|21st June 2008, 19:15||#1|
Senior - BHPian
At last, I got to putting the 2nd and last part of my 5000 km travelogue here:
The first part of the travelogue + Photos are here:
This is the second and final part, I've included more pictures, let them speak the story...........
The trip log is uploaded here:
Started from Calicut to Palakkad around 820 am, lovely roads for 104 kms all the way to Manarkkad, from there till PGT for about 40 kms, the roads gets bumpy. The rains arrived with bells and whistles early on, took all of 4 hours to reach PGT town, the roads were so wet and slippery on the twisties, I had to be extra careful. The truck was loaded to the gill with luggage; we sent all the passengers by train, had only my parents and my youngest son for company. Here again the GPS was a life saver, the satguide mapping was pretty accurate up to Manarkad, from there it went out of whack. I could see all the twisties coming up clearly on the map and also road junctions so I could moderate the speed and be forewarned. On a foggy, rainy and where visibility is low kind of day, the GPS pays off, of course, there are great many other uses too.
Well... from PGT to Nemmarh, we get caught on the one hour Road Block organized by BJP and take a detour thro Koduvayur village. After 170 Kms and 6 hours we reach Nemarra the temporary HQ for a couple of days.
7th June, 08: Nemarah to Palakkad to Malampuzha dam, the usual stuff there. The Kids go inside the fantasy park, the ladies take the ropeway, I walk up to the dam with the cameras & gear, spend a very quiet hour shooting. One word, except for the water in the dam, the whole thing sucks. I remember younger days when the garden, the lighting and the whole place was brimming with tourists; roases were blooming, hedges were trimmed and fountains were full agog. It has a run-down, uncared look; leaves one wondering, "What has happened to God's Own Country".
8th June, 08. The trip to Nelliampathy, this would be worth chronicling. This trip has been brewing and has dicoctioned out; about time I made this ride.
Every time for the past 17 years I have come to Nemarah, though I've heard so much about the Orange, coffee plantation of Nelliampathy, it was not to be. The TBHp travelogue of this place made the shove to a push, I needed to drive up, it was a bursting compulsion.
At 9 am, the truck was loaded to the gills, 2 children and 7 full blown adults, was wondering if the truck would pull with ease. This is also the first serious hill drive on the truck, was a little apprehensive. The 30 Kms from Nemarah with lovely surface and great signages should take 60 mts max on a slow and steady drive, without breaks.
My father who had taken this route 40 years back, retraced his trip with friends, the route was a horror, only 4 wheel jeeps could take it, the middle portion was so raised it touched the belly of the jeep in many places. 6 of them had to get off the jeep in many places to reduce weight and practically push the 4 wheel beast up the hill. It took them 4 hours to reach, many places were only gravel, in some places, one person had to walk in front of the jeep and guide it through barely passable roads with deep drops on another side, the road shoulders were shaky and to trip was something akin to a Ledakh drive!!!! Looked kind of funny, our
drive up was so silky, could not imagine this road to be that bad
We stopped on the way, no rains till 10:30 am we stopped on the way @ the Pothundy Dam, 6 kms off Nemarah and on many view points and reached the top @ Seetakund around 1115. You need to park and walk up the gravel estate road for about 1and half Kms to reach the suicide point. On a clear day, the scene would be panoramic, one can see for about 25/30 kms around, the villages, water bodies and mountains in the background would give an awesome sight, we were not so lucky, it was hazy and misty. The rain starts to drizzle and we hurry back to the truck ASAP. Just when we get in, the rain picks up temps, the clouds descent, we are inside rice-soup, with visibility reduced to 10 feet.
We reach the only good hotel for lunch, lots of rush on a week end. They decent acco. need to book in advance and also give them some notice for food, or you wait for some time. We took all of 3 hours to finish lunch, there was no point in hurrying, the rain a torrent now, the clouds fully into the restaurant and all pervading, it would have been impossible to drive anything above 10 KMPH on these twisties. It was out of queston, taking the famous 4W jeep ride up, they have packed off for the day, there was no visibility anyway.
The rains abate a little, we roll down on 2nd, the mountain side has come alive, sprinkled with small water-falls and rivulets all around and on the roads, it was so easy to skid out of control, fortunately everyone on the road was highly disciplined; lights on, slow and horns blaring. As we descended, the clouds and rains cleared, we could get out and stretch. We counted 6 large waterfalls and countless others. The big 2 ones were roaring away, most of the Sunday tourists were flocking around these, the adventerous ones taking a dip in there. It' 3 PM, we spend family time around one big fall, the kids have a field day freaking out on fresh mountain water.
We reach Namarah by 5 and call it a day; the clounds have shrouded out the light, the rains dinning with rolling thunder. We chill out in front of the Telly.
9th June, 08: Visit to Alathur, Trichur and back. Visit to friends and a wedding @ Trichur. Was a rainy day.
Something important did happen' met Manoj, "Man's Idea" and his White Scorp @ his office in Trichur. Had a quick tet-a-tet with him, he was sure excited about the Monsoon Drive that was brewing thick on 14th.
Other than that, it was a family affair all around.
10th: At Palakkad visiting friends and family, rainy day.
11th, June, 2008. The drive from Palakkad to Hosur.My trip log and pictures would speak for themselves. Some highlights on roads:
* Generally good roads, Palakkad to CBE better than expected.
* Did the drive, 387 Kms, with a break @ Mettur for 1 hr in 9 hours with lots of time to relax @ Hosur.
* The Hotel Renaissance, under the flyover, old one, is a pain to park and find and they did not have an A/C room as booked. They arranged for a room in their new hotel, Renaissance Grand, good, clean place to stay.
12th, June, 2008. This was one hell of a day and a drive. Started @ 540 @ Hosur, Hotel Renaissance, reached Silk Board @ 630 and caught up with friend Rohit on his mean-looking Black Scorp. He piloted thro many lanes, by-lanes and twists and turns to reach outskirts on NH7 where we stopped to catch up. Need to say this, we are grateful for his escort, we would have lost precious time if we were left to find the route, even with the GPS on. Thanks a ton buddy, we owe you one.
A note on the GPS: The improved Satguide Navigator upgrade is a great improvement, upgrade costed me Rs.2100/-, 4 upgrades and support free for 12 months, no regrets. It has map of 26 cities, all NH's (90% accuracy), showed the curves, twists, bridges, fly-overs, by-lanes and all important Points of interests clearly. In fact, it charted the exact short-route path Rohit took from Silk Board to the outskirts and voiced the turns exactly. In Hyderabad, Aurangabad, we did not ask for directions with anyone, just saved our hotels in "My Points", navigated in and out with ease, it had all tourist spots on the map, we only had to plot "Start from here" & "Go to"; it would crack the route in a jiffy. My 12 year old son knows more about it now than me, the interfaces are very user friendly. I can never praise enough the Satguide upgraded maps, would recommend a good / validated GPS to anyone doing long distance and through towns.
The Bangalore-Hyderabad NH7 was the worst on our route 650 Kms , 12 hours of constant torment, not to be done after dark. After you crossDavenahalli, the switch-backs, humps and dips come up in regular intervals with railway crossings. We had to content with a diesel shortage, most pumps refused anything above 10 ltrs and the rain paid corset to the woes. Just when you lull yoruself to the whistle-drone of 100 kmph a rim/ speed-breaker appear out of nowhere, you are forced to bridle the beast, people and baggage are thrown asunder, the blip passes, the road opens up, you are confused; to speed or not to speed !!!!!!!! With 2-3 flings like this, now I sit on the edge of seat, all eyes, the passengers equally alert, keener to warn me of upcoming perils. A sane strategy evolves, overtake trucks, keep under 100 kmph, follow a car / bus at a safe distance, watch what he hits and see where he turns and use him as a pilot. This was fun, we watched many of our pilots hitting humps, some even stopped on the sides after the hit, fully rattled.
We turn into Karnool town @ 130 after 420 kms for a 30 mts lunch break. Reportedly, this is the only decent town on this route for a break, Hotel Maurya stands up to its name, sprawling place, nice clean restaurant and food. We're 170 kms away from Hyderabad, the going gets tougher. From Pebberu onwards the horizon is slate black, lightning licks, a wicked cross-wind (about 40+kmph) joins in and the world goes dark @ 3 PM, the hazard lights are on on most vehicles, we bore into a monster of a storm. Subsequently I learn thro the newspaper, it rained about 11inches in 7 hours during this thunder storm. We drive 70 kms like this and the rains start in earnest @ Jachirilla, this was one of the heaviest I have ever faced, had no knowledge of the intensity at that time; only one thought scared me ****less, the notorious flash-floods of AP. We decided to press on before the water volumes build up on the roads & around. Rain was pelting, the wiper on full labour, all lights on, visibility about 10-15 feet, speed cut below 40 kmph. Most smaller cars have pulleld off the roads, only some trucks and SUV /Taxis plying. We follow a a red taxi Innova till he also stopped after 20 kms. High sides of the roads were OK, the lower switch backs were filling up fast, most sections already under 2/3 feet, we had water once up to the running boards, the ungency to get past this section building up, we barrel on. Full credits to the Scorp, never once did it falter, miss a beat or failed to do its job. Though once or twice, the back wheel fish-tailed on hard braking, I soon adjusted to the water filled drums and down-shifted more to compensate for reduced braking.
Around Hyd outer, the rain abates and we call Ranjit for direction. By this time, Nidish has the GPS NAV on, the entire town is a trffic mess due to the thunderstorm, we follow the GPS direction thro Abbids, Tank Bund Road, Clock Tower and to Hotel Basera. Check-in @ 645 PM is smooth and the service great, one of the best hotels, in our trip. Called some relatives, had a great family dinner with Ghazals @ the restaurant; the Biriyani's there rock.
13th June, 08: Friends and relatives advised for us to visit the Famous Ramojis Film City, about 35 kms away on Vijayawada Road. Would recommend highly for an experience, the kids would love it and fun for adults too. Hats of to Ramuji's, the whole thing is well organized, very clean and fun; organized something in the lines of theme parks of Singapore. We had a gret time there.
14th June, 08: Wake up early, drive to Aurangabad, the last leg of the journey.
We navigate cleanly out @ 530 am, NH9 is desolate most of the way without much facility, except for a surprise after 190 KM, Vital Kamath Restaurant @ 815 am, hot piping breakfast. We hit a small ghat section; sitting on top of a hill on the right side was one of the most beautiful forts, the Naldurg fort. We take a right turn towards Tuljapur, hardly 50/60 km from Solapur, hit Tuljapur @ 10 and join up with NH 211 @ Osmanabad. The NH runs smooth and straight with sudden twists and turns, though well marked. The GPS is a God-sent, you can accelerate on straights and drive with caution on curves, very useful when you're
overtaking on curves. We take a coffee break at Bed, go past pachod and reach Hotel Windsor castle 3 pm, 583 kms from Hyderabad. A good days job done and an enjoyable ride @ that.
Word of caution on this stretch; NH 9 and 211 would be ideal on day time, some stretches like the one from Naldurg to Tuljapur are desolate, mountain country and reportedly (the hotel guys, petrol pump guys and as reported by Aurangabad ppl) not safe. 211, till Dhule is also ideal in day time, avoid @ night.
15th June, 2008: Day spent in visit to the Grishneshwar Temple, one of the Jyothirlingas, this was a bonus, we wer not aware of this temple, until HVK told us on the phone. A beautiful and old temple, the crowd was practically nil, we had the shrine and the sourroundings all to ourselves.
We parked @ the Ellora car park, fixed up with an auto, for Rs.150/-, to take us near to the all the important caves from where you can walk up the short distance. Otherwise its a long tiring walk of 2/3 kms all the way to the end of the caves and back. In all the importnt caves, the govt. appointed cleaners would be glad to walk you around, show you the carvings and tell you lots of stories for a small tip of Rs.10-20, which needs to be fixed before the tour. We spend 2-3 hours exploring and shooting the caves / carvings. On the way back, we cover Daulatabad fort and take a nap in the room till 5 pm. At 5 using the GPS we navigae to Bibi-Ka-Makbara, a duplicate Taj Mahal and the Pan Chakki, nothing there.
16the June, 2008: @ 530 we hit NH6 and take a short cut, as sugested by the GPS and confirmed though a police check post on route, to Kannad, drive through a dangerously small ghat section and reach Chalisgaon @ 710 am. We have to hit Surat junction ASAP, God knows what's in store for us there.
Generally good roads, we cross Gujrat RTO, Bardoli and take a right turn @ Surat into NH8. May the Lod be praised, no traffic Jams, a coffee break and fast 3 hr drive to Baroda Exprpessway, we exit out and reach home 410pm. This time from Surat to Baroda was one our of fastest, we escaped without jams.
All around this 5009 Km trip was another good one, most of the roads were OK and things went on plan.
The trip log is attached, the photos will tell the rest of the story.
Last edited by ramkya1 : 21st June 2008 at 19:21.
|21st June 2008, 19:35||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Thanked: 146 Times
Great and detailed travelogue. One question, how did you manage a minute by minute detail on the GPS? Help and reply will be appreciated.
|21st June 2008, 19:45||#5|
Senior - BHPian
The last lot.........
Phew........ got them in, the last lot now....
Takes a lot of doing, resizing, optimizing and loading. Hrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... here goes.....
|21st June 2008, 19:49||#6|
Senior - BHPian
Trip Logs, Done Manually
If you mean the trip logs, its written as we run by my wife or son and uploaded into an excel sheet every night by my son, something for them to do rather than watch a movie It's a habit now, they just jot down on a log book.
The Satguide has one problem, it does not automatically record way points as we travel, we have to save each point manually. I wonder if there are maps that recordo way points automatically as you run?
|21st June 2008, 20:08||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Trying To Upload Videos........
Got some videos of the thunder storm we got caught in, captured some video early on , my son soon forgot about camera and shooting looking at the volume of rain and lightning...
Trying to upload it into utube after resizing.....Will paste link soon.
|21st June 2008, 22:07||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Thanked: 233 Times
Beautiful travelogue, Ramkya!
Very well described and also great photos.
Also liked your captions, especially the one "2 wonders, one by nature another by M&M"! :-)
|21st June 2008, 22:17||#9|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Thanked: 146 Times
|21st June 2008, 22:25||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Thanks for your vote......
|22nd June 2008, 21:36||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Video link to the drive thro storm on NH 7
At long last got this video edited and down to 50 MB of low res to get it uploaded in about 40 mts.
Hope this linky works alright.
|23rd June 2008, 09:28||#15|
Senior - BHPian
Thanks for your comments
Zoomingbhat, Roy, Mevrick, Thanks for your support and encouragement....
One great motivation for writing a travalogue, putting up a picture etc., is the value felt and expressed by people like you.
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