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Old 22nd March 2010, 22:06   #1
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Default Bangalore - Kannur weekend trip

The planning

Long weekend due to Ugadi holidays is just one week away. Need to plan to go somewhere. Big question was - where to. Started browsing TBHP for travelogues. Idea was to find some place within 500 KMs. Considered Maravanthe but dropped as a Kollur trip is due in May and Maravanthe can be covered at that time. Pondicherry might be too hot in March. Yercaud was considered seriously but dropped because of travelogues indicating nothing much to see there.

Why not Kannur? This would be a good opportunity for our 4 year old son to see Theyyam. He had seen Krishnanattam earlier in Guruvayoor temple and quite liked it. Kannur would be approximately 400 KMs, can be covered in under 10 hours. I had covered Kasargod last year. Why not the next district of Kerala? Being brought up in southern Kerala, I and wife would not have any problem with the humid climate in March. Only our son would have an issue with the weather, but the beaches would be exciting and he would forgive us.

So destination is now decided. I was clear that since there are lots of places around Kannur to see, a resort would not be ideal place to stay. Most of the time one would be away from the place of stay. Most resorts were far from town while the places to see were nearer to town. Hence decided to stay in the heart of the town. Called up the hotel guys and booked a room. Rooms were easily available; seems that Kannur is not a 'hot' destination at all. Hot is the sense of being sought after. Climate wise, well, it was really hot.

Day 1 (13 March, Saturday, drive to Kannur)

Started from HAL Airport Road, Bangalore at 4:20 AM. Luggage was already loaded the previous night itself. Traffic within the city is mainly call center cabs.

Once out of Bangalore city, SH17 threw its own set of challenges. This road has unmarked humps which are difficult to notice at night. Decided to use some other vehicle as pilot. Found a Palio. Guessed that the fellow was also headed to Mysore and started following him about 200 meters behind. Palio's speed was more or less same as mine - in the range of 80 KMPH. After some time the Palio driver got suspicious I think, and slowed down. I went past him and after couple of KMs, Palio again caught up with me. I let him pass and started my routine of following again. This continued till Mandya and I think the Palio guy just went nuts. He pulled over to one side and stopped.

So, I am now on my own. No pilot vehicle to indicate the humps ahead. Wife is fully alert looking for humps. Son is blissfully sleeping. And soon I met my nemesis. Just after Mandya, there was this unmarked hump which I did not see and ended up hard braking from 80 KMPH. Car went over the hump at ~25 KMPH, but luckily bottom did not hit the hump. Happy that I somehow managed this, I proceeded at similar speed and there goes again. The next one was seen in advance and I could brake to halt before going over the hump. But this resulted in waking up my son. He is fully awake now. And he started giving me lessons that a safe driver would look for humps etc.

Reached Mysore at 6:40AM. At Gundlupet, got breakfast packed and proceeded through Bandipur forest. Stopped inside the forest to have the breakfast.

While I was having my breakfast, another Getz stopped just behind and the family came out. Curious to know what is happening, I kept observing them on my rear view mirror. Looked like he had a flat tyre and is trying to change. Since it was in the middle of forest, he kept driving till he saw another stopped car . And the way he was handling the tools, it was apparent that he was doing it for the first time. I finished my breakfast, got out and helped him in getting the tyre replaced. Looked like they were in a real hurry to reach Ferok near Kozhikode. Had some casual talk with them and then I proceeded to Sultan Bathery.

In Sultan Bathery town, one person told us to take right at Beenachi for Mananthavadi. There was a sign board also kept indicating the same. I took this turn and proceeded. Soon I realized that this probably is not the right route. Road condition was initially good but soon there were stretches where road work was going on. These were some 200 meter long with completely untarred roads with big stones. Every 3 KM or so had such a bad stretch. This continued till Nadavayal. Beyond Nadavayal roads became very good.

Route taken to Mananthavadi was : Sultan Bathery-Beenachi-Kenichira-Nadavayal-Panamaram-Mananthavadi

Plus point of the above detour was the sceneries around. Journeying through remote villages, getting a glimpse of the life there. In spite of the dry climate, there was dense vegetation around. Greeneries and paddy fields filled the surroundings. People gave us curios glances when we stopped by to take snaps of seemingly mundane locations. Wife did most of the photo shooting using her sister's Sony 3x P&S.

Mysore palace in early morning sun.
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Elephant mom and son in Bandipur forest posing for a photo session.
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Dry look on the Karnataka side of Bandipur forest.
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Near Kenichira.
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View from Mananthavadi town.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 22:18   #2
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Mananthavadi-Kannur drive

I had planned to take different routes for my onward and return journeys. Since Mananthavadi-Iritti-Kannur was slightly longer, I took that route for onward journey. That was just a random decision, but in hindsight it turned out to be the correct one.

Route taken to Kannur was : Mananthavadi-Boys Town-Paalchuram-Kottiyoor-Kanichar-Peravoor-Kakkayangad-Iritty-Mattannur-Chalode-Kannur

Soon after Mananthavadi, one gets the diversion towards right to Boys Town and straight to Koothuparamba. There are tea estates all around this place. I took the diversion to Boys Town and little did I realize what was in store. The ghat section here is quite unique and nothing like what I had seen till now. The roads were going down very steep and straight. Usually ghat sections are twisty with lots of hair pin curves. Here the entire downhill is very straight with 2-3 hair pin curves.

If some attempts this as their first ghat section trial, then it is sure going to be a hair rising experience. Some vehicles, including loaded trucks, were coming uphill and I had sympathy for them. Climbing uphill through this stretch is really a challenge. I felt lucky that I was climbing down. I stopped in the middle of this steep down hill to take some snaps. Wife had doubts as to whether the hand brake is sufficient to hold the car still or do we need stones beneath the tyres.

Continued to Kottiyoor and to Iritty. Kottiyoor has the famous Siva temple where Dakshayaagam is supposed to have been done. Temple is also known as Dakshina Kashi. On the Kottiyoor town side of the river is the 'Ikkare' temple which is open through out the year. 'Ikkare' means this side of the river. The place where Dakshayaagam was supposed to have been done is the 'Akkare' temple which opens only once in an year. It is in the middle of jungle, surrounded by river.

Kanichar is 9 KM from Kottiyoor and one finds a board indicating Aralam WLS towards right. Nature enthusiasts can try this one or the Aralam Farm which is 8 KM from here at Peravoor.

In between we find some cashew trees with ripe fruits. My son, who has only seen the roasted nuts, looks at the dark red fruit hanging down in bewilderment. He takes some time to grasp the fact that this one gets transformed to the salted variety that he is so fond of. Kids growing up in cities really miss lot of things in life I guess. For a small towner like me, it was mundane. But for my son, it was as if he is discovering the world. He plucked one fruit as souvenir.

Reached Iritty at 1 PM. There is this junction where left indicates Kannur and right indicates Mysore. I took left and started looking for hotels. Unable to find a decent one, opted for one that seemed to have fresh stuff. Food was average. Later came to know that Iritty town is towards the right at that junction, and town has very good options for food. So I ended up missing going inside Iritty town.

After a 45 minute lunch break, I proceed via Mattannur-Chalode-Kannur. At Mattannur, one finds a board indicating Pazhassi dam to the right. Road from Iritty reaches NH17 at Chovva junction, and one has to proceed to North (right side) to reach Kannur town. On the way, I see Hyundai showroom and service center towards right.

I manage to locate Malabar Residency on Thavakkara Road where room is booked. It is opposite to Kannur Railway station. But all parking slots are occupied. Hotel is on the 3rd and 4th floor of a shopping complex. It has limited parking facility (may be 8 cars) and often the shopping customers use up all the slots. I temporarily park on the main road. Checks in. While checking in, security tells me that a slot became free and I park there. Soon I realize that some water leakage from the A/C above is falling on the car. I cannot leave my car here. Luckily another better slot gets empty and I move the car there. I tell security to ensure that this slot is kept reserved for me.

Room is clean and neat. Well maintained. Non-A/C room rent is approx. INR1000 while AC rent is INR1500. Water tastes a bit odd, over-chlorinated.

Drive details
Total distance - 396 KMs
Drive time - 7:30 hours
Started at 0420 hours
Reached at 1430 hours

Route - Bangalore-Mysore-Sultan Bathery-Mananthavadi-Iritty-Kannur

Tea estates near Mananthavadi.
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Soon after the turn towards Boys Town.
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This will give an idea of how steep the ghat section is.
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Ghats seen from Boys Town.
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Cashew fruit that my son collected as souvenir.
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Last edited by sbraj : 22nd March 2010 at 22:22.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 22:35   #3
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Day 1 (contd)

I freshen up at the hotel room. Son, who did not have proper lunch at Iritty, is now feeling hungry. It is now 3PM. I call up Malabar Residency room service. All they have is Pakoda for snacks. I decide to go out and look for other hotels. Some 50 feet from Malabar Residency is another hotel - Green Park Residency. From exteriors, they look very similar. I inquire at the restaurant at Green Park. Yes, they are open. My son insists on chicken biryani. We wait at the reception while the biryani is being packed.

Son is playing with the fishes in the aquarium. At this time, a curious sight that I happen to notice. A boy, in his late teens, arrives in an auto with a small bag on his shoulder. Attired in jeans and T-shirt. A girl also gets down from the auto. She too is her late teenage, and is carrying a small bag similar to the one that one takes to colleges. She is wearing a jeans, top and a shawl covers her head. They reach the reception, and is getting a room.

I wonder, why do I notice them. Yes, because the girl appears conscious of the surroundings and keeps looking around. I am the only person around other than the hotel reception staff. From her mannerisms, it looks like she wants to get away from the reception as fast as possible. They finish the formalities and vanish into the lift. For a Bangalore guy, there is nothing strange here. Except for the looks on her face. I guess this is my welcome to a smaller city. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

We reach our room with the parcel and while my son is having the food, I discuss what I saw with my wife. She is a scientist of the technical variety, but suddenly she dons the hat of a social scientist. As per her, teenagers behave like this because their fathers may be working elsewhere (Gulf?) and mothers may not be able to exercise much control once children are in teenage. Implicitly, conclusion is that the teenagers have taken the room not for combined studies for the exams.

Son has finished his food. The 'so-called' biryani is basically plan rice cooked separately being mixed with chicken masala. Masala is extremely spicy but luckily the rice is not. This is the Kerala version of biryani where just before serving, rice is mixed with masala. They are not cooked together. I decide I will not go to this Green Park Residency restaurant for food again. But that hotel has ample car parking.

Arakkal Museum, St.Angelo's Fort, Payyambalam beach

Then we set off to Arakkal Museum. From railway station, Arakkal Museum is in south-west direction. I take Fort Road, pass the govt hospital and reach Arakkal Museum. 3 KM from railway station. Time is approaching 5PM and the museum is getting closed. Staff tells us to come later. Timings are 10AM-5PM with Mondays being closed.

We turn back and reach govt hospital junction from where I take a left to Saint Angelo's Fort. The detour is nearly 1 KM and both sides of the road are military camps. Fort is facing Arabian sea.

There is an area inside the Fort where one gets a good glimpse of the sea. There is no beach here. Rocks are placed to stop the sea, and one gets a nice view from the top of the rocks. We spend some time there. Mappila Bay or fishing harbor can be seen from the Fort. Soon the security tells us to leave as time approaches 6PM.

Next we drive 2KM to the govt guest house near to which is the Light house and Sea View Park. Did not find Light house interesting enough, hence did not venture there. Sea view park is a path way along the shore of the ocean. Ocean is roughly 50+ meters down and hard rocks are kept to minimize the impact of an angry sea. There is no beach here. There is a small joint where the fellow serves ice creams. Evening sun combined with nice breeze was tempting enough for us to have the ice cream. The coffee flavored one that I ordered - 'Spanish Delight', was nice and different.

From here, we go to Payyambalam beach 2KM away. There is a small park near the beach. Nothing spectacular about the park. Beach is good, neat and clean, but crowded. Shallow waters and calm sea. Some children are playing enthusiastically and spatter water on us too. Our son is busy making sand castles and sand fishes. He collects shells from the beach and decorates his art work. Then he waits for the sea to come and kiss his creation.

I notice Mascot Hotel from Payyambalam beach. We had considered this hotel as place to stay, but from the photos it appeared that they do not have a beach. Our guess was right. Hotel is very close to the sea, but to reach the beach one has to travel some distance. It is just that the Hotel is built on a cliff nearer to the sea.

Now time is nearly 7:20PM but there is lighting from the park towards the beach. Couple of sodium vapour lamps illuminate the area. Crowd is now less but still there. Usually as it gets dark, beaches get occupied with anti social elements. Here it is looking safe. We spend some more time in the beach and then return to hotel room.

Order dinner through room service. Food quality is not great but not bad either. The 'varutharachathu' is usually made by frying shredded coconut and then making it a paste by grinding with masala. The dish they served did not seem to have coconut in it. It was some other masala base. It did not appear authentic Kerala cuisine, but it was eatable. My overall impression about Hotel Malabar Residency is in line with this. The place is okay, not much negative I could find. Same time, not great either.

We finish dinner, and I go down to check my car. Car is parked in a proper slot now, with out any water from top leaking on to its roof. Parking is not covered. I chat with the security. He tells me that the hotel management is making an adjacent plot as parking space. He also promises to get the car washed in the night. I plan to go to temple next day early morning. I ask him about directions to the temple. Casual talk about Kannur. The details that I mentioned earlier about Kottiyoor are inputs from him.

Saint Angelo's Fort
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Lots of birds enjoying the evening sun. Wife tries to capture the image but all of them take off. All we could capture was the image of birds escaping.
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That is me watching the sunset.
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Mappila Bay seen from the Fort.
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Unique concept of dustbin where contents can be burnt in the bin itself.
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Next to the Arrakkal museum is this unique mosque which appears like a church and temple. Architectural style indicates a mix of Hindu, Muslim and Christian influences.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 22:51   #4
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Day 2 (14 March, Sunday)

Parassinikadavu Temple

Get up at 4 AM, get ready and start to Parassinikadavu Temple at 4:45 AM. From railway station, one has to reach Caltex junction and take NH17 towards Taliparamba. It is a two lane highway with no dividers as is the case throughout Kerala. But surface quality is excellent, butter smooth. One should be cautious not to get excited about the road quality and speed up. There are uncertainties round every corner. Even during early morning, I encountered pedestrians, cyclists not to the mention maniac private buses running like crazy. At Dharmasala junction 20KM from Kannur town, one has to take a right and proceed 5 KM to Parassinikadavu.

Road leading to Parassinikadavu temple is a miniature version of a ghat section. It goes steep down with 2 hair pin bends. Even then one find auto rickshaws overtaking other vehicles on the climb up. Patience is a rare virtue.

I reach the temple at 5:10AM. Usually Theyyam starts at 5AM, hence my decision to reach the temple at that time. This is my main purpose of trip to Kannur, hence did not want to see Theyyam at any other temple. To our utter shock, we come to know that since the day is a 'sankrama' day, there is no Theyyam in the morning. The temple staff confirm that evening will definitely have one, starting at 6:30PM. Had darsan and returned back to the room.

Breakfast at Malabar Residency was very good, especially the sambar. Original plan was to return after Theyyam by noon time. Now need to replan on how to spend the day. We decide to go to Azhikkal ferry.

Azhikkal Ferry

From railway station, one proceeds 10 KM to Azhikode. From Azhikode junction, proceed straight towards the sea side for Azhikkal. As one proceeds the road goes narrower and narrower until a small tea shop where tarred road ends. From here, the right diversion is untarred with medium sized stones. Road is wide enough to take a big lorry. From the drive marks it appears that big lorries frequently go through this road. Because road has a curvature, with two sides where the lorry tyre goes is lower and the center portion of the road is raised with stones protruding out.

This road goes 2KM into the sea, with sea on both sides. We proceed on first gear with one side tyres taking the center of the road to avoid the big stones. Lot of maneuvering is required to avoid car bottom scraping the big stones. Most of the time, it is half clutch and accelerator combination applied to overcome the current stone while avoiding the next one. We proceed at snail's pace for 1 KM and then decide that taking the Getz any further may be asking too much from the poor vehicle. It, clearly, is not designed for such terrain.

We stop near a fisherman angling for mussels. He had a curious look on his face. May be wondering what these folks are doing here with such a puny looking car. He is the only human being on land in the vicinity of 1+ KMs. If at all we get stuck, I did not have much confidence in his or my ability to push the car around. We walk the way up to the edge of the road. Though it is 11 AM, sea breeze is not very hot. Weather is hot and one has to squint to get a proper view. The fisherman tells us that one can drive along the beach all the way up to Payyambalam beach in Kannur town. We decide not to get into such adventure on a hatchback with a 4 year old kid around.

After spending some time here, I take the car reverse and go back. Again, combination of clutch and accelerator to avoid the stones. Wife is walking along the car and giving me directions to avoid the rocks. She moves the stones that she could manage out of the way. We reach near the tarred road and I could feel the smell of burnt rubber coming from the car. Wife walks around the car and checks what is wrong. I had felt similar smell earlier when I had to take reverse uphill. Whenever car had to be taken in reverse uphill, I have used combination of hand brake, clutch and accelerator; at those times, I had felt similar smell. Was that an ominous sign of things to come?

Time is now 11:30AM and we proceed further Azhikode junction. Here instead of taking straight to Kannur town, we take left to Valapattanam town. Our next target is a boat ride in Valapattanam river.

Near Azhikkal ferry.
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A similar pathway extending on to the sea on the other side of Valapattanam river.
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This fisherman was the lone human being in the 2KM vicinity.
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An indication of the rocks on this pathway.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:12   #5
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Day 2 (contd)

Valapattanam river

Some 5 KM of driving takes us to Valapattanam town, famous for its timber industry. We stop by and ask a scooterist about 'kadavu' (boat jetty). He told us that the frequency of KSWTC boats are very less and if we are looking for just boat ride, then Kattampally would be a better option. He says that Kattampally has a resort where one would have better chances of getting a boat ride. We decide to try that. From Valapattinam, we proceed to reach NH17 near Puthiyatheru and then turn left at the main Puthiyatheru junction to reach Kattampally 5 KMs further. The Kairali Heritage resort is just after crossing the Kattampally dam built on Valapattanam river. We reach there at 12:30PM.

At the resorts, we get to know that a boat ride just got over. If we had come earlier, the rates would have been lesser as there were more visitors. If we have to hire one now, the rate would be INR1600 for one hour. Boat used is a 'kettuvallam' (Kerala style house boat). We decide to take the ride. We also to keep lunch prepared by the time we come back.

My son is very excited about the boat ride. Sometimes it is difficult to control him in the boats. One has the fear that he might become very enthusiastic and jumps onto the river. He is similarly excited about beaches too. I keep holding on to his hand while we are on the boat.

In the middle of Valapattanam river, there is an islet with mangrove vegetation. I felt that the islet is roughly 6-8 acres. Initially we could not find any human being on the islet. Later we found a house which looked functional. It even had a cow shed and couple of cows there.

We returned after the joyful 1 hour ride and had sumptuous Kerala style lunch. Boiled rice, sambar, avial, thoran, koottu, chutney, papad, kondattam, pickle, fish curry&fry and payasam. Taste was excellent, neither spicy nor bland. Food was such that a typical foreigner not used to spicy food would be able to have everything and still does not feel spicy. At the same time, a localite would not find it bland and can enjoy the same. Lunch was INR170 per person.

The resort has rooms and is on the banks of the river. But I did not quite like the way cottages were designed. Those were not traditional looking and there was very less vegetation around giving a dry appearance. To me, it looked more an artificial resort with less of naturality around. Cottage rates are approx INR4000 per night.

Post lunch, we decided to proceed inside into the country side instead of joining back to the highway. Idea was to catch a glimpse of Parassinikadavu temple from the bridge. We proceed via Mayyil to the Parassinikadavu bridge and further to join NH17 at Dharmasala junction. It is now almost 3PM and the hot weather is getting on to me. We go straight to the room for a much needed rest.

Route taken was : Kannur-Azhikode-Azhikkal Ferry-Azhikode-Valapattanam Town-Puthiyatheru-Kattampally-Mayyil-Parassinikadavu-Dharmasala-Puthiyatheru-Kannur.

At evening, we again take off to Parassinikadavu to catch a glimpse of Theyyam. Reach the temple at 6:30PM. There is considerable crowd, but we get a heightened place to stand and a comfortable view of Theyyam. Entirely different experience of watching Theyyam I would say. Much closer to the forces of nature. Surprised to see the dogs inside the temple being given part of the offering as food. Dogs seem to be very obedient and wait for the signal before eating the coconut pieces and fish. Theyyam performed is a 'Vellattam'.

Those who do not wish to go till Parassinikadavu can opt for Theyyam at Muthappan temple next to Kannur railway station where Theyyam is performed every friday.

Valapattanam river.
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Mangrooves on the river islets.
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A family fishing on a coracle.
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The bridge seen is on NH17, across Valapattanam river.
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Timber mills on the banks of Valapattanam river.
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Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple seen from the bridge connecting Parassinikadavu and Mayyil.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:24   #6
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Day 3 (15 March, Monday)


We set out towards south today. Initially think of going till Thalassery, but on the way decide to extend till Mahe. Whole of Mahe is just 3 KM in diameter and before one realizes, one has crossed over into Kerala again. St. Theresa's church and Government Guest House are the well known locations. Unfortunately the Governor and Chief Minister of Pondicherry are in town and staying in Government Guest House. Due to security reasons, we are not allowed go venture near the guest house. We decide to experiment a different road along the shore on the way back. But soon after the detour, we feel uneasiness and strange. People sitting along the road appeared drunk even during the morning time. I decide not to take risks with family on board and return back to NH17 on to Thalassery.


We reach Thalassery and spend some time at the Thalassery Fort. Then proceed to Dharmadam, take a detour to the beach and Dharmadam island. But due to some park construction being done, we could not get into the beach. We look for alternate routes to the beach, but give up after couple of KMs of detour. We return back to highway, proceed to Muzhappilangad town to detour into the beach.

St. Theresa's church in Mahe.
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Outside Thalassery Fort.
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A church behind Thalassery Fort and a cemetery next to the church on the sea shore.
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This instrument was kept inside Thalassery Fort.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:37   #7
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Day 3 (contd)

Muzhappilangad beach

Muzhappilangad beach is the only drive in beach in Kerala. Initially we had decided not to take the car to the beach. Good care was taken of the car in the last 5 years and did not want to do anything silly in saline conditions now. Moreover, we have to drive back to Bangalore next day. But as soon as we enter the beach we forget all this. Beach is near empty and the drive along the shore was extremely tempting and I succumb to it. But I take care not to enter into water. I drive the entire stretch of 4KM along the shore and come back. Wife and son are playing in the beach, making sand castles. I park the car and join them. Though time is 1 in afternoon, the heat is not felt that much.

Two guys are selling ice cream in auto rickshaw lorry. We enjoy the ice cream and continue to enjoy the beach oblivious of the passing time. It becomes 2PM and son says that he is hungry. He is averse to food and very reluctant to eat. I start the car and start looking for any hotels on the beach side. At some distance I notice a board indicating food and proceed further. A momentary lapse of concentration and the front right wheel get stuck in loose sand. I stop the car come out and see that some part of the wheel has gone inside the sand.

I start car again, and try to move out but situation is worsening. I go to the ice cream vendor boys and request help. They come and try to push it in reverse direction with me pushing the accelerator to the maximum in reverse gear. Car does not move an inch even after revving up and the engine switches off by itself. Then I decide to put in first gear and turn the steering to the left and push the pedal. After considerable revving, and pushing by the boys, the car comes out of the sand. I take it closer to the wet safe area and switch off the car.

Air is filled with the same smell of burnt rubber. Probably from the clutch pad. One of the boys say that it is common sight in this beach and the local fisher boys charge anything around 2K to 5K for pushing the car out. Son is really hungry and I get little worried as he has a tendency of acidity. During a previous trip to Udupi, he had to be taken to hospital due to acidity induced vomiting. I start the car and put it in first gear. To my shock, I realize that the gear is not engaging. No matter how much pressure I put, it is simply not getting on to first gear.

I switch car again, let it cool off and think of the options available. We think of leaving the car here and walk up to the highway which is probably 3-4 KM far. And then have food, proceed to Kannur town and get a mechanic.

As a last option, I start car again, and try to engage first gear. After considerable trying, first gear is engaged. I take car forward, careful to avoid loose sand and get out of the beach on to the road. I exit at the other end of Muzhappilangad beach on to Edakkad junction.I keep the car in first gear until I reach highway near Edakkad with maximum speed of around 20 KMPH. A flapping sound comes from the car the speed goes up to 20 KMPH.

On the highway, I come to 2nd gear. Surprisingly, 2nd gear is somewhat easier to engage. I proceed all the way up to Kannur town which is 15 KM away at a steady speed of 25 KMPH. I drive in such a way that I don't have to stop. When I anticipate a traffic congestion, I slow down much in advance to make sure that I don't have to stop.

I reach KTC Hyundai A.S.S. near Chovva without halting even once and stop the car inside the service center. Narrate what has happened to the engineer, and say that I suspect clutch disc issue. I tell him about the burnt rubber smell that I felt many times. He checks out the car and more or less confirms issue with clutch disc. Service engineer tells me that they would be able to give the car next day evening 5PM. I am Shocked!!!

So, there goes out of window all my plans of returning to Bangalore on next day morning. I am told that there is no option of a express repair. I would be informed about the nature of repair by next day 11AM before the actual repair starts.

We leave the car at the service center, proceed to have food and then to the room for taking rest. We rue the fact that a well maintained car had to face such situation due to our misguided enthusiasm. I feel lucky that I was able to drive my family back from that beach all the way to town in spite of clutch damage.

I evaluate the options left with me. Consult TBHP thread printout of the post by RajeshK. He clearly mentions that Muthanga check post is open till 9PM. But the hotel staff and Hyundai staff tell me that Muthanga check post closes at 6PM. We are now thoroughly confused. If check post is open till 9PM, I should be able to cross it if I receive the car at 5PM on Tuesday. During my onward journey, I was able drive from Bandipur forest to Kannur in 4:30 hours. Nagerhole is ruled out as it closes at 6PM and road condition is not good for a small detour.

So, we decide that if we get the car latest by Tuesday 2PM, we will start our return journey from Kannur. Otherwise, we will stay an extra day in Kannur and proceed on Wednesday. As I cool my heels in the hotel room, my mind and heart is with my car in the service center.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:39   #8
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Nice travelouge sbraj. I have done numerous trips on this road,both ib Bus and cars. Waiting for your reports on Theyyam.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 23:47   #9
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Day 4 (16 March, Tuesday)

Tuesday is an extra day in our trip due to the misadventure at Muzhappilangad beach. We set off in auto rickshaw to Arrakkal museum. It is open this time and spend some time there. I wanted to go into Mappila bay, but wife discourages. I think she has had enough of adventures for this trip. She wants to do some shopping and we proceed to City Center in Fort Road. We start feeling the inconvenience of not having our car. Getting a rickshaw and moving around in one with a young kid is not easy. Wife does shopping while I keep thinking about the car and my return journey. At around 12:30 noon, I call up Hyundai A.S.S. to get the status of my car. I do not get a proper reply and I try calling the service engineer on his mobile. He is not reachable either.

Not a good sign. I discuss with my wife and we decide to drop in to the service center to get the status in person. We reach the A.S.S. and find out that the service engineer has gone out on work. We wait for 30 minutes at the lounge and then Mr. Vipin, the service engineer comes to meet us.

He informs that the car is ready and he had taken it out for a test drive on the highway. That is the reason why he was not reachable. Clutch disc, bearing are replaced. Bills for parts, labor and tax come to INR4200. I take the car out at 1:45PM. KTC Kannur and Hyundai A.S.S., job well done.

The time of car delivery has put me in a huge dilemma. I deliberate whether to start for Bangalore or wait till next day. If I start now, I may cross Muthanga at 6:30 PM. If as locals say, the check post is closed then I would have to come back to Sultan Bathery and stay overnight. Other option is to stay in the same hotel overnight and start on Wednesday morning.

We decide to take the plunge and to start immediately. We come back to room, pack everything, settle the hotel bill and start at 2:30PM. Food and water is also packed for the journey. I take Koothuparamba route. Deep inside I knew TBHP cannot be wrong, but the contrary opinion provided by locals keep haunting me. This was a test to my driving considering that roads were entirely two lane without any dividers. Roads are not exactly butter smooth but not very bad either.

Only bad section that I encountered was near Nedumpoyil ghats were there were high potholes that had to be negotiated at slow speed in 1st gear. In between I hear a creaking sound from the front right wheel. This is the same wheel that had got stuck in sand. Alarmed I stop the car in the middle of the ghat section. A visual inspection do not reveal anything. Keeping fingers crossed, I proceed further. The sound gets triggered by rough road and continues for few hundreds of meter before going off. Then it reappears after the next bad stretch. And after some time the sound disappeared entirely.

Drive from Kannur to Muthanga check post will remain in my memory forever. It is a spirited speed run, but nowhere did the speedo touch beyond 80 KMPH. I do not take any risks on the road. I reach Koothuparamba at 3PM, Mananthavadi at 4:40 PM, Meenangadi at 5:30 PM, Sultan Bathery at 5:45 PM and Muthanga check post at 6 PM. This is the best drive I ever had. I meet my targets without taking any risks. Brilliant.

At check post I verify that the check post is indeed open till 9 PM. I wonder if fellow BHPian RajeshK had not commented on the check post timings, I would have stayed in Kannur and started the next day. Each of his comments in his reply to me has turned out the extremely valuable. Hail RajeshK and TBHP. I reach Gundlupet at 7 PM, Mysore at 8:20 PM and Bangalore at 11 PM.

Unfortunately I do not have many photos of my return trip.

Drive details
Total distance - 390 KMs
Drive time - 7:20 hours
Started at 1430 hours
Reached at 2300 hours

Route : Kannur-Koothuparmba-Mananthavadi-Meenangadi-Sultan Bathery-Gudlupet-Nanjangud-Mysore-Bangalore

Next day, I got a complete servicing done for the car. Body and engine bay cleaning done. As per Advaith Hyundai, Bangalore, car is in mint condition.

Here is a shot of the me and the car.
Bangalore - Kannur weekend trip-100.jpg

Last edited by sbraj : 22nd March 2010 at 23:49.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 00:33   #10
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Awesome travelogue with amazing details. Nice work there .

Originally Posted by sbraj View Post
Reached Mysore at 6:40AM. At Gundlupet, got breakfast packed and proceeded through Bandipur forest. Stopped inside the forest to have the breakfast.
I think it is illegal to stop the car in Bandipur National park. You shouldn't have stopped there for breakfast.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 06:31   #11
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Great one Raj. Truly likes it.

I remember HVK writing many times to help folks who go to Kerala that the Bandipur roads are closed between 9M to 6AM.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 08:43   #12
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Raj, thanks for sharing your experiences; well written & I see you took about 2 hours at midnight to narrate 4 days adventure, rather than keep us all waiting for weeks together; appreciate it. Once again, good narration & thanks for sharing.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 09:56   #13
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Nice one sbraj! Hope you had a wonderful trip except the car trouble part. Never knew Muzhippilangad had a pine forest bordering it.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 10:40   #14
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sbraj, excellent writeup. Even though Kannur is my native district, I hv less clue about some of the places you have metioned. Sad to see that you got to replace the whole clutch after the Muzhuppilangad expedition..!

Originally Posted by sbraj View Post
I took the diversion to Boys Town and little did I realize what was in store. The ghat section here is quite unique and nothing like what I had seen till now. The roads were going down very steep and straight Usually ghat sections are twisty with lots of hair pin curves. Here the entire downhill is very straight with 2-3 hair pin curves.
Before a couple of years back the road was narrow and it was too risky. But now, the roads are widen and easier to drive. In this road, downhill little scarry than uphill due to deep valley. You may feel, you have reached the end of the road at each turning. Last time I covered this uphill stretch in 2nd gear..!! In a monsoon day morning, the road gives a very scenic picture of the misty hills arround with many waterfalls.

About the checkpost timing, I got the info from those frequent travellers. I used to avoid this route as it little longer and the heavy traffic at the check post.

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Old 23rd March 2010, 13:23   #15
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Thanks for your comments, Superleggera, Gandhi, ampere, aargee, jacs, RajeshK.

Originally Posted by Superleggera View Post
Waiting for your reports on Theyyam.
Theyyam has been a entirely different experience. Unfortunately I don't have any photos as camera was not allowed inside. I understand that at the Muthappan temple next to Kannur Railway Station, camera is allowed. Theyyam happens there on fridays. Those keen on capturing Theyyam on camera could use this option.

Originally Posted by Gandhi View Post
I think it is illegal to stop the car in Bandipur National park. You shouldn't have stopped there for breakfast.
Oops, I did not know that. Mistake. Thanks for pointing out.

I wonder what the other Getz driver would have done if he had not found me. Perhaps he would have driven all the way till Muthanga with a flat tyre until he finds some help coming.

Originally Posted by aargee View Post
well written & I see you took about 2 hours at midnight to narrate 4 days adventure, rather than keep us all waiting for weeks together; appreciate it. Once again, good narration & thanks for sharing.
Thanks aargee. Yes, idea was to finish the entire writing in one shot. Else lots of other things come up and the gas fizzles out.

Originally Posted by jacs View Post
Never knew Muzhippilangad had a pine forest bordering it.
Yes, the pine trees act in regulating the wind from sea. I would say that Muzhappilangad is a must see/drive for any trip to Kannur.

Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
Even though Kannur is my native district, I hv less clue about some of the places you have metioned.
TBHP and Wikipedia has been the main sources of information. Then the security at the hotel helped. I think you mean Mayyil here. My plan was very dynamic in nature and I kept asking locals about alternate routes to reach the destination.

Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
Sad to see that you got to replace the whole clutch after the Muzhuppilangad expedition..!
I think the clutch disc was on its last legs. Car has done 35K KMs. Hyundai A.S.S. turned out to be star performer. Not very expensive either.

This trip has helped me understand my car and myself more. Getz has served me well all these years. On highways it has been pretty good.

I think I now I need a car with 4WD and higher GC. I have been evaluating options for a while. This inlcuded Altis, Civic, Laura, Jetta, Fortuner, Captiva. But wife is now extremely keen on Scorpio.

Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
In this road, downhill little scarry than uphill due to deep valley. You may feel, you have reached the end of the road at each turning. Last time I covered this uphill stretch in 2nd gear..!! In a monsoon day morning, the road gives a very scenic picture of the misty hills arround with many waterfalls.
You mean Boys Town road is easier uphill?

I thought that those who did not have good control over clutch would find it very difficult to climb up if they have stopped midway.
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