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Old 28th April 2019, 08:37   #12031
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Originally Posted by sansvk View Post
How many days can you spare? You could include Mysore, Kabani, Ooty or even add Kodaikanal, Valparai and then enter into Kerala.
Expect rains in Kerala during July, but the places will be green and fresh.
I always visit Kerala during the onset of the monsoon, it quite unique feeling to sit at home at just watch the rains. As a tourist it would be difficult to plan visits especially with children and elderly folks.
I will have 15 days at least. I would love to go to Ooty. Just another noob question: Will Pondy be a terrible detour?
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:29   #12032
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Hi everyone.

I am planning a Kolkata-Kerala trip in late June-early July. I wanted to understand if anyone has done it here and is it really a good idea considering the road conditions. I was in Munnar and Cochin this month for work and I absolutely loved Kerala. So I want a few tips:

1. Where do I enter Kerala from if I am coming from Kolkata?

2. I want to visit Munnar again so it has to be on my list. Which other places should I visit (e.g. Wayanad?)

3. Since this is more than 2000 Kms trip and I will be the only driver I want to stop and check a few more places out on the way (even if it is outside Kerala). So the drive will be enjoyable and I will get some rest.

4. Is July a good time to go?

Do not have exact answers, but few inputs.
  • Not an expert on the exact route, but directionally, since you will be coming down the east coast and then need to cut to the West Coast, there will be multiple ways to enter Kerala. Depending on the itinerary you finalize, you can decide this.
  • A lot of places to visit- If Munnar is fixed, may not make sense to visit Wayanad also. Alapuzha and its back waters will be worth a visit and can be a logical next step after Munnar, followed by Athirapally waterfalls and surrounding areas. Several beaches dot the coast of Kerala and maybe worth choosing one or two. Several places of historical significance if that is something that interests you. Considering you have 15 days and I assume it will take 3+3 days for the journey, you will have 9 days in Kerala. Suggest you pick 3-4 places and plan around that. Need to keep in mind that travel time within Kerala will be significantly higher.
  • Most importantly, July typically is peak rainy season- While that makes it more beautiful than ever, also need to keep in mind that heavy rains can disrupt your schedules.

My suggestion is that, unless you are very keen to drive, it may make sense to fly down and then hire a zoomcar. You will get more time and also enable you to visit places outside of Kerala also. If you enjoyed Munnar, am sure you will like places like Ooty, Coorg, Chikmagalur to name a few. Pondi will also be doable.
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Old 28th April 2019, 09:52   #12033
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1. Where do I enter Kerala from if I am coming from Kolkata?
I guess the best route would be to take the GQ's Kolkata-Chennai arm (via Kharagpur-Bhubaneshwar-Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada), bypass Chennai (how?) and the proceed towards Kerala via Vellore-Salem. Then:
  • If you are going to Kochi/Alapuzha proceed towards Coimbatore and so on; or
  • If you are going towards Munnar then go there directly from TN.
I have driven only Vijayawada-Chennai which is just as we expect from a GQ section. Same feedback from a friend who does Kolkata-Bhubaneshwar frequently.

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2. I want to visit Munnar again so it has to be on my list. Which other places should I visit (e.g. Wayanad?)
Oh boy. Wrong question to ask. Hills or beaches? Spiritual or nature? Animals or humans? It all depends on what your interests are. Kerala in its full glory will take a lot more than 2 weeks to cover (not in least because of the low average road speed); you need to figure out what you need to see/do and work from there.

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4. Is July a good time to go?
Monsoons would have started; which is a double-edged sword: the natural lushness of Kerala on one side, and heavy-rain caused delays and disappointment on the other.
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Old 28th April 2019, 11:34   #12034
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I guess the best route would be to take the GQ's Kolkata-Chennai arm (via Kharagpur-Bhubaneshwar-Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada), bypass Chennai (how?) and the proceed towards Kerala via Vellore-Salem.
I think one can do Vijayawada - Renigunta - Vellore thereby by passing Chennai

Last edited by ajmat : 28th April 2019 at 13:26.
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Old 5th May 2019, 00:43   #12035
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I just completed a small road trip in Kerela, so thought of sharing my experience with all you wonderful folks! I live in Mumbai and executed the following itinerary with my wife and my super-enthu 2.5 years old:

1. Day - 1: Take Air Asia flight to Kochi, land by 3:30 pm. Take a self-drive from airport; overnight stay in Kochi
2. Day - 2: Drive to Kovalam, stay in hotel for 2 nights
3. Day - 4: Drive to Kumarakom, stay in hotel for 2 nights
4. Day - 6: Drive to Kochi Airport, catch Air Asia flight at 3:45 pm to Mumbai

Details below:

Part - 1: Selecting a self-drive from airport:

Having used multiple times , I was reviewing conventional options like ZoomCar or REVV, till my better half directed me to a website called IndusGO (https://www.indusgo.in/). Upon talking to them, i discovered they were a local but professional company operating within Kerala with a fleet of 100 self-drive cars ranging from Maruti Celerio to Toyota Fortuner and everything in between. I called up their call centre and a lady called Vijaylakshmi explained details very nicely, most important my liability being capped to 10k in any unforseen event. Since my concern was KMS more than anything, we worked out the following deal for a Maruti Swift VDI:
  • Duration: 1 week (car can be returned earlier too)
  • Kilometers included: 840 (more than enough for me!)
  • Price: INR9,600 (without fuel)
  • Deposit: INR 5,000

Immediately after paying online, i uploaded my license and ID proof and got confirmation mail with contact numbers of local associates who will deliver the car at Kochi Airport. When i landed in Kochi, i was greeted by a dark blue Swift, hardly 1 year old, with 20k kms on ODO and immaculate interiors. The car was delivered by a polite guy called Jibin and the whole process of handover was over in 5 minutes. Overall, I was left mighty impressed and will highly recommend IndusGo to any-one wanting to rent a self drive in Kerela.

Part - 2: Driving in Kochi and to Kovalam

We had picked an overnight stay at Kochi Marriott, which is in the same premise as Kochi's famous LuLu mall (yes the same one in Dubai!). Our drive from airport to the hotel was 90% traffic free (it was a Saturday) and almost entirely on 4-lane roads. We finally found some traffic at the LuLu mall junction but it was bearable.

We started next morning from Kochi around 11 am hoping to reach Kovalam by 3:30 pm since Google Map showed a hotel-to-hotel distance of 222kms via NH66. This route took us through Cherthala-Mararikulum-Alappuzha-Haripad-Karunagappally-Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram. However, a super-bad jam near Padivattom (Kochi) set us back by 1 hour at the very beginning. The road was 4-lane for initial 15% of the distance but almost the entire highway is 2-lane upto Thiruvananthapuram, after which it became 4-lane again till Kovalam.

At this point of time, i would like to admit that i am a Gurgaon-ite at heart and having driven in Delhi for 5+ years, i was surprised at the quality and smoothness of Kerela roads. People were sensible enough to patiently drive in line, give way to ambulances, respect right of way of bikers and not zig-zag or cut vehicles like we're used to seeing in NCR. There was still traffic at some junctions but we took some back-road shortcuts suggested by Google baba and came out just fine (thanks again to the Swift's dimensions as some of these roads were quite narrow). We finally reached our destination - Taj Kovalam by around 5 pm after 2 short breaks

Part - 3: Driving from Kovalam to Kumarakom

This time we started around 12 noon considering the distance to cover was 174 kms in 3.5 hours as per Google! The route this time was Thiruvananthapuram-Kilimanoor-Ayoor-Kottarakkara-Chengannur-Kottayam. The first half of this route was so scenic and green that we took more time in covering the distance than anticipated. I personally felt that while backwaters are a definite USP of Kerela, these back-roads are equally wonderful options considering their quality and scenery! The route once again was a 2-lane highway right upto Kottayam, after which it became a sort of 2-lane backroad till our resort in Kumarakom. We found just 1 Cafe Coffee Day (one of the few recognizable brands for us North or West Indians i guess) about 1.5 hours before our destination to make a pit-stop at. Please note that I have nothing against local restaurants on that stretch (and there were plenty of them) but brand loyalty is something i can't get out of myself !

Part - 4: Drive around Kumarakom and back to Kochi Airport

We drove to several placed around Kumarakom, going as far as Aleppey and eventually to Kochi airport. Most of the roads around Kumarakom, like i mentioned are narrow but very well kept, so driving is not stressful at all. Our swift kept purring like an energetic cat throughout the journey and we bid it an emotional goodbye at the airport (another 2 mins handover process)

Some key learnings from that part of the country:
1. Roads in Kerela are wonderful on the Kochi-Kovalam-Kumarakom-Kochi stretch
2. Don't hesitate to try shortcuts proposed by Google baba, most of these roads, though narrow, are well laid and safe during daytime
3. Give respect to 2-wheelers; they assume it (not like Gurgaon!)
4. Do not mess with KRTC buses! They seem high on steroids!
5. Swift is an amazing car! Till now, i believed my XUV was the ultimate highway master, but i have a fond place for Swift too in my heart now
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Old 5th May 2019, 10:15   #12036
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Default Re: All Roads to Kerala

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I

Some key learnings from that part of the country:
1. Roads in Kerela are wonderful on the Kochi-Kovalam-Kumarakom-Kochi stretch
2. Don't hesitate to try shortcuts proposed by Google baba, most of these roads, though narrow, are well laid and safe during daytime
3. Give respect to 2-wheelers; they assume it (not like Gurgaon!)
4. Do not mess with KRTC buses! They seem high on steroids!
5. Swift is an amazing car! Till now, i believed my XUV was the ultimate highway master, but i have a fond place for Swift too in my heart now
Nice summary. Thanks for sharing. First time reading feedback on Indus and good to see it was a good experience. As you discovered, they are a popular local company and have been running dealerships for a very long time.

Although you had a good experience with Google in Kerala, I an generally wary of the shortcuts it suggests. Several times it has directed me to narrow roads which personally I am not comfortable entering with my car. So now I am wary of the shortcuts and double check before taking it.
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Old 5th May 2019, 12:49   #12037
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Nice summary. Thanks for sharing. First time reading feedback on Indus and good to see it was a good experience. As you discovered, they are a popular local company and have been running dealerships for a very long time.

Although you had a good experience with Google in Kerala, I an generally wary of the shortcuts it suggests. Several times it has directed me to narrow roads which personally I am not comfortable entering with my car. So now I am wary of the shortcuts and double check before taking it.
Yes i totally understand your view; i was scared too, travelling first time with family, but great network and IndusGo's assurance to provide swift service anywhere in Kerala gave me some confidence. Although anything bigger than a Vitara Brezza on these narrow roads and you'll be the source of the jam yourself!
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Old 5th May 2019, 21:49   #12038
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Did a Bangalore-Kozhikode Rural -Bangalore trip over the week end. As I had to meet a friend @ Kalpetta I decided to stick to the Bangalore-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Muthanga route to enter Kerala. Avoided the Kanakapura-Malavalli route (on the towards Kozhikode journey; because of the road works etc.).

From Muthanga all the way to Kalpetta, via Sulthan Bathery the roads are in excellent condition. After meeting my friend decided to take the Kalpetta-Kainatti-Panamaram route to proceed towards Perambra, Kozhikode Rural Dt. That road too was well laid out and could maintain a steady speed. The problem of two lane road and lots of vehicles on the road was there; that cannot be avoided.

The biggest surprise for me was that the roads from 4th Mile, all the way to Niravil Puzha has been redone. Some repair work at Vellamunda one street town is still going on. But there is tremendous improvement here. This would be my 11th year driving on this route, and I am seeing this road in such good condition for the first time. The roads after Niravilpuzha all the way through Kuttiyadi Ghats and Thottilpalam are also in excellent shape.

Return journey was done today and because of the good road conditions, did not take the alternate route from Niravilpuzha (byepassing Vellamunda, Tharuvana etc.) to reach Mananthavady. The road from Mananthavady till the state border at Bavali was also in good condition and driving was quite an easy task.
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Old 5th May 2019, 22:20   #12039
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The road to Munnar from KERALA side even in day is no longer safe.

High on ganja and drunk guys in bikes harassed my sister-in-law and her daughter in my car back seat. I stopped and bashed up a guy but got bashed by 6 of his other drunk friends in bikes. We have recordings of the entire event. I speak malayalam and told the people watching that its shameful that nobody reacts to a women harassed. Police never turned up and a Sabarimala Ayyappa going old man said they would support the local guys. Police ahead said they did not turn up due to election checking for cash in the TN-KL border.

Not to be harassed again I took refuge for few hours with my family in nearby Tata Global beverages office, yes am a tata employee. TGB manager had told me he would take the case and recordings to law enforcement authorities. I doubt anything would happen.

People travelling avoid these areas or do not horn or do not overtake or wait till young idiots in KTM, Pulsars or bullets occupying the entire narrow minded roads give way.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 6th May 2019 at 06:50. Reason: Formatting for better readability & edited to keep it focused on incident
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Old 6th May 2019, 14:51   #12040
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TGB manager had told me he would take the case and recordings to law enforcement authorities. I doubt anything would happen.
If it is acceptable to the victims (your sis-in-law and her daughter) you can upload the video to social media. Tag Kerala Police's own Facebook page etc. Name & shame works in Kerala; and people have used it to get even with the private bus operator (long distance) gang in Kerala. Ganging up against outside state drivers etc is not some thing new in the state :(.
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Old 7th May 2019, 19:56   #12041
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Hey guys.> I am planning to ride from Kochi to Suryanelli in the near future. Can someone please advise on the currentl road conditions between Adimali and Suryanelli? TIA..


https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Adim...3!2d10.0600358
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Old 9th May 2019, 09:04   #12042
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The road to Munnar from KERALA side even in day is no longer safe.

High on ganja and drunk guys in bikes harassed my sister-in-law and her daughter in my car back seat.
Actually you are lucky, I have heard of people getting knifed by these chaps who are high on whatever drugs they are on, for reasons which are very flimsy. It would be prudent to avoid a confrontation, as the consequences would be disastrous, to say the least. If we avoid the only thing hurt is our pride.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:06   #12043
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Planning a drive to Pondicherry from Kochi.

Gmaps shows the fastest route via Salem, Ulundurpet. Another option is Pollachi, Dharapuram, Aravakurichi, Musiri and Ulundurpet.

Which one should I choose in terms of better roads and low traffic, and a bit scenery on the way?

Last edited by JohnnyBoss : 15th May 2019 at 10:09.
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Old 15th May 2019, 11:25   #12044
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Planning a drive to Pondicherry from Kochi.

Which one should I choose in terms of better roads and low traffic, and a bit scenery on the way?
You'll get better responses if you post in the Pondicherry route thread.

But to me, "better roads" and "low traffic" are inversely proportional.
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Old 15th May 2019, 18:03   #12045
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Hi Guys - Please suggest the best route from Vagamon to Karunagapally. I intend to start around 8ish in the morning.
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