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Old 7th November 2008, 23:06   #1
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Default Bangalore-Pune-Mahabaleswar/Panchgani-Bangalore in Santo Xing

Some of you provided help in my queries in what was my first post in this wonderful forum (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...une-folks.html (25th Oct Bangalore-Pune (NDA) and back *Need some help from Pune folks*)). So its only fair that I give back some data to the community. So here goes my travelogue with an Excel based log which might be useful for anyone else driving this route in future.

I had very recently done a Bangalore-Goa-Bangalore run and so I was OK with the idea of driving to Pune on Diwali when none of my train bookings went through. So cancelled all waitlisted tickets on Friday and left very early on Saturday 25th Oct. This was a life saver as without starting at 3.15 am, the day would have been intolerably long. (On a side note the train takes 20 hours, if on time, and some bus operators (Raj) claim to take 13 hrs. As it turned out, I also took 13.10 hours with 1.20 hrs of break. Not bad at all !! With 2 kids, it was not easy starting that early but we managed as we had taken care to be sleeping by 7 pm the night before ;-)
Even at that early hours, encountered small jams near Neelmangala at Bangalore exit. But once we hit the toll roads, it was smooth sailing till Ranebennur except a brief wrong turn at Tumkur bypass (It was still dark and raining then and we overshot the bypass but quickly reversed [FONT=Wingdings]J[/FONT] ). Had our first break at BPCL Ghar at Ranebennur exit at 8.20 am for b’fast (nice place but it was crowded beyond belief as many buses had arrived together and people were raping the facilities there like there is no tomorrow. Some morons were even bent upon having a mini-bath at the bathroom sink !!)

The otherwise great NH4 has a not so great run from Chitradurga all the way till Haveri (nearly 160 kms). It’s a pity to see this stretch as its 90% done but due to some land litigations some parts are not done and as a result to that many a time long stretches of costly roads is lying unused. Its ironic to see nice road being used to dry farm produce and the other side of same road being used as 2-way).

Hit Hubli in exact 7 hours and from here till Dharwad (30Kms) the road changes character as the median disappears and the landscape changes too but after Dharwad, all the way till Pune (431 Kms), the road was pure driving Nirvana. How fast can you go here is purely a function of yr car and skills, road is not a bottleneck at all. Really really great roads with even toilets built at regular intervals. Of course, the toll is also higher in this stretch.

I was averaging 100 here, with 140 almost being a regular sight and occasional 160-170. I was mighty impressed with my Santro Xing. Its 2.5 years old and was totally in control. This is different from my other older Santo ZipDrive LS (2000 model) where 130 is pretty much the max I could ever do. For a Car with a max odo scale of 180, the fact that I could touch 170, even for a few second, is amazing. Of course, it’s not safe to drive very fast as braking is an unknown to me at those speeds but touch wood, nothing untoward happened.

Lunch break at Kolhapur, kids were pleasantly surprised to see McDonald’s board on roadside. It seems it’s a new place and was good fun for kids. Good crowd, though it was slightly expensive just like all McDonalds.
Reached Pune (My brother’s place in NDA at 4.25 PM and everyone there was shocked to see us so early. A total of 861 kms in 13:10 hrs – average of 65 Km/hr. (If I remove all major stoppages the averages improves to 73 km/hr, still much lower than the 100 I was maintaining in lot of places. Just goes to prove that the even small breaks (e.g. 13 toll booths, bad road diversions etc.) affect the driving average badly).

Had a great stay in Pune – my first time there and I must say I was truly impressed. Good roads, clean surroundings, nice weather. It was a good family reunion as my parents were also in Pune for Diwali. Since we had reached Saturday itself, got Sunday and then the next full week, before we left back on Saturday again.

While in Pune, resisted the temptation to go to Mumbai just for the sake of driving on expressway but did go to Khandala - Lonavala one day (the benefits of having our own car was to be reaped). Nothing much to see there but still worth a trip, if only for the chikkis !!

Another good trip was a dinner night at “Chokhi Dhanni” – an ethnic Rajhasthani village experience. Good fun for kids too.

Some pics
The famous Sunflower plantation around Chitradurga

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If I could click such steady picture at such speeds, it tells a lot about how good the road really was.
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McDonald - comes in Kolhapur on left side while going from Bangalore, Huge board, can't miss it.
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Pictures in Pune

I like this picture..nice bone-fire after a few big ones :-)
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Sunset at Khadakwasla Lake
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The return trip travelogue to follow (its too late now) with the Excel sheet log.

Feedbacks, comments, questions?
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Old 8th November 2008, 07:57   #2
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Some more pics from the Khandala-Lonavala trip-

We started at around 8 am from Pune and drive was very nice. Didn't take the expressway and yet had to pay 2-way toll of about 68/-.

The place to stop for b'fast has to be this Rajdhani joint in the HP pump about half way through-
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The funny thing about this trip was how little is really there to see except the nice drive. The only point of excitement was when the telescope guy at the viewing point in Khandala pointed out Shahrukh Khan's bunglow to my wife :-)Here's a pic of it (the one in the centre)
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He also pointed out Preity Zinta's water fall for Liril ad, countless shooting spots but beyond a point, it was rather funny.
I would rather click the winding Express way, which looked rather impressive from this angle
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The only thing to be careful in this drive is the turn at Dehu Road junction. While coming back we took a wrong turn here and it took us into the Pune city instead of keeping us on Bypass. Had to drive a lot to reach back NDA, which is off the bypass.
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Old 9th November 2008, 19:40   #3
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The first photograph of the sunflowers is just great. Its almost as if the flowers are standing up to pose for the camera .

Great to hear about the Xing's stability on the highway. But you shouldnt be clicking snaps of the speedo at those speeds, however smooth the road . it just isnt safe given Indian road conditions - one never knows what comes up!

Drive safe and keep up with the travelogues.
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Old 9th November 2008, 21:33   #4
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I see your point. I won't be doing again now that I have the pics :-) I did it only on those sloping stretches where u can see the road ahead for at least a km and there is no chance of anyone popping up
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Old 9th November 2008, 21:41   #5
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I actually spend 1 hour typing my return journey travelgoue and uploading pics (Panchgani/ Mahabaleshwar) when as per Murhpy's law the lappy hung on me (i was stupid enough to type directly instead of Word, which saves file) and so all my work is lost. Too pissed to type it again (At least now) and so for the time being will just upload the Excel log
Attached Files
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Old 9th November 2008, 22:42   #6
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Some pictures are wallpaper perfect!
Somebody told this and I am telling this again. Dont take photographs of speedo at high speeds. This is high speed even after factoring in the speedo error. Just avoid it.
Saw the excel sheet. the average speeds at some places are nice and triple digit average speed between three points. Looks like the roads are quite good so you are able to keep good speeds most of the time.
The expresshighway shot was the best along with sunflower one.
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Old 15th April 2009, 16:25   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDGuy View Post
I actually spend 1 hour typing my return journey travelgoue and uploading pics (Panchgani/ Mahabaleshwar) when as per Murhpy's law the lappy hung on me (i was stupid enough to type directly instead of Word, which saves file) and so all my work is lost. Too pissed to type it again (At least now) and so for the time being will just upload the Excel log
Apologies for a delayed response Indeed,but an excellent drive, especially on NH4 and more precisely between TUmkur-Chitradurga and Belgaum - Kolhapur stretches.
I was looking at the excel and wondering what time you reached Pune and Bingo!! I too had taken 12 hours in my Wagon-R from Bangalore to Pune with 3 Stops. This works out only if you start very early from either ends.

Again, Awesome Dude!!
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Old 15th April 2009, 18:38   #8
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Really a good documentation (excel file) of your travel. Keep up the good work.

Cheers!!
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Old 18th April 2009, 01:26   #9
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Dude, liked everything about your writeup except that you were doing the occassional 160 odd in a santro with 2 kids !! I'm a cautious speedbuff myself but wouldn't push a car beyond a limit.

Folks were quick to pounce on Tirthankar but here we have people again comparing their personal records in time taken to cover a journey from one point to another.

Cheers
Vij
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Old 24th May 2010, 18:25   #10
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I found the original thread very useful (with the excel sheet) and would like to add to this with my experience travelling from Bangalore to Pune (and Pune - Shirdi - Pune) and back (over the last Fri/weekend). Driving an Innova (wife also drives; second daughter with us).

Started early (4:00 am) and took the NICE road to hit NH 4. NICE toll at Rs.65 (jumped from Rs. 50 a month ago) but very convenient for S.Bangalore residents.

Hit Tumkur toll at around 5:40 am. Bad luck hit us just outside the exit and the first flyover (just over the peak) and the road was broken and at that speed burst the front left tyre. Had to wait for a bit of time to get help and replaced with the spare tyre. Re-started at 7:15 am after checking tyre pressure of the spare tyre. Lesson 1: Spare and jack are critical. Now we were without a spare tyre.

Road up to Chitradurga is good. But we were understandably cautious. Reached Chitraduraga at 9:30 am.
Chitradurga - Davanagare - Bankapur is still under construction. A mess. Rannebennur is a pain as you go through the town and was jammed. I believe there is a Rannebennur bypass.

Toll re-starts at Bankapur and reached Hubli (Hubbali) at 1:30 pm. Hubli - Dharwad is undivided (total 2 lanes) and with traffic (goods particularly) it was hard to push ahead.

The road is good though and proceeded on to Belgaum, Kolhapur and Satara - excellent roads (toll stops are plenty - please see the excel. One toll guy returns chocolates for change). Reached Shivapur at 8:40 pm and then Pune city at 9:30 pm. Spent another 45 min locating our hotel and reached there at 10:30 am. Was an extremely long day but fortunate that we only had a puncture. I think the tolls add up to around Rs. 400+

The sad part is that it is horrific to see animals being killed on the highway hit by speeding vehicles - dogs mostly. We actually saw a monkey being hit. It was heart rending.

So in all 17-18 hours - given that we had a tyre burst, it was still okay. I think it was better reaching without incident and not worry about time/speed.

Next day was Pune - Shirdi - Pune (Pune - Sangamner - Shirdi; 190 km). Took us 4.5 hours to go and 5.5 hours to return (jams at Narayangaon, Peth, etc.). Two tolls booths - remember to buy return tickets if returning. Good darshan at Shirdi. Another long day - left at 6:30 am and returned at 9:45 pm.

Next day return to Bangalore - left at 4:50 am and roads up to Belgaum, Hubli and Bankapure were excellent. Reached Hubli at 12:30 pm. Rannebennur was again a jammed up place. Reached Chitradurga at 5:15 pm. Tumkur at 7:45 pm. Nice road entrance at 9:10 pm and home at 10:10 pm. Again 17 hours.

Saw a passenger car accident a few minutes after it happened (after Kolhapur) with passengers sitting on the road and ambulances coming the opp. way. At least 3 overturned trucks with one that happened minutes before we reached that area.

Glad to be back home safe (without a spare tyre most of the way).

One way distance
Bangalore - Pune (~850 km)
Pune - Shirdi (~190 km)

Total: 2078 km
Total trip time: 66 hours
In car: 45 hours
Sleep: 10 hours

Good luck with driving,
Ravi
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Old 24th May 2010, 19:09   #11
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@ rshanx

1) Driving on the highway and travelling more than 2000 Kms and without a spare tyre is definitely not a smart idea, you should have purchased a new one before this long trip. Hope you learnt the lesson this time.

2) Were you able to control the car after the tyre burst? That’s pity scary sight
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Old 24th May 2010, 19:27   #12
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Saw this TL just now. The winding road snap is very nice.
So are the sunflower snaps.
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Old 24th May 2010, 20:21   #13
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That's a good one. 2000 kms without a spare wheel. So what's the status of your old tyre? Had to junk it completely and get a new one? Did the tyre burst or was it just the tube bursting?
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Old 25th May 2010, 08:45   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
@ rshanx

1) Driving on the highway and travelling more than 2000 Kms and without a spare tyre is definitely not a smart idea, you should have purchased a new one before this long trip. Hope you learnt the lesson this time.

2) Were you able to control the car after the tyre burst? That’s pity scary sight

Hi Ranjith,
I had a spare and used it at the time of the puncture. So after the incident I did not have a spare :-). We could have returned but felt that we wanted to go to Shirdi and took a decision to go on from Tumkur. Did call Toyota on the way (Hubli/Pune) but given the schedule we did not have any time to visit the dealer in Pune (hardly saw daylight in Pune!)

Fortunately the car was in control and we got a couple of folks to help replace the tyre (one auto guy was v.good and helped a lot with this).

- Ravi
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Old 25th May 2010, 08:48   #15
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MX6:
Tube and Tyre are gone (can see the tyre tear) and the tyre wheel is bent. Will have to get the whole unit replaced - will be taking it to the dealer here.
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