Palakkad (Palghat) is around 400 kilometers from Bangalore (Bengaluru). Two of my cousins stay in Palakkad and work in Amrita Institute, Ettimadai, midway between Palakkad and Coimbatore, just before the Kerala border. The route to Palakkad includes two national highways. NH7 from Bangalore to Salem and NH47 from Salem to Palakkad.
I left from Bangalore at 5.00 on a saturday morning. As you all might know, driving in the night through highway is really dangerous ... Had to go very slowly in the beginning, thanx to the nice lorry and bus drivers, who gets a sadistic pleasure out of blinding people with their glaring headlights and then knocking them off to the edge of the road.
Reached Hosur (in Tamilnadu, 40 kilometers from Bangalore) by 6.00, took a break (ate a banana and emptied my tank) and then took off. Sun was coming out of the horizon by that time ... and (more importantly) all headlights were off.
Some stretches of Bangalore - Salem NH7 is completely done and the road is a treat to drive on ... four (some places six) lane roads ... each lane wide enough to allow two lorries. Certain views of western ghats from these region was simply awesome. lots of mountains and small hills ... in different shapes and size. its not very green, but wasnt as barren as the hills you see to the north of Bangalore.
I reached Dharmapuri by 7.30, had breakfast and a bigger break. Just confirmed that erode is 135 kms away and salem is 65 kms away ... did reach salem by 9.00 and was all set to reach erode by 10.00. I was nearing Namakkal (Do you remember the Ramanujan story ? There is a famous temple over here) 50 kms away from Salem and thats when I started doubting whether I've taken the correct route ... I did not !!! I was speeding away towards Madurai and not Erode !!! From Salem I didnt see the sign board which I was suppossed to see. Did ask some dumbo seeing the sign boards showing the distance to madurai, but he said I've taken the proper route ... because of this I had to take another road (road ? it was more of a street) from Namakkal to Erode and it was almost 11.15 when I reached Erode. I took another break there, filled the petrol tank, empied my own tank and started off again before 12.00.
From there onwards it was very nice road ... and I was moving at the maximum speed I could. covered almost 105 kms in 80 mins and reached Ettimadai (that was my destination, since my cousins had to work that day ...) by 1.20. Ettimadai is close to Kerala border. We left to Palakkad together in the evening.
Return jouney was much smoother. started off at 5.00 in the morning from Palakkad and reached Ettimadai by 6.00. after the daylight was up ... it was very easy. road was really cool till salem ... wide and smooth roads, with no bumps or cracks ... my bike recorded its best speed (just below 115 km) ... RPM meter was almost on the red zone (9500 rpm). had a nice breakfast and hovered around for some time at Salem ...
I took a detour just before Dharmapuri and it turned out to be 25 km shorter ... nature was at its charming best but I couldn't really enjoy it since the roads were at its deceptive best - full of cracks and gutters ... hmmm ... did a lot of good to my back ... I mean lots of exercise ...
Reached hosur by 12.00 and Bangalore by 12.30, came straight to the office, since I had no more leaves to take ...
I am fine now ... just that the shoulders are aching a little bit due to the weight of the bag ... and my index finger (brake finger) is really aching, along with the thumb (abberration with the throttle) and my back - thanx to the detour and the gutters there - and neck - helmet this time - and (did you hear me saying what not ?) after all what do you except after travelling almost 900 kms in a bike in two days :))
A view of the Chennai - Bangalore / Salem - Bangalore NH7 under construction. This is part of both the Golden Quadrilateral and North - South national corridor.
This photo was taken from Dharmapuri, where I had breakfast from.
There are lots of hills on the way. This one is half way between Coimbatore & Erode.
This is enroute to Malampuzha, where we went for a picnic.
Another 'hill and palm tree' view near Salem.
A view of the Malampuzha gardens. Towards the left is the Malampuzha dam.
The famous Yakshi statue in Malampuzha gardens, made by Kanai Kunjiraman in a single monolithic granite piece.