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The enormity and beauty of Pamban Railway

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image-92

I had never visited Rameswaram as far back as my memory goes and was not sure what to expect out of the Pamban bridge. My sons have special interest in digging up maps of all places and when I showed them where Rameswaram was they were more than eager to get there to see the historic Pamban bridge.

How to get there?

There were few options for me to get there: Rail, bus, car or part flight-then car. We booked a train from Bangalore to Madurai and then an Innova for the rest of our journey. We stayed at Astoria business hotel in Madurai on which I have a separate post if you would like to read.

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The shortest distance is about 560km via Salem-Trichy-Pudukottai-Karaikkudi and would take nearly 10 to 11 hours of driving with stops in between. Since this was too much of drive, and I wanted to spend the night traveling the best option was train. I took a train from Bangalore to Madurai. Two common trains are the Tuticorin Express and Nagercoil Express. If you want to know the exact list of trains, click here. I reached Madurai at about 7:00 AM. Please be advised these trains can be late sometimes and if you have tickets in coaches S10 and beyond you can expect lots of people from unreserved compartments to be flooding these bogies as well. If you want to read my experience on that read my blog post here.

Commutation from Madurai

Once you are in Madurai - major places such as Kanyakumari, Rameswaram and Kodaikanal are all nearby - about 3 hours by drive. We took up an Innova on hire from Madurai to Rameswaram which costed us between 10-12 Rupees per kilometre. There is a fixed cost and and a variable cost split in this arrangement. Be aware that if you are going to the hills, then a separate hill stay charge of upto Rs.600/- is levied. This could be 100 or 200 higher depending on the market fluctuations.

Travel from Madurai to Rameswaram takes a good 3 hours by the time you reach you should be hungry for sure. As you go along the route, you will first enter Rameswaram via the Pamban bridge. Most vehicles make an undesignated stop here owing to the popularity of the bridge.

Pamban Bridge Railway

We went in the month of April which was presumed to be hotter but was not really so. Humid yes, but hot no. So you could go to Rameswaram within April end but no later. Best time to visit Rameswaram is between August to February when temperatures would likely be bearable. Its not so much the heat but the humidity which will kill you.

(image source: Wikipedia)

Pamban is an island that has the town of Rameswaram and it is linked to the mainland via the Pamban Bridge. It is the second largest sea bridge after Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The bridge is nearly 2km long and was rebuilt after the initial construction in 1914. Due to a cyclone that damaged the bridge in 1964, the Government had to repair it after. In 2013 the bridge got a damage due to a naval barge again. At a cost of 25 crores, the existing 65.23 metres (214.0 ft) long rolling type span was replaced with a 66 metres (217 ft) long single truss span which could be opened automatically.

The beauty of this bridge is that it even takes the weight of goods trains which are more heavier than passenger trains. At the same time when ships need to go through it can be opened up to allow them to pass. The sea with its myriad shades of blue, indigo and purple is a sight to behold at Pamban. The enormity and beauty of Pamban Railway cannot be stated and has to be seen with one’s own eyes.


This is a 4K video of a train passing through the Pamban Bridge which i hope you will enjoy. If you have a 40-55 inches TV, this would be worth a watch on that size of a TV, its almost as good as being there in real. Remember to set the resolution to 4K on YouTube.

What do you think of the Pamban Bridge experience? Write to me in the comments section.

Huawei Honor Pro 8 - Five reasons you must buy it

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In my last post I mentioned my experiences with the Huawei Honor Pro 8 in the first 24 hours of me buying it. In this post I wish to cover the good bits of the phone which are impressive enough to make a case to purchase it. So let’s then get down to business, shall we?





Camera


The dual lens camera is 12MP + 12MP RGB + Monochrome. What this means is professional quality fo pictures taken. The icing on the cake is wide aperture mode which allows you to adjust the aperture after the photo is taken which gives your images like what is shown below. The depth of field can be adjusted post taking the shot.


And trust me the camera is good. I mean really good. Almost close to Samsung which is the industry benchmark till now. Take a look yourself.



Battery

The 4000 mAH battery is there for a reason. For many people charging in between the day is a bit of hassle. For me too. This in spite of me having a 20000 mah power bank, a wireless charger and a fast charger with me always. Still the thought of battery dying down is irritating. Tugging cables along, scrambling for that cable to get that extra bit of juice - well all this is history with the Honor 8 Pro.

For the records, if i have 100% at 9am I still have 5% at 12am - a full 15 hours later. This is under heavy use - WhatsApp, videos on FB, hangout calls, phone calls, Virtual Reality video, Email sync, browsing, Wifi, LTE, Navigation - literally everything. Of course I am not a gamer but I think the phone would do well even if gaming were to be considered in the mix. Overall for the battery - a very big thumbs up !!

Virtual Reality viewer


The Honor 8 Pro doubles as a VR viewer and Google cardboard videos look great on this viewer. My only grouse is that the casing for the phone could have been more sturdier in some manner but you cannot expect more for free. This aside the Jaunt VR application is awesome and it tracks your eye movements to operate buttons within which is super cool. The lens kept falling off but hey like I said before - if its free I cannot complain much you see :-)

Storage and RAM


128GB storage and 6GB memory - at a full 7000 INR undercutting 1+5. Period - Enough said. If you have to know more details, the OS itself seems to take about 20GB leaving a little over 100GB for other stuff - but hey again - nothing to complain here.

Huawei’s RAM management is very strict and background process sync is controlled and throttled. For me this is a big plus. I am not a big fan of too much of sync happening over the background so this works well for me. Kudos again.

Sound output

I compared the sound output of Honor 8 pro vs the iPhone SE - a rather unlikely bunch to compare against. But still I connected these over bluetooth to my Beats Pill + bluetooth speaker. And no prizes for guessing who wins in terms of overall fidelity here. The honor goes to the Honor 8 pro. The separation of treble and bass and all the frequencies is very even across the band and its accoustically appealing.

The iPhone on the other hand was not so clearly separate with the tones and the difference is telling. You can listen to yourself.

Honor 8 pro & Beats Pill+

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_BkTHoP121yUDl1LTgyMU14WXM/view?usp=sharing

Apple iPhone SE & Beats Pill+

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_BkTHoP121yckpTWk1Td21xMVE/view?usp=sharing

Other stuff

Fast charging - Awesome again - not much heating of the phone, in about an hour we are ready to go with full charge. Good job here.

24 hours with the Huawei Honor 8 Pro

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I am hating to write lengthy reviews these days, and wanted to write this post a bit more differently. I just bought a Honor 8 pro from Huawei and wanted to bring up some of the things about this phone in this article. What better way is there rather than letting pictures speak for themselves …. So shall we jump in then ?

Phone Body

The front is made of Gorilla Glass, and I was expecting the rear of the phone to be glass as well but it seems to be made of ceramic or plastic which is not matte. Bottom line is that the front surface is extremely reflective, and the rear - very very slippery. The rear is also a fingerprint magnet which is no good again.

If you are not careful with this phone, you are bound to drop it very very easily. So a case and a strong tempered glass is absolutely essential. I happened to have the bad luck of letting it slip from my hand, but with not much damage except for a bit of scratches on the screen guard which was supplied.



Fingerprint scanner

This is one of the fastest implementation of the fingerprint scanner. I can confidently say its faster than Apple too. Place your finger on the “Backside” of the phone and you see the home screen or the app you were at when locked in a fraction of a second. Nothing more. But there is a flipside of this implementation.

You need to reach out to the backside of the phone always and in some situations you will not be able to do so and you will feel stuck. This is the reason rear finger print scanners are not always good.

The lack of a dedicated home button on the front means you need to always lift the phone and fumble to find that fingerprint sensor or type that long passcode to open the phone. Pretty irritating. Sorry Huawei - no marks for this.

The lack of double tap to open the screen to on state is also a sorely missed feature. A double tap does not do anything but a reverse knock on the screen takes a screenshot.


Display

Frankly even though the 5.7” QHD display is of 515 ppi pixel density, what is more interesting is the brightness of the display is very questionable in sunlight. So much so when the setting was to be at auto, and display at max brightness, I still couldn’t see a thing on the screen. You can see for yourself.

Indoor with auto setting


Display is clear and no issues reading stuff in this situation

Outdoor with auto setting - shade


Very very refective, but could see the screen though not very clearly. You need to have a viewing angle which is suitable for your eyes.

Outdoor with auto setting - in direct sunlight


You feel like throwing this phone away. Period. Nothing visible. My Samsung Note 5 was much better in this department. See for yourself.

Other Nifty Features

There are some other nifty features on this phone which I found good and useful and would be reasons for you to consider this phone. Let’s look at them one by one

Easy mark as read for messages



Even though this is not so much of a deal breaker, nevertheless it makes life so easy to swipe left and say mark as read by tapping once or twice max.

Info folder for SMS


These days we get lots of informative messages from Banks, notifications from Amazon, and so on… Huawei has decided to put these into an info folder for easy reference. Something I liked a lot.

Swipe down search


Pretty nifty as it is in the iPhone. Swipe down on home screen and you can search for your favorite apps. Was not the case with Note 5 from Samsung as it had two levels to reach to get there which was extremely annoying.

In another post I will talk about the selling point of this phone - its Camera & Battery, and we will compare Sound outputs between Honor and Apple on bluetooth.

Hope you enjoyed this post ! If so, please like, and share further.


Why you should NOT watch Spiderman Homecoming at the box office

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(image souce: Wikipedia)

It’s almost predictable what Spiderman movies would be like. Spin few webs here and there, save a big vehicle from disaster - a train or a ship or a plane, love a girl and use his skills to impress her and in the end fight an enemy, starting off with some small attacks being handled.

But Spiderman homecoming takes it to another level. The first half is barely interesting even for kids and I am not sure how Marvel thought they can keep the audience glued to the screen. The 3D effects are NOT the most brilliant or spectacular either. Bringing in the character of Stark to this movie the focus is split between the super heroes as well.

Add to that a friend knows who spiderman is makes it worse. Just to save the world from weapons of mass destruction spiderman brings down a plane carrying those weapons. I mean as though a person handling owning these weapons only had a planeful of them - kind of absurd for a company like Marvel to think of.

In short - its definitely NOT value for your money and you are better off waiting for it to appear on amazon or google movies to watch it at home. If you want to read how badly Spiderman did at the box office in USA, click here to read what Forbes has to say as well. You can see that the profits dip is one of the worst for the second week.

Save your money - and put it on something better at the box office.

Honda WRV Accessories - an overview

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The earlier blog post discussed at length on the Honda WRV interiors and exteriors and the drive experience. If you missed it you can read it here.

This post discusses the accessories that the WRV comes with and the different customization options provided by Honda to make your WRV ownership even more exciting.


Side and front body decals make the car look even better than normal. The front bumper guard will protect the car’s underside from scratches and dents while the roof rails lend a SUV style appeal to the car. The logo projector is similar to puddle lamps in cars like XUV which help you to understand what you are stepping on at night. There is also a rear bumper protector which makes it useful. There are also body side molds which helps in congested places like mall parking lots to prevent people from banging their car doors against yours.

Some other stuff include seat covers of different types and garnishes all over the body at different places. Nifty door handle protectors, parking sensors with buzzer and rear camera on rear view mirror means that you do not need a separate stereo system for the same.




Honda also provides rear spoiler, front armrest, wifi device for car, steering wheel covers, different types of mats, and rear tray nets besides mud guards and car covers.


With this extensive accessory list, Honda sure has given lots of options for buyers to make their WRV more complete. Customers have sure been pampered with many options when they buy the WRV.

So what are you waiting for - if you have the WRV - go ahead and indulge yourselves!

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