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Old 24th February 2011, 16:50   #1
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Default Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Hello All,
I'm planning Bangalore - Madurai - Rameshwaram - Kanyakumari - Bangalore Trip next month. I've heard that the entire NH7 stretch is complete, so I need not worry about the same. However, I've not been able to gather information about the road conditions between Madurai and Rameshwaram (NH49) and from Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari.

For Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari stretch, would it be wise to get back to NH7 and continue? Or would the NH49 - SH42(Aruppukkottai) - NH45B(Kurukkuchalai) - SH75(Tirunelveli) - NH7 be better?

My plan is to leave Rameshwaram by morning (around 9:00/10:00) and reach Kanyakumari by 4:00 pm so that I can catch the Sunset after checking into a hotel.

Another option Google maps suggests is through SH75, which kind of runs parallel to the coast and reaches Tirunelveli. As I'm wary of the inner roads, would appreciate any inputs on road conditions, fuel availability, food / water / pit stops en-route.

Regards,
Sumanth.
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Old 24th February 2011, 19:48   #2
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

You can take the route as mentioned below
Madurai - Rameswaram (NH49) is in good condition - takes 2.5 - 3 hrs
Rameswaram to Tuticorin (ECR) is in good condition - 3 hrs
Tuticorin - Tirunelveli (NH7A) - 4 laning in progress. Drivable - 1 hr
Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari (NH7) - 4 Laned except last 10 kms.- 1.5 hr
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Old 24th February 2011, 20:46   #3
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Quote:
For Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari stretch, would it be wise to get back to NH7 and continue? Or would the NH49 - SH42(Aruppukkottai) - NH45B(Kurukkuchalai) - SH75(Tirunelveli) - NH7 be better?
No, the take the ECR to Tuticorin from Ramanathapuram (the road goes through Kizhakkarai-Ervadi-Vembar) 2-laner with less traffic. From Tuticorin take NH7A to Tirunelveli and NH7 thereon to Kanyakumari. The ECR goes all the way to Kanyakumari, but it becomes a 1-1.5 laner past Tiruchendur. The NH7A is a bit rough is what i heard. Others can confirm.
~~~~
Madurai-Rameswaram road conditions were just discussed in this thread. Unless you are planning to visit Madurai temple on the way to Rameswaram, you can take the NH7 bypass from Samayanallur (on Madurai-Dindigul stretch) to Kappalur (Madurai-Tirunelveli stretch) continue on NH7 and take the bypass connecting NH7 to NH45B (Trichy-Madurai) 2 kms before Tirumangalam. THe NH49 turnoff is on this bypass. This is a roundabout way, but it would save you time and headaches dealing with Madurai traffic.

PS: Is today ECR day ? Have been suggesting that on the other thread too!!
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Old 24th February 2011, 21:09   #4
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Agree to what @Ramanan says. On the ECR (between Rameshwaram and KK) and around KK, you can also visit Tiruchendur and Suchindram.
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Old 24th February 2011, 22:01   #5
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

There is another thread with similar route suggestions. May be this can help a bit for understand different routes from Madurai.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...bangalore.html
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Old 24th February 2011, 22:30   #6
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

NH49 between Madurai & Rameswaram is good.
ECR between Ramanathapuram & Tuticorin is fantastic.
South of Tuticorin, upto Tiruchendur, the road sees lots of traffic but road is good.
After Tiruchendur, road is decent but in between has some bad sections and the road is also twisty, but traffic is light. I think it is not a bad idea to continue on ECR all the way to KK instead of taking a detour back to NH7 at Tirunelveli since NH7A is also being widened.
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Old 25th February 2011, 16:55   #7
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Thanks a lot everyone for the suggestions. I had heard not so good stuff about ECR beyond Pondy, hence was in dilemma. Will try out the ECR till Tuticorin. Is there a GPS Track for this stretch? If not, will try to create one during the trip.

Regards,
Sumanth.
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Old 25th February 2011, 17:59   #8
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
NH49 between Madurai & Rameswaram is good.
ECR between Ramanathapuram & Tuticorin is fantastic.
South of Tuticorin, upto Tiruchendur, the road sees lots of traffic but road is good.
After Tiruchendur, road is decent but in between has some bad sections and the road is also twisty, but traffic is light. I think it is not a bad idea to continue on ECR all the way to KK instead of taking a detour back to NH7 at Tirunelveli since NH7A is also being widened.
HVKumar,
Madurai & Rameswaram is a good two lane road, but sees heavy traffic especially between Madurai & Paramakudi.
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Old 25th February 2011, 20:43   #9
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

If Madurai is not part of the tour, You can take Trichy - Pudukottai - Karaikudi - Devipattinam - Ramanathapuram. Trichy to Ramanathapuram is just 3 - 3 1/2 hrs drive and saves a good 60km, though road is not as good as via madurai.
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Old 25th February 2011, 21:04   #10
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Trichy - Rameswaram through Pudukottai is 200 kms and can be done in 4 hours due to bad road condition between Kariakudi & Ramnad
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Old 1st March 2011, 12:27   #11
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

GSMINC, Infact i encountered bulk of the traffic between Viraganur and Madurai. Its this stretch where you get into suburban traffic and narrower roads.
~~~~
Sumanth, ECR beyond Karaikal all the way to Tuticorin is defly good. Personally tried it . HVK might have the tracks for it, he was the first among the ones i know to explore ECR end (KK) to end(Madras).
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Old 1st March 2011, 17:31   #12
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

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Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
GSMINC, Infact i encountered bulk of the traffic between Viraganur and Madurai. Its this stretch where you get into suburban traffic and narrower roads.
~~~~
Sumanth, ECR beyond Karaikal all the way to Tuticorin is defly good. Personally tried it . HVK might have the tracks for it, he was the first among the ones i know to explore ECR end (KK) to end(Madras).
I have uploaded an image from my GPS tracks below of teh ECr from Kanyakumari to Madras.

Here are distance particulars for ECR, along with drive times (please note stop times):
I left Trivandrum at 145 am, on Oct 16, 2010.

Kanyakumari, 0 kms, 315 am
SH176 to Ovari/Tiruchendur, turn off from NH7 towards Madurai, 9 kms after KK town toll gate
Tiruchendur, 92 kms, 440 am, (Halt at Temple till 615 am)
Tuticorin Bypass, 37 kms, 655 am, take Madurai road for 20 kms, turn off into ECR towards Ramanthapuram
Vembar, 67 kms, 745 am
Sikkal, 40 kms, 810 am
Ervadi, 8 kms, 820 am
Kizhakarai, 10 kms, 827 am
Ramanathapuram Bypass, 15 kms, 835 am
Devapattinam, 20 kms, 855 am
Tondi, 35 kms, 915 am, refuelling halt
Mimisal, 27 kms, 935 am
(Stop for Horn repair, 15 mts)
Adiramapatnam, 61 kms, 1050 am
Muthupet, 18 kms, 1055 am
Thirururaipoondi, 27 kms, 1115 am
Velankanni, 30 kms, 1135 am
Nagapattinam Bypass, 10 kms, 1145 am
Karaikal, 23 kms, 1200 pm
Tirunallar Temple, 8 kms, (Halt at temple till 105 pm)
Tirukadaiyur, 26 kms, (Halt for lunch till 205 pm)
Tarangambadi
Sirkazhi, 25 kms, 240 pm
Chidambaram Bypass, 20 kms, 310 pm
Cuddalore, 53 kms, 350 pm
POndicherry Beach Road, 25 kms, 425 pm
Kalpakkam, 82 kms, 535 pm
Mahabalipuram, 18 kms, 550 pm
KOvalam, 18 kms, 605 pm
Madras OMR (22 kms before city), 17 kms, 630 pm

Total kms from Kanyakumari, excluding detour to Tiruchendur & Tirunallar, 775 kms

Here is my report on the ECR:

- The 4-laned road in Kanyakumari is incomplete on NH7.
- The turn off int SH 176 (towards Ovari/Tuticorin) is not marked, take a right turn approximately 10 kms after the KK town entry point.
- You cross Koodankulam N-Power Plant.
- Road is very curvy till Tiruchendur. A little wavy, but surface is good. Lots of check posts, but all unmanned, could be a source of harassment for motorists (TN cops are notorious for extorting money from up-country out-of-State tourists).
- Ovari has a bypass. From here, Tisiyanvilai temple is close by.
- Tiruchendur is the first town where you have decent facilities thanks to the famous temple.
- You can go to Tirunelveli from Tiruchendur.
- Cross River Tambrapani after Shahupuram, where the DCW Plant is situated
- You do not have to enter Tuticorin town. Instead take the left turn towards Madurai (NH45B) near the Port and go on the 4-laned road (incomplete) for 20 kms beyond the Sterlite Plant and Toll Gate (still not open).
- Take a right turn towards Ramanathapuram onto ECR again.
- Towns like Vembar, Sayalgudi, Sikkal & Keezhakarai have bypasses. You can occasionally see the sea to your right, but for most part, landscape is barren, with lots of salt pans.
- This stretch used to traditionally have terrible roads, hence facilities are underdeveloped for motorists.
- Ramanathapuram bypass is incomplete, but you can still take it and take a small detour into a mud road (inadvisable if it has rained, soft mud and slush), since a bridge across the rail line is incomplete.
- The bypass also intersects the NH49 coming from Madurai and going to Rameswaram (take the bypass if you want to go to Rameswaram, but go through town to go to Madurai).
- No facilities on the bypass.
- At Devapattinam, you can turn left to go to Karaikudi or Trichy.
- Tondi is the first big town, but since this route till Nagapattinam was in total mess all these years, facilities for motorists are non-existent and I think people are seeing cars for the first time! Even buses which are ubiquitous in TN are conspicuous by their absence, the road is just made.
- From Tondi also, you can turn towards Karaikudi.
- Mimisal town is very small.
- There are many opportunities between Dvapattinam and Mimisal to go towards the beautiful beaches.
- Towns of Adiramapatnam, Muthupet and Thiruturaipoondi are bypassed.
- You can turn off to Vedarnayam (right) or Pattukottai (left) at Muthupet.
- You bypass Velanganni.
- Nagapattinam bypass is complete, avoids the bother of going into town, and also avoids Nagore.
- Just before Nagapattinam bypass, you can turn left towards Thiruvarur and Thanjavur.
- Karaikal is the best town en route with lots of hotels and petrol pumps. Also the tax haven for refuelling and liquour.
- To go to Tirunallar temple, you have to go into the Karaikal Market and turn left.
- Traffic is very disciplined inside Karaikal town which is part of Pondicherry State.
- At Thirukadaiyur, there is a wayside restaurant, which had decent food.
- Hereafter, there are many turn offs to Poompuhar, Mayiladuthurai, etc
- Sirkazhi bypass is incomplete, so you have to go through town. Just before Sirkazhi, you can turn left to go towards Vaitheeswarankoil, Mayiladuthurai. Kumbakonam and Thanjavur.
- Chidambaram has a lovely bypass.
- After Chidambaram town bypass, look out for the left turn if you want to go to Panruti/Madras via Bhuvanagiri.
- You have to go through Cuddalore town
- There is a A2B immediately after crossing Cuddalore town towards Pondy.
- You can turn left and go directly to Madras via Tindivanam/Villupuram.
- Pondicherry has good signages to Madras.
- Watch out, you can also go to Madras via Tindivanam, hence look out for the ECR route.
- Ideally, you can drive past beach Road and refuel at the cheap petrol pumps here.
- From Pondy, it is the well-known ECR all the way to Madras via Mahabalipuram.
- Just before Mahabalipuram, look out for the left turn towards Chengalpattu in case you are looking to join NH45 (Madras-Trichy highway) or go to Bangalore via Kanchipuram.

Toll Gates - the only one in Tuticorin bypass is not yet functional.
The old toll gate on ECR north of Pondicherry is the only one where you pay toll.

Road conditions are outstanding. You can maintain speeds of 120 kmph + except when you approach small towns and villages.
No road humps anywhere.
Fuel; stations are not much, hence plan refuelling in advance.
Ideally after leaving KK, you can refuel at Karaikal and you can make it to Madras.
Mobile connectivity excellent.
Most signboards till you reach Nagapattinam (SH) are in Tamil.

If you want to see the GPS tracks of the ECR, please check this link:
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BzW...thkey=CNKu8fgM
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Old 1st March 2011, 20:07   #13
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I have uploaded an image from my GPS tracks below of teh ECr from Kanyakumari to Madras.
HVK sir, this is too much!! OMG how you manage to collect so much info while driving at above average speeds! From my last trip, I'm training my 12yr old son to notice and log such details. But to do to this extent, one might need a secretary or two. Hats off to you sir.

I plan to go on a Tamilnadu temple hopping trip in Oct, covering as many as possible enroute (Blore-Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari-Madurai/Guruvayoor-Blore) and I'm copy-pasting your log into my trip file (which I was forced to create right away).

Thanks a lot.

Prasad
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Old 1st March 2011, 20:10   #14
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

@hvkumar

Nagapattinam bypass is complete except a backwater bridge just before entering pondicherry check post. That leaves no choice but to drive through nagapattinam and nagore. Though there is a 2km mud road just before the bridge which can be used in case of taking nagapattinam bypass road but that is too dangerous for bigger cars. Its very narrow.
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Old 1st March 2011, 20:22   #15
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Default Re: Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari Streach

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
HVK sir, this is too much!! OMG how you manage to collect so much info while driving at above average speeds! From my last trip, I'm training my 12yr old son to notice and log such details. But to do to this extent, one might need a secretary or two. Hats off to you sir.

I plan to go on a Tamilnadu temple hopping trip in Oct, covering as many as possible enroute (Blore-Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari-Madurai/Guruvayoor-Blore) and I'm copy-pasting your log into my trip file (which I was forced to create right away).

Thanks a lot.

Prasad
Thanks for the compliments, Prasad ji! I guess it is habit and expertise over so many years! Since I started out maintaining log books from my mobiking days, writing in a car is not difficult at all.

Yes, my son also maintains log books well - he has been doing that since he was much younger (now he is 16) - but he rarely comes with me on my trips. Recently, I have got a GPS data logger device which comes with a dictaphone and Point of Interest marker, hoping to use it on my future trips, saves me the bother of writing down stuff when I am driving.

The temple-hopping trip plan sounds exciting. I wonder if you have seen the website where someone has made a GPS map, marked all the temples in South India (especially TN).
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