Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day Visit to Maruthamalai and Bharathiar University at Coimbatore: Bangalore - Kanakapura - Malavalli - Kollegal - Chamarajanagara - Dhimbam Ghat - Bannari - Sathyamangalam - Puliampatti - Annu - Ranganathapuram (Coimbatore) - Bharathiyar University - Maruthamalai Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple - Coimbatore - Sathyamangalam - Bannari - Chamarajanagar - Kollegal - Malavalli - Kanakapura - Bangalore

This was originally a official Visit to the Bharathiar University located at Coimbatore city of Tamil Nadu District. For more information relating to Bharathiar University, please visit their web site

We started from Bangalore at 3PM. I got caught up with some personal work because of which it got late by one hour as our original plan was to start from Bangalore at 2PM. I am specifically mentioning that we started late by one hour was because I knew that I would take about 4hours to reach the Dhimbam ghat from Bangalore and wanted to see the sunset from there and also the view of Satyamangala and Mettupalyam towns from top of the Dhimbam Ghat would have been very very nice. Starting at 3PM means that we will reach Dhimbam Ghat only by 7PM and it will be completely dark by that time and also since it is a single narrow road, the traffic will be high and will be very difficult to stop the car on the ghat road, stopping the car on the highway was by itself a very bad idea. No one should do that for all good reasons and especially keeping safety in mind.

Coimbatore is a prominent city in south India and is very well know for Medium and large scale industries of all sectors but predominantly for machine tool manufacturing and textile industry. It is located bordering Palakkad District of Kerala to the West, Ooty and Mettupalayam to the North, Pollachi to the South, Polladam and Tiruppur to the East.

There are some good sightseeing places with in and close to Coimbatore. I will try to list down as many as possible along with the distance, although I have been to very few places in Tamil Nadu.

We also considered that we will drive through the National Highway7 until Salem and then reach Coimbatore Via Bhavani and Avinashi which would be a distance of about 385kms. Few disadvantages of this road is severe traffic, too many number of toll plazas and no good hotels except for Kamat Upachar but I am personally not happy with the quality of food their. These were good enough reasons for me rule out that route instead drive through the Chamarajanagar and Dhimbam Ghat highway which would be just about 325kms via Kanakapura - Malavalli - Kollegala - Chamarajanagar - Bannari - Sathyamangalam - Puliampatti and Annur. Distance is one major advantage and the other greatest advantage is that you will get restaurants until you reach Chamarajanagar. Road was not all that great in condition after Chamarajanagar, even though it was National Highway connect two major cities in south India Bangalore and Coimbatore. Once we reach Attgulipura the Punjanur Reserved Forest area starts. We could see deer moving around on the road without much of fear of vehicles.

To provide some inputs on alternative routes available:
Option 1: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Kollegal-Santemarahalli Cross-Chamarajnagar-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore
Option 2: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Kollegal-Dhondelinga HasanurGhat Road State highway 38(No Need to go to Chamarajnagar on this route)-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore....I am not sure about the road condition on Statehighway 38 although I believe lot of trucks take this route as they by pass chamarajanagar and there by avoid that much of time in traffic.
Option 3: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore....Please note that there is 4 lane construction currently going in almost since last 1year between mysore and gundlupet and hence this route is slightly time consuming and has lot of traffic.
Option 4: Obviously is the route via National Highway 7 which is Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Salem-Erode-Coimbatore Via Avinashi on NH47
Option 5: Obviously is the route via Bangalore-Hosur-Rayakottai and Palacode (Via State highway 17)-Dharmapuri by pass-NH17 untill thopur-SH Mecheri to bhavani Via Mettur on SH20-Coimbatore Via Avinashi on NH47.
Option 6 (a): For real crazy guys who love to drive a lot through the hills (This route will take and eazy 3hours more than any of the above options provided) - Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Theppakadu-Gudalur-Ooty-Coonoor-Mettulapalyam to Coimbatore Via Bilichi on NH 67. This route has ghat section starting from Gudalur all the way until Mettupalyam. No doubt that the road condition is very good except for very few rough patches and ofcourse the entire drive is beautiful.
Option 6 (b): For real crazy guys who love to drive a lot through the hills (This route will take and eazy 3hours more than any of the above options provided) - Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Theppakadu-Masinagudi-Ooty-Coonoor-Mettulapalyam to Coimbatore Via Bilichi on NH 67. This route has a very dangerous uphill drive from Masinagudi to ooty. Do not take this route until you are a pro in driving and your vehicle is in EXCELLENT condition. Drive through Masinagudi is slightly tough as the road condition is not all that great however road through the up hill to ooty is much better.

A word of caution here: Drive very carefully and slowly as you approach any check post. Do not carry liquor, do not play loud music in the car etc as these unwanted things will call for some unnecessary complications.

It was 9:30PM by the time we reached Down Town Coimbatore. I parked my car near "Sri Ganapathy Silks" and the other two guys who had accompanied us started looking for accomodation and hotel for Dinner. They got the rooms reserved at "Kurinji Lodge" which is a Budget hotel (Low cost) located in the heart of the Coimbatore city. There are man other hotels Hotel Blue Star, Hotel Mangala International, Hotel Aryaas etc...among many other hotels.

We were really tired. We had dinner at a Veg Restaurant located Right behind the Kurinji Lodge. It was time to sleep.

We woke up at a good time in the morning. It was already 8AM. There was no reason to hurry, however, had to get ready and reach Bharthiyar University by 9AM. After completing my work at the University, I got the opportunity to visit "Maruthamalai" which is right behind the university campus on a hill top, I should say in the middle of the hill and you will understand why I am saying so when you see the below mentioned photographs.

The best part of Maruthamalai is its topography and the height at which it is located. When you are in Maruthamalai you will definitely enjoy breathing very good fresh air for the fact that Maruthamalai has hundreds of Square kilometers of lush green forest area right behind it. This forest area is towards the North West, West and South West directions of Maruthamalai. Below mentioned image from google maps will proove the same.

View Larger Map

Maruthamalai is located at an altitude of about 500feet from coimbatore and Distance between Coimbatore Downtown to Maruthamalai is about 15kms. At the end of this post you will get to see the link for the temple website, kindly go through the same after you complete reading this post.
Market area located at the foot of the hill.
Maruthamalai Attracts lot of crowd during weekend and holidays
View of Maruthamalai Murugan Temple from the Parking lot Area. 
Another photo
Misty blue hills of Maruthamalai 
View of Ghat road from Coimbatore to Maruthamalai
On a day when the sky is clear and there is no mist, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful view of Coimbatore city
Aged people are bound to have difficulty to climb up the steps as there are more than 150 steps to climb before you reach the temple premises from the parking area.
Coimbatore Municipal Department has made arranged for good public transport facility for people to reach the top of the hill. Alternatively you can also use your own transport by paying an entry fee of Rs20 at the base of the hill. It is a distance of 2kms From Base to the top of the hill.
Roads are narrow and there are close to seven steep hairpin curves which makes it impossible for large sized busses like Volvo to make it to the top. You can reach the base and then take the public transport buses like the one shown in the above picture. If you are interested to climb the hill from base all the way to the top then you can definitely do so as there are well laid steps through out the track.
These goats had managed to climb this rock which easily in 80 degree angle of elevation and there balancing was something that caught my attention.
Around the temple.
Painting work at the temple is really very attractive with very good combination of light and dark colors having been used to the pillars and the ceiling.
Queue at the ticket counter.
Special / Quick darshan queue
Lord Ganesha at Maruthamalai
View of the parking lot from the temple area.
Main door to the Maruthamalai Temple with attractive carvings and painting work to the Gopuram. 
Not very sure of this area, but I believe devotees can make use of this place by taking permission from the temple management if they have to perform any special rituals.
Its really steep for aged people to climb up to reach the temple and for sure it will be equally hard to climb down the steps.
Shops that offer light refreshments to visitors

After my visit to Maruthamalai, we went back to Coimbatore town, had lunch and checked out from the hotel at about 4:30PM. I was hoping that we will be able to reach Dimbham Ghat during day light atleast this time but by the time we reached Bannari which is further ahead from Sathyamangalam. Bannari is located at a distance of around 80kms from Central Coimbatore and takes a good 2hours to cover this stretch. It is a single road through out with heavy traffic movement on both sides which makes it all the more difficult to overtake busses and heavy trucks. By the time I reached Bannari, it was already 7PM and it was totally dark. So luck this time on the Dimbham Ghat view, but, as  keep mentioning often  love and enjoy driving at night. This enjoyment of driving at night comes with its own risks and challenges.

I stopped at bannari and we all got a chance to stretch our legs and relax before we continue our journey to cover a distance of 240kms to reach our house in Bangalore. Below mentioned are some photos of Bannariamman temple. 

We started from Bannari at 7:40PM and reached Chamarajnagar in 1hour, 8:45PM. Very heavy traffic through the ghat road but it was indeed a comfortable up hill drive. We again stopped at Chamarajnagar to have snacks at Hotel Mayura Rajdhani which is right next to the KSRTC Bus stand. Food Quality and Taste is average to above average. This hotel has gone through renovation for the last 7months and looks better. Most importantly wash rooms are lot better here now (lets see how they maintain it). We started from Chamarajnagar at 9:15PM.

The next stop was at a friends place which just before the Malavalli Town. Chamarajnagar to My house in Bangalore is about 180kms. Takes an easy 150mins to cover the distance. The best part of this road is no humps, no speed breakers, no potholes and the best of all very less traffic. With a 20min stop at Malavalli we reached bangalore at 12midnight. Trip meter had clocled 700kms in total.

A trip that gave me opportunity to visit new places like Dimbham Ghat, Sathyamangala, Coimbatore City and the best of all the most memorable visit to Maruthamalai came to a happy ending.

I always crave to drive and visit new places. Collect as much details as I can and put them down in this forum hoping that you will read these posts and will be able to plan your outing better and have hands on information before you get to those specific places.

In case you have any updates on details relating to this post, then, please feel free to post your comment with the details that you may have.

Lets do everything possible to keep our mother nature healthy and happy.


  1. Nice one. Thanks for sharing. Popularly known as Kovai, Coimbatore (kovai) is located on the coast of river Noyyal. Burgeoning as a centre of medical tourism, the health care facilities provided here are among the best in the world. Check out other best hotels in Coimbatore.