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Old 10th July 2011, 04:25   #91
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

Hi Hvk sir, Ampere Bhai, we finally reached Tvm. We left Pune on 8th, only by 2 am. The drive was superb, but was slow because of continuous rainfall.

Inspite of Hvk sir's warning, we were unable to spot the ridiculously constructed bump at Motebennur. I applied brakes, but still we could not slow down enough and jumped the bump at a slow speed. Luckily Chevy was fine. A truck wasn't as lucky as us and had crashed into a deep ditch, in an effort to avoid the bump. The railway crossing was a mess because of the rain.

Bypassing Bangalore was a breeze. Nice road is fantastic. There is no petrol pump on Nice road. So everyone should fill up before or from Tumkur. We couldn't reach Hosur, with a tankful from Kolhapur.

Bangalore Police is stationed at Tumkur with their interceptor. We managed to avoid them. They caught a Fortuner who must have been at 130 when he overtook me earlier.

I covered 1000 kms in about 12 hours of driving, when we crossed Hosur. Hvk sir, thanks for the info about the MacD and the HP pump. Their fuel was too good. We bypassed Salem by 8pm.

We saw a Team Bhpian (?) from Pune near Thoppur. He was driving a white swift. MH 12 FP XXXX, with a LTD sticker on the bumper.

Mate, if you ever read this post, please learn where your indicator switch is! And learn to drive straight! You were cutting lanes every 5 seconds, without indicating. Please don't bring Team BHP, a bad name because of your pathetic, terrible driving. One suggestion. Remove your sticker and always drive alone!!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the way you drive. One day your luck might run out! Trucks have long braking distances. Think a million times before you jump in front of a fully loaded18 wheeler, carrying tractors, in a ghat section. Don't leave your brain at home, when you go on vacation, for God's sake!!!

We reached Madurai by 1.30am, after a one and a half hour long dinner break and had covered about 1350 kilometres by then.

We took two power naps of 30 minutes each enroute, one near Tumkur and one near Trichy.

Back to the story; we searched the whole of Madurai city for good, economical rooms. But sadly, we did not like any hotel and decided to leave the city. GRT Grand and Best Wes'h'tern is out to fleece people! God knows what 'Weshtern' means!!

We decided to drive to Tirunelveli from Madurai and left the town by 4am. We had a B9R Volvo for company and he was following me at 100 - 120 kmph for over 60 kilometres. I was greatly impressed by the vehicles' pickup.

We reached Tirunelveli city on 9th by 5.30 am. We checked into Hotel Ramanas and immediately went off to sleep. I had driven approx 1560 kilometres by then in about 22 hours of relaxed driving. I had maintained 100 kmph, 90% of the time and my max speed was just 130, which I reached only twice to overtake.

We slept the whole day and left for Tvm by 8.20 pm after having some Chettinad Biriyanis. We finally reached my home in Tvm by 11pm.

I avoid highway driving during the day whenever I can. The worst stretch was between Nagercoil and Parassala. The road is in shambles. i was surprised to note that EVERYONE DRIVES WITH THEIR HIGH BEAMS ON in Kerala!!!

KSRTC drivers have already managed to run me off the road twice during my short drive in Kerala. I wish I could stop them and .............! Some of them must be the worst drivers on the planet!
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Old 10th July 2011, 08:47   #92
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

Extremely fast drive.
Pity you could not get accommodation in Madurai. Most of the acco is around the railway station and Temple.
Why did you not try Hotel Fantasy between Dindigul & Madurai?
Ah, you missed the Tirunelveli bypass which is another fantastic stretch of NH7!
Road between Nagercoil & Parassala has cracked up? Shocker that, I went on it last month and it was superb then! But at least the late evening drive means you had a fast drive!
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Old 10th July 2011, 09:49   #93
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

Thank you, Kumar sir.

We really enjoyed the drive on NH 7. We couldn't spot Hotel Fantasy in the bypass. Maybe we were too fast in that stretch and moreover my wife was asleep during the latter part of the drive. A B9R on my tail is not a 'good' feeling!!

Madurai was a mess. We went inside the city and checked out all hotels near the Railway station, bus stop and everywhere else. We tried Hotel Empee, Hotel Raj, Grand, etc. The worst problem I faced was that almost all hotels had parking outside, on the street. And hotels with parking were out to fleece customers by charging Rs. 3500 to Rs. 5000. I would never pay such an amount for a room in a 'C' or 'D' class city.

We had a terrible time in 2006, when we stayed at Madurai with my family. I saw one boy sitting on my Chevy's bonnet, when I parked Chevy on the street. Dogs were after Chevy baby's tyres!! After that incident, I never stay at hotels without parking. I know how crowded the super-narrow lanes of Madurai can get. An ox cart can destroy my costly Hellas in a second.

We took the help of an auto driver to search for hotels in Madurai. He guided our vehicle at first. Then I rode with him in the rick after letting my wife rest in Chevy. He showed me about 15 hotels in the narrow lanes there. I was never satisfied because of the lack of ample parking space. We even took the help of a Police inspector!!

We had a fantastic drive up to Tirunelveli. This stretch was the fastest. We entered the city from the bypass and crossed the railway line and theatre to enter the city streets.

The hotels in Tirunelveli were reasonably priced. We got a great AC room for Rs. 770 and slept off for the next 10 hours! That hotel was on Nagercoil road.

Nagercoil - Parassala road is full of potholes. The road work was substandard and the top layer of smooth tar is long gone. A bone jarring drive now.

We were taken aback by the careless attitude of Ksrtc drivers. That was the only time, during the entire drive, that we felt threatened! But the drive was quick. No bikers to give us anxiety attacks.
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Old 10th July 2011, 11:44   #94
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

@CL +1 to what HVK mentioned. Amazingly fast drive you had. GQ is really a boon in these days comes of age.


Looks like Pune-Kolhapur needs to be turned into a 6L. This would help even the traffic in that section as that is the one, which also hosts the Goa bound traffic.

With regards to hotels in Madurai, as I had mentioned earlier while suggesting hotels, most of them have parking outside on the street, which also puts me off. In fact paying 5K for good hotels is just for the private parking itself!
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Old 10th July 2011, 15:21   #95
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

Thanks Ampere. Pune to Kolhapur is the busiest stretch on NH4. The only way of beating the rush is to drive after midnight.

The hotels in Madurai do not really qualify as a true 4 star, because of the classification of the city. No point in paying 5k for a normal AC room. The hotel room in Tirunelveli was at par with the 5k hotel room.
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Old 10th July 2011, 16:27   #96
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

Did you check with Hotel Tamilnadu? I hope they have ample car parking inside their premises.
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Old 10th July 2011, 16:32   #97
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

CL, like ampere and HVK had said that was an amzingly fast drive. NH7 is quite beautiful, and our Trivandrum drives are now quite smooth. Like HVK said NH7 all the way till Nagercoil is a very beautiful affair

4 to 5K for a room is not justified at all! At 770 it is quite reasonable. Is it that you got into the service road from NH7 just after the India Cements factory or something before you hit a busy junction with shops on NH7 to go to Thirunelveli?
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Old 11th July 2011, 01:14   #98
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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Originally Posted by ramanan.skr View Post
Did you check with Hotel Tamilnadu? I hope they have ample car parking inside their premises.
Yes, we checked out almost ALL good hotels in Madurai. Hotel Tamil Nadu was in a bad state. They did have car parking and two or three cars were already there. They did not have a receptionist for night duty and the security guard was doing his own duty, the receptionist's duty and also did the work of housekeeping and room service. He was exhausted and explained his predicament to me.

He refused to give us a room stating that there was a bulk reservation the next day. I think he mentioned that it was a college tour.

There was another family who had arrived there in an auto. They were also shown the door. They were planning to spend the night in the reception when we left. 3 am is not a good time to roam around with ladies!!!

@Laluks, yes, we too were surprised. Our power naps did wonders to our concentration. A nap of just half an hour was enough to help us drive for the next 4 - 5 hours without any concentration lapses. I thought that we would drive approx. 1250 kilometres till Madurai and then take rest. But we had to stretch our drive till Tirunelveli. We spent more than 24 hours inside our Chevy and we enjoyed every minute!

We entered Tirunelveli town from the second exit from the highway. We entered a service road, took a right turn from under the overbridge (highway), drove for about 12 kms, waited and crossed a railway crossing, drove near a theatre, got onto the Nagercoil road and finally reached the Hotel where we stayed. There are plenty of hotels on that lane. Tariff ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 3000.

NH 7 is a brilliant highway. My wife loved the drive. I do not think we will ever take NH 17 or NH 63 again. Our average speed was as high as 104 kmph in one stretch.

And as you mentioned, 5 k for a room in a city like Madurai or Salem is robbery. I would rather use that money to fill up my Chevy's tank and sleep comfortably in the third row with the AC on.
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Old 11th July 2011, 18:39   #99
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

@Chevy_Lover - you've definitely driven in good time
On power naps - yes those 30 minutes are equivalent of 3-4 hours of regular sleep.
From your hotel experience at Madurai seems like we need to plan ahead for the hotel to stay at or avoid staying at Madurai if possible.

I haven't driven beyond Dindugal on NH7 recently - Is there any bad/incomplete stretch on NH7 just before you reach Madurai ? IIRC I read on some other recent post about a bad 0.5-1km stretch when nearing Madurai.
EDIT: Enjoy the rest of your trip and please write up a great Tlog as usual !
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Old 11th July 2011, 18:41   #100
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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I haven't driven beyond Dindugal on NH7 recently - Is there any bad/incomplete stretch on NH7 just before you reach Madurai ? IIRC I read on some other recent post about a bad 0.5-1km stretch when nearing Madurai.
Just before reaching Madurai, the road is still incomplete. A hardly 0.5km rough patch and then you get the road going inside to Madurai on the left and the highway on the right. In this small stretch its two way traffic too. But not much of a botheration.
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Old 11th July 2011, 20:25   #101
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

I think the issue is most folks running hotels have a point that no one would like to stay on Madurai bypass. The logic being if one is approaching Madurai, one would be visiting the town and may not be merely passing through.

This is unlike the big cities where folks do pass through. Hence you find hotels on the by-passes or at the entry/exit.

Last edited by ampere : 11th July 2011 at 20:26.
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Old 12th July 2011, 02:43   #102
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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@Chevy_Lover - you've definitely driven in good time
On power naps - yes those 30 minutes are equivalent of 3-4 hours of regular sleep.
From your hotel experience at Madurai seems like we need to plan ahead for the hotel to stay at or avoid staying at Madurai if possible.

I haven't driven beyond Dindugal on NH7 recently - Is there any bad/incomplete stretch on NH7 just before you reach Madurai ? IIRC I read on some other recent post about a bad 0.5-1km stretch when nearing Madurai.
EDIT: Enjoy the rest of your trip and please write up a great Tlog as usual !
Thanks, friend. We were more keen on trying to maintain a regular speed than to try to achieve very high speeds. The trick is to be patient and wait for empty stretches to increase speed by 20 - 30 kmph.

As Lalu bhai mentioned, there is a bad stretch just before one enters the outskirts of Madurai town. There is absolutely no warning to the drivers that the highway is going to become two laned, and that too without any median.

We were speeding on the highway and were thrilled to see the board that informed us that Madurai was about 20 kilometres away. We were being followed by the B9R of Victory Travels at approx 110 kmph, with all his 6 brilliant lights blazing away to glory. I was being blinded, but I gave him a taste of his own medicine, with my Hellas. I will explain that story in my TL!!

All of a sudden, we noticed a truck, which was about 500 metres ahead of us, brake hard and swerve to the right. We too braked and I immediately put on my hazard lights. The Volvo slowed down too.

The road had broken up without any warning and there was also a sizeable dip in the level of the two roads. The bad stretch was for about 1 ~ 2 kilometres. The road is very narrow, akin to the Salem ~ Annur road, with heavy traffic. No chance of overtaking. There were hundreds of trucks on the road even at 2 am.

It is very easy to miss the main highway after crossing the bad stretch. The road towards Madurai is two laned all the way and there are some barricades put up by the Police. Road condition is ok here.

It is better to avoid 'trying' to stay at Madurai. Even after 2 hours of exploration, I couldn't find a single decent hotel.
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Old 12th July 2011, 07:06   #103
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
Hi Hvk sir, Ampere Bhai, we finally reached Tvm. We left Pune on 8th, only by 2 am.

We saw a Team Bhpian (?) from Pune near Thoppur. He was driving a white swift. MH 12 FP XXXX, with a LTD sticker on the bumper.

Mate, if you ever read this post, please learn where your indicator switch is! And learn to drive straight! You were cutting lanes every 5 seconds, without indicating. Please don't bring Team BHP, a bad name because of your pathetic, terrible driving. One suggestion. Remove your sticker and always drive alone!!
I can see one more wonderful TL coming my way from Chevy Lover soon. Eagerly waiting for it. Thats one long trip you have planned.

By the way were you able to take the snap of the Swift? Would have been a good addition on Bad Drviers thread.
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Old 12th July 2011, 09:20   #104
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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TWe were being followed by the B9R of Victory Travels at approx 110 kmph, with all his 6 brilliant lights blazing away to glory. I was being blinded, but I gave him a taste of his own medicine, with my Hellas. I will explain that story in my TL!!

The next travelogue. Waiting eagerly for it.

By the way, I will also fit some Hellas in my Civvy - God knows how it will look. Other wise I'll at least have a hi fi search lamp in my co-passenger's hands. I also would love to have some lights blazing to take charge sometimes. Mostly the guys are OK on the road in the night, but some fellows come with very bright lights at god knows where all in the front!
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Old 17th July 2011, 01:03   #105
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Default Re: Route query - Pune to Trivandrum

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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
I can see one more wonderful TL coming my way from Chevy Lover soon. Eagerly waiting for it. Thats one long trip you have planned.

By the way were you able to take the snap of the Swift? Would have been a good addition on Bad Drviers thread.
Thanks Amit. We enjoyed the drive tremendously. We will surely share our experiences with all of you in Team Bhp.

We couldn't take a snap of the swift, as we were nearing Thoppur ghats and were concentrating on the road. The time was close to 7 pm. The swift cut us off from the left, cut off an 18-wheeler truck and was gone in seconds.

One thing I noticed was that he was using his brakes continuously. I might have used my brakes just twice or thrice in that stretch!!!

A driver who doesn't know about engine braking is a serious hazard for other road users!!!
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