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Old 27th January 2010, 21:25   #1
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Default Bangalore - Gir

Day1: Bangalore - Pune
In this Christmas - New year vacation we (wife and I) decided to do a long, very very long road trip. Bangalore - Gir forest, more than 4000 kms in 10 days. Many thought we have gone crazy. But isn't this why I bought my car.

There are essentially two kinds of human traveller. One who enjoys the destination. The other enjoys the journey as well. But I belong to a third category, I love driving too. To enjoy road trips of this length, it is important that the fellow traveller atleast belongs to the second category. Very important, I must underline the previous sentence. My travel mates did not disappoint me even once.

Getting to the story... We left Bangalore for Pune on 25th morning. Picked up a friend from Diamond District. Night halt was planned in Pune at my friend's place. The plan was to cover the 850 odd kilometers in 14-15 hours. We left at 5.30 morning and according to the calculation, expected to reach latest by 9 PM. The moment we hit the road our equations began to fail. 25th being the start of a long vacation, there was traffic every where even at that time of the day (night for some ).

It took us 9 hours to cover the first 385 kms. Remaining time = 5 hrs; remaining distance ~ 500 kms => average speed required = 100kms/hr. One word for it – impossible. Since I was the only driver I had to keep a cool head. And why not, I know the roads and I know the city just too well (have spent 3 wonderful, youthful years in Pune). This time we had lunch well before our regular place in Hubli. Somewhere between Haveri and Hubli. At around 3 PM we were in Hubli, well behind our schedule. The good thing was that the worst part of the stretch was behind us. Hubli onwards the road is in very good shape. It was here that we ditched our max 90km/hr policy and decided to cover as much distance as possible before dark. For another 200 or so kms the Fabia was belted. You see the 1.2 ltr motor has its shortcomings, but the car more than makes up for it with its wonderful road manners. It is a delight to drive it at those illegal speeds. By 6 we reached the Kolhapur McDonald. Half an hour later we hit the road again. The sun had already said us good buy for the day. Driving under lights is never easy, but the Kolhapur – Pune has sufficient traffic moving at good speed. We stuck to 60-80km/hr speed form thereon.

We reached home at 10.30 pm. Hogged on to the meal already served on the dining table. Played carom and indulged in some interesting conversations including marriage proposal for my friend before hitting the bed. This trip was the longest in terms of time taken, 17 hrs, phew... . What a Day!

Day 2 : Pune - Vapi
Next day, 26th Dec. We meet our old college friends in Pune University. Took some time out to admire the trees that we had planted 3 years ago. They all have grown in sizes that would make any gardener proud. We had breakfast at the old University canteen, bringing back the good old memories. Only that the canteen lacks the basic hygiene. But who is complaining. They don’t fetch votes, do they?

At noon we decided to leave for Vapi. It is a small Gujrati town on the Gujrat-Maharastra border. Approx 300 kms separate the two towns. The connectivity is simple and good. The way is Pune – Mumbai – Vapi (it is on NH8, part of GC). We had lunch in one of the food plaza on the Pune-Mumbai express at Papa Johns. Good pizzas. The only complicated part on this stretch is by-passing Mumbai. This time we could do it without making any wrong turns. The part of GC just outside Mumbai was much better this time. Most of the rough patches were covered. As we distanced ourselves from Mumbai, the road got better and better. There are diversions at a couple of places due to six laning of Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch of GC. We reached Vapi well before dark and did some shopping.
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Old 27th January 2010, 21:34   #2
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Some of the trees planted by us. Rain tree, Jack fruit, African Tulip, kadamba, Kadamba flower.

More coming soon...
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Last edited by fi.robin : 27th January 2010 at 21:36.
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Old 27th January 2010, 21:41   #3
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Bangalore to Gir! Now that's what u call a road trip! I drove from Mumbai to Gir in October and it was a really fun drive (travelogue still pending). The roads in Gujarat were a revelation!
Looking forward to reading your t'logue, did you go via Rajkot or Bhavnagar?
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Old 27th January 2010, 22:31   #4
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Default Bangalore - Gir contd...

Day 3: Vapi - Veraval
My in-laws live in Vapi. As per plan, my father-in-law’s Dzire was ready for the onward journey. We parked our beloved Fabia which had already covered more than 1200 kms in two days. Both the cars are of same age but while the Fabia has covered 20000 kms, the Dzire has managed only 6000 kms.

Next day, 27th Dec, three of us leave at 5.00 AM for Gir. My father-in-law in the driver seat, my wife in the front passenger and I taking care of the whole back seat with plenty of cushion. The Dzire can not boost of the leg space at the rear as Fabia, but since I was alone at the back, it was easy to find comfortable positions. I made most of my time at rear with plenty of sleep. By now I was driving in my dreams also .

Our planned route was Vapi to Vadodra on NH8. A good part of this is already 6 lane. It is the way to go, Gujrat . Continuing on NH8 after Vadodra (not taking the express way to Ahmedabad) till Vasad. Vadodra to Vasad is a mess with heavy truck traffic, but the road is good. At Vasad we left the NH8, took left turn for Bagdodra. Vasad to Bagdodra via Borsad, Tarapur and Vataman is not a four lane road but it is well laid with very little traffic. This is the stretch where I took to the wheels. The stretch from Bagdodra to Jetpur via Rajkot is part of the east-west corridor. This part of road is so good that I couln’t stop raving about it for days. After Bagdodra we stopped for lunch at Limdi. I drove for some more time on this beautifully laid road before retiring to back seat. From Jetpur we headed for Veraval/Somnath. We reached Veraval well before sunset. The road here was mostly good, two lane but rough in patches. We covered ~ 750 kms in less than 12 hrs.

Last edited by fi.robin : 27th January 2010 at 22:35.
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Old 27th January 2010, 22:45   #5
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Now that's a really loooong trip. Waiting for more pics and stories.
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Old 28th January 2010, 12:20   #6
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nice start to the log, looking forward for a great trip. can you be kind enough to post some pictures please?
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Old 28th January 2010, 14:32   #7
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@Wolfheart: we stuck to the Rajkot both ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srikanthpotluri View Post
nice start to the log, looking forward for a great trip. can you be kind enough to post some pictures please?
@Gandhi:
Pics: Sure, there are many. The best is yet to come.

Last edited by fi.robin : 28th January 2010 at 14:35.
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Old 28th January 2010, 19:52   #8
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Default Bangalore - Gir contd...

Day 4: Veraval - Gir - Somnath

Veraval is a small town on the coast, 40 kms south of Sasan Gir. This was the only place where we could get accommodation in advance due to New Year rush. The hotel was decent but the whole town had a distinct foul smell. No it was not fish. From the hotel we got the information that to get the permit for safari we will have to start very early.

28th Dec. We did start early and reached Sasan by 4.00 AM. The 40 km run from Veraval to Sasan was not at all uneventful. We saw a fox, a small cat which had squirrel like fur and stripes and a deer. When we reached Sasan there were people already standing in the line. Soon the main gate opened and everybody rushed in to form another line. This was where the permits were being issued. People standing ahead of us were mostly taxi/gypsy operators (read touts/agents) and we soon realized that we don’t stand a chance (limited no. permits are issued). We moved on to the other safari point, Gir Interpretation Zone. But nobody told us that it opens at 8 AM. In fact the road leading to the GIZ office itself opens at 7 AM. We learnt all this the hard way. After a bit of roaming around we found a man with his family, sitting by the fire, waiting for the bus. The man was very helpful and explained us everything (The GIZ safari is bus based. Takes just half an hour. You will always get to see lions in this safari because this one is kind of fenced. The fencing covers a large area and the lions are still wild, they hunt themselves).

It was still dark when the man boarded the bus with his family. We rolled up the window and sat quietly, waiting for the sunrise. We could feel the air of disappointment which was more because we unnecessarily woke up so early . Even before we could ensconce our selves for a nap we heard some noise. It was a roar emanating from some distance. With time, each roar became louder and louder. We knew that the chance of lion coming unto the road was very minute. But still, it was both thrilling and frightening. My wife’s wild imaginations were icing of the situation. We didn’t get to see the lion but those two hours made our day. Sitting in the dark in a jungle, waiting for the unknown.

At 8, we got the tickets for the safari. It was a usual routine. We sat in the bus. Bus took us around the fenced area. There was a pride basking in the sun unmindful of the visitors. Very soon the safari was over.
Next we decided to roam around some more. Roads in most part of Gir are not free. One needs to avail free passes from point A to go to point B. The pass mentions the duration before which one has to reach point B. At one such point A we took a pass. The road passed through moderately dense part of the jungle where spotting wild deers became a common affair. A meter gauge railway line also ran parallel to the muddy road. We spent some good times there before heading back for lunch. These moments can be explained only through pictures. We even snapped a deer doing a ‘Gulam’ like stunt in front of an approaching train. In the evening we went to visit Somnath temple. The beach near the temple was quite clean. Sat there till the sunset.

Another day well spent.
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Old 28th January 2010, 20:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fi.robin View Post
There are essentially two kinds of human traveller. One who enjoys the destination. The other enjoys the journey as well. But I belong to a third category, I love driving too.
Good Thought!

Leaves me busy thinking. I haven't even read the rest of your travelogue.

BTW when are the Lions coming?

Last edited by btirthankar : 28th January 2010 at 20:03.
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Old 28th January 2010, 20:09   #10
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Default Pics of day 4

Pictures of the 4th day. Notice the deer doing the Gulam stunt.
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Old 28th January 2010, 20:18   #11
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More pics from Day 4. Notice the mane of the King. They are not as big as their African cousin.
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Old 28th January 2010, 21:33   #12
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Good Travelogue. Amazing pictures.
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Old 28th January 2010, 21:38   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fi.robin View Post
..More pics from Day 4. Notice the mane of the King. They are not as big as their African cousin...
The last sunset picture is fantastic. Thanks for sharing your travelogue, waiting for more.
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Old 28th January 2010, 22:02   #14
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wow! pictures are fantastic. really amazing picture of the deer leaping across the track just before the train.
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Old 28th January 2010, 22:11   #15
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Thumbs up Keep it going!

Robin: Oh! So the travelogue is here now.. Ahem!!

Good one dude.. Waiting for more.. [psstt.. planning to cross post this elsewhere as well?]
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