Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Southern Sojourn

Feb was a month of travel for me. And I did plan it. It was quite some time since we traveled after Samyuktha was born. So this was it. Her 'Choorunu' (Annaprasam) was planned in Guruvayoor temple on 11th of Feb, on the day of 6th wedding anniversary of Janaki and me :)

Bangalore to Coimbatore

4th February it was, at around 5.45 am we started off from our house in Jayanagar towards Coimbatore. The plan was to reach Coimbatore, and stay there overnight at a relatives place. Next day we had plans to visit the Isha Yoga center in Kovai (that was Janaki's plan) and also a rest day. We did not want to take chances with Samyuktha as I did not know how she will respond to the first long distance travel.

So off we went, this time taking a different route from normal. Usually we take Bangalore - Hosur - Salem - Coimbatore route which is almost a 4-lane highway. But this time, I wanted to take a different route and that was Bangalore - Kanakaura - Kollegal - Chamrajpet - Satyamangalam - Coimbatore. This route was not very famous till recently as it was not in a good shape and long time back it was infamous for the forest hero Veerappan who used the forests on the way as hideouts.

The drive was good and the first stop was a bio-break shortly after Kollegal. I had expected few
speed-breakers on the way but surprisingly there were none. The whether was so cool and fresh. There were no vehicles on road and we were the only one for sometime. Samyuktha didn't quite like her seat in the car but did not make much noise.

Clicked few pictures of the surroundings and headed towards Chamrajanagar where we planned to have breakfast.

We stopped at Nijaguna residency at Chamrajanagar by around 9.30 am. I had read reviews of this place and was supposed to be the only decent place to eat on this route. Eateries are the only concern in this route to Coimbatore. Well, we learnt that this place was expensive while paying the bill. A coffee cost us Rs. 35, a simple coffee - nothing great in terms of taste or quantity. Well, we used few of their resources to feed Samyuktha and get her freshened. So we thought it is okay.

We left the place around 10.15 am or so and headed towards Satyamangalam. The road was nice, and the drive was good. The scenes around the road was good - not much of human in-habitation and lot of trees. Well, most parts were part of reserved forest I believe. We crossed the Dhimbam ghats with its 27 hairpin curves in around 30 minutes and landed in Bannary. Satyamangalam was covered in another 30 minutes and it was a pretty big town. Not like what we have heard about the dreaded Veerappan sir. Even I found one Muthoot Gold Loan branch there. Well, Mallus are everywhere!!

Before entering Kovai town I took the deviation towards the relatives place which is in Vadavalli. Thanks to my Garmin and Google maps, I had mapped out the route in Garmin. But the roads were not that good but still okay. One thing I should tell, if you map your routes well, you don't have to stop anywhere to ask for directions and get lost. My Garmin clearly led me to the house without any confusion. I just had to follow her instructions (no...not Janaki's, my Garmin lady's).

Finally, we landed up in Vadavally at around 1 pm after having lunch at a hotel on the way. Samyuktha was okay, bit tired. That's all. Otherwise she was fine with her first long journey in car.

Well, here I would like to mention one thing. This route to Coimbatore from Bangalore is around 60 kms lesser and also will save you around Rs. 400 as toll fee. It might take 30 min extra, but here you are driving in pristine natural conditions, not the uneventful 4-lane highway. Try it next time. (The only problem is - if you have to cross Coimbatore and go, like for e.g., Palakkad or Kochi, you will have to cut across Coimbatore town which will take time.)

Sojourn is not over yet. It was just the beginning of the 2700 odd kilometers and 1 month from Bangalore to Guruvayoor to Kanyakumari to Kannur and then to Bangalore back.