India is infamous for its shabby roads but at the same time, there are many fantastic driving roads spread through the length and width of our beautiful country. OVERDRIVE has been fortunate enough to experience quite a few of these roads, and we want to share the joy with a weekly feature of a fantastic road that you should aspire to experience someday.
This week, we will talk about the Chorla ghats – which happens to be one of the best ways to reach Goa from the Northern side, if twisties are your thing. The most common routes to Goa from the North are the scenic NH17 that follows the western coastal route, or the NH4 which is the quicker arrow-straight highway that passes alongside Pune and Kolhaphur. If you take the latter, then the popular route beyond Kolhapur is via the Amboli ghats. Instead, carry on further on NH4, enter Belgaum city and map your way to SH31. After passing through a few crowded markets, followed by small villages that sell fresh farm produce, you will get the first hint of the ghats with a long sweeping left hander. Soon after you will pass a really narrow crooked road that passes through a thicket at the end of which is a fuel station. This is the only refuel point in the vicinity post after which starts the lovely, quick and flowing Chorla ghats.
The road gets its name from the most prominent village on its map – Chorla. The twisty road consists of uphill and downhill sections and spans over 50km. The surface is flawless for most of the distance, since the construction of the road was finished only a few years back. Most of the road comprises of tight turns and longish straights. It is only towards the final downhill run that you will encounter tight hairpins. Hit the road during sunset and you will be treated to some scenic views of the Gululem valley and the Anjunem lake. Apart from a couple of resorts, two villages and a police check point, there is hardly any civilisation in sight. But that also means that most motorists (including trucks) on this road are belting it irrespective of the speed limits or tight blinders – so caution is highly advised.