Day 6 – Murudeshwara to Kolhapur
The Trip from Murudeshwara to Kolhapur was quite adventurous to say the least. The highway from Murudeshwara took me towards North. Things went fine till around 50 KMs – the point at which a straight road point to Gokarna, while the Google Navigation installed on my Xolo Smartphone gives me an instruction to turn steep right into something which it refers as NH 66 (if I recall it correct). As I enter into the Highway, it looks pretty narrow to be a National Highway. Soon I realize that its Karnataka State Highway 143. This highway takes me through one of the remotest places deep through some forest, wherein for Kilometers I cannot see another human being; luckily of that matter any living thing! This trip did give me some chilling feeling but at the same time a feeling of breaking free of the Modern world. None of my cell phones had signal reception as well. I really felt as if I have been transported into the primitive world. Finally this road met the NH 66 which the Navigation had referred to. NH 66 was a nice Highway, pretty wide though the traffic was bidirectional. Even on this stretch I could hardly see a vehicles plying. I noticed a fresh accident on this route, which made me drive very careful, especially because it was raining and road was wet.
Then again the navigation takes me left from NH 66 into Karnataka State Highway 93 which takes me into even deeper and isolated jungle for 43 Kilometers. I wished I could get off the jungle before nightfall and I did. But the Navigation took me into some other remote place. Finally I could see some settlement, when my navigation asks me to take a steep right. I could not believe it – as the road was pretty narrow and the Navigation was unable to place a name for that road as well. But unfortunately there was no one around for me to cross check (as I was all alone and the nearest help could be many kilometers away). So I had no other choice but to take my car into that narrow road. This road takes me through one of the remotest places that one can imagine and I was the only living thing on the road for the next 20 Kilometers. It was raining heavily by then. It was pitch dark, no signs of any settlements for kilometers, bad curvy roads across nothingness. What more could one ask for? Finally I see some settlement and two people on the road were kind of surprised to probably notice a car on that road. They assured me that I am on the right track and the road finally meets the Super Highway NH4 which will take me directly till Pune – or to my destination Kolhapur.
These remote roads were so bad and muddy that I could really get a feel of participating in a car rally as I was driving through the bad roads on pretty high speed. Finally the mentioned narrow road takes me over to some State Highway. Finally a 8 KM drive into the State Highway (which was equally muddy and narrow) takes me over to the Super Highway – NH 4!!!
My happiness of meeting the Super Highway NH 4 was short lived when I noticed the downpour to have increased considerably. In the heavy rain I could hardly see anything ahead of me even with my upgraded 90/100 Watts headlight bulbs. Moreover NH 4 is a Super Highway and all the vehicles were plying on it really fast – which gives me no chance to mistakes here. Good thing is that the human body adjusts to every condition soon, when there is no way out. So did mine. Somehow my eyes became sharper as I drove across the highway while other vehicles overtook honking at my rather slow moving car. Soon I was honking at other vehicles while I sped on my car at speeds well over 100 KM/hour.
It was a drive of around 145 KMs on this Super Highway before I reached my next destination Kolhapur. A bypass from NH 4 took me to the Kolhapur city in the State of Maharashtra. As I entered the city, I quickly checked the phone number of a Hotel that I knew of and luckily they had a room available. For some reason the Google navigation on my Xolo X900 Smartphone wouldn’t show further routes (I was lucky that this did not happen while I was travelling through the forests before). I asked folks on the road for assistance. They were happy to help but they were replying back in Marathi language while I was asking them the questions in Hindi. One nice person offered to lead me to my hotel. He was driving a Scorpio Jeep. He asked me to follow him and so I did. I reached my destination Opal Hotel in Kolhapur. The helpful and nice man left a first impression of the place – “People seemed to be very helpful here”.
My next day will be a stay in Kolhapur for one day at the Opal Hotel.
Photographs taken en-route Kolhapur: (check photo Gallery on the Home Page for many more pics)