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Old 29th September 2009, 15:23   #1
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Default Chennai-Bangalore-Goa-Mumbai

I need to drive my X-Trail from Chennai to Mumbai. I also have a new camera and a good friend who can take pics but cant drive and will be joining me from B'lore. Will be leaving Chennai on the 1stOct2009 (Thursday) at around 11am and have to reach mumbai by 11pm 4th Oct (Sunday). Can anybody suggest routes, destinations, stopovers/nighthaults? I like ghats, wildlife, heritage sights, beaches, eatouts, scenery and I think I'm a good driver. That I guess makes me an anybody. So any suggestion is welcome.

'best
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Old 29th September 2009, 16:33   #2
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The only thing that came to my mind is: While doing Banglore - Mumbai, you can do it as:

Banglore - Amboli - Sawantwadi - dapoli - mumbai.

Amboli is a hill station and pretty green these days with ghats and all.

Sawantwadi - Dapoli - Mumbai, can be done on NH17 which is good and scenic than NH4. Dapoli has awesome beaches like Karde, Murud etc.

Dapoli - You can stay at
1. SILVER SAND BEACH RESORT
2. Best Bungalow Resort in Dapoli - the Mahabaleshwar of Konkan and An Ideal Vacation Home.

Drive safe and enjoy to the fullest !
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arun K Vaddi View Post
I need to drive my X-Trail from Chennai to Mumbai. I also have a new camera and a good friend who can take pics but cant drive and will be joining me from B'lore. Will be leaving Chennai on the 1stOct2009 (Thursday) at around 11am and have to reach mumbai by 11pm 4th Oct (Sunday). Can anybody suggest routes, destinations, stopovers/nighthaults? I like ghats, wildlife, heritage sights, beaches, eatouts, scenery and I think I'm a good driver. That I guess makes me an anybody. So any suggestion is welcome.

'best
Arun
the fastest route would for you to take Chennai-Bangalore via (NH4)Sriperumbudur-Chittoor-Kolar-Blore.Bypass bangalore by taking the outer ring road from KR Puram ontowards TUmkur

From Blore get onto the BLR-PUNE Highway NH4 and go on NH-4 till Belgaum.From Belgaum take the Belgaum-Amboli-Sawantwadi-Panjim route.The other option to reach Goa is via Karwar.For this take NH4 till Hubli(100KMS Before Belgaum), and then take NH63 via Yellapur which connects to NH17 and then onto NH17 from Karwar till Goa.

From Goa to Mumbai you have two options.One is by using NH17,this is a direct route to Panvel but has several ghat sections and is very scenic.Goa-Ratnagiri-Mumbai.

The alternate route which is preferred by people who want to reach Mumbai fast is via NH4.For this the route is :Panjim-Sawantwadi-Amboli-Ajra-Uttur-Nipani-NH4-Kolhapur-Satara-Pune Bypass-Expressway.Distance wise no major difference,but NH4 is 4 laned and hence faster.

Day 1 you could aim to reach Davangere and stay the night at Davangere.
Day 2 you would reach Goa and then Mumbai after your stay at Goa.
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Old 1st October 2009, 13:32   #4
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Refer to this thread for better updates

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ennai-goa.html
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Old 2nd October 2009, 21:21   #5
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H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS,*Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) Drive, Dec 2008

Check out the above link for log book of the Madras-Bangalore-Bombay route.

Very few places of interest en route, unless you take detours off NH4. If you want heritage, maybe you should go off NH4 at Chitradurga and go to Hospet/Hampi (Vijayanagara) and continue on NH13 via Bijapur (Gol Gumbaz) to Solapur, link up to NH9 and go to Pune.

The other idea has already been discussed, to go off NH4 at Hubli and go to Goa and return to NH4 near Nippani or continue on Nh17 via Rajapur and Chiplun to Bombay.

Good places to stay en route:
Davangere (go into town) - Hotel Pooja INternational
Belgaum - Hotel Sankam Residency
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Old 2nd November 2009, 14:17   #6
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Thank You neoonwheels, ranjitp1 and hvkumar.
I finally did a leisurely drive without any fixed plans. Here's an account (more personal experience than a road test or route map or anything of that sort)for anyone who maybe interested.


1st Oct
11.00am- I get the X-Trail washed and wiped, fill diesel, check all oils, tyre pressure, wiper fluid, maps etc…
12.00pm- I leave Chennai after convincing my six-year-old son that I will actually send my OHC V-Tec to Chennai so he can go faster than his mother who drives a Fiesta.
It was a lovely drive from Sriperumbudur to Hosur after navigating Chennai traffic. Great road and I found out a lot about what a lovely highway vehicle the X-Trail is, after a couple of hiccups with the wiper and indicator controls and wondering where the rev/speedo went?! The X-Trail’s a little stiff on small uneven roads when slow but all that seems to disappear once you pick up speed. And 'pick up speed' is one thing the X-Trail begs you to do from the time you depress the clutch and get into first. It holds really steady on the curves even around 140kmph and the pick-up is so smooth and definite that overtaking is- to stretch an already very stretched phrase in auto mags- 'a breeze'. Why is it that people on the highways refuse to gauge braking distance? It was really irritating (actually scary) to see people coming up really close on your tail quite unnecessarily. The weather was really nice- cool and overcast with ominous clouds. I am really happy and try playing god- push in a CD of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's raag Malhar (thrice) thinking how wonderful it would be to coax the clouds to let go to the music on a beautiful highway in a nice car. No such luck. My induction into the Society of Gods is postponed...

4.00pm- I reach the outskirts of Bangalore.
Since profanity is banned on this site, I will refrain from putting down my thoughts about this segment. Added to this was some kid in papa's CRV trying to taunt me into a race when no one was able to do more than 15kmph! The fun part though is that after giving up on raag Malhar to make it rain, I load Lynkin Park. The heavens open and it starts to pour!!!

5.00pm- Reach Oakwood Aptmnts at UB City mall (Grrrrrr!- 1hr?!). They have a decent pool so went for a swim and then took a cab. I’m given a silver grey Skoda, not the best car to be driven around in with its stiff backseat and no legroom. I DO NOT know Kannada. The driver's ignorance stretched from all languages other than kannada right through all addresses and directions in B'lore. Gonna sue Oakwood for that. He was very happy to generally go through no-entries, lift the tape that divides the road and drive under it. He knew all of this well but not a single address, for which he had to keep using his cell-phone (While he was driving!). After threatening to get off the car I make him drive me to a pub called NASA (Because I'm curious about a place I'd visited probably 15yrs back). He manages with just 3 traffic violations. In spite of looking inside NASA I wanted to have something just for old times sake. The management was sweet enough to provide me my own private Chinese torture set up that kept dripping water on my head every 10 seconds. . I get back in the car with the maniacal driver and manage reach Barton Centre on MG Road. I take the elevator to 13th Floor after convincing the driver that he shouldn't be taking me to the 13th floor in the car... It was pouring and was nice to look out over the city. Sanas and pork at The Park coffee shop where as usual some boisterous gang was being noisy and generally making a nuisance of themselves, walking around, talking loudly, tongue rolling out like a welcoming carpet every time a girl walked through the doors. They even got confused about a longhaired guy in a colorful kurta! Back into the unaccommodating back seat of the Skoda with the now unaccommodating driver. Tucked in by 2:00 am. Oakwood has the best beds in the business.

2nd Oct

Wake up late, check out from Oakwood and drive onto M G Road. The one-ways confuse me totally and after a couple of pradakshans of the area, I pay an auto-rickshaw guy 20 bucks to pilot me to Airlines hotel- awesome butter masala dosa and filter coffee. Spot a BMW and a Fiat1100. A Toyota Qualis reverses into me. Luckily no damage because he nudges my bumper which is soft and flexible anyway... Love the car!

1.00pm
Leave from B'lore towards Tumkur with Ghantasala (old telugu music) for company. Once again, profanity not allowed, so silent about the traffic on this segment too. I'm sure Ghantasala never imagined such words as the ones I uttered as an accompaniment to his soulful singing. The grunt from the diesel engine and the super sensitive steering made it quite easy to drive through the small town traffic outside Bangalore. Getting in and out of the Car/Softroader/SUV, for the ATM, tea and cigarettes was easy and did not involve any climbing like my friend's SAFARI or crouching like my OHC V-Tec. On one such stop I notice the exhaust setup seems to be hanging lower than I remember it to have been. Slide under and I find the pipe's come off a little thingie that holds it up. Put it back and make a mental note to get it checked. I drive past a political rally where the thousands of people were outnumbered 10 to 1 by plastic sachets that held water and god knows what else. Maybe a plastic sachet should be considered for an election symbol. My mind is preoccupied with the exhaust set up and I drive through Tumkur without thinking. I start wondering why all the signs give the distance to Shimoga. Lost! Turn around and get back on NH4. It was an uneventful drive on a decent road until Chitradurga except for another painful CRV and a Lancer who seemed to have filled their tanks with testosterone instead of petrol. Hats off to the truckers. Barring very few exceptions, they had impeccable road manners. The LCVs were an altogether different story...

6.00pm- Chitradurga
Then starts trouble!

I drive for a while and diversions start to appear. Been there done that for years on the Chennai-Trichy road en-route to Kodaikanal and around Mumbai and LA... Then it starts getting tricky. The light's fading and the bad road now becomes NO-ROAD. I am faced with an absolutely perfect lunar landscape, only it's brown and wet instead of grey and dry! Trucks are doing sways and swings that even John Wayne never managed. Still not a hassle. But then it starts to rain. I switch on my wipers in the night for the first time. My maid would've done a better job with a mop-cloth while she balanced on the bonnet. My windshield reminds me of the four-ruled pages of my primary school note-books. The blades are absolutely bust. It's raining, my wipers are drawing lines on my windscreen, the huge puddles and ridges are getting deeper and higher, there is oncoming traffic and everyone has their high beams on. What fun! The car wasn't bad at all. Tried the Auto and the Lock settings. There was a nearly palpable difference. But the ground clearance had me worried. Did not hit anything or bottom out but kept me on my toes navigating the ridges and dips. Maybe it was just me being over cautious... No I definitely think it needs more ground clearance for off-roading though I'm sure this will undermine it's brilliant highway dynamics. Even very deep mud/slush was no problem at all. Finally made it out of there, called a hotel in Hubli (Just Dial ki Jai!), booked a room and ordered dinner.

11.00pm- Hubli
I walk into the lobby of Hotel liwqjdhf with my eyes looking like I've done meth or coke or both! Go to my room have a much needed shower and sit down to eat my Chapathis with 'Spicy' chicken curry. As I finish my meal I run to the loo and my stuffy nose and congestion are relieved of the virus in 10secs flat straight into the wash-basin (sick!). I go to sleep after reading half a page of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol with my ears still ringing from the 'spicy'.

October- 3rd
10.00am
After an OK breakfast I ask the nice lady at the reception about the road ahead. She rolls her eyeballs upwards with an expression that gives me different ideas altogether. I remind myself that I'm a married man with a six year old son, that she is a decent woman giving me an innocent answer and that I have a convoluted mind. So after leaving for Belgaum on a wonderful road with a picturesque landscape listening to M.S.Subbalakshmi's Suprabatham (I KNOW ITS PAST 10 BUT IT WAS MY EARLY MORNING) I m welcomed by huge dark clouds. The whole place goes dark and overcast with mild winds and I see windmills turning slowly on hills all round. Very Surreal (Another term people seem to love using nowadays, but this really was surreal) As I’m driving out of this scenario I decide to go to Tarkarli. I turn off at Belgaum towards Amboli around 11:30 after picking up cold coffee from Cafe Coffee Day and reffering to my maps. It was an amazingly picturesque drive listening to soft Kishore Kumar numbers with waterfalls all the way and fog and mountains and valleys and goats and sheep and shepherds and hot bhajjias and tried the Auto on the car on some fast twisties. Nice! But why do people switch on their hazard lights even if it drizzles?! Stopped at Amboli and bought some wooden toys and a nicely made fruit tray designed to look like a bullock cart. Drove through Sawantwadi after stopping to pick up cigarettes. En route, I see people hosing down dirt from their furniture in the middle of the road. This trip is getting surreal again. There is weird stuff hanging from the trees on either side of the road. And wait a second, what is a Maruti Omni doing bang in the middle of a field? There is volleyball court surrounded on all four sides by a flowing river. Then it begins to dawn on me that the October floods have hit this area harder than I had anticipated. Half submerged house, people on rooftops and the depressing site of rotting paddy in submerged fields. Took a few pictures but did not feel right doing it. I put my camera back into it’s bag and continue to drive, windows down and music switched off. The engine is really noisy. I wonder if heads are turning because of an unusual car driven by a guy rendered good looking by virtue of hiding half his face behind aviators or an unusually NOISY car. Given the fact that the rest of the traffic mostly comprises of trucks, I conveniently settle for the first option. The road is closed for a while at Kudal so there’s a huge traffic jam. I park the X-Trail and walk down to asdjkhb at 4 for whatever is left over from lunch in a place that hasn’t had electricity for the past two days. They still managed great chapattis, fish fry, fish curry and rice. The entire district seems to be a mess with cops and relief workers trying their best. The hotel folk let me use their loo in their house, it is very basic but cleaner than many star hotels I’ve visited. Walk back to the car and the traffic seems to be clearing. One lane is allowed to pass at a time. The road ahead was flooded and even as we are closely monitored by the cops and road workers the single lane that is being allowed has to drive through about a foot of water on the road with water flowing on either side of it.

As I’m driving away from Kudal I try to decide whether I should head to Ratnagiri or Kolhapur for the night. Given the state of my wipers, night driving in the rain with oncoming traffic is out of the question. Decide to go to Kolhapur through Radhanagri and the ghats, thinking there will be no traffic on these ghats once its dark so it should be a peaceful drive. For once on this trip I’m right. It was a lovely drive through the hills with rain here and there and a beautiful and huge lake to keep me company part of the way. Some fire flies too. I come down the hills into never ending sugarcane fields. I get down to try and take a picture of a light burning in a far away lonely house in the fields but give up because there isn’t enough light. I light a cigarette and walk around smoking. Something isn’t right. As I look around I see the long stalks of sugarcane and hear the leaves rustling in the breeze. This strikes a weird chord somewhere. Snakes! I keep calm though I’m wearing shorts and sandals and walk back to the car telling myself that this is not Nellore in AP where we often spotted snakes in the night by our Shrimp ponds. I look for music again and this time it is Abeeda Parveen. I start the car and switch on my headlamps just in time to spot a decent sized brown snake slither away tail weirdly curling over it’s back as it topples off the high road into the fields. James Bond Martini! It was an otherwise uneventful drive to Kolhapur, bad shower and boring dinner. The next morning I leave kolhapur after the most unappetizing buffet breakfast. There was lots of traffic but easy drive to reach Pune at 1. Nice seafood at Nisarg. As I leave Pune I realize this is the last leg of my jouney and am as reluctant as can be to head back into Bombay in the next few hours. I turn off towards Lavasa in a desperate attempt to make this trip last forever. Great road and an even better drive. I drive into Lavasa. I do some 4WD’ing on and off various under construction roads to see the under construction model houses. Have coffee at a very unreal (not surreal) all American style Diner and walk go for a long walk along an equally unreal line up of shops and streets in Lavasa. Wonder what will happen to the lovely water body once this place gets fully operational and developed.

From Lavasa I drive through the back roads through Paud to Lonavala. It’s a wonderful drive where you pass a dam and then drive by the huge lake and come into Lonavala. Pick up fudge at Coopers. Wait a minute. Is this a drive or a food collection trip? It’s been all about food and music and walks and swims. Hmmm, in retrospect that was not bad at all. Except for the fact that I couldn’t read much, but what the hell, it made me write… And of course, there was all that wonderful driving. It was still the best part by far. I join the long line of holidayers returning to Mumbai on a Sunday evening. I reach Vashi. Don’t feel like cursing much after the lovely 4 days.

I’ve taken about 200pics. So give another week and I’ll sort them and put up some pics if any of them are worth it.

Once again, a big thank you to the people who posted responses to my query and those who make this forum possible.

Last edited by bblost : 20th November 2009 at 13:04. Reason: Mention of alcohol strictly prohibited. Please refer rules before proceeding. Thanks.
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Old 30th November 2009, 21:39   #7
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Where are the pics? 200 of them. Waiting to see them.
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Old 27th July 2010, 14:59   #8
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Default Great+Fun travelogue!!!

Loved reading through your travelogue!!! Awesome!!! I know its nearing a year past, but, enjoyed it!!! Have Fun!
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