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Old 8th October 2008, 15:20   #1
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Default East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!

Well I dont know how to start, some of you might recollect that I was contemplating to do a Chennai - Mahableshwar drive as I had some training program to attend on work. Finally I did make this trip in my trusted Wagon R.

On 2nd of October my colleague and myself left from Chennai at 12.30 PM, had decided to club some work in Bangalore along with this trip. To take advantage of the lower fuel prices in TN decided to tank up at Hosur HPCL, 1st round of mileage - 17.8 kmpl.

The clubbing of work meant that I had to go to Jayanagar to the Landmark store which had opened that day. The holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanthi meant that I reached Swagat Garuda Mall at 6.00 PM. Instead of taking the regular ECity highway I took the Sarjapur road to comback to Madiwala then onto dairy circle, possibily saved me the trouble of taking those diversions.

When I reached mall I was greeted by a traffic jam with lots of cars trying to get into the mall which had no parking available. So was forced to park my car some distance away from the mall, this also helped me in moving out of the place fast later. After congratulating the Landmark guys for the lovely store they have inaugurated (indeed a fabulous store which was choc a bloc that day), decide I would not waste any time checking out the Mall as I was thinking of making upto Chitradurga for the night.

Since we were in Jayanagar considering that it was a holiday we decided to go via Minerva circle, Majestic, Malleswaram and then onto Yeshwantpur and beyond. But when we reached KG Road we were brought back to earth by a huge traffic jam which did not seem to move, finally when it inched forward I decided to take the right towards Maharani College, onto Vidhan Soudha, Sankey Road, IISC and then onto Yeshwantpur. Thanks to the holiday the roads were empty beyond Yeshwantpur as well. But the expansion work happening on the highway meant the progress was slow.

We reached near Nelamangala at about 8.30 PM Since both of us had not had lunch we decided to have our dinner at one of those dhabas which seemed to have free flowing liquor despite the day being Gandhi Jayanthi. All this meant lot of lost time, when we reached Hiriyur it was close to 11 PM, decided there was no point trying to reach Chitradurga at middle of the night. Stayed in Greenland Deluxe Lodge a decent Hotel (AC room cost us 600 bucks) bang on the highway just before Hiriyur.

Total distance for the day 505 kms - About 400 kms driven by me and about 100 kms driven by my colleague

Total time taken - 10 1/2 hours (including work at Swagat Garuda Mall)


Next day morning we started at 7.00 AM on our onward journey towards Mahabaleshwar. We had our breakfast at a dhaba after Chitradurga.

The status of roads between Chitradurga - Haveri is as follows:

Chitradurga Byepass - Bad as usual, with some work happening not sure when this would be complete

Chitradurga - Davangare - Decent roads with diversions and small incomplete sections where little deviations are needed, these sections are bad but nothing to worry about

Davangare & Harihar Byepass - Some patch work happening in the places which were bad earlier, but its in far better shape than the last time I went.

Harihar - Haveri - Decent roads upto the entrance to Ranibennur. The road from the point you enter Ranibennur upto Haveri byepass is the worst of the lot, with extremely rough roads as you enter Ranibennur, followed by some sections on old roads with two level crossings and lots of bad patches.

Filled up fuel at BPCL just before Ranibennur, this has a Ghar as well. 2nd Round of Mileage - 17.1 kmpl

Gave the car to my colleague after Haveri Byepass. Took over the car from him at Belgaum. The stretch after Hubli byepass is so good that even for a relative newbie my colleague managed to do Haveri - Belgaum in about 2 1/2 hours time. The stretch after Belgaum all the way upto Kolhapur is awesome. The most interesting thing about this stretch is the toilets which have been built by Punj Lloyd at regular intervals.

Between Sankeshwar and Nippani we saw a Mercedes Benz bus belonging to Sharma Travels parked after an accident, apparently one guy was killed on the spot. The bus it seems has been stranded for couple of days waiting to be taken away for repairs. This is one of the first buses which Mercedes has handed over in India.

Since we had not had lunch, we stopped at Hotel Pramod in Kolhapur for some snacks, had a good Pav Bhaji after a long time. Filled up at a HPCL pump in Shiroli - 3rd round of mileage - 18.3, possibily the better North Karnataka Expressway roads helping for a higher mileage than the previous two times. After couple of enquiries at Satara we successfully managed to get to the Mahabaleshwar road, by 6.00 PM we were safely at Hotel Dina.

Total distance covered 1125 kms
Total distance for the day - 620 kms
Total time taken - 11 hours

May be regulars can comment on this, it seems the toll charged in Maharastra seems to be higher, we paid a total of Rs.94 between Kolhapur and Satara, while in Tamil Nadu & Karnataka the rates are roughly 50 paisa per km.

Photos will have to wait till I transfer the images from the camera to my comp which will happen on Friday. In the meanwhile will be uploading a few taken from my mobile.
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Old 8th October 2008, 15:40   #2
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Great account, Srikanth.

Maharashtra tolls are super-high, but one other reason is that they have been around a longer time. Starting with a base price of Re.0.50 per km, with the inflation indexation, the rate per km in some stretches is almost Rs 1 per km.
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Old 8th October 2008, 15:48   #3
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Nice writeup Srikanth, Eager to see some pics.

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Old 8th October 2008, 16:30   #4
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Some of the pics taken from my mobile. The return leg which was done without a break yesterday would be updated shortly while the rest of the pics taken with my cam should see the light of the day on Friday.
Attached Thumbnails
East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-03102008_006-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-03102008_009-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-05102008_004-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-05102008_009-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-05102008_010-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-07102008_001-large.jpg  

East Coast to West Coast (Almost) - Chennai to Mahabaleshwar & back. PICS Added!-07102008_002-large.jpg  

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Old 8th October 2008, 17:11   #5
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Default The Return Trip

The return trip saw us leave Mahabaleshwar at 5.15 in the morning. Empty roads meant that we managed quick time between Mahableshwar and Satara. The early start also meant that we had to have our first cup of chai at a small tea shop in Medha, which felt heavenly especially with the nip in the air. After quickly crossing over Satara, I filled up tank at Kolhapur, Petrol costs 53.70 in Maharastra while its 57.5 in Karnataka - no wonder the fuel stations beyond Nippani seem to do little business in Karnataka until Belgaum. The mileage this time 17.05 kmpl, the ghat drives possibly meant slightly lower mileage. After having breakfast near Nippani I reached Belgaum at around 9.45 AM. Since I had some work with my distributor, had to go in. After a couple of hour's work at Belgaum I was back on the highway at around 12.00 PM.

The great roads upto Haveri meant that I reached Shiggaon at around 1.30. We stopped at Vittal Kamath's for breakfast. This comes on the left side just before Shiggaon about 25 kms after Haveri when you travel towards Hubli. Lovely place to have lunch. Very clean toilets, good service, super food and finally VFM. 3 Thalis, 3 Butter Milk & 1 500 ml soda cost us 190 bucks. Highly recommended in my opinion. After getting caught againt at the Ranibennur level crossing we made slow progress towards Chitradurga, reaching finally at around 5.15 PM. Since I had driven all the way till now handed over the car to my colleague after the toll plaza.

But heavy truck traffic took a toll on his driving, being a relative newbie, the constant pressure of trying to overtake trucks, who were trying to overtake each other all the time delayed our progress. Since I was planning to reach Chennai by the night, decided to take the wheel again at Sira at around 6.45 PM.

After filling about 10 litres at BPCL Sira to take us upto Hosur, since we had filled up at Kolahapur in the morning, with some spirited drive reached Dobbspet where I decided to take the Doddballapur road which was suggested by Roy, thanks Roy - very wise decision. The closed gate at Doddballapur railway crossing meant some more lost time, when we reached Marathahalli crossing I decided to take the Sarjapur road via Varthur.

Finally made it to Hosur HPCL at around 10.00 PM. Filled up the tank again - a total of 41 litres of fuel from Kolhapur to Hosur. Dinner was at AAB, after which we started around 11. Some more spirited driving meant I reached home at 3.00 AM after dropping my colleague at Koyambedu. Almost 23 hours after we started at Mahableshwar.

Total distance covered 1145 kms of which I had driven about 1075 kms the highest I have ever driven in a single day.

Special mention to my white lightning - Wagon R VXi for giving me a trouble free trip all the way. A proof that you dont need an SUV or a mid size car and beyond for a long "Cross Country Trip" - especially with the GQ road conditions.

Thanks to Roy for suggesting me the Dodballapur route, Vijay Iyer (vij4all) for giving me the courage with his Chennai - Mumbai trip a few weeks back.

Comments welcome. Camera pictures soon.
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Old 8th October 2008, 17:33   #6
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Great writing Srikanth. 1000 kms on a single day.. that should have been very tiring .

Btw, Whats wrong with the Amaravathi express in your pic
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Old 8th October 2008, 17:41   #7
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Nice report, Srikanth. Waiting for the pics.

23 hours, thats really too much to chew for me. Really one should be in perfect health conditions (apart from passion) to do such continuous drives.
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Old 8th October 2008, 17:44   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mission_Safari View Post
Great writing Srikanth. 1000 kms on a single day.. that should have been very tiring .

Btw, Whats wrong with the Amaravathi express in your pic
It was defintely tiring because the highest have ever done before this was about 750 kms. Indeed I noticed as well about the train thing, I think it was an effect of the train oscillating as it went past the level crossing as I had taken it standing next to the gate.
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Old 8th October 2008, 18:43   #9
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Nice pics Srikkanth !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
I decided to take the Doddballapur road which was suggested by Roy, thanks Roy - very wise decision.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pypkmsrikanth View Post
Thanks to Roy for suggesting me the Dodballapur route,
My pleasure Srikkanth

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Old 8th October 2008, 19:07   #10
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nice pictures srikanth,

snaks & denar?
atleast they have breakfast instead of brakefast
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Old 10th October 2008, 13:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benkey2 View Post
nice pictures srikanth,

snaks & denar?
atleast they have breakfast instead of brakefast
May be he has actually made a mistake in the spelling of breakfast

Incidentally the total toll worked out to Rs.933.50 bothways, roughly 50 paise per km.
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Old 10th October 2008, 14:00   #12
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Quote:
The early start also meant that we had to have our first cup of chai at a small tea shop in Medha,
it shows that you traveled from mahabaleshwar to satara via medha road.
do you traveled to mahabaleshwar via same road.
best road is via wai-panchagani with nice scenery with great roads.
have you missed panchgani?
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Old 10th October 2008, 14:41   #13
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Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
it shows that you traveled from mahabaleshwar to satara via medha road.
do you traveled to mahabaleshwar via same road.
best road is via wai-panchagani with nice scenery with great roads.
have you missed panchgani?
Yes both ways was via Medha road, because I felt going all the way to Wai and then onto Mahabaleshwar via Panchgani would mean extra distance. But I have to admit that its a fabulous stretch especially as you see the entire valley from Panchgani plateau while climbing up to Mahabaleshwar from Panchgani. Have been on this road quite a few times but had to skip this time as I had reached Mahabaleshwar late and also left very early.
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Old 11th October 2008, 19:55   #14
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Nice short trip Shrikant. Looking at your photos reminded me of my road trip. I have very fond memories of the Bangalore Bombay stretch specially after lunch at Sankam Residency at Belgaum where I'd also had a glass of chilled beer (I didnt tell you guys that for fear of being reprimanded).

Roy, the dobbespet route is good to by pass Bangalore onto the Hosur Road but i think you might be missing something here..a possible shorter route that avoids getting on to Hebbal. correct me if im wrong but here is how it goes..

After you take the left off the Tumkur Bangalore road and hit the village road towards dobbespet you take a right somewhere and pass through some bad patches and finally reach the junction of the Bangalore Hyderbad highway. Now if you take a right at the junction you will go towards the new airport and further into Bangalore and then onto Hebbal and so on. However, when I was there I had mistakenly gone straight crossing the highway and when i was asking for directions, I was told that there was a way from there too which would connect me to Sarjapur. Not wanting to take a chance and after calling you up, I took a U turn and returned back to the Blr - Hyd highway and took a left towards Bangalore city but when i reached Sarjapur where you have to take a right from a small roundabout, I saw a road coming from the opposite direction which is possibly that route which i avoided.

Would you know this ? Would anyone else know ? If yes then you can avoid Bangalore city altogether.

By the way Im planning a trip to Yercaud on the weekend of 25th october. Anyone else going there ? would be nice to catch up.

Thanks
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Old 13th October 2008, 11:50   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vij4all View Post
Would you know this ? Would anyone else know ? If yes then you can avoid Bangalore city altogether.
That road comes from Devanahalli (near New Bangalore International Airport). It was not in the best of the condition and it takes more time.

Hari (Lukeskywalker) frequently takes another route which goes somewhere on NH4 before Hoskote (or a few km after KRpuram). I dont know the exact turn-offs.

I will talk to Hari and discuss the pros-cons and come up with a logical conclusion before recommending that route.
For the time being IMO, Hebbal route is the best.

Abhi
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