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Old 9th March 2009, 19:47   #1
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Default Pune-Goa-Kerela-Goa-Pune: FordFiesta-3350Kms-10Days

Guys,

I had been thinking of going to Kerela since a few months. I had driven to Goa so many times, it is never exciting anymore. I know the route like the back of my hand now. And over that, a friend came visiting about 2 months back from Kochin. He is in the Navy. That encouraged me even more since I'll have more company there to chill out. So finally we planned (me and wife), took a weeks leave from work early February and made out the travel plan.

We planned to drive early from Pune at about 4 am, chill out at Baga on that day and move on to Kerela the next day again at about 4 am in the morning. About a month in advance, made all the reservations wherever required with the help of a Kerala colleague and I was scanning in.maps.yahoo.com for almost an hour everyday looking for the best route to reach Kochin.

The final day came. Woke up at 3:30 am, wife packed the stuff (that the best thing after getting married, they do all the packing, awesome) took cake, oranges, grapes, a few bottles of water, could keep 6 in the door pockets of my Fiesta which was tremendous. Checked my E90 for all the GPS software installed a day before (Oh I tell you, GPS enabled phone is a great support everyinch of the way, especially in a place where there is no common language to interact). Wife took some prints of the pages from Yahoo maps, so we generally knew what town was coming next when we move further from Goa. Tanked up a day in advance.

Left home at 4:30 odd. Did Pune - Kolhapur - gaganbawda ghat - Sawantwadi - Mapusa - Baga in 8 hours. Nothing too eventful here. It was the usual drive which has become seriously boring but the only thought that keeps you going is bottle of Kings beer that I enjoy on the beach in Goa. So yes, the next day!! here it goes!

DAY2- Started from Baga at about 5:30am, headed towards Madgaon. I put Mangalore on my GPS and it was usually guiding the way though it performed horribly in the internal Goan roads. Tanked up in Madgaon and drove towards South Goa close to Palolem and the place is breathtaking. The area was beautiful forest zone and I have vowed to stay in palolem next time I am off to Goa. Early morning drive was brilliant. I was doing about 70-90kmph, ocassionally slowing down when there was traffic. I saw a lot of Innovas (cabs) taking foriegners on that road. During my breakfast ahead of Karwar, I asked one of them and they were actually off to Hampi from Udipi where there is a wild life sanctuary in addition to the temples.

Karwar, which is next to Karnataka border has got some of the best beaches in business. They were just beautiful, looked like no one has ever stepped on them Good resorts around too.

So basically i did Baga-Madgaon-Karwar-Mordeshwar-Udipi-Mangalore-Kannur-Calicut-Kochi (22hours) that day. Mordeshwar was a beautiful place as well. The road overall being a coastal route was beautiful and at Mordeshwar, the road stretched besides the sea for almost a kilometer. It was refreshing, seriously and we both were awed at the site that we had infront of us. Had lunch in Mangalore at about 2.00pm. I dont remember the name of the restaurant but it was on the NH itself with amazing food, beautifuly decorated and superb service, cost me Rs 270 only. I was like heck awesome. Great value for money and super polite people WOW.

Crossed into Kerela at about 4pm I think, don't remember the exact time. Decided to stop for tea and guess what, no tapri. Kerela has no tapris, finally spotted a place which was a shop and had the worst cup of tea of my life. I didn't know they had a different style of chai. Whatever, carried on reached Kannur from there the crazy traffick started. It was so crowded that i could barely manage 10 kms in an hour, lost my way somehow after a while since I did not trust my GPS, diverted off the highway for an hour and finally listened to my wife and GPS since they were somehow correct this time. Both of them huh.

Kerela was crazy actually initially since it was so different than what I had ever seen before. This was the first time I was travelling to any southern state. I saw few brilliant cars on the roads there. I wish I had spotted any of the bhpians cars there but was not really sure. Traffic sense is extraordinary with no one breaking signals in Kochi even when there were no cops around. Great people, clean surroundings overall and Kochi almost felt like home in a couple of days. Especially my friends Navy house was great to be in.

The following trips I took from there:

Kochi - Athirapally - Kochi
Kochi - Munnar - Kumarakom - Aleppy - Kochi

Rested for a day and headed back to GOA. Coming back was of course faster I did the previous 22hour trip this time in just 18 hours and was a piece of cake.

Kochi-Calicut-Kannur-Mangalore-Udipi-Mordeshwar-Karwar-Madgaon-Baga (18 Hours this time)

The idea is to trick the super prosperous (read rich) Kerela towns that are in their complete capacity standing and roaming around on NH17 trying there best to slowdown the highway traffik, by doing that zone early morning. I saved 3 hours like that. I am going to let the pics do rest of the explaining. I am more tired typing so much than I was at the last day of the trip. So here goes. I'll come up with the mileage figures tomorrow since have not calculated anything yet correctly. Will have to gather all the bills and there is a heap of toll receipts, some are as low as Re. 1. Yes I know Maharashtra people, Re 1 was the toll at one place in Kerela and I even got a Receipt.

My writing skills are pretty limited so this is the best I could manage.

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Old 9th March 2009, 20:06   #2
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Some more snaps here.

Oh yes about the car, It surprised me completely. We loaded it fully, 2 large suitcases, 1 large bag, another picnic basket kind of bag, lots of water, A blaupunkt Gtb 300 was already there in the boot, a/c on 95% of the time. The handling was awesome on the ghats, it stuck on to the tarmac and infact I was going really fast on the twisties to get that bit of a hint from the car "hey I can't hold on to the road more than this" but it never came seriously. I held on everytime and everywhere at all angles. Power was more than adequate for the NH17 and I remember I had driven 16 hours at a stretch once in my Matiz while coming from Jalandhar to Pune and I was kinda tired. This 22hour single day stretch was easy done in the Fiesta. Imagine I was dying to drive it again the next day, only after that trip, otherwise who wants to drive in Camp, Pune

Will post mileage figures tomorrow.
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Old 9th March 2009, 20:16   #3
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abhi thats a really cool travelogue,and some extraordinary pics i'm sure it must be one of the best trips of your life.

Did you polish your fiesta when you reached kerela??It doesn't look like it travelled all the way from pune to kerela .
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Old 9th March 2009, 20:59   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by team suzuki View Post
abhi thats a really cool travelogue,and some extraordinary pics i'm sure it must be one of the best trips of your life.

Did you polish your fiesta when you reached kerela??It doesn't look like it travelled all the way from pune to kerela .
Yes I'll remember this for ever, one great experience it was and probably the longest I have ever driven in a single day.

The car was cleaned by a certain Baburao courtesy the Navy as I mentioned before, just the day after I reached Kochi. So I clicked it a couple of times Before the wash, it was covered in brown you know what.. looked great like that too though
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Old 9th March 2009, 21:03   #5
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Great journey, dude! And nice pics too! Keep 'em coming.
Do post details of FE, poor roads, bypasses to towns, etc. I'd also like to know from where you diverted on the NH4 to Sawantwadi--was it at Sankeshwar?
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Old 9th March 2009, 21:26   #6
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PLEASE! Its KERALA, not KERELA!

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue.
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Old 9th March 2009, 21:42   #7
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Good pics. Couple of them are very nice. Will waitt for FE figures. From your sign, i feel you are quite a fan of red colour ;-)
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Old 9th March 2009, 22:20   #8
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Nice pictures, abhi. Your fiesta looks good in those alloys.
And abhi, it's Kerala, not Kerela.
Ranjith
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Old 10th March 2009, 09:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi1309 View Post
Decided to stop for tea and guess what, no tapri. Kerela has no tapris, finally spotted a place which was a shop and had the worst cup of tea of my life. I didn't know they had a different style of chai.

Kochi - Athirapally - Kochi
The typical tea that you get in Kerala is quite different in taste and quantity (a glass full) than what you get in Maharashtra and most of the northern states. One needs to have grown up with it to like it. My wife hates it. But I love it. And I love the north Indian tea too - best of both the worlds.

Nice travelogue. You might have passed through my village while visiting Athirappilly, if you had taken the shorter route.
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Old 10th March 2009, 10:59   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi1309 View Post
This 22hour single day stretch was easy done in the Fiesta. Imagine I was dying to drive it again the next day, only after that trip, otherwise who wants to drive in Camp, Pune
Thats great drive, Nice place to be around feb. The pic of house which is having swimming pool at one side and sea at other is very good.

And yes who want to drive a car in pune
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Old 10th March 2009, 11:27   #11
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What is the hotel you stayed in the second place? Looks enticing.

Been to Munnar and Tea County, that's also an awesome place to stay.
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Old 10th March 2009, 11:46   #12
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Nice pics. Look forward to reading the rest of the travelogue.

I have only question and it bothers me a lot. How is the state of roads near Mangalore and north Kerala? I'm planning to drive down with the family (2 kids) in mid-April. This is probably my 3rd trip and knowing Mangalore and north Kerala, I have a sense of trepidation.

Regards,

Pradeep
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Old 10th March 2009, 11:51   #13
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Hey Abhi !

Are these pictures of Waterscapes Resort in Kumarakom, even I stayed there 2 years ago.

Its a wonderful accommodation.
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Old 10th March 2009, 13:48   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Great journey, dude! And nice pics too! Keep 'em coming.
Do post details of FE, poor roads, bypasses to towns, etc. I'd also like to know from where you diverted on the NH4 to Sawantwadi--was it at Sankeshwar?
I will, tomorrow for sure, have not been getting time for calculations. I left NH4 at Kolhapur where I stopped for breakfast. I went to Gaganbawda which is about 20kms from there and made my way to a place called Talere which is the junction point for NH17 and is originally coming from Mumbai. The NH17 goes till Trivandrum but ofcourse I stopped for a day at Goa. I do not remember crossing Sankeshwar but Sawantwadi comes like always

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
PLEASE! Its KERALA, not KERELA!

Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue.
Got it, will remember it is Kerala all my life, after reading the signboards and milestones in kerala with all those double 'L' and double 'P' names, you can't blame me for losing my spelling sense

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
Good pics. Couple of them are very nice. Will waitt for FE figures. From your sign, i feel you are quite a fan of red colour ;-)
Hmm we generally prefer red in the family but I guess we have had too much of it now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Nair View Post
Nice pictures, abhi. Your fiesta looks good in those alloys.
And abhi, it's Kerala, not Kerela.
Ranjith
Got it! Alloys were nice when I got them, but now they are pretty common with even a callcenter cab (Indicab) near my office sporting them, you can imagine how I feel now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
The typical tea that you get in Kerala is quite different in taste and quantity (a glass full) than what you get in Maharashtra and most of the northern states. One needs to have grown up with it to like it. My wife hates it. But I love it. And I love the north Indian tea too - best of both the worlds.

Nice travelogue. You might have passed through my village while visiting Athirappilly, if you had taken the shorter route.
Yeah i know about the tea, anyways I missed the new shorter route while going to Athirapilly, but came through it while returning since signboards were userfriendly while returning to Kochi. See, as I said, I wanted to spot bhpians cars and I knew I was close to so many, after all Kerala has a major chunk of team-bhp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shabahmad View Post
Thats great drive, Nice place to be around feb. The pic of house which is having swimming pool at one side and sea at other is very good.
And yes who want to drive a car in pune
That is the Bar and restaurant area poolside in Waterscapes, Kumarakom, not a house! KTDC jai ho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
What is the hotel you stayed in the second place? Looks enticing.

Been to Munnar and Tea County, that's also an awesome place to stay.
Waterscapes, Kumarakom managed by KTDC and in the midst of the bird sanctuary. Munnar Tea County is no less. We were amazed at the KTDC standards after our past experience with MTDC which is barely half a star or no star actually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pradkumar View Post
Nice pics. Look forward to reading the rest of the travelogue.

I have only question and it bothers me a lot. How is the state of roads near Mangalore and north Kerala? I'm planning to drive down with the family (2 kids) in mid-April. This is probably my 3rd trip and knowing Mangalore and north Kerala, I have a sense of trepidation.

Regards,

Pradeep
The bypass at Mangalore which is being four laned is still under construction and its all broken right now but its just a couple of kilometres, so it does not really bother much in such a long trip.

Actually the best place to drive in Kerala is North Kerala I think. It is not really (read thinly) populated and the roads are decent. You can ocassionally do triple digit speeds as well. The horror starts after Kannur. If you are planning to go with two kids, do not even think about Goa - Kochi in a single day. Halt at Calicut or even before, a very comfortable proposition would be RNS residency (its one cool seaside accomodation) at Mordeshwar or halt anywhere in Udupi.

About the road, there were a few rough patches at Karwar too but thankfully I wasn't driving a Japanese rattlebox. Ford glided over every surface without a hint of lost composure or loose noise, completely composed. I was doing these patches at about 80kmph without feeling the need to slowdown and remembered my Dad's Santro in similar situations where it rattled to its soul and its screams could probably be heard through all of the Oriental world. No, seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubby View Post
Hey Abhi !

Are these pictures of Waterscapes Resort in Kumarakom, even I stayed there 2 years ago.

Its a wonderful accommodation.
You are right, great place to stay in, I feel like going there again right now. It was a memorable experience. I saw turtles in the canals, so happily went and paid the exorbitant bill. It was completely worth it
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Old 10th March 2009, 13:56   #15
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Great pics abhi1309, you guys must have had a great time ! How I wish I could take off for 10 days too....
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