The Union Territory of Pondicherry or Puducherry is a coastal city in the east coast of India and is around 350 Kilometers from Bangalore. It is one of the famous weekend getaways and and ideal place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Bay of Bengal. The city was under French rule until 1954 and you can still find the French-subcontinental aesthetic.

 

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Pondicherry had been in our wish list for a very long time and we made a plan to this vibrant city during a long weekend. A long weekend is an ideal duration to visit Pondicherry and our plan was to leave early from Bangalore on a Friday morning and return back on Sunday evening. The easiest way to reach Pondicherry from Bangalore is to drive down, considering that it is only around 350 Kilometers and is a 6 hour drive.

Did some quick research on multiple forums about the road conditions and the route to take. Every forum highlighted the pathetic road conditions through Tiruvannamalai. Double checked it with couple of my friend and they also reiterated how bad the road conditions were while driving through Tiruvannamalai – unfortunately, this is the shortest route to Pondicherry.

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The route through Tiruvannamalai is the shortest route but road conditions are very bad.

Started looking out for an alternate route and after a lot of research and deliberations finalized the following route:

Bangalore -> Krishnagiri -> Ambur -> Vellore -> Arcot -> Vandavasi -> Tindivanam -> Pondicherry 

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The route that we finalized through Arcot. Road conditions are very good and even though the route is a good 50 kilometers more than the Tiruvannamalai, you end up reaching Pondicherry without losing on drive time.

 

The Drive

Packed the bags, tanked up my car at the Shell gas station and completed the mandatory checks on Thursday night so as to ensure that we can leave the city early on Friday. From our previous experiences we knew that we would encounter heavy traffic on Friday morning as most of the people residing in Bangalore pack their bags and drive out of the city. Factored in the check-in time at our resort in Pondicherry and left our home at sharp 6:00 AM, a bad move on hind-sight. We usually leave at around 4:00 AM while driving down to Goa and breeze through the tolls at the hour. But a 6:00 AM start meant that we were in for a surprise.

Hit the N.I.C.E road and within no time we were on the highway heading towards Hosur. And then it struck us, Attibele toll was a mess. There was a mile long queue of vehicles trying to get out of the city. It was total chaos as no one was following any lane and trying to squeeze in through gaps which did not exist.

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The jam that we encountered at Attibele.

It took us a good 30 minutes to get past this toll and it was already 7:15 AM on the clock. The roads opened up as we crossed Hosur and we were able to make good time.

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The 6-lane road all the way to Krishnagiri is a pleasure to drive.

 

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Another shot of the 6-lane road.

 

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Surprisingly, we did not encounter any traffic till Krishnagiri. Managed to make good time on stretches like these, where there was practically no traffic.

 

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Another shot of the highway as the sun starts to peep through the cloud cover.

 

It was around 7:45 AM when we reached A2B near Shoolagiri. Over the years, we have made this our pitstop where we have a sumptuous breakfast before heading South. Had freshly made vadas and idly (these are readily available and you do not end up standing in the long waitlist of orders) and started our drive towards Pondicherry at 8:15 AM.

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The A2B complex at Shoolagiri is a perfect breakfast pitstop for folks who want to have authentic South Indian Breakfast.

 

By 8:45 we were able to reach the Krishnagiri Toll. Again, the long queue of vehicles was mile long and we were back to the chaos and madness. Another good 30 minutes lost at this toll and it was already 9:15 AM by the time we reached Krishnagiri.

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The long queue of vehicles waiting to cross the Krishnagiri toll.

 

As you cross Krishnagiri town, keep and eye on the boards as you would need to take a left turn (Route to Chennai). If you end up taking the fly-over, you will end up taking the road heading towards Salem and would have to take a U-turn and join this road.

 

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After Crossing the Krishnagiri toll, look out for the sign boards which tell you take a left to continue towards Chennai.

 

After taking a left, continue on the National highway. The sign board would call out that you need to take a right to continue your drive to Pondicherry. This is the route that you need to take if you plan to drive through Tiruvannamalai. Unless you plan to take a stop and visit the temple at Tiruvannamalai, continue your drive towards Vellore.

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The route that you need to take if you are planning to drive through Tiruvannamalai. The road conditions are bad though !!

 

The road till Arcot is in excellent condition as it is the National highway that would take you to Chennai. We were able to reach reach Arcot at around 10:45 PM. Few photos that we were able to take en-route

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The highway from Krishnagiri to Arcot. The roads are in great condition

 

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Another shot of the highway. We did not have any traffic and were able to drive past Ambur and Vellore

 

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Another Shot of the highway. Regret the photo quality..

 

As you reach Arcot, do not cross the Palar bridge and look out for the sign which tells you to take a right.

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You need to exit the National highway and take the state highway which would take you towards Vandavasi.

 

Roads from here are narrow but in good condition. Do not overspeed on these roads are they practically do not have any run off area. We had to literally get off the road on couple of occasions to allow oncoming buses to pass us – these buses do not slow down a bit !!!

 

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The 2 lane state highway from Arcot to Vandavasi. Loads of greenery and beautiful landscape.

 

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Another shot of the scenic route through villages.

 

It took us another 2.5 hours to reach Pondicherry from Arcot. The road were in great condition and we followed the Google maps directions to reach out resort at around 1:30 PM, just in time for Lunch.

 

Note: We took the Tiruvannamalai route on our way back and till date regret that we took that option. The roads had intermittent bad patches and it was practically impossible for us to maintain speed. Would never recommend the route to anyone. 

 

 

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