Well, happy to be back to the blogging days. I'll try to give you a glimpse of the experience I had for one week, during my insane road trip from Kerala all the way to New Delhi, in my Maruthi Zen LX.
Day 1 (15th Oct,'09)
The day started at 5.30AM, and the car left Trichur, Kerala by 8.00AM. First day's target was to reach Bangalore by dusk. The roads allowed us to keep a consistent 60-80km/h during the early hours, and as planned we would not raise to the triple figures on our journey for the sake of my 10yr old companion. We reached Salem by noon and had lunch from a highway 'kerala restaurant'. Since the roads in Tamil Nadu were excellent, we could cover good distance in less time and managed to reach Bangalore city by 7.00pm, and then got stuck in traffic mayhem. Some luck helped and a timely left turn from the highway helped me find a decent place for stay at Madivala. The trip meter read 504km.
Bangalore City is a likable place except for its traffic and under construction roads. The city is quite well structured and public are also quite literate and well mannered.
Our destination for the day was Hyderabad, which was 570km away. The route was clear- to take the NH3 via Kurnool. According to our plan, this would be the longest single day route on our trip. We started off by 7.15am And the majority of the roads were excellent too. About 120km from Bangalore and the last 200km from Kurnool to Hyderabad are superior 4-lane expressways and the rest of it being under construction. The only thing which would haunt you is the lack of civilization along this path. Its like people went to these places only to build roads and never saw that place again. Many sections are deserted and sometimes you may not find markers for more than 50km which might be quite awkward at times, mind you you are travelling on a National Highway.
We could reach Hyderabad city outskirts by 7pm. We headed towards Nampally, where we found a decent place for stay. At Hyd, people on their two wheelers were absolutely crazy. Except for Hyderabad city, traffic was quite unregulated in other parts . People understood Hindi quite well and that was enough. :)
Day started at 7.15AM, and we left Hyderabad city by around 8.45. Destination Nagpur. This was one of the worst sections of the entire journey. Most of the sections of NH7 were under construction and at some places roads literally disappeared, with only some heavy trucks and our car travelling on pure gravel and mud. Nevertheless, we managed to cover a good 490km by dusk. Vinit, my Xth classmate, arranged stay at his place and i was blessed to be a part of Aarti n pooja for Diwali. Had some really nice Dal-rice and sweets and wished him Happy B'day the next day as well. !! Really that was divine intervention- that his b'day and diwali happened to be on consecutive days and i could be a part of both.....
Next day, we left nagpur by 9AM and headed towards Bhopal.
The roads were average-above average kind of. Although not convincing most of the time, the whole landscape and meadows through which the roads shaped up enthralled me. At most of the places you would find people/ vehicles or something which would make you feel a part this world. Mind the cattle/livestock which are on the roads/sides. They have equal priority when it comes to sharing roads.
Since the distance was less, there was no need to rush. But the latter part of the section was a mix of average-below average-poor roads. Anyone of these could pop up any minute.
After reaching Bhopal by 6pm, we headed straight towards Bhopal railway station, where we found a decent place for stay right in front of the station. The day ended with some good roti-sabji from a near by restaurant. Distance covered was 350km
Mission Gwalior (ga-va-liyar , thats how many people pronounced it!!). We hit the roads by 9.00AM and could cover good distance in short time. The roads were above average when it came to quality and width wise it was 2-lane. The cool thing was the roads were accompanied with rich flora and fauna alongside them. This made the day's trip pretty pleasant. Gwalior town was reached in 9 hours and I halted at a hotel near railway station. Total distance covered was 420km.
I really wished to have a map of Delhi city, but I was wandering through the Gwalior streets in vain, as no cafe would be open after 7pm it seems. People on two wheelers were absolutely insane, and I witnessed many bikers riding on a half a foot high footpath just as if they would do it anywhere else.
After my unsuccessful search for a cyber cafe, I finally got to my bed by 10.pm
Day 6:( Grand Finale ) 20/10/09
Destination : New Delhi
Oh gosh. It was an awesome feeling. I would be making it to the capital city, which would mark the successful end of a six day marathon. We set off by 9 AM and our plan was to visit the Taj on our way. The roads were beautiful and except for some very short stretches of lame patches, we could keep a consistent 80kays per hour and this enabled us to reach Agra by around 12.00Noon. We visited the Taj Mahal ( how marvelous she is... !) and left Agra by 3.00PM, with only another 200 more kms to make. The roads were pretty excellent but for some traffic.
By 6.30Pm, we reached the outskirts of Faridabad.
From there onwards, the journey was filled with so much of luck and chance that I really doubted divine intervention for the second time. My target was to reach the South Extension of AIIMS, from where dad would accompany us. Though it took us some time to reach there, the route we took to reach there still remains a mystery. So many left turns and right turns, majestic fly-overs, oh god this metro city really took a toll on us for some time.
From there, we took the outer ring road towards Wazirpur, from which we diverted towards Rohini, which was my final destination.
And home by 9.30PM.
Was a relieved person.
'We' mentioned above includes me, my CD player, my buddy Maruti Zen LX . And quite strictly so. Thank you.
Start Point : Trichur, Kerala
End Point : New Delhi, Delhi
Total Distance covered :2700+ km
1. Trichur- Palghat - Coimbatore - Salem -Bangalore(NH47, NH7 )
2. Bangalore- Anantpur - Kurnool - Hyderabad (NH7)
3. Hyderabad - Nirmal - Adilabad - Nagpur (NH7)
4. Nagpur -Pandurna -Beitul - Itarsi - Hoshangabad -Bhopal (NH69)
5.Bhopal - Narsingharh- Biaora - Guna- Shivpuri- Gwalior(NH 3)
6. Gwalior- Agra- Mathura- New Delhi(NH 2)
Total fuel : Rs 9000+ (Mileage 15)
Total toll : Rs 465
Total food + stay : ( depends on no. of persons and taste , any way per day a min 600)
Places of Stay :
Bangalore : Hotel Mass Residency, Madivala( its a good one)
Hyderabad : Hotel Imperial, Nampally( You can find loads of hotels at Nampally)
Bhopal : Hotel Pukhraj, Opp. Habib Ganj Railway Station
Gwalior : Hotel Mascot, Near overbridge near railway station
Advice 1. Make sure you have enough no. of good songs / cds/ dvds. AC is a must.
Advice 2. Auto/ taxi drivers are a good source of information. Mind them.
Advice 3. Best place to find a stay should be near the railway station !