Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram - Bangalore : The Fastest Route (Part 2)

The stopover at the BPCL Pump at Vadipatti was prolonged a little more since both of us decided to fill our tummies with the goodies brought from home. We swapped positions and again I was behind the only wheel inside the cabin.

The magnificient tarmac continued, driving a vehicle in this route was just similar to being a co-rider, only difference being the foot resting in the accelerator pedal and the hand resting in the steering wheels occasionally moving it. One has to be quite careful in this stretch for not going to sleep mode. The adreanlin rush of high speeds was the only factor keeping us concentrated. So doing too much of leisurely pace is dangerous owing to the possibility of dozing off. Doing too much of a high speed too is risky. One has to chose an optimum speed which he/she is comfortable and at the same time makes one feel some adrenalin rush.

From the google maps, we knew that the next destination is Dindigal, one of the major cities of Tamil Nadu. The place is called so because of a Pillow ("Dindi") shaped rock ("kal") and that this hill surronded town is famous for Iron locks and handloom sarees apart from really tasty Dindigal Biriyani. We could see lot of hills at a distance, a sign of approaching Dindigal, but couldn't recongnize the pillow shaped one.

Soon we zoomed past Dindigal, but thanks to this road, it doesn't seem to touch any of the cities and we could not sight any of the hotels or the manufacturing industries. Seems like we have to enter the city area leaving the NH to explore this place closely. But we were in no mood for exploration and doesn't want to move out of this dream road too.

Yours truly snapped up my brother.

When in this highway, we could identify that we are passing a city only by noticing the increase in density of dwellings and the flyovers through which we pass.

Time and Distance Stat
8:57 am Petrol Pump Start9:24 am Dindigal 38km 84.44Km/hr
Total distance from source: 364 Km, AverageSpeed: 67.41 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 79.7)

Even after passing Dindigal the array of hills continued. The style quotient of the hills had a similarity and it was quite different from what we see in Kerala. 

The sky was getting more and more bluish, the sun shinging brighter, recent rains ensuring good cleaning up of the flora and fauna from dust and giving it a rich greenish appearance. We were in for a visual treat and whenever a new hill appeared we felt like photographing it and at times even felt like getting out of the moving machine and trek through one of them mixing up with the nature. Again our focus on the drive outlived the enthu for a nature trek and we kept moving.

This one seemed to be biggest of the hill chain bordering Dindigal and had a perfect shape tooo!!

Exactly 45 minutes after passing Dindigal, another town was in sight. It was Karur, the place where TNPL (Tamil Nadu Newsprint Limited) which is known for making environment friendly paper, is located. The raw material for making paper is some residue of sugar manufacturing.

Time and Distance Stat
9:24 am Dindigal 10:10 am Karur 78 km 101 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 442 Km, AverageSpeed: 71.68 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.46)

A wiki on Karur pointed to a historical township which boasts of a golden past, be it on the trading front or in the arts front and it is a no brainer as to why this is currently one of the richest cities of Tamil Nadu. Needless to mention this is also one of the popular hunting ground for archeologists because of the long history dating back to thousands of years. This is the homeland of Karur Vysya Bank which many of us might have heard of.

After about a 10 minutes drive from Karur, came across another Dhaba.

This being a newly built NH, the number hotels / restaurants on the road side is less and one has to know well where each one of them are located, coz if we miss one, then the next one will be hours away or else we have to take a detour to one of the towns for finding a hotel, which will be time consuming.

The population density was increasing again and it signified the arrival of the next town - Velur.

Time and Distance Stat
10:10 am Karur 10:27 am Velur 23 km 81 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 465 Km, AverageSpeed: 72.09 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.59)

Here there was a beautiful rock formation in the backdrop of the houses, atop which there was a temple too.

The beautiful Kolli hills is nearby Velur. A magnificient bridge suddenly appeared. The sign board at the end showed that we are still 178 km away from our destination, Bangalore.

Once the bridge ended the terrain was completely akin to my home state Kerala with lots of coconut trees and greenery around, a sure sign of this place being in the banks of a river.

The surrounding areas were completely devoid of any human dwellings. But all of a sudden a really beautiful campus appeared with a big gate and lot of palm trees.

We couldn't capture the real beauty of the gate and the well landscaped garden as we were moving fast, but got a glimpse of the building

It was the campus of PGP group of technical institutions. Eventhough I have not heard about this college the campus and the way it is maintained gives a feeling that it is one of the premium institutes in this part of the country.

Danger lurks even in such great roads, due to the lack of traffic awareness. A truck laden with some heavy tractors was going through the left lane and we were overtaking it without any fuss. But suddenly I was surprised to see a small motorcycle coming against us in the opposite side.

Seems like the guy is on a suicidal mission. Somehow, I could avoid hitting him. Till that point, I was travelling on the right lane of the road because I was travelling at good speeds. Armed with this experience, I began travelling through the left lane even if the speeds were high and also began to concetrate more, even though the roads were supposed to be one way, any time a maniac can appear on our way.

The blue sky was getting more and more attractive, thanks to the puff clouds which started to appear.

Nature has got something in store for keeping us entertained and we blissfully acknowledged the variations by making it the backgrounds for all our further photos.

The density of the puff clouds were increasing, which was perfectly blended to the blue skies. The vast field of vision owing to the plain lands enhanced the appearance further.

The hills which were seen at a distance were getting more and more closer and the size of puff clouds were increasing. The straight roads gave a feeling of an airport run way and at times I had a feeling that at any moment we will be taking off, flying high.

We soon got closer to the rocky hills, the rock pattern was similar to the hills which we earlier saw near Dindigal.

One of the biggest towns of TamilNadu was approaching and all my previous trips through this place had been very time taking ones.

This big sign board welcomed us to the Salem

Time and Distance Stat
10:27 am Velur 11:15 am Salem 67km 84 Km/hr

Total distance from source: 532 Km, AverageSpeed: 78.59 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 79.21)

For the first time during our entire trip we were seeing some traffic around. I took a note of the time we entered Salem just to find out how long we have to be inside the town while travelling through NH7. It was no means a heavy traffic, but considering the way we progressed so far, it can be called quite hectic. 

We reached the junction where NH47 met NH7. Normally while coming from Kerala we takes the NH47 route and comes to Salem via Palakkad and it takes around 9 to 10 hours to reach Salem from Trivandrum. But through NH7 this journey took just six and half hours. Now I know which route to take to Salem for my impending trip to Yercaud (the poor man's Ooty).

Time and Distance Stat
11:15 am Salem 11:25 am Salem town ends
8 km
48.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 540 Km, AverageSpeed: 72.81 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.41)

It took only 10 minutes to pass the Salem town.

Appreciate the efforts of those who built this route ensuring minimal effect of the busy traffic of Salem town on the highways.

I felt as if roads suddenly became more straighter and the terrific plain lands ensured a good field of vision.

Normally while driving I never look at the speedo, unless to note some distance landmarks. The terrific tarmac and wide roads makes the driver having an illusion of much less speed than what he/she is currently doing. I also did not feel I was doing this speed in this stretch.

After my brother snapped up the speedo, I checked and found how amazing the illusion is. Stepped up the gas a further more and could see that the machine is racing up quite comfortably and reached this speed.

But at this speed I was feeling the steering to be a lot lighter and it did not inspire too much confidence. Still the road being a straight I just stepped up further just to see how far it goes. But after it increased 10km/hr more I couldn't step up the gas, since I did not seem to have control and slowed the pace to my comfortable levels immediately.
Found out that optimum cruising speed for the 1.5Ltr ANHC (All new Honda city) is in the range of 100 to 120. It can do up 140 effortlessly and even can do above 170, but with a little strain. All this is possible only if we have roads like this. In normal two lane roads doing an 80km/hr safely is almost impossible.

By this time the road side scenes again reminded that this is a truly fertile land with lots of cultivation and greenery around and the place we are passing by was Thoppur.

Time and Distance Stat
11:25 am Salem town ends 11:52 am Thoppur 36 km 80.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 576 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.22 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.55)

Another good thing about such high speed highways is that the geography change feels to be so fast. If the roads are straight at one moment

Then within two or three minutes, there was a ghat like stretch climbing our way up between the mountains.

Amidst all the speeding fun, we passed Dharmapuri and three hours had passed after our last break.

Time and Distance Stat
11:52 am Thoppur 12:11 am Dharmapuri 26 km
82.11 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 602 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.56 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.69)

Just see for yourself how the stretch after Dharmapuri looks like. Didn't feel like stopping in this kind of a road.

Doesn't the road seem like extending to the horizon. A small break was long overdue to attend natures call as well as to a give a breather to the workhorse, but I was in search for a good location for a photo shoot too.

Soon we saw a beautiful farm land and the vehicle was brought to rest by its side.

So after a drive of about 290kms in 3 hours we were going to take a break, eventhough fatigue levels were really less.

Time and Distance Stat
12:11 am Dharmapuri 12:20 pm Photo Break 12 km 80.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 614 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.68 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.72)

28 12:11 602 Dharmapuri 26 73.56 78.69
29 12:20 614 Photo Break 12 73.68 78.72

The stop over was really exciting for me as I found some real contrasting objects on my frame and I was trying to snap up the machine in all possible angles enjoying each and every moment.

In my opinion, black color is drop dead gorgeous for any car and if the car is having a sporty outlook then it will look more meaner.

A bright sunny day with beautiful sky, what more can the photographer in me can ask for.

And time for some posing of the men behind the wheels along with the machine

It was a ten minute break, but it quenched my camera's thirst to a certain extent.

Time and Distance Stat
12:20 am Photo Break 12:30 am Photo break ends 0 km 0 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 614 Km, AverageSpeed: 72.24 Km/hr, (excluding breaks: 78.72)

Again swapped positions and I was busy checking up the timings and taking notes on the things we saw as my bro powered his vehicle through a row of beautiful hills.

The average speeds were pretty higher than what I had imagined at the start of this journey and it seemed like we are heading to our destination a good 2 to 3 hours earlier than what I have ever done through the NH47 route, which is supposed to be a more shorter one.

A windshield view of the great roads. You can view the Shoolagiri hill at a distance.

Lush greenery again appeared, this time at the foot of the beautiful hill, with each passing wind weaving a beautiful pattern akin to the tidal waves. It was a beautiful paddy field.

A sprawling lake signalled the arrival of next town - Krishnagiri.

Time and Distance Stat
12:30 pm Photo break ends 12:50 pm Krishnagiri 32 km 48.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 646 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.13 (excluding breaks: 79.43)

Time for some more traffic and the sign board signalled that we are now under 100kms to Bangalore.

This town seems to be heavily populated as can be seen from the numerous houses with a rock clad hill in the backdrop

Once we passed Krishnagiri, the number of twists and turns increased and we seemed to be passing through a small ghat section. This route reminded me of the Lonavala range in the Mumbai Pune Express way. Even though roads were not straighter, it did not take away any of the average speeds and pretty quickly we reached the next town, Shoolagiri.

Time and Distance Stat
12:50 pm Krishnagiri 13:15 pm Shoolagiri30 km 72.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 676 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.08 (excluding breaks: 79.06)

Shoolagiri has become a weekend get away for the Bangaloreans. The name of the hill is associated with the shape of the hill. The hill resembles "Shoola" a weapon of Lord Shiva. One has to turn eastward from the NH7 to reach Shoolagiri hills.

Shoolagiri soon disappeared and we neared the last city of TamilNadu in this route - Hosur. Once we reach Hosur, we feel as if we have almost reached Bangalore.

Time and Distance Stat
13:15 pm Shoolagiri 13:33 pm Hosur 23 km 76.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 699 Km, AverageSpeed: 73.19 (excluding breaks: 78.98)

Of late there are a lot of developments in Hosur because of its good connectivity with major cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Salem. People who work in Bangalore have started to chose Hosur as their dwelling place too. Lot of industrial and IT parks are coming up too.

Watch the top of the Hosur Municipal bus stand. A view from the Hosur fly over.

Hosur also has a lake just like Krishnagiri.

Once Hosur is passed we are all set to pass the checkpost to Karnataka. Normally checkposts are associated with long queues of trucks waiting to get all the papers checked up the officials. Surprisingly it was missing here and I must say it is pretty impressive work done by the Karnataka Government for making the administrative delays in checkpost a part of history.

Once the check post is passed, the Welcome gate of Karnataka awaits us and we are really nearing to our destination

Enter Electronics City and normally we should expect heavy traffic.
Time and Distance Stat
13:33 pm Hosur 13:55 pm Electronics City fly over 22 km 60.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 721 Km, AverageSpeed: 72.71 (excluding breaks: 78.23)

But watch out this board which signs for a left turn to take up the fly over. Don't miss this route, since if you miss you are going to miss atleast 1 hour of your time.

We paid the toll for this fly over and started travelling through it. The first impression is good. It is heavy traffic hour, but the fly over is practically empty.

The view of the buildings of IT major from this fly over gives a different perspective of what we have seen from the old road.

Even though wrongly termed as "chop shop" by some American senator, this one is surely a part of the IT revolution of India.

Each of the buildings of this company has got something unique and that uniqueness ensures that it will stay in the minds of those who have seen it.

Vehicles are not supposed to stop on top of the flyover and if one has to stop he has to make use of the lay bye.

There are traffic check points on top of the fly over itself to check for traffic violations.

Take a glimpse of the tightly packed bangalore homes.

The sky seemed to accord a warm welcome to us by creating a pattern akin to the "Namaste" pose

Another major IT giant's building was standing tall and it looked rather huge.

Time and Distance Stat
13:55 pm Electronics City fly over 14:04 pm Fly over ends 9 km 60.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 730 Km, AverageSpeed: 72.513 (excluding breaks: 77.94)

The fly over ended abruptly and soon we realized the fact that we are into the maddening Bangalore traffic after the glide through the NH7. We were happy that we reached the destination, but deep inside my mind I was sure that I will miss this highway until my next sojourn.

Time and Distance Stat
14:04 pm Fly over ends 14:14 pm Koramangala 5 km 42.00 Km/hr
Total distance from source: 735 Km, AverageSpeed: 71.82(excluding breaks: 77.10)

As we passed Madiwala Koramangala etc, I was flashing through the pics of the journey and was reliving every moment of it. The car soon got inside the parking lot of my brother's flat and came to a halt at exactly 1:15pm. We took around 9hours for the whole journey all this without much rash driving at all.

The total distance travelled was 735km at an average speed on 77.10Km/hr excluding breaks. The journey time was 9 hours 15 minutes(includes break of 50minutes). This route easily took out around 3 to 4 hours of travel time from the regular NH47 route (via Palakkad) and also offered better travel comfort. Wish the authorities maintained this road with the same enthusiasm as shown during its construction. A toll amount totalling around Rs 250 had to be paid during the entire journey, something for which I have no complaints because of the superb condition of the roads.

Roads like this has a long influence on building up the nation which our previous President and visionary Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam dreamed of building by the year 2020.

Hope you too enjoyed the trip along with me !!! Thanks for being with me in this trip and see you in the next virtual tour....


Shrinidhi Hande said...

nice write up

What was the total money spent on toll?

Anu said...

nice compilation of your trip.... its been ages since ive been to the area, and u make me want to go there again!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the write up. Felt like traveling with you as a co passenger. Sad, In Kerala we want to make our NH in 30 meters and SH in 15 meters.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! sharing this info. reassured my thought to travel by road to Bangalore.

keep writing and enjoy!

narayana dev said...

Very informative

whosane said...

well written..lovely photos..interesting and informative. I am taking this route from Trv to Blr in a week :)

Rajesh Devasia said...

That's a very nice write up.I have been travelling in this route for the last 3 years in B9R's,but now I feel like driving via NH7

Anonymous said...

Thank You for such a detailed report on ur road trip ...
It was nice ride for the readers too.. :)
Me too planning for a trip ...

Ranjith said...

Ever since I came to know about this route from Tvm, I have taken innumerable trips in my car. Amazing write up and vivid pictures took me through the memory lanes. Obviously, I did the last one just on Monday ;-)


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