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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:37   #1
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Default Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Dear Team-bhpians,

Trip - Chennai to Kodaikanal
Route - Chennai - Trichy - Dindigul - Batlagundu - Kodai
Approx time taken - 9 hours including stops
Car - Ford Fiesta 1.6 Sxi
Tyres - Michellin Energy XM1+

While there are many detailed travelogues in this forum on Kodaikanal, i would like to share the latest update on the route, road conditions and other specifics which may help travellers who are planning a trip.

Left Chennai (Chromepet) at around 5.30 a.m., was little dark, but could push it and reached my first stop "Arya Nivas" at the end of Villupurm bye-pass where we had our breakfast. I should say, it was very good with some nice south Indian food without doing any harm to the stomach. Left that place around 7.30 a.m. the road was excellent and driving fiesta was like a dream. Not much traffic and i could push it to 140 kmph on few stretches as i was so happy to show the thrill to my wife and my kids - but only for very short distances as it was not very wise. We reached Trichy around 9.30 a.m for the second stop in a BP petrol station, filled up, rest room stuff and left for Dindigul.

To reach the start of the "so called" 4 lane after Trichy took 30 minutes due to town traffic. After that it was quite good, but i should say this 4 lane (Trichy-Dindigul) is a far from complete with so many divertions which leads to two lanes and i had to slow down a lot. The roads were fine with little bad stretches at the intersections. We reached Dindigul around 11.30 a.m. and could locate the right turn to Batlagundu with few enquiries to passers by as we have to drive alongside the main road crossing three fly-overs and there the sign board - Kodaikanal. Great.

Then it was the state highway upto Batlagundu which took approx 30 minutes, took a right turn, travelled for another 6-7 kms and turned right again to the Kodaikanal road. (Straight goes to Cumbum, Theni). As we had been to kodaikanal few times earlier, we did not stop anywhere on the ghat section and drove straight. The ghat roads were mostly good with few bad sections (caused probably because of recent rains). I could mostly do with the 3rd gear/40-50kmph and changing to 2nd for steeper climbs at sharp curves.

Reached Kodai exactly at 2.00 p.m. and went straight to Hilltop restaurant (opp Kodai International School) for a South Indian Thali (starving !). The food was OK and checked in at Kodai Resort Hotels.

The cottage was great with a nice balcony and descent views from there. It had a indoor play area with Table Tennis, Carrom, Snake and ladder etc., with a nice sit out. Kids played some TT and relaxed fo the evening. For dinner, we went to TAVA restaurant (located in the basement of a shopping complex adjacent to the seven road junction) and the food was simply superb. Freshly made chapattis with some great vegetarian side dishes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. For the next two days, not much of adventure as even my kids did not want to do much of sight seeing, so just drove down around Kodaikanal stopped at some places, enjoyed the weather, had local TEA etc., Spend more time around the Lake with Cycle rides, masala peanuts, masala corn and all little things. Below are the places we had food during our stay.

TAVA - adjacent to Seven Road - Vegetarian - excellent food.
RASOI - close to Astoria restaurant, in the first floor, Jain food (no Onion, garlic) - OK, my kids did not enjoy it much, again only vegetarian
ASTORIA - good for lunch, south indian thali, nice spread and tasty
HILLTOP restaurant - evening snacks, tiffin - Idly, Dosa etc., were extremely good

The included breakfast at my Hotel (Kodai resort) was very nice with a good spread with Toast, butter and other accompaniments, South Indian varieties like Idly, Oothappam, sambar, chuttney and Partha with Curd. They also serve eggs in different forms every day. Tea/coffee was fine to round it up. GOOD.

The weather was excellent with bright sunshine, but cool towards the evenings. But, we missed the misty feel unfortunately which i love.

As mentioned, as i have covered the "sight seeing" during my earlier trips, whatever photos i took this time were of my family/kids just testing my Nkon lenses like 50mm Prime, 70-300 VR etc., So, no tourist shots to share and hope you wont mind.

On the way back, left Kodai around 9.00 a.m. and reached Trichy at 1.00 p.m. for lunch. Had a nice thali meal at Sangeetha restaurant close to the main bustand. Had another stop at Adyar Ananda Bhavan, Ulundurpet for some snacks and then the NIGHTMARE started after Tindivanam - there was a political meeting at Maraimalainagar it seems and all the party cadres were on mahindra vans, sumos all the way from Tindivanam to Maraimalainagar. The bad part was due to this uncontrollable crowd at the meeting venue, the traffic came to a halt at Chengleput which put me off by 2 hours and reached 8.00 p.m. at my home instead of 6. Anyway, part of the game.

FIESTA specific - after buying my fiesta in May, this is my long trip and the car behaved extremely well with excellent driving dynamics, stability, braking, overtaking power and such a relaxing ride for my family. They never felt tired in this car even after 9 hours of driving. I love this car - i am happy. I did a rough calculation on the fuel and i think, it returned me approx 15.5 kmpl for this trip of approx 1000 kms.

Hope this gives any travellers with some tips on the road, route and eat & stay places at Kodaikanal.

best wishes to all Team-BHPians for a great year ahead.

Swami
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Old 3rd January 2011, 14:37   #2
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

I like visiting Kodai around this season (Nov-Feb)...not much of rush, but lots of mists ..getting stuck at the last leg of a long journey might be frustrating sometimes. Perungalathur is another area where it gets stuck every time, especially during late evenings, due to railway crossing vehicles queuing up in GST roads. Any photos?

Edit: Photography is one of your favorite subject & no photographs

Last edited by Surprise : 3rd January 2011 at 14:39.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 14:45   #3
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Sad to hear that Trichy-Dindigul 4L is far from complete. Hope they complete it this year. (Or Will they?!)

More snaps please!
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Old 3rd January 2011, 15:20   #4
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Thanks Surprise, yes it was frustrating 2 hours at the fag end of the journey. The worst part is all the private cars (including mine) were surrounded by 100s of LIKE MINDED thondargal vehicles of a political party. Just imagine them sitting on top of their vans, hanging out from their car windows, dancing, throwing water bottles and shouting slogans in that slow moving traffic jam in darkness for 2 hours !. That was not a good place to be and my wife was little worried and luckily the kids did not realise the issue much. By god's grace nothing bad happened and my kids were calm. Also, while those Thondargal (partymen) engaged in their fun activities, they did not harm/harass any private vehicles and that was just good enough.

I had taken few snaps, but most with my family and will try and locate some good general photos and post them.

swami
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Old 3rd January 2011, 15:24   #5
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Sad to hear that Trichy-Dindigul 4L is far from complete. Hope they complete it this year. (Or Will they?!)

More snaps please!
Ampere, there was work going on, but i guess it will take atleast another 8 months to fully complete. But, we have come a long way from those 2 lane highways from Chennai even till Trichy and that itself is an achivement considering Indian standards. Hope it gets better and better.

Swami
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Old 3rd January 2011, 21:43   #6
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Hello Swami69,

Nice to have some update on the route to Kodai from Chennai and the places to stay and have decent veg. food. I am thinking of visiting the hills this year, not sure if it will be Kodai or Ooty though. Never done either of the stretches and would like to drive my Alto all the way up (done only a couple of hill drives to Tirupati so want to conquer some great heights!) and that will need some convincing to be done at home for the long drive. Would be great if you can post some snaps as it might help me win my drive

Cheers!
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Old 4th January 2011, 00:44   #7
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Thanks Swami for the travelogue, it was crisp and clear. Sad to hear about the traffic jam however for next 6 months we can expect much of this political meeting as assembly election is nearing in TN.

All hotels you have mentioned are really good; you could have also tried Venu Briyani center in Dindigul town and Tibetan brothers in Kodaikanal (strictly for NV).

Venu serves some yummy Dindigul briyani and Tibetan brother’s serves Momo, thupka and few other Chinese dishes. Both restaurants are very delicious, I tried them in last November.
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Old 4th January 2011, 10:34   #8
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

thanks camchennai for the tips. As i am a Vegetarian, this may not suit, but helpful, i can pass it on to my freinds.

@superslick - good that you are planning a good hill drive. I think, if you drive carefully and wisely, it is not a big deal. The ghat section is fine and stick to your lane and you will be ok. It is very enjoyable and refer to many tips in this forum for hill driving.

I could get some photographs to post.

A distant church captured from Coacker's walk using my 300mm VR lens to full length.
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-church.jpg
Similarly a waterfall from the same point using the 300mm lens
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-falls.jpg
The valleys viewed from Coacker's walk
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-coackers.jpg
On the way to pine forest/pillar rock - The roads were very good and we just drove and came back
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-cows.jpg
The wonderful Kodai lake
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-lake.jpg
Bear Shola falls - not many tourists visit here, but set amidst thick vegetation and great
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-bear-shola.jpg
Fairy falls - i heard the OLD LIRIL advert was pictured here long back.
Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi-fairy-falls.jpg
These are my two daughters, they really enjoyed this place with cold water flowing under their feet.

Hope you enjoy

Swami
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Old 4th January 2011, 11:15   #9
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

The valley snap is terrific. Moments frozen in time!
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Old 4th January 2011, 11:39   #10
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

@ Swami69 - That was a nice short and crisp report! A friend of mine also got stuck in the GST due to the VCK meeting.

@ Camchennai - Glad to know that you know about Venu Biryinani! I just love that hotel. Must visit for a foodie (Meat ) They are much better than the Thalapakatti.

BTW a trickster has opened Dindugal VeLu Biriyani Kadai in Nungambakkam hoping to cash in on the original hotel's name.
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Old 4th January 2011, 12:15   #11
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Valley pic is awesome.

Iam glued to this TL, keep rolling more pics.

Cheers
Raghu
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Old 4th January 2011, 12:26   #12
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Default Re: Chennai - Kodaikanal trip in my Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi

Good pics there. Yes, the liril Ad was shot there. Enroute to the Bear shola, there's also the oldest tree. I now hear that Devil's kitchen, aka Guna caves are closed.

And happiness reflecting in your daughters' faces! Best capture ever.

By the way, don't you know that since long those Thondargal have become Gundargal?

Last edited by MX6 : 4th January 2011 at 12:30.
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