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Old 12th March 2010, 11:22   #1
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Default Bangalore - Kodai - Madurai - Kanyakumari (NH7 Lifeline)

Hello All

This is a travelogue on my latest road trip to Kodaikanal, Madurai and Kanyakumari.
Initially, i wondered if the idea of travelling in this hot weather would pay off. And thought Kodai would be the main hightlight of the trip.
And then on finishing the trip yesterday night, i realised that the trip was all about NH7! Its a marvel. Its something which south isnt used to.
I am overwelmed by the finness with which the NH7 infrastructure project has been executed. Hats off to NHAI.
NH7 has now suddenly become the lifeline of SouthIndia. From Bangalore, South.. Any location can be accessed with ease with NH7 as the prime route. Makes a lot of sense.
All the planning, route queries, hotel bookings are done. Our fellow Tbhpians helped me in fine tuning my plan, schedules and routes.
Me, my wife, and my parents are all set at 5.30 AM on 5th morning (friday). We start off my J.P.Nagar 1st Phase bangalore , heading towards our first destination, Kodaikanal. We are not packing any warm clothes expecting 30s even at Kodai.
Since i am on a Electronic city worker, i am not aware of where to join NICE road on Bannerghatta road. Finally i figured it out in the darkness, with all the TN registered trucks entering the main road on that single lane.
I take Bannerghatta road, NICE road and finally i am on NH7 on Hosur road at 6 AM.
The route i take from Bangalore to Kodai is as below:
Also check the times for all important junctions/towns.

Bangalore -- Nice road -- Hosur road (NH7) - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Namakkal - Karur - Dindugal - OffNH7 to NH45 - Bathalagundu - SH156 - Kodaikanal (480 Kms from JP Nagar).

I reached Kodai by 1:30 PM for lunch. So i was able to cover the distance in 8 hours sharp. This included a 25 min breakfast break at A2B, 15 min break for tea at Dindugal/Palani road crossing, and another 20 min at Silver cascade/Rattail falls...
The road condition is superlative. That has made me do one of my most consistent drives on this stretch. There are 2 diversions near Karur. If you ignore that part, it is a flawless piece of infrastructure.
Sense this.. We were at Dindigal(380 Kms) in 5 Hr 20 min. And we had another 250 Kms to Kanyakumari. So practically, Bangalore-KK CAN be done in 9 Hrs flat!

On the way, we have covered RatTail falls (without a drop of water), Silver Cascade falls (enough to recognize that as a waterfall)
We checked in into Hotel Bala, infront of the Kodai busstand at Kodaikanal. This is a very decent hotel with clean rooms and toilets for 1125 per night inclusive of taxes.
This place is very near to all the hotels, restaurants and ofcourse the lake!
We have our Lunch at Astoria Veg. Rest for a while. And head to Coaker's walk which is 200m from the Busstand and our hotel.
This is half a Km of walking path on the edge of a cliff, so that one can enjoy the glimpse of the vast valley and the plains below.
At 5.15PM, we head to the Kodai lake. I found this lake to be pretty clean, in contrast to all the talks about how dirty it is.
Lots of shops lined around the lake. And surprisingly we found that it take 5 Kms to complete 1 circle around the lake!

Here are some of the snaps from Day1 travel.

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Shade on NH45 (take right after Dindugal towards kodai)
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Some snaps from the Day1 in Kodai town:
Kodai Church
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Cycle stand at Kodai lake
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Kodai Lake
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Kodai International School
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Tea break at Dindugal
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Will follow up with Day 2 and 3 at Kodai soon.
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Old 12th March 2010, 11:30   #2
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Your pictures are really nice!!!! keep them coming!!!howzz the road condition between salem to Dindigul?
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Old 12th March 2010, 11:33   #3
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Hi Pramod,

Nice pictures and narration..Eagerly waiting for the rest

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Old 12th March 2010, 11:34   #4
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Nice start...

Iam glued... Keep rolling,

This is one trip which is pending on our part, we scheduled it to Aug-sept time frame.
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Old 12th March 2010, 11:53   #5
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How did you overtake the truck on pic 4? Did you floor the accelerator?
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Old 12th March 2010, 12:06   #6
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Nice travelogue. Yes, the NH7 is really a gift for us to move around towards south. I think the problem would be crossing Madurai for doing the KK in 9hrs, right? The bottleneck would be crossing tiruparankundrum, thirumangalam, and some other towns before that I beleive.

Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
How did you overtake the truck on pic 4? Did you floor the accelerator?
Man that's a deadly situation

Have seen such vehicles on those ghats and several times decided to stay behind and overtake him on other side.

Who knows when these guys turtle
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Old 12th March 2010, 12:18   #7
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Great stuff man! Excellent highway snaps!

How long would BLR-Salem take?
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Old 12th March 2010, 12:46   #8
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Great pics as always. Need more of them. Keep them coming.
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Old 12th March 2010, 13:46   #9
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The photo of the cycles is good. Can you rotate it by 90 deg ccw please?
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Old 12th March 2010, 18:29   #10
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MX6 --> Thanks.. Will post that snap again with a rotation.

raghu, ramsagar, mjyothi, sriswe, -- Thanks!

smartcat --> When used to brake and then proceed for most of the journey , keeping in mind the long journey we had ahead. But while travelling back from Madurai to Bangalore, the traffic was too much from Salem to Bangalore, where i HAD to get down the road on the left edge and overtake.

anekho, srikanthpotluri --> Check the times i logged while travelling to Kodai. The road is great all the way to Kodai/Madurai.
Salem doesnt have bypass. The NH7 goes thru city. Hence it is a bottleneck for sure.
Near, Karur, 1 flyover is incomplete. Hence u will lose 5 to 10 min in Karur town.

Bangalore - 5.30 AM -- 00
Hosur NICE junction - 6.00 AM -- 22.4
Hosur - 6.20 AM -- 39
Krishnagiri -- 7.25 -- 93.2 ( with 25 min break at A2B)
Salem -- 8:50 AM -- 210

Namakkal -- 9.25 AM -- 265
Karur Bypass -- 9.55 AM -- 300
Off NH7 to Kodai -- 10.47AM -- 376
Right turn from NH45 to SH156 -- 11:58 -- 420 (with 15 min Tea break)
Kodaikanal -- 1.30 PM -- 475 (break at 2 waterfalls)
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Old 12th March 2010, 23:34   #11
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Waiting for the rest of the travelogue Pramod. Nice pics too. Yes, the NH7 is really a marvel. Very well executed by NHAI. Did you visit Rameshwaram as well?? I am planning to do a similar strecth sometime after summer.
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Old 13th March 2010, 09:34   #12
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Nice snaps! Roads in India (esp. South) have really come of age. TN was leading the pack, but I guess other states have almost followed-up thanks to GQ and NS corridor. NH7 is a real success story.

Waiting for the rest of the story.
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Old 13th March 2010, 10:15   #13
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Default Day 2 - Kodai

Day 2 : Kodai
We expected Kodai to be hot too, considering the fact that it has been hot everywhere, even in Bangalore.
But surprisingly, we found wanting wrt warm clothes. It was a bit chilly and was around 18-19 degrees, which made the Hillstation visit
We have Breakfast at Astoria Veg hotel next to our Hotel Bala. We decide to visit the following places around Kodai. The thing about the
tourist spots around Kodai is that, all of them fall on a circuit. You take the Road going up from the Coaker's walk and it will take you
to most of the toursit spots around. And also, that circuit road is a One-way. You gotta see all the places before returing back from the other side.
We start off at 10 AM and head off to the first location -- Upper Lake view point. You should be able to see the Kodai lake from up here.
A few snaps from the Upper lake view point:

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Old 13th March 2010, 10:26   #14
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We now move ahead another 10 min to the PINE forests. It is basically a vast area with pine trees over a hill slope. One can walk down the hill
through the Pine woods. It would be good with less people around. We were there on a Weekend and all the school buses from in and around Dindugal
with 60 school children in each, were there! So it was pretty crowded. Lots of movies have been shot at this pine forest location.
A few snaps from the Pine forests.

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Old 13th March 2010, 11:42   #15
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The maze of pine trees along with carrots look really inviting. We were standing at the very place three years back!
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