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mathranik 10th September 2009 15:44

Gujarat - Kerala Odyssey !
Hi guys!
Monsoons bring up this urge in me to travel to Kerela , and this became my third trip - Albeit, a drive down for the first time. It was me and my girlfriend, in my Innova, and the route to be followed was something like this :

Surat - Mumbai - Goa - Mangalore - Calicut - Cochin - Kumarakom - Thekkady - Kalady - Mangalore - Goa - Surat

We transversed over 4900 kms, passed across 5 states and a Union Territory - all in 11 days. I have so much to write,but i will go with the flow of the travelogue.

Resorts/Hotels :
Goa - Fort Aguada Beach Resort - Taj / Cidade de Goa
Calicut - Taj Residency
Kumarakom - Lake Song / Coconut Lagoon
Thekkady - Elephant Court
Goa (on the way back) - Wildernest

Flat Tyre : Once

Mishaps : None

Fuel Efficiency : 14 kmpl (Approx)

Rain : AMPLE!

gd1418 10th September 2009 20:18

@mathranik: stop teasing and get on with the travelogue asap with photographs...

lohithrao 10th September 2009 20:22

Wow thats a lonnng drive indeed:) i assume and expect a long travelogue with loads of picS:)

mathranik 10th September 2009 20:38

Day 1
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It all started on the 24th of August. The alarm in my cell phone woke me up at 5am. I called up my girl to see if she was awake too, and I was surprised to know she was almost ready! Surprised because this doesnt happen often. :D
I got ready quickly, and having done my packing last night, I stuffed up the baggage in my Innova. Poor Innova didnt know what was in store for her in the next few days! I picked her up from her place, and at around 6.30am, we touched the highway (N.H.8), heading towards Goa via Mumbai.
Since it was an early morning start, we avoided a lot of traffic and were pretty much on schedule. Surat to Goa (Panjim) is roughly 950 kms, and we had aimed to hit it by 10pm. That's a drive of around 15 hours, but I knew the roads till Panvel were pretty good, and 4 laned, since it was N.H.8. We had a tiny pit-stop at Charoti, that's around 200 kms from Surat, for Red Bull/Coffee/Snacks. I knew I would be the only one driving on the highways all through the trip, and hence had packed a couple of dozen Red Bull cans in my Cool Box.
There was rain accompanying us all through till now, varying from drizzle to heavy downpour to ***-Where's the Road?! But then, that's the beauty of western Ghats - they are at their best during the monsoons! The roads till Manor were butter-smooth, but from their till Dahisar there were potholes every now and then. I still averaged a decent 110 kmph, without panic or haste.
Panvel came and went, in 4 hours and a little. The weather was pleasant, definitely better than being in scorching sun, and was inviting to drive. Our first obstacle came at Pen, where apparently a Tempo Trax driver (those are popular taxis there) had run over a kid, and there was a huge ruckus. They had blocked the road and called for strike. We had to go back around 5 kms, and take a detour. I don't really remember the name of those villages enroute, but it was a blessing in disguise since we saw plenty of waterfalls and cloud-decorated hill tops. There was very little traffic, and though it was a double-laned road, I could manage a decent 70-80 kmph.
After around 50 kms, we joined NH 17. It was a beautiful evening, and we made good time till Ratnagiri. A lot of sandwiches and sausages were packed, and so the time and misery of eating at highway dhabas was saved! The Panvel - Panjim stretch is a dream to drive on, through the twisties of Chiplun Ghat and the straights from Ratnagiri through to Sawantwadi. Even though it isn't the widest, it is terrific. And generally, I appreciate the discipline of traffic (heavy vehicles included) on this stretch.
We touched Goa Border at 9 pm, and from there to Ford Aguada Resort (Taj Group) at Sinquerim beach took another 40 mins or so. It was a terrific drive till now, though a tad bit tiring especially during the last 100 kms or so. I will now let the pictures do the talking, and continue with the next day in my next post. Cheers!

mathranik 10th September 2009 21:50

There are way too many pictures. I will have to sort them out and post them, cuz almost all of them are special to me. As the travelogue progresses, the pictures would get better, especially in Kerela. :)

Nutty Nair 10th September 2009 21:52

@mathranik - My friend, it is Kerala, not Kerela. Nice beginning to the travelogue, btw. Waiting for the rest of the travelogue. Hope you post lots of pictures also.

mathranik 10th September 2009 23:03

My Bad! How does one edit the thread name?
I shall continue the travelogue tomorrow.

mathranik 11th September 2009 11:46

Day 2 - Day 3
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It was a beautiful morning in Goa! The best thing was that there was no rain, which surprised us. Today and the next day was to be spent in Goa, and we were to check out from Fort Aguada Taj and move to Cidade de Goa for a day and a half. The day was spent going to a couple of beaches (Vagator/Anjuna/Calangute) and then to Old Goa. Cidade de Goa has a lot of activities within the resort, and we had a good time being there. A lot of Goan food was devoured, and a nice evening/night at Tito's, with some cocktails.
We had thought of driving up to Doodh Sagar, but we were informed about the roads being closed due to the monsoon. I have been to that waterfall before, and it is a sight to behold when in full might!
Also, we had planned to stay a night in Goa on the way back, at Wildernest (wait for those pictures - you guys will fall in love with it!), and so a lot of time was spent lounging and at leisure.
Day 4 would start our drive from Goa to Calicut.

Pictures from Goa:

The view of the beach from Taj-Fort Aguada

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Entrance to Cidade de Goa

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The Resort

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Private Beach

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My baby near some temple at Old Goa

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View from the temple

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Mangesh Temple

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Mandovi River after sunset

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A 'Good' Morning!

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We climbed up to that fort....

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Anjuna Beach

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Our room for two nights

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Where the sea meets the backwaters!

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ambivalent_98 11th September 2009 11:59

Amazing photos. Keep 'em coming

advaitlele 11th September 2009 12:26

Beautiful photos. Yes, the Western Ghats are at their best during monsoons. Keep the photos pouring. And waiting for your jouney onwards to Kerala.

neoonwheels 11th September 2009 12:33

You covered the entire west coast. Hmmmm quite a drive :)

Majic 11th September 2009 15:10

Beautfiul photos, keep the ball rolling looking forward to Goa to Calicut

53BHP 11th September 2009 15:26

way to go dude. I am planning mumbai - kerala in december jan so looking for experiences and route advise.keep it coming

mathranik 11th September 2009 16:16

Day 4
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It had to be an early morning start! With 600+ kms to cover, and NH17 further south from Goa not known for its good roads, it was to be a 12 hour drive, at least! After a good breakfast at the resort and a smooth check-out, we took the airport road from Dona Paula to Karwar, onwards to Mangalore. A pleasant morning awaited us, and there was just a slight drizzle, hardly an issue after having faced super-heavy rains from Mumbai to Goa.
The road till Karnataka border were smooth, but narrow. There was little traffic at 6 am, and we crossed the border in 30 mins. There was a customary 'sign out' at the Goa-Karnataka border, and they frisked our car for liquor, only to be disappointed! The GJ (Gujarat) registered vehicles are notorious for their reputation of carrying liquor, since Gujarat is a dry state.
The rain had gone to 'heavy' mode, but the roads were inviting till Karwar. There were sorrounded by tall stone cliffs at some portions, and looked beautiful. Soon before reaching Karwar, we started driving parallel to the sea coast. It was a beautiful time of the day, and with not much traffic, it made for perfect driving conditions. But, only till Bhatkal!
Now, though it had ceased to rain, the roads were decorated with potholes and the trucks (meant for mining) drove at their slowest. It was a tough time evading/overtaking them, and we needed a breather by the time we reached Udupi. We had our lunch there, as it was noon already and the local cuisine there is, apparently, famous. It was a good, light meal.
The drive from there to Mangalore was uneventful. We took the by-pass, and it was heavily crowded with a nasty traffic jam, due to some road-widening, I guess. We thought of checking out the town on our way back, as it was better to reach Calicut before its too late. I had heard about the local bus drivers in Kerala, and didnt want to risk it! We crossed over into Kerala border near Kasaragod(Kumbla?), and the roads turned from bad to worse. There were small traffic snarls, railway crossings closed for 15-20 mins, villages and more villages. I never felt driving on a highway, it was almost driving through a city all through till Calicut!
The biggest difference was noticing the change in dressing and the type of villages. It was beautiful to see such diversity. Even though I ha been to Kerala twice before, it was the first time I was driving down, and hence the closer look! It was equally surpring to note that I crossed through a village called Mahe and it was supposed to be a part of Pondicherry - Right in the middle of Kerala!
We entered Calicut at around 7.30pm, and it took us another 30 mins to get to our hotel - Taj Residency. It had an old-world charm to it, and the lounge was beautiful and very ethnic! It was a room-service dinner for us, and it was typical Kerala Cuisine - Very very tasty indeed!
The weather was humid, not much of a rain though. Time to crash, and dream of the great times up ahead of us.....
<<Sorry for the shoddy pictures, they were all clicked from within the car because of the rain>>

vijaythacker 11th September 2009 16:26

Amazing pictures and awaiting to see more of your further trips specially kerala's GODS OWN COUNTRY which is so very true, keep them coming.:thumbs up

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