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Old 26th June 2013, 23:47   #1
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Default Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

This travelogue covers a part of my drive through 'Kodaikanal-Sitharevu' ghat road, which is a 'Road less travelled", or say 'A road usually not considered'

People going to Kodaikanal, usually take the 'Dindugul-Vathalakundu-Kodaikanal' route or the 'Dindugul-Palani-Kodaikanal' route. These are the two prominent routes to Kodaikanal what most people know. The third one is the 'Dindigul-Sitharevu-Thandikudi-Pannaikadu-Kodaikanal' route. A few folks know this and may be some of us would have travelled through this before.

Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-thandimap.jpg


Searching TBHP, there are two comments about this route in two different threads but I couldn't see any updates or photos about its present conditions. So I wish to post this travelogue here to update the present road conditions with some photos. This could be of use to someone who would like to take this route sometime when they visit Kodaikanal.

Whenever I travel to Kodaikanal I only use to give a sigh and a craving look over that lonely road which turns and creeps up on the left, with a signboard at that junction reading "To Pannaikadu". And whenever I enquire about this route with my kodai folks or to any of the cabbies over there, all they could say instantly is "no no don't go that side, just take the straight road". None could tell me clearly any details nor even confirm whether the road fully runs down untill the plains. So I often think to myself, 'Someday I must take this and check it out myself'

Now begins my drive.. downwards, from Kodaikanal to Dindugul.

On 28.5.2013, we (me, my wife and my daughter) started off from Kodaikanal at around 8 in the morning. Driven 25 kms towards Vathalakundu down the Lawghat road, there came that 'Pannaikadu Detour', and the urge in me to take that road became immense. So I declared to my folks that I have determined to take this Pannaikadu route today.

Despite their groans and howls I drove up left. I convinced them that the route should be fine and even if it gets worse we can always drive back and go the old usual way.

The road towards Pannaikadu.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-roadtopannaikad.jpg

After a few minutes of driving we saw a villager on a bike and we stopped the car, and he too stopped at us. I spoke to him in tamil and asked "How this road will be ?" His face turned happy knowing that we are taking this forsaken road. He confirmed that "This road is good all the way down, absolutely lonely and you will enjoy a free and cool drive" I asked him "Are you sure this road runs all the way down till Sitharevu?" He said "Yes it does, Go ahead, its perfect except for a short stretch, a bit bad and broken but it is doable though". We thanked him and proceeded.

I know, Even government buses ply this way connecting Kodaikanal to villages like Pannaikadu, Thandikudi, Mangalamkombu, Manjalparappu and upto Perumparai. There again on the other side government buses connect Perumparai to Vathalakundu and Dindugul. So why should we worry?

So we drove on, and now my folks grew a bit comfortable too. Cars, Jeeps and trucks came in occasionally from villages around, other than these we didn't see any tourist cars or travelers. We saw government buses on the way in two places, The road was narrow, perfect and we enjoyed a breezy drive. We stopped at many places for clicks.

Here are some pictures:

A colorful village on the other side.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-villageonmount.jpg

Narrow road near Marudhanadhi Dam View
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-marudharoad.jpg

Marudhanadhi Dam at at distance.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-marudhadam.jpg

Regional Coffee Research Station - At Thandikudi
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-coffeeresearch.jpg

The road condition deteriorated after Thandikudi (i guess) and a bad stretch of broken road started appearing.
Wow, this is what we wanted... I said to my self, enjoying the rawness and experiencing a drive on a real ghat-country.

Broken Roads.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-001a.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-002a.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-bikecouple.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-jeep.jpg

Broken roads lasted only for about 3 or 4 kms, and after that the roads we fine again.

Pullavely:
And then we reached Pullavely, a place which is supposed to be a trekkers favorite. Trekkers come to this place to walk down towards a waterfalls hardly half km away. We could hear the sounds of the water falls from the road itself. The water from the falls then continues to flow as a stream running through a deep gorge in between two vertically steep hills. Due to the strange loneliness prevailing around, i didn't dare to walk down to the falls or go to the stream, leaving behind my folks in the car. I must trek & check this place thoroughly some other time.

At Pullavely.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-afterpullavely.jpg

The gorge in-between 2 steeps - And the stream runs through.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-gorge.jpg

You can see a walk-way to the falls.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-walkwaytofalls.jpg

Looks like a Guest house at Pullavely.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-bunglow.jpg

After a short break near Pullavely, we started driving down straight to the foothills, occasionally breaking for some snaps.

Then appeared the plains.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-plainview.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-plainsmountains.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-plainswater.jpg
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-frogs.jpg

This route had a few hair-pin bends also.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-hairpinbend.jpg

Reaching Sitharevu / Iyyampalayam
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-sitharevu.jpg

Once we cross Sitharevu and Iyyampalayam villages which are on the foothills we connect to the highway ie., Dindugul-Theni-Kottarakara highway. One should turn left to proceed towards Dindugul about 25-30kms, or turn right to go towards Vathalakundu 5-10 kms. There is a road exactly oppsite to where we touched the highway and this narrow tarmac by-passes Vathalakundu and leads towards Nilakottai, Madurai and further southwards.

A fast, non-stop drive from Kodai to Dindugul via the usual Vathalakundu route will take 2 to 2.30 hours. But reaching Dindugul through the Pannaikadu route took us 4 hours including numerous breaks en route. However we thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely drive.

Finally on NH-45 towards Chennai.
Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul-trichyhigway.jpg

Thanks for reading this folks. Any questions or queries? I'll be glad to answer Cheers.

Last edited by Ddrive : 27th June 2013 at 13:44. Reason: Deleted some smilies and corrected some repetitions.
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Old 27th June 2013, 14:42   #2
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Default re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th June 2013, 15:29   #3
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Default re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Looks like a great drive. Thanks for bringing this out - the entire stretch is through forests, it seems
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Old 27th June 2013, 21:31   #4
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Thank you mallumowgli.

Yes, the entire stretch is a forest but with many small villages in between. Buses connect these villages whereas the frequency is very very low, hardly one or two buses a day i believe. Once crossing Pannaikadu & Thandikudi, rarely any jeep, or car, or a bike comes your way.

If you stop your car and step out, all you can hear is the mystic sounds of the quietness of the forests. No remarkable wildlife except sightings of wild boars and wild goats reported, but we didn't see any though
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Old 3rd July 2013, 11:15   #5
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Good drive. When I saw the subject, I assumed you were a local from that area to do this drive. That route has lot of coffee estates with pepper and silk cotton trees as you an note from the pictures you have posted. Couple of relatives have their estate there. Even they dont use this road regularly exept to come up from Pattiveeranpatti to their estate and then to Kodai.
Keep exploring
Best regards
Bala
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Old 5th July 2013, 21:31   #6
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Quote:
Originally Posted by balan View Post
Keep exploring
Super-like for the above two words Thank you Mr.Bala.
I'm settled in Chennai but my home town is Madurai so I've been to Kodai umpteen numbers of times since childhood.
The Pannaikadu route reminded me of my ole time drives and rides to Kodai in the late 70s and early 80s
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Old 6th July 2013, 22:22   #7
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Thanks for posting this new route,travel to kodai was becoming boring on the traditional route through batlagundu,Am now looking forward to visit kodai again just to experience this new route.
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Old 7th July 2013, 06:03   #8
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Thanks of sharing new route, Needless to say amazing pictorial description. It provided a wonderful read more so as I have not been to this place yet.
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Old 13th July 2013, 10:45   #9
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Quote:
Originally Posted by vindrider2626 View Post
Thanks for posting this new route,travel to kodai was becoming boring on the traditional route through batlagundu,Am now looking forward to visit kodai again just to experience this new route.
Vindrider, Thanks for reading this TL and im glad you wanna take this route the next time. Try doing the trek to the Pullavely falls also.
Do post your comments in this thread after doing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by satran View Post
Thanks of sharing new route, Needless to say amazing pictorial description. It provided a wonderful read more so as I have not been to this place yet.
Satrun, Thanks for reading this TL and thanks for the kind words.
You mean, you've never been through this route before (or) never been to Kodai at all ?
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Old 13th July 2013, 16:19   #10
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Nice pictures and very interesting route, definitely want to try this sometime (may be on the way back like you did), Thanks for sharing
The broken roads reminded me of our Athirapilly-Valparai drive where there was a similar section of about 10Km.
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Old 15th July 2013, 10:31   #11
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Nice pictures and very interesting route, definitely want to try this sometime (may be on the way back like you did), Thanks for sharing
The broken roads reminded me of our Athirapilly-Valparai drive where there was a similar section of about 10Km.
Thanks for your comments NPV .

Yes, it is better to drive this route downwards as you will be starting fresh from Kodai. Please post your comments after doing it.

I read your Valparai Athirapally travelogue.. Cool one with nice pics.
I believe the Chalakudy-Athirapally-Valparai route no more has broken roads now. Recent photos show a smooth tarmac running through the entire stretch with perfect shoulder marks. I also read that this route got breached at some place on 26.6.2013 due to flash floods out of heavy rains. Hope it should be okay by now. We Got plans to go there next month

Regards.
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Old 15th July 2013, 15:15   #12
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

There is yet another route into Kodaikanal, and that is through Adukkam. I have done this route twice, once on the Bolero and once on the Enfield. Be warned that the road is so narrow at some places that only one vehicle can pass through.

To get to this road, take the road that leads to Kumbakarai falls (reminds me of the movie Kumbakari thangaiah with some songs by Illayaraja) and about 2 km before the falls, there is a clearly marked deviation to the right.

Shyam
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Old 15th July 2013, 16:56   #13
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyamk View Post
There is yet another route into Kodaikanal, and that is through Adukkam. I have done this route twice, once on the Bolero and once on the Enfield. Be warned that the road is so narrow at some places that only one vehicle can pass through.

To get to this road, take the road that leads to Kumbakarai falls (reminds me of the movie Kumbakari thangaiah with some songs by Illayaraja) and about 2 km before the falls, there is a clearly marked deviation to the right.

Shyam
Thanks Shyam, for the info.

I have seen this exit on Lawsghat road someplace before Perumalmalai. There will be a milestone showing to 'Adukkam' as well as to 'Munnar' 60+ kms. Thought it is probably a bike or jeep track.

Also they say another bike/jeep track is there through Kumbakarai-Vellagavi-Kodai. Trekkers use this route mostly.

I am interested in knowing whether the above two routes are doable with car? or may be I will check this out next time myself .

One more route which we all know is Kodai-Munnar direct through Berijam, which is closed now
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Old 15th July 2013, 17:44   #14
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Brilliant Ddrive.

I always try to explore new routes eventhough I go to a usual place.
This route is a new information to me. I would definitely take this route next time when I go to Kodaikanal. Thanks for letting us know.
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Old 15th July 2013, 20:29   #15
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Default Re: Drive down Kodaikanal-Pannaikadu-Thandikudi-Sitharevu-Dindugul

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post
Yes, it is better to drive this route downwards as you will be starting fresh from Kodai. Please post your comments after doing it.

I believe the Chalakudy-Athirapally-Valparai route no more has broken roads now. Recent photos show a smooth tarmac running through the entire stretch with perfect shoulder marks. I also read that this route got breached at some place on 26.6.2013 due to flash floods out of heavy rains. Hope it should be okay by now. We Got plans to go there next month
No immediate plans for Kodai but will post when I try that route.

Not sure about the smooth tarmac on entire route, especially for Athirapilly-Valparai. There was this 5-10 Km section few Km before the Tamil Nadu border where the road was bad and seemed like the area gets a lot of rainfall and hence the condition of the road. Don't remember if I mentioned the trip meter distance for this stretch in the travelogue.
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