Thursday, October 16, 2014

Road experience and a day drive to Thiruvannamalai

These days the road travel has become frequent lose of signal i.e. vehicles come to standstill to every drop of red taillights even the traffic signal shows green. Heedless, we hit the GST road that too on the Monday morning hours has become a great setback towards the travel to Thiruvannamalai, which also delayed the progress. But glad it wasn't too late, since parent’s intended to be there before noon so that they don’t need to wait until 4 pm for the Annamalaiyar Temple to be open for worship. It has been a common rule in many big temples to close the corridor from public use between those times. If it was heavy traffic on the GST road (taking nearly an hour to pass the 10 km stretch between Chrompet and Vandalur), the road from Thindivanam to Thiruvannamalai is bad in condition. The road was cut a lot at many places and somewhere it was just single lane due to pending of road widening. The worst thing was there were no caution boards anywhere and the road suddenly goes down rough without a sign. It was so difficult maintaining a comfort ride, though I am a fan of off-roader, this kind of thing intrude when the intention was different.  My mother suffered a back pain coming out of this travel, though the road condition isn’t a cause quite but it could be one of the reasons to think.

Annamalaiyar Temple Raja Gopuram (Big Tower)
We reached Thiruvannamalai by 12 noon and the Annamalaiyar Temple was opened till 12.30 due to some ritual happening with the pre-Karthigai event. I stayed (as usual) at the car along with my cousin bro, while others went into the temple; it was a hot day and we parked the car at the open parking in front of the temple (from where I shot the temple tower) facing the majestic Raja Gopuram. At 217 feet in height with 11 stories, this temple tower is one of the tallest temple towers in India, and it was built by Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire. We waited for nearly an hour under the hot sunshine, switching on/off the a/c and watching things happening around. I find a group of 4-5 aged women coming around the parked cars and asking for money, and I noticed that they were doing this like a business. They pick up 5 or 10 from each and equally share the money, and one of them even asked us for 1 ₹ change so that she could share fairy the amount. Even the one who appointed to collect parking ticket would miss one or two vehicles, but escaping from these ladies seems uneasy and they come blocking the vehicle when it’s suppose to leave.

Sadhus of Thiruvannamalai
The parents return with cups of Puliyotharai (tamarind rice) from the temple, known that I like it so much and it taste was also really delicious. My aunt had brought lunch for us along with her from home and we bought Pakoda from the bakery and headed to the Girivalam road of Annamalai hill to have lunch. Girivalam is a Tamil word which “giri” refer for hill and “valam” means coming around.  Every full moon day people undertake a pilgrim by coming around the hill, which is 14 km in distance by road to come one full round. I like this road for which it travels partially on quiet, calm and green environment and being on this road already once, I couldn't think any other place (or best) to have lunch in a picnic format when questioned where? This road has number of benches to slabs (which are laid for the devotees to take brief rest while on their pilgrim around the hill) on both side of the road which helped us having lunch at comfort seating. I also saw many Sadhus sitting and sleeping on the pavements along the road, and as we feed couple of Sadhus who were resting and on foot, they blessed and wished us in humble.

While retuning on the same route to home, we took diversion at Chengalpattu to avoid the heavy traffic that lagged in morning as we experienced to never turn that side during morning and evening. We always encounter heavy traffic on GST road while coming into Vandalur, and to make it congestion happens the building of Outer Ring Rd. I have crossed Gingee couple of times while heading to Thiruvannamalai, but this time decided to stop at the foothill of Gingee Fort (Queen) on the northern side of the road to take few photos and brief on the area. The view from there was beautiful and enrich in green paddy fields and looking up the fort incredibly built on top of boulders hill! The way to the fort hill was inviting with lawn on both sides, but the closed gate doesn't seem to open to me even if I have brought my wheelchair along with this travel.  It was disappointing to see that many lakes and pools (along the way) were gone dry without traces of water. The Madurantakam Lake, one of the biggest in Kanchipuram district was quite desert look. But I was so glad to see a new flyover emerged across the railway crossing that connects Chengalpattu with Thirukalukundram and Kalpakkam.

Krishnagiri Fort – a part of Gingee Fortress
Gingeer Fort (Queen Hill)
It is a very important railway crossing and number of vehicle cross this gate everyday to reach other end towns. We have great experiences waiting at this railway crossing many times while visiting my great aunt who stayed at the suburb of Chengalpattu. Anything they want to buy has to come across the railway crossing after waiting long time for the railway gate to open.  The junction that called as Rattinakinarau has been totally different in circumstance now and I could apparently see drastic changes in the landscape on both the sides and new hope (light) sparkling all over. After long time I quite come across the Chengapattu-Thiruporur road with great surprise at the smooth road, which ever seemed to be same. Perhaps first time in the history of the creation of the road that took a new soft surface and wider in space. The Chengapattu-Thiruporur has been a single lane less than 5 years before and only a vehicle could pass at a time and one has to go off-road to give way to another. But now, glowing in surprise, the driving has become quite different on this road and any vehicle could overtake one other such easily and even two petrol bunks has sprout amid the forest and farmlands! 


TexWisGirl said...

the temple is very impressive! wow! sorry the traffic and terrain was rough for your travels!

Chandra said...

Such a phenomenal structure, Jeevan. I have never seen it in person, so thank you for brining it to me/all of us.

Very nicely photographed!

Peace :)

Pooja Mittal said...

the place is just beautiful
i have this thing for south indian teemples, love the designing and articture
dont you think there is this thing about prasad, it is always more delicious than the same dish when cooked at home :)
Keep in touch

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Excellent pictures from Tiruvannamalai (the Rajagopuram looks formidable) & picturesque Gingee fort.

Destination Infinity said...

I too love Puliodharai :) I've been to the Temple once, but I have not done the Girivalam round yet. Maybe someday... Our relative stays close in Kilpenathur, so I have seen the fort a number of times, but yet to climb it as an adult!

Destination Infinity

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I would love to climb those steps up to the top of the Gingeer Fort! Though I have a feeling that I would be quite tired after doing so :)

ladyfi said...

Wow - that is a very intricate and beautiful temple!

George said...

I'm sorry to hear about the bad traffic you often encounter, but I am glad you were able to get to the temple before it closed. It was also good to hear the the new road is quite smooth and satisfactory. I really like your photo of the fort.

Uppal said...

Your travel experiences were fruitful,though you faced some tough moments! Great well focused images!

Betsy Adams said...

Hi There, WOW--what a gorgeous temple. Glad your parents made it there before it closed.. Sorry about the traffic. George and I like to drive on the 'back' roads here to avoid the traffic when possible.

That fort looks awesome --and it made me want to hike up there... Bet I would be worn out if I did that... ha ha


Twilight Man said...

I am impressed with the lovely temple and unique Gingeer Fort. How I wished to be there!