Aari, I and Zeita drove from Goa to Mangalore on the 5th of September and returned back on the 19th of September. We started both our trips at 0630 AM, reached Mangalore at 0430 PM while the return journey took us half an hour less.
We had scattered rains during both our drives and also clear skies and dry weather at some places.
Our drive started on a nice comical note, when Aari noticed this spelling challenged bus. ("Mother Mary")
The entire Goa- Mangalore drive was on NH 17, and this section of the highway is pretty good. It’s mostly a 2 lane highway; except from Udupi to Mangalore where large sections have been made into a 4 lane and work is underway for the remaining part.
NH 17 in South Goa is well maintained but is narrow as a gully. Patience and good mannered driving of the locals probably keeps the highway from getting blocked despite the heavy traffic.
When Mangalore bound we had our breakfast at Udupi Café, in Karwar. The entire restaurant was served by one overworked waiter and certainly one can give this place a miss- Unless compelled by the stomach to act otherwise.
From Canacona to Mangalore, the roads are filled with cows- creating not only a nuisance, but also a driving hazard. It’s surprising to note that nothing has been done to curtail this cow menace. If we saw a vehicle in front of us suddenly veer from its path, we came to accept that it was dodging a cow. Vehicles suddenly braking to stop hitting a crazy cow are quite common occurrences. We also spotted a person trying to clear a dead cow from the road, making me wonder how many injuries and deaths are caused on this highway by cows every day.
An additional hazard sign required- Jay walking cows.
"It's time to replace the truck in the hazard board with a cow ". NH 17 by itself is filled with hazard zones and when it was not the cow we had an occasional elephant too!!
The highway from Goa to Mangalore is in good condition, despite the monsoons. The only section that is filled with pothole is a 10 Km section between Bhatkal and Honnavar and a 2 KM section north side of Kundapura. The road is really bad here and potholes as deep as a swimming pool.
Between Udupi and Mangalore, the highway is four lane. Unfortunately many people here are unaware of lane driving and also have very bad road etiquettes. Signalling during lane change is completely absent and driving between two lanes is pretty common. But the greatest danger is vehicles coming from the opposite direction on the fast lane that we were driving on!!! They drive with their headlights on in such a casual manner, oblivious to the danger they are causing by their self-created traffic rules.
Traffic rules in Karnataka are poorly enforced and rarely followed.
We had our Lunch when going to Mangalore in Udupi at Hotel Sharada International . Good place- with average to good food and reasonably priced too. Enroute to Goa, we had our breakfast at Parijata in Kundapura. We had to take a 1 km detour off the highway, into the Kundapura main road to reach this place. The breakfast is had standing, but the service is fast- hence we were able to gobble down and back into the drive in 15 minutes flat. Lunch was gluttoned at Café Tato at Margao. The place is on the highway and serves tasty food – super fast. They have a separate non-veg section, and we saw a large and decent crowd that thronged the place.
One of the most scenic section of the drive is at Maravanthe, where the highway is flanked by the Maravanthe beach on one side and a river on another.
Milestones in Goa show the distance to Mangalore 50 Kms less than the actual 400 kms , but this gets rectified once in Karnataka.
There is a toll booth in Karnataka, which charges 5 Rs toll; while in Goa, Non-Goa registered cars have to pay 250 Rs to enter Goa.
Despite being a 2 lane highway, the drive is truly lovely. Green trees create a covered canopy for a large section of the drive. Overall, the 400 kms can be comfortably covered in 8 hours,