It was a hectic day on October 26, 2012 – the day before I departed. I was able to wind up pending office work and finish packing by around 2 AM. Hence I woke up late in the morning. I started my journey on October 27, 2012 morning at 10:00 AM. It was already late and I had to cover 630 Kms. Hence I decided to drive straight to Rameshwaram without any breaks/stops because if I did not make it to Rameshwaram today, it will jeopardize the entire hotel booking chain across all the stops on this road trip. It was a non-stop drive for 12 hours. I skipped my lunch and the drive was actually non-stop except for a spot where I stopped for 2-3 minutes for taking some snaps of the car on the road. All the other snaps and videos were taken by me using my Nikon camera as I drove (let me warn that it’s not the safest thing to do while driving).
At the same time, the Intel powered XOLO X900 smartphone did it’s job pretty well by capturing the live road trip video for hours together via the Bambuser application installed on the android smartphone [reference: http://routebyroad.com/india-road-trip-live-video-coverage]. I was surprised that even after hours of video capture and transmission to the internet (all live) and also simultaneously guiding me with the Google Navigation (a lot of multitasking going on), the smartphone never showed any tendency to auto power off.
The drive was smooth for most part of the journey. As usual, the drive in Ford Figo was fatigue-free and the Figo ensured that I reached Rameshwaram safely. It was 10 PM IST when I checked into the Motel at Rameshwaram. Ford Figo is definitely one of the best hatchback car for extremely long drives because of the fatigue-free drive, huge boot space (which is a must on a long drive) and the vehicle can easily bear drive through very rough terrain (the only word of caution here is to keep in mind the ground clearance – at the same time I understand that the under chassis of the vehicle is built strong and hence can easily bear most of the hits). I personally felt that the Ford Figo was at it’s best on bad road, no roads or any odd scenario you can possibly throw at it.
On the way to Rameshwaram, I passed through the city of Madurai. It looked like a small town and it was really busy.
A few route tips for travelers – When travelling from Bangalore to Rameshwaram, just before the Salem city there is a deviation – where the left turn takes you to Coimbatore and the straight road takes you to Madurai. The road (expressway) from here till Madurai is excellent. It’s NH7 (National Highway 7). You can easily travel at 120 Kms per hour on this stretch. Just before you reach the Madurai city, there is again a confusing diversion – the right takes you to Dindigul and the left takes you to Madurai. It gets pretty confusing once you enter the Madurai city. It looks like a small town with millions of people around – yes it’s a very busy place. You can easily get lost if you do not have some navigation like Android Navigation (the one which I had). From Madurai SH87 takes you till Rameshwaram. The roads are reasonably okay on this stretch.
Around 45 Kms before Rameshwaram, my Android navigation misguided me with the route and which took me to some remote village off the main highway. Obviously I could see that I was being guided into some remote road but I blindly believed the Navigation this time (because sometime back on the trip I had not believed the navigation and got into a wrong track). The worst part was that it was dark and secluded spot. Luckily I found some local villagers and I was lucky that they guided me back into the State Highway .
At Rameshwaram, I checked into a motel near the Temple. All the hotels close to the Temple are, to say the least, congested motels. Tomorrow morning I will be visiting the Rameshwaram Temple. I hope I can take some good snaps in the morning. The next destination is Palakkad, Kerala. I will complete this blog on Rameshwaram once I check in at the hotel at Palakkad.
You can take a look at the pics that I shot – they are posted on the Photo Galleries of this website. Let me remind you can browse the Photo Gallery in full screen mode once you click on any of the photo thumbnails.