It was a Christmas time and we had decided to head for for the vacations. As Christmas and the Sabarimala season falls at the same time, train tickets were unavailable and we decided to make the trip by car.
We started from Hyderabad on 23rd December. In an attempt to avoid the city traffic, we started out at 4 a.m. As expected the roads were empty and we were on to the NH7 without much loss of time. Fortunately the highway too was not crowded and we were soon zooming away at about 100 kph. The journey was uneventful and the three of us, Sumi, Pradeepa and me, chatted away happily till we reached Kurnool. At Kurnool, we halted for breakfast at the Punnami hotel.
Then we were on our way to Bangalore. We touched Bangalore by about 3 p.m. We stopped for lunch and since we still had daylight decided to proceed to Salem, which is about 200 km away.
The initial part of the roads from Bangalore to Salem were good. 3-trach highways, which have a profusion of cat’s eyes to facilitate safe driving. But then we have to get off that road to proceed to Salem. The latter half is bad. The roads are narrow and populated by some of the most dangerous drivers. The local bus drivers are to be feared the most. On more that one occasion, we were pushed off the road by an overtaking bus.
We spent the night in Salem are a grossly over priced hotel.
The following day we started out at 5 in the morning. The roads continued to be bad till Coimbatore. At Coimbatore, we got onto the by-pass road built by L&T. The road is laid out, as if with a drawing scale. It is straight and bump-free. The only hiccups being the numerous toll gates.
From this, an almost driver’s paradise of a road, we then get onto the normal NH. The roads in Kerala are not bad, from a construction point of viw. But they are terrible from the driving perspective. There is just too much traffic and the going was tough.
We breakfasted at Palakkad and then proceeded non-stop home.
The journey to Ooty was commenced in the afternoon. Fortunately, the traffic was much less as compared to the traffic we encountered on the earlier journey and we made good time till Coimbatore. At Coimbatore we lost a lot of time since we had to pick up a bag from Sunitha. So it was quite dark when we left Coimbatore for Ooty. The drive up the hill was beautiful and serene. We were blessed with a rare lack of traffic and that allowed us to drive at our own pace.
We commenced the trip from Ooty to Bangalore also in the afternoon. The road from Ooty to Mysore was, as usual, at its best. The stretch through the Mudumalai forest being the highlight. We got to see some maan and monkeys on the road. No elephants or peacocks though.
The stretch from Mysore to Bangalore was bad as usual. I suppose they will finish the construction work some day in the distant future. It took us almost 4 hours from Mysore to Bangalore.
We stayed overnight at Bangalore and started out at 4 in the morning for Hyderabad. The roads again being beautiful and immensely driveable. Punnami at Kurnool was the stop for lunch.