4 Boys, 4 Wheels and 350Kms

pondicherry to thanjavur to darasuram to jayamkondan

A blog of our fun and thrill filled road trip to 3 heritage sites in Tamilnadu nearby Pondicherry, India.

Date: Saturday, 4th August 2012
Time: 8:00 AM
Guys: 4 numbers (Mohan, Raj, Sathish & Me)
Vehicle: A 100cc Bajaj Discover and a 150cc Bajaj Pulsar
Plan: a weekend trip to Thanjavur Big Temple and its successors (Darasuram and Jayamkondan or Gangai Konda Cholapuram). Places pointed on the map.

A trip that kick-started all of a sudden and a week before the right date. And on August 4, 2012, we finalized the date and we have to join at point a bit outside of Pondicherry city at 7.30am. The day came, sun rose, i started and picked up my pavilion rider (Raj); surprisingly he was ready and was waiting for my arrival. Then, fed my bike with 5 liters of petrol and checked air pressure for tyres. All is well now.

Power on
I picked up the speed to reach at the meet point, but i was late :D. Mohan and Sathish were already marked their presence. What’s next! Started and reached Cuddalore, a small town 30kms approx. in 40mins. The first halt was for the breakfast at Ananda Bhavan, Cuddalore. Three had stuffed their lunch pack (stomach) except Mohan. Quality of the food was good but was bit pricey (i felt).
breakfast at cuddalore

Raj quoted

We paid full, for a quarter quantity…

Actually, he was pointing out at the pongal (a south indian dish) quantity. Trip starts again and since the roads were not good, literally, full of potholes. We touched Vadalur, 35kms from Cuddalore bypassing Kurinjipadi town. Further we had a stop on the Sethiyathope Vellar Dam constructed in 1858; though google shows blue water strip, we found almost no water. One of the below images depicts the same. Had some good clicks with the local school going kids!

sethiyathope vellar damsethiyathope vellar damsethiyathope-dam-bridge-trip

The Travel
Now, it was time to turn the throttle to its most, because we were behind the time we thought of. The real surprise was waiting while we were riding towards Thanjavur until a phone i received from Mohan saying that they have reached Papanasam, Tamil Nadu which is 75kms from the dam and guess what We (Raj and me) was 20 minutes behind the pulsar boys (Mohan & Sathish). But the route between Sethiyathope and Papanasam was quite horrible due the trucks carrying river sand. Sands were piercing us all over face, hands and few even attacked our eyes. Oh, yea! the pulsar boys are waiting for us, pushing 150cc beast at 94 – 97kmph (on a road with potholes and sand trucks). All the speeding credits goes to Sathish, the F1 driver ;). I had to chase them at 85kmph. Finally, we met, we started towards Thanjavur which was just 27kms and reached at 12:15pm.

thanjavur big temple entrance

We reached Brihadeeswarar temple aka Thanjavur Big Temple. We spent 2 good hours withing the temple premises. Inside the main temple resides the big and tall Shivalinga. It was really a mystical and fantastic work done by Kings then. The massive walls, architectures, cravings are just great and they narrate their history by themselves. One very specific fact is that the shadow of the top dome never falls on the floor. After lot of loads of fun, laughter, and obviously photo shoots. And then, hunger was calmed down in a vegetarian hotel near bus stand. The meal was good and full, satisfactory. For further information on Thanjavur big temple, please refer wiki ‘Brihadeeswarar temple’.

brihadeeswara temple

After filling up our lunch pack, we headed over to the museum and guess what! it was lunch time and closed. We thought, ‘Well, all right! Next time’. And started to back on the same NH45C. After riding back on the path, around 4 o’clock we reached Darasuram, a Shivalinga temple which was built to resemble the Brihadeeswarar temple built by the grand son of emperor Raja Raja Cholan I, who built the big temple. But the structure is quite smaller than the former. The interesting part of this temple is a staircase near the main entrance with 7 steps that emits the 7 swarams sound (7 musical notations). darasuram musical steps Other than that the pillars, the staircase borders has marvelously sculptured. Varieties of deities, structures and decoration (particularly hair style) of idols seems to be influenced from parts for Burma, Vietnam and Indonesia or possibly the vice versa. There are also inspiration, what shows to be extra-terrestrial. Not sure of that, though. Read more about Darasuram in wiki page link. Few images are…

darasuram temple

The Next
We spent an hour at the Darasuram temple and started towards 35kms for Jayamkondan or GangaiKonda Cholapuram and took 40mins travel. Another Shivalinga temple built by the son of the emperor Raja Raja Cholan I. This temple very much resembles the original Big temple. Structure of the main temple is just an exact copy with different sculptures and carvings. The entrance gate (gopuram) of this temple seemed to be unfinished. There are only the walls/ supporting grand pillar are present uncompleted. Once we entered the temple campus we felt its green lashes full of breeze flowing at 30-40kmph approx. surrounding the temple. It was really peaceful. But unfortunately its was already 6.30 evening, cloudy & we had 110kms to travel.
More about Gangaikonda Cholapuram is here

gangaikonda cholapuram entrancegangaikonda cholapuram nandi

The End
After jumping around and finalizing our photo-shoot session in half an hour, we started and at about 9pm we touched Pondicherry, our home town, finally. Though it was a tiring day, we were happy, we were calm, we were peaceful. Even today, when we retrieve our memories from 600+ photos we took, everyone relives that moment and has speechless smile. 🙂

gangaikonda cholapuram remainsjayamkondam ganesh templegangaikonda cholapuram main temple


thanjavur vegetarian hotel

lunch at thanjavur

The Route map

View Larger Map

All the photo credits goes to Sathish, Shreyo and their click-shoot camera. 😉

thanjavur road trip