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Old 9th December 2015, 18:59   #1
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Default 4 passengers, an Alto and 2,552 km - Mumbai to Mysore & Coorg

Guys, this is my first official write-up on Team-BHP forum and I am really excited narrating the travelogue. There could be many unanswered questions which I would be happy to answer or there could be points that I may have miss.
My Alto LXi (2008) had munched up 47K Kms so far and soon was to become my secondary to serve local needs. So far with regular service and care, it has given no problems other than a small accident couple of year’s back which got the bumper, headlights changed and the bonnet repaired. Plans were made in June’15 to have this trip in our new car. But like most of the people who are limited on budget, and out to search a new car; the search still continues. Test drove the Elite i20, S-Cross, Ciaz, TUV 3oo, Ertiga, but one shines on features and other on price.
The Locations were fixed, the question arises – do we travel in our Alto, or hire a Self-Drive car. Answer – our car is our car. We know what it is capable of and moreover the years of experience driving it, gives you a clear picture of its judgement and dimensions.
The Route – Mumbai – Mysore – Coorg – Mumbai
Passengers – My Wife, My 2 sons (aged 7 and 1 ½ years), me and an overflowing dickey with Clothes, food, water and pillows/blankets/jackets.

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PS- I have not clicked many pics during the travel, apologies for that.
Day 1 – 14-Nov’15, Time – 7:30 am
We woke up early, got the luggage stuffed in the car and off we start. Since it was a Saturday, not much traffic to get out of Mumbai. Traffic starts at the Toll on Mumbai-Pune expressway. Around 500 mts from it, huge queue of Mumbaikars and trucks that were leaving Mumbai. Anyways got through it in 20 mins and then on the way forward. Passed Pune via the Katraj Bypass, thankfully no traffic here as well. Off towards Satara on NH4. My speed was consistent between 80-90 KMPH with the AC on full time. BTW I had tanked up full the night before we left, got the tyre pressures checked to optimum and a general checkup of the Car Lubricants and oils so that the journey sees no failures. Also the Tyres are new Ceat Milaze Tubeless, 5K run and aligned/balanced. Got them changed when the old Apollo XL’s Tube-type had done 42K. Lunch break at Satara at around 1:30 pm and had a sumptuous Maharashtrian Thali. Start back at around 2:15 pm and follow NH4. Crossed Karad, Kolhapur, Kagal and around 5:02 pm was at the Maharashtra – Karnataka Border. I took a pic of the toll Slip, reason I have a MH registered car in KA State. RTO/Police could cause unnecessary time wastage; fortunately this was not an issue in the entire journey

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Once you cross the toll and start within Karnataka, believe me the road becomes better and the surroundings become Greener than Maharashtra. This is delight to the eyes during the day and takes away the driving stress. We fill up the petrol at Hubli (Team BHPian suggested that petrol is cheaper in Karnataka) and halt for the Night at Shiggaon on the NH4. The plan was not to enter any City/Town so that the exit in the morning would be easy. Time around 8:00 pm, this is not the best place to stay, but night halt is fine. Hotel Garuda was clean and to my surprise had Café Coffee day in its premises. We took an AC room and along with Dinner it cost Rs. 1800 for the night.
Distance Travelled – 624Kms

Day 2 – 15-Nov’15, Time 7:30 am
After breakfast we start towards Mysore. On NH4 once you reach Hiriyur, you need to enter the Town and get on to the SH 150A. This is a single lane road but picturesque and pass through small villages and towns. Check my Son with Sunflower fields in the background just off the road.

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One thing to remember on this road is NON Availability of Restaurants or Food joints. So ensure that you stuff up your food resources. We skipped lunch, but our backup kept the energy up. The silver lining to this incident was that once on this road, it started raining and the drizzles picked up to heavy showers as we neared Mysore. There are 3-4 bad patches of road on this SH and on one of them my Alto scraped its belly. I guess the load in it was responsible more than anything, but I should have negotiated it with more care.

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Reached Mysore at 3:30 pm, and immediately rushed for the restaurant in our Hotel. We had booked ‘The Dawn’ hotel in Bannimantap, Mysore for 3 Nights. It is an excellent property, not in the heart of the city; but neither too far. It had restaurants in the locality, a supermarket just opposite and a hospital close by. Just a thought of advice for all travelers; please carry a medical kit with all medicines and first- aid especially when there small kids with you. The purpose of reaching Mysore early was to witness the Mysore Palace lighting which happen at 6:30 pm on Sundays and Public holidays. It was cold and drizzling when we reached there.
Below – Pic when Only the internal lights are on.

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Then when the complete lightings are on

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Apologies for the pic quality as they are all clicked from my phone.
Well it’s an Illusionary Delight to see the palace at night. We left soon, had light dinner and off to bed.
Distance Travelled – 450 Kms
Day 3 – 16-Nov’15
Woke up late, the plan was to visit the famous Mysore Zoo. I personally do not like animals in captivity, but the Zoo was amongst the BEST in INDIA and well maintained. They had the adoption of animals plan, where General People sponsor the animal/bird/reptile medicines, vaccines, food etc. It is a great initiative and could find names of few Famous Indians in this list. Few Pics
FYI – The Zoo is closed on Tuesdays.

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Just behind the Zoo is Kalenji Lake. Lake with lots of Birds in open and boating. Has a small butterfly garden with host of colorful butterflies. You enter a big cage within which there various birds in the open. You can see these birds so close. One word ‘Serene’

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The days last destination was back to the Mysore Palace, from inside during the day. This was our first insights of a Palace and believe me its breath-taking. This is the administrative palace and on the backside of this palace there is the place where the kings resided. Unfortunately clicking pictures are not allowed inside both the palaces. For viewing pleasure, one pic of the palace during the day. It’s clean, beautiful and more beautiful …

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The day ends here and we are back to the hotel for Dinner and sleep.
Day 4 – 17-Nov’15
The day starts early, we are one our way to Chamundi temple and Nandi. This is a 12Km Hilly climb (Ghat Section drive). Roads are beautiful and the atmosphere even better.

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That’s at the entrance, and below the temple.

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There is a Nandi, about 2 Kms from here. This structure is sculpted from one stone. Right besides there is a Shiva temple, inside a cave. Heavenly place, no clicks allowed.

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Post this, St. Phelomena’s church. One of the Largest I have seen in India (along with Goa Churches)

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Then a Sumptious Lunch and ‘Nandini’ – Traditional food the Mysore way.
Final Destination was Brindavan Gardens. It is 24 Kms from our hotel. We started at 4:00 pm as we wanted to see the Night Musical Fountain show that starts at 6:30 pm. This place though beautiful was very crowded. Quite a few 80’s-90’s Bollywood movies shot here. It is along the KSR dam -

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The Mysore Leg of our trip ends here. We head off to the Hotel for Dinner and Breakfast. Next Morning our Trip to Coorg Starts. That’s 3 Nights well spent in Mysore.
Day 5 – 18-Nov’15, Time 10:00 am
Mysore to Coorg

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It is not a Hill Station like most of us thought, but yes it is gentle climb and some meters above Sea level. It is a pleasant drive, good roads, and both sides of the road have Nilgiri Trees (Eucalyptus)
After Lunch, our first place to visit was the Tibetan Golden temple. I must say it is complete Tibetan city here, peaceful and picturesque. Few pics for your eyes…

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The Next 3 Nights were booked in a Resort. Its called ‘Coorg Jungle Camp Resort’ and its actually is a place which is best described by visiting it, rather in words. On the Mysore – Madhikeri road you will find a Sign board of this resort, and you turn towards the arrow on the board. Then there is virtually no road! Through village, coffee and pepper plantations, the jungle.. drive is about 5 Kms and takes 20-25 mins. This is the website - http://www.coorgjunglecamp.com/
Note – do not travel on this road late in the night, could be risky. Entry to this resort is only via prior bookings. No on the spot bookings available.
We rested the entire evening here, enjoyed the Resort aminities and the bornfire. Fantastic experience in a resort located on the backwaters of Herangi Dam. Few Clicks below
Cycling, Kayaking, Table Tennis, Swimming, Carror, Badminton… etc … all facilities are available within the booking cost.
Oh.. and a DJ and Dance floor as well

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Last edited by GTO : 11th December 2015 at 11:38. Reason: Extra smiley :)
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Old 9th December 2015, 19:26   #2
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Default 4 Passengers, an Alto and 2552 Kms of Drive from Mumbai to Mysore and Coorg and back!

Day 6 – 19-Nov’15
This was a day to visit TalKauvery – the Origin of River Kauvery. This was 75 Kms from the resort, but the road is zig-zag. Driving Enthusiasts and cars which love to dart around will love this drive. Roads covered with greenery and every 10-12 Kms you are bound to see a small stream of waterfall.

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We stopped and got down of our car to click the below pic. The PIC says it all!

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This drive is uphill – downhill and you would cross about 8-10 small hills while going around. It takes around 2 hours to reach there, while returning it would take less time.
Post Lunch it was towards Madikeri. Few Places to visit –
Abbey Fall
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Next – Raja’s Seat
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It is said that the King (Raja) of this kingdom used to come here to witness the Sunrise-Sunset and also to enlighten his thought process. Nature’s beauty and well maintained by the municipal authorities.
On a separate note, all the places that we visited or Tourist Spots – were all paid entries. I think that is a possible reason for the maintenance of these places.

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Next on – Omkareshwar Temple 4 passengers, an Alto and 2,552 km - Mumbai to Mysore & Coorg-pic-32.jpg

This is the entrance, clicking within temple premises is not allowed.
Actually there is a circle (Junction), all the places mentioned above are 5-10 kms from this point leaving out the temple. This is just about a km.
Day ends here, with sumptuous dinner. Must tell you all that in this resort, we have tasted one of the best buffet dinner/breakfast in the south.
The booking included the price of room, Breakfast, Hi Tea/Snacks and Dinner + all the amenities mentioned above. We also went for a swim at 4:00 pm; trust me the water was a few degrees off snows.
A peaceful sleep at night, wakes you up fresh and rejuvenated in the morning. Though we were out for almost a week now, the trip going as per plan and adequate rest made sure that we are ready to enjoy our next.

Day 7 – 20-Nov’15
Dubbare Elephant Camp, 18 Kms from our resort.
Make sure that you reach this place by 9 or 9:30 am. This is the best place for kids and us adults who live in concrete jungles to enjoy the actual jungle. You get to bathe the Elephant that too in a River… Mind-blowing!
Once you reach Dubbare, you need to take a Motor Boat ride across Kauvery River to reach the Elephant Camp.
Cost Rs. 30 per person to and fro.

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View from boat when we were crossing the river, few elephants in the river and people enjoying giving them bath.

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The Entrance and also my Son posing on the Elephant back (Actually he was scared)
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While giving the Elephants a bath.
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This baby elephant made everyone's day!
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That’s the Elephant feeding area, lots of people feeding the Elephants. Something that most of the urban dwellers will not do in a long time to come.
Bathing the Elephants – Rs. 100 per head
Feeding the Elephants – Rs. 20 per roll of hay/grain
Elephant back pic – Rs. 50 for Kids
Unfortunately due to rains the previous night the Elephant rides were cancelled.
This pic is taken from the machaan used to climb on the elephant back.
We returned back at around 12 noon to our resort post a life time experience to settle down to a tasty lunch and an evening full of containment and relaxation post an excellent holiday.
Few pics of the coffee plantation on our way back to the resort. We start our 2 day journey back to Mumbai tomorrow.

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Day 8 – 21-Nov’15,
Post a full breakfast and settling our Resort Bills, we started our way back to Mumbai. There would be an overnight stay since 1000+ Kms in a day is difficult with kids on board.

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Since we had started late in the day, we thought of spending the night in Karnataka, Hubli since it is one of the well-known cities on the way. All was well till we crossed Hassan, post which it started drizzling for the next 40 kms. The patch that I highlighted in the MAP above on SH is actually a very bad patch of Road (probably non existing roads). My Son mentioned that “Dad, cars should be brought here to do a road test; but our car is solid”. I am in complete agreement with my son. This section of approx. 50Kms which took about 2 hours to cross, is an actual test of built and ride quality of our vehicles. I for 100% now know why Maruti is such a hit in India. The car did not scrape anywhere here on the poorest sections of non-tarmac roads.
Few surprises for the kids were the Rail Junction crossing, thankfully all of them were manned. We crossed 3 of them and had to wait at one. The Train crossing right in front of you in a super-fast speed, thrilled the kids. We touched Davangere and got on to NH4 where it was the usual excellent highway. We entered the Hubali city at about 7:30 pm. Again no lunch during the drive, but our food stocks helped the cause. Remember, in case you are in an unknown city, head for the ST (State Transport) bus depot or the Railway station. More chances you will find a Lodge/hotel to stay and moreover fresh food. We did the same and halted for the day.

Day 9 – 22-Nov’15
The good night sleep ensured we woke up fresh. Had breakfast and we were on our way back to Mumbai via NH4. Good roads ensured that the stress was less, and soon we crossed Belgaum and within some time we were at MH-KA border. It was still around 11:30am so we decided to pay our tributes to Mahalakshmi Mandir Kolhapur. So we entered Kolhapur, thankfully the Tolls to its entry were shut down. Directions and road sighs all the way guiding us to the temple. Parked our car at 1:00 pm and walked towards the temple. Sunday was a crowded day at the temple and we took around an hour more to complete our Darshan and take blessings of Devi Mahalakshmi. I had been here 4 years back, but things have changed quite a bit since then. More concrete, more cars, more devotees; less greenery … I can go on.
Lunch time, Padma Guest House lunch home is among the top rated for Kolhapuri jewan. Had a content lunch and started our journey back. Once on NH4 again and with 400 Kms to Mumbai, calculations were to reach Mumbai were by about 9:30 pm. It is 3:15 pm now.
One thing that comes to immediate notice is that there are lot many cars around you now and the road quality though good, is not upto the mark considering the Karnataka Highways. Secondly there is a lot of digging around the roads which makes the drive barren compared to there. Less Greener in short. Flip side, lots of food joints and people around. The Roads on the other hand have lots of diversions due to flyovers being constructed every 5-10 kms and this causes a lot of traffic. Rains... in Maharashtra! once we crossed Karad and it intensified as we neared Satara and Pune. Adding to this the trucks, traffic and diversions. At few diversions there were around a km long queue as Long Trailers were unable to negotiate the sharp turns in one go. Lots of Time and Fuel wasted and it’s still raining outside. Due to winters the sun set quickly and with the rains driving in night is difficult. We managed to get past the traffic and around 8:45 pm were at Hingewadi (Pune) about to reach the Expressway.
The Rain gods had no mercy till now and the showers intensified to Heavy Thunder. While on the Expressway with Head Lights and Hazard lamps on, the visibility was barely 8-10 mtrs. Wipers on full flow, thankfully they were replaced this monsoon and as all know the rains in Mumbai have not been upto the mark. The wipers were in good condition and I had inspected this before my trip. Best thing is to drop the speed, and follow the car in front of you at a safe breakable distance. Roads started filling up with the flowing water towards the slope. In such adverse conditions when T permit public vehicles and guzzling SUV’s go past you splashing water, you imagine without doubt that reasons for so many accidents on this road. I maintain 80 KM/H mark on Expressway when the conditions are good and during the day. I also avoid Night driving unless it is very urgent. But such thoughtless driving and over speeding by other cars always bothers me.
Anyways, I continue sedate driving and reach the food mall where the rain has eased out. Had dinner, quick bite from McD and started home. Reached at about 12:00 midnight. Delay of about 3 hours; but happy that I had reached home with my loved ones safe.
The trip meter shows 2552 Kms, and by my calculations with full time AC on over this distance and heavy load my Alto returned 18.5 KMPL.
Nothing pleases you when you have happy kids and wife all in good health after such a road trip. My wife said to my older son yesterday, your Christmas vacations are nearing soon so study well for your exams now. He immediately asked, where are we going out this time in our Alto and for how many days? Isn’t this a wonderful feeling?
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Old 11th December 2015, 11:39   #3
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Default Re: 4 passengers, an Alto and 2,552 km - Mumbai to Mysore & Coorg

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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