Song of the Open Road

By Anjala Farahath

 

Replace the soul-crushing grind of the everyday commute with a ride through picturesque landscapes on beautiful roads that run throughout the expanse of South India. From Karnataka to Kanyakumari, these state and national highways promise to lure the motor-head in you to head out of the city. For drivers who enjoy putting the pedal to the metal, here’s the low down on the best roads to explorein South India before summer sets in.


Motoring getaways in south India

Shimoga to Goa

If Goa’s your destination and you choose this road, you're one step closer to an epic holiday. The 360-km drive is bound to give you an enthralling experience. The route via NH69 and NH66 highways offers you a mix of straight roads and ghats that traverse the Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Reserve, Jog Falls and Honavar, all of which are recommended stopovers.

 

About 10 km from ShimogaliesKarnataka’s popular wildlife destination Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Reserve. For the wildlife enthusiast, there are safaris organised by the forest department. From here, the road gradually becomes a snaking two-lane highway, bound by lush green on either side that takes you uphill to Jog falls, an 829-foot drop carved by the watercourse of Sharavthi River. After you’ve crossed this mesmerising spot, the road descends to NH66, through the smoothPanvel-Kanyakumari highway that runs pastKarwar before reaching Goa via Palolem.

These beautiful roads not only offer spectacularly scenic views but combine variety, elevation and length, smooth and seamless driving and minimal traffic which is a treat for your wheels.

 

Bengaluru to Coimbatore

The Bengaluru-Coimbatore Road via Salem and Avinashi is a green corridor lined with coconut trees. The 350-km drive is one of the best in South India, with picture-perfect surroundings and a road that your machine will love. The road is alsolined with eateries and bakeries that offers great food and filter coffee. The untamed, windswept views along this smooth dual-carriage road are enticing.

 

Belagavi to Goa

Belgavi in north Karnataka is just a stone’s throw away from Goa. Among the array of roads that radiate from Belgavi, the route via Khanapur, Anmod and Ponda breathes a sense of fresh air. The single carriageway cuts through awe-inspiring views of evergreen forests. During the monsoon, this road is a traveller’s delight.Regularly interspersed with eateries, the journey down this route guarantees stunning landscapes, and smooth and empty roads.

 

Kolhapur to Belagavi

The region around Belagavi, with its extensive network of well-laid roads, puts the rest of the state to shame. The Kolhapur-Belagavihighway is one of the best stretches among the country's four-way expressways. Passing through the suburbs, the road opens up into glorious countryside before reaching Belagavi. With tarmac on one side and concrete on the other, the dual-toned NH4 that connects Mumbai-Bengaluru almost seems to stretchendlessly. If you’re feeling a tad more adventurous, a little detour from the NipaniGhat will lead you to Goa. Although, it’s a drive of 114 km, this is a joyride.

 

Coimbatore to Kanyakumari

The scenic expedition along the Coimbatore-Dharapuram- Karur highway to reach the southern tip of the country, Kanyakumari, is a mandatory road trip for the motor-head. Although a handful of intersections interrupt this 440-km journe, it’s smooth sailing down a dual carriageway with breathtaking views of the Western Ghats. Bounded by windmills and lowhills, Karungkulam prepares you for the magnificent sunset at Kanyakumari. As you enter Kanyakumari, amidst the gradually increasing traffic you’ll be welcomed by a signboard you’ve been waiting for. It simply reads, “Road Ends” but what it means is Land’s End: a little carelessness and you could be fish feed in the mighty Indian Ocean.

 

These beautiful roads not only offer spectacularly scenic views but combine variety, elevation and length, smooth and seamless driving, not to mention minimal traffic, that is a treat for your wheels. A trip on a city street is rarely a pleasurable one. About time we leave behind the potholes and the choking traffic for the elusive and fabled paradise of the open road.

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