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Old 28th October 2013, 18:53   #1
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Pune
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Smile Ironhide's Trip with 2 Journeymen: Pune - Tirupati - Goa

This is my first travelogue on T-BHP and before I even begin I just want to warn you all that I could not take any pictures since most of the driving was at night and hence have just a couple of pictures taken during day time

I hope you would like reading this post and if I make any mistakes then do enlighten me on the same so I can learn


My family and I had been planning a trip to Tirupati for the past 3 months as we needed to visit The Lord for the tonsuring of my younger daughter Samhita.

The initial plan was to travel by train to Tirupati and back and this seemed a good plan up until 1 month ago when my wife had travelled to Delhi with my dad and my 2 girls to visit my grandmom who is not keeping well. When she returned I could clearly see that the train trip was extremely stressful mainly due to 2 reasons. One is of course how good the trains are in India. People passing through the bogies at all times of day or night disturbing everyone, cleanliness issues, hygiene issues with fellow passengers and so on. The second is that the berths in our trains are so narrow that it is hard for an adult to sleep comfortably in. Now, when you add a small kid trying to sleep right next to you on the same berth you can imagine how it would be

The train idea was put on the back-burner at this time and we just held on to the wait-listed tickets we had anyway just in case things went pear-shaped at the last moment

The next idea was to travel by bus. Take the Airavat from Pune to Bangalore and then the next Airavat to Tirupati from there. However, this plan again seemed to lack the privacy and flexibility needed to handle 2 small kids (the elder one is 2yrs 8mths and the younger is 9 mths old)

So, finally the decision was made that we will drive down to Tirupati which is a 1100km ride each way from Pune. The vehicle of choice was our trusted

Mighty, Muscular Scorpio SLE 7-seater which had already done 30,000 kms on the odo in 3 years or so. We call this beast of a vehicle "Ironhide" at home (based on the character Ironhide from the Transformers series of movies). The beast will be piloted by my dad (who has been driving cars for the past 25+ years) and me (for the past 12 years or so). Between the 2 of us (and The Lord above watching over us), we believed we could make this trip without a hitch.

Since we had now decided to drive to Tirupati, I put my devious mind to work and suggested to my wife that if we took a 200km detour in a journey of 2200kms, we could also visit Goa on the way back and just to make the sales pitch more convincing, I told her we could also meet some relatives in Konkan on the way back. TO my surprise, she took the bait and agreed to this small "detour". Yessss!!!! My devious plan had worked at least this time (though most of the times she sees right through it)!!!


TO be frank, I am not much of a DIY guy. So I don't really have tools like the puncture repair kit, the tyre inflation pump etc. However, I did take along a monkey wrench, a screwdriver kit, some rope and a torch which I thought should be enough to handle most situations which may arise with the car.

Since my kids would need to sleep during the night driving sessions, we converted the back-end of Ironhide into a mini-bedroom for them and my wife. My dad and I would be the only drivers and hence would be on the captain seats up front. We dropped down the middle row of seats and folder up the 2 jump seats at the back and voila, we had enough space to put in a small mattress which we had at home and 2 pillows which made for a comfortable place to sleep.

Having done this, we realized we had no place to keep the luggage (and trust me, travelling with 2 small kids means carrying more luggage than most people
take on expeditions to the south pole). Indian jugaad comes to the rescue. Had an unused yoga mat which we rolled out on the roof of Ironhide and then placed the suitcases on it and tied it down with some rope. We did not have a tarp or plastic sheet so we prayed it would not rain on the way and luckliy it did not.

Remaining preparations included topping up engine oil, coolant and gear oil. We filled up the windshield washer tank with plain water, checked the tyre pressures on all tyres (including spare wheel) and we were set to roll. Ironhide looked mean with the luggage on the roof and the back seat pulled down.

Looked like a long-distance heavy-hauling truck which it is.


Night-1: Pune - Bangalore
Set off from Pune around 5pm to avoid the rush hour traffic. I live in the east of the city and had to pass through Swargate to get to the Satara road and trust me that is easier said than done in Pune what with all the BRTS and other stuff that the PMC seems to keep experimenting with on this road. Finally, after an hour of B2B traffic and honking, pushing and dodging city traffic we hit the Katraj ghat which leads out of the city onto the NH-4. The last time I had driven the Katraj ghat it was in good condition but I must say this time was a rude shock. The road surface is all but gone in most of the ghat (apparently because the PMC and NHAI think most Pune-bound traffic will continue onwards on NH-4 and take a later exit). Luckily, Ironhide is a beast which devours bad roads for breakfast and had no issues making it through the ghat. We finally got sight of the NH-4 and though that our troubles of bad roads were behind us. The first 10kms or so after the ghat on NH-4 was great. Then, all of a sudden, the road begins to have diversions and potholes and what not. I am not sure still what the NHAI is trying to build in these places with the diversion but seems like some kind of flyover though many places it did not make any sense to have a flyover. To top it all off, the toll rates on these initial stretches (Khed-Shivpur and the next toll) are the highest you will see until you get close to Tumkur in Karnataka. Did not feel like paying even a single rupee for the toll, but law-abiding citizens that we are, we ended up paying. Each toll plaza has its own delay of 10-15 mins especially in the evening when it almost appears as if all of Satara is travelling back home from Pune. On the way had some delicious wada-pavs just after the Khambatki ghat and then rolled on. Just passed a toll booth and there was a crowd gathered on the road. When we peered in through the crowd, we saw a biker on the road bleeding from the head. The roads in this stretch up to Satara are so bad now that travelling on a bike is not recommended at all I would say.

Once past Satara in about 10kms, we hit the concrete stretch of road which goes all the way to Kagal (just past Kolhapur) and this stretch was wonderful and worth the toll paid. Ironhide thundered through this stretch making small work of the umpteen trucks, bikes, jeeps and all other forms of transport. We passed Kolhapur around 9pm and we switched drivers and my dad was the pilot now. Also, it was dinner time for the little one (Samhita) and wife whipped out something she had prepared at home and fed her. Once she was happy, we moved on towards Nipani (this is the place to turn off to go to Goa from Pune). We remembered a nice restaurant right at the top of the ghat before Nipani called Satyawati Hotel and Lodge. Had a good dinner and my elder daughter (Gayatri) who was by now quite impatient waiting for dinner was finally happy. By this time, Samhita was beginning to doze off and we knew that after some piping hot dal-chawal, Gayatri would be hitting the sack soon as well. This meant, some non-stop driving time for us which we hoped would get us to Bangalore before the city awakens.

With dinner out of the way, it was time to feed Ironhide. He was getting hungry and we had a bad experience the last time on NH-4 in Karnataka so did not take any risks. We filled his tank up soon and hit the road. The road from Nipani almost all the way to Hubli is a dream. Concrete roads, clearly marked crossings, rest stops, bus bays, truck lay-byes everything you could dream of on a highway is in place here. Ironhide chewed up the miles and we were near Hubli (just before the 4-lane road turns to 2-lane passing by Hubli-Dharwad). You need to be careful on this stretch because it is a regular 2-lane highway and has some nasty speed bumps on it as well. Passed the toll plaza post Hubli around 2am and the wife and kids were fast asleep. Dad and I took this chance to pull up to the tea stalls just past the toll and fuelled ourselves with some caffeine for what we call "twilight hour" when the truckers and mostly all drivers on the road are most likely to sleep/doze and make mistakes.

The next stretch is the one from Hubli to Chitradurga and this is again a very good stretch of road (though not concrete and well laid out as before but surface is very good). On this stretch we saw a whole lot of Airavats, SRS travels, VRL and other Volvos. Man, those guys can drive!!! I was piloting Ironhide on this stretch at a good clip and these volvos (especially the B9R's) rolled past us like we were standing still.

Chitradurga was hit around 4.30am which meant we had maintained a very good pace on this stretch. Time to change pilots again and fill up on some caffeine once more. This time, dad and I felt caffeine alone was not enough so we had some nicotine as well ;-)

The next stretch of road ahead of us was to Tumkur and then to Bangalore. The road is very good in this stretch and most of the way to Tumkur is 6-laned.

However, truckers of India be praised, all 3 lanes were occupied by truckers. One going 38kmph, another 40kmph and the other 41kmph each one trying to overtake the other. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!! This was irritating and this caused a lot of other car drivers and volvos to keep swerving in and out in between these dudes. I wonder if they have ever heard of something called lane discipline. I guess not!!! Past Tumkur, a strange phenomenon starts. Thousands of trucks carrying sand (dry and wet) were on the road. Apparently these guys all quarry the sand somewhere here and then ferry it to Bangalore for the monster metro project presumably?? These trucks did not even have covers on the sand so it was like being sand-blasted with those guys in front. Ironhide smiled and kept going on without a single grumble, though I am sure there is a ton of sand now in the radiator grills (maybe, not sure)

Finally, Bangalore was in sight and the elevated road running into Bangalore starts at Nelamangala I guess and drops off near Yeshwanthpura. We follwed this road right till there and then took the turn-off into the Outer Ring Road (ORR). This would lead us to the highway leading to Kolar-Chittoor and to Tirupati.

It was breaking dawn at this time and time for a pilot change again. Luckily since it was so early, there was no traffic on the ORR and we made good time
getting to the Kolar highway. The one suggestion to BMC is ... PLEASE get rid of the millions of speed bumps on this road!!!

Day-1: Bangalore - Tirupati
Since it now day-time, the journey continues under this heading. The road from Bangalore to Kolar is fantastic to say the least. Beautifully 4-laned and no traffic at all on the road!! We saw a Kamat Upachar on the way (next to an Indian Oil pump) and hence fed Ironhide first and then woke up the wife and kids for some hearty Udupi style breakfast. With this done, we hit the road again. Soon after reaching Kolar, the 4-lane disappears into a 2-lane road which is apparently being widened but not yet completed. This stretch was pretty bad in some places but still motorable. Soon, Karnataka disappeared and we entered Andhra. The moment we crossed the border, we faced a very funny incident. A cop flagged us to pull over and we did. We roll down the window and instead of asking for the license and registration etc. he gets right to the point. He wanted money just because the car was MH registered. My dad and I haggled with him and finally gave him 100 bucks just because soon his intimidatory tone turned to a begging tone saying it was Dussehra time etc. etc. ... Anyway, cop handled, roll on now!! The next town on the way is Chittoor. A word of caution to anyone planning this trip, do not go into the town. There is a by-pass just before which is not marked out well and once into the town you will face traffic the likes of which you don't see even in metros. Gayatri found the town very amusing because of the many cows and bullocks on the road and was pointing to each one having a good time. For the driver though this is not a good town to be in. Narrow roads, heavy rush and not to mention Ironhide's size makes him a little tough to fit into tight situations. Finally, the town was behind us and the traffic lightened up. Some stretches from here to Tirupati are bad, some are average and some very good. So it is advisable to be light with the foot on the gas pedal because you need to keep braking very often to avoid potholes etc.

Tirupati was finally in sight and we entered the city through some pretty narrow roads (I guess there is another approach from the Alipiri side going past the Tirupati zoo but we missed that). Now, we had been to the same hotel on our previous trip as well so we knew it was behind the railway station. What we did not know was how to get there from the side of the city we had entered. So we motored through the city to Alipiri and then we had our bearings right and made it to the hotel safe and sound. Checked in, took the luggage off the roof and crashed for some well-deserved sleep at least for the 2 pilots. Gayatri and Samhita were in full swing of mischief but we did not even move once dad and I hit the sack. Apparently, wife and the kids even walked down for some lunch while we were asleep and we had no idea all this happened at all!! That is how well we were sleeping.

Day-2: Tirupati Darshan
This day, I was sure would be the toughest of the trip because of 3 things. One, I had planned to take the foot-path up to Tirumala with my dad which is 8km hike. Second, we had to get Samhita and myself tonsured at Tirumala. Third, the darshan queue and pushing/shoving which takes place. To top this off, it was raining. Ohhhh!!! Anyway, dad and I woke up around 4am, had a quick bath in icy water and took a local bus to Alipiri which is where the foot-path starts.

The walk up to Tirumala starts with a huge mountain with an endless flight of steps (2100 steps to be exact). Boy, this was tiring and by the time we passed the first mountain it took us 10-15 mins of good rest to get going again. The next 2 phases of the climb are okay because it is mostly flat and the gradient of climb is very gradual. There is also a section where you walk alongside the road going down from Tirumala to Tirupati city. The last stage is again a monstrous climb up steps though this time I guess there are just 500 of them or so. This was easier. However, by the time we were at the top, my dad had some pain in his legs and I was having some back pain. So first stop was to a medical store. We bought some pain-killers and pain-balm and moved on. Wife and the kids had come up in the bus which takes pilgrims from Tirupati to Tirumala and were waiting for us there. Next, on to the tonsuring. We went to the Kalyana Katta which is right next to the RTC bus-stand. This place usually has the least crowd for tonsuring as long as you tip the barber well. The first thing they ask you is how many people and the moment they saw it was Samhita's first mundan, that was it. He knew he would get a nice tip and ushered us in with utmost glee. The tonsuring of Samhita was stressful. She wailed and cried and I was hoping it would end soon. Once done, I handed her over to my wife who took her for a bath. Next was my turn. No issues, hair and 3-month beard all gone in a jiffy. Went for another icy bath and when I came out, there was Samhita, smiling and laughing back to her usual self. Whew!! 2 down, 1 and the most important step to go. The DARSHAN!!!

We had the 50/- Sudarshan tickets and went on to the darshan queue. On the way we had to scout around to find the chappal-depositing stand and did that. Once done, we joined the queue which was HUGE to say the least. We felt it would take forever to get darshan but luckily the queue moved along. The queue though well planned, has a few places where it can definitely improve. There are sections where the corridor narrows our and then climbs up steps across a bridge and back down some steps. In this place, our janata of India are the most inconsiderate I feel. No bother, that someone is carrying a small child, no concern that my wife is a woman, no care that my dad is an old man (though he is quite sprightly for his age, touchwood). People pushing, shoving, yelling, climbing on your feet. My my my!!!! This place there was so much pressure from the back of the queue that Samhita was getting squeezed and started crying. I picked her up and placed her on my shoulders where she would get some fresh air and relief from the pressure. However, soon Gayatri also wanted the ride. So, I passed Samhita to my dad and picked up Gayatri who was much heavier and put her on my shoulders. It remained this way all the time till the darshan was completed and I must say it is tough keeping a 15kg load on your shoulders being pushed from all directions in a mad crowd. Finally got the Divine Darshan of The Lord Balaji and suddenly all the troubles endured in the queue disappeared. Again, TTD bouncers will keep pushing you so the queue keeps moving so you barely get 10 seconds of darshan once near The Lord so be prepared for that. Next, we went to get the prasadam which was Tamarind Rice (puliogare) which Gayatri really liked. By this time, Samhita needed a feed so we found a vacant spot in the courtyard outside the temple and left my wife there to feed Samhita. We took Gayatri along and went to get the Laddoo Prasadam which is again a queue for everything. You need to first buy a plastic bag after standing in a queue. Then if you want extra laddoos you need to buy a token standing in a queue. Then you need to collect the laddoos standing in a queue. Finally, the never-ending queue-journey ended and we went back to where we left my wife and Samhita. Walked off and caught the bus back down to Tirupati from the RTC stand after collecting our chappals (again a queue!!!!). Back down to Tirupati and straight for lunch at Hotel Vikram (right opposite the RTC bus-stand). The Andhra meals here are great and all of us needed this fuel after the battle we had endured for darshan. Got back to the hotel and surprisingly, both kids dozed off quickly and gave us adults the chance to sleep as well. Woke up in the evening feeling all sore in the back and soles of our feet (as we had walked barefoot almost 10-12kms in all). The rest was a regular evening with some tea, TV and dinner and we all hit the sack pretty early to get some more rest

Day-3: Tirupati - Bangalore
When this day started off, we were all refreshed from the darshan day and we planned to go see the Alamelu Manga temple (also called Padmavati temple).

Checked out of the hotel, went to the temple where there was again a queue but much much shorter compared to the one at Tirumala. Had a good darshan and had the same puliogare prasadam here as well. After this, we had an early lunch again at Hotel Vikram and headed on to Bangalore. We left around 1pm from Tirupati. The plan was to meet an old friend of mine in Bangalore for some dinner so we had 7hours to make this journey. Dad was piloting Ironhide and this time we took the right road through Alipiri and the zoo to the highway. Soon we had hit Chittoor where a pilot change was made. As it was day-time the back-seat was up and the kids were making an absolute ruckus playing with their toys and what not. I guess that is part of the pleasure of travelling with kids on a road-trip. Stopped for evening snacks at the same Kamat as we had before and what do we see?? MONKEYS!!!! Oh my, the moment, the door of Ironhide was opened, Gayatri was off like a bolt after the monkeys. She kept chasing them all around until finally my wife reeled her in and stopped her from getting into trouble with them. Had a nice leisurely halt here to kill some time. We were about to leave when it starts to rain :-((

The luggage had to be pulled off in a hurry and put into the car before moving on which was a good move because the rain was light to start with but then got really heavy. On the 4-lane road back to Bangalore from Kolar, we were coming down a bridge and it was raining pretty heavily. The road ahead just seemed like wet tarmac but was in fact a 3-foot deep river of water flowing across the road due to bad drainage I guess. Ironhide hit this wall of water at 80kmph and BOOOMMM!!! there was a huge cloud of water which came up and for a few seconds I was completely blind and had no idea what was in front. That was scary and Gayatri was the only one who seemed to enjoy it almost as if it was an amusement park ride. I immediately slowed down, pumped the brakes a few times, changed gears up and down the range to make sure nothing had gone off. I then pulled off the road to see if there was any external damage and guess what, Ironide had lost a shoe ... Don't worry, not the tyre itself, but just the wheel cap. I guess the huge force of water forced the cap out of the tyre and was by now floating down that river of water to the fields on the other side :-))

Opened the hood and did not see anything unusual (but you gurus can tell me if I need to have something specific checked after such an incident). Moved on from there and entered Bangalore and guess what ... TRRRRAAAAFFFFIIIICCC!!!!! Oh my word, completely B2B traffic inching ahead on the ORR. Finally made it to Yeshwanthpura where I planned to meet my friend at the Vivanta by Taj (don't worry, not inside it just at the gate as a landmark ... hahahaha)

We headed off further into the city with my friend to a restaurant and had a nice dinner. Caught up with him after a long time and had some fun doing so. Finally time to say bye to him and move on to the next destination

Night-3: Bangalore - Hubli
Got out of Bangalore in no time due to the elevated road of NH4. I must say the bridge just next to it for the metro seems massive and this seems to be a monster construction project being done there. Dad was piloting Ironhide and we fed him on the way to Tumkur. The road to Chitradurga was good and this time there were no sand trucks so we had a better time on the return. Switched pilots at Chitradurga and I looked forward to a good road to Hubli (because the onward stretch was good). However, NHAI had other plans. This side of the highway for some reason was completely uneven. There were no potholes or ditches to speak of, but it seemed almost as if the tar on the road had melted and had flowed across the road like a river. This had made the surface very unpredictable because everytime you hit one of the "wavy tar" patches, the car would not want to follow a straight line (not sure if you have faced this as well).

Overtaking had to be done with care because you could not be sure that the car would not wriggle around due to the wavy nature of the surface below. This stretch took some time and it is like this all the way to the toll plaza just before Hubli. At this time, dad was already sleeping and I was very tired as I had been wrestling with the wheel for the past 3 hours or so to keep Ironhide going straight. So, I decided to park Ironhide near a tea stall very near the toll booth. Locked up the car from inside, opened the last row windows (which are not regular style windows) on Ironhide and tried to get some sleep. I set an alarm for 5am which would give me an hour or so to sleep.

Day-4: Hubli - Karwar - Margao
The alarm goes off at 5am and I wake up and hit the road again. Just pass the Hubli toll plaza and in 3 kms you should see the Hubli-Karwar road sign. Keep the toll ticket from the Hubli gate so you don't need to pay toll here again. This leads you on to NH63 which was suggested to me by my fellow Team BHPians as the best route to south Goa and I must thank you all. It was a great road. Though a 2-lane road, it was perfect in terms of road condition and the ghat was also not very big/steep so that is surely the best way to get to south Goa from Bangalore. Yes, this is a bit longer I guess than the other routes which go through some SH roads but I trust NH more than SH so I kept to this road.

Passed through Karwar and had breakfast in the Udupi cafe (which I guess is quite popular there as I saw signboard of this place all over Karwar). Everyone was up by now in the car and I handed over to my co-pilot, Dad. The rest of the journey into Goa was perfect. Good roads and no problems. Goa has started charging an entry fee of 250/- for a car which I had not seen before so surprise to me. The moment we entered Goa, we could feel it. Mirror-finish roads, red mud on both sides of the road, greenery, quaint houses and relaxed folks. Entered Margao and checked into the Margao Residency. This is run by the GTDC and is a great place to stay if you go there ever.

We stayed indoors in the afternoon and slept, bathed, lunched etc. Then headed off to Colva beach in the evening. The warm inviting water complimented by ice-cold water, what more could you ask for!!! Gayatri had a blast in the sea water and Samhita found that crawling in the sand is much more fun than on tiled floors. After everyone had their fill of the beach, we headed back to the hotel. Come on, we are in Goa after all and my word, the prices are CHEAP to say the least. We even found that petrol is 20 bucks cheaper than in Pune. Amazing!!!

Day-5: South Goa Beaches
This was to be a relaxed day so we all woke up late (except Samhita of course as usual) and planned to go to Palolem beach at the souther tip of Goa. This beach is a MUST VISIT if you want to see a clean beach with crystal clear water. Also, the waves are not rough and this means kids can enjoy themselves a lot here. Had a great Goan lunch at Baba's Little Italy (don't let the name put you off, it is a great place). This guy has a wood-fired pizza oven and since my wife and kids are vegetarians (plan to make my kids non-veg soon enough), they ordered a veggie pizza and it was delicious. It is nothing like the box pizzas we have in cities. The wood-oven gives it a unique flavor. Dad and I had the usual fish and prawn curries with rice along with our dear friend Kingfisher of course.

Evening session was at the Benaulem beach which is very close to Colva. This beach is a bit rougher in terms of waves and there is a current in the waters so it is not very good for kids. But the shallows are OK for them. Sunset done and headed back to the hotel room.

Day-6: North Goa Beaches and then Mapusa - Vengurla
We were planning to head back to MH today, so fed Ironhide with cheap diesel and filled our bag with some cheap liquor from Goa. The one thing to note is that the cops will stop you at the checkpost between Goa and MH. So either play it cool and hope you don't have your bags checked (which they don't do if you have kids in the car). If you are just guys however, get the excise certificate and ask them to enter destination as Daman/Diu on it. When the cops stop you, say you are going to Daman and show them the certificate and they should let you go. If you say you are going to Mumbai or any place in MH the certificate will not help.

Anyway, coming back to the point, headed to Vagator beach in North Goa. We don't prefer going to Calangute even though the sand is nicer there just because of the crowd. The water at Vagator was perfect and we had a great time on the beach. Just past 1pm we moved on saying good-bye to beaches (which I miss a lot being land-locked here in Pune). We had lunch at a place called "Love Shack" .... now, now, now ... don't start judging the place by its name, its a nice restaurant on the way from Vagator to Mapusa and has a nice ambience and food. Headed on to Mapusa from there and onto the NH17 to MH. Patradevi is the border between Goa and MH so be prepared to be stopped by cops here. The cop who stopped us just asked us where we are going and waved us on as we had my wife and kids in the car (they are good insurance against cops pestering us by searching bags etc ... just kidding)

We were headed to Vengurla to meet a few relatives. Vengurla is a very small village which has a lovely beach but we did not go there. Our relatives stayed near the Sateri Devi temple there which is quite famous. When we asked someone where they lived, they remembered them by name. This can never happen in a city I guess. There was no road no. or house no. just the name and they know exactly where they live. We reached there, spent some time. As usual the ladies formed a gang enjoying gup-shup and the kids formed their own unit. The men as usual were sitting around without much to do :-))

Night-6: Vengurla - Kudal
Moved on around 7pm from there to Kudal which is a town about 20kms from Vengurla to meet another relative. This is a very narrow road and it is better to be slow on this stretch as it is full of potholes as well. The state highways in MH are infamous for their quality. Found his place very easily as well. Had a great dinner in Maharashtrian style and went off to bed.

Day-7: Kudal - Pune
Woke up around 7am and had lovely poha for breakfast. The last day of the road-trip and we headed back via the Amboli-Nipani route rather than the Gaganbawda-Kolhapur route though this meant going back towards Goa for 20kms or so. The Amboli stretch is very average. There are some parts where road is just a pile of stones and other places which are perfect tarmac so keep it slow here. Finally, NH4 was in sight. Once on the NH you can gun it right till Kolhapur where the city traffic makes it tough to go fast so keep calm in this stretch. The Kagal-Satara stretch which was so perfect on the way to Bangalore again had suffered the same "wavy tar" issue on the return journey for some reason. I don't know why they kept one side as concrete and the other as tar but anyway keep it under control here because the wavy road makes it tough to keep a straight line and stict lane discipline is something which no one follows in India anyway. Had lunch just past the Mahabaleshwar turn-off on NH4 at Hotel Ashirwad. Spicy food but good never the less. Final blast to Pune and the kids and wife were fast asleep after lunch. Entered the city and lo-and-behold, traffic!! Switch back to city driving mode and made it home. Upon reaching, Dad announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for travelling Ironhide Roadways and Welcome Home!!!"

I hope you all like this travelogue and do give your valuable comments/inputs on the same


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Last edited by mobike008 : 29th October 2013 at 13:32.
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Old 29th October 2013, 06:08   #2
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Default re: Ironhide's Trip with 2 Journeymen: Pune - Tirupati - Goa

Hey Anand,

Welcome to TBHP Family

Good travelogue, we need to have courage to do this kind of trip escpecially with kids ( 9 month & 2.8 Yrs) but after reading through TL I'm sure you have definetly enjoyed your trip with your family. And this is first time I'm reading TL which involves tirupati and Goa and you have enjoyed both the places to the core.
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Old 29th October 2013, 08:44   #3
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Smile re: Ironhide's Trip with 2 Journeymen: Pune - Tirupati - Goa

Originally Posted by anand.shankar82 View Post
Once done, we joined the queue which was HUGE to say the least. We felt it would take forever to get darshan but luckily the queue moved along. The queue though well planned, has a few places where it can definitely improve. There are sections where the corridor narrows our and then climbs up steps across a bridge and back down some steps. In this place, our janata of India are the most inconsiderate I feel. No bother, that someone is carrying a small child, no concern that my wife is a woman, no care that my dad is an old man (though he is quite sprightly for his age, touchwood). People pushing, shoving, yelling, climbing on your feet. My my my!!!! This place there was so much pressure from the back of the queue that Samhita was getting squeezed and started crying. I picked her up and placed her on my shoulders where she would get some fresh air and relief from the pressure. However, soon Gayatri also wanted the ride. So, I passed Samhita to my dad and picked up Gayatri who was much heavier and put her on my shoulders. It remained this way all the time till the darshan was completed and I must say it is tough keeping a 15kg load on your shoulders being pushed from all directions in a mad crowd. Finally got the Divine Darshan of The Lord Balaji and suddenly all the troubles endured in the queue disappeared. Again, TTD bouncers will keep pushing you so the queue keeps moving so you barely get 10 seconds of darshan once near The Lord so be prepared for that.
Congratulations on your trip.
I have been visiting Tirupati once in every two years and every time I go there I find the crowd getting more and more animalistic. I can very well relate to your experience as I had the same when I had visited when my son was a year old. The kind of jostling, shoving, pushing once faces in sanctum sactorum is unimaginable in the richest temple of India. Add to that the dadagiri kind of behaviour by the temple cops inside is unhumane. But one visit of the Lord and you feel satisfied for all the efforts gone into it.
The last time we had visited a year back, my son became a pro in handling the crowds himself.
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