2500 km over 10 days – that was my year-end holiday road trip.
The first leg of the journey was from Hyderabad to Goa. The trip was close to 900 km. You first get on the Hyderabad-Pune national highway and then get disappointed. The highway is a two track undivided road. This means that you are constantly facing oncoming traffic and overtaking is perilous. The road conditions are pretty good though and thankfully you dont have to watch out for any dangerous potholes. You stay on the road till Solapur where you get off the national highway and take the state highway to Kohlapur. This is a state highway and although there are no potholes, the road isnt too well done either. So you make painful progress. Finally you get on the Pune-Bangalore highway, which is a beauty. But you stay on it for just about 30 km. You then take the turn-off for Sawantwadi. This is a potholed ghat road (hill road). From Sawantwadi you get into Goa. The Maharashtra side just outside the Goa border is terrible and can be taxing on you, your passengers and your car as there is no road there. It is little more than a mud track.
The second leg of the journey, after spending 5 wonderful days in Goa, was Goa-Panchgani – a distance of 500 km. We avoided going back to Kohlapur by taking the Mumbai highway. You stay on the Mumbai highway, which is a good road but sadly undivided again, till Poladpur. From Poladpur you take the cut-off for Mahableshwar. I am sure this is a scenic route, but due to car trouble in Goa we lost a lot of time and ended up doing the ghat roads in the night – so no scenic drive.
After 2 days at Panchgani, we headed back to Hyderabad via Pune. Again the decision was taken because we wanted to avoid the Kohlapur-Solapur road. We got to Pune in quick time. We did a 100 km in one hour. But then we got on the Pune-Solapur highway. This is effectively 250 km of city traffic. Your average speed here will be less than 40 km/our. But once you cross Solapur, things change and you can do the Solapur-Hyderabad leg much faster.
Verdict – Do not do this trip by car for a couple of years. Wait till the four-laning is done.