March 8th, 2009 by admin

Location: Chennai formarly known as Madras is located on the eastern coast in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Distnace: Around 330 km from Bangalore, 726 km from Colombo, 2943 km from Dubai, 1338 km from Kolkata, 1023 from Mumbai, 507 km from Hyderabad and 1732 km from New Delhi

How to reach there: One can reach there by bus, train and flight. From the airport to the city one can reach by bus, train and city taxi. Bus enquiry(CBMT) # +91 44 2479 5547. For complete bus schedules for state run buses in Tamil nadu, click here.

Journey Time: 7 hrs by train, 8 hrs by bus and 1 hr by flight from Bangalore.

Route:

1. Bangalore- Old Madras Road – Hoskote (30) – Kolar (57) – Palamner (120) – Chittoor (165) – Ranipet (210) – Kanchi (Outskirts) (260)- Sriperumbudur (290) – Chennai (330)

2. Bangalore- Hosur (45 KMs) – Krishnagiri (95) – Vaniyambadi (145) – Ambur (165) – Vellore (220) – Ranipet (240) – Kanchi (Outskirts)(290) – Sriperumbudur(320) – Chennai (360)

3. Bangalore- Hosur(45) – Krishnagiri (95) – Thiruvannamalai (200) – Gingee (250) – Tindivanam (280) – Chengalpet (340)- Chennai (400)

Language spoken: Typically Tamil. However, English is understood widely. Also, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi is spoken.

Where to stay:

Luxuary:

1. ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers
TTK Road · Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018 · India · Map
Phone: (91)(44) 24994101

2. Taj Connemara
Binny Road
Chennai – 600 002
Tamil Nadu
India
Tel : (91-44) 6600 0000
Fax : (91-44) 6600 0555
Email: connemara.chennai@tajhotels.com

3. The park
601, Anna Salai, Chennai 600006, India
T: +91 (0)44 4267 6000 F: +91 (0)44 4214 4100 E: resv.che@theparkhotels.com

4. Taj Coromandel
37, Mahatma Gandhi Road
Nungambakkam
Chennai – 600 034
India
Tel: (91-44) 6600 2827
Fax: (91-44) 6600 2089
Email: coromandel.chennai@tajhotels.com

5. Trident, Chennai
1/24 G.S.T Road,
Chennai 600 027,
India
T. +91 44 2234 4747
F. +91 44 2234 6699
E. reservations@tridenthotels.com

Budget Hotels:

1. Ramada Raj Park Hotel: 180 T T K Road Alwarpet, Chennai

2. Hotel Guest Inn: No1, 3rd Cross Street, Habibullah Road, T. Nagar, Chennai

3. Hotel Dasaprakash

4. Hotel Comfort: No. 22,
Vallabah Agraharam Street
Triplicane High Road
Chennai 600 005
India

5. Tourist Home, 45, Gandhi Irwin Road,
Egmore Chennai 600 008
India

Where to eat: If you are looking for high end, please try for the luxury hotels – they have their own restaurants.

1. Chin Chin:  
115, Sir Thyagaraya Road,
T Nagar,
Chennai – 600 017
Tel:+(91)-(44)-2815 5353

2. Mainland China
3rd Floor,Hotel Aruna Complex,144 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
Chennai – 600 034
Tel:+(91)-(44)-2825 9090

3. Cornucopia – ( genre – continental)
30, Cenotaph Road,
Teynampet,
Chennai – 600 018
Tel:+(91)-(44)-24311193, 42059495

4. New Yorker Restaurant (genre – fast food)
146, N H Road, Shop # 3,
Nungambakkam, (Near Taj Coramandel)
Chennai – 600 034
Tel:+(91)-(44)-42049300, 42061929

5. Subway
9, 2nd Avenue,
Besant Nagar,
Chennai – 600 090
Tel:+(91)-(44)-4204 8080

6. Casa Piccola
7, Kader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam Road,
Chennai – 600 006
Tel:+(91)-(44)- 2833 0808

7. Tandoor
Aruna Hotel Annexe No 144 -145 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
Chennai – 600 034
Tel:+(91)-(44)-825 9090
Fax:+(91)-(44)-8258 282

8. Aiwo Rest, No.7, Rosy Towers, Nungambakkam High Road,
Chennai – 600 034
Tel:+(91)-(44)-5551 4241

When to visit: Chennai has a hot and humid climate. During summer it can be very hot. Visiting in monsoon months like November, December and January may be little better. However, chennai receives rain during winter due to the south – east monsoon.

Chennai is the 4th largest metropolitan city in India and the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Chennai urban area is home to more than 8 million people and is counted in the largest 50 metropolitan area in the world. Chennai formarly known as Madras was founded by the British East India Company on August 22, 1639. In 1996 the them Tamil Nadu government changed the name to Chennai claiming to be the native name.

Culture: Chennai is one of the most prominent cultural centers of India. It hosts Bharatnatyam and Carnatic Music festivals which are popular all over the world. It also rich in literature, sculpture, and cinema. The Tamil movie industry is one of the biggest and profit making flim industry in India. In fact all south Indian movies were earlier made in Chennai (then Madras). It has produced some of the biggest starts like M.G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Shankar, Mani Ratnam, Illayaraja, Oscar winner AR Rahman etc.

What to see:

1. Beaches: Chennai being located on the coast has many beached and some of them are very popular as follows:

Marina Beach: It is the second longest beache in the world covering 4.5 km. It is also very popular with tourists. Very nice to take a stroll in the evening.

Elliots Beach: It is located at Besant Nagar. Elliots beach is much cleaner than Marina beach and more peaceful. It is located around an upscale neighbourhood and features good restaurants like Ponnuswamy Restaurant, Karaikudi restaurant, Lee’s Chinese Restaurant, Shangri La etc. There is a memorial for the Dutch sailor Karl Schmidt who lost his life when rescuing a drowning sailor and towards the sounthern end of the beach is Velankanni Church and Ashtalakshmi temple.

Breezy Beach: This beach is located in Valmiki Nagar. If you are looking for peace and solitude then this is the place.

2. Ennore Port: The Egmore port can be seen when travelling by train on the coromandal route. This port has been constructed to decongest Chennai post.

Website: http://www.ennoreport.gov.in/

3. Fort St. George: Fort St George was British fortress of white settlement in the then Madras city in 1639. Fort St George is now the administrative seat of the government of Tamil Nadu. The fort contains St. Mary’s church, a museum and Wellesley House. It is the oldest Anglican church in India. It was built in 1678-80 AD. The tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum completed in 1795 exhibits the items of the British rule
Read the complete chronology of Fort St. George here: http://www.assembly.tn.gov.in/History/chronology.htm

4. Government Museum or National Art Gallery: The chennai museum has some of the best collections in Asia. The collections are divided in various sections like Geology, Archeology, Anthropology, Numismatics, Botany, Zoology and Sculpture.

Visiting hours: 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m everyday except Fridays and national holidays.

Entry fee: Rs 10 for children below 12 years (Indian Nationals). For adults fee is Rs. 15 per head (Indian Nationals). For students fee is Rs. 5 per head (Indian Nationals). The fee for foreign visitors falling in the above categories fees are Rs. 125, Rs. 250 and Rs. 75 respectively.

Address: Pantheon road, Egmore
Website: www.chennaimuseum.org
Phone: 28193238

5. Guindy National Park and Guindy Snake park: Guindy National Park is located within Chennai city just around the official residence of the state governer. It is one of the smallest National park covering just 2.82 Sq Km. It was originally a game reserve owned by a British Gilbert Rodericks and it transfered to the tamil nadu forest department in 1958. The park features 300 species of plants and 14 types of mammals.

Just besides the Guindy National Park is the Guindy Snake Park featuring King Cobra, pythons, vipers and other reptiles. A large chunk of the area has been turned into a children’s park featuring animals like spotted deer, black buck, common langur etc. It located on Sardar Patel road behind Gandhi Mandapam.

For more info contact: The Wildlife Warden, 259, Anna Salai, DMS Compound, IV Floor, Teynampet, Chennai 600 006 Phone : 24321471

Entry fees aplies.

6. Rail Museum, Integral Coach Factory: Indian railway network is the largest in the world and has a history of over 150 years. You can find all the antiques, modern engines, info in bridges, tunnels etc.

Timmings: 10.00 am to 05.00 p.m everyday except Monday
Phone: +91-044-26201014 or 26146306
Website: http://www.icf.gov.in/rrm/index.asp

7. St.Thomas Basilica: St.Thomas Basilica was built in the honour of St. Thomas who preached in christianity in Chennali. It is a beautiful basilica.

Visiting hours: The National Shrine is open all year – 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Website: http://www.santhomebasilica.com/

8. St. Thomas Mount: St. Thomas Mount is a small hillock located near Guindy. It is believed that St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, is martyred here. One can see a small Church built in 1523 by the Portuguese. Pope John Paul II visited this place during his visit to India on 5th February 1986.

9. Valluvar Kottam: Valluvar Kottam is an auditorium built in the memory of saint-poet Tiruvalluvar. Verses from him poems are depicted on the wall here. There also a 101 feet temple chariot structure.

10. Connemara Public Library: The Connemara Public library was built by the then British governer of the Madras state Lord Connemara and so the name. The library was formally opned on 5/12/1896. It has been modernized and has over 1 lakh membership.

Address: Connemara Public Library
Pantheon Road
Egmore
Chennai 60008 Ph:28193751

Timmings: Monday to Saturday 9.00 A.M to 7.30 P.M

Sunday 9.30 A.M to 6.00 P.M

The Library remains closed on 26th January (Republic Day), 15th August (Independence Day) , 2nd October (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday) and 6 Festivals viz. Pongal, Tamil New year Day , Saraswathi Pooja, Vijayadasami, Diwali and Christmas.

Website: http://www.connemarapubliclibrarychennai.com/

11. The Birla Planetarium: The Birla Planetarium in Chennai is located at Kotturpuram and typically interests the children. It is open on all days except on national holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5.45 p.m. Timings for cosmic shows in the planetarium (English) are 10.45 a.m., 1.15 p.m. and 3.45 p.m. In Tamil, the show timings are 12 noon and 2.30 p.m.

Address: Tamilnadu Science & Technology Centre
Gandhi Mandapam Road (Behind CLRI)
Chennai- 600 025
Phone: 91-44 – 24410025 / 24416751 / 24915250

Around Chennai:

1. Vandalur zoo: Vandalur zoo or The Arignar Anna Zoological Park is located around 25 km from Chennai. It is one of the largest zoo in south Asia and covers around 1300 acres. It was founded in 1885 and it is the first public zoo in India. It features various reptiles, primates, carnivorous, mammals, aquarium, pre-historic animal park, safari park etc.

Timmings: 9.00am to 8.00pm all days, except Tuesdays

2. Vedanthangal bird sanctuary: Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is located around 86 km from Chennai. The sanctuary is spread over 72 acres of marshy land and has resident birds like Coots, Moorhen, Terns etc. Migratory birds like Garganey, Teals, Shovellers, Pintails, Stills and Sandpiper are seen here from various countries like Australia, Sri lanka etc.

3.  Madras Cocodile bank: Madras Cocodile bank is located 40 km from Chennai enroute Mahabalipuram. It is a cocodile breeding project stated in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker and few others. It cover 3.2 hectares of land. They also organize summer camps for school childrens.

Website: http://www.madrascrocodilebank.org/

4. Golden Beach: VGP Golden Beach Resort is located on the East Coast road about 20 minutes drive from Chennai. It is a private area and provides a very relaxing atmosphere. They offer accomodation, food and entertainment. Entrance – 50 /- Special Discount for School Children (with letter) – Rs. 30 /- Entry free for residents.

Address: VGP Golden Beach Resort Ltd.
Injambakkam,
Chennai – 41.
Phone No. 449 1442

Website: http://www.vgpresorts.com/

5. Mahabalipuram: Mahabalipuram is a famous temple town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, know as Mamallapuram – it was a port city during the rule of Pallava in the 7th century. The sea shore temples are famous for their architecture. There were seven temples, out of which only is visible now. It is located in the Kanchipuram district around 60 km from Chennai.

for more info visit: http://www.mahabalipuram.co.in/

January 1st, 2009 by admin


Palani hill as seen at night

Distance: 60 km from Dindigul city, 100 km from Coimbatore and Madurai and near to Kodaikanal hills

How to reach there: Regular bus services are available from Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Madurai,  Dindigul etc. By train upto Dindigul and then 60 km by bus to palani.

where to stay: Dandayudapani Nilayam. For more info on accomodation, visit here.

Where to eat: Dandayudapani Nilayam


Palani town as seen from Palani hill

Palani is a small town in the Dindigul district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a popular pilgrimage center and attracts millions of people to the Pilani Murugan temple. Legend has it that Lord Subhramanya made his abode here on the Palani hills. One can offer puja (prayer) at the following puja timmings. The temple is located on top of a hill and one either has to reach there by climbing the steps or by boarding the Winch and Rope Car. Check the winch and rope car timmings and charges. Palani has a rich history starting from the Nayaka kings to the British.


Palani Malai and the temple atop it

Things to see: The star attraction of and almost only thing at Palani is the Palani Murugan temple.  However, you can check for few other places like the Dindigul fort, Sirumalai – Hill Resort, St.Joseph Church etc. If you are not that religious, it is advisable to go there when there is less rush, so that you enjoy god’s presence in a serene environment. It is an awesome sight to see the hills and the temple at night from the plains.

 
Bird’s view of Palani town

August 4th, 2008 by admin

Distance: 160 km from Bangalore and 210 km from Chennai

Journey time: 2 hrs by train + 45 mins by bus/cab from Bangalore and 3.5 – 4 hrs from Chennai.

How to reach there: For train – catch any train going to Jolarpet junction station and from there catch bus# 253 to reach Yelagiri(Rs 7). You can also hire a auto or cab(Rs 300 – 350). For bus – KSRTC/Tamil Nadu buses ply to Jolarpet and then follow the same proces above. It takes little long by bus(4 hours). If you are driving, drive via Hosur Road (NH7), hosur, Krishnagiri, Jolarpet junction, Bunneri to Yelagiri.

Where to Stay: Ashok Lodge(Rs 300 for single bed, Rs 400 for double bed), Hotel Lake view, Hotels hills, Hotel O’Nilla, Taj garden etc.

Where to eat: Hotel Nigress. One can try breakfast at Hotel Yelagiri.

Yelagiri is small hill station in Tamil Nadu, which not throng by tourists much yet. Though the Tamil Nadu government is making a lot of noise to promote Yelagiri as a hill station, it has a lot to catch up. In fact there are very few things to see or do. So if you live in a big city where you experience traffic jam everyday, pollution, stress and enjoy doing nothing then visit Yelagiri. You can enjoy more by timing your visit according to your need. If you love trekking then be there before 12 noon. After checking in to your hotel, you can ask the hotel guys to hire an auto for sightseeing. The typical charge is Rs 250. Keep Nature Park at the end of your visit. Finish your sightseeing on the first day and on the second day you can go trekking. Do start your trekking before 9 am. After the sun comes out it may become hot. If trekking is not their in your itenery then you can board the train Brindavan express which leaves Bangalore at 2.30 pm from Bangalore city railway station. You should reach Jolarpet in between 4.30 – 4.45 pm. Then you need to walk little bit from the rainway station to the bus stand. The bus number 253 goes to Yelagiri. If you get bus quickly then you should be atop Yelagiri before 6 pm. Once you are done with hotel check-in, tea – snacks, make your way to Nature Park. I suggest you spend your evening there. You will enjoy that much more than during day time.

Atop Yelagiri it looks like it is a valley. Do take long walks on the wandering roads after evening. I can assure you it is very enjoying. You can also find various kinds of fruits starting from Jackfruit to wild forest fruit. One lady introduced a fruit looked like a big lemon called fashion fruit. It is light sour in taste. Try various fruits – it can be a knowledgeable experience. Lastly do but honey. Both cultivated and natural honey is available. I suggest you go for natural honey extracted from bee hives from a tree. Honey extracted from Bee hives on rocks have a strong smell and deep colour.

What to See:

1. Nilavoor lake: This is more like a pond than a lake. Besides the pond there is a garden. However, there is nothing much to see apart from the traditional houses, scenic background and a devi temple.

2. Punganoor Lake: This a Tamil Nadu government run lake plus park. The boat house located here lets boating in the so called lake. One can take a round walk around the lake. There is a machan atop a tree to get a good view.

3. Murugan Temple: This a temple of lord Karthik. It is located atop a hill and gives a good view of the town. From there one can see St. Charles Convent School and hostel.

4. Telescope Point: One can get a good view from here of Jolerpet and vani Ambari below. There is no entry fees or viewing fees. The telescope point is maintained by Forest Department of Tamil Nadu.

Nature Park: It a theme park with nicely maintained lawns, waterfalls, aquarium and musical fountain. Best time to visit is at night. Entry fees – Rs 15 and Rs 25 to view musical fountain.

6. Moksha Vimochana Temple: It is temple founded by a saint 14 years ago in Yelagiri. One of the priest who guided us told one can get rid of their sin after particular period of time (42 days). He told, on the first Sunday of every month the saint gives darshan and listen to the devotees. I liked the atmosphere of the temple and the guided tour by the priest. They did not ask for any money. However, if you would like to give anything then you will have to drop your donation by your own hand.

7. Swami Malai: If you like trekking then Swami Malai is the place for you.

Around Yelagiri

1. Jalagamparai Waterfalls: Jalagamparai waterfalls is near Thirupathur or 5 km wild trek downhill from Yelagiri. If you would like to visit there please gather prior info that if water is there. I heard most of the time this falls run out of water. If you are asking the cab or auto driver for this info, take caution as some of them may not give you the correct info.

2. Vainu Bappu Solar Observatory : Vainu Bappu Solar Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is located on Javadi Hills near the town of Kavalur in Tamil Nadu 175 km from Bangalore. It is claimed to be the largest telescope in Asia. Read more ……..

To view more pictures, click here.

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