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Pondicherry and back, along the East Cost Road in August 2004

Time for another bike trip and this time I decided to visit the beaches of Pondicherry and take a ride along the rest of East Cost Road (ECR). The stretch from Mahabalipuram to Chennai was explored during the Chennai Trip. So I was to drive along ECR up till Mahabalipuram, while coming back.

As usual, the trip started on a saturday early morning and the drive till Krishnagiri was comfortable - wide and familiar roads with a divider. Reached Krishnagiri by 6.30, took the left turn for Chennai and within a KM there was a diversion for Pondicherry. This was the NH66 connecting Krishnagiri and Pondicherry, via Thiruvannamalai and Tindivanam.

NH66
Along the NH66

This road is covered with trees on both sides. Aided with this shade and a cool morning, it was a nice ride. The only towns on the way to Thiruvannamalai is Mattur and Chengam.

After reaching Thiruvannamalai around 10.30 I had two choices. To continue along the NH66, towards Tindivanam or take a state highway towards Villupuram, the second option being a shorter one in terms of distance to Pondicherry. I had my reservations taking a state highway, but finally decided to take it after seeing all sign boards pointing to that direction.

And it backfired!!! The 70 KM stretch to Villupuram had some very bad patches in between. Almost 30 KMs before Villupuram, my trusted bike had its first accident skidding from a muddy road. Couple of scratches on my hand and palm, couple of scratches on the bike front, but nothing serious. Mostly because of the helmet and knee pad. I was soon up on my feet, took some first aid from a nearby clinic and proceeded towards Villupuram.

At Villupuram, the state highway enters the NH45, connecting Chennai, Tiruchirapalli and Dindigul, and then forks off the NH45A (Villupuram - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Nagapattinam). Another 40 KMs in the NH45A, it was Pondicherry town.

On a saturday morning, without any reservations, it seemed almost impossible to get a room. Finally, beacuse somebody unexpectedly vaccated, I got a room in Hotel Jayaram. I was all tired by then, with the heat and a paining arm, sleep was first priority!!!

Stained glass painting
Art in glass

First thing I visited in Pondicherry was the Sacred Heart of Jesus church, to the south of Pondicherry town. Was a nice one with some good glass paintings.

Next was Promenade, a nice 1.5 walk along the beach. It is the pride of Pondicherry and hosts several landmarks in the town, like the Gandhi mandapam and the Lighthouse and many pretty tourists ;)))

Promenade
Promenade

Lighthouse @ Promenade
Lighthouse - from Promenade

I was there next morning also, capturing some of these in my camera ...

@ Promenade
A tree along the Promenade

Bid adieu to Pondicherry and took the ECR (East Cost Road) by around 1.00. This stretch of ECR is maybe not as exciting as the Mahabalipuram - Chennai stretch. Nevertheless it was good. Couple of views of the sea, a drive to a local beach and some big river mouths were the highlight.

River mouth near ECR
Along ECR

Lunch on the way and some drizzle ensured that it was close to 5.00 by the time I reached Mahabalipuram. Coupled with the pain in the hand, the possibility of reaching Bangalore that night was ruled out. 6 KMs before Mahabalipuram, a state highway starts towards Kanchipuram, via Thirukalukundram and Chengalpet (Chengalpettu). By 6.00 I reached Kanchipuram, entered the Golden Quadrilateral and was zooming towards Vellore. Past Wallajpet was always difficult with road construction going on. And, I could reach only till Vellore before it was dark. Besides, the bike lights were also damaged in the accident. Something I noticed only now. So, I spotted a nice hotel in Vellore and stayed there.

Krishnagiri - Bangalore highway
Chartered waters - near Krishnagiri

Next morning was all familiar roads, especially after Krishnagiri. Was a little late to the office and missed half a day. End of another bike trip and beginning of another week in the office!!!



© 2015 Sandeep Unnimadhavan