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Old 25th October 2010, 14:06   #1
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Default Bangalore to Thiruvananthapuram (with umpteen stops inbetween)

2 weddings and a family function spread across Tamilnadu over a week period meant a long drive from Bangalore ending in Thiruvananthapuram.

Route: Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Attur - Perambalur - Ariyalur - Thiruvayyaru - Kumbakonam - Thanjavur - Srirangam - Manapparai - Dindigul - Nagamalai Pudukkottai - Madurai - Tirunelveli - Tiruchendur - Tuticorin - Tirunelveli - Nagercoil - Thiruvananthapuram.

What is with long drives and eager drivers - what makes you sleepless on the previous night - the excitement?

Day #1 - Bangalore to Salem
The plan was to leave Bangalore by 3PM after finishing up on a bunch of errands that I wanted to do before I left home. We were delayed by an hour due to the packing. A swift car's book doesn't have enough space to pack stuff for 3 weeks worth of driving.

Super dooper schoowper idea: Why don't the car companies manufacture luggage that fit perfectly to the boot. You don't need to waste space for the wheels. And with a small boot like swift's every sq in counts.

The new find of this trip (for me) was the Krishna inn hotel and HP petrol pump near Shoolagiri. I like HP petrol pump (read cash back) and was a regular at the five star pump (just after Ashok leyland plant #2). Any place with decent dosa and idli makes it a definite plus - fuel for the car and fuel for the travelers. The hotel is about 50 kms from Bommanahalli jn and makes for a perfect stop before the long drive forward. It took me a whole of an hour to get there from HSR Layout.

After a half an hour break we started toward Salem. Need to bless those vodafone guys for coming up with the blackberry boys tune. My son just loves it and I have the jingle on my mobile. Just strap him to his baby seat and put the song playing on an endless loop, he'll fall asleep in about 10 minutes max. This song proved to be our biggest savior all through the trip.

The roads were great all along - the best was the L&T roads. One new change I noticed is that they've numbered the humps at Thoppur - 1/8, 2/8 and so on till 8/8. Reached Salem by around 8.00. That's 150 kms in 1.5 hours - average speed 100 kms. The best part is at no point did I do more than 120 because of the kid. Wonders of good roads.

Day #2 onwards the roads becomes worse before they get better. To be continued...
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Old 25th October 2010, 14:32   #2
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This is an interesting start. Looking forward to this as this is a ruote that I would like to use. One question - are there any nice restaurants/break areas just after Krishnagiri?
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Old 25th October 2010, 14:55   #3
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Originally Posted by SafeDrive View Post
One question - are there any nice restaurants/break areas just after Krishnagiri?
Yap; A2B at Thoppur after Krishnagiri is a good place to take a good fuel break for both the drive as well as the driver. Unfortunately, this comes on the other side when driving towards Salem & hence one has to take the first U turn after spotting A2B.
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Old 25th October 2010, 16:05   #4
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Another thing to note: You wont the sign which says, A2B ahead 2Km.
It just arrives with a bang!

The hotel actually located about 2-3Km before the Mettur turning.
Last time I unfortunately forgot to mark the A2B Waypoint on GPS.

Does any one have that marked on a Satguide map?
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Old 25th October 2010, 16:54   #5
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Default Day#2 - Salem to Perambalur

We left Salem at 3PM the next day. Since the starting location was near the bypass, I decided to use the bypass to get to the Attur road instead of passing through the town. The bypass is good - 4 laned - but the moment I pass through the Madurai road intersection, I got a sign of things to come. The road is in a very poor condition - primarily due to the 4 laning of the Salem - Ulundurpettai section. Further, they have not repaired the potholes in the road. The entire strech from Salem to Attur took me more than an hour and a half (just for 50 kms). The worst parts were the points where the good road starts and ends - the bump on the road was pretty high that I'd to slow down to a rolling speed. Watch out if you are covering this portion during the night.

Post Attur I turned off on SH to Perambalur. Relatively better roads - typical state highway stuff. There was a 300m bad patch near Veeranganur. Apart from that the roads were pretty OK. Did the rest of the 50km in an hour. We stayed at Motel Ram inn. Very basic place - but OK for a small town.

To be continued...
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Old 26th October 2010, 15:58   #6
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Default #3 Perambalur to Kumbakonam

After the first wedding, we started off from Perambalur to Kumbakonam (to visit a couple of temples). Now the car was full as my parents too had joined. 4 adults + 1 child in a car seat is a tight fit in a swift.
The first surprise was with the road sign: "C" with a arrow head on the upper lobe. If you are able to understand the sign, you are much smarter than I am. Later I understood the sign to mean this: Take left before the bridge, go on the service lane and then take a right turn under the bridge.
The highway department has done a great job with the roads - since there were two road junctions close to each other, they have build a collector/distributor lane to prevent weaving. However, they are very bad in signage.
The road from Perambalur to Ariyalur till Thiruvayyaru was nice - typical state highway roads. From Thiruvayyaru, we took a deviation for the 30+ kms ride to Kumbakonam. This part of the road was windy, had a lot of pedestrian traffic and was quite narrow at places. Later I realized that I would have been better off by taking a deviation from this road near Papanasam and then driving the rest in the Thanjavur Kumbakonam road (That being a National Highway is in much better shape). Stay in Kumbakonam was at Kasi international - Choose the new wing when you visit the place. The rooms there are much better than the ones in the old wing.
Travel time: 4PM to 7:15PM (we got a little lost at Kumbakonam).
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