18-Jul-2004 -- We started from Karaikudi at 0900 hrs and drove through the towns of Tirupattur and Melur towards Madurai. Though my friend Jaikanth told us that we may have mediocre roads for a stretch, we found the roads to be excellent and made very good time. We had to drive through Madurai and join NH7 that led to Bangalore. According to the maps, the confluence was just off the highway about 18 kilometers North of Madurai.
When we were about 1.5 kilometers from the point, we had to find a turn to the left. We found a good one leading in that direction and in a few minutes we found that we were about 400 meters from the point with the road turning away. As has become usual for us, we drove off the road and followed a faint cart track towards the point. We had to stop about 320 meters away as the terrain became a little rough. It seemed like we would have to walk across a railway track to reach the confluence. We climbed the embankment and crossed the pair of railway tracks and entered a coconut grove. The point was about 50 meters away and we had to cross a small irrigation canal (that was dry) and reached the confluence at 1120 hrs.
We recorded an altitude of 154 meters and took the mandatory photographs. Mr. Muniyandi and Mr. Balasubramanian who worked on the land that we found the confluence joined us. They told us that we were about a kilometer from the village of Thiruvedagam. They told us about the water scarcity they face and about the drought they have been experiencing for three years. They were happy to accompany us back and when we reached the coconut grove, Mr. Balasubramanian insisted that we quenched our thirst with some coconut water. He asked Mr. Muniyandi to climb a coconut tree and get us coconuts that he cut open for us. The coconut water was sweet and cool and really refreshed us. Jagan had stayed back as he did not fancy climbing up and down embankments, so Mr. Balasubramanian insisted that he carry a coconut for him too. We thanked him for his help and the refreshing coconut water and started off towards Madurai.
We had to take the bye-pass road past S.S. Colony to join NH7 going South to reach the next confluence; 09N 78E. My friend Jaikanth’s home was just off the highyway and as he had insisted that we drop by, we did. I lived in Madurai for 4 years and Jaikanth and I studied in the same school in T.V.S. Nagar. We chatted for a while, took directions from him and information on the condition of the roads and after cups of coffee, headed out again. Jaikanth’s Mom had packed some sweets for us and these came in real handy a little later in the day.
The next confluence; 09N78E was located near the town of Kadambur and it looked like a hot drive down south in the afternoon.