Well, after some planning and lot of change in plans of dates and schedule, we finally could get our way for Pondicherry trip. I had planned a two day leave at office, wiz Thursday and Friday so that this could be a nice one and after return, a Sunday could be used to relax and get things in place before office life begun. Preparation: Umika’s(My 10 months daughter) First long trip:
First of all, since this was going to be a long journey for our 10 months daughter, we had thought out that the preparations have to be done so that this could be an enjoyable trip with umika. Often, with kids, if the planning is not in place, it could lead to tough time. My wife, made a list and packed every possible item required for umika and hence this was a long list of items to be taken along. Truck load already for the trip ready! Car Checkup:
Also a day before, i got the wheel alignment and balancing done. The front left tyre was giving some vovelling effect and hence this was on the top from the list of TO-Dos before the long drive. The wheel alignment and balancing got the steering response absolutely smooth. I was feeling very happy about it.
A day before the trip, I also took the car to my mechanic and got a basic check up done. He saw that the engine oil was little low, which he topped up. Also he checked the gearbox oil, which he found to be requiring change. I mentioned to him that the gear box oil hasn’t been changed in past 3 years and he was a little taken aback. He showed me the condition of the oil and mentioned that it’s high time that its changed since it would cause humming as time goes by. the gearbox oil had run almost 25k and hence His advice made sense and the gearbox oil was completely flushed out and 2 ltrs of fresh oil was filled up. Timing was checked and everything else seemed to be perfect. My baby was now ready for the drive. The last thing which I got done was get the air pressure checked that evening and voila, we were all set of Thursday morning’s early leave. Maps and distances:
The third aspect of the planning was that I had read extensively about Bangalore-Pondicherry road conditions and also printed couple of guide maps which would help navigate through the route in case we get stuck. Also all the advices on the TAI
and blogs written by people were taken into consideration. Course of journey:
The plan was to start by 4 am so that we could cover the best part faster and then have more time to cover the proclaimed bad portion of the drive, between Krishnagiri to Tiruvanamalai. After an early rise at 3:15 am, we got all the packing done and finally by time we rolled out, it was 4:25 am. I was still happy with the timings since for making this happen too, my wife had to stretch too hard and this was pretty cool from all means. Bangalore was still asleep as we left CV Raman nagar and within 25-30 mins of drive, we were cruising through the elevated express way from madivala and in a jiffy we crossed the toll bridge. The road was excellent from there and it was no time when we crossed the second toll bridge near hosur was well. It was absolutely dark and very less traffic and we could cruise easily above three digit speed. The car was responding fantastically well and quite very stable and at the back seat my wife and daughter dozed off in no time. In around an hour and fifteen mins we were at krishnagiri. The roads are absolutely amazing and the trip looked to be in a great shape.
From krishnagiri, one has to take the Chennai road hence, from the main crossing, its a left turn. After taking left, around 1 km from there, there is a sign board which would guide you towards Pondicherry road(take right) wiz via Tiruvanamali-tindivanam. I was getting ready for a single lane road with patches around it as learnt during planning. As soon as we took right from the main road, it really turned out to be a one lane road and a huge crater awaited us there. As I negotiated this turn, soon reality hit me. There are no patches done on the road and “Road is in ok shape” would be an understatement. From this point onwards the horrible road started and then if I am not exaggerating, there was no stretch of even 1 km where one could go in top gear. There was a fabia going in front of me and we both were doing almost 25-30 kmph and the this person driving the fabia, may be a new rider, tried to go through couple of places at a little higher speed and the car banged very badly. while i glided past negotiating that crater, i could see the person driving the fabia stunned in the driving seat. i am sure a new car could survive the way he banged the car else, it could have been disastrous. The road is terrible in condition and I can go on writing about the same! Conclusion:
Avoid this road at any cost. This nightmare continued till tiruvanamali. Imagine! From krishnagiri to tiruvanamalai, a stretch of around 115 kms, we took around 3.5 hours or so to crossing. I felt as if I have cursed my car by putting It through this condition ;-) but then there was no looking back!
While at tiruvanamalai, we stopped for a while near the famous temple and I got down and took couple of shots. I was not in mood to stop there but rather at the outskirts of the town since it was quite dusty. Proceeding further, I found my way towards Tindivanam main road which could be little dodgy considering that you would be passing through the busy thiruvanamali town. As soon as we got on to the right track, at the outskirts it was time to break the journey.
I parked at a corner of the road and we had our breakfast there. From here, the road was promising to be better atleast from the account of other travelers. We started from this pitstop in 30 mins time and nice parathas with tea were making it feel heaven now. Also the bad roads had taken toll on the mood hence it was a great relief to drive on good food. The road from Thiruvanamali to tindivanam was much better however one needs to be cautious about not getting too carried away, since as soon as you start to cruise, there were bad patches awaiting. We could do the stretch quite well and I was looking forward to crossing via Gingee. At gingee the weather was nice and the nice scenic picture made me to stop quickly for taking some shots. The fort could be seen and it was either all green wherever you could see, or it was rocky in the background.
From gingee, in another while, we reached Tindivanam. Again a dusty town with lot of trading happening all around. A point to mention, people are extremely helpful throughout. Wherever in doubt, if you stop to ask people, you get precise pointers and it was very helpful. Through the way we didnt take any wrong turns, all thanks to people through the stretch.
Tindivanam town puts you on to the NH66 again but contrastingly, this is the best stretch and I was shocked to comprehend that this stretch and the Krishnagiri - Thiruvanamali both are called as NH66. From tindivanam to Pondicherry, it was a distance of 45 kms and the road was just dream to drive. I was doing a constant 110-115 kmph through this stretch and we hit Pondicherry in around 30 mins. it was 11:30 as we entered Pondicherry and planned to "Give time a break"....
As i continue to write further, here are some shots taken while going towards pondicherry. further details coming soon.