I always wanted to travel to Belagavi by road during the daytime, especially by state-owned KSRTC buses. KSRTC operates intercity bus services within Karnataka and outside Karnataka with a wide selection of popular bus routes. KSRTC operates buses on several services through Non-air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses. The non-air-conditioned services include Karnataka Sarige buses(ordinary service) and Rajahamsa Executive (Special service). These services cater to popular towns and cities within and outside Karnataka state. The services are popular in demand especially connecting to smaller towns within the interior Karnataka.
KSRTC also offers vibrant air-conditioned bus services. These services are offered by multi-axle air-conditioned buses popularly known as Airawata buses. KSRTC has further branded its various air-conditioned multi-axle services like Airwata Club Class, Airawata Gold Class, Airawata Diamond Class, and Ambari sleeper. All the services offer comfortable seating, (except Ambari sleeper service), ample leg space, bottle holder, newspaper rack, push-back seats, and a reading lamp. Also, the air-conditioned services offered by North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) is branded as Corona Air-conditioned sleeper and connected to various important cities and towns with and outside Karnataka state. NWKRTC is another arm of the KSRTC organization catering specifically to the North Karnataka regions with headquarters based in Hubballi, Dharwad district.
My journey began on the last weekend of February 2021. I had booked the tickets online a week earlier and specifically chosen front row seats behind the driving crew to get a glimpse of road travel during the day, especially the majestic view of National Highway 48. I got up early on the d-day and had a sumptuous breakfast consisting of Idly ( a pancake) prepared by my mother. After sipping a freshly brewed homemade coffee, I left my home at 8 am on my Jupitor vehicle. The scheduled departure of the bus was from Kempegowda Bus Stand at 09.30 am
Arriving at the Bus Stand
I arrived at the bus stand at around 8.30 am and parked my Jupitor in the designated parking stand. After parking the vehicle I headed to terminal 1 platform 14 from the designated parking lot of the bus. As I arrived the bus was making its way to the parking bay at 8.40 am. The operating bus was Airawat Gold Class service from Bengaluru to Belagavi via Hubballi. The bus operated specifically as a non-stop service with the only stop at Hubballi KSRTC bus stand.
The crew greeted me with a smile and my ticket PNR was checked and I was allotted the front seat row as per the PNR details. The front seat row had a majestic view of the outside world with a clean windshield. The interior of the bus was very basic with the facility to hold a water bottle, a newspaper rack, a mobile charging point that was not functional, a comfortable push back seat, an air-conditioning vent, and a reading lamp. As soon as I settled in my seat, I got an SMS confirmation on my cellphone with the travel details as well as the contact number of the crew. This is a new initiative of KSRTC whereby it informs the passengers of the crew details over the cell phone to avail any help whenever necessary during the journey.
The crew had an intention to fill up all the vacant seats and were expecting more crowd owing to a weekend holiday. The seat began to fill up and nearly 15-20 passengers boarded the bus. After making sufficient arrangements in the bus, the crew headed to get a sign-off from the traffic inspector to get permission for departure. KSRTC buses are highly known for their punctuality especially when departing from an originating point. The buses also arrive on-time at the destination as per the schedule with the exception of traffic snarls enroute.
The Journey begins
The dream of traveling in the daytime to Belagavi started on time at 09.30 am from Bengaluru's Kempegowda Bus Stand. The bus made its way onto the main road from Terminal 1 while slowly negotiating the narrow pathway. The bus operating to Belagavi has pick-up points at Navarang Theatre-Yeswantpura-Gorgunteplaya and Jalahalli Cross. Only one passenger boarded from Gorgunteplaya bus stop and the bus smoothly sailed through the never-ending traffic snarls on Tumakuru road.
Soon we reached the first toll plaza located at Nelamangala. All the vehicles must now be equipped with RFIF based Fast-tags mounted on the windshields of the vehicles. The rule was mandatory as set out by the Hon'ble Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. With the RFID tags, the need to initiate cash-based transactions was not necessary at the toll plazas. Instead, the RFID data would be captured by the digital readers which will then deduct the amount from the account directly from the bank. Hence the hassle of waiting in the long queues now has ended owing to the speeding of queue lanes at toll plazas. Our bus had a smooth run at the toll plaza with the help of an RFID tag mounted in the center portion of the windshield.
The traffic on the weekend was moderate. The bus sped with a normal speed limit of 60 km with the heavy traffic and switched to 80 km when the traffic was free. This was my first journey to Belagavi since 2007 and this was my first day-time journey by road too. I was thrilled with the joy of traveling in an air-conditioned bus sitting in the front row and enjoying the serene beauty of Karnataka's countryside. The bus followed highway number 48 to reach Belagavi. The highway route passes through Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davanagere-Harihara-Haveri-Hubballli-Dharwad-Bagewadi and Kittur towns. All along the way the bus crosses the by-pass lane and does not go to the cities as this was a non-stop service. The bus route otherwise has a commercial stop only at Hubballi KSRTC bus stand.
Soon it was time for lunch at around 2.30 pm. The crew stopped the bus on the outskirts of Chalakeri town before Haveri city. The bus made a brief rest-stop for about 20 minutes. I had my sumptuous lunch at the rest-stop and headed back to the bus. The travel on the route was very smooth with the exception of six-lane highway repair after Chitradurga town.
Arriving at Hubballi-
The bus soon arrived at Hubballi KSRTC bus stand, the only stop en route to Belagavi. Around 10 passengers disembarked at Hubballi and again the bus filled the passengers heading to Belagavi. The bus left Hubballi at 5 pm. The city of Hubballi witnessed moderate traffic and the bus made its way to reach the national highway within a span of 20 minutes.
The KSRTC bus stand had otherwise plenty of outbound buses to North Karnataka and South Karnataka. I was able to witness buses parked in the bus bay which were headed to Mumbai, Gadag, Kolhapur, and Shivamogga. However, there was much less crowd at the bus stand owing to a weekend holiday.
The final destination at Belagavi
The route to Belagavi from Hubballi passed through Hubballi Airport on Gokul Road, Dharwad, Kittur, and Bagewadi. One could also spot few inter-city buses operating between Hubballi and Dharwad by the blue-colored 'Chigari' bus service. Chigari is the brand name for the shuttle services operated between Hubballi and Dharwad managed by HDBRTS and operated by NWKRTC buses and is a popular mode of transport between the twin cities.
Our bus made its way to national highway 48 yet again. The traffic was high this time with the increased presence of multi-axled trucks. As also some section of Hubballi-Dharwad-Belagavi path in the highway is only a two-lane road. This resulted in the slower movement of traffic and hence our bus made a slow headway on the road. One could also witness the cool sunset along the way through the wide and clear windshield.
Soon my destination arrived and some of the passengers disembarked at Fort complex, in Belagavi city. Within few minutes my destination arrived at 7 pm, thirty minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival at 19.30 hours. All the passengers including myself disembarked with a sense of joy and contentment of traveling in a daytime air-conditioned service to Belagavi from Bengaluru. If an opportunity arises I will also undertake yet another day-time journey to Belagavi, perhaps if possible in the superior Airwata Club Class multi-axle service, if made available.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.