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Old 9th January 2010, 17:31   #31
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The gaurd at the entrance said that the park will be closed by 6PM. Wifey and parents stand in the queue for tickets. Finding parking place is a bit difficult and atlast I found a place at the end on a hillside. It was a bit difficult for me to park the car there. I gave the streeing to a cab driver and he parked the car easily in that tight spot. Thanked him and
joined queue for the tickets. There were some shuttles (Kerala forest Dept..) which take us to the peak of the hill..we took one and started our trip in the park..

I was expecting that there will be plain roads with forest eitherside with some animals to see. Soon my expectations went wrong as it was completely ghat road with very very narrow road. The driver was taking us very fast. Even at turns he was not slowing down. I was really scared and even told him to slow a little bit. He considered my request and slowed down, but I could see that the bus is struggling to climb...I must say these guys are really experienced..At a blind turn an opposite shuttle came down hill, but the two drivers managed to cross each other without any issue..

A pic taken from shuttle..shuttle has to cross the waterfalls to reach the peak..

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Some more pics enroute to the peak..

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We reached the peak and stunned by the nature beauty around us..We can walk further, but we decided not to..Went inside a small exhibition there and waiting for the return shuttle to pick up us..Meanwhile we were enjoying the clouds around us..I could see clouds kissing the mountains ( my camera battery was over and I missed to take this pic)..It was great to watch..

Pics from the peak at Eravakulam national park:

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As we were waiting for the return shuttle, I was feeling a little discomfort and developed kind of Acrophobia ( fear of heights). It was getting dark and soon we were in the return shuttle. I didn't try to look at the valley when coming down to reduce my fear. We reached down and bought some corn and started towards Munnar. By this time it was dark. Wifey and her parents were concerned about my driving as they were too feared for my Acrophobia. I assured that there will not be any problem. I followed a Kerala tourist bus and finally reached Munnar by 7PM..

As soon as we entered the town, we were stopped by some guys telling all available accomodation options and asked us to follow them. We ignored them and on our way into town. Stopped at a lodge ( could not remember the name) near to Saravana Bhavan..In front of the lodge there is a small parking place. Fare was Rs 600/-, No fan but hot water is available. I called up some resorts towards Devikulam and decided to check them..Soon after we reached end of Munnar town limits, it started raining heavily and Wifey decides not to go Devikulam and instead stay at the lodge that we checked first. We returned back to Munnar town center and took 2 rooms and straight away went for rest..Father-in-law was checking about Munnar sight seeing details and availability of local driver ( They were still feared about my driving) at the lodge reception..

I told wifey and her parents not to panic and I can still drive in the hills without any problems. I was not interested to give my Indi to some other driver for about 50-100KMs..We had a light dinner and signed-off for the day.
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Old 9th January 2010, 19:19   #32
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@Sriswe,

Reminds me of my trip last month to the same place. We had reached Udumalpetai only by 3. We had a very short break at Marayoor for tea. Let the menu do the talking.

Marayoor Menu !
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Last edited by ampere : 9th January 2010 at 19:24.
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Old 9th January 2010, 21:19   #33
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Day 4, Oct 1, 2009:

I woke up early at 6 AM and planning the sight seeing for the day. Plan was to start by 8 AM towards TopStation (i think around 40kms from Munnar) which will cover Mattupatty dam, echo point etc..and return to Munnar by 1 PM and start towards Kumily. Checked with the lodge reception guy about Thekkady and about the road conditions. He checked with couple of other guys and told Thekkady is closed for boating as there was a boat accident and some 20 people died. I was shocked to hear that and felt very bad about the accident. Decided to skip Thekkady and plan to go till Theni by night.

At 8 AM, wifey and her parents woke up. I told my plan to them and they were ok with the plan, but only if I was not driving . We had breakfast from Saravana Bhavan ( taste is good). Father-in-law was in serious discussions with the lodge reception about a driver. Finally, he decides to hire a local driver for Munnar sight seeing and till Kodai for Rs 1000/-. As a driver is hired now, plan is to go till Kodai by night..

I was not at all happy with the decison and I made an agreement. The driver will come with us, but he will drive only if I was not driving properly or making mistakes which will scare them . We loaded our baggage in boot and started by 11 AM for sight seeing..


Filled up Indi at a BP bunk and took the steering with confidence. I felt road is wider and was driving steadily. Wifey and parents still not feeling comfortable with my drive :(. Finally at an Elephant Ride point, I had to give up and handed over the steering to the driver ( From now onwards I will refer to him with his name - Saravanan). Now the family seems to be relaxed and happy.

Elephant Ride & where I gave up driving ....

Indi parked:

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Spent 30 mins at the ride. Our next stop is at Mattupetty dam. Pics enroute...

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I have started discussing about cars/driving skills on ghat roads with Sarvanan. He told me few suggestions on how to handle blind turnings and how to be careful with ghat road driving. I came to know that he is also a car enthusiast and had a modded Esteem. He says it is is the best looking Esteem in Munnar. Reached Mattupetty dam at 12.30. Sarvanan says he would park the car at other side of the dam and we get down and walk across the dam enjoying the beauty..

Pics at Dam:

Yes, its me .... !

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As weather is not good boating was closed. So we move on to echo point.. Pics enroute:

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Reached Echo point at 1-15 PM and it was little bit crowdy. Also it was drizzling. As we head to the echo point ( near the lake), it started raining heavily. Most people are coming back to their cars or taking shelter in near by shops. We had an umbrella ( I kept one in Indi expecting it to be useful somewhere) so could go near the echo point and tried shouting. We were amazed to hear the echo back to us. We spent 5 mins shouting and hearing the echo back. The echo was very clear. Wifey decides for a horse ride near the lake and spent some 10 more mins there and then moved towards Kundala lake..

Pics at echo point:

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Enroute to kundala lake:

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Reached Kundala lake by 1-45 PM. For boating, we need to pass the dam which is very narrow, just enough to fit one vehicle. We want to do pedal boting, but due to weather it has been stopped. But I could see some motor boats in the lake. We wanted to hire this boat, but it is also not allowed....

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We were disappointed and spent some time clicking pics and returned back..Pics at Kundala lake:

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Driver ...Saravanan ....

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......to be continued ...

Last edited by sriswe : 9th January 2010 at 21:21. Reason: updated names for pics
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Old 9th January 2010, 23:41   #34
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Our driver Saravanan is our guide for today. On our route towards Topstation, he was explaining all details on Kodaikanal, Munnar and the shorter route between kodai, munnar through the topstation etc..He also gave us a brief insight on KannanDevan ( Its a Tata tea brand) ..


Pics enroute to topstation:

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A view of TN-Kerala Hills, just before top station:

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From here there is no proper road, its all broken patches till the top station. I saw a board saying Kodaikanal 60 KMs from here..I guess this is the short route to kodai, but currently not in use ( read somewhere in TBHP about this route)


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Parking is a bit difficult here. So we stepped out of Indi and walked around and came to know that we have to descend through reach the view point where we can watch a district of TN ( dont remember the name) and also a good view of hills. But as heavy winds flewing, we decided against it and just spent 10-15 mins and returned back..

Pics on return from top station:


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...........................................
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Old 9th January 2010, 23:49   #35
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By 4-30 PM we reached the flower garden just before Munnar, Spent 30 mins checking the flowers inside...

Some pics here:

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Soon there was fog all around us and the visibilty is almost nil. Reached Munnar town and went for lunch into Saravana bhavan. Our driver saravanan went to home for a small break. Hotel was packed and we had to wait for 15 mins for getting into it. Lunch was good, its typical tamil food.

After lunch, we met Sarvanan, he said he can not come till Kodai as he has some personal work and told me that the road is NH and will be much wider and safe to drive. I was ok with this, but still wifey and her parents are not confident on my driving :(. They asked Saravanan about the apporx distance where the ghat roads end from Munnar in different directions.. He told that only towards cochin ghat roads end at Adimaly around 25 KMs away. In all other directions (theni and marayoor)
it was about 50-80 KMs..

Finally it is decided that Saravanan would drive till Adimaly and he returns back to Munnar. I can continue with the drive from Adimaly towards cochin..This is really a turning point for the entire trip as it spoiled the entire plan .. we are not going to cover Kodai or Ooty in his trip... :-( and we dont know where we are heading tonight ...


On the way Saravanan says he dont know the shorter route to Bangalore and suggests a route via Mangalore. I quickly open google maps
on my mobile and search for a route from Adimalay to Bangalore and found that there is no need to go Mangalore, instead we can go till Thrissur and then go via Coimbatore..

Reached Adimaly at 7 PM and stopped at a small hotel. Had tea and gave farewell to Saravanan.

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..........coming up......night drive on NH49 & NH 47......
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Old 10th January 2010, 09:13   #36
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@Sriswe,

Reminds me of my trip last month to the same place. We had reached Udumalpetai only by 3. We had a very short break at Marayoor for tea. Let the menu do the talking.

Marayoor Menu !
hi ampere, Marayoor is a village and there aren't many food options available...Mine was not the one in your menu pic. At entrance of Marayoor (towards Munnar), there is a resort/hotel after IOC bunk ( bunk will be on the right side). We had our lunch there and it is really horrible...

Hope you are enjoying the travelouge...
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Old 10th January 2010, 11:29   #37
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I was really taken after the menu...

The Rost, Noodils, Thosai .... and the likes
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Old 17th January 2010, 10:15   #38
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Sorry to all for the delay!.. I was really surprised to see NO responses for the log after posting the Munnar Pics. May be you guys did not like the pics :-(. Anyways let me return back to the log and continue..

After farwell to our driver Saravanan, I took the wheel and started from Adimaly. It was already 8 PM. Wifey went to sleep in rear seat. Fathe-in-law is sitting in the front helping me with chit-chat. Soon after we reached outskirts of adimaly, found that still the ghat section is not over. The road was full of twists. Father-in-law really got upset (He asked our driver to drop after the ghat section, but he dropped in the middle of ghat and that too at night) and was asking me to drive slow.

At the wheels, I was enjoying the drive. I was feeling fresh and driving fast in those twisty ghats. I felt night driving is much easier in the ghats compared to day drives. We can concentrate on the track and valleys cannot be seen :-) ... On the way, we could hear the sound of small and large streams. It was also a scary drive. I heard a loud thud at a place, but could not get down and check. I was sure that it may be a wheel cap coming off.. At a place, we encounterd a huge traffic jam. On enquiry, we learned that there is an accident ( A cab with childern, went down into the stream, out of 5, 2 ppl are missing). Waited for 15-20 mins and made our way out of the traffic.

NH49 is wider and it was easy to drive on. Found couple of Kerala buses and gave way to them, they were driving very fast. We were out of ghats and had dinner at a road side shop ( had rotis/chapati) at around 11PM.. Near to Kochi (think 40kms before), we took a right on to NH47 and contined our way. NH47 is full of diversions as 4 laning is in progress, but as roads are good I could drive faster and times overtook couple of private buses also. Father-in-law was happy seeing me drive confidently ..:-).. Finally at 2 PM reached Thrissur. Enquired about accomodation and settled in National Tourist home. Rooms were good @1200 per day..


Day 5, Friday Oct 2nd:

Woke up at 6 AM and I was checking for the route to Bangalore. Found that Coimbatore is 100 KMs and from there on to Bangalore is around 370 via Salem. I could go through Bhavani, Mettur, but decided to go via Salem as it is 4 lane and we could go faster.

Started at 10 AM with a plan to cover 480 KMs and rech Blr by night. Every one in the car are feeling fresh and were enjoying the scenic locations in Kerala. Soon it started raining heavily and I was enjoying the drive very much. Halfway to coimabatore, found a Deer park, went inside took tickets. There are not many deers to see, spotted some two or three. Was told that we had to go a bit further ( Its a forest dept maintained park). Decided not to go furhter and returned back to Indi and continued...

Pics at the Deer park:
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Near to coimbatore stopped to fill air in a road by shop. Found that now Indi lost 2 wheel caps ( may be the one yesterday on the ghats )..Reached coimbatore bypass at 2 PM. I told we will go via bypass and not venture out in to the town. But wifey and her parents want to checkout the town and reluctantly I went inside the town.
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Old 17th January 2010, 12:15   #39
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Reached coimbatore bypass at 2 PM. I told we will go via bypass and not venture out in to the town. But wifey and her parents want to checkout the town and reluctantly I went inside the town.
Mistake!

The pics of Munnar are so inviting... I want to go there during this year's summer vacation.
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Old 17th January 2010, 12:28   #40
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At an IOC bunk, near coimbatore entrance, filled up Indi. Wifey and parents get down for a while. After filling diesel, I was about to park outside the bunk. Suddenly I felt that the car is in a pot hole, carefully drove and out of it. Got down and was shocked to see on what I drove..Here is a pic:

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Had lunch at a small restaurent and contined through town. Soon hit the outskirts and was driving on steady 80KMPH..The road is 2 laned, but wider. Soon NH 47 turned into 4 lane and it was really good to drive on...

Near to salem, seen a temple. I think it is built by Vinayaka Trust..Pics here:

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We continued on our way to Blr through Salem bypass by 6-30 PM. NH7 is excellent and we reached Blr by 9-30 PM..Went around EC from Infy to Wipro ( Just to show them) and then headed towards Yeswanthpur ( I was familiar with Yeswanthpur). Went around Isckon temple and then staright to a lodge next to Shiva Temple in Yeswantpur ( Opp to RTA Office).. By 11 PM signed off for the day..hoping that we will reach Hyd by tomorrow evening ....

Last edited by sriswe : 17th January 2010 at 12:31.
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Old 17th January 2010, 14:52   #41
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Mistake!



The pics of Munnar are so inviting... I want to go there during this year's summer vacation.


Thanks for the comment Pulsar... Yes, entering coimbatore town proved to be mistake ! Wasted around 90 mins in the traffic itself..Otherwise we would have reached Blr a bit eariler ...I think Munnar will be packed with tourists in Summer..



Back to the log...


Day 6, Oct 3, Saturday:


At 9 AM we were all ready to visit Iskon temple..We had to deposit our camera at the security...could not click any pics of the temple..The visit was over in 45 mins and we were ready to leave Blr via the ring road from BEL.. Now, as we were filling up diesel, Wifey gets a call from her friend..She says NH 7 to Hyd is blocked and we cant reach Hyd...I heard it but took it light.. I thought it was some block due to political issues or some thing else and it will be cleared by the time we reach there..This ignorance seems to be fatal later on...



With Ananthapur at a distance of 70 KMs, I could see lots of trucks queued up along the side..I dont know what is happening..On enquiry with some truck drivers, learnt that Kurnool is badly damaged due to heavy rains and NH 7 is cutoff and there is no way we could reach Hyd.. !...



Now, as things getting serious, we called up some of our friends in Hyd and confirmed the news...They were surprised to hear that we dont know anything about these rains and flood around Kurnool and suggested some alternate route ( via NH5, via Srisailam...etc..). I regret not to having an update on this. At least I could have taken the call to wifey seriously and diverted to Tirupathi and then to Vijayawada on NH5..So we gave a thought and decided to go Puttaparthy as planned and then decide on how to reach hyd...



Before Ananthapur (@ 50KMs distance), we took a right at the railway crossing towards Puttaparthy which is around 50 Kms from here..By 3-30 reached Puttaparthy, had lunch.



Enroute to Puttaparthy:

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In Puttaparthy:

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Puttaparthy is a good town with lots of shops named with "Satya Sai" .Wifey and her parents left for darshan and I was waiting in the car (was not interested in darshan) and asking the locals about Kurnool flood disaster..They said reaching hyd is impossible for atleast another 3 or 4 days..Soon wifey and parents returned back and we headed directly to RTC Complex and enquired about the situation..We could see lots of people waiting for buses to reach Hyd/Kurnool..Enquiry officials said all buses are cancelled and there is no way to reach Hyd..



On asking some drivers about the option of going to Tirupathi and then on to NH 5, they said it will double the distance to Hyd and also the Krishna river flood may effect NH 5 as well. They updated that at some places NH 9 ( Hyd - Vijayawada) also got blocked. Till 5 PM, we could not decide what to do .....



Finally a bus driver told us there is an alternate way to reach Hyd and it is not that long as the NH 5 route. He gave the following route ...



Puttaparthy----Pulivendula------Proddutur------Mydukur--------Markapur ------- Macherla ------ Nagarjuna Sagar -------- Hyderabad..



With no other option, we decided to go ahead on this route. Wifey gets worried on taking this long route and asks whether we can reach by atleast tomorrow morning. I replied saying may be we will reach by tomorrow evening..Thanked the bus driver and set on our way towards Pulivendula ( AP's late CM, YSRs native place)..



Soon it got dark and at every place we were asking locals about the way to Pulivendula..Reached pulivendula at 9-30 PM and went to RTC complex for further enquiry...

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Old 17th January 2010, 15:48   #42
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hey sri..super travelogue with lovely pix. waiting to know when u finally reached hyd. very intresting. only sour thing is your folks were not confident about your ghat driving skills. but i must say you did a good job!
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Old 17th January 2010, 18:20   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Mistake!

The pics of Munnar are so inviting... I want to go there during this year's summer vacation.
@Pulsar,
If you can really hold for some more time, I would say you should go there during Dec. After the monsoons the place is just a beauty. Leaves with their new found emerald sheen are a treat to the eyes.

@Sriswe, Nice photos. Dont think people dont like them!

That just they don't get back. I was there Dec first and like everyone, I was also enchanted by the place. Keep going !
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Old 17th January 2010, 18:46   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
@Pulsar,
If you can really hold for some more time, I would say you should go there during Dec. After the monsoons the place is just a beauty. Leaves with their new found emerald sheen are a treat to the eyes.
Thank you for the suggestion ampere.
Will keep that in mind.
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Old 18th January 2010, 08:36   #45
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Checked with RTC complex enquiry and they confirmed that buses to Hyd are plying from Pulivendula..Infact there is a bus at 10 PM to hyderabad..
Checked with the Hyd bus driver about the conditions. He said he had no idea about the NEW route..Couple of drivers suggested to stay in Pulivendula and said going in car in night time through the forest after Mydukur is not safe. We decided to go till Mydukur and stay there for night..Wifey says we wont get good accomodation there in Mydukur and instead we drive to Hyd with out night stay.. I said it was not a good idea as I was driving continuously from Blr from 9 AM and its already 10 PM now..

Had dinner at a road by shop and after lots of discussions, Wifey and Mother-in-law were boarded on the bus and departs to Hyd. Myself and Father-in-law were in the car and following the bus. After 30 mins we lost the bus, it was way ahead of us..From here roads till Proddutur were very very bad..I had to go very slow..From Proddutur to Mydukur road is average..Finally at 12 mid-night, we reached Mydukur.. Parked the car beside the road and just slept in the car..

Day 7, Oct 4, Sunday:

Started our journey at 5 AM..Initially we were going towards Kadapa ( which is in the opposite direction to our destination :-) ), soon we realized and turned back..Me and father-in-law were enjoying the drive in the forest area.. The road was good and some part of it was ghat section..By 10 AM, reached a small village and had breakfast..Enquired with the locals about the way to Hyderabad. They said via Nagarjuna sagar buses were plying and we can reach Hyderabad.

Called up the bus conductor and confirmed that Sagar way is fine and they crossed sagar in the morning..

Till Macherla, it was a single laned road with many pot holes, but at places the drive was scenic..Some pics enroute to Macherla...

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01199tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01203tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01204tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01207tbhp.jpg


Reached Macherla by 1-15 PM and on our way to Nagarjuna Sagar. From Macherla roads are excellent ( 2 lane)..Reached Sagar by 1-45 PM..As dam gates were opened, the place was packed on the bridge and nearby places with vehicles and poeple..Crawled slowly and drove on the bridge enjoying the beauty of River Krishna..

Stopped for 5-10 mins after the bridge, and continued to our final destination ....

Pics from Macheral to Sagar & at Sagar...


Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01212tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01216tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01229tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01231tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01243tbhp.jpg



Pics enroute to Hyd from Sagar...

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01244tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01263tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01267tbhp.jpg

Hyd - Munnar (A Well Planned Trip Went Bad, But Still Enjoyed)-dsc01268tbhp.jpg


Just before Mallepally there was a restaurent on the Left side of the road..Had lunch there..Food was horrible...It is not at all good..Spotted couple of vehicles (having break here) which were with us from Proddutur onwards .. ... Noticed all RTC buses and other vehicles are going through the route we followed to reach Ananthapur and Bangalore...Felt good that we reached before all the traffic started..

Reached Hyd by 4-30 PM..Dropped Father-in-law at MGBS and he left to Warangal..I was on my way to my home.. ...


Best part of the trip:

Even though I was perfect to hold a Driver's Licence ( with 18K KMs and 12 months of driving), I was some how lazy not to get a permanent license..Instead I had a valid Learning Licence..

Soon after MGBS a traffic police stopped me and asked me DL.. I showed my LR. He says, drivers with LR need some one to help to drive..After some negotiations...gave him 300/- and left to home...

In this trip , I drove across 4 states ( AP, TN, KA, KL)..but no one stopped and asked me for a licence..but now back in home..after the trip had to pay 300/- :( ...


The Tour Experience:

For Wifey:

Its a good start to ther on how to go for long drives in Car..All in all she enjoyed a lot ( especially in and around Munnar)..

For Father-in-law, Mother-in-law:

They haven't seen any place out of Hyderabad/Warangal ( except Tirupathi)...Now they have toured 4 states :-)..They were really happy and it was like trip of life time for them...

For Me:

All in all its a wonderful experience and I felt I became a much better driver after this trip. Driven on all sorts of roads and it is like a start for many more tirps to come in future...:-)

For My Indica:

Well without its stable handling, excellent braking, comfortable ride, I could not make this trip..It proved that I did not do any mistake by choosing Indica as my first car. Ofcourse, she enjoyed a lot in all 4 states ...( We had a feeling that Indica pics were much better than ours in Munnar )

Thanks to Team-Bhp for providing this platform to share all my experiences...
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