Thursday, November 01, 2007

1-2-3-4 Here we go.Go Goa. Day 1...

Beaches where the mighty sea meets the land and leaves a trail of sand to let us mortals enjoy the mother nature.So when I got the leave sanctioned for Nov 2nd only thing I could think about is to make a trip to Goa and Karwar.Vinay and Saket said yes and we were ready to hit the road.After lots of research and help from Team-BHPian's(thanks a lot to the people on that online forum) regarding the routes and other things we decided to take the road through Shimoga so that we can also pay a visit to the famed Jog Falls.

So the D-Day arrived and I woke up around 5.45AM and found that BESCOM has tried to play a cruel trick with me that day.Waited half an hour for the electricity to come back which didn't happened and had to take a cold water bath,eeeeaaaawwwwwww.Well, actually that cold water bath took away all the sleepiness and it was a blessing in disguise.In the meantime Saket called to inform that he has started from his home to his office to keep his bike there.Picked him up from his office premises around 7.10am.We are already late by half-an-hour.Anyway Vinay told that he'll be arriving at the Jalahalli circle by 7.45am and we reached there exactly the same time he arrived.
Next major target was to fill up petrol at Shell and then look up for a good place to have breakfast.Those two hungry souls otherwise would have eaten me only if I don't find a breakfast point fast.But as we all know(and if didn't know before, now you know ;-) ) that @ NH4 after Neelamangala only good place to eat are Coffee day on left side and A1 and Kamat on the other side.And thanks to the highway planning we had to come back around half km to reach Kamat. and after a nice heavy breakfast with Hot Coffee,Dosas and Vadas we had to travel back around 1 more km or so to get the next turn to come to the other side.
After that till Tumkur the road was anyway almost a breeze and thanks to ABV, the wise old man who had the vision about Golden Quadrilateral (GQ)[and a thumbs down to the idiots who are incharge of the NHAI,more about this later]. I wish this road will be complete soon.
We had to take a right turn towards Shimoga and immediately welcomed with a few potholes.But luckily it was not for long and we reached the exit towards Shimoga.BTW, Auto rikshwas in Tumkur drive as horrible as their brethren in Bangalore or may be it's the common DNA inside them make them drive the way they do all over the world.[World is India in this case]
Road was very nice after Tumkur though it was a two lane-highway.Sparse traffic and scenic vistas made the drive more and more enjoyable.Soon we crossed Tiptur,Arsikere,Kadur and Birur. And suddenly after Bhadrawati we were greeted with few lunar craters on the road.For a second I thought may be we were cruising at high-speed and we somehow attained escape velocity and landed on moon itself.But hold on,it is not the moon but our very earth and we were approaching Shimoga.After holding all the 94 horses of the baleno and converting them to 2 bulls we started cruising at old world bullock cart highway driving.It was a major task not to disturb the craters and it's inhabitants(who knows, the Govt. may have plans to start some fishery on those craters when it rains;-) ) anyway after painstaking hour and half and lots of jokes starting from Indian Lunar mission to getting ministers driving on this stretch we crossed that section alive and unscathed.
After the tiring space exploration we decided to have lunch and went to a small restaurent near the Bus Stand.Nothing great to right home about so let me cut the story short.Oh yeah, before that we've also decided to try a road-side dhaba but that was also in pathetic condition.Journey after shimoga was smooth and we have seen lotsa green vistas zooming past us.It was a very nice drive after that.The beautiful greenery, winding road and to top that there were lashes of rain and then sun peeping out for few moments after the rain.Oh ,it was a bliss, will never forget this drive,never ever. We crossed a nice forest road(most probably it was after Anandapuram, but I'm unable recall correctly).Stopped by the road-side in quite a few places just to enjoy the beauty of our mother earth.To savour the grandeur to the fullest,to let the time pass by,who knows what's there in tomorrow and so better to live for today itself.Someone rightly said, enjoy the journey not just the destination and so we did.

We reached Sagar around 5.20PM, our earlier plan was to halt at Sagar and then visit Jog falls and come back to Sagar for night halt.But as it was already getting darker we were contemplating whether to stop at Sagar now itself and see Jog in the morning or directly go to Jog.Ultimately we decided to give Jog a visit and then come back to Sagar. So we went ahead and reached Jog by twilight. It was very dark by that time.Jog was not at it's full glory although we spent some time there and clicked few customary pics.Ok, now been there and done that,what next? Shall we go back to Sagar and I told my friends that I'm not tired at all and I can drive 3 more hours easily.So a quick change of plan and we decided to go to Sirsi instead and save some time for next day morning.A quick inquiring session with the helpful govt' restaurent manager at Jog[nice chap,thanks] and we found that there is a right turn just 3 km ahead from the Jog junction of NH 206 which goes to Siddapura. So off we go and start our night trip on a unknown territory on the dark of the night.

It was around 7.30pm and we have taken the plunge.Taken the right turn towards wilderness, oh sorry, Siddapura.For first few kms the road was newly tarred and very nice with clear demarcations but after around 6-7kms it turned out to be a small and not seems to be in bad shape.But we anyway have decided to go ahead and we did carry on.It was very scary as there was not a single other vehicle on the road .All the ghost stories that we've heard before about lonely roads came into mind and someone also taken out the topic.A particular section on that road was really scary as it was lined up with old Bodhi trees and in the light of the car the scene looked as if coming alive from some horror movie ;-) .Also we were fearing that may be road will turn out worser and we may have to turn back.But with Floyd singing Time, the time soon ticked away and we could see small villages on the side of the road. And luckily the road didn't turned out to be too bad.We reached Siddapura by 8.10 around and then reached Sirsi by 9.30 approx. After inquiring the local auto stands(Autowallas have become a great help to us during this trip actually, while asking directions) we decided to stay at Hotel Shivani. I was glad that we have been pointed to this place as it had a big parking place and that was my biggest concern during the whole trip.I didn't want to leave my dear Ms Baleno outside on the roadside.Also the rooms are very nice and a non-AC double room just for 400Rs with an extra bad.(would recommend this hotel to anyone who is travelling on this route)
Well, that's all for tonight and will post the rest of the journey soon on the next blog.

The Route taken :
Day 1 : Bangalore-Tumkur-Shimoga-Sagar-Jog Falls-Sirsi
Day 2: Sirsi-Mirjan-Ankola-Gokarn-KArwar-Palolem
Day 3: Palolem-Karwar-Devbagh-Ankola-Sirsi
Day 4: Sirsi-Haveri-Davangere-Chitradurga-Tumkur-Bangalore

Petrol Bunks used :
Day 1: Shell Bangalore,NH4 - IOCL Shimoga
Day 2:BP @ Gokarna cross
Day 3:BP @ Gokarna cross
Day 4: Shell Bangalore,NH4

Eateries :
Day 1:Kamat before Tumkur - a small restaurant near Shimoga Bus stand(not recommended)-Hotel Shivani (OK types but Gobi Manchurian was good there)
Day 2: Brunch at Hotel Shivaprakash(not very sure of the name) @ Gokarna -
Lunch at High Tide @ Palolem (awesome sea-food),
Dinner at a place which is at the end of the beach, nice food there also.
Day 3:Brunch at Palolem Beach Resort-Good one
Lunch @ Devbagh Beach Resort, Karwar (food was not that great but the ambiance was)
Evening snacks at Kamat Ankola,nice place.The Kamats are really life savers.
Dinner again at hotel Shivani,sirsi
Day 4: Reliance A1 Plaza on NH4 for Brunch.Good food at good price
Kamat after Tumkur.

No comments: