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Kerala Drive - Dec'14 - What a mesmerising beauty !!!

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by VahanPujari, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor


    The preparations & Drive Plan queries thread is here --- >> http://www.teamfiat.com/threads/kerala-drive-plan-queries.13356/

    The original Plan was to fly to Kerala from Mumbai and hire a car there. This was due to the limitations of days available. However, the "kida" & passion of driving ultimately forced me to drive down :) And Boy !!! What a Drive ! What a Beautiful drive amidst the nature (no wonder named as "God's own country", it truly is) !!
  2. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    The most awaited travelogue is finally out. Can't wait to see the pictures from your drive. :)
    VahanPujari likes this.
  3. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Sorting & selecting pics from over-3000 pics is taking it's toll :(
  4. Mabams1826

    Mabams1826 Amatore

    Fiat Enthusiast
    I can definitely understand your status as I am undergoing similar plight. What I thought would be a simple write is nothing close to it.
    But its worth the effort when our fellow TFIans, appreciate and encourage it and in this regard, rmjn is right on top....
    prabhjot likes this.
  5. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    The itinerary was planned with the help of HVK who helped with a detailed Route Plan. I’m also thankful to ramjan, cliffhanger & all TFI friends for their detailed suggestions in my Query thread http://www.teamfiat.com/threads/kerala-drive-plan-queries.13356/ . Hotel booking was done by HVK CHD on-the-go. Pre-booking was done only at 2 popular destinations / resorts & Club Mahindra.
    I was excited as this was a long long drive with family (apart from my yearly Goa drives, couple of drives to Gujarat / Saurashtra & Rajasthan trip last year). The 1st day was going to be the longest drive with me as solo-driver. We did longer drives than this during our Ladakh trip in June’14 but then I had my bro that time who shared the steering with me.
    The broad route plan undertaken is as follows:

    Day 1: Reach Krishnagiri (TN). Mumbai – Pune – Kolhapur - Bangalore BP - Krishnagiri (TN)

    Day 2: Krishnagiri - Salem - Peruntharai - Kangeyam - Palladam - Pollachi - Valparai - Malakkipara - Sholyar - Athirapalli - Vettilapara - Chalakudy – Hotel just before Angamally

    Day 3: Chalakudy - Mala - Kondugallur - Cherai Beach

    Day 4: Cherai - Chalakudy - Angamally - Perumbavur - Kothamangalam - Neriamangalam - Adimali - Munnar - Chinnakanal

    Day 5: Munnar Circuit

    Day 6: Chinnakanal - Poopara - Udumbansola - Nedumkandam Byepass - Puliyanmala - Vandanamedu - Puttady - Thekkady - Vandiperiyar - Pambanar - Kuttikanam - Kanjirapalli - Vazhoor JN - Karukechal - Changanaserry - Alleppey

    Alternate route is Puliyanmala to Kuttikanam directly byepassing Thekkady. We took this alternate route due to time constraints on that day.

    Day 7: Alleppey - Cherthala - Kochi/Ernakulam Byepass - Aluva BP - Angamally - Chalakudy - Thrissur BP - Palakkad - Mannarkad - Perinthalmanna - Pandikkad - Wandoor - Nilambur - Edakara - Vazhikadavu - Nadugani - Cherambadi - Vaduvanchal - Ambalwayal – Kolagappara

    Day 8: Wayanad Circuit.... Sujjipara Waterfalls, Chembra Peak base

    Day 9: Kolagappara – Ambalwayal - Vaduvanchal - Cherambadi - Nadugani - Gudalur - Naduvattam - Pykara Dam - Kalhatti - Ooty

    Day 10: Ooty - Masinagudi - Gudlupet - Begur - Nanjangud – Mysore – Pandavpura - Jakanahalli - Nagamangala - Bellur - Mayasandra - Turuvekere - Kibbenhalli Cross - Huliyar - Hiriyur - Chitradurga

    The above was the planned route. However, Ooty to Masinagudi direct road was closed due to an accident on 32nd Hair Pin bend. Hence, we had to take a detour thro’ Gudalur.

    We cancelled overnight stay at Mysore as the next day travel from Mysore to Mumbai was turning out to be too long and I observed that family has difficulty in leaving early at 4.30 am. Hence, we continued till Chitradurga.

    Day 11: Chitradurga – Belgaon – Kolhapur – Pune – Mumbai

    Kerala Map - 2.jpg
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 12, 2015, Original Post Date: Jan 12, 2015 ---
    Since Mumbai to Krishnagiri is over-1100 kms long drive and next day was a compulsion due to time restriction at Athirapalli & Valparai checkpost, we thought we'll leave on 19th Dec'14 afternoon (instead of 20th Dec early morning) and stay overnight at Pune or Satara.

    However, a last minute important meeting / work at office meant that I could reach home only at 7.45 pm. We thought whether to leave after an hour at 8.45 pm or not. Decided against it as that would have meant reaching Pune at around 1 am, sleep and then leave early next morning again. Hence, postponed and planned to leave at 3.30 am on 20th Dec.

    Day 1 - 20th Dec'14:

    With kids, the best we could manage was to leave at 4.30 am.

    The power of leaving early is in beating the city traffic. By 5.15 am, we were at Panvel and by 6.45 am, we were on the outskirts of Pune having exited the Expressway.

    We halted at Satara for breakfast at roadside at about 8.30 am. Had Vadapav & a very very tasty Pav-Misal :) Lost almost an hour in breakfast halt. 3-4 hours sleep overnight and sumptuous breakfast lead to me feeling sleepy after 30 minutes driving. Stopped at a roadside joint and had a power-nap for 25-30 minutes. Power-naps recharges me !!

    Fresh by the power-nap, I gathered speed & by 11 am, we were crossing Kolhapur and were on the schedule.

    While Pune - Kolhapur road is awesome, there was too much of Two-wheeler traffic which does not allow to gather momentum as overtaking becomes a task. However, after Kolhapur, it's another story altogether. Awesome road, less traffic and we just zoomed and covered distance
    quickly. Only the patch of about 25-30 kms around Hubli was time-consuming being 2-lane road.

    Had lunch near Haaveri.

    Skyline on the way to Bangalore



    Just before Bangalore

    Entered Bangalore Bypass at around 6.15 pm. Made a mistake while taking NICE road. Instead of taking service road, went straight on main road, had to take a U turn from 2-3 kms ahead in heavy traffic & lost 25 - 30 minutes in the process.

    By now it was dark. But the precise route plan by HVK and awesome roads helped us to reach Krishnagiri (TN) by around 9.30 - 9.45 pm. The hotel was booked by HVK CHD and was right on the highway just after Krishnagiri toll gate. Had dinner and crashed for the night as the next day was going to be another long day!

    Thus ended my longest drive at a stretch as a solo-driver of about 17-18 hours & 1100 kms!!
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 13, 2015 ---

    Day 2 - 21st Dec'14:

    The pressure on Day 2 was the closing time of Athirapalli falls and the closing time of entry beyond Valparai Checkpost. The planning based on the timings required on the route by ramjn on my query thread suggested that to reach Athirapalli by around 4-4.30 pm, I had to leave Valparai by 2 pm. To reach Valparai by 1 pm (and lunch / photo halt), I had to leave Krishnagiri by 6 am !

    18 hours in car the previous day, kids and family found it difficult to get ready and leave by 6.00 am :( . We were able to leave only by 6.45 am and we had to halt for breakfast. Halted for breakfast just after Dharmapuri Bypass ends i.e. at Adyar Anand Bhavan (A2B) at BPCL Petrol Pump. Had sumptuous breakfast of the "original" south indian dishes ! For the 2nd day in a row, lack of enough sleep coupled with sumptuous breakfast made me feel sleepy after 30 minutes. A 15 minutes power-nap recharged me and drove on.


    Roads are again excellent. However, didn't realise where we lost time apart from being 45 minutes late in leaving plus 1 hour of breakfast, but by around 11 am -12 noon, I realised that we're running terribly behind. At one point of time, there loomed a possibility that we won't be able to make it to Valparai in time. I think we lost precious time in asking directions at Salem BP and more at Kangeyam to exit. By around 1.15 - 1.30 pm, we struggled to reach Pollachi.

    Now, it was a 3-pronged challenge - 1) the ghat road, 2) we've to cover the distance fast & 3) to enjoy the awesome vista's and scenery along this route for what is the fun in rushing thro' this route when it was chosen as a destination !!!

    We passed Monkey falls and did not halt. Then came Aliyar Dam & Park. Meanwhile the vista's all along were mesmerising.


    Our "Photographer" for the trip. My daughter !


    The Lake


    Fiercely focussed on the 3-pronged challenge!!


    The sights all around were difficult to ignore. We stopped for photo's at Loam's view point at 9th (of 40) Hair Pin bend.

    20141221-DSC_7246.jpg 20141221-DSC_7247.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
    kaps, sdp1975, jumu and 8 others like this.
  6. Mabams1826

    Mabams1826 Amatore

    Fiat Enthusiast
    Great start, Valpari has the second highest number of hair pin bends after Kolli hills in TN, I sure you would have relished the challenge...
    Murphy_Fiat and VahanPujari like this.
  7. cliffhanger

    cliffhanger Amatore

    Hi Amit

    A nice start to the log.

    You should have added extra 2 days to your trip and should have done it at more leisurely pace. Hope you were covering places at leisurely pace on the rest of the days.
    VahanPujari likes this.
  8. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Great start VP, and pics are superb, what landscapes you (your daughter) captured, beautiful!!
    Good that you took U turn sooner, if you would have continued, I am sure you would have spent night in Bangalore only.
    VahanPujari and unleash_thunder like this.
  9. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Would have surely loved to do it but for the issue of leaves from work. I had actually extended my original 1-week plan (by flight) by around 4 days.

    My initial plan was to depart daily at about 6 or 7 am basis my Ladakh drive experience. However, the big differentiator was that the family was with me here unlike Ladakh. The biggest time consumers are breakfast & lunch. In Ladakh we used to skip breakfast / Lunch at will, but with kids along, can't do it. Each break for breakfast or lunch takes away around 1 hour. Add the time / effort taken by my wife in waking up the kids & getting them ready, we were looking at a cool 2-2.5 hours time spent after waking up :( So, after a couple of days early departures and after observing all these, I let it go though kept on the pressure somewhat to push. Consequently, at every destination I had to improvise and skip a few sights to allow a touch of leisure factor and focuss on only a couple of sights. e.g. at Wayanad, I had a long list of sights to visit but ended up visiting only two - Sujjipara falls & Chembra peak base - inspite of spending 2 nights there :(

    Thanks, Ravi. But I owe it to the beauty of Kerala/ TN. When I was viewing pics at home on 46" LED TV, most of the pics looked like picture postcards :p

    Hehehe. Very true. It was very annoying as it was due to a silly mistake. As soon as we missed the service road entry and I saw a toll booth on service road, I told my wife that I've a doubt that we should have gone on that service road.
  10. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Actually the diversion is very narrow, and it is common there to miss it.
    Even after using that many times, I keep an eye open there :).
    VahanPujari and Aniket like this.

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