Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Drive from Bangalore to Goa


Just returned from a memorable trip  to Goa and in the next few days I am going to post my experiences about this… on a day by day basis. Yet to get out of the intoxication of this lovely trip. This was a very long journey in my car, spanning for 9 days and covering 1600 kms.

We covered Chikmaglur, Shimoga Zoo, Jog Falls, Murudeshwar, Gokarna, Karwar Beach towards Karnataka – Goa border, Palolem, Kolva, Varca and Benaulm – among the beaches in Goa. This trip had it all - fun, excitement, joy and sometimes frustration... mainly as my car stopped in two places due to some technical glitches. I came across the thrill of driving on the tallest peak of Karnataka, the sight of mighty Jog Fall, picturesque Western Ghats and it's infinite green stretch and occasional waterfalls, serene beaches, lively maddening beaches full of excitement, huge statue of Lord Shiva in Murudeshwar and snakes, monkeys and langurs crossing highway through the Western Ghats. 

I generally avoided night time driving… giving ample rest to my tired body. Most of the time I maintained my car speed at an approximate 75 km per hour, sometimes much lesser... when the drive was on serpentine roads through the hills and mountains and also sometimes on bad roads. However 95 percent of the roads are fabulous... smooth and nice. I think Karnataka Government has done a fabulous job by maintaining the roads in good condition. My early impression was bad but strangely quite opposite to what I witnessed now. Remember, I am talking about the road stretch from Bangalore to Shimoga on NH216, and all the way to Honnavar… then to Murudeshwar and back to Honnavar on NH17…  Karvar – Goa on NH17, then back to Goa… from Ankola to Hubli  and then towards Bangalore on NH4. It mainly comprises of NH 216, NH 17 and NH4. Many places I saw road rollers applying fresh layers... commendable! 

I have seen some cars overtaking me with a whoooosh!! But I never ever got enticed by their invitation to catch up... I don't believe in driving fast as it tends to take toll on the driver and you also miss the beauty of the journey. The basic purpose of me driving to such far places is to enjoy the drive and the beautiful scenery on both sides of the road... and driving fast would prevent me from doing that. Needless to say, the risk it accompanies!!!! 

I missed my internet connection. Many ripples of thought arose in my mind and if only I had my internet I would have posted them immediately. The fun of posting something quick and spontaneous in blog is very different... and can't be substituted by writing them down in a notepad, offline, and then posting them later. It spoils the charm. It's not live. So next time I am going to arrange something like photon plus or some other pendrive-like internet connecting facility before hitting the road. 

There are many good places in the western ghats in Karnataka. So many lesser known hills and waterfalls. I came across so many diversions leading to these spots but didn’t have the time to visit all of them. I was taking a lot of breaks to shoot, still as well as video shots, testing the patience of my wife to the core. Time was limited... so may be in future I will just set off for these magical mountains in western ghats for longer periods of time and without any plan, of course.  I want to experience the joy of bringing some lesser known places before the world, through my blogs.

Car used for travelling: Indica Vista Quadrajet
Number of passengers: Sanchita, Dipesh, Romir (wife,myself and 10 month old kid)
Photos and Videos taken from: Canon IXUS 8.1 MP
Destinations covered: Chikmaglur, Shimoga Zoo, Jog Falls, Murudeshwar, Gokarna, Karwar Beach towards Karnataka – Goa border, Palolem, Kolva, Varca and Benaulm – among the beaches in Goa.
Total Km traversed: 1600
Total Days covered: 9
Journey date from: 4.May.2012
Journey date to: 12.May.2012
Content of First Aid Box: Band-aid, gelusil, dettol, cotton.
Travel Itinerary, roads travelled on and hotels and lodges availed for night stay:

Day no. DateFrom -> ToRoads usedRoad conditionLodges Stayed in
(Ac/Non Ac), region
Lodge Rent (Rs)
per day
Lodge check out time
15. May. 2012Bangalore -> Kadur -> 
NH216, SH64Both roads are good Venkateswara Residency (non ac), chikmagalur 800 12:00 PM (noon)
26. May. 2012Chikmagallur -> Mulayanagiri ->Tarikere -> Shimoga  Good Hotel Ashoka (Non AC) Shimoga 600 12:00 PM (noon)
37. May. 2012Within SjhimogaNH216Good Hotel Ashoka (Non AC) Shimoga 600 12:00 PM (noon)
48.May.2012Shimoga -> Jog Falls -> Honnavar -> MurudeshwarNH216, NH17Good; From Honnavar to Murudeshwar (NH17) road is not that good. RNS Residency (Sea Facing & AC), Murudeshwar2400  12:00 PM (noon)
59.May.2012Murudeshwar -> Gokarna -> Karvar NH17 Only Murudeshwar to Honnavar stretch is not that good Anmol (AC) in Karvar Beach. Note: If you get rooms in hotel premier then that will be the best option. We didn’t get so stayed in hotel Anmol. 800 12:00 PM (noon)
610.May.2012Karvar -> Colva Beach NH17 Good. Beautiful scenery on both sides Star Beach Resort (AC), Colva Beach 1250 12:00 PM (noon)
711.May.2012Within GoaWithin Goa Good  Kolamar Beach Resort (AC), Colva Beach 1200 12:00 PM (noon)
812.May.2012Colva Beach -> Hubli -> Davangere NH63, NH4 NH63 is very good. Roads are serpentine and through ghat section. NH4 is superb. Genesis Retreat Resort (Non AC), Davangere 1040 24 hours from the time of check-in
913.May.2012  NH4 Very Good Reached home (NA) NANA

Day1 (5.May.2012)

Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Gubbi -> Tiptur -> Kadur -> Chikmagalur

Before going out on a long trip, we had to take care of certain things. 1st was aquarium. We bought holiday fish food block and left one in the aquarium for the two fish to stay alive on for the next 8-10 days.

We had planned to wrap things up fast and leave early, but we were late, as usual. Bad habits die hard! There were too many things to pack and arrange and finally when we hit the road. It was 11:00 AM. No plan and no booking done… we had this much in mind that we were heading towards shimoga. I set the the trip B of the odometer to zero at IIM Bangalore, Banerghatta Road ( approximately near my home).

At the 8th km, we reached the nice road on Banerghatta Road. The nice road toll is 109 Rs and it’s a 32 km stretch. No doubt it saves one from hectic city traffic. Life is easy on this fabulous wide and empty road. Nice road ended at the 40th km. 

20-25 km before Tumkur, we found Kamat and had two south Indian Meals (Thali) Each Thali at the rate Rs.75.  Good food and we were full… we set off once again and soon reached that diversion 7 km before Tumkur as shown in the below photo.

It says Shimoga is 237 km from this point. We were 91 km from home. We were now running on N.H.206… heading towards Tiptur. Very nice road and greenery on both sides…     

At 164th Km we found a lovely lake besides the road. I got down and took some snaps.

At 198th km we saw another lake by the road… and this was even more beautiful. This place is Arsikere. 

 7 – 8 kms from here, when we were 206 km from home, we found a café coffee day. I badly needed a cup of black coffee as I was feeling tired and sleepy. After this we moved ahead. Kadur was now 7 km away. At kadur, we had two options… move forward toward shimoga or take left towards chikmaglur. We chose the later. We were now 240 km from home. Right at this left turning, towards Chikmanglur, we spotted a lodge. If we failed to locate any hotel for night in Chikmaglur, we could come back here. With this idea in mind we moved on towards Chikmaglur. The evening was spectacular, with very nice road and beautiful scenic bueaty on both sides.

The faraway mountains against the evening sun was picturesque.

In the below picture, the clouds over the horizon seem to be like mountains. Very difficult to distinguish. 

When we were almost 10 km ahead of Chikmaglur we found Winters Green Eco resort. There were no rooms available and you are supposed to book well in advance. The resort was nice and the tariff here is 1800 rs per person per day including all meals. Pretty expensive though!

 Finally darkness came over Chikmagalur and we found a lake which looked beautiful in the fading light. My camera failed to capture its beauty.  A little ahead and we saw many hotels and most of them were full.

By some stroke of luck we found rooms available in Venkateswara Residency, opposite of Nagalakshmi Theatre. Rooms are neat and clean and pretty reasonable. Actually this is the beauty of not booking in advance, because you can never get such fabulous rooms at such low price.

However this involves risk.  We got a decent room at the rate Rs.800 for 24 hours. I heaved a sigh of relief as time was running out and we badly needed a room to take rest and unwind. 

End of day1. Overall it was a nice day… driving trhough out and my job was made easy by very nice roads all through. Very seldom I came across bad roads and that was pretty impressive of the Karnataka Government.  

Day2 (6.May.2012)

Route: Chikmagalur -> Mullayanagiri ->Tarikere ->Shimoga


Trip Meter reading: 287 km. 2nd day of our trip started at the same time 11’O Clock. 

The previous day, i.e on day1 we had reached Chikmagalur from Kadur. Today we are starting from Chikmagalur and going straight towards Mullayangiri. Then we will come back from Mullayangiri and catch the State Highway 57 once again and then proceed towards Tarikere and then from Tarikere towards Shimoga. We are planning to stay in Shimoga for the night.

I found that the engine oil level was at the bottom marking of the dipstick. I quickly found an engine oil shop and did 300-400 ml of top-up with diesel engine oil. This consumed some time and we were finally heading towards Mullayangiri peak. There were a lot of attractions in chikamaglur but we were only interested in Mullayangiri peak. Very soon we saw the below direction board. Mullayanagiri was 20 km. from here.

direction board
Finally we reached a point from where the road towards left was going toward Mullayangiri, Kemmangundi etc and the road straight was going towards Tarikere. We took the left road, leaving behind SH 57. Mullayangiri was only 14 km from here.

After 6km, we saw the below direction board which said Mullayanagiri peak was towards the left diversion and 8 kms away. We took the left diversion...

mullayanagiri 8 km from this point
The roads were getting narrower now...

narrow roads leading to Mullayanagiri

On the way we saw some small waterfalls. 


The ghat road was narrow, steep and difficult to drive on. And the beautiful scenery on both sides was painfully distracting… 

beautiful serpentine roads climbing up the highest peak in Karnataka

Finally we reached Mullayangir peak. But believe me I had driven on many ghat roads, but this was the most difficult of all of them. It really scared the shit out of me. And we were so scared that we forgot to capture some of the beautiful scenic spots on the way up. Finally we reached this point… Vehicles have to be parked here and the trekking of 1km or so upwards begins from here. The air was cool and pleasant inspite of the scorching sun beating down. The scenery was breathtaking. Mullayangiri is actually one of the best tourist places in India. And if you come to Chikmaglur and don’t pay this awesome place a visit, you really have missed something. Something breathtaking and inexplicable… We spent a few minutes here soaking in the beauty and the cool wind.

Mullayanagiri Peak
We started climbing the staircases. It was really tiresome and people with cardiac problems shouldn’t attempt the trekking.  A 20 minutes of climbing the stairs can see you at the top of this hill. A Shiva Temple is situated here… which attracts many devotees. Some of the snaps taken on the way up and from the pinnacle...

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak On the way up the Mullayanagiri PeakOn the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak
Finally we began our descent and took some lovely pics on the way...

On the way up the Mullayanagiri PeakOn the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

Broad day sunlight was suddenly dampened by a brisk rainfall. However it didn't last long and gave way to sunshine once again. We reached state highway 57 and now we were heading towards Tarikere. We were hungry but there wereno restaurants in Mullayanagiri or on SH57. Luckily we found this coffee shop.

On the way up the Mullayanagiri PeakOn the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

We had noodle and coffee and relaxed in this lovely place. Then we proceeded towards Tarikere. Roads are awesome throughout on SH57.

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

It didn't take long to reach Tarikere. Here we found NH216 and headed towards Shimoga.

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

A little ahead and we got the bypass road leading to shimoga Bus stop. When we reached Shimoga Bus Terminal, it was getting dark. Luckily for us, there were so many hotels and lodges here. Not getting a room in this crowded place is very remote. We easily got one... Hotel Ashoka@only Rs.600 per day. Checkout time: 12:00 PM and the room was non-AC.

The room was bigger than the one we took in Chikmaglur. Pretty cheap! Room service was availed for dinner and the bill was Rs. 340. Driving throughout the day had taken it’s toll and I was dead tired. Enjoyed the lovely innings from A B Deviliers as he finished the game for Royal Challengers Bangalore in emphatic fashion. He scored a breathtaking 47 off 20 deliveries and played some stunners.

While there were so many mosquitoes in Chikmagalur and we had to ask for a mosquito repellant in hotel there, there were no mosquitoes in Shimoga. We could sit peacefully and undisturbed, without any mosquito repellant here. Temperature was cooler and that meant AC was not needed.

End of 2nd day. Tomorrow we are planning to reach Murudeshwar beach after visiting the mighty jog falls. Lets see how it turns out... Off to bed now… Good night! 

Day3 (7.May.2012)

3rd day morning my sleep broke with the room calling bell hooting out loud and harsh. With sleepy eyes I opened the door and found that the basement car parking was  blocked by my car and I had to clear passage. As I went down and allowed the blocked car to move out of the garage I saw a patch of oil underneath my car… checked the engine oil level and it was less than yesterday… immediately I knew… my car was leaking engine oil.

Found out an authorized Tata service center (Arvind Motors) and came to know I would have to leave the car with them for the entire day for them to fix it. The total cost would be within 3000 Rs (they would replace the whole oil sump).

After leaving the car with the garage, we extended our stay in shimoga by one more day back in the hotel and then went out for shopping. We bought an electric kettle so that we could heat water for Romir’s bottle cleaning and preparation of milk and our tea. We also purchased some toys for him. 

Apart from a tiger and lion safari, 12 km from Shivamogga bus stop, there was nothing to see here. At around 3 O clock in the afternoon we hired an auto (Rs. 150) to Tyavarekoppa tiger and lion safari. We took some lovely pictures..

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

Safari Tickets were Rs. 50 per head. We all got crammed inside a mini bus and off we went into the jungle. These regions were protected by big gates and demarcated into specific forests for tigers, deers and lions. This is to ensure that they don't fight with each other and get injured. The forest guide told us that each tiger would be given 15-20 kg of beef per day. Which sounded enormous! Just after entering the safari we came upon these three beautiful tigers, cooling off in the water.


After this we saw a group of deer and this pretty one separated from the herd to greet us... Lovely horns she has!


Finally at the end of the safari we saw some lions. Majestic... No doubt they are the kings of the jungle...

majestic lions

Safari ride was over... Now there were other things to explore. Leopards were enclosed in one place. Felt sad for them... why were they not left out in open forests like the tigers and the lions? OK, first a little gyan about Indian Leopards and then their lovely pictures below...

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

No doubt their skins are beautiful and that's why they are poached... and that's why their numbers are dwindling... almost on the verge of extinction... shame on us... shame on we humans :-(

leopards ... you beauty

Talk about beauty... if leopards were to rule the beasts... peacocks are their counterparts in the bird's kingdom.

On the way up the Mullayanagiri Peak

Now one step below the food chain... the favourite food of peacocks... Yes!!! You are right... snakes... though we didn't find many of them except the magnificent India Python. A little gyan on snakes and then the beautiful picture of the Indian Python, lying lazily after a heavy meal... shown below:

a little gyan on snakes indian python

While returning we boarded a bus and it was only 20 Rs. For all three of us. The bus was better… comfortable, cheap and faster. Kolkata Knight Riders played well to be beat Delhi. We had a lot of time in hand… washed our clothes, cleaned the bottles and reorganized our luggage. We were prepared for 4th day. We were yet to see the sea beach and our journey was originally planned for Murudeshwar.End of day 3. 

Day4 (8.May.2012)

Route: Shimoga -> Jog Falls -> Honnavar -> Murudeshwar
Stayed at: RNS Residency 

Day 4 started with 430 km on the trip meter from Shivamogga bus stop. The car was serviced and the engine oil sump replaced by the Shivamoga Tata service center. They were very impressive indeed. On the way we came across the below truck carrying a heavy road roller. It seemed as if the truck would break down by the weight of the heavy roller and it appeared tilted on left side. The truck was barely able to move. It seemed as if the roller might fall underneath from its own weight any time and so I had to overtake the truck with a lot of caution.

road roller on truck, on NH216, on the way to jog falls
NH 216 at its best... beautiful scenery on both sides of the road. Trip meter reading: 458 km.

NH216 from Shimoga to Sagar
Gudavi Bird sanctuary, which I had never heard of before, was towards the right, as shown by the direction board. I was itching to go... but we had no time and our main destination was sea beach... Murudeshwar and Goa. So with a heavy heart I pressed the gas and moved on. Later on I had searched about this sanctuary on the net. I didn't get a lot of information and it seemed not so renowned sanctuary... however stumbled upon this lovely blog about Gudavi Bird Sanctuary:

Also Balligavi is 44 km towards right and a little search on the internet resulted in this blogpost about Balligavi:

NH216 from Shimoga to Sagar

After some more driving we saw this direction board. Jog Falls was still 56km away. However Kodachadri was 71km towards the left diversion from this point. Some other day I have to try Kodachadri... as it is a good place for trekking. The following blog by Swaroop gives a good information about Kodachadri and his trekking experience:

NH216 from Shimoga to Sagar
Beautiful view of the lake with buffaloes grazing all around... very country like... only that it has dried up due to the intolerable hot summer. A small hiatus here and some photos and then we moved along...

Parched lake on the way to Jog falls
From shimoga if you are going towards Jog Fall, always remember that you won't find any good restaurant or eating joint on the way. So pack some food and then leave shimoga. We did that mistake and had to put up with hunger for quite sometime... until we found the below hotel cum restaurant, Varadashree, when we were 73 km from Shimoga Bus stop.

One important observation here... If you are planning to drive from Bangalore and your primary destination is jog falls and you don't know where to stay for the night, then Varadashree can be a good option. Jog falls is not very far from this hotel. Though didn't check the rooms personally, but found food here to be good and the ambience is also nice as there is a lake at the back side offering good view.

Varadashree Hotel
We tanked up with two full south Indian Thali and were ready to go. The car sped along... Ghat section now started and the winding roads led us to the bridge shown below that went all the way to Jog falls. The bridge gets into the huge cover of green which looks great. Fascinating view on both sides of the bridge as well!

The bridge, on the way to Jog falls
First view of the Jog Fall. It was an anticlimax. I had never imagined it to be so thin. As thin as a hair... But the view looked spectacular, anyway. Gotta come here in the rainy season though!!!

Jog fall in the month of may

536 km on the trip meter and we were on our way out of Jog Fall, through the ghat section. We discovered another view point of the jog fall and the images are shown below:

Jog fall in the month of may Jog fall in the month of may Jog fall in the month of may
Now journey started towards Honnavar through the ghat section. Long way through ghat section... it seemed endless. The road was again awesome, and beautiful scenery on both sides, mainly comprising of green cover of magnificent western ghat forests. On the way from Jog falls to Honnavar, we came across this lovely view of this vast waterbody. No clue what this was! However later on I came to know this to be the famous SHARAVATHI RIVER  amidst beautiful wester ghat mountains and valleys. Right at this point there is an elevated cemented structure for one to climb and enjoy the breathtaking view. I stood there in silence, quitely soaking in the beauty of this view. Trip meter reading: 556 km. That means this is situated at a distance of 126 km from Shivamogga Bus stop.

Jog fall in the month of may
We kept moving… saw some boards which read: Lion tailed Macaque is endemic to western ghats. Conserve them. We didn’t find any of them though… At 566th km, we saw the gerusoppa dam and entry through the gate was restricted. Beautiful road all the way and driving through the ghat section is a real pleasure here.
Finally NH216 highway intersected with NH17, at Honnavar. We headed towards Murudeshwar which was approximately 35 km from this point. Night had settled in and I was tiring now… hardly able to keep my eyes open on this dark road with high beam head lights constantly firing at me from the opposite direction. We finally saw the royal gate of Murudeshwar.

A little more driving and the grand statue of Lord Shiva was within sight. It glistened in the dark night and its aura glowed magically from quite a distance. It was really impressive. Trip meter reading: 631 km. So we had driven approximately 200 km on the fourth day.

Lord Shiva at Murudeshwar, in the night

Hunt for a proper sea-facing room began. It was quite sticky and humid, inspite of strong wind. So we had to go for an AC room and after checking a few rooms at RNS guest house, we finally booked a room at RNS Residency. RNS residency is adjacent to RNS guest house. However one important disclaimer, which many visitors tend to miss, is that here in RNS Residency, no liquour or non-veg food is allowed! 

The room was spectacular, leaning into the Arabian Sea, offering spectacular view of the infinite ocean in the dark night. The ships lay their trap for the illusive fish in the mid ocean with intermittent flickering lights! Big glass window offered full view of this spectacular sight. I stretched my legs on the chair in the balcony. Food was ordered and we completed our dinner in the balcony with sweet and strong wind on our faces and waves splashing on the faraway shore. Not much light so can't take photo and share... Tomorrow I will try to capture the morning sun over the beautiful sea shore through the window. Till then good night.


Day5 (9.May.2012)

Route: Murudeshwar -> Gokarna -> Karwar
Stayed at: Anmol Residency, Karwar. (Hotel premier is a better option)

Day 5 trip meter reading: 632 km. The day begins with a spectacular view of sunrise, right from our room of RNS Residency and here goes the shot…

sun rise from the balcony of my room at RNS Residency, Murudeshwar

I fell asleep again and when I woke up, near about 9:20 AM, the beach had more people on it and there were many water sports on display.

Finally checked out at 1:30 PM and took a photo of RNS Residence from the front side. Yesterday we couldn't take one because it was dark when we checked in.

RNS Residency, Murudeshwar

Shown below is the Naveen Beach Restaurant where you can have a lovely meal while enjoying the fantastic sea beach.
RNS Residency, Murudeshwar

First of all we went to have a closer look of the 123 feet high statue of Lord Shiva and this was an awesome view… very large and magnificent sculpture.

Statue of Lord Shiva, Murudeshwar Statue of Lord Shiva, Murudeshwar

Even from here the sea beach, which now has become crowded, looks awesome...
Sight of the Murudeshwara sea beach from Lord Shiva's giant statue

The magnificent Murudeshwara temple stood tall and handsome…

Murudeshwara Temple

Time to bid bye to Murudeshwara and move ahead towards Gokarna, Karwar and then Goa. I took this lovely photo from another corner of the beach which had all the three – Lord Shiva, The temple and RNS Residency in the same frame.

We proceeded towards Honnavar along NH17. At Honnavar we had two south Indian Thali in Kamat and then went towars the direction of goa along NH17. We identified the point which takes a deviation towards gokarna and steered towards Gokarna. The drive was on narrow roads through some villages. Saw a vast waterbody and then finally Gokarna arrived.

We spent some quality time here, took a few photos and relaxed a while before setting off towards Karwar. One important point to be mentioned here... This was Romir's first encounter with ocean (We didn't get down on the sea beach in Murudeshwar). This was the first time when he touched the sea water and when the waves came gushing, kissing his little feet; he was scared and started crying loudly. After a little more time, when he was accustomed to the ocean, did we leave him on the sand where he played and had some fun. Gokarna pics are shown below...

Gokarna sea beach Romir playing in Gokarna sea beach Romir playing in Gokarna sea beach

So after Gokarna, we moved towards Karwar. At 726th km on the trip meter, we came across a lovely waterbody on both sides of the road. No idea about it's name though! We kept moving forward along NH17. Roads were good and driving was easy. It was now evening and Karwar was finally in the offing. When we reached Karwar beach it was dark... almost 8 O'clock. Saw a few people enjoying on the beach. We had to hunt for a hotel now so we asked some local people there about lodges... and the only reply we got was Hotel Premier and premier residency. No AC Rooms were available in Premier so we settled with anmol residency, adjacent to hotel premier. One ac room for 24 hours was bargained down to Rs.800. End of day5. Trip meter reading: 775 km.


Day6 (10.May.2012)

Route: Karwar -> Colva Beach
Stayed at:  Star Beach Resort, Colva Beach

Before commencing our journey towards Goa, we wanted to have a proper look of Karwar beach and find out what had inspired Rabindranath Tagore so much and what was so special about this beach. And so we took a parcel of idli and vada and went out for Karwar sea beach. The beach was very near from Anmol residency and it took 5 minutes to reach. This beach was deserted as it was hot but the view was indeed good. The sea was surrounded by far away hills and mountains.

On the way to Karwar Beach statue of Rabindranath Tagore in Karwar Beach statue of Rabindranath Tagore in Karwar Beach

After spending sometime in Karwar beach we returned in our hotel. We finished lunch from a parcel from Hotel Premier and then at 2:00 pm left for Goa. A little ahead we saw river Kali which was big and spectacular. We reached the Goa-Karnataka border, situated a little ahead from here. Trip meter Reading: 788 km.

river kali on nh17 road through mountain on nh17, near karnataka-goa border karnataka-goa border, near karnataka border margao is only 60 km from here

Beautiful road and good scenery on both sides... the drive is pleasant.

road through mountain on nh17, near karnataka border

67km from this point we got this junction shown below:

junction that comes on the way to colva beach, on nh17

We turned towards Colva and Benaulm beach and after some time we reached Colva beach. We spent the remaining time till late evening on the beach. This was Romir's second encounter with sea beach and this time he didn't cry when the waves touched his feet. He enjoyed and had a lot of fun. After this I went out for boating into the open sea. It was risky as the waves were violent and made the boat jump up and down.  

with romir on colva sea beach with romir on colva sea beach preparing for boating in colva sea beach
Shown below is a youtube video recording of boating in Colva Beach. Romir and his mother waited on the sea beach while I was taking the boat ride.

After all this, finally the hunt for a hotel started. We searched in many places and even went to Benaulm beach but we were not getting rooms as most of them were occupied. we again returned near Colva beach and managed to find one mediocre room in star beach resort. Rooms were finalised at 1250 Rs for one night. End of day6.


Day7 - 11.May.2012

Route: We didn't go anywhere and had fun in Colva Beach throughout the day.
Stayed in: Kolmar Beach Resort

on colva beach

We checked out from star beach resort and went to a nearby bengali restaurant for breakfast. We booked Colma beach resort this time as we had already planned to stay the whole day on Colva Beach.  There was a small niggle in the clutch of the car. It was coming half way only and remaining half was getting stuck. We found out from the user manual that nearest Tata service center was in Arleam.  It was a waste of time, money and effort and only resulted in frustration.  We couldn't get the problem fixed and returned back to Colva beach.

Now we just wanted to be on the beach for one full day.  No more travelling and hunting for better options... as Colva Beach appeared to be the best among all other nearby beaches. The best gathering, lively buzz all around, nice spread out beach and all kind of water sports through out the day... making the perfect place for enjoyment and fun.    
I get a lot of happiness from simple things like watching kids playing and having fun on the beach, building tiny houses with sand, someone floating in blue sky in one of those colorful balloons, newly married couples trying to know each other more and kind of lost in their own world, cut off from the remaining buzz... all of these give me a lot of joy. Of course you need to have a keen observer's eye to enjoy all these.

And also there is this strange joy that results from the ocean water splashing against you and then reaching the farthest point on the sand and then receding back. While recession, it seems as if the sand is disappearing beneath your feet and that's a strange feeling.

After all the sport-activities get over, the boats, bikes and other machineries are carried back from the beach. This is a very tedious job as in the below picture you can see people are trying to upload a boat on another carrier.
 With Romir in Colva Beach
The day passed in a flash and we returned back to our hotel room.

After some time we came out once again for dinner.   

We soon found a restaurant which had arrangements for serving dinner right on the sea beach.

Now this was the best part. Nice cool and strong breeze, soothing sound of sea waves dashing against the sand nearby, pomphret fry served on a large plate, a flickering candle light struggling to save itself from the onslaught of wind... all of this made a heck of a dinner, we would never forget.

Dinner at Colva Beach
It was almost 12:00 am by the time our dinner got over. There were many people still having fun on the beach. This was something very unusual. We never ever in our life came across a sea beach populated with so many people at 12:00 O'clock in the night. That's Goa for you!

Finally we returned our hotel room, switched on the AC at 20 degree centigrade (as it was quite hot and sticky) and crushed on the bed. End of day7. Enough of Goa. Now we have to start our return journey back to Bangalore. So many kms to drive!!! The return journey is always hard to drive as the forward journey is invariably accompanied with a lot of joy, curiousity and excitement. Return journeys are boring and energy sapping.

Day8 (12.May.2012)

Kolva Beach -> Palolem Beach -> Karwar -> Ankola -> Hubli -> Davangere

direction board showing way to Palolem Beach Trip meter reading 949 km. Checked out from Colma Beach Resort, packed two subway bergers for lunch and started our journey towards Karwar. The road was easy to recognize and we were going at a pretty good speed. Suddenly, at 1015th km on the trip meter, the adjacent direction board caught our eyes. This place is 67 km from Colva beach. 

Palolem Beach! We uttered almost at the same time and then thought, "Why not find out this beach as well, when we have come such a long way?" We took the diversion and entered Palolem Beach.

Very nice place. Calm and serene. Pristine and clean.

Beach huts at Palolem Beach

The Beach is steep here and if you happen to relax, thinking the waves are too far to reach you, you would be caught by surprise by some odd wave that would drench you top to bottom.  It actually happened with me.  

One more thing we saw here... Beach Huts! Fabulous! It would be a nice experience to stay in such beach huts... One day gotta try this... but for now we have to move on... Still miles to go! 

A pretty interesting fact I came to know after one month of my visit to this place that Palolem beach featured in the film, 'Bourne supremacy.'

Very close to Palolem beach I stumbled upon this deserted well. It was somewhat mysterious... don't know the reason. I went near it and took a photo of the inside of the well.

Remembered Gieve Patel's series of painting on this peculiar theme - Looking into a well. If you are not aware of the paintings... here are they. 

 We moved on towards Karwar. Not much curiosity on the return journey, as we had been through all this while coming to this place. 

At 1036th km on trip meter, we reached Ankola. From here we took left turn. This is the place from where NH 63 starts.  The idea was to move straight on this road until we reach Hubli.

  Colva Beach

This journey is through thick forest of western ghat and driving is pleasant here. Though one has to be cautios of vehicles from the opposite direction as some of the curves are tricky to drive through.

Finally reached Hubli and turned towards Bangalore on NH4. 

Road is awesome here and one can drive at a very high speed. It was pretty heartening to find such good road as I was tired of winding ghat roads.

It was dark now and my happiness was shortlived. The car started giving problem now... The clutch grew hard and the gear harder. Clutch and gear were not functioning smoothly and I was having a tough time driving. Finally at one point I was afraid as I felt that the vehicle would not move any more.

As engine was grew hotter gear and clutch were getting stiffer so now I started taking rest on the road side and drove intermittently.

Luckily at Davangere we found a decent resort. We got in, parked our car, ordered for food, got the luggage inside the room and heaved a looooong sigh of relief. End of Day 8. Not a good one, particularly the way it ended. :-(

I had no clue as to how to go about this job of fixing my car in this foreign land the next day. The body was tired and the mind was fatigued. So I deferred this nagging thought until the next day and lost in deep sleep. 

Day9 (13.May.2012)

Route: Davangere -> Bangalore

Day 9 broke early in the morning. First job was to contact TATA emergency number: 1800 209 7979.
It took sometime to explain the lady on the other side about all that happened. She assured me that Tata personnel will quickly arrive on the spot for rescue job. I was told that if the problem is minor then they would repair it then and there or the vehicle would be towed to the nearing Tata service station.

Two persons came after another one hour or so and they started examining my car. The clutch plate and gear was very rigid but the car was drivable. They told me that the issue was major and car would have to be towed... next day being sunday... I was told that I could get the vehicle only on monday late evening or tuesday.
clutch plate of indica vista quadrajet
I was not in a position to wait for so many days because I had to join office on Monday morning. One of the persons recognized my worry within and offered immediate help in a nearby local garage. I was told that it was a clutch plate problem and it needs to be replaced. Shown below is the new clutch plate which was supposed to be replaced by the old one.  I took photo of this because I intended to get the genuineness of the part confirmed by a TASC later.

My vehicle was taken to a local garage, some 3 km away. The whole day I sat there watching the garage guys completely dismantle the front portion of my car and then replace the old clutch plate with a new one.

After all this when I went for a test drive, the issue was half resolved. The clutch was still coming half way, though the gear was smoother now, and I expressed my concern over this. Upon this, the mechanic dug out a master cylinder from an nearby Manza and fixed in my car. This time the clutch came back completely and the job looked well done. However a nagging noise from the clutch lingered on which was totally bullshited by the mechanic who kept pressing that it was all in my head... that I should stop thinking too much about the clutch and go back home without any worry.

I actually had no choice. The bill was a whopping Rs. 8000. I returned Genesis Retreat Resort.

I was tired but relieved. Took bath, had lunch and then got the luggage inside the car. We were ready to go. Bid farewell to Genesis resort, which was really a nice place to relax and do nothing. From here, the driving was monotonous on the endless NH4 stretch... it went on and on...

Finally reached home at around 2'O clock in the night. Trip meter reading at the end of this 9 day drive from Bangalore to Goa: 1654 km.

The first thing I did after reaching home is checked the aquarium. The two fish were fine and the remnants of the holiday block was still lying on the floor. I gave some more food to them. It was a memorable trip, hard to forget. Next day being sunday, we had the luxury to sleep peacefully without setting any alarm. It was an awesome experience, very hard to forget.

The best part of this 9 day journey was our dinner on the Colva beach. This trip had everything... fun, enjoyment, problems, worries, breathtaking views, priceless moments of joy and so on. very difficult to comeout of the hangover of this long trip.


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