Left the Den early at 5.20 am along with Guhan & Pikcy the Lab with Ramesh at the wheel. The route was Walayar,Palakkad, Mannarkad, Perinthalmana, Malappuram & Calicut. To exit Coimbatore you cross Ukkadam, then the toll gate, into Kuniamuthur & Kovai Pudur, Madukkarai, the ACC Cement Plant(one of the oldest in the country),the military establishment,the Naval Rifle Firing Range and finally enter the National Highway. You cross several large petrol pumps - Indian Oil, BPCL,HPCL & finally Reliance located at KG Chavady. Reliance also has a nice restaurant called A-I. From the road you get a fine view of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyalaya nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats. After that you get to Navakkarai where you can see an awesome Nandi around 30ft in height- a well informed guess. Definitely one of the biggest Nandis I have seen. The mighty Ghats keep you company till you reach Walayar the entry point into Kerala - a protected forest and the sales tax check post. The Walayar Dam provides water for irrigation and also meets the heavy water needs of Malabar Cements. The check post which is normally a traffic bottleneck was mercifully uncongested.
The Palakkad - Mannarkad drive was sublime- lined with big trees, thick vegetation and plantations on both sides of the road. Plantations included coconut, areca nut, banana, jack fruit, tapioca. After travelling 16 kms one could take a turn to visit Dhoni falls about 10 kms from the highway. After another 5 kms or so you cross Kalladikode and see sign boards for Meenavallam & Attla waterfalls. Next is a turning to Kanchirapuzha Dam 8.5 kms from the highway. A small ghat section and a few hairpin bends later you reach Mannarkad. From there Silent Valley is only 43 Kms to the right - the Valley that provides the delicate ecological balance in this region and enviromentalists have been fighting for many decades to keep this Valley protected. Thereon to Perianthalmanna & Mallapuram. Pattambi falls to your left & Manjeri is located to your right about 20 kms from the highway.Kotakkal the famous Centre for Ayurvedic treatment to the left. Kotakkal offers Ayurvedic oil massages packages to rid you of pains & aches, relax your nerves, rejuvenate your blood & to bring new energy & enthusiasm to both body & mind. You then come to intersections leading to Calicut International Airport, Kadalundi bird sanctuary (9 kms) & Beypore Port (4.5 kms).
After crossing a large river bridge we finally reach Calicut after a 4 hour drive- as we enter we see a massive Toyota showroom & a huge Maruti True Value pre-owned car showroom. We finally take a left turn, drive up a flyover,turn into the beach road and reach the venue of the Malabar Canine Club Dog Show. After checkin and medicals we enter the large enclosure and find 3-rings & huge shamianas specially erected up for the show. We first had breakfast - sumptous sandwiches made with butter,cheese & tomato & generously sprinkled with pepper. Our handler cum trainer - driver Ramesh skilfully managed our labrador bitch through both shows (ring 3 & ring 1) and carried home 2 First Prizes for Best in Class & one CC(Challenge Certificate). Pikcy has now accumulated 2 CC's & 4 RCC's. If she manages to get another CC she becomes a champion dog !
We leave Calicut around 2.00 pm. An hour later later we stop the car in a shaded place for a delicious lunch comprising home made pulihora & curd rice. I tried to read Angels & Devils(Dan Brown) but the aftermath of the heavy lunch made me drowsy & I had long snatches of sleep in between brief reading spells. This is a very rivetting & gripping novel and strongly recommended. In fact I find this even better than Da Vinci Code !We leave the Salem bye pass & enter Coimbatore city limits with Big Hoardings of Kalyan Silks & Jewellery,Jayalakshmi Silks & Alukkas Gold welcoming us. We finally return via Ukkadam, into Oppanakara Street & Raja Street, and then Big Bazaar Street before reaching the Den. Oppanakara & Raja Sts are the commercial nerve centres of Coimbatore - you can visit large wholesalers & big retailers like Big Bazaar, Chennai Silks & Ganapathy Silks & the biggest Diamond Merchant in town - Kirtilal Kalidas.