Route : Bangalore - Hassan - Chikmagalur - Sringeri - Agumbe - Udupi - Kundapur - Murdeshwar - Gokarna - Karwar - Goa - Sawantwadi - Belgaum - Hubli - Davangere - Tumkur - Bangalore
Just back from a long vacation which covered most of Coastal Karnataka and Coastal Goa. The distance covered was 2050KMS in Swift VDI. The plan was made some time in August 2008 and was decided to do this road trip in Nov- Dec 2008. But due to other priorities I had to postpone this trip to February 2009. I did a Bangalore-Ooty/Coonoor-Bangalore road trip instead in November 2008. I had done the Mangalore to Udupi coastal stretch in July 2008 and really enjoyed the drive. Never done the coastal stretch beyond Udupi and this time I decided to start from Udupi and continue all the way till North Goa.
Applied for leaves much in advance and planned the route looking at forums on TBHP and help from Google. I have been a regular visitor to Goa. A Goa trip a year is a must with friends. So after marriage, this was my first Goa trip. My wife has never been to Goa and I really wanted her to experience Goa. So this time it was only me and my wife in my Swift D. Preparation:
A week before the road trip I had the car serviced at Mandovi Motors, Wilson Garden. This was an unscheduled service at 15000KMS. Just 2 days before the road trip, while cleaning the car, thought of cleaning the stock air filter. Removed the air filter and slightly banged it against the wall and in the process tore the paper filter. Cannot do this trip with a broken air filter. Called up Mandovi Motors. Air filter not in stock. Sagar Automobiles on Bannerghatta Road not willing to sell air filter over counter and told me I had to bring the car. Not willing to drive the car with a torn air filter. I just wanted the filter and told them will change it myself. They then directed me to Essar Automotives on JC road next to Urvashi Theater. Dealer for MGA. Picked up an air filter for Rs.260 and a 10 minute job to install the same.
A day before the road trip. Filled up diesel at IOC bunk on RV Road and realized diesel is cheaper by 2 rupees. Pleasant surprise. Was not aware of the fuel price cut that happened the previous day. Tyre pressure checked. Batteries for the camera charged and bags packed. Took a printout of the route and also places I intend to visit. Hotel in Goa was booked in Panaji. This was done through my Dad’s office as they have this hotel as their Holiday home at Goa. So accommodation was free at Goa. Though I usually prefer a beach side resort, my wife insisted we make use of this facility in the time of recession. Slept early the night before as I planned to leave by 5:30AM next morning. No sleep because of the excitement about the long road trip and finally forced myself to sleep by 12:00AM. Day 1 (31st January, 2009) : Bangalore - Hassan - Chikmagalur - Sringeri - Agumbe – Udupi Odometer Reading : 0KM – 567KMS
Alarm rang at 4:30AM. Got up and ready by 5:15AM. Take the car out of the garage and load the bags. Set the trip meter to 0. Keep the camera at an accessible distance. Also the printout of the route plan and a notepad for making notes. Water bottle and some eatables inside the cabin. Connect the pen drive loaded with music and we are ready to go.
Leave my house in Jayanagar by 5:45AM and take the Kanakapura Road to reach the NICE road. It’s still dark and cold outside. The whoosh is more prominent now with the new air filter. The turbo whistle is music to my ears and is now more audible. Did not want to take a jacket with me on this trip as I know I will never be using it again in this road trip. Just kept the heater on in the cabin. Pay the toll on the NICE road till Tumkur road (Rs.16 for Kanakapura Road to Mysore Road and Rs.33 for Mysore Road to Tumkur Road). Enter Tumkur road and encounter truck traffic. Lots of construction activity going on here as the road is being widened. Take the left at Nelamangala junction towards NH 48. The traffic is not much and I encounter a few cars. Overtake an Opel Corsa and play “catch me if you can” for some time. Then wifey realizes what I am up to and speed is restricted to 100KMPH. The NH 48 is being widened and you encounter patches of broken tarmac all the way till Hassan. Ideal for speeds up to 110-120KMPH. Attachment 100604
Ready to leave Bangalore Attachment 100605
Tripmeter set to zero Attachment 100606
At around 7:30AM stop at Café Coffee Day near Kunigal for some coffee and use the rest room. Have not so good coffee and hit the highway again towards Hassan. Cross Channarayapatna and after about 6-7KMS stop at Kamat Yatrinivas for breakfast. Breakfast was pretty good and the hot filter coffee was just perfect for the cold morning. Get back on the highway and head towards Hassan. The roads have been re-laid inside Hassan town. The last time I was here there were no roads, only potholes. Take the deviation towards Belur and the roads just get better. Reach Belur in no time and asking directions for the shortcut to Aldur which will bypass Chikmagalur. Speak to a couple of guys who suggested me take the Chikmagalur road and then head towards Aldur as the Belur to Aldur road is in bad shape. Continue towards Chikmagalur and as you enter the town encounter bad stretches for a couple of kilometers. Go past Chikmagalur town and past the KSRTC bus stand and you get the road towards Aldur. Attachment 100607 Attachment 100608
Cafe Coffee Day near Kunigal Attachment 100609
Breakfast at Kamat Yatrinivas at Channarayapatna Attachment 100610
Stretch towards Hassan Attachment 100611
Beautiful Hassan - Belur stretch Attachment 100612
Just before Chikmagalur town
After Chikmagalur town you will encounter stretches of broken tarmac till Aldur. After Aldur you encounter super smooth roads with twisties. Had lots of fun pushing the car around corners. One of the best stretches I encountered for pushing the car around corners. Just like the way the car sticks to the tarmac. About 80KMS from Chikmagalur after Balehonnur at Jayapur take the Left U turn towards Sringeri. The straight road takes you to Koppa. This entire stretch from Chikmagalur to Balehonnur is a 2 lane road through coffee and tea plantations. Attachment 100613 Attachment 100614
After Aldur - Nice curving roads Attachment 100615
Somewhere between Aldur and Balehonnur Attachment 100616
Tea plantations at Balehonnur Attachment 100617
Towards Sringeri Attachment 100618
Just before Sringeri
Reach Sringeri town by 12:15PM. The weather is hot and humid. Park the car and head straight towards the temple. The temple is crowded because of Saraswati Puja. Visit the Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham and Vidyasankara temple here and finish darshan. Sit inside the temple for sometime as the temperature inside is cool and relaxing compared to the searing heat outside. Then have lunch at the temple consisting of a sweet, rice, sambar and buttermilk. Then go to the Tunga river right next to the temple which if full of fishes. Watch the fishes for sometime in the river and take some snaps. Leave Sringeri by 2:00PM and head towards Agumbe. The stretch from Sringeri to Agumbe Village is in good condition and as you descend the Ghats you will encounter bad stretches. Stop at the sunset spot for 15 minutes. And continue the drive towards Udupi. After the Agumbe Ghats the road till Hebri is single lane and will encounter potholes regularly. Attachment 100619
Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham at Sringeri Attachment 100621
Vidyasankara temple at Sringeri Attachment 100620
Dining Hall at Sringeri Attachment 100622
Fishes in river Tunga next to the temple Attachment 100623
Towards Agumbe Attachment 100624
Cross Manipal and check into Hotel Kediyoor near the bus stand by 4:00PM. Nice decent hotel with good Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian food. I am staying here for the second time and would recommend this hotel at Udupi. Clean AC Double Room around Rs.850. Rest for sometime in the room, change to beach wear and head towards Malpe Beach which is around 7KMS from Udupi town. Swim at the beach and watch the sunset. The water is calm and the beach is crowded as it’s a weekend. Spend a couple of hours at the beach and get back to the hotel by 7:30PM. Attachment 100625
Malpe Beach Attachment 100626 Attachment 100627
Sunset at Malpe Beach
One back from Malpe beach take bath and then have dinner in the room. Watch TV and doze off by midnight.