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Old 4th November 2008, 19:20   #1
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Default Driving tour from Pune to Munnar and back

Im planning to do a Driving tour from Pune to Munnar. Would appreciate if anyone from around those places give suggestions on the routes, road condition, the first cut itinerary is below and I would appreciate replies to my email id for feasibility comments.

1. Evening drive from Pune > Belgaum, night stay at Belgaum
2. Belgaum > Bangalore night stay in Bangalore. I don't "have to" go to Bangalore if there is any alternate night stay available on my way to Munnar. Pls suggest.
3. Bangalore > Munnar reach by the night.
4. Munnar day travel
5. Munnar day travel or evening transfer to Periyar (which option is better?)
6. Periyar - boat ride in Periyar and then spend the night at Periyar or transfer to Kumarakom if I came to Periyar last night itself.
7. Kumarakom - Visit the backwaters around afternoon/evening time.
8. Kumarakom > Mangalore
9. Mangalore Goa
10.Goa Pune

I will have a reserve 1 day for any unplanned situation. So total 11 days in my hand.

Total distance is coming around 3000 km with 300km average driving. I have driven to Goa several times, and have done cross-country-like tours in the US but have not driven this far in India. So, I need to spend the next 1 month in preparation. Any help, suggestion, precautions, road condition would be appreciated. Also, let me know if there is any must tourist spot on my way that I'm missing out for my unawareness.

Also, I will be driving a Suzuki Swift with my wife as an optional "relief driver" (she isn't much experienced on the Indian roads).
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Old 4th November 2008, 21:12   #2
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Good and doable plan.
Belgaum has Hotel Sankam residency, just off NH4, without any need to go into town. Allow for a 5 hour drive from Pune to Belgaum.

Instead of Bangalore, you could stay at Hosur, which is 40 kms beyond Bangalore. Ideally, you can take the ring road from Dasarahalli/Peenya to take you to Hosur road which is NH7. Yes, you are going to run into heavy traffic in the Nelamangala-Bangalore Dasarahalli route, but this route would be least confusing for those unfamiliar with Bangalore.

I am sure our Bangaloreans have good ideas of places to stay at Hosur (or at Attibele, the Karnataka border with TN).

Drive from Hosur to Munnar is a full-day's drive, via Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Toppur, Mettur, Bhavani, Perunthurai, Chennimalai, Gangeyam, Dharapuram and Udumalipet. Road is good for most of the way. Try to leave Hosur as early as possible, since the last 70 kms into Munnar is via a wild life sanctuary and there are animal movements after dark.

Reaching Thekkady/Kumili in the late afternoon is preferred - leave Munnar after early lunch and target reaching Thekkady by 3-4 pm (3 hour drive). Thereby, you may be lucky to take the evening boat also. However, for this, you may have to make advanace bookings through your hotel. You can then also take a second ride early in the morning (late evening and early morning are the best times to sight elephants and bison in the Periyar reservoir).

An early morning departure from Thekkady is recommended, although keep in mind that there may be some fog at this time of the year. I advice this because it will help you avoid evening traffic in Kerala. Budget for a 4/5 hour drive to Kumarakom.

Return from Kumarakom could be a frustrating drive, given teh dense traffic conditions in Central and North Kerala and the severely damaged roads on NH17 between Mangalore and Kumta on the way to Goa. It is going to be along drive for you that day. I would advise you to stay at Udupi, being a smaller town. Further, it will enable you to reach Goa by late afternoon on day 2 of the drive.

One word for inexperienced drivers - the ghat roads are quite twisty in the Munnar region all the way to Kumarakom, and Kerala day traffic can test the wits of even the most experienced drivers.

Last edited by hvkumar : 4th November 2008 at 21:13.
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Old 5th November 2008, 08:46   #3
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Default Bangalore/surrounding to Munnar

Thanks for the reply... couple of more questions..

Belgaum to Munnar - which route ?

From several other threads I've found out that there are multiple ways to go to Munnar from Belgaum.

Instead of bangalore, can I drive from Belgaum to Mysore via the Mysore bypass, shows 550 km and seems doable. Would it help my next days drive ? In that case I will have to go via Ooty and my question is, would it take longer than the route via Krishnagiri/Mettur from Hosur ? I have to consider the following factors in the order of their priority

1. Road condition
2. Safety of the road (wouldn't want several hairpin bends, too tiring)
3. Natural beauty along the road
4. Duration
5. Distance

So, from each of the above point, which route would be better ?

Should I have included Wayanad/Ooty in my trip planner at the cost of Periyar ?

I am not much into wildlife viewing or hiking etc, I'm basically a landscape photography enthusiast. Considering that, should I go to Periyar or should I skip it and add Wayanad in my trip ? I'm not much keen on Ooty because I think it's same as Munnar and not as scenic as Munnar, but a lot of people are suggesting me Wayanad, Silent Valley etc.
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Old 5th November 2008, 09:06   #4
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Also, what are the hotels I can stay on my way ? I'm looking for budget hotels (but clean), on my way (Belgaum, Hosur/Bangalore/Mysore) and need a little better hotels around Munnar, Periyar and Kumarakam.

I checked Sankam residency in Belgaum, they are good..but their rate shows 900 for ordinary rooms, i was kinda expecting around the range of 500-600, do we not get those around here ?

I've been to south india before, but not on my wheel and also long ago, so excuse my lack of knowledge.
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Old 5th November 2008, 10:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I am sure our Bangaloreans have good ideas of places to stay at Hosur (or at Attibele, the Karnataka border with TN).
sdatta, Try to go past bangalore as quickly as possible and never ever try to halt here as hotel prices are too high and negotiating the city is time consuming.

Now since you are starting from Dharwad early morning, you should be in Bangalore by noon. Dont halt in Bangalore instead take your night halt at Dharmapuri (Hotel Adhiyaman Palace, excellent hotel, economical and famous for Chettinad Chicken Biriyani, but book the room in advance)

Now the important part (Bypassing Bangalore effectively) take the following route once you cross Tumkur:

Tumkur (NH4)
1) After Tumkur you will reach a Toll gate, tell them you are going to Dobbspet and you are not going to the next Toll gate (they will charge 11.50)
2) After the toll gate you will see A1 Plaza(closed) and then Kamat Upachar in your left. Immediately after that NH4 will take a flyover. Dont take the flyover. Take the left road running parallel to the flyover (this place is Dobbspet). You will also see a multiple signboard mentioning Dodaballapur, Devanahalli, Madhugiri, Hindupur etc.
3) Through this when you reach under the flyover, you will see a left turn. Take this road this is NH207 to Dodaballapur.
4) At Dodaballapur keep following signages for Yelahanka.
5) Once you reach Yelahanka signal take right (the signal is like a Y), you should cross a railway crossing and onto NH7. In case accidently you cross railway underpass at yelahanka, then you are in the wrong route take a U turn on reaching NH7 (vij4all confused this route and started heading towards Hyderabad NH7)
6) In 5km you will hit a multi ramp flyover (Hebbal Flyover). Keep left most ramp (follow signage for NH4-Chennai or NH7-Hosur)
7) In about 10km you will reach KRpuram bridge. Dont take the bridge. Take the left road.
8) Once you cross under the bridge (KRpuram RS will be in the left) and in 200m you will see another flyover curving towards right (i think it has dierctions for NH7-Hosur), take it.
9) You will go through 2 underpasses (on Railwayline and second one marathahalli) in the next 5km.
10) About 4km from the second underpass you will find a Pratham Motors showrrom in your right and RMZ Ecospace in your left (you will see IT companies like AOL, Intuit etc in your left). After crossing this take the first left. This place is Bellandur junction (you will find a cake shop and restaurant in the corner, top of the corner building there is a company called Incture)
11) This is a small road with curves will hit a 4 lane road (You will pass Tech Mahindra in your left). Take left this is Sarjapur Road.
12) Another 15km you will see signage for Attibele in the right. take that road
13) Take left at Attibele this is NH7 and in another 1.5km you are in TN Checkpost.

Hebbal flyover to Attibele should not take you more than 1.5 hours through the route mentioned. From Tumkur to Hosur can be done in 2.5 hours through this route.

In case of problem pls call me.
Abhi

Last edited by akroy : 5th November 2008 at 10:41.
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Old 5th November 2008, 11:07   #6
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From Belgaum, you can go to Munnar via Mysore, Sathyamangalam and Coimbatore. The Ooty route is longer and not worth going through.

Belgaum-Mysore-Munnar route is as follows:
Belgaum-on NH4-Hubli-Haveri-Ranebennur-Harihar-turn off NH4-Honnali-Shimoga-Bhadravathi-Tarikere-Channarayapatna-K R Pet-Srirangapatna-Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar-Sathyamangalam-Coimbatore-Pollachi-Udmalaipet-Munnar

I will not recommend the above route because:
- Roads are bad south of Shimoga till Tarikere
- You have 4-lane roads only till Harihar
- You have to face some more bad roads in Chamarajnagar area
- Navigating Coimbatore city can be a difficult experience

The route via Bangalore - all the way from Belgaum on NH4 - is preferred since you can connect to NH7 and NH47 and have a better ride to Munnar.

I would prefer Periyar anyday, compared to Wayanad. Mainly because it is adjacent to Munnar and also because it has good wildlife sightings.
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Old 5th November 2008, 12:29   #7
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Abhi, wouldn't that route be a little too confusing for someone not familiar with Bangalore and its outskirts?

I am tempted to suggest the normal Outer Ring Road stretch from Peenya to Madivala via Krishnarajapuram - there is very little chance of anyone getting lost on this route. Agreed the traffic is higher but the ORR is easier on the tourist.
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Old 5th November 2008, 13:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
From Belgaum, you can go to Munnar via Mysore, Sathyamangalam and Coimbatore. The Ooty route is longer and not worth going through.

Belgaum-Mysore-Munnar route is as follows:
Belgaum-on NH4-Hubli-Haveri-Ranebennur-Harihar-turn off NH4-Honnali-Shimoga-Bhadravathi-Tarikere-Channarayapatna-K R Pet-Srirangapatna-Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar-Sathyamangalam-Coimbatore-Pollachi-Udmalaipet-Munnar
Please keep in mind that the road conditions between Nanjangud to Chamrajnagar and upto the Karnataka & TN Border are not so great. Would it be a better bet to do Mysore - Gundlupet - Nilambur - Perintalmanna - Trichur - Angamaly - Perumbavur - Munnar? This would allow him to visit Bandipur / Mudumalai WLS if he is interested

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I would prefer Periyar anyday, compared to Wayanad. Mainly because it is adjacent to Munnar and also because it has good wildlife sightings.
Periyar sightings may not be great during Winter, during summers you find more animals coming to the lake which does not happen regularly during the winters because post monsoons the smaller waterholes deeper in the forests would still have water. But whatever be the season the first boat ride and the last boat rides are the best bet.
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