Short trip to Southern India

Feb 2nd, 2019, 02:50 PM
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Short trip to Southern India

We are once again returning to India - this time to the South.
Although we have travelled to the South a long time ago, - Madras, Madurai, Hydrabad, Perreyer, Allepey, and Cochin we are headed in a slightly different direction this time.
Arriving Delhi 19 February and staying at the Master B & B
21/2 - Rashtrapathi Bhavan - 9.00am Moghul Gardens (no booking required this year)
22/2 - Rashtrapathi Bhavan - 9.30am Circuit 1 (?) - have unsuccessfully tried for three years to book tickets. Website booking only for Indians with local debit/credit cards! Hotel will not book for Rs100 cost of tickets!
23/2 - Rashtrapathi Bhavan -10am Changing of the Guard (no booking required this year)
24 Feb - Fly to Madras - pick up by friend and stay on East Coast Road. May visit Lighthouse and Marina Beach evening market
25-26/2 - Madras - St Thome Basilica, Mylapore Tank and Mandavali - Kapaleeshwarar Temple. High Court, Ratten Bazaar, George Town, Armenian Church, Clive House, Wellesley House, St Mary of the Angels, Parry's Corner St Georges Cathedral and Railway Museum.
27/2 Drive to Pondicherry - Stay at Villa Krish. See Egilse de Sacre Coeur, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Eglise de Notre Dame de Anges, the Promendade
28-/2 - 1/3 - Walking Tour or visit French Gallery at the Museum, Romain Rolland Library, Manakula Vinayar Temple, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Sisters of Cluny Embroidery Centre (have purchased from them for years without identifying source), Senteurs-Fleurs en Falcon.
2/3 - Drive to Tranquebar stay at Neerana's Bungalow on the Beach - see Danish Fort, New Jerusalem Church and Governor's Bungalow.
3/3 - Drive to Pondicherry Airport - Spice jet to Bangalore. Stay at Octave Suites. See St Gregorios Orthodox Church and St Mark's Cathedral. Indra Ghandi Musical Fountain in the evening.
4/3 - Cubbon Park - Bangalore Walks, St Mary's Basilica and Vidhana Soudha (evening)
5/3 - Dodda Basvana Nandi Temple, City Market, Tippu Sultan's Palace and Bangalore Fort. If still any energy - an Unhurried evening walking tour.
6/3 - Bangalore walks - Lalbagh
7/3 - Gol Gumbaz Express train to Mysore. Stay at Southern Star Hotel. See Railway museum, Jayalakshmi Vilas, Cathedral of St Joseph and St Philomena, The Lalitha Mahal, Mysore Market and Brindavan Gardens 6.30pm
8/3 - Mysore Palace with Gully Tours guide, Jaganmohan Palace Road, Mysore market (afternoon) and Sandalwood factory + Sound and Light Show at Mysore Palace (?)
9/3 - Kukkanalikere Lake Walk (7.00am) 9.30am Bus or Taxi to Srirangpatnam. See Ranganathswami Temple complex. Jamia Masjid - panoramic view of Gol Gumbaz. Tipu's Summer Palace, Nimishamba Temple, Colonel Bailey's Dungeon, Tipu Sultan's Rocket Launching Place and Garrison Cemetery. Return to Mysore and travel to Hampi via 6.00pm Hampi Express - 1st class sleeper.
10/3 - Arrive Hospet. Taxi to Clarks Inn. See Queens Palace Complex
11/3 Hampi - with guide (?)
12/3 - Kcg Yesvantpur Junction Express 6.30am to Goa.
13/3 - Goa - Panjim - evening river boat tour or earlier dolphin tour.
14/3 - Panjim
15/3 - Fly to Delhi
15 - 21/3 - Delhi (Accommodation still to be booked).
21/3 - return to Melbourne.

Rasputin1 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2019, 02:32 AM
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Hey I'm a newbie here. Looks like you have lots of plan. India is a great country. There are lots of gorgeous places to see no doubt. Anyways, Welcome to Asia brother.
erfan77 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2019, 04:13 AM
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Applause Applause. Are you asking any questions?
jobin is offline  
Feb 4th, 2019, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jobin View Post
Applause Applause. Are you asking any questions?
Nope brother, not at all. I just want to say the beauty of India.
erfan77 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2019, 11:34 PM
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I'll turning this into a trip report starting 24 Februry, However, I am always happy to hear from posters who have been to the named places and who have some wonderful tips.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 07:34 AM
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You are the most welcome buddy. Wish you a safe return.
erfan77 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2019, 03:35 AM
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I just spotted this and am joining in in the hope of picking up some tips for the trip that I have yet to take. I'm sure that other fodorites are fed up with my vacillating by now so it'll be nice to have to new victim person upon whom to inflict my questions.

Most interesting itinerary, BTW - how did you come up with it?
annhig is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 02:15 AM
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Dont' forget to add Mennakshi Devi temple, Munnar, and Madikeri , though you duration of this trip is too short to complete all the places but i am sure once your visit south India soon you will plan again the trip to south India
corbettdhikala is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 05:21 PM
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Due to connectivity issues in India, I did not post anything about our trip.
However, I can say that this our seventh trip was not all fun and skittles.
We arrived in Delhi and had organised a van through the Master B&B where were we were staying in New Rajender Nagar.
Master B & B is located in a residential area that had commenced following partition to house the refugees from Pakistan.
The original buildings are slowly being replaced by monster 4 - 5 storey apartment developments. The area has very little to commend it. The nearest main road has a few restaurants of dubious quality. The accommodation is difficult to find because the numbering system is not logical. That said the accommodation was comfortable but you need to be able and prepared to walk up several flights of stairs and ring to be let in and out when you want to go out.
We once again did not get to visit Rashtrapathi Bhavan because the website is difficult to manage and if you are able to actually manipulate the dates, you cannot pay the measly Rs50 per person because the site will only accept Indian debit or credit cards. Emails and phone calls to the "Contact us" could not produce any assistance and finally we were told to get a "friend" in India to purchase the tickets on our behalf. This we could not do.
Anyway we managed to visit the Moghul Gardens without the necessity (for this year only) of booking on line. The herbal garden is very poor, most things being dead. The bonsai garden is similarly poorly done and the plants very dusty. The musical fountains were lovely among lovely dahlia beds. However the raucous, tuneless Indian music did not fit with the graceful water spouts. Continuing on, one arrives at the rear gardens of RB and these are well maintained, the pathways keep the crowd moving. As a foreigner you will be asked to take selfies with complete strangers. Unfortunately the waterways were not operational undergoing either repairs or cleaning. The plants are all named in English - there were even tulips though by the end of February, past their best. Roses and Dahlias were the plants in flower in February. On past the walkway also lined with roses and dahlias, to the circular garden. This too is a beautiful garden with concentric circles to a central point. This is well worth a visit if you can manipulate the website. You cannot return by the same path, so make sure that you take the photographs you need as you go along.
On the Saturday we went to the Change of Guard ceremony at Rajiv Chowk. Again one is supposed to book on-line for this free event but for some reason this year this was not required. One just needs to take one's passport. Photography is permitted but security such as frisking and bag checking is par for the course. We were lucky to have the President's mounted body guard and the Gurkhas as the guards. India has learned pomp and ceremony from the British and they do it well. This is well worth going to if you are there. Go early to get a good seat and take a hat.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
I just spotted this and am joining in in the hope of picking up some tips for the trip that I have yet to take. I'm sure that other fodorites are fed up with my vacillating by now so it'll be nice to have to new victim person upon whom to inflict my questions.

Most interesting itinerary, BTW - how did you come up with it?
Hi annhig
Good to hear from you. Happy to be your new victim to answer your questions where I can.
Our itinerary is worked on the number of days we had, what we wanted to see and where we had contacts and direct flights.
Originally we would have flown Delhi to Bangalore and taken the once a day flight to Pondicherry and returned a few days later, but when my friend offered us accommodation in Madras, we jumped at the chance to catch up with her 50+ years later and be given the opportunity to change our minds about Madras which we had thoroughly disliked some 40 years earlier.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 06:25 PM
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Flew to Madras via Indigo Air having paid for extra leg room - needed for my 6ft 3in husband with leg injury.
Met at luggage collection by my friend and driven in her four wheel air-conditioned BMW to Amethyst. The air-conditioning and comfort of the BMW were more than welcome. Even in February, Madras is a hot box. Amethyst is a restaurant - an oasis in Madras and well worth more than a single visit if you are in Madras. This is a colonial house (very large) set in beautiful gardens. It has indoor dining, outdoor verandah dining and dining among the plants in romantic corners. There are a couple of high end fashion, homewares and jewellery shops attached and a small venue near the gate where charities and other organisations hold events - it was a cake stall for a charity while we were there. Up and coming caters provide their wares for sale, with part of the proceeds going to the charity.
The food and service at Amethyst are excellent. Following a quick drive around weekend Madras to see some of the highlights we settled into our friend's East Coast Road fabulous apartment with views of the ocean, fishery and backwater with Madras' high rise as the backdrop. Luckily her area was not affected by the Tsumani. Her cook's food was amazing and we dined royally for the next three days on great meals.
Loan of the BMW and driver again the next day allowed us to visit the Railway Museum. Difficult to find but well worth it if you are interested in railways and history. It was closed the day we arrived, but seeing that we were international visitors, the curator who has a brother in Sydenham (a suburb of Melbourne) personally conducted a tour for us. It is very well done and we enjoyed it as much as the Lecce Railway Museum in Puglia. There were modern art exhibits dotted around made from engine parts - all very good and cleverly done. Story boards on the artists were also on display. The displays inside and the art gallery were also well laid out and worth time. There is one female coolie in the whole of India and her portrait hangs in this gallery. A golf buggy tour of the grounds showed us various engines and carriages, all made in the workshops there. The workshops are still operational. It was wonderful to see the old carriages and note that the workshops had built and exported

Entry to the Madras Railway Museum

Part of the solar system art at the Madras Railway Museum


Bull artwork - Madras Railway Museum

Fowler Ploughing Engine - Madras Railway Museum

Interior of restaurant car - Madras railway museum

Restaurant car at Madras Railway Museum

Golf buggy tour - Madras Railway Museum
engines and carriages for several other emerging Commonwealth countries. Model railways of local lines as well as green energy and water purification systems supported by the railways here were on display. A toy train for children, going through a small tunnel provided entertainment for the little ones. A new innovation has been the conversion of a carriage into a restaurant. It is beautifully and luxuriously appointed and if we had time, we would have loved to enjoy a meal there.

Last edited by Rasputin1; Mar 29th, 2019 at 06:53 PM.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2019, 08:03 PM
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Stopped off for lunch at a South Indian restaurant. A little dark but popular with locals. Following a great dosa and nimbu pani/soda (Lime water) we found a ice cream shop in the same complex and had some lovely chocolate ice cream. Returning past St Thomas' Basilica we stopped to look inside. A very clean church very much in colonial style. Started as a small church built by the Portuguese over the tomb of St Thomas it was rebuilt and raised to the status of a Basilica. St Thomas' crypt is separate to the church and one must remove one's shoes to go there. However one must also remove one's shoes to enter the art and historic gallery. One removal of shoes was enough for us so we skipped the gallery.
Visited the Church of Our Lady of Light or the forest church in the local Tamil language. Built by the Portuguese in 1516, the architectures consists of gothic arches and baroque ornamentation The altars are gilded with silver and gold leaf and the ceilings with blue Fresco paintings. The foundation stone of this church is considered to be one of the oldest European monuments in India.
We visited Fort St George containing the Fort Museum, Clive House and St Mary’s Church. This area used to be known as Black Town during the colonial period and was settled by locals who came to work for and trade with the British. The creation of the fort in 1644 was the impetus for further settlements to grow. The fort briefly passed into the possession of the French from 1746 to 1749 but was restored to the British under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle at the end of the War of the Austrian Succession.
St Mary's Church was very interesting. It was the first English church in India, the oldest surviving and the oldest Anglican Church in India. Built between 1678 and 1680 by the Agent of Madras - Streynsham Master. There was a book on the history - "A Walk Around St Mary's" but no one to sell it to us. Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale, who later became the first benefactor of Yale University in the USA were married here. Canadians will remember that General Wolf was a friend of Robert Clive. Along the rear of the church is a photographic frieze showing the development of the area - it was so interesting to pick out the buildings that still exist. Plenty of historic artifacts in the church and lots of gravestones. The paving around the church is made up of heraldic gravestones which are slowly being worn away to oblivion - history lost. A local women's group were reading from the bible placed on the floor to the sounds of cymbals and drums. Since it is still a military area you cannot wander around the fort. Near the Church is the Museum - another poster had indicated that it was rather drab and poor so we decided not to stop.

St Mary's Church - Fort St George Madras

Inside St Mary's Fort St George Madras

St Mary's Christening Font. The black font made from 300million year old Charnockite has been in continuous use since the church was consecrated .

Memorial inside St Mary's Church Fort St George Madras - note the frieze on the back wall. Pillars are Burmese Teak

Interior of St Mary's Church - Fort St George

Watercolour of the church - left to the elements to fade away.

Cane pews in the church.

Stained glass over entrance - St Mary's Church Fort St George

A drive past the High Court and the foreshore. The High Court is a beautiful building. It is the largest judicial building in the world. Built in 1892 in red Indo-Saracenic architecture. Unfortunately the front is being held up by bamboo poles. It is said to have magnificent painted ceilings and stained-glass doors. Marina Bay beach is sandy and there are small galleries for shade but mostly it is open to the blazing sun. No doubt it comes to life in the evenings when it is cooler. It is the longest beach in India and seems to go for miles. We would have liked to stop and visit the Lighthouse but parking was difficult. We swung past Parry's corner and saw the many small shops. Just the size of a small roller door approx 800mm. The area is very like Old Delhi with narrow lane ways disappearing behind the shops.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2019, 06:14 PM
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26 February 2019 - Stopped at the Mylapore Tank and Mandavali-Kapaleeshwarar Temple. [color=left=#323232] The Tank in front of the temple is very large. The temple is down a laneway in a very built up area of residential and market area. Parking is limited and beggers abound. Picking our way between them and the "shops" selling articles for puja both at the temple and in homes, we landed at the main gate which is, in Dravidian style, very colourful with almost life sized statues of Gods, sub-gods and other religious things. However, this was another place where shoes cannot be worn and so we opted to just take a few photographs outside. [/color]

Mandapa or main gate of temple

Life sized statues on the mandapa

Colourful mandapa

Entrace beyond the main gate

Stall selling flowers for offerings

Malas of flowers - generally made by men.

Stall holders making the malas
We also visited another nearby temple.

New temple

Return to the apartment for rest and lunch.

Last edited by Rasputin1; Mar 30th, 2019 at 06:18 PM.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2019, 09:51 AM
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Signing on. Did your opinion of Madras/Chennai change? I can't say I was thrilled with it. The apartment must have helped!
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 31st, 2019, 12:26 PM
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Thanks Rasputin. Very much enjoying your descriptions and beautiful photos.
I spent just overnight Chennai, prior to heading south. Seeing your report, I wish I'd have spent a full day exploring the city
CaliNurse is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 06:51 AM
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thank you so much Rasputin. Lovely photographs and descriptions. I have always wanted to go to Madras as my grandmother was born there and lived there for 30 odd years, training and then working as nurse before for reasons unknown [at least to me] she moved to Bombay and met my grandfather who was in the Indian Police, so I owe my existence to the Raj. I am determined to get there one day!
annhig is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 09:47 PM
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What fine pictures!
Thanks for sharing.
vp_singh is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 11:13 PM
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Hi thursdaysd
No our opinion of Madras did not change. As you said the apartment helped enormously and Amethyst was also great. The only reason I would return there would be to visit my friend.

Ocean view and illegally build dwellings

View along the East Coast Road to Madurai

Backwaters with Madras in the background.

Looking back along the East Coast road towards Madras. Backwaters on the left.


Early morning



Driver and transport

Garden of next door property.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2019, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by CaliNurse View Post
Thanks Rasputin. Very much enjoying your descriptions and beautiful photos.
I spent just overnight Chennai, prior to heading south. Seeing your report, I wish I'd have spent a full day exploring the city
Only in winter I think CaliNurse and having your own airconditioned transport.
Rasputin1 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2019, 03:17 AM
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Great photos - you really get a sense of where you were and what you saw.

good tip, too, about having ones own AC transport and going in winter. What is winter though for these purposes?
annhig is offline  

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