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Old 11th November 2013, 16:18   #1
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Question Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

Hello everyone,

I am planning to do a drive along a part of the beautiful western coast in early December 2013. The idea is to enjoy the NH4 upto Belgaum and then cross over the ghats to NH17 all the way upto God's Own Country.

The plan as it stands today is:

Day 1: Mumbai to Dandeli (leave early to avoid traffic)
Day 2: Stay at Dandeli
Day 3: Dandeli to Bekal / Nileshwar
Day 4: Stay at Bekal / Nileshwar
Day 5: Bekal to Gokarna
Day 6: Gokarna to Sindhudurg
Day 7: Sindhudurg to Mumbai
Day 8: Keep in-hand for exigencies

My ride will be a 2.5-year-old, 25k-kms-driven VW Vento which still shines and purrs as if new!

Since I love to stay at nice (read: luxurious) properties, the trip is basically structured around some interesting options I have in mind:

Dandeli: Dandeli Mist / Old Magazine House
Bekal: Taj Bekal / LaLit Bekal
Nileshwar: Nileshwar Hermitage / Kanan Beach Resort
Gokarna: SwaSwara / Devbagh Beach Resort
Sindhudurg: Maachli

Any suggestions on better stay options are more than welcome!

It's quite enticing to stretch our plan a bit more to cover either Kannur / Thalassery or Coorg / Madikeri, but Bekal / Nileshwar is the farthest we will go this time around. There is always a next time!

Questions for the experts:
1) Will leaving Mumbai at 4am vs. 6am making too much of a difference on Day 1?
2) Any specific route suggestions, especially to do with by-passing town traffic around Kolhapur and Belgaum?
3) What is the best route from Belgaum to Dandeli? Should I take: (a) Khanapur - Ganeshgudi, or (b) Bagewadi - Haliyal, or (c) any other?
4) How exciting is Dandeli in terms of (a) sightings, and (b) rapids for river rafting?
5) Is the route from Dandeli to Bekal do-able / advisable in one stretch?
6) What is the best route from Dandeli to Bekal? Should I take: (a) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Ankola, or (b) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Sirsi - Kumta, or (c) Joida - Kadra - Karwar, or (d) any other?
7) For my return from Sidhudurg to Mumbai, should I go back to Sawantwadi to take the tried and tested Amboli - Nipani route, or is the Kasarde - Kolhapur route also equally good / bad?
8) My car was serviced as usual in May, and has done about 6000 kms in the city since. Should I do any check-ups prior to the journey, except perhaps the oil top-ups?
9) Any weird / funny rules (like the GJ-yellow-sticker-on-headlight) that I should be aware of, for KA-KL-GA?
10) Any experiences / opinions on the following Surf Schools - Cocopelli / Mantra / Shaka?

Most of the drives (except Day 1) will start post-breakfast, so I do not anticipate any night drives.

I've done the Mumbai - Goa NH17 route enough times to want to do it again, so I do not intend to take that route, unless it will save me time. I definitely wouldn't want to be in the NH17 traffic beyond Mahad.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

P.S.
1) Mods: I couldn't find a thread for Mumbai to Nileshwar, plus I have some specific queries. Please merge if there's a similar thread.
2) This is my first post despite a couple of years of membership, and I'm quite ashamed about it! Sincere apologies, but that's going to change now.
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Old 12th November 2013, 21:51   #2
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocooner View Post
Questions for the experts:
1) Will leaving Mumbai at 4am vs. 6am making too much of a difference on Day 1?
It may not. The idea is to cross Pune before the city wakes up. I would say even earlier would help.

Quote:
2) Any specific route suggestions, especially to do with by-passing town traffic around Kolhapur and Belgaum?
3) What is the best route from Belgaum to Dandeli? Should I take: (a)
Khanapur - Ganeshgudi, or (b) Bagewadi - Haliyal, or (c) any other?
Best is drive till Dharwad. Take the SH to Haliyal and Dandeli. Thats the best.
Drive on the Hubli/Dharwad bypass. Drive till Alnvar Exit. Take that exit and drive towards the City. Once in there ask for the Haliyal/Dandeli road. The issue is there no exit for this road from the bypass.

Quote:
4) How exciting is Dandeli in terms of (a) sightings, and (b) rapids for river rafting?
Depends on volume of water. Check that aspect for the month of travel.

Quote:
5) Is the route from Dandeli to Bekal do-able / advisable in one stretch?
With the coastal route it would be quite tiring. That's because south of Honnavar the roads are quite bad. Its good to take a break in between.

Quote:
6) What is the best route from Dandeli to Bekal? Should I take: (a) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Ankola, or (b) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Sirsi - Kumta, or (c) Joida - Kadra - Karwar, or (d) any other?
Yellapur/Ankola is the best option. The route via Joida/Kadra/Karwar is also very scenic. But roads are quite bad. The Yallapur gives you very good roads from Yellapur to Ankola.

Quote:
7) For my return from Sidhudurg to Mumbai, should I go back to Sawantwadi to take the tried and tested Amboli - Nipani route, or is the Kasarde - Kolhapur route also equally good / bad?
I think you can do : Kankavli-Radhanagari-Kolhapur
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Old 13th November 2013, 07:54   #3
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocooner View Post
The plan as it stands today is:

Day 1: Mumbai to Dandeli (leave early to avoid traffic)
Day 2: Stay at Dandeli
Day 3: Dandeli to Bekal / Nileshwar
Day 4: Stay at Bekal / Nileshwar
Day 5: Bekal to Gokarna
Day 6: Gokarna to Sindhudurg
Day 7: Sindhudurg to Mumbai
Day 8: Keep in-hand for exigencies

Questions for the experts:
1) Will leaving Mumbai at 4am vs. 6am making too much of a difference on Day 1?
I would leave as early as possible to beat the Pune bypass traffic & beyond, the mess of the Pune-Satara-Kolhapur. In Dec, you will also encounter high density of sugarcane harvesting-related miscellaneous traffic in that sector in MH.

Quote:
2) Any specific route suggestions, especially to do with by-passing town traffic around Kolhapur and Belgaum?
Both Kolhapur & Belgaum have lovely bypasses. But approaching Kolhapur, you will encounter dense miscellaneous traffic.

I would suggest you go through Belgaum city (not complicated) & Khanapur, Ramnagar to get to Dandeli. Currently, the Khanapur-Ramnagar road has some rough sections, but that should hopefully be fixed by the time you travel.


Quote:
3) What is the best route from Belgaum to Dandeli? Should I take: (a) Khanapur - Ganeshgudi, or (b) Bagewadi - Haliyal, or (c) any other?
I would prefer the Belgaum-Khanapur-Ramnagar-Supa-Dandeli route, but Ampere's idea of going via Dharwad is also good.

Quote:
4) How exciting is Dandeli in terms of (a) sightings, and (b) rapids for river rafting?
Entirely dependent on when they release water from the dam reservoirs. Not the best of times to do river rafting. Wildlife sightings? Not the best of places if you are looking to sight bison & elephants.


Quote:
5) Is the route from Dandeli to Bekal do-able / advisable in one stretch?
6) What is the best route from Dandeli to Bekal? Should I take: (a) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Ankola, or (b) Kesarolli - Yellapur - Sirsi - Kumta, or (c) Joida - Kadra - Karwar, or (d) any other?
You can connect with NH17 at various places.I would love the JOida-Kadra-Sadashivgarh-Karwar route which is never in good condition, at least for a short stretch of 10-20 kms, but you can check out when you are there for its then condition.

Alternative is to connect with NH63 at Yellapura and take it to NH17 at Ankola.

NH17 currently has some bad sections south of Honavar till Kundapura & road is being widened after that. However, by end-Dec the roads are repaired. Driving from Kundapura onwards is like being in city traffic. Becomes worse after crossing Mangalore.

Leaving post-breakfast you could be in Bekal before sunset.

Quote:
7) For my return from Sidhudurg to Mumbai, should I go back to Sawantwadi to take the tried and tested Amboli - Nipani route, or is the Kasarde - Kolhapur route also equally good / bad?
Multiple choices of route. I would avoid going through Goa in December in view of the heavy tourist inflows & corresponding traffic. The best way to get out of the NH17 is to take NH63 from Ankola via Yellapura to Hubli. If you do take the route via Goa & Amboli, be mindful of heavy fog in the Amboli ghat.


Quote:
9) Any weird / funny rules (like the GJ-yellow-sticker-on-headlight) that I should be aware of, for KA-KL-GA?
No sun film.
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Old 13th November 2013, 10:03   #4
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Multiple choices of route. I would avoid going through Goa in December in view of the heavy tourist inflows & corresponding traffic. The best way to get out of the NH17 is to take NH63 from Ankola via Yellapura to Hubli. If you do take the route via Goa & Amboli, be mindful of heavy fog in the Amboli ghat.
From Sindhudurga, wont coming back all the way to Karwar is huge detour? In fact I was thinking even Sawantwadi would be a detour. Hence I suggested the road via Kankavali/Radhanagari. Any way while coming back he still has to go via Goa to reach Sindhudurg.

Last edited by ampere : 13th November 2013 at 10:04.
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Old 13th November 2013, 11:44   #5
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
1. Best is drive till Dharwad. Take the SH to Haliyal and Dandeli. Thats the best.

2. Yellapur/Ankola is the best option. The route via Joida/Kadra/Karwar is also very scenic. But roads are quite bad. The Yallapur gives you very good roads from Yellapur to Ankola.
1. In fact, I used to go up to Hubli (where the Hubli - Dharwad by pass begins at Hubli end) and get down to the Hubli - Yellapur - Ankola road. This was just to ensure that I use NH4 max.

2. Hubli - Yellapur - Ankola is a fantastic drive - especially after the mining trucks stopped. In a span of over four years from 2009 - 2012, I never encountered bad roads on this section.

Added reason was that, while Haliyal - Dandeli is of a longer forest area, the roadside amenities are barest. Even on the Hubli-Yellapur-Ankola route, there is nothing much to speak of. Driving in the night (had no option but to do it twice) is slightly scary, as there will be no traffic but for some inter-state buses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
1. I would leave as early as possible to beat the Pune bypass traffic & beyond, the mess of the Pune-Satara-Kolhapur. In Dec, you will also encounter high density of sugarcane harvesting-related miscellaneous traffic in that sector in MH.

2. Both Kolhapur & Belgaum have lovely bypasses. But approaching Kolhapur, you will encounter dense miscellaneous traffic.

3. Currently, the Khanapur-Ramnagar road has some rough sections, but that should hopefully be fixed by the time you travel.

4. NH17 currently has some bad sections south of Honavar till Kundapura & road is being widened after that. However, by end-Dec the roads are repaired. Driving from Kundapura onwards is like being in city traffic. Becomes worse after crossing Mangalore.
1. Correct. But once you leave the expressway at Ravet, the traffic upto Sinhagad Road going towards new Katraj tunnel will have some traffic. Thereafter, there shouldn't much trouble. But do watch out far sugarcane trailers and bullock carts! If they go in a convoy, it will be a real pain.

2. The traffic will ensure that you know that you are reaching Kolhapur - plenty of two wheelers and traffic coming on the wrong side. Plus people crossing the road at will and bus stops, et al!

3. I was told that this road was fixed last year - gone out of shape so soon?

4. Take a look at this thread - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ia-nashik.html (Mangalore - Ankleshwar via Nashik) especially the post by TheTeacher regarding NH17. I think NH17 is lifelong project.....

BTW -

1. the entire road is dotted with plenty of beaches, and some are isolated enough to make you feel that you own them!

2. After Kundapur watch out for the buses going / coming from Mangalore. They are maniac drivers!!

3. After Mangalore towards Kerala, your speed has to dip. The speciality of Kerala is that one town after the other keeps popping up - you can never thinking of speeding up even though you are on the highway.

4. Plenty of toll nakas till Hubli.

5. Try to have 'South Indian Food' - there are some speciality items available. Especially Kannada style idlies steamed in jackfruit leaves / coconut fronds :-). If you are a gourmet, try some speciality Konkani dishes in Mangalore (veg as well as non-veg - there is one more thread about eateries here - enough to make you salivate - he he he)

6. Coastal Karnataka and Kerala will be humid. Be prepared to sweat. Mumbai is pleasant, Dandeli will be cool.

7. I remember a thread about stops for food on this route, including good places for loo breaks (keeping in mind the fairer sex). Between Kolhapur & Hubli, you have to enter the towns in case you want a good place to eat and rest - except for a few near Tawandi Ghat (Belgaum) and near Dharwad court.

8. Fuel in Karnataka was the most expensive. I used to tank up at Kohlapur - Konduskar at Kolhapur used to exploit saying that there is no normal petrol, only SPEED.

9. Excellent ghat sections on NH4 - Shirwal (return via tunnel is even more good) and Tawandi are wonderful sections to test the driver and the car.

10. Mumbai to Dandeli within a day means full day driving, and will be sunset by the time you reach. Nowadays it is getting dark by 6.30PM.

11. Twilight Zone has been always difficult for me ( between 6.00 PM and 7.30 PM as per sunset and 4.00 AM to 6.00 AM as per sunrise ).

12. Dandeli to Bekal in a day is doable, but backbreaking. I have done Mangalore to Pune (via Ankola, Yellapur) - 8.30 AM at Mangalore and 12.30 AM at Pune. Three stops - Udupi, Ankola and Hubli. NH17 is always bad in some sections.
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Old 13th November 2013, 12:22   #6
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
From Sindhudurga, wont coming back all the way to Karwar is huge detour? In fact I was thinking even Sawantwadi would be a detour. Hence I suggested the road via Kankavali/Radhanagari. Any way while coming back he still has to go via Goa to reach Sindhudurg.
Oops, sorry. I missed the Sindhudurg stopover!
From Sindhudurg, you can go via Sawantwadi & Amboli back to Bombay.
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Old 13th November 2013, 13:09   #7
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
1. In fact, I used to go up to Hubli (where the Hubli - Dharwad by pass begins at Hubli end) and get down to the Hubli - Yellapur - Ankola road. This was just to ensure that I use NH4 max.

2. Hubli - Yellapur - Ankola is a fantastic drive - especially after the mining trucks stopped. In a span of over four years from 2009 - 2012, I never encountered bad roads on this section.

Added reason was that, while Haliyal - Dandeli is of a longer forest area, the roadside amenities are barest. Even on the Hubli-Yellapur-Ankola route, there is nothing much to speak of. Driving in the night (had no option but to do it twice) is slightly scary, as there will be no traffic but for some inter-state buses.
Did not get this part @VRP. How do you get back to Dandeli NH63 (Hubli-Ankola road). Do you go all the way till Yellapur and turn back to Dandeli?
OP wants to goto Dandeli.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Oops, sorry. I missed the Sindhudurg stopover!
From Sindhudurg, you can go via Sawantwadi & Amboli back to Bombay.
This is precise doubt I had. Is it worth coming back to Sawantwadi and take the Amboli road or he can go further take the road via Kankavli/Radhanagari to Kolhapur. Only problem I see there is one needs to work his way through Kolhapur town. (That can be a big impediment)
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Old 13th November 2013, 13:30   #8
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
This is precise doubt I had. Is it worth coming back to Sawantwadi and take the Amboli road or he can go further take the road via Kankavli/Radhanagari to Kolhapur. Only problem I see there is one needs to work his way through Kolhapur town. (That can be a big impediment)
The best route is via Sawantwadi-Amboli since it is just 30-odd kms from Malwan to NH17, and after that you do not have to go into any town till NH4 & thereafter.
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Old 13th November 2013, 15:43   #9
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Did not get this part @VRP. How do you get back to Dandeli NH63 (Hubli-Ankola road). Do you go all the way till Yellapur and turn back to Dandeli?
OP wants to goto Dandeli.
Actually, Ankola - Yellapur - Dandeli - Haliyal - Kalghatgi - Hubli. It was a joy ride, as halt at Hubli was needed. If my memory is correct, from Haliyal we can go to Dharwad direct or to Kittur (NH4), which was better than the Belgaum-Khanapur-Haliyal route.

Just noticed - there are more posts from us that from Cocooner!
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Old 13th November 2013, 17:45   #10
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
Actually, Ankola - Yellapur - Dandeli - Haliyal - Kalghatgi - Hubli. It was a joy ride, as halt at Hubli was needed. If my memory is correct, from Haliyal we can go to Dharwad direct or to Kittur (NH4), which was better than the Belgaum-Khanapur-Haliyal route.
@VRP,
OP is driving to Dandeli from Mumbai. So Ankola/Yellapur should not even figure on the routing. Since you mentioned Ankola/Yellapur/Dandeli, I got that doubt as to why he should go to Yellapur while going to Dandeli from Mumbai. Hence my question.
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Old 13th November 2013, 18:39   #11
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

[quote=Cocooner;3290059]Hello everyone,

Quote:
Dandeli: Dandeli Mist / Old Magazine House
I have stayed in 2008 at Old Magazine House and also at "The Hornbill resort" http://hornbillriverresort.com/ and I would definitely recommend that you stay at the latter, it has a tree house and regular tented accomodation and the view outside the room is beautiful of the Kali river and they also arrange boat ride to an island close by and also white water rafting too.


Quote:
Bekal: Taj Bekal / LaLit Bekal
Bekal is open from 8 am to 5pm, ensure you are there early before the sun makes it warm since it becomes very hot and uncomfortable, there is a large area to cover so keep that time buffer.

Quote:
Nileshwar: Nileshwar Hermitage / Kanan Beach Resort
We had stayed at http://www.nalandaresort.com/ and we had a good time, it is located next to a river, decent place.

Quote:
Sindhudurg: Maachli
We just stayed here last week and the accomodation is decent but will not qualify as luxury, its about 6 mts from the beach, http://www.zantyehotels.com/tarkarli/accomodation.html
Also a must do is go on a boat ride for dolphin sighting at Devbag beach and enjoy water sports in a one square km of low lying water which is just 2 feet, so you can get into the water and have fun in the middle of the sea, further during low tide it will form an island too. Be there in the morning and return by noon else it will be warm. You can have breakfast there itself.

If interested in snorkelling and scuba diving, head to Malvan boat jetty and directly go the counter and buy the tickets for activity and ensure you are there by 2pm, post that the water clarity will reduce.


Quote:
It's quite enticing to stretch our plan a bit more to cover either Kannur / Thalassery
Yes you must visit Kannur and you have enough to cover for about 3 days and never to miss the drive of about few kms on Muzhupillangadi beach, its a delight( you will love to repeat it).

Quote:
4) How exciting is Dandeli in terms of (a) sightings, and (b) rapids for river rafting?
Dandeli is a nice place, you can go bird watching, then they will take you on a trek up a hill and there is a magnificient view of river worth the hike, was taken there by the jungle lodges guide. White water rafting is a must.

Last edited by majumon : 13th November 2013 at 18:41.
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Old 14th November 2013, 09:23   #12
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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@VRP,
OP is driving to Dandeli from Mumbai. So Ankola/Yellapur should not even figure on the routing. Since you mentioned Ankola/Yellapur/Dandeli, I got that doubt as to why he should go to Yellapur while going to Dandeli from Mumbai. Hence my question.
Err.. Am I becoming weak in Geography, too?

I was thinking about reaching Dandeli the best way -

a. Via the route he suggested through Belgaum;

b. Via Kittur - Haliyal. You need to know the route so as to leave NH4 exactly at Kittur (there are no clear signs as to how the road goes beyond Kittur in SH/NH, AFAIK)

c. Via Hubli - Yellapur - Dandeli. Agreed route is longer, but this is the easiest drive, especially when you are driving down from Mumbai since morning. 'a' & 'b' - the last stretch for the day - will get tiring.

BTW, should he not proceed to Ankola if he has to go to Mangalore / Nileshwar (for NH17), as per option (a) from my side? Because, option (b) means extensive travel on SH and option (c) seems roundabout.
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Old 14th November 2013, 11:40   #13
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
a. Via the route he suggested through Belgaum;
b. Via Kittur - Haliyal. You need to know the route so as to leave NH4 exactly at Kittur (there are no clear signs as to how the road goes beyond Kittur in SH/NH, AFAIK)
+1

Quote:
c. Via Hubli - Yellapur - Dandeli. Agreed route is longer, but this is the easiest drive, especially when you are driving down from Mumbai since morning. 'a' & 'b' - the last stretch for the day - will get tiring.
True. But thats more than 100km more!

Quote:
BTW, should he not proceed to Ankola if he has to go to Mangalore / Nileshwar (for NH17), as per option (a) from my side? Because, option (b) means extensive travel on SH and option (c) seems roundabout.
I thought he said he would spend time at Dandeli before proceeding further.
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Old 26th November 2013, 11:05   #14
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

Thanks ampere, HVK, vrprabhu and majumon for your detailed responses!

I got a bit busy with a new project and couldn't respond in time.

Based on your combined feedback, I am considering a stop between Dandeli and Bekal - as I said, I wouldn't want to do too many breakfast-to-sunset drives.

I guess on the routes front, the opinions are more or less unanimous. I plan to stick to:

1) Mumbai-Belgaum-Khanapur-Ramnagar-Supa-Dandeli
2) Dandeli-Yellapura-Ankola-(halt before Bekal)
3) (halt before Bekal)-Bekal
4) Bekal-Gokarna

I might just skip Malvan and halt at Goa on the last night, before heading to Mumbai via Amboli/NH4.

Any suggestions on a nice place to halt between Dandeli and Bekal? A beach would be preferred over the ghats!
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Old 26th November 2013, 20:33   #15
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Default Re: Mumbai to Nileshwar and Back: Route & Travel Queries

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Originally Posted by Cocooner View Post
1) Mumbai-Belgaum-Khanapur-Ramnagar-Supa-Dandeli
Do note you would be doing about 80odd km on 2-lane roads which most cases may not be great.

One option can be Kittur-Alnavar-Haliyal-Dandeli

Quote:
Any suggestions on a nice place to halt between Dandeli and Bekal? A beach would be preferred over the ghats!
Best option : Udupi/Manipal. You have a beach and if you want you can visit the temple too !
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