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Old 26th December 2009, 09:13   #16
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Default Day 3 Update ( Halt at Dharwad )

Day 3 Update :-
Current Location : Dharwad ( KUWSB Quarters )
Route travelled :- Murudeshwar-Gokarna-Ankola-Yellapur-Dandeli-Dharwad
Total Distance travelled :- 308 kms
Total time taken :- 11 hrs

We had got so engrossed in capturing night shots of the statue of Lord Shiva ( some of which I have posted above ) that we just didnt realise that we hadn't visited the actual temple. We realised it late at night and hence we made plans of doing an early start, see the sunrise if possible and to visit the temple. Thus, our day 3 started at 6:30 AM and we directly went to the temple. We could see the sunrise from there as well and it was expectantly a wonderful sight. We also went up the Raj Gopura to the topmost point ( it stands 249 feet tall ). There's a lift that takes up to the top and there's a Rs 20 ticket for it. We captured some lovely shots of the place from the top. Have a look ( sunrise and view from the top ) :-

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We had breakfast at the Naveen beach restaurant ( the idlis were very tasty there ), came back to our room and we eventually bid adieu to Murudeshwar at 9 AM. Very soon, we were on NH17 and we headed towards Gokarna. We had a short break at Kumta primarily to check out some handicrafts shop that Kumta is well known for. Once you cross Kumta, keep looking out for the Gokarna cross sign ( its well marked out ). Its approximately 50 kms from Murudeshwar. You then need to drive a further 10 kms from the highway to reach Gokarna. The initial stretch was very bad after which it got slightly better. Once you enter the town of Gokarna, you would be stopped and charged 10 Rs for parking. But there's no planned parking area there. We parked our car by the roadside and walked to the temple. Some pictures of the road leading to Gokarna :-

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We left at around 1pm from Gokarna and headed towards Ankola which is not very far. There's a Kamat Upachar drive-in restaurant right after you cross the town of Ankola. For people going onwards on NH63, this is a good place to reacharge yourselves since there's no decent restaurants on the entire stretch of NH63. We had our lunch at Upachar and started at 2:30 PM from there. NH63 turned out to be really good and it was very smooth all the way upto Yellapur. You need to be a little careful though at the winding curves and not get carried away by the excellent quality of the road. There was an accident that had taken place between a car and a truck just minutes before we crossed that place. Luckily there werent any casualties/injuries but the car was badly damaged. We had a short stop at Yellapur and at 4, we started from there to head towards Dandeli. You need to take a left 5 kms after Yellapur, which is a road leading to Haliyal. The road passes through dense forests and its an awesome stunning scenic drive.

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Just before Haliyali, there's a left you need to take for Dandeli. Its close to 17 kms from this turn and its a little patchy road. We passed through a sunflower plantation and got sone nice shots of it. Have a look :-

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We reached Dandeli at 5:30 but we soon realised that we should have had done some research around how to reach the sunset point. We ended up circling around the town a bit and having enquired at the Jungle Lodges, we realised that the sunset point alongwith the caves were a further 10-12 kms from there. We got a glimpse of the Kali river though and it did look perfect for rafting especially for beginners like us. It was too late anyways to plan for any activities there ( thats for next time ) and we returned back towards Haliyal. There's a road directly leading to Dharwad from Haliyal and its a lovely newly laid road. It didnt take us long for Dharwad. The reason for having a pit-stop at Dharwad was that my wife ( Shreya )'s dad has his quarters here and he had planned to join us for a day to Badami. After a hot water bath followed by a tasty heavy meal, I was feeling to drowsy to update this blog yesterday night.

Thus, here I am at 9 am on day 4 getting all set for the onward journey to Badami. Thats it for now.
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Old 26th December 2009, 10:31   #17
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Wow. The pics are just amazing.

Good to see the almost live telecast. Excellent work.

We are waiting to see more of it.
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Old 27th December 2009, 01:13   #18
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Default Day 4 Update ( Halt at Badami )

Day 4 Update :-
Current Location : Badami ( Hotel Badami Court )
Route travelled :- Dharwad-Hubli-Gadag-Badami
Total Distance travelled :- 160 kms
Total time taken :- 3 hrs

Well we travelled more than 160 kms ( 260 to be precise ) but we didnt have to use our own car for the last 100 kms. More on this later.

For a change, Day 4 didnt start from a hotel room. We stayed overnight at Shreya's dad's place at Dharwad. He made a few phone calls in the morning to figure the best route to Badami in terms of road conditions. We decided on the Hubli-Gadag-Badami route. We took it a little easy in the morning since we knew from the feedback that we got for the route that it wouldnt take long to Badami. Breakfast was tasty and heavy as expected ( the cook there has been in the profession for more than 20 years now. You wake him up at 2 in the morning and ask him to prepare a meal and i bet it'll be as tasty as it can get ). We eventually started at 10:45 AM from Dharwad. The only flipside to the route that we had decided was the Dharwad-Hubli stretch, the reason being the speed limit imposed on the Dharwad-Hubli stretch ( thankfully they have changed it to 50 from the original 40 ) and the city traffic at Hubli. But it wasnt a big problem since the road was really nice. Dharwad is actually a well planned city and the roads there are in pretty decent condition. Here are a couple of snaps :-

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Post Hubli, the road till Gadag ( NH 63 ) was a breeze. We touched 100 quite regularly and reached Gadag in no time. Once you enter Gadag, keep looking out for the left to Badami ( its well marked out ) and after a couple of kms of town driving through Gadag, you would hit SH 6 leading eventually into SH 57 that goes to Badami via Ron. The road was excellent and it felt really nice driving through acres and acres of vast open fields. Some snapshots from this drive :-

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We reached Badami at 2 PM and it didnt take us long to find our hotel. I noticed that we had done 160 kms. At Badami, we checked-in into Hotel Badami Court. We settled into our rooms and quickly made plans for the rest of the day. This is when it was decided that my car could take a rest and we could all fit into the car that Shreya's dad had got. Yes, he got his own car since he has to rush back to Hubli tomorrow on official work. After a quick lunch at the hotel restaurant, we started towards Aihole-Pattadakal. We had an official from his office who knew the area quite well and he was to be our guide for the rest of the afternoon. We first went to Pattadakal which was approx 25 kms from Badami. I guess most of you would know that Badami was the capital of the Chanukya kingdom. Its well known for its rock-cut temples and caves. While the temples were being built, the neighboring region of Pattadakal was used as an experimentation gorund to experiment with different architectural styles. Thus, the rock temples of Pattadakal got built. Aihole meanwhile was the satellite capital town of the Chalukyas. It again has a huge temple complex but quite a lot of it has been enroached and its not a very pretty sight to have the enroached colony as a backdrop to some of the exotic temples. I got an update today that the authorities are trying to have the villagers relocated to a different place but the people there are just not budging. Here are a few pictures from Pattadakal and Aihole :-

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While on the way back to Badami, we visited the temples of Mahakut and Banashankari. People from Bangalore would know the Banashankari temple there. This one near Badami is apparently the main one and this place itself is called Banashankari. We were back in the hotel at 8:30 and this meant that we werent left with any time to check out the temples and caves in Badami itself. Thats now been pushed to tomorrow morning after which the plan is to drive down to Hospet for Hampi.

While I sign off for today, here is a pic of the hotel and the view from the hotel :-

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Old 27th December 2009, 18:24   #19
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Good travelogue explorer09!
It reminds of the trip in similar route which i took in may 2009. From Gokarna i took Sirsi route and in between visited Yana rocks,then from Sirsi took yellapur route & reached Dandeli.
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Old 28th December 2009, 11:45   #20
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Excellant traveogue, I salute your interest.

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Old 28th December 2009, 18:41   #21
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Excellent explorer09. Your style of writing the live travelogue is something new I have seen. The pictures are beautiful and the roads seem to be in a very good condition considering that they were in a sorry state during the north karanataka flood when I visited there.
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Old 29th December 2009, 11:20   #22
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Nice pics and nice travelogue too. I liked the sea-side photos you have taken.
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Old 29th December 2009, 15:07   #23
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got used to your daily updates, so missing today's
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