My first trip to Tiruvannamalai

I had to check out, analyze and provide my opinion to my dad on the project called Viviza Grande by [Shrisha Infra]( It was a clear Sunday morning and due to my inability to wake up too early, I could only get out of Bangalore by 8:30am. Still due to almost negligible traffic, I was able to quickly hit the elevated tollway, and exit Karnataka peacefully.

For those to whom this route is home ground, you can only sympathize with me the feeling when you enter Hosur – this town kind of drags you down in terms of speed so you lose some time getting out towards Shoolagiri so much so that we had to make that customary stopover by Shri Krishna Inn, which is famous for its piping hot idlis and dosas which are quickly served. Not to forget to mention the filter kaapi 🙂

After that customary stopover we headed and reached Krishnagiri in no time due to great roads. The trauma started after we took that right turn to Tiruvannamalai road. Before I go forward, let’s look at google’s map suggestions. There were totally four routes which we’ll take a look now.

**Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Mathur-Uthangarai-Chengam-Tiruvannamalai : 196km, about 3 hours and 35 min**

This is the route we chose as default since my dad had visited before and suggested the same. But after krishnagiri, I was appalled at seeing the condition of the road as we moved on.

At many places due to infrastructural works going on, only 50% of the road was motorable and in that as well there was two way traffic. Besides, whatever was left of that 50% was only 25% of tar road and the rest was broken gravel not fit for motoring really. Its unfortunate that these road works only allow us to only travel at 40-60kmph thereby consuming an additional 2 hours of time to reach destination. It took a total of almost 6 hours for us to reach there. Lack of sanitation facilities, or tender coconuts along the way or any eateries made our life only that much more difficult.

There is a particular stretch between krishnagiri to uthangarai, where even the mobile data signal is not present which makes it difficult for us to gather the maps using smartphones. Offline maps are highly recommended. The GPS alone is not enough to latch onto where you are as the phone also expects cell towers to be present nearby.

Also some parts of this road was a breeze to drive on, and it gave a picture of what this road would be like by another year or two. But these stretches were short lived and the euphoria was abruptly put to halt each time dumping the vehicle into sudden trenches in the road which is not at all good. The absence of warning signs and direction boards only made it worst to traverse not knowing where roads would lead.

Add to it the government buses of Tamilnadu who just wanted to speed up along the dusty stretches to prove a point on how much dust they could rake up forcing other vehicles to keep their windows closed at all times. God forbid you keep your window open by mistake and you are going to have lots of road debris inside the vehicle and potentially all over your face as well 🙂

Some of these stretches were only full of stones and driving on that was utter rubbish with japanese sedans such as my sunny. Perhaps vehicles like Bolero would do better !

After nearly two hours the car had been transferring all the road abnormalities to the steering and the pedals and inturn to the hands and feet and left me completely shaky by the time we reached the destination.

We quickly took a look at Shrisha’s Viviza Grande project. Priced reasonably at this time and being equidistant from the central areas of Tiruvannamalai the project is one that shows a good amount of professionalism in the thoughts that have gone into its design. In this post I will not concentrate on the real estate specifics such as whether the papers are proper or other such info, but the project does have many parks designed as per scientific rules, drip irrigation, lots of tree lined avenues which would be a fantastic place if maintained properly for next 10-20 years.

Every plot has a water and electricity supply to the plot neatly, and the entrance lighting is managed with solar panels. Tiruvannamalai being hot, this bodes well for harnessing solar energy. The project also provides a great view of the mountain from almost every plot which is a divine experience for many.

After having a rather late lunch at the Chola restaurant, I bumped into the drivers of the volvo bus from Bangalore who also echoed to me that the route that I had taken was rubbish and there were better ways to get back to Bangalore. One of the suggestions was to go to Vellore and then hit the tollway back to Bangalore. But that meant a good road with another hour more of driving.

**Tiruvannamalai-Vellore-Krishnagiri-Hosur-Bangalore : 283km, about 4 hours and 15 min**

It was almost 100km more and total drive time was 4 hours and 15 mins which was tempting. The guy also spoke about Harur but was skeptical whether the route would be any different from what I had come through earlier.

The harur road was about 4 hours, and about 50 km more.

**Tiruvannamalai-Harur-Kannamangalam-Krishnagiri-Hosur-Bangalore : 248km, about 4 hours**

I tried following the road through and to Harur, but the first right turn my google phone told me to take was less than 20 feet by width where a sedan could never make it. I was terrified and decided that a known devil is better than unknown angel. Knowing Vellore was more by distance that was out of the list immediately. The only way back was through the same hell. So after driving upto Chengam, Google showed me a right turn even though going straight I would have taken the road back to Dharmapuri.

**Tiruvannamalai-Chengam-Singarapettai-Bargur-Krishnagiri-Hosur-Bangalore : 215km, about 3 hours and 36 min**

Somehow unknowingly I decided to take that right turn and was plesantly suprised that the road condition had improved by leaps and bounds. This is when the route map of going via Tirupattur turned out to be one more option for me. Adding about another 50km, but having a difference between hell and heaven, this perhaps was the most useful decision I had taken. The next 50km was close to a drive on an airport tarmac more or less with little to no traffic on the road on both directions, and beautifully winding roads which made driving a bit thrilling as well. Finally catching a sunset at Krishnagiri, we headed back to Bangalore for what would be a body-pain filled tired night.

> Familiar to Thine ears are the sweet songs of votaries who melt to the very bones with love for Thee, yet let my poor strains also be acceptable, O Arunachala!