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Old 21st March 2016, 18:19   #1531
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Most A2B's are fine with some being very neat and some not maintained so well and the reason could be the excessive footfalls it sees. Food is quite decent at most outlets. However, the Sai Sangeet food is excellent and they have a very nice campus with good restrooms, some shopping options as well. Kids and family will love this place.
+1
In this case of Arcot A2B, since it is very new, it is well maintained and pretty neat. Food taste is same across all A2Bs so nothing different compared to other A2Bs.

-Ravi
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Old 22nd March 2016, 12:59   #1532
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

We are travelling tomorrow during the Holi/Easter holidays.
Are there any Shell/Reliance/Essar petrol pumps closer to Pondicherry (or between Pondi and Arcot)? Or is Ashram Petrol pump the best bet?
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Old 22nd March 2016, 16:49   #1533
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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We are travelling tomorrow during the Holi/Easter holidays.
Are there any Shell/Reliance/Essar petrol pumps closer to Pondicherry (or between Pondi and Arcot)? Or is Ashram Petrol pump the best bet?
As far as I know, Shell is present only in Chennai in the entire state of TN.
Google shows a couple of reliance fuel stations in Vellore.
Google also tells me that the closest ESSAR fuel station to Pondicherry is near Villupuram
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Old 22nd March 2016, 21:02   #1534
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Or is Ashram Petrol pump the best bet?
I don't remember seeing any bigger bunks between Pondi and Arcot. I guess Ashram bunk is best option.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 21:26   #1535
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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I don't remember seeing any bigger bunks between Pondi and Arcot. I guess Ashram bunk is best option.
There is an HP at Tindivanam adjacent to Vasantha Bhavan. Its a decent bunk I think. (Here)
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Old 23rd March 2016, 20:53   #1536
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

Traveled to Pondicherry today. Took the usual Silk Board -> Hosur Road-> Krishnagiri-> Ambur -> Vellore -> Arcot bypass -> Cheyyar bypass -> Vandavasi bypass -> Tindivanam bypass-> Pondicherry

The NH7 towards Chennai is superb except while passing thru Ambur. That stretch reminded me of Mysore hwy! A bit bad road, 2 lane plus locals. Though in general I observed that locals on this Chennai highway are more patient. Infact at one u-turn in Krishnagiri a private bus was blocking our side as he wanted to merge on opposite side from local road but due to traffic he couldn't and he looked at us and sort of apologized for holding us!

I was absolutely not impressed with SH5 between Arcot and Tindivanam. Looks like that is the weakest link in BLR-Pondi route. The stretch between Arcot and Cheyyar is in bad shape especially the first few kms (but still better than many Bangalore roads!). Some surfaces are relaid pathetically like how they do in Bangalore where only a small portion is relaid causing a 10 metre new uneven half road mingled with old road causing uneven surface. And this was in many places. Add to that the potholes and speed breakers which were unmarked (and most covered in dust and dirt). I don't know how people have reported getting a speed of 80-100 on this road! I couldn't even do a consistent 60. Add to that are the cars coming from opposite direction in your lane while they attempt to riskily overtake a bus instead of waiting patiently for 30 seconds! Pedestrians walking in the middle of road and bikers deciding to stop in middle of road to do chit-chat was another sight on this stretch. The first few kms were very bad. Things improved after that. This was on Wednesday afternoon!
The Cheyyar bypass road was in more bad shape with even worse road and more speed breakers (and they always come in pairs!).
The Cheyyar-Vandavasi road was better than Arcot-Cheyyar but still not that good where you can comfortably do 80. Vandavasi bypass road is still WIP and half of it (approx the first 3 kms) is superb but the rest is bad.
Vandavasi -> Tindivanam was good. Plus it was less populated so little higher speed is possible there except when it passes thru couple of small towns.

While slow cautious driving on SH5 made us lose time, it did give us more opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I couldn't believe some of the greens I saw! I didn't believe my eyes with all that greenery even in the month of March!

It was finally good to be on a proper highway (NH66) after Tindivanam which is also quite scenic. It made us discuss the deforestation that would have happened to build this NH66 since there were beautiful trees on both sides.
Also note that during the first couple of kms of NH66, there were many vehicles (primarily 2 wheelers but couple other vehicles too) we encountered coming from opposite direction in our lane! So be extra cautious for the first couple of kms of NH66.
I do expect some vehicles will drive towards you, but that's typically in leftmost (slow) lane. Here I saw them coming in rightmost (fast) lane as well!

Is the direct route to Pondi that is WIP all NH or involves SH? I wish they complete it fast. I am already thinking about my return journey that I would have to undertake on SH5 coming Sunday :(

Edited to add my feedback on Sai Sangeet - It is fantastic restaurant. We spotted one sign 6 kms prior and then other just 100 meters away. Not sure if there were more signs that we missed. Good thing is that it's right on highway so no need to take any exit/service road. Parking is good and so is staff. The store was a delight and we purchased few things there too. The restrooms were clean (they are outside and you have to take stairs down but there is a ramp to come up so no need to climb back on stairs). Bonus was the birds and rabbit that they have on the way to restroom. My toddler son loved it. Regarding food, it was delicious. Staff was courteous as well. Note that we reached around 11:30 am and they did not have hot Idly/Medu vada (they have morning stock only). But dosas etc were good and specially chutney/sambhar was good. My wife believes a South Indian eatery is as good as it's chutney/sambhar and she praised the food here so count me too now in the list of people who will vouch for Sai Sangeet.

Last edited by JD1 : 23rd March 2016 at 21:00.
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Old 23rd March 2016, 21:30   #1537
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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I was absolutely not impressed with SH5 between Arcot and Tindivanam. Looks like that is the weakest link in BLR-Pondi route. The stretch between Arcot and Cheyyar is in bad shape especially the first few kms (but still better than many Bangalore roads!). Some surfaces are relaid pathetically like how they do in Bangalore where only a small portion is relaid causing a 10 metre new uneven half road mingled with old road causing uneven surface. And this was in many places.
The reason why most like it because, this is the easiest way to Pondicherry. Because if you take the regular NH66 (Krishnagiri-Chengam-Tiruvannamalai-Tindivanam-Pondicherry), you will realise, why this option has gained prominence. Krishnagiri-Tindivanam has been in bad state for quite some time. Once they fix it, may be folks will shift to the good old NH66. However its also possible that Arcot-Tindivanam may have deteriorated over time thanks to Pondicherry traffic shifting on to this stretch.

But after enjoying the eating joints and the brilliant Krishnagiri-Vellore 6-lane, I wonder if this current route would still be better! NH66 does not seem to have many options. Need to see what turns up once the 2-lane road is relaid.

Last edited by ampere : 23rd March 2016 at 21:34.
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Old 26th March 2016, 18:10   #1538
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Originally Posted by JD1 View Post
The stretch between Arcot and Cheyyar is in bad shape especially the first few kms (but still better than many Bangalore roads!). Some surfaces are relaid pathetically like how they do in Bangalore where only a small portion is relaid causing a 10 metre new uneven half road mingled with old road causing uneven surface.
I guess you were unlucky my friend. Looks like they were just relaying all the bad patches and you got there when half the work was done. I drove on 24th and its was smooth roads with a lot of newly tarred stretches.
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I don't know how people have reported getting a speed of 80-100 on this road! I couldn't even do a consistent 60.
I covered the 95 km from Arcot to Tindivanam in 90 minutes, which a decent speed for a 2 lane state highway
Quote:
The Cheyyar bypass road was in more bad shape with even worse road and more speed breakers (and they always come in pairs!).
This has always been this way and I doubt will improve much
Quote:
I am already thinking about my return journey that I would have to undertake on SH5 coming Sunday :(
Trust me, its all about timing. Drive the SH when all would be relatively quiet i.e the siesta time. But this would mean spending more time at the tolls on NH when coming closer to Bangalore.
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feedback on Sai Sangeet - It is fantastic restaurant.
Second that. Great place to stop for a bite and stretch your legs. Please note - if you are travelling with women folk, your pocket will get lighter thanks to the shopping option
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Old 26th March 2016, 19:36   #1539
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Ever optimistic, I keep track of NHAI website for the ill fated road project between Krishnagiri to Tindivanam via Thiruvanamalai. Here is the status (source link)

Expected completion March 2016! BTW, that is the first time they are clearly providing a target...41% remains pending.

31st January 2016 status shows a new target date of Dec 2016.
61.21 kms complete (vs 59.43 complete in 31st July 2015 report) - so only 1.78 kms done in 6 months!! Hope they meet the year end deadline.

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The reason why most like it because, this is the easiest way to Pondicherry. Because if you take the regular NH66 (Krishnagiri-Chengam-Tiruvannamalai-Tindivanam-Pondicherry), you will realise, why this option has gained prominence. Krishnagiri-Tindivanam has been in bad state for quite some time. Once they fix it, may be folks will shift to the good old NH66.
Agreed. Just wishing that NH66 completes sooner. There is day and night difference between driving on NH vs SH.

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I guess you were unlucky my friend. Looks like they were just relaying all the bad patches and you got there when half the work was done. I drove on 24th and its was smooth roads with a lot of newly tarred stretches.
I covered the 95 km from Arcot to Tindivanam in 90 minutes, which a decent speed for a 2 lane state highway
I traveled on 23rd afternoon. I will be traveling back tomorrow afternoon so hopefully should benefit from roadwork completion. It took me a little over 2 hours so you did it in good time
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Old 27th March 2016, 09:57   #1540
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Second that. Great place to stop for a bite and stretch your legs. Please note - if you are travelling with women folk, your pocket will get lighter thanks to the shopping option
Hi. Just curious to know when you started from Bangalore and when you reached Sai Sangeet.
Trying to estimate how much time I need if driving a hatchback at lower speeds
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Old 27th March 2016, 10:14   #1541
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Hi. Just curious to know when you started from Bangalore and when you reached Sai Sangeet.

Trying to estimate how much time I need if driving a hatchback at lower speeds

Usually takes anywhere between 1.15 hrs to 1.45 hrs from Attibele toll gate depending on the pile up at Krishnagiri and the high volume traffic between Hosur and krishnagiri. Time till Attibele depends on where from Bangalore
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Old 28th March 2016, 08:52   #1542
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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Trying to estimate how much time I need if driving a hatchback at lower speeds
Quote:
Originally Posted by prabhuferrari View Post
Usually takes anywhere between 1.15 hrs to 1.45 hrs from Attibele toll gate
Nice road (Tumkur road entrance) - 10.15 am
Sai Sangeet - 1:15 PM
The above was after mutiple short breaks as a friend of mine was tagging along in his ecosport and had a 9 month kid with him. prabhuferrari's estimate of 1.5 hrs to ambur from EC toll will be a very reasonable estimate for 90-110 kmph speeds and normal traffic conditions on Hosur - Krishnagiri stretch.
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Old 3rd April 2016, 14:52   #1543
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

Sharing my return drive experience from last weekend. But first road condition update from Pondicherry to Pichavaram Mangrove Forest in case any of you plan to visit the place-
Cuddalore road (NH45A) road was ok-ish till Pondicherry limits and superb in TN. Note that roadwork was ongoing on Pondicherry side so I expect it to be superb by now. Once you enter TN, you can easily drive @ 50-70 for the first 10-15 kms. There was heavy traffic (especially of buses and trucks on both sides). After the initial 10-15 kms, traffic lightens up so 80 is very much doable (I did not spot any speed limit signs on this road - anyone knows what is the speed limit in TN?). I did witness a car being pulled out of a ditch on the other side while traveling towards Pichavaram :(
There are 2 railway crossings - at the first one there was police check ongoing to. I was also asked very politely to open the trunk.
The left that we have to take to goto Pichavaram Mangroves is well marked so you cannot miss it. That road is also well tarred so no issues. Just before arriving at the Boating club/counter, you have to pass thru village area and some local goons had setup a illegal toll booth taking Rs 50 from each vehicle. The boating area had good parking facilities and they had additional parking in a nearby lot adjacent to a small park. You might reach Pichavaram in 1.5 hours due to good roads thruout but 2 hours is a more realistic time from Pondicherry due to traffic and wait time @ the two railway crossings.
Now regarding Pondi-Blore return journey, the SH5 between Tindivanam and Arcot was better so I guess the roadwork that happened helped. I did encounter quite a number of cattle crossing (I was traveling late afternoon) so beware of the goats etc suddenly crossing the road. I stopped at Arya Bhavan/HP/CCD after Vellore (and before Pallikonda toll) only to find Arya Bhavan permanently closed. The CCD was almost empty (probably because there were no signs of CCD when we took the service road). There is another CCD ahead (approx 90kms before Krishnagiri) next to BP petrol pump and that was totally full packed probably because it was on the highway and no need to take any service roads. We were amazed at the contrast of those 2 CCDs within 20-25 kms - one CCD fully empty and other fully packed!
Even though we were traveling on Sunday evening, no issues with traffic till Krishnagiri toll and that's where we faced our first big jam. It took 1/2 hr at that toll, approx 15 mins at Attibele toll and 6 mins at Elex city flyover toll booth. As expected, we encountered heavy traffic from Krishnagiri toll onwards till Elex city flyover entrance.
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Old 3rd April 2016, 15:05   #1544
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

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I stopped at Arya Bhavan/HP/CCD after Vellore (and before Pallikonda toll) only to find Arya Bhavan permanently closed. The CCD was almost empty (probably because there were no signs of CCD when we took the service road). There is another CCD ahead (approx 90kms before Krishnagiri) next to BP petrol pump and that was totally full packed probably because it was on the highway and no need to take any service roads. We were amazed at the contrast of those 2 CCDs within 20-25 kms - one CCD fully empty and other fully packed!

The Arya Bhavan at HP Bunk wasn't too great. Hence it does not come as a surprise to me. And given we have so many good hotels on this highway now, I am sure without good quality one cannot survive here. As the monopoly aspect no more exists.

As regards to CCD, even I was surprised how a new one opened right next to this HP bunk CCD, when I noticed it. But having said the location of the new is very good. Right at the base of the hills. It it rains, it makes for an amazing setting.

Last edited by ampere : 4th April 2016 at 14:00. Reason: Typo Fixed
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Old 15th April 2016, 09:58   #1545
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Default Re: Bangalore - Pondicherry : Route Queries

I would like to thank everyone on this thread who shared their experience on the Bangalore Pondicherry route. I went to pondi on the 9th-10th April weekend and took the suggested Hosur Road-> Krishnagiri-> Ambur -> Vellore -> Arcot bypass -> Cheyyar bypass -> Vandavasi bypass -> Tindivanam bypass-> Pondicherry route.

Till Arcot bypass it is fantastic 4-6 lane highway and then it is a double lane state highway. The SH road condition is ok and except one or two small streches of broken roads, i did not encounter any large section of bad or potholed roads. In fact, i would say that SH road condition is better than bangalore roads.
The traffic is less and there are no tolls. I could easily maintain a speed of 70-80 kmph.

While returning, i stopped at Sai Sangeet and had nice breakfast. As soon as you enter the place you are greeted with a sand statue of Lord Shiva but the only peculiar thing is that it if facing away from you. I have never seen such thing before. Might be that it is facing the ashram of SadGuru jaggi vasudev.

Both ways, I was stopped by the police for car checking due to elections and my car and boot was videographed.

And while returning, 20Kms before Hosur, i witnessed a horrific accident and strange incident. One biker with a child sitting on the petrol tank in front of him, got hit by a car or lorry. I reached the spot maybe 2 mins after the accident. The bike was new but neither the biker nor the child had any safety helmets.
The child had fallen on the road and was bleeding and bruised. It was wailing with pain. I parked my car on the side and rushed to the spot. There were many coconuts spilled on the road which he was carrying in a sack. I collected them and handed it over. By the time a good number of people had gathered and someone had even called the ambulance.
As soon as people picked up the child to take to hospital, a strange thing happened. The biker who was either an elder brother or father refused to let go of the child and refused medical help. Might have been worried and afraid due to medical expense, i do not know.
He took the motorcycle to the side, started it, put the bleeding and bruised child in front on the petrol tank and drove off. I felt sorry for the child but there was nothing i could do!
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