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Old 17th April 2008, 14:37   #1
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Default Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip

Day 1
We had planned to start off early on Saturday morning. I trusted my wife to set the alarm while she trusted me likewise. So we woke up in the morning thinking why it was so bright outside even though the alarm was yet to ring. Then the truth dawned and we rushed to finish the packing. We managed to tick off most of the checklist items, except a few minor ones which we did not get a chance to miss until our last day of travel. But then that is another story.

We started at 6:30 am from Begumpet and it was 7:30 am by the time we crossed Shamshabad. Road was good and there was medium traffic till Kurnool. Road "diversion" work was at full swing and we can expect those helpful sign boards to be there for another couple of years at least. Traffic became a little light thereafter and we reached Penukonda (distance of 430 km from Hyderabad) at 3:30 pm, which is around 70 km after Ananthapur. From Penukonda we took a right towards Pavagada. Unfortunately we missed the turn at first try since the sign board was meant only for guys coming from Bangalore and did not expect that anyone from Hyderabad would be interested in directions other than Bangalore.

After sometime I looked at the compass and realized that either Pavagada had moved towards south or we. It didn't take us more than another second to realize the truth. Of course, our GPS had stopped recalculating the route much earlier, once it found that there were no roads where we were, and was just waiting patiently for us to realize that.

We checked the road map and proceeded to Madakusira and took a right turn to reach Pavagada. After we reached Pavagada we realized that we will not be able to make it to Chitradurga before sunset. hvkumar had already warned us against against travelling this route at night and the potholed roads had confirmed my belief. So we decided to strike NH4 at Hirayur via Amarapuram and Dharnapura. For all those rally enthusiasts out there, this is a really nice road with carefully planned pot holes and jutting stones with patches of gravel. You can really race on these roads, once you figure out how to overtake the tractor or bullock cart in front without going off the road and scraping your bottom.

To make a long story short, NH4 was a breeze for a toll of just 35 bucks and we covered 30 km in 20 minutes. The last 10 km till Chitradurga was under construction, so we did not feel the breeze. We were in time for dinner and a good nights sleep at Hotel Ravi Mayur. We had travelled only 35 km extra compared to the planned 155 km from Penukonda till Chitradurga.

Distance: 620 km

Day 2
We started at 8 am for Kemmanahundi via Channagiri and Bhadravati. Road was mostly good except for a few places where you least expect it. At Bhadravati we took a left till Tarikere and from there took a right towards Ligadahalli. At Ligadahalli we took a right towards Kemmanagundi. The road from Ligadahali till Kemmanagundi is narrow and riddled with potholes. So we recommend big tyres and good suspension for anyone planning to travel on this road.

We reached Kemmanagundi at 12:30 am.

Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0766.jpg
Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0772.jpg

We had thought of seeing the waterfalls but the prospect of doing some climbing in the scorching sun to see some trickling falls of water put us off. Besides somebody told us that we need 4WD to reach Hebbe falls. Our Swift had the 4 wheels but we didn't have the drive. So we started the remaining 58 km drive to Chikmagalur at 2:30 pm. This road is one of the most scenic that I have seen. Road was better than the one from Ligadahalli, though still as narrow. However this is a road to avoid during the monsoons.

Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0802.jpg
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Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0820.jpg

We reached Chikmaglur at 4:30 pm. There were no rooms available at the 2nd best hotel in Chikmaglur so we decided to check in at Taj Garden Retreat which is a little away from the city. I would recommend this place if you don't mind the cost. Please do not think that my recommendation is biased by the complimentary packet of coffee they gave us.

Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0835.jpg
Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0838.jpg

Distance: 220 km

Day 3
We were reluctant to leave so early so we started at 10:30 am. We proceeded to Mudikere and then to Sakleshpur where we had lunch. We had earlier planned to go via Coorg and halt at Mysore. But we changed the plan since we wanted to reach Hyderabad early and take some rest. So from Sakleshpur we took NH48 to Hasan and then to Bangalore. This road is really good and traffic was less except for the last 60 km to Bangalore. It was business as usual once we were inside Bangalore and we were fortunate to see Bangalore traffic at its peak. I don't hesitate to say that this was the most dangerous bit of driving I had to do in our whole journey. Again we were in time for dinner at hotel Ramanashree.

Distance: 350 km

Day 4
We started at 8 am and managed to miss the morning traffic. Road is really good till Chikballapur. After Chikballapur the road "diversion" work starts again. However traffic was much less while returning and we reached Kurnool without any incidence.

Around 110 km before Hyderabad I saw one of those yellow mining trucks coming towards me in the middle of the road. I expected the truck to move to its lane as sometimes trucks don't change back to their lane immediately after overtaking. So I moved slightly to the left, just in case it was a driver having 40 winks. To my horror the truck suddenly veered to the left into an invisible gravel path right across my path without any indication. At about 20 metres it was too late to apply the brakes so I steered right with horns blasting. A bike was coming behind the truck through the middle of the road and it came directly into my path. I applied the brakes but it was too late. The bike crashed against my front and I ran into some mounds and bushes to the right, blocking my door.

This was my first major accident and I didn't know what to do. The first feeling was that of relief when I found that nobody was hurt. The bikers realized that it was not our fault and they left immediately afterwards. The truck just vanished in the distance. I started the engine and since it was working we decided to reach Hyderabad or at least till the nearest workshop. After travelling around 10 km the engine suddenly switched off and the car refused to start. My wife noticed that the temperature gauge was showing red. We found that the radiator was leaking heavily.

We then called up Maruti helpline and they gave some contact in Mahbubnagar. However that guy said that he only has an Omni for towing and no parts for Swift. Finally somehow we managed to get a Sumo to tow us till Hyderabad for 3K bucks. The towing part was really dangerous with just a 10 feet wire separating us and this guy going at 40-50. The brakes on the Swift are electronically assisted and were useless with the engine shut off. I doubt the handbrakes would have stopped the car on time in case the Sumo guy had braked. We also realized that we had missed torch, towing rope, turmeric and sealant from our checklist.

Once we reached Jedcherla we found a Maruti workshop but it was already closed. We called the number written outside the shop and fortunately the owner responded and said that he will come to the workshop. He was like a savior for us and he got a few more guys to open up the car and patch the radiator.

Now the Sumo guy started demanding the full amount for the 30 km he had towed us. The workshop guys sided with us but even then we had to shell out 2K to him to avoid an ugly scene.

Finally we started from Jedcherla at 12 am and reached Hyderabad at around 2 am. As other guys have said earlier, this road is dangerous to drive at night with many trucks and Volvo buses approaching with full glare and trying to overtake each other. Overtaking is also dangerous since there are diversions every 4-5 km and you never know if the road ahead is going to end before you overtake.

Total Distance: 1775 km

Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-img_0769.jpg
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Old 17th April 2008, 14:56   #2
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Sorry to hear of the accident, an unpleasant end to what was oherwise a great drive.

I am curious to know why you detoured from Pavagada and went to CDurga via Hirayur instead of direct via Challakere.

How bad is construction work on NH7 between HYD and BLR?
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Old 17th April 2008, 15:13   #3
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Nice pics... first one is super cool.
By the way when did u do this trip.
I was there in Taj garden on last sunday(april 13) for a couple of hrs time. Now don't tell me u were there on sunday ..... hahahahah
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Old 17th April 2008, 15:27   #4
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Nice travelogue but sad to know it ended the way which you would not like. I think you forgot to take right after Anantapur or you purposefully took the mentioned route

Abhi
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Old 17th April 2008, 15:38   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I am curious to know why you detoured from Pavagada and went to CDurga via Hirayur instead of direct via Challakere.
We reached Pavagada at around 5:30 pm after the detour through Madakusari. Seeing the road conditions we estimated that it would take us another 3 hrs to cover the distance till Chitradurga. We felt it would be faster and safer via NH4 with less surprises since anyway we would have to travel the last couple of hours after sunset. Infact NH4 is excellent till around 10 km from Chitradurga and we were able to reach Chitradurga around 8 pm.

From Pavagada to Hiriyur there are patches of good roads and bad roads. The roads are bad till Dharnapura via Amarapuram. From Dharnapura to Hiriyur the roads are ok.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
How bad is construction work on NH7 between HYD and BLR?
From Hyderabad till Shamshabad road is very good and divided. After Shamshabad the road construction works start and there are diversions every 4-5 km. The road is in good condition and we cruised at 80-100 most of the time. Although there are diversions the roads are wide enough for two lanes of traffic. The road conditions are similar through Kurnool and Ananthapur. After Ananthapur the road is very good for some 30 km and again similar diversions till Chikballapur. After Chikballapur the road is again excellent and divided and continues till Yelahanka.

Although construction work is going on all through out NH7 much of the road is still not in a developed state. There is a lot of road to cover and I expect it would take at least another couple of years to complete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushrutha View Post
I was there in Taj garden on last sunday(april 13) for a couple of hrs time. Now don't tell me u were there on sunday ..... hahahahah
Hi sushrutha, yes we were there in Taj Garden on Sunday night. If you have noticed a pair of tired couple in a dirty Swift that would be us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
I think you forgot to take right after Anantapur or you purposefully took the mentioned route

Abhi
Hi akroy, we did take the correct right turn at Penukonda. However looks like after sometime the road divides into two and we took the left route instead of the right. I don't know exactly where this happened since as far as I remember I never diverted from the "main" road.

However we did not notice that "bold" looking roads on the road map are not necessarily bigger and well maintained than the "small" looking roads on the map!

Last edited by Zappo : 17th April 2008 at 17:15. Reason: Contiguous posts merged.
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Old 18th April 2008, 11:33   #6
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opppsssss .. My bad I was in Taj from 11.45am - 2pm.
Hope you enjoyed your stay there.
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Old 18th July 2008, 01:06   #7
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Excellent trip Watashi, sorry to hear the ugly last few hours.

Few questions i have. How is the road condition between Chitradurga and Bhadavati ? What is approx distance and do u remember how much time it took you to cover?

I would reapply appreciate your reply as my trip covering this stretch is coming this weekend.

Thanks.
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Old 18th July 2008, 09:34   #8
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The distance from Chitradurga to Bhadravati is around 96 km. You can find additional information about this route here -

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ikmagalur.html

It took us around 2 hours. Road conditions are good throughout, especially right after Chitradurga. However expect some average stretches in between. Traffic is less but then it was a Sunday.
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:36   #9
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Good trip. I know that there is a lot of road to cover to reach blore after you leave Hyd. This is too boring without some blast of music. The hotel looks supercool. Keep a set of tow ropes. you can do DIY and keep couple of ropes. this will be useful. What was you estimate to reach Hyd towing all the way? i guess it would have taken ages. lucky that you got the car mended. never mind the 2k that you paid.
its worth the time you saved towing. I don't know the situation, but you could have tried to get it repaired in blore or nearyby itself since spending a couple of hours.
keep distance with the mining trucks. or overtake as quickly as you can. they are very dangerous. upgrade the tyres if you haven't. trust me. it saves!!
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Old 18th July 2008, 14:41   #10
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Its a neat report with nicely tagged pictures too. It was unfortunate about the mishap you had towards the end of the journey, but its good to know that nothing bad happened.
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Old 18th July 2008, 18:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlee View Post
Keep a set of tow ropes. you can do DIY and keep couple of ropes. this will be useful. What was you estimate to reach Hyd towing all the way? i guess it would have taken ages. lucky that you got the car mended. never mind the 2k that you paid.
its worth the time you saved towing. I don't know the situation, but you could have tried to get it repaired in blore or nearyby itself since spending a couple of hours.
I had written down tow ropes in my checklist but forgot before starting. The accident happened 100 km from Hyd and the nearest town was Jedcherla which was 30 kms away. Bangalore would have been too far!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlee View Post
keep distance with the mining trucks. or overtake as quickly as you can. they are very dangerous. upgrade the tyres if you haven't. trust me. it saves!!
I have the stock 185/70 which is good but probably not good enough!
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Old 19th July 2008, 00:15   #12
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Nice review and pictures!!

I had been to Kemmanagundi via Chikmaglur from Bangalore last year August. The road after Ligadahalli was in bad shape. As you said, suspensions of my new Getz took all the brunt. I would say Kemmanagundi was not worth the trouble we took from Chickmaglur other than the view from the Government Guest House, Rajbhavana.

I decided to stay in Government Guest House, Rajbhavana (the best accomodation available) as Rangers resort was running full.
The stay at the Government Guest House, Rajbhavana was the worse stay in my life - no power throughout the night and a 6 month old baby to manage, scarcity of candles (the emergency lamp we carried did not work and the torch I carried helped me), lack of customer service (even drinking water was a luxury) and poorly maintained guest house.

The entire area was out of power and it was raining heavily in the night. The guest house caretaker was kind enough to get us food from the canteen.

We cut short the trip and left for Bangalore the next day.

The view form the guest house was good. Hope you do not mind me posting some pictures here.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by PatienceWins : 19th July 2008 at 00:30. Reason: spelling
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Old 19th July 2008, 00:32   #13
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Some more pictures from the trip.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyderabad - Chikmaglur Trip-p1010042.jpg  

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Old 19th July 2008, 10:13   #14
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Nice pictures PatienceWins! Reading your post I feel we made a good decision to halt at Chikmagalur instead of Kemmanagundi.

Hope you took the 59 km scenic drive on your way back. It is certainly one of the most scenic route, though the roads are pathetic.
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Old 19th July 2008, 10:41   #15
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Nice travelogue and pics, unfortunate about the accident.

That 59kms stretch has been in this condition for a long time
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