Ahmedabad to Coimbatore, Solo, Self Driving Road Trip

Feb 2023 had an interesting adventure in store for me. I started off on a self-driving road trip from Ahmedabad to Coimbatore on 28th January. This what my route looked like, pretty straight forward highway route.

Ahmedabad – Surat – Mumbai – Pune – Kolhapur – Belgaum – Bengaluru – Salem – Coimbatore

I have family homes in Surat, Mumbai and Bengaluru so halted there for few days. Other stops I took was in Pune and Belgaum. There is of course a lot of exploration opportunities on the route, with short and long detours. How much we can explore depends on time availability. I explored a few temples on the way, I didn’t have time for any major detours,

Morya Gosami Ganpati Temple: “Ganpati Bappa Morya” is such a famous line, and yet I found out about this devotee Morya Gosami only a year back. Since then, this samadhi temple in Pimpri-Chinchwad on outskirts of Pune was on my bucket list. Glad to visit now.

Belgaum temples: Love Belgaum as a city. It’s currently quite small and laidback but with all amenities like swanky five stars, fine dining restaurants and malls. It’s also only 2 hrs from Goa and I can almost sense a touch of the Susegaad feeling here. Checked a few temples on my rest day here.

Bhavani Temple on Kaveri River: A picturesque place as we pass by on the Salem – Coimbatore highway. Took a quick detour to explore this temple. It was closed when I arrived, but I looked around the kshetra (area).

Rural road scene in the left side rear view mirror of the car
Taking a break on a rural side road

This entire route till Bengaluru is part of the Government’s Golden Quadrilateral project which aims at connecting major metro cities of India with fantastic expressways. And I was thrilled to find that almost 70 to 80% of the route is in very good shape! Indian roads weren’t always great. Potholes and security both were an issue in the past… so, with those expectations now seeing 3 or 4 lane highways, rare potholes for long stretches is really nice.

The best highway stretch in terms of road quality was after Hubli to Bengaluru. This is a long stretch of 3 to 4 lane express way. Moreover, it has been made such that the major cities enroute are about 5 kms away. This means that the highway is fairly isolated with open country all around and no interferences. Eateries and shops will probably be added in … but purely from driving perspective this was a really good stretch.

Special mention for the stretch between Kolhapur and Belgaum. It’s 2 lanes mostly, but it was specially scenic. And I got most of it empty, so I could go fast despite there being only 2 lanes.

The stretch from Bengaluru to Coimbatore via Salem was the first place where I got traffic jams, literally congested traffic jam, for 15-20 mins. Moreover, in over 12 places there are unmanned barricades on highways which makes the 3 lane highway into 1 lane highway. Probably done to reduce speed, but seriously, what a contrast compared to all my previous drives. So, I would say better to stick to the Bengaluru to Coimbatore via Mysore route rather than the TN section.

Overall, great experience. Getting used to driving life 🙂

Solo Woman Safety, Driving on Highways:

I would avoid night time driving – anyway because it is unsafe driving itself, but especially if I am solo. Apart from that these highways are quite populated… plus, they have police numbers and other emergency numbers available. Though I hadn’t made note of any of them… but I feel we should make note of those, that should be enough in case of any untoward incidents.

Walking into the highway restaurants for food, did raise a few eyebrows when they realized I am solo. But nothing more than that. I am anyway used to this on my other adventures too. Considering, that I have cycled on such highway stretches in foreign countries, I don’t feel at all daunted by being solo – in fact having a car is quite a bit more re-assuring!

Let’s see what more driving adventures are in store for me.

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Written by Mpitude

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