Tagged: Long driving holidays

Road Trip to North East from Chennai – Part VII (Dec ’16)

Route Taken: Guwahati – Nalbari – Bongaigaon – Alipurduar – Coronation Bridge – Khalijora – Melli (Sikkim) – Tista Bazzar – Sixth Mile – Darjeeling

As we saved a day while coming, we wanted to take a chance to do to either PURI/KONARK or my personal favorite DARJEELING and we verified the possibilities with Adithya, who also seemed so encouraging all the way from Day 1. He gave us the route plan and possibilities and time limitations in case we go for it. All of us agreed.

We ensured to make it fast to Darjeeling, as we knew it would be up the hill and that we cannot move fast after sunset. So, we finished our breakfast at the hotel itself (not to miss a mark about the tastiest complimentary breakfast we had, in fact even the bread sandwich tasted too good over the poori subji, I had my tastiest tea, while the men opted for fresh juice)

The route was all scenic all the way till Coronation Bridge, saw the beautiful, huge, mesmerizing beauty of the Teesta river. We kept moving, and sudden plan change to see if SIKKIM could be possible (Thanks for tempting us enough all the way Adithya). Sikkim came with a price of 20+km one way in traffic and so we requested for any other option. Adithya suggested us to just take alternate route via Triveni Sangamam to touch the border and come back, that would just be a 2+km detour. We agreed and did.

My God, while going we saw Triveni Sangamam but didn’t stop as we didn’t want to click pics on Sikkim border post sunset, as it gets too dark. I was counting every minute to not miss both, and yes we did them both! Sikkim border had all police officials near the border gate, and we were clueless how to stop and click pics and return asap, but they were very friendly and as usual wondering on enquiries as to how we made from Chennai all the way. They even helped us park our vehicle near the gate and allowed us to click a few pics and gave us a very warm send off.

We rushed our way back to Triveni Sangamam point where Teesta River and Rangeet River joins. It was beautiful to see two color mix in a point. Thank God, we did not miss and we thanked Adithya for suggesting us the 2km detour.
Time up and we had to make it fast to Darjeeling before it got too dark after sunset. We were about to make it to Darjeeling but took some time to find the hotel, as the streets were all busy, crowded, not a place to park the car and enquire, poor signal in mobile to update the hotel people. Finally we made it and just dropped our luggage, and went to shopping. We found a shop which had all the woolen items, couldn’t bargain, bought what was essential, but definitely cheaper to buy stuff. Hari booked us the toy train for the next day at 10.30 AM and we had a little more time than usual the next morning.

We kept hunting for hotels, didn’t find big ones, stopped in a small hotel, had roti, which wasn’t that good. Mohan wanted to try garlic bread and kept walking to order in dominos, as it was already 10 PM. We had a tasty garlic bread sticks. As we were the last group of customers and the mall was already closed, it was really a moment of adventure to hunt for a way out, which took some time.

We walked back to the hotel all the way for more than 2 kms, as we had no choice and almost exhausted, we knew we definitely had sound sleep. We were a little unfortunate for missing out to find a shop to buy Darjeeling Tea packets or taste one from the local shop. But, it was Christmas Eve, and there were colorful lights all the way, and big musical instruments, speakers were transported around the city by different groups. I am sure it would have been a big celebration time, treat for photographers, had we come a couple of days later.

We got up late, and packed everything in the car, segregated what was scattered, ensured our cycle was fit/tied well. Parked the car in the hotel and planned to get it in return. We kept walking to the railway station and saw the beautiful steam toy train with two compartments instead of one.
Thank God, we made it by 10.15 AM itself for 10.45 AM train time, as they combined two trains into one for some reasons. Then started some confusions for someone who booked a coach fully vs those who had made it early taking seats of their numbers in both the coaches.

Train started 15 minutes late than the usual start time for the same reasons. Everyone was equally excited to see the train move after the long quarrel. It went to GHUM station, then to a park (10-minute parking), then to a museum, where it stopped for 30 minutes. We had options to visit the museum or stay and click shots in the train, with the train / engine. We opted for clicking pics. We then realized it was the steam engine moving in front with the help of electrical engine compartment pushing from behind. That was funny though. We had a feel of visiting almost all the streets of Darjeeling.

With no energy to walk back to the hotel, we took a taxi up to the hotel, took the car and started driving down from Darjeeling.

Chennai – Delhi – Chennai by Road in XUV 5oo (Dec ’15)

Route Taken for Chennai – Delhi (2800 kms)

Chennai – Vellore – Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga – Hubli – Kolhapur – Satara – Pune – Vashi – Thane – Nashik – Dhule – Ratlam – Neemuch – Chittorgarh – Bilwara – Jaipur – Gurgaon – Delhi

Day 1 – Chennai – Bangalore
Day 2 – Bangalore – Hubli
Day 3&4 – Hubli – Delhi (Non stop drive for 30 hours with 3 hrs break)

Return Journey from Delhi to Chennai (2250 kms)

Delhi – Gurgaon – Faridabad – Mathura – Agra – Gwalior – Jhansi – Lalitpur – Deori – Narsinghpur – Lakhnadon – Seoni – Pench – Hinganghat – Adilabad – Nirmal – Hyderabad – Narketpalli – Miryalguda – Piduguralla – Ongole – Nellore – Gudur – Gummidipoondi – Chennai

Day 1 – Gurgaon – Seoni – 940 kms (6.30 AM to 9.30 PM) – 12 hrs drive + 1 hr break
Day 2 – Seoni – Chennai – 1310 kms (7.30 AM to 2.30 AM) – 18 hrs drive + 1 hr break

More details to follow

Delhi to Chennai – A journey with passion (Oct ’08)

The idea came to our mind when I started driving the then new car more often to Himalayas. So, I thought of trying it on plains. It was during the ‘Diwali’ time we decided to do this drive. Did a lot of research on the road conditions, road maps & other necessary things for a long journey. We decided to take on the GQ route as the road will be excellent for about 85% travel.

Day 1 – Faridabad – Delhi – Jaipur – Udaipur – Ahmedabad – Vadodara – Baroda – Surat – Vapi – 1350 kms – 21 hrs

It’s all started on Octeber 24, 2008 @ 2.30 AM. The idea was to avoid the traffic in Delhi, but got stuck in Faridabad itself after bit of struggle reached Nehru place @ 3 and filled up the tank and headed towards Jaipur. The ride was pleasant and we are very much excited about this travel. Crossed Jaipur @ 6.15, Kishangarh @ 7.35 and refulled here. First stop at Bilwara for breakfast around 8.45 and had a very good organic food. After relaxing a little bit started our journey towards Udaipur. Then I started felling little dizzy and took a short nap between 10 to 10.30 and headed our way to Udaipur. One of the best road starts from Jaipur – Udaipur via Chittorgarh. We crossed Udaipur at 12.30 and refuelled tank again after crossing Udaipur.

We stopped for lunch on the highway towards Ahmedabad around 13.45 and the food was spicy enough to bring tears in my eyes 🙁 and didn’t finish it and had a cold drink. Continued our journey from 14.30. Our plan was to reach Vapi a city near Mumbai but it seemed to be a herculian task (knowing that we have to cross the bad stretch Borada – Surat). Reached Gandhinagar around 4 pm and headed towards National Expressway 1, which connects Ahmedabad and Vadodara. We entered the NE1 at 4.25 and exited at 5.10 and the total distance covered is 75km, not bad at all. Touched maximum speed here 150kmph in this road but the allowed speed is 100. You need to be very careful as cops will be standing watching your speed (I come to know about this only after crossing NE2 where a friend of mine tipped this info).

We reached Baruchi around 5pm and did a mistake by taking a wrong route and have to travel 60 kms in all to reach Baruchi again. So, the toughest part of this trip is awaiting us. We started from Baruchi at 6 pm and it was hell to drive on this road. We did a lot of offroading, sneaking between big trailers and after a lot of energy loss we reached Surat with little damage to the bottom of the car and little scratches on the side doors – courtesy pot holes & uphill turns with lots of gravel & a Santro. It took 3 hrs 45 mins to cross 75 kms and indeed it was a very bad stretch.

Here we have to make a decision to stay at Surat and start our journey next day or travel till Vapi as planned. We decided on the later and continued our journey and reached Vapi at 12 midnight. Had dinner enroute to Vapi and the food was good. After reaching Vapi, We found a hotel on the hightway itself, Hotel Easy Retreat and retired for the day. Oh man it was a great day indeed.

Day 2 – Vapi – Mumbai – Pune – Hubli – Bangalore – Chennai – 1575 kms – 22.30 hrs

Second day journey started at 7 AM from Vapi and we headed towards Pune. We bypassed Mumbai, courtesy a friend of mine from Internet community. It is very difficult to find the routes but managed to be on track most of the time and reached another pleasant road NE2. We reached there at 10 and it was a pleasure to drive on this road and would love to do it again. The road has got its own charm – beautiful greeneries, tunnels, curvy roads, uphills and a food plaza. We stopped there for a our breakfast and I would recommend people to try out this place. We had breakfast at dosa plaza, where they offer as many varities as 110 different dosa’s.

After having breakfast, we headed towards Pune and the ride was smooth and reached Pune around 12.15 PM and traveled towards Hubli. This is another excellent road in the GQ and you can maintain a steady speed of 100+. Lots of greeneries, beautiful looooooonnnng road. Drove non-stop and reached Hubli at 5 PM and Haveri @ 17.30 PM. The road between Haveri and Chittardurga is not so good (infact no road at all at some stretches) and with little difficulty reached Chittardurga at 20.15. There we had a light dinner and started our journey towards Bangalore. Reached Bangalore at 11.30 and I am literally have no energy to proceed further but kept the spirit and drove till Chennai and reached at 5.30 AM.

The long tiring journey came to an end.

Some Numbers:

Total distance traveled – 2925
Total driving hours – 44
No. of toll booths – 43
Rs. spent on toll alone – Rs.1300/-
Fuel – 225 Ltrs
States covered – 7 (Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu)

P.S. We came back from Chennai-Delhi on the same route in 3 days