India has a well-developed rail, road, air transport and coastal shipping network which is constantly being upgraded and improved to meet the increasing demands of this fast growing country.

K V Kuppam is on the Vellore to Guddiyatum road. All along this road are villages large and small. In the thirty or so miles between the two towns K V Kuppam is probably one of the largest villages. The road through the village has been substantially improved in recent years and has become busier due to the development and re-routeing of the National Highway from Chennai to Bangalore, a purpose built road which mostly runs south of the Palar River. This major road is being updated and in some places widened to four lanes as part of the Golden Quadrilateral road system (connecting the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) and the new N.S.E.W. corridor, a network of roads that will connect the East and West of India, the North and South and the diagonals.

The road through the village.

The road through the village has been improved and widened.

There is a very effective system of public transport in the area and there are also always large numbers of people walking along the main road. Buses pass through the village very frequently, several times each hour-travelling at alarming speeds, scattering other vehicles before them at the loud blaring of their horns, and narrowly missing the odd stray cow or pi dog. Since very few people own cars, most people use the buses and trains. They are always full to bursting, often carrying goods as well as people.

local bus

The local buses travel through the village frequently.

The mainline railway which runs through K V Kuppam links provincial towns and rural communities to the state capital, Chennai, which has an international airport and important dock facilities. There are a few village stations but only the extremely slow passenger trains stop at them. Katpadi Railway Junction with links to the rest of India is just 16km away (half an hour’s bus ride). You can find Katpadi Junction using Google Earth and Google Maps.

Train from Katpadi Junction go all over India.

Trains from Katpadi Junction go all over India.

A WDM 3A (Broad Gauge, Diesel, Mixed traffic, 3100 horse power) locomotive.

A WDM 3A (Broad Gauge, Diesel, Mixed traffic, 3100 horse power) locomotive.

Locally there are huge numbers of bicycles in use. These are used to transport as many as three people on one bike and it is not unusual to see large numbers of water pots or other goods balanced precariously while the rider negotiates pot holes, stray dogs, pedestrians and other traffic. The Government now gives a bicycle to all children who study at 12th Standard and above so the numbers are rising even more. They are all of very similar design, like the curved handlebar bike, such as the Hercules, of the 1950’s. Motor bikes are also rising in popularity; whole families will travel on one motorbike, sometimes carrying livestock or goods as well.

Family on a motorbike

Rama and his family set off for the temple on a festival day.

Bike overloaded with crops.

It’s amazing what can be carried on a bicycle.

Bicycle laden with pots.

There is a bicycle under there somewhere.

At festival time when the streets throng with people heading for the local temple, lorries are used to transport people, who pile into the back in large numbers.

Lorry transporting people.

Lorries, painted beautifully, are used to transport people and goods.

Wooden carts pulled by bullocks are still used, mainly by farmers, to carry goods. In the town of Vellore bullock carts stand in line amongst cars, motorbikes and lorries to deliver their goods to the local shops.

Bullock cart delivering goods.

Bullock carts are used to deliver goods.

With the development of the road has come an increase in passing traffic but within the village only the more wealthy families own a modern car and there are also a few of the old Ambassadors. Black and yellow taxis, mini buses and four wheeled drive Tata Sumos and private cars are often seen on their way to the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs just outside K V Kuppam.

Ambassador car

Ambassador cars are still popular all over India.

If they can afford it people will use the small yellow auto rickshaws but mostly people will walk to the main road from outlying villages and use the bus which is very cheap.

Black and yellow taxi ("auto")

Natarajan takes a lunchtime nap.

Funeral cart

Transport for a final journey!

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