This time, I am on a road trip from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra…..a simple Indian road trip. Not focussing so much on the destinations as on the travel. We covered a distance of more than 2000 kms over 10 days, halting at interesting places along the way.
A map showing the route we took….
The Route Map
This blog will focus on the sights along the way…
Starting from Coimbatore early morning our target was 200 km to reach Mysore by noon. Drove to Annur where we had breakfast of idli, vada….traditional south Indian and topped it up with filter coffee.
From Annur we were headed to Sathyamangalam. On the way we passed a famous temple at Bannari
It was a cloudy day and the drive was pleasant. The road condition was good by and large. Crossed the town of Sathyamangalam and headed to the Dhimbam ghat road.
This drive took us through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve . Some pictures captured as we drove through the reserve..
The entrance to The Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
A video to give the feel of driving through the reserve.
Soon we found ourselves on the Dhimbam ghat road. This road has 27 hairpin bends …some of them almost V shaped with significant lorry traffic making it a little challenging for anyone.
The Dhimbam ghat begins…
The Dhimbam ghat road
The view of the plains below
The sharp turns
Soon the fog started setting in hampering visibility…
Fog setting in
Dhimbam was the highest point and from there we started the descent.
As we descended, the fog reduced and we were in for some sunshine…and of course the vegetation also changed. There were bamboo clusters all along. This area is a elephant habitat and the bamboos are probably the reason , as it is a favourite of the giants.
Warm sunshine again
Bamboo clusters…change in vegetation
Soon we were at the town of Hassanur where everyone was taking a break….
The break at Hassanur
Hot vadas sizzling in oil
Soon after that we crossed the border from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka.
We crossed over to Karnataka
From there we headed to Chamarajnagar…a small town on the way. The road was bad for a few kilometers here.
Then on to the temple town of Nanjangud , and on to Mysore
Nanjangud Temple gopuram
Reaching Mysore just past noon , we took our overnight halt here. Checked into the hotel, rested for sometime and took a nice walk around The Radisson Blu hotel . Had some nice filter coffee and bonda in a hotel nearby.
Saw the excited crowds at the zoo which we were not interested in , as we had visited earlier. Returned to the hotel, had dinner and rested for the night.
Left Mysore next morning and took the Mysore Madikere highway NH275 en route to the temple town of Udupi which was our next halting point…..300kms drive
Authentic Karnataka breakfast of Dosa at Mysore
Mysore Madikere highway
The Mysore Madikere highway had good road condition and some pictures taken on the way...
Fruit shops like this one dotted the highway as we left.
Besides, there were lot of new developing housing projects on the outskirts of Mysore.
As we moved away from the city, more fields were seen on either side…..
Fields on either sides of the highway
Road signs like this one provided guidence and direction as we proceeded.
Some of the towns we passed was Hunsur, Periapatna and KushalNagar.
Just as we reached KushalNagar, we crossed Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlement colony.
The Tibetan settlement colony at Bylakuppe
Tibetan monks in traditional attire is a common sight around KushalNagar.
A few kms away, we crossed Nisargadhama too. Nisargadhama is an eco park along one of the tributaries of the Cauvery river which offers various recreational facilities. It is one of the important to-do destinations from Coorg/Madikere.
Gradually the roadside scenery changed from fields to estates of coffee heralding our location to be Coorg. The climate was also getting little cooler and we had a slight drizzle. This added to the beauty though it hindered my photography.
A typical coffee plantation with pepper vines on the trees.
Another familiar site as one reaches coorg are the boards advertising typical Coorgi food .
Coorgi Pork recipe advertisements are typical here
Soon we were at Madikere ,where we bypassed the town. There is a proper bypass to this town and it helped a lot in saving time.
After that, there was a steady incline and the roads were more winding.
We passed several coffee and pepper plantations on the way. Coorg has plenty of spice plantations and the roads are dotted with spice shops.
The roads started getting more winding .
More coffee and pepper….
We did take a short coffee break among the coffee estates…
A short coffee break was welcome!
Another typical roadside sight are the spice shops like this.
After some beautiful scenic roads, the coffee estates were replaced by rubber estates heralding our descent to the plains….
Rubber estates on the way
We were entering south Karnataka and the main city there is Mangalore.
The first main town was Sullia where had a lunch break.
A typical south Indian Thali Meal
After lunch, we crossed Puttur and were heading to Bantwal when we had a stretch of real bad road for about 10 kms. That really slowed us down , but after that we took NH 73 which was again pretty good and reached Bantwal.
The Bantwal river was one of the first of the many rivers that we crossed on our way
After Bantwal, we joined NH 66 and headed to Mangalore but diverted off to Udupi from the outskirts of Mangalore . Again we did cross some bridges over rivers like this one near Mulki town
The Mulki river
Soon we were at Udupi the town known for its Sri Krishna Temple where we took a halt for the night.
We had visited the temple earlier and decided to stay at Malpe, a beautiful beach resort town near Udupi.
Malpe is a beautiful beach resort near the temple town of Udupi. One of the safest beaches in this area, it has various recreation activities. Some pictures from Malpe….
Beautiful Malpe beach
Resort at Malpe
Evening at Malpe
We also made a new friend here, a little lady who compared us to her grandparents ……
A new friend at Malpe
There is a lot more about Malpe which we can talk about in an episode dedicated to it. Here, Malpe is just one of our halts on the trip….
Next morning we departed from Malpe headed to Murdeshwar.
This was actually a break day after two long days of driving. So we did a short journey of around 100 kms only.
Continuing on our own “Route 66″…NH66
NH66…..our own “Route 66“
This route is dotted with bridges crossing beautiful rivers and backwaters ( difficult to distinguish) . Islands of mangroves can also be seen here in many places.
One of the many beautiful rivers on this route
There is a beautiful beach on this route at Maravanthe where the road is adjacent to the beach….some pictures from Maravanthe
Maravanthe….the beautiful beach
After this amazing beach comes the town of Kundapura from where one can visit the famous Kollur Mookambika temple.
Mangrove islands in the backwaters
Our destination for the day was the temple town of Murudeshwar where we halted .
Murudeshwar is a temple town with a huge temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is unique in many ways and more details will come up later.
Murudeshwar has a beautiful beach with lot of water sports activities too. More on Murudeshwar in an episode dedicated to it.
The arch at the entrance to Murudeshwar town
The beautiful beach at Murudeshwar with its water sport activities
Next morning after breakfast we were headed to Pernem in Goa, a distance of 300 odd kms for the day.
Joining NH 66 again we continued our journey northwards skirting the west coast.
One thing I noticed was the lurking danger of cattle crisscrossing the NH 66. I must mention this here as it is rampant. Cattle are left to fend for themselves on the road and they are a serious threat to the unwary driver. We did see a couple of cattle run over along the highway too. This trend continues into Goa and Maharashtra too. On city roads we do find cattle , but on a highway with speeding vehicles they really pose a danger.
Lurking cattle ….danger on NH 66
Some of the important towns we crossed were Honavar, Kumta and Gokarna. Also saw the roads to Sirsi and Jog Falls branching off the highway.
The River Gangavali was skirting the highway for some time too.
The River Gangavali skirting NH 66
Soon we crossed Ankola and Karwar and there was a clear change of landscape see. Muddy hill slopes dotted the highway. The highway was probably carved out from these slopes.
The muddy hill slopes from which NH was carved out
Soon we crossed the Karwar Naval Base, Karwar fishing village and Karwar Port
Karwar fishing village
Port of Karwar
Soon we were on a long bridge across the Kali River.
The Kali River
Soon after this we crossed the border to Goa.
One of the first signs that greeted us at Goa was this….
Welcome to Goa….
Crossed the Talpona river . Could see the muddy water clearly joining the blue sea.
The Talpona river…note the muddy water and the blue sea at a distance
Plenty of rice fields also dotted the highway…
The paddy fields of Goa
After entering Goa, for a considerable distance, it looked like an ordinary road and often with ghat sections. Soon we joined a 4 lane highway and then on to some amazing roads. A long flyover which crosses backwaters at places connects North and South Goa.
Was quite impressed with the infrastructure development in Goa. Crossed the Zuari River bridge. As we crossed it, we saw the new Bridge under construction….really impressive.
The new Zuari Bridge under construction
We also saw the Atal Sethu bridge which is a cable stayed bridge which is over 5 km long and is the third longest cable stayed bridge in India. It is built over the Mandovi river and one can see the River and the passenger terminal as one crosses the bridge.
Atal Sethu Bridge
The Mandovi River and Goa’s passenger terminal.
Proceeding further north we reached Pernem where we halted at Mandrem Beach which is one of the last beaches in North Goa.
At Mandrem, we halted at the Riva Beach resort. Some pictures..
A cute wooden bridge across a small backwater stream leading to the beach
The resort as seen from the beach…nestled among coconut trees
Some authentic Goan food was also on our radar
A typical Goan Thali with a big chunk of fish
After a day’s break at Riva Resort where we rested, we were headed further north towards Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri. Another 300 kms was our day’s target.
We continued on NH 66 for a considerable time and from Rajapur diverted towards Pawas.
Very less traffic once we left Goa and the highway was concreted probably keeping the high rainfall that these regions face in the monsoons.
The highway was dotted with huge mango orchards…
The road from Rajapur was bad and it took us some time to reach Kohinoor Samudra Beach resort at Kurli in Ratnagiri. This resort is just 5 km from Ratnagiri town.
It is a huge resort with excellent views of the sea . Located on a hillock, we can see Bhatye Beach Ratnagiri from here. It looks awesome…the arial view..
Some pictures from Kohinoor Samudra resort where we spent Diwali 2022.
The open sea as we reached Kurli.
View from hotel, the Ratnagiri light house point is seen in the backdrop
Bhatye beach from resort
Sunset point at the resort with cliffs protruding into the sea.
Diwali celebrations at the resort
The sun sets on Diwali 2022
After a two day halt at Ratnagiri, we started our return trip
Benaulim beach in South Goa was our next destination.
Since we were following the same route down to South Goa, on NH66, the views were the same…some pictures
A typical Goan scene
One of the many churches that dot Goan roads
I must mention here one more dangerous trend on these highways. The 6 and 4 lane highways suddenly become 2 lane roads specially close to towns, With no proper warning boards, this can be dangerous and one has to be careful.
One such example
Sudden narrowing of the highway...a real nightmare on the drive
Well apart from being careful ourselves, nothing much can be expected….
Leaving the unpleasant things away….let’s talk about Benaulim…one of the best Goan beaches I have seen.
Really great broad beach with clean whitish sand.
We stayed at Benaulim for two days and enjoyed the beach ambience and of course also saw the rare solar eclipse from here!
At Fairfield Marriott Benaulim
Beach shacks at Benaulim
A parasailer looks down at the sands of Goa
And I managed a shot of the solar eclipse at sunset
Next day, we were headed to Koteshwar, a town close to Udupi where there is a beautiful beach at Beejadi. An unspoilt beach ; far from human intervention, it was a sort of private beach for us.
We were put up at Gluklich Beach Cottages, a cute small beach resort with direct beach access. Some pictures..
Gluklich Beach Cottages
Some of the offered activities
As you walk to Beejadi Beach
The long coastline along Beejadi beach Koteshwar
A lone unfortunate star fish was washed ashore!
Nature had sketched on this beach!
And we tried our best to get the sun home!!
The last beach sunset on this trip….had to be beautiful…..see the pink of the sky on the sand below!!!
After a nostalgic goodbye to the beaches, we returned to the hotel for the night.
Next morning we left Koteshwar for Hassan, a distance of 230 kms which we thought would be easy , but it took us some time due to the ghat roads, bad roads at Chikmagalur and nearing Hassan.
Some of the main towns we crossed were Haladi , Belve, Agumbe, Balehonnur, Chikmagalur and Belur.
After Haladi and Belve we were in to some winding roads with thick forests on either side. Arecanut and Cashewnut orchards were another common sight here.
Soon we were on the ghat road to Agumbe. Agumbe is one of the places in this region which receives lot of rainfall. Close by to Agumbe near Sringeri is also the most number of Indian King Cobras sighted according to National Geographic. The forested ghat road had some challenging hairpin bends where vehicles often stopped to give way to others. Some pictures
Thick forests line the ghat roads
The spectacular views from sunset point Agumbe ghat
After we cleared the ghat road, we were at Agumbe town and following SH 27 and 65 we were into Chikmagalur district. Coffee , pepper and arecanut plantations dotted the roads. Surprisingly we did pass through a small tea estate too. Some pictures
Driving through a coffee estate
The roads were pathetic in Chikmagalur area to say the least! There were no roads at places….felt like we were on a Himalayan rally!!!!!
After an overnight halt at Hassan, we left next morning to Bangalore and reached our son’s home by noon. Staying there for a couple of days, we took a breather after nearly ten days on the road.
After a nice stay at Bangalore, we drove back to Coimbatore.
A successful road trip of more than 2000 kms; a memory to cherish!
This blog has been different from my usual ones…
HERE I WAS FOCUSSING ON THE JOURNEY RATHER THAN THE DESTINATION! As promised, details on the various beaches will be covered in separate episodes . And as per popular demand, food was also included !!!
Hope you all liked it…
Do keep your feedback and comments coming