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Old 5th July 2010, 19:32   #1
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Default Chennai to Goa - Road Trip : Route Info Needed

Guys, My friend and I are planning a road trip from Chennai to Lonavala and back to Chennai in the first/second week of August.We would like to go via Karnataka and visit key tourist/pilgrimage centers on the way.

Could you guys please guide me on the following?

1.What are all the key places worth visiting on this route? We don't have to deviate too much(say more than 60-70) kms from GQ.

2.How easy is it to find accomodations in the key places? [We would do partial night driving and not complete night driving on the way to Lonavala i.e. we would prefer to get into a hotel/motel by 10:00/11:00 P.M,take 5-6 hrs rest and then start early morning again]. What would be the best places to rest on the way to Lonavala?

Other details:
1.We will be using TATA Indica Vista Qjet.
2.We hope to complete the E2E journey in 4 to 5 days

Cheers
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Old 5th July 2010, 21:23   #2
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Let me give you some partial answers since i recently did a Pune to Bangalore drive. Started at 6am from Pune and drove down to Bangalore stopping for fuel, lunch and tea (total 2 hrs). Reached Bangalore by 5pm. The strech between Pune and Hubli is awesome and i was able to do a constant 110 ~ 120 (No risk drive). But beyond hubli its a bit nightmarish as the road work is going on in some parts. Again after Tumkur the traffic is nightmarish. Since you are driving from Chennai, i would suggest the following. Drive down from Chennai to Bangalore late in the evening. Reach Bangalore past 9pm so that you dont get caught in the electronic city traffic. Go on to towards the NICE corridor junction and proceed left in it. Keep going in the NICE corridor until you hit the exit for NH4. Take the ramp down to NH4 and proceed towards Hubli - Pune - Lonavala.

The road between Sriperumbudur ~ Bangalore and Hubli ~ Lonavala is awesome. Between Bangalore and Hubli it ranges from average to good. I recommend that you cover this stretch in day break to avoid local traffic and various jams. Once past Hubli you will be fine. 4 ~ 5 days might be a bit too tiring. As you will have to spend 2 ~ 2.5 days on road. Drive safely and have a nice trip

Last edited by srikanths1 : 5th July 2010 at 21:25.
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Old 5th July 2010, 21:45   #3
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For the latest road conditions between Mumbai - Bangalore you can refer here. Its the bible for this section of NH4!!

Additionally, Rahulkool's latest log (Solo drive Chennai-Mumbai-Chennai, A decision made in split second) between Chennai-Mumbai will also be helpful.

You would get all the details on the best time to travel and the current good and bad stretches. Overall, barring the Davanagere - Haveri stretch, the whole of Bangalore-Pune section is very good. The bad stretch is definitely better now and getting completed soon.

You might do good speeds on open stretches if this is your first trip as it is surely going to tempt you but overall even a sedate 80-100kmph all through would almost take the same time to cover the distance from the many experiences that I have had in the recent past. (You would get the max FE and it would put lesser strain on you as well, The major benefit of a long drive that everyone wants!!)

If you can manage to start from Bangalore around 4PM, I would say it would be a boon to pass Kolhapur around 1-30/2-00am and be in Lonavala by 5-00/5-30am only for a reason that the drive would be completely devoid of 2/3 wheelers, Tata Aces and 6 seaters all the way till Pune. It is usually the Private night service buses and Long haul trucks at this time driving on the left lane. Even better, all the drivers (yes all) would give you way from right to overtake with the flash of beams. Above all, the time you spend in the 5 toll booths (Includes the expressway) will be comparitively lesser as compared to the day.

If you intend to reach Lonavala by 10/11pm, It is better that you get onto the Tumkur Road (Via NICE as suggested) by 9-00am.
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Old 6th July 2010, 15:37   #4
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Guys, Thanks for the quick response. I have been following the other two threads. Having gone through the content on the web, I think 'Chitradurga' might be one place on this route worth spending some time. Is this correct?

The below is a first draft, let me know what you think.


1. 0th day: Start from Chennai late in the evening and reach Chitradurga in the morning. Get into an hotel & settle down. After rest for 3-4 hours move around Chitradurga covering key spots.

2. 1st day: Start from Chitradurga late in the afternoon and reach Lonavala in the morning.Get into an hotel and settle down.

3. 2nd day: Move around Lonavala,Khandala. Spend 2nd day night in Lonavala.

4. 3rd day: Start return journey from Lonavala to Mahabaleshwar(120kms SW of Pune.) Spend 3-4 hours in Mahabaleshwar.

5. 3rd day: In the evening start from Mahabaleshwar and travel to Hubli(376 kms). Can we see Hampi?? Jog falls is in a diff. direction.

6. 4th day: Return to Chennai by evening.

I have not given detailed thought to the 3rd day and 4th day. But on a high level,does this plan sound sensible? I would love to cover Hampi or Jog falls.It could either be in the forward journey or in the return journey.

The split of kms between the major cities on this route is as below.

Chennai to Bangalore = 326 kms
Bangalore to Chitradurga = 202 kms
Chitradurga to Hubli = 206 kms
Hubli to Kolhapur (Maharashtra entry) = 206 kms
Kolhapur to Pune = 228 kms
Pune to Lonavala = 64 kms


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Old 6th July 2010, 15:47   #5
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You can spend some good time at the Chitradurga fort.
Assign about 2-4 hours for the same.
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Old 6th July 2010, 16:02   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadracer View Post
4. 3rd day: Start return journey from Lonavala to Mahabaleshwar(120kms SW of Pune.) Spend 3-4 hours in Mahabaleshwar.

5. 3rd day: In the evening start from Mahabaleshwar and travel to Hubli(376 kms).
What???

Mahabaleshwar in 4 hours.

ghor paap!!!

Better skip Mahabaleshwar if time do not permit for longer stay.
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Old 6th July 2010, 17:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadracer View Post
1. 0th day: Start from Chennai late in the evening and reach Chitradurga in the morning. Get into an hotel & settle down. After rest for 3-4 hours move around Chitradurga covering key spots.

2. 1st day: Start from Chitradurga late in the afternoon and reach Lonavala in the morning.Get into an hotel and settle down.

3. 2nd day: Move around Lonavala,Khandala. Spend 2nd day night in Lonavala.

4. 3rd day: Start return journey from Lonavala to Mahabaleshwar(120kms SW of Pune.) Spend 3-4 hours in Mahabaleshwar.

5. 3rd day: In the evening start from Mahabaleshwar and travel to Hubli(376 kms). Can we see Hampi?? Jog falls is in a diff. direction.

6. 4th day: Return to Chennai by evening.
Just got back from Calicut (Kozhikode) - Pune trip via Mysore-Tumkur-Chitradurga-Hubli-Belgaum-Kolhapur-Pune a couple of days back. (Wanted to avoid Bangalore and the rains in coastal Karnataka, as I was behind schedule by 2 days)

Sorry to throw some cold water on your plans - but it appears to be too cramped. Because -

Day 0 : Chennai to Chitradurga. Can be done, but not by a single driver. The glare of oncoming lights will make the drive a little difficult in the night. There are a couple of hotels on the highway itself in Chitradurga. Avoid Udupi Yatri Nivas - it is only so, so. Chitradurga fort sight seeing will take about 4 hours.

Day 1 : Chitradurga to Lonavala. I did Chitradurga to Pune in 11 hours (8AM to 7PM), including an hour's halt at Belgaum for lunch (no proper hotels/restaurants in this stretch, except for a Kamat near Harihar). Chitradurga to Harihar is OK. Thereafter, upto Hubli it is half-done - you have to go this way and that way. Hubli-Belgaum is two laned road. After Belgaum, open up! Tawandi Ghat is a great piece of road. Was tempted to cross 120 kmph (limit set by wife). In the interest of marital peace and FE (petrol costs 57 odd bucks in Karnataka - remember that!), stuck to 100 - 120. Kohlapur - Pune can be done in 3 and half hours - but plenty of traffic. Pune - Lonavala max is one hour.

Day 3 - Lonavala to Mahabaleshwar can be done in 4 hours. But just to spend four hours there? I agree with AP saheb. BTW, Mahabaleshwar is a better destination as compared to Lonavala.

Day 3 - Visit to Hampi and Jog Falls - ruled out. Different directions.
a. To reach Jog Falls you have the only decent route : Hubli-Yellapur-Ankola-Honnavar-Jog(enroute to Sagar). From there, the shortest way back to Bangalore will be via Shimoga - Chitradurga. The monsoon will increase the travelling time.
b. To reach Hampi ( which is on the opposite direction to Jog) you will have to go to Gadag - Hospet from Hubli. From Hospet, you can travel towards Bellary to reach Bangalore.
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Old 6th July 2010, 18:37   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
(no proper hotels/restaurants in this stretch, except for a Kamat near Harihar).
Apart from that:

There is Genysis after Davanagere (towards Pune) on the Right hand side.

Ghar Dhaba before first railway gate after Ranibennur on Left hand side and immediately after a Kilometer there is Deol Punjabi Dhaba on the right hand side (after which there is the firstRailway gate towards Pune).

A Ghar Rajasthani dhaba is attached to a BP Fuel station immediately after the 4 laned road starts after Dharwad bypass exit (Opp. to the High court bench Building)

Belgaum has lot of options while the closest to the highway being the much talked 'Sankam' adjacent to the IOC Pump as well.

Quote:
Chitradurga to Harihar is OK. Thereafter, upto Hubli it is half-done - you have to go this way and that way.
The Bad road exists between Harihar and Haveri bypass only after which Bankapur toll starts (so does the 4 laned section).

Actually Chitradurga - Davanagere is 80% done with just one/two deviation but a few speedbreakers.

Davanagere - Harihar is 70% done.

Harihar - Ranibennur is the major stretch where there are 2 railway crossings after Ranibennur where there are plenty of speedbreakers and also lot of deviations. (those who have regulary done this stretch know that its tremendously improved over the past few months from the nightmare it was a few years before!!)

Quote:
Hubli-Belgaum is two laned road. After Belgaum, open up! Tawandi Ghat is a great piece of road. Was tempted to cross 120 kmph (limit set by wife).
Actually, the 2 laned section being talked is the Hubli-Dharwad bypass which is 30 kms in length after which 4 laned section continues all the way. The best stretch is actually between Dharwad bypass exit till Kagal Checkpost (30kms before Kolhapur).

As VRP says, it is definitely tempting till Kagal (Kolhapur) but do watch out for one nasty curve just before Tawandi Ghats (after Kaveri Hotel) which is better handled at lesser speeds. This is one part of the whole highway which fools the driver since the curve starts immediately and never stops to end and it an incline as well that pushes the vehicle on its momentum itself.

Finally, Kolhapur-Pune during the say is a mess only for a reason that one would've driven at constant speeds with zero braking (except for the toll) for almost 400kms and then traffic suddenly increases with lot of Private vehicles and 2 wheelers good enough to test one's patience after that long drive. The best time to pass this is after 12-00am if you are a comfortable and a safe night driver.
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Old 6th July 2010, 18:56   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
There is Genysis after Davanagere
Ghar Dhaba before first railway gate after Ranibennur A Ghar Rajasthani dhaba is attached to a BP Fuel station immediately after the 4 laned road starts after Dharwad bypass exit (Opp. to the High court bench Building)
Thanks for the nice tips. My mistake, because I forgot to mention that we did not opt for dhabas, as my wife and daughter were with me, clean loo's (comparatively) were the priority.

Quote:
Actually Chitradurga - Davanagere is 80% done with just one/two deviation but a few speedbreakers.
Harihar - Ranibennur is the major stretch where there are 2 railway crossings after Ranibennur where there are plenty of speedbreakers and also lot of deviations.
Speedbreakers. It was more like suspension breakers!! Scraped my Palio's underbody atleast thrice. Add, to it the frustation of picking up speed, only to jam the brakes...

Quote:
Actually, the 2 laned section being talked is the Hubli-Dharwad bypass which is 30 kms in length after which 4 laned section continues all the way.
Who wants to go in the old Hubli - Dharwad road? Hubli is choc-a-bloc with all types of vehicles on the road. Was this the place I loved two decades ago? I am not sure. Any one from Hubli reading this? There was a time when we would stroll down to Durgadbail to purchase vegetables, and gorge on piping hot jalebis and green-chilly bajji with the tangy pudina chutney...

Quote:
The best stretch is actually between Dharwad bypass exit till Kagal Checkpost (30kms before Kolhapur).

but do watch out for one nasty curve just before Tawandi Ghats (after Kaveri Hotel) which is better handled at lesser speeds. This is one part of the whole highway which fools the driver since the curve starts immediately and never stops to end and it an incline as well that pushes the vehicle on its momentum itself.
After Waynad Ghat (Kerala - 9 tough hairpin bends one after another and only a two lane road, the others seem to be a child play). But you are right - I remember my first trip on this stretch - on my M800 in 2004/5 - the 80 kmph scared me, till I got the hang of it.

Bit like our Kambhatki Ghat tunnel end (Pune Side), you come out of the tunnel screaming and you are going to meet a sweeping curve which goes all the way down... First time on this road, I am sure many would have been taken by surprise. Nowadays, I wait for it, ease up, take the right handed sweep which follows and finish the stretch with the same momentum - no brakes, no gas. I now love doing that stretch on a bike more than a car!!
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Old 6th July 2010, 19:17   #10
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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
Thanks for the nice tips. My mistake, because I forgot to mention that we did not opt for dhabas, as my wife and daughter were with me, clean loo's (comparatively) were the priority.
No VRP, the places am referring are typical highway restaurants and the names do give wrong signals. I always (usually) do Blr-Pune with Family (so cleaner loos are a must)and with the number of trips done in the past two years alone, I remember these places very well. I was a novice on this stretch 3 years before.

Quote:
Speedbreakers. It was more like suspension breakers!! Scraped my Palio's underbody atleast thrice. Add, to it the frustation of picking up speed, only to jam the brakes...
You bet! Driving constantly at even 80-90kmph and suddenly crossing these back breakers at zero speeds in 1st gear is the most irritating part. This is one reason why it is always a pleasure to drive to Pune than driving down to Bangalore since the frustration starts building up mostly when you are reaching your destination. Add to that is the nightmare called Nelemangala.

Quote:
Who wants to go in the old Hubli - Dharwad road? Hubli is choc-a-bloc with all types of vehicles on the road.
Mostly none unless needed as everyone usually takes the bypass and this is a 2 laned section built and maintained by the same consortium who's given the not so nice NICE road for Bangalore (Nandi Developers) running 30 kms long after which the 4 laned section starts.

I have ventured into the city during Aug-2008 to change my tires and ended up getting challaned for overspeeding between Hubli-Dharwad (70kmph) while the legal limit was 40kmph. Later realised that this stretch is 'happening' when it comes to getting challaned for speeding!

Quote:
After Waynad Ghat (Kerala - 9 tough hairpin bends one after another and only a two lane road, the others seem to be a child play).
True and the same hold good with the hairpin curves of Charmadi ( I still love them) or the Agumbe Ghat but this is on a 4 lanes section and so straight before the curve that easily anyone can start speeding not realizing whats waiting in a moment. Otherwise, this is a cakewalk and more of a joyride at good speeds.

Quote:
Bit like our Kambhatki Ghat tunnel end (Pune Side), you come out of the tunnel screaming and you are going to meet a sweeping curve which goes all the way down... First time on this road, I am sure many would have been taken by surprise. Nowadays, I wait for it, ease up, take the right handed sweep which follows and finish the stretch with the same momentum - no brakes, no gas. I now love doing that stretch on a bike more than a car!!
Remember this well and I have spotted a lot of trucks crashing on the wall on the right hand side at the other end of the tunnel unable to make a judgement. The curves all the way till you completely come down from the ghats (till the demolished toll booth) are dangerous but regular traffic is a saviour here since most of them take along this stretch with ease. The problem with Tawandi is (like you might have experienced) that mostly the stretch is devoid of traffic during any time of the day and as a lone driver on the stretch you would actually be doing 3 digit speeds and no one to hint that the curve ahead is a dangerous one!!
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Old 6th July 2010, 19:34   #11
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Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
No VRP, the places am referring are typical highway restaurants and the names do give wrong signals. I always (usually) do Blr-Pune with Family (so cleaner loos are a must)and with the number of trips done in the past two years alone, I remember these places very well. I was a novice on this stretch 3 years before.
Will remember that. Thanks. I have to do one more trip (Pune - Mangalore via Hubli) and was thinking about the lunch part at Belgaum / Hubli - your tips have come as a boon to me - Ghar Rajasthani opp. to High Court, Dharwad is now the lunch halt!!

Hope roadracer is reading - we are chatting away to glory here
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Old 6th July 2010, 22:03   #12
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Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
Bit like our Kambhatki Ghat tunnel end (Pune Side), you come out of the tunnel screaming and you are going to meet a sweeping curve which goes all the way down... First time on this road, I am sure many would have been taken by surprise. Nowadays, I wait for it, ease up, take the right handed sweep which follows and finish the stretch with the same momentum - no brakes, no gas. I now love doing that stretch on a bike more than a car!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Remember this well and I have spotted a lot of trucks crashing on the wall on the right hand side at the other end of the tunnel unable to make a judgement. The curves all the way till you completely come down from the ghats (till the demolished toll booth) are dangerous but regular traffic is a saviour here since most of them take along this stretch with ease. The problem with Tawandi is (like you might have experienced) that mostly the stretch is devoid of traffic during any time of the day and as a lone driver on the stretch you would actually be doing 3 digit speeds and no one to hint that the curve ahead is a dangerous one!!
Very true about khambataki tunnel pune end.

After passing the tunnel, at the end, there is extreme left turn with slope, again straight road for 500 mtr with slope, extreme right turn, 750 meter with slope, extreme right turn, 1 km with slope, by this time, your vehicle is at 100 km/hr without engine power, then again extreme left turn .
The whole stretch is dangerous for newbies on this road.
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Old 7th July 2010, 15:14   #13
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What???

Mahabaleshwar in 4 hours.

ghor paap!!!

Better skip Mahabaleshwar if time do not permit for longer stay.
I tend to agree..On top you will probably be so beat down after 2 consecutive all night drives that is it worth driving this much to spend only 1 night in Lonavla? its nice to go for a night there if you stay within a few hours drive.
Not to be a spoilsport but I suggest you either plan a longer trip or make a trip somewhere closer to your home while enjoying the drive/trip part much more.
Better then to spend 2 days at Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and Pratapgarh instead of the 4 hours and 1 night at LNL.
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Old 7th July 2010, 16:04   #14
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Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Apart from that:
As VRP says, it is definitely tempting till Kagal (Kolhapur) but do watch out for one nasty curve just before Tawandi Ghats (after Kaveri Hotel) which is better handled at lesser speeds. This is one part of the whole highway which fools the driver since the curve starts immediately and never stops to end and it an incline as well that pushes the vehicle on its momentum itself.
Parag,

Is this the same spot where the Volvo carrying Infosys staff had toppled? I have driven on this stretch quite a number of times but somehow am not able to recollect ( last travelled over a year back) how far this Ghat is from Belgaum. Would you have any idea? I remember the Ghat ofcourse & had a tough time controlling the car.

Last edited by Rajiv-Bang : 7th July 2010 at 16:06.
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Old 7th July 2010, 16:34   #15
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Parag,

Is this the same spot where the Volvo carrying Infosys staff had toppled? I have driven on this stretch quite a number of times but somehow am not able to recollect ( last travelled over a year back) how far this Ghat is from Belgaum. Would you have any idea? I remember the Ghat ofcourse & had a tough time controlling the car.
Spot on. This is the one. Even when I travelled for the first time, I too had a very tough time controlling my car and a tallboy called WagonR!!! Was doing about 90kmph and realised that the turn was never ending at all but was super cautious not to brake and held the steering in place without swerving left/right and managed to gain control!!
Seems that the KSRTC Volvo hired had a driver who was driving on this stretch since 3 years!
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