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Old 21st January 2017, 18:29   #1
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Default Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season

I have probably taken some liberties with the second and the third Ms, with the latter especially requiring some background and context, eventually leading to our drive.

Margazhi (the 'zh' pronounced similar to Kozhikode, if it helps!) is a month in the Tamil Calendar, which falls during winter, a season for devotion and music. Margazhi season or simply referred to as ‘Season 2016’ in our context, also refers to the Carnatic Music Festival in Chennai (I will switch from Madras to Chennai from here on) famous for concerts which showcase tradition, art and entertainment (not to mention the exposure) within the realm of South Indian Carnatic Music.

Pre-trip planning and preparation
A road trip from Mumbai to Chennai was something we had in our sights for 2016. My wife and I make our annual trip to (her) hometown Chennai mostly during Christmas break, the weather being kind then (one can spot a muffler or two in Chennai, honest!) also to experience what the ‘Season’ has to offer. After our fulfilling road trip to (my) hometown Kerala the year before, it was only logical that we ticked this box as well.

It was early December’16 when I had just returned back to India after a 3 month stint out of country. Among other things, when I peeked into my garage, this was the sight which greeted me. Three partially deflated tyres, one flat and a car cover so dusty, I had to clean it before I could remove it.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-img_20161204_171449.jpg

The flat tyre was a symptom of something amiss, not properly addressed during my visit to the tyre shop and only got the wheels aligned and balanced.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-img_20161204_184800.jpg

Onward Drive Day 1
After wrangling 2 weeks of year-end leave, we decided to start on December the 18th, Sunday. It would not be very early in the morning, as we had a late evening function to attend the day before. The route chosen was along the Pune - Bangalore highway, with the brilliant roads after Kolhapur both familiar and appealing, thanks to our previous drive(s) along those roads. Accommodation en route was through HVK and so we were under no deadline for our Day 1 halt location.
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Boot loaded upto its gills, with our cubical water carrier tucked in as well
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-better-packed-boot.jpg

Some adjustment to 'seat' the luggage on the seats
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-adjustment-seat-luggage.jpg

Strapped and nestled in place, making the small hatch a strict 2 seater. The Coleman Coolbox contained not Red Bull, but packs of buttermilk (my wife's preferred travel drink)
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-rear-seat-luggage.jpg

All set with 0.0 on the trip kms
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-zero.jpg

Shortly after Pune, we had someone gesturing at our tyre. I brought the vehicle to a halt by the side with a lump in my throat, only knowing too well what it probably meant. Well, it was not a flat, but it did not look normal either. With a roadside ‘Punchar’ shop in sight, we had water poured over all the tyres and the suspect tyre was slowly leaking air! The culprit was a nail lodged deep inside! After extricating it and putting in some sealant, it was addressed and lasted our 3000 km drive very well

A point to note - Tubeless tyres do lose air slowly under circumstances like a nail inside, but it is difficult to sense that it is leaking. The hurried tyre pressure check at pumps does not let us notice a reading abnormally low. Suggest tyres be checked for leaks with a water test especially before a long trip
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-punchar.jpg

At a toll beyond Belgaum, we spotted something long, boxy and strangely familiar. Turned out, it was this beautiful white (late model) Contessa comfortably cruising and soaking in the glances ranging from puzzled to appreciative.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ctessa1.jpg

Would have loved to see its interior restoration as well
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ctessa2.jpg

Probably out of breath in terms of pace, but surely turns quite some heads
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ctessa3.jpg

Highway sights near Hubli
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-lake.jpg

Considering our rather late 8 am start, the best we could do by sunset was Hubli and that was where we were put up for the night. Stay was comfortable (and through HVK), but to get there, we had to traverse the hellish, dark, two-laned bypass from NH-4 into Hubli town. Long convoys of slow moving trucks, continuous glare from oncoming headlights and the fact that the roads were unmarked (and straight!) just made our last leg of an hour more stressful than the entire day’s journey

Day 1 Statistics
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Onward Drive Day 2
Our Day 1 drive (till Hubli) was not actually new to us as we had done our 2015 drive to KL by turning off at Hubli to proceed via the coast. Day 2 from Hubli town was a fresh new experience.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-sunset2.jpg
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Toll receipt with vehicle weight printed! Found it unusual and wondered if there was a pressure pad of sorts at every toll lane
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tollweight.jpg

A welcome option to the tolls' 'sweet' change, thanks to demonetisation
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-iou-toll-change.jpg

Next stop was either Tumkur for an early lunch, or Hosur for a late one. We decided on the latter and pressed on.
An Amul ice cream board in the middle of the highway, luckily spotted it well in advance, to stop in time.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-anul.jpg

Roads started getting more and more crowded, showing all the signs of the city that lay ahead of us.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tumkur.jpg

But we could skip the city center, thanks in no measure to the Nice road, which more than lived up to its name.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-nice-entrance.jpg

Beautifully engineered and landscaped
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A veritable treat to drive on.
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The road promptly took us to the (busy) Electronics City junction, beyond which was a place where I spent my first days after graduation - the industrial town of Hosur.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ecity-flyover.jpg

At first sight, I could barely recognise the place with its myriad new flyovers and buildings, from how it used to be ten years ago. While the factories still dominate the landscape, mega retail stores of famous Chennai brands were probably recent additions
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-hosur-flyovers.jpg

Took a small detour through the crowded bus depot, to capture my alma mater in the frame. It was my home for a good part of my Graduate Engineer Trainee days
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Last edited by GeeTee TSI : 10th February 2017 at 08:45.
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Old 31st January 2017, 21:56   #2
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Default Re: Mumbai-Madras Margazhi drive in a GT TSI

The stretch between Hosur and Chennai was by far the most enjoyable. Also because this was the last leg of the journey, heading straight home.

The bright evening sun illuminating the roads from behind,
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-downhill1.jpg

Stretches comprising beautiful straights,
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-straight1.jpg

...sweeping curves,
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-sweeping2.jpg

...smooth whisper-quiet tarmac
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and lush greenery lining the highways
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-arrow-straight-2.jpg

What is a trip to TN without indulging in traditional filter coffee! It does not get any more traditional than Kumbakonam Degree Coffee.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-coffee-bilboard.jpg

A combination of folklore and tradition, Kumbakonam Degree Coffee is the holy grail of South Indian Filter Coffee. While Kumbakonam is a town in Thanjavur district in TN, it lends its name to the blend of coffee made with pure (undiluted) cow's milk
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-kumbknm-park.jpg

The first distill percolated through fresh ground pure coffee powder, is added to cow’s milk and aerated to a frothy consistency with (meter long) mid-air pours back and forth.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-counter-coffee.jpg

Finally served in brass tumbler and davarah - Heaven! I am going to have withdrawal symptoms when I get back to the concoction dispensed by my office coffee machine.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-davarah.jpg

The most difficult part is always the last mile (or hour) while driving into any major city. Through Sriperumbudur and Poonamalee, all the way till Velachery, it was a difficult drive with heavy traffic and average speeds of less than 20 kmph. Reached our destination just before 9 pm, after 2 days of driving.
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Chennai Sights
In Chennai (especially for us who are ‘outstation’) there is so much to do and so little time! My wife and I share an interest in South Indian Carnatic music, which has grown deeper over the years (it is at best an acquired taste). Being in the right place (Madras) at the right time (Margazhi - aka December), it is, as we joke about it akin to visiting Dubai during the shopping festival.

Now, I must shed some light on how the whole ‘Season’ (as the Music Festival is called), is conducted. There are established venues called Sabhas, which range from famous, acoustically-brilliant concert halls, to school auditoriums, wedding halls to semi permanent ‘mandal’ stages. But what is common across them is the high quality of artistes and also keen and appreciative audiences.

Parked in front of 'The Academy' as it is called, quite the Lords Cricket Ground to draw an analogy. It was thrill in itself, to park our MH registered car in front of such a familiar and historic venue!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-academy-parking.jpg

The schedules are out about a month or so in advance and published mostly in local newspapers. There is no concept of advance booking (except season tickets), people have to queue up on that day till tickets last. Blockbuster concerts of celebrity artistes are sold out pretty quickly, it is not uncommon for fans (or their designated manpower) to stand in line in the wee hours of morning, resembling the queue in front of the Embassy at times!

One such 'academic' schedule of the much sought after Lecture Demonstrations
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-lecdem.jpg

The elegant setting of the Music Academy. Very much the Royal Albert hall for Carnatic Music
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-academy-stage.jpg

A few Sabhas with the performers on stage. I have not named the artistes, instead, have left it to the musically inclined to identify

Mylapore Fine Arts
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-fine-arts.jpg

Brahma Gana Sabha (Vani Mahal)
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What started out as tradition and culture are 'big ticket' events and certainly not cheap! Season ticket pricing along with daily seating price points
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-brahm-gs-schedule.jpg

The historic Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha celebrating its 116th year of music festival!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-partha-entrance.jpg

Timeless setting in a rapidly changing city
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-partha-stage.jpg

Art and culture aside, there is another aspect of these music festivals - the finger licking traditional food (Tiffin)
Sabhas compete in putting up the best caterer run food stalls, many of which are celebrity catering firms in the Chennai weddings/events circles
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-partha-tiffin.jpg

Soon, it was time to leave, but not without visiting our mandatory haunts

The eternally-crowded markets around Mylapore Tank, the famous Kapaleeshwar Temple (not in view) is to the right side
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-myl-tank-park.jpg

Spot the signal amidst the branches - a sight at the busy junction near Music Academy at that!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-signal-nest.jpg

The traditional favourite across generations - Narasus Filter Coffee replete with the vintage logo!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-narasus.jpg

Not a departmental store, but a glitzy family restaurant chain!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-aab-mega-store.jpg

A peculiar sign board which makes a famous name vaguely familar
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tiyagi-bhagats.jpg

Return Drive Day 1
Soon it was time for our return. We planned a slightly different return route to visit Puttaparthi (The famous Prashanti Nilayam Ashram of Sathya Sai Baba).
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-chennai_p-map.png

It was my first time drive from Chennai to Puttaparthi, though my wife had taken the journey on quite many occasions with her family, some years ago. Till NH4 where we had to rejoin eventually (Chitradurga), we were almost entirely at the mercy of Google maps! This leg of our journey was not through HVK and we had both the route and accommodation left to our network connectivity

Early start from Chennai meant that we could cross the dreadful stretch past Sriperumbudur faster than our peak hour crawl (onward).
Eerie semi lit dials (parklight was off, only ignition on)
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-return-start-dial.jpg

One among the many Automotive OEMs and allied industries which earned the city the name 'Detroit of India'.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-hyundai.jpg

A solemn memorial and grim reminder of the tragic event which took place at Sriperumbudur
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ninaivakam.jpg

Characteristic gopurams of temples which dot the highways
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tn-gopuram.jpg

Last edited by GeeTee TSI : 10th February 2017 at 09:00.
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Old 4th February 2017, 12:06   #3
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Default re: Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season

As we continued past Kanchipuram, we were on the look out for our breakfast halt, a little concerned if we missed a signboard

Well, quite impossible to miss, immensely reassuring and on time!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-murugan-reached.jpg

THE place for 'Tiffin' fans
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-murugan-park.jpg

Colours, aroma, flavour and the sheer variety hit all the right notes!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-murugan-yum.jpg

TN sights, as we traversed Ranipet and Walajahpet. The former being an industrial town and the latter, a hub for leather goods manufacturing.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tn-gopurams-2.jpg

Interestingly, our return journey crossed the following borders TN-AP, AP-KA & KA-MH. The first two were so inconspicuous along the route that we took, we almost missed the signboard and had to take a U-turn to capture the border photo

The TN-AP blink-and-you-miss border. Did the shoulder on either sides abruptly disappear owing to different administration?
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-tn_ap-border.jpg

Despite being slightly narrower, the good surface continued to give company well into the AP side,
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-just-.jpg

as did the Kumbakonam Degree Coffee breaks!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-kmbknm-coffee2.jpg
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-kumknm-break2.jpg

AP always has some interesting traffic sights to amuse and/or shock. Thankfully this one leans towards the former - clicked after Madanapalle
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-auto-carrier.jpg

Winding scenic roads
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-winding.jpg

Little did we know these were the last marked lanes with a smooth surface for a long time
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Approach to Kadiri town. Imagine traversing this fast straight stretch at night with a persistent glare from on-coming headlights, unless vehicles were Audi Matrix LED (or similarly equipped)
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-straight-dual-lane.jpg

The route from Chennai to Puttaparthi via Kadiri takes one through largely inconspicuous routes having practically no signage. Left me wondering how such a frequented destination has no major highways linking it all the way from Chennai.

Turn off beyond Kadiri towards Puttaparthi, again, only indication we could decipher was from maps and not a signboard!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-turnoff-kadiri-p.jpg

The roads played hide and seek, with a combination of surfaces ranging from pure mud...
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-kadiri-p-mud.jpg

...narrow lanes through some villages,
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-kadiri-p-village.jpg

to paved tarmac with marked lanes making an abrupt appearance. A result of independent tenders awarded to diverse contractors?
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-kadiri-p-back-marked.jpg

Happy to report that the chicken DID cross the road
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The final surprise of concrete roads as we approached Puttaparthi
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-kadiri-p-concrete.jpg

A low-key back door entry into the town. The entrance from Bangalore route announces the significance of the place with grand archways and buildings
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-ap-reached-p.jpg

We entered the main town which was right outside the Prashanthi Nilyam Ashram complex. Ahead lay one of the two main entrances to the Ashram called Gopuram Gate
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-gopurm-gate.jpg

There are many hotels near and around the Ashram (besides accomodation in the Asharam itself). We had made our reservation at Sai Maa Hotel which was adjacent to the Vidyagiri Arch. Beyond that were the educational institutes comprising schools, colleges and the museum.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-vidyagiri-arch.jpg

Checked into the hotel after noon and a relatively short drive. We had the evening to ourselves to visit the Ashram

Return Drive Day 1 stats
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Route followed till Puttaparthi.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-return-day1-map.png

Return Drive Day 2
After a good night's rest, we braced ourselves for a long Day 2, which would see us cross (from AP) into KA and then into MH for our night halt. Checked out of the hotel at Puttaparthi around 06:30 (predictably missing the complimentary breakfast). Stocked up for a 'fruity' breakfast in the car which turned out to be a good call, considering the desolate stretches we would cover.

The general direction was towards Penukonda and onwards to Chitradurga where we would hit the NH4 towards MH. Encouraging start with misty morning sights on good roads to begin with
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-start-morn.jpg

The road quickly turned into a dirt track, there was no soul in sight to give us that reassuring nod that we were heading the right direction
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-dirt-track2.jpg

We plodded on, dirt track turned into a 'light' off road track
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The surface then 'improved' to a dirt track from a gravel/stone track
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We were making very slow progress, average speed started to resemble a Mumbai office commute than a highway drive. On the bright side, managed to click this odometer milestone (however, I must admit that the 25K milestone was clean missed!)
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-dial-milestone.jpg

A black topped road! We were never so glad to see an unmarked narrow (potholed in places) road after what we went through for a good hour. To add to our joy, we had bypassed Penukonda (thanks in no measure to the dirt track) and we were heading towards the AP-KA border
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-dirt-track-ends.jpg

Last edited by GeeTee TSI : 9th February 2017 at 22:56.
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Old 5th February 2017, 11:30   #4
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Default re: Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season

I believe a map is needed to put this route into perspective, the roads were quite desolate state highways bordering on village roads in appearance. Our route would take us through Penukonda - Roddam - Challakere - Chitradurga NH4, and let us cruise comfortably into Kolhapur
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-chitrad-map.png

Exiting through the last of the archways
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Roddam, the border town of AP; not to be confused with a certain Democratic candidate!
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The low-key state border. Thanks to our current (and hopefully pre-GST) conditioning, we found it difficult to identify a border without imposing checkpoints, loitering cops and indefinitely waiting trucks!
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Beyond Pavagada, the border town on KA side. Must admit that roads were markedly better on both the TN as well as KA side, against the contrasting AP roads.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-marked-winding.jpg

Narrow, straight and stress free albeit a bit desolate
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-unmarked-straight.jpg

Not to worry, there is some traffic to give company - one lone cyclist probably riding on the extreme left lane marking!
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-cyclist-straight.jpg

The town of Challakere, interesting called Oil City
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-challakere-oil-city.jpg

A short stretch was all that lay between us and NH4, dotted with strange 'swept back' tree trunks
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-swpt-bck.jpg

Reached Chitradurga on the NH4! Despite still being a good 700+ kms from home, NH4 was strangely reassuring (and familiar now!) to impart a sense of comfort
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-p-c-reached-nh4.jpg

NH4 journeys were largely uneventful with swift and predictable progress.
Passed the Tungabhadra near Harihar along NH4
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-c-k-tungab-harihar.jpg

We planned to stop for a regional speciality enroute, something we missed during our onward drive

Sinfully delicious pedas, which surprisingly were not to be refrigerated. Even after distributing to friends and family, we had quite a stock to indulge in
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-c-k-peda-box.jpg

The (supposedly) original founder's store selling the original product
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-c-k-thakur-peda.jpg

After devouring more kms (and pedas) we approached Kolhapur closer to evening. We were back into HVK support zone (after our village road morning drive) and decided to push further till Karad for our night halt

The crowded, 2 wheeler riddled stretch from Kolhapur
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-c-k-enter-mh.jpg

As we approached nightfall (and Karad), noticed thick smoke along the highway. Turned out, fields were just set ablaze - an environmental and traffic hazard!
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Checked into our Hotel at Karad (courtesy HVK) after 7 pm. Interestingly, the hotel lobby had a rather special exhibit on display. A beautifully restored TVS Suzuki bike (presumably) belonging to the owner. I may be wrong, but thought the 2 stroke MAX 100s just had a different Suzuki sticker than TVS Suzuki. But an impressive restoration nevertheless
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-karad-restore1.jpg
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We ended Day 2 of driving, covering the maximum chunk of our 3 day return drive, which also happened to be New Year's Eve
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Return Drive Day 3
On New Year's day, we were up early eager to complete our last leg back home. Perhaps some people would have driven through the night straight to Mumbai, rather than halt on New Year's Eve. We however needed the break

A literal cold start
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Misty windscreen - we had remind ourselves we were not at some hill station but along a highway
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-k-m-misty-morning.jpg

A signboard signifying the close of our trip
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Got back home past noon. Considering our stuffed boot, we took quite some time unloading stuff from the car. Glad to be living on the ground floor, otherwise, would have needed a trolley to pile up the bags and pouches - an outcome of visiting hometown with no baggage restrictions

A parting shot of our faithful steed.
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-k-m-home-parked.jpg

Trip summary : 2934 kms cumulative, 51.5 hrs on the road overall
Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-round-trip-map.png

As I wind up my write-up, a few general observations
1) We undertook the journey end December, with ATMs and cash still quite out of sight. Took weeks of prior planning (by my wife) to draw enough cash in the right denominations.
2) Realised how fast and efficient city toll booths are (Vashi for eg). Highway toll plazas (KA especially) were pathetically slow in expediting transactions. That many fumbled with e-wallets, toll plazas had slow connections for credit card POS didn't help either.
3) I had not applied for FASTag yet, resulting in a mounting pile of receipts and dwindling pile of notes and ended up paying every single toll by cash. Considering our route through 4 states, KA led the rest in terms of toll, closely followed by MH and then TN. Interestingly, we did not have a single toll of AP (probably due to our route in this case)
5) From Chennai once past Kanchipuram, till Puttaparthi there were hardly any eateries along what was mostly State Highways. Thanks to the packed lunch from home, in-car catering saw us thorough
4) This one is for Carnatic Music fans (if at all!). There is an App for the Season's Concert Schedule, called Margazhi Sangeetham. Helped inject some technology into prioritising venues, artistes and dates without resorting to pen and paper!

Toll Summary - though I got lazy and just listed toll amounts in descending order than mention the location, it still makes for an interesting read!
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Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season-trip-toll-fan.jpg

Last edited by GeeTee TSI : 9th February 2017 at 23:36.
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Old 11th February 2017, 13:45   #5
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 11th February 2017 at 13:45. Reason: Bump
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Old 11th February 2017, 14:05   #6
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Nicely written travelogue, your words and pictures took me along on the drive.

It looks like you had great fun with the lovely GT (brilliant colour too!).

My only complaint is this - as a Tamilian living outside TN, your photos and descriptions of the food made me weak with hunger!
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Old 11th February 2017, 16:43   #7
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Loved the dirt road section. I guess you had the reassurance of Google Maps. Imagine encountering that without!

Your journey seemed to be very well paced with not too many km or hours in each section. Well planned.
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Old 11th February 2017, 19:19   #8
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Well captured travelogue. Makes me nostalgic. Especially the Hosur pieces, Filter Coffee! Cheers.
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Old 11th February 2017, 19:40   #9
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Crisp travelogue made for a good weekend read.

Challakere region is a major producer of sunflower and groundnut oils (along with onion, tamarind), hence the name oil city. Of course, for the last couple years its in the news for GoI's new defense establishments [more info - http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/12..._8816564.html]

The drive-able route from Puttaparti to Challakere is via Kothacheruvu, Penukonda, Pavagada. Looks like gmaps mislead you onto those dirt tracks.
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Old 12th February 2017, 01:46   #10
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A lovely and a very well written travelogue. Your story did take me through your entire journey .

How did the TSI perform throughout the journey?
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Old 12th February 2017, 11:26   #11
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The coffee looks so tempting! Some interesting explanations on why its called what it is,

1. The most plausible explanation is that it's not "degree" coffee. It's Chicory which came to be pronounced as tikeri and eventually became degree.

2. Milk certified as pure with was called degree milk owing to a mistaken association with the thermometer. It is claimed that coffee prepared with degree milk became known as degree coffee.

3. The first decoction is sometimes called the first degree, thus leading to the name degree coffee

4. The fourth option is an interesting, it is actually "Decree Coffee" and not "Degree Coffee"! The story goes that, in the 19th century, a British Collector of Thanjavur District liked the coffee served by a local cook in Kumbakonam and he decreed that coffee served to him on all his travels should be like that!

5. The purity of the milk was tested using a lactometer. The degree markings on the coffee led the name degree coffee.

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-specia...-degree-coffee
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Old 12th February 2017, 17:33   #12
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Default Re: Polo GT TSI: Mumbai to Chennai during the Margazhi music season

Did a similar route, although in reverse (Chennai - Mumbai), when a friend was shifting base to Mumbai. Is a great run to do. Nice travelogue. Thanks for sharing

Last edited by ampere : 12th February 2017 at 19:47.
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Old 12th February 2017, 19:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Loved the dirt road section. I guess you had the reassurance of Google Maps. Imagine encountering that without!

Your journey seemed to be very well paced with not too many km or hours in each section. Well planned.
In retrospect the dirt road looks adventurous to me, but it was bordering on torture and anxiety while at it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shubbi View Post
Challakere region is a major producer of sunflower and groundnut oils (along with onion, tamarind), hence the name oil city.

The drive-able route from Puttaparti to Challakere is via Kothacheruvu, Penukonda, Pavagada. Looks like gmaps mislead you onto those dirt tracks.
Thanks for enlightening us about Challakere. As someone in the Oilfield Industry, I must admit that I found it difficult to fend off queries regarding the 'Oil' part!

Kothacheruvu route never came up on maps while we were starting from Puttaparthi and ironically, it always appeared and my original route (mud track) refused to come up while I was looking to snip the route for the travelogue!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FanaticOnWheels View Post
A lovely and a very well written travelogue. Your story did take me through your entire journey .

How did the TSI perform throughout the journey?
TSI was unstressed throughout with revs seldom going beyond 2500 rpm even for the odd overtaking manoeuvre. TSI+DSG endows a long legged nature to the car despite only being a 1.2L hatch.

As an aside, the TSI also came to life at the first crank after its 3 month hibernation

Quote:
Originally Posted by krishnakarthik1 View Post
The coffee looks so tempting! Some interesting explanations on why its called what it is,
Many thanks for the explanations as they make the coffee (which we had more than a month back) even more special!
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Old 12th February 2017, 22:14   #14
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In retrospect the dirt road looks adventurous to me, but it was bordering on torture and anxiety while at it
I bet! You must have been constantly wondering whether you should turn back, or had gone past the mid point... or if you were goinf anywhere!

Glad you enjoyed our music season. What with cyclones and a dose of December Flu, I only managed 40 concerts this season. But this is what I'm doing all year: the December season, for me, is about music, but even more about meeting people from all over the world including the internet.
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Old 13th February 2017, 09:53   #15
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Originally Posted by GeeTee TSI View Post
Shortly after Pune, we had someone gesturing at our tyre...
Great write up. Sounds like you had an awesome time. I am also planning for Mumbai - Bangalore drive in the not too distant future.

A point to note: The 'puncture' on Mum-Pune expressway/ just past Pune is a well known scam. Once you cross Pune, someone will frantically start gesturing towards on your tires (usually on a bike) and then 'helpfully' lead you to a puncture shop where you will really have a puncture, or worse loot your car if this is late at night.

I had heard about it a lot, experienced it last month on the way to Goa. I remembered the sane advice just in time and sped away. Stopped ~5kms later and investigated, there was no puncture and tires didn't lose air all the way to Goa and back.
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