I will limit the post mostly to the route as there are plenty of travelogues and information about Hampi in team-bhp and elsewhere.
But just let me say that it is a wonderful place and definitely worth the visit.
Cars - Honda Jazz
(me and my family) and Ritz VDI
(friend and his family) Onward journey
- Hyderabad - Bhoothpur(NH7)
- Started at 6 AM on Saturday morning. Breezed through the Bangalore Highway in a hour or so and then took the turn at Bhoothpur to avoid Mahboobnagar as suggested by many.
road is decent - there are not too many potholes but the road surface is undulating and the sides of the road is borken up or badly patched in several places. On top of that, there are small villages on the way and entry and exit of every village is marked by big bumpers.So, expect lots of hard braking and acceleration and a few hair raising moments when you jum over some of those bumps.It took us around 2:30 hours to complete this stretch along with one 15 min break for breakfast.All in all, this road is not great for cruising at all and this is where you can lose some of the travel time. Raichur-Sindhanur-Gangawati
: This stretch is good to great and it is more scenic as well. There are still speedbreakers on the way but the good road surface makes up for it.You can easily do 100+ speeds consistently, just need to be careful about speedbreakers. We were unfortunately caught up in a big traffic jam in Sindhanur which wasted at least
30 mins. Took us 2:20 mins roughly for this stretch but can be done in less than 2 hours unless if you are unlucky like us. Raichur-Kampli-Kamalaur-Hospet
: This is where our journey really turned bad.. Once we took the turn to Kampli, the roads are awefully narrow and the progress is painfully slow if are stuck behind a truck as we were. And then there was some local festival going on which caused a traffic jam and everything completely stopped. It has to be one of the worst traffic jams in my life. We were stuck for almost 45 mins without moving an inch. At one time, we lost all hopes. But fortunately, things started moving after almost an hour. Once we were out of this, we had to take a turn towards Kamalapur and the road there was completely broken...it was like non-existent. Thankfully, this lasted only for 3-4 kms. After that, the road surface became nice and smooth and the last 20 kms through Kamalapur and Hampi were extremely scenic and beautiful.
It took us 1:45 hours to complete this stretch against the budgeted 1 hour.
So, overall it took us 8 hours and we reached our hotel - Royal Orchids Central Kireeti - at roughly 2 PM, 1 hour later than expected.
Overall, this route is decent with some stretches being excellent and should be doable in 7 hours unless you get stuck in the traffic jams like us. Return journey
Since we had very bad experience in the Raichur-Kampli-Kamalaur-Hospet stretch at any cost.
After inquiring with the locals, the Gooty-Bellary route was ruled out.
The route suggested by locals was: Hospet - Tungabhadra road - NH63-NH13-Budugumpa X roads - Raichur Koppal Road (SH23) - Gangawati.
This route was approx 10-12 kms more but we were fine with that.
So, we decided to try this route. And what a marvelous decision it turned out to be. Such amazing roads - brilliant surface and mesmerizing views - the drive till Gangawati has to be one of the best drives I had.
Rest of the journey was same as earlier and the overall travel time was around 7 hours.
So, to summarize, for people going to Hampi/Hospet, the recommened route is - Hyderabad - Bhoothpur (bypass Mahboobnagar) - Raichur- Gangawati - Budugumpa X roads -NH63 - Hospet. The mishap -
As we were going through the wonderful stretch of road in our return journey on the Raichur-Koppal Road before Gangawati, my friend called and told me that his car was making some strange sound. We stopped and checked the sound and it looked like coming from the engine. On opening the bonnet, it looked like the sound is coming from the timing belt.
We could not get any mechanic nearby and Monday being Eid, all of them were on leave. We decided to drive cautiously till Gangawati and look for some help there.
But unfortunately, 3 kms before Gangawati, the Ritz gave up and stopped
We realized that it is something serious. First, we tried the Maruti helpline but in vain. Even after trying for 15-20 minutes all possible numbers we could find anything, nothing seemed to work. Damn you Maruti! Is this the famus mauti service? Is this why people buy Maruti?By the way, the car is only 3 months old and done 4000 kms.
Fortunately, one of my friend's colleague stays in Gangawati. So, we called him up. He got a mechanic from Tata motors to have a look. The mechanic confirmed that there is a problem with the timing chain
and it can be fixed only in the Maruti service center which will open only on Tuesday. By this time, it was already 4:30 PM and we had to make a decision. So, we decided that my friend will stay back at Gangawati and his mom and wife will come with us in my car.His colleague said that he will arrange for the vehicle to be towed to a safe place and they will go to the Maruti service center next morning.
As I write this, my friend is still in Gangawati. The Maruti service center at Gangawati said they can't fix the problem..so the vehicle has to be towed to Hospet. Can't imagine what my friend his going through. A note about Royal Orchids Centrl Kireeti hotel
It is a very nice hotel, the rooms are tastefully done and the decor is grand. Only problem is they are severely under-staffed to handle peak load and that reflects in their lousy service level during such a busy weekend. My room had some problems with the TV, so they upgraded me to a suite free of cost A note about Sygic MMI GPS -
I used the Sygic MMI GPS on my Android phone through the journey and it was very helpful. I didn't have to ask for the route any time. It has some strange bugs due to which I made some wrong turns and wasted some time but still, it is a very handy tool and a must for travellers. But, as a backup, it is better to have some printouts of google maps in case something goes wrong.