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Old 1st January 2010, 12:23   #1
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Default A New Year's travelog

I love beaches. I love beaches. I love beaches.

The year-end vacation planning started in back November itself, with Sam blasting me for not consulting him about beach holidays. That man travels. I originally thought about Andamans, and with Sam selling me Havelock Islands, I was hooked. Then came the pricings from my travel agent. For the amount it would cost me to travel to Andamans and back for a decent holiday, I could very well have gone to Sri Lanka or Thailand instead. Andamans was dropped.

I spent the first week of November pretending to work in office while trying to figure out where to go for the vacation. A lot of resorts were crossed off the list due to silly pricings. Finally, thanks to Riju Wodeyar, I managed to finally find something perfect - TurtleBay Resort in Kundapur (Trasi). I will henceforth refer to Riju as Vijay in this travelog, for more reasons than one.

The vacation was planned between Dec 27-30 then.


The week before the vacation, I left my Swift at Sai Colorium for a regular "body massage" treatment. Those guys work wonders. You see, for people who know me personally, they know my fetish for keeping my car pristine at all times.

I also got a Holux standalone GPS device with MioMaps. It really came in handy and is now permanently in my car.

Day 1: Sunday, Dec 27, 2009:

The route plotted was Bangalore-Hassan-Belur-Chikmagalur-Aldur-Sringeri-Agumbe-Haladi-Kundapura; thanks to Sushrutha and Samurai. My roots are from Sringeri and I had shamefully never visited the place before this even once. So it was holistically important to me to do Sringeri during this trip. I realize I amexperiencing an early onset of mid-life crisis.

We start off by 8 am from BLR (my wife insists that it was 730 am). The NICE expressway is the best thing to have happened to BLR in recent memory. We are at Nelamangala junction in 30 mins from when we started, almost overshooting it since I couldnt recognize it with all the flyover construction happening there. Left on to NH48 to Hassan - they're really doing up this road very nicely. During my previous visits, it was a single carriageway with heavy traffic density. Now, it is mostly a 6-lane double road all the way to Hassan. Another 6 months should see it fully complete.

Hassan, Belur, Chikkamagalur are quickly conquered and we are motoring onto towards Sringeri when the Rijus call up ahead and warn us not to get into Sringeri and bypass it directly to Agumbe. They were in Sringeri a few hours earlier and report that its packed with getting in and out even edgewise a herculean task. We bypass Sringeri after Koppa and take the diversion to Agumbe - and thank them for being our AWACS system. This is the sorriest state of the entire route I experienced, while the road was motoring bliss till Koppa.

Scenery after Chikkamagalur:

A New Year's travelog-img_2643.jpg

Samurai called up earlier since we had originally planned to meet that evening - but he was coming down from a long journey himself and left the resort before I could arrive. We finally motor into the resort by 715 pm - the last-mile drive was frustrating due to the resort's entry point being poorly marked - but good ole Riju was waiting for us with his 95/135 lights at the junction to guide us in. We all have a well-deserved dinner on the beach and hit the sack.

Day 2: Monday, Dec 28, 2009:

The best holiday ever was on this single day. Nothing but fun and relaxation and then some more fun and relaxation and repeating it all over many times.

Marvanthe Beach:

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We all then went out boating to Lighthouse Island where we spotted plenty of dolphins, crystal clear waters and various marine fauna. I later became part of that marine fauna by swimming off the island and later jumping off the boat to water ski without skis during the last km back to our island. I had a near humbling experience when my swim trunks almost went the opposite direction due to the strong currents of the boat; I managed to avert disaster somehow while utilizing my upper body strength. I attribute this achievement due to my regular gymming. Long live my gym instructor!

The boat ride to Lighthouse Island and various fauna:

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Back to the beach resort:

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Attached Thumbnails
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Old 1st January 2010, 12:32   #2
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Default A New Year's travelog - contd.

A New Year's travelog-panorama1.jpg

We met the Samurais lovely family later on in the evening for dinner at Manipal, while enroute poor Vijay had to grit his teeth at the antics of all mini-bus drivers that are famous for their infamy there. At the Samurais' home, I offered to "caretake" Sharath's 50-inch plasma TV to Bangalore - the gent had other ideas for some reason. During dinner at a Chinese place, us vegetarians - all 2 of us (my wife and I), at one corner of the table, were busy enjoying the "Burnt Garlic Fried Rice" and "Fried Icecream" I had ordered. I have no clue what conversation was happening around the table. Arrived back at the resort by 12 midnight.

Day 3: Monday, Dec 29, 2009:

The 2 couples had different plans. We had to visit friends in Mangalore who recently became first-time parents while the Rijus continued with their visits around Kundapura. I was not looking forward to NH17 - but was pleasantly surprised as it unfolded during the drive. Its perfectly acceptable to motor on all the way to Mangalore now. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Our very capable steed that continues to bring bliss:

A New Year's travelog-img_2906.jpg

We were treated to a sumptuous home-made Mangalore-style vegetarian lunch prepared exclusively for us. Very kind of them to have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. We were then treated to Mangalore's most famous creation- Pabba's Ice Cream post-lunch. I had to cancel our original plans to visit Bekal Fort due to timings constraints. We landed back in Turtle Bay by 8 pm, averaging 35 km/h on the way back due to heavy truck traffic. Fortunately, we were spared of all the mini-bus drivers antics due to a strike by them that day.

Last day: Tuesday, Dec 30, 2009:

One last view of the resort:
A New Year's travelog-img_2911.jpg

Got news that Vishnuvardhan had passed away and felt sad for that, but felt fortunate that we would be arriving in Bangalore only by nightfall avoiding all the trouble that would have resulted there due to his passing on. Checked out and bade farewell to the Rijus and left by 10 am back to Bangalore, determined to stop at Sringeri this time. Having wanted to avoid the rough Haladi route, I took the left towards Hebri before Karkala. Its supposed to be an SH and as I discovered, is a piece of nonsense. Its acceptable till Hebri and then on is a nighmare till Agumbe ghats. But the scenery was to die for.

A New Year's travelog-img_2936.jpg

Climbed up Agumbe Ghats and then headed towards Sringeri.


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We were very lucky that Sringeri was almost deserted. Managed to have lunch at the mutt itself, and having satisfied my heritage pangs, headed back towards Chikkamagalur on excellent roads. The roads become rougher approaching Chikkamagalur.

Got this last shot before Chikkamagalur:

A New Year's travelog-panorama2.jpg

The heavens opened up BIG time from here all the way to Hassan. The Bosch Aerotwins and the HIDs (once again) really helped. Finally arrived back home by 11 pm from an unarguably the best holiday I have had in India so far.
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Old 1st January 2010, 12:34   #3
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nice pics.
waiting for more.

We start off by 8 am from BLR (my wife insists that it was 730 am).
Now, you will be used for such timing confusions.
Remember, wife's 5 min means half an hour only.: [ there are some exception of 0.0001%]
I always plan my schedules according to ladies time vs actual time equation.::

errr, you have finished this three day travel story in just two posts?? sam, are you reading?

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Old 1st January 2010, 18:20   #4
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Hi Mag,
Nice to see a writeup from you after a long long time. If you ask me, I am always for Coastal Karnataka trip more than the Bangkoks, the langkawis, the Andamans.

TurtleBay and Western Ghats really reminded me of my drives there. Pure Nostalgic stuff. And needless to say, amazing photography.
Hear to see some more of western ghats. Didnt you take pics of Manipal from Samurai's office hilltop?

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Old 1st January 2010, 19:00   #5
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Beautiful Writeup and very nice pictures Mahesh!
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Old 1st January 2010, 19:46   #6
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Maggie, the pictures are just too good and I am now tempted to visit this place sometime. What's the cost of stay/etc at TurtleBay?

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
....The heavens opened up BIG time from here all the way to Hassan.
The effect was felt in Bangalore also..

from an unarguably the best holiday I have had in India so far.
. It's that feeling of rejuvenation that makes the holidays worthwhile..
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Old 1st January 2010, 20:13   #7
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Nice recount Maggie. And wonderful pictures to top that. Which camera is that ?
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Old 1st January 2010, 22:03   #8
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Superb man. How about more pics of the resort itself and detail review with pros and cons.
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Old 2nd January 2010, 12:40   #9
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Mahesh, Awesome log. True that some of the lesser known beaches offer more idylic vacation.

Visited Chikmagalur (one night halt) - Shringeri - Agumbe - Marvanthe (two nights halt) - Murudeshwar last June.

Your log brought some memories back, thinking whether to write a travelogue on my own or just highjack your thread
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Old 3rd January 2010, 08:49   #10
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Thanks all. Coincidentally, this drive was also around 1200 kms in all - (475 km onward + 220 km up/down to Mangalore + 485 km return). My previous drive towards Hampi was also around the same distance!

The only thing we missed out on was their famous massage. They only have massage for females! But we got a complimentary T-shirt free.

Abhi- we arrived at Manipal only by 8. Timings/lighting was against us.

Shahnawaz - THe peak season rates are 3.5k/couple/night for AC and 2.5k/couple/night non-AC. More details here. Veggie food came upto a max of 200-300/day all meals inclusive since we had them make us a-la-carte as a special favor over the standard buffet that was on offer.

Johnnie- I use a Canon 450D with 18-55mm IS and Sigma 70-300mm APO DG.

Deep- Check out the link I've given to Shahnawaz above. Let me see if I have any pics of the resort. As far as the resort review goes:
1. Its a quiet, self-sustained resort.
2. It may have a maximum of 12 cottages.
3. It doesnt feel "commercialized" at all - something I loved
4. Its on the beach
5. Very clean
6. Its for you if all you're looking for is a quiet, unhurried, affordable place to holiday in.
7. Its not for you if you're expecting a super-polished ambience like Golden Palms outside Bangalore.
8. They dont have a pool. This was however immaterial to me since I'm an ocean-lover.

Ajmat- we ran into one of your colleagues. Srikanth MA in a grey Scorpio. The gentleman knows you intimately is what he said.

We also ran into a gent who started talking to us after seeing the TBhp stickers on our cars. He's an intrepid non-member of the site apparently.

Last edited by theMAG : 3rd January 2010 at 09:19.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 10:15   #11
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Nice pictures and great narration. Enjoyed reading your travelogue.

I was not aware of this location.
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Old 3rd January 2010, 11:02   #12
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that seems to be a perfect beach holiday you had there

your travelogue reminded me of my facination with Maravanthe beach since childhood and our stay at Turtle bay some 5 years ago.

thanks for helping me to remember some great moments there
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Old 4th January 2010, 10:39   #13
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A very well and documented travelogue, mate. I try to read all the logs I can on TBhp as I want to visit South India this year.
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Old 4th January 2010, 12:38   #14
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Fantastic snaps.
Some more pics pls....
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Agumbe . This is the sorriest state of the entire route I experienced, while the road was motoring bliss till Koppa.
Yep the stretch in Agumbe is in pathetic shape.
Also the route from Someshawara - Basrur.
Had been to Agumbe, Marvanthe, Murudeshwara last weekend.
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Old 4th January 2010, 13:30   #15
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Hi Mag,
That's a very good write up.
Had been through the same route at the same time with my parents.

Sringeri is a place to die for. Have visited it twice in the last 1 year. Planning to visit again in the coming months.
NH-17 is a very good place in u enjoy driving, especially the drive thru maravanthe.

Out of Topic - As mentioned in other posts. Anyone travelling to Mangalore please, please avoid Siridi Ghat. Pathetic is an understatement. My friends were stuck in a jam for 6 hrs and there were plenty of cars which broke down.
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