Travel: Bangalore to Chennai by Road - On the Tollway
Every Friday evening, a number of cars head out from Bangalore towards Chennai. Not sure if cars head out from Chennai towards Bangalore too. Most of them typically take the tollway. This is because a lot of people in Bangalore have their families or relatives in Chennai or places around it. Also, with the laying of four-lane roads, driving is a better option than waiting for the Bus. However, nothing beats the comfort and economy of a Train Ride (if you can forget the inconvenience of reaching the Railway station). You end up burning more fuel in the Car as compared to other modes of commute. However, once in a while, it is worth it.
The route is simple:
- Head out of Bangalore towards Hosur. You could use the elevated tollway from Silk Board to Electronics City (that will cost you Rs.35 for a car) and will save you about 5 mins during non-peak hours. Or you could just ignore the elevated tollway and use the free road underneath. You will encounter 3 signals on the way.
- You will get another toll-gate at Attibele. You pay Rs.20 for a car. Drive straight through and cross Hosur (and a number of Ashok Leyland offices).
- About 80 Kms after Bangalore (roughly 80 Km after the electronics city exit from the first tollway) , you get a place to refuel, both the car and yourself. There is an HP company outlet with place to park, place to eat and a Pizza outlet. As of the time of this writing, the fuel here costs about Rs.2/- less than in Bangalore because of local tax differences (this is true the moment you cross Karnataka border and at Hosur).
- Head straight and you hit the next toll gate at Krishnagiri. You pay Rs.35 at this location. After you cross this toll gate, you will need to take a left towards Chennai. The first direction boards are in Tamil. You cross the first small flyover and then take a left. When in doubt, ask someone around and you will get the right turn. Or you could use Google Maps or Nokia Maps to guide you.
- From then on, it is a straight road for the next 250 kms till you reach Chennai.
- In Chennai, if you are going towards Tambaram, you have two options.
- The cheaper option -->> when you see the Nokia factory on the RIGHT, observe the left side for a direction board towards Tambaram / Chengulpet. Turn right at the next gap in median. Exactly 12 kms on this road, take a left towards Tambaram. The road leads through a village and it is suggested to proceed with caution as the road is shared by vehicles (light and heavy), two-wheelers, three-wheelers, humans and animals. Tambaram would be around 20 kms from this left turn (overall 32 Kms from the place you leave the toll road). The road is well marked and there is little chance of getting lost.
- The other option is to continue on the toll road for a few more kilometers till you see the Maduravoyal bypass. Take the road (right) towards Tambaram - you have a toll gate here. Pay the toll and look for the landing at Tambaram. This road is much better than the previous option and faster too.
The Return Route
The route back to Bangalore is no different. However, you might want to check the Adayar Ananda Bhavan (AAB or A2B) at the HP company owned outlet about 120 kms after Chennai. This outlet is open morning 7:30 am to 10:00 PM. Or have some coffee at the Cafe Coffee Day.
If you want a lot of company (in the form of fellow cars), plan the return trip on a Sunday Evening. The route from Hosur to Bangalore is typically crowded on Sunday evenings. You could experience long queues at the toll booths and any place where some of the heavy trucks are racing with each other (actually, when one heavy truck tries to overtake another, they faster of the two takes anywhere between a minute and ten to complete the overtake manoeuvre. This leads to a few hundred cars behind stuck, each trying to outdo the other in trying to be the first to reach Bangalore).
- Distance: Around 330-360 Kms one way
- Time: 4 hours to 8 hours one way
- Toll expenses: 250 to 350 INR one way. You have the option of buying a return toll ticket. However, at the time of writing this hub, some toll booths had signs saying the validity of the return ticket was for 24 hours while others said the validity was till11:59 PM on the same day.
- Speed Limits: Most boards in the route set the limit at 80 KMPH. However, you will find cars zooming at above 100 KMPH. Safer to stay with in the speed limits.
- Hurdles: When the toll way passes through a town, you have people crossing the roads. Though they typically tend to be careful, it makes sense to drop your speed when you are in the vicinity of a town.
- Fuel: Gas / Petrol is slightly cheaper in Tamil Nadu. It is not uncommon for a lot of people to fill up their tanks in Hosur.