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Old 23rd April 2024, 17:42   #1
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Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Prologue:

In the first week of March 2024, I finished my last ever board exam. A sense of finality seeped into every corner of the room as the invigilator collected our papers. That little moment marked my entrance into the void between school and university. Since I’d already finished my university applications, it was decided that hitting the road in order to fill up a couple of weeks of it was called for.

To facilitate the same, we once again decided to consult our list of half-formed plans from the past and made them see the light of day. Twice. That’s right, we went on two road trips in a single month! In the first one, we headed south to Bangalore, stopping at Nandi Hills on the way, and then onward to Coorg. Meanwhile in the second one, we headed west to Pune, later visiting Mahabaleshwar and then making a last-minute plan to visit Shirdi.

Coorg is a place which we’ve thought about visiting many, many times, but a concrete plan for the same never really materialised. Hence on this opportunity, we planned this drive without even a second thought. Additionally, Bangalore still had places left unexplored during the last trip, which, in addition to visiting relatives as usual, gave us things to do there too. So, we spent a few leisurely days roaming Bangalore before departing for Coorg.

Total distance covered: ~4,000 kilometres.
The car: A 2021 Škoda Superb L&K.
Photography equipment: My Redmi 9 Prime (and on occasion, a Redmi Note 11 Pro).

Route 1:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-route.jpeg

Route 2:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-route-2.jpeg

On to the travelogue!

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 17th May 2024 at 00:45.
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Old 23rd April 2024, 18:02   #2
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

To Bangalore and Nandi Hills:

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The drive from Hyderabad to Bangalore remains as pleasurable as ever. Great roads 99% of the way, barring a couple of short diversions. The Superb's right at home on these long, spirited inter-city drives.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-drive-1.jpg

A detour to Nandi Hills:

Being regulars on this route, we decided to spice things up a little and visit Nandi Hills this time. It’s a short detour off NH-44 on the way to Bangalore. It includes a pretty enjoyable twisty section towards the end. The fact that we were tailed by a delicious silver W124 made it even better.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-nandi-hills-approach.jpg

What a view!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-nandi-hills-sunset.png

A history lesson:

The next day, we decided to visit Tipu Sultan’s summer palace. Located within the boundaries of the Bangalore Fort and completed in 1791, this was as the name suggests, Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-summer-palace-1.jpg

Quite the contrast here, in front of a much more modern building.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-summer-palace-2.jpg

The palace is a glimpse into Indo-Islamic architecture. The entire structure is built out of teak and is supported by ornate wooden columns with golden detailing. This is one of the balconies from which Tipu Sultan is said to have held court.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-summer-palace-inside.jpg

On the ground floor of this palace is a very interesting display of Mysorean rockets. The Mysorean army was a pioneer of rocket technology; they army put these rockets to very good use against the East India Company in the late 18th century. These advanced (for the time) rockets had ranges of nearly a kilometre, and their destructive capacity caused utter chaos, with a deluge of these hindering the advancement of British troops.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-mysorean-rockets.png

Visiting Lalbagh (finally):

This was one of those places we hadn't visited yet. It got very pleasant in the evening and plenty of birds kept us company throughout.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-lalbagh-1.jpg
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-lalbagh-birds.jpg

Here’s the sun peeking through the trees as it got low in the sky.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-lalbagh-sun.jpg
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-lalbagh-sunset.jpg

A museum of music:

Another place that any music lover absolutely HAS to visit in Bangalore is the Indian Music Experience Museum . It has an incredible amount of video and audio samples of every genre and subgenre of Indian music possible, across Hindustani and Carnatic styles, down to even individual “Gharanas.” It is all explained in crystal clear ways and can be understood by even the uninitiated.

Reviewing everything about this place would result in a massive text wall, so here are a few pictures. Definitely, definitely worth a visit!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-music-instruments.jpg
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-music-instruments-2.jpg

Towards the end, there is also a fabulous collection of vintage technology, from gramophones to cassettes, Walkmans and CDs. Here’s a wall full of radios spanning decades!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-music-radio.jpg

And as a bonus, here’s a wall full of film rolls.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-movie-rolls.jpg

There’s even a small recording room where you can record your own voice singing along to pre-set tracks, and then play it back with different filters or in different musical styles. Really cool stuff, you can spend half a day here without getting bored. This place gets a solid 10/10 from me.

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Old 26th April 2024, 23:33   #3
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Coorg:

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-route-.png

The route we chose to Coorg took us through Mysore, meaning that we got to drive on the Mysore Expressway. Its surface is great, and the speed limit of 100 km/h seems quite reasonable. However, the exit designs are absolutely awful with no slip road at all, forcing slow traffic to suddenly merge into much faster traffic with no room to speed up. I can see this becoming a serious problem when traffic volumes are high.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-mysore-expressway-1.jpg

Great line of sight and great views. The surface of this expressway is infinitely better than the half-hearted attempt that the Samruddhi Mahamarg is (I will cover that later too), and lets you have a stress-free and enjoyable drive.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-mysore-expressway-2.jpg

The first thing we visited immediately after reaching Coorg was the Namdroling Monastery Golden Temple, since it was evening, and we didn’t have all that much time to go elsewhere that day. Photography is not allowed on many parts of the premises, so this is all I have.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-monastery-inside.jpg

I've been to monasteries in Bhutan before and noticed quite a few differences. The most obvious was the lack of any prayer wheels. However, the same peaceful and calming atmosphere prevails here too.

Touring a coffee estate:

Coorg is renowned for its coffee estates and is a treat for any coffee-lover and touring one is a no-brainer. Hence, the next morning, we set off through the mist with a guide.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-morning-mist.jpg

Being surrounded by nature like this was such a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of man-made life. You’re surrounded by rustling leaves, the occasional scurrying in the bushes of small mammals, hidden from your eyes as you trek under the shade of towering coconut trees. Every breath you take brings you fresh air laden with the scent of fresh spices growing nearby. Every move you make treats your eyes to new angles of your ever-changing, lively surroundings. It gets more interesting the longer you look.

At first glance, this looks like merely a flower, right?
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-leaf-spiderweb.jpg

A closer inspection, however, will bring to your attention a spider perched on the side! Now that you’ve seen the little arachnid, you’ll also begin to see its magnum opus, the web stretching over the flower, over the little branch and all the way to the tree trunk! And all this within a photo focusing on an area barely the size of my palm.

We were also accompanied by birds with an incredibly diverse variety of calls. Our guide, who was also a passionate birdwatcher, was ecstatic to tell us about them in painstaking detail, spotting them hidden amongst the densest trees and letting us admire them through binoculars. Regardless of whether or not you like coffee, the whole experience of touring a plantation is something you’ll greatly enjoy; I definitely did.

Here’s a lone, ripening coffee bean standing out from the rest.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-coffee-bean.jpg

There are two main types of coffee beans grown here, Robusta and Arabica. Robusta beans are small and round-looking, and have quite a bitter taste, as well as a high caffeine content. The picture above is of robusta cherries; these are used for espresso blends, instant coffee and drinks like Vietnamese iced coffee.

Arabica meanwhile has a lower caffeine content and has a less bitter taste. It also accounts for 60% of the world’s coffee production, being grown in many parts of the world. This is the first variety of coffee thought to have been cultivated; subsequently, a roasted coffee bean brew was rumoured to have originated in Yemen, after which it spread to Egypt and present-day Turkey, and then all over the world.

Kote Abbi Falls, a waterfall off the beaten path:

At this time of the (unusually dry) year, we were advised by multiple sources that visiting Abbey Falls and Abbi Falls was not worth it, considering that there was barely any water to “fall.” However, a staff member at the restaurant at which we had lunch informed us of “Kote Abbi Falls,” a waterfall that was some distance away from Madikeri.

It’s a nice, secluded spot surrounded by forest. Getting to the waterfall is a slight challenge due to the boulders in the way, but is worth it for the views and clear waters.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-kote-abbi-falls-0.jpg

However, once you get a little bit further downstream from the waterfall itself, you are treated to this breathtaking sight. Photos do it no justice; the sounds of rushing water, the sights of birds and butterflies flying above it, and the occasional animal appearing from the forest cover to drink from it are all things for which “you needed to be there” is the only apt descriptor!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-kote-abbi-falls.png

Sunset viewing attempt 1:

After this, we headed to the famous “Raja’s Seat” viewpoint to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, the clouds had other things in mind:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-rajaseat-no-sunset.png

Trekking on a river-bed:

Our resort had a river running behind it, through which they organised guided treks. We jumped at this opportunity the second we heard of it. However, just like with the waterfalls, there was no water here at all!

This picture shows how alarming this is, since there is usually chest-height water here. The only indicators that this was an active riverbed was the smooth nature of the rocks. Otherwise, it was absolutely parched due to the very poor rains in the region of late.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-riverbed.jpg

While the absence of water led to an expectations mismatch, the trek itself was still very fun. Here’s yours truly perched atop a massive rock. I have greatly enjoyed trekking since I was around 3-4 years old, and I still do at 17.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-riverbed-me.jpeg

Sunset viewing attempt 2: Success!

We decided to visit Harangi Backwaters at sunset, hoping we’d have better luck at actually seeing it this time, since the skies were clear. And thankfully we did!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-backwater-sunset.jpg

Sunset or not, the backwaters make for a really pretty sight. If you the have time, definitely visit!

Here’s a parting shot of the Superb taking in the scene. It was even accompanied by a tastefully modified first generation Alto K10 for a while.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-backwater-superb.jpg

I would like to recommend two fabulous places that we ate at, the first being Fish Curry Rice. I had exactly what the name suggests. On the waiter's recommendation, we ordered fried Surmai with steamed rice and ghee roast; are two absolutely heavenly dishes I'd recommend to any seafood enjoyer. The second is the Big Cup Cafe. They roast their own coffee here, and it's fantastic. The food is also very commendable.


Going back home:

We decided to halt in Bangalore once again on our way back to Hyderabad, which meant that we retraced our route via the expressway. It was all smooth sailing, except for the multiple times we were stopped by police due to the model code of conduct having kicked in (to ensure we weren't carrying ill-gotten cash).
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Check out what the outside temperature gauge showed us while we were stationary for some time near Mysore though!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-coorg-temperature-gauge.png

After the halt, we drove straight back to Hyderabad, marking the end of the first trip.

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Old 4th May 2024, 23:04   #4
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Trip 2:


Pune:

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-route.png

Unless you plan to drive onward from Pune, I’d recommend that you fly or take a train instead of driving this route. You have to be on high alert all the time immediately after crossing the Maharashtra border, since deadly craters and random diversions suddenly jump out at you. At least the diversions have become a little better since last time. Even though the work has been at a standstill everywhere since at least 2021, the diversions themselves have been paved (albeit shoddily) with asphalt. Yet, the toll rates are absolutely atrocious!

Another piece of advice is to carry sunglasses for this drive regardless of the season or weather, since you will be driving straight into the sun post-noon for Hyderabad-Pune. Here’s what I mean.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-sunset.jpg

Now, the thing we enjoyed the most on this visit was probably the food! So right off the bat, I’d like to recommend a restaurant: The Place Touche. My dad was a regular customer here for quite a few years on work trips, and spoke extremely highly of all their sizzlers, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

The place has a wonderful old-style ambience (it opened in 1974). And yes, carving knives are present at every table by default.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-place-touche-interior.jpg

I had the roast steak sizzler and my god; I was simply blown away by the quality of this meal! The meat was incredibly flavourful, topped with a magnificent mushroom sauce that is my favourite condiment with steak. I’d never had steak as a sizzler before, so I asked a waiter for their recommendation, which was medium (instead of my usual medium-rare). That was a good choice, since it gave it just the right texture to be enjoyed with the sizzler sides.

We ordered the day’s special, a Portuguese cream dessert. My dad also said that I absolutely HAD to try the caramel custard, so we did. This was a preparation of custard I’d never had before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Here are the desserts; both extremely tasty and refreshing.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-place-touche-dessert.jpg

This place gets a solid 10/10!

Another thing to try would be the "aamras (slightly sweetened mango pulp) thali." After roaming around in the heat of the day, the chilled aamras was quite literally a gift from the heavens; I’ve always been a huge fan.

The rest of the thali was scrumptious too, just take a look at this! Marked with the arrow is the aamras.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-aamras-thali.jpg

On this trip, the only objective in Pune was to spend some time with relatives and to just relax. Hence, many, many evening walks were had. Compared to Hyderabad, the weather there was very pleasant, so we did a lot of walking around; FC Road, Karve Road, you get the idea.

We also had one afternoon with nothing to do at all, so we decided to visit Raja Dinkar Kelkar museum of historical artefacts (ranging all the way from weapons and instruments to ornaments and sculptures). This massive collection was started by Baba Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar in the 1920s, when he went on an expedition to accumulate decorative and functional items from Indian everyday life, mostly from the 18th and 18th centuries (although a few much older pieces exist). The collection is said to have around 20,000 items! This was handed over to the Maharashtra state government in 1975.

Here are a few highlights. Pictures don’t do them justice; these artefacts need to be seen in the flesh. The collection (even the portion on display) is so vast that it’s spread out over 3 floors and 2 wings!

This is a wooden grain storage container in the shape of an elephant!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-museum-elephant.jpg

An ornate chest along with a rose-water sprinkler, surrounded by scent bottles.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-museum-rose-water-sprinkler-perfume-bottles.jpg

Here’s a collection of kerosene lamps used on ships.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-museum-ship-lamps.jpg

And finally, one of the most unique pieces from the wonderful collection of instruments: a Sitar in the shape of a peacock!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-pune-museum-peacock-sitar.jpg

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Old 12th May 2024, 19:09   #5
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Mahabaleshwar:

Here’s a little story. My parents took me on my first-ever flight when I was just 25 days old (no wonder I love flying) to Pune, and then onwards on a road trip to Mahabaleshwar in a hired Indica. So, I was visiting Mahabaleshwar after 17 years, as a 17-year-old! While I obviously don’t have any memories of the first trip, my parents have told me stories many times, which made this one a lot more interesting.

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The drive to Mahabaleshwar is both bad and good. I’ll get the bad out of the way first: NH-48 might be out of the most frustrating highways to drive on, because you’re forced to slow down to a crawl every few hundred metres, since the authorities seem to have taken it upon themselves to install huge sets of enormous rumble strips before, during and after even the slightest hint of a curve in the road. This is especially true immediately after leaving Pune outskirts.

With this, they have ensured that any curves that were NOT crash-prone have now become so, and those that already were crash-prone have gotten even worse! In addition, the surface is quite uneven in most places: relatively fresh asphalt but with undulations similar to a choppy sea (zoom in and you can see a set of rumble strips in the middle of the long straight).
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-route-nh48.jpg

The good part is that once you get off NH-48, the ghat road drive is extremely rewarding, with a good road surface, a mix of gentle and sharp curves (most of which are well-banked), and stunning views.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-ghat-view.jpg

After attacking the bends, we reached our resort in Panchgani, La Serene. Great property with very nice rooms and lots to do. Strangely enough, there were a ton of go-karting tracks nearby!

Day 1:

Lots of views:

Our first stop was Kate’s point. It overlooks the bright blue Krishna River and gives you a fantastic 360 degree view. After Hyderabad’s crazy heat, the cool wind felt incredibly refreshing. There’s also an echo point here; a loud clap can be heard echoing for a good fifteen seconds!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-kates-point.png

Next, we headed towards Arthur Seat Point and Elphinstone Point as the sun started to descend. They’re both right around each other but facing in completely different directions. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-arthur-seat-point.png
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-elphinston-point.png

We had some fresh strawberries, mulberries and raspberries later that evening and they tasted so good that the elation one experiences upon biting into them frankly can’t be described in words. A must-try for anyone visiting Mahabaleshwar. Fresh and chilled, it was the ultimate refreshment.

We also tried two famous local desserts, made from fresh locally grown fruit. Mulberry cream:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-mulberry-cream.jpg

…and strawberry cream. Credits to my dad for these two pictures (yours truly can be seen above realising that his phone was dead ).
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-strawberry-cream.jpg

After that, we headed nearby to Bombay Point, a highly recommended sunset point. You can see for yourself why it is so highly recommended!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-bombay-point-sunset.png

We spent the evening at Venna Lake. The weather became wonderfully cool as the sun set while the ever-changing hues of the sky kept us great company as we walked around the lake.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-venna-lake.jpg

What’s funny here is the choice of names that horse owners use; I saw a Rolex, a Bullet 350 and a Macho for example. Go figure!

Day 2:

Even more views:

We decided to visit another cluster of view points today, Lodwick Point and Elephant Head Point. As of now, the road to the parking lot of these points is closed for repairs, so you have to be prepared to walk roughly 2.5 kilometres (one way) to the nearest point. Wear a pair of good shoes and make sure to keep a cap on you. It can get very steep at some places, so please be careful.

I'm telling you though, it's 100% worth the effort! Here's the view from the first stop, Lodwick Point, named after a British general.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-lodwick-point-view.jpg

The other direction:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-egle-point.jpg

And now finally, for the show (and walk) stopper, Elephant Head Point! Just check out the grand reveal as you cover the last 100 metres.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-elephant-head-point.jpg
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-elephant-head-point-view.png

While we were out on this little adventure, the Superb was resting peacefully in the shade.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-superb.png

After getting all this good excercise, it was time to visit the Mapro Garden. Once again, a must-visit for anyone in Mahabaleshwar. We bought some wonderful fruit squash, chocolate-covered cashews, paan-flavoured chocolate rolls and cardamom-infused dark chocolate. I was still enjoying the squash in Hyderabad's crazy heat as I typed this!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-mapro.jpg


Asia's largest two-wheeler museum:

Next up is Vintage Miles museum, a fabulous (and MASSIVE) collection of bikes dating back to 1940. I actually had no idea this place even existed; my dad found out by accident when searching something up. Anyways, the next few pictures are thanks to this accidental discovery.

Here are a few of the highlights to feast your eyes on. The venerable RX100:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-museum-rx100.jpg

An Enfield Crusader:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-museum-enfield-crusadar.jpg

The same version of the Lambretta that my grandfather used to own:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-museum-lambretta.jpg

A wartime motorcycle used by the British army:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-museum-indian-green-war-motorcycle.jpg

And finally, one of the early mass-produced BSA motorcycles.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-mahabaleshwar-museum-red-bsa.jpg

I would highly, highly recommend this museum, especially because of how wonderful the staff is. A staff member walked us around the entire place while explaining in great depth about each and every model on display, including technical details! And as is visible in the pictures above, each model had a collection of ads featuring them hung on the wall too. A solid 10/10, and a great way to relax and call it a day.

To end the day (and the visit to Mahabaleshwar), we decided to eat at a restaurant that was recommended to me by BHPian @jono213: the Farmhouse Bistro, which turned out to be a fabulous one. Top class Italian food; would highly recommend to any pasta and lasagna connoisseur. I usually don't comment much on soups, but the tomato basil soup here is something I loved too. Everything tasted extremely fresh. 10/10 according to me.


Shirdi:

The drive to Shirdi was quite uneventful. Poor patchwork, random diversions in some sections and huge speed breakers were aplenty, bringing down our average speed quite a lot as is visible in these Google estimates.
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The landscapes of this part of Maharashtra are just beautiful though, and managed to still make the drive interesting. Sometimes feels like a very small-scale Arizona with all the rocks, cliffs and canyons!
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-shirdi-highway-view.jpg


Going back home:

After a visit to the temple, it was time to head back to Hyderabad. We chose this route via Aurangabad since we had already covered this entire stretch a little over a year prior.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-shirdi-return-route.png

Something I'd like to comment upon is the surface of the Samruddhi Mahamarg. Last year, I had written extensively about the poor surfacing of the Shirdi-Aurangabad stretch in particular, and unfortunately things haven't changed much. I saw lots of patchwork already being carried out around the expansion joints. However, considering the amount and sheer size of the fresh asphalt patches, they did frustratingly little to smoothen out the terribly made expansion joints. The posted speed limit of 120 km/h is unfortunately NOT sustainable.

On a much more celebratory note however, the Superb crossed 25,000 kilometres on this trip! A huge milestone. It has also consistently been pleasing us with its highway fuel efficiency figures, even under spirited driving.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-shirdi-return-stats.png

We encountered a massive, massive thunderstorm along the way, somewhere around Tuljapur. Within a few minutes, the outside temperature dropped from 42 degrees straight to 19 degrees, while the ferocious wind uprooted trees right in front of our very eyes, forcing traffic to slow to a crawl and proceed with undying caution. This is how poor the visibility became.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-shirdi-return-rain.png

However, this was very localised and a short distance after crossing Naldurg, things were back to normal, letting us resume our pace. And soon, the Superb was back home, chilling after being driven around 5,000 kilometres in the span of just one month!

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 17th May 2024 at 01:04.
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Old 16th May 2024, 19:16   #6
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Epilogue:

Two neighbouring states, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Both of which share a border with Telangana as well as each other. Looking at them on a map definitely undermines the magnitude of the differences between them. The languages spoken, the food, the road quality, the driving styles, the physical features and the weather, all vary drastically, even within the same state. Compare Coorg's humid tropical climate with Bangalore's dry heat for example. Or the charred, low shrubs in Andhra Pradesh to never-ending rows of coconut trees in Karnataka. Or Karnataka's distinctive red soil to the bare rocky cliffs of some parts of Maharashtra. It's all a real treat for the eyes.

As an soon-to-be college freshman at the time of writing, what better way to fill up some of the void between school and college than getting to experience at least a small part of the overflowing vessel of diversity that is India? Where driving 250 kilometres in one direction makes it seem like you're someplace totally different? This will forever be the biggest charm of road-trips to me. The act of performing a task as routine and mundane as getting something to eat suddenly becomes a whole new experience once you change the location.

And once you think of all the places yet to be discovered, it leaves you with a sense of lingering curiosity, a desire to not only explore new places, but also to return to familiar ones with renewed perspectives.

A few notes for road tripping during election season:

First and foremost, you have to be prepared for random police searches of your car at checkpoints along the way. This is most likely at state borders, but can also happen anywhere far within state boundaries. However, there's no reason to panic, since all the officials we encountered were polite and friendly. There were also no language problems in any state despite us not always knowing the local language (officials in KA were okay with conversing in English, for example).

The procedure is also fairly straightforward: your licence and papers will be checked, following which you will be asked to show that you aren't carrying wads of cash on your person, or in the glovebox/centre console/boot of your car. Takes 2-3 minutes at most.

Anyways, this marks the end of this travelogue, which was honestly a long time coming. Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!

As a parting shot, here's yours truly capturing the sunset atop Nandi Hills.
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-blr-24-nandi-hills-sunset-me.png

Until next time. Cheers!

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 17th May 2024 at 01:22.
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Old 17th May 2024, 05:30   #7
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th May 2024, 13:53   #8
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Lovely travelogue and looking forward to travelogues where you will be driving!

Your travelogue made me reminisce about the good old days. What a coincidence! After completing all the entrance exams a few years ago, my friends and I visited Coorg and some of the places you mentioned.

Sharing some pictures:
Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-img_7669_original.jpeg

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-img_7653_original.jpeg

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-img_7658_original.jpeg

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-img_7615.jpeg

Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb-img_7616.jpeg

Quote:
As a parting shot, here's yours truly capturing the sunset atop Nandi Hills.
Attachment 2606878
Good to see that Sunset viewing attempt 3 did go as well as attempt 2, unlike attempt 1 ;-)
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Old 19th May 2024, 01:41   #9
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Amazing travelogue, very informative and exhaustive. Superb is a lovely car and wish you many more happy miles and travels with it.
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Old 19th May 2024, 09:29   #10
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Beautiful travelogue, GForceEnjoyer! It is so heartening to see how the Superb is munching miles without a sweat. It also seems you have not faced any problem with the low ground clearance. I am always torn between taking the X1 and Superb for trips outside Bombay owing to the low ground clearance. But your travelogues inspire me to take the Superb across the country. I did take the Superb to Mahabaleshwar months back and the only other destination Iíve taken it to outside Bombay is Ahmedabad for the World Cup and IPL matches. Goa is on the list for quite sometime, but with the thought of narrow roads in South Goa, we always end up taking the X1.

Happy to see you doing full justice by driving it regularly and most importantly doing outstation trips. These cars are clearly built for the highways.
Awaiting your next travelogue
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Old 20th May 2024, 13:54   #11
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Re: Touring Karnataka and Maharashtra in a Skoda Superb

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-innova-guy View Post
Lovely travelogue and looking forward to travelogues where you will be driving!

After completing all the entrance exams a few years ago, my friends and I visited Coorg and some of the places you mentioned.
Thanks a ton, I turn 18 this October, so hopefully that day is not far off! Lovely pictures from your trip too, by the way, trips with school friends are indeed a different kind of fun altogether.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ays7 View Post
Amazing travelogue, very informative and exhaustive. Superb is a lovely car and wish you many more happy miles and travels with it.
Thanks for the kind words!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ2285 View Post
Beautiful travelogue, GForceEnjoyer! It is so heartening to see how the Superb is munching miles without a sweat. It also seems you have not faced any problem with the low ground clearance.
The ground clearance always pleasantly surprises me too; in all the years that we've had this car, we've only had a single mud flap scrape and nothing else (touchwood)! I'm sure your Superb will fare even better as the pre-facelift car had a slightly stiffer suspension.

Thanks for the kind words, I'd love to read your accounts of enjoying your manual 1.8 TSI on Goa's backroads in the future!

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 20th May 2024 at 13:56.
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