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How to Reach Gangaikondacholapuram Temple?

Discussion in 'South India' started by Power Ranger, May 30, 2016.

  1. Power Ranger

    Power Ranger New Member

    I love to visit the historical temples and heritage sites of India. Recently I came to know about a place called Gangaikondacholapuram in Tamil Nadu which has an ancient temple built during the medieval era. It was constructed during the rule of the Chola dynasty. The temple is known for its architectural brilliance and it is apparently one of the largest temples in the entire India.

    Although I could gather lots of information about the architecture and history of Gangaikondacholapuram temple from the internet, there is hardly any information on the exact location of the place and how to reach there. Can anyone in the forum please guide me about how to reach Gangaikondacholapuram? I am based out of Chennai and planning to use my own vehicle for this trip. Kindly help me with information on the best possible route and driving direction from Chennai to Gangaikondacholapuram temple.

  2. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Gangaikondacholapuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This heritage city, which is currently nothing more than a small village, is located in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu. The nearest town is Sethiathope, which is around 30 KM away.

    From Chennai, you have several options to reach Gangaikondacholapuram. The best mode of public transport would be the TNSTC buses. You can get TNSTC buses from Chennai CMBT to Kumbakonam. Gangaikondacholapuram lies along the Chennai-Kumbakonam road, around 35 KM ahead of Kumbakonam.

    As you will be driving yourself, the best option for you would be to take the Chennai-Theni Highway till Vikravandi and then take NH-45C via Sethiathope to Gangaikondacholapuram. The total distance would be 254 KM and you can easily do this in 5 hours.

    Route 1: Chennai - Chengalpattu - Tindivanam - Vikranvadi - Sethiathope - Gangaikondacholapuram (254 KM)

    Second option would be via Villupuram and Virudhachalam. For this route, take the Chennai-Theni Highway but do not deviate onto NH-45C at Vikravandi. Instead drive straight towards Villupuram. From Villupuram, continue to drive along the same highway for another 35 KM and you will reach Ulundurpet. The road bifurcates from here with the right branch going to Perambalur and the left one towards Virudhachalam. Take the left branch and you will reach Gangaikondacholapuram after another 65 odd kilometers.

    Route 2: Chennai - Chengalpattu - Tindivanam - Villupuram - Ulundurpet - Virudhachalam - Gangaikondacholapuram (274 KM)

    The third route is via the East Coast Road through Cuddalore. This is the most scenic of all the roads, but traffic would be a tad higher. Take the East Coast Road and drive towards Pondicherry. Do not go inside Pondicherry town, instead continue onto ECR till you arrive at Cuddalore. From Cuddalore, you need to take NH-532. A few kilometers after Kurinjipadi, turn left onto NH-45C towards Sethiathope. From Sethiathope, it's a straight road that would lead you to Gangaikondacholapuram after a drive of 30 KM.

    Route 3: Chennai - Pondicherry Bypass - Cuddalore - Kurinjipadi - Sethiathope - Gangaikondacholapuram (269 KM).

    The first route is the shortest and fastest way to reach Gangaikondacholapuram from Chennai. You can take the third route while returning if you have never driven on the beautiful ECR. It won't be a bad idea to spend some time at Pondicherry on your way back.