August 21, 2015

Jazz One : Shivanasamudra and Talakad

Took my Jazz on its first long spin to Shivanasamudra and Talakad. Having visited these regions way back in 2009, it was a trip down memory lanes. Was accompanied by my wife and my parents on this day trip, but unfortunately the falls were still not in their full glory, thanks to deficit monsoons this year. There are 2 routes to this area from Bangalore , one via Kanakpura (NH 209) and the other one via Maddur (SH 17). Both these routes have their own pros and cons. The route via Kanakpura is a good 2 lane road with minimal traffic but one doesn't have access to good eateries like those available in Mysore road. Hence it was decided to take Maddur route in the morning and while returning take the Kanakpura route in order to avoid the Sunday evening Mysore-Bangalore maddening traffic rush.

Selfie @ Barachukki
The morning drive was good till Maddur, within which we had our breakfast and packed our lunch. After Maddur the route to Malavalli is kinda ok with a lot of construction activity and road widening going on. At Malavalli we joined the Kanakpura National highway and after this it was a smooth drive. Normally at many instances a person who doesnt know a local language would face some difficulties in navigating through an area, but in my case it was the exact opposite !!!!. At one place we say a huge kannada board showing a left turn towards "Shimsha (shortform of Shivanasamudra)" and without thinking much we took the left turn and within no time we were lost :P. This route was actually the access road to the "Shimsha" Hydroelectric plant (the oldest in Asia !!!) and not towards "Shimsha" falls. Hence after riding through a lot of deserted and restricted roads (but scenic :) ) we finally managed to join the main road to the falls without any untoward incident.

The first falls one encounters from Bangalore is the Gaganchukki falls. In this particular falls one just gets a bird eyes view of the falls and nothing else. From Gaganchukki falls we came back to the main road and after travelling 10-15 kms on this picture-some road running along the river Cauvery, we took a left towards Barachukki falls which is synonymous with the "fun" falls since its in here one can get down to water. Initially we had a coracle ride wherein one is taken till the mouth of the falls and gets lightly drenched with the suspended water particles in the air. But the major disappointment was that they have cordoned off the area where one can directly walk to base of the falls and get drenched. That was one of the highlights of our previous trip, but still anyhow we still managed to play in the water and had a good time.

From Barachukki falls our next destination was Talakad. For this one has to come back to the main road (NH209) and then take a left which is clearly marked by the tourism department. Overall the roads everywhere were great and not a pain point unlike the experience the previous time around. We parked our car by the riverside and were approached by a guide who said that he would guide us to all the temple attractions of the place. This guided tour was very good, recommended and lasted for an hour or so. The guide clearly demarcated the facts from fiction and this impressed me the most since many guides elsewhere try to "masalafy" their stories in order to attract more customers.  The pancha linga temples are Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara , Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temple.

After the interesting guided tour it was time to travel back to Bangalore. There was another direct route from Talakad to Malavalli instead of taking the route we had taken earlier in the day to visit the falls. The drive back was eventless and the Kanakpura road even though was a 2 lane was great to drive in. Finally reached home at around 8.30 pm. Overall a great first drive experience on our new Honda Jazz.

Nandi Statue : Observe the torso in shape of a bulls face
Total Travelled Distance >  310 kms.

August 20, 2015

How To Buy A Car ????

Finally I got my very own car !!!!. This blog is primarily a description of my experience in short-listing and buying a car.  The first thing any prospective buyer must decide on is the budget one is willing to spend on a car. Remember that buying a car is not an investment and based on ones need , the budget should be set. Once that is done the next step is to list out the cars which comes within that budget and something which is intuitively pleasing to the owner. In that aspect I had narrowed down to 3 cars. Hyundai Elite i20, Volkswagen Polo and Honda Jazz. Frankly speaking earlier I had shortlisted only i20 and Polo, since during this initial process Jazz was yet to be released in the market. But having seen the great reviews in the abroad market decided to postpone my decision till July 8th when the car was to be launched in India. Hence on the release day and after the test drive Jazz just swooped down and vanquished all its opponents !!!!.

Apart from the below process of shortlisting a car, another factor which steered my decision towards buying the Jazz is that Elite i20 off late has become very common and even after buying my Jazz, I have never come face to face with another Jazz (apart from test drive cars) on the road making it unique and exclusive, atleast for the time being.

Another major aspect which went against elite i20 is that in the mid variant dual airbags are not present , and for me the safety is one of the top priorities. The other determinant which went against i20 was the huge waiting period for the car delivery, apparently 3 whole months (Jazz was delivered to me in 1 week :P). On the other side the factors which went against Polo was the cost of maintenance and spare parts. Hence Jazz emerged the winner , even-though it might not be an undisputed winner in any of the individual evaluation criteria, it was a winner overall, when all these criteria are put together. In summary it was the jack-of-all-trades :P.

The steps one must follow when buying a car (This is not 100% original, I read other blogs too before buying a car :P )

1. Decide on Total Budget
2. Device whether petrol or diesel. Rule of thumb is if driving more than 1500 km/month go for diesel.
3. Shortlisting the final consideration list.
4. Test drive the cars
5. Create a quantitative table with parameters and weightage given according to ones preference.
6. Winner of this table is the BEST CAR FOR YOU.

Below is the sample weightage chart I had created for my choice.

Jazz SV  Polo Comfortline Elite i20 Sports
Looks exterior (25) 20 16 22
Looks interior (5) 4 4 4
Safety (15) 15 15 11
Price + ownership cost (15) 12 12 13
Waiting period (5) 5 4 2
Power/Performance (10) 7 6 7
Mileage (5) 5 3 5
Ease of handling (10) 9 8 9
Interior space/headroom/rear legroom etc (10) 10 7 8
Total 87/100 75/100 81/100

Once the car has been selected these are the follow up steps:

1. Pay a token advance and book the car.
2. Do a pre-delivery-inspection of the car, once a car has been allocated to you by the showroom. Bcoz once the car has been registered in your name there is pretty much nothing which can be done to undo it.
3. Simultaneously process the loan if planning to apply. Banks now provide loans for upto 85% of onroad price or 100% of ex-showroom price. 
4. Once loan is processed the paperwork from the showroom will be completed and you are good to take delivery of the car. 
5. You would receive the registration smart card in mail within 40 days of registration.

This entire process right from the budget allocation till the car delivery took around 1.5 months and went like a breeze for us thanks to the showroom guys. 
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