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Old 26th October 2015, 11:46   #9001
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
As regards to pile-ups on tolls: The way I found this to resolve, is just to beat it. Make sure you are at Silk-board by 5:30. That seems to be my magic time to beat. Re-work calculation backwards to reach this milestone.

On long weekends it does make sense to use the 2-lane option, but at the caveat of having no hotels/break-points on the way.



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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post

Any ways, my next target is to do a reconnaissance of the Palacode-Mecheri sector, and also try the old Sathyamangalam route. But from what I saw in the Mysore-Ooty road thread, there seems to be traffic blocks at the narrow bridge between Kollegal and Malavalli etc. .
I reach Bangalore by 3:00 - 3:30 PM these days and hence beat the pile up at toll booths.

Last December, I tried Mettur - Mecheri - Pennagaram - Rayakotta - Palacode route to avoid toll booths. This avoids Sankari, Omallur, Thoppur, Krishnagiri toll booths. I take the Hosur - Bagalur - Sarjapur route and hence avoid Attibele. There is also a way to join NH 7 after Attibele from Palacode but I have not taken it. This route is little tiring due to truck traffic. There is also a narrow ghat section at Pennagaram. You can average 50 - 60 KM/H from Mettur till Palacode.
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Old 26th October 2015, 11:49   #9002
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
... I need to have a solo (or fully men) trip on the route you mentioned
A solo drive/ride is risky, unless you do it in broad daylight or you are in a proper SUV with enough lights to light up the road against the blinding high beams of trucks.
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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
The entire set of passengers in the car had got exhausted after the wait at Thoppur.
Bad roads can make people more fatigued than waiting at toll booths

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One more thing I observed is that on this route trucks don't move to the sides to give way
Most of them do that to avoid potholes. Even on divided highways, loaded trucks try to keep to one lane, usually the right most one for various reasons

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
On long weekends it does make sense to use the 2-lane option, but at the caveat of having no hotels/break-points on the way.
The trick is to use a mix of 4-lane and 2-lane roads so that you get the best of both worlds. But nothing beats the luxury of being the early bird.

Fortunately or unfortunately I ended up starting at 05:15hrs from Palakkad, went through CBE city, took 3 breaks- one at the Saravana Bhavan near Avinashi, a second one under a canopy of trees some 30km before Omalur for breakfast that we'd packed and brought along, and a third short stop at Thoppur toll booth; to reach Bangalore before noon. The only fly in the ointment was the bad patches in the Sankari-Tharamangalam-Omalur stretch. We were not exactly sedate, but with that kind of driving and leaving an hour earlier would've shaved off an hour or more easily without deviating from the NH.
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Old 26th October 2015, 12:03   #9003
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

I too returned from Kerala yesterday. I took the omalaur tharamangalam route; instead of the typical 45 mts, its now taking 55 minutes to cover; but won't be taking this section again until the potholes are fixed. Big potholes are covered with mud in many places which means the road is/will be in a worser conditikn especially after a rain.

Was at Thoppur around 9AM, and noticed a 10 mt long queue, but looks like it got resolved soon.

After Krishnagiri, it was driving criss cross to pass trucks all the way till Hosur. Surprisingly Bagalur Sarjapur whitefield road was empty.
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Old 26th October 2015, 12:09   #9004
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Return leg from Thrissur to Bangalore was a partial disaster. Due to family and kids, multiple stops were required. So it was around 1600hrs we reached the Vaikuntam toll. Traffic was heavy here so we took the Omalur route. But Thoppur tolls did us in. Traffic block two kms before the toll booth. It took us one hour to get out from there. Then we had no doubts in deciding the route. It was via Palacode & Rayakottai. Reached Attibele by around 2200hrs, after a couple of more breaks.

Is there any way to bye pass the Thoppur toll as well??
there is, but only 20 odd kms more. As opposed to the regular NH7 route taking ~3 hrs b/w salem(NH47 exit point) and bangalore (silkboard) ; this route will take 4 h 40m as per google maps.
https://goo.gl/maps/13TMhUkJvXM2

Now, if the notorious thoppur, krishnagiri and attibele tolls eat up the delta time of 1hr 40 mins anyway ; then this route could be worth it. Plus, as an added advantage - you avoid the salem and omalur toll plazas as well. Basically, you are totally avoiding NH7 and not paying a single paisa as toll after salem. On the Sunday evenings of really long weekends, this might just be what the doctor ordered for a less stressful return to bangalore
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Old 26th October 2015, 13:49   #9005
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
Return leg from Thrissur to Bangalore was a partial disaster. Due to family and kids, multiple stops were required. So it was around 1600hrs we reached the Vaikuntam toll. Traffic was heavy here so we took the Omalur route. But Thoppur tolls did us in. Traffic block two kms before the toll booth. It took us one hour to get out from there. Then we had no doubts in deciding the route. It was via Palacode & Rayakottai. Reached Attibele by around 2200hrs, after a couple of more breaks.

Is there any way to bye pass the Thoppur toll as well??
There is one more option apart from the harur route to bypass Thoppur toll but this will consume 1 more hour of your journey but is very scenic. From Omalur, proceed towards Mecheri,Pennagaram. You have to negotiate a ghat section section here. Very sparse traffic though but a scenic one.
From Pennagaram ask the locals the way to reach a village called Nagadasampatti. From here take a left turn to go to palacode.
I have been on this route twice before.
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Old 26th October 2015, 16:28   #9006
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Was coming back from Trichy yesterday
Was at Thoppur toll at 3pm it almost took 40 mins to cross.
Thinking that Krishnagiri toll will be worse took the Palacode - Rayakottai -Hosur route.
Dharmapuri bypass upto Rayakottai good roads beyond the road deteriorates.Lots of potholes.
It took 2hrs from Dharmapuri Bypass to Hosur

Last edited by gajadonga : 26th October 2015 at 16:32.
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Old 26th October 2015, 18:22   #9007
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Was coming back from Trichy yesterday
Was at Thoppur toll at 3pm it almost took 40 mins to cross.
Thinking that Krishnagiri toll will be worse took the Palacode - Rayakottai -Hosur route.
Dharmapuri bypass upto Rayakottai good roads beyond the road deteriorates.Lots of potholes.
It took 2hrs from Dharmapuri Bypass to Hosur
Are you saying the Palacode-Rayakottai SH is full of potholes.

I had been on this stretch just last month. It was devoid of any potholes/craters.
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Old 26th October 2015, 19:29   #9008
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Are you saying the Palacode-Rayakottai SH is full of potholes.

I had been on this stretch just last month. It was devoid of any potholes/craters.
Aren't there two roads between rayalkottai and Attibele, one good and one bad??
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Old 26th October 2015, 20:02   #9009
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

I took the Satyamangalam-Kollegal-Kanakapura route today while coming from Kochi to Bangalore. Just wanted to try a different route than the regular route and to avoid the potential traffic at toll booths.

Started at 7 from N. Paravur and I took the left turn (at 10:20AM) towards Annur from NH47 before Avinashi. But this comes just after the new toll booth at Chengappalli(Rs 80). So to avoid this toll we need to take a turn much before, but not sure about the road or traffic.

The roads are good all the way. The Dimbham ghat is in good condition. I made a mistake of entering the SH after Dimbham towards Kollegal. (Instead of going towards Chamarajanagar). The road surface becomes bad once you enter Karnataka. Kollegal - Malavalli - Kanakapura is in very good condition. Took a lunch break at somewhere near Kollegal (packed lunch). With a 45min lunch break, I reached home in HSR layout at 4:30. The Chamarajnagar route must have been faster. The traffic was light and there were hardly any trucks.

BTW, the total toll till Kochi from Bangalore (excluding the elevated highway) stands at 564, with the two new tolls added, one at Walayar (45) and the one at Chengapalli(80).
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Old 26th October 2015, 21:04   #9010
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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I made a mistake of entering the SH after Dimbham towards Kollegal. (Instead of going towards Chamarajanagar). The road surface becomes bad once you enter Karnataka.
The SH you mentioned is the Germalam route to Kollegal ?
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Old 26th October 2015, 21:34   #9011
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The SH you mentioned is the Germalam route to Kollegal ?
It looks like the same route you mention. The first 30kms were very lonely and saw just one mini bus. The road is narrow but well laid and a good portion marked. The good things ends at the border.
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Old 27th October 2015, 06:47   #9012
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Aren't there two roads between rayalkottai and Attibele, one good and one bad??
We have the Attibele-Kelamangalam-Rayakottai route and Hosur-Rayakottai route. Comparatively the latter is better than the former. In fact i drove on the latter route last month. Very good tarmac.
I guess the former is in a bad shape.
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Old 27th October 2015, 07:51   #9013
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by sachinpk View Post
This works fine for a small family-happy family kind of set up.
More than that its a co-ordination issue within. But the timing I have seen still works. And like Pramod says earlier the better. Yes as you also said, one will lose a day of vacation being on the road.

Quote:
Any ways, my next target is to do a reconnaissance of the Palacode-Mecheri sector, and also try the old Sathyamangalam route. But from what I saw in the Mysore-Ooty road thread, there seems to be traffic blocks at the narrow bridge between Kollegal and Malavalli etc. With more & more vehicles hitting the roads, the options of a relaxed travel is also coming down, I feel.
I think the pain starts only after Krishnagiri. So from that point of view, getting on to Palacode road at Dharmapuri makes much more sense. (Having said that Mecheri-Pennagaram is typically a good road). Till then take advantage of the 4-lane and break-points. Satyamangalam is not a good option at all. Winding roads, no hotels after Chamarajanagar and consistent stream of traffic will really tire you down. Add to it the long weekend return traffic from Ooty/Mysore.
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Old 27th October 2015, 16:14   #9014
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

Did a Palakkad-Coonoor/Ooty-Calicut trip over the weekend.

Palakkad-Coonoor: Since I have travelled on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor Ghat multiple times, decided to go via Kotagiri to Coonoor. It meant some extra time. But I was in no hurry. As per reports in other threads here, the road was supposed to be good. Was greeted with excellent roads all the way. Traffic was also minimal and it was a great drive. Couple of snaps

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2170.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2175.jpg


Spent a couple of days in Coonoor Ooty.Plan was to head to Calicut. Now, any sane person would take the default route, which was via Gudalur-Nilambur-Manjeri-Calicut. But, ever since I saw this thread (Bangalore - Ooty - Manjur - Mulli - Mannarkkad Trip)about the 5th option to descent from Ooty,had been keen on trying this. Considering that I was driving with my family and the fact that this route was supposed to be deserted, I was in two minds. In addition this increased the driving time by at least 2 hours. Finally decided to go ahead as this was the best option I had, weather was good and wife was also fine with it.

Route: Coonoor-Glendale-Adikaratti-Majoor-Mulli-Elachivazhy-Kottathara-Agali-Thavalam-Mukkali-Mannarkkad-Melatur-Pandikad-Manjeri- Kondotty-Calicut (~225KM). Took roughly 7.5hrs driving time

Route Link

All Roads to Kerala-routemap.jpg



Conditions:

Coonoor-Glendale-Majoor: Lovely roads. Sceneic. Almost nil traffic. Some images from the route and surroundings. Some are dashcam screen shots. Around 12 hairpin bends as you approach Manjoor. First 4-5 go down, then 3-4 go up, then close to Majoor another 2-3 sharp bends going up.

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2292.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2296.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2300.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-dsc_2304.jpg

In between, stopped at the Chamraj Tea Center-As per them the highest tea estate in India.

All Roads to Kerala-chtea.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-chtea1.jpg

Roads and Scenery. First a few down hairpins and then a few up hair pins.

All Roads to Kerala-road1.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-road2.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-hairpindown1.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-hairpinup1.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-hairpinup2.jpg

Turn off from Manjoor towards Mulli. The start of the actual descent.

All Roads to Kerala-lefttomulli.jpg

Manjoor-Mulli: Road quality is good. Road is narrow with heavy growth on both sides. 43 Hair pin bends to get down from Manjoor to Mulli.Absolutely deserted, mostly no cell phone coverage (am on Vodafone). Total stretch, passed 2 cars. That apart, wonderful drive.

The road looked like this throughout.

All Roads to Kerala-mullitypical.jpg

A typical Hair Pin Bend

All Roads to Kerala-mullihairpin.jpg

Mulli Check post:

All Roads to Kerala-mullicheckpost.jpg

From here as per the reports in the above thread, the advice was to go towards karamadai and then connect to the Mannarkad road. But the Forest officer pointed to a mud track and insisted that is the way to go. He said the road is bad only for 2-3 km (A bhpian in the above thread had the same experience, went that way and regretted it). After his repeated insistence, I thought may be it is ok and decided to go ahead.

This is what greeted me at the entrance. Went ahead.

All Roads to Kerala-mullicheckpost1.jpg

Next 4 km was heart in the mouth crawling. The road is being laid so there are huge loose stones. Any car can go through this, but high probability of something going wrong-A puncture, a stray stone hitting some critical part etc...

I followed the Jeep ahead. At one point he asked me to go ahead, I said-No Thanks

All Roads to Kerala-badroad1.jpg

All Roads to Kerala-badroad2.jpg

FInally after ~4km, the proper road started and was here on pretty good. Still narrow, mostly deserted and no cell phone signal. This route connected to the Karamadai-Mannarkad route in ~20km via Kottathara.

All Roads to Kerala-goodroad1.jpg

Finally arrived at Kottathara and back to a semblance of civilization

All Roads to Kerala-backtpcivil.jpg

Kottathara-Mannarkad road was ok with some bad sections especially in the forest/hair pin bend area.

Finally after ~5 hours entered Mannarkkad and back to the crowds and chaos of Kerala roads. Was somehow oddly comforting. From there exceelent roads with heavy traffic to Calicut.

Interestingly, I never knew there was a route to Calicut from Palakkad via Melattur-Manjeri-Kondotty. I had always assumed that the only route is Perinthlamanna-Malappuram. Even the Manjeri route I assumed would join the NH at Malappuram.

In summary it was a refreshing, partly scary experience. Kudos to my wife and kid who sat through 5 hours of ghat driving including ~60 hairpin bends.

Will I do it again: Not with just family, maybe with a group. Too many things can go wrong and if you get stuck somewhere along this route, with minimal cell phone coverage, it would be a nightmare.
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Old 27th October 2015, 16:49   #9015
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Did a Palakkad-Coonoor/Ooty-Calicut trip over the weekend.

Palakkad-Coonoor: Since I have travelled on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor Ghat multiple times, decided to go via Kotagiri to Coonoor. It meant some extra time. But I was in no hurry. As per reports in other threads here, the road was supposed to be good. Was greeted with excellent roads all the way. Traffic was also minimal and it was a great drive. Couple of snaps
Happy to see that you took this route, I am glad that the extra 20 kms deters most people and that serves to keep the road in decent condition and makes for a great driving experience.
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