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Old 11th May 2011, 15:44   #16
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

15 posts and we are still at kankavali?

Prashant, it is always a pleasure to read your posts as I have said before and repeating, you have a flair for writing and also need to pat you on the back for exhibiting such patience in going through such minute details

BQ is looking really dusty in pictures of your last post. but, you could have used the trick of the sun to hide that dust. I mean from a different angle.

Look forward to next edition soon. Keep the pictures flowing....
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Old 11th May 2011, 15:57   #17
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Not posting here, neither on Pug-OT. Get on with it

PS: A dusty much-driven car is a happy car. Get over the cleanliness mania!
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Old 12th May 2011, 18:17   #18
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Default Day 1 (April 22, 2011), Phase 5: Kankavli to Calangute

Day 1 (April 22, 2011): Phase 5: Kankavli to Calangute

One of the reasons for taking the Phonda route was to get on to NH17 as fast as possible, and maximize the chances of driving with a view of the sea and the setting sun on it.

Unfortunately that was not to be. From the initial homework I knew that there were two routes from Kankavli to Goa. Both are forks of NH17. One goes via Vengurla and the other via Savantwadi, and both rejoin at Pernem inside Goa. What I missed doing in my initial homework was digging down deep into the maps and figuring out the exact location of the fork. So I was left to the "devices", literally. As Murphy would have it, the EDGE connection decided to play truant and I was left with a functioning GPS but no maps on my phone.

Even then, the Lonely Planet map book should've been enough. The reality is that after passing Kudal town, one actively has to turn right here to go to Vengurla, whereas blissfully continuing on unawares would get you on the Savantwadi stretch.

Two things made it clear to me that I missed the fork. One, was the sequence of kilometre stones showing the distance to Savantwadi in addition to Panaji. Two, the twisty ghat-like road with absolutely no sign of the coast anywhere. From the map it was very clear that at least near Vengurla the road was very close to the coast.

The lack of proper direction posts meant that I didn't know whether the Vengurla fork was yet to come or already behind me. Of course, I could've stopped and asked someone but there was this constant feeling that the fork would be "just a little further ahead", until we finally hit Savantwadi.

The drive up to this point was fairly uneventful but somewhat slow courtesy of the moderate traffic, curvy road (very few overtaking opportunities) and fading light. The road surface was good, thankfully.

At Savantwadi I overshot the left turn towards Goa (a few metres ahead of the point where the road from Amboli joins NH17) but no damage was done as I realized very quickly and made a U-turn near a line of shops overlooking the tank/lake.

From here on, it got a little crazy. It was already past 7 pm because of the relative lack of pace from Kankavli onwards, and the road just got extremely narrow and remained that way until we crossed Banda, which some 12 km away. I think this stretch took us easily more than half an hour to cover due to traffic hold-ups.

The road widened after Banda but it was dark and I could make out what looked like mining trucks. It also got very dusty (one more reason to slow down -- poor visibility) and finally there was the brief stop at the MH-Goa border where the cop asked us where we were going and whether the car was in my name or not.

I was following a few GA-registered cars thinking I was definitely not on NH17 anymore, and it may be wise to just follow one of these cars until we hit some place where there are good signboards. I knew from my previous, and thus far, only visit to Goa that signboards and directions will never be a problem there.

One of these GA vehicles, a black Indigo, got off the road onto a slip road and I just blindly followed it. My wife quickly spotted a kilometre stone that read Pernem and we immediately knew we had to turn around. This slip road was narrow and was definitely not the highway. I turned back and got on to the highway.

For the next 3-4 kms it was just pitch darkness punctuated by blinding headlights, with no signboards of any kind. We proceeded ahead gingerly, hobbled by the lack of a data connection on the phone and a lack of people to ask. The highway stretch was desolate and dark except for the vehicles, and in that respect it was actually moderately busy. After a while, having seen no signboard thus far, we thought it's better to get back to that slip road leading to Pernem and see if there was an alternate route. I got in touch with ranjitp1 and explained the situation to him (about having missed the "good" NH17 fork) and he suggested reaching Pernem first and taking stock of the situation there.

I mistakenly got into another slip road a few metres before the one to Pernem. There was a police checkpost and it read Naibaug. I asked the cop on duty how to get to NH17 and he directed me to the Pernem slip road instead of suggesting that I was already on NH17. Maybe he assumed I was going out of Goa. Making a U-turn in the confines of the check post barricades with a never-ending stream of traffic took a couple of minutes or so. We headed back and got on to the Pernem road but I started having doubts again. If this slip road was really the way to Goa or NH17 there would be a lot more traffic. So I got off and asked a couple of shop-keepers for directions to Calangute, and they asked me to get back on to the main road (which incidentally was NH17, if I've managed to confuse you enough already) and continue for some 16-17 kms. I re-confirmed that that was the road, despite the darkness and lack of sign posts.

So we headed back again, and in a few minutes, passed the point where we had originally made the U-turn and headed back towards Naibaug/Pernem. Sure enough, just a few metres further on from that point was a curve to the left following which was the divided 4-laned Goan good-ness! If only we had carried on a little bit further initially...

From here on it was simply a matter of following directions. Instead of continuing on NH17 I got off at Mapusa and took the interior route instead. There was a little bit of confusion at the Mapusa bus stand T-junction. Instict said we must turn left and we did, only to find a round-about with two exists just a little bit ahead. A couple of totally drunken bystanders - one of whom was busily checking out the insides of the car while the other was more interested in finding out which hotel we were headed to - eventually told us which fork to take.

My wife was beginning to hate it now. Her first impressions of Goa hadn't been great. No beach near the highway (as I'd - perhaps mistakenly - promised), lack of direction boards (despite me waxing eloquently all along about how Goa was full of those) and all that time lost near Pernem and now these two guys who took ages to help us on our way.

I just hoped we'd reach the hotel soon and find everything to our liking there.

We finally reached Calangute, whose roads I was very familiar with courtesy of that previous visit of mine some 5.5 years ago (in October 2005). The hotel was on the Calangute-Baga road, almost exactly mid-way between the Calangute beach road and Tito's lane. It's very easy to miss the place, though. Even at the entrance to the narrow pathway leading up to the hotel, despite a board indicating the way in, we found ourselves asking the guard of the neighbouring hotel sitting outside whether this was the way in to ours .

We found the place and drove in. The odo indicated that we'd driven 742.3 kms, all detours included. The clock read 2045, which means we'd been on the road for 15.5 hours. We could've made up between 1.5 and 2 hours, perhaps, if Kolhapur had been as smooth as we had originally expected it to be, and if we'd taken the Vengurla fork rather than the crowded and narrow Savantwadi fork.

Nevertheless, it was in an "all's-well-that-ends-well" kind of mood that we drove in, but total relief was not immediately at hand.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 12th May 2011, 18:38   #19
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Hey, what a lovely write up of an eventful day drive; all the way from Hyd to Goa in a single day. Yes, getting into Calagute at night with its twisty lanes after a whole day of +700kms travel is a challenge.

Looking forward for more!
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Old 12th May 2011, 18:49   #20
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Default Re: Day 1 (April 22, 2011), Phase 5: Kankavli to Calangute

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Originally Posted by spadix View Post
So we headed back again, and in a few minutes, passed the point where we had originally made the U-turn and headed back towards Naibaug/Pernem. Sure enough, just a few metres further on from that point was a curve to the left following which was the divided 4-laned Goan good-ness! If only we had carried on a little bit further initially...
That road is being widened. So the lack of signposts. There are quite a few otherwise.

I am guessing you went under that bridge instead of taking the climb upwards to your left. Then came back and headed towards the bridge and found the checkpost.

From there Calangute is 40 odd kms.

Actually if you stick to the widest road along that route you are on the right road.

Maybe since it was dark it got confusing.

Now waiting patiently for the Goa photos.
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Old 12th May 2011, 20:01   #21
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Amazing escapades! Nice to read.
I was looking at Google maps. What I realized is there are smaller roads from Miraj to Nippani, which bypass Kolhapur. How good are these roads?

And from Nippani, one can go to Radhanagari. Does that help anyway?
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Old 12th May 2011, 20:09   #22
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
15 posts and we are still at kankavali?

Prashant, it is always a pleasure to read your posts as I have said before and repeating, you have a flair for writing and also need to pat you on the back for exhibiting such patience in going through such minute details
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Not posting here, neither on Pug-OT. Get on with it
Hehehe, thanks mates! Yeah, I know I'm running too heavy on details for the time being, but days 2 thru' 5 will go at the rate of only 1 post per day by my reckoning .

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PS: A dusty much-driven car is a happy car. Get over the cleanliness mania!
Oh, I just mentioned it as an interesting tidbit. Of course, the overnight layer I talked about in the first post was a bit of a downer. It's mostly because it's our own time and labour going into it (the resident car washers in the apartment building are simply hopeless).

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Originally Posted by dot View Post
Hey, what a lovely write up of an eventful day drive; all the way from Hyd to Goa in a single day. Yes, getting into Calagute at night with its twisty lanes after a whole day of +700kms travel is a challenge.

Looking forward for more!
Thanks, dot! Yes, there'll be more.

Calangute was very, very busy when we drove in. April 22 was Good Friday and so it was a long weekend.

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
That road is being widened. So the lack of signposts. There are quite a few otherwise.

Actually if you stick to the widest road along that route you are on the right road.

Maybe since it was dark it got confusing.
That explains it! I thought it was due to road repairs courtesy of the mining trucks ripping the asphalt up. Same difference. The darkness didn't help, yes.

Eventually that's what we ended up doing - sticking to the widest road - but with a little help from friends, that's all .

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
I am guessing you went under that bridge instead of taking the climb upwards to your left. Then came back and headed towards the bridge and found the checkpost.

From there Calangute is 40 odd kms.
We made a U-turn before passing underneath the bridge, from what I remember. So we came back out on that slip road itself and made a sharp right 'U' to get back on to the highway. Even though it was a little busy, we didn't have to wait much to make that turn on either occasion.

We found the checkpost when heading back towards Savantwadi from Goa, so it was another U-turn there to get on to that slip road, and then back out onto the NH as described above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
15 posts and we are still at kankavali?

Prashant, it is always a pleasure to read your posts as I have said before and repeating, you have a flair for writing and also need to pat you on the back for exhibiting such patience in going through such minute details
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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Not posting here, neither on Pug-OT. Get on with it
Hehehe, thanks mates! Yeah, I know I'm running too heavy on details for the time being, but days 2 thru' 5 will go at the rate of only 1 post per day by my reckoning .

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
PS: A dusty much-driven car is a happy car. Get over the cleanliness mania!
Oh, I just mentioned it as an interesting tidbit. Of course, the overnight layer I talked about in the first post was a bit of a downer.

It's mostly because it's your own time and labour going into it (the resident car washers in the apartment building are simply hopeless).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
Hey, what a lovely write up of an eventful day drive; all the way from Hyd to Goa in a single day. Yes, getting into Calagute at night with its twisty lanes after a whole day of +700kms travel is a challenge.

Looking forward for more!
Thanks, dot! Yes, there'll be more.

Calangute was very, very busy when we drove in. April 22 was Good Friday and so it was a long weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
That road is being widened. So the lack of signposts. There are quite a few otherwise.

Actually if you stick to the widest road along that route you are on the right road.

Maybe since it was dark it got confusing.
That explains it! I thought it was due to road repairs courtesy of the mining trucks ripping the asphalt up. Same difference. The darkness didn't help, yes.

Eventually that's what we ended up doing - sticking to the widest road - but with a little help from friends, that's all .

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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Keep the pictures flowing....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Now waiting patiently for the Goa photos.
Accounts of days 2 thru' 5 will be more pictures/video and less "talk". I am just very poor in taking pictures during breaks while riding/driving. Somehow I'm never able to find the enthu to *stop* and take pictures either for documentary purposes or even when presented with something worth taking pictures of.

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Amazing escapades! Nice to read.
I was looking at Google maps. What I realized is there are smaller roads from Miraj to Nippani, which bypass Kolhapur. How good are these roads?

And from Nippani, one can go to Radhanagari. Does that help anyway?
Thanks, Ampere! Yes, there are a couple of roads from Meraj to Nipani - one via Chikkodi and another via Hurkeri. The conditions of these roads are suspect. I don't think they'd be too bad, however.

From Nipani to Radhanagari is just a detour. It's better to do Sankeshwar - Gadhinglaj - Amboli - Savantwadi instead.

The only reason I went through Kolhapur was to get on to NH17 while there was still enough daylight, so that I could get a view of the setting sun on the sea while driving on the highway. Blame all the movies for inspiring such thoughts, I guess. Unfortunately that was not to be.

Regards,
spadix

Last edited by spadix : 12th May 2011 at 20:12.
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Old 12th May 2011, 20:25   #23
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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There was one other thing that was very typical of this entire ~250 km stretch, by the way. I'll leave that for you all to guess. Hint: It's got nothing to do with Sanjay Ghodawat or the Star group .
Open-air biobreaks is what this route is famous for.Try driving Sangole-Solapur after 7pm or before 6am and no amount of ac would keep the stench away!

Lovely beginning to the writeup Prashant!Well the travelogue did finally materialise.Lovely one.


You are right on about Dajipur being one of the most picturesque drives in Western India.

For the uninitiated,a drive throu Radhanagari-Phondaghat-Phonda during the monsoons or after it,would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Immediately after Dajipur Talao,you enter India;s only Bison sanctuary called Dajipur Bison Sanctuary(I guess its now renamed to some Rajiv Gandhi sanctuary or something on those lines)

Miraj to Kolhapur is total Sanjay Ghodawat territory,but thankfully he has done something for the area as well in terms of prosperity,theres a huge food court/restaurant that the group runs there on the Miraj Road.The prosperity on this 30km stretch is very evident.

You were lucky that you got lost after Sawantwadi,else the MH checkpost guys would have created a ruckus for you asking for original RC etc etc.

Kolhapur people look very rough but are genuine people as opposed to the Puneri culture(with all due respect to Puneris!)The classic example is ask a person in Pune for directions and he would be more interested in knowing why are you going there rather than giving you the directions.

If you were to come back via Kolhapur,I would have definitely asked you to reach Kolhapur for breakfast at Phadtare Misal Kendra,it is a treat to eat there and to see the way it is served.They have been featured in so many tv channels as well.There is even a FB community for this place,the place is ever so tiny and small PHADTARE MISAL HOUSE.......KOLHAPUR | Facebook

PS:I was driving to Kerala around the same time that you were driving to Goa,so couldnt concentrate much with the turnoffs and landmarks,else I could have helped you with some directions inside Kolhapur town.Maybe next time

Last edited by ranjitp1 : 12th May 2011 at 20:27.
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Old 12th May 2011, 20:45   #24
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Open-air biobreaks is what this route is famous for.Try driving Sangole-Solapur after 7pm or before 6am and no amount of ac would keep the stench away!


But this was not what I had in mind.

The answer?

White Alto K10.

No, seriously. I lost count of the number of white Alto K10s I spotted between Solapur and Kolhapur. Leave out the people carriers (including Indicabs) and this was the next most populous species of 4-wheeler in this neck of the woods.

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Lovely beginning to the writeup Prashant!Well the travelogue did finally materialise.Lovely one.
Thanks, man! You do realize, right, that the constant stream of SMS' from you just eradicated 85% of the tension (mainly w.r.t. timings)? Although we were making good progress, Goa just felt very very far away and we weren't sure whether to halt overnight at Belgaum or Kolhapur. I really owe you one.

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Immediately after Dajipur Talao,you enter India;s only Bison sanctuary called Dajipur Bison Sanctuary(I guess its now renamed to some Rajiv Gandhi sanctuary or something on those lines)
Due to both time constraints and the fact that wife didn't have much interest in this, we gave it a pass. Maybe next time...

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Miraj to Kolhapur is total Sanjay Ghodawat territory,but thankfully he has done something for the area as well in terms of prosperity,theres a huge food court/restaurant that the group runs there on the Miraj Road.The prosperity on this 30km stretch is very evident.
Absolutely! That Star highway restaurant was very tempting, mind you. I was in half a mind to stop there and have some misal pav etc. as you'd suggested.

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
You were lucky that you got lost after Sawantwadi,else the MH checkpost guys would have created a ruckus for you asking for original RC etc etc.
On the Vengurla fork, you mean? The checkpost after Banda was OK. He didn't ask for any documents. My word that the car I was driving was my own, was enough for him.

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Kolhapur people look very rough but are genuine people as opposed to the Puneri culture(with all due respect to Puneris!)The classic example is ask a person in Pune for directions and he would be more interested in knowing why are you going there rather than giving you the directions.
You couldn't have said it better about the Kolhapuris, although I don't have much experience with Puneris (or is it Punekars?). There were these two gentlemen who reverse-questioned us about where we were headed, but I guess that was to see if a better alternate route could be suggested. After confirming that we were looking to get to NH17 and then Goa they concurred that to Radhanagari/Phonda is where we must head.

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
If you were to come back via Kolhapur,I would have definitely asked you to reach Kolhapur for breakfast at Phadtare Misal Kendra,it is a treat to eat there and to see the way it is served.They have been featured in so many tv channels as well.There is even a FB community for this place,the place is ever so tiny and small
This looks very interesting. I just love such places. Another example is Shetty Lunch Home in Kundapura.

One thing is certain. The next time I drive to Goa from Hyderabad, it'll be via Solapur and Kolhapur, and not via any of the Karnataka routes. So this will be on the list of places to enjoy en route.

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PS:I was driving to Kerala around the same time that you were driving to Goa,so couldnt concentrate much with the turnoffs and landmarks,else I could have helped you with some directions inside Kolhapur town.Maybe next time
Thanks for the offer, man! I thought you'd actually reached Thrissur already and were at home or pottering around in town. Apologies if I bothered you too often.

I'm usually pretty good with my memory of roads and routes. Not exactly elephant-like, but I'll now find my way through Kolhapur from NH4/NH204 to Radhanagari/Phonda easily (touchwood), even if it's a few years later.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 12th May 2011, 21:02   #25
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

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Absolutely! That Star highway restaurant was very tempting, mind you. I was in half a mind to stop there and have some misal pav etc. as you'd suggested.
Yes spicy misal paav is the order of the day in those areas,if you tell them you dont want it spicy,they would stare at you as if you are from some other planet!



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On the Vengurla fork, you mean? The checkpost after Banda was OK. He didn't ask for any documents. My word that the car I was driving was my own, was enough for him.
No the Banda c/p would be the Goa govt one I think,either whichways,they are more interested in cars coming out of Goa,especially during daytimes.



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You couldn't have said it better about the Kolhapuris, although I don't have much experience with Puneris (or is it Punekars?). There were these two gentlemen who reverse-questioned us about where we were headed, but I guess that was to see if a better alternate route could be suggested. After confirming that we were looking to get to NH17 and then Goa they concurred that to Radhanagari/Phonda is where we must head.
haha true,kolhapuris would only ask you "where",never "why".ask a pune rickshaw guy and he can talk to you for the whole day and still not tell you what you asked him!



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This looks very interesting. I just love such places. Another example is Shetty Lunch Home in Kundapura.
Yes Shetty Lunch Home,is amazing as well,so are the Mylari Benne Dosas in Mysore,the Town Canteen Masala Dosa in Davangere,the Sabudana wada inside Nasik town,the joshi vadewale that one can find littered inside Pune as well as the Chithale's Bhakarvadis.Thats all that I can remember off hand!

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One thing is certain. The next time I drive to Goa from Hyderabad, it'll be via Solapur and Kolhapur, and not via any of the Karnataka routes. So this will be on the list of places to enjoy en route.
yes true,I too prefer the misals and usals route via MH as opposed to the Jollada rotis and Akki roti route of North Ka!

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Amazing escapades! Nice to read.
I was looking at Google maps. What I realized is there are smaller roads from Miraj to Nippani, which bypass Kolhapur. How good are these roads?

And from Nippani, one can go to Radhanagari. Does that help anyway?
Hey Amp,its a roundabout way to go from Nippani to Radhanagari.From Bangalore,stick to the Hubli-Ankola(NH63)-Karwar-Goa route.Dont venture out into anything else.If you want to be adventeruous,then do the Ramnagar-Londa-Mollem route once the 4laning is complete!

OT:I see quite a number of queries from you on Goa now a days.Is there a Goa drive coming up after the Valparai one?

Get on with the TL,Spadix,waiting for your Goa escapades!
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Old 13th May 2011, 05:33   #26
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Hey Amp,its a roundabout way to go from Nippani to Radhanagari.From Bangalore,stick to the Hubli-Ankola(NH63)-Karwar-Goa route.Dont venture out into anything else.If you want to be adventeruous,then do the Ramnagar-Londa-Mollem route once the 4laning is complete!

OT:I see quite a number of queries from you on Goa now a days.Is there a Goa drive coming up after the Valparai one?

Get on with the TL,Spadix,waiting for your Goa escapades!
All those questions are inspired due to amazing drives from folks like you and @Spadix and my love for Google maps! I will stick to NH4/NH63/NH17 only! Though I have been to Goa many times, would love to drive again! None is coming up now

Coming back to the same question, on which @Spadix was commenting, that if one wants to go via Sankeshwhar/Amboli, then does the Kolhapur by-pass from Miraj help?

But @spadix has a point, that if one is driving from long distance, its good to finish-off with the ghats when there is enough light.

The motivation was that many folks have commented on going across Kolhapur being a pain. I was just trying to see if its possible when approaching the city from different sides.

Also is GQ bypass not in place ? If yes then all the inbound/outbound SH/NH should have a method to intersect the bypass road. Is it not?
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Old 13th May 2011, 14:28   #27
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Coming back to the same question, on which @Spadix was commenting, that if one wants to go via Sankeshwhar/Amboli, then does the Kolhapur by-pass from Miraj help?
Oh yes. If you're worried about the road condition between Meraj and Nipani via either Chikkodi/Hurkeri, you can still head towards Kolhapur anyway. You'll hit NH4 before you hit Kolhapur town, when proceeding from Meraj. In fact you'll have to drive a kilometre or so on NH4 to even get into Kolhapur town.

So you get on to NH4 from Meraj - Kolhapur road, and after driving that one km continue on NH4 without taking the Kolhapur exit. After a few kms you'll come to Nipani. Continue further towards Sankeshwar.

This will be slightly longer but obviously better in terms of road surface.

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
But @spadix has a point, that if one is driving from long distance, its good to finish-off with the ghats when there is enough light.
To be fair, this point was raised by ranjitp1. The Western ghats especially can be daunting in the dark because of the dense forests. This is not the case with Tirumala ("well-developed") or with most of the eastern ghats for instance because they aren't as tall and so don't have that much forest cover.

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
The motivation was that many folks have commented on going across Kolhapur being a pain. I was just trying to see if its possible when approaching the city from different sides.

Also is GQ bypass not in place ? If yes then all the inbound/outbound SH/NH should have a method to intersect the bypass road. Is it not?
Kolhapur has a good bypass on NH4, like I pointed out above. I don't think you can bypass the town if you approach it from the western side (i.e. from the ghats).

Even if you want to get into Kolhapur town, however, it's not that bad if you know your way through the town. For instance, I won't have trouble passing through Kolhapur town now. Yes, there'll be traffic on those narrow streets, but it's only a 3-4 km stretch out of the entire 10 kms from the eastern edge to the western edge.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 13th May 2011, 15:22   #28
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Thanks guys. Clears all the items. So the issues are within the town.
The by-passes are in place.
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Old 13th May 2011, 16:00   #29
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Default Day 1 (April 22, 2011): After the drive

Day 1 (April 22, 2011): After the drive

We had booked our stay in Cap's Corner in Calangute.

My requirements were a comfortable hotel with an AC room, adequate parking for my BQ and a measure of proximity to the beach, all within INR 1500 per night for a couple. There were many hotels which seemingly fit this criteria, but a good friend of mine endorsed Cap's and I liked the look of it based on initial research. This is a family business where the owner's family stays in the top floor and the ground and first floor rooms are let out. You are more or less part of the family. I was influenced by my friend's recommendation as well as the hotel's reviews on TripAdvisor. My email interaction with the owner's son during the booking phase was also very positive.

When we reached the hotel, we found a parking slot but it was pretty tight. On that particular day, the neighbouring hotel also had around 4-5 cars. Cap's themselves have 3 cars (two belong to the owners and one is a taxi which they use for taking their guests around on guided tours). It was tight but not impossible and the slight pain would only last the weekend. The entry way is narrow and it's not easy to make a U-turn inside the premises if there are so many cars. So you either back in to get straight out, or back out if you drive in straight. Again, not very difficult but not as smooth as in a bigger hotel.

My wife, who was already a bit buggered off with her initial impressions of Goa and the stress of having been on the road for 15 hours (even though she didn't drive towards the end, the glare of oncoming headlights was equally hard on her as it was on me), was none too pleased with the tight parking .

The staff quickly completed the check-in formalities and showed us to our room. This was where she almost lost it and started spewing blood and venom. The humid weather piled on to the already existing stress. And to top it all off was the colour scheme of the room's wall and curtain -- not at all to her liking, and the AC which seemingly didn't work.

I patiently asked if we should switch hotels. Obviously it wasn't *that* bad, and she rejected the idea. We knew that it was mostly the stress and the humid, oppressive weather more than anything else.

A long bath with some refreshingly cool water calmed things down considerably. We settled down and had some dinner. By then, we were back to saner disposition, and we also noticed the room was surprisingly cool. The AC just took some time, that's all. From that day on, we noticed that the AC was actually very quick to cool the room down. So it was probably a matter of not getting the settings right the first time.

I asked one of the staff if they wash guests' cars, and he said he would although it's not a standard service provided by the hotel. What this meant was that he would be hard-pressed to find the time to wash the car during the day, when he's busy with regular service, and would wash the car some time at night instead. I asked him to let it be for the moment and went back to the room. Then I had a change of mind and came back downstairs, but he had left for the day by then.

We hit the sack, and boy did we sleep or what! You could chalk it down to the drive and for being on the road for 15 hours, but I think it had more to do with the weather and the room itself. While the initial impressions of the hotel weren't exactly earth-shattering, over time we realized just how comfortable it was. The staff's friendliness was just an added bonus.

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spadix
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Old 13th May 2011, 17:53   #30
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Default Re: Getting out of the comfort zone: Hyderabad - Goa - Hyderabad

Hi Prashant,
Awesome travelogue going on. Also very informative, fun and valuable discussion going on the routes, eating place, etc. Have been reading till now quietly.However, feel that more photos will do justice to the travelogue. Post more pics

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Originally Posted by spadix View Post
The Western ghats especially can be daunting in the dark because of the dense forests. This is not the case with Tirumala ("well-developed") or with most of the eastern ghats for instance because they aren't as tall and so don't have that much forest cover.
Oh, Tirumala ghat is cakewalk really. Last december, we hired a chauffered Innova to Ooty, and just before the ascent onto the 36 hairpin bends, we had a halt and I casually asked the driver if he has drove on ghats before. He replied ."ha sir, tirupati par chadaya hai na". I'd driven once before to Ooty last August too.Now I had only been to Tirupati once before that, that too on a bus. This April we drove to Tirupati-Tirumala and it was such a cakewalk to drive up, can't call it a pure ghat road. The journey down was okay but compared to the Ooty ghat, it was nothing.
I feel they should interchange the up and down route though.
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