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Old 10th November 2021, 12:11   #1
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Default Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

Prologue:



This trip was certainly quite different from my usual weekend trips. First, the destination and the purpose of the drive was quite different. And then the car I was driving was not my beloved red BMW that has become my de facto companion over last 3 years.

My usual driving plans start with some causal discussions with my driving buddies, or as weekend getaway plans with my wife when we need a break, or as my impromptu solo drives which usually get decided on Friday evenings and I find myself driving away in my car Saturday early morning. Almost all of these drives are just for the sake of driving fun, photography and spending the weekend at some scenic location with friends and family (or sometimes solo). The destination is never important in my typical drives. It is only the driving and the journey that matters to me.

This particular trip was in "none of the above" categories, and was totally different on many counts (for starters, it had a well defined and specific destination). And I loved it for that very reason. It was so different and so refreshing, and I thought it definitely deserves a separate travelogue. And hence this travelogue.

My parents are visiting us here in Bangalore, and I have been taking them around to some scenic drives and to some typical resorts over last few weekends. For our Diwali vacation, I was again suggesting some typical resort type vacation to them and discussing few options. However, my father said something that was quite interesting. He wanted to visit a specific temple in the Western Ghats of Karnataka for a long time. Due to some reasons, he specifically wanted to visit that temple, and somehow his previous plans of visiting that temple never materialized even though he had visited areas nearby. The full name of that temple is "Adhishakthyathmaka Sri Annapoorneshwari Ammanavara Temple" (as a shorter name, my father just calls it as "Annapoorna temple"). This it is located in a small town named Horanadu, in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Here is the location link if you are curious: https://goo.gl/maps/mVCaUJayFgsLcDnH6

When my father told me of his long-pending wish of visiting this temple, I thought what better way to celebrate Diwali than to drive him there to that temple on the Diwali days? The thought was so compelling that in a flash of a second I finalized this plan and I told my parents that I would drive them there on Diwali. They were thrilled beyond limits. So that is how this "Temple Drive" became my Diwali plan, instead of the usual resorts and party plans. I always love doing new things, and I was as excited as my parents were about this drive. Enough of the same old boring vacation drives. This was going to be something new and exciting for sure.

The destination was finalized. Now it was up to me to figure out the details and make the travel plans. A quick Google search showed me that the temple is actually quite beautiful, and is located in the lush green hills with some very scenic drives nearby. Of course, there are no star hotels or major resorts near the temple. However, thankfully, there are plenty of lovely homestays in that area. I told my parents that we would have to stay in a homestay. My parents have rarely stayed in a homestay (homestay is a such a beautiful concept and so well executed here in South India, but still quite rare near Pune where my parents stay). Thus, even this was going to be a new experience for them, and they were excited about staying at a homestay too.

Now with homestays, there is just way too much choice in that area. A simple Google search will list more homestay options than one could ever consider. Some of these homestays are extremely nice, whereas unfortunately some others could be quite bad too. In the past, I have burnt my fingers staying at a really terrible homestay in Coorg. What I am trying to get at is that it is very important to have some first hand review from someone you know and who has stayed at that homestay before choosing a homestay. A careful homestay selection is a must. Else you can land up in a bad place. I asked my friends and BHPians KarthikK and robimahanta, who have immense knowledge and experience of driving and stay options and know many homestays personally. Both of them suggested some really nice options (thanks KK and Robi!). However, unfortunately all those options were sold out on Diwali days.

While I was searching around in the maps of that area, I suddenly remembered that lovely travelogue by BHPian arun_josie, where he stayed at a charming homestay on the outskirts of Chikmagalur: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...udda-peak.html (A trip long time coming Stay at outskirts of Chikmagalur and a drive to Devi Gudda peak). He stayed at a homestay called "Bean Aroma Homestay" (https://www.beanaroma.com/). I remember commenting on his thread that the place looked lovely and that I would love to go stay there some day. Well, luckily, I remembered that conversation this time and again a quick Google maps search showed that this homestay is quite conveniently located for our driving plan. I immediately called the homestay, and thankfully, the place was available on the dates we wanted. Great! This sounded like a perfect place and I immediately confirmed my booking by paying 50% advance. Thanks a lot arun_josie for that wonderful travelogue and for introducing us to this homestay.

With the place of stay finalized, I decided to throw in some interesting driving circuits around that, and came up with an overall plan for 3 days. Talking of temples, I decided to visit the famous Chennakeshava Temple at Belur, while on the way. This temple is one of the most famous examples of Hoysala style architecture, elaborate with stone carvings. This temple was bang on our onward drive, and my parents had not seen this temple before. Thus, it made perfect sense to plan a visit to this temple as well.

With this temple at Belur added in the plan, and also some scenic drives, the overall driving plan for 3 days looked like this:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-map1.jpg

Choice of the car: Now that the destination, homestay and the driving plan was finalized, the question was which car to take. For my usual drives, this question would not even arise and I would just take my BMW 320d. This red BMW has been my loyal companion on all my drives over last 3 years. She is a lovely car to drive and she makes any drive enjoyable. However, for this particular temple drive, I chose by beloved old faithful, my 11-year old Maruti SX4. Sounds weird, right? Why would one choose to drive an 11-year old Maruti over a BMW? Well I had two obvious reasons (and a third secret reason too):

1. Ease of getting in/out and ease of sitting for my elderly parents: We have been driving around in the BMW to some nearby scenic places for most weekends last month, and I could see my parents struggling with getting in and out of the 320d. The low stance of the 320d is a pain for the elderly to get in and out. Not just that, even after getting in, the low seating position is not exactly comfortable for elderly people. For example, on more than one occasion, after sitting for just 2 hours in the BMW, my father felt cramps immediately after getting out of the car, and he could not stand up straight for some time. It was painful.

Further, due to their age, my parents can not sit in the car for a long period of time. That means we need to take frequent stops and that further means frequent getting in and out of the car. This was really becoming painful for my parents and I could see their pain in my recent drives in the BMW. The ride quality and the dynamic stability in the BMW is top notch and even my parents feel that and they really love the BMW ride. But the seating position and entry/exit is something they do not love. It pains me to admit it but I must admit that the 320d is a not car for me to take my elderly parents on long drives with frequent in/out.

Fortunately for us, my other car, my Maruti SX4 is exactly the opposite. It has quite a poor ride quality compared to the BMW (and it is terribly slow). But in return, it offers fantastic seating position, space, and a perfect height for getting in and out. You simply walk in this car and sit on the seat with ease. The car is not too low and not too high. The ergonomics is just perfect for the elderly. Add to that the fact that SX4 is actually lot more spacious for cabin and luggage space than the BMW, it made a compelling argument for itself on this drive.

This backseat of the SX4 is perfect for seating position and ease of entry/exit for the elderly, and is quite spacious too:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-img_20201230_135218-2.jpg

2. Options to explore bad roads and even some mild off-roading: The roads in the area we were going to are a mix of very good to very bad roads. I know that area quite well and I know the good roads where I could enjoy the BMW. But then that limits our options. With SX4, I can take any road I want without prior research or knowledge, and this opens lot of new exploration opportunities. I can take many notorious Google Maps shortcuts in the SX4 which I dare not take in the BMW. Further, I had seen in arun_josie's travelogue (referred to above) that there were some off-road trails around the homestay. I though I could try some of those in the SX4. Not serious stuff for sure, but some mild trails can be enjoyed in the SX4. As it turned out, I drove on plenty of bad roads and also did some mild off-roading, and thus taking the SX4 turned out to be the right call.

3. Then there was a third "secret" reason. From time to time, as a change, I love driving my SX4. The car is so simple and so mechanical (with a simple 5-soeed manual transmission with almost no electronics) that it takes me to the bygone era of driving simple cars. I love driving this car and the manual shifting. The car is slow - dead slow compared to the BMW - but it makes up for that by offering the old fashioned driving pleasure. Not the driving pleasure that comes from the rear wheel drive, the legendary dynamics and the perfected weight distribution and balance (all that is BMW's forte), but the driving pleasure that comes from being so simple and yet so robust. It makes me feel so free and so comfortable. And I have more than 10 years of memories with this car. This car has taken me to places. I still have that emotional bond with this car. Those 10 years of memories ride with me when I drive this car.

For these reasons we decided to take the SX4 for this drive. The car is old but is mechanically in perfect shape. Even today, it is reliable enough for me to jump in and drive her away on a long trip. All I did before the day of the drive was to take this car to my friendly neighborhood car wash place, and got her washed thoroughly with foam and high pressure water, and got interiors vacuumed. The car was all set for a long hilly drive, which she rarely does these days thanks to the BMW taking over that job. I could feel the car was as excited about this as I was.

With that longish preamble (sorry about that), let me share the actual travelogues through pictures. I promise I will keep my words to the minimum and let pictures do the talking through the rest of the sections now.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 10th November 2021 at 21:20.
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Old 10th November 2021, 14:51   #2
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Driving to the Homestay, with a stop at Belur:



We started driving at 5:50am. Our plan was to reach the homestay before lunch time, with a stop at the famous Belur Temple on the way. We also stopped for breakfast at our usual place, Paakshala@Yediyur (yes, that is how the name is spelled), on NH75. For multiple reasons, this has become my de facto breakfast stop for my morning drives on NH75.

Our customary breakfast stop at Paakshala on NH75 (we reached early enough before the place became crowded):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_073322.jpg


Next stop after breakfast was the famous Chennakeshava temple at Belur:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_102110.jpg


We hired a guide at this temple (I strongly recommend anyone visiting this temple to hire a guide. Without a guide, it is easy to miss so much of details about this temple, the stone carvings, the history and the architecture). The guide was an excellent guide and he gave us a detailed tour of the temple and explained several finer points. I have been to this temple in the past, but this was new to my parents and they loved this temple.

Below are some casual photos I took with my mobile phone camera while walking around listening to the guide:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_102049.jpg



Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_102854.jpg



Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_103120.jpg



Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_110224.jpg

After spending an hour at the temple, we needed a quick break at this time. I had checked with BHPian paragsachania about this area beforehand (his knowledge of roads and places is legendary), and he had suggested Hotel Mayura Velapuri (https://goo.gl/maps/HvbqzcQK1XZ66eT6A), which is the State Tourism Department's hotel, as a decent stop on the way. We went there and they served us a good tea and thankfully, they had clean restrooms. Thanks a lot paragsachania for this very useful tip. For anyone visiting this temple in future, and needing a nearby place for short break and clean restrooms, I would definitely recommend this hotel as a good place.

After this short tea break, we resumed our journey to the homestay.

We drove through some scenic narrow roads surrounded by coffee plantations:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_121251.jpg


The last stretch when we almost reached the homestay:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_123344.jpg


The entry to the homestay through this path was lovely, and we could already sense we were in for some special experience at this homestay:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_123435.jpg


This is the homestay. A lovely house in the middle of the coffee plantation and thick woods:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_125528.jpg


The complete property with a beautiful independent cottage as an additional staying option:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_6346.jpg

We were the only people to stay there that day, and thus we had this whole property to ourselves. The weather was very pleasant with a mix of cloud and sun. The ambiance around the house was magical. The property is in the middle of coffee plantations and thick forests, and apart from the sounds of birds chirping, we did not hear any other sounds. It was a lovely experience being there at that place.

The veranda at the front, where we spent some time sitting and enjoying the serene ambiance:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_133729.jpg


Inside, these car models used in the room decor tell the story of the automobile interests of the property owner/manager Siddharth:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_133903.jpg


A closer look at the car models:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_133926.jpg


Siddharth was our host there an he is a wonderful person. He is a great chef (he himself cooked delicious food for us throughout our stay), he is into motorsports and an expert in 4x4 driving, very knowledgeable in many topics, and was a courteous and friendly host. I enjoyed chatting with him, and overall, enjoyed the great times I had at that homestay.

Some more wall decor reminding us of the automobile interest of the hosts:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_133830.jpg


Then I checked into this cottage which was really pretty:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_125550.jpg


Everything was rustic and antique, with old fashioned class and charm, like this door to the cottage:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_082228.jpg


And even the lock to the door was antique:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_125614.jpg


And finally, talking of the food we had there, we had delicious homemade food during our entire stay. Siddharth himself is the chef and he made it a point to cook authentic local dishes for us. He explained a lot about local food to us, and we had interesting food conversations while at the dinner table.

I did not take pictures of everything that we ate there, but here is one representative picture of the food we had there.

Piping hot, fresh off the pan coconut holige:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_134534.jpg

Last edited by Dr.AD : 10th November 2021 at 21:34.
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Old 10th November 2021, 16:21   #3
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Evening Drive to Devaramane



After a sumptuous lunch, we took a short nap in the serene settings of that homestay. After the short rest, we were up and ready for an evening drive and to explore the hills around.

Siddharth recommended we drive to Devaramane, which is a peak in the hills surrounding that area, about an hour's drive from the homestay. I had been to Devaramane last year as part of our WindowsDownMotoring Drive (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...dows-down.html (Chikmagalur: Driving through Coffee Country, with the windows down)). I had really loved that place the last time too, and I decided to accept Siddharth's suggestion to drive to Devaramane.

Drive to Devaramane is a scenic drive on a narrow, hilly road. Some portions of the road are good, but a lot of portions are broken down and there are many potholes. One needs to drive slowly and carefully, but in return, this drive offers incredible forest views, landscapes, and a magical experience.

On the narrow but scenic path that takes one toward Devaramane:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_161517.jpg


The charming roads:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163030.jpg


We found some nice trail that looked inviting (the moment for which I had chosen SX4 over the BMW):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163243.jpg


I entered that trail (the entry to that trail from the tar road was a very rocky and bumpy, and the high GC of SX4 came handy there):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163406.jpg


SX4 going deeper into the trail:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163433.jpg


A close-up of the car having some fun:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163430.jpg


SX4 is no SUV, not even a pseudo-SUV. But it is totally at home on most grounds:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163509.jpg


Both us and the car enjoyed this small detour:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_163626.jpg


After a short drive around that trail and some walking around enjoying the views, we came back on the main road and drove on to Devaramane viewpoint. Unfortunately at this point, it started raining. By then it was windy and cold, the skies had darkened, it was drizzling and it looked like the drizzle could change into a proper downpour any moment. Therefore, we decided not to do the small hike required to reach Devaramane viewpoint. My mother was keen to climb up, but I suggested that we do not do that due the bad weather.

Although we did not hike up to the viewpoint, we did enjoy driving around that area and stopping and getting out of the car to enjoy such views from time to time:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_6350.jpg



Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_6356.jpg



Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_6357.jpg


Flashback to September 2020: We were at the same location during our WindowsDownMotoring drive in 2020. My BMW at that location a year ago:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_0553.jpg


Flashback to September 2020: My car with BHPian megazoid's Red Hot Polo GTI at that spot a year ago:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_0562.jpg

While I was lost in the memories of my previous drive and I was telling my parents about that drive, it started raining, and it got dark. We decided to start our return journey before it got too dark. We drove back pretty much under constant rain, in rapidly fading light, and by the time we reached our homestay it was pitch dark.

At our homestay after that cold and rainy drive, we had this piping hot coffee (fresh coffee from their own estate), and tasty biscuits:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_182748.jpg

We had a sumptuous dinner (again local fare), and went to bed early. It was an exciting day, but also a tiring day with all the hill drives and the early morning start.

But before I went to sleep, I could not resist clicking this picture of how beautiful the cottage looked in the night:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211104_183924.jpg

Last edited by Dr.AD : 10th November 2021 at 21:48.
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Day 2: Drive to Annapoorna Temple



Our agenda for Day 2 was the main point of our trip, visiting the Annapoorna Temple.

I got up early, and when I came outside my cottage, I was greeted by this vast open green area in front of the cottage:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_072152.jpg


It had rained in the night, and the rain plus dew had created this interesting look on the car (the lines you see on the car body are not scratches on the paint; these are mud lines from previous day's mud drive):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_6362.jpg


However, the morning had clear skies, and the sun came out soon. That helped the car dry up quickly, leaving behind this beautiful mud pattern on the sides:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_083615.jpg


We had this delicious "kadabu" (again a local fare) for breakfast. It was fresh off the stove, hot, soft, and made to perfection:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_091043.jpg

After a heavy breakfast, we were on our way to the temple. This road goes through some thick forests and hills. The entire road from homestay to the temple was hilly road, and we had 2.5 hours of engaging drive through some lovely ghats, lush green forests, and beautiful views all around.

We enjoyed roads like these (this is Chikmagalur-Sringeri road):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_102244.jpg


Examples of good roads we drove on (later we drove on plenty of bad roads too):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_102251.jpg


This area is full of charming little coffee shops on the side of the road, like this one (unfortunately this one was closed though):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_103547.jpg


We had interesting scenery all around throughout this drive. At one point, we passed by this beautiful temple where some pooja was going on. The temple looked so beautiful that I could not resist stopping and taking a picture from my car window:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_113457.jpg


While we enjoyed good roads for about 1.5 hours, our luck ran out as we followed Google Maps which took us through a shorter route to the temple. Earlier, we were on the Chikmagalur-Sringeri road, which is an excellent road (very smooth as well as scenic, as you can see in the pictures above). However, to reach our destination, we had to exit that road and take a left at a town called Balehonnur. The roads after that were quite bad. The roads were full of potholes and rough edges, with randomly changing width from section to section. It was a slow and bumpy ride there.

A bit later, we had to take another, ever narrower "shortcut" to Horanadu (our destination), and on that shortcut, the roads were terrible. We had non-existent stretches, and mud paths on some sections.

One example of a muddy corner, where even the Etios in the front had to stop and check for damage:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_120323.jpg


A closer look at the mess. It was much worse in reality than it appears in the pictures (the pictures do not show how deep those grooves in the mud where):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_120337.jpg

At this point I was really glad I took my SX4 instead of my BMW. The BMW would have really struggled to cross this section. In fact, the road here was so bad that even SX4 got hit on the under-body a couple of times here. When the SX4 with 180mm ground clearance and rock-hard suspensions (no sagging at all) gets hit, you know the road is really bad. But again, this was a shortcut that I dared to take just because I had the SX4. If I had the BMW, I would have probably taken the longer, safer route.

A side note on the maps and roads ("Rule of White Lines"): In the last 6 months, I have done multiple drives in that area, and I explored both good and bad roads. Based on that, I found a simple guiding rule which works well in that specific area. All the major roads (state highways and above), which are marked by yellow lines in the Google Maps, are generally good and safe enough for a low snug sedan such as a 320d. However, the smaller roads, marked as white lines in Google Maps, are complete gambles and these roads could turn out to be anything from very good to extremely bad. These roads are best suited if you have a car that can take whatever conditions you throw at it. But if you have a low snug sedan, better to avoid any road that is marked by the white lines in the Google Maps. I call it my "Rule of White Lines".

As an example, here is a map of the area where we faced extreme bad roads. The extreme bad roads were in that white lined road which I have marked by the red oval below:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-map2.jpg

Instead of taking that white lined shortcut, if I had continued on the yellow line (via Kalasa), the roads were driveable even in a low sedan. But that is a much longer route. Google Maps suggested this shortcut via the white line, and there, the roads were so bad that I escaped scot-free only because I had 180mm GC. However, as if as a compensation for that mess, the white lined road was incredibly scenic. The road went through thick forests, and had small waterfalls on the sides at many locations. I was so focused on maneuvering the car on the bad roads, around the potholes and the mud tracks that I forgot to take pictures there. But the road was very scenic. Therefore, if you have a real or even a pseudo-SUV that can handle this abuse, by all means take these white lined roads and enjoy the scenic drives.

Anyways, after navigating those bad roads, we finally reached our destination, the Annapoorna Temple in Horanadu. The temple is very beautiful and located on the backdrop of lush green hills. The temple was reasonably crowded.

The streets leading to the temple on the backdrop of the hills:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_125600.jpg


Luckily, there is a big open parking space there. Although the parking was crowded and almost full, there were a few empty spots and I could find a parking spot after just a short search:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_125837.jpg


A look at the hills behind the parking area:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_125746.jpg


At the main temple, they have this big terrace overlooking the hills and the coconut trees:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_131037.jpg


This is the main temple:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_131542.jpg


A view of the thick trees and the lush green hills surrounding the temple:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_131511.jpg


I found this colorful structure on the top of the entrance gate really beautiful:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_131754.jpg


A close-up of the colorful statues and the design:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_131823.jpg


After spending some time at the temple and taking blessings of goddess Annapoorneshwari, we decided to start our return journey. My parents were extremely pleased with this visit and having completed their long-pending wish of visiting this goddess. I could see the satisfaction on their face. We were all a happy family and on that happy note, we started our return journey.

For me this trip was also about exploring different routes. Therefore, we decided to take a different route for returning than the onward route. This time, we drove the longer route via Mudigere. The return route was longer, but again very scenic. Thankfully, this time the road conditions were good throughout.

One of the motivations for taking this longer route was to stop at Ibbani Cafe, and enjoy their famous neer dosa. This Ibbani Cafe was introduced to us by KarthikK in his post here: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ml#post5122005 (Monsoon Drive to Bhadra Tiger Reserve - A Photologue). KarthikK has been telling us about the akki roti and neer dosa at this place for long, and I really wanted to eat there. Thus, the return route was chosen to go via this Ibbani Cafe.

Unfortunately for us, Ibbani Cafe was closed when we reached there. However, while driving there I had noticed another cafe on the way that was open. So I quickly took a U-turn and drove back to that cafe that I had seen was open.

This is the cafe that we found after seeing Ibbani Cafe was closed:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_155457.jpg

Thankfully, this Malnad Cafe did not disappoint us. They served fresh akki roti and puliyogare, and both these were quite good. We had a good lunch and some nice hot coffee there at Malnad Cafe. My father especially loved the coffee there. He will remember that place for their coffee.

After a food plus coffee break at this Malnad Cafe, we returned back to our homestay. It was an exciting day for us, a day full of scenic drives, interesting roads (both good and bad), and most importantly, we visited the temple which was our main agenda.


Resting on my bed in the cottage after this satisfying day of driving, and staring into the roof while lost in my own thoughts, I could not resist clicking this picture which somehow looked interesting to me:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_185318.jpg


Back outside in the night, the house looked mystical in the night lights:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_19291101.jpg


And finally, one more picture of the interesting lighting on the walls of the cottage:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211105_194244.jpg


With that, we ended this day and went to sleep. Plan for the next day was simple. Just a drive back to Bangalore.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 10th November 2021 at 21:53.
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Old 10th November 2021, 20:18   #5
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Default re: Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

Day 3: Return to Bangalore



The plan for this day was simple. Check out from the homestay after breakfast and just return to Bangalore. We would have lunch on the way at one of my favorite lunch stops on this route - Hoysala Village Resort.

It was raining heavily through the night (I could hear the rain on the roof of the cottage), and I was guessing it would be a rainy drive back to Bangalore. While I love rainy drives and I did plenty of monsoon drives this year, honestly, the rain was getting a bit annoying by now. We had so much rain this year that I am a bit tired of rain. I would have loved a drive through clear, sunny weather for a change. But it looked like it was not going to happen this time too.

However, to my pleasant surprise, when I got up and came outside the cottage, it was sunny! The skies were clear, and I was greeted by bright and warm sunshine.

A pleasant sunrise through the trees:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-dsc_64332.jpg


White I sat in my veranda, I could see the mud on the car. She would get a nice high pressure wash once we get back to Bangalore:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_082653.jpg


Talking of the mud, due to the night rain, this is how the grass looked where I had parked my car:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_084733.jpg


Again I wonder how the BMW would have taken this. A RWD car is a disaster in such muddy, slushy conditions. But the SX4 was again totally at home.

Another view of the car as I took a morning stroll around the place:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_084903.jpg


A parting shot of that cottage in the fresh morning weather
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_085241.jpg


Getting ready for checking out by loading the luggage.
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_094713.jpg


A parting shot of my car at that lovely location (and under sunny conditions):
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_094954.jpg


It was a short, simple and uneventful drive back. And yes, thankfully, it was a clear and sunny drive for a change! As I mentioned, we stopped at Hoysala Village Resort near Hassan for lunch. This is my favorite lunch stop on this route. They offer a large buffet spread made of fresh and delicious local food. They had a live counter for local fare such as neer dosa, akki roti, jowar roti, coconut holige, etc., in addition to the usual stuff like a variety of curries and rice items. We loved the lunch there.

To wrap up this travelogue, let me share a picture of the delicious desserts (payasam and gulab jamun) I had at the lunch:
Western Ghats, Temples and an old car-20211106_13335801.jpg

To conclude this travelogue, let me once again say that Bean Aroma homestay is a lovely place. We enjoyed our stay (and especially the food there). I would definitely recommend this place if anyone is looking for simple, clean, but comfortable stay at a scenic location, with a friendly and welcoming host. This is not a luxury place, and offers no luxurious facilities at all. But other than that, this place offers everything else. I would definitely go back there. The Annapoorneshwari Temple turned out to be a great place too. Very scenic, and peaceful in spite of being crowded. The location makes the temple feel magical. And the drives and the hills all around that area are lovely. No matter which road you take in that area, you are guaranteed to have a scenic drive. And finally, I must say that I loved driving my SX4. The car, although 11 years old, is still in perfect condition and perfectly managed all the challenges it faced in this drive. It is just so easy to drive on any road and offers a very different kind of driving pleasure that is hard to describe. Maybe technically it is not the driving pleasure (again that is the forte of the BMW), but some unique kind of "traveling pleasure", a feeling that you can go anywhere without a hint of a worry, is what this car offers. And for me personally, I have a unique emotional bond with the car and this drive helped rejuvenate that relationship. A wonderful car and a wonderful machine!

Having said that, I must admit that the car is terribly slow, and the ride quality is below average. The 1.6 NA engine producing some 103hp was maybe acceptable in 2010, but certainly not in 2021. And when I drove my BMW the next day when I reached home, it was an altogether next level experience. Driving the SX4 also helps me rejuvenate my appreciation of my BMW. and that is a secret fourth reason to drive this car. So, while I loved this drive, I am back to BMW for sure for the next drive. Let us see where the BMW takes me now for the next drive. Some new place perhaps. Will see.

With that, let me end this report. Thank you very much for reading.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 10th November 2021 at 22:00.
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Old 11th November 2021, 05:24   #6
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Default re: Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th November 2021, 21:33   #7
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Default Re: Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

One more excellent travelogue from you. I appreciate you for taking out time and penning down each of your drives here.

Nice scenic pics from your drive to Devaramane . We missed out on that because we didn't roam around too much due to the covid situation then.

And glad you liked the home stay. As you have rightly mentioned, this is not a luxury place but a very nice peaceful location with an excellent host.
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Old 12th November 2021, 10:22   #8
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Default Re: Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

An ode to the saying "Old is Gold". Atleast in your case it is.....
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Old 12th November 2021, 10:54   #9
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Monsoon and Malnad never fails to fascinate. This year monsoon never seem to end and the region is misty green for extended period. Nice travelogue !
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Old 12th November 2021, 11:39   #10
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Lovely travelogue. Inspires me to take off somewhere too.
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Old 12th November 2021, 11:45   #11
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Thanks for the excellent write-up and pictures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
[A side note on the maps and roads ("Rule of White Lines"): All the major roads (state highways and above), which are marked by yellow lines in the Google Maps, are generally good and safe enough. However, the smaller roads, marked as white lines in Google Maps, are complete gambles and these roads could turn out to be anything from very good to extremely bad.
It would be great if Google Maps itself gives an option to avoid the white-line-roads while plotting a route. Had written to them from their feedback section in this regard.

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Old 12th November 2021, 11:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
One more excellent travelogue from you. I appreciate you for taking out time and penning down each of your drives here.
Thank you very much!

Quote:
Nice scenic pics from your drive to Devaramane . We missed out on that because we didn't roam around too much due to the covid situation then.
You should definitely make another trip to take your Jeep Compass to Devaramane. It is a fun road to drive on, and your red compass will look amazing on that green background. Also plenty of options to take the Compass off-road there.

Quote:
And glad you liked the home stay. As you have rightly mentioned, this is not a luxury place but a very nice peaceful location with an excellent host.
True. It is a lovely place with a great host. Siddharth told me there is a 12km of off-roading track there. Maybe he was referring to the same track where you took your Compass last time. I have already recommended this place to my friends who own 4x4 vehicles as a good option for a weekend stay with some off-roading action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrideRed View Post
Monsoon and Malnad never fails to fascinate. This year monsoon never seem to end and the region is misty green for extended period. Nice travelogue !
Thank you. Very true. That region is always beautiful, and even more so now with the continuous rains. Honestly, the rainy season is extended so long now that I am a bit tired of this rain. Did plenty of rain drives this year and it seems like a never ending thing. I am eagerly looking forward to some hot and sunny drive now, whenever possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anandavinash View Post
Lovely travelogue. Inspires me to take off somewhere too.
Thank you very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adisan View Post
Thanks for the excellent write-up and pictures.
It would be great if Google Maps itself gives an option to avoid the white-line-roads while plotting a route. Had written to them from their feedback section in this regard.
Thank you very much.

Agree with you. It would be great if Google Maps has an option to avoid narrow/small rural roads and just stick to the main National Highways (the Yellow Lines) even if they were longer. Many times, the longer NH route just takes 10 minutes more but avoids a lot of pain of the bad roads. But Google insists of driving through a lot of bad roads just to avoid some 10 minutes.

By the way, these smaller white lines in that specific area are very scenic roads, and in this specific case, that may be a strong enough reason to actually take the smaller roads. If you have a vehicle which can take some abuse (like my SX4 did), then it is fun to take those roads and enjoy the scenery. Therefore, in this specific area, I think these white lines in the maps offer an interesting option.

However, in many other rural areas where the drives were not scenic at all, it is a major pain if you take these while lines and get stuck in some super narrow village lanes. Google Maps has been suggesting such narrow village roads more and more now a days. I had plenty of bad experience with Google Maps just in last 12 months or so (much more than anytime before). I believe somehow Google Maps algorithms are not able to cope with the new amount of data they are receiving from Indian road and driving conditions. Something is definitely wrong in Google Maps algorithms for India - something that was working well before but just broke down in last 12 months.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 12th November 2021 at 12:01.
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Old 12th November 2021, 12:11   #13
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Default Re: Western Ghats, Temples and an old car

Sir, I loved this picturesque travelogue of yours along with the SX4. I also have a similar 11 year old SX4 in my garage (French Eclair ZXI) and I agree totally with your observations barring comparisons with BMW as I've never driven one.
I may be wrong but Your old horse SX4 (as I could see in the photos) deserves a Polishing of the Headlights/Taillights as there seems to be a little haze otherwise maintenance of the Black colour is Superb.

Last edited by HooghlyBoy : 12th November 2021 at 12:12.
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Old 12th November 2021, 12:49   #14
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Sir, I loved this picturesque travelogue of yours along with the SX4. I also have a similar 11 year old SX4 in my garage (French Eclair ZXI) and I agree totally with your observations barring comparisons with BMW as I've never driven one.
Thank you very much. Great to meet a fellow SX4 owner.

Quote:
I may be wrong but Your old horse SX4 (as I could see in the photos) deserves a Polishing of the Headlights/Taillights as there seems to be a little haze otherwise maintenance of the Black colour is Superb.
Great observation! You are spot on about this point. The headlights have turned yellow and in general all the lights need some restoration treatment. In fact, 2 years ago I did headlight restoration treatment at my usual detailing shop. They did a great job, but just in 2 years now, the headlights have turned yellow and faded again. I was wondering if there is a permanent solution to this.

The car is mechanically in excellent condition and drives quite well. But there are some cosmetic issues now (understandable for a car driven for 11 years in our rough and tough conditions) including these faded lights. There are a few scratches and a few dents. I plan to someday get her completely repainted and restored. Let us see.
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Old 12th November 2021, 14:24   #15
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Great thread and Pictures Dr.AD. I am amazed how clean the interior of your SX4 is. And seeing this makes me feel like keeping the SX4 for longer. It has been through numerous trips to the western ghats and swallowed the roads without sweat. Even I am sitting on the fence wrt replacing the car with a fast sedan or getting it back to complete shape and using it for a few more years.

The issue with headlight fading is due to the restoration treatment itself. The yellowing of headlight is due to the effect of UV from sunlight. Fading happens due to scratches and other age related issues. To address this when detailers sand and polish the headlight, the UV coating is lost in this process and it later accelerates yellowing. The headlight assembly AFAIK is around 2-3k a piece so can be replaced if you wish to do so.
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