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Old 15th October 2009, 01:45   #1
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Default Roameo on the Emerald Route

Good Morning.

Welcome to the first travelogue I have ever written.

With the Mangalore Express day train service launched recently, taking the railway would have been the logical choice to go to Udupi via Mangalore. With the incessant rains on a rampage in the state, my dad would have considered it totally illogical to even think about driving down and would have set my mom to nag me no end to have my mind changed. So I didn't let them have even a scent of my intent till the day before our departure. Needless to say he was speechless.

With all 9 days and a car at your disposal, one can afford to transcend logic. In any case, after applying it for months on end at work, it is the last thing you want to take with you on a vacation.

My wife and Sonny were in a state of high excitement. We had already travelled through the Charmadi ghats on a previous visit to Mangalore.
Traversing the Shiradi ghats did not appear an all too appetising idea, at least from the feedback on this forum. We were in no hurry to set a speed record for reaching Mangalore/Udupi and did not mind getting there last in so far as we had a thoroughly enjoyable drive. Everyone who had taken the Shimoga route to Bangalore seem to have enjoyed the experience and said the roads were better. Sonny had been talking of visiting the Jog for quite some time and this trip presented the perfect opportunity. This was as far as our logic went.

26th Sept to 4th October were all ours to do whatever we wanted to.
To Udupi via Shimoga-Jog Falls-Teerthahalli-Agumbe is how we planned it. Return route to be via Agumbe-Sringeri-Kudremukh-Kalasa-chikmaglur-Hassan.

In preparation, I got my car service a few days before departure date. I had already gone through the recent travel experiences and tips for this route on the forum. My friend and colleage, Indian Ranger, who had done an impromptu trip on this route the week before, had helpful advice to give me. News about non-stop rains in those regions troubled me as I had never done long trips in raining conditions previously.

On 26th Sept at 6 am, we set out on our journey from our residence in J.P Nagar, Bangalore.It had stopped raining and the air was crisp and cool. We took the Kanakapura Road and then on to Nice Expressway to get to Tumkur Road.

There was joy in our hearts.

So NICE in the morning.
Roameo on the Emerald Route-so-nice2-large.jpg
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Old 15th October 2009, 09:39   #2
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Roameo, after the interesting introduction, i was looking out for the next posting from you and was all the more surprised that you have come up with a travelogue. The teaser is really wonderful, i am looking forward for more from you. I do really admire you style of narration. Do post in as soon as possible!
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Old 15th October 2009, 14:23   #3
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Roameo, I guess i'll end up subscribing to every thread you start, they are just that interesting.
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Old 15th October 2009, 16:23   #4
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Nice to note that. I did a similar trip to udupi (only that I did from pune all by myself)! But that was on same lines. Drove down all of a sudden during the weekend of Gandhi Jayanti!
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Old 16th October 2009, 00:47   #5
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How about some breakfast?

We got off the NICE Road and on to Tumkur Road. I was expecting a trail of trucks as we swooped down from the expressway. To my surprise, there weren't too many of them, probably because it was early in the morning. We crossed the Nelamangala strech quicker than expected and we were soon speeding towards Tumkur.

From the posts on the forum, it seemed it would be sacrilege to go through Tumkur without tasting the legendary Tatte-Idli. I totally missed Pavithra at Dobspet, and soon Tumkur came and Tumkur went. In any case, at 7.30am neither Sonny and Wife weren't yet ready for breakfast. So we sped on.

The weather conditions were perfect for driving. No rains yet and only an overcast sky. We drove on for another hour or so with 94.3 FM keeping us entertained with the latest bollywood fare. A crank call from Ghanta Singh had Sonny and wife in splits.

I do not recall if it was before or after Gubbi, Sonny declared he was hungry. Wife agreed, and so did I. We stopped at a small way side eatery. As almost all the tables were taken by the locals and travelling villagers, the owner guided us to what he called a 'Family room'. It was a small, dingy room with an apology to a window that let in a pinch of pale light through its dusty panes. The room had a small not-so-clean-looking marble table with four plastic chairs around it. The ones ouside were of wood. I said we could sit outside with the villagers. Wife squarely refused saying they would be staring at us all the time and she would not be able to eat in peace. A small boy of about ten years came in and shyly cleaned the table without looking at us. The owner entered and politely asked us what we would like to have. We had noticed some of the locals having 'Tatte Idli' when we entered.

They were fluffy, soft and surprisingly delicious. So was the chutney that came with it. They disappeared from the plates before anyone could count 10, or almost. Sonny ordered a second plate and made short work of it. As he put down his spoons, an involuntary burp of satisfaction escaped him. He grinned at us. Happiness!


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After a cuppa sweet but piping hot coffee, we continued on our journey. The roads although rough most of the way were quite motorable and we maintained a good speed. Traffic was sparse. I was doing 80 to 100 kmph till I almost crashed into a foot deep crater somewhere near Tiptur.

As we went into a rather sharp bend, I noticed it about 20 feet ahead andbang in the middle of my tragectory. I breaked as hard as I could and pulled the wheel hard to the left. The ABS kicked in instantly and I could actually experience it working. I escaped the crater by a feet and went round it without loosing control. I was now glad I paid the extra for this safety feature and would strongly recommend it to anyone planning to buy a new car.

Wife was a bit shaken by the experience. Sonny seemed thrilled and was grinning all over. I confess I was a bit shaken myself.

We stopped for a while a kilometer or two ahead to recover.

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Old 16th October 2009, 09:16   #6
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Roameo, after the teaser, the next post is also really good, please continue doing the good work, looking out for more!
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Old 16th October 2009, 10:16   #7
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Roameo,

Good start and a great narration. I am waiting for your posts eagerly.
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Old 16th October 2009, 11:58   #8
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Roameo, great starters for the meal (the travelogue) being served! The tatte idlis remind me of an Assamese snack, tekeli pitha. They are prepared almost the same way except that only rice powder is used in the Assamese variety; no mix of powdered urad ka dal and it is not left for overnight fermentation.

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Originally Posted by Roameo View Post
I breaked as hard as I could and pulled the wheel hard to the left. The ABS kicked in instantly and I could actually experience it working. I escaped the crater by a feet and went round it without loosing control. I was now glad I paid the extra for this safety feature and would strongly recommend it to anyone planning to buy a new car.
I have stopped speeding in my car after a couple of bad experiences which would never have occured in a car with ABS.

Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 16th October 2009 at 11:59.
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Old 16th October 2009, 12:07   #9
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Raomeo, a great start indeed!

we all think alike isnt it, my relatives and folks still dont understand that why i still my car to travel to mangalore/Udupi even with the present state of roads

Well its the drive/ride what matters not the destination

Keep it going!
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Old 16th October 2009, 14:07   #10
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Great going Roameo . Remember ,you have some standards to keep
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Old 16th October 2009, 16:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
The tatte idlis remind me of an Assamese snack, tekeli pitha. They are prepared almost the same way except that only rice powder is used in the Assamese variety; no mix of powdered urad ka dal and it is not left for overnight fermentation.
Hope to taste tekeli pitha some day.

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Well its the drive/ride what matters not the destination
You said it!

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Remember ,you have some standards to keep
Will try my best.
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Old 16th October 2009, 21:43   #12
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The Sound of Music

There on, I drove at reduced speeds . Every little shade ahead looked like a pot hole and I would slow down. Talk about paranoia! But, this may actually have saved me from getting into many a pot hole on the way and there were many. I noticed most of them were under large trees. Except for a short tea break at a small shop along the way,we did not stop anywhere and drove on. Signal from 94.3FM had been out of range for some time now. Sonny reached forward, plugged in his MP3 device in to the car's sound system and started playing MJ's songs. An argument with Sonny ensued immediaetly.

I do not know if it is the age factor, but my sensibilites have undergone some significant transformation in the past 7 or 8 years. I have developed a great aversion to western pop music and listening to it for more than a few minutes induces in me a feeling of extreme uneasiness and sometimes I develop a severe headache. On the other hand, I have become a great fan of bollywood and Indian pop music which earlier I could only tolerate. The indian pop music has changed so much in the past five or six years and there is some really original music getting created these days. The fusion of Indian and western music is seamless and a lot more melodious than about 10 years. Jai Ho, Mr.Rehman!

I asked Sonny to switch to bollywood or Sonu Nigam's Kannada songs. He refused. Till MJ left for his elternal abode, quiet and peace prevailed in our apartment. Then, Sonny and wife all of a sudden became great fans of MJ's music and dance. Although the videos of his stage shows are spectacular and I do like them, my ears and soul are no longer conditioned to listen to this kind of cat-scream music for hours on end. I often need to lock myself in another room to concentrate on reading or work, and many a weekend afternoon naps which I look forward to after 5 days of hard labour, have often been devastated by MJ's music blasting away in Sonny's room.

When a second song started playing, I was overcome by a bout of severe annoyance and I pulled away the cable that connected the song storage device to the car's sound system. Sonny howled in protest. I sternly communicated to him that I had to focus on driving and the music was a deterrent. The silence, except for the pleasant whizz of the rolling tyres, was soothing and I relaxed. Sonny sulked in the back seat and after a while dozed off.

We reached Shimoga at about half past noon but did not enter the town. We went past and turned left towards Teerthahalli. Midway somewhere,the roads, if they could be called that, were as bad as they could get for a few kilometers. But in general we could see that there is some serious road development happening here and in some months ahead there is hope that we will have the pleasure of driving on a very good road on this charming stretch, rich and green vegetation on either sides. The drive was slow and bumpy till we came to something resembling a road.

We were in Emerald country.

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Last edited by Roameo : 16th October 2009 at 21:49.
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Old 17th October 2009, 09:49   #13
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Roameo, nice going, the picture to emrald country is nice. Your narration is really captivating, its getting me hooked, i had made a mental note of your introduction and you haven't failed in your line, please continue doing the good work. Looking for more in the coming week!
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Old 18th October 2009, 11:58   #14
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Sejourn in a plantation retreat

A week before our departure from Bangalore, I had called the 'Vihangagama Holiday Retreat' to reserve accomodation. I had read about this resort from some of the travelogues on this forum. At Rs.1500 a day for a double bed facility, it seemed reasonable enough for a resort. It is right on the Shimoga-Teerthahalli main road, just 6 or 7 km before the town. We arrived at about 1.40pm. We went up the driveway past a few tiled roof cottages and parked the car next to what looked like a large hall.

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A young man in Bermuda's and round necked T-Shirt stepped out of a door and waved at us. I waved back and looked around trying to figure out where the reception area was. The young man, approached and welcomed us. He introduced himself as Kaneena Kadidal from the owners' family. He directed us towards a nice little farm house further down the driveway.

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Our room was next to the house with a lawn in front and a drying yard next to it. From the lawn, we could catch glimpses of the river through the arecanut trees. There was a Dalmatian and a Daschund in the drying yard and Sonny spent some time during our short stay, making friends with them.

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After moving the luggage to our rooms, we immediaetly went to the dining hall as we were famished. Most of the weekend guests had arrived late like us and the buffet was still being set. We sat at a table and waited. Although we were were the first to arrive, shortly later an uncouth extended family of about fifteen including childen poured in nosily. Heading straight for the half laid buffet spread, they grabbed plates and fell to eating whatever was available standing right next to it. We concluded they had travelled long and not eaten anything in a long time. Kaneena approached us and whispered and apology He had some plates and the food sent to our table in separate bowls. Although we did not find the cuisine meeting our expectation, it was simple and quite edible. In any case, the hunger pangs were by now so powerful, we would have eaten anything put on our plates.

We returned to our room and all three of us dozed off almost immediaetly.Upon waking up an hour and a half later, we were served hot cardomom tea. We felt greatly refreshed and decided to explore the estate.

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Surrounded by arecanut and coconut trees, the river Tunga flows right next to the 25 acre plantation retreat. Boating activites had been suspended due to the heavy rains till mid-October which was a disappointment. A mud track though the arecunut trees led us to the river shore where we spent a pleasant hour or so together before heading back to our room.

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As night fell on the estate, a chorus of nocturnal insects engaged in a heady crescendo and an army of fireflies blinked and flitted though the inky darkness. Here we were, audience to an eery light-and-sound show choreographed by the God of Nature.
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Old 18th October 2009, 13:10   #15
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Seems like we were at Vihangama at the same time. I was also there for a day with my wife. Did you see any Dark grey Getz Crdi there (KL reg) ?

I too noticed the huge group which had come there and they definitely made a huge racket there.

By the way, nice travelogue. Your story telling skills are good (as in your introduction thread).
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