Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bangalore Madurai Kodaikanal Travelogue - Part 1

Recently I did my longest drive so far covering Bangalore - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Bangalore in my Estilo car. With this blog, I'll talk about the drive, route, road condition, distance, and of course the places.
Instead of making it a very lengthy post, I'll keep it into 2 parts.

Previous day:
I filled up my Estilo and got it checked with Maruthi service center just to ensure that all is set for one of the long pending drives. It's almost more than 3 years for Estilo, but the longest drive I did so far was till Mysore and to Himavad Gopalaswamy Hills in Gundlupet Taluk. I always wanted to do a "real" long drive and that's when the plan of visiting Madurai and Kodaikanal came into the reality.

Day 1:
We started from Bangalore at 5.50AM. It took no time to reach Hosur road at Electronics City junction. And we were on NH7! I got to know about NH7 and recent road conditions from colleagues. I was actually very excited to drive on NH7. We stopped for breakfast at A2B just before Krishnagiri. Gulped Set Dosa and Coffee and we continued our journey.
A2B before Krishnagiri

I was simply amazed by the road condition of NH7. Most of the time, I was above 100KMH and in one stretch between Namakkal and Karur, I touched 130KMH. That's when I felt I don't have control over Estilo and I should not increase further.

In the entire stretch, there were prominent sign boards in English and Tamil and there was no confusion to reach the destination. Only in Salem, there was a bit traffic. Here are some data for a quick reference.

Route(NH7) Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Namakkal - Karur - Dindigul - Madurai
Road ConditionVery Good
Distance Covered445 KMS
Time TakenTotal 8Hrs including 1Hr break

From Bangalore to Madurai, there were 7 tolls and here are the toll free details (single entry):
TollToll Fee (Rs.)
Krishnagiri Thopur83
Kodai Road51

Madurai City:
Once we reached Madurai city, it was bit difficult to reach the hotel as most of the boards of road side shops were in Tamil and it was difficult to make out the roads we are in. Of course, Google helped us here and we made our own way! After lunch and a quick rest, in evening, we went to Meenakshi temple. We parked our car in hotel and took auto to visit temple. Later I realized that it was a wise decision as not only it is difficult to reach temple via narrow streets by your car but also it is more difficult to park your vehicle at a far distance and walk all the way to temple.

Meenakshi Temple:
As it was Saturday, there was a huge crowd and we had to resort for "special" darshan. Temple is beautiful and big. Carvings on gopuram as well as on walls are made out amazingly well and the painted roof of passages makes it more beautiful. As we entered further inside, we could feel the heat! It was very hot and we felt like we were in oven. Though fans were installed, it was not sufficient for the big crowd inside. We had a good darshan of Goddess Meenakshi, God Sundareswaran (Shiva), and God Ganesha.
Camera is not allowed inside but phones are allowed. In fact, temple authorities were suggesting visitors to not to take camera but instead take photos from mobile phones! Ah! Don't ask for the logic! Temple has four entrances. So when you are entering, you should know from which direction you are entering so that you can exit from the same place. Else, you have to walk all the way to collect your footwear!
After coming out of temple, we walked to some distance and we found hotel A2B again! A2B and Saravana Bhavan are like oasis for vegetarians in Tamil Nadu! We had dinner and went straight to hotel for day's rest. Next day, I was going to do another memorable drive, to Kodaikanal!

Day 2:
We started Madurai at 8.45 AM with full tank petrol. This is the first time, I have filled up tank successively and hence I could measure the mileage. It's 18Kms per liter on highway with AC ON all time. Pretty decent, eh?!
It took some time to exit Madurai but the moment we were on NH7, it was a smooth sailing. On NH7, we had to travel back towards Bangalore and after some time, we got a sign board to take left off NH7 to head towards Kodaikanal. Before I get into the details, here are some data for quick reference.

RouteMadurai - Nilakottai - Bhathlagundu - Ghat road - Kodaikanal
Road ConditionGood
Distance Covered124 KMS
Time TakenTotal 4Hrs including 30mins break

Once we take off NH7, it is 2 way road, hence it will slow down the momentum. Just after Bhathlagundu, we took a tea break in a hotel. We knew that the next break would be only atop Kodai. After a quick tea, we started our journey towards Kodai. As we passed Kodai hill basement check-post, I got excited as my car started ascending the hill.

From base to top of the hill, it is whooping 45KMS! I guess it passes through multiple hill ranges, but 45KMS drive on ghat road was just amazing. Road condition is pretty decent and in some places they had put boards about road widening work. As I concentrated completely on the road ahead, my wife started clicking pictures after pictures and my son was quite excited at the landscape view. There are not many hair pin curves but there were plenty of blind curves.
Kodai Ghat Road

Sometimes we were stuck behind slow moving bus/lorry and we had to patiently wait for a bit of straight road without incoming traffic to overtake. That was fun!

Just 7 kms before Kodai, we stopped for our first tourist place in Kodai - Silver Cascade water fall.
Silver Cascade Water fall
Tourists were not allowed to go near water fall and we had to see at a distance. We spent 30 mins here and continued our journey to Kodai.

We checked-in to resort which was further 6kms from Kodai city. Resort guys were very nice and we could talk to chef directly and we ordered Jain food for lunch. After lunch, took some rest and roamed around the resort to feel the hill station. Also, I decided not to drive in kodai for sight-seeing and arranged indica with resort guys.

For the Kodai places and the longest journey straight back to Bangalore, check the 2nd part.


manu said...


Suresh said...

@manu, glad you liked it. Enjoy the drive. Happy journey.

Things to do in kodaikanal said...

Nice blog. Thanks for sharing this nice information. The pictures and your very well post shows this is really beautiful place. There are lots of budget and luxury resorts in kodaikanal to enjoy kodaikanal stay within your budget

Karuna said...

Well written in simple manner.. informative..

Suresh said...

@Things to do in Kodaikanal, thanks for your comments.

Suresh said...

@Karuna, thank you for your comments.

Mohammad Farooq said...

I went through your blog before heading out to Kodaikanal, really helpful. Thank you for the Travelogue.

Here's mine:

Do let me know about it.

Suresh said...

@Mohammad, thanks for your comments. I will go through your blog.

Anonymous said...


Really helpful info.....thank you

Suresh said...

Thank you @Anonymous!