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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Drive from Bangalore to Chennai

Since we bought the i10, we had been to Chennai around 7 times. And 7 being my lucky number, I wanted to share some tips and learning for those deciding to travel to Chennai and back by car.

Well, the first decision to take as ever is the route. As you would know, Chittor route is the shortest, but then many parts are still under construction / conversion from 2 lane to 4 lane. So, its advisable to use the Hosur road.

The Route
Well, this is the route that I take mostly.

View Larger Map

Breakfast / Tiffin Options
Hosur - Meenakshi Bhavan (just beneath the Hosur Overpass)
Hosur - Vasanta Vihar (Gauri Shankar) behind Hosur old bus stand.
A2B (about 22 kms from Hosur towards Krishnagiri, near Chinnar)
Vellore (I don't know, but I avoid it as you need to go beneath the over passes at Vellore).

Where to Speed up ?
The section from Hosur to Krishnagiri is quite good, with lots of slopes (both up & down). The hassle in this stretch could be the lorries, that find it difficult to climb the slopes, and you might have to wait and zip past a couple of over friendly lorries.

From Krishnagiri, the road to Vellore is a run-way. One can easily do average speeds of over 90 kmph, with top speed of 130 kmph. You can find Ambur bit irritating, as there is no flyover here. There are atleast couple of traffic signals that takes about 2 mins each to cross. Once you cross Ambur, you can zip to Vellore at about 100 kmph average speed.

You will be greeted with as many as 7 over passes at Vellore - yes. All the intersections at Vellore have over passes, so if you wanna take a diversion to Katpadi or Arani or other places, then watch out for sign boards.

The road from Vellore to Kanchipuram intersection is quite good, but there would be slightly increased traffic, that requires all your skills to wade through the maze. The stretch from kanchipuram crossing to Sriperumbudur is a bit patchy I would say as the tar has melted and you can see the yellow & white lines curves on the road. As a result of this, you need to tighten your grip on the steering wheel a bit, to have more control.

As I say near Tambaram, I mostly take the road from Sriperumbudur to Tambaram. This stretch is approx. 22 kms, but takes atleast 45 mins to negotiate.

The section from Hosur to Krishnagiri is very scenic with lots of lows and highs, that offers a breathtaking view from your driver seat.

There are lots of temples around Krishnagiri - Aravamudha Perumal temple, Kaatu Veera Anjaneya Temple, etc.

Once you reach Jolarpet, you can see the Yelagiri hills on the right (if you are travelling from Bangalore to Chennai). Take a moment to capture it if you want.

Near to Vellore, you have Sripuram & Ratnagiri. Sripuram is about 14 kms from the highway, whereas you can see the Ratnagiri temple from the highway itself.

Toll Gates
Electronic City - Rs. 35 (I avoid it when travelling towards Chennai, but take it on the return. You can zip past 12 kms in about 6 mins.)
Attibele - Rs. 20
Krishnagiri - Rs. 25
Vaniyambadi - Rs. 35
Pallikonda - Rs. 45
Walajapet - Rs. 25
Sriperumbudur - Rs. 25 (I can avoid it, as I take a detour before this toll towards Tambaram)

Time Chart
Silk board to Hosur ~30 mins
Hosur to Krishnagiri ~45 mins
Krishnagiri to Vellore ~75 mins
Vellore to Sriperumbudur ~60 mins

View the various Pics that I've taken on the highway.

Other Tips
1. Fill up the tank before embarking on a long journey, and check the tyre pressures.
2. The best time to drive is early mornings. Better start early by around 5:00 to 5:30, and you could have a smooth exit passage from the starting city.
3. If you are stopping on a highway, be sure that your car is completely off the tar (yellow line). Most of the Truck drivers drive on the extreme left, so beware.
4. Do not get too bothered about the attractions, pay attention to the road and the moving vehicles.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

1st Drive to Nandi Hills

I've been to Nandi hills a couple of times before on bike, but this has been our first trip on Car. We started around 12:00 Noon, and zipped past Hebbal, Yelahanka Junction & then as we neared BIAL, my wife urged me to detour to the BIAL. The approach to the BIAL is just fantastic, with flyovers to all directions. Its a 5 km drive from the Hyderabad road, and you will enjoy every minute of it. We just drove past the drop point, and then took a U-turn back.

Then, took a left after Devanahalli towards Nandi Hills, and got some fresh grapes on the way.

The roads were sprinked with water, the clouds decorated the hills and it was a fantastic sight indeed. We didn't miss a moment.

As we approached the ghat section, the adrenaline level raised within myself. After all it was my second drive on a ghat section (first one being on Chamundi hills). The climb was pretty smooth on our i10, I managed to climb the best part on 3rd gear, without too much gear shifts. We stopped at about 1200 metres above sea level, and took some pics.

The next part of the climb was rather steep, and I had to use 1st gear at times. There were about 10 hair-pin bends, but the roads are well laid and pretty broad, so you will find it pretty easy.

Reached the top around 2:00 PM, took the Rs. 80 ticket, and the drove to the top. It was hard to find a parking place, and we got one finally.

We then did some mini treks to capture some breathtaking visuals.

I didn't miss the water droplets on the lush grass, it offered me immense joy as would do to a nature lover.

The clouds closed in and mist began to settle. Suddenly the climate changed, and the backdrop became breathtaking from amazing.

Within few minutes, there was a slight drizzle that turned into a downpour. Then, we began to scurry back to our car and started from there around 3:00 PM.

The retreat was less fun and I remembered one tip from my Guru - Do not drive down a slope in neutral, do not keep pressing brakes all the time to decelerate, use lower gears. Just at the foot of the hill, we found a tea shop, and wow, very hot tea - fitting for the weather indeed.

From then it was a cruise, as we reached our home in Old Madras Road by about 4:45 PM.

More photos can be found from -
2010_01_01@Nandi Hills