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Old 4th June 2008, 10:04   #1
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Default Bangalore - Theni - Kerala (near Munnar) - Theni Bangalore

Place: Bangalore. On the Saturday morning, 26th April 2008, had a casual chat with my sister about driving down to Kerala for a couple of days. I was looking for a good companion to share driving. To my surprise, my brother in law agreed, but, with a condition. So, our trip was hanging on some official work to be completed in the office of my sister on 30th May 2008.

My destination was our hometown – Parathode – a small Kerala town in the valley covered by huge hills. It’s around 40 kms off from Munnar.

I was waiting to drive away. Got on to the internet and started searching for possible routes. Since I have tried the routes through Salem – Coimbatore – Palakkad – Thrissur - Adimali couple of times and Salem – Dindugal – Theni – Pooppara - Rajakkad route once, I thought of trying the Mysore, Nilambur, Thrissur route. Another reason for this route was the possibility of visiting someone in Thrissur on the way.

Got some good reviews and tips from team BHP web site. That is when I tried to become a member. Wanted to share my experience too through this web site.

I collected the distance charts through the Nilambur route. Prepared a comprehensive chart covering names of all the small towns in between with the approximate distance between them. At that point, I could say only approximate, because, my previous experience in collecting distance data from the web reminds me that – don’t rely on them. So, I keep a chart of my own after traveling through the route. With all basic route information ready, I called up my brother in law on 30th April evening around 3:00pm to check the status of trip. The response was positive.

Now, I have to start packing! Just realized that there are lots of things pending before I can leave the city….. Started working on things one by one. Again, for route confirmation, checked with my sister and brother in law. They had dropped the plan to visit Thrissur. Now, second thought – shall we go through Theni?

After couple of calls to negotiate alternatives, decided to take the Theni route. Anyway, my WagonR (2005 Nov) is also familiar with the route!!!

At 11:00pm, I’m at the door of my sister’s house near R.T. Nagar. Need to sleep there and get on to the road at around 4:00am. Got in to the bed and tried to sleep. At 3:30, got up, had a quick bath. Sister packed some food for the lunch – it would be handy since we are going for a day trip. The team of five (3 of us and two kids) are ready to go at 5:00am. Took off sharp at 5:00am, kids waving to the grandparents.

The Elevated expressway construction from Silk board junction to electronics city on Hosur Road is not allowing to hit good speed. But, since it was early morning, I could cross that in quick time. At many instances, we had to get down from almost 3 to 4 inches of tar and get back in again – testing the suspension system.

Had breakfast from Dharmapuri in a 30 mins break. The ride so far was smooth and eventless. NHAI is busy in converting the entire stretch between Bangalore and Salem to 4 lanes. They are doing a good job in creating bye passes for small towns. The work is in full pace and the traffic is least affected (At least on the day when we traveled). Good job!!.

Small stretches before and after Dharmapuri were not so good. Reached Salem at 9:00am. We were on time as per plan. Then, off to Namakkal. This road is also being converted to 4 lanes. Present state or road is kind of ok. Namakkal – Karoor and Karoor – Dindugal also is being 4 laned. Target of completion is Dec 2008. There are many places where you will have to get down from almost four to six inches of newly laid tar section and get back in again. That too at 60 to 100kms speed. Must have done some damage to the suspension. But, kept on driving. There are couple of flyovers being constructed and they have some road humps near the construction site, which was hitting the chassis even at the lowest possible speeds in second gear. So, had to go up the hump, stop and then get down.

Took a detour and went in to a place filled with coconut trees for a halt. It was very hot, but, was a nice place to have lunch. Had lunch and started again after this 45mins break at 1:15pm.

Reached Dindugal and could not locate where to turn to Theni. The road has changed so much in an year – and still in construction. Finally, asked an auto driver at the junction. We were, right there where we have to take a right turn. Sigh of relief!!!. There I could locate a small board on the left that shows an arrow to the right for Kodaikanal. It confirms that the direction is right. Now, it is a two lane road – but good quality.

Immediately after Vattalakkundu, saw the board to Kodaikanal on the right – 59 kms away. It will take two hours to reach Kodai – no plans to divert. Ignored the sign board and kept on driving towards Theni. The road is good, but, there were some stretch (may be a total of 2kms) where construction was going on. That stretch was really bad.

We were lucky to get away from an accident in this stretch. We were driving at around 80Kms with someone in a swift tailing us on the same speed. One young guy (around 20 – 25 yrs) walking on the right side of the road just started running across the road. Reason – his friend just stopped the bike on left hand side of road. He crossed the middle of road and realized that he is in danger after hearing the roar of tyres rubbing hardly against the tar on the road. The car refused to stop even after pushing the breaks to the maximum. After seeing the car, our hero could not decide, whether to proceed or go back. He did couple of dancing steps there in a split second and came to a halt at some awkward position on single leg – still trying to adjust his balance. The car zoomed past him – the distance between him and the car would have been only a feet or half.

People around started scolding that guy. We moved on. But, if we would have hit him, it would have been a complete different story. Lucky for him and for us. So, lesson learned: while driving through village areas, be very very careful.

Reached Theni around 3:00pm. Could see the western ghats like someone had drawn a picture on canvas. Panoramic view – great one. Went on to the bottom of western ghats – Bodinaykannur. It is NH 47, but, the climb up to the top of the mountain will take almost an hour. Distance is around 15 kms – winding road with 17 hair pin bends. This was a real scenic drive and everyone enjoyed it.

Got up on top of the mountain and then, driving down through thick cardamom forests in Kerala. Reached Pooppara where you can see shall stretches of tea plantations. Took some photos. Munnar is just 30 kms away through tea plantations from this spot. We took a different route to our destination which is around 35 kms from this place. On the way, saw a surprise scene where one of the dams on the way has opened it’s shutters. Quite refreshing view.

Finally, reached the destination at 6:30pm.

On return, we started around 6:00am on 4th May (Sunday), traveled through the same route and reached Electronics city, Bangalore at 6:30pm. But, from Electronics City to R.T. Nagar (20kms), it took 1hr 45 minutes. Oh!, forgot to mention one thing. We noticed the tyre marks on the road which was caused by our car on the journey three days ago. It was clearly visible for some 10 meters.

Hope the 4 laning work from Bangalore till Dindugal will be over by Dec 2008.

Summary:
Kms: 1062 (round trip – 531 x 2)
Onward Time:We started around 5:00am and reached destination at 6:30pm
Return Time:We started around 6:00am and reached destination at 8:30pm
Route: Bangalore - Salem – Karur – Dindugal – Theni – Bodi – Pooppara – Rajakkad - Parathode
Road Condition: Average. Ghat roads with hair pin bends – around 30 kms. Winding small roads – around 40kms. Good 4 lane road – 200kms. Good two lane roads – 70Kms. Rest – being converted to 4 lanes – current condition – ok to good.
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Old 4th June 2008, 13:06   #2
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Nice travelogue and update on the road condition on NH7. How about some pics? Could you take any?

Abhi
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Old 4th June 2008, 16:04   #3
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Nice travelogue and update on the route. Pictures please.
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Old 4th June 2008, 16:13   #4
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very nicely written- nice travelogue
thanks for the route detailing - thinking of using your suggestion to visit Kodai/ Munnar
cheers
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Old 4th June 2008, 16:17   #5
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Good report! Want to take this route once to hit home (though my home will be around 80kms away from Munnar).

Any chance of spotting wild life in this route?

Regards
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Old 4th June 2008, 16:29   #6
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Nice and good travelogue.. without the pictures it is not complete...
so please do post the pics
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Old 4th June 2008, 16:49   #7
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Nicely written. Now out with some pics (if you have taken). Whatz the travelogue without pics? Do post them.
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Old 4th June 2008, 17:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rex_varghese View Post
Good report! Want to take this route once to hit home (though my home will be around 80kms away from Munnar).

Any chance of spotting wild life in this route?

Regards
Rex
To spot wildlife, a better bet will be to reach Munnar via Udumalaipettai, Chinnar and Maraiyur. Unless you are referring to the jeeps and buses that ply in Kerala.

Turn off at Karur towards Dharapuram and then Udumalaipettai

Last edited by hrag : 4th June 2008 at 17:34.
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Old 4th June 2008, 18:10   #9
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HI bijuks,

> My destination was our hometown – Parathode – a small Kerala town in the

Nicely wirtten.

> Went on to the bottom of western ghats – Bodinaykannur. It is NH 47, but,

NH 47? That is between Salem and Kanya Kumari.
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Old 4th June 2008, 19:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trrk View Post
NH 47? That is between Salem and Kanya Kumari.
It is NH49, which runs beween Kochi and Rameswaram via Munnar and Madurai.
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Old 4th June 2008, 20:28   #11
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If I remember correctly, I have seen milestones displaying "NH49 extension" on the stretch between Theni and Bodi
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Old 4th June 2008, 21:18   #12
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Very nice review. And you know very well that you would get bunch of response asking for pictures Where are they man!!!

Btw, You are so lucky to skip that guy without hitting. You are right that we should be careful when crossing the village. But only difference is treat the whole stretch as this. No other option in India still... Hope it will improve.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bijuks View Post
Got up on top of the mountain and then, driving down through thick cardamom forests in Kerala. Reached Pooppara where you can see shall stretches of tea plantations. Took some photos.
You do said you took photo... So no excuse
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Old 8th June 2008, 00:01   #13
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First of all - sorry for the mistake - Theni to Pooppara section of the route is "NH 49". (Not 47). It is the Kochi - Madurai national highway.

And, here comes the photos. Since I don't have much photos in this trip, I'm adding some of those that were taken during the last trip through the same route. Except two, all of the photos are taken in the Bodi-Pooppara section.


See attached photos.

And, note that chances of spotting wild life in this route is very less.
Attached Images
             
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Old 8th June 2008, 14:56   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrag View Post
To spot wildlife, a better bet will be to reach Munnar via Udumalaipettai, Chinnar and Maraiyur. Unless you are referring to the jeeps and buses that ply in Kerala.

Turn off at Karur towards Dharapuram and then Udumalaipettai
Thanks !
I'm in agreement with you on the jeeps and buses :-)

Regards
Rex
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Old 9th June 2008, 04:46   #15
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Great pictures. Some of the picutres reminds me of the Bhutan travelogues
Thanks for sharing/
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