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Old 15th February 2010, 18:11   #1
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Default Delhi-Kolkata road trip: is it safe to travel during Holi

hi guys,

here is my plan. need you opinion.
I am planning to leave on 26th morning and reach kolkata by 27th night.
The target is to start early morning and stay overnight at varanasi and again start early morning next day.

But the rumour mills are telling me it's a bad idea to take a road trip through UP and Bihar 1week pre or post Holi. Apparently the infamous lath-mar holi of Mathura has various other more-notorious rural versions that seems to be a prolonged affair in the villages, often going on for a week even after Holi.

Please advice. Will it be safe to travel through UP and Bihar by road just a day before Holi?


Secndly below is an estimate of expenses.
Please note I haven't been to this belt even on a vacation before. So don't have much idea about hotels and rates.

Considering the time, I would hardly be needing an ac, and my faithful alto does a 18-20 kmpl in delhi-gurgaon daily travel. so that's approximately a 100 litres of petrol for 1500 kms = Rs 5000.00
night stay. 1 double bed room = Rs 1000-1500. [is this enough for a decent hotel?]
Food [for 2 people] = Rs 1000/day

That gives me a total of Rs 7.5K. The amount of cash I think I should be carrying with me as a base mark.
Is this estimate correct? Or over the top? Or below the mark?
Please advice.
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Old 15th February 2010, 19:31   #2
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Your chances of you becoming the target of village urchins for their cow-dung missiles become higher during this festive season. And these missiles at a moderate highway speed of a mere 80 kmph can have disastrous results.
If there are alternatives available in terms of train/air tickets, go for that please. I don't think there would be too much of a difference in terms of cost. And even if there is, it would buy you peace of mind, comparatively minimal fatigue, and most importantly, additionaly quality time with family/friends/relatives during the festival - which obviously seems to be the primary reason of your travel.
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Old 16th February 2010, 12:23   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post
That gives me a total of Rs 7.5K. The amount of cash I think I should be carrying with me as a base mark.
Is this estimate correct? Or over the top? Or below the mark?
Please advice.
Keep some buffer. You never know of the situations that may arise. There are places where ATM Cards/Credit Cards are not accepted. Some times you may have to bribe some police folks to get out of a situation. Nothing to worry, just a friendly suggestion.
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Old 16th February 2010, 17:20   #4
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Personal Experience : Travelling on or around Holi is not safe anywhere in the north India, probably the worst time to be traveling through UP and Bihar. Period.
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Old 16th February 2010, 17:36   #5
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I remember travelling between Shirdi and Pune on Holi in a Taxi. We had narrow escape at one place, they banged on the car hard, all doors were locked though.

Another trouble is finding a place to eat. All restaurants will be closed on Holi.

No such trouble in South India though.
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Old 16th February 2010, 21:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post

Considering the time, I would hardly be needing an ac, and my faithful alto does a 18-20 kmpl in delhi-gurgaon daily travel. so that's approximately a 100 litres of petrol for 1500 kms = Rs 5000.00
night stay. 1 double bed room = Rs 1000-1500. [is this enough for a decent hotel?]
Food [for 2 people] = Rs 1000/day

That gives me a total of Rs 7.5K. The amount of cash I think I should be carrying with me as a base mark.
Is this estimate correct? Or over the top? Or below the mark?
Please advice.
You are forgetting Toll charges, which should be around 700/-. Also some extra cash incase of problems with car (if it happens).
I am wondering if Holi is really a problem when all the UP/Bihar towns are bypassed. Also, the roadside dhabas should definitely be open even on Holi.
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Old 17th February 2010, 20:18   #7
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Avoid travelling by road during Holi season. It will be really dangerous. People living in the slums on the sides of railway track do not spare even the trains during these days. They shoot missiles in the form of dung or even stones at the trains. You can see those marks by having a look at the trains reaching at Nizamuddin or New Delhi Railway stations from Mathura or kanpur side. This is the way they wish others a Happy Holi.
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Old 18th February 2010, 10:33   #8
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moeinuk, do a thorough study of the routes that you are going to take. To the minute detail possible. You can consult HVK Sir's trip logs. That would be really helpful. If possible, avoid such villages/towns which are notorious for rowdy behavior.
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Old 18th February 2010, 14:32   #9
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@ sbraj
I donno about HVK sir's trip log. But have laid my hands on one I found a link in here. It's a log of a trip of the entire golden quadrilateral, starting Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata-Chennai-Mumbai. Can you post a link or downloadable file of the trip log you are talking about?

@ pkumar
Thanks for reminding the Toll charges. I missed it.

@AlokSriva
In this trip the drive is important. I am ready to postpone.

Question: How early after Holi can I travel safely? Holi is 1st March, Monday. Will Wednesday-Thursday be a safe time.
Note: I would be bypassing most cities as pointed out by pKumar.

@ wanderernomad, Samurai, Irish
Thanks for your views guys. I am feeling a little more confident that I can make it.
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Old 18th February 2010, 15:15   #10
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Another question just hit me?

The reports of drives l am reading is mostlyon SUVs or Sedans.
I will be steering an alto. And in no way do I expect to cross 100-110kmph.
How will this affect the drive time.
Based on trip logs i got here [ss traveller], I was expecting to leave delhi by 6.00 am and reach varanasi by 8-8.30 pm. Is that a feasible estimation? With the usual breaks.
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Old 18th February 2010, 15:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post
@ sbraj
I donno about HVK sir's trip log. But have laid my hands on one I found a link in here. It's a log of a trip of the entire golden quadrilateral, starting Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata-Chennai-Mumbai. Can you post a link or downloadable file of the trip log you are talking about?
Please google for "hv kumar trip logs". Search results will take you to "KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS (hvkumar)".

Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post
The reports of drives l am reading is mostlyon SUVs or Sedans.
I will be steering an alto. And in no way do I expect to cross 100-110kmph.
How will this affect the drive time.
Even though many drive SUVs, most maintain a speed of around 100 KMPH. So, if you choose to maintain lower speed, you can calculate accordingly. Another differentiator is the time of drive - day time vs night time. In night time, traffic will be less.

HVK Sir's logs will have all these details including time of day, diversions etc. IMO, you would find it helpful.
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Old 18th February 2010, 17:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbraj View Post
Please google for "hv kumar trip logs". Search results will take you to "KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS (hvkumar)".
Ok. I didn't remember the name. The log book I am following is by HVKumar. It's their GQ trip log. Excellent source of information.
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Old 18th February 2010, 22:09   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post
Another question just hit me?

The reports of drives l am reading is mostlyon SUVs or Sedans.
I will be steering an alto. And in no way do I expect to cross 100-110kmph.
How will this affect the drive time.
Based on trip logs i got here [ss traveller], I was expecting to leave delhi by 6.00 am and reach varanasi by 8-8.30 pm. Is that a feasible estimation? With the usual breaks.
I did the stretch in 10.75 hours of pure drive time. I was driving sedately but consistently at 100kmph+. Add a couple of hours for halts and you can easily do it in 13-14 hours. The only slightly messy bypass you would encounter is Agra BP. Try to cross Agra as early in the day as possible. Thus i would recommend starting earlier, say at 4am or 5am.
For lunch you could halt at "Entertainment District", right on the highway. This place is located around 47kms after the toll gate after Auriya bypass. The distance from Auriya bypass to the place is roughly 63kms.
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Old 18th February 2010, 23:10   #14
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A few quick comments:

Quote:
I am planning to leave on 26th morning and reach kolkata by 27th night.
Definitely possible.

Quote:
stay overnight at varanasi
Problem is that I don't think there is any hotel on the Varanasi bypass, you may have to go into town. Messy town though.

Keep an open plan, if you don't reach Varanasi, consider Allahabad as an overnight stay option. For this also, you have to go into town.

Quote:
1 double bed room = Rs 1000-1500
Reasonable.

Quote:
The amount of cash I think I should be carrying
Quote:
Keep some buffer. You never know of the situations that may arise. There are places where ATM Cards/Credit Cards are not accepted. Some times you may have to bribe some police folks to get out of a situation.
As sbraj has observed, keep buffer. Don't carry cash to fit just your estimate. I carry 2-3 times my expense estimate on all my trips. You have to keep reserve cash for repair, medical emergencies and any unforseen circumstances, not just what you estimate you will need. Assume that there are no ATMs or credit cards.

Quote:
The reports of drives l am reading is mostlyon SUVs or Sedans.
I will be steering an alto. And in no way do I expect to cross 100-110kmph.
How will this affect the drive time.
makes no difference for a fast driver. The time delay can be only on account of stops for food, etc. Lesser time you take, the faster you go. You can easily cruise in the Alto at 100 kmph +

Quote:
HVKumar. It's their GQ trip log
Please bear in mind that since our trip, the Allahabad bypass is complete and you will probably save 30 minutes using that.
Heavy traffic jams are being reported in the Varanasi bypass sometimes.
Avoid driving the BR-JH sections in night time. No safety issues, but why dare to drive?

Remember that Kanpur is bypassed by a 25-km non-stop elevated road (WITHOUT any exits for 25 kms). Please take it, don't go under the road. Remember to refuel before that.
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Old 18th February 2010, 23:37   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moeinuk View Post
Another question just hit me?

I was expecting to leave delhi by 6.00 am and reach varanasi by 8-8.30 pm. Is that a feasible estimation? With the usual breaks.
I had started at 7.30 a.m. from Varanasi and reached Kanpur at 10.20 a.m., took a 4 hour break, started again at 2.30 p.m. and reached my home in Gurgaon at 10.30 p.m. - a total of 10 hours 50 minutes on road.

There was one stoppage of 20 minutes for tea in the first stretch and 2 stops of about 45 minutes and 30 minutes each on the second leg for snacks and tea.

Total driving time - 9 hours 15 minutes

The worst drive in terms of time consumption was between Agra and Ballabgarh because of pathetic traffic. And of course, as indicated by pkumar, drive within Agra sucks big time!

There's a trick to drive on highways if you really want to cover time. Identify which vehicle moving in the same direction as you is being driven by an experienced driver. Which means, you will not see this vehicle's brake lights going on very often. Now all you need to do is be immediately behind this vehicle (without tailgating of course) and let it lead you.

Following this approach, on 80% of the occasions, you will not have to prepare yourself for an overtaking move yourself. The vehicle ahead of you would have already cooked it up and served you on a platter Trust me, it takes off a lot of driving fatigue. Personally I have found this technique to be so helpful that I have made it a practise now while driving on highways.

And such drivers are quick to realize you are following them and on occasions, would give you way to lead so that they can relax. Has happened with me on numerous occasions.

Another tip - while overtaking a truck/lorry, be sure that the driver has seen you flashing your lights and has given you the way (please make it a habit while on highway). Despite this, when you reach its tail, just give a short thump on your horn. I have learnt to honk a year ago the hard way (with only a bent rim but not a single scratch either on car on my person when I had no option but to drive my car onto the median in order to avoid going under the lorry) assuming flashing lights was sufficient.

And yet another one - if you see an 800/tata winger/etc. being driven in the fast lane at a snail pace, don't bother asking for way, better to avoid such snails by carefully overtaking them from left. Will save you hell lot of time and patience.

Disclaimer - you need to be able to differentiate if a vehicle's brake light is not going on because of want of repairs or because it is being driven intelligently - lol
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