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Old 4th April 2007, 02:47   #1
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Thumbs up Hyderabad to Goa - An exhilarating experience (Now updated with Photos)

Last month on Thursday, Mar 15 we set out on our long planned trip to Goa by road. There were 4 of us, me and my wife and two of our friends. The car we had with us was a gleaming black Turbo Indica. The preceeding 2 months had seen me laboriously working on the route maps, GPS-plotted navigation charts, hotel particulars etc. 2 days before we began the journey the car was sent to Autofin for a health check-up. The mechs there gave it a half an hour check up and declared it fighting fit to take the trip. I insisted that we have a few necessary things for road, including a thick 12m nylon rope, a rod, a pen knife etc. This responsibility was given to one of us for completion. So by the day we were to leave we were ready.

The plan.
**********
Thursday being a working day we decided that we won't put in a leave. Instead we decided to go to the office early and wrap up a few things and then leave by 1 pm from office for our journey. We planned to halt for the night at Bijapur and then proceed early next morning for Goa. Accordingly bags were packed and ready the previous night. Dev was to have driven to my home and picked me and my wife up in the morning. Just at 7.30am sharp I heard my friend reversing his car towards my house through the lane.

Now my house is such that it is the last one in the lane. Moreover there is a wall that runs at a tangent to my house (remember, it is the last house). The effect is such that if you are driving straight and look at one side the car will still be some way off from the wall and yet the other side of the car will hit the wall. I was perplexed to see the car happily reversing and then hitting the wall while the driver side rear was still some way off the wall. The result - some white scratch marks on the bumper and a
slightly cracked tail light cluster on the left! Even before we embarked on the journey. We decided that this was probably a small penalty we paid to get off the gallows... So things are going to be happy and nice from here on.

Roads we took.
**************
The regular route people take is via NH9 till Solapur. From there take a turn on NH13 for Bijapur. Everyone suggested that being a National Highway this is the way to go. However I wanted to try out a different route. Also, one of our fellow bhpians warned me against thugish cops who wait at the solapur bypass to catch hold of the out of state cars and extort money from them under one pretext or the other.

Under the circumstances I decided that I will take the Karnataka state highway after Humnabad and then the SH12 from there to Bijapur. Of course many were leery of this idea and suggested that being the sugarcane country I should really avoid these stretches like plague. But then fate would have this otherwise. More on that soon.

The plan was to carry on next morning from Bijapur via Athni, Chikkodi and then on to the NH4 till Belgaum. From there take the Amboli-Sawantwadi stretch to join on the NH7 and reach Panaji, Goa.The drive from Hyderabad till Humnabad on NH9 veered between very bad to ok to good at max. The pain is in getting out of Hyderabad limits. This must be the most painful stretch of road anywhere. Till Patancheru it is a narrow stretch of road with wide gravel strewn shoulders on both sides and hundreds of buses, trucks, cars, autos and everything else going on both directions jostling to elbow you out to occupy the road space.
After crossing Patacheru the roads become wide enough to be called NH. The surface though is uneven, with undulating surface that always keep you to a max speed of 80kmph. We were happy enough though. We drove 145km till Humnabad bypass. Here we took a small tea break around 5pm at a crowded dhaba. Within another couple of kms we were to veer off from the NH... I was a bit skeptical considering the state of an important NH like this one how good can a state highway be. When inquired the dhaba owner very confidently said "A1 road hai"... and my wife rolled her eyes.

As soon as we turned left on the SH12 and drove a couple of kms the vista that unfolded had us gasping. Wide smooth roads with clear markings racing through small inclines, sharp bankings, all the while keeping the distant ravines in view. The roads have railings running on the sides! I was already wondering whether this is really a state highway. Roads are so good that you easily touch 120 on the speedo without realising.

KSRDC Roads



Smooth surface with no uneven stretches like those on the NH9.And the best part is that there is extremely low vehicular density on these roads. However every few kms you encounter small set of breakers (rumblers as they call them in Goa, Lol) to help you slow down, what with so many villages falling on the way. We reached Gulbarga in double quick time. This city is a bit of pain to cross. Dusty, narrow roads with all sorts of things (vehicles, cycles, people and cows) jostling for space. Once we cleared that we were again back to the drivers' paradise. We reached Jevargi and then a right turn. Another 190kms to go before we break for Bijapur. By this time it was dark all around. I was again a little apprehensive. Dark state roads are never my idea of fun. However here again full marks to KSRDC. The roads became even wider. And although there was no light on the roads we kept racing at 100-120kmph. Not a bump or a missed step! The headlights and the fog lamps blazing the road ahead. Only a small 0.5km stretch somewhere near Sindgi is problematic as the the road there is being re-layed. We reached Bijapur by 8.30pm. And then it was time to halt for the night at our designated spot.

The next morning we tanked up early and left for our journey ahead. Once we crossed Bijapur its one straight road ahead to Athni and then Chikkodi. Roads are again exceptionally good compared to what I was mentally prepared to face.

Road to Athni and beyond...




Around 10am we took a breakfast halt at Sri Renuka hotel at Chikkodi (ok, its a typical busy eatery at any small town). Thereafter the roads via Sankeshwar upto NH4 is miserable. Thats the 40km stretch which one has to drive carefully. Once on the NH4 of course thats again a hoot to drive. When your car touches 130kmph at some 2900 odd rpms and does not sound breatheless its an exhilerating feeling.

That's the NH4



After Belgaum we took the Amboli, Sawantwadi route. Vista changes once again. You pass through gorgeous ghat sections with typical hamlets. The scenary is breathtaking. We stopped twice to absorb the nature's splendour.

Ghat section roads


At 3pm we were in Goa. It has been a truly memorable journey. How I hope more and more Indian roads become this nice. Everyone will start driving! Of course while coming back the roads gave us the confidence to take the 850kms return journey in a single day. On the way we almost hit a trio of village bumpkins on a brand new bike. And then had to shell out 300 bucks as well... and yet reached Hyderabad by 7pm evening. But then thats another story.


Vista never ceases to amaze you



Last edited by Zappo : 4th April 2007 at 02:58.
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Old 4th April 2007, 05:17   #2
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nice trip zappo!
u guys must have been tight on luggage space though?
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Old 4th April 2007, 06:19   #3
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Zappo bro, nice write up. But why those pictures are so small?
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Old 4th April 2007, 08:14   #4
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Nice Writeup Zappo, You didnt mention about what all places did u visit in Goa...i mean which beaches , forts, churches etc etc

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Old 4th April 2007, 09:24   #5
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Very happy to know that the Humnabad-Gulbarga-Bijapur road is in good shape - 2 years ago, they were very bad. I have done the Bijapur-Jhamkandi-Belgaum route and the roads in that area are pretty bad thanks to the sugarcane plantations. From BElgaum, did you take the Chandgad route to reach Amboli?
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Old 4th April 2007, 15:08   #6
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Rudra-da... I am surprised that the photos are showing up so small. I did not have the time yesterday night to check the sizes as it was already so late. I will upload the photos once again and update the post. Oh! edit won't be an option now I guess... but I will add a post then.

@doctorkats, not really. We have had enough space for our requirements. We went for 4 days. I and my wife had two bags between us (all soft luggages) and two others had one piece of luggage each. With some arrangements we actually fitted in all these plus half a dozen 2lt coke bottles (filled with water) easily into the hatch.

@akroy, buddy if I started writing everything I would have ended up writing a full book on it. Lol. However since you asked, in the 4 days that we were there we checked out all the North Goa beaches, went on eco tourism one day and also checked out the churches and temples on another day besides the Arpora Nite Bazaar and the crazy goras singing Ragas (i have an amazing video of that as well).

@hvkumar, yes things have changed drastically since then. Now the roads are paradise to drive on. And the best part is that since people believe on the NH the load factor is very very low. You can drive peacefully at amazingly high speeds not in bursts but consistently for hours.
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Old 4th April 2007, 15:14   #7
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Oh there!!...
I envy you. I had been planning fo so long and couldn't make it. Please upload the video to some rapidsharing site and send the link, if we could watch that. Or else how about seeding it on torrent!?
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Old 4th April 2007, 15:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
@akroy, buddy if I started writing everything I would have ended up writing a full book on it. Lol. However since you asked, in the 4 days that we were there we checked out all the North Goa beaches, went on eco tourism one day and also checked out the churches and temples on another day besides the Arpora Nite Bazaar and the crazy goras singing Ragas (i have an amazing video of that as well).
Hey, I didn't expect a book actually, just a few lines would do. Since there was no mention of your activities in Goa, I asked you just for curiosity...otherwise I have seen almost all the beaches of Goa...

Thanks for the update...
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Old 4th April 2007, 15:49   #9
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Only a car guy will write a 2000 word post on the drive, and NOTHING about Goa! Very well-written and enjoyable drive report.

Quote:
The preceeding 2 months had seen me laboriously working on the route maps, GPS-plotted navigation charts, hotel particulars etc.
Talk about planning, the last three times I have driven to Goa is without any plan. And anywhere between 2 a.m. - 4 a.m. early morning. The drive is so good that its pleasureable in any car...including a Mahindra (Yup, 3 of us with full luggage in the CJ).
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Old 4th April 2007, 18:20   #10
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Hey Zappo,

Nice to know you finally made it and also took a different route. I could see that you really enjoyed the drive. Try posting some more pics of larger size.
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Old 5th April 2007, 12:45   #11
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For all those who complained that the earlier photos were too small, I hope these ones are in proper sizes now.

I have also included some other photos from my Goa Diary.

KSRDC Roads - After Humnabad... Miles ahead of the NH9


Road to Athni - A serene and calm morning


Amazing NH4 - Notice the parallely running service road on the left.


Ghats - twisties and curvies... who needs pit babes!


Scenic countryside and sprawling meadows!




Memories of Goa











And finally, if you have the bandwidth check out the following video... when Goras go berserk, Goa goes gaga!

http://www.filefactory.com/file/7e09dd/

Last edited by Zappo : 5th April 2007 at 12:50.
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Old 5th April 2007, 14:04   #12
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HI Zappo,

Congrats on your successful road-trip.

I used to travel from gulbarga to hyderabad in my college days by two wheeler and I also used to travel a lot till bijapur. The stretch from hyderabad to bijapur what you mentioned was absolutely horrible!!! Its only in the recent past that the state governament has listened to the cry of this hyderabad-karnataka region people (The Hyderabad-karnataka area consists of North karnataka, which was known as Nizam karnataka in old days) and done this beautiful state highway. You know what?? Its really amazing to tell about this SH, previously, to reach Bangalore from Gulbagra (My home town), any form of road travel would have required 12 hours to 18 hours. But, now a days, the private bus operators reach bangalore from Gulbarga in just 7.5 hours!!! The whole stretch of this state highway is a stunner as you have experienced already!! And your observation about Gulbarga is exact and enjoyed reading that.
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Old 5th April 2007, 14:59   #13
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Superb writeup zappo, was as if I could see the roads ahead. You have just spurred me on to take your guidance and plan a long pending trip to Goa.
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Old 5th April 2007, 15:03   #14
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come on Suren,,,,how can you not make this trip!! Go ahead..alas i am out of town..else i would have given you a chase!!
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Old 6th April 2007, 00:22   #15
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suren,kutlee... go ahead... take the plunge. And believe me... that 850km is just easily covered in a day though it looks huge. The roads are so inviting that you almost feel the call of the roads... just rush through. Its amazing. In fact i may just plan an encore one day...

@whitesquall i am happy that i could take you back in time. actually lot of old timers suggested against taking that stretch because of their past experiences. i took that road against all advices and i am happy for that. whatever it was then, its a paradise today... for all those who hit the road with a vengeance.

Last edited by Zappo : 6th April 2007 at 00:24.
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