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 is a road we use frequently but never ceases to put a smile on our faces. The stretch in particular is the one from Kolhapur to Belagavi. The road is part of the NH4 that connects Mumbai to Bengaluru and is one of the best stretches of four Lane highway in India. Built by Punj Lloyd, this stretch is mostly tarmac if you're heading towards Bengaluru but is largely concrete on the other side heading towards Mumbai. What makes this road special is the Kong straight sections over undulating countryside that allow you to see kilometres down the road. The median has well maintened plants that look pretty in the day and shield your eyes from glare at night. Also, this is one of the only stretches of highway you'll come across in India with multiple lay-bys constructed in the side of the road that allow you to pull over safely and use the toilet.
Well designed lay-bys with a toilet are something not seen very often in India
Shortly after the town of Kolhapur is the Nipani ghat, a short but exciting three lane Road. At the top, you could turn-off for Goa via Sawantwadi or keep going straight for Belagavi. The road being this to Belagavi is super smooth and green on both sides. It's an enjoyably tranquil drive.
The Nipani ghat is a short but exciting six lane road
If you find yourself on this road, make sure to pass Kolhapur by lunch time. Kolhapuri food is excellent and absolutely worth a stop. There are plenty of road side eateries but it's worth turning off the road and heading to either Parakh or Opal for some awesome non vegetarian fare. Both are just about ten minutes off the highway and easy to get to using Google maps.