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Old 4th May 2015, 11:42   #8551
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Had to make an emergency trip to Tirur (Malappuram Dt) on Saturday. Came to know I had to leave around 10 am. Needed to be there latest by Sunday morning. So first thought was to look for a bus. For the 'to' journey there were some tickets available. But nothing for the return on Sunday night. There were few 'special' buses listed on redbus with atrocious prices (Rs 1800-2200). I had made the mistake once of booking in these special services at a high price. Rattletrap of a bus and was driven rashly.

So then the option was to drive down (was my first option anyway , but family was not keen since I had to go alone, hence the attempt for bus/train tickets).

Since it was Saturday afternoon and middle of a long weekend, did not want to go anywhere near Mysore/Mysore road. So decided to go via Kanakpura-Chamrajnagar-Gundlepet-Gudalur-Nilambur-Manjeri-Malappuram-Tirur. While I was checking something on the routes in Google Maps, noticed it was showing the Salem-Coimbatore-Palakkad-Shornur route to be taking almost the same time (although 120 km more). I thought-Why not try it out. Did not have any major constraint and had not been down the 4 Lane to CBE for more than a year now. So finally the route I took was

Sarjapur-Attibelle-Hosur-Salem-Cbe-bye passed Palakkad via Kuzhalmannam-Kottayi and joined the Ottapalam road at Mankara- Ottapalam-Pattambi-Valancery-Tirur.

Few key points from the trip
  • Started at 12.30 PM from Belandur.
  • Only delay was at Attibelle toll booth-15 min. Rest all toll booths were relatively empty
  • One flyover towards Salem side at Hosur still not open, so took 10-15 min to cross that.
  • Beautiful all the way to L&T By pass. For someone like me whose regular trips are on the Mysore-Wayanad 2 lane highways, this was absolute bliss. Couple of km before L&T, traffic was only on one side. Not sure if it was a temp thing.
  • Noticed several new eateries that have opened since my last trip on the route. Stopped at the new A2B just after Salem. They did not have any tiffin items like Dosa/Idli/Vada at 4.30PM
  • Madukkarai-Walayar is bad compared to the pristine roads before and after. But found it quite manageable. Some signs of work restarting.
  • Walayar-Palakkad (Chandranagar) is beautiful. Toll booths all ready. Should be starting in the next few days.
  • Did not get into the town. Continued on NH47 till Kuzhalmannam. Mostly 4 laned till here also. Took right and went via Kottayi to join Ottapalam Road at Mankara. From CHandranagar to Mankara took 25 min. I dont think you can reach Mankara in ~30 min while going through the town
  • Stopped at Samudra Regency-Kulapully for dinner.
  • Reached Tirur at 10.45 PM with around 1.5 hours of breaks.
  • So 8hr 45 min driving time for 509km at a FE of 15.8 kmpl and ~Rs 400 in tolls.

Return:
Return I was able to start on Sunday around the same time (12.30 PM) from Tirur.
  • Since it was the Sunday of the long weekend and considering the time, I felt if I take the Salem route, I would hit all the tolls at peak times and hence add quite a bit to the overall time. Hence decided to take the Nilambur-Gudalur-Gundlepet route itself.
  • Also, since it would be a very bad idea to use the Mysore route on a Sunday evening, decided to come via Camrajnagar-T.narsipura-Talakkad-Purigali-Malavalli-Kanakpura-Bangalore. Since I would be covering this section post sundown, decided to keep options open
  • Tirur-Mudumalai Forest entrance, excellent roads. The ghats also have been relaid. But the recent rains have awakened the vegetation. Beautiful to see, but spilling over to the road in many places, making the road narrower than it is
  • Someone had mentioned in one of the threads that the Forest Entrance-Theppakadu stretch is good now. Totally wrong info. It is as bad as before. Huge craters all over the place. No smooth stretch at all.
  • Huge amount of traffic inside the forest. Stuck in mini jams at regular intervals as people were doing exactly what they are not supposed to do (stop at the sight of animals, make noise, click photos). At the first such block, I thought maybe it was a tiger or something. Turned out to be a group of deers.
  • Seeing the traffic in the forest headed towards Bangalore just from Ooty side, made my decision on whether to go via Mysore easy.
  • Turned off at Gundlepet, stretch to Chamrajnagar is mostly relaid and nice to drive now.
  • REst of the route was totally traffic free. Expected the Malavalli-Kanakpura-Bangalore stretch to be crowded. But was surprisingly smooth.
  • The Talakkad-purigali-Malavalli section was very deserted. First time doing it alone and at night. Was a little worried about getting stuck.
  • Reached home at 10.20 PM with 1 hour of breaks.
  • So 8 hrs 50 min hrs driving time for 387 KM at a mileage of 13.5 Kmpl and Rs 20 unofficial toll at Nadugani check post

So it actually took pretty much the same time via the Salem route and felt much more stress free. So my feedback is that to got to places like Tirur/Kotakkal/Malappuram/Perithalmanna, the Salem route is a very viable alternative. The better mileage will offset the extra distance. Toll will still be an extra though.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 4th May 2015 at 11:45.
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Old 4th May 2015, 12:08   #8552
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Good to know that the A2Bs all across the board are maintaining a consistent service standards. Refugee camps, all across the board. For us Saravana Bhavan at Vaikuntam has been the de-facto place for food for the past 1 year.

What is the future plan for the L&T bye-pass? Sooner or later this would become a bottle neck, when the four-laning gets completed. Their pathetic toll booth management is not going to work for long. I don't see any plans from L&T side to widen the bye-pass roads as well.
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Old 4th May 2015, 14:22   #8553
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
So my feedback is that to got to places like Tirur/Kotakkal/Malappuram/Perithalmanna, the Salem route is a very viable alternative. The better mileage will offset the extra distance. Toll will still be an extra though.
You can get the best of both worlds (lower toll + better FE) and as a bonus during long weekends, comparatively same driving time, if you deviate from the NH47/NH7 and take the SHs.

By the way, you were lucky that they tarred the road edges at Kuzhalmannam. It used to be a no less than 45 degrees incline on either side of the highway, and small cars and sedans would go towards better, motorable stretches to cross the NH.

***

Drove to Bangy yesterday via Walayar-Avinashi-Sankari-Omalur-Thoppur-Palacode-Hosur IRR-TVS-Attibele. There was a long queue at Chavadi checkpost, a moderate queue at Madukkarai (~3pm), and an unusually long queue at Komarapalayam toll booth (5-ish). Thoppur toll was as expected crowded, and the queue was a good 2-3km long. Lost about an hour just by crawling to these two toll booths. After turning off the NH7 towards Palacode, I was able to maintain a steady and sedate pace.
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Old 4th May 2015, 15:21   #8554
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
You can get the best of both worlds (lower toll + better FE) and as a bonus during long weekends, comparatively same driving time, if you deviate from the NH47/NH7 and take the SHs.

By the way, you were lucky that they tarred the road edges at Kuzhalmannam. It used to be a no less than 45 degrees incline on either side of the highway, and small cars and sedans would go towards better, motorable stretches to cross the NH.

***
Thanks.I briefly considered the possibility of returning via the Salem side by using the SH option. But I did not have information on the exact route to take and the places to deviate from. So dropped the idea. In any case, that would nullify the prime purpose of taking this route which is the 4 lane/6 lane highway driving.

But I like to explore new routes when feasible to be aware of the different options. So this SH based route to Kerala is on my radar.
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Old 5th May 2015, 00:12   #8555
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

I was a keen follower of this thread for the past month as I had planned a trip to Mysore.
Took the below route as suggested in Google Maps as first option;
Kochi to Mannuthy (Thrissur) via NH47
All Roads to Kerala-kochi-nilambur3.jpg

Mannuthy to Wadakanchery via a deviation immediately after the bypass to the left
All Roads to Kerala-kochi-nilambur.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-kochi-nilambur1.jpg

Onwards onto Perinthalmanna
All Roads to Kerala-kochi-nilambur2.jpg
And then Perinthalmanna to Nilambur
From Nilambur no deviations except for turns with well placed road signs
Used Google Navigation when in doubt

Here are my inputs:

The roads from Mannuthy to Wadakkanchery and then from Nilambur till Gudalur are really good

All Roads to Kerala-img_0233.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0234.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0238.jpg

Few km into Gudalur its' still quite decent
All Roads to Kerala-img_0265.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0267.jpg

As you get further in, the road condition starts to deteriorate for a few kms.
All Roads to Kerala-img_0271.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0275.jpg

We couldn't photo the really bad stretches for obvious reasons.

Although I was forewarned, we travelled in my S60. Some people in cars passing by in opposite direction, even wondered aloud, why I was driving through this route(in this car).
My fears were allayed when I saw an A4, a 3 series and even a Jag on this route.

It helped to have a friend with a capable Scorpio ahead to guide you too.

All Roads to Kerala-img_0268.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0286.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0289.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0290.jpg

The road cleared up after sometime.

All Roads to Kerala-img_0294.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0295.jpg

But we met with another obstacle by way of road widening and resurfacing work around Gundalpet.

All Roads to Kerala-img_0298.jpg
All Roads to Kerala-img_0299.jpg

This was further amplified by frustated drivers coming from opposite direction causing unnecessary traffic jams.

My better half and son didn't get enough of Bandipur, so 2 days later we took the same route back.
On our return journey we were stuck in traffic for half an hour due to a bus breakdown at a narrow intersection outside Gundalpet. Otherwise the journey was smooth.

If you have an SUV or your car has decent GC, this route is highly recommended.
If GC is an issue, it is still doable if driven slowly and judiciously over the rough patches. With a car like mine, you can expect some under-body contact.

In the end, the wild life, the scenery and with an encounter like this;

All Roads to Kerala-img_0515.jpg

it was all worth it and kept the family excited.

P.S. No I did not stop for that last photo (not recommended). And no, that elephant didn't charge at us.
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Old 8th May 2015, 08:39   #8556
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I am planning to drive from Cochin to Calicut/Kozhikode on Saturday. Any intel on road conditions, expected time to travel, best times to travel will be appreciated. TIA
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:30   #8557
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Originally Posted by bdman View Post
I am planning to drive from Cochin to Calicut/Kozhikode on Saturday. Any intel on road conditions, expected time to travel, best times to travel will be appreciated.
Standard route is Kochi-Trichur-Calicut and ideal time to travel is 9pm to 7am. Chamravattom route may be better during day.
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Old 8th May 2015, 10:50   #8558
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I am planning to drive from Cochin to Calicut/Kozhikode on Saturday. Any intel on road conditions, expected time to travel, best times to travel will be appreciated. TIA
Standard route will be Cochin-Thrissur-Edappal-Valanchery-University- Calicut. Road conditions are great throughout. If travelling during day, I assume it would take ~5 hours of driving time. Expect heavy traffic throughout.

Alternative is Cochin- N Paravur-Kondungaloor-Chavakkad-Chamravattam (Ponnani by pass)- Tirur-Parappanagadi-University-Calicut. Distance is lesser, but during the day, should take the same time as roads are narrower and crowded within the several towns en route.

As coolclouds recommended, if you have the option of travelling during non peak hours-Say early morning 4 am start, it will be much faster (maybe ~4 hrs)
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Old 8th May 2015, 21:20   #8559
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Standard route will be Cochin-Thrissur-Edappal-Valanchery-University- Calicut.
==========
As cool clouds recommended, if you have the option of travelling during non peak hours-Say early morning 4 am start, it will be much faster (maybe ~4 hrs)
I took the Standard route last month and must say the roads throughout are good. If you start early morning, you can save a lot of time as most of the traffic signals will be on standby (flashing yellow) from Kochi to Thrissur. Just don't get carried away, lest you get snapped by the speed cameras.

The Kodungaloor route (NH17) can be frustrating as roads are very narrow and you can get stuck for a long distance behind a bus, unable to overtake. I use to take this route earlier to visit my wife's house at Ponnani; but not anymore. Taxi drivers use to swear by this route earlier too. But now even they prefer the NH47 (in spite of having to pay toll which is Rs.65 one way, for cars, at present).

Avoid travelling late afternoon/evening. The traffic jams in Kochi, Aluva and Angamaly will slow you down significantly.

Have a nice trip!
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Old 14th May 2015, 13:54   #8560
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I am planning to drive down to Kerala this Saturday and since I have a stopover at Palakkad. I was planning to take the usual route to Thrissur (Palakkad-Kuthiran-Thrissur).

Today there was a news in a Kerala Daily stating that the roads at Kuthiran are really bad - any more info about this? I will be crossing palakkad at around 10 AM, so should I stick to my original plan, or should I try the Palakkad - Shornur - Thrissue route?

--Anoop
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Old 14th May 2015, 14:04   #8561
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I am planning to drive down to Kerala this Saturday and since I have a stopover at Palakkad. I was planning to take the usual route to Thrissur (Palakkad-Kuthiran-Thrissur).

Today there was a news in a Kerala Daily stating that the roads at Kuthiran are really bad - any more info about this? I will be crossing palakkad at around 10 AM, so should I stick to my original plan, or should I try the Palakkad - Shornur - Thrissue route?

--Anoop
No issues with NH 47 between Palakkad and Thrissur. 4 laning going on from Chandra Nagar to vadakkencherry of which around 25 KMS is done. Vadakkencherry to Mannuthy - Good roads. Stick to NH 47.
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Old 14th May 2015, 14:34   #8562
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No issues with NH 47 between Palakkad and Thrissur. 4 laning going on from Chandra Nagar to vadakkencherry of which around 25 KMS is done. Vadakkencherry to Mannuthy - Good roads. Stick to NH 47.
Thank you! That is reassuring.

--Anoop
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Old 14th May 2015, 19:23   #8563
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Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
I am planning to drive down to Kerala this Saturday and since I have a stopover at Palakkad. I was planning to take the usual route to Thrissur (Palakkad-Kuthiran-Thrissur).

Today there was a news in a Kerala Daily stating that the roads at Kuthiran are really bad - any more info about this? I will be crossing palakkad at around 10 AM, so should I stick to my original plan, or should I try the Palakkad - Shornur - Thrissue route?

--Anoop
Drove back to Bangalore from chalakudy last Sunday under heavy rain.

Big/deep potholes started to appear both sides of Kuthiran. Nothing major, but be on lookout for them.

The 4 lanes roads of palakad has NO drainage right now. It was a pain driving that 25 completed kilometers under rain which brought all the mud from medians deposited on the lower portions of road and lot of water logging . If you happen to be driving under rain, stick to the higher banking side of the road and watch out for water splashes from the opposite traffic.

Again, those 25 km - watch out for wrong way vehicles, especially around palakkad and walayar.

You shouldnt find much issues at 10 am around walayar.
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Old 14th May 2015, 21:06   #8564
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I am going to Kerala this weekend. Planning to take Bagalur route to Hosur via Varthur. Is it safe to take Bagalur road early morning around 4 AM?
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Old 14th May 2015, 21:46   #8565
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I am going to Kerala this weekend. Planning to take Bagalur route to Hosur via Varthur. Is it safe to take Bagalur road early morning around 4 AM?
I always take this route [Whitefield -> Varthur -> Sarjapur -> Bagalur -> Hosur] while driving to Kerala. Most of the trips starting around 4/4:30 AM from Whitefield. So far, never faced any issues. Roads after Sarjapur are in excellent condition as well.
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