The Religious Road Trip

6th Apr 2019
Photo of The Religious Road Trip by Shivam Kothiyal
Day 1

Madurai (Route: Bangalore - Salem -Dindigul - Madurai) 436Km.

My parents were visiting me in Bangalore for the first time and expressed the desire to go to Madurai, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari. I researched a bit and decided on taking them on a road trip to cover all three destinations. It was challenging for me because I had to plan something which was comfortable for my parents and also being the only guy who would be driving, I had to ensure that the trip does not become too hectic for my body and mind. After all the aim is to enjoy, relax and unwind. I completed this trip in my car, a Tata Tiago which I will refer as Ms. Tia.

We started from Bangalore at 6 am although the plan was to leave by 5 but then when one is not constrained by public transport, he tends to take time for granted. We took the NH44 out of Bangalore through Hosur and had a quick breakfast stop at Murugan Idli Shop which had some of the tastiest idlis and dosas. My parents loved it.

Post that I drove ahead and reached Madurai by 3 pm. My dad being a conventional guy who relies on asking strangers the route, was so happy seeing the functionality provided by the google maps. He so liked being my navigator all through out the way. We checked into our hotel and were informed that we should try visiting the Meenakshi temple before 7 pm. We freshened up a bit and left for the temple. Now the thing which I donot like about temples is the long queues and I find it a waste of time to stand in them. But then I remembered that I was here for my parents and temples give them immense joy. So I joined the long line of devotees for the temple. There were people who offered us a fast track darshan for some extra money. But we had all the time in the world. This was the only item in our to do list for today.

I am a great fan of ancient Indian architecture. What the ancient architects achieved in-spite of the absence of technology is quite awesome. The Indian temples are an example of that. Meenakshi temple is spread over a huge area and the complex houses other temples also. There is a peaceful lake within the temple complex where you can sit in the evening. The complex also has a museum which gives information about the temple. You can even find a 3D replica of the temple over there and I stood in awe gazing at it. It surely would have been an expensive affair but then India was the Golden Bird of the Ancient Times. You can see the brilliance of the artists in the walls, pillars, floors and ceilings of the temple. Everything is an interesting piece of art. And the long queue to the Garbh Griha gives you ample time to gaze and admire all parts of the temple. It was because of the architecture, I didnot mind the long wait time for the final darshan.

Post the darshan, my parents were extremely happy. It was a long time wish of theres to visit these temples.

We looked for an eatery around the temple. Madurai is not a big town and most of it is set up around the temple. You will find numerous eateries there. I took my parents to a North Indian as there food habits were making them crave for roti-sabzi and daal-chawal. As for me, my time in Bangalore has made me adapt to all forms of cuisine. Post our dinner, we took a auto back to the hotel and retired for the night. I was exhausted post the temple visit and the long driving hours.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Photo of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal
Day 2

Rameswaram (Route: Madurai - Rameswaram) 172Km

We got up early next day and grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel. Post that we started our journey to the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The drive from Madurai to Rameswaram is quite smooth with really good roads. While entering Rameswaram we crossed the magnificent Pamban bridge. If you want to see the true magnificence of the bridge you should come via train and enjoy the view when it passes over the bridge. Well the view from the road bridge was not that bad either. We reached the temple around the afternoon closing time and quickly completed the darshan. I was spellbound on seeing how majestic the temple was. And one can easily estimate how huge the corridors are when one sees an elephant strolling through them with ease. And once again the architecture was simply so beautiful. I envy the creativity of those architects who could imagine the impossible.

Post the darshan we grabbed a quick lunch at a small nearby eatery. It was not very good but, it was the only one available near by. Post that we continued our trip to Dhanushkodi. The main reason for going to Dhanushkodi was the road that leads to it. Being a fan of road trips it was my dream to drive on that road with the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. You can clearly see the difference between the two with one being the calm on and other being the crazy one. Imagine speeding down a straight road with water on both sides with trees, rocks and people swooshing past you. I wish I had a convertible at that time, but Ms. Tia did well too. At the end of the road there is a view point where you can get down to the beach. My parents and I clicked a few pictures on the beach. We had not planned a stay in Rameswaram and hence continued our journey to Kanyakumari.

Pamban Bridge

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal


Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal
Day 3

Kanyakumari (Route: Ramanathapuram - Kilakarai - Ervadi - Sayalkudi - Thoothukudi - Kanyakumari) 320 Kms

Although I started for Kanyakumari the same day I visited Rameswaram, however I would not recommend it if someone has less driving experience. This is because I felt that I was exhausted during my time in Rameswaram and was unable to enjoy the drive to Kanyakumari. Also the night time added to the fatigue. I was able to reach Kanyakumari by 1 am in the night extremely exhausted and if I didnot have experience from my previous trips, I think I would not have been able to reach the place. However this varies from person to person. The hotel I took was very near to the sun rise point in Kanyakumari. And inspite of the tiring journey the previous night, my father was up and about at 5 am in the morning and also forced me to wake up at that time. Well I love my father for that, since if I would have been there with a couple of friends, we would never have woken up for that sunrise. And once the initial post bed laziness had worn off, the sunrise at Kanyakumari was mesmerizing. Remember to go early and take your seats since the place gets pretty crowded during the sunrise and sunset. We clicked a few pics and also got a family photo done from a local professional photographer. A number of them are available there for the same. We spent the day doing the touristy stuff which included going to the Vivekananda Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue. One can easily grab a ferry for the same. These places get very very hot during the day, so don't forget your goggles and water bottle because you may not find it anywhere when you reach these places. The views from both these places were breathe taking and I am not sure why I have developed a liking for staring at the vast oceans and seas for hours and hours. It grants me a strange kind of peace. We also visited the Bhagavathy Amman Temple since my parents are a big fan of temples. In the evening we went to the sunset point to see the sunset. A visit to Kanyakumari is incomplete without the spellbinding Sunrise & Sunset. Autos are easily available to reach that place. We reached early and grabbed a good viewpoint and I indulged in my favorite activity of sea gazing for a couple of hours. On returning back from here we grabbed a quick dinner and proceeded to get a good nights sleep before our long journey back to Bangalore. Well trips with parents are so different from trips with friends. With parents its like early to bed, early to rise and a lot of touristy stuff. With friends I would surely have stayed awake for hours in the night doing stuff which parents might not like. ha ha. With this thought in mind I fell asleep.


Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal


Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal

Vivekananda Memorial

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal


Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal


Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Shivam Kothiyal
Day 4

Drive Back to Bangalore (Route: Kanyakumari - Madurai - Dindigul - Salem - Bangalore) 666 Km

The journey back to Bangalore started early at 5 am since we aimed to reach before nightfall. The highway is awesome to drive on with lush greenery and numerous windmills on both sides of the road. I was truly able to enjoy that drive along with my parents. 

So it was 4 days - 3 places - 1600 Kms - Ms. Tia which in the end got me a title of Shravan Kumar from my parents. I know Mr. Shravan did much more than what I did but then it's always good to see the parents smiling and praising you for what you have done.