Our Travel Plan

We’d decided that we’d want to do at least a couple of long driving trips a year, and we’ve been contemplating a few for the last couple of months now. One was a bike / car trip to Leh and Ladakh, another by car to the North East and North Bengal ( Darjeeling, Gangtok, Yumthang, Gorumara and Jaldapara ), and also our more ambitious project – driving down to Kanyakumari! Our original plan was to do it along the eastern coastline from Kolkata, but since we found out about TGDC which starts from Mumbai, doing it along the western coastline would make for a scenic and challenging route and give us a chance to realize this dream. The route we’ve thought of is: Mumbai to Panaji : 535.10 Kms, Panaji to Mangalore : 337.14 Kms, Mangalore to Kochi : 382.55 Kms, Kochi to Kanyakumari : 277.18 Kms ( via Thiruvananthapuram ), Total : 1531.97 Kms. Since we’re the kinds to make the most out of a journey and see as much as we possibly can, we thought a different route back would be more interesting! Kanyakumari to Chennai : 678.26 Kms, Chennai to Bangalore : 323.37 Kms, Bangalore to Panaji : 580.48 Kms, Panaji to Mumbai : 535.10 Kms, Total : 2117.21 Kms. The journey back does entail a slightly longer route than necessary, but we thought we could make a pit stop at the Hindustan Motors Chennai Car Plant at Thiruvallur where Mitsubishi cars are manufactured ( including the one we’ll be driving if we’re one of the lucky 3! ). We’re hoping we might get a chance to take a spin on the test track too in a Pajero which is our dream vehicle! It’s going to be a long tough challenging drive ( 3649.18 Kms ), but one which will be well worth it. Rohit and I work as a team, and with the right kind of planning and the zeal and enthusiasm we have for driving and road trips, I’m sure we can take this through and do justice to TGDC! I’m the planner and organizer of the team, so I normally make sure that we’ve got some kind of a broad agenda planned out, and have a list of all places to see and visit, and then we just work around that. The advantage is that while we manage to cover all of what we want to and make the most of the trip, the rest is just spontaneous and we go with the flow! The broad agenda we’ve planned for this trip is as follows! Day 1: The excitement is at an all time high now, so an early morning start is welcomed as we can’t wait to begin! Leave Mumbai at 0500 hours and drive to Panaji, reach around 1800 hours. Find our Hotel and check in. Day 2: Have breakfast and then set off for some local sightseeing. We’ve been to Goa before, but to be honest have not spent that much time in Panjim. This time though we plan to see Fontainhas, the Chapel of St.Sebastian, The Secretariat ( Idalcao Palace ), Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and the Goa State Museum. Leave at around 1300 hours for Mangalore. Stop for lunch on the way and arrive at Mangalore at around 2000 hours. Check into Hotel. Day 3: Breakfast and a quick stop at some of the Temples ( Venkataramana Temple, Gokarnanatha, Kadri, Mangaladevi ) and Churches ( St. Aloysious, Milagris ) and head out to Kochi. Arrive at around 2000 hours. Check into Hotel. Day 4: An early morning start, a stop at the Elephant Training Centre at Kodanad is a must though, considering the fact that I am a nature enthusiast ( Wild elephants caught in the forest are trained here ) and then we head off to Kanyakumari via Thiruvananthapuram. We should arrive there by early evening, so that we can watch the sunset. Evening at the Hotel. Day 5: Since Kanyakumari was our final destination, we’ve decided to give ourselves an extra day here. Visit the Vattakottai Fort (Circular Fort), which was built by the King of Travancore, as a coastal defense-fortification. It's about 7 km from Kanyakumari. There’s also the Vivekananda Rock, the 100 year old Our Lady of Ransom Church and Baywatch which is a water theme amusement park at Sunset Point and home to India's first wax museum. We’re not that interested in the amusement park, but the wax museum might be interesting! Watch the sunset again, and have an early night so we’re prepared for the long drive the next morning. Day 6: Today’s marks one of the longest drives in this trip – 678.26 Kms! Leave at 0600 hours, and stop at around 1400 hrs for a quick lunch break. Leave in about an hour and arrive at Chennai at around 2200 hrs. Check into Hotel. Day 7: Breakfast, and a visit to the Guindy Snake Park, reason being the last time I went there was many eons ago, and I was dying to see if my childhood memories of the place held well! Then set off for Thiruvallur, which is 42 kms west of Chennai. Stop at the Hindustan Motors Car Plant and spend some time there and then head to Bangalore. Arrive at Bangalore in the evening. Check into Hotel. Spend the evening at a nice restaurant somewhere, of which there are lots to choose from! Day 8: Leave at 0600 hours, and drive to Panaji. Arrive at Panaji around 1800 hours and drive straight to Baga Beach where we’re going to have a well deserved break! Check into a guesthouse as these give you the true flavor of Goa. Day 9: We’re going to soak up the sun, and let ourselves go today! It’s been a long and hectic schedule, and this is our time to just stop being on the move for a bit! Day 10: Drive from Baga Beach to Mumbai. We’re not going to rush it today as it’s our very last day and no one ever wants their holiday to end, and what a holiday it’s been! We decide to leave only at 0900 hours, stop en route for lunch, and arrive in Aamchi Mumbai at around 2100 hours. This is an ambitious plan, but very doable, and if we get short-listed and selected, we can’t wait to set off!