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Old 19th March 2022, 11:47   #1
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Default A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

We are a family of four living in Chennai. We regularly take road trips, but with the lockdowns due to Covid we were stuck at home for almost two years. In December 2021 we saw a window of opportunity to finally get out of the house. Work from home and online classes were taking a toll on us and we all needed a break.

We discussed a few options and decided on the third option.
  • Bangalore - Madikeri - Dharmasthala - Mangalore - Udipi
  • Vijayawada - Godavari - Hyderabad - Bangalore
  • Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari - Allepey - Munnar

We primarily wanted this vacation to be a relaxing, stress free holiday and didn't want to pack every day with a lot of sightseeing, we were happy to even spend some lazy afternoons in the hotel room.

The car in question is my wife's Hyundai Venue 1.0 DCT SX+ 2019. I would have preferred taking our 2016 Vento TSI but unfortunately after 1,25,000 KMs the DSG is on its last legs and could not be trusted on this trip with the family.

The Venue is a surprisingly comfortable car with good visibility and the engine gearbox combination was quite lively. It can't be compared to the Vento TSI's acceleration or road manners, but was adequate for our trip. It never felt underpowered on the highway despite being a three cylinder engine. The boot was just about large enough for our boxes which had clothes for a week. The interiors are a nice place to be in. We were able to use the sunroof in the hills and Android Auto was a boon for all our navigation, we used Google maps for the entire trip and it never let us down. The car gave us a mileage of about 12 to 13 Kmpl across the whole trip. Mileage in the hills was lower than 10 but made up for it on the highway.

It was tough to leave our dog behind, as you can see he wasn't happy to see us go.
Attached Thumbnails
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A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211225_062219.jpg  


Last edited by Chrome6Boy : 21st March 2022 at 10:45.
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Old 19th March 2022, 12:12   #2
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Day 1

We left Chennai on Christmas morning at 6:30 AM. My better half drove from our place on ECR till Chengalpet. Google Maps avoided highways because there was a lot of holiday traffic. The route took us through some small villages and very picturesque settings. While we couldn't make great time, it was a very nice start without any traffic or pollution. We ate breakfast at a restaurant where we entered the Chennai - Trichy highway. Once we finished breakfast I took over the drive.

There was a lot of traffic until Villupuram and we could barely reach three digit speeds. However we felt energetic because of being able to get out of our house. Once we crossed Trichy the traffic thinned out and it was a comfortable drive on a wonderfully maintained highway.

We stopped for lunch at Adyar Ananda Bhavan Melur after which we proceeded to Tirunelveli. We covered 614 Kms and reached at 15:30. We stayed at GRT Tirunelveli. The rooms were comfortable and service was good. We decided to relax and eat room service for dinner.

Day 2

After breakfast we left for our native village Kodagannallur which is 17 Kms from Tirunelveli at 8:30. The drive was about 45 minutes through small roads cutting across very beautiful fields.

After visiting the temples and our ancestral home, we came back to Tirunelveli and visited the splendid Nellaiyappar temple built in the 7th century. The temple complex is simply enormous and the stone carvings are masterfully done. There are stone pillars in this temple which make sounds like drums. There is a very majestic elephant who blesses devotees too.

We ate lunch at Nellai Saravana Bhavan which served good local vegetarian food after which we proceeded to drive to Kutralam at 13:30. The drive was through relatively small roads but without much traffic. We covered the 60 Kms in an hour and a half.

Kutralam is a very popular waterfall destination. Unfortunately for us many other people had decided to visit kutralam that day and it was simply bursting at the seams. We weren't planning to bathe in the waterfall but we even had trouble finding space to walk without brushing against other people. The poor policemen there were simply unable to get people to wear masks or practise social distancing. The place was very dirty and we only have ourselves to blame. However we spent some time there taking in the beauty of the five falls. Thanks to the rains Tamilnadu enjoyed in the preceding months there was a lot of water flowing.

Once we were done, we drove back to the hotel in Tirunelveli. The drive back was uneventful.
Attached Thumbnails
A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-_dsc0002.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-_dsc0013.jpg  

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A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-_dsc0069.jpg  


Last edited by Chrome6Boy : 21st March 2022 at 10:50.
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Old 19th March 2022, 12:55   #3
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Day 3

Our stay in Tirunelveli had come to an end. Our next destination was Alleppey with a stop at Kanyakumari. We felt after breakfast at 8:30. The 80 Km drive took us an hour and fifteen minutes. The road was simply fantastic, with almost no traffic and the landscape was dotted with many many windmills.

On our arrival in Kanyakumari were received by huge crowds. It was evident many other people shared our views that it was time for a holiday. We parked our car and then proceeded to try and join the queue to the boat ride which will take us to Vivekananda rock. Unfortunately that queue was extremely long and we were quoted a wait time in excess of an hour and a half. Once again the authorities were simply helpless in exercising any kind of control regarding Covid safety protocols. We decided to skip the boat ride and instead take a walk down an extremely well done stone walkway extending into the sea. It was not crowded and gave us a great view.

Despite the crowds, the day so far had been good. We then started our journey to Alleppey which was 240 KMs away on a national highway, it will take us through Trivandrum. I can only think of one word to describe the drive, "dreadful". The road was terrible, with huge potholes and a ridiculous amount of traffic. I felt like I was transported back to the 1980s. I can't believe the level of difference between Tamilnadu roads and Kerala roads, perhaps I am unfairly generalizing.

In any case we stopped for lunch at Irani Restaurant Parassala which had a very limited selection of veg food but was fine. The drive took us seven hours and I remember being able to hit 80 Kmph once twice in the entire trip. We were dead tired when we reached the Wyndham Alleppey. As luck would have it the hotel was extremely crowded. It took us a long time to check in and even though the front desk promised to send our bags up to our room they simply never did. We ate at the hotel restaurant, carried our*bags to our room and* called it a night.
Attached Thumbnails
A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-20211227_092154.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-pano_20211227_101555.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-20211227_095308.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-_dsc0019.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-_dsc00131.jpg  


Last edited by Chrome6Boy : 21st March 2022 at 10:53.
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Old 21st March 2022, 10:11   #4
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Day 4

After our horrendous drive from Kanyakumari to Alleppey, we wanted to do nothing strenuous today. Besides Alleppey has little to do except for the back waters and the beach. *

So, after breakfast, we hired a houseboat. The views were really good. We managed to see birds, people fishing, other houseboats and overall had a great time.

We had a late lunch at Bayroute Bistro which was in the middle of town and returned to the hotel to relax for the rest of the day.

Day 5

We left after breakfast to Munnar around 8:30. We made the 180 Km trip in 4 hours. The drive was great in comparison to the Kanyakumari - Alleppey route. It was through the picturesque hills of the western ghats.

We had lunch at the Silvertips hotel in Munnar town and then drove to Sterling Munnar. We spent the rest of the evening in Sterling. They have a nice property with nice places to walk and a small tower which overlooks the hills and valley. They also have some indoor activities which may interest some.
Attached Thumbnails
A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211228_113509.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211228_103216.jpg  

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A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_100517.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-20211227_164210.jpg  


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Old 21st March 2022, 10:41   #5
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Day 6

We wanted to see some sights in Munnar. After breakfast we visited the Elephant Abode boating centre. It was a pristine lake surrounded by hills. It was really relaxing and the views were fantastic.

We stopped by a tea estate where we saw people harvest tea.

We then proceeded to Chathurangapara viewpoint which is the second highest point in the Munnar area. There is a tall windmill at the peak of this viewpoint which shakes slightly with the wind. It was quite the experience. This viewpoint sits right on the border of Tamilnadu and Kerala. From this viewpoint we can see both Tamilnadu and Kerala. The stark green beauty of Kerala clashes with Tamilnadu which has deforested pretty much everything and instead set up farms and towns.

While we complained about the poor state of roads in Kerala while praising Tamilnadu's road infrastructure. It is clear that there has been a heavy cost which has been paid for the development. You have to applaud the Keralites for their commitment to the environment.

We came back to the resort in the evening.

Day 7

We left at 6:30 AM for Chennai. We stopped on the highway for breakfast and lunch and reached home at 16:00. The drive was uneventful and after Trichy we were greeted with plenty of traffic because of the people like us who were returning home after vacation.


Overall we really enjoyed the trip. There were plenty of positives and negatives in this trip. The best time we had was in Tirunelveli probably because there were the fewest tourists there.

However the time spent on the road with the family was probably the best part of the trip. There is nothing like a road trip.
Attached Thumbnails
A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_150025.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_111116.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_104513.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_135145.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-img_20211230_125525.jpg  

A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar-20211229_133951.jpg  


Last edited by Chrome6Boy : 21st March 2022 at 10:56.
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Old 21st March 2022, 17:13   #6
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st March 2022, 17:37   #7
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Nice pics. And you are not generalizing about driving inside Kerala. It's a nightmare for almost everyone.

But hey at least the places you visited got your mojo back
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Old 22nd March 2022, 10:05   #8
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome6Boy View Post
Day 3
We then started our journey to Alleppey which was 240 KMs away on a national highway, it will take us through Trivandrum. I can only think of one word to describe the drive, "dreadful". The road was terrible, with huge potholes and a ridiculous amount of traffic. I felt like I was transported back to the 1980s. I can't believe the level of difference between Tamilnadu roads and Kerala roads, perhaps I am unfairly generalizing.
I too just returned from Trivandrum to Bengaluru after a 1600KM round trip. Highways in TN and Kerala are as different as day and night. The distance of 101 km from TVM to Kanyakumari highway takes anywhere between 2.5-3 hours. Traffic sense in roads of KL and from Parassala - Nagercoil is best not to talk about. I feel pity that you decided to drive through Kerala for most part.

Kanyakumari has a sea of people anytime I go there. People pour in buses and mini buses. Since I have been to rock memorial earlier, I choose to avoid it altogether now and enjoy the surroundings.

Driving aside, Kerala has some beautiful landscape. Hope you enjoyed Munnar.

Last edited by amods : 22nd March 2022 at 10:06.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 10:57   #9
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Excellent road trip, must have been very relaxing.

Just a quick query if you don't mind answering. How's 4G reception in Sterling Munnar for either Airtel, JIO or VI? I might visit them soon and I'm trying to find out if I can make it a workcation.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 11:30   #10
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Nothing like a good road trip to refresh oneself and to have good memories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome6Boy View Post
We then started our journey to Alleppey which was 240 KMs away on a national highway, it will take us through Trivandrum. I can only think of one word to describe the drive, "dreadful". The road was terrible, with huge potholes and a ridiculous amount of traffic. I felt like I was transported back to the 1980s. I can't believe the level of difference between Tamilnadu roads and Kerala roads, perhaps I am unfairly generalizing.
Thank you, thank you. We try our best to make the stretch a challenging one. So much, that we elected representatives who try to ensure it remains as such. Who knows. We may soon find remnants of the TVM-Kanyakumari cement road built in the 1940s if the potholes get deep enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome6Boy View Post
In any case we stopped for lunch at Irani Restaurant Parassala which had a very limited selection of veg food but was fine. The drive took us seven hours and I remember being able to hit 80 Kmph once twice in the entire trip. We were dead tired when we reached the Wyndham Alleppey.
Erm... You had to stop at Irani for veg food? I don't even know if they serve any veg food!!! As a local, it would be the last place I would go to have veg food. Just saying, as a few kilometres north or south you had lots of veg restaurants options.

Quote:
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Day 6
It was quite the experience. This viewpoint sits right on the border of Tamilnadu and Kerala. From this viewpoint we can see both Tamilnadu and Kerala. The stark green beauty of Kerala clashes with Tamilnadu which has deforested pretty much everything and instead set up farms and towns.....While we complained about the poor state of roads in Kerala while praising Tamilnadu's road infrastructure. It is clear that there has been a heavy cost which has been paid for the development. You have to applaud the Keralites for their commitment to the environment.
Sorry. Beg to differ. Kerala woudn't have had floods recently if it cared much for the environment. It is the industry unfriendly nature of the state that makes industries turn away. And we can thank the Western ghats for the greenery, not the people's commitment to the environment. Ofcourse, we have pioneering and active environment protection groups, but it is basic geography that results in the contrast between the two states. And IMHO, bad narrow roads with heavy traffic load are more harmful in the big scheme than proper highways.

Last edited by DicKy : 22nd March 2022 at 11:48.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 15:06   #11
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A good road trip is needed to refresh and rejuvenate oneself !
Driving in Kerala is an experience in itself. I make frequent instate travel between Tuticorin and my Native place in Kerala. As per my experience , the best time to drive in Kerala is at Night. Traffic is very much sparse after 8 pm.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 18:11   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrome6Boy View Post
Day 6

While we complained about the poor state of roads in Kerala while praising Tamilnadu's road infrastructure. It is clear that there has been a heavy cost which has been paid for the development. You have to applaud the Keralites for their commitment to the environment.
You must be joking. Read about "Gadgil report" and the amount of illegal mining and quarry operations in western ghats. Its an eye opener. It's been more than 10 years and if anything, the destruction of western ghats has accelerated over these past 10 years. The findings of the report are in the dustbin. It's no different from anywhere else in India. The greenery is because this tiny sliver of land is on the windward side of the western ghats and the SW monsoon clouds get blocked and shed their water, replenishing the water table and all those hundreds of flowing streams/rivers go on and enrich the soil, year after year. It's not because 'people of kerala' are particularly bothered about environment.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 19:25   #13
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Nice pics. All the hotels You have chosen for staying seems to be good. Because of crowds, I never venture out for long trips in the December End. I prefer the March End to do road trips and long trips.

As we are also Vegetarians, Choosing the right hotel will be a tough task in the unknown places. I usually fix the timing of the trip and the place of Dining in advance to overcome this. You could have stayed atleast one more day in the Munnar to enjoy that place in depth.

Any how it was a nice trip.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 10:46   #14
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Default re: A 1,700 km tour of Tirunelveli, Alleppey and Munnar

Thank you everyone for reading this thread and also your kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amods View Post
I too just returned from Trivandrum to Bengaluru after a 1600KM round trip. Highways in TN and Kerala are as different as day and night. The distance of 101 km from TVM to Kanyakumari highway takes anywhere between 2.5-3 hours. Traffic sense in roads of KL and from Parassala - Nagercoil is best not to talk about. I feel pity that you decided to drive through Kerala for most part.

Kanyakumari has a sea of people anytime I go there. People pour in buses and mini buses. Since I have been to rock memorial earlier, I choose to avoid it altogether now and enjoy the surroundings.

Driving aside, Kerala has some beautiful landscape. Hope you enjoyed Munnar.
We loved Munnar, especially since we stayed at Sterling which is pretty far from town and the crowds. The resort itself is quite old and is in need of renovation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asbshyam View Post
Excellent road trip, must have been very relaxing.

Just a quick query if you don't mind answering. How's 4G reception in Sterling Munnar for either Airtel, JIO or VI? I might visit them soon and I'm trying to find out if I can make it a workcation.
Good question, we have had very poor experiences with 4G reception in several Sterling resorts. Especially in Mussorie and Thekkady. However in Munnar it wasn't too bad, maybe because of the location of our cottage. We all use Jio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Thank you, thank you. We try our best to make the stretch a challenging one. So much, that we elected representatives who try to ensure it remains as such. Who knows. We may soon find remnants of the TVM-Kanyakumari cement road built in the 1940s if the potholes get deep enough.
Great to see self deprecating humour!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Erm... You had to stop at Irani for veg food? I don't even know if they serve any veg food!!! As a local, it would be the last place I would go to have veg food. Just saying, as a few kilometres north or south you had lots of veg restaurants options.
We unfortunately didn't know better, they had the usual veg fried rice etc so we weren't completely dissatisfied. But we couldn't see anyone else eating veg food.

I will keep my eye out for better alternatives next time we go on that route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Sorry. Beg to differ. Kerala woudn't have had floods recently if it cared much for the environment. It is the industry unfriendly nature of the state that makes industries turn away. And we can thank the Western ghats for the greenery, not the people's commitment to the environment. Ofcourse, we have pioneering and active environment protection groups, but it is basic geography that results in the contrast between the two states. And IMHO, bad narrow roads with heavy traffic load are more harmful in the big scheme than proper highways.
It must be perception perhaps. Coming from Tamilnadu, we see a lot of our river sand being transported to Kerala because river mining is apparently banned there. Also I have heard from my friends in Kerala that even cutting trees in one's own house is extremely difficult and is frowned upon by the society..

Also the sheer amount of greenery in Kerala is perhaps rivalled only by the North East, again this is probably, as you say, due to the geographical location .

I do not doubt the issues you mentioned and I hope the environment groups prevail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nthomas1 View Post
A good road trip is needed to refresh and rejuvenate oneself !
Driving in Kerala is an experience in itself. I make frequent instate travel between Tuticorin and my Native place in Kerala. As per my experience , the best time to drive in Kerala is at Night. Traffic is very much sparse after 8 pm.
This might have been a good idea, however we wanted to enjoy the sights of the mountains and the seaside while driving. Also I am not a great night driver and try to avoid it if I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by venkyhere View Post
You must be joking. Read about "Gadgil report" and the amount of illegal mining and quarry operations in western ghats. Its an eye opener. It's been more than 10 years and if anything, the destruction of western ghats has accelerated over these past 10 years. The findings of the report are in the dustbin. It's no different from anywhere else in India. The greenery is because this tiny sliver of land is on the windward side of the western ghats and the SW monsoon clouds get blocked and shed their water, replenishing the water table and all those hundreds of flowing streams/rivers go on and enrich the soil, year after year. It's not because 'people of kerala' are particularly bothered about environment.
I feel sad to hear this, I hope common sense prevails in future and Kerala does not go the way of Tamilnadu in terms of deforestation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anbaras View Post
Nice pics. All the hotels You have chosen for staying seems to be good. Because of crowds, I never venture out for long trips in the December End. I prefer the March End to do road trips and long trips.

As we are also Vegetarians, Choosing the right hotel will be a tough task in the unknown places. I usually fix the timing of the trip and the place of Dining in advance to overcome this. You could have stayed atleast one more day in the Munnar to enjoy that place in depth.

Any how it was a nice trip.
We actually planned to stay in Munnar for another day, but the Sterling cottages we stayed in weren't the best. The property is old, the beds were musty and the bathroom wasn't well maintained. We have been to Munnar before and will probably go back in future too.

Luckily finding vegetarian food was never an issue. We did not seek out any pure vegetarian restaurants, just ones which had vegetarian food.
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