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Any and all trips home (India) is spent visiting family,attending weddings and funerals and what time that’s left over in the doctor’s office (eye check, vaccines, blood test etc.). Lately I had begun to detest going home, as we came back frustrated at not having the things we really want to do, like sit around idling and chatting, eating local food, meeting friends etc.

Christmas holidays came and circumstances connived in such a way that we soon found ourselves with India tickets in hand. I was determined to do things differently this time and not to get drawn into the whirlwind our India trips had become. We were flying in to Chennai as we HAD visit an aunt who is quite sick. We had a car delivered to us in Chennai which arrived on the day we landed. We then put the kids on flight to Tvm (home) and started our week-long exploration of South Karnataka.

A ttk map (Road guide to Karnataka) was brought from Chennai that constantly referred to during the trip. Google maps on the phone also helped where the physical map failed.

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Trip facts:

Day 1: 372 km

Start at 2:30 pm. 

From Meenambakkam Airport Chennai after seeing the kids off, we drove through Sriperumbatur, Chittoor, Palmaner, Madanapalle to reach Horsley hills.

Finish at 8:50 pm.

Day 2: 302 km

Start at 8:45

Had a quick tour of Rishi Valley School In Horsley hills, came out very impressed by the school and angry with myself that I am against sending kids away to boarding schools (Keep them at home if you can help it!). Drove through Anantapur, crossing over to Karnataka via Bellary to reach Hospet.

Finish at 3:55

Day 3: 55km

Start at 7:50

Spent the day exploring ruins and temples in Hampi, finished close to tea time tired and hungry. The rest of the day we relaxed soaking in the tranquility surrounding the Tungabadhra dam guest house.

Day 4: 365 km

Start at 5:15

There were two roads to reach Jog falls one via the state highway and the other through small roads, we chose the latter. On the way we stopped at as Harihareshwara temple in  Harihar. We then proceeded  via Shimoga and Sagar to reach Jog falls at 12:15. We had taken special permit to see the Linganmakki dam (on Sharavati river)and the power house. After the educational tour, just walked around taking in the beauty of the area.

Day 5:394 km

Start at 5:12

From Jog falls, we drove through Tirthalli, Mudigere etc.. while stopping to visit the temples at Singeri, Belur and Halibedu. We ended the day after climbing the 640 steps cut on a giant rock to see the 60 ft statue of Gomateshwara at Sravanabalagolla.

Day 6: 187 km

Start at 5:10

Via Mysore reaching to Nagarhole to reach Kabini National Park.

Day 7: 430 km

Start at 9:50 am

Marathon driving from Kabini with only one stop for a quick snack in order to reach Kottayam to have Christmas dinner with family.

Day 8: 150 km

Start at 12:30

After visiting family we start on the final leg of the trip, from Kottayam to Trivandrum.

It was a glorious trip. Thankfully there were no hitches or delays. It was absolutely wonderful to travel through a small part of India, to be reminded where we came from, to marvel at our rich culture, to imbibe through all senses the essence of our great country!

Road trip tips:

1. Always try to start early 4:30 or 5 if you  know where you are going, the distance that can be covered during that time is substantial.

2. A good map and a fair idea of where you want to be at a particular time is necessary for the trip to be a success.

3. Have plenty of snacks and candy in the car, for entertainment and to keep awake. Also good music.

4. When you see a breathtaking scenery or a unique sight, stop to enjoy, probably take a picture. Don’t drive away thinking the moment will come again.

5. In a new town if you are not sure where to eat ask a couple of people, surprisingly you will see that they all will lead you to an unforgettable meal!

6. Take small roads where ever you can, Highways look the same everywhere!