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Old 7th December 2010, 13:45   #1
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Default A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

It was a long drawn plan. My desire to make this happen triggered, 2 months back.

As usual, the plans strike when i am away from the beautiful India.
My wife and myself always wanted to do a Golden Quadrilateral drive. We always think, its the journey, and not the destination, that matters. I had sketched out the usual plan of the 7 section GQ drive.

I keep gazing at the Google Earth everyday, searching for strange places, viewing forest covers from the air, visiting wierdly located islands and its
occupants! One such time, i thought, why not drive from Bangalore all the way till Dwarka along the coastal Gujarat. i had finalised the 11 day plan to do so in full earnest.

In the mean time, i invited my wife's brother and his wife to join us on this journey. He got his vacation approved and there we were. 4 ppl, 2 cars, ready to drive a 11 day trip.

I have travelled Karnataka, Kerala and TN well. But i had not had oppurtunity to travel and explore MH, AP and beyond, except a 3 month stay in Baroda in 2004. So, driving all the way to GJ, bypassing or ignoring MH looked very tough to me. How can i ignore the beautiful beaches, caves, Archeology, Hillstations, the cities of MH, and just drive past it. And hence, the plan changed again. This time, we decided, to cover MH. Covering a full state in 1 trip, is impossible. So we prioritised based on variety and the plan looked as below. Mind u , the plan is always supposed to change... lol.

This trip was going to be my longest. Bangalore-Kodai-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Bangalore was my longest till date. This is documented on team-bhp.com here.

Day 1 : Bangalore - Yellapur
Day 2 : Yellapur - Ganapatipule beach
Day 3 : Ganapatipule beach
Day 4 : Ganapatipule - Mahabaleshwar
Day 5 : Mahabaleshwar - Shirdi
Day 6 : Shirdi - Ellora - Aurangabad
Day 7 : Aurangabad - Chikaldara
Day 8 : Chikaldara/Melghat
Day 9 : Chikaldara - Sholapur
Day 10 : Sholapur - Bijapur - Kodalasangama
Day 11 : Reach bangalore late.

This plan covered my desire to drive the Hubli-Ankola stetch, the beautiful beach at Ganapatipule, the Hill station, the Religious essence of Shirdi, the
Archeology of the Elloras, and the wilderness and the sense of being far away from home at Chikaldara.

The recent DreamDiesel's trip to MH was a bull's eye, interms of what could be covered and the time needed to do so. So thanks to DD, for his account on this site.

Thanks to hvk, Ranjit and AbheekGhosh, for guiding the routes, when necessary.

The trip was done on 2 Fords. My 2007 1.6 Fiesta. And my bro-in-law's Ikon Tdci 1.4 .

Below is an account of the Day to Day travel. Hope u guys enjoy it, through the blog and the photos, that would follow.

Day 1:
Bangalore - Davangere - Yellapur - Karwar

Plan was to start early and have breakfast with my cousin and family at Davanagere. So we did. We started the day early. Far too early. 3 AM... lol.

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We were all set and started the drive from J.P.Nagar at half past 3 and met Mahesh and Ashwini in their Ikon at Hulimavu, Bannerghatta road.

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We drove on the Nice road and hit the NH4. This was my first drive on the newly laid 4 laner until Nelamangala. Looks promising, looks helpful. We reached Davanagere at 7.40 AM. A good 3 hour 40 minute drive to cover the first 280 Kms. Chitradurga section is a big improvement from what i had seen before. No hic-cups.
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A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH-img_0038.jpg
A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH-img_0001.jpg

We enter VidyaNagar entrance on Davanagere bypass. My cousin & wife are a Homeopathic doctor couple at Davanagere. We reach their house at MCC-B block, quickly, through Vidyanagar - Taralabalu - BDT college area.

Spent the next 1 hour at their place. It was time for Breakfast. The brilliant Benne dosa at "Old Sagar Benne Dose" hotel in Davanagere.
For people who intend to try this authentic benne dose at Davanagere, there are basically 2 places to do so.
One is right infront of the Bapuji Medical college and Taralabalu college.
And the other (the more authentic one) is near the "High school grounds" 100m from the city center - Ram & Co circle. This is the Sagar Benne Dosa.

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Old 7th December 2010, 13:55   #2
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Davanagere :
For people who have seen Davanagere from the last 2 decades, it is a huge change in terms of its scenery. It was part of the dry belt of the central and Northern Karnataka. But after the Tunga-Bhadra canal construction, Davangere has benefitted a great deal. Where there were barren lands 2 decades back, you see rice being grown now. It is a real green transformation. There is no water problem in the city too.
We say our goodbyes to my cousin and family and take the Shamanoor road to join the NH4 Davanagere bypas again. The 2 drivers promising each other, not to stop again until we hit the NH63 junction. We take exactly 2 hours to cover the 145Kms from DVG to Hubli bypass junction.

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Drive 2 Kms on this stretch and u hit the NH63 (Hubli - Karwar) junction. Take a left and you will see what pure bliss is all about, driving on this exceptionally designed 2 carraige highway all the way to Ankola.

Yellapur Highway:
This is the most talked about road in Karnataka, i guess after the "art of driving" (NH48)!
This takes you through a continous canopy on a brilliant stretch of 2 lane highway. Add to this the redness of the soil everywhere.. from the road to the back to the trucks. Add to that, the feeling of heading straight to the Sea. This is driving nirvana. More so, during the monsoons. I guess i was late by a month.

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We reach Yellapur town at 2 PM, tripmeter 490Kms from JP.Nagar Bangalore. We look out for a lodge. Internet showed Pai Sambhram as a cheap option. We checked out the rooms. I am game for a room like that at 300 bucks a night. But we thought of driving to Karwar later in the evening, if the energy levels still remained optimum.

We had a quick lunch at "ShankarNarayana Hotel" on thr NH63 highway on the other end of the town. Nothing great about the food. But served the purpose for the moment. Bought packaged water. Guys, we spent 1000 Rs , only for packaged water, on this 9 day trip. So its worth mentioning

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Now we had 3 places to cover before sunset. KavadiKere (A lake in the midst of thick jungle), Magod falls (a beautiful waterfall), and Jenukallugudda (A valley view and a sunset point). All these 3 places fall on the same circuit.
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Old 7th December 2010, 14:04   #3
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Now we had 3 places to cover before sunset. KavadiKere (A lake in the midst of thick jungle), Magod falls (a beautiful waterfall), and Jenukallugudda (A valley view and a sunset point). All these 3 places fall on the same circuit. We drove on the NH63 towards Ankola. After 2-3 Kms, you would find a signboard indicating Magod falls. Take the left. KavadiKere is 5 Kms from here.
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You would find a 1 Km deviation to this lake, after driving for 4 Kms on this single lane road.

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KavadiKere is a beautiful, Serene lake in the midst of wilderness with a Durga Devi Temple on its banks, And forest all around. I had visited
this place way back in early ninties. Things seemed to have been the same in the past 15+ years. There is absolutely no pollution and you feel like sitting idol for hours gazing at the lake, anticipating a group of deers coming to have a drink from the lake.

One more place which i really loved to just sit and relax hours together is Kapu Beach. That is, over the rock cliff. Thats another absolutely brilliant
location in Karnataka.

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We took a walk on a trodden path along the bank of the lake, thinking of clicking a few birds. As i walked along the path, i suddenly saw something move in the water. It didnt take me much time to realise that, it was a snake for sure. Clicked quite a few snaps. But didnt manage to get a close up. Here is one of them. I could surely be wrong. But looking at its face/head, it looks like a King Cobra to me. Its not a rat snake for sure. If its a King, i should be pretty lucky to have spotted 2 Kings in the same year. Earlier sighting was in Kukke surroundings.
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In a while, we spotted one more 2 feet snake in the same waters. This was some other snake. Not a cobra. Again, need some one to identify the same.

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I learnt from a few relatives of mine. They had spotted a snake in the same lake, when they were here a few years back. So looks like this is a pretty dense snake territory!
We took more snaps of the temple, the lake, the surroundings and started towards Magod falls.
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Old 7th December 2010, 14:06   #4
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Great pics and details, Promodh.

How much time it took to reach Karwar by this route? I am planning for a trip to Karwar in Jan 2011.
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Old 7th December 2010, 14:13   #5
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We drive back 1 Km on this narrow road and hit the junction where left 11 Kms leads to the falls. This was again in dense jungle route, managable road. Sign boards are surprisingly good and makes sure, you reach the destination. It was already 5 pm. So we had 30 min max at the falls, before we head to the JeenukalluGudda peak for witnessing the sunset.

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Bhedthi river flows from Dharwad towards Yellapur and falls in 2 magnificient steps at Magod. The valley is deep. Forested.
There is a Rest house provided by the forest department at Magod falls. This is one of the most visited water falls in Karnataka. So, basic facilities are good, interms of drinking water, resting area etc. But dont expect any stalls or shops around. A few more clicks at the water falls from different view points and we are eager to drive to the sunset point.

Once we drive back a km from Magod falls area, you see a 5 Kms sign board towards your left. It would lead us straight to the Jeenukallugudda. The road turns from a narrow single laner to a jeep track a places, but it was managable even Ford Ikon. So i can be done in most cars. Dont expect too many visitors at this location. We climb down the 50 odd steps from the parking area to the actual Sunset point. The first sight of the valley, we were lost in time.

The valley is deep, completely covered with dense jungle, mountain ranges visible till the horizon. Inbetween all this, River Bhedthi flows peacefully through the valley depths. Add to this the crimson of the sunset lighting the water surface. It was bliss.
The next 30 min was spent in clicking some sunset snaps and peacefully syncing with the nature, at its best.

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It was pretty dark by now and we decided to drive back to Yellapur where i had parked my car. We had done this circuit from Yellapur in 1 car (Ikon).

We were back at Yellapur in the next 30 min. (around 18 Kms)
It was still 7 pm and the accomodation at Yellapur was not decent enough for us to decide to stay put at Yellapur. Pai Sambhram is one. Nature Tourist Paradise hotel is the other. Since we were still energetic, we thought it would be wise to drive to Karwar in the next 2 hours and stay put at Karwar, which would also help us reduce the 2 hours of drive from the next day.
So, we had a quick refreshment at Yellapur and started driving the NH63 towards Ankola. Truck traffic was there but not too hectic. Yellapur-Karwar is around 96 Kms and should ideally take 1.5 Hours. After Ankola, the road goes pretty close to the sea. We hit Karwar at 9:10 pm.
We call up justDial and get the phone number of Hotel Bhadra, as i was not aware of any hotel in Karwar. This Bhadra hotel AC room was decent and is just before the Kali bridge on the far end of the town.

We checked in, order room service and hit the bed at 11.30 pm.

We need to drive to Ganapatipule the next morning.
The real trip for me, starts with the Day 2, when we enter MH, which is supposed to be the core of the trip.

1 more snap from Kavadi Kere:
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End of Day 1.
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Old 7th December 2010, 14:48   #6
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Pramod,
Brilliant write up! Such write ups make me think about a road trip soon.I had done the Bangalore - Karwar circuit back in 2008 but didnt do the stop overs like what you had done.The places and the pictures look awesome.Looking forward to the rest of them.
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Old 7th December 2010, 15:46   #7
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Nice one pramod.
Yellapur + places @ Banana County is a plan which I will materialize very soon!


One more point: If the items you showed in the boot is all that you carried for 9 days, then hats off to you my friend!
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Old 7th December 2010, 16:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
One more point: If the items you showed in the boot is all that you carried for 9 days, then hats off to you my friend!
Yeah, some accessory items were on the rear seat of the car, including water bottles in a bucket!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallik9 View Post
Pramod,
Brilliant write up! Such write ups make me think about a road trip soon.I had done the Bangalore - Karwar circuit back in 2008 but didnt do the stop overs like what you had done.The places and the pictures look awesome.Looking forward to the rest of them.
Thanks Hallik9!

Quote:
Originally Posted by musafir_blr View Post
Great pics and details, Promodh.

How much time it took to reach Karwar by this route? I am planning for a trip to Karwar in Jan 2011.
It should take u 6 hours to Hubli, + 1.5 Hours to Yellapur + 1.5 Hours to Karwar = 9 hours in all. Add some breaks, u can cover in 10.5 hours max.
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Old 7th December 2010, 16:57   #9
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Default Day 2 : Karwar - Madgaon - Panaji - Sawantwadi - Ratnagiri - Ganapatipule

Section 1: Drive from Karwar to MH border:

We have breakfast at the Udupi cafe next to the Hotel Bhadra and set ourselves for the day's drive towards Maharashtra. Target is to reach Ganapatipule beach MTDC at around 3 pm. We start Karwar at 8 am.

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Just 100 m into the journey, we stop on the Kali bridge before Sadhashivgad to see the awesome sight of the Kali joining Arabian sea. After a few clicks, we drive ahead. I see the sign board towards Ulavi, anshi. I tell myself, there is another time for that road.

Since we started late, instead of the planned 6 AM, we hit the morning traffic through Goa. The whole stretch from Goa border till Panaji (which is around 95 Kms) was crowded or atleast had 2 wheelers on one side, which drastically slowed us down.

We took 2 full hours from karwar to Panaji.
Some snaps on the way.

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Old 7th December 2010, 17:39   #10
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Great start Pramod. Loved the pics especially the sunset pics and Magod falls. I always wanted to visit Magod Falls, but somehow it is still elusive. Did you guys view the sunset from the top of Jenukallugudda?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
I could surely be wrong. But looking at its face/head, it looks like a King Cobra to me. Its not a rat snake for sure. If its a King, i should be pretty lucky to have spotted 2 Kings in the same year. Earlier sighting was in Kukke surroundings.

In a while, we spotted one more 2 feet snake in the same waters. This was some other snake. Not a cobra. Again, need some one to identify the same.
Man, you are lucky!!! Going by the pic, the large head could be of the King Cobra. 2 sightings in a year, I will be happy if I sight one in my lifetime.

The second snake could be a Keelback. Looks like there is a reddish tinge to its colour. I'm not sure though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
I see the sign board towards Ulavi, anshi. I tell myself, there is another time for that road.
Great minds think alike. It always happens to me. Whenever I pass a road or board indicating direction to some place, I always think that there is another time for it, but somehow, time never seems give me an opportunity to go back there.

Last edited by addyhemmige : 7th December 2010 at 17:41.
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Old 7th December 2010, 17:49   #11
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Good start to the t-logue.Good to know that you got out of Hyd without any more problems.Looking forward to more pictures.
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Old 7th December 2010, 18:07   #12
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Very good start Pramod. Heard about Magod Falls but never thought its so beautiful. Also lots of scenic places around Yellapur. The sunset pictures are beautiful. Waiting for the MH part of your trip!!!
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Old 7th December 2010, 18:57   #13
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Pramod

First of all, how do you manage to get 11 days off at a stretch?? Your writing skills are brilliant and you do make people want to hit the road ASAP.

Subs
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Old 7th December 2010, 22:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Did you guys view the sunset from the top of Jenukallugudda?
Yes, from the top of JenukalluGudda.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Good start to the t-logue.Good to know that you got out of Hyd without any more problems.Looking forward to more pictures.
Ranjit, it was great on ur part, to offer so much guidance for me to navigate the hectic Hyd city and to find the accomodation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamdiesel View Post
Very good start Pramod. Heard about Magod Falls but never thought its so beautiful. Also lots of scenic places around Yellapur. The sunset pictures are beautiful. Waiting for the MH part of your trip!!!
Thanks DD. Will post the MH part in a while now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subs View Post
Pramod

First of all, how do you manage to get 11 days off at a stretch?? Your writing skills are brilliant and you do make people want to hit the road ASAP.

Subs
I travelled to Dallas from Jan to March this year. Followed by Vietnam from May to Sept, followed by Dallas again from Oct to Nov. So i could afford to take a long leave. And they dint say no
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Old 8th December 2010, 00:03   #15
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Default Day 2 : MH

Section 2 : Goa-MH border to Ganapatipule

Goa truely had great roads. Traffic was messy from Kankona to Panaji and that is to blame ourselves, for chosing to cross the whole Goa section in the day time weekday traffic. Once we hit the MH border, the bad sections were there to be seen. The initial 2 Kms were pathetic. If this was what we were to face for the next few days, i would have chosen to turn right back through Amboli back to Bangalore

But, the roads got better then on. But i must say that, there were a lot of bad patches in between until Sindhudurg. We went past Kanakavali, Sindhudurg, Rajpur, Lanja, Paali.

Sawantwadi :
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After Sawantwadi towards Sindhudurg
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Lunch time at Paali
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We hit the NH17-Ganapatipule road intersection at 4:30 pm and 949 Km tripmeter reading. Mind u, we started the day from Karwar at 613 Km mark.

One obvious thing, after coming into MH is that, there are Dhabas and eateries every 25 m! And most looked like, the owner had spent more money on the hoarding than the hotel itself..lol.

Now, we join SH106 with 38 Kms to Ganapatipule. Finally, we reach Ganapatipule MTDC resort at 5:05PM, right on time for spending some precious time on the brilliant stretch of beach.

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We had booked Konkani AC huts. 2 of them. We were the only guests on this thursday.

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We checkin, pay some deposit and "Luxury Tax" and get ready to hit the beach.

The next hour and more was spent exploring the beach. It was low tide i guess and the water had receeded in. So, more spacious, the beach looked!

We could see the general crowd near the main beach and if given a chance, thats where i want to be. I hate playing on isolated beach, i hate being on special queues in temples...

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Once it was dark, we decided to go back to our rooms. Dinner was to be ordered at 7.30 pm. We browse the menu and order a 2 course meal for 4. It would be another 1 hour for the dinner to be ready. So we sit for a round of bluff and rummy. Time just passed by, what with the cool breeze from the sea and a sea front sit out!

Dinner was served in the common dinner area, where round tables with umbrellas are placed, with a common gazebo cooking area.

Frogs, crabs et all were there. Not on the plate.. lol. For our company, below the table.

Some more time infront of our huts, facing the sea, until our tired eyes shut itself close, after a tiring day of drive from Karwar.

We peacefully rest, with the Ratnagiri coatal drive, planned for the Day3.
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