Drive to the Sahyadris

Background:
The following trip reports chronicle our drive from Noida to the Sahyadris.
Originally, our plan was to take a typical 7-10 days vacation and visit the Sahyadris. But during the planning phase, we kept adding destinations and soon realized that it would take longer to cover all the sites on our wish list.
So, our plan evolved into a full blown Noida – Kerala – Noida road trip that covered all the major forests along the way.
Preparation:
To prepare for this road trip, we pored over numerous trip reports and research papers and shortlisted our destinations. Once the destinations were finalized, we contacted hotels, home-stays and local guides to gather location specific information.
In parallel, we prepared a to-pack list and got our car ready for the adventure.
During the entire planning phase, our family kept supporting and motivating us while our birding friends chipped in with valuable information on birding sites.
By the end of the preparation phase, we had a detailed day-by-day itinerary in place along with a list of target species, accommodation options and back-up plans.
The Drive:
We had an unforgettable experience driving across India and got an opportunity to witness the varied landscapes that make the Indian subcontinent so unique. Our drive spanned across the Semi-arid and desert regions of Rajasthan to the parched land of Kutch to the coasts and finally opening up to the dense forests of the Sahyadris.
The road trip also gave us an opportunity to relish on the delicious cuisine of the land while giving us a glimpse into the many cultures and beliefs of people.


Wildlife sighting was equally rewarding and we managed to spot several birds and mammals along the way.
Birds:
Critically Endangered (CR): White-rumped Vulture, Sociable Lapwing, Forest Owlet


Endangered (EN): Lesser Florican, Black-chinned Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Blue Robin, White-bellied Blue Robin


Vulnerable (VU): Houbara Bustard, Indian Skimmer, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White-naped Tit, Yellow-throated Bulbul, White-browed Bushchat, Kashmir Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit


Near Threatened (NT): Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Kerala Laughingthrush, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher


Other Sahyadri Endemics: Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White-bellied Treepie, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Barbet, Malabar Lark, Flame-throated Bulbul, Nilgiri Thrush, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Malabar Woodshrike, Malabar Starling


Mammals:
Primates: Bonnet Macaque, Lion-tailed Macaque (EN), Nilgiri Langur (VU), South-western Langur (VU), South-eastern Langur (NT)


Even-toed Ungulates: Gaur (VU), Nilgiri Tahr (EN)


Carnivores: Asiatic Wildcat, Jungle Cat, Mongoose, Striped Hyena (NT), Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Nilgiri Marten (VU)


Rodents: Indian Giant Squirrel (NT), Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Dusky-striped Squirrel (VU)


Trip Statistics:
Kilometers driven = 10,864 km
Days = 53 days
Driving Hours = 240 Hrs
States/UT covered = 11
Average stay cost per day (inc. meals) = Rs. 2274.10
Day-wise Account:


Day 1: Noida – Sariska, 235 km, 4 Hrs
Day 2: Sariska – Kumbhalgarh, 449 km, 7 Hrs
Day 3: Trekking the Aravalis
Day 4: Kumbhalgarh – LRK, 379 km, 7 Hrs
Day 5: Bajana and around
Day 6: Kharaghoda area
Day 7: LRK – Lodai, 268 km, 5 Hrs
Day 8: Banni Grassland
Day 9: Lodai – Moti Virani, 79 km, 2 Hrs
Day 10: Moti Virani and around
Day 11: Moti Virani – Jamnagar, 316 km, 6 Hrs
Day 12: Narara Marine National Park
Day 13: INS Valsura and Narara Marine National Park
Day 14: Jamnagar – Bhavnagar, 273 km, 6 Hrs
Day 15: Bhavnagar – Velavadar, 49 km, 1 Hr
Day 16: Velavadar – Valsad, 390 km, 8 Hr
Day 17: Valsad – Goa, 736 km, 13 Hr
Day 18: Tambdi Surla and around
Day 19: Bondla and Tambdi Surla
Day 20: Bondla and Tambdi Surla
Day 21: Castlerock
Day 22: Bondla
Day 23: Surla – Cortalim – Cotigao
Day 24: Cotigao and around
Day 25: Cotigao – Anshi, 82 km, 2 Hrs
Day 26: Anshi – Kulgi, 56 km, 3 Hrs
Day 27: Dandeli Timber Depot
Day 28: Kulgi – Kalasa, 349 km, 8 Hrs
Day 29: Kalasa – Thirunelly, 278 km, 8 Hrs
Day 30: Thirunelly and around
Day 31: Thirunelly – Kotagiri, 206 km, 7 Hrs
Day 32: Kotagiri and around
Day 33: Kotagiri and around
Day 34: Kotagiri – Masinagudi, 66 km, 2 Hrs
Day 35: Masinagudi and around
Day 36: Masinagudi – Thattekad, 276 km, 8 Hrs
Day 37: Thattekad and around
Day 38: Thattekad and around
Day 39: Thattekad – Munnar, 83 km, 2 Hrs
Day 40: Pampadum Shola National Park
Day 41: Munnar – Kumily, 90 km, 3 Hrs
Day 42: Periyar Tiger Reserve
Day 43: Kumily – Marayoor, 150 km, 4 Hrs
Day 44: Marayoor – Valparai – Coimbatore, 215 km, 8 Hrs
Day 45: Coimbatore – Ooty – Masinagudi – Thirunelly, 293 km, 10 Hrs
Day 46: Thirunelly – Udupi, 305 km, 7 Hrs
Day 47: Udupi
Day 48: Udupi – Goa, 304 km, 6 Hrs
Day 49: Goa – Pune, 489 km, 8 Hrs
Day 50: Pune – Tansa – Jalgaon, 574 km, 14 Hrs
Day 51: Jalgaon – Semadoh, 227 km, 4 Hrs
Day 52: Semadoh – Sagar, 551 km, 10 Hrs
Day 53: Sagar – Noida, 652 km, 9 Hrs