Bitten by Self-Drive Bug
Lately, I have developed a strong taste for long distance driving. It’s absolutely soothing and fulfilling. Isn’t it? It’s like devotedly reading through the pages of a book over a period of weeks, or savoring the taste of blueberry cheese cake as it melts in your mouth. The idea of ripping down the highways with scenic views, my favorite music, my wife (she is my partner in crime, always!) has become almost intoxicating.
In 2018, I have taken 5 road trips, all of them starting and ending at Bangalore: a) Chennai b) Nandi Hills c) Goa d) Mysore (chauffeur driven, thank lord!) and e) Hampi. Bangalore to Hampi is about 7.5 to 8 hours drive including a few pit stops. We started from Bangalore at about 5:40 am in the morning and reached Hampi around 2:15 pm including 2 leisurely stops (about 35 mins each) and a couple of short stops.
The Road, and onward journey
There are 3 different routes you can take for Hampi:
a) Bangalore > Tumkur > Chitradurga > Hospet > Hampi (my onward route)
b) Bangalore > Tumkur > Hiriyur > Challakere > Rampura > Hampi, and
c) Bangalore > Lepakshi > Anantpur > Bellari > Hampi (my return route)
The road from Bangalore to Chitradurga is a breeze. It only gets better after you pass Tumkur. Driving on this road felt like a fork cutting through the cheesecake (A blueberry, of course). Roads such as these make you think favorably about the government machinery and you know it’s tough to beat that. Rs. 220 spent on toll (five stop points), I would say, worth it for sure. A big call out: there are hardly any good places to eat after Tumkur. During my last trip to Goa, we stopped by at a decent restaurant for breakfast. This time, we deliberately skipped that place to try something new. Alas, our hunger pangs made sure we ended up at VRL logistics canteen an hour later!
After Chitradurga, I took an under bridge right towards Hospet. Chitradurga-Hospet 4 lane work is in progress. The completed patches are good, but these are far & few. The stretch has short detours, obnoxious road bumps (meant to dent, underneath), loads of windmills and absolutely no eating venues. Some of the sights on the sides of the road are very pleasant, exactly the ones that make you want to drive.
Return Journey from Hampi to Bangalore
We started from Hampi around 11 am, and took the Anantpur route. Just after we left Hampi, we were greeted by a road gushing with water up to 2-3 feet deep. Yes, google does that to you, and far too often! Words would fail, but it almost felt like crossing in river in the car, and we did! So did many others, non nonchalantly. That gave me confidence, and made me think, ‘this happens only in India’.
The stretch from Hampi to Ballari is breathtaking (no place to eat) and we just couldn’t get enough of these splendid views. Fields filled with red chilli plantation, piles of chilly against the hue of dried grass and blue sky. If it sounds poetic to you, you got it right!
Ballari onwards, for about an hour or so (no place to eat), the road is almost a nightmare: potholes, congestion, road bumps (Karnataka special). During this time, I felt stupid to have taken that route. Thankfully, it gets better. In fact, it almost gets dreamy as you approach Anantpur and heavenly after that. Again, Rs. 280 of tolls (3 stop points) felt worth it, every penny of it. We stopped by at Hyderabad Chef for lunch and loved the biryani (ok, call it pulao if you want, it was veg!). We reached home around 8 pm. It was a leisure drive with frequent stops.
My road journey from Bangalore to Hampi was a great experience. I would definitely recommend a drive to Hampi. The Hospet road will only get better with time, but Anantpur route is worth exploring as well. So, go out there, and burn the rubber. Have fun, Cheers!
Looking for road trip ideas from Bangalore, read about my 9 day road trip from Bangalore covering 6 destinations in south India.
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