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Old 11th March 2012, 15:46   #1
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Default West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

It was one of our usual Friday dinners at one of the zillion joints in Koramangala. We (my friends) hadn't had a holiday in quite some time, what with each one of us busy with our jobs (at least most of us pretend we are busy), and were yearning for an outing. Now, squabbles are common when we get to the point of deciding a place even for a meal, and this was for a weekend getaway, so it was even worse.

"What about some rustic tea estate or coffee estate in the western ghats?"
"No way, we already did that multiple times. Karthik ends up with the camera near some trees or lakes in the estate, and the rest of us sleep and eat throughout the day. Please suggest something else dude."

"Run-of-the-mill places? Ooty? Kodaikanal? Yercaud?"
"And see honeymooning couples coochi-cooing on stone benches everywhere? What are 5 bachelors supposed to do there? Not a chance man!"

"How about a jungle safari?"
"What's the big deal? They take us in a jeep and show us some buffaloes and deer which I can see right here in Bangalore. Worse still, they might show us some paw marks of some animal and try to make us believe that it was made by a leopard or tiger. I'm not coming"

"Ok how does a beach sound?"
"Are you crazy? In February, the summer heat will have almost set in. It will be off-season time"

And there you go - we had 4 days on a long weekend, 4 super-spirited cars and 5 friends looking for a suitable holiday spot. We could not do anything more time-consuming this time, so places out of South India were out of question. If not, we had to drop the idea altogether and plan something bigger and better when everyone could manage more leaves.

After a couple more hangouts and similar argument sessions, we finally zeroed in on a beach destination. Maravanthe beach was one place we hadn't been to earlier, and it was supposedly unspoilt and not at all crowded, so we would have the place to ourselves and our watersports. Maravanthe beach was around 450km from Bangalore. Since we had just Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we would be spending the whole of friday just driving down to Maravanthe. To avoid this problem, we decided to split the distance, depart Bangalore on Friday, reach Shimoga at night and drop anchor there. That just left us with Shimoga - Maravanthe to do on Friday morning. This is how the itinerary looked like before we left from here.


Total distance - 450 km. We would be wasting the whole of Friday if we kept this route for 1 day.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-bangmar.jpg


Modified itinerary -

Day 1 - March 1st - Depart from Bangalore by evening, reach Shimoga for overnight pitstop (280 km)

Splitting the distance into 2 parts -


Pitstop after Bangalore - Shimoga via NH-206
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-bangshim.jpg


Day 2 - March 2nd - Depart from Shimoga after breakfast, visit Jog falls, continue along NH-206 to hit the west coast at Honnavar. Then take NH-66 / NH-17 along the coast from Honnavar to Maravanthe (NH-17 is also called as NH-66 after a recent renaming)


Shimoga - Jog - Honnavar - Maravanthe beach on Friday via NH-206 / NH-17
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-shimmarav.jpg


Day 3 - March 3rd - watersports + relaxation at Maravanthe private beach


Day 4 - March 4th - Return route along Maravanthe - Udupi - Agumbe - Chikmagalur - Hassan - Bangalore.

Pretty long de-tour via Agumbe-Chikmagalur ghats. Return distance was 500+ km
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-kundbang.jpg


The only decision left to be taken now was about which car to take for this drive. We had 'The Jet®' (my personal aircraft) , a Verna 1.6 SX petrol, a Honda City (ANHC) and a Palio 1.6 sport to choose from (my friends' cars). After quite some debating, we decided to take the Jet®'s legendary younger sibling, my friend's Italian rocket hatchback Palio 1.6 for this spirited drive. The Jet® unfortunately missed out on this one, but another few flights are being planned out in the near future, so it will get its chance very soon.

Disclaimer - the photos in this travelogue are not as comprehensive as my earlier Munnar and Lakshadweep travelogues, so please bear with the below-par quality of the pictures in this thread . Unfortunately, this time I haven't been able to take as many pictures of the wonderful landscapes as I would have liked, since we were mostly hard pressed for time throughout the trip and couldn't manage too many stops.

Last edited by KarthikK : 2nd April 2012 at 07:51.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 11:38   #2
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

With 2 days left for the drive, my friend and I got his Palio 1.6 sport serviced at Prerana motors and ensured she was up for the 1500 km+ journey to coastal Karnataka. Now, with a Palio 1.6, apart from enthusiasm, what more do you need to fly through curves, more curves, hairpins and some more curves?

Day 1 - March 1st - The rocket hatch sets off from Bangalore

D-Day was here sooner than expected. Most of us had office on Thursday, so we had to leave early and rush back home. After the usual last minute rushing through packing, and the pickups, we set off to hit NICE road via Bannerghatta road. What deserves a mention here is the bootspace in the Palio. 5 large kitbags were accomodated with ease, plus it could swallow some more camera bags, tripods, snacks and blah blah.
The Palio 1.6 is one hell of a gas guzzler, so this stop was mandatory at the Shell bunk, Bannerghatta road.


The Rocket hatch getting its belly filled up and shoes checked
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-01032012186.jpg


The NICE intersection was quite crowded for a weekday evening. We had to wrestle our way through to join the toll gate queue, and we lost some precious time here. By the time we got out of NICE expressway and hit NH-4, it was almost 6.30 pm. We stopped for a quiet dinner at Kamat after Dobbaspete flyover on NH-4, and post dinner, we took the NH-206 deviation to head to Shimoga along Tiptur - Arsikere - Kadur - Bhadravati - Shimoga.

Sunset on NICE expressway
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0275.jpg


The night drive was quite uneventful, and with the beautiful roads all along the way, we hit Shimoga by 11 pm, and settled down at a lodge called 'Surya comforts'. The rooms were stinking of tobacco smoke and had a damp smell, but we were either too tired or too sleepy, so we didn't even have the patience to get them to attend to it at that unearthly hour. We had to depart Shimoga the next morning by around 8am, so all of us just hit the sack that night.

Last edited by KarthikK : 24th March 2012 at 13:15.
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Old 24th March 2012, 11:37   #3
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

Day 2 - Hitting the west coast, and patrolling it too!

Post breakfast, we departed Shimoga by 9am, and took the Sagara - Jog - Honnavar route along NH-206. The lion/tiger safari on the Shimoga-Sagara route wasn't yet open at 9am, so we proceeded along the route instead of waiting for another hour for them to open shop. The roads from Shimoga to Jog falls were simply brilliant, with forests and greenery dotting the road throughout the stretch. We had some awesome fun flying the Palio 1.6 around the curves here. It was only when I took these sections in the 1.6 sport that I realized why this car was so legendary amongst enthusiasts. It felt so unhatchback-like and more sedan-like in its handling, power, stability and ride quality. Not once did I feel it getting unsettled anywhere.


Silken roads along the Shimoga - Sagara stretch on NH-206
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-copy-dsc_0289.jpg


Lush green paddy fields on the outskirts of Sagara
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0001_2_3_tonemapped.jpg


Some picturesque lakes en route to Sagara
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0293.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0295.jpg



An old, abandoned shrine along the highway
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-img_1557_1___2_tonemapped.jpg


We topped up the fuel at Sagara, and proceeded to hit Jog falls by 11am or so. We knew this was not the right time to visit Jog falls, but we anyway stopped en route since we were taking NH-206 to hit the coast. It was a hot summer morning, and the sun was beaming down in all its glory. Not surprisingly, Jog falls was running dry, and the water at Jog falls was probably lesser in pressure and quantity than my home bathroom shower. Moreover this was a weekday, so the only company we had at Jog falls was a group of monkeys, some of them were curiously following us, the only other 'monkeys' at the place that day. The tourism department has made adequate parking, viewing and refreshment facilities now at Jog for tourists, so I expect the monsoons attract lots of crowds here. Anyway, here are some not-so-spectacular pictures of Jog falls in this dry season.


Some sights on the Sagara - Jog highway
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0297_8_6_tonemapped.jpg



West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0308.jpg



Our mini-Ferrari takes a breather
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0302_3_4_tonemapped.jpg



West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0323.jpg



Encountering Sharavathi river on the Jog approach route
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0328.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0329.jpg



The famous Jog falls, the water stream is now reduced to a trickle in summer
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0332_3_4_tonemapped.jpg



Jog falls' parking lot and viewpoints wear a deserted look. We seemed to be the only tourists there on a weekday, that too in summer!!
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0338.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0339.jpg



Departing sights of Jog falls. Hopefully I will visit here in the monsoon to get a glimpse of the 'real' Jog falls.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0335.jpg


After having some snacks and thirst quenchers at the KSTDC Mayura restaurant at Jog falls, we set along on our journey towards Honnavar. The ghat section descent from Jog to the coast at Honnavar was very gradual. There are curves, but the altitude change is not the kind I have seen on the Bangalore - Mangalore NH-48 route or the steep descent on the Udupi - Someshwar - Agumbe ghats. The route is pictureque nonetheless, and throughout the descent, river Sharavathi runs parallel to the highway till the coast. Along the route, we stopped at a viewpoint and took some photos of this spectacular sight of the Sharavathi valley and the river running parallel to our road.



The sharavathi valley view point on the NH-206 Jog-Honnavar stretch. Its easy to miss this tiny watchtower if you zip through the crisp roads.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0382.jpg



And these are some marvellous views of Sharavathi river valley from that tiny watch tower
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0370_69_68_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0375_6_4_tonemapped.jpg



Departing the Sharavathi viewpoint
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0383.jpg



Jog - Honnavar was being retarred at stretches, and close to 70-80% of the road was completed. The remaining 20% was patchy and bumpy, but we could see road-rollers and tar trucks working hard to re-lay the roads on these stretches. The bumpy patches were few and far apart. I assume these could be complete by now, so the road would be a delight to drive to the coast now. It was almost 1pm by the time we hit the coast at Honnavar. This was when we saw backwaters and villages on these backwaters. Truly this was a very pretty sight to behold, with the coconut trees and backwaters, and needless to say, it reminded us of God's own country, another paradise land


We hit the west coast at Honnavar by 1pm! Although this doesn't look anything like a coastline, it is in fact Honnavar.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0393.jpg


Kerala-like backwaters along the route
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0387.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 2nd April 2012 at 15:56.
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Old 24th March 2012, 12:48   #4
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

Now, if you are wondering why was my thread titled as 'Patrol' - here's the full explanation - We reached Honnavar in the afternoon, and as per the plan we had to go towards Kundapur, where Maravanthe was located. We had made our bookings at Turtle Bay resort there. When you are about to reach a resort, what do you normally do? You would call them up for following the intricacies of their route map - exactly what we did. Instead of directions though, we were greeted with a surprised voice "Karthik? Karthik who? We don't have any entry like that in our bookings' register here"

Days earlier, I had literally called them repeatedly for their account number so that I could transfer the booking amount and live in peace. Supposedly, there was another guy in charge that day (when I called and booked), who was conveniently on leave when we were supposed to visit - talk about Murphy's laws. This chap had told me it was off season and there was no need to make any booking payments since the resort would be mostly empty. Now on D-day the resort was booked out by other guests, and here we were at the coastline, covering 400 out of the 470 odd kilometres and without a destination to go to. We checked at some nearby resorts and lodges in Karwar and Kundapur, but most of them were booked out! Talk about a trip being ruined because of some goofup by the resort staff, the last thing you would want to happen.


The original route, prior to the resort's goofup. A : Honnavar and B: Maravanthe beach
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-honnmarav.jpg


Now that Maravanthe beach and its surroundings were ruled out, what do you do? When you have a Palio 1.6, a bunch of friends looking for a blast on the roads, and a superb holiday, look no further than up north - GOA! It was an extra 200km from Honnavar, but what is 200km when you have a rocket Palio 1.6 at your disposal. After a few hurried google searches for resorts there and some frantic calls, we found a place called 'Angel Resort' near Calangute, Goa which was running empty, thankfully. We made the bookings over phone, and at Honnavar, instead of turning southwards towards Maravanthe, we turned northwards to head along Karwar, Margao and then Goa!


Turning northwards to Goa, instead of southwards to Kundapur. A: Honnavar, B: Goa
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-honngoa.jpg


The initial itinerary was turned upside down and shattered, and we were now patrolling half of Karnataka's coastline from Honnavar to Goa. There was no compromise on sunday's return route, so on the way back we would patrol Karnataka's coastline from Goa till Udupi (almost 350km along the coast) and then make our way back home, totalling 780 km in a single day on the way back. No wonder then, that this trip became a 'west coast patrol' rather than a relaxed drive. Not that we didn't enjoy it though, the huge variety of landscapes made every bit of the drive enjoyable.

On the Honnavar - Karwar stretch, we stopped at a Kamat Upchar restaurant. The lunch was very decent here, and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone else venturing out on this stretch. We had some random north indian stuff, and pretty much whatever we ordered turned out to be tasty.


The Kamat Upchar restaurant near Karwar. Excuse the quality of this particular image, it was taken with my mobile
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-02032012189.jpg


Speed shot on NH-17. With the Palio 1.6, scenery is a blur!
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0396.jpg


Post a heavy lunch, we continued our journey to Goa along the coastline. The coast-hugging NH-17 highway is mind-bogglingly smooth and very picturesque. There is a slight variation in altitude every now and then, and lots of scope for photography stops en route. Unfortunately we were running out of time and I couldn't stop as frequently as I wanted to. Our next stop was at Karwar where we saw the coastline for the first time, just metres away from the NH-17 highway.


Here are some pictures from the stop at Karwar.

West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0397.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0398.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0400_401_399_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0403_4_2_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0414.jpg



The red beast basks in the evening sunlight at Karwar's beach
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0416.jpg


Passing by one of the numerous beaches at Karwar
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0431.jpg


There were no more stops en route, except for the customary checking at the Karnataka - Goa border. The drive to Margao was quite boring and in fact, the traffic started increasing as we started to approach Margao by around 5pm. The road maze network started from Margao and intensified as we approached Panaji. If we hadn't taken the MapMyIndia navigator device along with us, god knows how many stops we would have had to make to ask locals for directions. MMI guided us beautifully till the entrance gate of Angel's resort in Goa, without allowing a single hassle.


Passing by atop one of Margao's bridges on NH-17, during sunset
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0434.jpg



Post checking in to our resort, we freshened up and left for Calangute beach. After loitering around at Calangute for a while, we took a walk around the beach area for some 'window shopping'. We had a rather unusual companion who joined us for the window shopping here at Calangute, pictures of which are below. When we were sufficiently tired, we finished the window shopping, stopped at a European joint and had some fantastic pasta for dinner. Post dinner, we did some childish shopping, for some cheap Skull T-shirts which supposedly glow in the dark. Lets see if the T-shirts last beyond one wash.


The unusual window shopper joining us at Calangute outside the market!!
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0442.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0443.jpg


The loot exhibition after our childish, Skull glow T-shirt shopping session
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0444.jpg

That brought an end to day 2 of our outing.

Last edited by KarthikK : 2nd April 2012 at 14:57.
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Old 1st April 2012, 10:01   #5
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

Day 3 - A quick glimpse of Goa and a marathon day of activities

Saturday morning was here already. We decided to take an early morning swim in the pool here at Angel resorts, to beat the sweltering summer heat. We were the only guests here and had the entire pool for ourselves.

There was some kind of makeshift breakfast buffet here at the resort. It was not a south Indian spread. It was not a north Indian spread or a Maharashtrian spread. And no, it was not a western spread either. The items seemed to be south Indian ingredients cooked in north Indian style, served with Maharasthrian garnishing in a western style buffet. We were not sure what it was, but it was definitely not edible, so we ate very little of whatever was available and got out of that place.

Saturday was our only day at Goa. We had to visit all the 'popular' places in Goa and get into watersports for the whole of late afternoon and evening. This was going to be one hell of a marathon touring day.

Post breakfast, we made a quick exit to Fort Aguada, our first sightseeing spot of the day. It was a hot summer day, and obviously we were baking like cakes here at Fort Aguada. We took a stroll around the area and after some photos, we moved to our next destination - Basilica of Bom Jesus and the museum opposite this historic church.


Entering Fort Aguada complex
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0495.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0496.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0497.jpg


The moat around the fort complex
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0504.jpg


Ascending to the viewpoint
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0505.jpg


View of the sea from the top of the Fort
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0507.jpg


The centre of the fort complex courtyard
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0508.jpg


Exploring the ruins at Fort Aguada
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0521_2_3_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0524_5_6_tonemapped.jpg



West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0531.jpg

West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0532.jpg


For those of you who have the patience and curiosity to read
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0561.jpg


The old lighthouse at Fort Aguada, now unused
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0563.jpg





Driving through Old Goa towards Basilica of Bom Jesus
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0570.jpg


The coastline adorns the road in this stretch, making for a very pretty sight
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0574.jpg


Basilica of Bom Jesus. This structure is supposedly 400 years old. (The lamp post should have been cropped at the top left corner of this pic. My bad!)
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0580_1_2_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0584.jpg


Intricate sculpture work inside the church.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0588.jpg



West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0591.jpg


The archaeological museum opposite Basilica of Bom Jesus.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0596.jpg


After these visits, we were quite hungry. Our next visit was planned as Anjuna beach. On the route, we had lunch at some Domino's outlet at around 1pm near Calangute and went towards Anjuna beach. This was a rocky beach and the shopping areas were crowded with tourists, as expected. We didn't bother climbing down all the way to the beach here, since it was too hot to think of or do anything that crazy. After loitering around in the shopping markets here, we headed back to our resort for a quick nap.

Here are a couple of snaps of Anjuna beach from the entrance area atop the cliff.

West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0607_8_9_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0631_2_3_tonemapped.jpg


After a nap at the resort, we left towards Baga beach for watersports. There are no pictures of the watersports session since I didn't bother carrying my DSLR to the beach. It was a good thing I didn't bring it, because the beach resembled a Kumbh Mela. There were thousands of people swarming on the beach like a distrubed nest of red ants. We somehow managed to negotiate with one of the operators there for some watersports - and finally ended up doing the regular stuff anyone would be doing at Goa - Parasailing, banana boat rides, Jet skiing, and tons of swimming amidst the waves. The late afternoon and evening were entirely spent here. We were at Baga beach until the coast guard rounded up the crowd at dusk. We then headed back to Calangute, toured around the place the whole evening until 10.30 or so. It was so late, we realized the restaurants were shutting down, and so, after a late dinner at some restaurant which was almost shutting down, we drove back to our resort around midnight. Day 3 was over. The trip was over too, except for the marathon return journey remaining for the next day.

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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

Day 4 - Returning home - 800km marathon drive in a single day, from Goa to Bangalore via a longer-than-usual route

We were up by 6.30am or so. Freshening up, packing up things, loading them into the car's boot, checking out of the hotel and clearing their dues, all these ate up one more hour of our time. We finally left Goa by 7.30am. With the route set in the MapMyIndia navigator, we just had to follow the instructions to our next destination - Karwar. The distance to the final destination (Bangalore) showed 788 km on the MMI device. We had to finish this distance by night with a couple of stops at Maravanthe, Agumbe, Chikmagalur and get back to office the next day, but decided not to let the mammoth number spoil the fun.


The mammoth, single-day 780km 'West coast patrol' drive from Goa to Bangalore on Sunday. Route followed: Goa - Karwar (breakfast stop) - Honnavar - Bhatkal - Gokarna - Maravanthe (picture stop) - Udupi - Someshwar ghats - Agumbe (lunch stop) - Chikmagalur - Belur - Hassan (dinner stop) - Bangalore (home sweet home)
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-goabang.jpg


Departure from Goa was finally at 7.40am after a tank-up. The Goa - Margaon maze network was over after an hour and a half of brisk driving in the Palio 1.6. Thankfully it was still early and we were spared the trouble of negotiating traffic.

Another hour later, we were at Karwar. We had planned our breakfast stop at some small highway joint called Udupi cafe on the outskirts of Karwar. This was suggested by MMI. It didn't look all that clean but we didn't want the hassle of searching for better places on this stretch, since we were already past the ideal breakfast time.

Here are some snaps from a couple of stops on the Goa - Karwar stretch.


Beautifully maintained roads on the Goa-Karwar NH-17 stretch.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0645.jpg


The red beast gobbles up the roads effortlessly. With this brilliant car and these roads, you actually experience what the phrase 'Live To Drive' feels like
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0660.jpg


More snaps of the greenery-dotted NH-17 roads. This is a HDR image of one of the curves in the coastal ghats
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0647_8_9_tonemapped.jpg



West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0666.jpg


They proudly advertise that it is only 'partly A/C'
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0671.jpg


Stopping for breakfast at Udupi Cafe, on the outskirts of Karwar
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0670.jpg


By 11.30am, we were past Honnavar, our initial entry point to the coast. In another hour of brisk driving, we passed Bhatkal and came to our original destination - Maravanthe beach.

Maravanthe beach was rocky and the depth increase was quite drastic near the beach. I was a bit taken aback by that. If you wade through the water near the beach, after taking a couple of steps further, there is a sudden depth increase of a couple of feet!

There is another point of attraction here -The famous point where there is freshwater (a river) on one side and a beach on another side. This was something we definitely wanted to visit. I had seen pictures of this place on a lot of travelogue threads here on team-BHP, but seeing it in person was a different experience altogether.

You can actually walk down to the river and taste the water - it is not salty at all, so that is proof that the salt water from the Arabian sea never seeps through the road soil to the other side.

Here are some snaps of Maravanthe beach and the point where the road (NH-17) divides the ocean water from the river on the other side.

Stopping at Maravanthe beach
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0674.jpg


some snaps of Maravanthe beach
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0694_5_6_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0699.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0700.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0686.jpg


Going one step further, here is a video of Marvanthe beach and the adjoining NH-17. It was a windy day, so please pardon the wind noise in the video




And here are the pictures of that famous division point, in HDR vision -

This is the ocean on one side
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0718_19_20_tonemapped.jpg


And this is the river on another side
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0724_5_6_tonemapped.jpg


A view of both sides with NH-17 dividing the saltwater side and freshwater side
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0704_5_6_tonemapped.jpg


Departing shots of Maravanthe beach and the surrounding scenery
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0715.jpg

West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0727_8_9_tonemapped.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 2nd April 2012 at 07:40.
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Old 1st April 2012, 23:28   #7
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

After this stop at Maravanthe beach at noon, we departed towards Udupi along NH-17. Udupi, as we noticed, has undergone a serious transformation into another would-be IT hub. There has been a great deal of development in Udupi, both in terms of real estate and in the infrastructure scene.

Back to our journey, the roads became very patchy and there were multiple detours as we neared Udupi town. After another tank-up at Udupi, we continued our journey in the blistering mid-day heat.

The deviation from Udupi to Manipal was barely noticeable, thanks to MMI for keeping us on track. From Manipal we followed MMI's directions to enter SH-65, the pathway leading to the deadly Someshwar-Agumbe ghats. The green cover thickened as we passed Hebri and approached Agumbe. The rainforest, however had lost its sheen in this rain-less season. The last time I had visited this place was in October and the post-monsoon landscapes were breathtaking and spellbinding. We had asked for lunch at the 120-year old Doddamane (swaminathan's house for those of you who remember the Malgudi days TV show ) at Agumbe. They serve malnad-style meals for tourists and passersby. It is now managed by an old, hospitable, grandmotherly lady known fondly as Kasturiakka. I had visited her place earlier and fortunately had her landline number for informing her about our plans.

There was little traffic on the Someshwar ghats and the ghat section was enjoyable, although in most stretches the road was patchy and bumpy. The last 5 km approaching Agumbe have concrete roads, not tarmac roads, owing to the crazy amount of rainfall these areas have to undergo. There are 20-25 steep hairpins towards the last leg of the ascent, each climbing around 20 feet in altitude. Taking on these hairpins was a delightful experience, as always. Incidentally, Agumbe is one of the highest rainfall receiving areas in the country. This season was hot and dry though, much to our disappointment.


The approach roads from Udupi to Agumbe on the Someshwar ghats are patchy
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0752.jpg


A top view of the steep, concrete hairpin bends as we approach Agumbe
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0379.jpg


We reached Agumbe at around 3pm and had a late lunch at Doddamane. It was fun to meet the highly talkative and hospitable Kasturiakka again. The food at Doddamane was heavenly to say the least. The only problem now was, we wanted to sleep after that meal. Far from sleeping though, we had 370 km more to cover to make our way back home that day!


The one and only 'main road' at Agumbe. Life is delightfully simple here in this beautiful village - one bank, one provision store, one medical shop and one bank!
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0232_3_4_tonemapped.jpg


Relaxing outside Doddamane (the Malgudi days home) after lunch
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0738.jpg


This is how rustic and beautiful Agumbe can get during the monsoons. This was a picture I took during my previous visit here, when we went trekking in the leech-infested rainforests at Agumbe
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-img_1341_1___2_tonemapped.jpg


This is a Green Vine snake, a very common sight in Agumbe. They are as common as stray dogs in this region, and you will often find them perched on shrubs and plants in the flora around this area. This picture was also taken during my previous visit here.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0284.jpg


By the time the Palio departed Agumbe after us taking some photos, it was around 4pm. The roads from Agumbe to Koppa were slightly patchy for 5-6 km. Once we crossed Koppa and entered the stretch leading to Balehonnur, the roads turned into amazing, silky smooth roads curving through villages and forests alike. This road has to be one of my all-time favourite routes - Agumbe to Chikmagalur via Balehonnur for a total distance of around 110km of ghats, curves and hairpins. I had done this drive last October and it was heavenly in the post monsoon season with tons of greenery and waterfalls everywhere. Not to forget, the drive itself is amazing and with a good handling machine, you will enjoy the curves. The entire Agumbe - Chikmagalur stretch is tarred up to perfection now.


Treading through picturesque tea estates on the Agumbe-Chikmagalur route, viewed in HDR vision
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0760_1_2_tonemapped.jpg


West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0772.jpg


Fantastic roads on the Agumbe-Chikmagalur stretch. If you want to enjoy good roads and curves, this is a petrolhead's dream route.
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0777.jpg


Near Chikmagalur we stopped at the Bhadra coffee shop, which is a small coffee hangout shack right in the middle of a coffee estate. This is a killer business idea by the owner, whoever he/she is. Plenty of tourists were stopping by for a quick cuppa and snacks, and some were even shopping for freshly ground coffee powder too!


More curves and estates as we near Chikmagalur
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0779.jpg


Stopping at the Bhadra coffee shop near Chikmagalur town, for a cup of fresh, steaming coffee
West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6-dsc_0781.jpg


After some picture stops, we finally reached Chikmagalur by 6pm. The entire 100km of ghats were gobbled up by the able Palio 1.6 in a mere 2 hours, with an average speed of 50kmph! This beast made mincemeat of all the curves and hairpins that were thrown its way, and blew me away with its performance, stability, agility and handling in the hills. Gets me thinking - why is this wonder machine such an under-rated car here?

It was getting dark but we were making steady progress. The MMI device now showed 260km remaining, and it was around 6.30pm near Belur. After crossing Belur and proceeding towards Hassan, there was a steady amount of traffic on the Hassan-Bangalore NH48 highway, which wasn't surprising at all, considering it was a Sunday.

We passed Hassan by 7.30pm, and reached the Kamat restaurant near Channarayapatna by around 8.30pm with some steady, constant speed on the patchy 2-lane NH-48 highway. After a dinner break, we hit the roads again by around 9.30pm. Night time driving was a bit of a problem on NH-48, with glaring headlights of opposite direction vehicles. It took another 1.5 hours of driving to reach the Bellur cross section on NH-48, which is where the 4-lane expressway starts on the return journey. By 12 midnight we reached Nelamangala, joined NH-4 expressway towards Bangalore. In another half an hour, NICE road was gobbled up. By 12.45 - 1am, we were dropping our friends one by one. The mammoth drive was over, and so was the short but sweet road trip to coastal Karnataka and Goa. Whether we went to office the next day or took "sick" leave is something I will leave for you to guess .

Thanks for taking the time to read this travelogue. Any suggestions are welcome as always.

P.S - I have taken a couple of videos of the drive through the picturesque Agumbe-Chikmagalur route and the NH-17 drive along the west coast, with a handycam. Those videos will shortly be put up after they are edited.

A few flights are on the anvil for the near future, so the Jet® will be back with a Jet log soon.

Last edited by KarthikK : 2nd April 2012 at 08:00.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 08:44   #8
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd April 2012, 10:10   #9
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Default Re: West coast patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Palio 1.6

Wonderful shots buddy.

These pics are from my village. and that straight is particularly my favorite for hitting good speeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
The red beast gobbles up the roads effortlessly. With this brilliant car and these roads, you actually experience what the phrase 'Live To Drive' feels like
Attachment 910099


More snaps of the greenery-dotted NH-17 roads. This is a HDR image of one of the curves in the coastal ghats
Attachment 910100



Attachment 910101
And the last turn has negative banking towards the exit. Feels good at 120-130

Last edited by akshay380 : 3rd April 2012 at 10:13.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 10:34   #10
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

WoW! Amazing narration there Karthik. Loved reading through it.
Can you please PM me Kasturi-akka's landline no?

I would definitely like to try out the malnad style lunch..
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Old 3rd April 2012, 21:03   #11
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay380 View Post
Wonderful shots buddy.

These pics are from my village. and that straight is particularly my favorite for hitting good speeds



And the last turn has negative banking towards the exit. Feels good at 120-130
Nice to know you stay in this area. It must be fun travelling frequently on this wonderful highway. Seriously, that straight is like a runway strip, almost 2 or 3 kms of endless tarmac.


Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi.kedlaya View Post
WoW! Amazing narration there Karthik. Loved reading through it.
Can you please PM me Kasturi-akka's landline no?

I would definitely like to try out the malnad style lunch..
I have PM'ed you her number. You can contact her before visiting Doddamane. It is customary for every tourist at Agumbe to eat at Doddamane. The food is really heavenly
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Old 3rd April 2012, 22:07   #12
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi.kedlaya View Post
WoW! Amazing narration there Karthik. Loved reading through it.
Can you please PM me Kasturi-akka's landline no?

I would definitely like to try out the malnad style lunch..
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
It is customary for every tourist at Agumbe to eat at Doddamane. The food is really heavenly
Yes, It is an excellent malnad lunch you can have in Dodda Mane and Kasturi Akka will ensure you leave satisfied. Having said this, it is sad that the heritage bungalow is going to dogs as they family can not afford its maintenance. Ravi, Kasturi akkkas son also doubles up as guide for local exploration.

Karthik, wonderful trip you guys had!!. You guys deserves stars for this!!

The roads in Malnad speciaily - Shimoagga - Jog - is so good it is a pleasure to drive on this. Isn't it? It should be such a beautiful sight in monsoons with vast stretches of greenery.

Maravanthe is a fabulous place and such eye candy. Blame it on Navy, we have lost some excellent views of Karwar and Ankola.

Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories!! Let us hear were the jet is off to in summer!!!
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Old 3rd April 2012, 22:15   #13
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

Excellent travelogue and superb photos. By the way, my residence is only a km from Angel's Resort at Porvorim. Enjoyed reading the experiences of your holiday in Goa.
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Old 4th April 2012, 11:19   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Yes, It is an excellent malnad lunch you can have in Dodda Mane and Kasturi Akka will ensure you leave satisfied. Having said this, it is sad that the heritage bungalow is going to dogs as they family can not afford its maintenance. Ravi, Kasturi akkkas son also doubles up as guide for local exploration.
Also, from what I saw this time, Kasturi akka was not keeping very good health now. She now walks with one of those walking stools for support (not sure what you call those - walkers?), but she was her usual talkative, cheerful self as before. Most of the cooking is now done by her maids and helpers at home, but she still does the serving. The food was top class like last time, so I assume she still actively supervises the cooking.

I'm surprised to know that the heritage bungalow is suffering from want of funds for maintenance. It is a really beautiful house which is supposedly 140 years old or something. One thing I find godly about her is the fact that she doesn't expect or take any money for her food services, in this day and age. If we want, we can donate any amount, and that too she doesn't touch or accept directly, asks us to keep it inside her testimonials book when leaving. For her level of hospitality, we almost felt like we were visiting our grandmother's place. We left her a decent donation this time around too.

Her son also doubles up as guide is it?? I wasn't aware of that. The last time we visited here, we met her son-in-law and daughter who work and live in Bangalore.

For people who want guides here, there is a small provision store + Lodge in the street corner run by 2 brothers. They both are very nice chaps too. One of them, by name Pradeep Mallya had accompanied us on our trekking during my previous visit. He knew in and out of the terrain and even predicted rain and wild animal locations when we were in the forest. Pretty knowledgeable chap who went out of the way to make us feel comfortable even in the lodge.

Quote:
Karthik, wonderful trip you guys had!!. You guys deserves stars for this!!

The roads in Malnad speciaily - Shimoagga - Jog - is so good it is a pleasure to drive on this. Isn't it? It should be such a beautiful sight in monsoons with vast stretches of greenery.
Thanks Fauji! Even before I left here, I had asked for suggestions on the route and thanks to you, we went by the Jog-Honnavar route and got to witness some amazing sights of Sharavathi valley. Had you not told me about this viewpoint, we would have driven by it without noticing


Quote:
Maravanthe is a fabulous place and such eye candy. Blame it on Navy, we have lost some excellent views of Karwar and Ankola.
We did see quite a few naval structures being built on the Karwar beach front. I'm imagining how beautiful NH-17 would have been with some more exposed stretches of coastline.

Quote:
Let us hear were the jet is off to in summer!!!
Now that is under planning. I will call you for details of what you put up on your Ooty drivologue. It might be the recipe for my next flight


Quote:
Originally Posted by misquitas View Post
Excellent travelogue and superb photos. By the way, my residence is only a km from Angel's Resort at Porvorim. Enjoyed reading the experiences of your holiday in Goa.
Thanks misquitas. Perhaps the next time I come to Goa, I should try and meet you BHPians there. You will be able to give some tips on the best local places to visit and dine at, to truly enjoy the flavour of Goa.

Last edited by noopster : 4th April 2012 at 16:49.
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Old 4th April 2012, 15:49   #15
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Default Re: West Coast Patrol : A drive to coastal Karnataka and Goa in a Fiat Palio 1.6

Nice!!! Good to know that you guys had a good time. When we went to Turtle Bay, we made it a point to call the resort every other day to confirm the booking. Each time we called, it was a different person who took the call. Although we had transferred the payment, we were still unsure about our booking as they never acknowledged receipt of payment nor did they confirm our booking (via email).

Maravanthe beach road is one my most favorite places. Your picture of the road with water on both sides is wonderful. Although the beach at the roadside is deep, the one at Turtle Bay (hardly 500 mts from there) is shallow and is great for fooling around.
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