Main Central Road, popularly called the MC Road, is a major state highway (SH1) in the southern part of Kerala. MC Road starts at Angamaly, near Earnakulam and ends at Kesavadasapuram, in the outskirts of Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) city. Interestingly both the starting and end are on the NH-47.
The distances and route of MC Road : Angamali -- 15km --> Perumbavoor-- 20km -->Muvattupuzha-- 43km -->Ettumanoor-- 11km -->Kottayam-- 20km -->Changanassery-- 8km -->Tiruvalla-- 7km -->Chengannur-- 15km -->Pandalam-- 10km -->Adoor-- 18km -->Kottarakkara--34km -->Kilimanoor-- 37km -->Thiruvananthapuram
Between Angamaly and Trivandrum, both NH47 and MC road travel almost parallel; NH47 traces the coastal line of south Kerala where as the MC Road zigzags through the hilly terrain bordering the mountainous western border of the state. In short the NH47 connects the costal towns of south Kerala where as the MC Road connects the numerous towns and villages at the fringes of the high range sections of Kerala.
There are numerous roads that connects these two highways along its length, making it part of the road grids in central and south Kerala . On an average the MC Road and NH 47 are separated by 20-40km apart. While the NH47 is pretty straight and wide, the MC road is riddled with numerous curves, thanks to the geography of the region. Nevertheless MC road is well maintained and in good condition. Many long stretches , especially towards Trivandrum from Adoor is greatly widened.
On MC Road you'll pass through a mid sized towns in every 20-30 minutes. Restaurants and other traveler facilities and frequent along the length. If you are traveling by bus, there are numerous long distance bus services operated by the state owned KSRTC. Almost every town on the MC Road has a KSRTC bus station.
Some of the major towns and diversions on the MC Road:
Angamali: On the NH47 while crossing the Angamali town square , a little after the KSRTC bus stand you'll see the diversion for MC Road on your left. You'll pass Kaladi and reach Perumbavoor some 15km later. Most of the pilgrims driving towards Sabarimala Temple take this route from Angamali.
Perumbavoor : This is a small town, the Alwaye Munnar state highway (SH16) crosses MC Road at Perumbavoor. The Cochin International Airport is located between Angamali and Perumbavoor.
Muvattupuzha: This town is about 20km from Perumbavoor. The Cochin to Madurai NH 49 crosses MC Road just before you enter the Muvattupuzha town. Also this is the starting point for the Main Eastern Highway (SH 8) that takes you to Thodupuzha, Pala, Ponkunnam and Punalur.
Ettumanur : You'll cross Koothattukulam and Kuravilangad before reaching at Ettumanur after Muvattupuzha. You'll also pass through some of the ghat sections on the MC road that's located between Muvattupuzha and Ettumanur.
Kottayam: This is a large city on the MC Road. MC Road passes right through the city center. Major diversions at Kottayam include the NH220 (towards Kumili & Teni), Kumarakom and Cherthala (on NH47)
Changanassery, Tiruvalla and Chengannur: Changanassery is about 20km from Kottayam. Changanassery, Tiruvalla and Chengannur are successive towns about 7km apart.
Pandalam, Adoor and Kottarakara: Pandalam is about 15km from Chengannur. Take deviation from Pandalam for Pathanamthitta. At Adoor town watch for the deviation. You need to take a right turn to be on the MC Road. The straight road appears as the highway but it heads towards the town square( take this diversion at Adoor for Punalur). In side Kottarakkara town too you'll cross a major junction. Keep going straight at the junction. Kottarakara is a diversion point for Kollam (Quilon), which is about 25km southeast on the NH47.
Kilimanoor: You'll pass Ayoor and Nilamel before reaching Kilimanoor. The road is wider but a lot curvy, like most part of the MC Road. Some 32km after Kilimanoor you'll reach Kesavadasapuram, a suburb of Thiruvananthapuram city. This is where the MC Road re joins the NH47.
The distance between the Thiruvananthapuram and Angamali is comparable (about 234km) via both routes (ie by NH47 and MC Road). However if you are Thiruvananthapuram bound from Angamali side, the NH47 is preferred thanks to the straightness of the highway and relatively lesser busy town squares to cross. However for many towns located in the Travancore region, the MC road is the main lifeline.
By the way the MC road mostly passes through some of the scenic hilly parts of Kerala while the NH47 gives an occasional glimpse of the coastal line and the backwaters.
Top must visit heritage and historic sites in Kerala
The pomp and fanfare apart, touring backwaters of Kerala in houseboat is an expensive affair. The rates are usually steep, running into a couple of thousand rupees per night, even during the off season.
Ashtamudi literally means , eight branches, depicting the complex topography of this sprawling backwaters.