RADventure2: Part 11: Point Calimere to Dindi (via Chennai)


 Part 11: Point Calimere to Dindi 

30 October 2016
Point Calimere to Puducherry
Start from Point Calimere: 11.45 Hrs
Arrival Pondicherry (Ginger Hotel): 17.25 Hrs
Distance : 225 Km

After a decent round of birding at Point Calimere, we drove off towards Pondicherry.

Brahmny Kite watching its prey

Avocets at work

Pair of Greater Flamingo carrying out their march

A painted Stork

Initially the plan was to go over to Chennai directly from Point Calimere. However, Runa insisted that we should stopover at Pondicherry and drop by at Aurobindo Ashram. On our way we stopped at Velankini, the holy city. The 225 Km distance could have been covered much earlier but for pit stops and traffic.

Velankanni, is a small clean town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, 350 km south of Chennai and 12 km south of Nagapattinam. Once a port town that traded with Rome and Greece. The town is home to a significant Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine called the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Velankanni has been chosen as one of the heritage cities of Government of India. The town was among the worst hit by the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

The road after Velankini had busy traffic and was congested at many places along the way. Nevertheless, we arrived at Pondicherry by 16.00 Hrs. It took us well over an hour trying to figure out a place to stay overnight. 30th October was a weekend on a Diwali week, thus accommodation turned out to be a major challenge. Finally, we managed to get a room at Ginger Hotel for the night.

Apart from Aurobindo Ashram, the most delightful experience was the dinner at the roof top cafĂ© at Palais de Mahe’. The cuisine was a fusion of styles, influences and innovative plating. We had some exotic Red Wine paired with fresh local fish. This is the best part of visiting Pondicherry. Simply love the setting around the Ashram, and specially the eateries.

Dinner at Palais de Mahe'
Next morning (31Oct) we visited the ashram, and after some shopping at the Ashram Store, we drove off to Chennai at 09.50 Hrs.

31 October 2016
Pondicherry to Chennai
Start from Pondicherry : 9.50 Hrs
Arrival at Chennai (Madras Boat Club): 13.30 Hrs
Distance : 92 Kms

The drive from Pondicherry to Chennai was eventless. We took the East Coast Road (ECR). The traffic was quite busy until Mahabalipuram, till the road turned into a 4 Lane highway.  
We took a break at Chennai for 5 days. We had been on the road starting 08October with minimal breaks. On top of that we had quite a few business and personal issues that needed attention.

05 Nov 2016
Chennai to Dandi (By the Godavari)
Start Time at Chennai : 05.20 Hrs
Arrival time at Dandi : 15.10 Hrs
Distance : 664 Kms – 10 hours

Dandi village By the Godavari

I had never heard about Dandi (By the Godavari) before. While researching the route, I chanced to read an article which compared Dandi as the backwater of Andhra Pradesh. And that arouse my interest. Luckily there was a Sterling Resort at Dandi, and decided to spend a day at there as the next pit stop. 

Cococut plantation and aqua farming are the key economical drivers of the village

Dandi (By the Godavari), is largely a fishing cum agriculture village. Every house, I was told has at least 10 coconut trees. That ina way sums up the story. Thus from far, you only see a green cover of coconut trees all around you and the mighty Godavari flowing through. It’s a green sleepy little village, and was an exciting discovery for us.

Dandi is also known as the backwater of Andhra Pradesh

We thoroughly enjoyed the place and the people. We realised that the Andhra Pradesh government is making a lot of investement in Tourism sector. And seriously there is good scope for the same, with so many virgin destinations hardly heard.

Sterling resort .... By the Godavari

Giant Water Lily at Sterling Resort - Dandi

Activity center at Sterling Resort - Dandi

We stayed an extra day at Dandi, to explore the place and take a ride on Godavari River before embarking on our next lap to Barkul (Odisha).

Part 12: Last and final stretch Barkul - Puri - Home