Table of contents for Delhi - Goa - Delhi Road Trip
Day 7 : Goa – Pune
Cavelossim – Margaon – Ponda – Londa – Khanapur – Belgaum – Kolhapur – Satara – Pune
We started back on Day 7 i.e. 15th of August. We were heading for Pune according to our plan and took a different route for the way back. We planned to take NH-4 for Pune and for that we had to reach Belgaum in Karnataka first which was around 120 Kms from Goa. The day before we’d asked some locals about the best route from Goa to Belgaum and followed the same from Margaon. Another way was to go via Panaji and then take the road towards Belgaum. We took the the route from Margaon as it was shorter from South Goa.
Goa – Morning of Independence Day
The total distance of today’s drive was around 450 Kms and after two days of stay and rest we were again charged for the day. We started little late around 7:30 am from our resort and after crossing Margaon took the road towards a place called Ponda. Streets and Buildings were decorated because of Independence day but we did not face any city traffic and were quickly able to cross Margaon.
Road towards Belgaum
Feel the green with speed
The road from Margaon to Ponda was again like NH-17 and in the morning it was a very beautiful sight. There were lush green forests as far as we could see. At somepoints, we literrally went through the clouds. Next milestones were Londa and then Khanapur in Karnataka. Most of the route from Ponda to Londa was through Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. The route from Londa to Khanapur is also part of Dandeli wildlife sanctuary, so this journey was full of greenery.
Road was very bad at some stretches (because of rains) and sometimes we were also surrounded by number of trucks as well. As this route is also through the Western Ghats one has to be little careful on hilly roads specially while overtaking because hilly roads are not wide enough and always turning.
Just before Belgaum
It took us around 4.5 hours to reach Belgaum which included few breaks for leaks. Time taken in crossing the bad stretches of road was relatively more because of our earlier experience and we avoided any chance of hitting the bottom of our car.
Took first break at Belgaum on NH-4
We reached Belgaum around noon. We were now on NH-4 which was a 4-lane express way where you can clearly see few kilometers ahead and speed accordingly. After sometime, we took a tea break and spent little more time in taking pictures, checking air pressure of tyres and also streched and walked a bit.
Checking air pressure
The journey was resumed around 1 pm and at that time we were around 320 kms away from Pune. Road condition was awesome and we utilized the opportunity completely by maintaining good speed. Beautiful surroundings added to the thrill.
National Highway Number – 4 (heading towards Pune)
Just Before Pune
We left Kolhapur and Satara behind while driving on NH-4 and reached Pune around 5:30 pm. We took around 4.5 hours to cover 320 Kms which included a lunch break. We checked-in before dark in our hotel which was in Deccan area of Pune. We spent most of the evening in nearby market area and tasted Maharastrian Thali for dinner.
Day 7 was well spent and we went to sleep little early as we had to leave for Vadodara early next morning.
Day 8 : Pune – Vadodara
Pune – Mumbai – Vadodara
In this part I am going to cover only Pune-Mumbai because rest of the route was the same as we took while starting the journey and has been covered in the intial posts. We started early from Pune as we had to reach Vadodara by evening and it was around 550 Kms and as usual we wanted to reach there before dark.
We had already done some research and also asked few people there about how to quickly get out of Pune in the morning. We had to go towards Hinjewadi and then take Mumbai -Pune expressway for Mumbai.
When we entered the expressway, it was raining mildly. The expressway seemed like a runway in the middle of hills where driving cars is allowed :-). The expressway is six lane with maximum speed of driving 100Km/hr for cars but most of cars including mine were doing more than that without even realizing it because of its surface quality. You can read the link above for more details about the Mumbai – Pune Expressway.
Approaching a tunnel
Inside Bhatan tunnel – Longest in this route
We covered 93 kms of express way in around 1 hour and took the exit for Panvel at the end. From Panvel we continued towards Thane, followed NH-4 till Thane and then asked for NH-8. Road was in quite bad condition again due to rains and it took us more than 2 hours to reach NH-8. Due to the past experience we were mentally prepraded for the same.
We were back on NH-8 and headed towards Vadodara. We managed to reach Vadodara just before the final ray of sun vanished and then spent the whole next day there. We left Vadodara for Jaipur on Day 10 and on Day 11 came back from Jaipur to Delhi. Few Pictures on return journey:
At chittaurgarh – BP dhaba
Hawa Mahal – Jaipur
Amber Palace (Jaipur) – Last day of our journey
Few points for concluding the complete journey:
1. The round trip was around 4500 Kms (my longest road trip!)
2. Spent around 2000 INR in toll taxes.
3. Esteem survived some how but it is not a good idea to take low clearance vehicle for such a long trip especially in rainy season
4. Mumbai to Goa (NH-17) and Mumbai Pune expressway (NH-4) — A Must drive!!!
5. Long trips like this should have more than 2 people (More people = More support in difficult times).
6. Our trip was little hectic experience, one should ideally have 3-4 days extra and spend sometime at the halts.
7. Manual Air pump and puncture kit (for tubeless tyres) is must for longer trips like this. They come in handy in city as well :)
8. Despite all the harassment to Esteem, it gave an average of 17 kms/ltr. Fuel costed us around Rs 12K for the entire trip.
9. States Crossed – Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
10. The longest journey in a day was Vadodara to Jaipur which was around 800Kms (12 hr journey, 6am to 6pm).