Sunday, February 18, 2007

Holy trip

Bangalore - Vikarabad - Mantralya - Bangalore

Road to Hampi

Hampi or Vijayanagara is 350 km north west of Bangalore. As usual we started early to get out of Bangalore before the mad traffic eats the roads. Not before eating the best idlis in Bangalore says V. So we stop at Veena Stores in Malleswaram and nibble the soft idlis and chow-chow bath and then head out on the road to Tumkur.

The first stretch is the routine snaking to get to Nelamangala. From here the Golden quadrilateral section starts. After paying the toll, the 4 lane divided highway allows you to zip. Yet people crossing with their cattle makes it a risky to speed. Tumkur in 40 min.
A by-pass is being built around the NE of Tumkur but it is a bit tricky to stick to it and u can miss the highway which we did. Painful to go through the city and get back to the highway. The highway section is broken around Tumkur and it slows you down

The road from Tunkur to Chitradurga via Sira and Hiriyur is much more Highway like with fencing on both sides. At some sections you can reach speeds of 160kmph for a few km. From almost 30 km out of Chitradurga you can see the windmills spotting the hills. As you get near it is a fantastic sight to see thousands of windmills turning clockwise.

Cross Chitradurga and turn right out on to NH13. This road is straight as as arrow and crosses teritory which is very sparsely populated. Its an undivided highway but with largely truck traffic.

The road is not the best in terms of quality and some patches pull the speed down to 50 kmph but in general it is 80kmph road. The major irritant is the fact that the villagers have taken traffic control into their own hands and put up bone rattling speed breakers at the entry and exit of villages. The main town on the way to Hospet is Kudalgi but you pretty much by-pass it. The road being commercial does not have many sophisticated places to eat. But some of the shanty dhabas have fantastic food.

As the road approches Hospet, there's a small hillock which needs to be crossed. The best part of this stretch is the great view of the Hospet Dam you get. The amount of water amazes any first time viewer. Hospet is a few km from this hill and the road is hustling bustling with traffic.

Hampi is 16 km east of Hospet. The road to Hampi is littered with structures from the past. There are many temples you pass by in the villages. As you turn left into the final 5 km - the structures are everywhere. Hampi and Vijayanagara are two diff towns - few km apart. Its a delight to drive around the Hampi area, every corner has history and the structures are massive and awe inspiring.

Hampi is on the banks of Tungabhadra. There are many places to visit across the river but the bridge across the river is not completed due to objections from the World Heritage. So to get across the 100 m of river, you need to drive 50 km ! Or .. u can rent a bike and put it on a boat and ride across the river ! The roads are in good shape and there is very little traffic. If the weather is good, its great to roll the windows down and let the fresh breeze in.

Took the same road back to Bangalore. Night driving on the divided Golden Quadrilateral is much better than the other highways but still the high beams from the opposite direction hit you. Wish the design took that into account. If it is raining heavily then the edges of the road get filled with water ! Cant drive fast.

Car – Mahindra Scorpio, DLX
Travel Date: Nov, 2006
Total Distance – 800Km, 2 Days