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Discussion in 'Punto 1.3 MJD' started by puntosat, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. puntosat

    puntosat Superiore

    After being back from an adventurous Tiger census, my family was waiting for an year end vacation.We had planned earlier for same anyway and did necessary bookings.

    Plan was to visit temples of Banavasi,Sirsi,Gokarna,Idagunji & Murudeshwar…with 5 ppl + kid and heavy luggage in my Punto

    Dates: Dec 28th to 31st

    Day 1:
    We left at 6:30 am sharp and reached Chitradurga by 8:45..I must mention the beauty of a road from Tumkur to Chitradurga…6laned..butter smooth…sparse traffic…such a pleasure to drive..by far the best in South I have driven…after upgrade it does not have any diversions etc…my Punto was flying..200kms in 120 mins with 15 mins stop at various tolls..probably the fastest avg/hour I have done…close to 100kms/hour..

    I called up my friend at 8:45 and informed him that we reached Chitradurga…he did not believe ..we could do it in 2 hours…!!!

    Had breakfast at Chitradurga…and continued..and at exactly at 300km mark from B'lore there is a diversion left towards Banavasi.The usual route is to go via Haveri which s SH..but I decided to try out a new road..I was not disappointed..just few ams from highway..I was in agriculture heartland…so much cotton everywhere..after all davangere is known as Manchester of India…for its textile proves..now I know why…it was so exciting to see real cotton plants for my wife & kid..and also my mom & in-laws..they barged into the fields and robbed about a KG of cotton :)

    Then it was watermelon, beans,chillies,peas etc ..sometimes I wonder that with superfast highways..we really miss the feel & culture of locality of various places along the route….now I was in a SH & DH..and we are ONE with local culture & agriculture…I kept passing across so much of farm lands..it was really a pleasure experiencing it…To my luck the roads were OK for most part….My destination was about 90kms from the deviation I took from highway..

    I reached Banavasi at 1:00 pm sharp.

    My relatives home .


    Banavasi is the oldest town in Karnataka and is about 2000 years old and was the capital of Kadamba kingdom…this town is my wife's native.We had a 3 course native/delicious lunch at my wife's native home,took some rest and then headed to famous temple.This temple is one of the oldest in Karnataka..> 1800 years!!! SImply astounding in its structure…finely sculpted pillars…huge BULL and a beautiful beautiful Shiva linga…it really was divine






    We left for Sirsi late evening and the drive was horrible on small and not so good roads..reached Sirsi around 8:00 pm (45 mins drive from banavasi)

    Sirsi is famous for Marikamba temple,forests and numerous waterfalls close by..

    We had darshan of goddess Marikamba and a unique temple which cannot be compared to any because of its different style..and went out lodge…hotel Madhuvana…a budget friendly and clean,spacious hotel…

    Day 2:

    We had breakfast and started towards Gokarna…3 ams from Sirsi..we hit up on a "Sante"…a weekly market..where we found fishes,watermelons, red chillies on sale..no prizes for guessing..with an all female gang in my car..they shopped anything & everything…and at the end of it ..my car was brim full…and stinking with "smoking" chilly smell…apparently they bought it at half the price compared to bangalore and they bragged about it…for hours..

    Then started the "first" best drive on the journey..the road was winding and curvy from Sirsi to Gokarna..but very smooth…my Punto was full…actually overloaded…but it did not budge…no matter how many times we stress it the way the car behaves ..its stability,ride comfort and steering feel is astounding!!Man I don't have to try too hard or get tired while driving in ghats…its effortless…I remember a dire trying to outwit me…I did not want to be in a race but was in a hurry to reach Gokarna…Dzire simply could not keep up n the ghats or may be its driver felt it was too dangerous to match Punto…mind you I was driving normally..thats the beauty of Punto…he could not overtake for a good 50kms and later he vanished from my rear view mirror..I simply fall in love each time with this car in spite of doing numerous trips…this car never fails to amaze me.

    I had decided to visit Mirjan fort before going to Gokarna and what a decision it was…the fort was marvelous …and maintained immaculately…let the photos speak for itself..

    <fort pics=""> mirjan1.jpg



    We spent about an hour at the fort and then headed to Gokarna…as expected huge rush at the temple and it took us an hour to get the darshan of Mahabaleshwar.one of Jyothirlingas..in India…Of all the famous temples in Karnataka..this temple is one of the worst maintained..the rest are superbly maintained…donna why…this temple attracts most foreigners and unfortunately its the filthiest…its not so difficult to keep this place clean…not that it was filthy..but it was not up to the mark.

    Then we went to the resort on Gangavali beach…it is about 3.5kms from Gokarna town in a very very secluded area ..the best part is it has a private beach…very very clean and beautiful…a good restaurant…and above all the entire resot is on sand…and clean sand at that…owned by a former MLA..who is resident at resort.That former..MLA is a very down to earth person and welcomes each guest personally and takes booking as well.No surprise he is not in politics any more.

    The rooms were spanking clean..and beach was right by us and the sound of waves were ever present…especially at night you feel like its "tsunami"…

    I let the elders rest and took off to "Om beach"…

    On the way there are some amazing…I mean it "amazingly" amazing view points from the top of a hill..on onse side you can see gokarna beach & gangavali beach far away..and in front of you you can see an arc shaped "Kudle" beach and it was about 4 pm with golden rays hitting sea & sand…I paused my car..and spent about 10 mins just soaking the beauty of nature..


    Continued to Om beach ..this beach must have been out of the world when first discovered…it is still very very beautiful but too many tourists has robbed it of its enigma..

    An evening well spent here…and cooled off in the shack nearby post sunset..

    The foreigners who come trek from Om beach to Half moon or paradise beach and spend their night over there…I wanted to trek but time ran out.I envy those foreigners who have no time limits :)


    We went back to resort ..picked up elders and made sure I gave a chance for them to shop to their heart's consent..sometimes we must realize priorities for elders and priorities for us are different..for us its car,scenery,views,food,resort and temples…for them it is usually temples,shopping etc and not much of scenary and other things..:)

    had a good dinner with tandoor fish..one of the best I have eaten..well cooked and not so costly..

    Then crashed around 11 pm…

    Day 3:
    Woke up around 7 am ..went to the beach with my daughter who enjoyed her time in the sand to the core…and now she wants every resort we vista to have beach and sand :)

    Views of Gangavali beach were splendid..see below..





    Had a lazy bfast and checked out and headed towards Murudeshwar…

    The road from Gokarna to Murudeshwar is a delight to drive ..high speed single lane NH…but dangerous at places..one has to be very careful and alert..…can't imagine these were our best highways before the 6 & 8 lane super highways came in to India…

    The views on either side were very nice..in some places where backwaters were seen they were splendid.

    Karnataka is simply blessed…tropical forests,wildlife,barren lands,green fields,waterfalls,beaches,shola forests…except snow everything else!!!

    We reached Murudeshwar around 12:30 and what we saw was a phenomenon..it was the annual trip season for school kids across Karnataka..and we must have seen some 10 to 20,000 kids…they were enjoying to the hilt…

    Murudeshwar is another sacred place for SHiva…and it is on top of a hill with sea on 3 sides…the newly constructed 250 ft gopura and a mega statue of Shiva adds to the grandeur of this place…you can see Sharavati valley forest on the far end towards the land and numerous coconut tress dotting the coastline….

    Finished Darshan and had lunch at the restaurant which sits on the sea…Rs 60 per meal..tasty!!!

    SOme Murudeshwara pics


    murd view.jpg

    shiva statue.jpg

    My next stop Idagunji which has a beautiful standing Ganesha which is revered all over Karnataka…it is about 20 mins from Murudeshwar..we zapped it u quickly and finished Darshan soon as we had to reach a homestead near Jog falls..about 80kms away and I had to climb up the Sharavthi valley..

    Again the road was a delight to drive…up the hill..car was lapping up the curves and I had done about 60 ams…and I saw a board saying view point…I usually don't miss such things..but people in the car were tired after a hot & humid day..I still jumped out of the car and climbed up the small building on top of which was view point…then "WOW" happened…it was the backwaters of Gerosoppa project…the water from Jog falls simply flows here and is stored for generating electricity…one of the mega projects in Karnataka…power generated here comes all the way to Bangalore..a good 400 kms…

    Sharavthi valley and the backwaters of Gerosoppa are one of the least inhabited places in Karnataka and large parts of these forests are inaccessible even today…

    Sharavati valley view..

    shravati valley.jpg

    I was close to Jog and why miss it…it was on the way..and I saw it from British bungalow side…less water flowing down the gorge..but the sight was still emphatic…surprised there was not asingle soul there…apart from me…that added to the beauty of the place…I had been there 4 months back in peak monsoon and there was no place to stand..and 3 youth died on the same day I went by slipping down 900 ft in to the gorge..some people are just mindless..!!

    We reached our homestead which is agood km away from the highway among forests and it was pitch dark..the owner came later and brought some really delicious "havyaka" veg food…ate them and slept..

    There were some wild boars..roaming around the home late night…didn't tell anyone as they might get scare and not sleep :)

    Day 4:

    Woke up late around 8 am..then had bath traditional way..where we put firewood and heat "hande"…very relaxing…

    Our homestay..

    Left around 11:00 am..and visited one of our relatives on the way close to Jog falls.

    Drive from Jog falls to Shimoga was uneventful ..good roads…curvy roads..beautiful car…sleepy passengers..sleepy driver as well…managed to reach Shimoga without dozing off..searched for a good upmarket restaurant for 30 mins intown..finally found one who took good 40 mins to come up with the first order…which was promptly sent back by us for being too salty..took another 20 mins and finally cancelled some orders and our lunch overall took close to 2 hours..waste of time..

    I was actually fed up and more fed up because I had to drive 280 ams to B'lore on the usual 2 lane B'lore Shimoga highway…then a thought flashed…why don't I try Shimoga Chitradurga (100 kms) and then the usual super highway from Chitradurga (200 kms) to B'lore…few years back road between Shimoga and Chitradurga was potholed…so I was not sure..I must have asked 6 to 7 ppl and each one gave a different answer on condition of this road…from awesome to horrible…now thats crowdsourcing!!

    I anyways decided to do it to beat the boredom…this route was 30kms extra compared to normal route..it started of OK for about 15kms(till Holehonnur)…then started my second "best" drive….of the trip..85 ams of fast single lane highway with sparse traffic…Punto was being tested in a different scenario now..all my sleep vanished away and I did it in 90 mins..some long straights..some curves..perfect…

    From Chitradurga to B'lore the super highway…super cars whose drivers are testing their cars to limit…some BMW's,Volvos and Audi's were flying …like gone in 10 sec….they must be doing 180-200 easily..

    I never did more than 150 on this trip…in one case we were three cars my Punto,a Ford Ikon "josh" and Amaze in three lanes…and no traffic for a good 1 km..it was almost drag race..I was in the left most lane..I was ahead for most part…but I saw a TVS harping in to the highway in the distance eand may be slowed by few kms/hour and Ikon went ahead..amaze was well behind..and I zipped past the "josh" machine couple of times and he zipped past me…it was fine we knew both of us were having fun but NOT at the cost of safety…if there was some vehicle ahead..I would simply slow down..no half measures or no reckless driving …

    Even doing 150's is not suggested..best top speed should be 120 or 130 max…

    Reached B'lore by 8:00 pm.

    So,in total it was 4 hour drive from Shimoga to B'lore + 20 mins at Kamat for coffee…

    The usual route would have taken > 6 hours easily and with stress..

    So,anybody going to Shimoga,Sagara,Jog,Honnavar simply take the Chitradurga route…no arguments..

    This ended my year end family excursion

    Pic courtesy : Motorola Moto X (it did a great job as you can see with the pics)</fort>
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014

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