Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day Visit to Maruthamalai and Bharathiar University at Coimbatore: Bangalore - Kanakapura - Malavalli - Kollegal - Chamarajanagara - Dhimbam Ghat - Bannari - Sathyamangalam - Puliampatti - Annu - Ranganathapuram (Coimbatore) - Bharathiyar University - Maruthamalai Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple - Coimbatore - Sathyamangalam - Bannari - Chamarajanagar - Kollegal - Malavalli - Kanakapura - Bangalore

This was originally a official Visit to the Bharathiar University located at Coimbatore city of Tamil Nadu District. For more information relating to Bharathiar University, please visit their web site

We started from Bangalore at 3PM. I got caught up with some personal work because of which it got late by one hour as our original plan was to start from Bangalore at 2PM. I am specifically mentioning that we started late by one hour was because I knew that I would take about 4hours to reach the Dhimbam ghat from Bangalore and wanted to see the sunset from there and also the view of Satyamangala and Mettupalyam towns from top of the Dhimbam Ghat would have been very very nice. Starting at 3PM means that we will reach Dhimbam Ghat only by 7PM and it will be completely dark by that time and also since it is a single narrow road, the traffic will be high and will be very difficult to stop the car on the ghat road, stopping the car on the highway was by itself a very bad idea. No one should do that for all good reasons and especially keeping safety in mind.

Coimbatore is a prominent city in south India and is very well know for Medium and large scale industries of all sectors but predominantly for machine tool manufacturing and textile industry. It is located bordering Palakkad District of Kerala to the West, Ooty and Mettupalayam to the North, Pollachi to the South, Polladam and Tiruppur to the East.

There are some good sightseeing places with in and close to Coimbatore. I will try to list down as many as possible along with the distance, although I have been to very few places in Tamil Nadu.

We also considered that we will drive through the National Highway7 until Salem and then reach Coimbatore Via Bhavani and Avinashi which would be a distance of about 385kms. Few disadvantages of this road is severe traffic, too many number of toll plazas and no good hotels except for Kamat Upachar but I am personally not happy with the quality of food their. These were good enough reasons for me rule out that route instead drive through the Chamarajanagar and Dhimbam Ghat highway which would be just about 325kms via Kanakapura - Malavalli - Kollegala - Chamarajanagar - Bannari - Sathyamangalam - Puliampatti and Annur. Distance is one major advantage and the other greatest advantage is that you will get restaurants until you reach Chamarajanagar. Road was not all that great in condition after Chamarajanagar, even though it was National Highway connect two major cities in south India Bangalore and Coimbatore. Once we reach Attgulipura the Punjanur Reserved Forest area starts. We could see deer moving around on the road without much of fear of vehicles.

To provide some inputs on alternative routes available:
Option 1: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Kollegal-Santemarahalli Cross-Chamarajnagar-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore
Option 2: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Kollegal-Dhondelinga HasanurGhat Road State highway 38(No Need to go to Chamarajnagar on this route)-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore....I am not sure about the road condition on Statehighway 38 although I believe lot of trucks take this route as they by pass chamarajanagar and there by avoid that much of time in traffic.
Option 3: Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Malavalli-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar-Hasanur-Dimbham Ghat-Bannari-Sathyamangala-Puliampatti-Annur-Coimbatore....Please note that there is 4 lane construction currently going in almost since last 1year between mysore and gundlupet and hence this route is slightly time consuming and has lot of traffic.
Option 4: Obviously is the route via National Highway 7 which is Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Salem-Erode-Coimbatore Via Avinashi on NH47
Option 5: Obviously is the route via Bangalore-Hosur-Rayakottai and Palacode (Via State highway 17)-Dharmapuri by pass-NH17 untill thopur-SH Mecheri to bhavani Via Mettur on SH20-Coimbatore Via Avinashi on NH47.
Option 6 (a): For real crazy guys who love to drive a lot through the hills (This route will take and eazy 3hours more than any of the above options provided) - Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Theppakadu-Gudalur-Ooty-Coonoor-Mettulapalyam to Coimbatore Via Bilichi on NH 67. This route has ghat section starting from Gudalur all the way until Mettupalyam. No doubt that the road condition is very good except for very few rough patches and ofcourse the entire drive is beautiful.
Option 6 (b): For real crazy guys who love to drive a lot through the hills (This route will take and eazy 3hours more than any of the above options provided) - Bangalore-Ramanagar-Maddur-Mandya-Mysore-Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Bandipur-Theppakadu-Masinagudi-Ooty-Coonoor-Mettulapalyam to Coimbatore Via Bilichi on NH 67. This route has a very dangerous uphill drive from Masinagudi to ooty. Do not take this route until you are a pro in driving and your vehicle is in EXCELLENT condition. Drive through Masinagudi is slightly tough as the road condition is not all that great however road through the up hill to ooty is much better.

A word of caution here: Drive very carefully and slowly as you approach any check post. Do not carry liquor, do not play loud music in the car etc as these unwanted things will call for some unnecessary complications.

It was 9:30PM by the time we reached Down Town Coimbatore. I parked my car near "Sri Ganapathy Silks" and the other two guys who had accompanied us started looking for accomodation and hotel for Dinner. They got the rooms reserved at "Kurinji Lodge" which is a Budget hotel (Low cost) located in the heart of the Coimbatore city. There are man other hotels Hotel Blue Star, Hotel Mangala International, Hotel Aryaas etc...among many other hotels.

We were really tired. We had dinner at a Veg Restaurant located Right behind the Kurinji Lodge. It was time to sleep.

We woke up at a good time in the morning. It was already 8AM. There was no reason to hurry, however, had to get ready and reach Bharthiyar University by 9AM. After completing my work at the University, I got the opportunity to visit "Maruthamalai" which is right behind the university campus on a hill top, I should say in the middle of the hill and you will understand why I am saying so when you see the below mentioned photographs.

The best part of Maruthamalai is its topography and the height at which it is located. When you are in Maruthamalai you will definitely enjoy breathing very good fresh air for the fact that Maruthamalai has hundreds of Square kilometers of lush green forest area right behind it. This forest area is towards the North West, West and South West directions of Maruthamalai. Below mentioned image from google maps will proove the same.

View Larger Map

Maruthamalai is located at an altitude of about 500feet from coimbatore and Distance between Coimbatore Downtown to Maruthamalai is about 15kms. At the end of this post you will get to see the link for the temple website, kindly go through the same after you complete reading this post.
Market area located at the foot of the hill.
Maruthamalai Attracts lot of crowd during weekend and holidays
View of Maruthamalai Murugan Temple from the Parking lot Area. 
Another photo
Misty blue hills of Maruthamalai 
View of Ghat road from Coimbatore to Maruthamalai
On a day when the sky is clear and there is no mist, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful view of Coimbatore city
Aged people are bound to have difficulty to climb up the steps as there are more than 150 steps to climb before you reach the temple premises from the parking area.
Coimbatore Municipal Department has made arranged for good public transport facility for people to reach the top of the hill. Alternatively you can also use your own transport by paying an entry fee of Rs20 at the base of the hill. It is a distance of 2kms From Base to the top of the hill.
Roads are narrow and there are close to seven steep hairpin curves which makes it impossible for large sized busses like Volvo to make it to the top. You can reach the base and then take the public transport buses like the one shown in the above picture. If you are interested to climb the hill from base all the way to the top then you can definitely do so as there are well laid steps through out the track.
These goats had managed to climb this rock which easily in 80 degree angle of elevation and there balancing was something that caught my attention.
Around the temple.
Painting work at the temple is really very attractive with very good combination of light and dark colors having been used to the pillars and the ceiling.
Queue at the ticket counter.
Special / Quick darshan queue
Lord Ganesha at Maruthamalai
View of the parking lot from the temple area.
Main door to the Maruthamalai Temple with attractive carvings and painting work to the Gopuram. 
Not very sure of this area, but I believe devotees can make use of this place by taking permission from the temple management if they have to perform any special rituals.
Its really steep for aged people to climb up to reach the temple and for sure it will be equally hard to climb down the steps.
Shops that offer light refreshments to visitors

After my visit to Maruthamalai, we went back to Coimbatore town, had lunch and checked out from the hotel at about 4:30PM. I was hoping that we will be able to reach Dimbham Ghat during day light atleast this time but by the time we reached Bannari which is further ahead from Sathyamangalam. Bannari is located at a distance of around 80kms from Central Coimbatore and takes a good 2hours to cover this stretch. It is a single road through out with heavy traffic movement on both sides which makes it all the more difficult to overtake busses and heavy trucks. By the time I reached Bannari, it was already 7PM and it was totally dark. So luck this time on the Dimbham Ghat view, but, as  keep mentioning often  love and enjoy driving at night. This enjoyment of driving at night comes with its own risks and challenges.

I stopped at bannari and we all got a chance to stretch our legs and relax before we continue our journey to cover a distance of 240kms to reach our house in Bangalore. Below mentioned are some photos of Bannariamman temple. 

We started from Bannari at 7:40PM and reached Chamarajnagar in 1hour, 8:45PM. Very heavy traffic through the ghat road but it was indeed a comfortable up hill drive. We again stopped at Chamarajnagar to have snacks at Hotel Mayura Rajdhani which is right next to the KSRTC Bus stand. Food Quality and Taste is average to above average. This hotel has gone through renovation for the last 7months and looks better. Most importantly wash rooms are lot better here now (lets see how they maintain it). We started from Chamarajnagar at 9:15PM.

The next stop was at a friends place which just before the Malavalli Town. Chamarajnagar to My house in Bangalore is about 180kms. Takes an easy 150mins to cover the distance. The best part of this road is no humps, no speed breakers, no potholes and the best of all very less traffic. With a 20min stop at Malavalli we reached bangalore at 12midnight. Trip meter had clocled 700kms in total.

A trip that gave me opportunity to visit new places like Dimbham Ghat, Sathyamangala, Coimbatore City and the best of all the most memorable visit to Maruthamalai came to a happy ending.

I always crave to drive and visit new places. Collect as much details as I can and put them down in this forum hoping that you will read these posts and will be able to plan your outing better and have hands on information before you get to those specific places.

In case you have any updates on details relating to this post, then, please feel free to post your comment with the details that you may have.

Lets do everything possible to keep our mother nature healthy and happy.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Trip To Coastal Karnataka and Goa - Bangalore - Kunigal - Channarayapattana - Hassan - Sakaleshpur - Gundya Cross - Kukke Subrahmanya - Dharmasthala - Guruvayankere - Venoor - moodabidri - Kateel - Mulki - Udupi - Ambalpadi - Kundapura - Maravanthe Beach - Baindur (Byndoor) - Bhatkala - Murudeshwara - Honavar - Kumta - Karwar - Devbagh Beach Resort - Panjim - Ramnagar - Ganeshgudi - Haliyal - Hubli By Pass - Haveri - Ranebennur - Harihara - Davanagere - Chitradurga - Hiriyur - Sira - Tumkur - Bangalore

It was a long time plan that I wanted to Drive on the coastal side of Karnataka and Goa. This was my first visit to Goa and quite happy with the way things went on and below mentioned is my experience of the trip

Day 1: 30th January, 2012   I started from Bangalore on 27th January, 2012 early morning at 5:10AM During peak winter time and started our Day 1 journey :- Bangalore to Kukke Subrahmanya. Road condition was too good until Bellur Cross which is 100kms from my house. Since I started at an early hour and there was no traffic on the newly laid four lane road, I managed to cover the first 100kms in just 60mins. There were no speed breakers at all. Road was looking beautiful with all the indicators and blinking Yellow and Red lights and clearly marked pedestrian crossings were really delightful. Managed to continue at the same speed and by 7:45AM managed to go 3kms past Sakleshpur town and reached "hotel Surabhi". My trip meter had already clocked 223 kms. Stopped there for early morning Breakfast which is typical Idly Vada and Coffee/tea. In fact food was still not ready and we were asked to wait until 8AM for Idly Vada and Coffee. We did take short 30mins break to fresh up and have breakfast. We started again at 8:15AM and reached the Kumaradhara River which is 2kms before Kukke Subrahmanya at 9:20AM. We had decided to take bath at the river and hence the stop. It was cold winter morning and hence we were under the impression that the water will be really cold, but, surprisingly it was warm and very pleasant. By the time we reached the temple it was 9:50AM. There was not much of crowd inside the sanctum Sanctorum at the temple and hence the Darshan was very peaceful. After the Darshan we had coffee at the "Kumarakrupa Hotel" which is our usual choice. Neo Mysore Cafe is the other good hotel that I can mention at Kukke Subrahmanya.

Bus Facility: Luxury Buses including Volvo Buses and Rajahamsa Non A/C semi sleeper Buses are operated by KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Department) and other private operators. These buses connect Passengers to all parts of the state and neighbouring states as well.
Please access the URL for online KSRTC bus ticket bookings
Train Service: Kukke Subrahmanya can also reached by train. Railway station is located at about 12kms from the temple and Auto and local jeep service can be used to reach the temple. for train ticket bookings please access the URL
Accomodation Facility: Please access the URL to book rooms provided by the temple.
There are also private hotels like Shanmukha Residency, SLR Residency, Mayura Residency, Shanmukha Comforts, Akshara Guest House, Anugraha lodge and few more

This place gets lot of crowd during Weekends, holidays and festivals - if you are planning to visit Kukke during peak time ensure to book your accommodation 10 to 15days prior to your visit to avoid last minute rush, confusion and disappointments

For more information on Kukke Subrahmanya and Dharmasthala - Please read through my other blog which I have published during November 2013. I have uploaded lot of photos as well.

We left Kukke at about 10:45AM and reached Dharmasthala at 12:20PM. We would have reached Dharmasthala much faster if we had taken the Gundya Road (62kms) but this time I decided to take the shorter alternate road through the Kukke Subrahmanya Railway Station (55kms). Thought the road was average in condition, it was a narrow single road and there was not even enough space to over take the vehicle in front. I got stuck behind a taxi and there was not much that could be done but to follow him as traffic on the opposite side was also high. There was already lot of Crowd here but still we did not face any problems and the Darshan of Lord Manjunatha Swamy was Quick and hassle free. We made sure to get the "Thirtha Snana" done, makes you feel light and releases stress in a matter of seconds, very powerful and sacred. by the time we got all this done it was already 1PM and time for lunch. Dharmasthala Temple like most of the south Indian traditional temples offer Lunch to devotees and it will be really tasty. Menu will be very very simple - Rice, Rasam, Sambar and Butter Milk. Food is served between 11:30AM and 2PM. This system is being followed from over 5 or 6 decades or even more.

My target was to reach Udupi for our Day 1 halt, so, did not waste  much time. Just relaxed for a while after the tasty heavy lunch at Dharmasthala. Left Dharmasthala at 2:30PM towards Mudabidri. We had just travelled 2kms and had reached the Netravati River, So, another 45mins stop. There is a check dam that has been constructed here. Some how this place has become very dirty off late and there are no signs of any initiative being taken by the Government to clean up this place. Our people will just not learn. Seems like most of the people get some kind of pleasure and happiness when they litter the place in some way or the other like throwing plastic water bottles, leaving old clothes in the river, spitting wherever they like, throwing plastic cups and plates etc. Hope there will be an end to this nuisance in some way. Just to let you know that there is a neatly maintained public toilets, separate for men and women, just in case if you have to fresh up.

When we left Netravati river it was 3:15PM. Our next stop / place of visit was Moodabidri. I had already been there twice before this visit but this third visit was for my wife as she had never been there before. Moodabidri is at about 53 kms from Dharmasthala Via Ujre, Belthangady, Guruvayankere and Venoor. Enroute one can visit the Bahubali Temple at Venoor. We reached Moodabidri at about 4:20PM. Traffic flow on this road was heavy on this day than any other day and I realised the reason only after reach Venoor and Got to know that the Mahamastakabhisheka (great ritual celebrated only once every 12 years) was being performed. I did not want to visit as it was not part of my itinerary and I really did not want to deviate from my plan. The other strong reason for not visiting the Bahubali temple at venoor on that day was because of the crowd - I just don't like crowded places. Moodabidri and Venoor are very well know for Jainism which is widely followed. This place is famous for its beautiful Jain temple which is well know as "Saavira Kambada Basadi" (In Kannada) which means "Temple with Thousand Pillars". Pillars here have very good designs and carvings. The best part of this temple is that some of the pillars have pillars carved in them, yes, there are small pillars carved out of the the big pillars which is really terrific. When you happen to visit moodabidri, ensure that you search for those pillars and notice the carvings, I am sure you will LOVE them.

You will generally notice that there is deep silence in the temple and you might just get to hear the low volume of the chanting deep inside the temple. We spent about 45mins in the temple and for all the odd reasons we were feeling hungry again. We were guided by the locals to a Vegetarian hotel that was close to the temple. Hotel was good enough for a standard Masala Dosa, Idly Vada and energising Filter coffee. Some photos of Moodabidri.

Started from Moodabidri at 5:30PM to reach the "Durga Parameshwari Temple" at Kateel which is about 21 kms from Moodabidri. It took us just about 30mins which was also an easy drive to reach kateel. Again not much of crowd and we once again had a peaceful darshan of the Goddess Durga Parameshwari. This temple attracts lot of crowd on Friday, weekends and holidays. Also on certain special Hindu calendar days. Navaratri is celebrated with lot of grace here. We left the temple at 6:20PM and drove towards the small town of Mulki which is located at about 12kms from Kateel and reached there at 6:40PM. This town connects us to the Konkan National Highway 17 (NH 17 - 1290 kms in length, 7th longest Highway in India between Panvel in Maharashtra near Ratnagiri to Edapally in Ernakulam District of Kerala) which I had to drive along for the next couple of days until I reach Panaji (in Goa). It was auspicious day at Mulki with special poojas being offered to lord Venkataramana. We had the opportunity to have our Dinner there at the Mulki temple. "Vaikunta Ekadashi" is the day you should really be there at Mulki Shri Venkataramana Temple and this is no less than the way the same way celebrations happen at Tirupati to Lord Balaji. This temple mostly attracts local crowds as most of the travellers are not aware of this temple in this town.

We started our journey once again at 7:45PM from Mulki, after having dinner, to cover the last leg for the day and crash into the bed at a good hotel in the District capital town of UDUPI. I knew that there will be lot of hotels at Udupi and finding a good place for the night stay will not be a problem, however, it was already 8:20PM and hence we were a little anxious on where we would get to stay for that night and a place hopefully close to the "Shree Krishna Temple" which we had planned to visit the next morning. Udupi is a short 45min drive from Mulki as they are just about 35kms apart. Luckily for me, I located a hotel which was just next to the bus stand "Shambhavi Hotels". You can book rooms with them over the phone. Their URL is and their e-mail ID is; you can talk to them in 0820-2593390/91/92/93. Since it was winter, I preferred to take Non A/C Double Bedroom which did cost me 780Rs. They have a multi cuisine restaurant with a good spread of Sea Food in their menu. Fell free to talk to them and Enjoy their Hospitality. by the time we checked in and got into the room it was already 8:40PM. We knew that it will be a very short night (even though we had good 12 hours to be there at the temple the next day) as it was long day with lot of travel (460 kms covering 4 places).

Day2:- "31st Jan 2012"   We started our day at 8AM to visit the famous "Shree Krishna Temple" at Udupi, it was hardly few minutes walk from the hotel where we stayed. Since its a working day, there was no crowd and we spent our time very well inside the temple. came back to the hotel at 10:30AM. Packed our bags and checked out from the hotel at 11:30AM. it was a bright day and we knew that it will be very humid as will be driving through the coastal line for the rest of the day and hoping to reach Karwar by 8PM and look for a good hotel to stay. I have travelled on this stretch of road before only until Gokarna but this will be my first visit to Karwar.

As we came close to the NH 17, we saw the hand post to the famous Ambalpady temple and there was no way for us to miss it. Ambalpady temple is just about 0.5kms from the Highway. Shri Janardhana Swamy is the main god here in this temple but lot of devotees come to this place to worship goddess Mahakali. Please access the below mentioned link to get more details about the temple and its history and importance.
Below mentioned are the contact details of the temple just in case you need to reach them.
Sri Janardhana & Sri Mahakali Temples, Ambalpady, UDUPI - 576103
phone: 0820-2520871

We spent about 25mins at the temple and then we visited the Malpe Fishing Harbor. It is from here that you can take a ferry ride to reach St. Mary's Island. Did not have enough time to enjoy the ferry ride and hence we just stood there and enjoyed looking at the beach. That was all about our Visit to Malpe beach. Honestly, did not enjoy much. We left that place at 1:15PM and headed towards Kundapur and planned to have our Lunch there. Below mentioned are some photos of Malpe Fishing Harbor and Malpe Beach.

It was a 40km drive and it took about 45mins to get there. Konkan Coastal highway is getting converted to 4 lane and that construction is going on through this stretch and that resulted in lot of pain to drive on this road, luckily there were not much of pothole or speed breakers. As planned, we had our lunch at "Hotel Sharon". Food was not all that great but good enough. He had North and South Indian Thali (lunch) and that was all we were expecting from him. There was nothing to see at kundapura and hence after lunch, at 3:15PM, we started moving towards Maravanthe Beach which was a 15km drive. We reached there by 3:40PM. This is a beautiful place. On one side of the highway is the Roaring Beach and on the other side is the silently flowing river. My suggestion, "Do not try to be adventurous here" as the water is rough with high tides and its quite deep in this part of the beach. It is good to sit on the sand listen to the sound of the tides and the wind. This place is also good to watch sunset. There are few resorts and homestays close by but I am not very familiar with them. We left Maravanthe Beach at 4Pm and reached out next destination Murudeshwar which is about 51 kms Via Bhatkal on NH 17.

We reached Murudeshwara at 5:10PM. there was not much of crowd which we liked. The shallow waters here attracts lot of crowd and this a very good and safe place to play in the sea. Murudeshwara is also very well know for its sunset point. At the beach few adventure clubs offer water sports like Banana Ride, Parasailing, jetski etc. There is also scuba Diving and snorkeling facility that you can experience at the Netrani Islands (Also known as Pigeon Island) which is at a distance of 10 nautical miles from Murudeshwara. This facility is available only during specific seasons and also prior approvals need to be taken. Please visit the below site. Hopefully, you might get some additional details about netrani Island.

It got dark and within a very short time the entire beach was empty. There are few restaurants which offer snacks. The best that I know to stay at Murudeshwara is "RNS Residency". Has been beautifully built with rooms that over look the Arabian sea. RNS Residency offers wide range of accommodation and advance booking can be done. Please use the below mentioned credentials to reach RNS residency at Murudeshwara:

RNS Residency, Murudeshwar,
Bhatkal Taluk, Uttara Kannada District,
Karnataka - 581350
Tele: 08385-268901, 268903, 260060;
Fax: 08385-268990

We left Murudeshwara at 6:40PM. Our next destination and the last stop for the day was KARWAR. It was the longest single stretch drive for the day for about 115kms Via Honavar and Kumta. Karwar is famous for its natural harbor and in the recent years the Indian Government has built Naval base here investing  millions of dollars. Karwar is the major town in Uttara Kannada District and it is the district head quarters. There are few good hotels here to stay. Devbagh Beach Resort and Navy Museum are well known landmarks here. We reached Karwar at 8:45PM. It did not take much time for us to locate "Premier Residency" hotel on Green Street. There are few other hotels in this locality but we preferred to stay at "Premier Residency" itself. The boy who served food at the restaurant here was very helpful. He had lot of patience, we still remember him. When asked, he said he was a student and that he was doing part time job at this hotel to pay for his college fees. I can never forget him.

Alternatively (to "Premier Residency") With prior booking you can stay at "Devbagh Beach Resorts" property which belongs to "Jungle lodges and Resorts". Below mentioned are there contact details:

Devbagh Beach Resort,
"Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd",
Opp. Post Office, Kodibag,
Karwar, Karnataka - 581303;
phone - 08382-221603/222192;

Contact Details of "Premier Residency":
545/1, Green Street, Karwar District, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka - 581301
Phone: 08382-229935; Fax 08382-229936;

It was 10PM by the time we finished our Dinner and it was time to sleep. as it was tiring day. We had covered 220kms on this day and did visit very good places and My first jet ski ride at Murudeshwara is unforgettable.

Day3: 1st February - Day Visit to Devbagh beach resort

We did not have to drive much on this day as we had planned for a "Day Visit" to "Devbagh Beach Resort". I had heard a lot about this place and also seen a couple of programs about this place in TV channels. Hence, this resort was already in my list of places "Pending to Visit" and it will be fulfilled on this day. We started early as the Resort manager had told us to be at the office at 9AM and then we need to take the 15min boat ride to the Resort.

We reported ourselves at the Resort office at 8:45AM and confirmed our visit. We were told that the boat will leave for the Island at 9:45AM. So, we still had 1 hour. We were told that there was a Aquarium and Navy Museum down the same road which would be worth a visit. Aquarium visit was bad, it was more like a laboratory where different species of fishes, crabs and other aquatic sea creatures were stored in chemical bottles. Also, aquarium was very badly maintained. But, the naval museum was worth a visit, although not all that great.

It was a pleasant boat ride. The best part of the day was the time we spent at the beach. it was really good. Shallow waters and clean beach, hardly any crowd and you have a beach guard to ensure that you are safe at the beach. One can walk along the beach and visit the neighbouring fishing village but we were not interested in doing so. We were also offered very good buffet lunch at the resort. They have both veg and non-veg. Resort also offers other water sports like Jet ski, banana ride, kayaking, Para-sailing, speed boat rides, snorkeling etc. To do all these activities you need to talk to Jungle lodges people at they will let you know the right now for you to visit the resort for these activities. During rainy season, between june to september every year, the sea will be rough and hence visitors / guests will not be allowed to get into the water. For snorkeling and scuba diving it is important that sea is calm and not much of tides and current. There are three different type of accommodation at the resort. They are log-cabins, tented cottages and cottages and the price per person per day on twin sharing basis depends on the type of accommodation chosen. As mentioned earlier, we were on a day visit and only lunch and coffee is included in it. All other activities will cost extra. The best time to Visit Devbagh Beach Resort is October to March.

We were dropped back in the boat at 6PM. We just stopped at the nearby Viewpoint next to the Kali River Bridge to watch the sunset and then we headed towards Panjim. This was my first visit to Goa. As always said and mentioned, Karnataka roads are not as good as its neighbouring states and this proves each time you cross over the border and immediately you will notice that the road condition in the other state (be it Goa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala or Maharashtra) will be very good. this has been my experience each and every time I travel out of the state. Hope there will be a change soon.

Panjim is about 110kms from Karwar. A good 2 hours drive. Panjim is the capital city of Goa. It is well connected to the rest of the country and you can reach Panjim by all modes of transport Air (Dabolim Airport), water (Ferry Service) and land (Bus and Train). There are lot of foreigners who visit this place but they do not stay at Panjim but instead they choose to stay at hotels that are close to beaches. Goa is visited by local crowds too in large numbers. This is one of the most famous vacation spots in India. You will be able to get bikes and scooters on rent, please check with the localites and they will be able to help you with the same. All types of accommodations are available for you to choose according to your budget - from Dormitories to 5 star hotels, resorts and homestays. If you are a first time visitor to Goa, then, the best thing for you to do is to find out if you will be getting the company of a person who has already been there and is familiar with place. Christmas and New Year attracts millions of tourists to Goa which means you need to book your advance at least a month prior to your arrival. Also the rates will be quite high during that time of the year for obvious reasons.

Since this was the first time, we decided to pick up accommodation at a good location. Our choice was "Hotel Aroma" located near the Municipal Gardens which is Downtown Panjim. Luckily for us Kamath Restaurant was also very close to the hotel which means good veg food will be available. We were really happy about this. To get more details about the accommodation offered by this hotel, please visit their website, Their address will be "hotel Aroma", RUA CUNHA RIVARA, Opp: Municipal Garden, Panjim, Goa - 403001. For enquiries through e-mail you can write to them at Room was very neat and clean, they have television with satellite  network connection along with intercom facility. They also have a multi cuisine restaurant and the ambiance is good. Please check with the reception and they will be able to help you arrange for sightseeing, taxi requirement, bike for hire etc. They had arranged our sightseeing trip with "Paulo Travels" and it did cost 200 Rs per person.

Day 4: 2nd February - North Goa Sight Seeing and Cruise Ride
We were picked up by Paulo travels at 9Am and dropped back at 6:30PM. We were really tired at the end of the day. The best part of the Goa for us was the time we spent at "Calangute Beach" although it was crowded and we felt a little insecure in terms of our luggage and belongings. Changing rooms were BAD. There are whole lot of water activities that are available here. It is always better if you are in groups, you will feel lot safer and also you will be able to enjoy more. I paid 750Rs per head for activities like Jet Ski, Para-sailing, banana ride etc altogether 6 activities which I thought was a good deal that I got. It was just 2 of us and we would go into all activities together and hence could not take any photos, felt unfortunate about it, but, there is always next time.

Our Goa Sight Seeing places included Boat Ride for Dolphin Sighting (Total Waste of Time and Money), Aguada Fort, Lord Bodgeshwar Temple, Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach etc. As mentioned earlier Calangute Beach was the only place we spent good amount of time and really liked, all other were quite boring. Next Time I visit Goa I will make it a point to pickup my accommodation as close as possible to Calangute Beach and chill out. Cruise ride is another attraction for first time visitors to Goa, you will get to spend good 2 hours time on a cruise which takes you for a ride ":-)" in the "Mandovi river". I got my Boarding tickets for "Coral Queen" from the Paulo tour operator and it cost me 150Rs per head and hence our itinerary for the evening was already in place. There was lot of songs and dance (local folk dance also) which was good. Overall a day which was spent very well and really memorable. My first Cruise ride and my first Para-sailing experience were really good and I am sure to cherish them for a long time.

 Day5: February - Check out from Hotel, Shopping at Panjim City and Return to Bangalore
Today was our last day of Vacation. We need to return to our offices and routine life from tomorrow. That means a drive of 600kms. We had our break fast at Kamat Restaurant and checked out from the hotel. The room I had taken was with A/C Double Bed and cost me about 2800Rs (Inclusive of Service Tax + Luxury Tax)  per day and my total bill came up to about 5,600Rs (Approximately).

Started our shopping on the busy Mahatma Gandhi Road. It was already 2:30PM. We were done with the shopping and time to start our journey towards Bangalore as we had a long way to go and we really wanted to reach Bangalore as soon as possible so that we could have a good 5 to 6 hours of sleep and then start our work the next day. Petrol was almost 7Rs lesser than what it would cost in Karnataka, hence I got full tank of petrol at Panaji.

Primarily there are 2 routes from Panaji To Bangalore:
Route 1: Via Ponda, Mollem (Goa), Ramnagar (Karnataka), Continue on State Highway 34 until you reach NH4 near Dharwad and then On NH4 until you reach Bangalore Via Hubli, Haveri, Ranebennur, Davangere, Chitradurga, Hiriyur, Sira, Tumkur, Nelamangala.
This route from Hubli to Bangalore if Toll road and for a car, toll charges will be about 500 Rs.

Road condition from Karnataka Border to Ramnagar was horrible. Actually there was no road. it looked like there was work going on to build this road for first time, speed breakers and pot holes of huge size were everywhere on the track and there was no way to drive faster than 10kms per hour. I hope the road is now in a better condition. If any of you have driven on this stretch, then please let us know the latest road condition. It will be very helpful.

Route 2: On NH17 (Konkan Highway) Via Margao, Karwar, Kumta, Honnavar, Mavingundi Ghat, Jog Falls, Talguppa, Sagara, Shimoga, Tarikere, kadur, Arsikere, Tiptur, Tumkur, Nelamangala. Total of 640 kms Approximately.
This route is about 40 kms longer than Route1. However, you will be able to save over 300Rs on your toll charges as this is a toll free road and also the route is very beautiful to drive and the road condition is equally good. However this is a single road through out. After my experience with Route1 I will definitely suggest Route2. Here you will also get chance to Visit Jog Falls and the "Lion Tiger Safari" at Shimoga.

Following Route1, having started from Panjim at 2:30PM we reached Bangalore at 11PM with 2 breaks of 45mins each which means that it was a 7 hours Drive for 600kms, what do you say?

We stopped at Kamat Restaurant Before Ranebennur and after Tumkur for the 45mins break that I mentioned. Also, on Route number 1 with a slight deviation, we drove through Ganeshgudi Ghat and Haliyal. On this Route we got the opportunity to view Supa Dam and drive through Dandeli forest although we did not really touch Dandeli.

Route 2 Would Definitely take at least 9 to 10 hours. Generally out of my experience Shimoga to bangalore if 4 hours Drive by Car. From Panaji to Shimoga is almost 350kms and until Sagara it is Ghat Section so, it will definitely need 9 to 10 hours. During winters and Rainy season Route2 will be all the more difficult as there will be heavy mist between Jog falls and Honavar through the Mavingundi Ghat. So, if you are traveling on this route driving your own car, then, you figure out which route is going to be the best for you.

If you are looking for a reliable Taxi Service from Bangalore to Visit these places then there are 2 good options for you. These are upcoming and reliable taxi companies.

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Feel free to add comments and share your experience on a similar journey maybe with your family or friends. Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Write to me in case you need help in planning your trip and information on hotels etc and I shall try to help you as much as I can.

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