Madurai is an ancient city by the banks of the river “Vaigai” in the state of Tamil Nadu. I had done my bachelors in engineering from Madurai and thus the city has many fond memories. There was a family function around the corner and we found it as a perfect opportunity to do a road trip to the city known for the “Meenakshi Amman Temple” and re-live some of the good old days.

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The route we took:

Bangalore -> Hosur (40 Kms) -> Krishnagiri (90 Kms) -> Dharmapuri (140 Kms) -> Salem (201 Kms)-> Namakkal (253 Kms) -> Karur (296 Kms) -> Dindigul (373 Kms) -> Madurai (448 Kms)

Bangalore to Madurai

Drive from Bangalore to Madurai

We packed all the essentials and left our home at 5 AM. It is always a good idea to leave early in order to avoid the city traffic that you might encounter near Electronic city. We took the NICE road and reached Attibele at 5:45 AM. Since it was a long weekend, there was a long queue at the Attibele toll and it took us a good 15 mins to cross it.

Immediately after crossing the Attibele Toll, you will cross the Karnataka – Tamil  Nadu border and will enter into Hosur. You should be able to cross Hosur by around 6:15 AM and will find the roads open up. Continue driving towards Krishnagiri on the NH7.

As the sun started to shine over the wide open highway, we were reminded that we had to stop to have our breakfast. We always stop by the A2B restaurant for our breakfast (I have marked this place on the map above). You will find this restaurant around 30 Kms after crossing Hosur. When this stretch was a 4-lane highway, the restaurant used to be right beside the highway, but post the 6-lane expansion, the hotel is tucked away from the highway. You will have a keep an eye on the board which  directs you to the hotel.

Google Maps  Co-ordinates: 12.639939, 78.064301 (Plug these co-ordinates into your GPS)

A2B restaurant
You will have to take the diversion towards the old highway to reach A2B Restaurant

After having a sumptuous South Indian breakfast, we continued driving towards Krishnagiri. Snaps that I clicked during the drive. 

Conversion of 4 lane to 6 lane - Hosur to Krishnagiri
This was the picture that I had taken last time when I drove the Hosur – Krishnagiri stretch. The road widening work was going on.
Krishnagiri Toll
After driving for another 30 minutes you should reach the Krishnagiri toll at around       8:00 AM
NH7 from Bangalore towards Salem
NH7 – Road leading from Krishnagiri to Dharmapuri
Krishnagiri by-pass - towards Salem
Krishnagiri By-pass – The city would be on the left side of this road

As you drive further, you will reach the junction where National Highway 46 (From Chennai) would join the NH7 – to reach Dharmapuri, you should keep driving straight on NH7

Krishnagiri to Dharmapuri.JPG

Keep driving on NH7 for another 120 Kms and you would be reaching the city of Salem by around 10 AM. Below are few snaps that I took en route to Salem from Krishnagiri.

NH7- Towards Salem
Picturesque drive from Krishnagiri to Salem. There would be greenery on both sides of this road. It is one of the most fertile belts that you will find in Tamil Nadu and you will be driving through miles and miles of paddy field
A very fertile belt - Greenery all around
Small villages that you would be driving through
That moment when you see 2 slow moving truck driving in parallel
You will find traffic till you reach Salem. Do not expect much of lane discipline – there were many instances where I found 2 slow moving trucks racing each other 🙂 . There is no point honking as they simply wont give way. Be patient and overtake when you feel there is enough gap to drive through.

Continue driving on NH7 and take the Salem By-pass. The city has grown significantly and to be honest, the By-pass also looks like a drive through the city of Salem :). Keep driving on the By-pass and keep a watch on the sign boards which mention “Madurai – take right”. If you miss this you will get off NH7 and would continue on NH 68 to reach Ulundurpettai. I have highlighted below the point where you need to take a right to continue on NH7.

Google Maps  Co-ordinates: 11.6251081, 78.1497685 (Plug these co-ordinates into your GPS)

Salem - Right turn to Madurai.JPG

From here, the traffic becomes very thin and you can zoom past Namakal and Karur to reach Dindigul by around 12 PM. Few snaps that I took en-route from Salem to Dindigul.

Another shot of NH7 - excellent road conditions
Another shot of the NH7  from Salem to Dindigul
Drive from Krishnagiri to Salem - The road opens out
Even though the roads are practically empty, do not over speed as you will find locals driving on the wrong side of the road and many pedestrians crossing the highway at random points.
NH7 - Photo3
NH7 – roads are in excellent condition

Once you reach Dindigul, continue on NH-7 and take the Dindigul By-pass. Keep driving on NH-7 – you would be crossing Kodai Road (station where people get down to reach Kodaikanal) and after driving for around 50 Kms from Dindigul, you should be reaching a fork junction where you need to take a left.

A good way to know that you are approaching this exit is to slow down after you cross the TAFE factory, which is a very prominent landmark on the highway. You should also be able to see the “Samayanallur” Railway station on the left – another way to confirm that you have taken the right left turn.

Samayanallur exit.JPG

This road is the old Madurai – Dindigul road and is a 2 lane road. You will find slow moving traffic as Madurai city limits start from this location. Some of the local buses drive pretty rashly on this road, so ensure that you are alert – especially after cruising on NH7 for more than 7 hours.

We took around 8 hrs to reach Madurai from Bangalore (which included a 30 minutes breakfast stop at A2B). I was visiting the city after a gap of around 8 years and found significant changes in the infrastructure. Many of the roads remained unchanged though – the only change being I was driving on 4 wheels rather than the amazing pair of wheels that I owned during my college days .

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