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Old 6th April 2010, 07:12   #481
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I am planning a Chennai-Mumbai drive. I intend to start from Chennai on the 12th early morning - reach Bangalore mid-morning same day, visit friends/family etc., and start on my Mumbai journey proper the next morning (13th). I am in no hurry - need to reach Mumbai only by the weekend (ie, join new job on 19th Monday).

My questions:

1. Road conditions. I guess the only unfinished parts of GQ are on the Bangalore-Pune stretch. Is it only confined to about 150 km after Chitradurga?

2. Detour possibilities. I have more or less decided on Mahabaleshwar. My map shows a road from Satara to Mahabaleshwar via Medha. Is it a good road? Is Satara-Medha-Mahabaleshwar-Wai-back on NH4 fine? Any recos on places to stay at Mahabaleshwar?

3. Any additional advice - food, side trips etc. I will be travelling with my wife (who will double up as a reserve driver).

I am averse to night driving, so I'm looking at something like:

Day 1: Chennai-Bangalore
Day 2: Bangalore-Hubli (recommendations for overnight stay?)
Day 3: Hubli-Mahabaleshwar
Day 5: Mahabaleshwar-Mumbai (16th)
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Old 6th April 2010, 08:57   #482
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Originally Posted by binand View Post
I am planning a Chennai-Mumbai drive. I intend to start from Chennai on the 12th early morning - reach Bangalore mid-morning same day, visit friends/family etc., and start on my Mumbai journey proper the next morning (13th). I am in no hurry - need to reach Mumbai only by the weekend (ie, join new job on 19th Monday).
Wow you are consuming all the weekdays. Its going to be slow and adventurous.
Quote:
My questions:

1. Road conditions. I guess the only unfinished parts of GQ are on the Bangalore-Pune stretch. Is it only confined to about 150 km after Chitradurga?
Yes but it is pretty much do-able considering the fact that you will be doing this in the day.
Quote:
2. Detour possibilities. I have more or less decided on Mahabaleshwar. My map shows a road from Satara to Mahabaleshwar via Medha. Is it a good road? Is Satara-Medha-Mahabaleshwar-Wai-back on NH4 fine? Any recos on places to stay at Mahabaleshwar?
My dad took this road 3 months back and he had no complaints. But why not take a detour at Wai ? Its just off the NH4 ?
Sherwood resorts would be a good. Good buffet, disco, pool, children's play area, lots of greenery. Purely my recommendation. Non streneous on the pocket if you are going to stay for a couple of days.
Quote:
3. Any additional advice - food, side trips etc. I will be travelling with my wife (who will double up as a reserve driver).
You might want to visit Chitradurga fort.
Quote:
I am averse to night driving, so I'm looking at something like:
Day 2: Bangalore-Hubli (recommendations for overnight stay?)
I stayed at hotel Ayodhya. Its in the interiors, but, quite an ok place to crash for the night. Its got a guarded parking lot and if you tip the watchman enough, he will wash your ride for you. Quite good for 500 INR per day.

Having said all this you might want to look at other expert's suggestions like @anairar, @starvegabond, @parag, HVK.

EDIT: Whats your ride going to be ?
Some good eateries are Kamats, Sankam Residency, Niyaz (for best non-veg)

Last edited by prince_pervez : 6th April 2010 at 09:07.
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Old 6th April 2010, 08:58   #483
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binand, you can easily do Bangalore-Bombay in 1 day, pointless to stop over in HUbli which is at beat a 5 hour drive from Bangalore.

The best road to Mahabaleswar is via Wai, which comes some 25 kms on NH4 after crossing Satara. You could drive directly from Bangalore to Mahabaleswar. Mahabaleswar has lots of places depending on your budget. However, it is peak season now and getting hotels may not be easy. For high-end, you can try Brightland Resort of Hotel Gautam, and MTDC is a good budget hotel.

In case you are particular about staying over in Hubli, you can try Hotel Hans there.
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Old 6th April 2010, 09:03   #484
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binand,

Here are the answers to your queries:

1. The bad stretch is from Chitradurga to Haveri [125 km]. Drive carefully.

2. I went to Mahabaleshwar from Goa via Poladpur [NH 17]. Hence, I do not know the condition of this route. However, I regret staying at the Special Suite of MTDC Holiday Resorts, Mahabaleshwar. This place was lousy, stinking and lacked cleanliness and paint. So, please keep away from MTDC Holiday Resorts, Mahabaleshwar.

3. At Mahabaleshwar, do not miss to taste strawberry with cream and makkai pattice. During our two day stay, we had consumed plenty of both.

4. At Dharwad, you can stay at Hotel Hoysala. It is located bang on Bangalore - Mumbai road in the heart of the city.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 6th April 2010 at 09:08.
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Old 6th April 2010, 13:59   #485
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Like HVK mentioned, I too see no point in doing a stopover at Hubli when Bangalore - Pune/Mumbai can be easily done in a day. Since you have Mahabaleshwar as an option, doing Bangalore - Mahabaleshwar in a single shot makes a lot of sense.
  • Try to start early as 4/4-30am from Bangalore and you would be getting rid of the city traffic and passing Tumkur, Sira, Hiriyur and Chitradurga by 7-30am itself. This is the time when the roads are virtually empty with a few trucks and you needn't worry about the village/town traffic. Moreover, you will pass the railway gates without stopping and even manage to get out of Ranibennur by 8-30/9-00am when the traffic is much lesser.
  • Chitradurga - Haveri is about 120 Kms as Ravi mentions but the bad stretch cannot get beyond 10 kms in all (may be lesser). Since you will be passing this during the daylight, negotiating diversions and potholes is going to be easier as compared to night. Moreover, you can easily cruise at speeds between 80-90kmph on these undone stretches but be cautious when you are nearing diversions or speedbreakers. This speed is ideal on this stretch to avoid hard/panic braking.
  • I suggest you to carry your own breakfast (I normally do) since you would be closer to Davanagere at breakfast time but wouldnt want to get into the town for breakfast which might eat up some time. Later there are higher chances that you will get stuck at the railway gate(s) near Ranibennur (even if you stopped at the Ghar Dhaba). For all the times I have carried breakfast, I stop at Bhramhasagara (entry/exit on NH 4) around 7-30am and managed to pass the 2 railway gates without stopping.(or you can directly reach Shiggaon and have breakfast at Garuda which is on the Left hand side after you pass the Shiggaon town overbridge. I had it there twice and had no complains on the food and cleanliness part).
  • After Bankapura you can royally cruise all the way till Kolhapur and have lunch around 1-30pm (else you may stop at Belgaum around 12-30pm for an early lunch, depends).
  • Kolhapur has lot of options to eat including McDonalds and it shouldn't be an issue spotting good hotels alongside the highway. I generally try the "HOMP" style and get into any place that "looks" good and till date I have had no regrets with the food served.
Starting early works very well and my usual target is to cross Ranibennur and be at Bankapura by 9-00am. The effort that goes in passing out of Bangalore and all other towns (for starting later) is so much that the drive after Kolhapur till Pune becomes irritating in case of a single driver. My intention is to reserve this much needed patience to do Kolhapur - Pune stretch post lunch. Essentially, I am not talking about reaching faster or clocking times but only suggesting tips that can help in a calm and pleasant drive since it is an 850+ kms in a single day!!

I am planning a short Bangalore-Pune & back on 9th evening and start back on 11th night from Pune. From my past experiences, I have somehow settled to these timings for an effortless and pleasant drive. With Family, Day driving is highly recommended.

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th April 2010 at 14:02.
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:39   #486
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Thanks for all the responses. As I mentioned initially, I am in no hurry to reach Mumbai within a day of starting from Bangalore - I am planning this as a leisurely trip with many stops - for example, I thought of Hubli as a stop because I figured I could do a quick trip to Hospet/Hampi (though I see now that Chitradurga-Hospet-Hubli might be shorter). I have to leave Chennai on 12th latest, but need to reach Mumbai only by 18th.

Anyway, will post details after the trip.
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Old 12th April 2010, 13:42   #487
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Default Update from my weekend trip

Guys,
Just back to Bangalore today morning after my weekend trip to Pune & Aurangabad.

Quick details:
Bangalore - Pune on 9th April
My Ride - WagonR
Started from Vidyaranyapura at 5-15pm
Reached Pune (Anandnagar, Sun City) at 6-00am
Breaks- Apart from routine pee stops and some Chai at the tapri, the dinner break at Genysys Resort on Davanagere outskirts lasted an hour.

Pune - Aurangabad 10th April (6-30pm - 11-00pm)
Aurangabad - Pune 11th April (5-30am - 9-00am)

Stuck to these unusual timings to preserve the patience for doing Pune Bangalore. (Travelling on SH60 to Aurangabad from Pune has its own "risks" if done during normal hours)

Pune - Bangalore on 11th April
Started from Pune - 10-15pm
Reached Bangalore home Via Dobspet at 11-00am today (I sighted too many trucks ever since I continued from Chitradurga and was skeptical on entering Nelemangala today though I prefer and have not got stuck during peak morning hours)

Few Updates:

Till Nelamangala
It can be termed better now only since the speedbreakers appear less monstrous as compared to my previous trip

Nelemangala - Tumkur
No changes, remains in good shape

Tumkur Bypass
Respite comes with the opening of the bridge and there is no chance of getting stuck in a jam which was infamous when traffic was made to pass besides the bridge (second bridge after the toll exit). IIRC, almost all the bridges are thrown open to traffic.(just that a single side handles traffic from both directions as of now. But what the heck, its much better.

Tumkur - Sira - Hiriyur - C'Durga
Remains same & in good shape

Chitradurga Bypass
Easy entry and exit now traffic towards Pune passes through the bridge while on the way back(Bangalore bound), There is only one place where traffic is passing besides the birdge (Opp to a Catholic School, I cant recall the name). In fact, on the way to Pune, you will be surprised that you have passed Chitradurga so soon!!

Chitradurga- Davanagere
Get ready for toll anytime now. Markings are in progress and I could see them almost done on 50% of this 70Km stretch on both the sides.

Davanagere-Harihar
Better now, no messy road now, Drive over the bridges except for those newly laid speedbreakers. Watch out for Speed limit of 30KMPH which invariably hints at a Speedbreaker near it (Wondering why not a speedbreaker sign itself??)

Harihar - Ranibennur
Work in Progress, Didn't find much difference compared to my last trip 2 months back.

Ranibennur bypasss
It was late in the night when I travelled both directions. I personally felt that there is ample work especially on the entry of the bypass from Bangalore side. It will surely take another 2-3 months till one can call it a functional bypass

Ranibennur Railway gates
This remains a pain (Luckily I escaped this due to my odd travel times both ways). Just when you get down beside the first ROB (Towards Pune), New speedbreakers have been "Included" to this glorified racing circuit. I counted them to be almost 6 till the gate in a span of 1 Km.

Haveri - Bankapura
Work in Progress, Deviations have changed and its almost opposite than earlier. Be Very careful and look out for places where road surface appears laid new (over the existing one) as it is surely going to test the wheel rims and suspension(the smaller lot of cars)

Bankapur - Hubli Bypass
No changes, remains in good shape

Hubli Dharwad bypass
No changes, remains in good shape. Mine trucks are at their worst. Way back, saw them parked 4 rows in parallel just after the toll, making the situation totally dangerous for oncoming vehicles to make a judgement. I verbally complained to the booth incharge and he was like "I will have a look sir"

Dharwad Exit-Belgaum-Nippani-Kagal
Excellent and now most of those erstwhile concretized stretches have been newly asphalted, painted with the brightest reflective white. If you enjoyed this stretch as the best on NH4, take my words - You will fall in love with it now. I am actually amused myself at the pace of work Punj Lloyd has executed to make the best stretch even more better. Hats off!! If one travel towards Bangalore, share your opinions since this side of the corridor has seen major work.

Kagal-Kolhapur-Satara-Pune
No changes, remains in good shape. Majority of the median punctures have now been marked by erecting pipes with glowing Black and white stripes. At least, for night drivers this helps a lot to ascertain a break in the median and expect them to slow down and get cautious.

Last edited by paragsachania : 12th April 2010 at 14:00.
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Old 12th April 2010, 13:58   #488
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Sir this is as comprehensive as it can get. I was smiling at the progresses made all the way through. Thanks for the updates. It will help a lot many on and off this forum as well. Can't wait till I hop on this stretch. But it will be a while from now. Till then I hope everything is a breeze and commuting time is shaved by atleast an hour.
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Old 12th April 2010, 14:51   #489
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Guys,
Just back to Bangalore today morning after my weekend trip to Pune & Aurangabad..
Good informative post on the road conditions. Like prince_pervez I am also waiting for the day when Bangalore-Hubli can be done in less than 5 hrs. I have done the stretch in about 6 hrs last year in my Wagon-R
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Old 12th April 2010, 17:52   #490
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I am planning to do Pune- Bangalore-Pune in June.

1) I am scheduling to leave early morning between 5-6 AM can I reach by 6 PM?
2) Can this be achieved at speed of 90-100 Kmph in 13 hours with two break - breakfast and lunch (1.5 hr both)?
2) Route via Satara, Kolhapur, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Tumkur.
3) This would be my first long trip i.e. > that 800 KMs (on a single stretch) but I have done n-number of short trip Bangalore-salem, salem-Maduri, Pune-Shridi and Pune-Mumbai, so any advice is welcomed.
4) Will be doing this on my new swift
5) Also let me know the Maharashtra border where I can re-fuel as Karnataka fuel prices are high.
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Old 12th April 2010, 18:57   #491
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
I am planning to do Pune- Bangalore-Pune in June.

1) I am scheduling to leave early morning between 5-6 AM can I reach by 6 PM?
2) Can this be achieved at speed of 90-100 Kmph in 13 hours with two break - breakfast and lunch (1.5 hr both)?
2) Route via Satara, Kolhapur, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Tumkur.
3) This would be my first long trip i.e. > that 800 KMs (on a single stretch) but I have done n-number of short trip Bangalore-salem, salem-Maduri, Pune-Shridi and Pune-Mumbai, so any advice is welcomed.
4) Will be doing this on my new swift
5) Also let me know the Maharashtra border where I can re-fuel as Karnataka fuel prices are high.
Leave at 6 AM. You hit the Katraj ghats at 6:30. Get over them and on to NH4 by 7 am.
Be aware that you are going to get a lot of Volvo traffic from Bangalore/ Mangalore on that route at that hour. Hence the conservative timelines considering the place you start from.
A little after Kolhapur, on the left you'd find BP (where I regularly tank up before entering Karnataka).
You can maintain decent speeds and can take a stop for breakfast once you cross Tawandi ghat.

You should be in Hubli by 12 - 12:30.
The stretch till Ranebennur is fine. Then starts the trouble till Chitradurga. It's very painful. Allow 2.5 hours for that stretch. It's just around 100 kms though.

Chitradurga to Tumkur is ok. Loads of diversions and bottom scrapping speedbreakers. You can make that in 2 - 2.5 hours.
So you are effectively in Tumkur by 5 pm.
Tumkur to Bangalore is something no one can comment I guess. It's pure chaos.
Try leaving pune by 4. It's fun to see day break over satara ghat section.
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Old 12th April 2010, 19:01   #492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
I am planning to do Pune- Bangalore-Pune in June.

1) I am scheduling to leave early morning between 5-6 AM can I reach by 6 PM?
2) Can this be achieved at speed of 90-100 Kmph in 13 hours with two break - breakfast and lunch (1.5 hr both)?
3) This would be my first long trip i.e. > that 800 KMs , so any advice is welcomed.
I feel you can expect to reach in 13 hours based on my prior experiences on this stretch. Though I have not done this stretch directly from Bangalore. I have driven to Shirdi from Goa & Bangalore to Goa & vice versa on lot of occasions. Try to reach early as Neelmangala-Bangalore stretch can be quite frustrating in the evenings
Since this trip of yours is planned in June you may want to consider the possibility of rains but other thing is Haveri Chitradurga stretch is expected to be much better by that time.

You may also want to refer posts from paragsachania for the best timings to avoid traffic jams.
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Old 12th April 2010, 19:10   #493
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Be aware that you are going to get a lot of Volvo traffic from Bangalore/ Mangalore on that route at that hour. Hence the conservative timelines considering the place you start from.

Tumkur to Bangalore is something no one can comment I guess. It's pure chaos.
Try leaving pune by 4.
So MS, either way (Pune/Bangalore) I will start between 5-6 AM and being on the 4 way lane I think we can avoid these Volvo's right beacuse these guys start from 3 PM to 11 PM from Pune/Bangalore.

Basically I can reach BLR by 7 PM right (12-13 hrs) if I start from Pune between 5-6 AM?

I am still waiting for your checklist .. ..
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Old 12th April 2010, 20:31   #494
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Default Please refer the last few pages of this thread for all your queries.

Every query has an answer if you refer to the last few pages for all the queries but still I will make these points again:

Essentially for a distance of 850Kms the time taken to cover the stretch depends on a lot of factors and it should and cannot be looked at only in terms of clocking the best times (12,13 or even less hours!).

A sedate 90-100kmph can certainly help in doing it in 12-13 hours but the No. the drivers (Single or alone), Co-passengers, breaks can also be reasons that will impact the timings. So here is what I would still mention depending from where you start:

All my drives so far with speeds between 90-100kmph have ensured that I somehow and always end up doing it in 12/12.5 hours with ample breaks. The best so far has been 10-45 hours through the night, again with the same speeds but way too less traffic due to new years' eve (31 Dec night) and I guess even the truckers were busy guzzling.
Bangalore - Pune:

Depending on where you stay in Bangalore, it will decide the time you will take to reach the first toll gate at Nelemangala.

6AM "definitely" cannot be a good time to start from Bangalore due to the following reasons:
  1. Traffic would've started to build up and this will add to the time taken to reach Nelemangala.
  2. You will hit Tumkur around 7/7-30am and again there will be local traffic to navigate through.
  3. The Tumkur - Chitradurga stretch will be a breeze yet one needs to cautious to the early morning traffic in wrong direction (Especially the tractor-trailers, 2 wheeler goods carriers which you will encounter without expectation from any puncture in the median.
  4. Passing Chitradurga & Davanagere will take just about a little longer than usual around 9/10am due to private and govt buses making stops to ferry passengers.
  5. Ranibennur town will be a bitter experience around 11am for all the reasons mentioned earlier in this thread.
  6. It is MORE LIKELY that the railway gates wont be lucky for you around 11-15/11-45 and the wait will add to the timings.
If anyone has started at 6am and felt there were no major jams or bottlenecks, then starting at 4am will be "much better" when compared.

So far I've done Bangalore-Pune- Bangalore at least 10 times in 8 months and if you read my personal experiences, it makes a lot of sense to start as early as 4/4-30am. By doing this, not only you will pass all the major bottlenecks with ease but also manage to pass Ranibennur town & the railway gates without stopping. You will soon be able to realise yourself that by merely doing a sedate 80-90kmph you would've averaged almost 70kmph and passed all the bottlenecks with ease and the rest of the roads from Bankapura onwards will be a breeze. A totally fatigue free ride in that case!

Have mentioned this already but the Kolhapur - Pune stretch during any time of the day (of course barring nights) is a circus due to village/town traffic. Having one of the highest 2 wheeler densities in India, Maharastra will greet you with so many 2 wheelers on the highway which will somehow force you to take on the fast lane most of the times. Extra cautious is what the driver will have to be all the way till Pune but nevertheless the drive can be enjoyed with sedate speeds rather than panic and hard braking on this stretch when doing 100kmph and beyond.

Toll booths in Maharsatra too will usually have a beeline of vehicles almost whole through the day (If you compare them with any toll booth in Karnataka on NH4) and starting from Kolhapur exit (Kini) till last toll Before the Pune Bypass (4 toll gates in all), even in the worst case if it meant waiting for 10 minutes at each gate post noon & evenings , it becomes a considerable fraction!

To sum it up, start at 4/4-30am and have a hasslefree ride all the way till Kagal with breakfast and quick tea breaks. Lunch can happen in Kolhapur around 1/1-30 and from here it will take a good 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Pune (and further depending on where you stay in Pune).

Pune - Bangalore:

For the reasons mentioned above, look at starting from here at 4/4-30 am and you will be in Davanagere in 9/9.5 hours. You can plan breakfast in Belgaum and lunch in Davanagere (Genysys is a good resort with decent restaurant and falls on the bypass itself saving your time).

Chitradurga till Tumkur post lunch should be better off than morning with lesser local traffic. Nelemangala till NICE can have thinner traffic around 4-30/5-00pm (Now that trucks are forced to take the NICE I better mention this as the final destination in Bangalore as the rest depends on the infamous traffic snarls).

Hence, if you look at these, not all major bottlenecks can be avoided but passing one early during the day makes the driver happy & Jolly and energy preserved can be used to tackle the last leg on both directions.

Speeds

Many would say that a good car can manage 3 digit speeds and will save much time but a drive for 850kms is not a rally in a closed circuit and as a driver you need to drive with total responsibilty and irrespective of ABS or other loaded stuff in your car, you certainly wont like Panic and Hard braking at high speeds and still realise that the guy doing 90kmph whom you overtook few minutes back is always next to you at every toll both. No achievement this is!!
A driver will enjoy the adrenalin and fancy 3 digit speeds but for how long since we are talking about doing 850kms in a single stretch.

Night Driving

Attempt this only if you are aware of the roads, medians, diversions and other major characteristics and have done this at least 3-4 times during the day. Under normal day/evening driving, Kolhapur - Pune (or back) is a good 3 hours but in the night it is merely 2.5 hours at a constant speed of 90-100kmph with an almost zero braking & gear changes (except toll booths).

My Dad has always been my co-passenger during all my drives and he never thinks twice when we drive through the night only since we've done it with ease after doing considerable trips over the daylight.

For night driving, refer my earlier posts on good timings to avoid major bottlenecks, information on 24/7 fuel stations and driving habits.
(the last 5-8 pages should give you enough of the latest information on all your queries)

Volvos

You wont have issues passing them in the evenings or night and they will usually give way when signalled to overtake. For them too, it is a daily Pune/Mumbai-Bangalore drive and wont indulge in drag racing with you . At nights, "Everyone" becomes a good driver and it is a horn-free drive and you will be given right to overtake as per the actual Indian driving law from the right hand side by 95% of the traffic.

Last edited by paragsachania : 12th April 2010 at 20:41.
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Old 13th April 2010, 11:24   #495
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paragsachania Thanks for the excellent write-up/advice.

I always maintain speed between 80-100 KMs not more than that. I am single driver planning to do this trip in June as I said before essentially for a distance of 850Kms in a single stretch. I will be covering more that 4000 KMs in this trip I better do it in the safest way.

Trip start from Pune - Bangalore - Salem - Coimbatore - back to Salem - Pollachi - Munnar - Allapey - Mysore/Bangalore - Pune

Its always difficult to start at 4/4.30 if you travelling with your family. I planned the same (to start at 4 AM) few week back when I did a day trip to Shridi at last started from home by 5.50 AM. But will try my best to move then as early as possible.

As per the plan reach Belgaum (around 340 Kms from Pune) for breakfast before that refuel tank at a little after Kolhapur, on the left I should find BP (As PER MX6).

Break for Lunch at Davanagere which would be around 250 KMs from Belgaum @ Genysys. Let me know if this hotel comes before Belgaum or after.

On my return to Pune I might start from Mysore instead of Bangalore, and for this can you please let me know the road condition until Chitradurga.. ?
Its the same route after Chitradurga I guess.
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