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Old 23rd August 2010, 13:08   #1
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Default Thane - Pune - Kolhapur - Goa - Thane

This must have been one of the most exciting and in a way unplanned vacation I had with my family. Though we had marked the dates almost a couple of months ago to factor in leaves at work, we were a little unsure till the last minute whether we wanted to really go to Goa or not.

I was busy researching hotels and routes (on this forum) in the last couple of weeks and I had mixed opinions from people. Some saying it was off season and so we should not go and others warning us about the heavy rains that were lashing this part of the country. Ofcourse the landslide at Amboli a few weeks ago did not help lift our spirits either.

Anyway, we were on leave from the 18th of August to the 22nd so we thought we would atleast drive around locally if not upto Goa. Usually for any road trip, we would have our bags packed, printouts of the route etc ready but tuesday night, wife and me looked at each other and wondered if we really wanted to do Goa since it was pouring like crazy.

Our original plan was to leave wednesday lunch time and drive right upto Kolhapur. HVK had suggested Sai Resort between Karad and Kolhapur for the night. On thursday morning we would leave the hotel to reach Goa by thursday lunch time. However, tuesday night we decided we would not leave on wednesday and probably leave thursday morning and only do a Mahableshwar/Panchgani trip. Thankfully i had not made any bookings either though i had researched a lot of hotels in Goa.

Wednesday morning, the sun was shining in Thane and we looked at each other and suddenly decided to pack up for Goa. The maids were called in early, a quick list of things were made and i went to the local store with my son to buy all the stuff we needed while wife packed the bags. 1 PM - the bags were ready to be loaded in the car. Should we take the fusion or the new innova? Innova it was..damn! i'd never taken the innova on a long drive. Would i do fine? I guess so. Two huge sofa back rests were used as fillers between the last row and the middle row seats and a nice thick blanket spread on the last seat and it became my son's personal bedroom. By the time the maids finished and we bought some more last minute stuff (handycam tape etc), it was 4PM.

The plan was to halt at Pune for the night rather than make it to Karad and it seemed a sensible choice as there was heavy traffic from Thane upto Panvel. Set the trip meter to 0. Had already tanked up the previous day and off we went. Our/mine first ever trip to Goa. Promised myself to take plenty of pictures for you guys since I've been guilty of not doing that in a couple of trip logs earlier...
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Old 23rd August 2010, 13:52   #2
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Perfect way to start a trip! Behind loads of trucks and buses. How old is your son?
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Old 23rd August 2010, 15:32   #3
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wow!! Nice start and apt picture for any drive out of Thane nowadays

This is one trip by this particular route I have been thinking of doing for a long time now.
eagerly waiting for updates
cheers!!
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Old 23rd August 2010, 15:42   #4
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Who would say no to Goa, that also after so much planning for weeks. No wonder you guys went back to the earlier plan and went all the way to Goa.

Your lil one must have loved the Innova with the special arrangements.

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Old 23rd August 2010, 19:10   #5
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@ MX6 - my son will complete 4 years in october. His first road trip was a Chennai - Bangalore - Thane - Bangalore - Chennai exactly 2 years ago when he was not even 2 , his second road trip was again a Chennai - Bangalore - Thane trip early last year when he was 2 and a half when we were relocating back to Thane so NH4 is his favourite .

After an hour and a half's time of starting from my home on Ghodbunder road, we touched the entrance of the expressway. By this time, the VCD playing a jooba cd had already played twice and was beginning to irritate me. As soon as we got on the expressway, we stopped for drinking water and some chips. Pulled over to the left, got off the tarmac, got the parking lights on and used the time to capture some more images.

Did not speed much and kept a constant 90/100 with the parking lights on occassionally as it was pouring heavily. Was surprised to see some maniacs still hell bent on overtaking from the lane on the extreme right because there were a lot of sections which had water logging (i was in the middle lane). Reached the foodcourt at 6 15 and my son wanted to have the Mac happy meal with the toy and so i parked the car in the foodcourt on the left side with wife and son in the car and crossed over to the other side to reach the Mac. I ensured I looked carefully and that there were no oncoming vehicles before I crossed so don't you worry. There is a small pathway there and I guess vehicles can cross too but would be a little messy because you can't race up fast in that little stretch and any oncoming vehicle wouldn't be able to gauge the speed. Son got his toy, was upset that I got the same Shrek that he already had. Explained to him that that was the only toy available, we both had vada pavs and chai and it was almost an hour when we were on the road again.

Touched Hinjewadi at 8 30 and spotted a Ginger hotel. I thought was a good opportunity to get cheap accomodation so I drove into the parking and walked upto the reception but the guy there said they had rooms but couldnt let them out since pest control work was going on. Great ! One look at the tarrif card and I realised they weren't cheap either. 3500/- for a double room!! Got into the car and drove down further and spotted Sadanand Residency on my left. I had stayed here last year during the A R R Rahman concert at the Balewadi Stadium across the road and found it to be a nice cosy place. Again, walked upto the reception and the guy quoted me 2300/- for a double room inclusive of breakfast. Convinced him in my broken Marathi to make it 2000/-. Happy at my 'success' I smiled and walked back to the car and told my wife and son to get off and check in. (women however don't seem to understand the 'success' of bargaining. It is ofcourse a different story when they manage to make the vegetable vendor reduce 2 rupees for a kilo of tomatoes.

Checked into the room, stretched for a while, fought with my son unsuccessfully for the remote and ended up watching pogo/nick/disney/cartoon network for a while. Went down for a drink and dinner and crashed. Ofcourse, both my wife and me wanted to be up before 8 and leave the hotel before 9 the next morning..
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Old 23rd August 2010, 19:18   #6
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Hello Vijay

Could you update me on Road Condition on the route that you took.

Need to decide on route to Goa NH17 or the route you took

Thanks in advance

Milind
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Old 23rd August 2010, 19:39   #7
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vij4all,

Very well begun. Please continue.

Reminds me of my recent Goa trip from Bombay. I took the Bombay-Expressway-Mumbai-Pune bypass-NH4-Satara-Kolhapur-Belgaum-NH4A-Ramnagar-Mollem-Margao-Benaulim route. Did not go through Amboli-Sawantwadi as the roads were closed due to small landslides and transient waterfalls due to the heavy rains.
Stayed in Benaulim from 9th August till 15th morning and took the same route back. Very satisfying trip. Goa and the roads were verdant and rainy.

Will try to post a log with pics.

Regards
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Old 23rd August 2010, 20:36   #8
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There was an AR Rahman concert in Balewadi stadium? Gosh I didn't know. Sadanand is a nice place to stay. One can get on and off the NH4 in a couple of seconds from there. I love the food there. Waiting for more.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 20:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milind View Post
Hello Vijay

Could you update me on Road Condition on the route that you took.

Need to decide on route to Goa NH17 or the route you took

Thanks in advance

Milind
>>> Milind,

You may also like to check the following thread : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...on-update.html (Monsoons - Road Condition Update)
for updates on NH17 and on NH4.
I don't think we have recent updates on the NH17. As to NH4, I travelled that route on 9th and 15th August, whereas voj4all travelled later - these might be the latest updates available.

Regards
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Old 23rd August 2010, 23:20   #10
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This is best route to Goa though honestly I've not tried the other one. I'd rather cruise on a freeway than worry about overtaking the vehicle in front by poking my head out for oncoming traffic.

Its a breeze till the point after Nippani where you have to take a right turn. From that point till upto Uttur (about 20 odd kms), the road is a little bumpy but beyond that upto Amboli and Savantvadi and to Goa (barring a patch between Savantvadi and Goa) is good. While going, I was a bit cautious on the uttur-Ajra-Amboli stretch as I had never done it before but while returning, I did a constant 100/110 and touched NH4 from Vithal Kamat's in 1 hour flat!
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Old 24th August 2010, 15:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vij4all View Post
This is best route to Goa though honestly I've not tried the other one. I'd rather cruise on a freeway than worry about overtaking the vehicle in front by poking my head out for oncoming traffic.

Its a breeze till the point after Nippani where you have to take a right turn. From that point till upto Uttur (about 20 odd kms), the road is a little bumpy but beyond that upto Amboli and Savantvadi and to Goa (barring a patch between Savantvadi and Goa) is good. While going, I was a bit cautious on the uttur-Ajra-Amboli stretch as I had never done it before but while returning, I did a constant 100/110 and touched NH4 from Vithal Kamat's in 1 hour flat!

Thanks for update Vijall ! To avoid Nippani Uttur bad patch; I plan to use Sankeshwar - Gandhinglaj- Ajra - Amboli route to get on to NH17 for onward journey to Goa. Will update road conditions on this patch once am back.

am told by locals that Nippani - Uttur patch is always neglected due state jurisdiction issues
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Old 25th August 2010, 19:20   #12
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Contd...

We had a good night's sleep and woke up only by 8ish the next morning. By the time we got ready and went down to have breakfast, it was 9 30 and after packing up everything, got into the car at 10 30. I always like to drive my car as if it is a flight and im the pilot. I love the airline industry and everytime i reverse, i actually say to myself "push back", then i slowly nudge the car forward from the parking lot to say my building entrance or in this case the hotel entrance where my wife and kid were waiting to board. I also use a couple of minutes to check mirror settings (if they have been changed), adjust to a good sitting position, switch on the music before hand and adjust the volume. I also speak to myself and announce the destination and ETA (as if i was announcing to the passengers). All this is pre-take off checks you see..dunno if there are others who share some amount of this craziness. If not, kindly ignore.

The tripmeter read 135 kms and the time was 10:32 AM. Off we set on the NH4. Had the typical crazy city traffic using the bypass so had to be careful. My wife asked me what time we would reach and I told her that it would be evening by the time we touched Goa. That was enough to upset her for a little while as she felt we were just wasting days. I told her to relax and take it easy. Son returned back to his 'bedroom' and watched the cartoon cd while wife opened a novel. I love this part. No one to bother me while i enjoy my drive. Then the long tunnel came. Told my son about it and we all screamed while passing through the tunnel.

The weather turned surprisingly sunny and bright and that cheered us all up.

Toll gates passed and it was a usual drive overtaking from the left as well as the right. There are morons who drive at 60kmph on the rightmost lane and refuse to give way despite repeated honking and use of lights. What do you do in such cases? Well, one such dude was in a brand new VW Polo and when i overtook him from the left after trying to persuade him to give way, seems his ego got hurt. He started pursuing me matching my speed. Now I'm not the kinds to get into needless crazy tactics but a little fun helps you to focus and also maintain speeds else it can be a bore at times.

At the next toll gate, as luck would have it, my lane moved the slowest while the polo in another lane went ahead. He must have got a lead of atleast 4 minutes and he disappeared out of sight. I decided to find out how far he had gone and some road sections by their sheer design (going up and down) helped me look far ahead. He was atleast a kilometer away and as luck would have it, the heavy trailer in front of him decided to take a right turn. Being a trailer, he went into the left lane to make enough clearance to turn right and that stopped the polo on the right most lane till the entire trailer turned. In the meanwhile i caught up and kept to the left lane trailing the truck so managed to go past him and his continuous honking at the trucker showed his angst/frustration. Yeaaaaaa...little joy and shared it with wife.."hmmm ..be careful" was the response.

13:25 hrs..trip meter reading - 375 - spotted the Macdonald's sign and pulled over to the left off the highway, crossed again to get us all a meal. We all ate in the car and must have spent about 40 minutes in that halt. Drove along slowly and stopped atan HP fuel pump wondering where the konduskar that HVK always talks about was. After getting the bill, I realised that I had indeed stopped at konduskar. Talk about ironies in life! Time - 14:35

Drove on and cruised till Nippani. This patch again after kolhapur has a very nice up and down patch of highway which gives you views of the road ahead. Reached Nippani and called up a friend to ask instructions for the right turn. He asked me to keep driving till I went up a hill and then to take a right from the break in the divider. Easy ! Took the right turn and into the road leading upto Amboli/Savantwadi. 15:00 hrs - Trip meter reading - 420

For the next 20 minutes, I was a bit wary as the road was desolate, narrow, bad patches and we hardly seemed to be doign more than 40kmph. On roads like this, I usually like it if I'm following another car/bus etc so I feel safe largely because it was the first time I was on this route. After a while, crossed Uttur and picked up speed, crossed Ajra and then took a smoke/loo break. Could hear the chirping of birds and was really nice. The weather turned cloudy again and it started raining. i wanted to reach Goa before it got dark.

By 16:30 hrs, we crossed Vithal Kamat's and stopped near the ghats to have a chai and take some pictures. It was just amazing hearing the waterfalls. Lots of people were getting wet and enjoying themselves. Went ahead slowly and saw the earthmovers and workers still clearing the debris from the landslide. Rolled down the windows all the way to the foot of the ghats and it was one beautiful drive, those 20 minutes or so.

Reached Savantwadi junction at exactly 17:00 hrs and took a left and was unsure so asked a couple of people for the route to Goa and they all said we had to go straight. I couldn't believe that the national highway narrowed so much and passed through some little towns. Again the first 15 minutes were horrbile but then the highway was good to cruise at 90/100. Called my friend again and he told me to watch out for the Mapusa junction and take the right turn after that to reach Baga/Calungute. Got on a bridge and overtook a slowmoving car and after the bridge got stopped by the traffic cops. Welcome to Goa. I asked the guy what the problem was and he asked me to follow him to his saheb's car. Broken Marathi again but hey! this one was a first...a young Catholic cop asks "sir, where you going?". Me "Goa". He points to a speedlimit sign on the bridge and says "sir you were overspeeding and overtaking also". I gave him a story about my kid feeling claustraphobic and wanting to reach Goa fast. He asks "you got a kid sir? he's not feeling well? then you go sir. just pay me 200.". I told him that is too much but he won't bargain. I told him that I would pay the constable who was standing with me. He says okay. I walk back to my car and give the constable 100 bucks adding "sahebani sanigtle shambar dyayche" and drove away - The Great Indian Bribery Trick

Reached the junction after Mapusa and asked an uncle on a scooter the way to Calungute. He smiled, appeared half sozzled and said "go straight men ..its all there only". Drove on for another 15 minutes and entered Calungute. Crossed all the hotels I had researched (Neelams the Grand/Lemon Tree etc) and was glad i didn't book any as none of them were on the beach. Drove on till we reached the beach and spotted a Calungute Residency. Only doubt in mind was the quality of the place since it was government owned (GTDC). Walked in alone, asked to see the cottage room and was floored. It was this massive room and very clean and had a balcony. But wise men always seek their wife's opinion since they don;t want to be blamed for unforeseen eventualities so asked wife and kid to get out of the car, lock it and walk up to check the room. She liked it !! Phew!

Next step - got the baggage out with the help of the attendants and went to negotiate the room rate. 2500 is what the receptionist quoted. I was tempted to take it instantly but asked for a discount He said I'd have to talk to the Asst Manager. The Asst Manager was a chap who looked completely bored with life and was sitting doing nothing. I went into his cabin and asked him if he was the Manager. "No", he said very offended. "Im the assistant manager.". Oops! any chance I had of getting a discount lost instantly. Nevertheless I pushed my luck. "Vijay Iyer from Air India. 2 months back, my Vice President, Mr Kothari stayed here and was very impressive with your services. He asked me to speak to you and get a good deal for myself. After all one govt employee has to help the other Sir". Silence..."Domnic" the Asst Manager shouted and then spoke in Konkani to the effect of reducing 200 odd rupees for me. Total room rate now 2265/-. Check in.
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Old 26th August 2010, 10:41   #13
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Hi Vijay,

All the time I was reading your travelogue I was making mental notes about the various landmarks, the hotels and many more things. I am planning a trip in October which would be something like Thane - Kolhapur, visit Mahalaxmi temple, go to warananagar (my engg college) and then head towards Goa. I am keenly following your travelogue for all the tips and tricks.
Keep it coming bro.
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Old 26th August 2010, 11:22   #14
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gholur. When at Kolhapur, if you intend to stay, try Shalini Palace hotel at Rankala.
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Old 29th August 2010, 12:48   #15
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Hi Vijay,
Nice startup to the TL and good pics. Waiting for more.
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