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Old 27th June 2007, 16:13   #1
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Default My Mangalore Getway: The Sequel

This sequel started with pretty much the same direction as the previous one: a badly needed getaway from BLR city life and my car expressing her wish of stretching her capable legs on highways. While I was figuring out a destination to make this happen, a close pal calls up to announce a sad turn of events in his life: the finalization of his marriage in Mangalore. It took me less than 1/10th of a second to stitch the 2 seemingly disjointed events together and my drive to MLR was set on June 24-26. Then started the news coverage abt the heavy rains lashing MLR and causing ships to sink off the MLR coast and roads into/out of MLR being washed away, landslided or otherwise blocked by falling trees.

My next concern was of course the roads; its my policy that I take the best road to anywhere irrespective of distance. Some of you might be familiar with the perpetual disintegration of the main (and direct) NH48 from BLR to MLR after Sakleshpur and into Shiradi Ghats. For those that arent, the stretch after Sakleshpur that dives into Shiradi Ghats has always been a tourist attraction for foreigners - not just for the scenic beauty but more particularly for the live tutorial - " Potholes: Their Origin and Usage"; Author: NHAI

That left the planning dept of my brain to ask around a few people including Samurai, akroy and particular thanks to rjstyles69 for being kind enough to persist thru my questioning while crashing a few servers at the company he works for. I then decided upon the BLR-Tumkur-Arsikere-Kadur-Chikmagalur-Belthangadi-MLR route via the dangerously beautiful Charmadi Ghats.

Filled up my 24/7/365 Shell normal petrol on 24th AM on the way. Unfortunately my start was delayed and by the time I reached Jalahalli Cross, it was 930 am. Did a quick route recalc at the time and decided upon the BLR-Hassan-Belur-Chikmagalur-Mudigere-Belthangady-MLR route to save on time and to be able to attend the marriage ceremony at 630 pm that evening in MLR.

The BLR-Hassan road is gorgeous - the last time I remember being this enchanted was when I'd seen Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct for the first time. At Hassan, we double checked with the folks there abt state of roads further ahead; since we'd rcd updates from BLR that even the Charmadi Ghats was blocked by landslides. The helpful folks at Hassan told us very succintly not to even consider the Sakleshpur route but continue via Charmadi Ghats as planned. Then starts the road to Belur. And, what a road! Show me the best roads in the world that claim they're better than this one and I'll put them in their place. This road really put a permanent smile on my face.

Hassan to Belur:









Belur to Chikmagalur:



Stopped for lunch at Chikmagalur for 15 mins. Asked the traffic cops there for further route confirmation towards MLR - its always advisible to ask the local folks for updated route info. They said go via Kottigehara and Mudigere since vehicles were coming via that route in the afternoon after apparently having cleared the landslide. The road thru the dense forest till
Mudigere is again smooth and gives great driving pleasure with lots of twists and turns. After Mudigere the roads start to deteriorate and once into Charmadi Ghats become completely rough and has to be taken in 1st and 2nd gears if you love your cars as much as I do mine.

Charmadi Ghats:

Its sublime in its beauty as much as its dangerous. The local knowledge says that if something were to be dropped into Shiradi Ghats, there's reasonable chance of locating it albeit in pieces. Drop anything into Charmadi Ghats and you wont see it nor be able to locate it in how many ever pieces its vapoirized into. But, its beauty is resplendant with the ghat road taking you above the clouds. Its a surreal experience. Those that have experienced Charmadi Ghats can truly consider themselves fortunate.






View from the top: thats above the clouds and a sheer drop beyond the wall:





After descending Charmadi Ghats, the road smoothened out and the next port-of-call was Belthangadi which was polished off without much ado. Next came a small village called Punjalkatte. I've always been impressed and grateful with the generally helpful nature of people from the western section of Karnataka and this was amplified here. While we were motoring across Punjalkatte, we noticed KSRTC buses clustered around the main road with their drivers standing aside. They waved us down frantically and told us that a bridge further down was unusable. Thank you - those KSRTC drivers.

We deviated then via Uppinangadi and thence onto NH48 (yes - the same). The road via Uppinangadi is a half-lane reasonably smooth road. If a vehicle comes from the other side, both your vehicles will have the leading side of your vehicles out of the road onto the dirt. This is when I had the first under-fender scrap of my car. Felt very bad abt this. Then finally reached the Namma Highway 48. This is the stuff a nation should feel ashamed abt. This road is so pathetic that I completely lost my cool and pulled over for a few mins to compose myself. The feeling was not helped that due to the presence of sheer muck that was churned out by the trucks/buses in front and with major road Breaks - capital B, every few mts, my car was getting tortured with reduced visibility. Then they even collected toll on this road further down. I had more than half a mind to put my fist to some use at the toll booth, but the 2.5 hours this detour had costed me meant my friend's marriage event was already winding down. Finally made it to his marriage with profuse apologies for the delay.

Next day before the evening reception was spent sightseeing around Moodabidri and the Thousand Pillared Jain Temple from 600 yrs ago. Then the next tourist attraction at Manipal beckoned. Had lunch with Samurai at the Manipal Insitute's modern food complex. Onwards to the End Point, which I think is a favorite spot for necking judging from a white Verna that was parked there. We went there for the view - just to clarify. Then a guided tour of Manipal's Lotus Mahal - Samurai's fabulous new office complex nearing construction. Samurai - I just wish your office was much further from your house - its just painful seeing that black Baleno parked most of the time and not putting down rubber on the long highways where it truly belongs.

My car from End Point, courtesy Samurai (anyone recognize the background ?!):




Upon return to MLR, went to Tanneer Bhavi, where a ship capsized few days back and its bulk is still visible from the beach.

The ship wreck:



The final sunset of my stay:





Drove back to BLR the next morning via Moodabidri-Vennur and onwards to Belthangady and the original route via Charmadi. Only difference - deviated right at Mudigere towards Belur directly instead of straight towards Chikmagalur. Drove nonstop to BLR and still have a drugged feeling from the beautiful drive while I finish typing this rather long travelogue.


NOTE: All along my drive and stay in MLR and return to BLR, the weather was bone dry with only some small scattered light sprinkling. Thanks to Mother Nature - I guess she loves me.

Last edited by theMAG : 27th June 2007 at 16:25.
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:28   #2
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WOW great travelogue there! and some lovely pics

Had taken Charmadi route when i rode to mangalore 2months back, loved that route just that about 10kms of stretch was really bad(i took deviation to charmadi after sakleshpur ghat).

So how are the roads now? cant dream of taking shiradi ghats, its like doing some good offroading
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:30   #3
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Superb photos and Your black swift is a real stunner !

Those alloys add to the charm as well. Nothing OTT but classy. like it
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:31   #4
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Great Travelogue.Roads are too inviting to be left alone
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:36   #5
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Excellent pics and writeup maggie... Charmadi Ghats looks awesome !! I will do it next time... How is the road in Belur to Charmadi stretch? It was really amazing to see the tarmac from hassan - Belur, it will put lots of so-called highways to shame...

FYI, I was enquiring with Satya yesterday, He returned from mangalore on Monday via Shiradi ghats....He told the ghat is OK, degraded a bit but not like last year.... he could easily do it in Zen....He also showed me a hell lot of pics which he clicked there and I feel you can still do Shiradi ghat...

Ya Samurai's office location is simply superb !!!

Abhi

Last edited by akroy : 27th June 2007 at 16:39.
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:36   #6
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I drove the Belur Hassan stretch on the way from Kudremukh to Bangalore last year. The road was freshly tarred at the time with no lane markings but fantastic surface. Glad to see it's still in pristine condition!
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:39   #7
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Maggie, What was your FE like in the entire trip?

Abhi
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:40   #8
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Nice pics and well written travelogue!

While most of the NH roads are in good shape now, some sections like in Sakleshpur ghats are still in horrid condition.

Mag, I am enchanted with Charmadi Ghats, how far is it from Blore? Also can you share the route too. Thanks!
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post

FYI, I was enquiring with Satya yesterday, He returned from mangalore on Monday via Shiradi ghats....He told the ghat is OK, degraded a bit but not like last year.... he could easily do it in Zen....He also showed me a hell lot of pics which he clicked there and I feel you can still do Shiradi ghat...

Abhi
Yes the shiradi ghats are in a better shape then compared to in december, saw many esteems and swift guys thinking whether to take that road luckily i was on my bull, could do that stretch comfortably

A month back i had been to mangalore in my city(oHC) it was pretty comfortable, as most of the places were patched up. living couple of curves. but i doubt that patchup work will hold on for long.
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:47   #10
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Very nice pics and weather also..this type of weather I experienced when I went to Mata Vasnodevi earlier this year.
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Old 27th June 2007, 16:51   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lohithrao View Post
A month back i had been to mangalore in my city(oHC) it was pretty comfortable, as most of the places were patched up. living couple of curves. but i doubt that patchup work will hold on for long.
Ya I myself have done the stretch on 1st May and did quit fast in my Alto... Read my travelogue "Saligrama drive"

From 25th May onwards, I started to hear stories of the ghat has become nightmare etc but I was not able to digest them as I was wondering how come in 3 weeks it degrade so badly...
Satya did it yesterday and showed me the pics...Except for 2-3 turns all the others were ok, plus looks like some maintenance are also been taken as he saw huge sand sacks in some turns where the work might start...

Abhi
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Old 27th June 2007, 21:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w 12 View Post
Superb photos and Your black swift is a real stunner !

Those alloys add to the charm as well. Nothing OTT but classy. like it
Thanks w 12. The appreciation is appreciated !

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
How is the road in Belur to Charmadi stretch?

I feel you can still do Shiradi ghat...

Maggie, What was your FE like in the entire trip?
Abhi,

The Mudigere-Belur stretch is an absolute hoot to drive on. Smooth with turns and altitude changes. Re: Shiradi, I asked the KSRTC drivers (best source of accurate road info) at MLR terminus 1 day before my departure and they all said Shiradi was closed for any traffic due to some blockage.

If I reveal the mileage - promise me no one will disbelieve it - altho its quite unbelievable!

All E-E, w/o AC (except under 5%) and Shell normal only. Filled up at Shell in MLR's Lady Hill road too.

BLR - MLR: 773.8 kms on 36.9 liters = ~ 21 kmpl

MLR - BLR: 679.9 kms on 37.01 liters = ~ 18.3 kmpl. This incl the uphill 2nd/3rd gear to Charmadi.


Quote:
Originally Posted by finneyp View Post
Mag, I am enchanted with Charmadi Ghats, how far is it from Blore? Also can you share the route too.
I'd reckon its between 250-300 kms depending on if via Chikmagalur or direct via Belur.

Last edited by theMAG : 27th June 2007 at 21:40.
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Old 27th June 2007, 21:54   #13
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Excellent pics, the Mag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Ya Samurai's office location is simply superb !!!
Abhi

everyone seems to know the samurai's hideout. Planning to bust it myself one of these days, the friendly samurai is a big invitation. LOL
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Old 27th June 2007, 22:28   #14
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Yeah, I have become a tourist attraction. Since last month, 3 BHPians have visited and took snaps of me. I feel like the lone hermit on the top of a mountain.

Great report as always theMAG.
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Old 27th June 2007, 22:30   #15
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Wow...your Swift is looking too good in the pics.!
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