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Old 15th May 2010, 08:58   #1
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Default A quick summary of road trip to Guruvayur

Just finished this trip...sorry no pics since it was rush-rush with hardly any stop other than for main purpose - temple @ Guryvayur..

The route taken was through Gundlupet-Gudalur-Nilambur-Perinthalmana-Patambi-Kunnamkulam-Guruvayur...return was first to Trissur and then back same way.

I read about some post on a different route from Nilambur-Perinthalmana via Kallikavu but I could not find this road so I stayed on the main road..

The roads were quite decent other than the Mys-Nanjangud section which is bad. The section after Nanjangud is good all the way to TN border but for some very short under-repair stretches. Once you enter Kerala there are again some culvert works going on but generally roads are more than decent.

Of course, driving in Kerala that too after leaving TN which is almost vilayati in terms of driving discipline, is a topic fit for several rant filled posts (one of them you will see in Street experience thread)...

Need to warn guys - the roads in Kerala are rarely, if ever marked with milestones, unlike TN. In most places, that too after Nilambur, you have to take twists and turns to get to Kunnamkulam and to Guruvayur, many of these twists and turns are either (take your choice)
  1. totally unmarked,
  2. marked just at the junction, too late to notice
  3. marked only in Malayalam
  4. marked in a cleverly camoflagued way, hidden amidst advertisments in board that can easily be mistaken for advt. hoarding
  5. marked with names that make no sense for finding your immediate destination. I dont blame them for this since people generally go to bigger cities, but if you are finding your way to Nilambur, suddenly the direction at a junction says Palakkad and Kozhikode (example), having pointed to Nilambur thus far, you are lost. That too if Kozihikode is a bit like Rome, all roads seemingly leading to it.

So better to stop a few metres before each junction and ask. People are generally quite helpful.

There were no police harassments, ask you to show papers etc., or selective targeting of out of state vehicles at all. Luckily I violated no traffic rule...may be that matters. Or may be this part of the state has too many outside vehicles anyway...

I tried to go to Pattambi from Trissur bypassing Guruvayur on return trip, and saw on map that one road takes you there via Shoranur but I missed this road at Trissur. So I asked someone, he pointed to a short-cut which turned out to be the same road that takes you back to Guruvayur. I wonder if this is the best way or is there a way from Trissur to Mysore road without going to Guruvayur again.

Driving in Kerala is a bit like driving through Japan, with town after town coming forever, without any 'country-side' so to speak. This means traffic is heavy and it is city driving throughout...wow those garishly-beautiful or beautifully-garish houses that people build in smaller town are worth a separate photo road trip...wonder is it all Gulf $$ or something else?

Trissur town seems to have the most cars per head in all of India. The entire area surrounding Pooram grounds on all four directions is 100% fully parked except inside the ground itself. I had to roam around for 20 minutes finding a slot. Finally had to park inside the ground where there is an exhibition going on...

Bharat Hotel near the Vadakanathar temple entrance (not sure which one, there are three or four entrances) is a great place to have veg. lunch Kerala style and damn cheap at Rs.50 for special meals. You can ask for this one, quite popular..had to take a rickshaw there from the parking place because of traffic.

Shall update post if any other point comes to mind...
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:29   #2
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Good feeedback on Kerala roads!

There is a sparate road to Shoranur/Pattambi from Trissur. You probably took the Guruvayur-Kunnamkulam road and turned off at Perumpilavu after Kunnamkulam.
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Old 16th May 2010, 16:58   #3
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Kerala roads are the best places for learning driving. One gets this 'am damn sure in a few micro-seconds you are going to meet with an accident' phobia running in you.
Am planning a trip there after my exams.
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Old 16th May 2010, 17:43   #4
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Yes the straight from Nilambur to Pattambi is good. Lots of twists and turns but on the whole. As you rightly point out, its better to ask some one at each and very cross road. Because all outgoing roads look good to a be highway with absolutely no marking. Most cases I relied on GPS else ask some one.

In fact from Melatoor to Gudalur via Nilambur is also very nice, except for some portions on ghat section between Gudalur and Nilambur.
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Old 16th May 2010, 19:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traxter View Post
[*]marked only in Malayalam
I think except TN, (or may be AP) no other state has this written in English. I suffered a lot to my recent trip to Coorg. I saw all the milestones written in Kannada (my Wifey called it Jelebi letters) at most of the places, but we couldn't understand anything.

One question to you @Traxter - Were you able to notice this fact that, the traffic violation in Kerala is far less compared to TN & KA? Could you comment on that pls?
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Old 16th May 2010, 20:08   #6
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At least I have not seen heavy traffic on this circuit.
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Old 17th May 2010, 06:58   #7
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I have not driven much in Kerala as you tend to notice things less as a passenger. But comparing KA and TN and what I have seen of KL, I should say TN is the most disciplined in terms of traffic
  • Lorries rarely overtake you on highway going way over speed limits. Most lorries seem to drive non-aggressive and give way
  • State buses drive as if they have a autopilot, at steady speeds, rarely aggressive, unlike KSRTC of KA.
  • The irritating habit of lorries and slow moving vehicles occupying the fast lane, forcing everyone else to weave in and out using the slow lane is also less in TN as compared to KA.


But the usual Indian diseases of constant use of horn to 'clear' traffic, Sumo/Scorpio maniacs (with apologies to decent owners of these vehicles), Buses overtaking on two lane roads without a care for oncoming traffic that is vulnerable (ie any smaller vehicle) etc., I guess is the same...
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Old 17th May 2010, 07:05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
I think except TN, (or may be AP) no other state has this written in English.
Agree..this apply to bus signs, and many other things too.

Even within the Bandipur/Mudumalai forest road, on KA side there are no markings or signs and all speed bumps are unmarked. On TN side, every one of them is colored so you can see them from far. There are numerous markings showing distance to Mudumalai, Mysore etc. which are consistent.

In KA where markings exist, they will confuse you - such as one marking showing distance to Mysore, another to Ooty, another to another town in same general direction. So after a while you dont know where you are...this exists in TN but very less extent. For instance, some signs on the road to Ooty show distance to Nagapatinam which is 500+ km away but 90% of them point to where people are usually heading - Ooty etc.

Also there will be markings all along roads that are straight and hence not required, but at junction they will be missing. This applies to KL too at least the stretch I traveled!

Last edited by Traxter : 17th May 2010 at 07:19.
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Old 17th May 2010, 07:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traxter View Post
But comparing KA and TN and what I have seen of KL, I should say TN is the most disciplined in terms of traffic
; not really. Compared to TN, KL is better.

Quote:
Lorries rarely overtake you on highway going way over speed limits. Most lorries seem to drive non-aggressive and give way
True

Quote:
State buses drive as if they have a autopilot, at steady speeds, rarely aggressive, unlike KSRTC of KA.
True & they don't lift of their legs from the gas pedal when someone tries to overtake even if they see a vehicle coming on opposite direction. In these terms I would say, they're little arrogant, not aggressive.

Quote:
The irritating habit of lorries and slow moving vehicles occupying the fast lane, forcing everyone else to weave in and out using the slow lane is also less in TN as compared to KA.
True

How was the crowd in Guruvayoor? How long did it take for you to get darshan?
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Old 17th May 2010, 08:38   #10
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Quote:
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How was the crowd in Guruvayoor? How long did it take for you to get darshan?
Our trip exactly coincided with the first day of Akshaya which I was told is the start of peak season since it is considered auspicious. I did not know.

The earlier night at 8pm (thu) crowd was quite less queue starting at the main entrance itself. But we did not go in, as we were just walking around to check out.

But next morning (Fri) we went at 4.15am and the crowd was all the way to end of the sheltered area that too triple line. We got out at 7.30am which is was not bad considering length of crowd...just minutes after we got dharshan the queue was stopped for more than 1 hr. Lucky!

So you have to know the pooja timings etc., else a lot of time is 'wasted' just waiting for doors to open and queue to start moving.
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Old 17th May 2010, 08:45   #11
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BTW, hotels are getting expensive there...min. Rs.700-800 for non-a/c room that too in quite down market hotels..perhaps it is season effect..A/c ones are Rs.1500+...
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Old 17th May 2010, 09:17   #12
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Quote:
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So you have to know the pooja timings etc., else a lot of time is 'wasted' just waiting for doors to open and queue to start moving.
You're right, since my Aunt family is in Wadakkanchery, we never get into these long queue business.

Where else did you go in Thrissur? Did you participate in Pooram festival? Any details? Did you know that Kunnamkulam is like a little Taiwan? They make replicas leaving you confused as which is original. Only when they start working, you'll know which one is duplicate.
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Old 17th May 2010, 09:45   #13
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In general, folks prefer to have an early morning darshan rather than an evening one. So mostly you may get an easier darshan in the evenings rather than morning. Thats happened to me quite a few times.

As regards to traffic discipline, I would say no one is clean !
Even in TN I seen have folks drive pretty rash. Musiri-Trichy-Tanjore is one of the most dreaded examples of this.

Simple rule when you see any guy wanting to overtake, let him do so. Dont have any rush of blood and you will reach home safe. This is something I strive to follow all the time. Road-rage though increases in the cities rather than on highways.

With respect to hotels in GVR I would say, its still VFM compared to other places. A case is point: "Kanoos Residency" is one place, where I would love to stay anytime. A very nice AC room with all the requirements for 1700 was really worth it (included breakfast). A similar hotel in any other town/city would have charged huge for the same room.

Kerala I would say is still value for money, as long as the property is NOT owned by a global chain. Thats the one which boosts the price.
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Old 18th May 2010, 07:30   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Where else did you go in Thrissur? Did you participate in Pooram festival? Any details? Did you know that Kunnamkulam is like a little Taiwan? They make replicas leaving you confused as which is original. Only when they start working, you'll know which one is duplicate.
We had dharshan at the nice Thrissur main temple but it was a rush job as it was nearly 10am when we got there from Guruvayur. The temple closes for morning at 10AM I was told. The security guy was chasing people out. Would love to visit that again, this time getting timings right.

Kunnamkulam - That is interesting...replicas of what? Actually Taiwan makes decent stuff these days, the responsibility of making fakes / replicas now given to their cousins across the strait.

I do not know when the Pooram festival is, certainly not when I was there so I missed that. But there was an exhibition at the Pooram grounds which was nice, we went around that...The usual stalls but some of them good. It was also to kill time waiting for lunch hour..

Since the Bandipur road closes by 9pm, wanted to cross that so had to get back sooner than preferred from Trissur...
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Old 18th May 2010, 07:35   #15
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Simple rule when you see any guy wanting to overtake, let him do so. Dont have any rush of blood and you will reach home safe. This is something I strive to follow all the time. Road-rage though increases in the cities rather than on highways.
I agree...in reality the time saved is no negligible anyway..
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