Photos + Stats + GPS track

I’ve uploaded a selected set of 206 pictures. You can see them here. Click here to view a slideshow.

Some stats of the trip:

Duration : 21 days
Distance : 2373 kilometers
Maximum Speed : 55.5 km/hr on the slopes of Simhagad
Average Moving Speed : 15.2 km/hr
Maximum Distance covered in a day : 226 km, on Day 20, from Dhule to Kadodra (near Surat)
Minimum Distance covered in a day: 64 km, on Day 3, from Margoa to Panaji
Average Distance covered per day : 112 km

So did I actually reach Admadabad on the cycle ? Not completely on cycle. I had two and a half days left after seeing the Ajanta caves. And 600+ kilometers to be covered. I tried - but not with success. Note that I did 226 kms in a desperate attempt on Day 20! That is the highest distance I have ever travelled on a single day. In spite of that effort, I had 260 kms to cover on the final day. Honestly, cycling without sight seeing is no fun. So, I ended up hitchiking around 170 kms to reach Ahmadabad. This still rankles me sometimes…

I had carried a GPS receiver along. Move the mouse over the red dots to get a feel. Here is how the trip went from Mangalore to Ahmadabad:

And here is the altitude profile. Move the mouse over the red dots to get a feel. Mahabaleshwar was the highest point. The trip distance includes hitchhiking, so don’t get confused at the end of the graph :-)

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I’m back home

I reached home on the 9th morning itself. Been busy with a lot of cleanup work, orienting myself to office duties.

Check this page on Monday (16th Jan). By then, I would have finished uploading and labelling the images. The GPS trail will also be online. A long writeup on the entire trip as well. Stats crazy people - I will have all the answers for your queries :-)

Thanks for your patience.

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Progress Till Day 14

Please accept my apologies for the lack of posts till now. During this trip, I have been ending in places where either there is no internet connectivity, or it so happens that the cafe is closing. I hate to say this, but now I have enough experience to say that you shouldn’t expect many posts till I am back in Bangalore on the 9th Jan. Do check sometimes, though ;-)

That said, I’ve had a whale of a time till now. Since my last post from Hubli, I’ve seen the temples of Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal. The Gokak Falls was also good, though not at full glory. I’ve climbed the hill station of Mahabaleshwar (1440 meters above sea level). I’ve scaled Simhagad (does Tanaji + gadh aaya, par simha gaya strike a chord somewhere?) an ardrous climb. I reached Pune yesterday. Today I saw the caves at Bedsa and Karla which date back to 4 AD…

I reached Lonavla today, having covered around 1480 kms in 14 days. Seven more days remain in the trip and some tought decisions are in order. First off, I’ve realised that if I goto Mumbai, I won’t be able to cover Ellora and Ajanta and still reach Ahmedabad without straining myself to the limit.

For tomorrow, I will visit Khandala (aati kya, Khandala?) and then go back to Pune. From there I will goto Aurangabad over Ahmadnagar. My other tourist spots would be: Daulatabad Fort, Ellora and Ajanta. I might have to drop Lonar. There is Chandbibi’s fort near Ahmadnagar, I remember.

Regarding troubles, both my front and back tyres had got punctured. Both punctures happened near cycle shops :-) I also had some loose motion troubles :-( But everything is fine now, except for a sore throat. I must have lost quite a bit of weight too. I will conservatively put the loss at 5 kgs - two people at Simhagad said that I look like a fauji. Now, who would have said that when I was in Bangalore? I am fit and fine - there is no pain. My legs are a bit tired, though.

I’ve received and made quite a few phone calls. Thank you, everybody, for your encouragment. It’s much appreciated.

And, just in case I can’t post anything tomorrow, advance wishes!

Have a Happy and Happening Year 2006 !

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Progress till Day 6

I am in Hubli as I post this. I reached here yesterday.

On the way from Panaji, I’ve seen the Dudhsagar falls. I’ve also ascended the Anmoda ghat. It’s taken me two days to come to Hubli.

Thankfully, there is an internet connection at my Uncle’s place (where I am put up). I’ve taken the opportunity to add the ride story for Day 2.

Don’t forget to see the pictures here.

From here, I intend to go on and cover Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal, etc and then return towards Mahabaleshwar via Gokak. Expect updates in a few days.

And, before I forget : Happy Christmas to you. May you get the best cakes that your christian friends can buy :-) .

And happy holidays to my colleagues and other “shutdown” happy people :-)


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Day 2: Karki to Margoa

I am woken up at 5:30 AM by JKB’s father. He is hinting all that time that I stay back for the day at their house. Of course, I can’t.

I take a quick bath because it is difficult to stay long in the bathroom. For those not accustomed to bathrooms in the Malnad region, let me explain. The bathrooms over there have large copper vessels in which they heat water. The unburnt timber fills the bathroom with smoke, which chokes the bather and literally drives him/her to tears!

Auntie has already prepared dosas for me. Holigae (obbattu) is also ready. I savour two and eat as many as five dosas :-) I will need the energy…

After thanking, I take leave of JKB’s parents. It is already 6:40. The late sunrise means that my day is that much shorter.

I have about 190 kms more to go to reach Panajim, the capital of Goa state. The air is chill. I am trying to pedal at a good speed. On my left is the railway track, on the right are pools of water and straight ahead is the nice straight road. Oh, joy! The scenary is especially nice near the Aghanashini river. Several kids nearby try to sell me flowers and I end up consoling them with snaps.

Nearing Gokarna, the road is starting to become hilly. I bypass Gokarna because I had already visited the place before. After Gokarna, the scenary is breathtaking. There is a long bridge, a river flowing underneath, lots of trees. It’s the colour scheme of the whole place which is amazing.

I see some two cyclists coming downhill, helmet and all. I say hi, but they are in no mood to stop. Golden opportunity missed :-(

Continuing, I hope to stop at Ankola for a quick bite. To my dismay, it turns out to be not on the highway. This is one bane of NH17 - you don’t get anything easily here. Just after Ankola cross, I see a board “Kamat Upchar - 2 kms”. You can imagine my state. Meanwhile, a couple of kids are running behind me, calling me a foreigner. I take off my helmet and reveal my true colours. They seem a bit disappointed. I chat with them for a while, show them the GPS, the route I took, etc.

In a few minutes, I reach the Kamat hotel and promptly order idly vada. An extra plate of idly is quickly washed away with orange juice. Time to move on.

The road hasn’t eased out. My “breakfast” hasn’t fired me up. My pace has been slow till now and is showing no signs of improving. Panaji is still atleast 130 kms away.

Before Karwar, I reach Project Sea Bird, the naval base. I attach many memories to this place. Harsha, Priya, Esha - remember the beach trek ? I saw the place where we got down from the lorry, the place where we haggled with the security guards of project seabird, the starting point of the trek, the lone island…

The view of the naval base from the hilltops is particularly good. Unfortunately, photography is disallowed. I meet two naval cadets and ask them whether they have seen Google Earth. Both shake their heads. I can’t help wondering about the archiac rules of the establishment.

Slowly and surely, my cycle reaches Karwar. A glass of pure orange juice partly cools my parched lips. It is lunch time at Vivekanandanagar, a short distance from Karwar. The fare at the Udupi hotel is average at best. The ambience is destroyed by the noisy crows and the kid chasing them around. After lunch, I have dozed off in my chair.

I get up after about 15 minutes of slumber and start off again. There is a pain in my right leg post lunch. Now I realise why I dozed off. It must have been the fatigue.

I reach Polem, the Karnataka Goa border at around 4:00 PM. I can’t help but notice the strong linguistic demarcation along the Karnataka Goa border. None of the three policemen manning the Goa side of the border know any kannada at all. Initially, I am tempted to think that Goans are linguistic zealots. In a few kilometers, I reach a hotel where not a soul knows kannada. It is clear that very few of kannada speaking people exist on the Goan side. Good job of partitioning, I am tempted to say. That ought to be the reason why we don’t have a Karnataka Goa border dispute :-)

Goa is a tippler’s paradise. Infact, the first shop that I see in Goa is a “Bar and Rest”. Vijay Mallya seems good at keeping the booze flowing in Goa.

I stop for a water break and watch some cricket. India are 206/6 and at the crease is Irfan Pathan. He is not an allrounder, let me remind you ;-) . The hilliness of the road has only increased in Goa and that spells woe for me. My next stop is Kankone, about 25 kms away. Kankone is a taluk headquater. In case you didn’t know, Goa has no districts, only taluks. I’ve been observing a lot of motorcyclists on the road. I presume they are all heading back to Panjim.

The Goans seem to take their sundays very seriously. Lots of shops seem to be closed. Quite possible that they open in the evening. I go inside a hotel and there is hardly anything to eat except _one_ puff.

After Kankone, the going is tough. It is dusk by the time I reach Kankone. The locals tell me that a ghat starts just after Kankone. It is here that I decide that there is no way that I can reach Panajim today. Panaji is 70 kms from here and would need 6 hours atleast. I don’t want to cycle till tomorrow! A safe bet is Margoa, around 40 kms away. At the base of the Karmal ghat is a hotel. I buy a litre water bottle as an insurance, just in case I don’t get anything else later on. It is a struggle to get uphill, with pain spreading to my left leg as well. You can guess how glad I would have been when I reached the summit. There was more reason to cheer - a gaadi hotel. The gaadi walla tells me that omlet sambar is his speciality. I jokingly enquire whether the sambar has fish (more of a joke about the goan liking for fish). With a smiling face, he replies that it is chicken. When the item really comes, it has all the looks of a non-veg dish. Turns out that is actually has chicken! I finally eat a double omlet, few bananas and two teas. For some strange reason, bananas are costly in Goa and the coastal belt of Uttara Kannada as well. Small bananas here cost anywhere between Rs 1.50 to Rs 2.00, with the seller pocketing a margin of 50 paise on each.

My hunger temporarily satisfied, I turn my attention to the pending task of cycling downhill. This is the fun part. However, given the night conditions, the descent is a technically challenging ride requiring a fair amount of concentration. Unknown to the common motorist, harmless looking cycles can be moving at rates of 40 km/ht or more. As I see it, the problems with riding a cycle downhill at high speed are : a. Incoming lights blind you ( 4 wheelers blind less when compared to 2 wheelers). b. The brakes of my cycle aren’t designed for high speeds. So here is what happened. I was happily coasting downhill and a car overtook me. Nothing unusual. A second later, a jeep coming in the opposite direction thought it fit to overtake. The car braked. I jammed the brakes for life. The car didn’t come to a complete halt and that saved me…

At the end of the slope, I am still 20 kms away from Margoa. I am guaranteed to reach, so I start taking all sort of breaks. I also stop once and try my hand at some night photography. It is 11:00 PM when I reach Margoa. The Udupi hotel on the main road is closing down. I goto the railway station road and settle at hotel Raviraja. 400 rupees a day for a crappy room! Checkout time 12 noon. This is the “season”.

So tired am I that I have dropped asleep on my bed without even dinner.

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News at End of Day 4

I had a great day today at HiPC. It was also my birthday. Many of my friends called me up to wish me and it felt nice. Thanks!

I have managed to post only the story of my first day. These Sify “broadband” internet centers are a major pain, I’ll tell you. Not only do they deny all sorts of facilities to their customers in the name of security, they then remove the broad in the broadband as well ! I’ve struggled for two hours already, trying to get my GPS data, pictures, etc - but all I managed was nought :-( I hope the situation will be better in Hubli so that I can post the stories for the other days stories.

Looking at the brighter side of things, I’ve had a good days rest today. I regret that I couldn’t do much sightseeing. I spent all my day at the conference. I do hope to see fort Aguadem tomorrow morning. I am told that evenings are the best time to view the fort, but tomorrow morning is all I can spare.

Meanwhile, I will be off to Dudhsagar tomorrow. No idea how much water there is to see in the waterfalls. Dudhsagar is an estimated 90 kms from Nerul, the place where I am staying. I also have the Almoda ghat to climb tomorrow on my way to Hubli. The optimist in me tells me that I can make it to Hubli tomorrow. Hubli is atleast 150 kms away, but the ghat is a tough nut to crack. Let me see what tomorrow brings.

(PS: I see that I am left with only 5 minutes in my Sify account. Now, that’s good news!)

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Day 1: Mangalore to Karki

Got down at Pumpwell(Mangalore) at 6:55AM. Soon, I am at Raji’s house(daughter of my father’s elder sister and a close relative). I get fresh, have breakfast and start off at 8:30 .

An artist friend of mine, Jagadish K Bhat (henceforth JKB), has offered accomodation at his house at Karki. Karki is a few kilometers away from Honnavar; and falls midway between Mangalore and Panaji.

JKB has told me that the distance is close to 190 KM. That is bad news. One doesn’t generally tart so late to cover so long a distance. Thus, I plan to reach Kaki no earlier than 10 PM :-)

The going is smooth for some time. I am amazed at the rythm that is building up. Near KIOCL(Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited), I am tempted to get down for a photo. I resist that temptation because I don’t want to break my speed.

Halfway to Udupi, at Mulki, I take my first break. I guzzle a lot of water. The road is of moderate quality but generally there are few potholes. The occasional bridges and the backwaters remind me of my proximity to the sea. Meanwhile, I am keen to find out how far Honnavar really is. The best way to find that out is by looking at the milestones. Not that they are dead accurate, but they atleast give an idea. Fortunately, soon I see a board “Honnavar - 137 Udupi 15″. I decide to stop for lunch only after I get that distance below 100.

I reach the outskirts of Udupi in good time - about three and a half hours. After Udupi, it is time for a double lassi break. Drank Nandini Lassi for the first time (didn’t even know that it existed). At 12:30 PM, I am still about 108 kms away from Honnavar. My body is asking for food. I tell myself that I’ll stop at 1 PM. At 12:53, I come across a tempting hotel. I check the impulse to get down and run in :-)

At 1:04, I see a milestone - “Panaji -299″. Means Honnavar is less than a hundred away. I stop at the next small hotel “Ganesh Prasad Veg”. have no hesitation to go for boiled rice. I gulp two extra rice plates in a hurry - leaving the waiter amused.

After lunch, the going becomes slower. I am an estimated 100+ kms from my destination. An hour of cycling sees me in Maruvanthe beach. I had heard a lot about the beach - about how on one side of the highway is the sea, and on the other flows the river and their confluence being an amazing sight. In my mind’s eye, I had pictured the raging sea on the one side, the river on the other and the highway separating the two. I had imagined that their union would be grand. Cut to reality : it is nothing out of the ordinary. What a letdown. I didn’t even bother to take a snap.

Slowly, the shadows lengthen. Just before dark, I am forced to pedal a steep uphill.

I am facing lots of issues with my NiMH cells. For some mysterios reasons, the GPS receiver is showing that the low power sign. I am forced to use my torch cells for the GPS. I put the GPS to battery saver mode as well. I purchase a few batteries as well for my torch. There are other problems as well. My cycle chain is slipping whenever I try to accelerate a bit. This annoys me no end.

As soon as it is dark, I turn on the “headlights”. At 7:00 PM, I am atlest 55 kms away from Karki, so I call up JKB’s father and inform him that I’ll be late.

I like cycling in the dark. It is cool. The moonlight has ensured that I don’t need to use my torch much.

After umpteen number of breaks (that’s what happens when I know that I will surely reach), many calls from JKB enquiring where I am, etc, I finally reach their house at 11:15 PM ! On reaching there, I find that JKB’s parents have not had their food yet - the traditional hospitality of North Kanara is at display. We quickly settle down for dinner. It is 12:20 AM when we switch off the lights.

All in all, it’s been a long day. I’ve covered about 190kms, nearly half the distance to Panaji. That means the cup is half full :-) My legs are feeling a bit stiff. I expect a tough day tomorrow.


Hello from Goa!

Thanks for all your support.

I reached Goa today. I have been mostly cycling - till 10/11 PM on the first two days. Not much sightseeing - all I got to see is beaches.

Here is a brief rundown of what has happened till now:

Day 1: Mangalore to Karki 190 kms (stayed at JKB’s house overnight)
Day 2: Karki to Margoa 160 kms (aka Madagaon/Marmugoa)
Day 3: Margoa to Panaji 30 kms. (generally resting, slow-cycling, sight seeing)

I am currently staying at Aditya Kelekar’s (of the yahoo group cyclonegoa) house at Caranzalem in Panaji. Thanks, Aditya, for the hospitality.

My leg’s are feeling a bit stiff, but nothing to worry about :-)

I have written my blog in my book, but the usual software issues have come in the way of my doing some of the stuff. No pictures also, sorry, for delay due to solving some of the GPS issues with Windows XP :-( . I have actually keyed in some of the blog text, but it is by no means complete, and I am in a hurry to return home now.

Expect the ride story tomorrow (assuming I can find a better internet center/more time).

My plan for tomorrow is to go and attend a conference on High Performance Computing : HiPC, Goa. HP (my employer) is one of the sponsors and I have a free pass. My legs can rest while mind works!

For the day after, my plan is to visit Dudhsagar, the highest waterfall in India. Advance info, just in case I can’t post anything tomorrow ;-)

Bye for now.

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Welcome Back!


Welcome back from my previous trip!

It’s december, and I am bitten by the travel bug again. This time, I intend to cover the areas on the western coast of India on my cycle. The trip would cover 2000+ kms of gruelling terrain and span 21 days !

I am starting from Mangalore tomorrow (17th) and hope to reach Ahmedabad on the 6th of January, 2006. I will take a bus to Mangalore and I have a return train ticket from Ahmedabad for the 7th.

From Mangalore, I am cycling to Goa. From there, I will go to Hubli and then to Pune over Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal, Gokak and Mahabaleshwar. After Pune, it will be Mumbai. After Mumbai, I will be off to see Shirdi(?), Ajanta, Ellora, and Lonar (yes, you haven’t heard of it yet). From there, I hope to end triumphantly in Ahmedabad.

Needless to say, there will be lots and lots of tourist places that I will be covering. I will try to update this page as frequently as possible. Stay tuned!

This will be my biggest challenge yet. I haven’t prepared much, though. I am banking on my confidence and experience to pull off the trip (folly??).

Please note the part of the India map on the right-hand top corner of this page. I will carry a GPS receiver and using it, I will indicate my progress on the map as the days go. Move your mouse over the red dots.

My mobile number for the trip : +91 98457 47130.

Credits till now :

  • My friend, Raghava Kotekar, for the arty part of this site. If you think this site looks cool, you know who to hire!
  • My manager, Malay Shah, for holidays and railway ticket. If you want to know which manager gave me the leaves, that’s him!
  • My cycle mechanic, Lalu, for doing such a wonderful job with the cycle.
  • GPSBabel, Python+PHP+Ming used for the flash animation with a custom program.

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