India on the Road

From Chennai to Kodaikanal

Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram
Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram
4 APR 2016
by

Route: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Viluppuram – Perambalur – Tiruchirappali – Dindigul – Kodaikanal
Distance: 557 Kms
Driving Time: 10 Hours

Chennai

Chennai is India’s fourth largest city and the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The city has the advantage of a long beach front on the Bay of Bengal which ensures a good supply of refreshing sea air and provides a popular place to relax in the evenings. During the 19th century it was the seat of the Madras Presidency, one of the four divisions of British Imperial India. The older section of the city is west of the dock area and north of Poonamallee High Road. In these narrow streets and bazaars are the offices of shipping and forwarding agents, the bulk of the cheaper hotels and cafes as well as the GPO. The other main part of the city is south of Poonamallee High Road. Through it runs the main road – Anna Salai, which is still generally known as Mount Road.

What to See:
Fort St.George, St.Mary’s Church, San Thome Cathedral, Parthasarathy Temple, Museum and Art Gallery, Marina Beach, Aquarium, Guindy Deer Park and Snake Park.

Where to Stay:
Chennai STD: 044
Some of the most notable hotels in Chennai are – Taj Connemara (Tel: 6600 0000), Taj Fisherman’s Cove (Tel: 6741 3333), Taj Coramandal (6600 2827), Park Hotel (Tel: 42676000), Chola Sheraton (Tel: 28110101), Hotel Green Park (Toll Free: 800 345 4050), The Residency Towers (Tel: 28156363), The Residency (Tel: 28253434), GRT Grand (Tel: 28155500).

Where to Eat:
Barbeque Restaurant, Mainland China, The Other Room, Raintree, Hotel Woodlands, Hotel Saravana, China Town, Chang King, Maharaja and Ganga Restaurant are some of Chennai’s most popular eating out joints.

What to Buy:
Pattamara mats, Leaf handicrafts from Tirunellveli, Bronze and Brass castings and traditional jewelry from Kumbakonam, Metal works from Tanjavur and stone carvings from Mamallapuram and Silks from Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram

Your first stop is Kanchipuram located at a distance of 76 Kms. from Chennai on NH4 via Sriperumbudur. Kanchipuram is one of India’s most spectacular temple cities and its many gopurams can be seen from miles away. Most of the temples are the work of the later Cholas and of the Vijaynagara Kings. They are spread out all across the city and you will need at least a whole day to see them. You should have plenty of small changes handy when visiting the temples to mollify the demands for “baksheesh” by the temple watchmen, shoe watchers, guides and assorted priests. The city is also renowned for its handwoven silk fabrics. This industry has roots going back to the Pallava times.

What to See:
Kailashnath Temple, Vaikunthaperumal Temple, Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakashiamman Temple, Vardarajaperumal Temple.

Where to Stay:
Hotel Tamil Nadu, Baboo Soorya Hotel, Sree Sakthi Residency, MM Hotel, GRT Residency, Jaybala International, Sri Rama Lodge, Kushal Lodge, Gayatri Hotel and MGM Hi-Way Resort.

Where to Eat:
It is advisable to dine at the in-house restaurants of individual hotels.

What to Buy:
Kancheepuram Silk Sarees.

Viluppuram

From Kanchipuram keep driving on NH45 via miniscule Tamil Nadu towns like Chengalpattu, Maduranthakam and Acharapakkam to enter the district of Viluppuram at 113 Kms. which can be covered in about 2 hours time. Viluppuram a district headquarter and. In fact it is the second largest district of Tamil Nadu and is replete with many tourist spots like temples, mosques and churches.

What to See:
Gingee Fort, Kalyana Mahal, Venugopalaswamy Temple, Hanuman Temple, Ranganatha Temple, Sadatullah Khan Mosque, Thiruvaamathoor, Thumpoor, Esalam, Narasimma Swamy Koil – Ennairam, Angala Parameswari to name just a few.

Where to Stay:
Viluppuram STD: 04146
PWM Guest House (Tel: 222893), TPTC Guest House (Tel: 259259), High Ways (Tel: 222524), Municipal Traveler’s Bungalow (Tel: 222564), GP Stairs, Mundiyampakkam Sugar Factory Guest House (Tel: 232228), Nagammai Cotton Mills Vikkiravandi (Tel: 233269), Deivanaiyammal Woman’s College (Tel: 259674), Tamil Nadu Housing Board (Tel: 240606).

Where to Eat:
There are numerous roadside eating joints that offer standard Tamilian cuisine.

What to Buy:
Silk Sarees and Cotton Lungis.

Perambalur

From Viluppuram drive upfront on NH45 via Tindivanam,Vikravandi and Cuddalore to enter Perambalur. The distance of 112 Kms can be covered in 2.5 hours. And the drive is beautiful. Perambalur is a district headquarter and is strategically situated on the triangle between Chennai, Bangaluru and Hyderabad and needless to say condition of the road is pretty good. It is heartening to know that this charming Tamil Nadu city is quite cosmopolitan with a sizeable population of people from other states residing here.

What to See:
Ranjankudi Fort, Brumma Rishi Hill, Mayil Ooru Falls, Sri Thirumangali Amman Temple, Sri Kaliyamman Temple, Sri Mathurakaliamman Temple, Sri Bala Thandayuthapani Swami Temple, Sri Madhana Gopala Swami Temple, Sri Ayyannar Temple.

Where to Stay:
There are no deluxe hotels at Perambalur. However, there are a few decent hotels where the facilities are at best sketchy like Guru Hotel, Vasantham Hotel, Vallalar Hotel, Bharathi Hotel, Saravana Bhawan, Devi Hotel, Chola Hotel, Kalyani Mess, Geetha Hotel to name just a few.

Where to Eat:
The RNR Restaurant is by far the best eating joint in Perambalur.

What to Buy:
Locally manufactured handicraft items.

Tiruchirappali

From Perambalur continue to drive on NH45 and after covering a distance of 62 Kms. you will reach Tiruchirappali. The distance can be covered in 1.24 hours. Tirchirappaly is also referred to as Trichy and it happens to be Tamil Nadu’sfourth largest urban agglomeration. In its present avatar the city has become an industrial and educational hub with the presence of industries like BHEL, Golden Rock Railway Workshops etc.. setting up their units at Trichy. The city has three distinct divisions – the Cantonment is to the south, the temples are located to the north while the bazzar is located right in the heart of the city. Culturally too, Trichy is pulsating with activity and is a centre of Fine Arts.

What to See:
The Rockfort, Thayumanavar Temple, Ganesha Temple, archaeological site of Urayur, the Grand Anaicut, Srirangam Island, the Upper Anaicut.

Where to Stay:
Trichy STD: 0431
Hotel Ramyas (Tel:2415271), Femina Hotel (Tel: 2414501), Hotel Sangam (Tel: 2414700), Breeze (Tel: 2414414), Hotel Grand Gardenia (Tel: 4045000), Royal Southern Hotel (Tel: 2421303).

Where to Eat:
Domino’s Pizza, Kannappa Restaurant, Meridian Restaurant, UVN Restaurant, Abirami Restaurant, Jennys and Sangam are renowned for their gastronomic delights.

What to Buy:
Cigars at Woraiyur, handloom sarees, Lungis as well as Peeth Models. A visit to Gandhi market which is 130 years old can be a very rewarding experience.

Dindigul

From Trichy continue to drive along NH45 for 102 Kms. to reach Dindigul. The distance can be covered in 2.04 hours. Dindigul happens to be a district headquarter and is ideally located at the foot of Sirumalai Hills at an elevation of 265 meters above sea level. Historically too Dindigul has a rich virile past and was ruled by the Moghuls as well as the British Raj and flourished as a trading centre. Dindigul is renowned for its leather industry.

What to See:
The Fort, Thadi Kombu Perumal Koil, Begambur Big Mosque, Sri Kottai Mariamman Kovil, Abirami Amman Temple and St.Joseph Church.

Where to Stay:
Gomath Lodge, Liberty Lodge, AKMG Lodge, Radha Lodge, Central Lodge, Parvathi Lodge, Kasturi Lodge, Lucky Lodge, Modern Lodge, etc…

Where to Eat:
Saravana Bhawan, Balaji Bhawan, Meenakshi Bhawan, Jayam Canteen, Senthora Bhawan (Veg), Little Café, Canteen are some of the trusted restaurants of Dindigul.

What to Buy:
Indegenously manufactured leather products.

Kodaikanal

From Dindigul Continue on NH 45 via Pallapatti, Sevugampatti, turn right on SH 18 cross via Ganguvarpatti, Pannaikadu to reach Kodaikanal. The distance from Dindigul to Kodaikanal is 95 Kms. and can be covered in 1.9 hours. Kodaikanal is the most beautiful and certainly a lot quieter than Ooty. Located on the southern crest of the Palani Hills amongst thickly wooded hillsides, waterfalls and rock outcrops, it is an ideal place to escape from the heat of the plains below. The nucleus of this hill station is the lake, which is shaped like a starfish. Churches, restaurants, hotels and homestay options with local families are galore. Like other hill stations, the main emphasis is on relaxation and light physical activities like walking, riding and boating. Boats are available for hire at the Boat Club on the lake. Some of the pleasantest walks include visits to Pillar Rocks, Green Valley View, Silver Cascade, Perumal Peak and Bear Shola Falls.

What to See:
Berijam Lake, Bryant Park, Ochidorium, Silver Cascade Falls, Pillar Rock, Fairy Falls, Bear Shola Falls, Glen Falls, Perumal Peak and Cocker’s Walk.

Where to Stay:
Kodai STD: 04542
Green Acres (Tel: 242384), Hill Country Holiday Resort (Tel: 240953-4), Hill Top Tower (Tel: 240413), Hotel Garden Manor (Tel: 240461), Hotel Kodai International (Tel: 245190-93), J.S.Heritage Resort (Tel: 241323), Kodai Resort (Tel: 242107), Lilly Valley Resort (Tel: 240558), Sterling Days Inn (Tel: 246180), The Carlton (Tel: 240056), Valley View Resort (Tel: 240181), Woodys (Tel: 240774).

Where to Eat:
Fay’s Confectionery (Tel:241209) on Hospital Road, Tibetan Brothers (Tel: 244638), Silver Inn (Western food), Tava Restaurant (famed for its North Indian Thali), Econut (for Organic Food).

What to Buy:
Local handicraft items, children’s toys, medicinal herbs and oils.