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Old 28th February 2007, 14:19   #1
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Default Travelogue: Bangalore to Goa

Goa Trip (Fun, Fenny, Frolic)

Members: THE ROYS (Abhi & wife, Swarup & wife and Swarup’s little angel Sparsha)
Car: Abhi’s AltoLXi

This was the trip which was long due but just couldn’t materialize due to many constraints. Swarup (friend & neighbour, my ex-ITC colleague) also joined in this venture. Nikhil and Eslyn was also due to join us but was forced to back out due to illness and leave issues respectively. First Swarup booked the ITC Holiday Home in Dona Paula (luckily we got vacancy) and it was upto me to decide and plan the rest. I started my research on the route and based on discussions with Mr. Kumar and others in indiahighways group, felt that the Shimoga & Sirsi routes are the best so far out of the four available routes (other two Hubli-Ankola & NH4A were rejected). I didn’t want to take the Shimoga route as I have already done it before and hence zeroed it on the Haveri – Mirjan route. A day before bought all the snacks, a tankful at OMR, tyre pressure check etc.

Day 1 (22nd Feb, 2007)
Route: Bangalore – Tumkur – Sira – Chitradurga – Davangere – Ranibennur – Haveri – Sirsi – Mirjan – Ankola – Karwar – Canacona – Palolem Beach - Madgaon – Panaji

Alarm rings at 1:30AM. We get up and after a nice bath start to load the car. Every inch of the Alto boot was jammed. The things include 2 big bags, one 20lit water can, potty-tub for the kid, one big pack of snacks, loaded the extra pair shoes, chappals etc under the driver & co-driver seats. The car didn’t let me down and happily took in all the stuffs.

We start from CV Raman Nagar at 2:30AM took the Old Madras Road near BigBazaar and headed towards NH4 at Metro via, Ulsoor lake, Mekhri Circle, IISc. We were on NH4 by 3AM. Slowly the ladies and the kid in the rear were felt asleep by the time we passed Neelamangala. After Neelamangala, the road was almost deserted and the speedo started to hit 100-110kmph. I didn’t go beyond it as it was night and the car was fully loaded and heavy braking might disturb sleep of others.

We lost some time due to the 2 toll plazas before Tumkur. We were in Tumkur at 3:45AM. As Tumkur BP was not complete, I missed the turn and entered NH206 which I realized immediately and luckily found a policeman who told to me to take a right turn which will take me to the BP again. In this process we lost 15min, I wonder why no work is on for Tumkur BP when the foundations and the columns are already been made.

Anyway by 4:15AM, we were back to the completed GQ section and sped towards Sira. Drive till Sira was a breeze, I never kept the speedo below 100kmph. After Sira till Chitradurga although the GQ is not complete the lane markings are done and you can speed up except for very small section. I could still keep 80 – 100kmph. I again started to wonder why NHAI not completing Sira – Chitradurga stretch by putting up the signages and illumination marks and completing the side roads.

We entered Chitradurga BP at 5:30AM. Nice 200km in 2.5 hours. Although I lost some time at Tumkur still I could make up with the good roads.

Incomplete construction of GQ: The problems started once we entered Chitradurga BP. Looks like the construction have been stopped and we couldn’t speedup as well. There were frequent diversions. Now I was racing against time. My target to stop at 7:30AM for breakfast was at threat now. Although Ranibennur is about 100km from there but the roads were really killing the time.

Anyway once out of Chitradurga BP, Sun started to rise and the roads were double laned for sometime although it had diversions but at longer intervals. Still I could keep at 70-80kmph but I had to keep strict vigil of sudden diversions and bad stretches etc. Soon we reached Davangere. Davangere BP was also in the same state as Chitradurga BP. I got really pissed off, Why to keep it incomplete; the normal 2 laned highway would have been better choice? Somehow I managed to reach Reliance A1 Plaza at Ranibennur at 7:32AM (2 min. late as planned). Tripmeter read exactly 300km from home.

We had a nice breakfast of dosa, chai, tankup the car. Car drank 16lit for 307km. Had the GQ been complete I would have lost an hour and probably a lit of petrol as well. We start from A1 Plaza at 8:30AM and reached Haveri by 9:15AM.

Onto SH from NH4: From the first signal inside Haveri, we took left turn for Sirsi, the straight road goes to Hubli. Once out of town, road was typical village road with cotton, sugarcane plantations on either side. Most of the stretch till Sirsi was smooth and Some stretches were uneven but not potholed. One nice thing about this stretch is that it had hardly any traffic. All the heavy vehicular traffic takes the NH63 (Hubli – Ankola). We could easily average 40-45km in an hour in these roads.

Haveri - Sirsi stretch

At Sirsi, we asked for Kumta road and took it. It is better to ask for directions at Sirsi as there are similar looking roads which goes to Siddapur, Yellapur, Shimoga, Kumta from Sirsi. Once we were sure that we were on the right one we sped up. Once past Sirsi, it was an awesome drive. The road was damn smooth and was in excellent condition. Soon we were into Devimane ghat and into beautiful dwindling roads. We were speeding at 50-60kmph in the bends.

Devimane Ghat road

About 10km before Kumta soon after the devimane ghat section there is a single lane road in the right (right arrow for karwar). We took that road and entered NH17 at Mirjan. This stretch was awesome. Beautiful broad road, full vegetation & greenary on either side. I tried to speedup as we wanted to have lunch in Palolem. By 12:15PM we were passing Karwar port. It was a nice drive where the sea was playing hide-seek with the highway. We passed the Rabindranath Tagore beach and onto kali bridge where we can see the river meeting the sea. Awesome sight but we didn’t stop as we planned to stop in the return journey for some photography.

Although Karwar in the noon was hot but with the AC inside chilling, all the members were found napping at Goa border. Once into Goa, road gets a bit narrow but the roads were good. Within half an hour we were in Canacona and in another 10min onto Palolem beach. It was about 1:15PM. We had a nice lunch of bread, eggs, chips which we carried along and went into the beach.

Palolem beach is excellent. Wish I could spend some more time. We spent about an hour on the waters and did some photography.

Palolem and the car boot

We started from Palolem beach at 4PM and took a nice goan road which passes through Cape Rama and joins NH17 just before Madgaon. I wanted to take the diversion to Cape Rama but couldn’t do as the ladies were tired and wanted to reach the guest house as soon as possible.

We encountered some heavy traffic in Madgaon but that was nothing when you are coming from Bangalore. By 6PM we were in the ITC guest house in Dona Poula. Trip meter read 649km. Spent the evening in the beautiful guest house with 5star facilities with the visibility of sea plus a homely delicious dinner with nice fish and egg curry, sabji with rice, roti. Meanwhile Swarup and myself gulped a Bacardi breezer and a Smirnoff as well.

Day 2 (23rd Feb 2007)
Route: Dona Paula – Panjim – Mapusa – Chapora Fort – Vagator beach – Arambol beach – Terekhol Fort – Dona Paula

The rooms were climate controlled and opens up to a big balcony. We had a nice sleep, got up leisurely, had a heavy breakfast prepared by courteous maid sushmita. We had puri, aloo sabji and omlette not to mention the nice tea.

We start at 11AM towards Panjim and then crossed the Mandovi bridge and onto Mapusa. Petrol was damn cheap in Goa so tanked up again at BP outlet. Speed costed Rs 45.9 / lit.

From Mapusa we took a road towards Vagator and diverted towards Chapora fort (well, that’s the DIL CHAHTA HAI fort). After parking the car at the bottom, it was a steep climb up and worth visiting. You can see the Vagator, Mandrim beach from top and it’s an awesome sight. We sat at the place were Aamir and gang sat and took a pic.

Some pics from DCH fort

From Chapora Fort, we went to vagator beach and spent some time there. By 1PM, we started for Arambol after a round of sugarcane juice and covered a distance of 30km in the next 30min. This road passes through Morjim, Mandrim beaches till Terracol Kery via Arambol.

Vacator beach

We halted at Arambol, had a nice bath, and played around in the water for an hour. Then we had a nice lunch at one of Shacks. The lunch included fish fry, prawn fry, French fries, chicken curry, garlic naan and egg fried rice. Aah, awesome tasty plus we were damn hungry too. A nice beachside relaxing lunch with fresh breeze was very soothing. After lunch, the ladies did some shopping while walking back to the car park.

Arambol beach

We started from Arambol at about 5:15PM towards Terakhol. The northern tip of Goa (or should I say it is in Maharashtra as per my map). In about half an hour in nice dwindling roads we reached Terakhol where the road ends on a river bank. A ferry was waiting and the ferry man called “Bring the car in”. Without thinking twice, I stopped the car inside the ferry. It was an unbelievable experience of a ferry ride with the car in it. When the conductor came for ticket he charged only Rs 10 for the car. WOW!! Isn’t it cheap? This was an unforgettable experience. Otherside of the bank is Terakhol fort. After our decent from the ferry, we drove for about a few kms to reach Terakhol fort which has converted into a heritage Hotel. Nice hotel and I took their tariff plans, took some pics infront of St. Anthony’s Church inside the fort. From other corner of the fort you can see Kerim beach and it was an awesome site as well. After that we returned to the ferry and back to the other bank. This time the ferry carried 4 vehicles – my Alto, a WagonR, a Tata407, a Scorpio plus 3-4 two wheelers. That was an experience too. We saw a nice sunset from the ferry and started our return journey back to our guest house which was now about 60 odd km from there, which we reached by 8:15PM.

Pics of Ferry Ride with car & Terekhol Fort & Sunset from ferry

With this I complete a full South to North Goa Coastal drive and some amazing roads and picturesque surroundings. Back home had a simple dinner of Chicken Manchurian, roti and French fries and hit the bed for another entertaining day ahead.

Day 3 (24th Feb 2007)
Route: Dona Paula – Panjim – Old Goa – Calangute – Baga beach – Dabolin – bagamolo beach – Dona Paula

After a heavy breakfast of Aloo Parathas with pickles and curd, we start our day at 10:30AM. We took the old goa (vela goa) road. It is nothing but the NH4A to Ponda. This is a nice road running parallel to the mandovi river. In another 10km on this road, we hit the old goa square. On one side there was Se cathedral and on the other side St. Francis Xavier Church alongwith his 500 year old body.

Basilica of Bom Jesus: We entered the church of St. Francis Xavier of Assisi; St. Francis Xavier was here in mid 16th century. It is a world renowned church which contains the body of St. Francis Xavier. I took some pics of the body. It was indeed a very nice feeling going round there. We also visited a museum inside the church as well.

An Example of Communal harmony: One thing that attracted me in the church was when we were lighting the candles, I moved around to see a Sardarji family, a burkha clad muslim newly wed couple, hindus including us and ofcourse the Christians lighting candles. That was an awesome sight!! Wish the politicians could see it too!!

St. Francis Xavier's body

Se Cathedral: It is situated just opposite to the church and walked down there. The Se Cathedral is dedicated to St.Catherine of Alexandria. Built between 1562 - 1619, it is the largest church in Old Goa and the largest in Asia with a barrel vaulted ceiling. There are four chapels on each side of the church. On the right St. Antony and St. Bernard, the Holy Spirit and the Cross of Miracles. On the left the Blessed Sacrament and Nossa Senora de Boa Vida.

Cathedral & my car

After the Holy visits to the churches of Old goa, we started our journey for Calangute, Although I didn’t want to go there because of the mad rush still for the sake of ladies we decide to got here. By 1:30PM we were in baga beach, it was quiet crowded. I and Swarup decided for bath. The ladies preferred to sit under the umbrella on the wooden beach chairs. Although baga was crowded but the food there was simply awesome. We had a nice lunch of mocktails, cocktails, chicken tandoori, noodles, naan, egg curry etc etc.

After a nice lunch, we headed towards Bagamolo beach. It is situated in the southern goa near the Dabolin airport (Vasco). After crossing the bridge towards Panjim we continued on NH17 towards Madgaon. Somewhere in between there is a place called Cortalim there is a right turn for Vasco. This is NH17A, excellent road passing through excellent scenic surroundings. Within no time we were on 4 road junction 2km before vasco, from there we took left for the airport. From airport we took left on a nice 4 laned road which goes to Madgaon (I think it was NH17B). Unfortunately both this roads were not marked in my Eicher Road Atlas. After going a few distances along this road, basically we were going along the boundary wall of the airport. Once the boundary ends on NH17B we took a right turn and kept on going along the boundary wall. This roads straight leads to Bagamolo beach. This is one of the best beaches I have seen in Goa. Almost virgin, it has a big beach resort. Mostly foreigners stay there and some nice shacks. You can see the lighthouse of the Goa’s natural port. Sunset was an impeccable experience. We spent nice time there. Swarup and myself played a bit of beach football with some locals there.

Pics of bagamolo beach

We started from bagamolo at 7:30PM and reached guest house by 8:45PM. Since this was the last day and we were yet to taste cashew fenny, Swarup immediately told the caretaker to bring a qtr of fenny. Myself and Swarup were enjoying the fenny with snacks in the drawing room and the ladies were busy packing up. Fenny tasted different like a juice. Then we had a light dinner of rice, dal, dry egg and chicken sausage curry and hit bed by 10:30PM.

Return Journey Day 4 (25th Feb 2007):
Route: Panjim – Karwar – Mirjan - Sirsi - Haveri– Tumkur – Bangalore

Finally the day has come, we have to leave Goa. We thanked Mrs Lobo, sushmita & Sabeer for the nice hospitality in the guest house and started the return journey by 11:30 PM. I wanted to start earlier to have a visit to Colva beach but people seemed to be very lethargic to move of Goa, they wanted to stay more and slowly we got delayed. Then we dropped the idea of Colva as it was already noon. We took a final tankful at BP pump at Madgaon and proceeded towards Karwar. We did stop for 15min at Karwar before entering Kali Bridge and did some photography of the Kali River meeting the sea.

Pics at Kali bridge, karwar

We stopped for lunch at Kamat Upachar at Ankola at 2:45PM. Had nice south Indian thalis and in this process lost an hour as people were very lethargic and were taking their own time.

Finally we started from Kamat at 3:40PM and sped away. The next stop was A1 Plaza at Ranibennur at 7:30PM for some tea. It was already dark and bad and heavy truck traffic on NH4. At 8:15PM we started again and amidst all this finally reached Chitradurga A1 Plaza for dinner at 10:30PM. My target to reach home by 11PM failed long back as the ladies and the kid were enjoying every breaks. We had a nice dinner of naan, fried rice, chicken curry, paneer masala and started the final leg at midnight.

It was pumping time for me as people were falling asleep and I used this opportunity to pull faster. Also the roads started to improve. From Chitradurga to Tumkur the speedo never came under 90kmph. It was hovering between 90-120kmph. At Tumkur we got stuck in the BP and took us about 40min to be back on the completed stretch of GQ. Finally we parked the car at 2:55PM. I did 200km in less than 3 hours. It could have been done faster had the Tumkur BP and Sira – Chitradurga stretch is fully completed.

Salient Features:
1) Car consumed 89 lit of petrol for 1545 kms (Home to Home).
2) Reliance A1 Plaza at Ranibennur is operational 24 / 7 but the one at Chitradurga serves meal until 11:30PM.
3) Haveri – Mirjan is an excellent route to go to Goa as you can avoid the heavy traffic of Ankola road and also this is a shorter route.
4) Special thanks to indiahighways group and logbooks of Mr. Kumar which helped me plan it out well.
5) Who said 800cc car doesn’t pull with AC in ghats…we traveled in Goa with almost full AC all the daytime and the car still pulled nicely in ghats from vagator to Terekhol and Karwar to Madgaon with a full load and chilled us well…

Signing Off
Abhijit Kumar Roy
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Old 28th February 2007, 14:38   #2
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akroy as always ,excellent travelogue.Just going through your travelogues makes you feel part of the experience.
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Old 28th February 2007, 14:46   #3
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Akroy awesome write up !! feels like i just made a trip to GOA
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Old 28th February 2007, 14:54   #4
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Very nice writeup akroy .. Reminded me of the national meet we had about a year back .. Funny that you mentioned the ankola road being very busy .. The last time we traversed that route there was hardly any traffic , which led to Nitrous shouting " 3 lug nuts , 3 lug nuts " the whole time .. And is the sirsi road as exciting to drive as the ankola ghat section and the rest of the stretch ?? And by how much does it cut short the distance by ?? Another scenic route to Goa would be mangalore , all along the coast ..

And the road condition after Davangere is pathetic with non existent tarmac for several kms all the way to hubli .. Imagine trying to stick to 70km/hr speed limit on this GQ ..
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Old 28th February 2007, 14:55   #5
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Then we had a nice lunch at one of Shacks. The lunch included fish fry, prawn fry, French fries, chicken curry, garlic naan and egg fried rice.
Ahhhhhhhh!!!! how nice!!!!
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Old 28th February 2007, 15:01   #6
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Another excellent write up from u Mr. Roy..
i used ur write up to hogenakkal as a guide when i planned my trip there.

Just spoke to my friends, seeing this post, and a Goa trip shud soon be in the pipeline.

Keep them comin....!!!
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Old 28th February 2007, 15:15   #7
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Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
Funny that you mentioned the ankola road being very busy .. The last time we traversed that route there was hardly any traffic , which led to Nitrous shouting " 3 lug nuts , 3 lug nuts " the whole time .. And is the sirsi road as exciting to drive as the ankola ghat section and the rest of the stretch ?? And by how much does it cut short the distance by ?? Another scenic route to Goa would be mangalore , all along the coast ..

And the road condition after Davangere is pathetic with non existent tarmac for several kms all the way to hubli .. Imagine trying to stick to 70km/hr speed limit on this GQ ..
McLaren, According to Eicher Road Atlas
1) Blr - Haveri - Mirjan - Ankola = 565 km
2) Blr - Hubli - Ankola = 506km

Road condition after Davangere did improve a lot compared to last year...it is non existent tarmac only at the diversions and in small stretches...
Ya, you can try out Sirsi route....ghat road was awesome...may not be that wider as Ankola road but since there is no traffic you are the king of the ghat road....
You were lucky u faced no traffic there, Probably you were travelling in rainy season, otherwise all the mining trucks (from Bellary to Karwar) and now the volvos, buses take that road...and recently I have also heard that the Ankola ghat road is not in good shape....I will try Ankola Road next time...

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Old 28th February 2007, 15:46   #8
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Another good and detailed writeup with pics..... As usual.

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Old 28th February 2007, 16:08   #9
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Amazing travelogue there Ak. Really nice. But tell me one thing. How did you manage the leave? :(
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Old 28th February 2007, 16:10   #10
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WOW!!! Another great Let's GO!!!!
Nicely written and good pics to boost.

Thanks for sharing with us Akroy!!!
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Old 28th February 2007, 16:15   #11
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A great detailed report as one expects from you Roy. I have grown a little envious of you after reading a few of your travelogues, you are some traveler, hats off to your enthusiasm and energy. The pictures are very beautiful.
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Old 28th February 2007, 18:07   #12
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Awesome details of your trip, very well written with great pics to support.

your write-up gives me the feeling that you seem to want to become the king of writing travelogues, if your not already
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Old 28th February 2007, 18:17   #13
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Your write-up makes me cry, How i went upto Dharwar and not reached Goa.
Thanks buddy, you are my inspiration to make my next drive to Goa at any cost.

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Old 28th February 2007, 18:50   #14
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Really tempting ! Another great review !!
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Old 28th February 2007, 20:18   #15
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Great writeup Akroy .Just in time for my trip to Karwar and Murudeshwar ,well now I will extend my trip to Goa .
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