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Summer road trip 2015: Bangalore-Kausani(Uttarakhand)-Kanyakumari-Bangalore, 7618Kms

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by arun_josie, May 19, 2015.

  1. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Note: This is my first ever travelogue and the pics were taken on mobiles and a point-and-shoot camera. So, please bear with me.

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    A long drive across the country was in the plans for a long time now. Thanks to several Leh-Ladakh and other long road trip travelogues and the driving enthusiast in me.

    The biggest question was, going with friends or family?
    If family, then how do we handle our kids (7.5Y and 2.5Y) on such a long drive? Should we take them along with us or drop them at their grandparents’ place?

    I didn’t want to take the kids along because I felt handling them for a period of 2-3 weeks in a car will be difficult. I wasn’t keen on leaving two energetic boys with our aging parents either as well. I wanted to go with a bunch of friends. But, my wife was totally against this idea.

    As usual, I couldn’t convince her (ha ha!) and had to accept that this trip will go ahead only if it’s a family trip. Sometime in March, we decided to do this trip during summer vacations, if all is well.

    Now where?

    These were the criteria’s,
    • Total trip distance to be around 5000Kms.
    • Being summer, destination should be hill station.
    • Good roads all across.
    • Good access to Fiat Authorized Service Stations.
    • No remote locations.
    • Temperature to be around 20s.
    After a lot of research, discussions with friends, we decided to drop Leh/Ladakh, Sikkim, GJ/RJ/Mount Abu, MH(Lavasa/Lonavala) for various reasons.

    Decided on Nainital/Kausani(Uttrakhand) as the roads are good all through, it’s a hill station, good support for Fiat along this route and we can also get a feel of MH, GJ, RJ.

    Preparations:
    • Contacted HVKumar for assistance on routes/hotel bookings(HVK CHD - http://hivayking.in/store/index.php).
    • Car Servicing done at Vecto Motors.
    • Wheel Alignment/Wheel Balancing done at Madhus.
    • 1 lit of engine oil, coolant, few fuses, bulbs, air filter, a/c filter were bought from FASS for emergency backup
    • I already had tyre inflator and hydraulic jack.
    • Learned how to change the bulbs in the headlight unit.
    • Purchased car window glass breaker, seat-belt cutter, fire extinguisher.
    • Torch light.
    • Purchased power bank as a backup to charge mobiles.
    • Cakes, Biscuits, Bread/Jam/Nutella, Cornflakes, Milk, dry fruits etc in good quantity.
    Route Planned:

    Bangalore-Mumbai-Udaipur-Agra-Nainital-Ranikhet-Kausani-Almora-Nainital-Jaipur-Dhule-Pune-Kanyakumari - Bangalore. Kanyakumari was not in the plan and it was decided only during the return journey from Nainital.

    Onward journey,

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    Kausani - Kanyakumari,

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    Return to bangalore,

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    Few tips that we decided to follow during the drive:
    • Check the oil levels before the start every day.
    • Do a visual check of all the tyres during every stops for any reduction in air.
    • Don’t stop for meals when kids are sleeping and if the adults aren’t hungry.
    • Keep updating friends/parents with location update.
    • Make sure to charge the mobiles and power bank in hotel
    • Make sure to have backup food/snacks.
    • Have backup Credit Cards and Cash spread out in multiple accounts.
    • No tight targets or timelines during drive.
    • Take quick naps whenever necessary.
    Eventful Day 0:

    We planned for a 4:00 AM start next day after a good 8 hours sleep but it ended as one of the most eventful day even before the start of the trip. Why?

    # 1: During my car servicing at Vecto Motors(One week before this drive), battery was weak and hence it was send to Exide for a warranty claim. Vecto motors gave me a back-up battery hoping that this issue will get resolved in a day or two. But there was a delay and with just a day to go for my drive, I was still driving on the backup battery. I was very confused on what to do and finally decided to test the health of this battery. Took the car to Vecto Motors for this test and after testing their technician ruled out this battery for this drive. However the Service advisor was not willing to accept. Finally I escalated it and within 5 minutes the backup battery was replaced with new one. I really appreciate the higher-management in Vecto Motors for understanding my situation and providing me with a new battery. thumbs%20up.gif

    # 2: Karnataka bandh on April 18 over Mekedatu dam which was supposed to be our Day 1 of this trip. I was aware about this and was happy that trucks will be off the roads and traffic will be less. Little did I know that the fuel stations will go dry a day before itself. All the fuel stations in my locality in South Bangalore ran out of diesel. Around 4:30 PM, I started from BP hulimavu and drove along the Bannerghatta road, Jigani/anekal route only to be disappointed all along. Slowly I was losing confidence and for a moment I thought we will postpone this trip by a day and called by wife. She was already in the travel mode and told me not to come home without a full tank of fuel. I liked that she was more excited about the trip than how I felt then. thumbs%20up.gif

    My friend Satya, helped me here View attachment Clapping.gif , he called few fuel stations in Hosur and told me that I can fill it up there. Time was already 6:00 PM and traffic was so heavy that it took me more than one hour to reach Hosur and then another one and a half hour to return back. But I was very happy that the trip will start as planned.

    Day 1: Bangalore – Mumbai, this was a straight forward one.
    Trip meter set to 0 and ODO at 39294,


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    All packed and set to go.

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    • Plan was to start by 3:30 – 4:00 AM. We got up at 3:00 and we were all set to start by 4:00 AM.
    • As usual, some last minute delays. The iPod with all our favorite music goes missing 5 minutes before we stepped out.
    • Entered NICE road from Bannerghatta road and reached Tumkur exit by 4:30AM
    • Superb 6/4 lane throughout.
    • Now we had parag’s(paragsachania) indicators on speedbreakers on this stretch handy. It really helped.
    • We stopped for around 10mins for a quick breakfast of bread + Nutella.
    A quick stop on the way,

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    • Lunch@Vittal Kamat near Satara,MH around 1:15 PM(We skipped few hotels before this as the kids were sleeping.
    • Entered Pune bypass around 3:30 PM.
    • Kids loved the drive through the tunnels.
    Here is a video captured while passing one of those tunnels,



    Then an awesome drive on the Pune – Mumbai expressway. It was scenic as well.
    • Reached Mumbai and checked in to a hotel booked by HVK CHD around 5:45 PM.
    • Went around for a quick walk for 15mins with family.
    • The hotel had a good restaurant too, hence had our dinner there.
    • Then met Hvkumar who came to the hotel. It was nice meeting this gentleman. He also helped me with the tips and google links to cross Mumbai.
  2. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Day 2: Mumbai – Udaipur.

    After a good fast run from Bangalore to Mumbai, we expected the same to Udaipur as well along with truck traffic. We got up around 4:30 AM and checked out by 5:30 AM. Did the regular routine of engine oil check, other oil levels, tyre check etc and crossed Mumbai city. By 6:30 AM, we were on NH8. And immediately we got stuck in a huge toll, but the toll attendants were super fast.

    Good experience with the trucks:
    • Lot of truck traffic and it was really fun driving along with them.
    • These truck guys had very good road/traffic sense which I have never seen down south.
    • I felt that they make use of the ORVMS to good use.
    • Their speed were also little faster than what I have seen till date.
    • They didn’t hesitate to give way to cars.
    Even though the average speed was not matching the one with the previous day, the flow was good. At around 9:30 AM, we stopped for breakfast at Sugar and Spice, Shanker Talav, Gujarat. This place has fuel station as well. So, we filled fuel here.

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    Crossing the golden bridge(Eventful 2hours and 45minutes):

    Now the biggest challenge was to cross the golden bridge. We reached Ankleshwar around 12:00 PM and as suggested by HVK and Parag, I took the Ankleshwar town route but unfortunately there was a huge traffic jam here and everyone was asked to take the NH8 route to cross the bridge. Most of the cars took a ‘U’ turn to catch the NH8 and I followed them as well, only to realize that the traffic on the NH8 was even worse. There was no going back here because we were stuck between hundreds of trucks.
    • Around 30 minutes gone but no movement.
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    • Temperature was 40+ and hence left the car in idle with AC on.
    • Makeshift mobile shops started sprouting along the roadside selling snacks, water, food etc.

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    • Lot of cars took the wrong side to escape from this traffic. And I was cursing them for taking the wrong side.

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      • Even a KA registered Thar who was behind me went over the divider to the other side and took the wrong side.
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    • Now, all of a sudden traffic started moving and I jumped in to the car feeling happy and relieved.
    • But after moving about a 100M,the traffic came to stand still again. View attachment Frustration.gif
    This time I was on the left most lane and little behind me there was a exit on the left going somewhere, I didn’t think anything about it though. Another 30mins gone and now everyone started interacting with each other including the truck drivers. One truck driver from his experience said, this traffic will take 5-6 hours to clear. Hence, he asked us to take that exit on the left which was leading to a village.

    I was not enthusiastic about this idea because I didn’t want to take a detour in a strange and unknown-to-me place. However, few other car drivers were interested and in no time 6-7 cars banded together. And by now it was already 90 minutes in the jam.

    That's me and my elder son, outside the car, discussing the route options with the other drivers.
    Pic courtesy: my wife

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    • Finally we decided to join them.
    • The truck drivers helped to give way for the other cars to reach that exit on the left.
    • The leader of this operation was a MH registered Innova and we all followed him. I didn’t have any clue about their route plans.
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    • At some time when I checked the RVM, I was able to count more than 10 cars, so more people joined us which gave me some confidence.
    • The situation song that played from our iPod then was the ‘Adiye, enna enga nee kooti porae’ from the Tamil movie Kadal. Perfect!
    • It was around 5-6Kms from NH8 but no signs of an escape route.
    • Innova guy started checking with the locals for route directions.
    • At last we reached the same NH8 again. Yes, but may be around 5Kms ahead from the place where we exited the NH8.
    • And here it was an intersection and all cars started going to the other side of the road.
    • And they started taking the wrong side.
    • I followed them too. Few minutes back, I was cursing the drivers who were taking the wrong side and now I myself have joined them. However, little later I saw even police asking few cars to take the wrong side. So, it was a relief for me.
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    Some were even smarter and took the road that was under construction, only to turn back at the dead-end,

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    • Another 2-3Kms went like this and later we moved back to the right way in a intersection.
    • And now all cars were asked to move on the left most lane. I saw many boards saying “left lane for cars only”. Good part was, the truck drivers didn’t block this lane.
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    Finally we reached the golden bridge and crossed it with a sigh of relief. It’s the same happiness you feel when the bell rings to break the school at the end of the day!

    Overall, it took 2hours and 45 minutes to get out of this mess. Even though we got stuck in this traffic with mercury soaring high, we were not frustrated or irritated but took this as a different experience and enjoyed it. There was enough snacks in the car to keep it interesting for the kids. biggrin.gif

    Lunch and After:
    After crossing this traffic, it was kind of a rat race as everyone was racing to catch-up the lost time. We decided to stop for lunch.
    • Stopped at Honest Food Court
    • Had pizza at Dominos as other hotels here were crowded.
    • Had some papdi as well.
    • After lunch, it was a nice drive towards Baroda.
    • Some traffic at Baroda bypass, took around 15 minutes.
    • And later the Baroda- Ahmedabad Expressway was awesome.
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    • For the first time in this trip, I was doing some very good speed. Along with me there was a Innova, and I loved driving along with him. Both of us doing some good speeds but no racing and respecting each other when there was a need to change lanes.
    • From Ahmedabad we took the Mehsana route. This is a longer route but a good one(not advised after dark though, some part is 2L with opp traffic on high beam.
    • Stopped for Dinner before Mehsana.
    • 200Kms to Udaipur and I was feeling tired, hence stopped for a quick nap for 10-15 minutes.
    • Loved the roads before Udaipur with lot of curves. It would have been nice to do this stretch in day light. Some stretches near Udaipur were not great as well with potholes.
    • Checkedin @ Hotel Padmini Palace around 12:00 AM.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 19, 2015, Original Post Date: May 19, 2015 ---
    Day 3 @ Udaipur:

    Hotel Padmini Palace.
    • It’s a renovated hotel.
    • Restaurant attached to it.
    • Very spacious room.
    • Car parking in front of hotel.
    • Good food. But little expensive we felt.
    • Good room service.
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    Ready for the breakfast,

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    During the second day of the drive, I felt a slight left pull in my linea. But this was happening only on some stretches. However for peace of mind, I decided to do the Wheel Alignment/Wheel Balancing. Now who do I ask for good tyre shop in Udaipur.
    • A call to Bhpian Nikhil(Nikhilb2008), Madhus Enterprise and explained him the situation. He assured me that he will put me in touch with a good WA/WB shop.
    • In another 5 minutes, I got a call from from a WA/WB shop in Udaipur.
    • After breakfast, took the car for WA/WB.
    • The Manager himself came with me for a test drive.
    • WA/WB was done and again he came with me for a test drive.
    • He double checked with me on whether I was satisfied before the payment. It was a very nice experience.
    • He also helped us with information regarding good Non-Veg hotel, Shopping area, bakery for ghevar sweet etc.
    Curious cats at the alignment shop,

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    Lunch at Raj Mahal.
    • We liked the food here.
    • Good ambience
    • Good service.
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    Limousine available for rent,

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    Shopping in narrow roads of Udaipur:
    • First time seeing such narrow roads where cars are allowed.
    • By mistake, we entered a one-way road in the wrong direction in the Jagdish Mandir bazaar and it took around 20mins to get out of that street.
    • The scene was like this: a bunch of people in 2-wheelers all around ,cursing us and some cows totally indifferent to the jam we were causing and you just can’t move in any direction. I was very tensed and afraid that my Linea may get scratches/dents.
    • And it was impossible for me to go reverse as well.
    • After lot of struggle, we were able to exit from that street and went back to the hotel.
    • My wife took an auto back to the Jagdish Mandir bazaar and did her shopping alone in peace.
    • By 7:00 PM we decided to take rest as we had another long route to cover the next day.
    • We had awesome malai ghevar and divine dhokla from Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar
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    Some shopping,

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    Poor camel working for its existence,

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    Day 4: Udaipur to Agra (Udaipur - Chittorgarh - Kishangarh - Jaipur – Bharatpur- Agra)
    • Started from Udaipur around 4:30 AM.
    • As usual, it was 4L but very bumpy for initial 100 Kms at least, not worth the toll that was collected.
    • Breakfast stop was at Royal Heritage, Kishangarh, suggested by HVK. It’s around a KM off the main highway. This stop was at around 9:15AM, after 5 hours of drive.
    • Food was good but a bit pricey. But a very nice place for pit stops. We liked it.
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    • Spotted many such mini trucks,
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    • After breakfast, we immediately entered the Kishangarh – Jaipur 6 lane expressway(90-100 Kms approx). This is a superb expressway and helped us to increase the average speed.
    • We reached Jaipur by 11:15 AM.
    • The tunnels were back and the kids enjoyed it.


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    • We reached Agra by 2:30 PM, 10 hours from Udaipur Via Jaipur.
    Hunt for lunch in Agra:
    First we decided to finish the lunch before Agra, but we didn't find any hotels to our liking
    After entering Agra, we first filled the tank. Then the petrol bunk guy took us to a hotel, we entered inside only to be disappointed. It didn’t look like a hotel at all and no customers were there as well. Basically it is for lodging, I think.
    Then we tried another hotel which was on the way, I think it was hotel Grand Imperial. Again we were the only people there to dine, no other customers. Very expensive restaurant. We decided to skip that as well. By now it was 3:30 PM and hence we decided to skip the lunch and manage with some junk food and snacks.

    Taj Mahal:
    • GPS took us through some narrow and crowded streets.
    • Once we arrived at the Taj Mahal west gate parking, we were welcomed by a bunch of agents. From the West gate parking till the ticket counter, we were pestered by guides, photographers, car washing people, hotel agents, et al.
    • First we paid 100 rupees for battery car from West gate till Taj Mahal entry gate.(Actual price is Rs. 10 per head which we came to know later)
    • The photographer tried to cheat as well, he agreed for Rs.100 and later after entering inside he said I will have to opt for a package and its Rs.750 for the same. We just asked him to get lost.
    • For guide we paid Rs. 200(Initially he started from Rs. 500) and even he tried his tricks during the end. He took us to East gate and said from East gate to West gate parking the battery car guy will charge Rs 80 only. Since we were already near East gate we said ok. Then he said, no battery car here, his friend has a Auto and he will charge only Rs 80. This is through the normal roads. We got frustrated, shouted at him and we again walked from East gate to West gate through the Taj campus and took a battery car for the actual charge of Rs.10 per head.
    • So basically, we need to be very alert with these agents.
    • Agent torture doesn’t end here. Seeing the KA registration, they were stopping us at every signal, turns etc got hotel stay.
    • Our experience inside the Taj Mahalwas nice though. The kids had fun running in the open area around the Mahal. First visit to the Taj for my wife and kids. She absolutely loved it and went a bit trigger-happy with the camera.
    Ganges, varunrtr, GirishRaghu and 2 others like this.
  3. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Some pics from Taj,

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    Hotel Stay:


    Booking done by HVK CHD:
    Due to our bad experience with these agents, narrow roads etc. We decided to push our stay to Noida. HVK was taking care of this booking and was against our idea and assured us a good stay in good location. His point was, Noida is very pricey and not worth it when there are good options in Agra. And yes, he booked us a good hotel in good location with good parking and good restaurants around etc.
    The service was also very good in this hotel. This booking was inclusive of breakfast, since the plan was to start early next day, the hotel manager offered to pack the complimentary breakfast for us. Very kind gesture from them.
    Ganges, varunrtr and Ravi like this.
  4. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Day 5: (Agra – Noida – Nainital)

    After the regular check of engine oil etc, we started around 6:00 AM from the hotel in Agra, we followed GPS and as usual it took us through some narrow roads. Thankfully this was early morning and hence no traffic on these narrow roads. After buying some Agra-famous Peta , we hit the Taj Expressway at 6:30 AM.

    Few pics,

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    It was a sprint on the yamuna expressway to Noida, I maintained some good speeds and reached the Noida expressway around 8:15 AM.
    • Visited my office in Noida.
    • Spent a few of hours with my colleagues.
    • They helped me with the directions to exit Noida and take the highway towards Nainital.
    • Then, drove to the sector in Noida where I lived 10 yrs back to indulge my nostalgia.
    Noida – Haldwani:
    • Started around 11:00 AM from Sector 62, Noida.
    • Route taken: Ghaziabad-Hapur-Gajraula-Moradabad-Rampur-Kaladhungi-Haldwani-Nainital
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    • Lunch @ McDonalds in Gajraula.
    • There is a 5Kms stretch of no roads near Bazpur. It took around 25minutes to cross this 5Km stretch. Here are few pics,
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    Video captured on this bad stretch,



    • Otherwise, the road conditions were good.
    • We reached Haldhwani around 5:45 PM and refilled the tank.
    Kaladhungi,

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    Credit Card missing:


    After filling the tank, I was looking for my credit card to pay at the pump but couldn’t find it. I realised that I left it in McDonalds,Gajraula and called the bank customer care to block the card. Due to some reason they couldn’t find my card number using mobile number. It took around an hour to block the card. Some relief after blocking the card and it was good that I had other backup cards.

    Finally, we started towards Nainital. It was already getting dark and hence couldn't experience the scenery. Also, the roads were similar to Ooty or may be Yercaud.

    Hotel Stay booked by HVK CHD:
    • This was a on the lake side.
    • Very spacious.
    • We got lake facing room.
    • The food was good too.
    • Helpful staffs.
    Ravi and Ganges like this.
  5. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Day 6 Nainital-Ranikhet-Kausani :

    We started at 10:00 AM from Nainital and the plan was to take the Ranikhet route. Till Ranikhet the route was good.

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    The one with the scary noise:


    There was a stretch where road work was going on, while going on that stretch, lot of small stones were hitting the under body. After crossing this stretch, we started getting some loud noise from the under body. The sound was something like a broken rod hitting the road on the move. I got scared, stopped the car and checked the under body but all looked fine. Two local also joined me to check the under body. Since we couldn’t find anything suspicious, I again started the car and moved ahead slowly. The sound started coming again, the two locals pointed me to the front tyre/brake pad from where the sound was coming.

    We checked the tyres, I turned to left and then right but couldn't find anything. Now, one person who was helping us told that there is a mechanic at about 2Kms from that location and he will bring him to investigate further. I was happy with the offer and decided to park the car off the road. I reversed the car and the sound was not there. I tried going forward, this time there was no sound. I repeated this multiple times but the sound didn’t appear again.

    So, probably some stone got stuck somewhere inside and it fell down when I took reverse. Meanwhile the person who went to check the mechanic came back saying he couldn't find the mechanic. However, I thanked both those guys for their assistance. This sound never appeared again and was a big relief.

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    Continuing with the journey after Ranikhet. we took a narrow road by mistake which connects the Almora-Gopeshwar road, this route was adventurous. Very narrow, nil traffic, lot of repair work almost throughout this stretch of 20Kms.
    • We took this route as directed by the local people.
    • But it turned out to be a very remote area with nil traffic.
    • Also, the road was only 8-10 feet wide, almost impossible to give way for a 4 wheeler except in few places.
    • After few Kms on this route we started getting doubt on whether we are on the right path. But, there were no people around to check with and GPS also stopped working,
    • After around 10Kms, we saw a Ford Endeavour coming behind us. But ,we couldn’t give space to him for at least one KM. Then once we were able to, the Ford Endeavour guy stopped on our side started speaking to us in Kannada. When we said we don’t know Kannada in Tamil, he started speaking to us in Tamil, much to our surprise. He asked us why we took this route because this route is better for trucks and SUVs only and not Sedans. He asked us to follow him so that he can help in case of any issues. We felt very happy.
    • The SUV showed its true colours and disappeared from our view in no time. We couldn’t even follow him for a Km.
    • Despite not knowing where the road was leading to, we decided to enjoy the drive.
    Here are few pics,

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    And some videos,





    - At last after 20Kms, we joined some asphalted main road, and we felt very happy.
    - And this Endeavour guy was there waiting and we had quick discussion with him. He bought us all Buransh juice for refreshments. 

    From now on it was some nice roads and we reached Kausani by 3:45 PM.
  6. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    6,001
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Excellent travelogue to start day in office :).

    This is acceptable in India at lots of places, where truck jams are frequent.
    Very true. If you are not in hurry, these kind of experience, specially taking detour etc, are memorable moments.
  7. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Day 7: Relaxing day in Kausani:

    Hotel Stay - Chevron Mount Villa:
    • Superb location, this faces the 300Kms stretch of Himalayas.
    • Spacious rooms.
    • Good lawn in front of rooms.
    • Very helpful staff.
    • Good food.
    • Our stay here was for 2 nights and we loved it.
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    This is on the way to the hotel, some sharp and narrow turns,
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    We had a lazy day in Kausani although the day started at 5:30am.
    • We were woken up by the hotel in-charge at 5:30am so that we can see the sunrise on the Himalayas.

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    • We were the only family in the entire resort
    • We finished breakfast , got ready and headed on to the Kausani Shawl emporium to shop for some winter wear
    • The Shawl emporium has the handloom woolen shawl weaving facility attached to it. So, we got to see the shawls being woven
    • My wife bought a bunch of hats hand-knitted by Kumaoni women and a lovely woolen shawl.

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    • Lunch was at the resort followed by some football in the evening.
    • Another family checked in after noon and we had some company in the resort.
    • Dinner and lunch were complimentary.
    This was in the evening,

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  8. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
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    Day 8: Kausani to Nainital, Via Almora,
    • Scenic route all through, especially after Almora the drive was sexy with scenic locations and very good roads.
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    Here is a two minute video captured on this route,



    • This is when the earthquake happened in Nepal and the tremors were felt in North India. We heard about the quake only after reaching Nainital and received calls from friends/relatives.
    • We entered Nainital @ 12:00 PM.
    • Took some time to locate the hotel.
    • Narrow roads.
    • Few roads were one way.
    • Checked in @ KMVN @ 12:30 PM.

    Hotel Stay - KMVN:
    • First thing that we checked here was about the tremors and hotel staff confirmed that the tremors were felt slightly.
    • Very big parking space.
    • Spacious room with two double beds and it was clean too.
    • Food was good.
    • Lake is 2 Kms from this hotel.
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    For local travel, we took the taxis, most of them were Altos.
    • We went around the lake, didn’t go for boating as it was crowded.
    • Wife did some shopping.
    • Checked for the cable car, but it was fully booked for that day.
    • Had dinner at the boat house club.
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    My wife, who is a knitter herself, found a yarn shop and became a kid-in-the-candy-shop.

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  9. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Plan Change(Tentative):

    We decided to skip a day in Nainital as it was very cold and my younger one got fever. We didn't want to keep him there for a longer time and aggravate the situation.

    We already had a plan to visit my home town two weeks after this trip just for a weekend. But, with this one day extra and if we can take out one day from our planned Pune stay, then there was a possibility of extending this trip to Kanyakumari as well. I shared my thoughts with my wife and she readily agreed. However, we decided to evaluate this plan again after reaching Jaipur.

    Day 9 (Nainital –Noida-Jaipur):
    • Started at 5:30 AM from Nainital.
    • Reached Haldwani by 6:45 AM, filled the tank.
    • We took the same route to Noida.
    • We had a bread+Nutella breakfast on the run.
    • Reached Noida by 12:00PM.
    • Met one of my friend and had our lunch with him.
    Avoiding the normal Delhi/Noida – Jaipur route: We took Noida-Mathura-Bharatpur-Jaipur:

    We were looking for an alternate route for Jaipur as the straight route from Delhi/Noida is traffic-heavy with lots of diversion. Since the Yamuna expressway is good and easily reachable from Noida, we decided to take Yamuna expressway till Mathura. Then, we took the Bharatpur route to take the Jaipur highway. Overall the distance was 375Kms and we were able to reach Jaipur in 5 hours and 45 minutes. It was a stress-free drive.

    Hotel Stay - Sarovar Portico( 2 Nights):
    • For two adults and two kids, this room on the smaller side and smallest room we stayed in the entire trip.
    • But the facilities were really top-notch.
    • Food was Pricey, with a capital P.
    • Overall experience here was Super.
    • Due to early morning start from Jaipur, they packed us some good breakfast (complimentary) for all four of us.
    • Due to our plan change earlier, we had to advance the stay by a day to which they readily agreed and didn’t charge us for the same.
    Team BHP effect:

    Their MD or GM(I am not sure about the exact designation) follows team-bhp closely and after seeing the team-bhp LTD sticker on my car, he made the Hotel Manager call me to take a feedback about my stay and if there is any issue or something to my dislike. After this call and till check-out, the Manager followed up couple of times to make sure things are fine. It was really nice to get such a treatment for being a team-bhp member View attachment Clapping.gif

    Day 10: Relaxing a bit and Visit to Jaipur City Palace.
    • After our Udaipur experience being stuck in a narrow street, we started depending on local transport.
    • Booked Ola cab to visit City place and spent some time there.
    • My Wife went for some shopping to Johri Bazaar in the evening
    • Checked for FASS details, and saw one situated close-by. So, took my Linea for a quick wash and brake pad check(this was done because our plan change would extend this trip by another 1600Kms.
    After Wash:

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    During dinner, I again checked with my wife and kids if they are fine with the Kanyakumari trip, they were already excited abut this and told me “No stopping” at Bangalore. I still kept the option open and decided to evaluate this plan again after Pune. I also checked with HVK on any alternate and fastest route to Kanyakumari apart from the Pune-Bangalore route. He said our current route plan is fastest. May be, if we were able to take one more day then we would have tried Nagpur-Hyderabad route.

    Day 11: Jaipur-Shirdi(MH):
    • It was 4L roads all through and the roads were in very good condition as well.
    • Traffic was less.
    • Delays at tolls because these guys were very slow.
    • Plan was to stay at Dhule, but we reached Dhule early and hence pushed till Shirdi.
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    @Lunch place with another Linea for company biggrin.gif

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    Hotel Stay in Shirdi– HVK CHD:
    Value For Money.
    Very spacious.
    Very good service.
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  10. arun_josie

    arun_josie Amatore

    Messages:
    224
    Bangalore
    Day 12: The Marathon drive of my life till date : Shirdi(MH) – Pune(MH) – Bangalore(KA)-Salem(TN): 1292.9 Kms in 21H 30M

    In short, this drive can be described as, Breakfast @ MH, Lunch @ KA, Dinner @ TN.
    To be frank, this marathon drive was not planned at all. At the start, we decided to stay may be 2-3 hours before Bangalore, no specific target was set. I checked with HVK and he said, on the Pune-Bangalore stretch, he has numerous options. So, we were not worried about the stay.
    • Started around 4:15 AM from Shirdi.
    • Initially the truck traffic was heavy.
    • Then,there were some not so good roads.
    • It took us 5 hours to reach Pune(this included a 10mins power nap), which was 200Kms.
    • We bypassed Pune around 9:15 AM.
    • Faced some issues while bypassing Pune and at one point, we started going towards Mumbai.
    • I realized it quickly and took a ‘U’ turn.
    • some heavy traffic while getting out of pune.
    • Then the ghat section was clogged with huge traffic.
    • Traffic at Satara as well.
    • Entered KA border by 1:00 PM and decided to have our lunch stop.
    • Lunch stop was @amar Only Veg.
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    • Then a fuel refill at around 3:45 PM.
    A quick stop around 5:00 PM,

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    At last, some rain during this drive,

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    By 5:00 PM, we decided to stretch till Bangalore. But, we didn’t want to stay in Bangalore for obvious reasons. We targeted to reach NICE road by 8:00 PM, but heavy traffic after Tumkur meant we reached NICE road only by 8:45 PM. Checked with HVK and he said he has options in Krishnagiri and Salem. Since I was still fresh for more miles, we decided to reach Salem.
    • After crossing Bangalore, some heavy traffic @ Hosur.
    • Stopped at Shoolagiri McD for dinner. It was a good one hour stop
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    • Then stopped @Thoppur toll for a quick nap.
    • Checked-in at Salem 1:45 AM.
    This hotel was again booked by HVK CHD and it was a Very spacious air-conditioned room, a good restaurant attached to the hotel, car parking was available.

    We reached here around 1:45 AM. Their regular parking area was logged with water and hence I decided to park my car on the road. Seeing this, the manager came and made some temporary arrangement by moving few 2wheelers and for this he had to wake up couple of his staffs. Even though I was fine with parking on the road (which looked safer as well) he just wanted to make sure that the car is parked in a better place. Also, he double-checked with me if I am happy with the arrangements in the room.

    Day 13: Salem – Nagercoil:

    We thought of having a good and sound sleep and wake-up late with no time-line for the start from Salem set. But, by 6:30-7:00 AM, the kids were up and ready for the start. We had the complimentary breakfast here and one of my friend came to meet us. Started around 10:00 AM and saw a FASS near the hotel. I gave the car for a quick check up before proceeding further. Understanding that I am on a long drive, they gave priority to my car. They did a quick check and gave us 3 water bottles as well, for the journey.

    This stretch is kind of a home run for us and went smooth as usual. Lunch stop was at Hari’s, Madurai and reached home safely by evening.

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    Day 14, 15, 16 in Nagercoil and drive to Kanyakumari:

    It was the annual summer families meet at my place. All my siblings and their families were there for vacation. A trip to Kanyakumari is an understood and unsaid engagement every vacation in Nagercoil. So, we had a fun evening at KanyaKumari.

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    Day 17: Nagercoil to Bangalore:

    We started around 6:15 AM from Nagercoil and reached home in Bangalore at 3:00 PM.

    ODO at the end of this trip,

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    Milestones crossed during to this trip,

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