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Old 15th October 2014, 17:59   #1
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Default Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

Sorry I am posting this over 12 days since I got back but IMHO road conditions are likely to have changed only for the better, so readers pl stay positive.

It had been quite some time since our last visit to Guruvayur, that one being in 2010 via Coimbatore, Palakkad, and Thrissur. My post on this is
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-oct-10-a.html (Tamil Nadu and Kerala driving experience: Oct '10)

So what was going to be new now?

Just the route, to begin with.

I decided on night halts at Wayanad both ways, just to give my legs and back that much needed rest when driving from Bangalore. We had 5 days at our disposal, 2-Oct-14 thru 6-Oct-14, both inclusive.

As we left Bangalore on 2-Oct-14 morning, Gandhi Jayanti, I was mentally prepared for and did encounter ample traffic on Mysore road, likely thanks to countless others like us heading out for the long Dasara weekend.

Our first night halt destination was going to be Sanjeevani Resorts, located some 1 km off the NH-212 at Sultan Bathery. I enquired and confirmed the accommodation with them just the previous evening! So much for planning a family trip!

It took me some 3 and 1/2 hrs to reach Mysore, or to be exact, to reach Shree Guru Residency on JLB road, where I have stayed often, this time just for lunch for us and car tank- up. I had replaced my car's battery the previous night as it had proven itself a problem on the tough ghat road of Gopalswamy Betta just a few days earlier. See my post here for the same:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-bandipur.html (Elephant season in lush green Masinagudi, Mudumalai & Bandipur)

After some 1 and 1/2 hrs at Mysore, headed off on the NH-212 to Gundlupet and onward to Sultan Bathery. Most Mysore roads are far less tension- filled than the ones in Bangalore, thanks to a much less volume of traffic. I found I could go at 60- 80 kmph until I got to Nanjangud when potholes started showing up here and there, forcing me to 40- 50 kmph. Soon exited Najangud and the rest of NH-212 was a breeze to Gundlupet. Took the right fork going to Kerala just after exiting Gundlupet town and was soon on another good road with just a couple of road cuts (seems like for pipe laying). This stretch includes some 25 km, I guess of drive thru lush green Bandipur forest. Strangely, over all that long stretch of the forest drive, I spotted little other than one small herd of some 10 deer at the fag end of the drive. Soon crossed the Kerala border (Muthanga forest section) without any halt and could maintain 50- 60 kmph till Sultan Bathery town.

I called up the resort manager over mobile and he guided me quite well to his place. There is a signboard of Sanjeevani resorts on the NH-212 some 2 km after you exit Sultan Bathery town, pointing to the way to their place.

After I got to the resort, we were settled in some 15 min in our room facing their swimming pool. My kid loved it of course. The resort is quite good, surrounded by lots of plantations. Food was well prepared, fresh and steaming. Some pics of the resort are here.
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-wp_20141006_002.png
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-wp_20141006_004.png
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-wp_20141006_001.png
The resort manager, Mr. Renjith, is quite friendly and helpful and gave me all info regarding the recommended route to Guruvayur, from his drivers network.

We decided to go on an early morning safari at Muthanga forest the next day and informed Renjith who in turn contacted his jeep driver. The safari cost INR 1500/- for a group of 6 and we split this cost with another family in the resort. We left the resort by 0530 hrs itself to head for Muthanga forest and were at the checkpost by 0600 hrs. After some 1 hr of waiting with countless others, we just managed to get entry for our jeep. There doesn't seem to be any online booking and I could see a long queue of people waiting for the counter to open. I was told there is a limit of some 40 jeeps to enter the sanctuary.
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-img_0100.png
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-img_0101.png
The safari was unfortunately a poor show, lasting just some 40 min inside the forest. We just managed to get a fleeting glimpse of a couple of elephants behind bushes and no more, a poor comparison with the excellent safaris I had had in Bandipur just a week earlier.

Next morning, post- breakfast, by 0930 hrs we started off on the NH-212. A few posts had correctly mentioned about broken portions around Vythiri, something I encountered as well, especially as I was leaving Wayanad. But I could see tar machines ready and by now I guess these broken patches may have been repaired.

After exiting Wayanad, the winding ghat road with forests on either side and misty clouds kissing the hills are sure to make you forget those bothersome potholes you had encountered. A couple of pics are here that I took on my return drive.
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-img_0114.png
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-img_0115.png
Post the ghat section, I continued on the NH-17, without letting my GPS decide for me. That was of course because GPS systems usually take you along the shortest routes that may or may not be as good as the one(s) one knows about, in this case the NH-17 was the only road I had confidence about from TBHP forums.

It was well, a breeze to drive on the NH-17 nearly all the way to Guruvayur. I could maintain speeds between 60 - 90 kmph almost throughout. When I reached Kottakal, it was around 1530 hrs and I stopped at a pure veg restaurant (of the City group) for lunch. Fortunately even at that hour I still managed to get a (plaintain leaf) full meals, but my wife and kid had to settle for much less as the restaurant had few other options.

Post lunch, I continued to a place called Valanchery and then stayed on the NH-17, all the way on excellent road, all thru like a roller coaster ride- ups and downs mixed with large turns. After Valanchery I decided to let my GPS take over and it led me to Ponnani town. Somewhere there I realized I had ignored a board showing the Ponnani bypass. The penalty was an agonizing drive at a max of 15 kmph thru the busy market throughfare of the town, ironically still deemed to be the National Highway NH-17. After somehow forcing my way out of that stretch with lots of honking, emerged into a 30 km or so breezy stretch to Chavakkad near Guruvayur.

I touched Guruvayur by 1730 hrs and soon reached hotel Mayura Residency on West Nada where I had booked for 2 nights. The route I had taken to Guruvayur is the one here.
Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-sultanbatheryguruvayur.png
I managed to be in the temple that evening for one of the best Seeveli processions I have ever seen, lasting over an hour with 5 caparisoned elephants. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention, I had to wait in the queue for 1 and 1/2 hrs before I could get into the temple. The Seeveli got over by 2240 hrs (yes, 10:40 PM) and we had to rush back to have some grub for the night at that hour. Fortunately our hotel restaurant was still functional, though highly limited and we managed to have rice, Dal, and some chapattis before we hit the sack.

Next day was just rest for me, largely because I was put of by the terribly long queue (it was a Saturday), but my wife who is highly religious, managed to be there for the wee hours darshan (Uchhikala Pooja), for which the queue starts as early as 0130 hrs and the temple doors open at 0330 hrs or so.

Sunday, 5-Oct-14: it was time to get back to Wayanad. This time, the hotel manager suggested a much better route Guruvayur- Choondal- Trichur highway, that would avoid Ponnani town. I found this route a breeze all the way to Kozhikode and upto Sultan Bathery as seen in the map here.
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I drove non- stop fro Guruvayur to Sanjeevani resorts and was at the resort by 1530 hrs. Although it was late, the cook got about preparing lunch and steaming food was ready in 30 min, simply relishing.

Next morning, post- breakfast, we headed back, stopping at Guru Residency again for lunch. As we were subsequently passing thru Mandya, a terrible thunderstorm came our way, but knowing the road reasonably well, I managed to keep doing some 40 kmph thru till I was out of the rain. A second heavy shower once again came up post Maddur and I was happy my car got a good wash without having to do anything except keep going.

We touched our home in Rajajinagar, Bangalore by around 1800 hrs.

I had done a highly satisfying round trip of some 920.8 km. The fuel usage was just unbelievable- I tanked up a total of 46 litres of petrol costing some INR 3330/- in all. That amounted to a mileage of 20 km/l and a fuel cost of just INR 3.62/ km!

A pic of my petrol bills is here just for anyone going to Guruvayur, just to know these good bunks along the route- I got all my excellent mileage even from the ordinary petrol that I had to fill ex- Bangalore/ Mysore.
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Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur-petrol_bills.png  

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Old 16th October 2014, 16:57   #2
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

Nice travelogue buddy. Good pictures and nice summary of the route and expenses incurred. It will definitely help those wanting to do this route. Those winding ghat roads are particularly inviting!
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Old 16th October 2014, 17:06   #3
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

Beyond Velancherry its much better to take the SH to Kunnamkulam at Edappal instead of continuing on NH17 via Ponnani. This SH is actually better than NH17. Even I have some amazing memories of staying for a night in Guruvayur. After having paid huge tariffs at other places, hotels here seem much more VFM.

Last edited by ampere : 16th October 2014 at 17:08.
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Old 16th October 2014, 19:40   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beyond Velancherry its much better to take the SH to Kunnamkulam at Edappal instead of continuing on NH17 via Ponnani. This SH is actually better than NH17. Even I have some amazing memories of staying for a night in Guruvayur. After having paid huge tariffs at other places, hotels here seem much more VFM.
Thanks, ampere. Actually the NH-17 was quite okay all the way except for that severe slowing down inside Ponnani, thanks to me ignoring the bypass sign. But I will have the SH in mind for future trips.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice travelogue buddy. Good pictures and nice summary of the route and expenses incurred. It will definitely help those wanting to do this route. Those winding ghat roads are particularly inviting!
Thanks, Aditya. If you have time, do try staying at Wayanad at Vythiri. I could see some good hotels in really picturesque surroundings just around the entry/ exit arch of Wayanad.
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Old 16th October 2014, 20:41   #5
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

DrVjy, Nice crisp travelogue with all the details. Taking a break at Wayanad is a good idea. Pls share the cost incurred at the resort.

You have got great mileage for your car (i10 Era, I suppose).
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Old 16th October 2014, 21:18   #6
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The room at Sanjeevani resorts with 1 extra bed cost me something like INR 2200/- per night. Food, meaning lunch or dinner was extra, but breakfast, quite sufficing, was complimentary. I really liked the ambience and hospitality of the place and would want to drop by again sometime in future.

My car is an i10 d'lite, a rather basic model but a great performer nevertheless. It's done over 53000 km to date.
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Old 17th October 2014, 10:04   #7
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

Nice travelogue, any particular reason that you were filling up for small denominations? I am guessing when the needle comes to half way mark you are topping it up.
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Old 17th October 2014, 10:18   #8
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVjy View Post
Post lunch, I continued to a place called Valanchery and then stayed on the NH-17, all the way on excellent road, all thru like a roller coaster ride- ups and downs mixed with large turns. After Valanchery I decided to let my GPS take over and it led me to Ponnani town. Somewhere there I realized I had ignored a board showing the Ponnani bypass. The penalty was an agonizing drive at a max of 15 kmph thru the busy market throughfare of the town, ironically still deemed to be the National Highway NH-17. After somehow forcing my way out of that stretch with lots of honking, emerged into a 30 km or so breezy stretch to Chavakkad near Guruvayur.
...
Sunday, 5-Oct-14: it was time to get back to Wayanad. This time, the hotel manager suggested a much better route Guruvayur- Choondal- Trichur highway, that would avoid Ponnani town. I found this route a breeze all the way to Kozhikode and upto Sultan Bathery as seen in the map here.
Nice travelogue and pictures, Thanks for sharing

Better to avoid Ponnani route. Even Kunnamkulam town can be messy sometimes but it can be bypassed by taking the route via Kecheri and back on NH47 from where you can turn right and go to Choondal towards Guruvayoor or turn left and go towards Shobha City, Poonkunnam and then towards Chalakudy almost bypassing most of Thrissur.
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Old 17th October 2014, 11:38   #9
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Nice travelogue, any particular reason that you were filling up for small denominations? I am guessing when the needle comes to half way mark you are topping it up.
Thanks, motomaverick. On my trip I used to top up when it was at quarter mark or even earlier depending on info I got about good bunks.

Actually I am somewhat suspicious of petrol quality at bunks that I am new to, having had bad experience even with premium 'Speed' petrol within Bangalore itself (Bharat Petroleum, 'Inter- state Highway' bunk on Modi Hospital road, Rajajinagar) near my home, some 6 months back. I had experimented with this bunk to see if I could tank up nearer- to- home as my regular bunk is some 8 km away near MG road (Nagpal's garage- perhaps the best bunk in Bangalore, IMHO). I topped up my tank fully assuming that a premium petrol like 'Speed' was just a 'Fill it- Shut It- Forget It' affair anywhere, but it turned out to be quite otherwise. It looks like hardly anyone fills 'Speed' from the 'Inter- State Highway' bunk, something that had resulted in slow accumulation of dirt in their underground storage tanks and therefore made its way into my car. It was so bad that a few days later the engine repeatedly behaved erratically during running and on one occasion nearly switched off, severely struggling to idle. I had to make 2 trips to Hyundai service over those days, to see if they could try and diagnose any faults in the combustion cycles, using their engine management software. Although they strangely said they didn't find 'anything' from that tool as well, the service guys told me to keep going as any dirt would slowly burn itself out in a few days. Since then, I have returned to good old Nagpal's for my weekly 'full- tank' need and have decided not to change for now.

It looks like oil companies are bothered about 'chemical' adulteration and not about (equally) damaging particulates like sediment. Interestingly the 'Inter- State Highway' bunk sports a large banner from Bharat Petroleum, encouraging you to 'Check and Fill'!
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Old 17th October 2014, 13:48   #10
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Default Re: Travelogue: Bangalore - Wayanad - Guruvayur

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Thanks, motomaverick. On my trip I used to top up when it was at quarter mark or even earlier depending on info I got about good bunks.

It looks like oil companies are bothered about 'chemical' adulteration and not about (equally) damaging particulates like sediment. Interestingly the 'Inter- State Highway' bunk sports a large banner from Bharat Petroleum, encouraging you to 'Check and Fill'!
Yeah adulteration is pretty common especially Speed and above rated petrols. In fact I have never filled these enhanced fuel as they are most of time lying around and you cannot be sure if they are actually filling these enhanced fuels. By the way if you are in the South area then IOC bunk in HSR layout Sector 1 is a good one.
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