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Old 27th December 2009, 23:26   #1
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Default Chennai - Kochi and back : Route advice required

Hi All,

Got my new Verna CRDI 1.5 VGT last month and had been dying to take her out on a long stretch ever since. Well, managed the first service within a few weeks of regular city driving, but the Christmas trip to Kochi, Kerala soon made the top of my to-do list.

We took the NH-45, NH-68, NH-47 route to Kerala from Chennai (as suggested by google maps), i.e. Chennai - Ulundurpet - Salem - Coimbatore - Palakkad - Thrissur - Kochi. But what gmaps failed to mention was the heavy roadwork between Salem and Coimbatore and also from Thrissur to Kochi, in the end we ended up spending almost 14 hrs on the road with just two short breaks. Unsurprisingly gmaps suggests the same route in reverse for return but dont want to make the same mistake twice.

Has anyone who has done a recent trip to Kochi suggest a good route to return? The NH-45 was superb and I saw that it extends to Dindigul. Would that be a good return path? In that case would the connecting stretch from Palakkad (or Kerala border anywhere for that matter) be equally good?

I plan to return on early morn Jan-2. Hoping to hear from the experts by then.

Cheers to all and hope you guys enjoy a great year ahead !
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Old 28th December 2009, 10:38   #2
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Originally Posted by TruBlueMaverick View Post
Hi All,

Got my new Verna CRDI 1.5 VGT last month and had been dying to take her out on a long stretch ever since. Well, managed the first service within a few weeks of regular city driving, but the Christmas trip to Kochi, Kerala soon made the top of my to-do list.

We took the NH-45, NH-68, NH-47 route to Kerala from Chennai (as suggested by google maps), i.e. Chennai - Ulundurpet - Salem - Coimbatore - Palakkad - Thrissur - Kochi. But what gmaps failed to mention was the heavy roadwork between Salem and Coimbatore and also from Thrissur to Kochi, in the end we ended up spending almost 14 hrs on the road with just two short breaks. Unsurprisingly gmaps suggests the same route in reverse for return but dont want to make the same mistake twice.

Has anyone who has done a recent trip to Kochi suggest a good route to return? The NH-45 was superb and I saw that it extends to Dindigul. Would that be a good return path? In that case would the connecting stretch from Palakkad (or Kerala border anywhere for that matter) be equally good?

I plan to return on early morn Jan-2. Hoping to hear from the experts by then.

Cheers to all and hope you guys enjoy a great year ahead !
If you do want to continue on NH45 to Kochi,then the route would be via Dindigul-Theni-Bodinayakannur-Devikulam-Munnar-Perumbavoor-Kochi.The route would take you around 10-12 hours,the route is very scenic and includes ghat sections in & around Munnar.

Not sure when you took the Salem section,but the stretch has been reported to have improved in the last couple of weeks as per posts on other threads.
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Old 28th December 2009, 13:08   #3
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Please try this route:
Chennai-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Thoppur-Mettur-Andhiyur-Gobi-Sathyamangalam-Annur-Kovai-Palakkad-Thrissur-Kochi

Chennai-Thoppur-4 lane fantastic road

Thoppur-Koai-Traditional 2 lane, but good road

There will be no problems... You may have shell out very good amount as toll tax between chennai till thoppur. Be prepared for the same...
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Old 22nd January 2010, 18:29   #4
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RT @ Dhanasekaran and ranjitp1. Didnt get a chance to thank you guys for the input provided. My original plan for a quick drive to Chennai was vetoed by accompanying family and we ended up taking a much longer, but scenic route via Ernakulam - Athirampilly - Vazhachal - Valparai - Pollachi - Dindigul - Trichy - Chennai.
The drive through the ghats section with 41 hairpin bends from Valparai - Pollachi was really breathtaking. I will post a detailed travelogue with pics on this amazing trip.
Amazingly google maps suggested the same route, but underestimated the route distance by atleast 80km. Also I dont really understand how they manage to estimate the time taken. 3 hrs from Chalakkudy to Pollachi ? With around 180 km of high-range driving sounded a little optimistic, unless you have a car fitted with rocket thrusters :-)
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Old 27th January 2010, 00:34   #5
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The best route is as Dhanasekaraji mentioned, (unless your purpose is not sight seeing. Since you have already travelled, mentioning this here is pointless)

Chennai-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri-Thoppur-Mettur-Andhiyur-Gobi-Sathyamangalam-Annur-Kovai-Palakkad-Thrissur-Kochi.

This can save time which you may need to spend in the Traffic mess at Avinashi and Salem. The Coimbatore Sathyamangalam road is in good condition also.

Google maps just considers the distance, but never looks into the driving and road conditions like whether its a hill drive or anything more time taken. It may not be fully dependable in some situations.
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Old 20th November 2010, 15:51   #6
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Latest update on the route... the roads are brilliant till the 500 km spot from Tambaram. The road expansion work starts at about 50km before cbe as of yesterday - but the patch wasn't too bad as I covered it around 4 am in the morning. However the Palakkad Trissur patch is horrible. I am heading back home tomorrow and I am not sure if I would want to take the road again. Exploring if i should take the route suggested by maverick....
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Old 20th November 2010, 17:07   #7
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As explained in the Kerala thread there is a Palaghat-Trichur bypass via Shornur/Wadakkanchery. The rest of GQ is spot on till CBE.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 15:51   #8
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If you are going to Ernakulam/Cochin or south on NH-47, you may take the same route above with a minor variant of switching to NH-17 via Ottapalam->Pattambi->Guruvayur.
Avoids the below 4 items:
1) Palakkad-Thrissur bad stretch
2) Thrissur-Angamaly under-construction 4-lane roads
3) Large number of Sabarimala vehicles to an extent
4) Of course, your all-time companion of tanker lorries (long-distance) and tipper lorries (short-distance)

Last edited by ajithbr : 22nd November 2010 at 16:05.
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Old 29th November 2010, 13:02   #9
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Default Palakkad - trissur road was better early in the morning



A report on my 45 hour 1550 km drive which might help those who plan to drive down Chennai - Cochin over a weekend. I left Chennai at 9.15 pm on friday night & reached ernakulam at 11.15am - A total of 14 hours. Didn't exceed 90kmph until sunrise (Took a total of 4 breaks - each for about 30 minutes on an average ). Tambaram-maduravoyal - krishnagiri-cbe-palakad-trissur-cochin.

While coming back I left Cochin the next day (sunday) at 6.30 am, reached Chennai by 6:15 pm - a total of 11.45 minutes. (3 breaks - 30 minutes each) - Don't get confused by the road sign in Salem - to come via Krishnagiri, you need to turn towards Bangalore & not Chennai.

Some learning from my drive

- ideal time to leave Chennai by 7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
- Cover salem -cbe patch before dawn so you'll not get stuck in jams
- Ensure you get start from palakad by 6 am so that you don't stuck badly in the trissur road. You will also skip the traffic in the trissur - cochin highway.

Ps: I am sure most of you know this - I just noticed that there are no decent (subjective) petrol bunk once I took the right turn at Krishnagiri. Guess not many prefer fueling or taking breaks just before reaching Chennai. I had to force myself to refuel in a dingy bunk 1 km after the last toll booth when my fuel indicator was almost red
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