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h@r$h@l 21st September 2010 12:46

15 days, 5 crazy travellers, 4000 kms.
10 Attachment(s)
One fine day around Feb 2010 during a get together with cousins we got talking about planning a holiday by road. We were actually inspired by Rocky & Mayur (HOMP, NDTV GOOD TIMES). We are all food lovers and what better way to explore the cuisines of India than driving through the regions. So Prashant (my cousin and a co traveller) & me got thinking and started working on possible route options. We started off with considering Rajasthan + surroundings. But staying in Gujarat we have been to Rajasthan several times.

After reading through various blogs and threads we thought of giving Karnataka a serious consideration. Then came the task of selecting places and route. Once again HOMP made it easier for us. We saw an episode of ROCKY & MAYUR enjoying the food in Madikeri and we sort of made up our minds to add that in our list of destinations. Even though our trip was all about love of food, we also wanted the wives and sisters to be happy by showing them around. So we did some home work and added Hampi to our list as well. Prashant and me both are die hard food lovers and have lately got hang of photography as well. So the road trip planning took of well. Hampi is a photographer’s paradise.

Another round of discussions happened and we froze the travel plan. Suat – Kolhapur – Hospet – Madikeri – Jog falls – Goa – Surat. Now since that was done, the biggest challenge was deciding the total no. of days and the no. of days we wanted to spend at each place. We decided to give ourselves sufficient time to explore each destination. (Kolhapur 1 N; Hospet 3 N; Madikeri 4 N; Jog falls 1 N & Goa 3 N). Another criteria for the trip was to avoid staying in hotels, we wanted to do it the Home stay way. The only places we stayed in at hotel were at Hospet & Kolhapur. So the hunt began and Prashant shortlisted a few for each destinations. Now the best way to enjoy local cuisine is to stay the local way. All was done. All reservations done. Finally it was only 5 of us travelling so we decided to take my Mitsubishi Cedia; earlier it was planned to go by a Tata Safari owned by a family friend.

Day 1: Started off from Ahmedabad early morning and reached Surat and picked up the rest of the travelers. From there we continued our journey to Mumbai and spend the night there to catch up with some family.
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Day 2: Planned an early morning start to Kolhapur but eventually left around 10:30 . Reached Kolhapur just around sunset. Checked in to Hotel Opal (Hotel Opal, Kolhapur, tambda pandhra rassa, hotels in Kolhapur, Kolhapur Hotels, kolhapuri cuisine, heritage Kolhapur, Mahalaxmi Temple, Ambabai, Kolhapuri Chappals, Rankala, Dajipur, radhanagari Dam, Kalammawadi dam, Narsobawadi, Bahubali,) (apparently serving one of the best Kolhapuri food). We went around the city area and walked around for a bit before returning back to the hotel and calling it a night after dinner.
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Day 3: started from Kolhapur post breakfast for Hospet via Badami. We got really excited seeing the wonderful stretch of NH4 as soon as we left Kolhapur. But, sadly our happiness wasn’t long lasting. As soon as we took the de tour from the NH for roads leading to Badami we were in for a surprise. We rated the roads in 3 categories;
1. Bad Roads;
2. Worst roads.
3. NO roads.
We were prepared to drive on all terrains as we had taken this trip as “Take as it comes” trip. We did take some route maps printed from Google and a MAPMYINDIA GPS. One thing I must mention here is, GPS & Maps were very helpful for guidance point of view, but local guidance is the best at the end of the day. Google or GPS don’t know the road conditions post monsoons; where as local guided us to routes which they thought were less affected due to rains.
We made it to Badami around 3 pm and enjoyed the lovely architecture at the caves there. For all of those I shall let the pics do the talking. Spend about an hour there and started our drive for Hospet. We made it to Hospet around 7 pm and had reservations at Hotel Maligi (Malligi Hotel in Hospet - Luxurious Star Hotel near Hampi, Karnataka). The reason we booked this as it was only 15 kms from Hampi.
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Day 4 & Day 5 : We spent 2 wonderful days exploring the wonderful historical town of Hampi. Enjoy the pics below.
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Day 6 : We as usual planned to start early and get out from Hospet by 8 am to make it to Madikeri in time for evening sunset. But things always don’t go as you have planned. We were advised by the hotel and the locals not to take the main NH as it was severely damaged recently. So we worked out a route Hospet – Shimoga – Hassan – Madikeri. We did our calculations and local help and thought we are looking at a 7 hour drive and hence started off at 9:30 am from Hospet. Sadly the roads in certain patches were terrible and at times we were doing only about 20 kms in one hour. Made it to Madikeri at 9:30 PM.

Day 7, Day 8, Day 9: we spend in and around Madikeri. We travelled to Kushalnagar, Bylacuppa and various towns around. We enjoyed the rafting session as well. There are 2 rafting places near madikeri; first one is very close by but that one is mainly still water. The one we went to was 2.5 hours drive and it was totally worth it driving that distance.

Day 10: checked out from the lovely Silver brooks Estate (SILVER BROOK ESTATE- A Coorg Homestay - Home)
and started our journey for Jog Falls (Stay@matthuga :: Home Stay Near Jog Falls - Sagar, Jog Falls Holiday, Jog Falls Hotels, Resort Near Jog Falls, Accommodation Near Jog Falls, Lodging Near Jog Falls). We passed through Udupi where we had some lovely lunch and continued for Jog falls. Again our calculations and road assumptions had to go out of the window. Reached Jog falls around 8:30 and checked in to the Home stay we had booked in advance.

Day 11: Checked out from the Home stay early morning around 7:30 and headed for the Jog Falls. Once we were done exploring those we started our drive towards Goa. Wonderful scenic roads all along this route. The drive was fantastic and we were actually happy that finally we were driving ON ROADS. We reached Goa around3:30 PM and moved into a bungalow (Home) we had rented near Candolim Beach. It was a nice little 2 bedroom Portuguese style house.

Day 12, Day 13 : we just leisured around beaches of Goa. Had meals at various places & chilled out at some fantastic Shacks at Anjuna Beach.

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Day 14: sadly it was time to leave. We started off from Goa around 12:30 PM with no destination in mind. We drive in direction of Surat and thought we would drive till we can and stop over at a highway hotel and continue our journey home the next morning. We managed to reach Pune around 7:30 and we decided to check into a Hotel near Deccan Gymkhana. To our surprise we managed to get a hotel which was opened only 3 days ago. A good way to wrap up your trip and enjoy a bit of Luxury. Some nice dinner and a short drive around Pune was good enough for us.

Day 15 : Started off from Pune at 7:30 am and a short breakfast halt on the Express highway we continued our drive back to Surat. We managed to cover good distances that morning. We were in Surat by 4 PM with a long lunch break at Parsi Dairy. What a place. Fantastic food. I would recommend that place to everyone who is driving along the NH8 from Surat to Mumbai.

Finally the Great South Indian Road trip had come to an end. But hey, every end is a hope for a new beginning. After this successful trip we are already on to think tanks for our next trip.

Hope you all enjoyed reading this. This is the first time that i wrote something like this. Any suggestions welcome. Critics welcome.

Thanks once again for reading this.

h@r$h@l 21st September 2010 12:49

6 Attachment(s)
For those interested to know what routes we took, please find attached the maps for all.

Kolhapur to Hospet
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Hospet to Madikeri
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Madikeri to Jog falls
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Jog falls to Goa
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Goa to Pune
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Full Trip
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ampere 21st September 2010 12:55

Nice snaps. Hampi looks very good. Need to plan a Hampi/Badami trip together very soon. I have seen Hampi once. Need to go once again.

Thanks for sharing.

Maverick5490 21st September 2010 12:58

Hi Harshal, nice trip and great motto for the drive. But you forgot to mention the main thing: How was the food and how would you recommend it to other travelers? Opal at Kolhapur is amazing for local food..

h@r$h@l 21st September 2010 13:06


Originally Posted by Maverick5490 (Post 2077672)
Hi Harshal, nice trip and great motto for the drive. But you forgot to mention the main thing: How was the food and how would you recommend it to other travelers? Opal at Kolhapur is amazing for local food..


The food over all was fantastic. We had some fantastic food at Coorg at the Home stay we stayed. Also there is a Tibetan settlement near Madikeri in the town of Bylacuppe (Hope I have spelled it right). We had good Tibetan meals there too. Food around the entire region is very very reasonably priced.

@ampere Hampi is beautiful. Next time you are there, make sure you visit this place called MANGO TREE. One of the best places to eat at in Hampi.

Ferrari1976 21st September 2010 13:52

Hi Harshal:

I have planned the same trip from Pune in November. Pune - Hospet (statying in the same hotel as yours) - Balgalore - Coorg - Pune.

What will be the best route to Hospet from Pune? I am worried about the low ground clearance of Linea. Want to avoid bad roads as much as I can.

Any tips during the Hampi stay? How's the Hotel?

ampere 21st September 2010 13:52

The last time I went was on the spur of the moment. At 8 in the evening I was in office and suddenly we said lets go.
Me and room-mate packed bags, dashed off to majestic on a friday night, reached Hospet and then Reached Hampi.

Took rooms in a village and then went around that place in cycles for 2 days. It was a awesome feeling.
We boarded the bus back Sunday night and were home Monday morning.

h@r$h@l 21st September 2010 14:42

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Originally Posted by Ferrari1976 (Post 2077770)
Hi Harshal:

I have planned the same trip from Pune in November. Pune - Hospet (statying in the same hotel as yours) - Balgalore - Coorg - Pune.

What will be the best route to Hospet from Pune? I am worried about the low ground clearance of Linea. Want to avoid bad roads as much as I can.

Any tips during the Hampi stay? How's the Hotel?

How many days u planning to stay in Hampi? Hospet hotel is good. Bragin hard for rates. But one advise is make the most of your stay in Hampi. Start early and utilise the full day in Hampi. take a good tour guide who can take u places and prioritise the places according to the duration of your stay.

The roads we took were horrible. ideally you should stick to NH4. That should be your safest bet.
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