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Old 29th November 2011, 20:31   #1
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Smile Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Hi Guys,

As part of my annual vacation I have decided to drive down to Kerala instead of the usual totally relaxed holiday. Though I am originally from Bangalore, I have never visited Kerala. I am driving down from Hyderabad and will be spending a couple of nights on my way forward and back.

I have booked hotels in Kovalam and Munnar. The trip plan looks as below Bangalore > Kovalam - 3rd Dec
Kovalam > Munnar - 6th Dec
Munnar > Bangalore - 9th Dec.

There is more than required information on TBHP to have finalized the trip plan as below.

Bangalore >Krishnagiri >Salem >Dindigul >Madurai(Bypass) >Tirunelveli >Nagercoil >Marthandam >Kovalam

Based on the below, post

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post2028341 (Munnar-> Trivandrum-> Trichy)

TVM>Changanaserry>Kanjirapalli>Kuttikanam>Kattapan a>Puliyanmala>Munnar

Based on the below, post

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post2486415


From the above routes, if someone can give inputs if these still are the best options. And what about present road conditions and travel times. I am sedate driver but I am pretty consistent and take very breaks.

Bigger issue is for the journey back the following are my options.

Munnar >Chinnar >Udumalaipet >Coimbatore >Satyamangalam >Chamrajnagar >Mysore >Bangalore

OR

Munnar > Theni >Namakkal >Salem >Krishnagiri >Bangalore

Which ones of the above should I choose, I am slightly familiar with both the routes. And I do live in JP Nagar, the south part of Bangalore so I intend to take the Hosur Road Flyover from Silkboard or should I avoid it and head straight to the ORR from Bannergatta road?

Looking forward for your valuable inputs. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by downsouth : 29th November 2011 at 20:37.
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Old 29th November 2011, 20:42   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by downsouth View Post
Based on the below, post

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post2486415

From the above routes, if someone can give inputs if these still are the best options. And what about present road conditions and travel times. I am sedate driver but I am pretty consistent and take very breaks.

Bigger issue is for the journey back the following are my options.

Munnar >Chinnar >Udumalaipet >Coimbatore >Satyamangalam >Chamrajnagar >Mysore >Bangalore

OR

Munnar > Theni >Namakkal >Salem >Krishnagiri >Bangalore

Neither of the two.
Munnar >Chinnar >Udumalaipet -> Dharapuram-Kangeyam-Perundurai-Salem-Bangalore.

Thats the best option which lets you see the views along Udumalpet and also drive on the 4L.


EDIT:
Another suggestion (or rather a doubt from my side) on Kovalam-Munnar

Would it not that the best option would be via the MC road :
Kovalam-Kottakkara-Kottayam-Muvattupuzha-Adimali-Munnar?
Or is it too much of traffic?

Last edited by ampere : 29th November 2011 at 20:49.
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Old 29th November 2011, 22:06   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Neither of the two.
Munnar >Chinnar >Udumalaipet -> Dharapuram-Kangeyam-Perundurai-Salem-Bangalore.

Thats the best option which lets you see the views along Udumalpet and also drive on the 4L.


EDIT:
Another suggestion (or rather a doubt from my side) on Kovalam-Munnar

Would it not that the best option would be via the MC road :
Kovalam-Kottakkara-Kottayam-Muvattupuzha-Adimali-Munnar?
Or is it too much of traffic?
Ampere, thanks for the suggested change to Munnar to Bangalore route.

The Kovalam to Munnar leg I really don't have any clue, I never had a second option. Moreover, I am getting terribly confused with the names so dont want to experiment in unfamiliar territory especially pronouncing the names which people would mistake for a totally different place.
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Old 29th November 2011, 22:39   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Bangalore-Kovalam:

Be prepared to face heavy traffic after you leave NH7, approach Nagercoil and all the way towards Kovalam on NH47. Some relief only late in the night and very early morning.

Turn off NH47 way after Marthandam beyond the KL border Check Post, Neyyatinkara till you reach the town of Balarama-puram (no confusion in that name). Here, you take a left turn (straight continues to Trivandrum) to reach Kovalam. DO NOT take any other turn off before this junction.

KOvalam-Munnar:

Your routing is correct. ampere, downsouth is indeed going on MC Road via Kottarakara, but he does not have to go upto Kottayam, he is turning off MC Road at Changanaserry.

Your problem is Trivandrum. You have 2 choices: to go through TVM city (not so simple, but not complex either) or bypass Trivandrum. I suggest you bypass Trivandrum which is one straight road from Kovalam and goes via Techno Park to reach the place called Kazhakootam (don't try pronouncing this name), but it is just 1 km after crossing Techno Park (you can't miss this IT hub of TVM), and also Ginger Hotel next to it.Within 2-3 kms from Kazahakootam (which is the point where the bypass ends and NH47 resumes), you will see a small road turning to the right with a sign board indiacting KOTTAYAM. Take that road which goes to venjaramoodu, which is a town on the MC Road (Trivandrum-Changanaserry road).

MC Road is narrow and twisty. Before Changanaserry town, you can bypass the town by turning to the right (sign board will indicate THEKKADY/Kumily), and that will take you to the road to Kanjirapalli, without touching Kottayam. Ghat roads from Kanjirapalli onwards.
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Old 29th November 2011, 23:14   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
MC Road is narrow and twisty. Before Changanaserry town, you can bypass the town by turning to the right (sign board will indicate THEKKADY/Kumily), and that will take you to the road to Kanjirapalli, without touching Kottayam. Ghat roads from Kanjirapalli onwards.
So does it mean going via Kumily/Idukki is better compared to going all the way up Muvattupuzha and then reach Munnar via Adimali?

So, the Iddukki access from NH49 branches off from Pooppara? Is that the route, one needs to take while coming from Kanjirapalli to reach Munnar?
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Old 29th November 2011, 23:31   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
So does it mean going via Kumily/Idukki is better compared to going all the way up Muvattupuzha and then reach Munnar via Adimali?

So, the Iddukki access from NH49 branches off from Pooppara? Is that the route, one needs to take while coming from Kanjirapalli to reach Munnar?
You can go to Munnar on 3 routes:

1. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Kuttikanam-Puliyanmala-Munnar
LOvely. Rubber Estates. Tea plantations. Lovely landscapes. Detours possible to Paruntampara, Gavi, Thekkady/Periyar, Vagamon, Ramakkalmedu. Best route to take if you are staying at Club M or Sterling

2. Changanaserry-Kottayam-Muvattupuzha-Kothamangalam-Adimali-Munnar
Lots of KL countryside, towns, congested Kottayam. Mountain landscapes only last 25 kms. Good facilities, best route to take if you are running late at night.

3. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Erattupetta-Muttom-Idukki-Kattapana-Puliyanmala-Munnar
Lovely wildlife route. Least travelled. No travel after 6 pm. Goes past some magnificent dam reservoirs. Recommended only for the ardent driving enthusiast though.

Poopara is on the Puliyanmala-Munnar road, the point where NH49 from Theni/Madurai join the Thekkady/Kumili-Munnar road. In both Routes 1 & 3, you have to go via Poopara.
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Old 29th November 2011, 23:39   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by downsouth View Post
TVM>Changanaserry>Kanjirapalli>Kuttikanam>Kattapan a>Puliyanmala>Munnar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
KOvalam-Munnar:
Your routing is correct. ampere, downsouth is indeed going on MC Road via Kottarakara, but he does not have to go upto Kottayam, he is turning off MC Road at Changanaserry.
Your problem is Trivandrum. You have 2 choices: to go through TVM city (not so simple, but not complex either) or bypass Trivandrum. I suggest you bypass Trivandrum which is one straight road from Kovalam and goes via Techno Park to reach the place called Kazhakootam (don't try pronouncing this name), but it is just 1 km after crossing Techno Park (you can't miss this IT hub of TVM), and also Ginger Hotel next to it.Within 2-3 kms from Kazahakootam (which is the point where the bypass ends and NH47 resumes), you will see a small road turning to the right with a sign board indiacting KOTTAYAM. Take that road which goes to venjaramoodu, which is a town on the MC Road (Trivandrum-Changanaserry road).

MC Road is narrow and twisty. Before Changanaserry town, you can bypass the town by turning to the right (sign board will indicate THEKKADY/Kumily), and that will take you to the road to Kanjirapalli, without touching Kottayam. Ghat roads from Kanjirapalli onwards.
Hi, I stay in Kattappana. I think Kovalam> Kazhkoottam> venjaramoodu(via pothencode) > kottarakara> kottayam> muvattupuzha> kothamangalam> adimali> Munnar is more easier route. If you want to go via kattappana, take kovalam >kottarakkara> adoor> pathanamthitta> ranny> erumely>mundakayam>kuttikkanam>kattappana> puliyanmala> nedumkandam> udumbuchola> santhanpara> pooppara > devikulam > munnnar. The route via changanaserry is 30 kilometers longer than via pathanamthitta. Ghat road starts from Mundakayam, not kanjirappally.
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Old 29th November 2011, 23:48   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by anb View Post
Hi, I stay in Kattappana. I think Kovalam> Kazhkoottam> venjaramoodu(via pothencode) > kottarakara> kottayam> muvattupuzha> kothamangalam> adimali> Munnar is more easier route. If you want to go via kattappana, take kovalam >kottarakkara> adoor> pathanamthitta> ranny> erumely>mundakayam>kuttikkanam>kattappana> puliyanmala> nedumkandam> udumbuchola> santhanpara> pooppara > devikulam > munnnar. The route via changanaserry is 30 kilometers longer than via pathanamthitta. Ghat road starts from Mundakayam, not kanjirappally.
I agree with you on the shorter route via Ranni, etc, but for a first-time visitor, I would prefer that downsouth stick to the main roads where there is no confusion and clear English signages.And also see as much of variety of landscapes of KL as he can during his drive.

One more thing to be mentioned - the famous Sabarimala pilgrim season is on now (till mid-Jan) and expect all these roads to be crazy with high density of traffic, mostly from out of the state and as equally new to the place as you are, so take care. Hence, I would scratch out the route via Ranni & Erumeli completely because that is the epicentre of the pilgrim traffic where all the vehicles converge before reaching the mountain temple shrine.
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Old 29th November 2011, 23:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post


3. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Erattupetta-Muttom-Idukki-Kattapana-Puliyanmala-Munnar


Poopara is on the Puliyanmala-Munnar road, the point where NH49 from Theni/Madurai join the Thekkady/Kumili-Munnar road. In both Routes 1 & 3, you have to go via Poopara.
One month ago, Muttom-kanjirappally road was in very bad condition. The road between pooppara and munnar is very narrow. There is one more way to go to munnar after Nedumkandam. Take left from Udumbumchola then Rajakkad >Ellakal> Munnar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I agree with you on the shorter route via Ranni, etc, but for a first-time visitor, I would prefer that downsouth stick to the main roads where there is no confusion and clear English signages.And also see as much of variety of landscapes of KL as he can during his drive.

One more thing to be mentioned - the famous Sabarimala pilgrim season is on now (till mid-Jan) and expect all these roads to be crazy with high density of traffic, mostly from out of the state and as equally new to the place as you are, so take care. Hence, I would scratch out the route via Ranni & Erumeli completely because that is the epicentre of the pilgrim traffic where all the vehicles converge before reaching the mountain temple shrine.
You are right . I forgot about the Sabarimala Season.

Last edited by mobike008 : 30th November 2011 at 13:24. Reason: Back to back posts. Please wait for 30 Mins before next post or use EDIT button to make changes to existing post.
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Old 30th November 2011, 01:06   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You can go to Munnar on 3 routes:

1. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Kuttikanam-Puliyanmala-Munnar
LOvely. Rubber Estates. Tea plantations. Lovely landscapes. Detours possible to Paruntampara, Gavi, Thekkady/Periyar, Vagamon, Ramakkalmedu. Best route to take if you are staying at Club M or Sterling

2. Changanaserry-Kottayam-Muvattupuzha-Kothamangalam-Adimali-Munnar
Lots of KL countryside, towns, congested Kottayam. Mountain landscapes only last 25 kms. Good facilities, best route to take if you are running late at night.

3. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Erattupetta-Muttom-Idukki-Kattapana-Puliyanmala-Munnar
Lovely wildlife route. Least travelled. No travel after 6 pm. Goes past some magnificent dam reservoirs. Recommended only for the ardent driving enthusiast though.

Poopara is on the Puliyanmala-Munnar road, the point where NH49 from Theni/Madurai join the Thekkady/Kumili-Munnar road. In both Routes 1 & 3, you have to go via Poopara.
The route I usually take is a fourth alternative. A few kms north of Thiruvalla on MC Road, take the road to Thengana (byepassing Changanacherry). At Thengana, cross the Changanacherry Vazhoor road and continue straight towards Puthuppally and further to Manarcaud (You hit NH220 here). Take a left (towards Kottayam) and then the immediate right at Manarcaud junction and continue to Ayarkunnam-Kidangoor-Palai-Thodupuzha, and take the road to Oonnukal from there (Oonnukal is on NH49 near Neriyamangalam). From there use NH49 to Moonnar. All roads on this route used to be quite good (at least till 3-4 months ago), and you can avoid the crazy traffic on MC road between Thiruvalla and Ettumanoor.
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Old 30th November 2011, 10:32   #11
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Thumbs up Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You can go to Munnar on 3 routes:

1. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Kuttikanam-Puliyanmala-Munnar
LOvely. Rubber Estates. Tea plantations. Lovely landscapes. Detours possible to Paruntampara, Gavi, Thekkady/Periyar, Vagamon, Ramakkalmedu. Best route to take if you are staying at Club M or Sterling

3. Changanaserry-Kanjirapalli-Erattupetta-Muttom-Idukki-Kattapana-Puliyanmala-Munnar
Lovely wildlife route. Least travelled. No travel after 6 pm. Goes past some magnificent dam reservoirs. Recommended only for the ardent driving enthusiast though.

Poopara is on the Puliyanmala-Munnar road, the point where NH49 from Theni/Madurai join the Thekkady/Kumili-Munnar road. In both Routes 1 & 3, you have to go via Poopara.
Thanks for the very detailed route's suggested, no wonder MileCruncher from Hyderabad TBHP suggested your name as soon as my trip was being planned.

Coming back to the route, I understand that option 1 and 3 are best suited for me, I get to see some of the country side as well.

What are the driving times on these routes, I will probably check-out from Kovalam after 8AM. I know there will be some traffic in and around Kerala due to the Shabarimala Season as well the Tourists who will coming to Kerala.

BTW what is MC road, this name keeps popping up and I have no clue.
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Old 30th November 2011, 10:44   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by downsouth View Post
Coming back to the route, I understand that option 1 and 3 are best suited for me, I get to see some of the country side as well.

What are the driving times on these routes, I will probably check-out from Kovalam after 8AM. I know there will be some traffic in and around Kerala due to the Shabarimala Season as well the Tourists who will coming to Kerala.
First problem is that Kerala roads are horribly congested and slow by day time, hence I would request you to leave much earlier by, say 5 am or so, to beat the traffic on MC Rad. If you leave that time, you should reach Changanaserry by 8 am latest (I take only 2-2.5 hours at that time) and after that traffic is mild if you are going on the Kanjirapalli route. The MUvattupuzha route will be congested all the way till you cross Kothamangalam town. Hence, I prefer Route 1.

If you drive - and with 1 break - , if you leave at 5 am from Kovalam, you should be able to reach Munnar by 3-4 pm. These is just an indicative time, depends on your speed, ability to speed on curvy roads and appetite to stop around and check out the countryside. Conservatively, budget for a full day drive so that you can enjoy Kerala's rubber estates, pepper bushes, tea counties & cardamom hills to the utmost.


Quote:
BTW what is MC road, this name keeps popping up and I have no clue.
Main Central Road - M C Road - is the State Highway that connects Trivandrum with Angamali north of Kochi. It runs parallel to NH47 from south to north (till Angamali) and is an excellent highway but is very curvy and maybe not as fast for a newbie. Facilities are decent, and I can recommend places like Hotel Elegance (Kanjirapalli) for food or toilet breaks.
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Old 30th November 2011, 11:49   #13
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Exclamation Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Bangalore - Nagercoil route is excellent. No problems there. If you leave Bangalore by 2 am, you can easily cover the NH7 at night. The highway is brilliant. No other word to describe it. You will have dozens of Volvo B9Rs for company!!! Just follow them at 120 kmph!

Your headache will start as soon as you reach Nagercoil. The city is a mess and you will need to ask for directions to find the NH to Trivandrum. Beware of KSRTC buses driven on this route. The highway from Nagercoil to TVM is probably the worst in India!!!

Please note that the highways in Kerala are almost entirely two laned. It takes a LOT of time to traverse between towns on the MC Road. Most of the Kerala RTC buses use the Trivandrum - kottarakara - kottayam - Muvattupuzha - kothamangalam - Adimali - Munnar route. It is quite easy to drive on this route. Not too much high range and ghats. You can see pics of Adimali - Munnar route in my travelogue on Munnar.

Another very important advice I would like to give you is to STAY AWAY from the private buses of Kerala as much as possible. Those buses are driven by thugs and they will show no mercy.

As HVK sir mentioned, the best time to travel on MC road is at night. You will not be bothered by private buses much. If you leave Kovalam at 3 am, you will be able to reach Kottayam or even Ponkunnam or Kanjirapally in time for breakfast and a break.

Please note that the Sabarimala season is in full swing as other members mentioned already and vehicles returning from Sabarimala are usually driven very rashly. Take care when overtaking in the narrow MC road.

If you like adventure and scenery, try to drive to Munnar via Kottayam - Ponkunnam - Kuttikanam - Thekkadi - Kumily and Pooppara. The views are simply breathtaking and Munnar is best enjoyed when you approach it through this route. But daytime traffic is very heavy on this route. The road is barely wide enough for a bus to pass through!

We started our drive from Pooppara to Munnar at 6.30 am and reached Munnar before 9 am. We encountered very less traffic at that time. Let us know your final plan.

If I were to drive to Munnar from Trivandrum, I would leave by 1 am and try to reach Pooppara via Ponkunnam and Kumily at least by 6 am to beat the rush.

Return journey from Munnar is pretty straightforward. Take the Munnar > Chinnar > Udumalaipet > Dharapuram > Kangeyam > Perundurai > Salem > Bangalore route as Ampere suggested.

The views are excellent on the Munnar - Udumalaipet route. And do remember to carry lots and lots of water and food when you drive back from Munnar. You will have to drive through two forest reserves, Chinnar and Annamalai, where facilities are non-existent. And make sure that your vehicle's tyres are in perfect condition before you leave Munnar!

We did a Pune - Trivandrum - Velankanni - Munnar trip this July. Road conditions were excellent then!

Last edited by mobike008 : 30th November 2011 at 13:23. Reason: Please STICK to 2 smileys per post....
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Old 30th November 2011, 13:02   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

HVKumar and Chevy_Lover thank you for the tips and suggestions. Especially the driving habits of locals, traffic conditions and roads. After an incident on the Bangalore-Mumbai highway I always avoid late night driving alone with just my spouse in the car. So post bachelor-days I typically drive during the day, the late night/very early morning driving is avoided. Nevertheless, I do start early between 4AM to 5AM which seems more feasible for me.

I guess then based on the inputs I am going to follow the below routes

Bangalore >Krishnagiri >Salem >Dindigul >Madurai >Tirunelveli >Nagercoil >Marthandam >Kovalam

Kovalam>Changanaserry >Kanjirapalli >Kuttikanam >Puliyanmala >Munnar


Munnar >Chinnar >Udumalaipet > Dharapuram >Kangeyam >Perundurai >Salem >Bangalore

Once I am back I will update this thread on the route and conditions, etc.

Anymore suggestions and help please do post it here.

Once Again thanks everyone.
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Old 30th November 2011, 15:56   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore > Kovalam > Munnar > Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
If you leave that time, you should reach Changanaserry by 8 am latest (I take only 2-2.5 hours at that time) and after that traffic is mild if you are going on the Kanjirapalli route. The MUvattupuzha route will be congested all the way till you cross Kothamangalam town. Hence, I prefer Route 1.
Sir,

For the route you suggested
Kovalam >Changanaserry >Kanjirapalli >Kuttikanam >Puliyanmala >Munnar

I was looking up route from Kovalam to Changaserry, seems like they are multiple options for example, should I head straight and go via Kayankulam which is NH66 Or take right at Kollam to join MC Road Kottarakkara.

Can you please provide me the route to reach Changanaserry. Google Maps is not the best of friends when plotting the route.

Thanks
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