For a while, I was planning to do a bike trip, and Kanyakumari was on my travel itinerary for long. I happen to combine both and set off on a road trip to Kanyakumari. Since I was flexible and had lots of time available for this trip, I decided to take few detours, travel at leisure before I reach Kanyakumari. This resulted in me booking the hotels last minute, giving myself the flexibility to make a stop wherever I desired to spend the night.
Day 1: Bangalore to Yercaud – I set off from Bangalore at 5:00 am. From my place, using the NICE road (NH48), I reached Electronics City and got on to NH44. Driving along the highway around 6:30 am I saw awesome sunrise, it looked as if the road is leading to a giant orange ball, and I am driving towards it. The view was mesmerizing.
The first stop I took just before the Krishnagiri at 7:40 am to have some coffee and stretch my legs. The breakfast pit stop was in Omalur, a restaurant called Aasai Aasai Anandha Bhavan, outskirts of Salem town. I must say the breakfast I had at this restaurant was delicious.
After resting for a while I continued my journey on NH44 through Salem town and took the turnoff to Yercaud on NH188. I reached Yercaud town center around 12noon. While relaxing at the lake I booked my stay at Sterling Hotel and spent the evening at the hotel gardens and exploring the Yercaud town before calling it a day.
Fact Check : NH44 is the major North-South highway, the longest in the country
Day 2: Yercaud to Madurai – I got up early, cleaned the bike, and had breakfast on the terrace of the hotel restaurant. The morning breakfast and the open-air settings were the bliss.
I set off around 10:00 am from the hotel, my target was to reach Madurai covering approximately 270Km on NH44. Driving through Salem, Rasipuram, and Korur, I reached Haraurch around 1:00 pm and stopped for lunch at a roadside eatery. While I was having lunch, I received a call from a friend of mine informing me that he will be joining me for the rest of the trip, and will meet me in Madurai.
After lunch, I took the NH44 again and made my way to Madurai riding through Vadasandur, Thadikombu, and Dindigul I tool NH85 just after Achampatu to reach Madurai. The hotel was booked when I was having lunch, and I reached Madurai Heritage Resort around 5:40 pm. After check-in, I decided to explore the resort’s heritage buildings and do some local sightseeing. My bike was giving some problems, so I needed a Royal Enfield workshop to get this checked. Luckily the workshop was around the corner from the resort and the workshop manager was very helpful in getting the issue resolved. He even added a roadside assistance service for the bike so that I can connect with the service team in case of an emergency. I explored the area around Meenakshi Amman Temple that evening and retired.
Fact Check : Madurai is one of the biggest fresh flower market in India.
Day 3: Madurai to Rameswaram – Day 3 morning I spent visiting Madurai Banana Market, Flower Market, Thirumalai nayakar Mahal and having lunch at the hotel. The chef made me street food of Tamilnadu called Kothu Parotta.
My friend arrived around 1:00 pm and after having some break we started for Rameswaram. The road from Madurai to Rameswaram was not as good, so the plan was to have a slow ride for safety reasons. We covered 175km on NH85/87 and AH43, passing through many remote villages. The drive after Vedalai was scenic, crossing the famous Pamban Bridge to the town of Rameswaram. Just before reaching the hotel, my friend had a little accident and fell from his bike, resulting in stitches on his hand. The evening was spent in the hospital nursing him.
Day 4: Rameswaram – DhanushKodi – Rameswaram – We took an early morning stroll on the beach, and around 9:00 am we went for the Rameswaram Holy Bath experience. The experience was divine. After the holy bath experience, we went to the temple dedicated to the God Shiva. It is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples.
After lunch, we started our drive to Dhanushkori via NH87 from Rameswaram. Dhanushkodi was destroyed in 1964 by the cyclone and since then the town was declared unsafe to stay by the Indian Government. The highway NH87 takes you to the tip of the island. The ruins of the old railway station, church, and houses still live today to tell the story of a horrific cyclone which claimed the life of around 1800 people. The access to the island road is monitored by local police, no one can cross the checkpoints after 4:00 pm for safety reasons.
We spent the evening strolling the streets of Rameswaram town, exploring Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial, Pamban Bridge, and most important getting the bandage changed for my friend.
Fact Check : Rameswaram is the birth place of Dr. APJ Kalam, who served as President of India from 2002-2007
Day 5: Rameswaram to Kanyakumari – After breakfast, we set off to Kanyakumari, along the coast. We took AH43 from Rameswaram, leading to NH32 from Ranathapuram, bypassing the town of Toothkodi merging on to NH138, and finally joining NH44 at Tirunelveli, where we stopped for lunch. We reached Kanyakumari around 3:00 pm covering 310km.
After checking in we had a nap and set off to watch the best sunset in Kanyakumari. We explored the local area on foot, visited “Our Lady of Snow Basilica Church” and had dinner.
Day 6: Kanyakumari to Madurai – Day 6 started very early as we wanted to catch the sunrise, we walked over to the Kanyakumari Pier. Although the experience only lasted for 2 minutes, it was worth waking up early. After breakfast, we took the ferry to Vivekanand Rock Memorial. We visited Vivekanand Meditation Point, Temple of Sri Kanyakumari Devi, and observed the statue of Thiruvalluvar, the famous Tamil poet, and philosopher.
Around 10:30 am we packed and started the journey along the NH44 towards Madurai. The plan was to have minimum stops and reach Madurai so that we can go to Meenakshi Amman Temple by evening prayers. The road from Kanyakumari was smooth, well maintained, and gave us great riding pleasure. We reached Madurai around 4:00 pm.
Around 6:00 pm we were at the temple entrance where we deposited the mobile phones as nothing which can capture the images is allowed inside the temple. Considering the number of devotes at the temple we opted for the priority queue. Even the zig-zag of the fast-moving queue lasted for an hour before we could enter the temple. After the entry the movement was fast. We came out of the temple just after 8:30 pm and had dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to the hotel.
Day 7: Madurai to Bangalore – Now this was the day we were not looking forward to, the adventurous journey was about to come to end as soon as we reach Bangalore. We needed to prepare our bikes for the final day run, cleaning and greasing of the chain were done before breakfast. After checking out, we started our journey along NH44. We covered 440 km passing through the familiar named towns, taking various pit stops for coffee and lunch, we reached Bangalore around 8:00 pm
The body was in pain because of the long riding day, but it was hard to wipe the smiles off our faces when we thought about the last 6 days, the road, the people, hotels, and places we covered.