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Old 1st January 2013, 19:53   #1
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Default Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

After my Courtallam trip last month, the urge to travel set in again! Any excuse is good enough to take my Ertiga out a long highway trip. This time I wanted to go to a hill station since Chennai was unusually hot given the season. My first option was Wayanad. I checked the current temperature there and I was shocked to find out that it was 33 deg. during the day and 20+ deg. during the night. Disappointed I decided to check out the usual suspects, Ooty, Yercaud, Munnar and Kodaikanal. I went to Ooty just after buying my Ertiga, so that was dropped. Yercaud was done 2 months back, so that's dropped too. Was in a dilemma between Munnar and Kodai and finally settled for Kodai as I never get tired of visiting this place. The last I went was in 2011 in my Swift and this time I wanted to check the ghats on my Ertiga. I have negotiated some tricky inclines in my Swift where it struggled to go past 1st gear. This time I wanted to check out those same inclines in my Ertiga to see how it performed. So here goes my travelogue:

Day 1: The travel was planned for 26th Dec. The previous night after all the Christmas celebration decided to pack up and was uber excited! Sleeping through the night prior to a trip is one of my biggest challenges! This time around it was no different and I planned for an early start at 4 AM. Woke up at 3:00 AM and got ready. Myself, wife, mom and daughter were ready to hit the road by 4:30 AM. It was 4:40 as I drove out of the house and enjoyed the deserted roads of Chennai. Wish Chennai was like this all day long! In no time I was on the highway maintaining a steady 80 kmph. I was a boy racer during my Swift days and I've never allowed another vehicle to overtake me! After an accident, marriage and an adorable kid, priorities changed and I became a sedate responsible driver. In fact I began to realise it's not the race to the destination, but the journey to the destination and taking time to enjoy every moment is fun. Anyway, at about 7:30 we stopped at our usual place near Villupuram, Arya Nivas, for breakfast. I usually have a quick one and take this time to stroll around the parking lot to check out my fellow travellers and their cars. Spent a few minutes cleaning the windscreen of all the insects and off we headed.

Reached Trichy and was in a dilemma whether to take the Trichy-Madurai route and by-pass at Viralimalai or to by-pass at Trichy. Finally took the by-pass at Trichy and took the exit to the Trichy-Dindigul highway. Road was in tatters for a few kilometres and then an awesome highway welcomed us. It was a pleasure drive all the way to Dindigul by-pass after which I took the 3rd exit to Bathlagundu. This was a mistake which I realised later. The Dindigul-Batlagundu stretch is being re-laid and the road was terrible all the way. Reached Batlagundu, had sweet tender coconuts and soon we were on the Kodai ghat road. Soon the ghat section started and the Ertiga took on like a diesel loco on rails.

The twists and turns on the Kodai ghat stretch is pretty tight and it's important that fellow passengers are accustomed to this tight twists and turns. This is more than Ooty or Munnar ghats. As drivers we don't realise but passengers get dizzy and nauseatic due to the tight turns. Till the last 10 kms, the weather was hot and sultry and I started wondering if this trip was a big mistake! Just after Shenbaganur, the weather took a sudden change and we were covered in mist. Finally, I was grateful that I found the cold chilly wind I was after. Found our resort and parked the car in front of our cottage (cottage pics follow later). Anytime I book a resort, I make sure I get to park in front of the cottage. That's my number ONE priority.

Day 2: Pretty cold outside. We were never interested in the usual tourist spots. So decided to drive to Poomparai, a drive through conserved forests all the way to Keelavarai. It is a single lane ghat section of 30 kilometers and one should exercise caution while driving this stretch. This route was absolutely fantastic and I found what "pin drop" silence was! It was so quiet with an occasional bird chirping. The roads were terrible and I was glad my Ertiga took the abuse well without much complain. Had lunch back in the cottage and then went local shopping near the lake.

Day 3: We went boating and decided to laze around the resort for the rest of the day. It was misty and cold all day through and as a final showdown we got to see a wild bison loitering by our cottage. It happily uprooted 2 trees to scratch its head and then headed close to our car. My heart was in my mouth as it went past and thankfully it chose to ignore my Ertiga. Later in the afternoon we started our descent on our way back. I usually descend extremely slowly, first to enjoy the scenery and secondly to save the brakes from excessive usage. Was back in Chennai at 12 midnight and what an awesome trip it was!

As usual, my car exceeded my expectations and in the ghat sections it outshined my older diesel Swift. Where the Swift struggled to go past 1st gear, the Ertiga aced in 2nd. I reckon it's to do with the VGT set up. Went through some challenging terrain and steep inclines and the vehicle aced it without a sweat. Extremely happy with its performance. Finally, its a highway star and the engine comes into its own on the highway. Amazing amazing performance! Already gearing up for my next and in the meanwhile I hope you enjoy my travelogue.
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Old 1st January 2013, 19:57   #2
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

Pictures in and around Kodai, enjoying the weather!
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Old 1st January 2013, 19:59   #3
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

On the way to Poomparai and some misty shots in and around Kodai.
Attached Thumbnails
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Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express-dscn3664.jpg  

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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:56   #4
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Hi swift diesel can you also post details of your stay such as name contacts rates and quality of the resort? Will be very useful.

Your Ertiga looks awesome with the bull guard. I am also planning to buy a petrol one in same color except that I want to see Ecosport in person before going ahead with Ertiga.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 18:04   #5
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Hey Excellent travelogue. I went to Kodai for Honeymoon 4 years back and its almost a refresher for me.

How did Ertiga pull on Ghats ? Was the climb power sufficient or did you feel Innova would have been better ?

A Question In General. How is the AC effect in Ertiga in Hot Chennai Weather.

Last edited by GTO : 3rd January 2013 at 18:17. Reason: Correcting typos. Please PROOF-READ your posts before hitting the submit button. Thanks
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Old 2nd January 2013, 18:37   #6
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

HI

Nice travelogue and some nice pics. The weather in places like Kodai is what is still dragging people back here year after year, though, I feel, places like Ooty and Kodai are getting too commercialised for my liking.

Just a general question, not aimed at this travelogue in particular. Why do people blank out and not reveal the regn nos of the vehicles in the pics? Am just curious to know, is it something to do with identity theft etc., like we have in the UK?

Cheers
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Old 2nd January 2013, 18:51   #7
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Mod Note : Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another on the SAME THREAD! To know how to multi-quote, click here (How to MULTI-QUOTE (when replying to a thread) on Team-BHP).

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Hey Excellent travelogue. I went to Kodai for Honeymoon 4 years back and its almost a refresher for me.

How did Ertiga pull on Ghats ? Was the climb power sufficient or did you feel Innova would have been better ?

A Question In General. How is the AC effect in Ertiga in Hot Chennai Weather.
Glad you liked it! The Ertiga pulled effortlessly on the ghats and was up to my satisfaction. If I have to nitpick I wish the torque came in slightly earlier, say like 1350 - 1400 RPM. Having said that, it's interesting to note that the engine characteristics have changed with more miles on the odo. During my earlier Ooty trip when my car was just 600 kms new, I felt like the turbo was tight. In this trip the engine had opened up nicely and the turbo spools effortlessly. I haven't driven an Innova on the ghats, so don't know how it compares. On the highway it's Ertiga any day for me for its effortless cruising with very low NVH which I found lacking in the Innova. It's just my opinion and no offence to Innova owners who enjoy their drive. No complaints with the AC, it does its job perfectly in hot Chennai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subs View Post
HI


Just a general question, not aimed at this travelogue in particular. Why do people blank out and not reveal the regn nos of the vehicles in the pics? Am just curious to know, is it something to do with identity theft etc., like we have in the UK?

Cheers
Subs
I don't know about others, I just want to remain anonymous, just in case a fellow forum member spots my car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
Hi swift diesel can you also post details of your stay such as name contacts rates and quality of the resort? Will be very useful.

Your Ertiga looks awesome with the bull guard. I am also planning to buy a petrol one in same color except that I want to see Ecosport in person before going ahead with Ertiga.
We stayed in Woody's resort on Convent Road. It's a nice wooded place with nice surroundings and the cottages are semi-furnished with good spacious rooms. Tariff works out to Rs. 5000 per night plus taxes. You can check out this site for information: http://www.woodlands.in

Their kitchen serves only vegetarian food and they are a bit pricey. Just outside the resort there are numerous food joints with all options. Overall, for the stay and customer service, I would give them a 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you need the manager's number, I can PM it for you.

Last edited by GTO : 4th January 2013 at 14:16. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 6th January 2013, 23:06   #8
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

Nice Write up!!
By the way what was the FE during this trip?

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I don't know about others, I just want to remain anonymous, just in case a fellow forum member spots my car.
Did you miss to the hide the number in one of the pic?
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Old 7th January 2013, 00:10   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
Nice Write up!!
By the way what was the FE during this trip?

Did you miss to the hide the number in one of the pic?
Thanks! Mileage on the highway was 20 kmpl at speed of 90 - 100. On the ghats, without AC it was between 14 to 15 kmpl.

By the time I realised about that one pic I missed it was too late!
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Old 7th January 2013, 00:58   #10
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

Nice. I visited Kodai around the same time (during christmas) but in 2011. Kodai was super cool at that time. I was able to see a thin layer of ice formed on my car every morning.

Did you visit Berijam lake and Mannavanur? Both are exotic places in Kodai.
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Old 8th January 2013, 17:53   #11
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Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
Nice. I visited Kodai around the same time (during christmas) but in 2011. Kodai was super cool at that time. I was able to see a thin layer of ice formed on my car every morning.

Did you visit Berijam lake and Mannavanur? Both are exotic places in Kodai.
Yes this seems to be the season to visit Kodai. I visited Berijam lake in my previous visit in 2011, so skipped it this time. I was too lazy to get forest permit. I saw Mannavanur on the map and I think it's on the same route I drove on - Kodai to Poomparai? I wasn't sure if the road was good enough. Let me know if its good.
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Old 8th January 2013, 18:56   #12
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express

Nice TL mate, been to Kodaikanal quite a few times. Never struggled to climb up the ghats in my Swift though so was a bit surprised to read those lines from you
Ertiga no doubt is a very good package for Indian Families where you get those optional 2 seats or much needed cabin space for the odd airport travel.
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Old 9th January 2013, 09:49   #13
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Originally Posted by swiftdiesel View Post
I saw Mannavanur on the map and I think it's on the same route I drove on - Kodai to Poomparai? I wasn't sure if the road was good enough. Let me know if its good.
You are right. It is the same route but will deviate 3-4 kms before Poomparai. By far this was the worst ghat route I have encountered so far. But the lake at Mannavanur was exotic. Just attaching a reference picture. Hope, you don't mind.

Chennai - Kodaikanal - A Winter Sojourn in my Ertiga Intercity Express-03-mnr-2.jpg
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Old 9th January 2013, 11:25   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Nice TL mate, been to Kodaikanal quite a few times. Never struggled to climb up the ghats in my Swift though so was a bit surprised to read those lines from you
Ertiga no doubt is a very good package for Indian Families where you get those optional 2 seats or much needed cabin space for the odd airport travel.
Thanks mate! Yes, the Swift absolutely aced all of the hills I've been to. What I found wanting (may be I didn't adapt to the engine's nature) was the low-end torque when I'm on a steep incline and want to shift from 1st to 2nd on the incline to go faster. Not a big deal though as I loved every moment in the Swift!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rameshnanda View Post
You are right. It is the same route but will deviate 3-4 kms before Poomparai. By far this was the worst ghat route I have encountered so far. But the lake at Mannavanur was exotic. Just attaching a reference picture. Hope, you don't mind.
I absolutely don't mind! That pic looks awesome! But I'm scared when you mention its the worst ghat route. In fact the ghats till Poomparai was very challenging and when you mention its even worse, its better I hire a local taxi next time to visit this. It's too good to miss anyway! Thanks for that!
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