai airport was closed from Dec 2 to Dec 8, Arakonam was operating for handling relief team's flights. 

GST road, ECR were blocked traffic was plying on Vellore Bangalore road only. No powersupply, Cel phones were not working, ATM closed, no milk supply, It was complete standstill in all fronts.

The car stood outside and had water ingress up to the seat bottom, not sure what all is gone.
Called the mechanic on 5th December 2015, he inspected the car in the morning, air filter was completely eaten by a rat, floor carpet was soaked in that dirty water, he checked other essentials and comforted me that the car can be started.

He started, the smoke was different in colour and had a strange smell, silencer pipe was spewing water out, the engine was revved to push out the water, mechanic took the car and returned with a changed air filter and told the car can be used, and the carpet need to be cleaned with an absorbent cloth to squeeze the water out.

On 5th December started arranging the things in the house which were moved to higher heights, and cleaning of all flood water soaked clothes were in progress, slowly by afternoon again the sky turned darker announcing the arrival of next spell of rains. That made us to again move all the things to safer heights and we decided we cannot brave another rain, my friends were inviting me to visit their home in Bangalore to escape Chennai rain fury.

So finally announced to the family members by 3:30 pm, decide any place and we will move and spend the weekend and return home by Monday, let the rain god have its own fury and do at its own interest what it is intended to do.

After debating for Bangalore, settled for Nagercoil, so that we can attend the wedding, as well as we can have a word with our near and dear ones at this time of need. On top of that the toll plazas in Tamilnadu were made toll free till 11-12-15 in order to aid the flood relief is reached on time. This had an added advantage to undertake the trip.

Destination chosen by 4:30pm, next packing of the essentials, and moving valuables to high and higher places started, it was hectic one hour where we were working like assembly line factory workers.
Rain soaked Drive

Next impediment, petrol was in great demand and TV was showing visuals of huge queue in front of petrol stations, we were worried whether we will get fuel at start and also at midway. Checked with the contacts to find out the fuel availability position enroute, they assured us there are no issues for petrol availability apart from Chennai.

Checked the house finally, switched off the power, and started for Nagercoil from Chromepet at 6 pm, visited the nearest petrol pump, as expected it was crowded, stood for 25 minutes and got a tankful, moved towards Irumbuliyur and there was a big traffic block as the ROB has developed deep craters vehicles were struggling to manoeuvre, reached perungalathur, IJT bus was there, thought i could piggy back him so that there are no worries about the route to be taken.

We stopped at the Eraniamman temple, after the prayers started, it was raining to a drizzle, reached Paranur toll plaza, it was a breeze to get out without paying toll or waiting at the queue. But still the staff were counting the vehicles.

Rain was unrelenting, we were going on good speed as the traffic was sparse, IJT bus was not to be seen, and while crossing Madurantakam, car ran a pothole at good speed that made the LHS both wheel rims to be bent, with the impact, there was strange noise and wobbling was seen, there were no street lights to assess the damage, proceeded at slow speed and stopped at a street light to find out what has happened, the wheel rims were bent badly and the circular shape was gone, it made clearance with the tyre against the rim and sure air was leaking. 

All these made one thing clear, the car cannot proceed any further and even if it is driven the tyres will lose air very soon.

Not knowing what to do proceeded at slow speed expecting a tyre repair shop, as luck would have it there was a tyre alignment shop, one I20 was getting its tyre aligned, looks like he too hit the same pothole. Stopped the car and informed the person to get the rim straightened, he told he will attend to it after the I20 is ready, and told me the pothole is so dangerous it makes many vehicles affected.

He removed the wheel rims, found both the front and rear wheel rims were damaged to a great extent both inside and outside,  straightened and told wheel balancing is required as there will be wobbling if it is not done. So all repairs were carried out and started by 8:30 pm total 200rs paid, Rain was heavy again, even to enter in to the car we got our dresses drenched.

Thanked the almighty that the damage was attended to and commenced our journey, now all the rain water covered roads appeared like hidden potholes.

The Bus we booked and cancelled the tickets for Nagercoil Nanjil 5 we crossed it at Madurantakam

Reached Villupuram Arya bhavan for Dinner, had a hot dinner, for all these days we were having a frugal meal as it was not possible to bring out all the spices and condiments, the fridge was out of order, the provisions were stacked at the loft, vessels were packed in bigger containers, so we managed with minimal resources. At the hotel to say the least we had a lavish dinner with the accompaniments, three chutneys piping hot sambhar and tea.

Finished our dinner and to come out of the hotel the rain was not permitting us, it was pouring to its heart's content, the hotel staff held the umbrella to walk in to the vehicle, praised, thanked and tipped them for the service.

The journey in to the rain filled roads were continuing, thought the rain will subside after an hour or after 50 kms, but it was romancing with us, throughout the journey it was accompanying us with its generous downpour, the wipers were working at its max, even then before the return swipe the road was not visible, fogging the glass made us to switch the heater for the first time, the family was surprised that the car had the heater facility, the headlamps were appearing like a candle light brightness which was illuminating only 3 feet in the front.

Hampered by all aids, we still made the progress, expecting if any big petrol pump or way side facility came with good parking and lighting, will stop there and take some rest. But that was not the case in the blinding rain, Electricity was not there nor any safe spot was visible to us while driving.

From Ulundupet to Perambalaur, the rain was the heaviest, completely hampered the vision, no vehicles in the front or accompanied us, so continued with great caution as the roads were already flooded with water starting to stagnate on the road. Many places it was a foot of water on the highway, we splashed it, otherwise the bigger vehicle plying on the opposite lane splashed the water in to our lane, so one can imagine the water depth stagnated on the roads and the intensity of the rainfall.

Reached Konalai truck parking by 11:30 pm, had a break, now the rains were lesser, cleaned the windshields and started again.

On to the Madurai road after Viralimalai the rain god relented and it stopped to give us a dry road.
Petrol was running short and we planned to fill at the manikandam petrol pump where we usually top it up, but that pump was closed at night, will low fuel level continued till we spotted another HP pump filled the tank, as the credit card machine was not working the attender attempted many times to complete the transaction but it failed, paid cash and started.

On reaching Othakadai by 12:40am, whether to take the city road or ring road was a dilemma, took the ring road and that was horrible decision. The road was non existing, no street lights no paved shoulders and full of potholes which gave us the rim bent nightmare, 20 km of the ring road crossing was a terrible experience. Reached NH7 Kappalur and heaved a sigh of relief on looking at the black top road.

At the ringroad inspite of the bad road conditions the SETC buses were running over the potholes without any consideration, pity the passengers who must be in deep sleep to receive the bumps and jerks . Sri Jothi travels was coming along with us from Trichy, but was not able to follow him as the vehicle's wheel was splashing slush water to the following vehicle.

As i was driving continuously, now the strain was visible and wanted some rest, looked for a tea shop to stop and relax, but there were none on the highway, was frantically looking for parked trucks so that i can stop and take a much needed break and power nap, but nothing was available.

Crossed Virudhunagar, Sattur police checking barrier, that is the time i remembered, i had taken out the bag containing the car registration and insurance papers out and not put back in the car. Was afraid whether police will stop and ask for papers. But it is too late, i had missed to take the car papers. Luckily there was no stopping or checking for papers.

Crossing Sathur and thought the rain had stopped, now another spell started, saying how can i leave you dear, this was also of moderate intensity but the rain drops falling on the roof and wind shield sent shivers fearing it may turn to a big downpour. 

Crossed Kovilpatti 4:00 am, and now the pain the legs were felt, still we could not find any place to rest and stop. Rathimeena bus overtook us and zipped past us, Hindustan sleeper was doing a good speed of 95km even at the rain.

Crossed Thirunelveli bypass and continued on Highway reached Kavalkinaru by 5:20 am and purchased some sweets for the relatives as we started in a hurry didn't get anything. We were looking for the Rose bakery which was famous for its sweets, but was not able to locate, took it from Jaisun Bakery.

While waiting at Kavalkinaru Nanjil 2, 17:00hrs CMBT departure crossed us here.

After a 20 minutes break started again, and reached Vadasery Nagercoil by 6:00 am, 12 hours non stop ride covering 682 km in all. The finger joints were paining to the core due to repeated use of dim dip switch.

Attended the marriage on 6-12-15, and planned to start to Chennai by noon, but the previous day night driving taught enough lesson so postponed by a day, then mother told to take the return trip on tuesday as we planned to visit our Family deity on Monday.

Monday morning 8:45 started for our Family Deity temple at Amaravila, the famous morning rush hour traffic was not there on the Nagercoil Trivandrum Road within one hour reached the Amaravila Kasilingaswamy temple, offered our prayers and started back by 11 am. visited Kuzhiturai Sastha temple it was closed, offered for fire cracker, and purchased the famous Marthandam Honey 275rs for  Litre, reached Vadasery by 12:00pm.

On return journey started from Nagercoil on 8-12-15, the rain started on the previous night and continued, we were wondering for ourselves why again!!. Planned to stop at the Muppandal amman temple, to seek the blessings, but in the rain filled stretch it was not noticed, entered the 4 lane road and continued our journey as usual rain was in full form pouring again, switched on the radio and the FM was mentioning the Tamirabharani river is flowing to its brim, and due to the continuous rain school colleges in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari have declared holidays, One of the grouse the Kanyakumari students were having was there were no holidays declared so far due the rains, now that wish too fulfilled, so as usual we were bringing in the heavy rain wherever we went.

Rains were continuing heavily till Sathur, after that there was no rain, reached Madurai, again we took the ringroad as we are not familiar with the city roads and one way traffic restrictions, took a wrong turn to Tuticorin road immediately retracted and joined Trichy road reached Melur by 9:50 am and had a friend waiting for us, we met and had breakfast at Temple city hotel along with Jigarthanda. Talked with him narrated the chennai rains, as he was moving to Qatar next day. took photos and started from Melur by 10:40, crossed  Trichy by 11:30am, Cauvery and Kollidam was having water flow but not brimming, anyway looking at the sand filled rivers in all these years it was a delight watching the water flow under the bridge.

Reached Ulundurpet by 12:45 pm and stopped for a lunch break. Took food from Karaikal Chettinad hotel, not sure how karaikal is famous for chettinad food, the food was not praiseworthy completed food and started our Journey by 1:45 pm.

Crossed Vikravandi, Madurantakam lake was full to the brim which was visual treat, Chengalpet Palar had water but not of any appreciable amount still many sand mounds were seen,

We entered Chengalpet in bright sunshine,  which made us to feel great that rains have taken a retreat from Chennai, While returning saw the damage the flood water has done at Urapakkam, Guduvancheri, Potheri, complete median was removed and the water flooding tell tale signs were there.

Reached home by 4 PM, complete 10 hours drive of 682 km with two breaks, which made a less tiring journey and the absence of rain.

Saw this test vehicle, not sure which car brand it is, but looked like a basic budget model, any idea??

Thanked the rain god as he had not marooned our house. So stepped in to the house to find it in is as is where is condition.

A drive which will be remembered for the driving under extreme condition.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Trip report - Chennai to Kalayarkoil

Surprise of surprise my office gave 4 days leave for  puja holidays from 22-10-15 to 25-10-15.

Immediately thought of a trip to a new place, as usual no place came to my mind. After considering many places chose Uthirgosamangai and Thirupullani.

Plan was to start on 22-10-15 day after Ayudha pooja, but packing and planning was not properly done for 22nd start. So left on 23-10-15 Friday.

Started from home on 23-10-15 morning 6:45 am, as usual first halt at Eraniamman temple, reached chengalpet, Garuda staff bus was the irritant factor, he stopped in the middle of the road for alighting his staff, no road sense at all and blocked for a full 5 minutes. Does these white staff bus drivers get licence from Indian chandru, don’t they know for boarding and alighting they should stop the buses at the edge of the road, ensuring the road is not blocked, when will they learn road sense?.

Traffic was thin and maintained a sedate run reached Villupuram bypass ariyas hotel and got the famous kamarcut, proceeded crossed Vikravandi, Ulundurpet toll plazas without much queue but these toll plazas demand 5 rupees change, in Thirumandurai toll plaza gave 50 rs for 45 rupees toll, that fellow returned only 4 rupees. From Ulundurpet to Padalaur direction complete two lanes are relaid but no road marking is done. It makes really difficult at night to use this stretch without road marking, complained at the toll plaza.

Stopped at Chakra milk parlour by 10:40am and had tea, samosa, paneer spring roll, icecream, rosemilk and milk halwa. Icecream and rose milk were good others just avoid. It had neat washroom facility, after a 20 minutes halt and photo session continued towards pudukottai

On the move booked lodge room at pudukottai AKGN lodge opposite to bus stand, tried other three at pudukottai they told they were full.

At the ponmalai G ground, Nishanth had a driving session for 5 km.

Entered the pudukottai road and reached hotel at 12:45 pm, the lodge is just opposite to the bus stand at pudukottai, but no car parking facility, on the phone the hotel person told space for car parking is there, but parked the vehicle in front of lodge on the road at night.

Had a short nap and finished lunch at Abirami hotel, the food was not at all good. By 2:30 pm started towards Uthragosamangai, crossed Karaikudi and took Kallal, Kalaiyarkoil route, suddenly felt the acceleration was missing and car was losing power. It could not accelerate, didn’t know the reason, reached kalaiyarkoil by 3:30 pm and found temple will be open by 4 pm only. Tried to locate a car mechanic whether he can help us, there were no car mechanic shop around.

As the car was having trouble decided not to proceed till Uthragosamangai as it would be risky. So curtailed the trip at Kalayarkoil itself

Entered the temple and found it a massive one, it had 3 individual temples inside, and all three temples have separate Shiva and Parvathi shrine. The temple tower is recently consecrated so it was colourful and shining, it is a huge 155 feet tall with 9 tiers

The priests were not there, took our own time to finish darshan as we were the only one inside the temple complex.

Started from Kalayarkoil by 5:30 pm and the tried to reach Hyundai helpline to find any service centre is there in Pudukottai, but found out to reach Pudukottai it will be around 7:00 pm the workshop would have closed for the day so checked with other alternate source and found one Sugirth service centre at Karaikudi, located and entered the workshop pat 5:30 pm, explained the problem and they were quick to attend. 

But the workshop is newly opened it seems the ramps are not ready, they took 2 hours to work on it, but after taking the vehicle found the same issue persisting, again returned to the workshop and complained. This time the service assistant took us a ride and found the problem repeating, but they told there are no other technician or ECU OBD tool available to rectify at that time. Dejected took the vehicle and left for pudukottai, at pudukottai there was some political meeting they made us to go round the town and missed many roads to find our lodge, finally reached lodge by 9:30 pm.

Parked the vehicle in front of the lodge after removing all bikes and went for dinner, not able to locate any good hotels, found one Poosachar mess and had dinner, ordered the famous Pudukottai muttaimass, it was not our liking, otherwise food was ok.

On 24-10-15 Saturday, vacated the room by 7 am and started towards home, first halt was at Brahadhambal temple, it is temple carved from cave, another excellent workmanship, since it was morning as usual no priest was there they were cleaning the temple, had a good darshan from terrace, ground floors and started after spending 20 minutes inside the temple.

Car was behaving the same manner the pickup and speed was lacking. Crossed Trichy, samayapuram reached by 8:15, we had planned to visit Thiruppainjeeli near Manachanallur but couldn’t locate the proper diversion road, halted near perambalaur bypass at hotel Sangeetha for breakfast, service was poor, taste was not so good. Finished breakfast and continued our run next halt was at Ulundurpet for tender coconut, came to Vikravandi KFC by 11:30 am, spend 20 minutes in the restaurant started and reached home by 1:30 pm.

The best part is while going to Pudukottai, started at 6:45 am  with one break we reached by 12:45 pm complete 6 hours journey , while returning started at 7 am with 4 breaks and with reduced pickup we reached home by 1:30 pm, 6.50 hours journey with break itself taking more than 90 minutes. 
Trichy Pudukottai Karaikudi road is well marked with light reflecting road studs, which makes night driving a safe experience.
Other photos of the trip