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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:54   #3676
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Drove from Bangalore to Trivandrum on Apr 21st, Trivandrum to Vaikom on Apr 22nd and Vaikom to Bangalore on May 1st.

Bangalore - Trivandrum

Started from Brookefields at 4:40 PM and reached Trivandrum (Kesavadasapuram) at 5:00 PM via Nagercoil with total breaks of around 2 hours for Tea, Breakfast, Fuel and Lunch. Total distance 751 KMs. Except Nagercoil town and small sections in TN side of NH 47, road condition is good.

Found a new hotel - Raja Bhavan 271 KMs way from home ( approx 255 KMs from Silkboard). This is immediately before the fist toll gate after Salem on the LHS. Food is decent with fast service, toiltets and a small play area for Kids. Looks like the Hotel Aristo has closed down. I also stopped an Anand Bhavan along with a BP petrol pump before this but could not stop or note down the KM.

Had lunch before Nagercoil town at a "Business Hotel" on the RHS. I have had food here before. The food is decent and there is an AC restaurant with good toillets but the service is very slow. I would avoid this in future. We had to wait 20 mins for a normal meal. I cannot recollect the name of the hotel but this is approximately 19 KM from Kaaval Kinar on the RHS.

Trivandrum Vaikom

Started from Kesavadasapuram at 2:30 PM and reached Vaikom (Udayanapuram) at 6:15 PM via MC road - Kottarakkara, Adoor (Bypass), Chengannur, Changanassery Bypass, Kottayam, Kumarakom, Vechoor.
Total distance 184 KMs.

Changanassery bypass is highly recommended. Kottayam - Kumarakom from Illikkal junction is in excellent condition. I could touch 120 KM/h.

Vaikom Bangalore

Started at 5:40 PM and reached Brookefields at 4:10 PM with breaks of 1.5 hours. Walayar - Coimbatore bypass continues to be bad. The 4 laning has not progressed at all since my last trip 3 months back. Kuthiran is patchy but OK. Will deteriorate soon with rains.

Stopped for breakfast at Hotel Saravana Bhavan off coimbatore bypass on the RHS. Decent food, toiltets and quick service
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Old 3rd May 2012, 15:57   #3677
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Anyone travelled in Valparai-Athirapally stretch recently? How is the road condition?
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Old 3rd May 2012, 16:46   #3678
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Anyone travelled in Valparai-Athirapally stretch recently? How is the road condition?
Road has been repaired and in excellent condition.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 22:24   #3679
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Default Palani -> Calicut

Recent drive details from Palani to Calicut given below. Was pleasantly surprised to see the road widening and smooth tarring work completed between Pollachi and Palakkad. Also, great to see Palakkad bye-pass from Chandranagar to Olavakkode being in the best of conditions. Had to stop for an unplanned break (not in the details below) for about 30 minutes near Calicut Airport junction due to heavy rains and water clogging on the road.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 22:54   #3680
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Originally Posted by ajithbr View Post
Recent drive details from Palani to Calicut given below. Was pleasantly surprised to see the road widening and smooth tarring work completed between Pollachi and Palakkad. Also, great to see Palakkad bye-pass from Chandranagar to Olavakkode being in the best of conditions. Had to stop for an unplanned break (not in the details below) for about 30 minutes near Calicut Airport junction due to heavy rains and water clogging on the road.
Pollachi to Kootupatha in 45 mins is real quick,looks like the road has really improved,have fond memories of spending holidays at Para,Elappully when my uncle was posted there during his PWD days!.Thanks for the bypass update,so now Chandranagar to Olavakode must be a breeze.Good for people going towards Shoranur also they can connect to Mundur and Parli.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 23:23   #3681
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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Pollachi to Kootupatha in 45 mins is real quick,looks like the road has really improved,have fond memories of spending holidays at Para,Elappully when my uncle was posted there during his PWD days!.Thanks for the bypass update,so now Chandranagar to Olavakode must be a breeze.Good for people going towards Shoranur also they can connect to Mundur and Parli.
Right ! Was expecting a minimum of 60 minutes. It is just not the improvement of road surface but some sharp curves have been widened as well. Remember last time around, stopping at some sharp narrow curves when there was a lorry or bus coming in the opposite direction. I have not mentioned that I stopped about 5 minutes or so at Aryas(Bye-pass junction) which I found crowded as well as lunch service declared over. So, please find the log reading better with this

And for Chandranagar to Olavakode, there are new excellent bi-lingual signage boards at each junction that directs you to Malampuzha/Calicut/Railway Station etc. and so even if you are not familiar with the route and dont know (to read) Malayalam, you need not stop to ask for directions.

On another note, on any other day, I would have opted for Mundur->Cherpulassery->Angadippuram route but someone told me that some temple festival and procession going on in that route and so decided to take Mannarkkad route which as usual had heavy maniac traffic as well as the mini-ghat section just before Mannarkkad town to bear with !

On another note, I see comments about finding it difficult to find way for crossing Pollachi. This is my observation - when you come from Palani/Udumalpet, just when the town starts, you have a main road joining from right that comes from Palladam, then a little ahead, you have a junction where the left road is marked Thrissur/Guruvayur and a small board also saying Valparai and Railway Station. I think when I read some shop name display boards, it said Meenkarai road as well. The 'main' road has a natural right curve at this point and straight away leads to the traffic signal (with timer as well?) near Pollachi bus stand. From here, straight road goes to Kovai and left road (90-degree) goes to Palakkad. The small right road goes back to Palladam/Udumalai only, IIRC !
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Old 4th May 2012, 18:52   #3682
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On another note, on any other day, I would have opted for Mundur->Cherpulassery->Angadippuram route but someone told me that some temple festival and procession going on in that route and so decided to take Mannarkkad route which as usual had heavy maniac traffic as well as the mini-ghat section just before Mannarkkad town to bear with !
Yes this route is better. As you mentioned the town traffic at Mannarkad is heavy thanks to those narrow roads. The above mentioned strech is planned to upgraded to a 4 lane; work has started in some sections before kongad.
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Old 4th May 2012, 19:23   #3683
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Default Re: Palani -> Calicut

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Yes this route is better. As you mentioned the town traffic at Mannarkad is heavy thanks to those narrow roads. The above mentioned strech is planned to upgraded to a 4 lane; work has started in some sections before kongad.
Better and shorter too. Just takes about 45 minutes from Mundur to Angadipuram (no need to get into the busy area of Perinthalmanna too).

There is an alternate route for Tirur/Kottakkal direction which is Mundur->Cherpulassery->Koppam->Valanchery->Join NH-17. Not sure of the present condition of Cherpulassery->Koppam section though (ranjitp may be able to throw some light here !) but the rest is fine. Koppam->Valanchery is not very smooth but can be done quickly. I used to prefer this route (just about 10 kms more) since this avoids Angadipuram Railway gate, Malappuram and Kondotty towns which are time-killers. Also, you can take food-break at Nakshatra@Koppam or Food-n-Fun@Kottakkal as well in this route.
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Old 4th May 2012, 20:43   #3684
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

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When going to Cochin this way, going through Coimbatore city can be quite time-consuming. Two options to byepass the city : 1) Turn left at Annur - (the road to Avinashi), and take the first major right turn after about 1 km, you should hit NH47 at Karumathampatti in about 15 to 20 minutes from there. 2) Alternately, travel on NH209 itself for about 15 kms further (from Annur) towards CBE and take a left at Kurumbapalayam (road marked as Coimbatore Airport). This road forks into two as soon as you enter it (within about 50 meters), take the right fork. You should then hit the old NH47 between Neelambur and Coimbatore, so have to backtrack for about 5 kms towards Avinashi and then get onto the CBE byepass. Both roads are in excellent shape. The first one is shorter, but you have to go through the "under construction" NH47 stretch for about 10 kms from Karumathampatti to Neelambur - can be a pain especially when you've been having a very relaxed drive through sparse traffic for the last 5 hours !!



Why wouldn't one do Gudalur-Shoranur-Kochi bypassing the Palakkad-Trissur stretch ? Any issues / challenges on this route ?
Why do we necessarily need to touch Coimbatore or even bypass it ?

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Old 4th May 2012, 21:13   #3685
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

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Why wouldn't one do Gudalur-Shoranur-Kochi bypassing the Palakkad-Trissur stretch ? Any issues / challenges on this route ?
Why do we necessarily need to touch Coimbatore or even bypass it ?

subbarp
Not sure whether you would really like to bye-pass Thrissur completely

Gudalur section have a few points to be considered, whether they are issues or challenges depends on the judge:
1) Night-driving not possible because forest gate is closed between 9 PM and 6 AM
2) If you have someone in the car not comfortable on road journey in a ghat section, the Nadugani ghat section (for atleast 30 minutes) will be a discomfort stretch for him/her
3) Driving through forest area (about an hour) will not be very fast because of many speed-breakers and wild-life sightings
4) Once you enter Kerala, the local traffic can slow you down if you are not familiar with their style

I have experienced that even though traffic is high, if you are not driving on non-peak hours and especially during night, the Palakkad-Trissur stretch offers a good option except for a small stretch in Kuthiran. I took about an hour only from Chandranagar to Mannuthy (and even the reverse direction) on my Feb drive early this year just around lunch-time.
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Old 5th May 2012, 15:50   #3686
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Lloyd, how safe is this road for night travel?

I considered this route during my last few trips but always landed in NH7-47 as my drives were during night.
OK. Here is an update for you. Took this route on our drive to Chalakudy y'day night and it was a breeze. Started from BEML gate, HAL at about 12.20 and was in Coimbatore City by 6am with 3 breaks totaling 45 mins.

Now a word of caution : There are hardly any eateries on the way during the night. There were a couple of shops serving Tea in Kanakapura and then one off Tea shops for truckers on the way. There is a small bus stand at Hasanur and it seemed to have an eatery but don't know what was being served there. The drive was event less and there was absolutely nil traffic till Chamrajnagar. From Chamrajnagar there was some sporadic Truck traffic and that's about it. If you are driving alone you would feel very lonely since you hardly find any vehicles or humans on the road till Chamrajnagar. Luckily I was with my friend and his family and we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed drive sans any tolls, Yeah we managed to skip the one at Paliyekkara to with ease

Last edited by lloydofcochin : 5th May 2012 at 15:52.
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Old 5th May 2012, 17:25   #3687
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Thank you Lloyd for the update which I was looking for. I am not looking for eateries during night since I mostly do non stop drive till morning.

How about taking Coimbatore city route during night? Is it shorter and easier?
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Old 5th May 2012, 18:05   #3688
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How about taking Coimbatore city route during night? Is it shorter and easier?
Yes - if it's between say 10PM and 8AM, I think it would be faster and shorter to go via the city. Don't recall seeing too many signboards inside the city showing directions to get onto the Palghat highway, so it may be better if you can look it up in advance on GM - it isn't that difficult.
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Old 6th May 2012, 13:00   #3689
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by ajithbr View Post
On another note, on any other day, I would have opted for Mundur->Cherpulassery->Angadippuram route but someone told me that some temple festival and procession going on in that route and so decided to take Mannarkkad route which as usual had heavy maniac traffic as well as the mini-ghat section just before Mannarkkad town to bear with !
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Originally Posted by sansvk View Post
Yes this route is better. As you mentioned the town traffic at Mannarkad is heavy thanks to those narrow roads. The above mentioned strech is planned to upgraded to a 4 lane; work has started in some sections before kongad.
Except when driving during the peak office hours, I would prefer the Mannarkad route. The surfacing Mundur-Kongad-cherpulassery-Angadipuram is not conducive of speeds above 50-60 kmph, and there is a tendency to get airborne at unscientific culverts even at around 70 kmph. The Mannarkad route is also more fun to drive with sweeping curves compared to the blind curves on the other stretch.
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Old 9th May 2012, 21:37   #3690
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Default re: All Roads to Kerala

Guys,

Planning to drive to Vadakara this friday (from bangalore). Never drove to north kerala from blr, so really need your suggestions

- what is the best route to take (faster)
- we are planning to start at around 2:30pm from BLR, is it possible for us to make it before the check post closes?
- Google suggests this route http://*******.com/bpwnzwp , how is this route (somehow it doesnt look right to me)

Thanks,
- renjith
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