After thinking for weeks for a place to visit during the Independence day weekend we decided to go to Vellore and Kanchi by a road trip and have some fun.
That was an easy decision and trying to find things to do in these two places was much more difficult. Here is a little travelogue on what we did.
Started early in the morning towards Vellore. This is a deceptive little statement. 'Early' was 3AM for Jeysri who woke up to cook/pack the breakfast and lunch for the day 1. And for the rest of us it was about 6AM and we were on road by 7.30AM. As always, we started with lots of fun and being early had its advantages as we did not have much traffic on road and were able to hit NH4 without issues and by 9 we have crossed Kanchipuram and stopped on road for a quite breakfast alongside the fields.
After breakfast, NH4 turns into NH46 towards Vellore and it was a breeze driving with overcast skies and a surprisingly cool day. We reached Vellore by 10.30AM and checked into a hotel called Baby residency. Immediately after we started towards Amirthi forest.
After about 20-22 Kms (1 hour at least as the roads are not in good shape) in the road from Vellore(I mean, what is left of a road) you will reach Amirthi. The drive is very scenic with open spaces, corn fields, paddy fields and single lane driving with kids running behind cars (as seen in Tamil movies!).In between we crossed a river (shall I say ford it?). Actually we have to drive right on the river bed and drive across. There was no water and so no issues.
Anyways, at Amirthi entrance, there is a local food shop and a mini zoo (if you can call 4 porcupines, 10-15 pigeons, 4 peacocks, 1 crocodile a zoo at all!). But the fun lies in the trek to the Amirthi falls which is about 1.5Kms inside from the entry point. The trek is not difficult and the path is laid with red sand and slabs of stones and there is a view point to boost. The falls itself didn't had any water but through the trek it was drizzling and the forest views were fantastic.
After the trek we started back towards Vellore and had lunch in one of the vast open fields near road.
After taking some well deserved rest in the hotel room through the afternoon, we dressed up to visit the newest attraction in Vellore, the golden temple in Sripuram. The road gets congested as you near the place and parking is haphazard outside and inside as well. The crowds are unbelievable and true to being a temple for the god of wealth, a 250Rs ticket eliminates the hassle of standing in a long queue(day we visited waiting period was about 2 hrs) and puts you bang in the star shaped pathway to the temple itself. The temple itself is sort of a let down and we walked around and tried to look for people who have come actually to pray and found none. The place reminded me immediately of Akshardham temple in New Delhi which in turn reminded me of the amusement parks. The crowd start looking upwards as they near the golden part of the temple and with shops in every corner, the bhakthi aspect of the visit is nowhere to be seen.
We drove back to the hotel with mixed feelings towards the visit itself and took the much needed rest for the day
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