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Old 3rd November 2015, 21:44   #1
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Default Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Road Trip!! A slightest thought about a long highway drive gives goosebumps and the driver in me keeps looking for a reason to get onto the highway and just drive, drive and drive.

Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0653.jpg

It's been a while since I went on a long road trip (6 months actually) and the driver in me was craving badly for another long road trip.

There are some unwritten rules for my road trip:
1. I usually go on road trip with family between October and January as I will not be troubled by scorching summer heat or the pouring monsoon rains (though I am determined to do at least one road trip during monsoon).
2. I try to avoid road trip during long weekends - especially starting and ending the trip exactly on start and end of long weekend. I hate chaotic traffic on highway & toll booths, being a Bangalorean I get heavy dose of traffic all the time anyway.
3. Make sure the whole trip is properly planned - which includes making reservations for place of stay, daily itinerary, pit stops etc., I usually book only those hotels that accept payment upon stay or offer free cancellation upto last minute, as there are bound to be changes to the plan.
4. Check the condition of the roads that I am going to take and ensure my Amaze can handle the bad roads (if any).
5. I will not drive more than 400 kms a day irrespective of the road condition. Not that it is not possible for me, but with family and a lot of stops, I just cannot plan for more than 10 hrs of drive in a day considering family's safety during late evening travel.

With Dussera holidays for my daughter during October, it was the right time to plan for the trip. Applied a week's off at office, as it was just after a major project work, so I could use this time to unwind and get refreshed. So the dates are finalized - 24th Oct - 30th Oct.

Now for the most difficult decision of the whole planning - where to go?? Well, the answer is both simple and amazingly complicated. I have been planning for a drive to Mangalore for quite long time and with the newly laid Shiradi road, it was almost an instant choice. Add to that - my colleague and fellow bhp-ian @vijjuvk keeps going to Mangalore once every couple of months and every time he travels, he insists that I should make a trip.

But what do we do in Mangalore for 1 week (7 days including weekend)? So here is the exact sequence of how the planning unfolded:

1. Let's spend 2 days in MLR (go to beach, some temples etc.,) what next?
2. Ok, why not Udupi? Visit temple and also make a short trip to St Mary's island? Great! Then what?
3. Wait a minute!! Why not drive along the Konkan coast upto north Karnataka? But where do we stop?
4. Hmm... interesting. Let's do this - go to Marvanthe, Murdeshwar and Gokarna. Superb!
5. But wait, isn't Goa just about 3 hrs drive from Gokarna? You bet! I had never been to Goa and heard roads in Goa is drivers' dream! Awesome! Add this to the list.
6. Well...didn't we go overboard with this whole planning thing? I mean we got only 7 days and visiting so many places, where's the time to 'unwind' and 'refresh'? Good question!! but then what's the whole point of 'D-R-I-V-E' ? Don't we guys 'Live to Drive' after all? Exactly.

Alright, time to start booking the hotels. Booked hotels in Mangalore, Udupi, Kumta and a service apartment in Goa. The route looked somewhat like right-angled triangle - like this:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-initial_route.jpg

You must now be thinking, what an amazing road trip - drive along the coastal road all the way to Goa! But wait...

I am a strong believer of Murphy's law - "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Just 1 week before the trip, my daughter got viral flu and just when she recovered in 3 days, wifey got viral flue! The whole road trip was almost about to be canceled as we didn't want to take risk when our health is not in best condition. what a shame!

Thankfully, wifey loves road trip as much as I do, so there was no question of canceling it. However, there was no way we could have such a hectic schedule. So, what do we do? Simple - change the plan.

Oh man! Back to the planning phase again. This time, we decided to choose only 'one' place to visit - either Mangalore or Goa. After a lot of thinking, Goa was decided. It was well thought decision, besides we will have another road trip to be planned in the near future - to Mangalore.

There goes the sequence of planning the new itinerary -
1. We cannot travel to Goa in one day. No way I am going to drive 600 kms in a day. We need a stop over.
2. There were two choices - take NH4 and stop at either Davanagere or Hubli OR stay at Shimoga and then visit Jog Falls on the way to Goa. We chose the 2nd choice for the simple reason that this route is more scenic and has winding roads (I love driving on the winding and scenic roads as against the boring 4/6 lane roads).
3. Visit Jog falls on 2nd day and drive down to Goa (325 kms)
4. Spend 3 days in Goa - good enough time for the first visit
5. Come back in the same route, this time visiting Gokarna on the way

That's it! Plan finalized within an hour and our new and Final route looked like this:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-final_route.jpg

Here is the final itinerary for the whole trip:
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Last edited by AmazeGuru : 4th November 2015 at 18:00. Reason: Making changes
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Old 3rd November 2015, 23:07   #2
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Default Re: Go..Goa...Gone! - Road trip from Bangalore to Shimoga to Goa

Day 1: Bangalore to Shimoga (300 kms)

I have been travelling regularly to Shimoga for last 20+ years as I have few close relatives there. All my visits have been in public transport (Bus or Train) or hired taxi. This was my first drive to Shimoga. There were two routes - NH206 all the way from Tumkur. This is super familiar to me as I take this road upto Kibbanahalli cross to go to my native once a month. Instead of this route, I chose the NH48 - NH206 route mainly due to availability of multiple eateries on NH48 and specifically to try breakfast at Swathi Delicacy.

Day 1 route:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-day1_route.jpg

Road condition:
Bangalore - CR patna bypass: Excellent 4-lane highway with medium to sparse traffic.
CR patna bypass - Arasikere: Awesome 2-lane highway with almost zero traffic and very scenic route
Arasikere - Shimoga: Mostly good, but patchy in places. Traffic is chaotic with maniac KSRTC and other private bus drivers

Day 1 itinerary was simple:
- Start at 7:00 AM - stop at Swathi Delicacy for breakfast
- Drive non-stop to Shimoga from Swathi, via CR pattna bypass and Arasikere road
- Reach Shimoga by 1:30 pm and have lunch
- Visit the Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion safari in the evening

As with all my road trips so far, we started 45 mins late @ 7.45am. Traffic till Yeshwantpur was okayish, but picked up after Taj Vivanta circle. Took the elevated highway and reached NBTPL toll booth. There were not many vehicles in the toll booth.

Took the exit towards NH48 and entered the Mangalore highway. The NH48 highway traffic was higher than anticipated. Had to spend about 15 mins in each of the first 2 tolls.

Few pics of NH48. Nothing much to say except that the roads are absolutely fantastic!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0013.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0016.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0041.jpg

Reached the first pit stop - Swathi Delicacy @ 9.30am. It is about 10 kms after the Kunigal bypass and about 92 kms from Bangalore.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151025_093557_hdr.jpg

I must say I am very impressed with this restaurant. They have ample parking space and the most impressive thing was their super-fast service. We got our breakfast within 5 minutes of ordering. The place is very clean with clean wash rooms. There is also kids play area which is icing on the cake for travelers with kids.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151025_093515_hdr.jpg

I will make it a point to stop here every time I drive on this highway.

We left Swathi @ 10 am and headed straight to CR patna bypass. Right after the road gets converted to 2-lane (the only 2-lane stretch till now on this highway), there are two junctions before it becomes 4-lane again. I took right turn at the 2nd junction to connect to NH7 which goes upto Arasikere.

The NH7 road till Arasikere is absolute breeze to drive with winding and scenic roads with almost negligible traffic. I could see only the KSRTC buses plying on this road. I could maintain an average speed of 90kmph. This is a 55 km stretch and can be easily done in 45 mins.

Few pictures of the NH7 road till Arasikere:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0081.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0086.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0107.jpg

We entered Arasikere town at around 11:30am. The traffic suddenly became chaotic, it was sudden shift from silent and serene driving to maddening traffic. There were lot of trucks and buses going towards Shimoga. Also there were lot of vehicles coming from Shimoga going towards Bangalore on NH206 as it was the last day of the long weekend.

The road condition is mostly good with occasional bad patches. There is a deviation near Birur as there is some bridge construction going on. Due to the idiotic bus drivers, I had to spend 20 mins to cross this 200m stretch.

Few pics of Arasikere - Shimoga NH206 road:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0158.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0176.jpg

Tender Coconut pit stop under the hot sun and next to a cool buffalo!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0187.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0186.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0183.jpg

We reached Shimoga at around 2pm with couple of stops in between for tender coconut and to take few pictures. I had made reservation in Hotel Akash Inn, we checked in and ordered lunch to the room.

About the hotel: This appears to be fairly new hotel in Shimoga and the rooms were really cleanly maintained. They were not big though, but had all the amenities. They have two restaurants one serving pure-Veg and another one serving non-veg. Quality of the food was good, though bit expensive for Shimoga.
URL: http://www.akashinn.in/

Post lunch, we got ready and drove towards the Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion safari. It is about 9 kms from Shimoga on the Shimoga-Sagara road (NH206). We reached the safari at around 4:30. It will be open until 5:30 pm.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0240.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0207.jpg

We had to take tickets to get inside the campus - fees are 30 per adult and 10 for the camera (note that this does not include safari fees, this is to just enter the campus). We took the ticket and drove inside. As it was Sunday evening, the whole place was crowded like crazy. There were thousands of people and hundreds of cars parked inside the safari entrance. We somehow managed to find a place for parking.

We then took tickets for the safari - fee is 70 for adult and 30 for child (no charge for camera as you have already paid at the entrance). There was a long queue to get into the vehicles that will take people inside the safari. There were total of 5 vehicles (Swaraj Mazda's) with fenced windows and doors that will take people inside the safari.

We waited in the queue for about 15 mins after which got the chance to board the safari van. The whole safari trip will take about 25-30 mins. There are not many animals. We got to see some spotted deer, couple of tigers and lions.

Few pics from the safari trip:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0215.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0226.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0228.jpg

No need to take tickets to see this fellow:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0236.jpg

Overall the Safari was kind of okayish. Bannerghatta safari in Bangalore is much bigger and better. Maybe we didnt like the place due to the crazy Sunday crowd. Left the place at around 6pm and went back to the hotel and called it a day.

Last photo on Day 1 with the Moon.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0244.jpg

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 4th November 2015 at 18:17. Reason: Changes
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Old 4th November 2015, 18:16   #3
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 2: Shimoga - Jog Falls - Goa (325 kms)

This day was going to be a long drive one as we had to cover 325 kms and moreover we did not have the luxury of driving north of 80 kmph due to the curvy roads till Honnavar. But hey, it was all about the drive and we did have enough time to reach Goa because there were only 2 things to do on this day apart from the drive:

1. Visit Jog Falls, though the water levels are awfully low. You'll see in the pics.
2. Watch sunset after reaching Goa (time permitting)

Day 2 Route:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-day2_route.jpg

Road Condition:
Shimoga - Sagar: Awesome roads for most part, good for some length. Overall I could maintain average of 90kmph
Sagar - Jog Falls: Very good to average roads. Patchy after Talaguppa till Jog
Jog Falls - Honnavar: Very good to super patchy to almost single lane at places. An amazingly smooth road suddenly becomes 1.5 lane and patchy at the same time. Average speed is not more than 40kmph
Honnavar-Kumta-Karwar: Amazing 2-lane road. There is 4-laning work progressing in most places, but the existing road is of very good quality
Karwar-Colva (Goa): Super amazing 2-lane and butter smooth roads in Goa. See the pics for yourself.

Alright. This day was mostly drive and we were very excited because we were actually driving to the tip of B-H road (Bangalore-Honnavar road) that we have seen only in short drives and inside towns of Tiptur, Arasikere and Shimoga. Today we will be going to the end of BH road!!

We started at 9AM after the complementary breakfast at the hotel. Breakfast was not really great, maybe because it was free. Checked out of the hotel after the breakfast and headed towards Sagar.

Shimoga to Sagar road is another awesome stretch of 2-lane roads with beautiful landscapes and smooth tarmac. Most of the road has been extended to make it 3-lane (1.5 each side). There are lot of fruit vendors on the roadside selling Pineapple, Orange etc., They looked fresh, but we didnt stop as we had lot distance to cover today.

As much as this route is nice to drive, beware of stray cows throughout this stretch, appearing from nowhere.

Few pics of Shimoga-Sagar road:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0300.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0301.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0305.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0359.jpg

We wanted to visit Jog falls as my wife had not seen it. I have seen it couple of times - once during monsoon with all its might and another time during summer where I had to search for the waterfall.

This time around, couple of bhpians told the Jog is disappointing due to absence of rain. We visited it anyway as it was on our way to Honnavar and it was just a few mins of detour.

It took us about 1 hr to reach Sagar. Sagar to Jog falls is about 30 mins drive and the road condition is good with patchy roads after Talaguppa. There are 4 B-I-G boards on the approach to the falls where we need to take left. One just cannot miss the diversion with such big boards!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0365.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0366.jpg

From this point, the Jog Falls is about 3 kms. Road is not that good and is very narrow. We need to pay parking/viewing fees at the entrance of the viewpoint. Once past the main gate, there is a big parking area with ample space for parking.

There are multiple viewpoints from where falls can be viewed, the viewpoint starts from right across the parking lot. The waterfall itself was not great, which is understandable given the lack of rain over last few days and the river itself had very less water.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0388.jpg

That's me giving some educational lecture to my daughter.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0401.jpg

We left Jog Falls at around 11 am and headed straight to Honnavar. The plan was to stop at Kumta for lunch at around 1pm. As per moderator @ampere's suggestion, we wanted to have our lunch at Hotel Pandurang International at Kumta.

Distance between Jog and Honnavar is about 60 kms, but the road goes through a ghat section for about 25 kms in between. The quality of the road is very good in most places, but all of a sudden the wide road becomes a 1-1.5 lane road with sudden and big potholes. You need to be really careful driving on this road as there is barely enough space for 2 cars to pass. Traffic was very less on this road, but beware of snakes coming onto road, especially during afternoon.

Few pics of Jog-Honnavar road:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0430.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0436.jpg

We reached Honnavar at around 12:30 pm and from there we had to join the NH17 road (right turn towards Karwar). This is the same road that I would have taken had I gone to Mangalore and drove up as per original itinerary.

There were lot of truck and bus traffic from Honnavar towards Kumta, but the road condition was very good. We reached Kumta exactly at 1pm and stopped at Hotel Pandurang International for lunch. Food quality was not great and the rest rooms were not at all clean (we had to later stop at CCD on way to Karwar).

With the big brother Mobilio at Pandurang hotel.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151026_131338_hdr.jpg

We left the hotel at 2 on the way to Goa, with a small stop over at CCD about 15 kms from Kumta. Road from Kumta to Karwar is in excellent condition. There is road widening work going on to convert it to 4-lane highway, but the existing road is very good to drive.

Few pics on way to Karwar from Kumta:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0451.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0457.jpg

At Karwar next to the boat yard:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0474.jpg

There was this road which was constructed right in the middle of a small hill, I wonder how they would have cut the hill in between and made this road, but it was a thrilling experience driving through this part.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0487.jpg

Right after crossing Karwar (we took the bypass, which is to stay on NH17), we get the Goa border. The border is about 15 kms from Karwar city.

Hello GOA!!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0500.jpg

All the non-Goa registered vehicles must pay entry fee right at the border. It will be refunded on the other side of the border if the vehicle crosses Goa within 4 hrs. This is helpful for non-tourists who are just crossing the state. Paid Rs. 250 at the check post.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0510.jpg

As soon as I entered Goa, I could see remarkable difference in the quality of roads. They are super smooth and extremely well maintained. Though they are not as wide as the roads in Karnataka side, the overall quality is awesome. In some places, the road is so narrow that it actually touches the walls of few houses and shops. One needs to be very careful in these narrow stretches.

Few pics of quality of roads in Goa.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0532.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0534.jpg

We reached our service apartment - Excelsior Holiday Homes in Colva at around 5:30pm. We wanted to go to the beach to watch the sunset, but it was gloomy and there was no sun at all, so we decided against going to beach at this time and took rest.

About our place of stay: Excelsior Holiday Homes is a service apartment (1 & 2 BHKs) that are rented out by the owner to the tourists. The apartments are very cleanly maintained and has everything that a home needs - Kitchenette, Washing Machine and even a UPS power backup. We really felt at home as we could prepare our own food.

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 4th November 2015 at 21:07. Reason: Changes
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Old 4th November 2015, 21:43   #4
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 3: Goa sight-seeing. Colva beach and Cabo de Rama fort

This was practically the very first day of Goa and we went to the beach right away in the morning.

Colva beach:
Colva beach is about 2 kms from our apartment and we took the car. There is a huge parking area right next to the beach. This parking area serves for 2 beaches - Colva and Sernabatim beach. It is right in the middle of these two beaches.

We parked our car very close to the entry point for the beach and went to the beach. The Colva beach is clean and there were not many people in the morning. There are few options for water sports - like parachute ride, water scooter ride, speed-boat etc., We didn't venture into water sports as we just wanted to sit in the shore and enjoy the waves.

Amaze parked right in front of Colva beach:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151027_104907.jpg

Daughter building sand castle on the beach:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151027_100241_hdr.jpg

We played in the beach for about 2 hrs and headed back to the apartment.

Cabo De Rama fort:
We did not know what to do in the evening and while checking on TripAdvisor, we came across this fort, which was about 30 kms from our apartment. We thought why not visit this and watch the sunset! Great idea - another drive on beautiful Goan roads!!

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The road to Cabo De Rama fort was absolutely fantastic with amazingly beautiful scenery and butter smooth roads. We really enjoyed driving to the fort. Stopped in between and took some photos. The condition of the road to even the remotest place like this was awesome. I really appreciate the authorities who maintain these roads.

Few pics on the way to Cabo De Rama fort:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0567.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0577.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0584.jpg
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Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0606.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0609.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0610.jpg

Because of slow driving (enjoying the roads and scenery), we reached the fort only at 5:30 pm. Adding to our bad luck was the gloomy weather again. There was no sun in sight and we missed the sunset today as well. What a shame!

Entrance of Cabo De Rama fort:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0613.jpg

We then decided to head back as it was already getting late and thought we could enjoy the drive again while there is still some bit of evening light, turned out to be a great decision.

One our way back, we stopped at a very scenic spot and took a lot of pictures. It was all worth the time we spent here. Let the pictures speak for themselves:

Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0624.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0645.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0647.jpg
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Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0632.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0653.jpg

We came back to the apartment with mixed feelings, not so happy having missed the sunset for 2nd day straight, at the same time, extremely happy having driving through some of the very scenic routes and taking all those pictures.

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 4th November 2015 at 23:20. Reason: Changes
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Old 5th November 2015, 20:32   #5
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 4: Fort Aguada

Alright. We missed the sunset for 2 days straight. Now what to do in Goa besides beaches? Well, out came a thought. Let's visit another fort today - as Goa has so many forts.

Right since we planned the trip to Goa, I desperately wanted to visit the place where they shot the movie Dil Chahta Hai. Why not visit it today? Awesome idea!!

Out came the mobile and searched online for this place. There were lot of results and all of them pointed to one location - Chapora Fort. Great! Started reading through some of the reviews on TripAdvisor app. It appears that there is a small hike involved to reach to this fort. I was fine with the hike, but I also happened to notice someone mentioning that it is not safe for kids as there are lot of rock climbing involved and it could be slippery!

Oh man! As much as I wanted to visit this place, there was no way I was going to risk the safety of my daughter - she does not have any experience of rock climbing/hiking. So, out goes the plan.

What next? Well, search for other forts - the next best choice was Fort Aguada.
- Check whether there is any hiking required - No
- Check the distance from the apartment - just about 50kms north (great! another chance for a small drive on Goan raods)
- Check if we can view sunset there - Absolutely

Wow! Plan finalized. We are visiting Fort Aguada around 4:30 pm and watch sunset from this fort.

Route to Fort Aguada:
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With this trip, we kind of covered 80% of whole Goan coast on NH17. Great! First was the fort south of our apartment and now we will be going northwards.

Few pics on the way to Fort Aguada.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0683.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0687.jpg

How about some dancing and partying on the sea?
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0688.jpg

Using mobile while driving on NH17 is prohibited!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0692.jpg

Few pics outside the fort:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0705.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0708.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0716.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0723.jpg

Entrance that opens upto to a wide area inside the fort.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0732.jpg

Inside the fort area.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0738.jpg

Very informative board on the forts in Goa and the distance from Fort Aguada
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0745.jpg

Best view point inside the fort
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0753.jpg

View of the sea from the viewpoint
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Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0787.jpg

Panoramic view of the interior space of the fort
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0825.jpg

Lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was closed and was not open to public viewing.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0897.jpg

We waited for an hour and unfortunately, there was no sign of Sun at all. What a disappointment. Missed the sunset for 3rd day straight! The weather did not improve at all, I think Sun was angry with us and hence was hiding behind the clouds. Nevertheless, we did enjoy the drive and the fort and the view from the fort.

Few parting shots outside the fort.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0930.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0936.jpg

My cruise with the cruise ship
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0941.jpg

Another day in Goa ended without the sunset. One more day in Goa for us. Will we be lucky to watch sunset on our last evening in Goa on Day 5? Read on...

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 5th November 2015 at 20:43. Reason: Changes
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Old 5th November 2015, 20:54   #6
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 5: Sunset? Really?? Why so serious about it?

This day was supposed to be another drive. Trying out Chapora fort for sunset - My heart said why not just check how bad the hike is. Worst case, we would enjoy another short drive and maybe we can find another scenic spot for more pictures

But wife had other plans. Enough of driving and fort visits and sunsets. Just stay in the apartment and enjoy the holiday in real sense by not doing anything apart from eating and sleeping.

So we did nothing and didn't plan anything for the day. As evening approached, we could see from the balcony of our apartment that Sun god has graced us with his presence in the evening and there may be a 25% chance that we may get to watch sunset.

Wow! We got ready quickly and headed towards the beach. Did we get to watch the sunset? Not quite like what I had expected, but it was much better than the previous 3 days.

Few pics at the beach. Sunset (partial) finally!!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0955.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0956.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0963.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0969.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0976.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0981.jpg

We also took a speed-boat ride post sunset and it was really nice. It was not worth the money we paid (INR 900 for 3). They take the boat just about 200m inside the sea and back. The whole ride gets over in about 5 mins.

Anyway, what a relief! We could watch at least part of sunset on the final evening at Goa. It was worth the wait from morning and meanwhile we did get proper rest also and got ready for 2 more days of travel back to Bangalore.

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 5th November 2015 at 20:58. Reason: Changes
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Old 5th November 2015, 21:51   #7
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 6: Goa - Gokarna - Shimoga (325 kms)

So, the D-day has finally come when we had to bid adieu to Goa. With a heavy heart and lots of great memories we said goodbye to Goa with a promise that we will return very soon for more fun.

Day 6 Route:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-day6_route.jpg

Day 6 Itinerary:
1. Go back to Karnataka on the same route that we took to enter to Goa
2. Stop at Gokarna for temple visit and lunch
3. Reach Shimoga and check in at Akash Inn hotel

Our initial plan was to leave Goa at 8:30 and as usual we finally left our apartment at around 9:30. We had to cover the distance of 145 kms to Gokarna within 3 hrs as the temple would close by 12:30 pm.

Amaze parked at the ground floor parking lot of the apartment.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_092306.jpg

Outside the service apartment just before we started our journey.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_092517.jpg

The roads in Goa as I have been mentioning have been amazingly good and I was really beginning to miss driving on these roads as I was heading out of the state. With a lot of mixed emotions we crossed into Karnataka border at around 10:40.

Karnataka - here we come.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-20151030_103837.jpg

Again the roads inside Karnataka, though wide, were not as scenic and smooth as the ones in Goa. We headed straight towards Gokarna.

Karwar Naval Base:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_110136.jpg

Gokarna is about 60 kms from Karwar. We need to take deviation from the highway and travel about 10 kms towards the beach to reach Gokarna town.

Crossed 1000 kms for the trip just before the Gokarna deviation from the highway.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-20151030_113846.jpg

Road to Gokarna town from the highway is very good with wide and well maintained roads throughout.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-20151030_114215.jpg

Little bit of history about Gokarna - The main temple and deity is Lord Shiva, also called as Mahabaleshwar. This temple is believed to have the original 'lingam' of Shiva, also called as Atmalingam.

Entrance to the Mahabaleshwar temple. The other side is the beach, which is about 200 mts from the temple.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_122718.jpg

Vehicle parking for the temple is actually provided right next to be beach! How about that? To my surprise, I saw that I could take my car close to the beach itself. There was no better opportunity for me to take some pics of car right next to the beach.

Here are some at Gokarna beach.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0982.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0989.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0013.jpg

It was an amazing place and we wanted to spend more time, but we had to head back to Shimoga for another 220 kms drive and hence returned after taking pics.

On the way back, stopped for a picture next to what appeared to be salt field.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0019.jpg

We reached Honnavar and then took left turn to enter NH206 towards Shimoga. On the way, we spotted a small waterfall, almost inaccessible to even mountain hikers, easily visible from the road.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0033.jpg

There were lot of fruit vendors on the Sagar-Shimoga road, most of them selling pineapples.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0056.jpg

Stopped at one such place and picked up few Pineapples. Though I do not like the Pineapple, they were so sweet that I finished almost an entire fruit.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0076.jpg

Funny, but very true sign board
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0086.jpg

Couple of sunset pics on the way.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0094.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc1_0118.jpg

Just when we entered the Shimoga town limit, I noticed something on the left side of the road and immediately my eyes brightened up. There was Mahindra show room, almost empty one.

My team-bhp mind thought, "we don't have anything else to do today, so why not check out TUV300 and test drive it"? Isn't that a fantastic idea on a road trip?

Went inside the showroom and there was a demo car waiting to be test driven. We test drove the T8 model, it was a longish drive since the showroom was out of the town limits and I could drive it on higher speeds on the highway.

Amaze in the Mahindra parking lot:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_175437.jpg

Mahanth Motors - the only Mahindra showroom in Shimoga
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151030_180458.jpg

It was very fulfilling drive from Goa to Shimoga and more fulfilling for the fact that I could test drive the new TUV300.

We checked into Akash Inn hotel and called it a day.

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 5th November 2015 at 22:26.
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Old 5th November 2015, 22:55   #8
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Day 7: Sakrebyle Elephant Camp and Shimoga - Bangalore (300 kms)

Well, after a long (by my standards) road trip, today was the day to return to Bangalore, but not before visiting the famous Elephant Camp @ Sakrebyle.

Sakrebyle Elephant Camp is a govt-run camp where the staff takes care of Elephants by giving them bath every day and also feeding them with sufficient quantity of food. There are about 20 elephants in the camp. After giving them bath and feeding them, the staff will leave the elephants in nearby forest to roam free. Next day at 5am, they will go to the forest and bring the elephants to the camp. They will identify the camp elephants by the tracks left in the forest through the long chains tied to their legs.

The camp is open from 8:30 am till 11:30 am for the public viewing. Visitors can watch the elephants while they are being given bath. They will also be able to ride on the elephants for a duration of 10 mins per ride. The overall experience has been amazing and the staff are very friendly too.

Sakrebyle is about 16 kms south of Shimoga. The road condition is excellent all the way upto the camp.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-sakrebyle_route.jpg

Entrance to the elephant camp. There is sufficient space for car parking. There was not much crowd when we went there.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0245.jpg

Youngest member of the camp playing in water.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0158.jpg

Panoramic view of the camp where elephants are being given bath
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0186.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0205.jpg

Parking lot for the elephants while they are at the camp
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0173.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0225.jpg

Taking blessings from the elephant god
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0142.jpg

Few random pics
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0132.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0135.jpg

Elephants being brought into the camp from the forest
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0195.jpg

Elephant Trunk Facts!!
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0220.jpg

This photo is really interesting. 3-generations of elephants together in the same photo On the left is the oldest (grandmother) which is 92 years old, right extreme is the mother elephant, which is 56 years old and in the middle is the youngest (granddaughter) which is just 1 year young.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0232.jpg

When then went on the ride. They will take us around the campus and whole ride will last for about 15 mins. One needs to buy separate tickets for the ride from the entrance office. We left the camp at around 10:30am and headed towards the hotel.

Few pics on the way back to Shimoga.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0253.jpg
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-dsc_0256.jpg

We checked out of the hotel at 12:30 pm after having light lunch and headed towards Bangalore. We took the same route - NH206 & NH48.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-day7_route.jpg

Stopped at Swathi Delicacy for evening snacks & late lunch. Swathi was also incidentally the last pit stop of our entire road trip.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-20151031_171226.jpg

Reached Nelamangala toll gate at around 6pm, but from there got stuck in multiple traffic jams and finally reached home at 7:30 pm which concluded our long road trip.

Last edited by AmazeGuru : 5th November 2015 at 23:39. Reason: Changes
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Old 5th November 2015, 23:50   #9
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Road trip is all fine, but what about the ride? No road trip is complete without mentioning about the car!

Good Stuff:
- Ample amount of space. Nowhere during the 7-day trip we had to worry about lack of space in the car
- Steering has been amazingly smooth throughout the trip. It did weigh properly during high speed drives and was light whenever required
- Brakes were very good throughout. Though I did hear some squeaking noise while breaking on Day 1 of the trip. It got resolved by itself on the same day.
- Fuel efficiency. I got amazing FE for the entire trip. More on this below.

Not so good stuff:
- Ground clearance! I would have probably bottomed out at least about 15 times during the whole trip. GC is one of the reasons I choose good roads for my road trip
- Suspension and ride quality were not great, partly due to the ageing tyres. They are up for replacement in next couple of thousand kms.

Total trip distance. This has been my longest road trip so far:
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151101_175525.jpg

Mileage for the entire trip. Taknkful-tankful method gave FE of 21.8.
Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa-img_20151101_175535.jpg

Finally, thank you for reading through the long travelogue. I really appreciate your patience. Please let me know if I can be of any help for your road trip along this route.
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Old 6th November 2015, 10:44   #10
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Default re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th November 2015, 12:20   #11
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Default Re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Wow!
I have been to Goa and driven through Belgaum. Now I have to add Shimoga to my to-do list.
I have been to Bangalore many times - but never drove down! That would be an interesting project!

Once more - GREAT!
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Old 6th November 2015, 16:28   #12
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Default Re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Nice travelogue .. AmazeGuru!
An offbeat itinerary and very well planned, highlighting some lesser known places.
Cheers!!
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Old 6th November 2015, 21:23   #13
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Default Re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Fluidly written TL there. Excellent pics too.

The highlight is about all the places you visited in between. I didn't know there were so many places en-route to Goa.

We did Blr-Goa-Blr this may, but took GQ till Hubli. Doable in 10.5 hours driving time.
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Old 7th November 2015, 17:15   #14
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Default Re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

Sounds like a nice, relaxed trip.

When driving from Bangalore, there's this detour 25 kms after Dharwad that goes through a forest. It's generally called the Ramnagar route. Although the roads are pretty bad, (the governments of Goa and Karnataka fight as to who's going to repair the roads! ) it does save a lot of time.
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Old 7th November 2015, 19:23   #15
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Default Re: Go..Goa..Gone! Road trip from Bangalore -> Shimoga -> Goa

AmazeGuru, very well written travelogue. it is very lucky for you not to have done the mangalore to goa route. did this route last month & was the worst road trip i have ever done till date. Horrible roads, lots of slow moving traffic. you get to see the sea to your left for about 5 minutes and for this you have to endure a lo...ng tiresome drive. anyone who imagines he is going on a scenic beach drive would be thoroughly disappointed. this is no Highway 1.
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