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Old 14th May 2010, 00:34   #526
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I think I'll just leave the job of taking "lightning photos" to others then. With my bad luck, the tripod will act like a lighting arrestor - I don't want to get fried!
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Old 14th May 2010, 09:51   #527
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Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
Its been a great read so far. You and your wife are really good photographers. The travel diary is also excellent. Its great to see your passion for travel and then share it with other. Please keep up the excellent work.

Cheers.
Thank you very much, for the compliments, VLOCT. We have a great rapport, love of nature and eye for detail and that helps us to click good snaps, during all our trips. Together, we have clicked over 60,000 snaps in a few months!

Our finest effort in photography was put in during our Udaipur trip. I am sure you'll enjoy the pics in that travelogue too! The motivation we get from readers like you, inspired us to spend 5 - 6 hours in freezing temperatures of Udaipur, trying to get the perfect shot.

@MX6, thank you, friend. Thanks for the tutorial for the readers. But one word of caution. Always stay indoors when you try stunts like these!

@Smartcat, anyone can try to get these kind of snaps from the safety of their homes. You won't get fried, as long as your building has lightning protection installed!
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Old 14th May 2010, 13:25   #528
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Another wonderful Travelogue and mesmerizing photos. The night shot of Velankanni is really beautiful. A request CL: Give us more details of the route you have taken from Pune to south and the places of stay.

A wonderful tutorial from Mx6 about photography.
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Old 14th May 2010, 14:43   #529
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Default The Journey Starts.......

The Journey Starts:-

After our incredible road trip to the magnificent Udaipur, we were pining for another long trip. We usually try to go for a vacation every three months or so. And we try to combine the trip with a visit to a pilgrim centre too. So it was a simple decision for us to go down south again for this trip. We wanted to go to some unexplored territory. After some planning, we decided to visit Ooty again. We were infatuated by the ‘Queen of Hill Stations in the South’! As far as I am concerned, the real Queen of hill stations in all of India is irrefutably Darjeeling!

We got an added incentive some days before the trip. We came to know that my sister and brother-in-law and their daughter were going to visit Ooty during the same period. We quickly speeded up our preparations for the long journey ahead of us. Unlike our previous trip to Udaipur and Mount Abu, where I consistently maintained 120 – 140 kmph, we wanted a leisurely drive enjoying the beauty of TN roads. So we skipped the time scheduling and decided to just enjoy the drive. I just told my sister that we would call her once we reached Ooty. I did not give her any timeframe as to when we would reach there. They would be in Ooty for a week and we had enough time at our disposal.

My Chevy is in immaculate condition always. I took him for a wheel rotation and wheel balancing. The new Goodyear Assurance tyres I purchased from Coimbatore, during our last trip, were running like a dream. The road grip and comfort they offered was excellent. I filled up Chevy to the brim and we were raring to go!

We decided to start our journey on the 4th of May. As always, HV Kumar ji sent me his detailed log books. They were as precise as a dictionary and we instantly felt better. He was gracious enough to help us out even though he was travelling. Actually I love night driving and we decided on a late evening start!

We had a bit of work on the 4th of May. So we decided to leave as soon as we finished our business in Pune. We returned back home by 2 pm and loaded up our two baggages in Chevy and we carefully kept our camera on the second row floor. We also stocked up on water and lots of chocolates. There is nothing like chocolate to cheer us up during our long drives!

We were in great spirits and hit the road with a prayer on our lips. Our odometer read 86,083 kms. We left Pune city by 3pm and started to enjoy the evening drive immensely. There was heavy traffic in the city and we took a long time to reach the brilliant NH4.

We reached the first highway toll booth at 3:55 pm, paid Rs. 45 and continued our drive. We were famished by then and stopped for lunch at Hotel Natraj, about 3 kilometres after the toll booth. Hotel Natraj is one of the best drive-in restaurants en-route and they serve both veg and non-veg food. We had Naan and Chicken Tikka Masala. The food was really tasty, but a bit expensive. The heat in that area was stifling and we suffered even with two fans running at full speed above us.

By 4:55pm, we finished our leisurely lunch. I did not drive above 100 kmph till then and that was the first time I maintained that kind of speed on NH4. I felt that we wouldn’t be able to drive all night as were really tired by the time we left Pune. The heat in Pune had taken its toll and we did not want to risk fate. I knew that we would be able to reach Hubli by late night and decided to halt for the night there.

The drive on NH4 was exhilarating. We instantly felt better with the cool air from our powerful AC cuddling our faces. It turned dark pretty soon and we switched on our projectors. Our Hellas were brilliant and we felt totally safe.

We reached Kolhapur by 7.30 pm after a sedate, uneventful drive. I have posted so many pics of the brilliant NH4 earlier in this thread. Please click on the link below to see what kind of roads we experienced till then. Nothing much has changed till now!!

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post1528150 (An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty)

Page 34 of this log covers all the characteristics of NH4.

We decided to enter Kolhapur and take a break there. There were no good restaurants in the bypass and the only option we had, was to go inside the city. We repented taking that decision almost instantaneously. The city roads were a total mess with road widening work going on and there were diversions everywhere. We stopped by the roadside and had tea and snacks from a good veg restaurant. We spent half an hour there relaxing and stretching our tired legs. The heat in Kolhapur was worse than Pune. It was impossible even to just sit there. We were soon drenched in our sweat and we bolted back inside our Chevy. The AC cooled us off in seconds and we hit the roads again at 8 pm.

We soon crossed the Maharashtra border and bypassed Belgaum. The road was much better in Karnataka and I increased my speed to 110 kmph at some stretches. I was not at all worried about the roads as we had driven on the NH4 countless times and we had the added protection from our Hellas. The experience of driving on NH4 cannot be explained in words!

We noticed that Hubli was still far away. Since my diesel tank was still more than half full, I thought of filling up in Hubli. As I mentioned earlier in this log, there are not many pumps for approximately 50 kilometers after Belgaum. So anyone travelling on this route should ideally fill up from the Konduskar pump in Kolhapur. Diesel is also cheaper in MH.

We had an uneventful drive till Hubli. The last 20 odd kilometers to Hubli, after the toll booth, was not 4 laned. So it was difficult to overtake or maintain high speeds. Trucks, driven by maniacs, tried to run us off the road at every given opportunity, but one flash of our second set of Hellas, which is aimed straight ahead, was enough to teach them a lesson in good driving habits. We finally reached Hubli by 11:20 pm. We straight away went to refill. I filled up 12.52 litres and paid Rs. 500.

We then went to search for a Hotel and finally checked into Hotel Ayodhya, which is opposite to the old bus stand. It was a 2 star hotel with very good AC rooms, which was quite cheap by Pune's standards.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-hotel_ayodhya.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1-room_in_ayodhya.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2-room_in_ayodhya.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3-room_in_ayodhya.jpg

We freshened up and rested for some time. Then we set out to do what we always do. We always explore a new place on foot. Chevy was taking some well deserved rest and I did not want to disturb him. The closing kilometre reading for the day was 86,570. We had covered 487 kilometres in about six hours of driving. I was very happy that we were able to reach Hubli as I knew that roads from Hubli till Chitradurga are a mess. And driving through those craters at night was the last thing I wanted.

We got out of our hotel by 12:20 am and went to the bus station in search of a hotel as we were quite hungry by then. Sadly all restaurants had shut down by that time. But with the help of an auto driver, we managed to find a small shop selling hot Idlis and Vada. We must have had a dozen Idlis and Vadas before our appetite finally subsided.

We returned back to our hotel soon. I made the most of the opportunity and clicked some night shots of the city. Please bear in mind that these pics were clicked without a tripod. Even though I carried my tripod, I never used it even once.

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-4-hubli_city_view.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5-hubli_city_view.jpg
An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6-hubli_city_view.jpg

We retired to the cool climes of our room by 1 am and immediately settled down for a well deserved sleep. We thanked God for giving us a wonderful day on the road and slowly drifted off to a deep slumber.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 14th May 2010 at 15:02.
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Old 14th May 2010, 14:48   #530
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Happy to see Hotel Ayodhya in Hubli. Have stayed there years ago, it was quite seedy at that time. Looks great. What was the tariff for the AC room? Would you recommend it to anyone for a night's stay?
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Old 14th May 2010, 15:27   #531
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
Another wonderful Travelogue and mesmerizing photos. The night shot of Velankanni is really beautiful. A request CL: Give us more details of the route you have taken from Pune to south and the places of stay.
A wonderful tutorial from Mx6 about photography.
Thank you Prowler. The photos are going to get more and more interesting. I will give the detailed route description along with my travelogue. But if you still need more precise info, you can always contact the ever-helpful HVK sir.


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Happy to see Hotel Ayodhya in Hubli. Have stayed there years ago, it was quite seedy at that time. Looks great. What was the tariff for the AC room? Would you recommend it to anyone for a night's stay?
Sir Ji, Ayodhya has changed, I guess. The rooms were very good. We took an AC suite for Rs. 1450 all inclusive. AC rooms were not available then. I guess the tariff was about Rs. 900 for normal AC rooms.

I will surely recommend it to anyone. It is ideal for families too. The hotel has guarded parking inside. Nothing beats it. It also has a good veg restaurant.

Sir, thank you once again for all the help you offered us.
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Old 14th May 2010, 16:05   #532
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I was looking for a decent place to stop midway between Bangalore & Mumbai - this Hotel Nataraj fits the bill perfectly. How far is it from the National Highway? Do we have to go deep inside the city?
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Old 14th May 2010, 16:23   #533
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I was looking for a decent place to stop midway between Bangalore & Mumbai - this Hotel Nataraj fits the bill perfectly. How far is it from the National Highway? Do we have to go deep inside the city?
Hotel Ayodhya, my friend. Hotel Natraj is a restaurant in the outskirts of Pune. It is only about 4 -5 kilometres away from the NH4. Just ask for the old bus stand. You will get crystal clear directions from the locals.

We have also stayed in Hotel Basant, very near to the highway and Hotel Swathi, which is on Airport road. Both these hotels have a similar tariff for AC rooms and their rooms are very good. Both have guarded parking.
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Old 14th May 2010, 16:47   #534
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I was looking for a decent place to stop midway between Bangalore & Mumbai - this Hotel Nataraj fits the bill perfectly. How far is it from the National Highway? Do we have to go deep inside the city?
Ideal hotels to stay in:
Chitradurga bypass - Ravi Mayur
Davangere bypass - Genesis Resorts
Davangere town - Pooja International/ Sai
Hubli city - Ayodhya/ Hans
Dharwad City - Hoysala
Belgaum bypass - Sankam Residency
Kolhapur + 13 kms - Sai Resorts
Karad - Kinara
Satara bypass - Mahendra Residency
Pune bypass - Viva Inn + several expensive hotels
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Old 14th May 2010, 16:57   #535
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Great - thanks! Since Hubli/Dharwad is almost midway through, hotels there make more sense.

Sankam Residency (Belgaum) manager has an attitude problem. Won't step inside that hotel ever again. But yes, the hotel rooms are fanatastic for the price.
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Old 14th May 2010, 17:01   #536
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Nice Start. Looking forward to more from the Dynamic Duo
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Old 14th May 2010, 19:14   #537
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Default Day 2.......

Day 2 :-

We woke up by 7 am on Day 2 of our journey. We quickly got ready and checked out of the hotel by 8 am. Loading all our luggage and keeping it safe was a time consuming affair and we managed to leave the hotel only by 8:20 am after a light breakfast.

We quickly reached the highway after circling the city once and took the road to Chitradurga. The road condition was appalling at some places and we had to cross Ranebennur town to reach the highway. The Ranebennur bypass was still not complete and we lost a good amount of time negotiating the town’s traffic. There were some railway crossings there, but luckily we did not encounter those behemoths.

We passed Chitradurga by 12 pm and I filled up 12.40 litres for Rs. 500 from an HP pump there. I was not convinced about the fuel available in the highway. So I thought of filling up fully from a pump closer to Bangy. We had stocked up on chocolates and snacks and did not stop anywhere for food. We continued our drive nonstop.

We stopped near an IOC pump by 2.20 pm. Tumkur was still a bit far away and I again filled up for Rs. 500. I got 12.43 litres here. We took a small break near the pump.

I managed to capture some amazing pics of the cloudy sky. I have been infatuated by clouds right from my younger days. I never owned a camera then. But ever since I bought my own beauty, I have been working overtime to capture some of the most amazing cloudscapes ever seen!

Here are some random pics from NH4 and of course, my favourite cloud shots!

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-1.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-2.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-3.jpg

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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-5.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-6.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-7.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-8.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-9.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-10.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-11.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-12.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-14.jpg

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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-16.jpg

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An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-24.jpg

An incredible road trip to Velankanni, Kodaikanal and Ooty-25.jpg

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 14th May 2010 at 19:29.
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Old 14th May 2010, 19:47   #538
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With every passing day, NH4 seems to be increasing its smoothness. Now what is needed are some good eat-outs.
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Old 14th May 2010, 20:40   #539
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Nice Start. Looking forward to more from the Dynamic Duo
Thanks Raj. The log has just started. The action will begin soon.

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With every passing day, NH4 seems to be increasing its smoothness. Now what is needed are some good eat-outs.
Oh yes. There is a serious problem in NH4 with regards to restaurants. I hope some good restaurant chain opens up their eateries soon. There is one Kamat Restaurant before reaching Tumkur.
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Old 14th May 2010, 23:27   #540
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Oh yes. There is a serious problem in NH4 with regards to restaurants. I hope some good restaurant chain opens up their eateries soon. There is one Kamat Restaurant before reaching Tumkur.
Thats exactly the issue. All hotels lie between Bangalore and Tumkur. Kamat, CCD etc.

I read in some other post that there is Ghar Dhaba somewhere close to Chitradurga.
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