India on the Road

From Bangalore to Panjim

Bangalore
Bangalore
4 DEC 2015
by

Route: Bangalore – Tumkur – Sira – Chitrdurga – Haveri – Hubli – Londa – Panjim
Distance: 634 Kms
Driving Time: 12 Hours

Bangalore

The picturesque South Indian city of Bangalore is located at an altitude of 949m above sea level and is situated on the Deccan Plateau. Bangalore’s temperate climate has earned it the sobriquet of the “Air Conditioned City of India”. The city prides itself for its immaculately landscaped gardens, parks, wide tree-lined avenues, a plethora of flowering trees, shimmering lakes all of which has endeared the city to the discerning international traveler. It is among the best five Garden Cities of the world. The meteoric rise of the city from a sleepy pensioner’s heaven to the forefront of world’s technology (IT) is the stuff that dreams are made of. The city is home to all the big guns in the domain of IT and global corporations like IBM, Seimens, Cognizant, Dell, etc… rub shoulders with domestic corporations like Infosys, Wipro and Satyam for a piece of the global software pie. Today, Bangalore is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of India and also the most liberal which finds expressions in the city’s many pulsating discotheques, happening pubs, shopping plazas and top rate multi cuisine restaurants and bars. The harmonious blend of cutting edge technology living in peaceful existence with the city’s rich virile past is unmatched by any other cities in India, nay the whole of Asia.

What to See:
Bangalore Palace, Cubban Park, State Assembly Hall, High Court Building, Lalbagh, Fort, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bull Temple.

Where to Stay:
Bangalore STD: 080
ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton & Towers, (22269898), Taj West End (22255055), The Park (25594666), Le Meredien (22262233), Royal Orchid (25205566), Hotel Ista (25558888), The Chancery Pavilion (41414141), Leela Palace (25211234), Grand Ashok (30527777), Taj Residency (25584444), The Oberoi (25585858).

Where to Eat:
Here Idli, Dosa and Sambhar compete with McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Barista. Some of Bangalore’s most popular eating joints are - Bangalore Mandarin, Bar & Restaurant, La Casa, Lotus, Sunny's, Nilgiri's Cafe, 1498 AD, Abirami, Caesars, Coorg, The Royal Afghan.

What to Buy:
Bangalore offers a whole new world of shopping experience. With the presence of glitzy shopping malls to the emporiums that sell a variety of handicraft items, shopping in Bangalore is truly an international experience. The main shopping districts of Bangalore are located at Brigade Road, Commercial Street and MG Road. Shopping complexes like Shrungar, Barton Court, Spencer’s the Coir Board Showroom, Saree Kemp and Cauvery Arts are great shopping destinations.

Tumkur

From Bangalore city, exit via NH 4 (Tumkur Road) towards Yashantpur and a brisk 68 Kms. drive will bring you to the quaint town of Tumkur. Tumkur is one of Karnataka’s busiest towns and a lot of industries have set up their units here. The town is blessed with fascinating natural vistas consisting of undulating hills, shimmering streams and lush green vales. The golden crowns for some of India’s most renowned beauty pageants like Miss India – Universe, Miss India – World and Miss India – Earth are manufactured in Tumkur that is sponsored by “Tanishq”. The climate of Tumkur is very much like Bangalore, neither too hot nor too cold.

What to See:
Guluru Ganesh Temple, Dravidian style Kaidala Chennakeshava Temple, Sri Siddaganga Mutt, Namadha Chilume, Devarayana Durga, Bhoga Narasimha Swami Temple, Goravanahalli Maha Lakshmi Temple, Kote Anjeneya Swami Statue.

Where to Eat:
Woodlands Hotel, Nanjundeshwara Hotel, Dwarka Hotel, Hotel Hutt and Hotel Ashoka serve delectable South Indian and Tandoori fare. Some even serve Chinese cuisine.

Sira

From Tumkur continue driving on NH4 all the way to the quaint town of Sira located at a distance of 53 Kms. Sira is a Taluk in the district of Tumkur. During the days of the British Raj, Sira used to be a strategic town and the days of yore it used to be ruled by the Kings of Bijapur from 1638 to 1687. For some time this charming town was occupied by Haider Ali and he declared himself as the Nawab of the province. The Marathas captured the province and ruled Sira from 1766 until 1774. However it was left to Tipu Sultan who once again captured Sira in favor of the Mughals.

What to See:
Kasturi, Mallik Rehan Dargah, Jamia Masjid, Eidgah, Sone Kalas Ka Makan, Kaggaladu.

Where to Stay:
Private Lodges are available and the amenities are at best sketchy.

Where to Eat:
Roadside eating joints that offer authentic Kannadiga fare.

Chitradurga

From Tumkur drive upfront on NH4 for 81 Kms. via Hiriyur to reach Chitradura. Is ideally located in the heart of the famed Deccan Plateau and historically this town is renowned for its rich virile past. The royal kings of yesteryears hwere known for their valor and bravery. The town is replete with rocky hills and breathtaking valleys. The landscape is dreamy and undulating. The earliest mention of Chitrdurga is found on the Hindu epic Mahabharata wherin a man eating demon by the name of Hidimbasura used to live and he would terrorise everyone with his wild antics.

What to See:
Chitradurga Fort, Kallina Kote, Sampige Siddeshwara, Hidimbeshwara (Cave Shrine), Ekanathamma, Phalguneshwara and Gopalakrishnan temples.

Where to Stay:
Some of the popular places to stay at Chitradurga are – Amogha International, Hotel Green Park, Dwarka Hotel, Naveen Regency and Hotel Sukh Sagar.

Where to Eat:
Lakshmi Tiffin Room is much preferred by the discerning travelers.

What to Buy:
Traditional Kannadiga handicraft items.

Haveri

From Chitradurga continue to drive on NH4 past Devanagere (70 Kms.) and then drive upfront for Haveri via Ranibennur. The distance from Chitradurga to Haveri is 133 Kms. and can be covered in 2.50 hours by car. Haveri is one of the ciies of Karnataka that comes under the ambit of the “Nirmala Nagara” Project. This charming Karnataka town is ideally located at an elevation of 602.5 meters above sea level. One of Haveri city’s most enduring landmark is the Siddeswar Temple which has been declared as a National Monument.

What to See:
Siddeswar Temple, Hukkeri Math,

Where to Stay and Eat:
By far the most reliable place to stay is the Hitaishi Palace Hotel (Tel: 08375-236800) located at Ashwin Nagar, 2nd Cross near Corporation Bank. The in-house restaurant offers decent dining options.

What to Buy:
Handloom and handicraft products manufactured by local artisans.

Hubli

Your next stop is Hubli which is a 72 Kms. drive from Haveri on the NH4 via Bankapura, Shiggaon and Hubli By Pass. Hubli is significant to the discerning traveler as a major railway junction on the routes from Mumbai to Bangalore, Goa and north Karnataka. Other than this its an industrial city and there is precious little to see.

What to See:
Bhavanishankar Temple, Asar, Nrupatunga Hill, Sayeed Fateh Shah Vali, Unal Lake, Glass House and Banashankari Temple.

Where to Stay & Eat:
Dharwad Hotel, Central Park, Kamat Hotel, Hotel Guruprakash, Hoysala Hotel, Hotel Natraj and Basappa Khanavalli are some of the popular places to lay anchor at Hubli.

What to Buy:
Ethnic Kannadiga handicrafts.

Londa

(Notes)
From Hubli continue to drive along NH4 for 82 Kms and before Belgaum, turn Left on SH31 and cross Bhendigeri and Gajapati to reach Khanapur. From Khanapur take NH4A and cross Gunji to reach Londa. The journey from Hubli to Londa is all of 124 Kms. and takes around 2.50 hours by car. Londa is a miniscule Karnataka town bordering the state of Goa and is surrounded by lush green forest cover of the famed Sahayadri. It is ideally located at an elevation of 2139 feet above sea level and the climate is salubrious. After a longish drive from Hubli, most travelers treat Londa as a resting place on their way to Goa’s capital – Panaji.

Panaji

After a refreshing break at Londa, you enter the last leg of your journey to Goa – India’s beach paradise. From Londa drive upfront along NH4A for 74 Kms. via Aanamod, Sangod and Curti to reach Ponda. Here you have the option of taking a break. From Ponda it’s a matter of a mere 29 Kms. for you to reach Panaji, Goa’s charming capital city. Panaji is one of India’s smallest and pleasantest state capitals. Situated on the south bank of the Mandovi river, the city has preserved its Portuguese heritage remarkably well and parts of it still consist of narrow winding streets, old houses with overhanging balconies, red tiled roofs and numerous small bars and cafes. Signs in Portuguese over shops, cafes and administrative buildings are still visible in many places. People are friendly and the atmosphere is easy going. If you are staying in Panaji rather than on the beaches of Goa, then the nearest beach to Panaji is the Miramar, 3 Kms. along the road to Dona Paula.

What to See:
Panaji City
Idalco Palace, Mahalakshmi Temple, Altino Hill, Panaji Museum, Miramar Beach, Dona Paula, Rajbhawan, Reis Magos, Mapusa.

Old Goa
Se Cathedral, Church of the St. Francis of Assisi, Bascilica of Bom Jesus, St. Cajetan Church, Church of St. Augustine, Church of St. Monica.

The Beaches
Goa is justifiably famous for its beaches and Westerners have been flocking them since the early 60’s. Goan beaches are magnificent and most visitors find them extremely difficult to leave. The only problem is deciding which one to head for.

Where to Stay (Panaji):
Cidade De Goa, Holiday Inn, Fort Aguada, Vivanta by Taj, Goa Marriot, The Crown, Nova Goa, GTDC Mayem Lake View, Miramar Residency, Panjim Inn, Panjim Pousada, Hotel Fidalgo, O Pescador Beach Resort, Hotel Mandovi, Pousada Tauma.

Where to Eat:
Eating out in Panaji is a pleasure. There are a large number of restaurants of every shape, size and cuisine to cater to every taste and budget. Some of the popular ones are - Sher-E-Punjab, Ritz Classic, Delhi Durbar, Ernesto’s Bistro, Mum’s Kitchen, Sea Pebble Restaurant, Pastry Cottage, Kamat’s Restaurant,etc...

What to Buy:
Terracotta, shell works, curios, brassware and carved furniture.