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Old 4th August 2009, 11:46   #16
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Tuesday it is today!!!
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:03   #17
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Default Day-2: Badami-Belgaum-Goa

@Fordmanchau - this post is dedicated to you , for your interest in my story

So, we started from Badami at 10.30 AM after finishing with cave temples. The idea was to go to Bagalkot and get on to the highway (SH20?)connecting Bagalkot and Belgaum. But, after 6-7 KM from Badami we came to a junction where the bystading locals directed us towards a direct route to SH20. After 20 KM in to that route, we were cursing ourselves for taking that advice. The road steadily got worse in to a bad single road, and for almost 30 KM there was absolutely no village in sight.
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010114.jpg
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010127.jpg

Just when we were bracing ourselves for a long day ahead on a single road, we came across a village and from there SH20 was fortunately just 6 KM away. The highway upto Belgaum was absolute breeze. While we did 60 KM between Badami and SH20 in 2 Hrs (incl. a tea break), it took us just 1.5 Hrs to do 120 KM on the highway up to Belgaum.
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010137.jpg
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010149.jpg

We stopped at Belgaum at 3 PM, enquired with locals to confirm that route via Amboli Ghat is best to reach Goa considering the current road conditions of Londa-Ponda route. We stopped at a dhaba immediately after exiting Belgaum, to enjoy some beverages and yummy chicken thali. We spent only 30 minutes for lunch as we wanted to avoid the foggy conditions at Amboli ghat. I found Amboli ghat to be one of the easiest ghats to drive on, as there are no steep bends. I was enjoying the drive also because the rain is playing hide and seek- it rains heavily for 1-2 KM and it stops for the next 2-3 KM.
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010150.jpg
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010151.jpg

It was almost 4.30 PM when we reached Amboli, welcomed by gloomy and wet conditions for 3-4 KM.
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010155.jpg

I suddenly noticed thick fog developing on the top of some hills far away. In no time, that fog spread to where we are and I was switched on fog lights, distress lights, etc. but kept driving. The fog vanished as suddenly as it arrived, and then we were treated to the sights of water steams/falls on one side and the beauty of huge valley on the other side. The visibility was so good that I could see a lake in the valley which must be some 20 KM away. Next minute we entered the slow moving traffic blocked by revellers enjoying a shower in the water falls and a swig at the bottle in their hand, alternatively. My camera battery conked off at that precise moment (But some one else in our group captured all those moments, I expect to get those pictures in a couple of days). I must have seen at least 6 water falls/steams that are easily accessible for a shower. So, we clicked a lot of pictures and quickly moved on for North Goa. We reached Calangute at ~7.30 PM. I had originally planned to check-in into Paradise Village resort. This is one of the 3 places recommended by mobike (Molly Malone's was struck out because it did not have swimming pool, and Osborne was temporarily shut down for renovation). When I called Paradise Village resort from Hyderabad, the guy at the reservations offered Rs. 1500 per night for a double room, which sounded decent enough for me. Since we are a group of 11, we wanted to strike good bargain and started negotiating with the lady managing the front desk, without revealing about my previous phone enquiry. That lady should be the most grumpy professional I have come across in hospitality industry. She offered Rs. 1800 per night and no extra beds. Even after I revealed that I got an offer for Rs. 1500 when I spoke over phone, and even when the guy who actually made that offer over phone came there to resolve the situation, she stuck to her guns. And all this when most of their rooms are apparently empty and when there is not a single car in their parking lot. I pity her employer.

So, we went to a place a few steps away that we noticed while driving to Paradise. It is a small hotel with ~20 rooms, a nice swimming pool and a temorarily closed restaurant. The rooms were decent and the best part is they have 4-bed and 3-bed rooms. We negotiated a rate of Rs. 8000 for two 4-bed rooms and one 3-bed room (All air-conditioned) for 3 nights. Now I felt like thanking that lady at Paradise for driving us out.

We settled in, took shower, took few gulps of IMFL bought at Goa prices and set out for the night.
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:13   #18
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Very nice pics. Like others waiting for the rest of the travelogue too.

Also one question, maybe a very stupid one but I need to ask. Are these caves natural caves or man made?
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:35   #19
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@ Deky - They are man made caves, i.e. they carved those hills to build 4 temples.
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:37   #20
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Wow , I had been to Badami 2 years back in August only, I remmember while going up we had to go through Narrow-step steps

I remmember a small pond up in badami , The top had a lovely view of the village

By the way didnt you go to Hampi ? I lked Hampi a lot than Badami
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:45   #21
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We had done Mumbai - Hampi - Badami - Dandeli - Mumbai

Wow you reminded me of those good days , Thanks for refreshing my memeory , I shall post my picture too
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Old 6th August 2009, 13:50   #22
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@Glenn - We missed Hampi by a few hours. On the last day of our tour, after overnight halt in Gadag, we wanted to return to Hyderabad by sunset, hence we gave up on a brief tour of Hampi. The other group (in Innova) spent 3 Hrs at Hampi before they sped off to Guntur. I would plan to spend at least 1 day at Hampi, when I plan a tour of Karnataka next time.
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Old 6th August 2009, 14:03   #23
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Hi Nag,

Nice travelogue, great pictures
it seems Nag's Eleven have stolen lot many pictures, fun moments and of course medicines/IMFL etc, I am waiting for next post.
let the Stud's party continue, let more fun flow to the next post.
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Old 6th August 2009, 14:07   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nagvasireddy View Post
@Fordmanchau - this post is dedicated to you , for your interest in my story.
Nag sir, Thank you very much for this honour.
The photos look amazing , particularly the 1st, 3rd and 4th pic of the post.
I guess your journey was blessed with lots of rain and thick black cloud cover during the entire trip.
It must have been an amazing experience.
I hope more of it is coming for all of us to experience your journey .
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Old 6th August 2009, 19:41   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nagvasireddy View Post
I would plan to spend at least 1 day at Hampi, when I plan a tour of Karnataka next time.
You would need 2 days to explore and you will fall in love

The one thing I loved the place is peaceful in the night

Thought a toursist place but you feel the same in the night

Good food !

LAND FULL OF ROCKS and you will love it

Infact Qyamat se Qyamat tak in which Amir Khan & Juhi hides in a jungle has been shot there

But the saddest part I have come across a lot of Indians who dont know this place and you will find a lot of Foreigners exploring this place
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Old 6th August 2009, 19:46   #26
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OgAAAEzsU7GeruR2vkpwFFK1emJelEWlcO6I26HkX-h0BWm---IFvojkK0X5GUwAxzdE7h2435mqLZyG9wjq7FG-XXEAm1T1UGQX[quote=nagvasireddy;1418985]@Glenn - We missed Hampi by a few hours. On the last day of our tour
[quote=StarVegabond;1419010]

My Hampi Pics ( Sorry for the bad quality )

Last edited by glenn : 6th August 2009 at 19:47. Reason: oops pics not coming through
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Old 7th August 2009, 09:42   #27
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Good report and great pictures, Nag. Loved the Amboli rain shot.
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Old 7th August 2009, 10:31   #28
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Default Part II: Goa, contd.

We woke up a tad late on Day-3 because most of us indulged ourselves the previous night at various pubs and discos in Baga area. I was feeling little heavy in the head, so I quickly freshened up, wolfed down idlis and vadas at an Udipi hotel near Calangute bus stand, and popped in a Meftal forte. I was feeling fresh by the time the others got ready at 10 AM.
Our first stop over was Aguada fort. We took in the sights and clicked a good number of pictures. By 11.30 AM, the sun was beating down on us mercilessly, and I felt like I am in Guntur/Vijayawada. The first thing we did after climbing down from the fort is to gulp down a few lemon sodas.

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010159.jpg

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010157.jpg

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010161.jpg

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010167.jpg

We then set off to Panaji to enquire about various cruise options, incl. Casino Royale. There are many rickety cruises offering a ride on River Mandovi for 1.5-3 Hrs @ Rs. 150-200 per head. The deal with Casino Royale was very tempting, with music, free F&B, Casino, etc. @ Rs. 1500 per head, but the down side was that one has to spend almost 10-12 Hrs on the cruise once they sail out at 8 PM.

So we decided to come back in the evening for a short cruise. We drove back to Calangute, and decided on "Hotel Infantria" for liesurely lunch. We ordered few beef, pork and chicken dishes from the continental menu. After spending almost 3 Hrs on lunch, we trudged back to the hotel and slept for 90 minutes before the first among us hit the pool. After several rounds of competitions and pranks in the pool we dragged ourselves out, freshened up, drove down to Panaji, only to find that we missed the last of short cruises by a couple of minutes. Without wasting much time we drove back to Calangute beach. This beach is much cleaner than Baga beach (that we visited the previous night, er.. well past mid night). There are a few restaurants facing the beach, but there is one restaurant who placed tables right on the beach, we went for this one. We must have spent around 2 Hrs taking in the sights and sea breeze. The sea breeze and the exertions earlier in the day made a few of us yearn for a quiet dinner and long sleep in the cosy confines of our hotel. So, some of us (incl. yours truly) retired to the hotel at 11 PM, while the others headed for the watering holes in Baga beach, mainly to check out the new crowd we have seen driving in to the nearby hotels for a weekend in Goa.

Next morning the routine was almost same, except that I did not have to pop in my Meftal forte. The plan for the day was to visit the South Goa beaches. Some of us had started early to visit nearby Anjuna beach. We decided on visiting Colva and Majorda among the beaches in the South. It took us almost 2 Hrs to drive down to Colva beach from Calangute. Colva is definitely more picturesque than Calangute or Baga. There is a resort right on the beach, that has a neat restaurant offering direct view of the beach. The food was good and so was the crowd, which kept building up through out the afternoon with tourists, ostensibly from Mumbai and Pune.

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010189.jpg

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010199.jpg

After finishing lunch at 4 PM, we moved on to Majorda beach on our way back to Calangute. Majorda beach is much quieter and cleaner. The beach bed is also very flat much like Suryalanka beach in A.P. For once we all were tempted to swim in the sea, but the "life guards" stationed there warned us against it. Though we were not so sure of the life guards' wisdom, we just complied with their advice and moved on. After reaching our hotel in Calangute, we went for the pool right away because we were in no mood to waste even a minute considering that we wanted to start our return jounrey next morning (Sunday) immediately after breakfast.

We spent couple of hours in the pool, having fun watching 2 non-swimmers among us trying to drown each other in the pool. That night, as expected, every watering hole near Baga beach was packed with the weekend crowd. So, we happily did some sincere pub hopping and wound up finally at 3 AM.

After breakfast next day, we went to Mapusa market for some value shopping and to buy the local varieties in beverages. After confirming with the vendor about the legal limit per person to carry local beverages across the border, I enquired about Amboli ghat route. My original plan was to travel to Bijapur via Amboli ghat, Belgaum, Athni, for overnight halt and for some sight seeing at Bijapur next morning. The vendor advised me against taking Amboli ghat route because of the crowds that throng during weekends to enjoy the waterfalls. Recalling the crowds we have seen while driving to Goa on a Thursday, we have decided to try out the route to Belgaum via Margao that the vendor alluded to. It was only after crossing Panaji it dawned on me that this route must be Londa-Ponda route. Even during the tour planning I have resolved not to use this route because of the bad roads and the truck traffic. So, we have turned our original plan on its head, and decided to drive to Hyderabad via Karwar, Hubli, Hospet, Raichur and Mahabubnagar. The other group from Guntur had any way planned to go via Hubli, Hospet, Bellary and Kurnool (with a stop over at Hospet, and sight seeing at Hampi the next morning). So all of us were happy to spend one more day together. We drove at not so great speeds across south Goa and were stopped just before Karwar at the border check post. First it was the turn of Goa excise staff. We had all licenses/permits except for Fenny and port wine we were carrying (the vendor at Mapusa told us that no permits are required to carry Fenny and port wine across the border). So, as you would have guessed, we still had to shell out some money (Rs.50) to get away with all our bottles. Next is the turn of Karnataka excise and police, who robbed us of further Rs. 150 and Rs. 100, respectively. Since we started little earlier than the group from Guntur, I immediately called them up to warn them about the "procedures" at the border check post. As it turns out, one member of that group apparently started arguing with the custodians of law and was promptly relieved of Rs. 2000. That aside, the sights of Arabian ocean at Karwar and Devbagh beach are awesome.

On NH-17 towards Karwar
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010242.jpg

The views near Karwar/ Devbagh beach

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010245.jpg

Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010246.jpg

We exited the NH 17 just before Ankola and joined the Highway leading to Hubli-Hospet-Bellary-Gooty. By now, it was almost 2.30 PM, and we were depserately looking for a dhaba. We found a dhaba after almost 15 minutes. The dhaba was large, clean and nestled among picturesque hills.

My car parked near the dhaba
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010250.jpg

Dhaba in serene location
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010251.jpg

We had a liesurely lunch and resumed our drive at 4 PM. Our plan was to reach Hospet (which is 290 KM away) by 9 PM, stay overnight and to start early next day for completing a short tour of Hampi by noon, so that we can reach Hyderabad by 7-8 PM. However, we could only reach Gadag at 8.45 PM, Hampi is another 90 KM away. So, we decided to halt at Gadag, which we found to be a large town. That very moment, we knew that we have to skip Hampi tour if we have to reach Hyderabad, ~ 500 KM away via Raichur, by sunset next day. So, next day we started at 8.30 AM from Gadag and reached Hyderabad (via gajendra gadh, kushtagi, sindhanur, raichur and Mahabunagar) at 7.30 PM. We were terribly slowed down by the narrow roads between Gadag and Sindhanur (almost 170 KM).

Wind mills at Gajendra gadh
Hyd-Goa Road trip Via Badami-p1010253.jpg

Our friends from Guntur later informed us that we could have done much better had we chosen Gadag-Hospet-Bellary-Alur-Kurnool-Jadcherla-Hyderabad route. The roads were apparently good, the distance would have been 460 KM. Any ways, on our way back we stopped at a dhaba outside Raichur to continue our practice of having a liesurely lunch.

Summary of distances

Hyderabad-Raichur via Mahabubnagar: 250 KM
Raichur-Bagalgot via Lingsigur: ~220 KM
Bagalkot-Belgaum: ~100 KM
Belgaum-Calangute via Amboli and Mapusa: ~155 KM
Total distance for onward journey: ~725 KM, Time taken (incl. lunch and tea breaks): 17.5 Hrs

Calangute-Gadag via Karwar and Hubli: 330 KM
Gadag-Raichur via Sindhanur: 240 KM
Raichur-Hyderabad via Mahabubnagar: 250 KM
Total distance for return journey: 820 KM, Time taken (incl. lunch and tea breaks): 20 Hrs

Even 2 days before the tour, I was worried about driving in unfamiliar territory in the monsoon rains lashing across Karnataka and Goa, and I was worried about staying indoors in Goa if it continues to rain heavily for those 3 days. Luckily there were no rains at all during my entire 6 day tour, except for nice cloud cover and some brief showers. Secondly, we also got very lucky with hotel rates because of the slack reason. The entire tour cost us Rs. 6000 per head, incl. fuel for cars and men. It sort of made up for the slow night life at Goa on Thursday and Friday. In fact some of the famous joints like Titos and Brittos are closed for the entire month of July.

Last but not the least, the tour made all of us feel much younger, though the truth is that all of us gained weight during the tour and were looking older.

more pictures to follow..
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Old 7th August 2009, 11:22   #29
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Nag, great travelogue. Believe it or not, I was in Goa the same time (23-26th of July), and it was raining ALL the time. No respite. I was in South Goa though, and did not do any beaches or stuff. But it was thoroughly wet. Infact, I visited a couple of friends in Madgaon on the Sunday, and they said they did not have any rains for the last week or so:O. Imagine, we were at Collem, around 50 odd kms away I guess, and had non-stop rains. Fickle is the word which comes to mind for the Monsoons man.
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Old 7th August 2009, 12:57   #30
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@ Anurag - this is truly incredible (i.e. about rains in South Goa). Where did stay in Goa? If you have already posted a travelogue on this, please send me the URL.
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