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Old 26th April 2010, 22:24   #1
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Default The Discovery of a Great Driving Road

Quote:
After all India has some awesome Ferrari country roads

-DKG
While I read this statement from DKG a few weeks ago from his truck camper thread, little did I know that I would stumble upon such a road and lead me to write my first Travel report on Team-BHP!

Prolouge

"Son, we have to go to Munnar to pick up your cousin sister. She has completed her engineering course there." my mom said after talking to my aunt over the phone.

Why did it have to be Munnar? I was thinking. I've been there so many times and the road was so familiar and, well a bit boring. Well at least I can escape from the sweltering heat of Cochin for a day - was my consoling thought.

The Journey

We began the journey at 6:30 AM from Kolenchery, taking the NH49. The route was-Putuppady, Kothamangalam, Nerimangalam, Adimaly and finally Munnar. We reached Munnar by 10:30, after a halt mid-way for breakfast at Adimaly.

Munnar town was packed with tourists and unfortunately the weather was not as cold as I had hoped.

We Keralites love our tea!! Scenes from inside a Tea Shop in Munnar

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OHC sets its gaze upon Munnar

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Guys, can you guess what this place is?

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No, its not a Resort - It's my cousin's engineering college

After picking up my cousin from her hostel, we met up with a relative who stays in Munnar.

Since it was still early to head back, we asked him about sightseeing. He told us that all the places would be packed with tourists and it would just be a waste of time (besides we had seen all the sights during our previous visits).

He suggested that we take the long road back home.
Instead of taking the NH49 back home, he told that we could go to Devikkolam and then take the SH-19 to Nedumkandam. From there, Kallar-Puliyamala-Kattappana-Vellayamkudi-Idukki-Painavu-Kulamavu-Kolapra-Muttom-Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha and finally back to Kolenchery.

I was sceptical at first about taking such a big diversion. But since it was a Sunday and we were in no hurry to get back home and since I had never gone on this route before, I decided to take this route.

We headed out of Munnar to Devikkolam.

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Devikkolam is a bit cooler than Munnar and is not very crowded like its neighbour. Also, the scenery was better here. From Devikkolam, we had to turn off the NH-49 and onto the SH-19. This is where the fun begins!

My dad in the drivers seat

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It appears that they were blasting this side of the mountain to widen the road as there was only a single lane at the place these photos were taken

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A few snaps from Devikkolam

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The Great Driving Road

The road narrows, the vegetation starts to get thicker and the traffic lightens when we get on the SH-19. Suddenly, you face sweeping corners, S-bends and hairpins. Now I realise, I've stumbled upon a great road!

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The road was very smooth and I believe it was re-tarred recently. I could feel the car start to shrinkwrap itself around me as I put the hammer down on this inviting strech of road, carving up corner after corner - which put a big smile on my face!

After some spirited driving, we reach Nedumkandam and continued on the SH-19 to Kallar. After an hour or so from Kallar, we turn off the SH-19 into SH-33 and head to Kattappana. (You can continue on the SH-19 if you want to go to Kumily and from there on to Thekkady).

I believe the road from Kattappana till Kulamavu was the best strech (Kattappana-Vellayamkudi-Idukki-Painavu-Kulamavu). You face a variety of corners to test your handling ability, some high speed straights and some truly pleasant scenery to go along with it all. If you come down this strech in the evening, the roads will be blanketed by fog, which only makes it more adventurous (albeit more dangerous).

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There are a lot of hairpins starting from SH-19 (I reckon at least 30). Great for perfecting that hard on the brakes-enter corner-clip the apex-accelerate hard out of the corner technique that we do so much on Gran Turismo!

One amongst the many hairpin bends you will face

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Trying (and failing!) to clip the apex

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Cheruthoni River

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Cheruthoni dam

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Reaching Muttom marks the end of this great road. Even though my OHC is an automatic, and was carrying 5 people + full luggage, it was very a lively and enjoyable drive throughtout.

Epilouge

To truly enjoy this road, you have to bring a corner carving machine with a proper slick shifting manual gearbox, minimal number of passengers, and minimal luggage so as not to upset the balance. A few cars which immediately pop up in my mind are :

OHC VTEC - a slick manual gearbox and a nutter of a VTEC Engine
Ford Fiesta 1.6 S - 100 Horses and a well weighted, neutral steering.
BMW 325i - the ultimate driving machine, with a screamer of a 2.5L straight six and great handling, will truly smoke this road
Porsche Boxster - this might be one of the few roads in Kerala where you can tap the boxster's full potential
Fiat Palio 1.6 GTX/S10 - this 100 bhp italian will feel right at home on these roads.

Do remember that there are no special sights to see along this route, except maybe for the lush scenery and a few dams, which are the lifeline to Kerala's electricity supply. Just take this road to enjoy your car to the fullest!

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Beautiful sunset, seen from Idukki

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Periyar River

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One more photo, to remember this epic road! And to persuade you to try it!

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PS: Apologies for the pics from my phone camera (I'm a mobile camera slave :( ). These pictures do not do justice to the road. You have to experience it yourself.

Notes:

Be aware that you won't be the only one enjoying this road. Jeeps, Bikes and other cars will come hurtling towards you at high speeds (especially the Jeeps!) - the road is not that wide.

If you grow tired of all the corner carving, the Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha highway (SH-8) presents an opportunity to strech your legs (if you are going to Muvattupuzha on your return journey) You can raplidly clock up and hold thriple digit speeds on this smooth road. I spotted balenos, citys, astras and many others blitzing this highway.

To be Cont - a few misc pics and route map coming up...
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Old 26th April 2010, 23:28   #2
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Awesome scenery. Just beautiful.
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Old 27th April 2010, 06:41   #3
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The river is very nice. Are there any resorts near that place? I dont think its proper Devikulam. Isnt it?

Also, I really envy your cousin. What a place to study! An amazing vacation for 4 years!
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Old 27th April 2010, 08:00   #4
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Wow what a college man , never seen one like this before. Only thought they existed in movies
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Old 27th April 2010, 08:08   #5
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AAh!!! Devikulam, bring back my memory; though not good roads, you need to visit Bison valley & the scenaries are awesome. During winters take a walk through the tea estates & you feel like you can keep walking for ever. Will keep watching this thread for more updates.

BTW - What college is it? Engineering or catering?

Last edited by aargee : 27th April 2010 at 08:09.
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Old 27th April 2010, 09:20   #6
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Yes, the Muttom-Idukki-Kattapana route is recommended as the best way to reach Munnar if you have the time and are a passionate driver. I went on that route in November, driving from Ernakulam to Trivandrum!!!! Can you imagine anything more daft that that? Watch out for wildlife in the Kulamavu-Muttom stretch.
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Old 27th April 2010, 09:36   #7
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indeed this is given as one of the best driving roads in our country

read - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ing-roads.html

read - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/team-b...ive-kochi.html

and a poll - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/collec...ads-india.html
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Old 27th April 2010, 09:37   #8
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Yes.it is a great route and I think @team-bhp few already tried Thodupuzha-Pulianmala SH 33 already. I've been to Kattappana few times via this route.moreover ,the Road Surfacing is amazingly better than what is expected in a Hill Highway.

PS: That College Hostel somehow reminds Me of "3 Idiots" Movie(that Engg College Hostel)

Last edited by deepclutch : 27th April 2010 at 09:52.
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Old 27th April 2010, 09:51   #9
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Great pictures. I read somewhere on this forum that Idukki has the best roads to drive on

Cheers
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Old 27th April 2010, 10:49   #10
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Very nice pictures. The road does look very inviting to drive with it's smooth surface and lush greenery.
Looking forward for more updates.
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Old 27th April 2010, 11:00   #11
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Am surprised no one has mentioned this, but- car looks amazing! Are those Apollo Accelere wheels, by any chance? Remember seeing this alloys and thinking how they'd look on a red/ black car!

Which engineering college is it? Really beautiful location for a college!
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Old 27th April 2010, 11:30   #12
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Good start for the travelogue.I was there last week in Muttom in a hotel called Oasis and stayed there overnight.We were on the way from Kochi to Sabarimala.We travelled the route through Muvattupuzha-Thodupuzha-Muttom--Kanjirapally highway very scenic.
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Old 27th April 2010, 11:49   #13
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Thanks for all the comments guys! Please do give suggestions on the travelogue as this is the first time I am writing one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
The river is very nice. Are there any resorts near that place? I dont think its proper Devikulam. Isnt it?
Hi ampere, the river photo was taken at idukki - I think I spotted a few resorts near by. I'll check on the net and post here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
BTW - What college is it? Engineering or catering?
It's an engineering college

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Am surprised no one has mentioned this, but- car looks amazing! Are those Apollo Accelere wheels, by any chance? Remember seeing this alloys and thinking how they'd look on a red/ black car!

Which engineering college is it? Really beautiful location for a college!
Thanks CrAzY dRiVeR! Yes, they are Apollo Accelere wheels - SG 47 model no. if my memory servers me correctly. 15", 100 PCD

Its the College of Engineering Munnar. I think their site is down - it says domain is expired.

Here is the route map and a few more pics

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Hi-speed pics from Thodupuzha-Muvattupuzha highway (SH-8)

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Old 27th April 2010, 12:59   #14
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I am excited as I have also planned to do a three day trip to Munnar in June, but on different route Salem – Coimbatore – Munnar. You photos give me that joy to visit Munnar soon but no go I need to wait until June.

You Black City look great with alloys on her.
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Old 27th April 2010, 13:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Games Goblin View Post

No, its not a Resort - It's my cousin's engineering college

...

The Great Driving Road
I am happy that my college was looking not even closer to this, otherwise I wouldn't have got my engg. degree in 4 years.

This road reminds me of the great Hutton road from Colombo to Nuwa-Eliya. Will post the pics sometime.

BBKK
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