An Abode called Highway - Bangalore-Pune-Bangalore
There is possibly no end to my driving passion and it shall always remain an essential part of my everyday life too. Needless to say that we did our 4th Bangalore – Pune and Mumbai trip with the same zeal as before, exploring the wonderful highway under constant drizzles and sudden downpours.
With a tankful of fuel in my ever performing Wagon-R, We started from our Bangalore home at 0545 Hours (ODO reading 73011) to ensure that we get out of the illogical Nelemangala traffic sooner as possible . We did so, in about 30 minutes but watched hapless trucks, Buses and Cars stranded on the opposite side for Kilometres towards Bangalore, while we kept guessing the reason for that “usual” Jam at that hour.
A can of OWS 360 Fuel additive mixed along with the Petrol slowly started delivering its wonders since I was able to gain the momentum in 5th gear with just a push on the throttle on full load of Luggage and passengers. The drive was feeling very effortless this time even when the ODO was set to reach 75K mark.
The road till Nelemangala was not so good with lot of patch work done to fill up those potholes and multiple diversions ensured that we could hardly cross the 60kmph mark cautiously all the time till we paid the first toll at Nelemangala Exit at 5-15am. The Nelemangla to Tumkur stretch was just about good forcing us to be careful of those 2 Wheelers jumping from in between the median cuts even at that early hour. There were no empty sand or mine lorries, nor those minitrucks to irritate you. We crossed Tumkur’s horribly undone exit with monstrous speed-breakers around 5-50am and were then ready to have a pleasant drive all the way till Chitradurga.
Tumkur – Sira – Chitradurga stretch was serene with very few vehicles at that early hour and fencing and elevation of the roads meant tension free drive all the way. It was a constant 80kmph till we reached Chitradurga. Of course, we faced a few empty mine trucks towards Chitradurga exhibiting the best of their worst driving skills.
Now, the bad part of the NH-4 started all the way till Haveri but from my previous experiences, the bad can now be called good since work is slowly in progress and even the diversions are asphalted which required minimal braking again.
Having done 3 similar trips to Pune earlier, This time I wanted to try a completely sedate style of driving to benefit in terms of maximum fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. The latter part comes from the fact that the undone stretch from Chitradurga to Haveri has so many culverts above the road level which often bumps the car, and the rear-seat passengers, and in the event of avoiding them, it usually results in abrupt braking and further accelerating for having lost that speed. Hence, I wanted to drive with a smoother rhythm so that my wifey and Mom could take carefree naps at the backseat while myself and Dad would enjoy the roads as usual. With speed always between 80-90kmph and an occasional 100kmph, braking was almost nil due to the time I got to react while overtaking or pro-actively slowing down before those culverts and sudden diversions.
We passed Harihar bypass around 7-40am and were passing Davanagere by 9-00am where we stopped over for a roadside homemade breakfast to empty the containers filled at home past night as we knew that getting in and out of town for breakfast would snatch away another 30-45 minutes of the precious time.
We passed Ranibennur (9-45) and Haveri town(10-20) and after a few kilometres our ordeal with that bad road ended when we jumped on to the 4 laned, painted, maintained section again paying our next toll at Bankapura. We then passed Shiggaon(10-45), Hubli Bypass (11-15), Bypass exit (11-40).
Finally we were greeted with one of the most amazing stretches all the way till Kolhapur developed by Punj Lloyd. It was a fantastic drive and anyone can get mesmerized on this stretch especially for the way the roads are banked which helps you to negotiate those turns on the same lane without really slowing down. We had to stop over for lunch inside Belgaum City at 12-30pm since there were no good hotels till Kolhapur. Locals hinted us at a few names and we found a not so bad place on the PB road and relaxed over the lunch for around 30 minutes.
It was 1-30pm when we actually got back onto the Highway after that lunch and from here the roads were amazingly brilliant as they always were and to add to this, rain-gods started showering drizzles all the way till Kolhapur (2-30pm). The newly installed Bosch wiper blades had a testing time to ensure clear windshields for better visibility at constant speeds.
Before Nippani, we even saw that dangerous curve where the ill-fated KSRTC Volvo had toppled claiming 5 lives a few months before. Indeed, this is a very dangerous curve as it comes suddenly after that long straight and there is a down gradient immediately after the curve and braking or playing with the steering would result in a disastrous situation.
We were in Kolhapur at 2-45pm and right from here, the traffic multiplied and private sedans and SUVs started dominating the highway. From M-800s, Indicas, Indigos, Accents, Vernas, NHCs and ANHCs, Innovas, Scorpios and Safaris. It was actually fun to drive now since it also gave me enough indications again that drivers here realise what is highway driving. No overtaking from left, no lane cutting and trucks stuck to the left. I can say that 90% of the drivers were following rules while the rest did occasionally or required constant honking so that they moved left.
A Final stop 40Kms before Pune at Vittal Kamat for snacks around 5-30 and we started again to spot a covered SUV like car doing the testing on the highway. I followed it to realise it had a MH-12 registration (Temporary) giving me hints that It probably would be from the Tata stable. I am still not sure though and you can check from the below snaps.
We crossed the new Katraj Bye-Pass around 6-00pm and what an entry to Pune it is. Truly magnificent with those Twin tunnels and the tall via-duct. We reached our destination Anand Nagar within 15 minutes of exiting the tunnel. I think, Pune had the best westerly entry and exit with a very well planned bypass. It was 6-15pm to our destination which meant we spent exactly 12 hours and 30 minutes to cover a distance of 835kms.
This is a proof that one doesn’t need to break the limits and try the timings since In my past as well, I have maintained 110-120kmph with occasional 130-140kmph all the way only to realise that it has taken similar times to reach Pune. (12-13 Hours). A well maintained 80-90-100kmph ensures almost zero braking and tension free drive giving enough time to react to sudden situations.
Will include details of Pune-Mumbai-Pune in my next travelogue and also my return via Kolhapur City, Shiggaon to Bangalore. Statistics on timings and Fuel consumption and a few more pics will also be included. See you in the next.
I did drive on this highway back in 2005 to my friends wedding in Pune. It was truly awesome drive and I had similar pleasure to what I had experienced in the US (not to the same extent though, but quite comparable at stages).
There is great scenic views along this highway.
That was a neat way to drive, Parag! I am sure your FE would be on a very high side.
The roads are very well kept. Covering 800+ kms in 12-13hrs and also doing that with a constant balanced speed is great. I recollect doing Bng-Madurai 2 years back, all of 450kms and it took 9hrs! With all the road works and traffic, it was horrible.
So, two tests in this run, isn't it - the OWS and the Bosch wipers. And seems like both performed as expected. :)
And yes, the OWS 360 and Bosch Wipers were indeed good. I sourced the 360 from racetech directly from their workshop here in Bangalore.
Also the 12-13 hours is easy to do if done with a constant and moderate speed. All my past trips were with varying speeds and at times, as high as 130-140kmph. My Dad doesnt drive and I just cant stop driving and this is one passion which helped in doing it in such a time in a small car.
Moreover, many have done Bangalore - Pune in less than 12 hours and these days the Volvos do it in 14 hours.
Good write up. The sad part is, seems nothing has changed from the last time I used this highway last year.
I mean the stretches labelled bad are still bad. Be careful about the speeds and risks you write here.
There are people who have not driven on this stretch and will claim you to be irresponsible with a puny hatch.
More of the NH4 here :
Can we at TEAM-BHP put some warning boards there?
This curve is in Maharashtra. This is the one which is very scenic and tempting but very very dangerous at high speeds. Whats more it is at a decent (downward slope). An unsuspecting driver is sure to bang the divider or swerve all over the place.
I too was fooled the first time, but I braked to about 80 kmph and avoided any mishaps.
I'll search to see If I have any pics of this spot.
I have done Mumbai - Bangalore - Mumbai 3 times in last about 15 months.
it is a pleasure to drive from Vashi to Belgaon (approx 5.5 hours),
Belgaon to Dharwad to Hubli to Havery BP (approx 4 hours) and again
from Davangere to Chitradurga to Tumkur (approx 3.5 hours)
I had done a Bangalore-Pune trip early in 2007 and as you mention, the roads in Mah are fantastic! The worst parts are while approaching and after Davengere, where the sheer absence of roads and those huge crater sized pot holes (if I may call them that!) made the going difficult for small cars. I hope the condition has improved, cos the same year I drove to dandeli and saw no major change in the roads, infact it had worsened!
This is before Nipani and Kolhapur. So technically it is in Karnataka.
Sorry. My bad.
Regarding being irresponsible with a puny hatch, I think it has been worth many drives over the highways in the past 3+ years covering 75k on the ODO single handedly realisng what the hatch and do and what should we not attempt. The speeds of 110,120 or 140 mentioned were only on straights which were completely free of any traffic and offered great visibilty. So, "trying" to overdo is not a gimmick anymore as I've learnt its limits.:)
Can someone cut-paste a pic of this dangerous turn from Google earth?
|All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:41.|