” Country Roads , take me home to the place I belong “- John Denver
Destinations: Udupi Srikrishna Temple , Goa and home
Distance: Mangalore- Udupi 60 km, Udupi- Mobor beach 286 km and Mobor Beach- Mumbai 658 km
It was a pity that Mangalore was just an overnight pit stop in our journey for we could not see the city. But we did make two decent “finds” – Hotel Ocean Pearl ,Cafe Ideal – the birthplace of the “Gadbad” ice cream and that the city was heaven for rash drivers. We were also in for yet another surprise – bumping into a dear friend whom we had not seen since college days at the hotel lobby!! And that meeting did make our overnight stay a memorable one.
The next morning saw us get ready for our northward journey. This was to be a drive along coastal Karnataka and Goa before heading back to Mumbai. Coastal Karnataka invoked a sense of Deja Vu with its coconut groves, rivers, backwaters and the sea. A 100 km away from Mangalore city was the town of Udupi – the town that has lent its name to the friendly neighbourhood South Indian fast food joint.
Udupi is also a temple town with its most famous temple being the Krishna temple believed to have been erected by Madhavacharya, who founded the Dwaitha school of Vedanta. Its the big kitchen and communal dining hall associated with this temple that has given rise to generation of cooks. We leisurely explored the temple street and the market before heading to the Railway station where we were to drop off Mom and Dad.
We continued along the picturesque NH 17 which hugged the coast all along. The lovely beach of Maravanthe where the road is flanked by the Arabian Sea on one side and the backwater on the other, the beach temple of Shiva at Murudeshwar , the “Om” beach of Gokarna, the Devbagh beach of Karwar all lies on this stretch .The roads though spoke a different story altogether. A narrow 2 lane highway it was full of potholes and slowed us to 30 km /hour. The Baba had to catch up with office work meant yours truly was the primary driver all the way till Karwar, the Karnataka border where we bid adieu to the beaches and entered Goa.
It was near 9 pm when we pulled into the Leela Goa, our penultimate stop in the journey. The beautiful landscaped, tastefully done resort was the luxury I wanted to end the trip with. Our idea was just to rest and rest our poor tired body before the drive back home. We played golf, swam in the pool and checked ourselves into the spa.
Rejuvenated after our two day holiday we headed northwards – this time our destination being Mumbai. We entered Maharashtra at sawantwadi and entered the Western ghats through a narrow winding country road. The roads were slippery and had landslide warnings throughout. But the scenery- the scenery made the trip worthy of the perils. the roads wound through lush green mountainside interspersed with silvery strands of waterfalls . And near the summit we entered a thick mist which gave an eerie mystical effect to the scenery. We got out of the mists and the ghats to vasts stretches of grasslands all lush green after the monsoon. This road joined the NH4 at Nipani from where we entered the now familiar route to Mumbai via Kolhapur and Satara.
We reached Mumbai after an 8 hour drive and clocking 2700km on our odometer.