Day-1 : Weekend Cycling trip to Chidambaram

The 600Km Brevet is coming up on September 5th n Hyderabad, I wanted to practise little seriously this time and thought of going for a little long distance than my usual 100km in weekend and I have zeroed in a two day trip to Chidambaram and back.

Day-1 : 22-Aug-2015

Start : Thiruvanmiyur,Chennai at 6:15 am
End : Natarajar Koil,Chidambaram 7:45 Pm
Distance : 211 Km
Route : Thiruvanmiyur-Mahabalipuram (Via ECR)- Marakkanam- Pondicherry-Cuddalore-Chidambaram
I started two hours later than planned at 6.15am on Saturday,as I slept very late in the night. The ride till Mahabalipuram is pleasant. I have passed through the historic town without spending much time. In a bus stop near Poonjeri, I had idly I prepared previous night. After sun started settling ,the heat began to rise. I just pedalled from here not minding the heat and enjoying the route. 
Ride sbegins in ECR

The great carving, Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram Light house

after crossing Mahabalipuram

After having lunch in Marakannam, I started to Pondicherry. Throughout the way I was accompanied by people walking to Velankini. I was surprised to know that they will walk all the way ,which is around 500 kms or more !
The Scenic ECR

Salt Htacheries near Marakkannam

Salt hatcheries near Marakkannam and people walking to Velankini on the left

Soon, I have entered Pondicherry. I got tempted to stay there as I haven’t enjoyed the beauty of Pondy yet, but keeping the practice in mind, I started pedalling to the destination. Some of the bridges I crossed made me feel that I am in Kerala !

Entered Pondicherry

Throughout the way there was occasional drizzle,but as soon as I entered Cuddalore it turned into a big rain. I stopped for a while ,had some snacks and strated again after wearing the rain gear.
The route from Cuddalore to Chidambaram is two lane state highway and people hardly followed the lane discipline, throwing me away from the road many times. That frustration was instantly compensated by the very beautiful green fields around.

It got darker sooner than expected due to the rain and I was 20 kms away from destination, Chidamabaram. Brevets taught me always to carry a front ,rear light and a reflective vest. I have put them on and rode slowly. It seemed this rain and dark situation is somehow dragging me into it everytime ! I was happy to note that I finished 200kms within 12.5 hours as it is in a brevet (13.5 hours in a brevet). 
Riding in dark and rain on a two lane highway is something to be avoided. I didn’t expect this as my plan was to start at 4 am and be here before it gets darker,but a delayed start has put me in this situation. On the other side it has a beauty which cannot be seen often. At B.Mudlur, there was bridge and it too is rain soaked like me. When I was at the starting of bridge,I could see the tail lamp reflections of passing vehicles on the bridge. That reflected red colour shined very much in the pitch dark and is a wonderful sight.
People not minding the rain and walking to Velankini are an inspiration.As I’m riding slowly, I thought temple will be closed and I may have to visit the shrine next day which will cause a delay in my start next day.
After sometime, I was able to spot the lights in the town and I was in the town soon. I asked directions for the temple and took a room near east gate.

I was surprised to know that temple will be closed at 10.30 pm in the night. After taking bath, I have rushed in to see the ever handsome Natarajar in the beautiful dancing posture . After my first visit last year, I was waiting since months to come here and was overjoyed by coming on bicycle and seeing him. (I will write another blog about temple)

Govinda rajan Perumal is preparing himself for heading to sleep, I wished him good night and went around the temple. Siva kami amman has called it a day already, so I couldn’t visit her shrine and majestically standing posture of her.

I went out to have dinner and came again to see the sleeping cermony. Sivan, represened by padukas will be carried in Palanquin to this bed chamber. It will surely cause goose bumps to anyone. The sound produced by all the bells around, accompanied by the nada swaram, drums and other loud bangs of musical instruments will be a great treat to the ears and especially ones like me ,who like heavy metal.

Though Body is fine, my eyes started to shut every while and as soon as the ceremony got completed, I headed to room , arranged the clothes for drying and went to sleep.

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