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Old 10th August 2009, 12:11   #1
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Default Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken

Keeping in line with the current trend in the forum of posting travelogues with a teaser, here it goes.

Had an exhibition to attend at Thrissur on 6,7 & 8th August. Decided I would drive down as had some stuff to be carried as well.

But the devil in me ensured that I mix up the regular route with some roads not taken and coming back from Thrissur without retracing the entire onward route all the way until Chennai byepass.

Until I come back with the pics of the trip a couple of teaser questions.

The onward journey was through NH 4 - NH46 - NH 66 - NH 7 - NH 209 - NH47. I had travelled in each of the above NH for atleast half a kilometre. Any guesses on the route taken?

The return journey was through NH 47 - NH 209 - NH 67 - NH 45. I crossed Cauvery once and did not cross Coleroon. Enough of hints, any guesses?

No prizes except for honourable mentions for the right answers.

Now for some teaser pictures. (Disclaimer: I had forgotten my camera hence all pictures were taken from my mobile, sorry for the not so great quality of pictures)

A shot on the way to Thrissur of "Yesterday's roads forgotten today with the GQ"
Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_089.jpg

A shot of a famous river on the way back from Thrissur
Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_116.jpg
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Old 10th August 2009, 12:50   #2
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The return could be

NH47 - Trissur - Coimbatore
NH209 - Somewhere in Coimbatore city
NH 67 - Coimbatore to Kulitalai
Cross Cauvery at Kulitalai to reach Musiri
Musiri - Thuraiyur - Perambalur - on to NH 45 towards Chennai

Would have been a wonderful drive with Cauvery flowing on the side and all around greenery.
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Old 10th August 2009, 13:50   #3
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Default Part 1 - The Onward journey

With all my stuff packed the previous day both official and personal, I left home at around 4 in the morning.

Reached Vaniyambadi quickly when the devil reared its head for the first time in me. The 4 lane roads were becoming too boring because of regular trips to Bangalore through the same stretch. Decided byepass Krishnagiri all together, took the left to Tirupathur. The road was so-so till Tirupathur.

The regular route taken by most from Tirupathur is to go onwards to Salem via Uttangarai, Harur. I decided to go to Dharmapuri so that I could go via Mettur onwards rather than go via Salem. The road from Tirupathur is a lovely two lane country side road all the way upto Dharmapuri.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_085.jpg

Passing through lovely little villages which seem to have vanished with the GQ Project

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_086.jpg

Mango groves giving you company as you enjoy the rural landscape
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The twisties which have been straightened out in the 4 laning, giving you some driving pleasure

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Throw in a sharp right hander to the mix to complete the driving pleasure.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_095.jpg

Crossing a small river which was surprisingly not dry

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_093.jpg

The 2 lane roads meant you have to be on your guard all the time.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_094.jpg

Who needs a truck when I can shift my house in a three wheeler

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_097.jpg

Reached Dharmapuri town in reasonable time, after a quick breakfast at Meenakshi Bhavan joined back NH 7.

After paying Toll before Thoppur just as I entered the Thoppur Ghats saw a Tempo Traveller behind me coming at a rapid pace. Leaving him space I saw him come near me with the co-driver furiously waving a sign board towards me. "Stop" - it was the highway police asking me to pull over.

The Carton boxes in my boot and rear seat possibly attracted them. After necessary explanations they were aplogetic for stopping me over and asked me to carry on.

After Thoppur went through now whats become the regular Tbhp route - Mettur - Ammapettai - Sathyamangalam until Annur on the way to Coimbatore.

Crossing the River Cauvery at Mettur

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_099.jpg

The NH 209 is a wonderful 2 lane highway with enough shoulder to overtake comfortably.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_100.jpg

At Annur I took the left towards Karumathampatti and joined back NH 47. Patiently driving behind the slow moving trucks until the Neelambur byepass, took the byepass towards Walayar hoping the roads are not as bad as the warnings given by fellow Bhpians, post Walayar.

The Coimbatore byepass saw some strong surface winds which made driving difficult and also flew my byepass ticket making me buy the ticket again.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_101.jpg

The roads upto Walayar were decent with one or two potholes but one could drive comfortably at around 70 / 80. With some good fortune I crossed the checkpost with no traffic jam.

Post Walayar kept the speeds to a maximum of 70 as a safeguard measure against the speed checks which the Kerala Tbhpians are wary off (though I never saw one). This also gave me another advantage of planning my way through the occasional potholes upto Aalathur. After Aalathur the road surface deteriorated but was still OK until Wadakkencherry. Post Wadakkencherry the potholes became frequent and bigger until I reached the small climb before Pattikad were the roads were shambolic to say the least. From there until Pattikad took me almost 20 minutes with some big craters on one side of the road.

Now I knew the reason why the highway patrols were not gunning their speed guns on the next victim because only the insane and foolish would drive at break neck speeds on these roads.

Finally reached Thrissur around 3 in the afternoon in what was certainly a peaceful drive during most times.
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Old 10th August 2009, 14:03   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raju2512 View Post
The return could be

Cross Cauvery at Kulitalai to reach Musiri
Musiri - Thuraiyur - Perambalur - on to NH 45 towards Chennai

Would have been a wonderful drive with Cauvery flowing on the side and all around greenery.
You are right from that point onwards, but as I mentioned in my first post I did not trace back the onward route till Chennai Byepass so I did not touch Coimbatore on the way back. But I did take NH67 until Kulithalai
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Old 10th August 2009, 18:46   #5
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Default Thrissur & Guruvayoor trips

I had an exhibition to attend which took place at "Lulu Convention Centre" which I must say is a faboulous place. Would not be out of place even in a metro like Bangalore or Chennai.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_105.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_106.jpg
On 6th woke up very early morning at around 4 with nothing to do so early in the morning, decided to make a quick trip to Guruvayoor. Reached at around 6.15 to find a reasonably large crowd waiting for darshan, looks like I have to skip this time around, had breakfast at one the hotels there and returned back to Thrissur. Possibly I must be the only guy who drove down all the way to Guruvayoor from Thrissur to have breakfast.

While returning back I was greeted by sights like this. Did I hybernate for 4 months that I managed to wake up only on a winter morning.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_104.jpg

Same day evening I returned back to Guruvayoor to attempt one more time for darshan, this time with success after waiting for about an hour or so. I was told by one of the shop keeper locally that the crowd is lesser on account of weekdays and weekends is mad these days.

The private buses that ply between Thrissur and Kunnamkulam must be the worst of the lot whose only objective is to terrorise all other road users into submission, now armed with those freakingly weird air horns which are regulars in their TN counterparts.
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Old 10th August 2009, 19:05   #6
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The weekend crowds at Guruvayoor are madenning indeed. I was there during last weekend and had to wait for 1.5-2hrs for darshan. For example, I went at abt 1:30am for "nirmalyam", where in the temple opens at only 3am, and a long queue was there already.
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Old 10th August 2009, 19:24   #7
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Default Return Trip

I had decided even before I left Chennai that I would return back by the route which springs to nobody's mind when talking of driving from Chennai to Thrissur or vice versa.

The route thought about was.

Thrissur - Chalakudy - Athirampally - Valparai - Pollachi - Perundurai - Bhavani - Thoppur - Krishnagiri - Chennai.

Keeping in mind that it would take me quite some time to reach Chennai by this route I started from Thrissur at around 6.30.

The road from Thrissur towards Ernakulam seems to be far better shape as compared to the one towards Palakkad. Just before Chalakudy there is a turn for Athirampally which leads you to the state highway from Chalakudy . With tank filled up took the turnoff to Athirampally reaching the State Highway after about 5 minutes. Its one fabulous 2 lane highway winding through awesome greenery and plantations.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_110.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_111.jpg

The road condition is in great shape despite the monsoon rains.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_112.jpg

First view of the river

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_114.jpg

This picture was taken from the same bridge from one side the river looked placid while on the other side (the picture posted on the first post) the current was very visible

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_115.jpg

With some photo stops finally reached Athirampally around 8 AM just about when entry is allowed inside. This is one falls which you can never ever have enough of off. So much greenery around, the water flowing in full force. A lovely spectacle.

First view of the falls

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_117.jpg

What a sight especially during monsoons with water in full flow

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_119.jpg

What a place for you to have your watch post

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_120.jpg

The water looks so inviting before it drops deep down

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_121.jpg

No amount of pictures could do justice to this place

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_124.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_125.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_128.jpg

The guards getting ready to prevent the tourists from getting into the water

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_126.jpg

With boards put like this

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_134.jpg

You least expect to see something like this bang in the middle - A film shooting.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_123.jpg

From Athirampally I moved on towards Vazhchal only to be greeted by this gorgeous Charpa falls

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_130.jpg

This picture was taken by the guard, me with my trusted "White Lightning" who took all the abuse the Wadakkencherry - Thrissur threw on her but did not give me a hint of trouble all the way until Chennai.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-charpa.jpg

The balance part of the return leg would be posted tomorrow morning. Cheers.
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Old 11th August 2009, 10:51   #8
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Default Return Journey - Part 2

After spending some time at Charpa falls I moved on towards Vaazchal falls. The road was still in great shape but narrower than what it was before Athirapally.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_133.jpg

If Athirampally took my breath away, Vaazchal was simply out of the world. They are two extremes of waterfalls - One dropping down with a huge roar the other just gliding over but if you ask me which was better one I would not be able to pick one honestly am sure most would not be able to pick one either.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_135.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_139.jpg

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Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_136.jpg

The river litter beyond Vaazchal hiding the rapid currents which is visible at Vaazchal.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_143.jpg

The road beyond Vaazchal became even more narrower.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_144.jpg



With some broken trees courtesy the elephants which roam these forests freely.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_145.jpg

At times you literally see the end of the road because the forest masks the turns so effectively

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_149.jpg

A huge lake or possibly backwaters of a dam which keep dotting on this stretch time and again where I saw this wild dog trotting away. The waste discarded by passing tourists also show the apathy we have for nature.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_147.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_148.jpg

The last vehicle which I saw in the opposite direction was at Charpa falls and the next vehicle to cross me was an Alto after almost 20 kms. The road conditions started to become bad progressively with some patches where water flows over during excessive rains in bad shape. The road upto the Peringalkuthu KEB power house which about 10 kms after Vaazchal is decent and beyond that is quite bad with some stretches needing extreme care while negotiating the potholes especially with rains etc.

If one had used the Hunsur - Nagarhole - Kutta road especially after Murkal a few years back then this road is certainly doable with a small car. But plan for atleast 7 hours between Chalakudy and Aliyar dam which is where the ghats to Valparai begins. I reached Aliyar dam at around 1.30 after starting from Trichur at 6.30 in the morning despite coming down Valparai ghats at a fairly brisk pace to ensure I reach Chennai in decent time.


With so much greenery around you are spoilt for choices where to stop and where not to.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_151.jpg

The water pipes for the Sholayar power project

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_152.jpg

The backwaters of lower Sholayar dam

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_156.jpg

The tea estates of Malikapara where you start seeing human habitation once again.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_161.jpg

The Upper Sholayar dam near Valparai

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_162.jpg

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_163.jpg

The Aliyar dam taken while coming down from Valparai

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_164.jpg

The highlight of the drive Nilgiri Thar taken near Hairpin Bend No. 8

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_169.jpg

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture am posting this just to highlight how nimble these animals are. Look closely to find the Thar tip toing its way through the rocks.

Chennai - Thrissur & Back through the roads not taken-image_173.jpg


Post Aliyar dam I took the Anaimalai - Udumalaipet road to continue onwards Udumalaipet. This road joins NH 209 about 6 kms before Udumalaipet. From there I deviated Dharapuram instead of going to Dindigul via Palani as I was not sure of the state of roads between Dindigul and Trichi.

By this time I had a drained mobile which prevented to check on TBHP threads on any threads with some recent information. Stopped for a quick lunch of thali meals in a small hotel. From Dharapuram I took the State highway to Karur where I joined NH 67 until Kulithalai. The stretch between Karur and Kulithalai with all the diversions, some broken roads and slow moving traffic was the worst from Valparai until Chennai.

Crossed over Cauvery between Kulithalai and Musiri so that I could take the state highway between Musiri and Perambalur via Thurayur instead of wasting time going through Trichy joining NH45 at Perambalur. This is shorter by about 30 kms as well. Except for some culvert works happening at some of places in both the stretches between Dharapuram & Karur and Musiri to Perambalur are in great shape and one could comfortably maintain around 80 kmph.

With a quick fuel break at Ulundurpet reached home at around 9.45 PM completing my journey back from Thrissur via NH 47, NH 209, NH 67 & NH45. Took me about 15 hours and 15 minutes for a total distance of 700 kms which was about 80 kms more than what I travelled on my way to Thrissur via the almost regular route.

Finally I owe a special thanks to rippergeo who had created this urge in me to take the Athirapally - Valparai stetch when he posted this travelougue http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post1009763 (Cochin to Coimbatore- Alternate/scenic route).

Will try to upload two videos if they are good one of the Athirapally falls and other of a short drive on the road.
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Old 11th August 2009, 11:54   #9
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Srikanth!! very nice travelogue here, and wonderful pics too. Do upload some videos too as you said. Would love to hear the gushing sound of the waterfalls.
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Old 11th August 2009, 12:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Srikanth!! very nice travelogue here, and wonderful pics too. Do upload some videos too as you said. Would love to hear the gushing sound of the waterfalls.
Thanks for your comments Fordmanchau.

Here is the video of Athirapally falls.



A short video of the drive through the forests, sorry for the quality not being great because of the constant shakes and turns.


Last edited by pypkmsrikanth : 11th August 2009 at 12:40.
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Old 11th August 2009, 12:49   #11
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A very nice travelogue. I have to agree that the wide expressways does get boring and tiring to drive on. Kudos to you for trying out a really different route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
If Athirampally took my breath away, Vaazchal was simply out of the world.
but if you ask me which was better one I would not be able to pick one honestly am sure most would not be able to pick one either.
Easy to pick the more dangerous one though. It is the one which looks so friendly and inviting.
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Old 11th August 2009, 13:16   #12
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This travelogue reminded me of my trip to Valparai via this route from Kochi.
Nice, unexplored place all the way and good pics. You may still feel guilty for not carrying your camera
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Old 11th August 2009, 13:26   #13
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Default Nature's beauty

Shrikant, Lovely travelogue and what you say is true.
We should take the raod less travelled sometimes.
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Old 11th August 2009, 14:46   #14
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Wonderful pics, Srikanth. Great decision to take the Athirappilly route.

Two films were being shot there over the last couple of weeks - one a Malayalam movie starring Jayaram, and the other Manirathnam's new movie (Raavan) with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai (both of them were there). I don't know which crew you spotted there, but a closer look may well have been worth it!
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Old 11th August 2009, 15:08   #15
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Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Two films were being shot there over the last couple of weeks - one a Malayalam movie starring Jayaram, and the other Manirathnam's new movie (Raavan) with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai (both of them were there). I don't know which crew you spotted there, but a closer look may well have been worth it!
The guard who I spoke with mentioned it as a tamil film and we also discussed about the Raavan incident so I dont think it was either of the films you are mentioning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
Easy to pick the more dangerous one though. It is the one which looks so friendly and inviting.
Post Vaazchal you keep seeing boards which mentions about people missing after getting into the river so you are bang on about the dangerous part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
This travelogue reminded me of my trip to Valparai via this route from Kochi.
Nice, unexplored place all the way and good pics. You may still feel guilty for not carrying your camera
I repented from the time I took a left off NH 47 and possibly very guilty when I posted the pictures because these pics do not do justice to the scenes which unfolded in front of my eyes.
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