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Pun-toured : The Beautiful Western Ghats

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by nibedk, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    I had a great long weekend along with my family from 2nd - 5th Oct 14. As some of you may know that I had been planning my first major tour since I bought the new Punto in May 14. I had put a few threads asking for TFIans inputs to decide on the destination. After going through various thread on TFI and TBHP and suggestions from TFI members we finalized a trip to the beautiful Western Ghats. Our base was decided to be Kalasa and we were to cover Kuderemukh, Singeri and Hornadu. Adding Chikmaglur to the trip was considered as well but then the trip would have to be extended by a day. I had to take leave for same and with another long trip planned to homeland Cuttack/Bhubaneswar in Odisha this Decemeber we though additonal leaves would be helpful then.

    The route


    The route which needs to avoided


    The route from Hydreabad till Hassan is simply awesome. We lost GPS for a few minutes and instead of taking the Belur route went through Sakleshpur. The stretch after that is simply pathetic and needs to be avoided at all costs if travelling after sunset and with family.

    The route through Belur is considerably better for most part.

    While coming back the route was same except instead of Sakleshpur I came through Belur

    The stats

    Day 1
    Start Time: 5:10 a.m. 2/10/2014
    End Time: 11:30 p.m. 2/10/2014
    Distance Covered: 922 kms
    Travel Time(In car): 14:48 hrs
    Average Speed: 62.3 km/h
    Total Time: 18:20
    Break Time: 3:32 hrs
    Mileage: 18.3 km/l

    Day 2/Day 3( Covering Kuderemukh, Kalasa, Sringeri and Horanadu)
    Distance Covered: 1254 kms(334 kms around the place)
    Travel Time(In Car):27:14 hrs(12:26 hrs)
    Average Speed: 26.9 km/l
    Mileage: 17.5 km/l( drop of 0.8 km/l)
    Break Time: Not calculated

    Day 4
    Start Time: 8:30 a.m. 5/10/2014
    End Time: 12:10 a.m. 6/10/2014
    Distance Covered: 2173 kms(919 kms)
    Travel Time(In car): 41:41 hrs(14:26 hrs)
    Average Speed: 63.7 km/h
    Total Time: 15:40
    Break Time: 1:14 hrs
    Mileage: 17.8 km/l( final mileage)

    Whole trip stats
    Distance Covered: 2173 kms
    Travel Time(In car): 41:41 hrs
    Average Speed: 52.2 km.h
    Mileage: 17.8 km/l(MID)
    Mileage:17.3 km/l(Tankfull Method)
    total Diesel Consumed: 125 liters approx.(May be more by 2-5 liters)

    So my observation that MID shows a mileage which is in the range 0.5-1.0 km/l more than tank full method proves true again.

    There is a difference of 0.5 km/l through the whole trip when the tankful method is used. As per my calculation my actual diesel usage might have been more by 2-5 liters more. The last tankfull that I did didn't get over and it was between the 2nd and 3rd lines of the fuel indicator. So the mileage may be a little lesser actually.

    Trip pics and travelogue write up coming soon.

    Teaser Pics
    --- Double Post Merged, Oct 20, 2014 ---
    The winding NH7




    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
    dhinas, cliffhanger, varunrtr and 8 others like this.
  2. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Very good start. It seems you enjoyed good mist on Ghats. Kalasa is misty during this time of the year.
  3. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Yes it was misty all the days that I was there. Very nice trip I had. Real stress buster except for few misadventures
  4. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Right, Belur route roads are mostly decent, even though narrow.
    I have driven on same route and driving in night on those empty roads with family must be avoided.
  5. pabhishek

    pabhishek Esperto

    Linea T-Jet
    Beautiful Pics!!!! these twisties are the places where we one can enjoy a FIAT most.
  6. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Oct 2nd 2014 - Day 1

    The plan was to start early by 3:00 AM. We had been planning for days and were very excited for the trip. I was supposed to be back from office by 7:00 PM on Oct 1st night and hit bed by 8:00 PM. Got caught up in some work and reached home by 8:30 PM only. We had a quick dinner and family went off for sleep. I wanted to check all the car related docs before retiring. Quickly went through all the docs and called FIAT RSA. I wanted to know how things work in case there is a break down on road. Finally retired at 10:30 PM. It was 3:30 AM when we woke up. I sleep sound usually unless I or someone in the family is sick. But I didn't wake up fresh that day. 5 hours of sleep had refreshed me physically but somehow mentally I wasn't feeling fresh. First lesson learnt: Sleep well and tight the night before if one has to drive long distance.

    We were ready by 4:45 AM and. We actually didn't want her to wake up but she too was pretty excited for the trip and she woke up when we were loading our luggage.

    All packed up


    Still sleepy. Let’s start Papa


    Ready Steady Po …. The customary start of trip pic


    We were late by more than 2 hours from the planned start time and it was 5:10 a.m. I cranked the engine.

    There was already light on the horizon even before we crossed Hyderabad. The flyover towards Airport

    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 9, 2015 ---
    With around 920 odd kms to cover for the day and Google maps showing 14 odd hours makes it a paltry average of 65 km/hr. This is where I made the second mistake. With most road trips after marriage being in US I thought it would be completely manageable to do the trip in 14-15 hours with breaks as we will anyway drive a little faster than 65 kms average. What we endured later in the day rather night will be touched upon later. What we didn’t take into account for is that unlike US where one can easily maintain good speeds on the freeways the same cannot be done on Indian motorways. Not because of road quality but because of traffic conditions, unruly people, cattle or anything that moves along the highways is going to put a dent on your speed.

    Since it was completely dark when we started we thought to take it slow till we stop for breakfast. What a wrong thought it was? I drove very sedately almost till 7:30 AM till we stopped for lunch. We would have covered around 100 odd kms and I had no idea how bad it was going to hurt us later in the day. The traffic was pretty thin up till 7 AM in the morning and anyone who has been on NH7 would know that once can easily cover 150-180 KMS on that stretch in 150 minutes. We took a few breaks along the way as my daughter wanted to have small breaks. She turned 3 recently and seems to have outgrown her nappies time. Now she is adamant about taking pee breaks rather than helping herself in the nappies itself. How quick these kids grow? We had quick breakfast and started again around 8:30 AM.

    Few early morning clicks along the way

    Church on NH7


    Temple on NH7

    Straights on NH7 .. One can do insane speeds if you have the control

    Another temple up some where on a hillock

    Windmills ... Picturesque

    Twisties on NH7 ... if your car can handle it ...

    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 9, 2015 ---
    Wife drove for around 200 odd kms and this being her first highway drive she did pretty well for herself driving at a pretty good pace. After the breakfast we kept good speeds and kept driving at speeds above 120 km. But we kept taking a lot breaks in between as my daughter would keep asking to stop the car for n number of reasons. We stopped for lunch around 12:30 PM around 100 odd kms from Bangalore.

    Lunch break


    With our stomachs refilled we started again around 1:20 PM. Taurus (that’s what I have named my Punto) had his lunch just before the Bangalore Airport in an Indian Oil Pump. He prefers IOCL diesel only. He had other diesel only twice in his lifetime only because we couldn't locate an IOCL bunk.

    It was already beyond 3 PM when we crossed Bangalore and touched Mangalore highway.

    NH 48 was pretty good all the way till Hassan. It was much more scenic than NH7 but wasn't as wide. It being a long weekend both NH7 and NH48 had pretty heavy traffic. But it was easier to maintain good speeds on NH7 as it’s much wider all through till Bangalore. The same is not the case with NH 48. Google shows 6 hours for 320 odd kms. Some places the road is just a two lane road and the traffic was pretty heavy too with lots of folks from Bangalore going to Mangalore because of the long weekend. We saw a lot of them on bikes as well. We still drove at a decent pace and had our snacks at Hassan at around 7 PM.

    Traffic on Mangalore highway


    Good roads all the way to Mangalore


    Weekend traffic meant lower average speeds

    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 9, 2015, Original Post Date: Mar 9, 2015 ---
    Our guide through out ... Technology really has made life a lot easier


    NH48 lot more scenic .... Here is the proof


    The setting sun


    Finally the sun retired for the day


    Beautiful ... Isn't it ?


    NH48 reduced to 2 Lane - Last picture for the day

    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 9, 2015 ---
    By 7:30 PM we started from Hassan after our evening snacks. This is where the whole trip turned (mis)adventurous. Google maps acted weird, we lost GPS and instead of taking the Belur route we took the Sakleshpur route. As mentioned earlier this route should be avoided at all costs. The roads are horrible for around 40 kms. The Belur route is considerably better but still both routes should be avoided after dark in case one is with family unless one is a localite or loves adventure. Had I done the trip as a bachelor I would have loved it. But with my family by my side it was one of the most stressful 3 hours of life.

    The road still Sakleshpur was good and we crossed around 9:00 PM. After that the traffic became increasingly thinner. Stopped by and asked for direction at a tea shop and they also mentioned that I should have taken the Belur route instead. They said I should continue on the same route and roads are pretty bad for next 40 kms and ghat roads all the way till Kalasa where we had to stay put. We had booked in Suprabha Residency in Kalasa. It’s around 90 kms from Sakleshpur to Kalasa. We continued our journey and were into the tea estates and ghat roads. The roads were pretty bad and pot holed. The roads were pretty narrow and after driving for 2-3 kms we didn’t find even a single vehicle. We decided to go back to the junction where we had asked for directions and check if there is any alternate route. We started driving back and saw a Duster going towards Kalasa. We stopped again at the junction and asked if there is any better alternate route. We were told we were on the right road. We called up our hotel and asked about road conditions. The hotel guys told that the roads are bad for around 40 kms and after that the roads are little better. It may take around 2:30 hrs to cover the road. There would not be any issues as such but mobile connectivity will be erratic and in case of breakdown it will be very difficult to find a soul so late in the night. The confusion just increased and we were in a dilemma whether to go back to Sakleshpur and spend the night there. Start early in the morning for Kalasa or just drive to our destination without wasting any time further. I still have no idea why we chose the second option. We did discuss that staying back would mean we are losing a good 3-4 hours in the morning and the trip being a short one time on hand was important to cover as much as we could.

    We called up the hotel again and asked them to keep some dinner packed for us. It was 10:00 PM already and my daughter was getting cranky as it was close to her sleeping time. I asked my wife to move to the back seat to keep our kiddo engaged. Asked all to buckle up and over the next 90 minutes I would have had the most maniac drive ever. I maintained an average of 60 km/h on those ghat roads and we reached at 11:30 PM at our destination.

    Boy oh! Boy was I impressed by Fiats dynamics? Not many cars can keep up with a Fiat on ghats. I had read on numerous ownership and expert reviews. But this was the first hand experience for me. This has been the best 90 km drive for me in my ownership of 16 K kms till date and will remain so for a long time I guess. As an owner I was experiencing the strengths of my vehicle for the first time. The ride and handling is just supreme. No fatigue what so ever, my daughter didn’t show any signs of car sickness or fatigue after that grueling drive of 90 kms. Hats off to Fiats engineering that they have not compromised on its core strengths yet even with the high GC. The steering is one of the best up to a million bucks and will even beat some of the cars twice its price.

    Once we reached the reception and looked for the manager. His reaction made the day for me. He was completely surprised and looked at the watch 2-3 times. He said he was not expecting us before 12:30 AM. He enquired which vehicle I had. When I said I have a Punto he gave a smile. He told that either your car is a very good one or you are a brilliant driver. Felt good about the compliment and sad at the same time as Fiat is not doing enough to market its products and strength. I guess Fiat can concentrate on opening dealerships in such places which have hilly and twisty terrains. Stripped off versions of Punto and Linea will sell like hot cakes in such regions with a little bit of marketing and good service. The competition will be less in such places as only Maruti and Hyundai will have presence in such places.

    We quickly checked in and had our dinner. Food though vegetarian was very delicious. I am a non vegetarian and still had vegetarian dinner all the three nights we were there. Other than food everything else was below par. Rooms were just about okay. We had a non A/C room as there was no other alternative when we booked. There are various good options like Thaangali which provide guided tours like hiking and all. Everything else was booked and we had no other option. I would advise not to look at this option when one is with family. They had lot of options like A/C suite and all but I am pretty sure they would also be not that good. Travelling as group with friends this is a pretty economical option and the location is good. Otherwise this place can be avoided.

    We would have slept like logs that night. It was not much physical but the last 3 hours of mental stress had taken its toll.

    Second lesson learnt: Start early and drive at the best speeds one can manage.

    We lost quite some time early in the morning when I drove very sedately. We could have had saved at least an hour if I had driven at a higher speed.

    Third lesson learnt: Do not depend on technology always.

    Most of my planning was based on inputs from various forums. But after evening I completely depended on Google Map which was a wrong thing to do and didn’t refer my notes as till that point of time Google Map had guided us correctly. We didn’t even stop anywhere for direction till very late in the night. It’s always better to confirm on you road ahead with Local folks as they have the best knowledge about the area

    Fourth lesson learnt: It’s better to break the journey after its dark when in unknown territory.

    I had the most stressful 3 hours of my life during the last leg of our journey. I should ideally have had taken a break at Sakleshpur as it was pretty late. Besides the roads were too bad which I realized later when we were returning back. Thanks to fantastic suspension system and the general build quality of Fiats that we didn’t feel much. The same roads when I took while returning I drove pretty sedately as I could see the road ahead well due to daylight but drove like a maniac in the night. We would have seen quite a few snakes and foxes/jackals in the night. We thought them to dogs but later on came to know that they were foxes/jackals. We still thank our luck and gods that we made through the drive that night.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  7. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    Hi Mods,
    Can you please revive the thread and put it on Home Page in the Travelogue section?
  8. sdp1975

    sdp1975 Amatore

    That's the Iskcon temple close to Anantapur. I visited it recently while driving on the road, nice place to spend a couple of hours.
  9. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    @sdp1975 . Thanks for the info. This place is now added to my TO VISIT list.
  10. nibedk

    nibedk Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP

    Oct 3rd 2014 - Day 2

    We woke up at 7:00 AM the next morning and were feeling pretty fresh. We had tight sleep the night before. The plan was to start as early we can and cover up as much as possible. But I didn’t take fog into account. It was foggy all around and one couldn’t even see 50 meters ahead. We lazed around and had our morning tea. The view from balcony was pretty good which we came to know only after the sun shone through the fog. It was around 9:00 AM when the fog subsided. We changed our room as the bathroom was leaking. By 9:30 AM we were ready after having our breakfast. The plan was to cover the Kudremukh National Park, Hanuman Gundi Falls and Lakya Dam before evening and Annapoorneshwari Temple in Horanadu in the evening.

    October is the best time to travel this place. Just after monsoon and the greenery is at its best. Don’t believe me. The proof is here. There are lots of waterfalls small and big. One can see them in their full glory during this time.

    I will let the pictures do the talking.

    It was a pleasure driving through such beatiful roads

    Early morning rays piercing through the flora


    Hanging Bridge – There are quite a few. We saw one while going to Sringeri the next day.


    Taurus Posing – Isn’t he photogenic. Cute derriere ....


    Quite a poser . Huh!


    The scene or the car ... Which one is more beautiful ?


    Taurus and his master


    DOUBLEPOST=1426017520][/DOUBLEPOST]Say Cheese ...

    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 11, 2015, Original Post Date: Mar 11, 2015 ---
    The journey through the Kudremuk National Park was nothing short of mesmerising. It kept raining on and off through out the day making the drive and the greenery a lot more pleasurable


    All these roads led to .... heaven :). The experience was nothing short of mesmerising.


    This one is even better


    Surreal .....


    Irrespective of the time of the day or place where the phots were taken ... Each one was a beauty in its own sense


    There was just so much of greenery around ... that even HULK would have clamed down


    I would have taken more than 1000 pins on the trip. Finding 20 photos of the National park was so difficult. There is not even a single one which is an eye sore


    Fog , mist , rain and greenery


    Few pics of the Kudremuk mountain range


    One more


    My daughter was the most silent silent that day awestruck by the beauty all around her


    The beauty and the beast .... :wacky:

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015

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