We are driving down to Goa in our Jeep Compass and will be clocking a distance of over 600 kms in this road trip. It’s always tempting, easier and less exhausting to fly rather than drive down. The thrill of a road journey is often marred by the eventual tiredness on reaching the destination due to the heat, dust and the distance; but having the comfort of an SUV helped avoid the fatigue.
Started off from Bangalore at 6:00 am; took the NICE road (NH 48).
We reached Tumkur by 8:00 am; the place was still shrouded in mist. Our first stop was at Chitradurga, 134 km ahead.
The sun’s rays started melting the mist. The roads were good and in front of us was a sexy red Jeep. Our son exclaimed ” Acha, (Dad in Malayalam), I told you to choose the red colour !! ”
As we approached Chitradurga, windmills appear on the left.
It is now 9:00 am; hungry and we stop for breakfast at a local veg restaurant called Upadhya Veg. We had the masala dosa; my only grievance against the masala dosas in Karnataka is that the dosa is burnt most of the time (maybe in the effort of making them crispy), unlike the ones we get in Kerala. And the dosa is never complete without vada !! The food is average but our hunger is satiated.
While we stopped for breakfast, our pilot, the red Jeep sped away.
Here in Chitradurga lies a famed fort and we venture to explore the fort. We give ourselves two hours to spent at the Chitradurga fort.
R K Narayan, the much-loved author in his travelogue of Karnataka published as a book titled The Emerald Route says ” Before history comes the legendary background. Every place in Karnataka has an association with an episode or a character in the Ramayana or the Mahabharata. Wherever you turn, you will find a legendary touch”
And in Chitradurga the fascinating legend goes something like this as per Wikipedia….. “According to the epic Mahabharata, the man-eating Rakshasa named Hidimba and his sister Hidimbi lived on the hill. Hidimba was a source of terror to everyone around, while Hidimbi was a peace-loving rakshasa. When the Pandavas came with their mother Kunti in the course of their exile, Bhima had a duel with Hidimba, in which Hidimba was killed. Thereafter Bhima married Hidimbi and they had a son named Ghatotkacha who had magical powers. Legend has it that the boulders were part of the arsenal used during that duel. ” The boulders strewn along the rocky hills are gigantic and gives a touch of realism to the legend.
Chitradurga fort is an impressive edifice and well worth the visit. We had to literally sprint along in order to cover at least the significant structures in the two hours. A leisurely visit will require half a day. More pictures and details on the fort is in the post Chitradurga fort : Walls of magnificence
We left Chitradurga by 11:30 am; close to noon, it was very hot and it was a relief to bundle back into the air-conditioning. The walk will work up an appetite and a stop over at the Cafe Coffee Day outlet on the NH before the Apoorva Restaurant & Resort will be good idea.
Along the NH, we sped along the corn fields. The gold colour changed to a velvet green soon after. There is road work in progress along the highway, but did not dampen the speed. By 2:30 pm, we reached Dharwad.
From Dharwad, we take the SH 56; a picturesque two lane road flanked by amazing greenery.
We reach Khanapur on the Belgavi (erstwhile Belgaum) Goa road. We start seeing shop boards written in Hindi and soon we see imposing Shivaji statues. Shivaji was the founder of the erstwhile Maratha empire.
Next place is Jamboti and we see vehicles with Goa registration.
We pass Sural and we move to the Chorla ghats. The Sural falls is a tourist attraction on this route, but will require a small deviation from the highway and hence we skipped it. The drive through the Chorla ghats is an enchanting experience. We stopped to take a look at the valley below, but couldn’t see anything, was covered in mist.
In-between, we stopped at the view-point for the Anjunem dam.
4:30 pm by now, you need to take permission to visit the dam and visitors are not allowed in after 5:00 pm.
We enter the state of Goa by 5:00 pm and head to our hotel. Goa is humid, wet, green and beautiful !!