South India!! I really miss those days. And whenever it comes to my mind everything flashes before my eyes like a picture. It was in Jan 2009- mine longest trip in India; 13 days covering the coastal regions. It was really difficult to plan the trip but somehow we managed it. We were in college that time, so a lot of problems arose and moreover it was such a long trip. We had only booked return tickets to Kolkata and nothing else.
I read somewhere:
“Travel is the only thing you buy to make yourself richer”
It happened with me. It was a gift that made me richer in experience, understanding and gave a broader outlook towards life. This was not my first trip but was the longest one till date. Met so many different people, different culture, different food etc. We covered almost 3 states (AP, Chennai and Kerala). The journey was about to begin from Chennai, so we all reached Chennai on the particular date.
We took a bus till Madurai and from Madurai another bus straight to our destination. It was almost 10 pm and the 1st day went in travelling, did nothing. Places to see- Ramanathaswamy temple; Dhanushkodi; Pamban Bridge; Adam’s Bridge etc. Next day it was really refreshing. We woke up at 4am and went to the temple for Mani Darshan and Pamban Bridge. In the evening we left for Madurai.
3 hrs from Rameshwaram, we had a plan to see the Meenakshi Temple but somehow it didn’t work out. Actually, when we reached it was closed and we couldn’t wait till the next day, since it was just a beginning and many places were in the pipeline. All were quite upset that we had come so far but weren’t able to see it. We moved to our next destination – Kanyakumari. 2nd Night went in Traveling
Same day we left for Kanyakumari at night from Madurai by train. No need to book in advance, it is a local train from Madurai to Nagercoil. From Nagercoil it is 20km (Since no direct trains from Madurai, so we chose this way). It was around 9pm we took a train to Nagercoil. At 2.30am we reached Nagercoil and from there took auto till Kanyakumari. It took us almost 1 hour to reach Kanyakumari because the road was not good. But still we managed and reached around 4am. Kanyakumari, is very famous for its sunrise. So we fixed everything fast and straight away went to our hotel terrace. It’s a must see. Places to see: Sangam, Swami Vivekananda statue and Ferry ride. Now our next destination was not only a different place but a different state. Yes, now we were heading towards Kerala (Gods Own Country). 3rd Night went in Traveling
Capital city of the state. A must visit. It was 4-5 hrs journey. We reached late night. It was really tiring to find a good place at such an odd hour. Time was 2.30 am, we started searching but it was not worth it. I was not feeling good. I was about to burst out but somehow I controlled myself. That night was really a nightmare. 5 adults on one bed and moreover a 3rd grade room and mosquitoes are adding pleasure to it. I have never thought that something like this could happen but it did happen. At 6am, I woke up and went out to book a cab for Kovalam beach. We reached Kovalam at night booked the hotel and slept. Places to see: Zoo, Kovalam Beach, Travancore Palace and Museum and lot of temples.
I love beaches. I woke up early and went for jogging. It was really refreshing- Fresh air; out of the city; amazing feeling. We did all type of activities which were available. Now it was 12 noon. I had already booked a car for the up comings because I didn’t want any more hassles and discomfort in my Journey. We left Kovalam around 6pm. Next stop was Cochin (245km – 4 to 5 hrs). Reached Cochin late night. Again same problem as it was in Trivandrum. But here somehow we managed to find a good hotel.
Cochin, is the traditional city of Kerala. Still everything is well preserved. Roads, buildings etc. will give you the feeling of olden days. We checked in late night around 1.30 am. Woke up late because it was really hectic from last 3-4 days and moreover we have full day in Cochin. Places to see: Chinese fishing net, Vasco Da Gama Church, Marine Drive and MG Road. Still they are using these fishing net for fishing. It is used no where else. It was really fascinating. Church where Vasco Da Gama was buried is also a must visit place in Cochin. And Ferry ride seeing the sunset.
We left early morning because we had planned for the Backwaters trip. We all were really excited. It’s a must do if you are in Kerala. We hired a boat for 6 hrs. It was all surrounded by coconut trees. It was looking like a dream come true- truly awesome! You will pass through villages and suddenly you will be under open sky. The feeling was like we were sailing on Mediterranean Sea and there was nothing except water. We had coconut water, local food on the traditional banana leaf etc. it was so much fun. By then it was 4pm. The next destination was 160 kms far. Now it was time to have some serious adventure. Yes am talking about Jungle safari and night walking inside the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
We have experienced beaches, temples, culture etc. Now it was time to do something exciting. So we were there. We reached there around 7pm same day. Nothing can be done, so we went off to sleep. It was really cold out there. Things to do: Sanctuary, Coffee Plantations, State Border, Suicide point, Elephant Safari and lots of temples. Next day was the best. I started with jogging in the early morning. Then we hired a car to see all the places nearby. But first we went inside the forest to check the set up. We were here to do night walking in Jungle. But something went really wrong. In excitement I broke the soft tissue of my right leg and was not able to walk. I was really disappointed and it was paining so hard that I thought I will die soon. But our driver saved my life. He took us to some Ayurvedic doctor and guess what it really worked out! How was the treatment He put some hot oil on the area where it was paining. I was shouting like as if I was going to abuse (later on my friends told me). They were holding my both hands and legs. I was shouting, abusing but they didn’t leave me. Then after 1 hour it was all done. Doctor told me to go to hotel and sleep. Then I told my friends don’t worry everything will be fine but you guys don’t stop enjoying. Doctor came in the evening. He gave medicine and told me not to walk, you need a complete rest otherwise your upcoming would be hampered. I cancelled my ticket to Night Walking in Jungle. I was sleeping but then also I was feeling the pain and suddenly I was waking up again and again. It was a nightmare. 9th day I was able to walk but very slowly. Somehow after so much of effort it worked out. Now we were heading towards our next destination and more over New State- Tamil Nadu. It was a hill station. Only this was left and here we are – At Kodaikanal. I hate mountains but since it was my first visit to any hill station in South, I Went.
It was 160 km and it took 6 hrs to reach. It was 8pm and coldddddd. We slept nicely – booked a family suite. 10th Day We started our day with cycling. You guys must be thinking how can I ride a bicycle?? Yup, you can call it a miracle. Finally I was able to walk. Around 11am we started walking around the place. It was really awesome. At Kodai Lake you will find many shops selling homemade chocolates. It’s the best place to shop. Places to See: Kodai Lake, Bryant Park, Guna Caves, Coakers Walk etc. 11th Day Now our next destination was the most important. It was a planned destination. It is something that one can never miss. Yes, u all got it right, Its TIRUPATI TEMPLE in Andhra Pradesh. It was the 2nd last destination. There were no direct route for Tirupati from Kodai. We left Kodai around 2pm and reached Trichy around 8pm. Then again from Trichy to Tirupati by bus. 11th night went in traveling We reached Tirupati around 5am. It was really hot there as compared to Kodai.
It’s a must visit place. It will take at least 5-6 hrs to come out, once you are inside the Temple. People from all over India come for the Darshan of Tirupati balaji. Now it’s time for our destination and my home town –“Visakhapatnam”. Till then we didn’t know how we would reach Vizag. No bookings, nothing. It was 8pm. Then we decide we will hop in Vijayawada and from there we will go to Vizag. We got a Volvo bus from Tirupati to Vijayawada around 9pm. We were really tired. It was damn hot. 12th night went in traveling to Vijayawada.
We reached Vijayawada around 4am. Now we were thinking how to go to Vizag and suddenly we saw one SUV (driver was shouting – Who wants to go to Vizag) and finally we reached Visakhapatnam around 1pm. It was an awesome road trip from Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam (almost 8 hrs). Am back at home. I started almost 15 days before from this place. I love beaches and I will say Vizag beaches are to die for. It was so refreshing but very hot, I will say the hottest. We were in Vizag for 2 days and on 14th Day my friends left for Kolkata again. This was really a tough one to write because it’s been almost 5 years. I have tried my best to share my experience of Traveling through 3 different States in 13 days. It was a lifetime experience. Different language, culture, food, people, places- making this trip a memorable one. It wasn’t easy to plan. But we did. Any suggestions or Questions are always welcome. Please feel free to share your travel experience, if any. -Gautam
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