It was a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday holiday combination, which made us plan to go somewhere out of Bangalore to break the regular life routine. Scouting for places, we settled for Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is just around 300km from Bangalore, we decided to drive by car (Santro) instead of wasting around 7 hours of Thursday night in a Bus with discomfort.
It was our first time drive from Bangalore to Pondicherry, so I inquired about routes through friends, searched for maps in Google, and tried my best to get information about the road condition. Well, it was not very helpful and as the driver I was left to rely on my own experience and instincts to decide the pace of the journey.
We decided to start sharp at 5 in the morning (as our check-in time at the hotel in Pondicherry was 12), but 5 am turned out to be an IST (Indian Stretchable Time) w. We left home at 6:30 on the Friday Morning for the beginning of our weekend.
As always and as in any of our journey out of Bangalore, getting out of the Bangalore has always been the biggest pain. So to speak, this time that was not the case, but still we mistook a diversion before the Sabzi mandi in Koramangala to reach the Hosur road :o)
Once we reached the Hosur road, it was a happy sight.. Wide and good conditioned road. Few rough road diversions, but I was still happy to cruise at an average speed of 90 - 100 km/hr (which meant reaching Pondi in less than 6 hours).
We did not even realize when we crossed Hosur and reached Krishnagiri Toll Gate (NH7). I was happy to pay 30 bucks for the lovely road and thought the same conditioned road will be there till Pondicherry. I can only laugh on myself for thinking that :o)
After the toll booth, we crossed a flyover and my 6th sense told me something was wrong. One idiot truck cleaner said the road indeed goes to Pondicherry. Though he was right, but the route was longer and went through Salem (around 50+ extra kilometers).
Still I went on with my intuition (after 9 kms) and took a U-turn towards the beginning of that flyover and saw a mark of a Right turn to Chennai & Pondicherry (NH46).
Our romance with NH7 came to an end and we soon reached NH46 and then to NH66.
NH66 looked good but suddenly you would see potholes. Potholes are technical term for bad patch on roads, what I felt was that, they were massive craters caused of some meteor shower.
Guided on with NH66 written at the top of every milestone and highlighted in yellow, reached our hotel in Pondicherry by 12:45.
Noticeable Landmarks from Bangalore to Pondicherry
Reaching Krishnagiri Toll Gate is easy and after that you have to be cautious:
1. You have to take a left slip road (left of the flyover) and take a left turn, which connects to NH 46.
2. After around less than 1.5 km, you have to take a right turn to NH66. This you have to follow throughout the journey to reach Pondicherry.
3. You will come across following small towns on the way.
Uthangarai at 45km
Chengam at 74km
Kilpennathur at 1km
Gingee at 146km
Tindivanam at 172km
4. Getting out of Tindivanam is little tricky. Wading through one Vegetable Market area until you reach one roundabout cum flyover. It is one of the most confusing roundabout of the journey. The direction markers are confusing a lot, but make no mistake, you have to go straight. So, go along the left hand side of the circle and take the first left out to the NH66.
5. Back again on NH66, follow all diversion signs (as the new road is under construction) and you will reach Pondi in 45 minutes or so.
ROAD CONDITION and SUGGESTED SPEED
Getting out of Bangalore, you can test the speed of your vehicle until you reach Krishnagiri Toll gate and until you reach NH46. On the NH66, drive very cautiously. Since it was weekend, Holiday, and early morning for me, the traffic was not much.
NH66, try touching 90 to 110 whenever you can. My suggested speed would be 80 to 90 km/hr. Keeping in mind the population, condition of the road, and the traffic of weekend.
Slowdown whenever you see dark spots on the road, particularly under the shade of trees. For some reason, there are more potholes under the tree shades (probably cause of the dripping water from the trees during rains)
I missed one big pothole and had to spend Rs. 250 on mending the tyre rim, after reaching Pondicherry. So, you better be cautious and lookout for them.
State Transport Bus Drivers of Tamil Nadu were a good lot. They always gave way with proper indications. A salute to them. I wish the same for rest of India.
I was reminded of Bangalore traffic while on my way back to Bangalore, when a Tata Sumo in front of me (with Bangalore number plate) braked hard suddenly because of a pothole, since I was closing in on him, to overtake, I had to brake hard with a little screeching sound. The driver of Sumo hearing the sound, completely halted his vehicle, which made me navigate hard to avoid the corners of his vehicle. Then he gave me typical sound "Haiiiiiii". I desperately wanted to ask why the hell he stopped the goddamn vehicle of his, was he waiting for me to collide into him?
Well, I just laughed, missed Bangalore and drove on.
Time taken from Bangalore to Pondicherry
5 hours and 45 minutes.
I have given link of the video map of the Bangalore to Pondicherry route , which could be handy once downloaded and stored on your phone.
Since this year is full of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday combinations of holidays, I suppose this topic would be of help to you.
Wish you a happy & safe journey!