New Year Plan For 2021 ? Bite Me

For starters, I am not setting any new goal this coming year. My new year plan for 2021 is to complete all the unfinished businesses from the year 2020. 

Having said, here is a short review of this year 2020, about what went well and what didn’t. So I will get a fair idea about what to do with those incomplete stuffs, to decide either — 

a. Kickstart   (or)

b. Continue and improvise

Image courtesy: Pinterest

New year Plan For 2021

Health and Fitness: Happy

This year was golden in terms of health and fitness. In Fact thanks to the year 2019, that’s when I seriously kick started the workouts.  I was more regular to my morning yoga classes and weekly 3x workouts in 2019. I continued the same even when we were in a pandemic 2020 lockdown. Did strength training with the limited weights I had at home combined with endurance workouts.

Best of all, I did not beat myself up for losing the fat (body weight) as I did in the past couple of years. It’s about being fit more than looking good and losing weight. About a week back I did a bunch of tests (every year I do), happy to see all results have improved compared to the last 4 years’. Kudos.

New year plan? – Continue and Improvise

Work: Guilty

This year, I had all the time in the world  being stuck at home. Yet, my work graph went negative. It took a great effort to pull myself into the flow. Here I am publishing one article every 3 days. 

(the time spent on ‘reconstructing’ this website was not a total waste so that’s a small win).

But…..

What’s more disappointing is that I did not launch ‘my secret project’ as planned in 2019. For that I have worked my ass off for 18 months learning the niche and investing the time in R&D. I kept a deadline of December 2020 and here I am facing an empty wall. And my book reading habit took a toll as well. Bummer.

New Year Plan? – Kickstart

— Launch that project

— Read more books. Start with 3 books atleast which are long time pending from the year 2020.

Travel and leisure : Covid -19 Ruled 

Whole travel industry stopped working during the Pandemic and the emotional turmoil was more than just we could take it. On the positive note, we got to spend more time with family and neighbours. 

And not to mention the ‘extra bonding’ with family by binge watching Netflix. By the way did you invest in Netflix shares?. Our favourite coffee time talk (soon after my morning workout and half hr before the stock market opens) is discussing stocks. I invested more in banks, cements, steels and leisure (PVR and Inox). He invested more in banks, automobiles and some china based companies. Now that shares are crazily shooting up, I am looking to bag some decent money in the coming year.

On the more fun end, I rescued a tiny fledgling (red whiskered bulbul bird) that fell down in my garden balcony during Covid-19 lockdown and 2 weeks later we reunited it with its parents. What’s more interesting, recently we rescued 2 kittens across our study room hallow pathway when they were orphaned by our apartment residents (they decided to kick the cat mom out to far distances because of its constant nuisance for food).

We are now foster parents of two adorable kittens, taking good care of them until they are smart enough to survive in the urban wild.

Speaking of travel plans, we are going to fill the gaps of the year 2019. 

New year plan? – Continue and Improvise

Relationship and Lifestyle: Minimalism at its best

No, I am not talking about my relationship with my hubby. It has been going really well, and we are growing strong. 

(Try going on 100 road trips with your partner, your bond will become stronger than Thor’s hammer, pretty sure. If you end up fighting or blaming all the time during the trips, or finding it difficult to breathe around your partner, then stop travelling altogether. Do what you always do, dig your head inside a mobile phone or laptop and pretend like you are up to something important. Or shut the door altogether. Repeat until death).

And we did decide on going on minimal living for 2 years, and we have successfully completed those 2 yrs now. It was hell boring to wear the repetitions all the time, but yeahh we did beat the cotton out of every single thread. 

But this weekend we are going on a shopping spree, because for the past couple of months our ears bleed on the same dialogues like ‘we need more clothes’, ‘there is nothing to wear now’ 🙂 .

To get room for new ones, I have cleared plenty of old ones which I every year donate to the needy. 

Why minimal clothes?. Because not that long ago, we did crazy shopping for Rajesh’s side acquaintance’s wedding. I rocked a saree which was twice the price of the bride’s (later I came to know that you see) and had a good time. I also did a folk dance in the sangeet ceremony which I have been longing to do for long time. Had I gotten right pair, it would have been a blast. All I got was some local aunties and some kiddos, had to go with their dance moves..

Speaking of wedding, I envy those who got marries during pandemic, who got to spend less on their weddings. If I can redo my wedding altogether now, I will definitely do the pandemic wedding happily. Lucky you!!!

So since that shopping spree in 2019 for both of us, we have decided to wear off everything until we run out of options.

Not just my wardrobe, even my social network shrunk to only a handful of people that I knew from a long time. Of the majority of my long time friends settled abroad, it was mostly whatsapp calls and texts so far. Well, all that thousand contacts from my work built over time was given least priority past couple of years. Majority of them are business contacts gained from ‘Relationship Bank manager’ role in HDFC bank.

Starting today, I have booked myself a coffee date for the evening and lunch date for tomorrow. 

New year plan? – Kickstart

Sum – Up

Well, its clear that I am going to achieve all the pending goals as a part of new year plan 2021. But, I dont think I can achieve those goals, if am no different than my past. That means, I will still be stuck at the unfinished businesses if I am being the same old Renu.

So, I need to change my habits and systems so as to achieve the end goal. I have decided to stick to waking up by 5am, commit to work on my new project 3 hours first thing in the morning before all the unimportant businesses takes over my day.

During the rest of my day, when the focus is diverted, I am planning to use Pomodoro technique (I usually use this for my workout, so I will get max out in the short period) to keep up the productivity.

Is working smart is really sufficient to achieve the goals?. Nope.

What I also would require is ‘growth mindset’. Without which I would easily fall back into boredom of same old life and same old habits.

Clearly, more focus is on my professional part since that’s where the major gap is. That’s what it needs to be kick started. While doing so, I am going to remind often that not to beat myself up, because I am always overly committed – serious – anxiety prone person.

So, see you in the next year. Happy Holidays.

11 days Long bike ride in India as a Beginners

This was our first long bike ride in India for 11 continuous days as a beginners bike riders. This happend in the end of year 2017.

And we successfully did it covering approx. 2000 kms by our motorbike, from Bangalore.

Read further to know how we went on a long bike trip from Bangalore, just two of us, the travelduo couples.

Long Bike Ride in India – Year 2017 From Bangalore

Day 1: 22nd Dec 2017, Bangalore to Kumbakonam – 410 kms by Bike

On our day -1 of our long bike ride in India, first longest bike ride ever in both our history and ever since our marriage – we started our bike unusually late.

By the time for Breakfast at our favourite pit stop called Shoolagiri Krishna Bhavan, the sun was already in full swing shining on our heads. 

It was already 10am. We have never been this late even during our 2 day trips to Tiruvannamalai or Yercaud trip via this pitstop. 

After refreshing and eating our usual favourites, 1 full hour has already gone. 

We still have approximately 350 kms to go, but one cannot find not even an ounce of worry or hurriedness in us. Both of us were beaming with pride and happiness for going to set a milestone in our bike ride history.

After many pit stops, endless long rides on the highways along with non-stop happy chatting and dreaming about this trip, we reached our destination – Kumbakonam at 11pm.

Finally, we crashed ourselves after riding the bike for 14+ hrs. Awesome total of 410 kms in just one day.

Thankfully we did not take this trip seriously. Had we been serious on the day -1 itself, no doubt we would have reached the destination very early, but we, for sure, would have missed all the fun in bike ride.

Day 2: 23rd Dec, Roaming inside Kumbakonam and Trip to Thirunallar

To our biggest surprise, we woke up early on day -2 of our long bike ride in India. 

What was more surprising was that Rajesh was jumping with full energy without even the trace of tiredness from yesterday’s journey.

He sure knows how to keep a positive energy.

Good for us, because I had spent almost 2 weeks planning for this trip. 

Since we chose the theme for this long bike trip to visit all famous temples, it took me days and days of hard work working out visiting places based on the temple timings and location.

Related – In all our Bike trip From Bangalore – Why Did We Choose to Visit Temples?

So I was nothing but surprised and happy to see my partner full of energy.

We kept our saddle bag and tank bag safely locked in our hotel room, carried just a backpack with water bottles and other basic items with us for roaming all the local places.

Day – 2 Visiting Places in Our Long Bike trip In India

  • Ramar temple, Kumbakonam town
  • Chakarapani temple, Kumbakonam town
  • Saarangapani temple, Kumbakonam town
  • Thirumetrali Siva temple – Bhramanandieswarar temple
  • Sakthivaneswarar Periyanayaki – Siva temple
  • Thenupureeswarar Shiva temple

Falling in love with “only Coffee Restaurant” in Kumbakonam

After roaming all the temples in the first half of the day, we had to come back to the room for check out. As we did not pre book the rooms for a week, we had to find a new hotel for the next couple of days. So on day-2 afternoon, we checked-in at Aditya Resorts in Thiruvidaimaruthur. That’s when we came to know about a dine-in called “Only Coffee Kumbakonam” and fell in love with ambiance and food immediately. 

It was situated just adjacent to the resorts and initially, we mistook it for a coffee shop. Later when we came to know there is more in the menu than just the aroma of coffee, we became regular customers.

Since then, for every meal, evening snacks and tea, we never missed to eat in this restaurant on our all days in Kumbakonam.

Read – Kumbakonam famous food items

Heroic act in Thirunallar

After check out and a hearty meal at Only Coffee restaurant, we then headed to Thirunallar. Since it was saturday and Darshan at thirunallar temple (a famous Navagraha temple for planet saturn( was near to impossible you know. We had to stand in a queue for almost an hour to get past the main entrance of the temple. Only then we realized that it would take more than 4 hrs to darshan Navagraha Saturn. We sure knew that it would not be possible for us to stand that long in the queue, as we needed to ride back in the dark for more than 1 hr to Kumbakonam town.

Somehow, Rajesh found a way to contact someone in the admin office, soon I found us standing in front of Navagraha Saturn for a VIP special darshan. We skipped 4 hrs long queue and were taken directly to darshan main sanctum followed by Goddess Parvathi darshan and Navagraha Saturn. I felt privileged being in special darshan in front of thousands of people, and I was in tears.

Hubby was too proud when we came out of darshan and of course after paying a fee to the admin guy who took us in. My face was beaming with happiness and pride, all the more loving my hubby who took a risk for me.

About My Hubby’s Willpower

Rajesh is not a person who gives up so easily on any matters. If you know him personally, you would definitely be surprised at the level of will power he possesses in himself. I look up to him for his hard work, sincerity and work ethics. Apart from that, personally he is not a person to be bogged down by any level of crowd, which I observed during many of our travels.  

Our motorbike rides connected us, gave us right opportunity and time to understand each other.

On most of the bike rides, mostly to Tiruvannamalai, distance of 200kms from our home, we check -in the room, head out soon for evening darshan in the temple after standing in a long queue for almost 2hrs. He never excused himself on any temple visits saying that he is too tired from bike rides. Nor he gave up on any bike trips, never came up with any excuse to postpone the trip or cancel it. 

And most of all, never did he take off from work, not even a day, even after riding back to back on weekend trips.  And you know of all the short and long bike trips we went since 2016, not even once he took off from work. You could see him get ready to office just like any other days. Touch wood.

Note – Nor did he take off to rest even after these 11 days of long bike rides in India.

So, after all these years of experience of travelling together with my partner, I took inspiration from him to write 7 good qualities to look for in a travel partner.

Day 3: 24th Dec Sunday, Bike ride from Kumbakonam to Mayiladuthurai and Thirumanajeri

As Usual we woke up early the next day, despite having spent the whole day on motorbike yesterday. Here is the list of places where we went on day-3.

Day-3 Visiting Places in Long Bike ride in India

  • Mahalinga Swamy temple
  • Kampahareswarar temple
  • Navagraha: Suriyan temple
  • Gangai konda Cholapuram
  • Mayuranathar at Mayiladuthurai
  • Kshetra Balapuram -lord Bhairava temple
  • Thirumanjeri Shiva temple

I roamed all the above places until noon, and took the rest of the day off after a heartfelt lunch in “Only coffee restaurant”.

Day 4 : 25th Dec Monday- Bike ride from to Thanjai and Tiruvaiyaru

Morning after breakfast at our usual favourite place, we went to only 2 places, as follows.

  • Abathsakeswar, aaduthurai
  • Navagraha: Sukran temple

Since we had big plans for the 2nd half day, also Rajesh had some official work in the morning, we kept our morning schedule minimal. 

We always remember to be flexible on our travel schedule so as to accommodate any of our emergency calls or meetings. 

Day- 4 Places of Visit

  • Big Tanjai temple, Tanjavur – 5 to 6.30pm darshan
  • Neelamega perumal temple
  • Sri Hara Saabha Vimocchana Perumal Temple, Kandiyur
  • Veeratanam temple – Brahma Kandeeswarar Shiva temple
  • Keelatirupanthuruthi temple
  • Aiyarappar temple, Tiruvaiyaru – Darshan and tiruoonjal poojai

It was quite an achievement in one day, bike riding from Kumbakonam to Tanjavoor, then from there to Tiruvaiyaru before returning back. And along the way, we have visited all the famous temples – both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu temples. 

The last stop in the day-4 long bike ride was Thiruvaiyaru, one of the biggest and famous temples of Lord Shiva, where we spent the entire evening until the temple closed for the day. Then we started our bike by 9.10 pm from Thiruvaiyaru to Kumbakonam via Kavisthalam. We stopped at Kabisthalam for tea at 9.50pm and reached our room by 11pm. 

We had a peaceful journey, thanks to the seamless roads.

That’s another advantage of staying at Kumbakonam, not only do we get to enjoy cheap and best stays, but also good roadways connecting all major cities.

So staying at Kumbakonam is the best option to budget travel to places like Trichy, Chidambaram, Tanjavoor, Mannargudi, Karaikal, Nagapattinam etc.,

Day 5: Dec 26 Tuesday, Long Bike ride to Sirkazhi and Chidambaram

On yet another auspicious day – Ashtami, falling on Tuesday, we started our bike to Sirkazhi and Chidambaram just as planned.

Asusual woke up early, got ready and had coffee at 7am before we started our bike. It was too early to have breakfast, so we headed straight to our destination, Vaitheeswaran koil. Had a wonderful darshan at 8.30 to 9.30am, spent an hour at this Lord Shiva temple before we headed to Sirkazhi (pronounced as Sirkali), a neighbouring town.

We had breakfast at one of the good restaurants in town, before we had darshan at Sattainathar temple, Sirkali.

Finally we visited the most famous Chidambaram Natarajar temple before returning to Kumbakonam.

It was a hectic day, travelling long distances, visiting all famous temples, waiting in queues in each temple took most of our energy. Yet we enjoyed travelling back 80kms from Chidambaram to Kumbakonam, because our bike rides are not just about travelling and visiting places, but also enjoy being in the moment. Not just Kumbakonam, all the places we went from this temple town offered us feast of agri lands, lakes, rivers and ponds.

Rajesh was the one who enjoyed most of the countryside ride, marvelling at the rice fields, stopping to play in the ponds, clicking lilies pics.

11 days of this long bike trip in south India opened up a new beautiful world which we cherish forever.

This was the very reason which brought us back to the same places in the year 2018 as well.

Day 6: Dec 27th Wednesday – Long Bike ride to Tiruvarur

Day-6 was a relaxed day. We didn’t plan to go far distances as we wanted a break from yesterday’s long distance bike ride.

So we visited the famous temples within the Kumbakonam town in the first half of the day. Later in the afternoon we went to Thiruvarur at 42 km distance from Kumbakonam. 

Here is the list of places we went on Day -6

  • Abhimukeshwarar near mahamaham tank, Kumbakonam
  • Tiruvarur Thyagaraja temple
  • Thirucherai Saranatha perumal temple
  • Nachiar koil

Day 7: 28th Dec Thursday. Bike ride to Alangudi and Mannargudi

It’s been 2 days since we have vacated our stay at Adithya resorts and moved to a hotel in main Kumbakonam town. Today, we all the way travelled to Only Coffee Restaurant near Adithya resorts to have our regular southindian breakfast.

After leisure breakfast, we headed towards Alangudi, about an hour ride from the restaurant.

Alangudi is one of the famous places for Navagraha, Lord Guru

Just like Thirunallar saturn temple, here in Alangudi too it was super crowded.

Since we did not anticipate that much crowd in Alangudi, it was around 12 noon when we reached Mannargudi temple. It was already late and we missed the darshan by 10 mins. Returned back with just this cute elephant’s pic. Adorable isn’t it?

long bike ride in India
Cute elephant in Mannargudi Temple

After returning to the room, after relaxing for some time, we visited the following places in the evening.

  • Palaivananathar temple, Papanasam
  • Ramalingeswarar 108 lingam temple, Papanasam
  • Garbarakshambigai temple, Thirukaragavoor.

Happy news is that we were able to darshan in this Mannargudi temple when my husband joined my Solo bike trip in Kumbakonam for 5 days. Yes I did go solo to Kumbakonam for the love of this temple town for 5 days. And When Rajesh joined me in the weekend for the return journey, we visited this temple along with all other favorite temples in Kumbakonam town.

Day 8: 29th Dec, Friday, Vaikunda Ekadasi in Kumbakonam

We were up by 2am to get ready for Vaikunda Ekadasi darshan at Sarangapani temple. 

As expected there was a long queue ahead, but we were able to darshan in an hr, since it was properly regulated by the temple management. 

Soon after we headed towards another famous 108 Divya Desam Vishnu temple called Oppiliappan temple. On the way towards the location, we relaxed, played near the lotus pond, had a good time clicking pics and playing. 

After darshan at Oppiliappan kovil, we headed towards Nachiyar Kovil, yet another famous 108 Divya Desam Lord Vishnu temple and a must visit temple in Kumbakonam.

Related: Famous Temples in Kumbakonam – A Very Big List with Google Map link

After having breakfast in a small mess near Thirunageswaram temple, we attended Navagraha Rahu milk pooja from 10.30 to 12 noon.

Returning back by afternoon, we had lunch at a small mess called “Ayyakadai” at the corner of the Poppy’s SET hotel I have mentioned earlier.

After a long rest in the afternoon, we went to have ginger tea at a tea shop near clock tower in Kumbakonam town.

Then  we went to the shopping area near Sarangapani temple to buy silver items and bought a couple of items.

And, yet again we went to our favourite restaurant for dinner to enjoy the evening. Whoa it was a long day in my entire life and was one of the memorable days in our travel history. 

Related – Vaikunta Ekadasi Experience in Trichy Srirangam Temple

Here is the list of places we went on Day -8

  • Sarangapani temple
  • Oppiliappan temple
  • Nachiyar kovil
  • Nageswaran temple

Evening shopping in Kumbakonam town

Day – 9 30th December Saturday

The most relaxed day in this entire week. So far all the temples and all the lake ponds in every nook and corner were visited in this temple town Kumbakonam. 

We rode to all famous neighbouring towns, everyday clicked all nature’s pic in the early morning, had wonderful coffee watching the sunrise, had amazing meals in all famous restaurants, and there was nothing more left to do. 

How else could we have spent this vacation more fruitfully?

Soon our vacation is nearing its end. 

We never wanted to forget any of those memories so we kept staring at the beautiful ponds, agri fields, nature’s work during all our bike rides. We kept clicking as many pics as we could in both our mobiles and SLR canon that we carried.

It is more of an emotional day for us. 

We left the room as soon as waking up, to ride into the field to have breakfast at our favourite restaurant – you know where.

Rajesh had brought his laptop and soon after breakfast, he started working on it. I occupied myself with sorting the pics in individual folders.

A very interesting hobby of mine apart from bookmarking travel locations in google maps. Once returning to home after this vacation, I would be spending many months working on sorting the pics.

Since it is a long bike ride in India, the first of its kind, definitely it would take me many months uploading pics to all my backup drives and labeling them.

That’s the reason I take Weekly Tuesdays off, to do such important work as a blogger.

After spending long hours, we returned to town only for lunch. After finishing bath in the early evening, we went to the nearest Darasuram for the evening. It is a majestic, beautiful architecture maintained under UNESCO, recognized more as a picnic spot than as a religious place. But there are pooja rituals followed just like all the Lord Shiva temples, and we attended the evening pooja while we were there.

We returned to town and visited Kasi Viswanathar temple for yet another evening pooja since it was an auspicious day called Pradosham. Being more auspicious falling on Saturday, we knew that all the Lord Shiva temples would be super crowded in TamilNadu. So we decided to go to this small temple near Mahamaham tank, called kasi Vishwanathaar temple and got only a sneak peak into the abhishegam rituals.

So on day-9 of our long bike trip, we went to only 2 places – Darasuram and a small Siva temple.  

Later we went for a movie in a local theater for a happy ending of our vacation in Kumbakonam. 

Day -10 Dec 31 Sunday – Long Bike ride from Kumbakonam to Tiruvannamalai

We woke up early today and left the room immediately to have coffee watching the sunrise near Mahamaham water tank. Came back to the check-out room at around 9.30am, then went to Balaji tea shop to have ginger tea. Finally we clicked pics near Mahamaham tank before we said final goodbye to our most favourite Kumbakonam town.

We then started our bike towards our next destination Tiruvannamalai via JayankondaCholapuram. Stopped at Srimushnam temple for darshan between 11.30 to 12.15 noon, had lunch at Ayini restaurant in Virudhachalam.

Reached Tiruvannamalai and check-in our room in Hotel Himalayas at 5.40pm. After relaxing and eating snacks at Krishna Sweets, we went to Annamalaiyar temple for darshan in evening. And we spent time in temple from 8pm to 10.15, left the temple after Thiru Oonjal sevvai darshan (putting Lord Shiva and Parvathi to sleep before temple closes).

We spent our new year evening roaming the Tiruvannamalai town, watching that small town buzzing with international devotees in disbelief. Around midnight we reached room, went to sleep listening to the far sound of new year celebrations.

Day 11 – January 01 2018 Monday, Last Day of Our Long Bike Ride in India

Unusually, Rajesh woke up at 3.30am, went to temple for early morning new year darshan. He came to the room by 7am, after temple darshan waiting in a queue for more than 2 hrs.

We check-out the room, after a brief buffet breakfast at Hotel Himalayas. 

Then, we left Tiruvannamalai with packed bags and hearts towards Bangalore.

Reached our home in Bangalore by 9.30 pm, after a slow, leisure ride after stopping at many of favourite places for relaxing.

11 days of non – stop bike riding came to an end.

Happy ending.

Sum – Up: Why it Looked like a Spiritual Trip, The reason why

You name any famous temple in Kumbakonam, we have covered it all in the past one week in this temple town.

It may look like we undertook this long bike ride in India for a spiritual purpose rather than a leisure ride. The theme was to visit all the famous places possible in all the districts we have traveled to or through, so I tried my best to squeeze in all the famous places within the duration. 

Related – In all our Bike trip From Bangalore – Why Did We Choose to Visit Temples?

Having a feeling that we would not be this free once we started a family, I felt this deep urge to cover all places possible. One might think its crazy, but look at us now in the year 2020 under Covid-19 Lockdown.

You know how badly we missed our one day – and two day trips from Bangalore during that Lockdown Period?.

Though it seemed crazy that time for my facebook friends and my family, we did take a risk of riding long distances, going to all famous temples and damn it’s all worth it now.

If you would ask me that if I would change any of the places we have crazily visited, My answer would be No. 

Yes, Nothing. It was all too perfect. 

Too perfect long bike ride plan for the beginners.

Total of 11 days, 1745 kms, 13+ districts – all worth it. 

And We did it again in the year 2018. This time it was more fun and less temples. Very notable in this 2018 bike trip is the boating inside Chidambaram Mangroove forest.

12 Days Long Bike Trip In India (Year 2018)

Best Bike Ride Places near Bangalore With Google map link

We have been to all the best bike ride places near Bangalore since we are regular road trip couples. I have curated a list of best places to go by bike from our travel history with google map links.

Since the travel distances vary for the location you start in Bangalore, I chose not to mention the distances. Feel free to click on the interested places given below to get directions and distances from google maps.

Best Bike Ride Places near Bangalore On Mysore Highways  

Mysore road presents you lots of destinations for one day destinations for bike ride. Our initial bike trips started with going frequently to Mysore road, and we totally loved it.

List of Places You could go in Mysore road –

  • Rasta Cafe : One of the best bike ride places near Bangalore, and one of the all time bikers hangout places near Bangalore. 24×7 open cafe with lots of good food options and sports activities.
  • Sri Sri Ravishankar Ashram : We went on a casual bike trip to this bangalore ashram and totally loved the vast ambiance and cool cafe. If not for any cultural trip, this is a must visit place and best option to spend your day with your loved ones. 
  • Grips Go karting and Bowling : A place to hangout and do some engaging activity with your partner. Located at 20 kms distance from my home in Bangalore, we love to go frequently to this place.
  • Wonderla Amusement park – best bike ride place near bangalore for both couples and family. A place worth your money and time, and have unlimited fun.
  • Machanabele Dam – We have been to this many times as much as we have been to Mysore. Because we choose to go Mysore via Machanabele dam, a best route to avoid all the traffic until Ramanagara. Its best place for a one day picnic. Pack your picnic bag or just a day bag with snacks and waterbottles, and have peaceful time watching the lake and dam. Also one the way you could spend some time in Dodda Alada mara, another famous places near bangalore.
  • Srirangapatna : Another most frequented place in our bike ride journey is this Srirangapatna for Lord vishnu temple and coupled with another places like Somanathapura or Melkote or Talakadu (mentioned below). Or it is one of the destination on  along journey towards Mysore or Coorg. 
  • Somanathapura : An ancient Hoysala architecture, open from 9 am to 5 am is a best tourist place to hangout with lots of greeneries around. Spend time sightseeing the temple, hangout in the garden until evening. Its best to pack our own food since options are less once you divert from Mysore highways.
  • Melkote : Famous for its cave temple on the hills, this is yet another best bike ride place near Bangalore. You could pack some food spend some time on the hills until evening with a good view. (If you prefer to eat on the highways, then Channapatna McDonald’s is our all time favourite)
  • Shivanasamudra falls : Famously known for its waterfalls named Ganagachukki falls and nearby Lord Vishnu temple. Here is the travel guide to reach this place by bike. While you are there, you could also visit nearby Hogenakkal Falls.
  • Talakadu : Famous for ancient temples buried under sand and Kaveri river (talakadu beach), this place is the most famous among the tourists. We have been to this place by bike a couple of times and here is the guide to visit this place by bike. 

If you have decided to stretch your limits and go on a long road trip, then I would suggest going to Mysore. Where there are many sightseeing places like Mysore zoo, Mysore Palace, Brindavan gardens, Rangathittu bird sanctuary etc.,

Hyderabad Highways Road 

  • Lepakshi – Located in the Karnataka – Andra border is the very famous, majestic, ancient temple called Lepakshi Veerabhadra Swamy Temple. Famous for its hanging pillars and rock carved architecture, this place is one of the best bike ride places near bangalore. Little far from bangalore, yet a must visit place and absolutely worthy of your time. You could hang out in the temple premise with packed snacks and water bottle, until the temple closes. We coupled Our Bangalore to Lepakshi trip with yet another famous tourist destination in Bangalore, Nandhi hills.
  • Nandhi Hills : A famous place for watching the sunrise in Bangalore, is also famous for its trekking destinations. We love this place for its beautiful temple with scenic pond situated in a vast area, a must visit place.
  • Ghati Subhramanya TempleA little diversion from hyderabad highways just before nandhi hills road is this famous Ghati Subramanya temple. We love going to these above places especially Chikkabellapur and Doddabellapur area for watching rose plantations. 

Even Though I have given all the temple links to the above destinations, you could simply avoid going to the temple and choose to hangout in the restaurant nearby.

Read – In all our Bike trip From Bangalore – Why Did We Choose to Visit Temples?

The above places are budget friendly and also most famous tourist destinations near Bangalore. 

Since you are planning to visit places by Bike, you might want to know about 7 Good Qualities of A Bike Ride Partner (A guide to select a Travel Partner)

Kunigal Highways

We have been to Hassan once on an unplanned journey in our Adichuchunagiri hills trip. While we were there, we visited a couple of famous places in Hassan. Read here.

We have also been to nearby Halebidu and Belur.

Related – One Day Bike trip to Kolar By Bike

How Do We Travel By Bike??

We are travel duos, married couples on wheels since 5 yrs. We have been to all the famous, nearby places and far places from Bangalore by bike. Now we are road trippers, after buying #AllNewCreta in the year 2020. 

For Short Trips (One day trips) – We carry a day bag to fit all the below items. 

Things we carry in a day bag are as follows –

For 2 days or more long bike trips – We carry saddle bags and a tank bag to fit in all the essentials.

In that we pack – required amount of clothes, camera bag, our mobile phones, chargers, travel essentials, toiletries and what not.

Read – Best Bluetooth Earphones Under 2000 rupees – We Used Regularly MotorBike Rides

Sum Up

We have been to all the above mentioned places by bike and have written detailed travel guides for all the places individually. Since we live near to Mysore road, we have been frequent travellers to these places and know all these places really well. We always do not travel out with a purpose. We sometimes choose to have just coffee in any Cafe in Mysore highways and return home. Depending on your travel purpose, you could choose any of the places mentioned above.

And the best part? They don’t hurt our pockets. 

One Day Road Trip To Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore

We were able to achieve a new milestone by travelling to Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore in one day. With a distance of 200 kms, Tiruvannamalai is our all time favourite destination for weekend trips, for both our bike trips and car trips. Here are some questions to help you plan a culture trip in one day. 

And this was our first trip to Tiruvannamalai post Covid-19 lockdown. Otherwise we have been to Coorg, Wayanad and Mysore (within Karnataka border) in the recent times.

(Note – The above pic was clicked at Singarapettai Lake, on the way towards Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore via Chengam route).

Our Plan to Go On One Trip to Tiruvannamalai From Bangalore

Our destination was Tiruvannamalai – Arunachaleswara temple, house for Lord Shiva representing element Fire.

Google map link for the temple – https://goo.gl/maps/bSaL75AiiG1AgKXt5

Though we are regular travellers to this temple, yet we never planned for a one day trip to Tiruvannamali from Bangalore. Since we always stay in Tiruvannamalai for a night and never miss to visit Tirukoilur temples (35kms distance ) on the next day, we never thought of going on a one day trip to Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore. 

Since it’s not practically possible to do this on a bike trip, never tried going on one day trip before. Now that we have our new Creta car (named Milo), a comfortable SUV for long road trips, we decided on a one day road trip to Tiruvannamalai. 

Note that covering long distances in one day is nothing new to us. 

We covered  410 kms in one day by bike when we went on an 11 days bike trip in the year 2017. (And a grand total of 2000 kms in 11 days by bike, yeaahhhh ).

In our short trip to Adichuchunagiri hills, We covered a total of 500 kms on an unplanned journey to Hassan.

And one of our most favourite trip of 350 kms in our One Day Bike trip from Bangalore to Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh.

And in Car trip, we covered 590 kms in one day, when we went on a 5 days trip to Tirunelveli in TamilNadu.

So, we pat ourselves for being regular travelers and setting new milestones for every single trip.

But it is not the same when you plan on a long drive to one of the ancient, famous and all time crowded temples.

It requires proper planning and execution considering the temple open timings and our convenience in travel.

So here is how we planned our one day trip to Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore by car.

How to Plan for One Day trip to Tiruvannamalai From Bangalore

We are travel duos from Bangalore, so all our starting points are from bangalore. As you can see in our website, all the destinations are led from Bangalore.

So, here are the factors to consider when you plan on a culture trip like this.

Temple Open timings

Knowing the exact timings of the temple is important, because your start and end time your journey is weaved around this information. 

Tiruvannamalai temple open timings – 5 am to 12.30 noon and 4 pm to 9.30 pm.

This timing is quite common for almost all Lord Shiva temples and this is not applicable for Lord Vishnu temples. As the rituals and procedures vary entirely for both the temples.

Now, you need to decide on the time we choose to visit the temple. We chose morning 5am to 12.30 noon batch timing.

Here comes another important factor to consider.

Travel Distance to Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore

To make it to morning batch timing to have darshan at Arunachaleshwara temple, we need to consider 2 things.

  1. Total travel time from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai by Car including pit stops – for 200 kms on one way.  And considering the bad roads in the Krishnagiri – Chengam route, time varies for the driver. If you are choosing an alternative route (that is Via Vellore), your travel time naturally increases for the increase in 100 kms.
  2. Total Waiting time to Darshan Lord Shiva at Main sanctum: the time you take from entering the temple at main entrance (east gopuram) to the time you take to see Lord Shiva at the main sanctum needs to be considered.

Since we always go for paid darshan, we kept an average of 1.30 hrs for the darshan timing.

Now you know what time you need to start in the morning to darshan at the temple.

Same goes for calculating the return journey.

Yet, you cannot calculate the same hours for the return journey, as the traffic is always higher towards the end of the day as many people like you are returning from their travel.

How Successful Was My Plan ?

All went well as per the plan. 

We started by 5 am with all pre packed bags with snacks and water bottles packed a night before. 

We were able to drive to the destination even though we have spent more than 1 hr in our favourite fit stop on the Hosur highways. It is called Krishna Inn in Shoolagiri. It is the bikers meeting point on weekends, and I have written a great deal about the food here.

We reached the temple campus at 11am, and it took us 20 mins to find the right parking spot and enter the temple.

So, total of 1 hr for the entire darshan time in the temple, including the Goddess parvathi darshan.

We came back to parking, went straight to our favourite resort called Sparsa resorts, one of the elites in Tiruvannamalai for lunch.

Stay at Tiruvannamalai, best veg restaurant in Tiruvannamalai
Lunch At Sparsa Resorts

We spent time on good lunch and stretching our legs before we started our return journey by 2.20 pm.

As I mentioned earlier, we were profoundly delayed by the evening traffic on the Bangalore – Salem highways. Since it was anticipated during our trip, we reached on scheduled time, totally tired and sleepy by the time we hit our home by 9pm.

It was a seamless peaceful journey except for the bad roads on the route we chose for this trip to Tiruvannamalai from Bangalore.

Next time we plan to take the Vellore route, fed up travelling on this bumpy NH77 roads forever.

Kudos to Rajesh for making things happen irrespective of how challenging our trip turns out.

The Night Bike ride of 200kms: Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai Temple

Travelling by bike is not new to us, but riding a motorbike in the dark night – definitely it was a new and scary experience. This was my first ever “well – planned bike trip” on Shivaratri night from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple. 

Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai Temple: Bike ride at night

Little Intro on Our regular Trips from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple

Tiruvannamalai temple has been our favourite destination for bike rides for 5 years since our marriage in 2015. We have always enjoyed the ride, riding amongst the never ending mango farms were our favourite. 

After a couple of times from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple, there was no need to look at google maps for directions, literally our bike took us there. It stopped in all our favourite pit stops, it stopped when we needed to click pics and it stopped whenever we crossed village fruit stalls. 

We usually start our journey by 7 to 8am, stop at Krishna Inn in Bangalore -Salem highways around 9.30 for a long break for breakfast and coffee. Spend some time in the parking area checking on the other bikers, their gears and small chat with them possibly.

Best restaurant in Bangalore - Salem Highways - Krishna Inn
The best TamilNadu style Pongal and vada from Krishna Inn, Bangalore – Salem Highways restaurant

Then we set out on a carefree ride in Salem National Highways until we take a turn towards Chennai highways which are relatively narrow roads.

We put on music from our Boat mini speaker, listen to songs to beat the boredom riding in the hot sun, all the while enjoying the countryside view and agrilands.

After a couple of pit stops, and lunch, we reach our destination by 2 to 3 pm, check-in the room to freshen up, preferably a short bath.

We would reach Tiruvannamalai temple by late evening for darshan, if possible (and lucky) we would stay back to watch 10pm Thiruoonjal sevai before calling it a day. Usually the next day, we always – mostly always went to Tirukoilur temples, situated about 1hr ride from Tiruvannamalai town towards Pondicherry. 

Travel Distances

Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai Distance – 200kms (little varies based on the location you start).

Tiruvannamalai to tirukoilur temples – 37 kms

*Distances mentioned only for just onward journey

It is another countryside ride we love riding for the love of Tirukoilur Ulagalantha Perumal temple. We usually reach by noon, attend the noon pooja just before the temple closes.

bangalore to tiruvannanmalai temple
Trip to Tirukoilur From Tiruvannamalai

Before we return back to Tiruvannamalai town we lunch at Arya Bhavan, the only possible good vegetarian restaurant in the Tirukoilur town. 

Then we collect our packed bags from the hotel reception (usually the saddle bags so we can ride stress free), stop at our favourite french coffee shop before we take the Bangalore road.

(Update: This coffee shop is permanently closed as on our recent trip to Tiruvannamalai on 8th Feb 2020).

The next day, Rajesh would go to office as if nothing happened in the past 2 days. He would resume his work in office as if he didn’t ride 470 kms by bike with just one night rest inbetween in 2 days. 

I too force myself to go to the office on Mondays, to avoid binge eating – Netflix day.

That’s the reason, I prefer to take off on Tuesdays – to maintain work -life balance. Probably it is the only day I get to rest properly, as most weekends are reserved for travel.

This has been our routine so far, until one day we decided to break the routine.

Night Bike Trip to Tiruvannamalai Temple

This time, on 24th Feb 2017, at 5pm, we started our night journey from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple. 

We rode our bike for 7 long hrs, reached the Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar temple around 1 am. Had we not delayed in Krishnagiri, we would have reached about an hour early to the destination (explained in detail below).

The main reason behind this night trip plan was to attend the ‘Shivratri’ pooja in the most significant Lord Shiva temple.

Since it was going to be a night bike ride on the highways and country side, we had to make sure everything was 100% perfect.

Just a week before our journey, Rajesh had got the bike from the service station, spent about 15k on the bike fixing all the issues, adding some fancy headlights and tail lights. 

As a travel partner, I double checked on the travel essentials and packaging for the much expected Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple trip.

I have been always asking Rajesh – 

“Will this workout?”

“Are we taking a blind risk?”

“Should we think again?”

“Will we reach safe?”

“What if anything happens along the way, how would we ensure our safety and road safety?”

It was Rajesh – who by nature never deviated from any set out goals, pressed me on to continue planning for the journey. 

So, I went on to do what I do best for the travel plans. Write down all to-dos, things to pack, buying all the necessary stuff and packing the bags a day before the journey.

Rajesh would cross check the itineraries ensuring I have not left out anything in the overwhelming of planning.

Always expect the Unexpected – Delay in our well thought plan – In Our Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai Temple Night trip

Since we had planned to go straight to the temple for darshan, we packed light and carried just one backpack for the trip.

Our bike is ready, bags are packed, mobile phone chargers, bluetooth speakers are cross checked. We all set to go from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai temple.

We started our bike at 5pm. 

I never thought our journey would be delayed more than the usual travel time.

Though I kept the extra buffer time since we were starting on weekend evening, and very well aware of the volvo bus traffic until we crossed Hosur.  

But this is how we got delayed.

Since both Sivarathiri and pradosham are falling on the same day making the day super special, I had a plan to stop at the Krishnagiri Lord Shiva temple for a quick darshan on Pradosham

So, we diverted from the actual route from the national highways, entered the Krishnagiri town, found the temple I marked in the google map a week before. 

To our shock, we found the entire town was gathered in that temple, we could not even walk past the main gate. Thinking that the crowd will clear like they usually do on the auspicious days, we kept waiting in expectation for about an hour only to realise we took a bad decision of stopping here.

And as the time went by, riding in the dark in the dark was becoming challenging as we were slowed down by the heavy beam of the opposite vehicles.

Not to mention the annoying tiny insects hitting on our helmets, some even crawling up under the helmets giving a tough time to focus and ride the bike.

Finally we reached the Tiruvannamalai temple on the next day i.e. 25th Feb, around 1 am. We then found a place in the temple, listened to the Navrathri songs until we waited for the early morning darshan. 

Around 4am, we joined the early morning queue for darshan and by the time we came out, it was around 6am. 

Tiruvannamalai temple trip from Bangalore
Tiruvannamalai temple

Then around evening we went to our next favourite destination – Tirukoilur.

Since we needed to take a good rest from the previous night long journey, I didn’t plan any other destinations except Tirukoilur. 

Tirukoilur Perumal Temple
Tirukoilur Perumal Temple Gopuram – Main Entrance

What followed the Night Ride was Unimaginable day

On our 3rd day, on 26th Feb 2017, Theerthamalai in Dharmapuri, a hill temple which was crowded beyond my imagination on the day we went.

Since it was “no-moon” day, devotees gathered in huge numbers to darshan Lord Theerthagirishwarar on the top of the hill. 

As usual, Rajesh did not back off from the plan, so with no other choice, I decided to trek the hill on a hot summer. We dropped our backpack at a shop near the bike parking area and went on to climb 1km uphill with just 1 litre bottle in hand.

What seemed like easy to climb 1km in the google map, it took us more than 1hr with just 10 min break in between. 

After standing in the long queue for the Lord Siva darshan, and Parvathi devi, Rajesh managed to get some of the holy water from the multiple tiny waterfalls (they say it never dry out). 

Overall, it was more than we could take. 

All the experience was new and it was too much to handle at once.

First ever experience riding 200kms in the dark.

As if that was not enough, going on a trek for an hour to the hill temple on the next day, cursed my guts while planning this trip, we suffered indefinitely.

But looking back now, I could not believe that we took all that risk, we have stretched our boundaries and achieved something great.

That’s all it matters now. 

We did it.

Renu’s Solo Trip To Kumbakonam – How I roamed Kumbakonam for 5 days in a Rented Bike

I went on a 5 days solo trip to Kumbakonam, one of the best vacations ever in my life. Thanks to Rajesh for arranging my travel and accomodations. To roam around my favourite places in Kumbakonam, I have arranged for a 2-wheeler rental bike through my Kumbakonam native friend. 

Trip To Kumbakonam – Decision on Solo trip

The most important reason is that ever since we went on an 11 days long bike trip to Kumbakonam in 2017, this place is close to my heart. I (we) fell in love with this place on our first trip to Kumbakonam for the Masi Magam festival for 3 days. In the following year 2018, again we went to Kumbakonam on a 12 days bike trip.

I didn’t want to miss going there in 2019 too.

But my hubby was busy in organising the “Cloud Summit” event. And he made it a hit, that’s a different story. Since it was a big deal finding speakers and organizing the event, I let him be.

So I have decided to go chill out in my favourite place, for 5 days, all alone.

I started my trip on 8th December 2019 from Bangalore, boarded a train from Bangalore Central  and reached Kumbakonam on 9th December, 6am.

This is the story of my 5 days solo trip, from 9th December to 13th December 2019.

Solo trip is NOT new for me

Travelling alone is not new for me. I have been travelling to places since I was 18, travelled for studies, travelled for jobs, travelled to new cities for interviews. And finally I lived in London for more than a year, for my Management studies just before I got married.

I never had any fear or any concern on travelling alone. But since my marriage in the year 2015, I kinda fell in a comfort zone of being in a company all the time. 

Any time I step out of my home, I am always accompanied by my hubby. Apart from weekly groceries and yoga classes, ofcourse. 

Just like the years 2017 and 2018, I looked forward for this trip to Kumbakonam too. But, you know, unfortunately Rajesh had his own plans.

So rolled up my bachelor sleeves, and decided to go on a solo trip to Kumbakonam. 

Yeeeyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!

Why Kumbakonam?

Kumbakonam – A small, very beautiful mesmerizing town, well connected with roads to Trichy, Chidambaram, Tiruvannamalai, Thanjavur etc., is always beaming with history and ancient temples.

A beautiful town surrounded by numerous ponds filled with lilies, lakes and dams, agri fields and ancient temples. I can never find the right words to fit the beauty of this simple town. And I never get bored of visiting this place over and over again in my life.

When I am in Kumbakonam, I feel connected to my ancestors (no kidding). Every temple has a story to tell, and it compels your undivided attention for long hours. The hardship behind each temple’s architecture makes you humble and fall in love with it forever.

Yes, that’s my connection with Kumbakonam and its temples – bond forever.

Long list of Famous temples in Kumbakonam with Google Map

Probably this is the longest list of temples in Kumbakonam you will get in internet, it took me 1 full week to compile this list with google map link. Click here.

I chose Kumbakonam because I would not want to be anywhere else on my solo trip, because it’s like my second home.

What did I do in those 5 days?

How I Spent 5 days in Kumbakonam – Overview

What I Did

I did exactly the same of what we both would do on a duo trip – i.e. roaming Kumbakonam and visiting our favourite ancient temples.

Read – Kumbakonam Famous Temples

Yes I visited my favourite temples in and outside of Kumbakonam, spent time hanging out near Mahamaham tank, watched the sunset sitting in UNESCO Darasuram, ate food in my favourite restaurants in Kumbakonam.

Sometimes, I went over and over again to some of the favorite temples in the late evening, which are close to my heart. They are Sarangapani temple, Adi Kumbeswarar temple and Ramar temple which are located within short distances in the centre town. 

Late evening poojas are very special in those big ancient temples, and since it was an auspicious month, luckily I got to watch elephants parading with the idols in the streets – every single day.

Not all the time you get to watch these special parades and poojas.

It was a blissful moment when I spent long evenings in those favourite temples, my soul was at peace.

Where I ate

Everyday, I wake up, get ready with a pair of water bottles in my day bag. Then start my rented bike to go nearby “ayya kadai” (written all about my favourite famous food items in Kumbakonam), to have a hearty southindian, pocket friendly breakfast. 

kumbakonam famous food items
Kumbakonam Famous degree coffee

Thanks to ‘ayya kadai’ brothers for all the yummy quality – budget priced food, otherwise it would have been difficult on budget on such a long trip.

It is one stop for all breakfast, snacks and lunch items, except for dinner. I would return back to this shop after a short trip to pack snacks (a couple of vada made fresh every day) and also lunch (variety rice ready by 12 noon itself ) if I have plan to go on a long bike trip away from Kumbakonam. Like the days I went to places like Thirukannapuram, Thiruvalanjuli and Alangudi.

Where I Went

Since it was a solo trip to Kumbakonam, I wasn’t too serious about visiting all my favourite famous temples in Kumbakonam.

I was not dead serious about going to all possible temples in and around Kumbakonam, that is not even practically feasible. 

So in the 5 days of itinerary metioned below, you could see me visiting temples aggressively in the first 2 days. And the last 3 days, I slowed down, spent more time in any of the favorite temples leisurely. Unlike my past road trips to Kumbakonam, this time I took it real slow.

There has to be one special occasion in the solo trip right?

I could name many, but just one occassion holds strong place in my heart.

On day-2 of my solo trip to Kumbakonam, I traveled all the way to Tirukannapuram Lord Vishnu temple only to find the main sanctum closed at hardly 11 am. Since there was no anticipated devotees at that time, the temple panditji decided to close it for the day.

I was utterly disappointed to only to see the closed doors, sitting in front of the main sanctum cursing my luck as I couldn’t darshan him even in this trip. Because in our last couple of trips to Kumbakonam, we couldn’t even make it to this temple.

Just when I thought I will leave the place saying good bye to the care taker, a preist came hurridly saying he forgot to pick something from the temple. Soon after I introduced myself, before I could even ask that is there any possibility of darshan, he opened the main sanctum door, and in 30 secs he was showing me aarti (oil lamp plate) to the Perumal.

I stood there marveled at the height of Lord Vishnu, taller than 35 feet idol in Tirukoilur Ulagalantha Perumal temple. And humbled at the luck I have got that day to darshan the most beautiful, tallest Perumal (tallest among all 108 divya desams) in my life.

The best and most memorable moment in all my life.

What People Miss to See in Kumbakonam

Most people (devotees) visit Kumbakonam, for any of the following reasons.

  1. Navagraha temples Trip
  2. 108 Divya desam Trip (Exclusive Lord Vishnu trip)
  3. Lord Shiva padal petra stalam trip (exclusive Lord Shiva temples)

But what they don’t see (I assume) is this. Look at the beauty of Kumbakonam. Only for this reason, I will be keep coming again and again to this beautiful place on the first opportunity I am getting to travel after #coronalockdown.

trip to kumbakonam
Hundreds of Lily Ponds all over the temple town – Kumbakonam
Temple with Lily pond Entrance
trip to Kumbakonam
Beauty Of kumbakonam
temples of Kumbakonam
The beauty of Kumbakonam temples in one picture – Tirubhuvanam Temple

Trip to Kumbakonam – 5 Days Detailed Itinerary

The first thing I did after checking in the room was to visit my most favorite and beautiful temple in Thirubuvanam (see pic above), 5kms from Kumbakonam town. Next step was to Mahalingaswamy temple, enquired for Pradosa pooja and returned back to the same temple with all pooja items in the evening and did the ritual.

On the 2nd day, I enjoyed riding all the way to Thirukannapuram, among the green fields. Again, traveled long distance on the 4th day to Alangudi.

On the 3rd day, I took a break in the morning, just chill near mahamaham tank after breakfast and a cup of ginger tea. 

Read – Kumbakonam Famous food items

Then packed lunch from my favorite ayya kadai, went to Darasuram with a book in hand. Spent the entire afternoon in the darasuram temple. 

On the last day, I spent most of the day in the room reading books. Went out in the evening to spend time near Mahamaham tank after a cup of ginger tea.

Here is the Detailed Itinerary of 5 Days Solo Trip to Kumbakonam

Day 1 – 9th December Monday:

  1. Thirubhuvanam Lord Shiva temple
  2. Thirukadaiyur Mahalinga swamy temple -Lord Shiva temple
  3. Adhi Kumbheswar temple -Lord Shiva temple

Lunch Break

  1. Again Thirukadaiyur Mahalinga swamy temple -Lord Shiva temple

Day 2 – 10th December Tuesday:

  1. Thirucherrai Saranatha perumal temple – Lord vishnu temple
  2. Thirukudavasal Koneswaran temple -Lord Shiva temple
  3. Engan Perumal temple – Lord Vishnu temple (due to the crowd I couldn’t see next door Engan Murugan temple).
  4. Thirukannapuram -Lord Vishnu temple
  5. Nachiyar kovil – Lord Vishnu Temple

Lunch Break

  1. Kasi Viswanathar temple, near mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam
  2. Sarangapani temple, Ranganathar temple in Kumbakonam
  3. Ramar temple – oorvalam darshan

Day 3 – 11th December Wednesday:

Morning – Break

Evening –

  1. Darasuram – Lunch, book read and darshan
  2. Garbarakshambigai temple, Thirukaragavoor
  3. Thiruvalanjuli – White Lord Ganesha in Lord Shiva temple
  4. Ramar temple
  5. Adhi Kumbeswarar – oorvalam darshan

Day 4 – 12th December Thursday

Morning – Break

Evening –

  1. Alangudi guru temple – Lord Shiva temple
  2. Uppiliappan temple – Lord Vishnu temple
  3.  Sarangapani temple – oorvalam darshan

Day 5 – 13th December Friday

Morning – Break

Evening – Adhi Kumbeswarar – oorvalam darshan

The Happy Ending – Weekend with Hubby in Kumbakonam

Whole 5 days of solo trip to Kumbakonam came to an end and I was ready to leave Kumbakonam. 

But, at the last minute my Hubby announced that he would be coming to Kumbakonam to spend the weekend.

Since it was last minute decision, he had a very long journey by changing multiple private buses to reach Kumbakonam.

He arrived on 14th December, Saturday around noon, spent 2 days with me in Kumbakonam before we returned to Bangalore by Volvo.

Again we both went to darshan the most important and favorite temples in Kumbakonam town, he too personally loved Kumbakonam temples.

He made it all the way more special trip to Kumbakonam and till date this trip is very close to my heart.

Vaikunta Ekadasi Experience in Trichy Srirangam Temple

I remember the time we went to Trichy in Jan 2017 for Vaikunta Ekadasi darshan at Ranganathar temple

Here is our experience on what to expect when you are planning a trip to Trichy for Vaikunda Ekadasi, and list of other important temples to visit in the city.

Overwhelmed by the Crowd at Srirangam For Vaikunta Ekadasi

Having gone to the temple at 4am on the day of Vaikunta ekadasi, we were standing in a queue that would take about 5 to 6 hrs to come across Vaikunta vasal (golden door). 

Looked like as if the whole world had lined up around the all doors of this huge temple for celebrating the auspicious day. After seeing such a mass crowd as early as 4am, and after a long dilemma, we decided to drop the plan. Then headed to the two other famous temples in Trichy for Vaikunda Ekadasi darshan. 

Srirangam Vaikunta ekadasi
Police force and temple crowd at the temple entrance
Temple trip from bangalore to Trichy
View from Inside of Ranganathar temple- Srirangam
temple architecture of Srirangam temple
Wall inscriptions on Srirangam temple – inside view

Both are renowned 108 Divya Desams namely Kamalavalli Nachiyar temple and Uthammar kovil. Not only were we able to enter the golden door but also had good darshan at both of these temples. 

Temple trip from bangalore to Trichy, uthamar kovil images
Uthmar kovil View – Trichy

And swore to ourselves that when we come back to Trichy next time for Vaikunda Ekadasi, we would never return back without a darshan at the Ranganathar Temple. 

We were happy that atleast we could darshan Lord Ranganathar just before the day of Vaikunda Ekadasi. That too after waiting in the 200 rupees VIP queue for almost 3 hrs. Glad we did that darshan one day before, to count the effort we had put in for that trip.

Not always we fail to predict the crowd in the temple. In the year 2017, for Athi Varadar raise after 40 yrs from the temple in Kanchipuram – we planned the trip well, and did darshan on 21st July 2019. That too after long wait of 3.30 hrs (yet nothing compared to the predicted time wait in Srirangam for Vaikunda Ekadasi darshan) and walking for 8 kms in total.

Read – Athi Varadar raise once in 40 years and how we did darshan on 21st July 2019.

Bangalore to Trichy Travel

This was the time we were about to become ardent travellers.

We travelled many destinations by bike since then. This year was the stepping stone for making everlasting memories in our married life. We travelled back to back on all weekends, challenging ourselves to the longer distances as we grew confident. 

From Bangalore to Trichy, we travelled by Volvo bus booked in Madiwala, Bangalore. This was a planned trip for 2 days, falling on 7th and 8th Jan 2017. 8th Jan 2017 being the auspicious Vaikunda Ekadasi.

Apart from memories from the Srirangam temple, we have also visited the very famous, ancient (padal petra stalam) – Jambukeshwar temple. We went late evening to this temple, waited till the last pooja rituals (see pic below) before retiring for the day.

Tiruvanaikaval – Jambukeshwar temple

Here goes our 2 days Itinerary.

2 days temple trip From Bangalore to Trichy For Vaikunta Ekadasi Darshan:

We travelled by bus, so we would have 2 full days in our hands to roam around the Trichy city. Like the same way we did for 3 days train trip to Kumbakonam and yet another 3 days train trip to Madurai, many trips to Goa – where we have rented a bike to roam the destinations.

But, here in Trichy, we hired an auto to see around the places. Like how we did in our Tiruttani trip. 

Nothing beats the comfort of riding your own vehicle, in any destination. 

Day 01 – 7th July 2017 – List of temples Visited:

  1. Ranganathar Temple, SRIRANGAM
  2. Uthamar Kovil / Picchandar Kovil
  3. Sri Sameevaneswarar (Mattrurai Varadeswarar) sametha Balambikai temple at TIRUVASI
  4. Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple, THIRUVANAIKAVAL

Day 02 – 8th July 2017 – Vaikunta Ekadasi – List of Temples:

  1. Ranganathar Temple, SRIRANGAM (left in 1 hr without entering Golden door )
  2. Uraiyoor Kamalavalli Nachiyar Temple
  3. Uraiyur Panchavarneswarar Temple
  4. Thayumanaswami Temple, Rockfort
  5. Uchi Pillaiyaar Kovil

We travelled by train on the second day night to return to Bangalore.

Now that we know to anticipate the crowd at Srirangam for Vaikunta Ekadasi, we are sure to go back with a proper plan.

Madurai From Bangalore by Bike: Copy My Trip Plan To Roam Around Madurai

We have been to Madurai a couple of times, and each time we had new activities planned to roam Madurai. One time we roamed all popular Hindu temples by Bike (rented) in our train trip to Madurai from Bangalore. The other time when we went by Car to Madurai during our 5 days road trip to Tirunellveli and Papanasam, we did nothing but shopping there. Ofcourse, we did darshan the great Meenakshi temple.

Madurai From Bangalore – How We traveled

Since the year 2017, we were popular among friends for non-stop bike travel from Bangalore on almost all weekends. 

But as ardent travellers, we didn’t restrict ourselves to just one mode of travel. 

Our favourite train trips are to Hampi, Belur, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Tiruttani, Mumbai, and Madurai.

And most memorable air trips are to Delhi (Agra and Nainital), Cochin and Goa. 

We did not take many bus trips, except for a few times to Kerala and Goa.

First trip to Madurai From Bangalore

Trip to Madurai from Bangalore was quite unique – that is, we arrived at our destination by train and rented a bike to roam the city for 3 full days. 

We got inspired from our 3 days trip to Kumbakonam by train in the same year, where we rented a bike to roam the temple for 3 full days.

For three continuous days, that is 21st, 22nd, 23rd of July 2017, we roamed all the ancient temples in Madurai.

All the 3 days,  we did not have any issues roaming the city by bike as an outsider. We had a good choice of restaurants all over the city and enjoyed all vegetarian south indian meals in our entire trip. 

Road trip to Madurai

On our recent 5 days road trip to Tirunelveli and Papanasam, we stayed in Madurai for just a day, and did not visit any temples except the great Meenakshi temple. But roamed around the city by car, hung out around big temple lake, enjoyed Madurai’s famous Jigarthanda, and had awesome non vegetarian meals in Kari kanji restaurant. It is a must try restaurant for all kinds of non-vegetarian dishes. Click on the name to get the google map link.

Well, there aren’t many places to see in Madurai if you are not a temple architecture lover. So you can couple your trip plan with other famous places like Tirunelveli and Papanasam, or even kanyakumari.

Restaurant suggestion in Highways

Be it bike trip or road trip, the best Veg restaurant in Bangalore – Salem highways is Shri Krishna Inn. Its our all time favorite and this is where you could see hundreds of bikers hangout in the weekends. For more restaurant suggestions – you can find here.

Copy My Plan to Madurai

Of all the trips we went to Madurai from bangalore, not even once did we have issues on travel or stay or food.

The best place to spend your vacation, but only if you could couple it with other places. Because, many tourists including foreigners visit this majestic Madurai city for just one main reason – to darshan Madurai Meenakshi temple.

And, you could easily cover this place in just one day, including Thirumalai Nayak Mahal – another must see place in Madurai.

So what could you do to spice up your travel?

Go One Day Trip to Kodaikanal Hills:

Madurai and Kodaikanal are two like twins – inseparable in any trip plan. People who plan to go to Kodaikanal always make plans to visit Meenakshi temple and vice versa.

You could stay in Madurai and make a one day trip to Kodaikanal or just choose to stay in Kodaikanal for an extended period of your vacation. Kodaikanal is the best romantic place to visit near Madurai and makes it a place for best family vacation too. There are many options for kids to enjoy like cycling and boating – a complete package for family.

Madurai to Kodaikanal Distance – 116 kms

Go Long Drive From Madurai to Kanyakumari:

If you have been to Kodaikanal already, you could plan a long road trip to Kanyakumari. You could plan a direct trip from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, making Madurai as one of the pit stops. Or plan a drive from Madurai city.

Madurai to Kanyakumari distance – 245 kms

Bangalore to Kanyakumari distance – 665 kms

Woah, guess it is a practical idea to plan a long drive from Madurai instead of Bangalore.

Things to do In Kanyakumari – Kanyakumari beach, Tiruvalluvar statue, Visit Bhagavathy and Suchindram temple.

Places to Visit between Madurai and Kanyakumari

  1. Tirunelvelli – Yet another popular city known for two things: Nellaiyappar temple (Lord Shiva temple) and for Wheat halwa (iruttu kadai halwa). Distance from Madurai to Tirunelveli – 163 kms
  2. Papanasam – A very famous tourist spot in Tirunelveli district, popular for waterfalls (agasthiyar falls), and nearby manimuthar dam. We personally loved this place for never ending greenery and mountain view drive. (Read – Places to Visit in Papanasam in One day with distances)
  3. Courtallam – Not any intro is required for this place. Popular among tourists for its Courtallam falls and lord shiva temple at the foot hills. 

Visit to Madurai is incomplete without visiting these 3 popular places.

If you like to visit temples enroute madurai to Kodaikanal, you could then go to Thenkasi for a majestic Lord Shiva temple, situated 5.5. Kms from Courtallam. And you could also go to yet another historically important 3 temples called ‘Srivilliputhur andal temple’, ‘Sankaran kovil’ and ‘Tiruchendur’.

First two temples are close by, whereas Tiruchendur Lord Subramanya temple is situated at entirely different route.

I mean it is not practically possible to cover all the above places in just one day. That’s why we went on a 5 days road trip to Tirunelveli, and took time leisurely to see all the above mentioned places. 

On the way back to Bangalore from Tirunelveli, we stayed at Madurai for a day and roamed the city.

If you are planning to Visit Kanyakumari from Madurai, you could go straight to the destination. Or if you prefer, stay in Tirunelveli for a day or two, to explore all the above mentioned places. It is definitely worth your time, especially Papanasam.

Go Long Drive From Madurai to Rameswaram:

Another best option to add tourist places to your trip to Madurai from Bangalore, you could go Rameshwaram.

In jan 2017, we went to Rameshwaram for 3 days by bus and we coupled the trip with Tirunelveli. We stayed in Rameswaram mainly to visit Ramanathaswamy temple to pay respect to my father on ‘mahalaya amavasya day’. We didn’t go to any other places in Rameshwaram. And we cherish the time we travelled on the pamban bridge – one of a kind experience. 

Madurai to Rameswaram distance – 173 kms

Tirunelveli to Rameswaram distance – 226 kms

This is how we plan our travel – compare the distances from different places to the end destination, then decide which plan is best. 

It is as simple as that.

Sum – Up

So, practically we know clearly about all the tourist places in and around Madurai. 

Well, if none of the above places interests you, and if you are looking for particularly temple trips in Madurai, then copy my Madurai temples list. 

Click on the link below.

The list of ancient temples in Madurai city alone. 

There is no need to book any tour packages, because you know you will not be given any special access to darshan. 

You could just follow the google maps, plan to visit temples between 6 am to 11.30 am and between 5pm to 8.30 pm. You could rest in the afternoon or find a nice restaurant to chill the day.

List Of Ancient Temples in Madurai

In July 2017, we went on a 3 days trip from Bangalore to Visit temples in Madurai city. We traveled by train to Madurai, where we rented a motorbike for roaming the city. This was a purely a temple trip, as we are always fond of exploring the less explored. 

Here I have written a great deal about why we visit temples on our bike trips.

So, this was one such trip, where we wanted to see beyond the great Meenakshi temple. Because it is the only popular temple in Madurai among the tourists.

We dedicated 3 full days just to explore the temples in Madurai city, and we were not disappointed, thankfully.

In Fact we could not cover all the ancient temples you see. We picked the most historic and popular, and filtered those were within the feasibility of our travel distances. 

(Especially when you have a rented rotten bike).

Having said that, feel free to copy this list for your spiritual trip, a list filtered with only most ancient and important temples. A short and sweet list of temples in Madurai, closer to the city.

I have saved you plenty of time from planning the trip, so have fun.

List of Ancient Temples in Madurai

Even Though Madurai is significantly famous for just one temple – The Meenakshi Amman temple, there are many other temples in Madurai which are not widely popular. I have taken a list of those temples, selected the most ancient and important ; and are also closely located ones to visit as much as possible in one day.  

Since we have planned this trip to visit Madurai from Bangalore on auspicious days; Friday and Sunday being most auspicious, I kept flexible timings keeping the waiting period for darshan in each temple in the list.

Why We did not Visit Madurai Meenakshi Temple on Day -1 : Two Reasons

The entire Madurai tourism is weaved around the great Meenakshi Amman temple. Yet, I have planned to visit them on the 2nd day for the following 2 reasons.

First, we will become more tired of visiting this enormous temple on the very first day.

Second, this temple is always crowded on regular days, and extremely crowded on auspicious days. On the day we arrived it was auspicious Friday falling on the auspicious month for Hindu religion – Aadi month (Some call Aashada). 

So it’s decided to visit the temple on the next day – Saturday, that too early in the morning to avoid a long queue. Yet we could not completely avoid the crowd, we had to be in the queue for 30 mins before we darshan Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi.

Day wise List of Ancient temples in Madurai

I have carefully planned our 3 days travel fitting all the famous temples possible in the map, also being careful not to overburden Rajesh like how did in Kumbakonam visiting 24 temples in 3 days.

Temples in Madurai – Day 1 (21 July 2017) Itinerary:

Morning trip:

1. Aapudaiyar Kovil, Madurai 

2. Thirumohoor Kalameha Perumal temple

Evening trip:

3. Thiruparankundram

Day 2 (22 July 2017) Itinerary:

Morning trip:

1. Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple 

2. Koodal Alagar, Madurai

3. Thiruvedagam Edaganatheswarar Temple

Evening trip:

4. Thirupuvanam Sri Pushpavaneswarar temple, Sivagangai district

5. Inmayil nanmai tharuvar temple, Madurai

Day 3 (23 July 2017) Itinerary:

1. Palamuthircholai  and Rakkayi hill temple with waterfalls

2. Aaru padai murugan temple

3. Alagar temple

Short Note on the List of Temples in Madurai

If you are planning a trip to Madurai from Bangalore by road or any transport, feel free to copy my 3 days trip plan mentioned above. 

For example, Thiruparankundram (see day 1) and Palamuthircholai & Arupadai Murugan temples (see day -3) are notable temples for Lord Muruga. 

We absolutely loved riding to the Palamuthircholai located in the outskirts of Madurai City, riding among the trees, watching the atrocity of the monkeys was one of an experience. 

Also, to add thrill to our trip, we have coupled a trek to a Rakayi temple with waterfalls on the hills near to Palamuthircholai. Since we had planned it on an auspicious day, we ended up in a long queue but otherwise it was overall a good experience. If we had planned to go to this hill temple on the normal days, we were not sure of the safety of the travellers given the location and ambiance of this temple.

And the final temple in the list, is Alagar temple, a sight to the sore eyes. Just as the name depicts, the Lord Vishnu is such a charm and beauty to darshan.

On day -3, we returned back to Bangalore with plenty of memories. We really did have a good time. Infact we watched a movie named ‘vikram veda’ at Vishal De mall, Madurai just before leaving the town.

In all our Bike trip From Bangalore – Why Did We Choose to Visit Temples?

We are bikers, duo travelers to destinations in SouthIndia mostly bike trip from Bangalore. What started as a casual outing for coffee in Kanakapura road and Mysore road has soon become a planned bike trip to similar places.

And what started as fun riding bikes to nearby places has soon become a passionate bike ride to the far destinations.

To the readers wondering why we always go to places with temples, here is the reason behind it.

Bike Trip From Bangalore: How it Started After Our Marriage

Our very first official bike trip was from Bangalore to Srirangapatna and its nearby places on 26th August 2016. 

Definitely a date to remember in our life.

Then after a couple of train trips to Hampi and Belur, we challenged ourselves to go to different states in one day. That is how we went by bike from Bangalore to Lepakshi (Andhra Pradesh) via Nandi Hills (Karnataka).

But what gave us recognition as bike riders among friends (majorly in social media since we started posting pics and total Kms we rode), was a night bike trip to Hassan. That was an unplanned trip to Hassan and we rode 500kms back to back in less than 40 hrs, day and night.

That was a greatest milestone achievement in the year 2016.

In the following year 2017, after numerous 1 day and 2 day trips, we had set another milestone of 11 days continuous bike trip within SouthIndia.

We broke the 2017 record in the following year by going 12 days long bike trip within SouthIndia.

Well, if you see, either 1 day or 2 days or 11 long days, we always visit a famous temple in that particular place. Sometimes our trip plan will be weaved around a particular famous temple in that destination.

Why temples? Why not just go to a exotic destination, chill out and come back?

The Reason Behind Visiting Temples – On All Our Bike trip From Bangalore

The only connection I remember having with temples are those in my childhood. I remember my mother dragging me and my sibling to an ancient Lord Shiva temple in the town I grew, barely giving us time to change from school uniform to civil clothes. 

Many years after, I remember accompanying my roommate from Bangalore to Tirupati Balaji temple. 

And many years later, soon after our marriage, we went to temples with family as it was customary to darshan several temples. 

But here we are, riding to all the famous places, visiting the famous/ ancient temples, taking pics, and taking great effort sorting them in all possible harddisks.

Well, to begin with, I suggested going to Srirangapatna Ranganathar temple, as a meaningful destination for our first bike trip from Bangalore.

We liked the idea of keeping a meaningful destination instead of just hanging out in any restaurant and coming back.

Unintentionally we went on a couple of temple trips in the following months.

Later we came to know, both our families liked (assumed?) that we both went on a spiritual trip, spending our weekends in a meaningful way.

Only we both knew it was not just visiting temples, it was about meaningful destinations in our bike trips.

Also we had some meaningful conversations while we were there in the temples – about the architecture and about us. 

Sometimes our conversations gets more interesting, we used to compare with the previous temples we have visited, engage in that topic even after we return to our hotel rooms.

Like how we were amazed to see Karnataka’s only unique Hoysala arhictecture’s influence in Ambarnath temple, Mumbai.

Soon, by law of nature, we were naturally attracted to similar destinations, and many good things happened since then.

The Best thing Happened from Visiting Temples in Bike Trips

The constant planning and organizing the trips became my main hobby after marriage. 

We were always on the wheels, sometimes going to the same destinations again and again because we did not have any plans laid for that particular weekend. Or simply because of silly reasons like how we liked to have black coffee in Tiruvannamalai (200 kms bike trip from bangalore) and going to nearby Tirukoilur riding among sunflower fields. (See the pics here). 

Sometimes we go out shopping, but change our mind soon after we exit our apartment building, ride to the far destination for cuppa coffee and come back home late in the night. 

We soon became best friends riding together, talking about the past and the future.

In the past 5 yrs of married life (as of Sep 2020), we grew together as a strong couple and the complete credit goes to all the numerous travels we went (including the ones by train, air and car).

You can click on the following link to know the challenges we have faced over the course of time, against all odds how we became best friends and complimenting bike riders. 

Read – The Challenges we faced during our bike trips.

Had we not started visiting temples in our short bike trips from Bangalore, we would not have planned our 11 days long bike trip in the year 2017 and 12 days trips in the year 2018. Because it is difficult to just kill time without any purpose. 

Wow, what a journey we had. Looking back, it was like magic, but we did it. Riding under sun and moon, storm and rain, we rode bike continuously for those many long days.

You know what else we achieved from those bike trips?

Apart from becoming friends-

Apart from undertaking long bike trips and eventually becoming super confident riders-

We have realised one very important thing in life.

Together we are strong.

Together we can achieve anything.

As an individual, we have our own strengths and weaknesses. But when we both are together, we have only strength.

But Why did I go on a solo trip for 5 Days?.

Final Words – We are not Temple Crazy

Before you think of me as crazy visiting only the temples on our vacation – know this. I am not a spiritual nor a devoted traveler to temples. It’s just the curiosity to know the significant importance of many temples from one another. Also, I am totally in love with the ancient architecture and the lost temples. So you cannot find me visiting any modern age temples, or any non-historic temples for that matter.

Like this train trip to Belur in Karnataka, where we explored 2 less popular Hoysala architectures, the two very beautiful temples in Karnataka.

And once we have been to 24 temples in 3 days in Kumbakonam, it is the only place where temples are more than tea shops in TamilNadu. So could not get enough from those 3 days, we planned 11 days long motorbike trip to explore the Kumbakonam temple city.

Did we ever go on an exotic trips?.

Many actually, because we are not saints you see.

We did go exotic places like when we stayed in Aveda Resort in Kumarakom, The continental Inn for a week stay in Mumbai, The Grand Mercure in Mysore, Riva Resort in Goa to name a few.