People have many obsessions. What I am passionate about? Well, there are few things, one is definitely travelling- travelling by road. Recently we had completed the solo driving 7 days road trip to Coorg. Would like to share the experience and details with you.
Route followed: Vadodara – Valsad – Nashik- Pune – Kolhapur – Hubli – Visthar (Bangalore) – Namdroling Monastery – Kushalnagar – Virajpet – Udupi – Maravanthe Beach – Kolhapur – Pune – Mumbai – Vadodara
Total Distance Covered- 3435.9 KMs in 7 days.
Car- Datsun Go Plus
General tips for long road trip in India:
- Get your car serviced if you are travelling > 400 KMs (round trip).
- Ensure to get car papers with you. Including RC, Car Insurance, Driving Licence and PUC. Now a days, RC and Driving licence can be carried in Digilocker or mParivahan app.
- Never completely trust on Google Maps, there are still some roads which are not available on it.
- Before the start of the trip, download all maps from Google Maps to avoid a situation where there is no internet. (Well without network is good at times 🙂 ).
- Avoid night driving as much as you can.
- Try to drive maximum for 15-16 hours a day and take halt on highway hotel, so that in the morning you can leave without wasting time in traffic.
- In case feeling drowsy, prefer Chocolate or Coffee instead of a soft drink. You can also open the glass of car to take some fresh air. A wife throwing splashes of water on your face, is also a good option. 🙂
- Ensure that on Google Map options “Avoid Tolls” is NOT checked. Don’t try to save on toll tax at the cost of your time and car condition.
We already had Fastag on our car (purchased from ICICI Bank) which was a real ease on toll gate for payments, except for places where the rules of dedicated Fastag lane are not followed rigidly. Hopefully, this should get in line post 1st December’19 as Road Transport and Highways Minister has announced that FASTags will become mandatory for all private and commercial vehicles.
First we visited Visthar (Bangalore) for a family function which was a treat in nature. The only problem we found is a lot of mosquitos. Be ready with mosquito repellent cream for kids and machines to stay away from these creatures.
The next day we headed towards Coorg (also known as Kodagu) from Visthar (Bangalore). In 1834, the East India Company annexed Kodagu into British India, after deposing Chikka Virarajendra of the Kodagu kingdom, as ‘Coorg’. British rule led to the introduction of scientific coffee cultivation. On the way, we stopped at Namdroling Monastery. Most of the road is single lane but beautiful. Monasteries have always been a top lister in our travel lists. This is the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Most of the parts of the monastery were restricted for the tourist.
Post spending beautiful time in the monastery, we headed towards Kushalnagar market (near Nisargdham park) on the bank of river Kaveri on NH275. Shopped some coffee, spices, home made wine and honey from a shop. But Khushalnagar is not the best to shop for the coorgi stuff. Its better to buy things from Dubare, as the place has Government recognised shops.
Now, we headed towards the place in Virajpet, Yedamakky Cottage. This is a coffee plantation estate (coffee and pepper plantation) where we had booked the room. It was dark when we reached there. Mr. Anand is the manger in the property who is very kind and soft spoken. The staff is good and cooks delicious food. Few suggestions for Yedamakky Cottage are:
- Take more care for rooms and bathroom to avoid insect and leeches creeping inside, especially in the bathrooms.
- Put more sign boards on the way to ease reaching the cottage.
- The quality of food is great but they can definitely increase the quantity of the food being served.
The next morning, we headed towards Dubare Elephant camp, but unfortunately we got late by 5 mins. This was 40KMs from Yedamakky Cottage. This is on the bank of river Kaveri where we need to go in a boat. The camp timings are from 9AM to 11AM and 4PM to 5.30PM. Entry fees is Rs. 50 per person including boat ride and elephant camp. Elephant ride is restricted now a days.
Post this, we headed towards Abbey Falls which is again 40KMs from Dubare Elephant Camp.The waterfall is located between private coffee plantations with stocky coffee bushes and spice estates with trees entwined with pepper vines. A hanging bridge constructed just opposite the falls is closed now. The falls was earlier called Jessi falls, named after a British officer’s wife.
Next we headed towards Tala Kaveri, which is 48KMs from Abbey Falls, again a long distance to travel on zigzag roads. Talakaveri or Talacauvery is the place that is generally considered to be the source of the river Kaveri. It is located on Brahmagiri hills near Bhagamandala in Coorg district. Talakaveri stands at a height of 1,276 m. above sea level. However, there is not a permanent visible flow from this place to the main rivercourse except during the Monsoon. This is a pilgrimage place, not a tourist place so photography/videography was restricted.
Now the day was ended so we returned back to Yedamakky Cottage which is 68KMs from Tatakaveri and had our delicious dinner (Mutton Masala).
Next day, it was time to say good bye to Coorg, we left early morning from Coorg and headed towards Maravanthe Beach via Mangalore.This beach is considered as one of Karnataka’s most beautiful beaches. It is about 115km from industrial hub Mangalore. NH-66 (erstwhile NH-17) runs next to the beach and the Suparnika River flows on the other side of the road, creating a spectacular scenery that is considered the only one of its kind in India.
Karnataka’s state highway are not in very good condition. Specially, try to avoid SH93. Our night halt was at Kolhapur on a highway hotel, Hotel Sait Tree Executive. A good hotel, the only thing to take care is hygiene of food, specifically from the insects.
The next day, we reached Vadodara via Pune – Mumbai Expressway.
This was a beautiful trip to remember. For visual insight of the trip, check our Instagram handle.