Day 2

Date: 26-Dec-09

Destination 1: Kemmannugundi

Sights: Kallathgiri Falls, Kemmannugundi, Z Point, Raj Bhavan, Hebbe Falls etc.

Route: Shimoga –> Bhadravathi –> Tarikere –> Lingadahalli –> Kemmannugundi (around 72 KM from Shimoga)

Had breakfast (a sumptuous one at that) in Hotel Samrat Ashoka and left for Kemmannugundi around 08:30 Hrs. Also, got our lunch (pongal) packed since the food available at Kemmannugundi isn’t of the best quality, or so I’ve heard. I don’t think Kemmannugundi brooks any introduction! It is located around 72 KM from Shimoga (map above).

Reached Kallathagiri falls around 10:00 Hrs. Kallathgiri is a 1 KM deviation on the way to Kemmannugundi and located close to the kallatti (kannada: ಕಲ್ಲತ್ತಿ) village. It can NOT be called falls since there is no fall! It is only a rivulet flowing over some rocks. Anyhow, had a wonderful bath in the water with Vishnu, who was enjoying it to the hilt (photos below).

The water in the falls was COLD – freezing is the word I am looking for. Vishnu, though, was unhindered by it and dipped into the water with gusto. The consequences of which, he’s facing now, in the form of cold & blocked nose! But his (& mine too) motto is – “give me water and I’ll take the cold too!” Both of us enjoyed the company of the water for sometime and came out and dried ourselves. Then, we climbed on some rocks to go above the falls and again, enjoyed the flowing water without getting in.

I & Vishnu enjoying Kallathgiri Falls!

The water is cold, isn't it?

 

Teacher admonishing his students with a Stick!

On the way to Kemmannugundi!

A beautiful view, a handsome man!

Beautiful view of the forest@Kemmannugundi

 Once done at the falls, moved on to Kemmannugundi enjoying the wonderful greenery on the way. Reached Kemmannugundi around 11:30 PM. Visited the park there wherein Vishnu played with gay abandon. Also, enjoyed the view of the Baba Budangiri hills. Took in the atmosphere for some time. Wanted to visit Z point and shanthi falls but found no place to park my car! It is best covered on foot with the car parked near the hotel. As we weren’t in the mood to trek for around an hour, what with my parents also travelling with us, we moved on.

Planned to visit Hebbe falls (13 KM from Kemmannugundi) but found out that cars can’t go till that point and did not find any alternate transport :(. There are jeeps available that take you there from Kemmannugundi but none were available when I inquired, even after waiting for 15-20 min. So, dropped the idea of Hebbe falls and headed straight towards Shivamogga after partaking of lunch on the way (pongal packed from Samrat Ashoka).

 

Destination 2: Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Sanctuary

Route: Shivamogga –> Tyavarekoppa (9 KM from Shivamogga on NH 206 towards Sagara/Jog Falls).

On the way to Shivamogga, after a prolonged and heated debate, decided to visit Tyavarekoppa, which has a lion & a tiger safari akin to Bannerughatta National Park. Reached Shivamogga around 15:30 hrs and headed straight towards Tyavarekoppa, which is 9 KM from Shivamogga on NH 206, on the way to Sagara/Jog Falls.

Reached Tyavarekoppa around 16:00, hunted 10 min for parking my car, found that it  was packed to the hilt with fellow tourists, waited 35 min to get into the safari van and found that it was all worth it! I have previously compared Tyavarekoppa to Bannerughatta. Though the comparision is apt in most aspects, it differs in 3 crucial aspects –

1. Bannerughatta is larger in size as compared to Tyavarekoppa

2. The number of animals and the range of them is less in Tyavarekoppa as compared to Bannerughatta

3. The main difference though, and this is the most important one, IMO, is that the Lions and Tigers of Tyavarekoppa are allowed to “roam freely”, yes, freely but ONLY within their enclosure.

Seeing the Lion and the Tiger circling the safari van gave me goosebumps. A semblance of freedom is the least that the majestic beasts need and that seems to have been provided in Tyavarekoppa. Consequently, they roam around freely even with prying human eyes upon them and display something close to boredom/disdain whenever a safari van comes along to break their monotony. It must be monotony indeed, since Lions/Tigers are the only creatures in their enclosure.

So, after watching the majestic beasts and some deer (Black Buck, Sambhar etc), headed back to Shivamogga for some rest!

Thus Day 2 was a trifle disappointing, because I could neither make it to Hebbe falls nor to Datta Peetha (3 hour journey from Kemmannugundi) but was lightened up in the end by the majestic beasts of Tyavarekoppa.

Before signing off, a few notes/suggestions/caveats:

1. Suggest you make your own arrangements for lunch if you are planning to visit Kemmannugundi. Best thing is to get it packed while having breakfast, like I did!

2. The road to Kemmannugundi is in a really bad shape at a few places after Kallathi village. Moreover, it is also narrow at some points. So, exercise due caution while driving.

DAY 1

Date: 25-Dec-2009

Time: 07:00 Hours 

Destination 1: Amruthapura (22 KM from Birur and 11.9 KM from Tarikere). 

Sights: Amrutheshwara Temple 

Route: Bangalore –> Nelamangala (via NICE Road) –> Tumkur –> Tiptur (NH 206/BH Road) –> Arsikere –> Kadur –> Birur –> Amruthapura (a total distance of 244 KM from Bangalore)

 

About Amruthapura (info gleaned from the NET): The Amrutesvara temple (Kannada: ಅಮೃತೇಶ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ) is located in Amruthapura, a town which is 67 km north of Chikmagalur town in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka state, India. Located 110 km from Hassan and 35 km from Shimoga on NH 206, Amruthapura is known for the splendid Amrutesvara temple (also spelt Amrutheshwara or Amrtesvara) . The temple was built in 1196 by Amrutheswara Dandanayaka (commander) under Hoysala King Veera Ballala II. Located in the close vicinity of the Bhadra River reservoir, a short distance from Tarikere town, this is an idyllic spot. 

 Left home at around 7 AM. Vishnu (my 3 year old son) was also ready to roll at such an early hour (for him)! Took the “NICE” road to Tumkur Road (NH4). Faced a lot of traffic on Tumkur Road, no doubt because of the holidays. Seemed like the whole of Bangalore had planned to desert Bangalore in search of more peaceful locations. Wish it were true of the working weekdays too. Took me 1 hour to get to the Tumkur Road Tollgate ( a distance of approx. 13 KM) from the NICE road junction. 

Reached Tumkur around 9 AM and looked around for a good hotel (restaurant) to quell the bout of hunger gripping me and failing to find any, drove till KB Cross on NH 206 or Bangalore Honnavara (BH) Road, as it is popularly called, before I could find a decent restaurant. The point to note is that I missed the sign proclaiming in BIG letters “Kamat Upachar” a few KMs before Tumkur and paid the price for it too. Anyway, had a decent breakfast at Matha Residency and continued my drive towards Amruthapura. 

Reached Amruthapura around 12:45 Hrs. The place is very well maintained by ASI and the drive seemed really worth it! The sculptures are quite exquisite – no doubt because the temple was built by the Hoysalas! A few photos sessions later (see below), moved on to Tarikere. 

 

Amrutheshwara Temple @ Amruthapura

Carvings@Amrutheshwara Temple

Amrutheshwara Temple Carvings

  

On my return journey from Amruthapura to Tarikere, I was involved in a funny incident, which I might as well relate here, if only to lessen my guilt. One can reach Tarikere from Amruthapura by 2 different roads. I took the one that Google maps professed to be the best one i.e., reaching Tarikere by joining SH57. On the way, a Maruti Omni driver stopped us and asked us for directions to Arsikere. I, being supremely confident, told him to take the next left! I later found out that I had erred in guiding the Maruti Omni driver and the correct route would have been taking the RIGHT and then the next left! God, please save me from the Omni driver’s curses!:) 

 

Destination 2: Somapura or Sompura

Sights: Prasanna Someshwara Temple, River Bhadra. 

Route: Tarikere –> Deviation to Bhadra Dam (on NH 206) –> Rangenahalli –> Sompura (around 20 KM from Tarikere) 

 

About Sompura: Somapura is around 20 kms west of Tarikere town.  The place in one of the Panchashekshetras situated on the banks of the river Bhadra.  There is a temple dedicated to Prasanna Someshwara it was built originally in the 12th century A.D. The Someshwara Linga in the Garbagriha has a special interesting feature. The main Shiva Linga in the Garbha Gudi (Sanctum Sanctorum) was made of pachhe kallu (ಪಚ್ಚೆ ಕಲ್ಲು Green Stone) which was stolen in 1974. Later, the Shringeri Swamiji – His Holiness Shri Bharati teertha – had a Shiva Linga made of saligrama in Kashi and got it installed in 1976 (I am not really sure about the years but the story is true!). 

Reached Tarikere around 14:15 Hrs and asked around for directions to visit Sompura. Found that it is a slight deviation on the way to Bhadra Dam. The place itself is quite peaceful because there are hardly any visitors. Moreover, the temple is nothing great to write about (espaceially after visiting the beautiful Amrutheshwara Temple). The Bhadra river flows very close to the temple and in fact, during the rainy season, the river water reaches upto the temple. Unfortuantely, could not visit the river since I offered the pujari (temple priest) a ride till Lakkavalli and he was in a hurry! 

 

Destination 3: Bhadra Dam

Sights: Bhadra dam (also called Lakkavalli Dam), Bhadra Wild life sanctuary (including a Jungle resort/lodge) 

Route: Sompura –> Lakkavalli –> Bhadra Dam (around 25 KM from Tarikere and around 8 KM from Sompura) 

Left Sompura around 15:15 Hrs, dropped the Pujari at Lakkavalli and continued till Bhadra Dam. The dam is really huge in size and there are many islands that are formed because of the dam which are inhabited by our winged friends! Bhadra wild life sanctuary is a purportedly a good place for bird watchers. Anyhow, the scenery was really awesome and below are some photos!  

 

Bhadra Dam

Another beautiful view of Bhadra Dam

Left Bhadra Dam around 16:30 Hrs and headed towards Shivamogga (Shimoga for the uninitiated). Though the distance ws only 28 KM, the road is in a BAD condition, to say the least. Around 7 KM of the road was full of stones and was in fact being relaid. Hopefully, it should be done before the monsoons else, God save your car. I took almost 1 & a half hour to cover this stretch.

The route I took to reach Shivamogga from Bhadra Dam. Avoid it if you can.

Stayed in Shivamogga for the night before proceeding to Kemmannugundi (the subject for my next blog)!

Hotel Information: Hotel Samrat Ashoka, BH (Bangalore-Honnavara) Road, Shimoga

Phone: 08182 – 404502,404511,278844

Notes:

1. If you are planning to visit all the places listed above on the same day, there is no decent hotel to have lunch at, after Tumkur or Kamat Upchar (before Tumkur on NH4). Better get the lunch packed! One good spot to have lunch would be on the banks of River Bhadra in Sompura or even in Bhadra Dam (if you can go hungry till that time).

2. Avoid the direct road from Bhadra Dam to Shivamogga. The other alternative is to come back to NH 206 (around 20 KM from Bhadra Dam) and then proceed towards Shivamogga (around 38 KM from NH 206).

Alternate route to Shivamogga from Bhadra Dam:

3. The accomodation at Hotel Samrat Ashoka is quite decent. The restaurant is pure vegetarian and the food served is excellent, especially the South Indian dishes – Masale dose, Idli, Vade, Pongal, Bisibele baath etc. Got my lunch packed for both the Kemmannugundi and Jog Falls trip there!

Long time, no blog! It’s been a reaaaallllly long time since I blogged. Well, there was nothing much happening to blog about. That is apart from a trip to Srirangapatna and an excursion to Bannerughatta National Park. After the initial excitement of owning a car and planning trips, the excitement, it appears, has petered out, or at least ebbed a trifle, because of various reasons!

Is it true? Nah. In fact, the excitement is like a dormant volcano ready to explode any time now! In fact, it’s exploding on 25th Dec 2009 with a big trip to Shimoga (Kemmannugundi), Jog Falls and Sirsi for a duration of  5 days. Will post details once I am back.

Check this blog, meanwhile, to find out about a lot of places in and around Sirsi, which helped me a lot in my planning. So, thanks Bharat. May you blog long and prosper.

On the car’s performance, there is nothing much to be said. It is quite smooth now what with the engine getting used to my style (whatever it may be) of driving. Also, while checking the car’s accessories before the trip, I found that the wheel nut spanner provided did NOT fit at all implying that if the car suffers a puncture, I won’t be able to change the tyre at all. I know, I should have checked earlier but somehow missed it. Be that as it may, I have requested for an exchange of the spanner, which is supposed to be delivered today.

To be on the safer side, I have purchased a spare spanner that fits the wheel nut and in fact, is much better than the original in terms of grip.

Here’s hoping that I have a safe and wonderful journey (feels odd that I am saying this to myself!).

Till next time, Godspeed.

It’s been 2 months and 19 days (80 days to be exact) since that fateful day (i.e., the day I got my Fabia delivered – pun intended). The going (apart from a few glitches mentioned earlier) has been pretty smooth. She has run 4500 + Kms and the engine is really getting into the groove now as is the clutch.

Engine & Clutch

The engine is on the way to its mellifluous best and in traffic signals, the engine noise is barely discernible. The clutch is getting smoother and I am also getting used to releasing it without touching the accelerator (this being my first car, one can understand my clumsiness on the clutch!).

Manoeuvrability

The acid test for any car is how easily navigable/manoeuvrable is the car when in traffic.

I would rate the Fabia in between 7 & 8 (on a scale of 10, 10 being the highest) in terms of manoeuvrability.

The rating is a trifle low because sometimes, the car doesn’t respond to throttle inputs as well as it should especially when overtaking. Of course, this is most probably because I change gears normally (i.e., at set speeds only: 20kmph – 3rd gear, 40 kmph – 4th gear, 60 kmph – 5th gear) and unlike others, do not accelerate say till 60 kmph in 3rd gear, which is typically done during overtaking (ನುಗ್ಗೋದು in local parlance – Kannada).

Mileage

Coming to the mileage part, I am again left disappointed since it has not gone beyond 12 kmpl in city driving conditions even after 4500+ Kms on the odometer. Of course, it is more during long drive, as is to be expected, but in the city traffic, it drinks petrol much more quickly than beer guzzlers their beer in Oktoberfest :(.

Do leave a comment to let me know if it is true of others too.

 

On Saturday last (I should perhaps say “last-to-last”), i.e., on 27-Jun-2009, I was out on my Skoda Fabia for my first full long trip.

We (my parents and I) planned on covering 3 places:

1. Hebbur (near Kunigal)

2. Goravanahalli (near Koratagere)

3. Devarayana Durga (near Goravanahalli)

 

The beginning

We left home around 7:15 AM and went straight to SLV (near Vidyapeetha circle) and had a sumptuous breakfast (mine consisting of 1 plate Idli vade and chowchow bath).

Left SLV at 7:45 AM and headed out straight to Mysore Road where we joined the NICE peripheral road to Tumkur Road. paid a toll fee of Rs 33. The NICE road is awesome, to say the least. One can easily do 120 kmph without any care/worries with no traffic to boot. Perhaps, that IS the reason why one can do 120 kmph!

Once I hit Tumkur Road, the road became quite narrow because of the construction of the 6 lane highway in progress and the speed was limited to 60-70 kmph.

Once at Nelamangala, Took a left towards Kunigal (or Hassan/Sakleshpura – NH 48), which is around 35 KM from Nelamangala. It is a single-lane highway, riddled with potholes, atleast in 2 stretches. So, the speed is limited to 60-70 kmph (only if you love your car. I’ve seen people doing 100 kmph on that road).

Upon reaching Kunigal, took a right towards Hebbur on SH 33 (which passes through Hebbur and continues till Tumkur). Travelled around 25 KM to reach Hebbur.

Note: Upon reaching Hebbur, take a right turn in to a small lane or ask for directions to the Hebbur kamakshi temple.

 

Hebbur

The temple at Hebbur is part of the Kodandaashrama. It is maintainted pretty well. The temple’s inner sanctum’s gopura (tower) is constructed in the shape of the Srichakra, the yantra of the tantrics. In fact, the poojari (priest) of the temple told us that devotees have had their wishes fulfilled by performing pooje (prayers) of the srichakra. So, believers of Srichakra can perform as the poojari says and reap its benifits.

Apart from the Srichakra pooje, one can perform a lot of sevas (services) including annadana (anna – cooked rice, dana – donation, in other words donating food to the needy) for a day, a month or an year.

Moreover, some of the family functions such as choula (first time hair removal of a baby boy) etc., can also be performed here. Will publish the phone number soon!

How to get there:

Bangalore –> Tumkur Road (NH 4) –> Nelamangala –> Kunigal (NH 48) –> Hebbur (SH 33)

 

Goravnahalli

At Hebbur, we stayed for around 20 minutes and then left Hebbur for Goravanahalli. To reach Goravanahalli from Hebbur, we have to continue from Hebbur on SH 33, reach Tumkur, take the Bypass road to Sira, then cross the NH 4 to reach SH 3 going towards Koratagere.

The SH 33 upto Tumkur is a good quality road with very huge and old banyan trees standing guard as one zooms past at 80 kmph. Because of the pretty nature of the road, we stopped on the way to take a few snaps.

Old Fellas standing guard
Old Fellas standing guard

After the brief interlude, we moved on and reached Tumkur whence we took a right at the first signal and then a left (at the next) to reach the Sira bypass road (which is in a pathetic state, by the way). Thence, we touched the NH 4 and cut right across it to reach SH 3 which leads to Koratagere.

The SH 3 is nothing to write home about but we can easily maintain around 70-80 kmph (I guess that makes it a beautiful road, by Indian standards :)).

Proceeded to Koratagere wherein we took the road to Goravanahalli from the centre of the town. This is not the ideal route to take and the road was one of the worst I’ve driven in my two months of driving. After a tortorous 2-3 km, wherein the speed was slower (around 20 kmph) than a bullock cart and the cycles on which school kids were going back home, the road eased out (only a bit) with newly laid tar (asphalt, for the uninitiated). After driving around 6 km of that road, we reached the actual road (as described below) where we should have come originally.

Note: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROAD AS IT IS IN A DILAPIDATED CONDITION. Upon reaching Koratagere, take a right turn at the first circle and proceed towards the outer periphery of Koratagere. Upon driving for 2-3 kms, you would reach a place called colony whence you should take a left turn towards Goravanahalli.

It was almost 1 PM by the time we reched Goravanahalli.  Once there, paid obeisance to Godess Mahalakshmi and prayed that our life be full of Lakshmi :).

How to Get there:

From Hebbur

Hebbur (SH 33) –> Tumkur –> Sira Bypass –> Koratagere (SH 3) –> Colony –> Goravanhalli

From Bangalore

Bangalore –> Nelamangala –> Dobbspet (take a right after Dobbspet towards Koratagere – SH 3) –>  Colony (SH 3) –> Goravanahalli

 

Devarayana Durga (DR Durga)

Left Goravanahalli around 1:25 PM to proceed towards Devarayana Durga. From Goravanahalli way to Bangalore (from Goravanahalli) which leads to Devarayana Durga. Proceed along The first 2-3 kms are mud roads with huge potholes and layers of mud standing up to scrape the underside of your car. It was pretty tough to negotiate this stretch. After 2-3 KM, sighted the first signs of tar (asphalted) road which was good for driving at around 60-70 kmph. Then reached a dead-end and wherein taking a left led us straight to DR Durga.

We first decided to visit the Yoga Narasimha temple at the top of the hill. Paid Rs. 10 for entry to Yoga Narasimha temple. We can climb upto 2-3 KMs up wherein we are supposed to park our vehicles and proceed on foot to climb up around 300 steps (that is the number of steps as told by the shopkeers when enquired) to reach the Yoga Narasimha temple. The climb to the temple itself is quite exhilarating and the view it offers of the countryside is breath taking.

My parents decided to return from the temple whilst I decided to scale the hill to reach the Mantapa at the top. The climb to the top of the hill is steep and one has to climb up the rocks at some places but when you finally reach the top, you’d think it is worth it!

I have missed mentioning about the weather. The weather was beautiful throughtout our journey and once I started the climb to the hilltop, the heavens opened up for a light shower. The hill was fully covered in fog and I couldn’t see where I was going. Luckily, I was at the top of the hill when it happened! Below are some of the pics that were taken during the time. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Foggy_DevarayanaDurga

Foggy_DevarayanaDurga

 

Myself @ the Mantapa (DR Durga Hill top)

Myself @ the Mantapa (DR Durga Hill top)

 

View_From_DRDurga_Hilltop

View_From_DRDurga_Hilltop

 

Yoga Narasimhaswamy Temple From Hilltop

Yoga Narasimhaswamy Temple From Hilltop

 

Moreover, below is the kind of terrain that one has to negotiate while climbing to the hill top.

Crouching_Tiger!

Crouching_Tiger!

DSC04167-1

 

After spending around 30 minutes at the top, I decided it was time to head back to rejoin my parents whose jangling nerves I had to soothe (becuase I had told them that I would be back in around 15 minutes while it took me more than an hour to return).

Once I returned, we had some good churmuri. southekayi (cucumber) with green chilli paste and a maavinakaayi (raw mango) with a mixture of salt and red chilli powder.

It was hearty enough to skip lunch and anyhow, it was already around 4 PM. So, we climbed down the hill and drove straight to the Bhoga Narasimha swamy temple which lies at the base of the hill.

After the darshana when I came out, I saw, much to my delight,  a person selling burnt muskina jola (corn). I had one with lots of khara (grren paste made of green chillies and coriander leaves) to suit the weather.

From DR Durga, Namada Chilume is only 4 KM and it is a beautiful location. It is atcually located at the base of a hill and the silence and the sheer beauty of the place takes your breath away. We stayed there for around half an hour and enjoyed its beauty.

Note: There is a Guest House at Namada Chilume wherein once can stay. Of course, one needs to book in advance at the Forest Office (either in Tumkur or in Bangalore). The only catch being that one would need to bring one’s own groceries and even stove to cook as nothing is available there and no eataries around too (unless you would want to dine @ Tumkur – around 12 KM from Namada Chilume).

 

How to get there:

From Goravanahalli

Goravanhalli –> Colony (near Koratagere) –> Proceed towards Bangalore –> Devarayana Durga

From Bangalore

Bangalore –> Nelamangala –> Dobbspet –> Kyathsandra (take a right there towards Siddganga) –> Siddganga Matha –> Deverayana Durga

 

The Endgame

From Namada Chilume we left at around 4:30 PM and continued towards Tumkur Via Siddganga Matha and join NH 4 at Kyathsandra. The road in this stretch is beautiful and scenic. Enjoyed the drive and the weather!

From NH 4, it was back to Nelamangala via Dobbspet and from thence to Mysore Road Via the Nice Road and back home @ 6:45 PM in the evening.

 

Few Tips

1. Carry your own food since there are no eataries on the way or in the places visited.

2. Carry some first aid especially while climbing the hill top at DR Durga.

3. Wear rubber soled shoes (and not slippers that I wore) while climbing the hill top since the rocks are quite slippery when wet.

4. When the DR Durga hilltop is covered in fog, DO NOT VENTURE any where near the edges of the rocks since the visibility is quite poor (in fact, one can’t quite see the edges and hence the caution).

5. Avoid the Koratagere –> Goravanahalli route and always take the Koratagere –> Colony (towards Madhugiri)–> Goravanahalli.

 

Before I sign off, I am happy to note that my Skoda Fabia took all kinds of roads in its stride and mileage wise, it was up to the mark giving me 13.3 kmpl (this mileage calculation also includes city driving and hence, the low figure).

Hope you have enjoyed this lenghty (and perhaps boring) travelogue as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It’s been almost 2 months (well, 1 month and 23 days to be precise) since I bought my Fabia and it’s doing wonderfully well.

What worries me though is the mileage part of it :(. I’ve done more than 3000 KM on it till now and whenever I measure the mileage (which, to be candid, has been quite infrequent) it never seems to go beyond 12 kmpl. Mind you, that I have NOT measure the mileage whenever I have taken it out for long drives (an unpardonable sin for the mileage obssessed, but there you go – mea culpa).

I have promised myself that I would watch the trip meter like a hawk, the next time I go on a long drive.

Apart from the mileage front, everything looks spick and span (I hope it stays that way too)!

My new Skoda Fabia is about 1 month and 9 days old (I got it delivered on the 2nd of May 2009) and I’m loving it.

Some specs before I proceed further to review the car (based on its performance in the past 1 month):

Model ==> Skoda Fabia Classic

Engine Type ==> 1.2 L MPI (Petrol)

Dealer ==> TAFE Access Ltd., Bangalore

My beaut Fabia!

My beaut Fabia!

Apart from a few glitches here and there, I’ve had a good ride so far. I’ll come to the glitches soon but would like to highlight the good bits first, just so that I sound a positive note!

Here are the pros:

1. The clutch – damn powerful! Only caveat is that you’ve got to practice the release quite well else, there is a danger of stalling.

2. The design and the space inside give it a feel of a sedan rather than a hatchback.

3. The pedals were pretty smooth for a new car even during the initial few days (I presume the same would be true for any high end hatchback like Swift).

4. The Boot Space – it can easily fit a BIG suitcase along with some 2-3 small airbags!

The boot space and the leg space were precisely the reason that I went for the Fabia in the first place.

Now to the cons (glitches):

1. NEVER EVER PRESS THE CLUTCH AND THE ACCELERATOR AT THE SAME TIME.

I’ve mentioned this in BOLD letters coz I did it (as one would normally do for a Santro/Indica in an steep incline) and burnt the rubber/asbestos lining on the clutch plate! 😦

Per the service centre – “Fabia is unlike other cars in that the clutch itself is powerful enough to pull the vehicle even in steep inclines and we need not use the accelerator along with the clutch in those situations.”

As I said earlier, the clutch is pretty powerful and I now can easily understand the service centre’s viewpoint (of course, only after burning my clutch plate lining).

2. The pickup when the A/c is on was not too good. I got this corrected with a visit to the service centre resulting in cleaning of the air filter, which got the pickup problem resolved.

3. After reading a lot of negative reviews on Skoda after sales service (also called ASS :)), I was quite apprehensive about it. The first visit also did not help mitigate my apprehension – they took 3 days to tell me that there is nothing wrong with my clutch plate (after I burnt the rubber/asbestos lining).

My second visit for checking the pickup when the a/c is switched on, though, was quite positive. They took only 1 day to get the pickup fixed (by cleaning the air filter). They also checked with me a couple of days later if I’d had any problems with their service.

So, all in all, I’d wait for some more time before judging the after sales service.