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Old 22nd October 2011, 18:15   #2836
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by bejoyr View Post
Hi DieselAddikt-> Few days old comments below suggests Plkd-Ottappalam-Shoranur-Wadakkanchery-Trichur route instead of usual Plkd-Thrichur.

I am travelling BLR-Kottayam in next few days and I will be mostly reaching this section around midnight. Just want to re-confirm if the section in decent enough to avoid the alternative route during late night as others advised?
If your travel is within few days and there is no continuous heavy rain in Kerala, stick on to regular NH47 itself.
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Old 22nd October 2011, 18:17   #2837
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

@coolclouds

The road is not bad at all. Especially when you are following a convoy. I was talking about midnight drives when you might be the only person travelling in the same direction. I was just giving a word of caution.

@bejoyr

The road is mostly good. The BIG potholes have been fixed. There are a few small potholes left, but are ok for driving. The 1km stretch near Kuthiran is the only place where you really have to be careful. But there you will be going slow anyway due to those 'hardly' moving trucks. I was driving a Vista and found the drive to be fairly comfortable. Never did I feel that I should have taken the alternate routes. Just my opinion.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 08:48   #2838
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Default Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

I drove from Bangalore to Trivandrum via Rajapalayam- Thenmala yesterday. Please see trip sheet below.

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Road Condition

1. Bangalore to NH7 exit near Thirumangalam - Excellent. Road surface is broken around Hosur. Thoppur Ghat is repaired. Speed breakers are removed.

2. Thirumangalam - Thenmala - Mostly good but cannot maintain high speeds due to lot of towns in between. Average speed would be dropped considerably due to Rajapalayam and Shenkottai towns. Good for a relaxed drive. Traffic is not heavy and there are no traffic jams in towns.

2. Thenmala - Kulathupuzha - Tamil Nadu side was being pathced up. Many sections were being relaid in Kerala side (quality of work bad though like typical Kerala state Highway. Have to be very careful in the Ghat sections as road is very narrow in some places and Trucks are very rash. Avoid this section at night as there could be traffic jams at the checkpost due to high truck traffic

3. Kulathupuzha - Palade - Pothole ridden but manageable. 1 or 2 craters but OK. Might be repaired soon. Traffic very less

4. Palode - Nedumangad - Good quality though narrow. Light traffic

5. Nedumangad - Vattapra - Patchy and narrow.

6. Vattappara - Kesavadasapuram - Good. No traffic jams.

Update on Hotels

Stopped for breakfast at Hotel Aristo but they did not have service yesterday as the cooking gas was over. We stopped for breakfast at Hotel Valluvar. It is around 16 KMS after Hotel Aristo on the RHS. It is a newly opened one with very neat toilets and ample car parking space. Food was tasty and cheap. Highly recommended. I had stopped here for evening tea while driving from Trivandrum to Bangalore in August.

Stopped for Lunch at Hotel Bell Monkey Ilanji. This is around 75 KMS after Rajapalayam after the bypass to Thenkasi on the LHS. This has ample car parking, neat toiltets, Children's play area. Food is decent. Price of 1 veg meal Rs 50/-. This is the first decent restaurant that we spotted on NH208.


I had apprehensions on taking this route. Many thanks to hvkumar sir and ampere sir for their help

Last edited by pramodpk : 23rd October 2011 at 08:52. Reason: Add content
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Old 23rd October 2011, 10:07   #2839
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Default Re: Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

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Originally Posted by pramodpk View Post
I drove from Bangalore to Trivandrum via Rajapalayam- Thenmala yesterday. Please see trip sheet below.
Amazing update Pramod! Especially the fact that the humps around have been removed.
So all the 8 are gone? The authorities should have just sized them correctly instead removing them totally.

After so work on finding hotel Aristo, you just could not beat the cooking gas!
So overall do you think it was worth taking the route via Palode instead of braving the traffic via Nagercoil?
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Old 23rd October 2011, 11:13   #2840
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Update: I drove to EKM last friday evening. Started at 4:40PM from sahakar nagar,bangalore and reached mulanthuruthy, ernakulam at 3:15AM. So below update is based on driving in night condition.

Avinashi - Coimbatore bypass starting: Night driving in this stretch is very difficult. No marking on the road , abnormal ending of the paved stretch etc make it very tiresome. Most of the time only reference you have is the headlight of the opposite vehicle. My suggestion is to avoid night driving in this stretch.

End of coimbatore bypass - Walayar: Not in good condition but OK to drive if you keep your speed in check.

Walayar - Palakkad: good roads

Palakkad - Thissur: No more craters , patched up throughout the stretch. You can do good speed if your concentration is good. Slow down when you approach kuthiran section, the roads are very uneven. I dont think it's a good idea to take alternate routes anymore.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 13:27   #2841
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Condition of NH-209 - Bangalore - Gundlupet

Drove on this road for the first time on the way back from Kozhikode. Except for a few mildly bad stretches the roads are perfect. Very less traffic and no humps on the road. What a relief compared to the stressful drive on SH-17. I would advice people who like to drive sans tension to take this route to Wayanad & Kozhikode.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 17:53   #2842
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Cool Re: Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramodpk View Post
I drove from Bangalore to Trivandrum via Rajapalayam- Thenmala yesterday.

I had apprehensions on taking this route.
That's a 14 hour long ride dude. It reminds me of my drives to Bangalore from TVM nearly 10 years back via the NH-47(Coimbatore-Palghat-Kollam)

From what I noticed, Bangalore-Salem sector was covered pretty quickly and Rajapalayam to Ilanji 75 km streach took 2.5 hours and simliarly the from Kulathupuzha to KDVPM 75km streach took 2.5 hours. So in summary 150 km took 5 hours (30kmph) whereas the rest 550 kms took 7.5 hours which is good speed average of 75kmph.


Would you want to take this route again or recommend this route to anyone?
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Old 24th October 2011, 09:58   #2843
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Default Re: Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

[quote=ampere;2555028] Especially the fact that the humps around have been removed.
So all the 8 are gone? The authorities should have just sized them correctly instead removing them totally.
/QUOTE]

All the humps along with the bumpy surface is removed. You can keep the same pace throughout the ghat section.
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Old 24th October 2011, 10:38   #2844
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Default Re: Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

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Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
All the humps along with the bumpy surface is removed. You can keep the same pace throughout the ghat section.
The original reason for those humps I think, was heavy vehicles driving in neutral while descending.
Many a times on the curve they could not control (due to being in neutral) and hence there used to be accidents.

By removing everything they have gone the other way. They should have I think sized the bumps correctly.

Last edited by ampere : 24th October 2011 at 10:59.
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Old 24th October 2011, 10:49   #2845
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Default Re: Bangalore - Trivandrum Via Rajapalayam -Thenmala Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
The original reason for those humps I think, was heavy driving in neutral while descending.
Many a times on the curve they could not control (due to being in neutral) and hence there used to be accidents.

By removing everything they have gone the other way. They should have I think sized the bumps correctly.
You are correct. Once I noticed a KeSRTC bus driven too fast at this ghat in neutral !! For heavy vehicles, no need to be in neutral, but in top gears also can cause accidents.

They could have constructed one well marked big hump each instead of a series of small humps at one place.
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Old 24th October 2011, 16:36   #2846
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Hi Guys,

I got back this morning at around 3am. I had left for Kochi on Saturday at 1630.

Reached Kochi at 0500 thanks to a mile long jam at the first toll booth out of Bangalore, a wrong turn at Salem and finally the star of the evening - a two hour jam at Walayar Check Post.

The route was the usual Bangalore-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Avinashi-Coimbatore-Walayar-Palakkad-Thrissur-Ernakulam.

The stretch from Avinashi to Walayar is patchy and stressful to drive what with the million craters, patches and what nots. Add to it the stuck in high beam speeding buses, trucks etc and you have a treat! The route from Walayar to Palakkad is acceptable. Palakkad to Thrissur is again a pain. Thrissur to Ernakulam should be a stress free drive.

For the return, reached Bangalore this morning at around 0300. Left Kochi at 1830. Lost a lot of time due to continuous drizzling, but took a different route.

The return was Kochi-Shoranur-Ottapalam-Palakkad-Walayar-Coimbatore-Salem-Dharmapuri-Hosur-Bangalore.

The Shoranur-Ottapalam-Palakkad diversion is a so-so compromise. Its very easy to miss a turn as the roads are super dark and narrow at certain points. And after dark, you won't find anybody around to give you directions. But that may just be me. (I'm handicapped without my GPS) This was made worse by the continuous drizzle.

The good thing is that you do not have buses/trucks heading towards you with high beams and hence, no headache! However, during the day, this should be an easy route I suppose. But since you're traveling within, there may be a lot of pedestrian activity.

What kills it is that after Walayar the patches, craters and diversions start. And so does the headache!

On a separate note, the Nightbreaker Plus installed in the car served its purpose brilliantly. The coverage was great in Low and so was the throw in high beam. Nevertheless, there will be points of total blindness when you have a trucker with mis-aligned beams. But no amount of light from your car can help you see in such a situation.

Also, the Verna's suspension did not disappoint me at all. It held its track brilliantly and without fuss at high speeds. Now high may be relative here, so its between 120-140. The engine is a delight and has oodles of power on demand. When you're cruising at 120, you get the very strong feeling that there's so much more grunt left. It maybe cause the engine is lazing at a comfortable ~2100RPM Or perhaps the eagerness with which it surges ahead when you go heavier on the pedal. But I feel 120 is the speed to maintain for a stress free highway drive. Again, it may just be me.

And as always, the mileage was a very comfortable 22kmpl.

A word on the ABS since yesterday for the first time in the Verna it came on. This was just after Walayar. A diversion surprised me out of nowhere and I had to brake really hard to avoid from going into the muck, rocks and God knows what else. Anyways, I braked hard the moment I realized I was not on the road once the muck started and the car jolted heavily as we bobbed across.

Literally standing on the brakes, a quick cut to the left got me back on the road again. There was understeer and I expected the car to skid sideways into what lay ahead, but surprisingly it powered out of it without ruffling a feather! My wife woke up at the sudden jolt and did not figure anything out as I was back on the road by then (thanking the guys at Hyundai in my head)!

Oh yeah, on my way to Kerala I did see a dark grey Skoda with a team-bhp sticker driving in a manner that can only be termed extremely stupid, callous and dangerous. It was not the speed as he was at 100-120. But this guy was on the wrong side of the road for the most part. Apart from occasionally swerving back on track to avoid oncoming traffic, he would continue on the wrong side. I guess he recently upgraded from a KSRTC bus. I hope that in the inevitable collision he will eventually have, he does not cause harm to innocent motorists.

Apart from that, it was an uneventful trip. If you're planning a night drive, be careful of the diversions. Some of them are not adequately marked or even if they are, its easy to miss one in the glare of oncoming traffic.

Last edited by Tassem : 24th October 2011 at 16:40.
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Old 24th October 2011, 18:28   #2847
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstonMartin View Post
Condition of NH-209 - Bangalore - Gundlupet

Drove on this road for the first time on the way back from Kozhikode.
I know NH209 will get you to Bangalore from Mysore via Kanakapura but rest of the route did you take the regular Kozhikode - Thamarassery - Kalpetta - Sulthan Bathery - Gundlupet route or the route via Nilambur- Gudalur - Gundlupet ?
I read recent posts that the Thamarassery route is bad now after the monsoons. Could you please elaborate the route taken ?
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Old 24th October 2011, 19:49   #2848
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

@NPV - You are right. The road condition from Meenangadi (Little beyond Sulthan Bathery) till Chunda (Little beyond Kalpetta) is horrible. Just one drive over this road and my car needed a suspension bush change. Also, the ghat section is in terrible condition. Low ground clearance vehicles will take several hits to the under-body for sure. On a lighter note, you need an SUV to drive in Kerala what with all the potholes and menacing private buses.

And you don't need to touch Mysore in this route. The route goes like this.
Gundlupet-Chamarajnagar-Kollegal-Malavalli-Kanakapura-JPNagar-ORR

Last edited by AstonMartin : 24th October 2011 at 19:51.
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Old 24th October 2011, 21:40   #2849
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tassem View Post
The route was the usual Bangalore-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Avinashi-Coimbatore-Walayar-Palakkad-Thrissur-Ernakulam.

The return was Kochi-Shoranur-Ottapalam-Palakkad-Walayar-Coimbatore-Salem-Dharmapuri-Hosur-Bangalore.
I see that you went thru Salem during the trip on both occasions. Is there any particular reason why you didn't choose to go via Mettur - Bhavani from Thoppur?

This route can save a lot of kilometers. The last time I went thru this route at least 6-7 months back, it was solid crap and the road work was about to start I guess. Is the condition still pathetic??
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Old 24th October 2011, 21:56   #2850
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

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This route can save a lot of kilometers. The last time I went thru this route at least 6-7 months back, it was solid crap and the road work was about to start I guess. Is the condition still pathetic??
I think it now does not even save time.
4L is so beautiful, that the drive is easy and relatively fatigue free.

If one times the drive to cross, Salem, it can be easily managed.
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