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Old 4th February 2012, 09:32   #1
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Default Republic Day weekend trip: Chennai - Goa - Chennai

This was a trip which was supposed to happen five years ago but was rudely halted near Hosur by a truck driver who thought switching lanes without looking was his birth right. That we managed a trip to Coorg - Nagarhole with a battered car is another tale. But the itch to go on a road trip to Goa from Madras (oops Chennai!!) still remained.

The perfect opportunity rose again when a close friend got engaged late last year (December). The plan was made right there at the engagement venue and took shape over the next 1 month. People were called, their schedules were confirmed, car(s) to be taken decided. As the dates for the trip approached, there were the usual drop outs, citing various reasons. This made us drop one car and go on the trip with a single vehicle. So without further ado,presenting,

The Man err Men
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The machine
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The route
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and finally, the destination
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Old 4th February 2012, 09:40   #2
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Default Re: Republic Day weekend trip: Chennai - Goa - Chennai

Day 1:

The plan was to start at 5 in the evening and reach Tumkur some time in the night before taking a break. As usual, all the plans which were made were thrown out of the window and we managed to start only at 7PM in the night. We also got caught in a huge traffic pile up on the Tambaram by pass near the Porur toll. Finally, managed to get out of the city premises by around 9PM.There is nothing new to talk about the Chennai - Bangalore stretch. Its an awesome road throughout and we did make good progress. Reached Vellore at around 10:30 and had dinner at a hotel called Grand Krishna. Point to note: They serve good South Indian food quickly and at reasonable prices and their last order time is 10:45. Is this the norm followed everywhere (the last order time for food that is)

Once the dinner part was done away with, proceeded to get back on the road. Passed through Krishnagiri and reached Hosur at around 1AM. After a discussion on whether to continue/halt for the night, we decided to halt for the night as everyone was tired and wanted a fresh start. We started scouting for places to stay at that time of the night and finally ended up staying at the TTDC hotel. The hotel charged us 1300 per room. The hotel was ok with 4 of us sharing a single room but we were told that we will not be provided with extra linen even if we paid for it. Seeing that the place was cold (for a Chennaite, every place is cold ), we ended up taking 2 rooms and staying there for the night.The rooms were well maintained though and they had a huge space for parking vehicles.

The TTDC Lodging
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Some flowers inside the hotel
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Last edited by arvind71181 : 7th February 2012 at 20:19.
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Old 4th February 2012, 12:53   #3
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Default Re: Republic Day weekend trip: Chennai - Goa - Chennai

Day 2:
All of us got up refreshed from the rest we had at the hotel. Got up, got ready, had breakfast and were on our way (The hotel has a decent restaurant which serves food really fast. Hot water was also available which was a pleasant surprise, to me atleast). Good to see the government maintaining clean places to stay at a very acceptable cost.

Stuck to the route as prescribed by Google maps and we were near the BETL toll in no time. Here happens the most critical mistake of the day. Instead of getting on to the service lane which would lead us to the NICE road to go to Tumkur, we manage to get on to the elevated tollway. We happened to realize the mistake immediately after paying the toll, so had no other option other than continuing on the tollway. I did not see any sign boards indicating us to keep left to get on to the NICE road. A simple sign board would have saved us a lot of time, but it was not to be. Looking at the positive side, at least we managed to ride on the elevated tollway!! As mentioned by the Bangalore BHPians, it is a wonderful road to take and the drive was short but enjoyable.

By this time, realized that even though my phone does not have voice based navigation, it does have GPS and Google maps which can be used to provide directions. Fired it up and got the new route mapped by the time we reached the Silk board junction. Took a left there, went through BTM, took a left at the Bannerghatta road and stuck on to the same till we reached the NICE intersection. The directions looked very simple but the problem was that my phone lost connectivity intermittently and hence we did not have any bearing on where our car was. So resorted to looking at buildings on the left and right as indicated by Google and somehow managed to reach the NICE intersection without any other major de-tour.

Our Bangalore City Drive
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After we got onto the NICE road, we paid the toll (109 Rs) if I remember right, and continued on the stretch. The road was wonderful and we made very fast progress and were on to the Tumkur road (NH4) in no time. Now, comes the irritating mistake of the day. As soon as we get on to the NH, we see that there are a few vehicles which are lining up to pay a toll on 2 lanes on the right and the rest of the two lanes are free. We took the toll-less road, wondering why on earth would anyone pay to use a road which is apparently free. What a mistake. We got stuck for around half hour while we could see the other vehicles which had paid the toll fly past around (and laugh at us too I guess). In addition to the heavy truck traffic, the road had huge speed breakers as well, perhaps to remind us that we had been cheap and this is what we deserve. Somehow managed to trudge along till we came upon a cut in the highway and a chance for us to rejoin the main road. Immediately rushed to the toll, paid the same and were on our way. I think this is the Nelamangala toll. Again I was surprised here that there is no indication/marking to say that there is a choice between toll free/toll roads.

NICE Road View
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NICE Road View 2
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Once we hit the NH4, we made good progress and crossed Tumkur and the towns of Sira, Hiriyur, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Harihar, Ranebennur and finally Hubli. Stopped for lunch on the way in a Kamat Upachar restaurant. Do not remember where exactly the restaurant was. I think it was between Chitradurga and Hubli. We crossed Hubli at around 4 in the afternoon. Till Hubli, the roads are all 4 laned so it is easy to maintain a constant speed of 100kmph. We were only 4 people in the car and the Endeavour is a huge vehicle so there were no problems with leg room and hence there was not much of tiredness.

Once we reached Hubli, we asked for directions and got on to the Hubli - Karwar road, passing Yellapur on the way. By the time we reached Karwar, it was twilight time and we got the first glimpse of the Arabian sea which was going to be our home for the next couple of days. The road, though single laned was of good quality and we were able to make it at decent speeds. Here is where the bulk of the Endeavour limited our speeds. We were unable to go beyond a certain speed as it would result in the vehicle losing grip (oversteer). This is one of the roads where I think a sedan will be much more fun to drive.

Indian Oil Tanker at Karwar
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Karwar Beach
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Karwar Beach
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Sunset at Karwar beach
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Immediately after crossing Karwar, we encountered the Goa check post and within no time, we were in Goa. As soon as we entered Goa, the one thing I noticed was the abundance and frequency of bar cum restaurants everywhere. Never seen so many in such a short distance anywhere else in India till now . The roads still remained single lane, but the width of the road reduced further. This was something which we encountered and consequently got used to (the small width of the roads). Our Google GPS showed the destination to be around an hour ago, and with renewed vigour, we attacked the last stretch of the trip. We passed through a road which the GPS marked as the Kanyakumari-Panvel road. The road again, though small and single laned was of good quality but the night time reduced the speeds which we could do in this stretch. I though Goa would be hot and humid at this time of the year but found out to my surprise that it was actually cold. We entered Cavelossim, the area where our resort is located and after asking for directions, reached the resort at around 8:30PM. The Hosur-Cavelossim journey took us 12 hours with 1 break for lunch and 2-3 rest breaks. We started at 9 in the morning and reached at 8:30 in the night. Checked in to our rooms and after being satisfied with the accommodation provided, went off to have dinner. One word: The hotel serves amazing fish. This, coming from someone who does not even like the smell of fish. Do try it out if you are there some time.

Last edited by arvind71181 : 7th February 2012 at 20:21.
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Old 4th February 2012, 16:45   #4
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Day 3
Got up the next day morning after a good night's sleep. Had a look at the accommodation in which we were put up. It was a nice place, completely far away from the bustling crowd which we thought Goa would be. It was only later that we realized that the crowds were concentrated on the Northern shores of the state. The place where we stayed was called the Bamboo house resort. Everything in this place was made only of Bamboo and nothing else. It was a good place to stay and worth the money spent

Our friends at Bamboo house
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Bamboo huts at the resort
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Flora at the resort
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Checked with the caretaker of the accommodation and found out the general direction to get to Baga beach, which was our main destination for the day. Once we started though, we got confused with the directions and stopped at a general store to enquire and find out the way to go ahead. Ended up buying a map which was a total waste of money. By this time, we had consistent GPS and internet connectivity and were able to get the directions to go to Baga beach. Lost our way a couple of times even with the GPS enabled due to the time lag which would let us know if the turn was right only after we had taken it.

En-Route to Baga
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These pictures were taken from a bridge en route to Baga beach. I suppose these are the backwaters

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It was a nightmare to travel with the Endeavour on the narrow streets leading to the beach. There were people walking everywhere and we really took our time to reach the beach. Luckily we managed to reach the beach by around 11:30 and hence were able to avoid the major rush hour jam which happened later during the evening. Parked the car and found out that a channel V rock concert of some sorts was going on and that was the reason for the more than usual crowd hanging by the beach. Not that we minded it . Went to the nearest shack, got a place with a clear view of the beach and had some starters. Once the stomach part was taken care of, got into the beach and had good fun. Its a nice place, but my view is that they fleece the tourists in the name of water sports. We went to all of them though . Hired those reclining chairs to lie down on the beach and got some tattoos done as well. The rule of bargaining is whatever they demand you ask them 30% of the price and end anywhere between 40-50% of the asked price. Worked well for us. We were unable to do the para sailing though as it was very crowded and they had huge waiting lists.

Para sailing
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The sun blocker
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Beach view
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Even this guy had fun!!!
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Came back from the water in the early evening and headed to the car for a change of clothes. Once done, came back to the beach and had dinner at this restaurant

The shack where we had dinner
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It is a nice place with wonderful music and good food. The rates were a little on the higher side but we got used to it by now. Had food and then left back to our place for the day. Ended up losing our way once or twice again but since we were kind of familiar with the place, we reached our resort without any trouble and called it a night

Last edited by arvind71181 : 8th February 2012 at 08:05.
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Old 5th February 2012, 13:15   #5
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Day 4:

After having had a late night the previous day, we took it a bit easy the next day. Got up a little later than usual and had breakfast at the resort where we stayed itself. A meal of sandwich, omelette and coffee for 4 people set us back by around 600 rupees. We had plans to view the "Dil Chahta Hai" Fort and the Calangute beach if possible.

Enquired with a lot of people after stopping around the market place in Goa but people did not know the name of the fort where the movie was shot. Since we wanted to visit a fort, we decided on visiting the Fort Aguada instead. Locked in the co ordinates on the GPS of our mobile phones and we left. Since we were staying in South Goa, each time we wanted to go to the popular beaches, we had to travel at least 60 kms. Hence lot of our time was spent in travelling itself. So, if people want to make visiting the Northern beaches of Goa as their main agenda, it is better to stay somewhere nearby itself. That was one of our mistakes which will be corrected the next time hopefully.

Near the fort, we stopped by at a restaurant called "Sweet Chilli" and had a delicious lunch. Must say that though the food in Goa is a little bit on the expensive side, never once in our 3 day stay were we disappointed with the quality of the food which was on offer. Spent a leisurely hour and a half over lunch there and then headed over to the fort which was very nearby. The fort was nice with a fantastic view of the beach. Spent some time taking pictures and then headed over to the Calangute beach. On the way we passed the Kingfisher Villa. Is this the place where Vijay Mallya stays? The bungalow was huge!!!

Aguada Fort
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Panorama shot taken from the fort
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Is this the Kingfisher Villa??
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Beach view from the fort
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Since it was a Saturday evening the crowd was beginning to pick up and the traffic was starting to become a tad heavy. Since the Calangute beach is very near to the Baga beach, we anticipated a lot of rush and hence decided to change our destination to Candolim beach. Went to the beach and spent actually only around 15 minutes as the beach atmosphere was a disappointment when compared to Baga . Started back to the resort and on the way saw the Casino Royale cruise ship which is being heavily advertised throughout Goa. The ship looked big enough and probably would have been a nice time pass, but some other day. Came back to the resort, had a relaxing dinner by putting up some tables right next to the beach.

Candolim Beach
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Last edited by arvind71181 : 7th February 2012 at 19:51.
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Old 5th February 2012, 13:59   #6
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Day 5

This was the day when we were going to start back to Chennai. Started the day (again!!) by getting up a tad late and having a dip in the beach right next to the sea. Since it is right behind the resort and is in the southern part of Goa, there was absolutely no one save a couple of foreign tourists. Unlike Chennai, the beach does not have waves coming right up to the beach and hence the waters are very calm. Had another good late breakfast before starting off from the resort at around 11:30. Made a brief stopover at the local market to buy some knick knacks for the better halves

Some shots of the beach right in front of our resort
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Having done all that, we left for Chennai at around 12PM. Took the same route which we came the way back. Passed Karwar and had lunch a short distance before Yellapur. I do not remember the name of the wayside hotel but to our bad luck, 5 minutes after we stepped in, 2 buses full of college kids stepped in creating mayhem and causing delay of arrival of our food. To the people working in the hotel it was a complete shock as they did not expect that much crowd to land up at their hotel and it showed in their service. I am sure they must have forgotten to bill quite a few items of food.

Proceeding towards Hubli after lunch, we were still unsure if we wanted to halt somewhere for the night or make a direct attempt to Madras. Just as this discussion was going on, we stopped at a petrol pump for a bio break and found out that we had a tyre puncture. Took out the jack and wasted around 30-45 minutes to change the tyre as the jack which was provided with the vehicle was not able to lift the car completely to remove the tyre. Got a stone slab strong enough to support the car's weight and changed the tyre. Found out a nearby tyre shop that the mouth was gone and that there was nothing he could do.

Praying to the gods that we dont have another puncture and started off again. Passed Hubli without incident and stopped at a Dhaba between Davanagere and Chitradurga for our dinner. Switched drivers after dinner and continued to drive. Came across two huge unmarked speed breakers on this stretch and the Endeavour did not take kindly to either of them resulting in us being thrown about inside the cabin. Hope something is done to curb this menace. Reached Tumkur around 1AM and decided to carry on as there were no hotels which were available at that time of the night.Took the correct markings and reached the NICE road successfully. One thing which I noticed during both the to and the fro journey is that the people in Karnataka (to my experience at least) are very impatient when it comes to tolls and jump lanes at the first given opportunity. We were able to manage as we had a huge vehicle so could keep people in check

The rest of the journey was uneventful. Switched drivers again at Hosur and continued to drive to Chennai and reached Chennai at around 7 AM in the morning. It took us 19 hours to drive from Goa - Chennai with 2 45 min breaks for lunch and dinner and 1 hour break for fixing the tyre puncture. I dont know the exact amount which we spent on the tolls but have the receipts and can get the details if anyone requires it. The tolls stopped after Hubli though from what I remember and there were not tolls till Goa. Also, there are a couple of tolls which have just come up and they have not yet started charging for passing through.

This pretty much ends the travelogue. Hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it down and reliving the experience!!!

Last edited by arvind71181 : 7th February 2012 at 20:01.
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:06   #7
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues forum. Thanks for sharing!

That Bamboo House resort looks fabulous! Also, it's only got excellent / good reviews on tripadvisor. Will definitely check out on my next visit to India's best holiday destination.
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:16   #8
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Yes, it is a wonderful resort for the price and its completely secluded too. That can be called an advantage/disadvantage depending on your needs . The resort has a wonderful beach front too, which though not private, does not see much crowd. Definitely a place worth staying.
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Old 8th February 2012, 13:43   #9
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Default Re: Republic Day weekend trip: Chennai - Goa - Chennai

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Originally Posted by arvind71181 View Post
Yes, it is a wonderful resort for the price and its completely secluded too. That can be called an advantage/disadvantage depending on your needs . The resort has a wonderful beach front too, which though not private, does not see much crowd. Definitely a place worth staying.

@Arvind - well writtne travelogue. Nice pics too. You mind sharing the name of the resort in Goa where you stayed.
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Old 8th February 2012, 13:48   #10
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@Arvind - well writtne travelogue. Nice pics too. You mind sharing the name of the resort in Goa where you stayed.
Thanks Arup. The name of the resort was Bamboo house. Its at Cavelossim, behind the Leela hotel. They charged us 3000 per room per night with a maximum of 3 people per room. The extra person cost was factored into the cost, so they might/should reduce the cost for 2 people. Hope this helps!!!
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Old 8th February 2012, 13:54   #11
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Beautiful pics and detailed report, arvind71181 !

Which camera do you use ?

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Old 8th February 2012, 14:03   #12
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Beautiful pics and detailed report, arvind71181 !

Which camera do you use ?
Thank you Blue thunder. I use the Canon 550D with the 18-55/55-250 lenses. Place was beautiful, so pictures came out good
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Old 8th February 2012, 14:29   #13
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Day 4:

Is this the Kingfisher Villa??
Attachment 884068
@arvind71181 - That ain't the Kingfisher Villa.

Is that the Aguada Jail ??. Not sure.

The Kingfisher Villa is on the road that leads you to Fort Aguada/Sinquerim Beach from Calangute. It's located to the right of the road just before Taj Holiday Village.

By the way, wonderful travelogue and the pictures bring back fond memories.
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Old 8th February 2012, 14:33   #14
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@arvind71181 - That ain't the Kingfisher Villa.

Is that the Aguada Jail ??. Not sure.

The Kingfisher Villa is on the road that leads you to Fort Aguada/Sinquerim Beach from Calangute. It's located to the right of the road just before Taj Holiday Village.

By the way, wonderful travelogue and the pictures bring back fond memories.
Hmmm right. I did see the Villa when going towards the Aguada fort. Is it the jail? Not sure. Looks too well maintained and posh to be one . Thank you!!!
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Old 8th February 2012, 23:57   #15
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Thanks for sharing!

I am too planning a drive to Goa this May.
The details you have given will be useful to me.

Does this bamboo-hut has an Air-conditioner?
Since my drive will be in May, Goa will be hot and humid by then.
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