Ooty Road-trip Oct 2 weekend 2015

General trip notes:
  • Mostly the roads were good – except for a short stretch from Mysore to Nanjangud – where there is road widening that is happening. Once this is finished, the road should be fully done.
  • I took the Masinagudi route to/from Ooty – this is the 36 hairpin bend short route. The road in this stretch is also awesome.
  • The road inside the Bandipur sanctuary has been freshly laid and is really good.
  • On our way to Ooty, we passed by the Bandipur area around 6PM. Looks like this is a great time to spot animals. Spotted hordes of bison, deer, and peacock.
  • On our way back, the traffic was horrendous. All of Bangalore was returning from the long weekend.
  • Do not miss the wood fired pizza at Nahar Side walk cafe. Their multi-cuisine restaurant – Chandan – is also pretty good. Both are pure vegetarian.
  • The Sterling Elk Hill property has undergone massive renovation and looks super posh inside. They are adding more rooms as well.
  • On the way back, if you want to fill gas, there is a bunk, right at the beginning of the Mysore road (from Ooty).
  • If you want to avoid the maddening crowds of Ooty, and want a relaxing drive, drive down the road towards Kundha/Upper Bhavani. The Emerald lake is just an awesome vista point.
  • If you want to have lunch in Mysore, but do not want to go into the city, there is a Kamat Madhuvan, just near the Mysore bypass.

 

Road trip : Bangalore to Kumbakonam and back

Trip details:

  • Distance = 443 km (one-way)
  • Road until Namakkal is awesome (4-6 lane National Highway). I keep referring this to as Vajpayee Road – lest we forget the great man who kicked off the Golden Quadrilateral Highway project.
  • Speed will drop while approaching Salem though. Even though it is a bypass, several roundabouts and a lot of traffic will reduce your speed.
  • After Namakkal, it is 2 lane highway. Road quality is pretty decent though.
  • I was told that the last stretch to Musiri is really bad. So my brother-in-law had asked me to take the Kulithalai bridge just before reaching Musiri. The Kulithalai to Trichy road runs parallel to the Musiri Trichy road – just on the other side of the River Cauvery. The road however is decent.
  • Once inside Trichy, there are two ways to reach Kumbakonam.
  • First way is through Kallanai (Grand Anaicut) -> Thiruvaiyaar -> Kumbakonam.
  • I took this road on my onward journey. This is typical country road. Single lane. The road quality is OK, not spectacular. There are patches of good and bad roads. I am told however to avoid this road during rainy season, since the road quality invariably deteriorates.
  • Second way is through Tanjore -> Kumbakonam.
  • I took this road on the way back. From Trichy, take the road towards Samayapuram. You will see the road leading to Nagappitanam. This is a national highway connecting Nagappatinam->Coimbatore. Extremely good road. This road leads you to Tanjore outskirts. Take the Tanjore bypass toward Papanasam. You will hit Ammapettai, Papanasam, Swamimalai and then Kumbakonam.
  • Tanjore to Kumbakonam is typical of all Tanjore district (tanjavoor jilla roads :)) roads. Single lane. Winding roads with trees and fields on both sides. THe road will pass through every village/town on the road. Crazy bus drivers. Watch out for unmarked speed breakers too.

Om Arunachala

Last weekend, I did a whirlwind road-trip. Left Bangalore Friday afternoon at around 245PM, reached Thirvannamalai around 630PM. Stayed there overnight. Early morning, had dharshan of Lord Arunaachaleswara, and left for Kumbakonam by around 745AM. Reached by around noon. Stayed there overnight. Picked up the wife and baby, and started for Bangalore early .. around 630AM. Reached Bangalore around 5in the evening. Fairly fatigueing trip. One way is around 400km (slightly short of it). Did not take too many snaps, but here, for your viewing pleasure, I have two snaps of the Adi Arunaachaleswara temple in Thiruvannamalai.