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Old 2nd February 2010, 14:57   #136
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Wow! I did not know that NH207 (if it was called the same then) existed so long ago ! Why the govt. had to make such a small NH?
NH207 is a recent development but it is laid atop existing village roads. What we have gone on were the small 1-lane roads interconnecting the villages. I remember the first time I fell off the mobike was when an oncoming bus brushed me off the 1-lane Chicka Tirupati-Bagalur-Hosur road - what is today part of the NH207. (I have worked in Bagalur for a few days!!!!).
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Old 2nd February 2010, 16:47   #137
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This is one awesome travelogue and couldn't help reading the entire pages in last one hour.

HVK sir, i always search for threads started by you and was disappointed after searching today that no new one has recently started but what a pleasant surprise to find this thread on the front travelogue section.

It would be a truly remarkable experience for someone to actually travel with you.

Eagerly waiting for the Trivandrum-Mumbai travelogue.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 16:58   #138
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This is one awesome travelogue and couldn't help reading the entire pages in last one hour.

HVK sir, i always search for threads started by you and was disappointed after searching today that no new one has recently started but what a pleasant surprise to find this thread on the front travelogue section.

It would be a truly remarkable experience for someone to actually travel with you.

Eagerly waiting for the Trivandrum-Mumbai travelogue.
Thanks, pats. Tirthankar is an extremely dynamic person to travel with, never a moment of boredom, although his enthusiasm was partly curbed by my non-stopper driving, leaving him little time to click away.

My driving styles take some getting used to, since I never stop and food is always served on board!

The Trivandrum trip was part of the wedding festivities, there was a wedding reception/ party on Jan 25, and I had to be there.

On Jan 26, it was wonderful meeting up TVM team-bhp-ites (and also a Attingal-ite and a Alapuzha-ite), when JKDas organised a grand drive (although I could not go for the drive). You can read all about it in the following thread:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/team-b...ts-tvm-50.html (Quick meets in TVM)
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Old 2nd February 2010, 18:54   #139
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the legend continues!
great writeup
it puts us all in the car with the master...
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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:08   #140
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the legend continues!
great writeup
it puts us all in the car with the master...
mitchontheroad, if you start your travelogues, we will all pale into insignificance
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Old 2nd February 2010, 20:58   #141
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Trivandrum-Munnar-Bombay


I have driven the 1,700 kms of Trivandrum-Bombay several times, and it has always been non-stop, taking 24-26 hours. The last time I did it was in Nov 2009, when I drove along the coast till Ankola and then via Hubli, that took me a long 26 hours thanks to some bad roads on NH17 beyond north Kerala.

This time was to be different - I was planning a short detour, a day trip to see Munnar , specially for Tirthankar who was visiting Kerala for the first time, and also revisit some other roads in the region. The journey was to ultimately last 1,962 kms, 250 kms more than the shortest route, and the drive was to last a marathon (Jan 27-411 am, Trivandrum to Jan 28-348 pm, Bombay) 36 hours. That is the distance from Bombay to Manali via Delhi, or Bombay to Calcutta, via Nagpur.

Driving from Trivandrum to Bombay requires careful planning to optimise on traffic conditions. If I leave early morning, I will get clobbered by heavy day traffic in Kerala and lose lots of time on the road, besides most of my finger nails. Besides, if I take the Goa route, I will have to face the onslaught of incessant bus traffic in the ghat roads at night between Panaji and Bombay. So, it is best to leave Trivandrum at night (say, 9 pm), peacefully drive through Kerala all night to dart through Mangalore before day breaks, beat the busy corridor of Mangalore-Udupi-Kundapura and be in time for dinner at Bombay.

But this time, the plan was different. I left Trivandrum at 411 am, since my immediate transit destination was Munnar, and I was to exit into TN thereafter. I had forgotten to tank up the previous night, but I had already stocked up enough food to last us the 2 days that we were to spend on the road. Luckily, there was a 24h petrol pump open at that hour.

The MC Road (or Main Central Road) is a parallel road to NH47 (which runs along the coast line of Kerala), which runs inland on the foothills of the Western Ghats all the way via Kottayam to Angamali north of Kochi. Always a thrilling road to drive on, with its curves, twisties and roller coasters. Now that they have widened the road, it is a fantastic experience and there is never a moment of dullness, thin traffic adding to the pleasure. Needless to say, it is a congested road by day, but in the pre-dawn darkness I covered the first 133 kms to Changanaserry in 2 hours. The towns of Kilimanoor, Kottarakara, Adoor, Chengannur and Tiruvalla flashed by. The widening works are not yet complete and in between, watch out for sudden deviations and work-in-progress sections, but cumulatively that must have been less than 2-3 kms.

Instead of taking the straightforward route via Kottayam - adds around 25-30 kms - I turned off M C Road at Changanaserry into the road leading to Vazhoor. Poor signages in the town, ask before you take the right right turn. Surprise, surprise, what used to be an ill-frequented 1-lane road is now a broad well-surfaced road lined by plantations of rubber, banana and pepper - and the ubiquitous coconut trees. 25 kms later, I was in Vazhoor, onto the KK Road (Kottayam-Kumili Road), now designated NH220 going to Theni (Madurai road). Majic has already described his journey on this road sometime ago, it is one of the beautiful drives you can have in Kerala, the road climbing up from the plains and the backwaters to the higher altitudes, with changing vegetation leading to tea estates, cardamom plantations and wildlife sanctuaries.

A light wintry haze hung in the air and happily, most of the local populace stuck indoors at that hour, and before they could wink an eye, I was climbing up the ghats beyond Kanjirapalli and Mundakayam. I reached Kuttikanam - surrounded by tea estates - at 750 am (215 kms, 3.50 hrs) - from here, Thekkady/Periyar/Kumili is only 35 kms away, but I knew a short cut to Munnar without going that longer way. I turn left and go on some delightful country roads up and down the ghats to Kattapana which is a junction of roads branching off to Idukki and Vagamon. From Kattapana, it is a short drive to the Kumili-Munnar road which I join at Puliyanmala.

This region of the Western Ghats is called the Cardamom Hills - no prizes for guessing that the hillsides are thickly vegetated with cradamom plantations. Each place has a tale to tell: Nedumkandam, whuich was the epicentre of the only earthquake in Kerala in recent times ('late '80s), Udaumbansola, one of the largest local spice markets and Anairangi - literally translates as "the elephant came down". The Panniar Reservoir comes into view - yes, the same valley you see from Club Mahindra/Sterling Munnar - but the clear skies around Lockhart Gap (swirls with thick fog at some parts of the day) disappointed us. The road was in good condition throughout, as we raced through the green tea county made known to India first time by Suresh Oberoi's Scissors cigarette advertisement (in a Jeep) in the '70s. After a few photo stops on the way, we ambled into Munnar town at 1050 am (345 kms, 6.45 hrs).

We drove starightaway on the popular circuit that covered Mattupetty, Kundale to Top Station, which is 35 kms from Munnar town. Luckily, the place was empty, not many tourists around. The last 2 kms of road to Top Station being in TN were in bad condition. There is a guy extorting money (entry fee of Rs 15) in the name of the Forest Dept to the view point at Top Station. One of the best things you can do in Munnar is to stay in a planter's bungalow - I did that once in 2005 - but now we have miles and miles to go before we are to sleep....

Back to Munnar town, searching for Kerala (B)Parotta, but we were in for some disappointment, there was a bandh and all establishments, including restaurants and petrol pumps were closed. Panic - I am running low on fuel and getting to the TN border 90 kms away is a touch-and-go situation. We reached/left Munnar town at 110 pm, having spent exactly 3 hours in this delightful hill station which has remained one of my favourites, used to be a regular visitor till recently.

Luckily for us, at Marayoor, 40 kms away, a petrol pump was open and we were able to turn on our AC again as we descendeed rapidly into the hot TN plains - winter, what winter? Just before the Chinar WLS check post, we were waved to a halt by 2 bikers ahead of us - here was the large tusker lurking under the trees just off the road. Someone had mentioned that the TN cops at the Chinar Check Post extorted money from passing motorists, but we were greeted by polite, correct and uninquisitive cops when I went in to enter details of the car in the register (in all, 3 check posts - what are they scared of?). The last time I had been on this road, it had been late night - after 11 pm - and I had encountered a tusker on this road. This is one of the WLS where they do not restrict night traffic and it is quite exciting to go on this road late evenings and night, you are sure to see elephants.

"Poor man's Ooty" - that is sobriquet for Udumalipet, don't ask me why, it is just another town in the TN plains, on the Palani-Coimbatore highway (Udumalipet, 500 kms, 11 hrs). For those wanting to Bangalore direct (also our transit desination), you can go straight via Dharapuram and Perunthurai to Salem, but we had decided to go the longer route to Bangalore via Coimbatore and Sathyamangalam. I used to be a regular mobiker on the Udumalipet-Cpimbatore road once upon a time, and it was a pleasure to see that nothing has changed in an ever-changing India, down to the level crossings after Pollachi, the same cinema halls, film posters, bus stations and bullock carts - that is Kongu-Nadu for you, as this region of TN is called. Pollachi is the cross roads for some good drives - to Valparai-Chalakudy, Top Slip-Parambikulam and Palakkad. The Pollachi-Coimbatore road has heavy bus and miscellaneous traffic, and we enter Coimbatore city from the south side at 430 pm. Coimbatore has a bypass on NH47 for tjose travelling from Salem/Bhavani to Palakkad/Kochi, but you have to wade through the city to go to Ooty/ Sathyamangalam. Even if you are not familiar with the city, it is a pretty simple route through the city, even the first-timer will not get lost if he has directions (signages are terrible though). Since I know the city well, I had no difficulty in steering my way to the Annapoorna restaurant on Mettupalayam road - one of my favourite eateries, and we broke our fast by devouring the delicious vada-sambars and masala dosais (even the taste of the sambar has not changed!), washed down by fliter kaapi (our first meal of the day, and our only meal till we reached Bombay!).

I spent the next 2 hours visiting a close friend in Coimbatore, and we left the city at 700 pm, driving into the night to Bombay via Bangalore.....
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Old 2nd February 2010, 21:18   #142
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HOW TO BYPASS BANGALORE -
NH7 (North East, Hyderabad) to NH7 (South, Hosur)

Just to help legend HVK I am attaching a simple screen dump from Google maps. Hope this gives a better perspective to folks who may be lost

EDIT : This may not be completely accurate but will give a pictorial guidance.

Cheers

Sateesh
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Last edited by csateesh : 2nd February 2010 at 21:27.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 21:41   #143
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No, Sateesh, that is not the correct route. What you have shown is the NH207 route. I did not take NH207 because it was supposed to have some bad sections and you have to go through Hosur town. Instead, I turned off NH207 4 kms after Devanahalli town and went via Whitefield and Varthur. Take a look at this link (I do not know how to paste the image of the route)

Google Maps
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Old 2nd February 2010, 21:51   #144
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I had forgotten to tank up the previous night, but I had already stocked up enough food to last us the 2 days that we were to spend on the road. Luckily, there was a 24h petrol pump open at that hour.
BP@Thonnakkal before Attingal is an option, for those taking NH47. It is open 24/7.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 21:53   #145
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BP@Thonnakkal before Attingal is an option, for those taking NH47. It is open 24/7.
The one that was open was the petrol pump at Pattom, Trivandrum. Only choice for those taking MC Road. Attingal is convenient for those on NH47.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 22:23   #146
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Annapoorna used to be my favourite hotel as well. @HVK I hope you are referring to the same hotel which has been existent for more than 25 years.

Those were the days when every other year I used to land-up in CBE by the great Kerala express
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Old 2nd February 2010, 23:19   #147
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Annapoorna used to be my favourite hotel as well. @HVK I hope you are referring to the same hotel which has been existent for more than 25 years.

Those were the days when every other year I used to land-up in CBE by the great Kerala express
Annapoorna is unique - the one and only! Their main hotel & restaurant is in RS Puram in Coimbatore, but they have outlets in several other places. I used to frequent - and that is where I went this time too - the one on Mettupalayam Road opposite the Avinashilingam College. I used to breakfast there regularly some 20+ years ago, and nothing has chnaged except that they now have a AC hall! And the fruit juice stall is gone.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 09:17   #148
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Very detailed right up HVK as always, But it is sad that you havent given any chance for Tirthankar to take the pics of kerala.

Tirthankar, better luck next time

BTW Any chance of subscribing the HVK GPS
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Old 3rd February 2010, 09:35   #149
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Very detailed right up HVK as always, But it is sad that you havent given any chance for Tirthankar to take the pics of kerala.

Tirthankar, better luck next time

BTW Any chance of subscribing the HVK GPS
Well, he did - he has photos of the Neyyar Dam drive (from Trivandrum), some of Veli beach (Triavndrum) and many from Munnar. Waiting for him to upload.

Subscribing to HVK GPS? You mean the GPS points recorded in my Gramin device? Sure, I will upload that also once it is ready - takes a very long time to analyse and catalogue the points of interest.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 09:50   #150
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- but now we have miles and miles to go before we are to sleep....
Literally!!!

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My driving styles take some getting used to, since I never stop ...
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I have driven the 1,700 kms of Trivandrum-Bombay several times, and it has always been non-stop, taking 24-26 hours.
Curiosity is killing me. The maximum that I could manage non-stop was around 15 hours, and the experience was not pleasant towards the end. Weariness and sleep sets in. More like body fatigue takes over, even if mind wants to drive. How do you manage fatigue, sleep?
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