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Old 26th January 2016, 13:59   #1
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Default Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

It wasn't supposed to start off like this, the thread title or the trip i.e.
This was to actually be a trip with two people including me embarking on a fun trip to Hampi spanning across 4 days. However, that could not materialize as the other person dropped off due to family commitments that too after booking the rooms. However for a traveler like me, once I am charged up on a particular thing to do then there is no stopping and decided to go ahead in solo fashion with the plan. The only changes I did was was reduce the outing from 4 to 3 days as I had some work back in Mumbai on 26 Jan.

Background
Hampi had long been on the bucket list of mine mainly because I've always wanted to see the structures carved out of rocks. Travelogues
posted by other BHPians only made this place more and more desirable. Being a day's drive away only made matters better!

There are a few more places which are planned to be covered in this year's bucket list but more about that later.

Planning
The plans were made since the 25th of Dec 2015. At that time there were two of us including me who were game for the drive. The drive was planned from 23 to 26 of Jan 2016. 23 and 24 were the weekend and 26 Jan was anyway a national holiday. A day's leave would fetch us four days on the trot and suffice for this trip.

The machine
We were to take my 2009 All New Honda City AT (2009 model) for this trip. Before the journey the car had completed 59K.


Preparations
Routine 60K servicing was carried out a week before the trip. Changed the air filter, engine oil, oil filter in the process.
Spark plugs were inspected and found to be fine. Got the coolant also drained and changed completely as a precautionary measure. Most important - got the brake pads changed. The battery was one month shy of completing 4 years i.e. almost at the end of its life and I decided to replace that as well!

Route plans
Planned to follow the below route as highlighted by Google maps on smartphone throughout. I do not have a dedicated GPS device like MapMyIndia. Later on I was to realise that I should have had saved GMAPS offline to aid me.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-hampi_route.jpg

ETA was 12 hours as per the map, but I was aware that this would take at least 14 hours based on my speed and breaks in between.
Day wise breakup was targetted as below
Day 1: Mumbai to Hospet.
Day 2: Hospet to Hampi and then sightseeing in Hampi followed by return to Hospet and view the TB dam in the evening.
Day 3: Reserve day
Day 4: Back to Mumbai

Acknowledgements
1. For Ampere for confirming the route.
2. To BHPian Mpksuhas for the detailed Hampi writeup which helped me plan mine!
Earlier the plan was to stay in Hampi or Tornagullu. After reading MPKSuhas's travelogue, I changed my plans and it did help!

And now the action starts!

D-Day (Day 1): Mumbai to Hospet.
Finally the D-Day arrived! Woke up at 4.30 AM. Long but exciting day lay ahead. Freshened up, had a bath, packed some sandwiches for the trip. Was ready to start from my place in Andheri at 5.30 AM.

Pics for odo and time.

Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2052.jpg

I was on Mumbai Pune Expressway in an hour expecting a little of fog but surprisingly it but was clear.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2057.jpg

Reached the second food court towards Pune on the E-Way and it was already two hours into the drive. Took a tea break and moved along.

Crossed Pune bypass and then Katraj. Khambatki ghat had unusually high traffic mainly due to road work on the ghat.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2083.jpg

Once you get down from the ghat you see the highway dotted with these orange umbrellas. They are selling strawberries. Signs that you are nearing Panchagani/Mahabaleshwar!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2086.jpg

By now it was 4 hours into the drive. Fuel tank was at halfway mark. Time for refuelling. Did this at Karad. Pushed off again. Rest of the route till Satara was slow progress because of umpteen diversions due to flyovers being built. Easily lost an hour because of these diversions.
Some pics of the traffic at one of the diversions
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2089.jpg


Super smooth roads after Satara
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2100.jpg

But they had some diversions too, In this case not for flyover construction but for white markers being laid on the other side!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2094.jpg


Passed Hotel Kaveri at 2 PM (landmark in case you need to go to Goa/Sawantwadi).
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-goaves.jpg

By the time I was to exit NH4 and move to NH63 it was 3.30 PM. Destination was another 150KM/3 hours away. and i wanted to reach the place before sundown.
Unfortunately lost GPS/data connectivity (and I had not got the offline version of gmaps) and ended up taking a turn a few KM before the planned one. This took me into Hubli city instead of bypassing it. Thankfully not much of traffic in the city and hence managed to get onto NH63 without wasting too much time. Also used the opportunity to fill a full tank from a fuel station in the city. Was hungry by now, but decided to drive some more before the next break. There were two more significant towns in between i.e Gadag and Koppal beyond which lay my destination for the day i.e Hospet.

Crossed Hubli city and the road changed to open terrains and villages. Lots of windmills for company. Reasonable traffic on the road but very few pedestrians on the road. There were umpteen number of speedbreakers on the way specially at either side of the villages/towns. Some of the speed breakers were big enough to break a low slung vehicle if missed. Could be because of this reason, that I was not able to spot a single Honda City on the road. I mentally thanked myself for the mods I had performed on the car, which helped me cruise throughout without bottoming out even once.

At around 6 PM with close to 70KM still left for the destination, I was famished and having exhausted all the stock of food I had packed, I decided to take a break at a restaurant called Front Village. This was between Koppal and Hospet.

From outside, it looked to be a decent place and the menu handed over to me was also decent, but there was hardly anything available off the menu! I also observed that I was the only customer in the restaurant
Finally settled for an omlette and a roti.

Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2112.jpg

To my disappointment this was not a roti but a pappad. However, I was famished, so gulped it down in no time and requested for a cup of tea which also he restaurant did not have. when i requested him to prepare it he said there was no milk and milk would be available only after 8 PM!

Pic of the car outside the restaurant.

Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2118.jpg

Finally reached the place we had booked (Hotel Krishna Palace) at 7.30 PM.
Translated to 14 hours on the road!

Some pics of the hotel.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-hotel.jpg

Bubble elevators add a classy look to the lobby!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-bubble_elevator_new.jpg

The atrium of the hotel as seen from the fourth floor.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2138.jpg

And here is my room. Quite decent even if I may say so myself. For the the price I paid it was really awesome!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2132.jpg

Clean bathrooms. Very important!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2125.jpg

Stats for Day1
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Trip meter at the end of Day1
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2119.jpg

FE as per the MID at end of Day 1
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2120.jpg


Freshened up and went out of the hotel for a walk to stretch my limbs. Hospet city was lively, with a good number of foreigners majority of them Russians. Came back to the hotel, had dinner and slept off.

Day 2 (Hampi Sight Seeing):
Was up by 7 am opened the curtains for the view outside and saw this.

Room with a view? Not really.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_20160124_175456.jpg

After the usual morning formalities, was ready to go for breakfast by 8.30 AM.

Went down for buffet breakfast at the hotel. Spread was average. Was ready to leave the hotel by 9.00 AM
Was about to get into the car to drive to Hampi but decided to check with a rickshaw guy, if he can show me around Hampi and get me back to te
Surprisingly, he agreed. Dumped the idea of going by car and jumped into the rickshaw.

Roads from Hospet to Hampi are largely good, barring a few bad patches here and there. At some stretches it feels like driving through a village in Kerala with banana trees on either side. Feels good.

Lush greenery on the way to Hampi
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_20160124_091657.jpg


At one point during the drive the rickshaw driver stopped the rickshaw at a deserted spot and asked me to take out my phone!
I was scared out of my wits. Is this a mugging or what???
He then took my phone and dialed a number and spoke to someone in Kannada and asked him to meet him en route. Fortunately, the person was not around and no meeting transpired!

Rest of the trip to Hampi was uneventful, but left me ruing the decision about not getting my car.

A lot has already been mentioned about Hampi in various other travelogues by other esteemed members and I will not repeat that. Nor will i be repeating the same photographs. Instead, I will include a few unique pictures .

An elephant being led into the temple
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-elephant.jpg


Yours truly being blessed by the elephant at Virupaksha Temple.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-urstruly.jpg

The monkey of Hampi! They dont trouble you unless they spot food in your hands.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2149.jpg

Surprisingly low rate for the offerings!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2194.jpg

Virupaksha Temple - Elevated view.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2309.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2313.jpg

The electric vehicle used to ferry people around to and fro from the entrance gate to the monument. Note that this is not available throughout Hampi!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2392.jpg

Stoneware being sold throughout Hampi.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-van.jpg

Another elevated view.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2359.jpg


Around 4 PM I was done with the sightseeing in Hampi and was famished. Headed for some snacks. Killed time till just before sunset. Walked over to Matunga hill to watch the sunset. To end the day went to TB dam to watch the lighting's etc, but did not enjoy it much. Not recommended if you are short on time!

That ended a tiring Day2. Hit the sack immediately after dinner!

Last edited by @Chaand : 30th January 2016 at 18:39.
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Old 29th January 2016, 17:04   #2
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Thumbs up re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Day 3: Hampi to Mumbai.

Started off from Hampi after breakfast at 9.10 AM.
The car had not been moved at all on Day 2, so the ODO readings etc were unchanged from Day 1.

Nothing much to report other than a few pictures. Briefly speculated returning via the Solapur Pune route instead of NH63-NH4 combo but then decided against it. Followed the route in reverse which I had taken for the onward journey.

Few pictures taken on the return journey

Tungabhadra dam on the way between Hospet and and Koppal
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2415.jpg

Good toll road between Hospet and Koppal. This goes all the way to Bellary i.e eastern Karnataka.
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2418.jpg

Lovely but desolate roads and umpteen photo opportunities on the way!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2444_newer.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2454.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2458_new.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2446.jpg

Be prepared for this throughout the journey from Hospet to Hubli specially near Gadag and Koppal!
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2448.jpg

Finally reached home at 11.30 PM the same evening. For some strange reason I enjoyed the return journey more than the onward one!

Stats for Day3:
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Trip Meter for the entire journey
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2472.jpg

FE as per the MID for the entire trip. Manual calculation resulted in 15.x.
Not bad for an automatic that too with triple digits speeds en route. Eh?
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2473.jpg


Some lighter moments of the trip

Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2252.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2329.jpg
Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi-img_2306.jpg

Summary:

The thing which came to my immediate notice is that the Tourism department(s) don't seem to focusing enough on this historic place. Most of the structures seemed to be neglected and wasting away which is sad to see. At some places restoration/repairs were underway albeit at a snail's pace and at that rate the restoration would take years to complete!

Physical fitness matters for going to this place! Even if you cover 70% of the monuments, there is bound to be a good amount of walking and climbing of steps involved. Some of the rocky steps are as much as 12 inches high. The elderly may struggle and kids are bound to be bored quickly as they may not notice much changes across most structures. At the Virupaksha temple be ready to leave the footwear unguarded outside the temple.

Refreshments are available at the entrances/exits of most of the monuments but the choice is limited. If you are a tea drinker like me then you are bound to be disappointed. Tender coconut water is available in plenty and so are fruits, bottled water and colas.

Stay at Hospet instead of Hampi which is much more livelier than Hampi. Most of the stores are open till 10 PM at least if not more.
Some of the shops in Hospet town shut down by mid-day on Sunday. Be prepared.

A word of caution to those who may go to Hospet through Hubli - please get what ever you need from an eating and drinking perspective at Hubli itself. There are hardly any facilities en route. Most of the places en route are truck driver dhaba types or the kinds of places which the ladies will not approve one bit. Add to that the desolate route between villages where there is no vehicle around for miles together. Try not to stop en-route in the dark!

The END
And thus ends the three day trip from Mumbai to Hampi and back. All in all, everything worked fine for me and as per plan. I enjoyed every moment of the trip. The vehicle, my trusted partner in long drives worked flawlessly considering that I pushed her throughout the journey. There were occasions when i drove for more than 4 hours on the trot. Each stop of mine was not more than 10/15 minutes and this was the only time she had to cool herself down.

Now its time to plan the next long drive trip in March 2016. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading. Drive safe!

Last edited by ampere : 2nd February 2016 at 10:58. Reason: Typo Fixed
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Old 1st February 2016, 07:46   #3
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Moving out of Assembly Line, thanks for sharing.

Last edited by GTO : 1st February 2016 at 07:47. Reason: Bump
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Old 1st February 2016, 10:25   #4
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Beautifully done! Hampi has so much to offer to the tourist. And yes, quite some aspects remain desirable in the quest to promote tourism in this region. There are quite many hidden marvels too. But then it requires quite some time to explore one and all.

But all said done, journey itself is half the destination!
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Old 1st February 2016, 13:04   #5
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Beautiful and super travelogue @Chaand . Though there are umpteen tl's on Hampi this is a short and sweet one which encapsulates. Our memories of Shoja flocked back. Need to regroup ehh? Chadar and Leh beckons........
Thanks

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Old 1st February 2016, 13:56   #6
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

@Chaand

Beautiful review of a place I plan to visit next week.

Really helped in understanding the route.
I understand that the eating options are limited and will stock well with reserves, more so as a 3 year old will be on board.

Few pics are really good and looks interesting.
Am looking forward to a good trip ahead.
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Old 1st February 2016, 21:15   #7
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Badami, Aihole, Patadkal are nearby, some of the excavations out there are in a much better state.

If you had one more day, you could have fit it in. I had done the same circuit a few years ago, got caught in a crazy unseasonal downpour - month of May - between khoppal and Hospet, it was pitch dark and couldn't see the road boundaries on either side, just tailed a dump truck all the way to hospet. It was one unnerving experience driving on NH13.

The roads between hubli - gadag - khoppal are the most desolate one that i have seen, zero traffic.

Next time check out Malligi - it is a good place to stay.

Eating/Rest stop options in hospet are limited. I did have a tough time to find a neat clean place. There are lot of sugar cane juice shops - having better extraction machines than what we routinely see here in Maharashtra, and you get to mix sugar cane with a few additional flavours - you can try it once.

There was one place call mango tree at Hampi - the food was decent out there.

Brings back not so old memories. It was a very good drive, my first one > 500Km/day

Last edited by cyberwhizs : 1st February 2016 at 21:20.
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Old 2nd February 2016, 08:03   #8
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Nice travelogue.

It's been a while since I visited Hampi. It is a beautiful place and I loved it. Some companions who had no real interest in ancient architecture got bored. Anyway, I think the tourism department could do more to maintain the place and make it more accessible - the roads leading to the place were in terrible state when I visited.

I agree with cyberwhizs. I have stayed at Malligi too. It is a very good hotel.
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Old 2nd February 2016, 10:54   #9
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautifully done! Hampi has so much to offer to the tourist. And yes, quite some aspects remain desirable in the quest to promote tourism in this region. There are quite many hidden marvels too. But then it requires quite some time to explore one and all.

But all said done, journey itself is half the destination!
Thanks Ampere.
It takes time to look around for sure specially if you are deeply interested in architecture/history/both. There were people whom I met there who were around for a week or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PravStar View Post
Beautiful and super travelogue @Chaand .
Thanks Pravin! Let's regroup soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
@Chaand

Beautiful review of a place I plan to visit next week.

Really helped in understanding the route.
I understand that the eating options are limited and will stock well with reserves, more so as a 3 year old will be on board.

Few pics are really good and looks interesting.
Am looking forward to a good trip ahead.
Thanks Arnab. All the best for your trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberwhizs View Post
Next time check out Malligi - it is a good place to stay.
This was my first preference, but it was sold out long back :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberwhizs View Post
Eating/Rest stop options in hospet are limited.
I think there are quite a few, eg. Krishna Palace, Shanbhag's, Malligi, and some lesser known ones. May not meet peak season rush though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Nice travelogue.
Thanks Aditya!
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Old 7th February 2016, 08:42   #10
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

Love the way you went ahead solo. As they say, the trip must go on.

For offline maps I am very happy with MapMyIndia and Here Maps. Excellent both, and free.
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Old 22nd March 2016, 13:34   #11
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Default Re: Solo drive from Mumbai to Hampi

@Chaand a great travelogue. I really enjoyed reading through it. Very crisp and to the point.
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