|17th March 2010, 19:20||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Hyderabad to Dharmasthala (Kukke) and Back
This is long pending, anyways better late than never, (did this trip in sep09) To those wondering why such a trip, the enclosed narration should suffice
The Situation: Needed to make a pilgrimage trip to Dharmasthala, My parents, in laws were and every one were after my life to do this.
Predicament: Given that I am currently residing in Hyderbad it was logistically challenging to plan a trip by bus and another factor was the rains and mudslides that happened in south canara during aug sep 09. so me and my better half were evaluating our options
1) Fly to Blre and catch a connecting bus. ( Rejected did'nt like the idea because I hate short flights, I never feel like I have travelled)
2) Bus to blre and a connecting bus (Rejected, too long and tiresome.)
3) Drive down ourselves (Accepted, This was my biased decison which was reinforced with sufficient advantages.)
Having decided to drive down it was left to me to decide the route, I tried googling and searched the forums but no one seemed to have done such a trip, so it was upto me to chart out a route. I used Mapmyindia, local.live etc and decided to take the following route. Hyd-Raichur-Gangavathi-Hospet-chitradurga-Chikmaglur-charmadi ghats-dharmasthal-kukkesubramanya phew!!! it was quite a thing to firm up the route by eliminating the other permutation and quite a another to drive.
Google map on my black berry, Torches, A navigator (she will kill me, if you get why I am saying it), Nikon D60 ( my navigator though an amateur happens to be a SLR freak)
Day1: We are all set the previous night, double checked the checklist to ensure that we have carried what we require (which BTW was half my house literally) (talk to my wife but frugal exsistence for a few days )
We started the day pretty early at 0430 departed from tolichowki hyd. Drive till Jadcherla was uneventfull and a pleasure to me and horrow to my navigator, I was doing crazy speed like 160+KMPH mostly because the roads were empty and I had the pressure to cover as much distance as possible of the 1000KMS ( as shown on Map my India) After we left Jadcherla and the drive towards Raichur were riddled with crazy 7 seater auto's and Mahindra Jeeps doing acrobatics on the road since the morning roads are relatively free of traffic. Anyways reduced my speed to 60+KMPH to ensure that there are no suprises and hard braking. Stopped over at a small village (matkal or something) for tea and natural breaks. By this time it was already day light and the visibility got better and I was back at maintaining 100+. Reached Raichur at about 0830 though I got a prompt message on my airtel wlecoming me to karnataka at 0745. So much for the roaming tariff's. I have driven on this stretch multiple times so I knew the route and did not have to stop. But the dilema I was facing now is should I trudge on the Bellary and double up to Hospet or should I continue on the Gangavathy. The reason for the dilema was the google maps on my Blackberry suggested the Bellary route. Considering the mining activity and the associated truck traffic and the resultant road conditions I chose the gangavathy - hospet route. Raichur to Hospet was a good drive except for the regular irritations of the unscientifical humps near all the villages that dot this stretch. Reached TB Dam after a refreshing breakfast. The road from Hospet to Chitradurga was horrible on certain stretches but was okay for 60% of the drive. I could maintain my speed at 80+ most of the time. we stopped by for lunch 120 Kms before Chitradurga and contemplated on if we should drive on or halt at chitrdurga, though my initial plan was a stop over at chikmaglur and I had estimated that we would reach there by 2300. The stop over sounded appealing considering (a) that we could do a bit of sight seeing at chitradurga (B) enjoy the scenic drive through the ghats in the morning. (which was not to be ).
(C) Economic advantage, I anticipated the room rental to be lesser here than chikmaglur
We checked in at the Naveen Regency in chitrdurga, which I was told was the most decent place and I was not dissapointed it was almost like a 2 star hotel and served our purpose and the tariff was incredibly low( we got our room at 1350/ with taxes. A plus on my budget )
Since it was already 1630 we freshened up and rushed to the fort ( which was the main attraction) but realised that we could just have a walk around, so we did not hire a guide, we also visted some lake and a underground cave can't seem to recollect the name though. Anyways we returned to the hotel had some warm food and hit the sack.
Got my car washed from the hotel guys who charged me 50 bucks but did a decent job of it, since my car was all messed up with dust and grime from driving on the dusty and pathetic roads between hospet and Chitradurga. Well the hotel guys were also prompt with packing a delicious breakfast which we carried along. Now the night mare begins. Firstly the road from chitradurga to Chikmaglur was supposed to be down via kadur, but thanks to the poor directions and a navigational error we ended up going to tarikere and double back to Kadur. This was okay since it meant only a small deviation. This is a single lane state highway very poorly maintained and the buses and drivers on this stretch are nightmarish with shrill horns that assures to pop out your eardrums and the way these morons push you off the road both the oncoming and the guys overtaking phew!! the 7 seaters and the Jeep of andhra are saints compared to this.
Any ways whilst this was a dissapointment from my promised scenic ghat drives . there goes my credibility with my navigator.. anyways the highlight of this stretch was few good sunflower farms as far as eye can see and view of the distant hills. And then there was this solid car jump trick which shook both of us and I resolved to drive slower. Some more light on this, there was this particularly bad stretch where we were doing less than 20 kmph and we find the road suddenly paved and I increase my speed to about 80, after continuing for more than 2-3kms the good roads suddenly ended and the morons who built this road had not provided a ramp to smoothen the ending and this was a good 2 feet from the surface, so you can imagine me at 80+ speed and encountering such a steep step bang on your path, anyways the car settled well after the brief trajectory but cannot say the same about the contents in the car. We finally reached chickmaglur at about 1300 hours. We stopped for a quick lunch at a mediocre place, the food was edible so there was nothing to complain about. Now the best part, the charmadi ghats, this was really scenic with clouds covered roads and cool temperatures a refreshing deviation from what we had experienced.
More of the travelogue later as phase 2 and I promise this will be with lot of pics
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