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A great trip to Palace City of India- Mysore and UNESCO World Heritage Site- Hampi| Road Trip| 1300 Kms| 2 Days

It was after a long gap we 5 (Me, Rahul, Ribin, Jerry and again decided to go for a tour, as always with our Black Beauty, d'Zire. It took nearly 1 or 2 weeks to decide where to go and when to go. Being we all are now in different places, it was really a tough task to find out a better time. This time the ball was not in my court, I just told my friends, you people decide and let me know, Escaped...! Atlast it was decided to go to Mysore, The Palace City of India. The actual plan was to reach Mysore on night itself, cover Chamundi Hills, stay there, cover palace and other areas on next day and reach Kozhikode on the very next day night itself. This was accepted by everybody especially me, because I was having some leave problem. So 15 th February 2014, the day was selected.

Kozhikode was picked up as the gathering point, being it will be easy for all to reach in the morning. In this 5 member team, I was the only person who need to travel more than 13 hrs to reach the staring point. So my trip already started on 14 th evening itself. Being it was a sudden decision, getting a sleeper berth in train, Chennai Mangalore Mail, was very difficult. Somehow I got a space to stand in the general compartment. And after nearly 9 hrs journey in night, I got a seat to sit from Coimbatore. So a sleepless night. 

Reached Kozhikkode in the morning itself. I was picked up by Rahul from railway station and on the way Thomas was also joined with us from Bus station. We rushed to Rahul's room for getting a bath. Within a 2 hr time we 3 were ready for the trip. With all accessories like camera, waterbotles and some snacks, we gave spark to the engine. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this time I was not on the steering wheel. Rahul took the control, because he is very familiar with the road conditions there and we need to pick up 2 more on the way.

Within half an hour time we picked up Ribin and Jerry and now the column completed. Really going to rock the trip, with the 5 member gang again...!

Thamarassery Churam, Ghat Road, we were on it...! Rahul was really fast on this route and experienced. He was very fast in covering the other vehicles in front and we rushed to Wayanadu very fast. As always, drive through Thamarassery ghat is really an exciting one. All the way one can see deep valley on one side of the road covered with nothing other than greenery and heavy rocks on the otherside. The curvy road, many of the time we cannot judge the curves, so be careful, with lots of hairpin bends makes it exciting. Try to take short breaks to enjoy the beauty of valley, there are many viewpoints. This time we didn't take breaks being we all experienced the beauty already in our previous trips and our main aim is to reach mysore before 5 pm.

I was really hungry  because I couldn't eat anything after 4 o'clock yesterday. Now it is 12 PM...! So we decided to take lunch and we found one good hotel before entering to Muthanga Wild Life sanctuary area. After having a heavy lunch, the steering came to me...! Now onwards forest area starts, and rahul need to take photographs. Muthanga is really a calm forest area, I felt like that. We won't get any thick forest feeling while driving through this area. I always felt it will be a great drive for the new couples, because while entering into the forest road, you will feel the calmness of the nature with cool wind always breezes with different forest scents. Surely that can light up the feel of love in one's heart.

When it reaches Bandipur Forest Area, the scene changes. The caution boards saying don't stay more than 5 minutes, don't stop your car, speed breakers and sign boards that shows the expected wildlife in that perticular area makes the forest a little bit scary one. Whatever, the journey through the thick forest with a limited speed will offer you a great time. Most of the time you may not be that much lucky to see any wildlife on the way, but just the sky touching trees.

Tips while driving through a forest:
# Don't stop unnecessarily 
# Keep a constant low speed, not more than 30 kmph
# Don't throw any material inside the forest, because wildlife may not be familiar with all those
# Don't honk
# Keep your window glasses down, switch off the ac, enjoy nature
# Always expect a wildlife on the road, don't hit them, be careful, don't be in rush
# Follow the sign boards 
# Avoid alcohol
# Avoid Cigerette Smoking enroute, keep in mind a small spark is more than enough to go to a big zero

Now, covering highways, local roads, cities and enjoying some short breaks taking snaps and fruit juices we reached Mysore at 3.30 pm. Chamundi Hills was the planned one to visit today, but some how the plan changed and we went for Mysore Palace first, because we want to enjoy the Chamundi Hills scenery and view of Mysore town from the Hills in night. That was a foolish decision took by me. Because, after coming out of the palace only, we came to know that the entry to the Chamundi Hills will be closed after 6.30 PM daily.

 We entered into the palace, took tickets for us, cameras and for our chappals. The old architectural beauty attracts everybody. This was made by Wodeyars, Mysore Rajavamsha, and inside the palace they still keeps a museum in which one can see the ornaments and clothes used by the kings. The well maintained garden outside and the ancient structures gave a beautiful picturesque. 

Taking a parking lot was very difficult here, you have to wait for sometime. Then talking with some locals we came to know that, Chamundi Hills won't be a good option. But if you wait upto 7.30 PM outside Mysore Palace, Near to the second gate (Palace main gate will be closed after 6 PM) one can see the Palace with whole lights switched ON. It is one of the greatest view that one will get to see in Mysore. So we were also eager to see the same. But now we need to wait 2 more hours for that. At that time only, one person told us about another palace in Mysore, Lalitha Mahal.

Lalitha Mahal, is also an ancient palace actually made by the King of Mysore, for the stay of Indian Viceroy. But now government changed it into a Five Star Hotel with all the facilities, but without altering the Palace Beauty. It is a very calm area, and each and every corner of the palace is still preciously kept. The entry fees was 100 rs per head and one can have any drink for 100 rs from inside for the same ticket. That was a good offer...! We took the tickets from the gate itself. Visitors are permitted in the ground floor of the palace only, where the reception, beverages and hotel is situated. Still one can see the old wooden lift that was used at the old times and garden and many other ancient things there. It was also one time worth to see. Now it was our turn to select our drink worth 100 rs. After seeing the menu card, it was very difficult for us to select one, because very less option. At last we ordered coffee for an extra 5 rupee per head.

Now it was time for us to go back to Mysore palace to see it in it's all beauty. And we took good places to get a nice whole view and Rahul fixed his camera in a good position to capture a whole view. Many people were there to cover the exclusive beauty which lasts for only 5 minutes. We waited, and the show started, starts from different colors in different areas telling the story of the Palace and at the end the full colored Palace in front of your eyes. The whole area lightened with camera flashes and clicks. Even I couldn't control myself and I also took some snaps with my mobile, and this time my mobile didn't do well. result no snap for to put here...!

Time was 7.45 PM, and we need to decide where to go and where to stay. Now the horrible things started, we were staying out of the car talking to each other regarding the plan, suddenly one  auto rickshaw came and the driver asked us whether we need room. We told "No", but the reply was unexpected, he asked us, whether we need girls, any language, any degree, medicine, local students everything available. We were shocked and we replied, "No we are leaving, not going to stay", again the reply from him was, "anyway you people came here, then why are you going back now itself, just enjoy this night, just tell what type of girls you need...!". We told him bye and started the car, still don't know where to go, but we have to escape from that area. We just drove the car and we stopped at one signal. I forgot to close my window while driving and at the signal, one guy came with bike and asked us the same question, and I replied "No" and I started raising my window, at that time he threw one business card and told, "In any case if you want any, just call me, that is my card", we were thinking, is that an approved or licensed business in Mysore...? So be careful.

We need some time to decide where to go or what to do. So we decided to have our dinner and we selected one hotel, a Kerala Hotel and parked our vehicle. When others except me and Rahul, went inside, Rahul told me about going to another place nearly 300 Kms away from Mysore. He told me, it is a chance, this time if you didn't go there, sometime we never go or see that place. Because going there from Kerala means nearly 600 Kms plain drive. So we need to decide. We two cannot take any decision, because we were five. We went to join for the dinner and while having the food Rahul again told about the new plan. It took some time to get an approval and was decided to go there. And the place selected was, one of the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, Hampi...!

See the Map Below: Go to Maps

We don't have any idea about the route, being this was a sudden decision, and none of us researched anything about the Routes towards Hampi before. Local people don't know much about Hampi too. So we decide to believe on Google Map and started our trip in the night itself. Google Maps always suggest the shortest route to the destination and with the steering wheel in my hand and Rahul as co-driver cum guide we started cruising in all the sense. But where we did mistake was, we didn't take enough time in selecting a route, but it was impossible, being we are not at all familiar with any of the places enroute. After driving for nearly 60 Kms we came to know that we were alone. Only Heavy Vehicles were there on the route (Lorries Only). We couldn't see any other vehicles other than lorries on the route. Even no shops too. Bare lands both sides, no signs of hotels or shops that too in the night. It was very difficult for the person who is driving for such along route without taking stops. At last after covering nearly 150 or 200 Kms we found out one HP Fuel Pump, but nobody was there, still we stopped and took some rest and again started.

Before that stop, my co-driver was changed from driving mode to sleeping mode and I have to change him and Ribin came for my help. It was a necessary thing, because Rahul need to drive the vehicle next day, because this is my second night without sleep and was driving from the starting of our trip, already covered more than 500 Kms. Simply sitting in the co-driver position is also a difficult task, that too in the midnight, and somehow Ribin helped me a lot by talking to me and engaging me without sleeping. Still we missed one turning in the night, because some road work was happening and the road was closed.

But we missed the sign board to take a right turn in the night and drove nearly 6 kms and we saw the road was closed. Without worries we came back and  we were expecting a town, according to Google map, going to come. We need to take a right turn as per the map and 1 Km drive, yes that is Hiriyur, and was the first name of a town we came across. Upto that we were blindly driving, because we didn't see any sign boards other than Hiriyur and ChitraDurga. There we saw some humans and a Bus Depo. But no places for staying, may be we missed.

So decided to drive again, and Rahul woke up and started searching and he got another town where we were heading towards and is Hospet (Hosepete). Thanks to him, he suddenly search for some hotels and found out one in the middle of the city itself. Now when the clocked 5 AM in the morning, Rahul came forward to take the control of wheel and I switched to Co-Driver post. Within half an hour time Rahul and Google Map guide us to the Hospet City and to the hotel. While Rahul was parking the vehicle, Me and Jerry went to enquire about the room and we 5 got a double room without much problem there. The hotel was "Hotel Rainbow Residency".

I got 2 hour to sleep and that 2 hour I was in such a deep sleep. Somebody called me and it is 8 o'clock, we need to start. After the breakfast at 9 AM we started the new morning. we collected some information regarding the routes from local peoples and now it was easy for us to drive. Rahul was on the control and I was the guide. While entering into the heritage city I took the control of the wheel and Rahul started taking the memories with his Camera. The first thing we noticed was, the "area covered with Rocks and Rocks only". And all the temples and all other things what you see was with rocks, and one will be amazed on watching the works made on the rocks. Great to see. We got one map regarding the places to see inside the Heritage city, Hampi. But one day was not enough for us to cover all those places. I will be adding the city map for reference.

But still we covered a lot of places, Virupaksha Temple, Narasimha Temple, 2 Storied Gateway, Underground Shiva Temple, Krishna Temple, Mohammaden watch tower, King's Audience Hall, Queens bath, Elephant stables, Stone Chariot, Lotus Mahal and many more. One have to see this place atleast once in his/her life time. I don't think I need to explain more about these places and the beauty, being it is very much clear in the name of the city itself, "World Heritage Center-Hampi".

Now upto Hampi we covered nearly 650 Kms and it is time for us to go back. While going back we were not ready to select the same old route. This time we took time and decided to go via Bellari. Amazing Highway, most of the time I was driving above 100 KmpH and I touched a maximum of 130 KmpH on that route. After having lunch it was Rahuls turn to drive the car and he constantly touched 120 KmpH. With both sides full of eye catching sceneries we were really enjoying the ride. This time also less sign boards made us little bit worried and Google map again helped us. We didn't think about anything, just entered the destination as Madikeri (Viraj Pettai). But this time also, Google selected many State Highways, and that caused us lots of problems. Most of the roads were in bad conditions means, roads were under construction, and for covering 12 Kms we took nearly 2 hours (area near to Viraj Pettai) means one can understand the road condition very well. Now our reserve driver, Jerry,  took the control and I went to the back seat for the first time in the trip and was assisting him with the help of Google map. Actually we don't want to go to Madikkeri, after Gonikkoppal, we can directly enter in to the Makkoottam ghats but after entering into the state highway we couldn't spot out any Fuel stations. It was midnight too. So we directly went to Madikkeri, from there only we got one fuel station with a board 24x7. It was morning 4 o'clock and now it is time to go home.Tthat finishing touch again was on my hand, because there was no other confusion on route from now onwards, very familiar route for me. Everybody started sleeping, while Ribin was giving company to me. And we reached my home at 6.30 AM and here the great adventurous trip ends. All the way the black Beauty helped us a lot, whatever the road condition, whenever we touched the accelerator she told, "come on guys- Let's go"...!

The route map we selected for our return journey was: go to maps 

Note: The photos shown above are took by the writer and all rights are reserved to the XploreSouth Web only. Usage and reproduction of the photos are restricted to those who took prior permission.

Thanks to www.hampi.in, I am attaching 1 map for the readers.  The map is downloaded from www.hampi.in website

1 comment :

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