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Monsoon drive to the South

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by johnny, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. johnny

    johnny Regolare

    Greater Noida
    Greater Noida
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Upgrade from Nammakal:

    I am using a Tata Photon, and the connectivity in small towns is poor - Kanyakumari & Velankanni are examples. Here in Nammakal, too the connectivity is marginal.

    Firstly, @royj, & @maverick,
    We were equally thrilled to meet all of you. Thanks for taking time off.

    I am using a point & shoot camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ1. You point & shoot, and the camera does the rest. It is a sweet little camera.

    From Rameshwaram, we set out as planned. The drive, especially over the Pampan bridge is really scenic. After crossing the bridge on the way back, you are driving along a narrow strip of land with the sea on both sides - really scenic. There is a good restaurant at the intersection of the Rameshwaram road with the Eastern Coastal Road (ECR). A photo of this place is attached.


    The ECR is a two lane road, but it is as good as a two lane can get. Excellent road surface & relatively low traffic density. So, you can make good progress. As you move closer towards Nagapatanam, there are a few big villages where there is a bit of congestion. A photo of the ECR is attached.


    We got into Velankanni by about 1130. We spend the day, and the next day, seeing the churches, and generally relaxing. I had visited Velankanni in 2010. It still bore scars of the Tsunami which hit in 2004. This time the change was amazing. The place was abuzz with lots of new hotels etc.

    We left Velankanni by about 0730 hrs for Nammakal. The route was via Thanjavur, & Tiruchirapally. The road up till Thanjavur was a two lane which was just about OK. Fortunately, the traffic density was reasonable. From Thanjavur, the new four lane road was available. It goes up to Tiruchirapally. Then, you get on to the two lane road which connects with Nammakal, and onwards to Salem. This stretch too is a two lane, but much better than the earlier road. We got into Nammakal by noon. The plan is to leave for Tumkur tomorrow.

    Somebody had asked me what interest I had in Nammakal. The fact is that I came to know about this place only when I was researching the route. It is just a convenient stop over in terms of distance.

    7 people like this.
  2. J Ravi

    J Ravi Esperto

    Which route did you take from Trichy to Namakkal? How was the road surface?
  3. johnny

    johnny Regolare

    Greater Noida
    Greater Noida
    Grande Punto 1.3
    This is the two lane that goes from Tiruchy to Mammakal. It is OK for a two lane road with reasonably good surface & manageable traffic density. You can make reasonable progress on this road.

    In retrospect, when we left Nammakal, we got on to NH7 (4 lane) which passed close to the town. I am not sure whether it connects up with Tiruchy. My map does not show so.

    2 people like this.
  4. Cinju

    Cinju Esperto

    I some how missed this thread. I was expecting to see your update in the Trivandrum meet. Thanks to Varun for referring me this link. That day after the meet, I was telling about you both to my parents & they were so thrilled to hear about your journey. Sorry that I could not spend up more time with you. Thank you both for coming down & spending time with us. We are really honored . Have a great journey.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  5. sandipan_r15

    sandipan_r15 Superiore

    Grande Punto 1.3
    JOHNNY sir,extracting inspiration for my next 'PUNTO TRIP' from your travelogue.Wish you a very happy & safe journey.
  6. johnny

    johnny Regolare

    Greater Noida
    Greater Noida
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Trip completion: from Mumbai

    @Cinju & @sandipan,
    Thanks for your words of encouragement.

    We left Nammakal as planned on 14 Aug in the morning. After about 3 kms, we hit NH7 which goes to Bangalore via Salem - it is 4 lane. So, it was good going thereafter. In a lighter vein, my fifth gear which had been relaxing from the time I left Mysore, was finally back at work. There was a bit of congestion as we passed Salem. Thereafter it was smooth sailing. This time I was very alert to look for the NICE Ring road, and I managed to get on to it - it is not really well signposted. This was a fantastic piece of road, and I will rate it as the best stretch, I have driven upon. A photo of this road is attached.


    The Hubli-by pass is two lane. However, since the traffic density is low, it was OK. We reached Belgaum in good time, and spend the night at the Air Force Officers' mess there.

    For the last leg, since it was over 500 kms, we set out early morning on 15 Aug. The roads were just great - 4 lane all the way. On this leg we had rain again. That was the irony of our monsoon trip - it was nice and sunny in the South, except for a few stray spells of rain; but, Mumbai, Satara, area was having good rain. Since it was a holiday, we passed the Pune bypass in good time.

    On the Mimbai - Pune expressway, we had dry weather unlike on our way out. So, we could appreciate this stretch. This is another fantastic stretch of highway that would give the NICE Ring road a run for its money. A photo of this road showing one of the tunnels - there are a few, is attached.


    We reached Mumbai by about 1230 hrs. Fortunately it was not raining, and being a holiday, the entry into Mumbai was relatively painless. So, that concluded our road trip.

    Some stats:

    Total distance covered: 4231 kms.
    Trip average kpl: 19.9 kpl.
    Total time on road: 81:23 hrs
    Average trip speed: 51.9 kmph.
    Trip duration: 31 July to 15 August.
    States covered: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala & Tamilnadu.

    The Punto did not give us any trouble whatsoever. The wheel rotation is overdue by about 2000 kms. I did not want to do it en-route. I will get it done today.

    Now the plan is to spend a few days at Mumbai, including a trip to Lonavala with our daughter's family, and then head back to Greater NOIDA by about 27 Aug.

    I must thank all of you for your words of encouragement, which certainly helped.

    11 people like this.
  7. punto_emotion

    punto_emotion Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Congratulations Sir for successful completion of your journey with your beloved Punto! Hats off to your enthusiasm and Punto's ability to support your enthusiasm :clap
  8. Ganges

    Ganges Esperto

    Driver Seat _/
    Grande Punto 1.3
    jhonny sir,
    Congratsz for completion of the grande tour on grande punto.
    one question for your punto drive:-
    How do u feel punto as Hatch,Sedan or Mini SUV ?
    i always feel strange such a small car doing so many Kms of drive without any issues,does the same thing goes with other hatches trouble free long drives ?
    i remember after continous drive of 16 hours(driven by my bro and myselves) never felt like the car was tired.

    Have a nice and safe trip for the upcoming travel to north
  9. I used to feel 5th gear was losing torque in sub 1.1 ltr Petrol cars like Wagon R but let us not take away any thing from cars of brands other than FIAT.
    Even punny Nano did a Leh/rohtang pass drive.
  10. saurav

    saurav Amatore

    Only one word...... FABULOUS :)

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