This post could have gone well with a grander title like ‘Five States’. Spread over a month, I had my longest drive ever – of course with halts and breaks en route. We “did” Jaipur (Rajasthan) to Coorg (Karnataka) and back – a distance of more than 4800 Km. What added to the excitement was that we travelled in peak monsoon season, when the western coast of India decks up in the most verdant, resplendent shade of green one can ever find. Rain washes the landscape clean over and over again, while the fury of the sea looks real enough to make one believe it can actually overrun the land.
We drove in our Toyota Innova, its comfort, durability and volume simply unmatched in its class. I must say that driving fatigue is near-zero as well.
Jaipur – Beawar – Nathdwara – Udaipur (420 Km)
I did this in a little over half a day. I began to note the kilometer readings of my car right from Jaipur and continued it for the rest of the journey. The road beyond Beawar was not much to write home about. I later learnt that I would have been better off going via Chittorgarh. I marked it in mind for my return plan.
Udaipur – Vadodara (320 Km)
Vadodara – Mumbai (450 Km)
Mumbai – Kankavali (430 Km)
A routine, one day journey. But the increasingly inadequate Mumbai Goa NH7, with its exceptionally heavy traffic slowed us down right up to Mahad. The saving grace was the awesome Malvani meal at Hotel Abhishek, Chiplun (Note: I am talking about the old one inside the town and not the new one on Highway). After Kashedi Ghat, there was a distinct drop in traffic too.
At Kankavali, we had a four-day stay-in before moving onward.
Kankavali – Karwar (222 Km)
This was a short stretch. We started quite late in the day and reached early in the evening. We “caught up” with the advancing monsoon somewhere short of Goa. The landscape too turned unmistakably greener.
We halted at Madgaon for lunch – our only break in Goa. Karwar was our night-halt.
Relaxing on Karwar beach.
Karwar – Madikeri (403 Km)
This stretch turned out to be a little too long and laborious. We took a detour at Murudeshwara (Read about it here) though we were running late and had also to cover up for the short distance done yesterday. As a result, though we started early, we reached Madikeri well after dark. The road, for the most part was nice. But sections of it, totalling approx 70 Km, were bad. Crossing Mangalore city imposed quite a bit of delay.
Read about our Coorg sojourn here.
Madikeri – Goa – Kankavali
On way back, we halted in Goa for a night.
The swanky new building of South Goa Collectorate, Madgaon.
A python surprised us on the road at 10:30 pm at night in Goa.
At Kankavali we stayed for nearly ten days before moving on. During this time, an overnight stay at nearby Talashil beach worked out very nicely. Read about it here.
Kankavali – Kolhapur – Pune (342 Km)
This route was familiar to us like the back of one’s hand. We ascended the Bawda Ghat in raging monsoon rain, (stopping on the way to pay respects at the memorial of 26/11 martyr Vijay Salaskar, in his native village nestled in lower Sahyadris), crossed Kolhapur (with a longish break in the city limits) and cruised along the Bangalore – Pune section of GQ. We reached Pune late evening and called it a day.
Pune – Thane (143 Km)
We had a little bit of business to attend to in Thane. We had originally planned to finish it and move to Vadodara the same afternoon. But one thing led to another, and we ended up staying the night at Thane.
Thane – Vadodara – Udaipur (Route same as before)
The next day we started well in time and we made it to Vadodara quite quickly. From Thane onwards, right through to Udaipur (via Vadodara), we retraced our “steps” along exactly the same route.
We left Vadodara the next day after lunch, had a brief break at Shamlaji Temple and reached Udaipur at night.
Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Jaipur (420 Km)
We did a little bit of a sightseeing in Udaipur and departed by 1130h. The road was a dream. Distance-wise, this route was of the same length with the advantage of a mind-blowing four-lane asphalt. After Nasirabad, it merged with the road I had taken on my way out.
The total running of the Innova was over 4800 Km. Without a glitch, it must be said! I am already looking forward to another chance. Thank God India is so vast!