Tuesday Apr 15, 2008

Bangalore to Kanyakumari via. Munnar and Kovalam

Bangalore - Munnar - Trivandrum - Kovalam - Kanyakumari

Duration: 5 days

Mode of travel: By Road (car)

Pre trip preperations: Roadmap of Kerala, Tamilnadu: Get the Roadmaps of the Tamilnadu and Kerala states, you can get these roadmaps for 60 Rs from stationary shop.
These roadmaps will be very handy throughout the trip.

Before we go into details, few more things that are worth mentioning here.

  • No prbolem with the registration of the vehicle. No need to afraid if you dont have KA, TN, or KL registrations. Nobody bothers about it until you are involved in a mishap.
  • No langauge problem. You'll find Hindi and English speakers in Kerala and in Tamilnadu, most of the boards are written in Tamil but asking for directions is not a problem. If you are not getting any clue about the directions, check your pronunciation, it makes the difference.

Now we are ready to go. With lots of surfing, I got lots of information about the place we wanted to explore in the coming couple of days. If you don't have any specific reason to go to Mysore, you must follow this route Bangalore > Hosur > Salem > Tirupur

Part 1: Bangalore to Mysore (approx. 150 Kms)

We left for Mysore on Wednesday evening (I had to pick my friends from Mysore.) The Bangalore - Mysore road is 4-lane and the drive is really enjoyable. I celebrated my 27th Bday at my friend's place. We finished our day with the wonderful dinner rajmah chawal and paneer curry.
Before leaving, I was warned of the road side villages in Kerala. It meant that I had to be careful all the time while driving and expect surprises. We planned to leave early in the morning next day so that we can reach Munnar before dark. Filled with excitement, got to sleep only for couple of hours.

Part 2: Mysore to Munnar approx. 400 Kms

As planned, we got up pretty early and left Mysore at 4:30 AM (30 mins. late to what we initially planned.) The route we followed was Mysore > Nanjangud > Chamarajanagar > Satyamangalam > Tirupur > Udumalaipettai > Munnar.
Tip: After crossing Nanjangud, you have to take left within 2-3 Kms. Be doubly sure that you are on your way to Chamarajanagar. Thanks to Kamal for quickly realizing that we are going in the wrong direction.
The roads in Karnataka are not in very good shape in this part of the state but as soon as we entered Tamilnadu the roads were awesome. When you reach Tamilnadu, its worth to stop by road side shops and take a cup of tea. The way of preparing tea is different from the way tea is prepared in North India.
Try to reach Udmalpet as soon as possible. There is nothing much interesting till Udmalpet. So try to reach Udmalpet as soon as possible. Munnar is approx 80-90 kms from Udmalpet; this part of the drive is one of the best drives on this route. We reached Udmalpet around 2:00 PM and then we had our lunch there and left for Munnar at 3:00 PM. Udmalpet to Munnar drive is of 3 hrs. so keep that much time so that you can actually enjoy the drive and have enough time to stop by and capture the scenic beauty. You got to cross Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, if you are lucky, you'll get to see wild anilmals on the way. Also you cross Tamilnadu forest check post and followed by couple of Kerala check posts. we reached Munnar around 6 PM, had dinner and went to sleep.



Munnar is a small hill station with the scenic beauty. You can go in four different directions for sight seeing. You ask someone, you will get brouchers with everything to be explored. We planned to leave by afternoon for Kovalam so that we reach before it gets dark.

Part 3: Munnar to Kovalam (approx 325 kms.)

You got to cross the ghat section so it takes long time. We left Munnar at 11 am and reached Kovalam at 10 PM.

About 8-10 Kms from Munnar, there is a beautiful water fall and a quite place. On the way to Trivandrum, take diversion after 8-10 Kms and then go approx 3-4 kms, there is a narrow bridge, where we parked the car as it seemed that there was no road after that. Luckily we were able to turn our car into reverse direction and parked the car on the bridge itself. On the other side of the bridge, there was a sign board reading that don't cross the bridge ahead and we had our car parked over there.

It was raining heavily when we were about to reach Trivandrum and saw one accident when a car crossed us at high speed and over turned after a few kilometers. Got to interact with couple of local people who seemed to very friendly to us. On the way, we had a nice lunch. For those who are not used to having food prepared in coconut oil, the food was not prepared in the coconut oil. During the whole trip, there were very few occassions when we had food prepared in coconut oil.

We had the plan to stay in Kovalam not in Trivandrum. SO we crossed the Trivandrum city and started towards Kovalam. Kovalam is approx 25-30 Kms from Trivandrum. Roads are quite good on this route. In no time, we reached Kovalam and went to beach directly. After taking rest for 30 mins, we started searching for some sea facing hotels. Soon we got the place at a nominal price. It was all set for next day in Kovalam.

KOvalam is the place where you feel like going into sea even if you dont know swimming. Be careful... (feel free to contact me if you want to know why :-))

Part 4: Kovalam to Kanyakumari (approx 75 kms.)

This was a small drive approx 75-80. We started early in the morning at 4:00 am so that we can reach before sun rise in Kanyakumari. Overall road was good and it took us 1.5 hrs to reach Kanyakumari.

Part 5: Kanyakumari to Bangalore (approx 680-700 kms.)

After spending couple of hours in Kanyakumari, we started our journey back to Bangalore. Soon we're on the way to B'lore via. Madurai and Salem. The road is going to be 4 lane soon but it was under construction in April 2008. Be careful as the road is under construction, at few places its a two way traffic on one side of the road when it gives you an illusion of one way traffic. We reached Bangalore at 10:00 PM Bangalore. With this, we completed our first trip to Kerala.

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