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Old 23rd February 2013, 17:44   #1
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Default Tata Nano goes to Ankola!

I was planning to take a day off already, and there arrived a summons. A letter informing of a Navchandi Yaag at the Aryadurga temple at Ankola! This being our Kuladevi (family deity?) and we hadn't visited it till now. So the wife started talking about paying a visit and as usual I started checking out the train reservations, only to find, much to my happiness, that none were available! Only one train goes directly to Ankola and no way we were going to get reservations on it. Same was the case with the other trains. Plus the fares for 2nd class AC would still work out to be similar to what we would spend on petrol if we drove there.

Hey, who said anything about driving all the way to Ankola? Are you crazy? Well, these were some of the reactions I got from you know who all! But finally the desire to visit the deity prevailed and we drew up some plans. The function (Yaag) would be held on Monday, so we decided to take Tuesday off too, to give us enough time for the return journey. We also decided to camp out at Kolhapur, sort of midway between home and Ankola. We were to start on the Saturday which was a working day for my wife. So I decided to pick her up from Mumbra, where she could reach by train and I could drive there, just so we could avoid the possible traffic delays at the local toll plaza. How wrong we were!

Also I called up Hotel Rajat at Kolhapur and made a booking.

Finally the day dawned and quickly drew towards afternoon. I started for Mumbra, and reached there in about 40 minutes, no sweat. While waiting for my wife, I called up the hotel to confirm the booking and inform them of our ETA, when the guy gave me a shock. He said he hadn't booked us into a room yet.

"What? You haven't?"
"No sir, because you didn't say it was confirmed."
"But I remember telling you we would be reaching there tonight! We even talked about another booking on Monday night! You even took down my name and number!"
"Yes sir, but you still hadn't said it was a confirmed booking."
"Alright, is there a room available now? I am confirming the booking."
"There is, but it's a standard AC room, sir."
"How much?"
"It would be Rs. 1330/-"
"OK, please book it for us. And we shall be reaching by around 1am."
"OK sir, it's confirmed."

The standard room was to cost Rs. 1035/-, so the increase was a little steeper, but it was better than being without a confirmed booking. So I shrugged it off. Wife appeared and joined me, and we turned around towards Panvel.

Soon after Taloja, we went through (and around) three traffic snarls (can't really call them jams, they would have taken ages to clear up), first due to an overturned truck, then due to a scuffle between two cars and then for a traffic light. It confirmed my conviction that whenever you try to regulate the traffic artificially, it creates a jam. The usual tricks of driving on the other (and empty) side of the road got us out of these situations, the damage being limited to around half an hour only. So after leaving Mumbra at 5pm, we joined the expressway at around 6:30pm.

On the expressway I noticed something weird. I could see many cars in front of me. Why weird, you say? Usually the cars are speeding away. This time they hung around, as if they were trying to cruise at the legal limit. Shouldn't I be happy that people are following the limits? Actually I was a little nervous because suddenly there were many more cars per sqkm of the highway, pushing up the density far above the comfortable and normal levels. I don't know if it was only my imagination or the perceived threat of being fined for speeding, but I suspect many cars were trying to stay within the 80kmph limit. I even timed them up using my speedo and showed my wife a couple of vehicles which would have normally been driving at 3-digit speeds, but were strictly going at 80kmph. Phew! So it becomes a problem even when people decide to follow the rules. That's India!

After the expressway we continued on towards Satara. The new road widening on this stretch has rendered the patch dangerous, as the roads are sometimes upto four lanes wide, but without any lane markings. You simply don't know where you are going, on or off. And then as I soared down the slope after a slight curve and incline, to my horror I saw a tractor-like vehicle trying to enter my lane from the opposite side. The guy was taking a U-turn in the middle of the highway, in (almost) the middle of the night and barely a hundred odd metres from me! As I slammed on my brakes, the horror increased even more as I saw he was also pulling a trolley behind him. The boosters sure worked and I was able to stop just in time before the trailer could nick my car. I pulled over right in front of the idiot, switched off the engine and got out. After giving him some choice words inappropriate in a public forum, I got back in the car and drove on.

A few minutes afterwards we stopped for the first refuelling stops. I was carrying a bottle with petrol with me, so we had 1 ltr 'reserve'. I got another out from the trunk and asked for it to be filled, and the guy obliged without blinking. With two litres of 'reserve' and a full tank, no risk of running dry in the middle of the night. Next the dinner stop. We reached Karad at around 11pm and halted at Sangam for a light dinner. I called up Kolhapur to update them on my location and assure them no matter what we would be reaching there. The guy assured me back that the room was ready and waiting.

Post dinner we drove on towards Kolhapur. After reaching Kolhapur, we turned right from under the flyover and soon reached the hotel. I had camped here way back in 2004 when I had driven to Bangalore with my uncle (in our Santro which he owned then and I owned subsequently), and the hotel's number, saved in my mobile then, had somehow persisted through the numerous mobile changes. Came in handy now, as we dumped our luggage in the room and jumped into the bed.

After getting ready, we went upstairs for the complimentary breakfast, and I stuffed myself with idlis so I wouldn't need much of a lunch. At around 9:15am on Sunday we left the hotel to head towards Ankola. Soon we left Maharashtra and entered Karnataka and the change in the road surface was noticeable. The road surface is one smooth straight line in Karnataka, while the MH roads make the car pitch all the time. As we drove on, I noticed the tripmeter was nearing 300km, usually the time for a refill. But the fuel guage still showed a single bar. We decided to push on instead of stopping, especially since we had two litres of reserve. Finally we tanked up at a petrol pump, and the tripmeter had reached a magical figure of 355 for a tankful! Now that's what Nano does to you, I said to myself. How wrong I was! But that's for later.

Soon we passed Belgaum, Sankeshwar and Dharwad. I remembered Ampere's suggestion of a bypass right before Hubli which would take us to Ankola, and soon enough we spotted a road turning left and back, and going from under the highway towards Ankola. After stopping on the side of the road and checking the Google maps, it confirmed that this road would take us to Kalghatgi which was en route to Ankola. So off we went onto this road. A mistake.

Soon after we left the toll plaza, the road turned bad and I had my doubts about what Ampere meant when he said the road was excellent. At times the road was being newly laid, and it was pretty rough going (although me and my Nano had enough experience of such roads thanks to the Ashtavinayak trip and the Rajmachi outing). Soon (but not after wasting a lot of time) we reached Kalghatgi. A quick stop for coffee opposite the State Bank of India and confirming that it indeed was Kalghatgi (since we couldn't read the local signages) we proceeded onto the road to Ankola. The GPS on the new Samsung phone proved extremely useful as we managed the entire trip without asking for directions even once.

At around 3pm, we again stopped, at the junction where the left road goes to Ankola and the right towards Karwar. A brief tea and batata-wada (whatever that meant, although it looked dangerously similar to the egg-wada!), we reached Ankola in a few minutes. Found the temple and completed darshan. Upon enquiring for accomodation at the temple, the local priests first directed us to the backside for the maha-prasad, which was a gorgeous meal of sambhar-rice followed by payasam. Since we hadn't had a proper lunch, it was refreshing. After lunch came a bit of bad news. The temple didn't have any rooms available for us. Followed by a bit of hope, when they said there was another temple nearby where rooms might be available. So we went in search of the Kundodari temple. Another group of three elder ladies and an elderly gentleman from Goa was waiting in the yard already, for the office to open. The office was to have been opened at 4pm, but it was already 4:45. So we sat down in wait.

Finally a gentleman arrived at around 5pm to open the office. An interesting observation: His bicycle had a dynamo fitted to the rear wheel. I think it was non-functional, but it was cool to see the contraption. I wonder if it's available in the general market anywhere and if it can be put to some alternative use. Meanwhile my wife had chatted up with one of the ladies from the first group and some brief introduction had been made. As the office opened and the gentleman and his wife from the first group walked in, we decided to follow suit.

After some conversation between the first and the third parties, where we kept smiling to both since we didn't understand a word of what was going on (actually we could deduce the general direction of the talk), the first group got a room for two days, at Rs. 400/- The lady also informed the gentleman managing the office that we too needed a room, and so another one was arranged for us too! Happy at having found a place to settle in, literally a stone's throw away from our temple and for almost no money, we moved the luggage into the room and settled in.

After a brief nap we woke up in the late evening and enquired about dinner arrangements. It was already 9:15pm and the locals informed us that any hotels available near the bus stand would be closing by 10pm. We had to hurry. However after reaching the bus stand, the condition of the few eateries didn't suit my wife (and me too).

A kind shopkeeper informed us there was a good hotel towards the highway, about a kilometre from there, but it too would close by 10pm. So we hurried off to Hotel Sapna (not New Sapna, as the shopkeeper had warned us). And soon enough we found it. After a refreshing and (full)filling dinner and a paltry sum of Rs. 119/- for the same, we returned back to our room. I spotted a big frog in the dry gutter outside the gate of the compound. Obviously I wanted to click its photos. However there were people arriving for a marriage to be held the next day, and they had crowded up the gate. I had to wait for a good half an hour before the area was cleared and I could go outside and take some pics. Later I was to find that the two small ponds in the compound were full of frogs!

Next morning at around 8:30 we visited the temple to offer our prayers to the Goddess and in about half an hour's time we came out. We had seen on Google that the village also has a couple of beaches around, and so we decided to go visit one. Again the GPS came in handy as I navigated the Nano on the unknown lanes and bylanes, constantly being egged by my wife to stop and ask someone. Finally she relented as she saw the vast expanse of the sea through the thinning woods. After parking the car to a side of the road, we went to the beach. It was virtually deserted. The only problem was the particular area we had chosen was full of rocks and not very much left to the sand. However it didn't matter as there were just the two of us. After a while as the sun rose up in the sky we decided to return.

After returning we rested for a few minutes and then headed back to the temple. The closing rites of the Yaag were on and we reached just in time for the closing rites and the aarti. Post that we hurried to the backside, hoping to get some quick lunch before the people rushed there. Only they had beaten us to it, and all the places seemed to be taken. My wife insisted we could find some place inside the hall, and so we entered the hall. Sure enough there was space for two people in one of the rows, and we took the space, only to realize we were again sitting next to the Goan group we had met the previous day and who were staying in the same premises.

The lunch, this time spiced up a little with a bhaaji made from potatoes and another from pumpkins, filled our empty stomachs, and as we walked out, my wife informed me that there was to be a Paalkhi ceremony in the night. It would start at around 8:30pm or later, and would take around an hour. Herein lay the dilemma. Our original plan was to leave Ankola by around 4pm, almost time for it, and reach Kolhapur by 10pm or so, rest there and then drive back to Mumbai the following day. However this Paalkhi business queered things up. I could sense my wife was eager to attend it, at the same time apprehensive about the delay it would cause. She proposed we stay back for the night and start from Ankola in the early morning, but I ruled it out, since it would then mean a prolonged driving for the whole of the day. I finally proposed that we leave right after the Palkhi and drive during the night to reach Kolhapur in the early morning hours. This way we could get some much needed rest in the middle of the journey.

Back to the room (after eating some hot Jilebi) and to sleep. At around 7:30 in the evening we packed our bags into the Nano, and visited the Hotel Sapna for a light dinner. Then we went to the temple to look at the preparations for the Paalkhi, and also the actual ceremony. After the ceremony and the aarti, we finally bid goodbye to our Goan acquaintances and Ankola and started the drive towards Kolhapur. I had made up my mind to not repeat the earlier mistake and take the Kalghatgi - Hubli road.

Around 100kms before Hubli we stopped for a refuelling break. It was around 11pm then. I got another empty bottle out and asked it be filled up, which the petrol pump attendant obliged. He was amazed to see a Nano, in fact as I drove in, he kept looking over the car, searching for the fuel inlet! As the tank was filled up and I read out the mileage numbers to my wife who started calculating the FE, he too enquired about the same and was all smiles when we told him it was approx 23kmpl. We too were smiling. With three litres of petrol 'reserve', enough to last for around 60kms, I was ready to take on the night.

Nearing Hubli we saw a road turning right and then snaking back onto the Hubli - Dharwad highway. The toll booth was deserted/sleepy and nobody stopped us for paying the toll, so I drove on. After joining the highway, things improved a bit as it was no longer a dual carriageway. However trucks still plied in the wrong lane and the crazy headlights of the various vehicles strained my eyes.

At around two in the morning, I suddenly spotted a dhaba on the roadside and a few vehicles parked near it. I pulled over, and sure enough it was open, though the only thing they had on offer was hot tea (and maybe a few quickies like noodles if you insisted). But that was all I needed then. After downing the hot tea I was ready to drive till Kolhapur. Finally at 4 in the morning we reached the hotel and dropped dead into the beds, leaving the car in the front of the hotel entrance.

At nine in the morning, the phone in the room rang. My wife answered it and told me I had to take the car out into the parking lot. So much for the rest. I woke up rubbing my eyes, and grudgingly stepped out to drive the car out. As I returned back, I saw that the complimentary breakfast was available only till 10am, and it was already past 9:15. So we decided to have some breakfast and then resume the slumber. However after the breakfast we didn't feel much sleepy. So a hot water bath and an hour later we were ready to visit the Mahalakshmi temple. We returned from the temple visit a little after noon, and a quick nap later, at around 3pm we departed from Kolhapur.

The fuel guage had been showing three bars till the time we had reached the hotel at 4am, but now it showed two. Still it was good enough and we had our 'reserve', so we decided to press on instead of refuelling. As we neared Satara the fuel guage dropped to a single bar, and the tripmeter climbed over the 300km mark. I watched in amazement as the tripmeter crawled to a staggering 350kms and the fuel guage still kept showing a single bar. Then I said to my wife, "Let's see how much she runs on the remaining fuel." With three litres in reserve, broad daylight and a busy highway there was almost no risk, and so we decided to push the Nano till it gave up for lack of fuel. It sure did so, a little before Umbraj, and the tripmeter reading at the time was...

418.5!

We were ecstatic! As I guided her to the side of the road, rolling free with the engine switched off due to lack of fuel, I couldn't help but wonder in amazement.

After taking a few snaps of the tripmeter reading, I emptied two bottles from our 'reserve' into the tank. It cranked up back to life and on we went. Finally we stopped to refuel at Satara. The quantity pumped into the tank was 14.77 and we had emptied two 1-litre bottles into the tank. So the total consumption worked out to be 16.77 litres, and it had travelled around 450kms till then. The FE was a staggering 26+kmpl!

We then made a stop at Hotel Vaishali (not in Pune, but out on the highway) where we had hot bhakri and pithale, and thecha. There was no curd to tone down the dish-ful of thecha served, and so we had it packed up for use later.

The place carried a couple of signs, indicating its origins were from Pune. One of them was quite interesting. It read thus: Please do not vent onto our staff your frustration/anger of your journey or internal quarrels.

The rest of the journey was pretty normal, including the normal traffic snarl just near Shil phata. We stopped for dinner at hotel Classic, near the Samant petrol pump, and finally reached home a little before midnight.

Photos will follow in another post, as they need resizing.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 23rd February 2013 at 22:39. Reason: Do NOT use abusive language, even indirectly.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 20:05   #2
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Default re: Tata Nano goes to Ankola!

Here's the first set of images:

A winding road ahead: This is after we enter Karnataka.
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The greenery all around:
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The road snakes up ahead:
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Yet again:
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Can someone tell me what is this? Don't remember exactly where we saw this, but must be between Belgaum and Dharwad...
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A lake:
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Traffic disruption: A crane has overturned.
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A long stretch: Can you spot the tempo in the ditch near the road?
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Maybe now you can see it?
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My wife says this structure is used to store the grain. Pretty weird. Can't the rats enter it from the bottom?
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Road from Kalghatgi to Ankola, lined up with trees on both sides. A rare sight for us now.
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A beautiful temple spotted en route:
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Kiss me, somebody!
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Ain't I a handsome prince? Or maybe a beautiful princess? Kiss me to find out!
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Well, it ain't a halogen lamp. Check the next image to see what it is:
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The moon! Can someone tell me how I can capture the markings on it? I could see them very clearly through the lens (70-300), but somehow they aren't there in the photograph which is too bright.
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A whole lot of princes and princesses in waiting...
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Can someone count how many frogs are there in this pond?
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The beach: and the sea, of course!
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The crab-pole? What do you call these tiny crabs?
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Spotted this bird flying into the bushes after capturing its prey, we suspected it was a fish, but the photo shows indications of a long tail, possibly a rat. Can't know for sure what it is: This one is thanks to my wife who spotted the bird and pointed it out to me.
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More photos to follow:

Last edited by honeybee : 23rd February 2013 at 20:25.
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Old 23rd February 2013, 22:48   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
I got another empty bottle out and asked it be filled up, which the petrol pump attendant obliged. He was amazed to see a Nano
Long, interesting read. Nice pictures too!. You kept 2 bottles of Petrol inside the car? Dangerous for any car, not to mention Nano with its engine at the back. Please do not do this again!
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Old 23rd February 2013, 22:57   #4
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Some more pics of the sea, the rocks, et al.

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These are dangerous rocks, never tread on them barefoot, or even without strong footwear.
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Here's our little friend again:
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This rock has a colourful patch running through it.
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Waves crashing against the rocks:
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Crevices in the rocks (facing the sea) hiding some treasure:
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Closeups of the princes charming!
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Will try and post the financials tomorrow.



Edit: On carrying petrol inside the car, I have had enough anxious moments on earlier trips and since this time a majority of our travel happened in the dead of the night, I thought it was prudent to take this precaution. It was not in the boot anytime, and was strictly meant as a precaution.

Last edited by honeybee : 23rd February 2013 at 23:05. Reason: Clarification on 'reserve' fuel
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Old 23rd February 2013, 23:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Here's the first set of images:
Can someone tell me what is this? Don't remember exactly where we saw this, but must be between Belgaum and Dharwad...
Hi honeybee,

Nice travelogue, Keep it going.
That is the "Karnataka High Court Circuit Bench - Dharwad". The other high court bench is located in Gulbarga.
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Old 24th February 2013, 11:39   #6
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Thanks SwiftDeep, that's a grand building alright. A beautiful sight.

Here's the breakup of the tolls, also the progress we made (timings):

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The 18 Feb date includes a few receipts in the early morning of 19 Feb, but since they are part of the same leg, I have written them under the same date.

The legs were from home to Kolhapur, Kolhapur to Ankola, Ankola to Kolhapur and then Kolhapur to back home.

Last edited by honeybee : 24th February 2013 at 11:51.
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Old 24th February 2013, 13:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Soon we passed Belgaum, Sankeshwar and Dharwad. I remembered Ampere's suggestion of a bypass right before Hubli which would take us to Ankola, and soon enough we spotted a road turning left and back, and going from under the highway towards Ankola. After stopping on the side of the road and checking the Google maps, it confirmed that this road would take us to Kalghatgi which was en route to Ankola. So off we went onto this road. A mistake.

Soon after we left the toll plaza, the road turned bad and I had my doubts about what Ampere meant when he said the road was excellent. At times the road was being newly laid, and it was pretty rough going (although me and my Nano had enough experience of such roads thanks to the Ashtavinayak trip and the Rajmachi outing).
Nice log!

Regarding the bypass, sorry if I confused you.
I think I should have clarified more.

- Dharward/Hubli are twin cities
- The Pune-Bangalore 4-lane road bypasses both the cities in one go.
- This bypass is about 30-40km long and is a single lane road. This is also a tolled bypass road
- While paying toll, you should say Ankola road exit
- Once you pay the toll and get into the bypass, you will the exit marked Ankola after about 30km on this bypass.
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Old 24th February 2013, 13:06   #8
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Hello Ampere, no you didn't confuse me, it's actually my mistake, or rather lack of the local topology. Since the Kalghatgi road appeared on the left as a proper exit, I was fooled into believing it was the road you had mentioned about. I actually halted there for a few minutes to check it on the Google maps, and it sure looked like a bypass, and Kalghatgi was the place from where we would be going towards Ankola. However I realized the mistake as soon as we hit the bad patch (quite soon that was!), and you confirmed my suspicions later on, so I knew which road I had to take on my return journey!

Also, this is the first time I encountered speed breakers / rumbler strips on the NH4! I feel like using another set of expletives at this move. And these aren't on the diversions, but on the butter-smooth highways! These are in the same general region where we saw the highcourt building, methinks, though the exact location eludes me. Pretty dangerous stuff, when you see a bunch of cars in all the lanes slowing down to a crawl, while you are merrily approaching this stopping mass of traffic at near 3-digit speeds.

The diversions within the Karnataka section too have speed breakers which need to be taken at extremely slow speeds as they might scrape the underbody of low-slung cars.

Last edited by honeybee : 24th February 2013 at 13:17.
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Old 24th February 2013, 19:29   #9
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Nice travelogue!

I took similar route to Sirsi during Diwali, from Pune.

I, too, was planning Kolhapur halt both ways. But extended it by hour or so each, thus halting at Belgaum during onward journey and Karad during return. Just gives a little headstart to start the next day.

I agree with your observations about the greenery after you leave NH4 on the Ankola route. We really miss that.

Thanks for the details. Your itinerary will come handy for our next vacation!

The Dharwad bypass route that Ampere warned about was in a shattered state. On our return journey, we tried to venture on this route and had to return and go straight to Hubli to join NH4.

My travelogue is here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...si-around.html (Diwali trip to Uttar Kannada! - Pune to Sirsi, Banavasi and around)
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Old 25th February 2013, 16:53   #10
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The moon! Can someone tell me how I can capture the markings on it? I could see them very clearly through the lens (70-300), but somehow they aren't there in the photograph which is too bright.
Nice travelogue honeybee. Regarding the moon shot, always underexpose as much as you can. This will help you to bring out details on the moon.

Thanks for sharing .
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Old 13th January 2015, 23:34   #11
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Nice travelogue. Loved the fluid narration and the attention to detail. Was surprised to find a fellow bhp-ian having a Kuldev at Ankola. The Kundodari temple that you mentioned is where our Kuldev is. For the past few years I have been religiously making a trip there at least once a year, but have never managed to stay there in the Kundodari temple room. Ironically, we used to stay at the rooms of the Aryadurga or Shantadurga temples!

There are three temples there within stones throw of each other and I find it to be a really peaceful location where there is no/low artificial sound. The tranquility of the place is awesome and drags me back year after year.

Last edited by @Chaand : 13th January 2015 at 23:35.
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Old 14th January 2015, 07:30   #12
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Well, well, well! Maybe sometime in future we shall be able to plan a joint visit, a small TBHP meet maybe.

Thanks for the compliments!
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Old 14th January 2015, 08:58   #13
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My wife says this structure is used to store the grain. Pretty weird. Can't the rats enter it from the bottom?
Attachment 1054861
Not exactly storing (for long term) but they are stacked temporarily after harvesting . Eventually the grains are separated from the grass and then they are stored in different ways.
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Old 14th January 2015, 09:38   #14
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Can someone tell me what is this? Don't remember exactly where we saw this, but must be between Belgaum and Dharwad...
It reads Travelling bench (??) for Karnataka High Court. For people that stay away from Bangalore, it is supposed to help them avoid travel. The court will convene there on certain days.

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The moon! Can someone tell me how I can capture the markings on it? I could see them very clearly through the lens (70-300), but somehow they aren't there in the photograph which is too bright.
This may be counter-intuitive, but you need to set the exposure to -1 or -2. You can see the markings on the moon then.
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