Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Travel to Mahabalipuram

I guess a drive from Bangalore to Chennai may not exactly be the most original or exotic drive in the world, but this was the first time I went by road to Chennai. Although I have visited Yercaud and Yelagiri by road in the past many years ago, when the highway was just built, this was a different experience altogether.

We (hubby and I) set off at a fairly reasonable hour - 8 in the morning (a good, sound sleep certainly enhances the experience of a long drive). We hit the office going traffic near the Madivala market. But that was not too bad. We were at the head of a traffic jam, so were not too badly hit. We drove quite uneventfully down to Shoolagiri where we stopped to fuel the car as well as ourselves   . The road was pretty good, the weather bracing and the sun not too hot. 

The road was dotted with boards warning drivers to drive slow. These boards on the road merit a separate blog by themselves. The warnings are very clear. Apart from warnings, they are a good source of amusement while drivingalong. (Unfortunately we did not stop to photograph them ).

"Truck lay-bye" 

"If you drive, don't drink. If you drink, don't drive" (no nonsense there - very clear) 

"Be careful, big pothole ahead (was imagining boards in Bangalore saying "Be careful, short stretch of road ahead"! )

"Fast drive is last drive"

But the winner was a board which said :

"Safety gears are between the ears"  

We must give it to whoever has put up these boards - the engineers????? In which case they must be a pretty gifted and creative lot.

This reminded of the boards along the Jammu-Srinagar highway which I had seen in 1977. They were very catchy - so much so as to stay in my memory (which is siftier than the sand on a beach) after so many years. They read

"This is not a race or rally, drive slow and enjoy Kashmir valley", "Drive slow, your family needs you". 

I remember dad and myself reading all these boards along the way and enjoying ourselves.

From there on the highway was undergoing 6 laning right upto Krishnagiri, so we had to drive carefully.

The drive was so beautiful, that we missed the turning to Chennai and went straight down along the Salem highway for about 30 kms with BH wondering why the road was so green - apparently after the turn near Krishnagiri, it is quite barren.

Well, we had all the time in the world and the scenery was far too beautiful to regret the loss of time and extra drive. In fact seeing that the road led to Kanya Kumari, I secretly wished we could abandon the previous plan and drive down to KK. Anyway, neither of us is given to such sudden whims, nor did we have so much time to manage that. Anyway it was a great pleasure watching the green environs around - a real treat to the eye. Distant hills, coconut groves, a lake with birds dotted the way all along.  Well, a lesson learnt there - the journey is an integral part of the holiday experience, getting to the destination another part of it.  (What is any story without a moral, eh?)

Eventually we made our way back to the right turning leading to Chennai. What a drastic change in scenery. Amazing to think that just a few kilometers away and the scenery could be so markedly different. 

After that the drive was pretty routine. We stopped over at Vellore for refuelling (our own tanks that is ) and then carried on. I curled up on the back seat for a while to rest my petulant back and slept till we got to Sriperumbadur. (The road was pretty bad compared to the beautiful highway till Vellore). Got up in time to see the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial on the way. (Seems so unreal to think of him getting blown up so violently). Anyway, after that it was pretty slow going with huge Hyundai trucks trundling along one after the other. (One of them had "Garib Rath" written behind it as if to convince potential robbers that they did not have any precious cargo aboard" It would be nice if all the Garibs in our country could have Hyundai cars.) 

Reached Chennai in the evening to find the weather very pleasant and bracing.

Went two days later to Mahabalipuram. Personally was not so enamoured by the ECR - may be the heat and my travel sickness coloured my perspective in a deep shade of grey. 

However after reaching Mahabalipuram, had a wonderful time playing on the beach, walking through the water along the beach, gathering sea shells. There was a particular kind of long, conical shell which was plentiful, but unfortunately all of them seemed to be inhabited with some sea creature. So listened to hubby dear (for a change) as well as to my conscience and returned to the sea what belonged to the sea. Was lucky however to find one single one which was abandoned.

We did not go to the Shore Temple, but walked up close along the beach and got some nice pics. Was surprised to see so many people swimming in the sea and wished I had gone prepared for one myself. Well, good reason to go again.  

Had a wonderful buffet lunch at the resort there (Continental, Mexican and Indian dishes). Then while the seniors (hubby, my cousin and her husband)  relaxed post lunch, this not yet so senior went back to play in the water, messed around and eventually very reluctantly got out to go back home.


  1. Dear Satchi...
    Lovely write up the snaps add to the write-up the charm of the place and making me long to go there again...

  2. nicely narrated. Yes, many road signs, warnings, name boards sound funny with their spelling. (these are required to make the journey interesting isn't it? ;D ] so had a gala time there?

  3. Satchi,
    Nicely documented travel blogpost-
    I love long long drives...
    Too bad we did not meet up when u were in Chennai.

  4. Mira, one of the charms of visiting various places in India is to read all the sign boards which provide complete entertainment. Yes, unfortunately was knocked out during the drive back.

  5. Hi Usha,

    Thanks. This visit was a very unplanned and fleeting one. Well, it has given me a fleeting taste of the experience and made me long to go again. So we shall definitely meet then.

  6. hi satchi, it was a nice travelogue... Hope you enjoyed your short stay at chennai...Lovely pics...

  7. Thanks Vidhya. Yes enjoyed myself thoroughly and kept wishing I had more time there. Well, let us see, may be next year, perhaps.

  8. Hi Sats - nice to hear the drive was pleasant. No stopping at all and in 4 hrs time the trek is covered.Once you touch Chennai - it will take 2 hrs to reach the city. I amm familiar with this road because I travel this route when I go to Hosur. Went down memory lane. If you had missed the Chennai cutting - should not have panicked - you can go to Hogenakkal falls and enjoy yourself.Sign boads that are parcel of our ENGLISH language that we have inherited. Sure plan next time and we all can make a tour to Mahabs once again. nice write up

  9. Thanks Nityaka. Oh, now this is a good suggestion - Hogenakkal falls. Surely worth exploring another time.

  10. Nicely presented, vividly described. My first trip to Mahabalipuram was in 1977 [when you were touring Kashmir!]. Beautiful place. I have always enjoyed my journey on ECR on my way to Cuddalore via Pondichery, but after what you described, it must have now become not-so-great experience.

    And you must write the post on Signboards. Eagerly awating.....

  11. Thanks Vivek, yes I will have to make a collection of more such boards.

  12. Hi Swati, Great write up and beautiful pictures.