Our Visit to Chennai Rail Museum’s Joy Train :)

I have been to Regional Rail Museum, Chennai a few years back. But now this museum seems to have changed its name to Chennai Rail Museum and there is a lot of art to be seen everywhere, in addition to the antique rail models, coaches and engines! Have a look at an arty rail coach here –

Chennai Rail Museum - Art all over a rail coach!

They have also installed various artworks at many places across the museum. Here is a painting created by a few kids of the ICF family –

Chennai rail museum - art by kids

Last time, I did not go for a ride in the little joy train there. Actually, it’s a real train that runs on real tracks. Just that it’s relatively small 🙂

Frankly, traveling on that little train seemed like a childish thing to do (back then – during my previous visit). But with age, it seems like I have rediscovered the child in me, as this time we not only went in that joy train but we have also created an elaborate video from that ride (embedded above). In fact, the joy train ride was the focus of our visit. Hmm… 🙂

If you are also interested in rediscovering the child in you, here are the timings for the joy train ride 🙂

The ticket cost of Rs. 40 now includes permission to take photos in cell phone and one joy train ride. Rejoice, all you Chennaiiets 🙂

If you are planning a visit here, just don’t go on a Monday – it’s the weekly holiday. For more details and pics, refer to my earlier blog post.

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Mangal Eri Park @ Mogappair – Park around a Lake!

Mangal Eri Park – Mogappair West, Chennai. 

I like the Mangal Eri park at Mogappair, Chennai mainly for one reason – the park is built around a lake. It seems the lake covers around 5 acres and the walkway built around it covers about 500 meters.

They are constructing amenities in the park and it is not as impressive as larger parks like the neighboring Tower park (yet) but this one, like the Chitlambakkam eri park, sets an important precedent – the importance of having neighborhood lakes at every area. If it comes with a park with walkway around it, even better.

The corporation is already building a number of parks and I think every area has at least one – many actually. But I don’t see a lake or a water body anywhere. Most of the existing lakes have been/are converted into real estate, and we’ve already seen the disastrous effect that can have during the 2015 floods.

It’s important to have neighborhood lakes because it acts as a reservoir for rainwater, it recharges the groundwater table, excess rainwater can be diverted into these lakes hence avoiding flooding, it enables aqua-ecosystems like fishes, birds, plants, etc. to flourish, it is possible to have leisure activities like boating, it reduces pollution and encourages walking, exercising, playing for kids, etc.

And best of all, a park + lake looks so fresh and green to the eyes! I wish corporation would make it mandatory to have at least one lake in each area, like how they have done with parks.

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Our Visit to Nanganallur Anjaneyar Temple, Chennai

After a long time of wanting to go to the Nanganallur Anjaneyar Temple, we finally made it today 🙂 We went to the Temple by taking the road that goes to the Airport from Guindy, and then turning right at the Inner Ring Road just after the Officers Training Academy Metro Station/Mount Manor Hotel. Then you need to go around 500m forward and take a right below the MRTS flyover.

The exact Google Maps location for this Tempe is here.

Temple Timings: 5 A.M. to 12 P.M. & 4.30 P.M. to 9 P.M.

Pooja Details: Official Website.

Here is the board just outside the Temple giving more details:

Nanganallur Anjaneyar Temple - Timings
I should complement the Temple authorities for being very organized. Unlike other Temples, the Archana materials are not taken by the main priest. Instead, we need to deposit them to another priest on our way and then take our plate back once the Darshan is over, from a nearby counter. They have a token system for this to ensure we get back our materials.

Unlike other Temples, money is not charged for keeping our footwear (although there is a token system) and there are no prasadams available for sale. We really wanted to eat the Famous Puliyodharai here, but we got to eat only Sundal and Milagu-Pongal. What to do, we couldn’t resist going back and collecting the prasadam twice as the item was changed while we were eating the first round 😀

We enquired as to when Puliyodharai will be available, and one visitor said that it should be available on weekday evenings. We are planning to go back on a weekday, needless to say 😛

The approach and helping nature of the Iyers present at this Temple also impressed us. A pleasant experience, combined with Darshan of 32-feet Anjaneya. If we had got the Puliyodharai, this would have been the perfect Temple experience 🙂

Since photos are not allowed inside the Temple, here is our selfie from outside –

Nanganallur Anjaneya Temple, Chennai

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PS: BTW, coming to the weird things we do regularly, we made a Cinemagraph recently – have a look 🙂

Live Art Museum – VGP Snow Kingdom, Chennai


The Live Art Museum contains life-like 3D replicas/models of a few famous personalities in Silicone (instead of wax, which is generally used to make replicas). You can not only see the replicas of famous people, but you can also take a selfie with all of them 🙂

Some of the replicas/models we found when we visited include Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwazzanegar, MS Dhoni, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Chan, Mona Lisa, Sai Baba, Mother Teresa, etc.

This museum has been put up by Mr. AP Sreethar who also put up the neighboring Click Art Museum and Vintage Camera Gallery. The organizers say that this is the world’s first exhibition of silicone replica models, and they claim that silicone is a better material than wax to make models looks more lifelike.

We went to the VGP Snow Kingdom, located one floor below, before visiting the Live Art Museum. Since we bought the Snow Kingdom tickets, we were able to buy tickets for Live Art Museum at Rs. 100/- each (combo). Otherwise, I think each ticket costs Rs. 150/-. Ticket pricing keeps changing, please refer to their website for the firm pricing when you visit.

So who wants to visit the Madame Tussauds of Chennai?? 😉

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Timing is same as the VGP Snow Kingdom, 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. Here is the exact Google Maps location.

Play with Snow in Chennai: VGP Snow Kingdom

The VGP Snow Kingdom, near VGP Golden Beach, is an excellent snow-based theme park in Chennai where you can walk, touch, and play with snow. Maybe ice. I guess since they maintain the 14,000 sq. feet of space at Minux Six Deg. C the snow doesn’t melt.

The Snow Kingdom is right next to VGP Golden Beach & Resorts campus and in the same building as the Click Art Museum. We went there on a Monday afternoon and hence there was not much crowd. The ticket cost was Rs. 450 per adult when we went. Sometimes they run deals that offer a lower ticket price on their website – you can also book tickets online there.

They give a thick jacket, rubber boots, and gloves for everyone to better manage the cold-temp inside. Initially, we halted in an acclimatization area which is slightly cooler. After being there for a few minutes, we were let in.

We were able to FEEL the COLD almost immediately!

For the first few minutes, I was just standing or walking slowly and trying to adjust to the temperature. If you want to take photos inside, there is another issue – you need to remove the gloves! It’s difficult to remove the gloves for longer durations. I did touch the snow a couple of times with bare hands. It was like touching the ice in our fridge 🙂

There is a small resting room (maintained at a higher temperature) near the exit gate where people can go to temporarily get some respite from the cold. I think I went there twice during the 45-minutes session. Whenever I entered that area, my glasses were filled with mist and I had to wipe them off.

There were a few rides. One could skate down the slope sitting on a round tube or lying down on a sledge. For kids, there is a smaller slope. One can know how it feels like to trek over the Himalayas by climbing a small similar setup here. Of course, I didn’t try any of these 🙂

There is a small igloo, there are a few polar bear & sea elephants, there are snow world dolls, there are houses, there are mountains, etc. These locations are great for taking nice photos and selfies. You can see most of them in the above-embedded video. BTW, our new friend narrates our travel story to the Snow Kingdom in the video – so don’t miss 🙂

I think the Snow Kingdom is best enjoyed during a hot afternoon in Chennai. Once you step out make sure to walk briskly to the shops at the neighboring VGP Golden Beach and drink a hot coffee/tea. You’ll need it 🙂

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Timing: 10 A.M. to 8 P.M.; Open all 365 days.

Our Mahabalipuram Trip – 2017


Of course, I’ve been to Mahabalipuram many times before. I have even done individual posts about the major attractions there. But this is the first time I went there with my wife.

For this two-day trip, we went on our bike. This was not such a smart decision as although we had fun while going, we found it difficult while coming back!

We stayed in Bay Treasure Resort. They had a nice pool, which we liked – but being in water can make you tired (after you come back). I wish they had some sports facilities too, but this time we didn’t have much time anyway.

The attractions in Mahabalipuram are not that interesting. Caves and sculptures can even get boring if you are going without a guide. However, it was an excellent place to take a lot of selfies – which is exactly what we did. I made a video slide show using a few photos taken there – don’t forget to see the above embedded Youtube video.

Among the attractions, I like the lighthouse the most. I like the view from the top of any lighthouse, for that matter. One interesting incident happened here – we were eating mango and watermelon when a monkey approached us. I gave a piece of the mango. It nibbled on it, threw it away and sat next to me.

Without batting as much as an eyelid, it suddenly snatched my watermelon cup. I sat there for a few seconds watching it eat, but then walked away fearing any more (Mis) adventures 🙂

On the whole, we had a good trip except for the second-half of the last day as we became quite tired while driving back.

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Sri Lakshmi Saibaba Temple @ Mogappair West, Chennai

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Today we went to Sri Lakshmi Sai Baba Temple @ Mogappair West/Nolambur, Chennai. The Temple being close to home, it’s surprising that I have not come here before. But only recently I came to know about this Temple which has a 72-feet tall statue of Sai Baba.

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There are two Shrines for Sai Baba inside and there are Shrines for other Gods like Maha Lakshmi, Lakshmi Ganapathy, Anchaneya, Maha Meru, Navagraha, etc. There is a hall for Anna Dhanam where they give Prasadam and there is a stall selling Sai Baba statues, pens, rings, thread, posters, etc.

 

Here is a Sai Baba Fridge Magnet we bought. I have kept it over my new car-themed Laptop skin. Howzz the new skin?? 🙂

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Directions: If you come from Tirumangalam, take the left just before Golden Flats bus stop to catch Tiruvalluvar Main Road. Go straight until you reach the dead end. From here, if you take a left and then immediate right, you go to Ponamallee High Road. Instead of taking left, take a right and at some distance forward, you’ll find this Temple.

If you come from P.H. Road, take the right at the signal just before MGR University and then take a left. Go straight and you’ll see the large statue on your left initially, but as the road curves the Temple will be on your right.

The closest bus stand is Mogappair West bus terminus, 1.5 K.M. away.

Temple Address: NO. 113, Gangai Amman Nagar, Muvur Sandhi, Mogappair/ Nerkundram/ Nolambur, Chennai – 600107. Ph: 044-26535665, 8939935665, 8754579916.

Dr. J. Jayalalitha’s Samadhi behind MGR Memorial @ Marina Beach

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On Friday, Dec. 09, 2016, we went to pay homage to Dr. J. Jayalalitha’s Samadhi/Memorial installed just behind MGR Samadhi/Memorial (towards the beach) at the Marina beach. They have currently erected a temporary shed over Jayalalithaa’s samadhi, but I think that will be replaced by some concrete structure later on. Here are some pictures from there.

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Here are some pics from the neighboring MGR Samadhi/Memorial.

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Here you can find a couple of pictures of the grand dual-leaf shaped arch and the bronze pegasus at the entrance facing the Rajaji Salai main road along the beach. Vehicle parking is available at the adjacent premises, to the left of this arch.

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Selfie with Kabali!!

And you thought taking a selfie with Kabali is very very difficult? 😛

BTW, here is a photo with Kabali 😀

Photo with Kabali

These pics were taken at the Click Art Museum inside the VGP Snow World complex, next to VGP Golden Beach. The Kabali pics were taken at the common visitor area at the ground floor – am not sure if the Rajnikanth banner next to me is temporary or permanent.

Here are some more interesting photos taken at the Click Art Museum which is in the first floor. These installations, I think, should be permanent. A sample below –

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Chetpet Eco Park: Boating & Fishing within Chennai city!

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Chetpet Eco Park (செட்பெட் பசுமை பூங்கா) is a nice venue for boating & fishing right inside/within the city of Chennai. The main gate is almost opposite to Ega theater, but a few meters further, towards Central. There is parking space, and I paid Rs. 20 for parking my bike for two hours. Entrance ticket cost is Rs. 25 per head, and boating ticket costs Rs. 50 per head. The Park is open from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M., except on Tuesdays.

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There is a huge walkway around the lake and the area is decorated well. I think the walking distance (one round) should cover almost 0.75 K.M. There is an area on the lake dedicated to fishing/angling. I guess the charges are Rs. 300/- for a catch of three fishes and they’ll give angling rods, etc. I didn’t try this.

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There is a small food court with bakery, sandwiches, soups, chaats, tea, etc. And behind it is a small play area for kids. There is also a restroom.

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Of course, the main attraction of this venue is the boating around the lake. We went on a Thursday afternoon and had to wait for 20 minutes to get on a boat. I heard it’s crowded on weekends – so plan accordingly. There are two types of boats – rowing boat and pedaling boat. We went on a rowing boat which can accommodate a maximum of 2 people + 1 staff. The pedaling boat can accommodate 3 people + one staff. Kids below 3 years are not allowed.

The boat takes one round across the lake and comes back to the jetty. I think our ride in a rowing boat took around 20 minutes. TN Fisheries Dept. seems to have provided the boats and their staff manages this venue. They were polite and helpful, but don’t expect star hotel courtesy here. It was a nice experience in spite of the April summer in Chennai. Since there is no covering over the boat, you’ll have to consider the heat. But the jetty is covered on the top. Here are some pics –

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Here is a short video of our row-boat experience at this venue,

 

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Photos by Destination8infinity (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.