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Old 30th June 2009, 10:24   #1
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Default Chennai - Palani - Chennai A trip report

Two of my cousins and me decided to visit Palani temple on 26th June. We had an endowment for performing the six kala poojas at the temple for one day in a year but none of us could be present in the temple all these years. We just decided that we will make it this year and started planning. The options were either to take a train to Dindugal and back or drive Since the first kala pooja is at 6.40 am, we had to reach the previous day. The number of passenger kept changing every day effectively ruling out train travel and finally 3 of us left by car on 25th morning

The vehicle was my cousin's 2006 Wagon R duo, which had done about 20,000 km. We were not in a hurry and decided to leave by 7 am to beat the Chennai traffic.

Left my house at Nanganallur at 7.15 and joined the GST road (NH 45) in no time. Traffic was not heavy and quickly crossed Tambaram. Passed the erstwhile Standard motor factory, once a great car manufacturing facility , now a software SEZ at Vandalur and Ford factory in MM Nagar and on to Chengalpet bye pass. This is one of the roads I love and probably the most scenic stretch between Chennai and Trichy.

My cousin was on the wheels and maintained a steady 95-100 kmph and the road was great. We reached Melmaruvathur at 8.55 am, topped up LPG and stopped at the famous Ganapathi Vilas at Acharapakkam. This is a famous road side hotel in business from 1963 and favorite haunt of regulars on this route. After a decent breakfast, we left at 9.25 and bye passed Tindivanam, Villupuram and Ulundurpet and reached Samayapuram at 12.05. The 4 laning work is completed only up to Samayapuram and the work is in progress beyond here. The road is in bad condition from Samayapuram to Trichy and traffic was heavy. We decided to drive through Trichy city. Took the old bridge on Kollidam river which is open to light vehicles and reached the cauvery bridge. Trichy being my native place, I have grown up around the Rockfort temple, but I never tire of the view from the bridge but the river was bone dry. Drove through the side roads and reached Trichy junction by 12.35. If you know the roads you can cut across Trichy quickly and reach Madurai or Dindugal road in no time and also enjoy the views of the temple and the tall St.Joseph church.

Had a sumptuous and leisurely lunch at Hotel Sangam and topped up LPG. Left Trichy at 1.50 pm After driving through the best stretch, my cousin handed over the keys to me for the obstacle course between Trichy and Dindugal.

The widening work is in progress and the road condition is very bad between Trichy and Manaparai (approx 45km) and quite a few diversions due to road widening work. Luckily the traffic was not very heavy and reached Dindugal at 3.30pm (100km in 1 hr 40 mins). The road between Dindugal and Palani, is a beauty. Though two laned, the surface is super smooth. The road is twists and turns and is quite scenic. But some of the curves are very deceptive and can be dangerous at higher speeds. The curves along with crazy driving of buses and heavy lorry traffic necessitated cautious driving and reached Palani at 4.30 pm (60km in 1 hour), Took a Devastanam cottage and retired for the day. It was a double room cottage with ac in one room and cost Rs 750 per day. The toilets were spotless and general condition was very good. You can park your vehicle right opposite to your cottage and it is quite close to the temple.

Total distance - 460 km - time taken 9 hrs 15 mins with 1 hr 45 min break for lunch & breakfast - Running time - 7 hr 30 mins

After the darshans, we left Palani on 27th at 6.15 am, with my cousin taking the wheel. Filled LPG at Dindugal (7.25 am) and reached Trichy at 9 am . We had a good breakfast at hotel Sangeetha in Trichy. After topping up LPG , left Trichy at 9.25 am and decided to try the bye pass. The traffic was heavy and reached Samayapuram at 10 am. Reached Vikravandi at 12 noon and I drove from there to home. Melmaruvathur was crossed at 12.45 and topped up LPG. Crossed Chengalpet at 13.15 and reached home at 14.15.

Time taken - 8 hrs with 30 min break for breakfast - running time 7hrs 30 min

Road condition:

The road from Chennai to Samayapuram (outskirt of Trichy) if fully 4 laned. The Ulundurpet bye pass is open and the dreaded level crossing is a thing of past.

The widening work from Samayapuram to tollgate (where the roads from Salem and Lalgudi join) and the Trichy bye pass is going on and the traffic is slow moving in this stretch. The road has been elevated while crossing road side villages thus preventing jay walking .

If you are familiar with Trichy city, you can drive through the city instead of the bye pass where the traffic is very slow due to road widening work.

The road from Trichy to Dindugal is going through the pangs of development and is in bad shape at many places. One half of the widened road is operational in short stretches and there are quite a few diversions.

The Dindugal Palani road in excellent shape and scenery is very good. But be a bit careful on the curves which are many.

Watch out for

Tractors, motor cycles driving on the wrong side particularly between Villupuram and Trichy. They tend to take the inner most lane and can be quite dangerous on curves. If possible stick to left lane on blind curves.

We also encountered stationery / slow moving water tankers , watering the plants in the median.

Toll Booths.

Rs. 20 at Paranur (before Chengalpet)
Rs 20 at Tindivanam
The toll booths at Vikravandi just before the turn towards Kumbakkonam, Ulundurpet and Thozhudur are not under testing and not yet operational.

Fuel:

We did the entire run on LPG. The LPG is available at Melmaruvathur, Tindivanam on the bye pass, Trichy (BP near bus stand) and KR pumps near Ayyappan temple) and in Dindugal bye pass. I noticed that the price of LPG varies across the places, costlier by about 80 paise per liter at Chennai and Melmaruvathur, than in Trichy. Dindugal is still cheaper by 15 paise.

FE: Approx 12 km per liter of LPG

I will upload a few photos after downsizing shortly.
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Old 1st July 2009, 14:58   #2
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Nice one. Upload the photographs quickly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by raju2512 View Post
Watch out for

Tractors, motor cycles driving on the wrong side particularly between Villupuram and Trichy. They tend to take the inner most lane and can be quite dangerous on curves. If possible stick to left lane on blind curves.

We also encountered stationery / slow moving water tankers , watering the plants in the median.
You are absolutely right with that. In the last 3 out of 4 trips, have seen accidents (fatal) due to heavy vehicles coming in opposite wrong directions & crashing.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 11:02   #3
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Nice trip report. A suggestion though, you could have tried Chennai - Salem - Erode - Vellakoil - Palani road which is also good one. But, only problem, it is 2 lane instead of 4.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 11:11   #4
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Is the right turn off at Dindigul bypass well-marked? I assume you must have taken the Dindigul-Sembatti (marked ahead for Periakulam/Theni) road?
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Old 2nd July 2009, 12:54   #5
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Is the right turn off at Dindigul bypass well-marked? I assume you must have taken the Dindigul-Sembatti (marked ahead for Periakulam/Theni) road?

No , it is not marked properly. Also with the flyover construction going on, and diversions near the spot, it easy to lose your way. Since we knew the road fairly well, we could take turn without problem.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 13:25   #6
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Angry Photos added

As we started our trip, this big bird was also getting ready.

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A view of the Chengalpet byepass

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I found two of these huge LED displays. Seems to be waste of money. Each would have cost a few lakhs and the message has glaring spelling mistake too.

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The median sports a very colourful look.

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A view of old Kollidam bridge before Trichy, now open for LMVs only

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Rockfort temple from Cauvery bridge

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Atlast our destination

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A view from Palani temple

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Another view

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When will we stop this.

I went and told the official in the temple about this and he assured me that garbage from the hill side is cleaned regularly. Infact the temple was extremely clean and tidy with ample garbage bins placed at regular intervals and cleaning staff moving around. The temple was washed with high pressure water in the night.

But I was shocked to see the cleaning staff empty a garbage bin on the hill side

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Old 2nd July 2009, 16:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raju2512 View Post

Attachment 153937

I found two of these huge LED displays. Seems to be waste of money. Each would have cost a few lakhs and the message has glaring spelling mistake too.
I feel its necessary to have such sign boards & the message conveyed changes at some time interval.. Have seen the message "heavy vehicles keep left, allow fast moving vehicles overtake on right lane"..

Whats the spelling mistake?
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Old 2nd July 2009, 16:41   #8
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If you are going to repeat only a set of messages, it is cheaper to go for fixed sign board. If the board is connected with a control room and displays messages about traffic condition ahead, temp, forecast etc then it is worth it.

The spelling for "arundhivittu" (drink) has the spelling wrong. The "r" used should be mellinam (small 'r')
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Old 6th July 2009, 18:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raju2512 View Post
The spelling for "arundhivittu" (drink) has the spelling wrong. The "r" used should be mellinam (small 'r')
How did I missed it?

Wear seat belts.. Do not travel in wrong direction... are some of the other useful messages being displayed.
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