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Old 11th April 2018, 03:48   #11251
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Thanks. So It will be either August or late September then.

Can you guys please help on rest 2 points

2> 5 days itinerary for Kerala starting Munnar, also recommended places to stay
3> On the return leg I want to visit murdeshwar and south Goa. How are the road conditions on this route and other interesting places to cover.
Itenarary - 5 days are too short for Kerala. But if you have a plan to visit Goa and Murudeswar, focus more on central and northern Kerala to save on driving. Driving inside KL on day time can be a pain.

The old NH17 is mostly good till Goa with road works happening after Mangalore for 150 or so km. But again, this is pretty monsoon condition and it can change after Monsoon.

This route is a high density traffic route, plan appropriximately 35-40 km per hour average speed during day time and 50-55km per hour during night time while planning.
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Old 12th April 2018, 11:21   #11252
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Anyone with up-to-date information on the protests and disruptions in TN with particular reference to targeting of KA registered vehicles? I am driving to Ernakulam tomorrow, so need this information whether to switch to the Nilambur route or not.
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Old 12th April 2018, 11:32   #11253
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Drove Guruvayoor-Calicut yesterday. Planned to do Chavakkad-Ponnani-Kuttippuram-Valanchery-Kottakal-Calicut. I had the maps turned on to watch for traffic and Google did not like my route, from Ponnani kept trying to divert me to the Tirur route at every feasible options on the stretch from Chamravattom to Kuttippuram. Finally at Kuttippuram NH signal it again tried to divert me to the Tirur route. It was showing the Valanchery route as 40 min slower and saw a lot of red blocks. So gave in and went via Tirunavaya and then turned right to the Tirunavaya-Puthanathani road to rejoin the NH back at Puthanathani.

Turned out to be a right decision as another car driven by the driver (who is a typical North Kerala driver and is much faster than me) was a few min ahead of me at Kuttippuram and went ahead via Valanchery. By the time I joined back at Puthanathani, he was 20 min behind me.

Would recommend this as an option for folks driving to Calicut from the south. Helps bypass the congested Kuttippuram-Valanchery-Vattapara stretch. The Tirunavaya-Puthanathani road is a beautiful road. Felt it also better than the other usual option of Ponnani-Chamravattom-Tirur-Parappanagadi-Chelari.

Overall driving on the NH any place between Kuttippuram and Calicut is becoming more and more difficult and stressful. Almost a full length convoy ride with very little opportunities to overtake. The road widening in this stretch also seems to be stuck in the protests against the width.
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Old 12th April 2018, 16:40   #11254
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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Anyone with up-to-date information on the protests and disruptions in TN with particular reference to targeting of KA registered vehicles? I am driving to Ernakulam tomorrow, so need this information whether to switch to the Nilambur route or not.
I don't think there is anything to worry if you start early, like around 3 AM, and take the Krishnagiri > Salem > Coimbatore > Palakkad route, as you would most probably cross Walayar by 7.30 or 8 AM.
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Old 12th April 2018, 16:47   #11255
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I don't think there is anything to worry if you start early, like around 3 AM
Ah. But can't do that. Need to be in office in the morning half. My start time will be around 3 PM.
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Old 12th April 2018, 17:00   #11256
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Ah. But can't do that. Need to be in office in the morning half. My start time will be around 3 PM.
Ohh ok. Then that would be a concern may be. I have a trip coming up in 2 weeks time to Alleppey, and I prefer the Salem route. But, we normally start @ 3 AM. Will have to wait for a couple of days to see what the situation would be, and then take a final call. I just hate to take the Gundlupet route.
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Old 12th April 2018, 22:06   #11257
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What's the present condition of the Iritty-Mattannoor-Thalassery road?
Am planning a Virajpet Thrissur trip and would like to avoid the highways at maximum.. Any suggestions are welcome
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Old 13th April 2018, 11:50   #11258
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Anyone with up-to-date information on the protests and disruptions in TN with particular reference to targeting of KA registered vehicles? I am driving to Ernakulam tomorrow, so need this information whether to switch to the Nilambur route or not.
I took the Krishnagiri-Salem-Coimbatore route on Wednesday, April 11th and did not face any issues. Started at 10 AM from Bangalore and reached Palakkad by evening. In fact, did not even see any hint of a protest or disruption.
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Old 13th April 2018, 13:49   #11259
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Turned out to be a right decision as another car driven by the driver (who is a typical North Kerala driver and is much faster than me) was a few min ahead of me at Kuttippuram and went ahead via Valanchery. By the time I joined back at Puthanathani, he was 20 min behind me.
...
Would recommend this as an option for folks driving to Calicut from the south. Helps bypass the congested Kuttippuram-Valanchery-Vattapara stretch.
May have to do a Thrissur-Kozhikode run on Monday morning. What time did you take this route? Will an early departure from Thrissur help me to stick to the original route? Will this new route give me extra advantage even for an early morning run?
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Old 13th April 2018, 14:22   #11260
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May have to do a Thrissur-Kozhikode run on Monday morning. What time did you take this route? Will an early departure from Thrissur help me to stick to the original route? Will this new route give me extra advantage even for an early morning run?
I had done Calicut-Thirunavaya a couple of times about a year back (which is via this route). Even with a 4 AM start the NH had maddening traffic. So such low-traffic alternatives are usable at all times.
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Old 13th April 2018, 14:47   #11261
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May have to do a Thrissur-Kozhikode run on Monday morning. What time did you take this route? Will an early departure from Thrissur help me to stick to the original route? Will this new route give me extra advantage even for an early morning run?
This was a 2pm departure from Guruvayoor. If leaving very early then the normal route is good enough. Don't think it will cause any significant difference. Would suggest to check maps when starting and on the way too.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 13th April 2018 at 14:49.
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Old 14th April 2018, 06:47   #11262
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Anyone with up-to-date information on the protests and disruptions in TN with particular reference to targeting of KA registered vehicles? I am driving to Ernakulam tomorrow, so need this information whether to switch to the Nilambur route or not.
So started from Indiranagar at 2.30 pm and reached Perumbavur at 11.30 pm. No issues at all. Fastag was smooth throughout (there's a marked dedicated lane even at the as-yet unopened booth at Alathur). We actually left the decision on which route to take till the last moment (far end of the BETL) but then decided to take Salem-Coimbatore.

The curious thing was the toll booth attendant at Coimbatore bypass questioning me about border situation (my KA plates marked me as someone coming from Bangalore). Apparently they weren't seeing expected levels of traffic despite Vishu. Comforted them that it'd pick up, since Vishu is on Sunday.
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Old 15th April 2018, 17:53   #11263
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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What's the present condition of the Iritty-Mattannoor-Thalassery road?
Am planning a Virajpet Thrissur trip and would like to avoid the highways at maximum.. Any suggestions are welcome
Answering to my own query
Drove the Virajpet-Irity-Mattanur-Koothuparambu-Panoor-Vadakara-Calicut-Trichur stretch yesterday.
Started at around 9pm from Virajpet and reached 4am at Trichur with a 30min break at Kootupuzha, two 10min break at Kunjipalli and Kuttipuram. (Car : Tiago XZ Petrol)
1. Virajpet-Makuta ghat-Iritty : Road is excellent with patchwork done in all rough places, watch out for the huge gutters in 2-3 steep turns in the ghat. Also the road widening is going on in Kootupuzha-Irity stretch where in some places, proper diversion boards are not there. Safe to drive at around 50km/hr
2. Iritity-Panoor-Vadakara : The stretch has excellent roads.
3. Calicut-Puthanathani-Kuttipuram (diversion)-Kechery-Trichur road. At night, this is the detour to take without any heavy vehicles. Can easily save half an hour compared to the Valanjery road.

Also the roads were empty and surprisingly traffic less for a weekend and Vishu holidays.
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Old 17th April 2018, 14:34   #11264
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One of the most "memorable" journeys I had in Kerala, was made yesterday. The plan was actually quite fantastic (and realestic). A 7:00AM departure from Thrissur via Kuttippuram, Thirunavaya, Puthananthani, Kozhikode City, and to reach Perambra by 10:30-11:00Hrs. A quick brunch at XYL QTH and then drive up the Kuttiyadi ghats, Mananthavady, Kaatikulam, Bavali, Mysore, Bannur and Bangalore. With a departure from Perambra at around 1:00AM, we should be at Bangalore at dinner time at least.

It was after crossing the Kuttipuram bridge we came to know about some impending "dangers". There was a road-block protest planned completely using social media in protest against the brutal killing of a girl in Jammu. This was more of a "whisper campaign" and the police looks like were caught in a surprise. We hit our first road block near Thirunavaya. It was just a group of men (it was always young men), not holding any party flags etc. who just stopped all vehicles. I made a phone call to Malappuram Dt. Police control, and they just noted down my message. Spent around 10 mins there, and we drove on to Puthananthani. But from what I could gather from the locals more road-blocks are getting setup at various parts of the district. The police too had now come to realise the over-all game plan and seems to have got their act together (more police vehicles on the road).

We were driving at a quick speed and approaching a place Venniyur, when I heard a "cracker burst" sound from my Mahindra Quanto. Parked the vehicle and did a quick check on the four tyres. None of them have got burst. So decided to drive on. But I realised that the pulling power of my vehicle has come down and thick black exhaust is coming out of the vehicle. I decided to pull towards the road side. It was around 08:30AM and no shops in the vicinity had opened up. Rumours of a harthal was also gaining prominence. There was a way side tea shop owner who helped us out. Over a glass of tea he managed to summon a local mechanic. I also raised a call on the Mahindra Help line, who said that they would send some one in another 15-20 mins (their feedback call came around 3 mins after I made the complaint). The local mechanic arrived and asked us to bring the vehicle to a work shop which is not near the main road. There he removed the "Intercooler" Top cover and identified the problem. A huge hose pipe connecting the engine to the Turbo charger had come out. This would be the third time my Mahindra Quanto has been landing me in a tough spot, and this Intercooler mechanism was the root cause on two such occassions. At this time, I really cursed myself for opting for a Mahindra vehicle. My Maruthi Wagon R was put to use for nearly 8 years; but not even once did I have to stand on the road due to engine troubles etc.

The local mechanic fixed the problem, but the "check engine" light still glowed. He said the vehicle is in a drivable condition so I should go forward towards Kozhikode. In the mean while a dealership in Kozhikode had sent one of their boys towards our location. He was on a bike, and he said there are multiple protests and he is getting delayed. The local mechanic just took Rs.100 for the hard work he had done, and bade us good bye. I started driving towards Kozhikode city, and voila after around 5 mins of driving I found that the "check engine" light had died out. The vehicle has recovered, and I could increase the speed. Mean while the Mahindra dealer's chap had managed to reach a place Kolappuram. I asked him to wait there. There was another road block on the way, and we had to take a detour. The police too were now out in full force. They were able to reach the trouble spots quickly, and they were dumping the chief trouble makers into the jeep and chasing away the rest. Looks like it was only in Tirur-Thanur area there were more severe L&O problems with stone throwing and injured police men.

At Kolappuram we met the Mahindra dealer's man. He pretty much double checked what the local mechanic had done, and he also did the scanning using an electronic device which he had. He reset all the error flags and said that was all to be done. Apologetically he said Rs. 500/- was their service charge. No point in making fuss with this young chap, so I paid up and moved on. It was at around 12:30 noon that I pulled into a hotel at Ramanattukara. Had a very delayed breakfast, and moved on. After crossing the bye-pass road XYL took over, and by around 1:30PM we were at her home. I was so tired by then that I slept off till around 4:00PM.

Started the Bangalore leg of the journey at 4:15PM, and there were road blocks again at Niravilpuzha and 4th Mile. But here again the police presence was high, and the protestors requested vehicles to wait for 3-4 mins and then allowed them to go on. It was at 6:15PM that we reached the Karnataka forest check post at Bavali, and the barrier remained firmly down. The forest guard politely said that 6PM was the cut off time. I used all my Kannada speaking skills, explained the situation on the way, and the guard then just allowed us to drive on. He saved us, or else it would have been a longer drive via Tholpetty-Kutta. The guards here are generally strict; a relative of mine who tried entering from the KA side was stopped. He finally had to get back to Mysore (to stay at a good decent hotel), and restart the journey the next day. We pulled into Chitravana Resorts for dinner at around 08:00PM.

Re-started the drive at 09:00PM and we were welcomed by one of the harshest rain fall ever. Right from the ring road at Mysore it was heavy rains and severe thunder & lightning. We decided to take the Bannur-Malavalli route. The road has been re-laid and there are good reflectors out there, and this helped us. There was darkness all around, heavy rains with lightning striking quite close to the ground. At times we even thought of stopping the vehicle, but then decided to move on. From Malavalli onwards it was slightly better. It was not raining on this area, and there was less traffic on the road. Luckily the road condition was good. Road widening is happening, but the areas where work is being done is clearly demarcated. At around 11:00PM we were approaching NICE road. For me, I was just waiting to get home. At 11:20PM we passed through the toll booth near Electronics City. There was this nasty hump on the down ramp towards Hosur road. It is never marked out clearly and it is quite big. Saw this at quite close distance, and braked hard. The brake shoes sqealed, and I could sense the smell of burnt rubber. All I required now was a flat tyre.

Finally I pulled into my home at 11:30PM. May be what ever we had to bear, we had finished that in Kerala itself. It would have been more "challenging" if the Turbo charger decided to go kaput between Mysore-Malavalli when there is also heavy rains to add to the fun. Today's news papers had more detailed report on the "protest through social media" in some districts in Kerala. The police and the state government also seems to have clearly identifed the modus operandi and the involved parties.
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Old 18th April 2018, 18:58   #11265
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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One of the most "memorable" journeys I had in Kerala, was made yesterday. The plan was actually quite fantastic (and realestic). A 7:00AM departure from Thrissur via Kuttippuram, Thirunavaya, Puthananthani, Kozhikode City, and to reach Perambra by 10:30-11:00Hrs. A quick brunch at XYL QTH and then drive up the Kuttiyadi ghats, Mananthavady, Kaatikulam, Bavali, Mysore, Bannur and Bangalore. With a departure from Perambra at around 1:00AM, we should be at Bangalore at dinner time at least.
Sachin, any reason why you choose this route over to the normal Coimbatore - Salem to Bangalore?

Even the Thrissur - Shornur - Perinthalmanna - Nilambur route might have saved you considerable hours (and lesser of those unfortunate blockages).

However one hell of a memorable journey that was with a lucky Turbo charger!
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