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Old 17th January 2013, 16:40   #1
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Default Mumbai - Delhi - Mumbai in the Mahindra XUV5OO!

My first post on teamBHP after years of procrastination! I thought this one deserves a post!

We first heard about this certain set of highways which connect the four metro cities of India a few years back. At that time, the thought of driving from one metro to another seemed quite outrageous (and probably still is to most). Driving on the Golden Quadrilateral was one of the things that made it to the “things to do before I die” list, except that we were never quite sure whether it would actually happen.

The group I am talking about here has me, my cousin brother, my cousin sister & brother in-law. Each of us has spent time in different countries at some stage in our lives. This new year’s was the perfect opportunity for such a road trip because all of us are in India right now – a rather rare occurrence!

We all live in or around Bombay. This was the primary reason for choosing the Bombay – Delhi route. One of the first decisions we took while planning this trip was to avoid night driving (and it also played an important role in getting permission from the parents!). The plan would be to drive through the day, halt at a city/town with some civilization and continue the next morning.

We entrusted a year-old XUV5OO to be our ride for this journey. The other option was Xylo, which I was reluctant to pick. It is undoubtedly more comfortable on a long drive (especially the one with captain seats on the second row), but somehow it didn’t come across as a “road trip” car. The XUV had been serving us well for the past year without too many issues. So the decision was made.

The route would be Mumbai – Surat – Ahmedabad – Udaipur – Jaipur – Agra – Delhi – Jaipur – Chittorgarh – Udaipur – Ahmedabad – Surat – Mumbai.

I checked the brake oil, coolant, engine oil & tire pressure a week before leaving so that we had enough time to get everything fixed.
We left on 29th December at around 7AM from Juhu, Mumbai. The plan was to leave at 6 to avoid the truckers while getting out of Bombay. We were a bit delayed, but luckily did not face too much traffic regardless. We crossed Surat at around 10:30AM. The roads had been surprisingly good until then. We had been on NH8 throughout. However, just after Surat there was a mammoth traffic jam, a few kilometers in length and with thousands of trucks. We were lucky to see some vehicles take a cut and drive on the opposite side (!!) to get through this. It seemed to be quite a “normal” solution, so we followed. In retrospect, I’m glad we did, else we might’ve celebrated new year’s right there in a couple of days!
We reached Ahmedabad at around 3PM. The Gujarat roads are in great condition, especially when compared to those of the state we had come from (Maharashtra) and where we would be going next (Rajasthan). Next day we would be tackling the longest drive in a day during the trip (923 kms), so we took a good night’s rest.

Next morning, we left at 8AM. The GPS showed an estimated arrival time of 4AM the next day when we put our destination in! It led to a momentary lapse in motivation levels before we set off. The roads, once again were very well maintained and you can continuously maintain your speed at more than 120kph. However, the number of toll plazas throughout the entire trip was astonishingly high and we lost a LOT of time at these. We did not go through the Ajmer route. Instead, we took NH27 after Udaipur and went via the Chittorgarh route to save time. The roads were very well maintained and were 4 lanes for most of the journey, with occasional 6 lane and 2 lane stretches. We reached Agra at around 10PM. Next morning was the Taj Mahal visit, which took a good 4 hours. We were supposed to leave Agra at 10:30AM, but were able to leave only at 12 noon.

What followed was THE BEST section of the trip – Yamuna Expressway. I was so proud to be driving on such a road in India. I was the one who drove on it because, in my cousin’s words, I would “get the most kick out of it”! If there is one complain that I have with the XUV, it is that the brakes are not nearly as strong as they should have been. Thus, I am never comfortable going too fast in it because unlike the other cars which I drive, I am not sure if I will be able to stop it in time if I have to.

We spent new year’s eve in Delhi, followed by some “tourist activities” next morning. We left Delhi for Chittorgarh at 3PM on 1st of January. The Chittorgarh drive was rather uneventful, with 4 tired souls in the car! We also had the biggest disappointment of the trip during this drive. The Delhi – Jaipur section of the highway, which had been touted as being excellent, was completely dug up due to ongoing flyover constructions. It was a very frustrating stretch, with another diversion within 500m of the last one. We reached a little after 12 midnight.

Next morning, we started at 7AM. The last day was here! On this journey too, there was the same traffic near Surat with kilometer long queues of truckers. Luckily, this time we were on the other side! We breezed through and crossed Vapi at around 9PM. Within Bombay too, we did not find much traffic and were home by 12:30. To round up, it had been an amazing 5 days worth of driving, with more than 3200 kms!

The car had also behaved very well. Before starting on the first day, I did do the customary brake oil, coolant & engine oil check, but after that I relied on the car’s electronics to tell me if there was something wrong!
If you are thinking of attempting something like this, following are some tips which you may find useful:

1. Go in a group with multiple drivers (at least 2, preferably 3)
2. Each driver does short stints (2-2.5 hours each). Each can do 2 stints in a day if required
3. Passenger must not sleep!
4. Carry an inverter to charge your phone/laptop/etc.
5. Try to avoid watching movies in the back seat – distracts the driver. Try to stick to audio
6. Check the vital oil levels (very important, although I did not really do this)
7. Nurture your car – It requires a break too, just like you!
8. Try to keep the RPM low since the drives are very long

Lastly, here’s wishing all teamBHPians a very happy new year!!

Last edited by GTO : 21st January 2013 at 14:23. Reason: Please do NOT post any content / pictures about illegal speeds on public roads
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Old 19th January 2013, 13:08   #2
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Hi Saaket,

While we would love to see the pics that you took en-route, and further more details of the trip, two things that caught my attention are not good at all! (they may be my personal opinion though).

1. Driving on the wrong side of the road in case your side gets jammed - not good at all unless there is really a heavy jam on your side and traffic police have arranged this kind of way. This results in further chaos and jams quite frequently and is a common scene in and around Delhi with all the high and mighty well connected people who feel proud to flout the traffic rules.

2. Getting upto the speed that you mentioned (over 185 was it??) on Yamuna expressway is not good at all on any road in India. The roads are not built for that speed. Yamuna Expressway is also built keeping in mind maximum 120 speed (though the speed limit states 100) thereby calculating the optimum time for the complete travel to be around 2 hours, more so because of the concrete roads which provide more traction and there have been reports of too many tyre bursts and resultant accidents due to high speed. I understand that an empty and wide road as Yamuna Expressway can be too tempting to go into the Schumacher's shoes, but we need to keep a check on temptation.

I believe Team-BHP is all about safe (for self as well as others') and disciplined driving etiquette and we shall all follow the same. I do proudly sport the "I Live to Drive" Team-BHP sticker on my Scorpio and believe me, the onus to prove true to the values of Team-BHP has kept me off the temptations to break traffic rules.

Last edited by GTO : 21st January 2013 at 14:23. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 21st January 2013, 18:00   #3
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Default Re: Mumbai - Delhi - Mumbai in the Mahindra XUV5OO!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saaket_89 View Post
My first post on teamBHP after years of procrastination! I thought this one deserves a post!


If you are thinking of attempting something like this, following are some tips which you may find useful:

1. Go in a group with multiple drivers (at least 2, preferably 3)
2. Each driver does short stints (2-2.5 hours each). Each can do 2 stints in a day if required
3. Passenger must not sleep!
4. Carry an inverter to charge your phone/laptop/etc.
5. Try to avoid watching movies in the back seat – distracts the driver. Try to stick to audio
6. Check the vital oil levels (very important, although I did not really do this)
7. Nurture your car – It requires a break too, just like you!
8. Try to keep the RPM low since the drives are very long

Lastly, here’s wishing all teamBHPians a very happy new year!!
Congratulations - for the drive and for finally posting!

I did this drive in October. I think we broke almost all of your 1-8 rules except # 5 (no screen in my vehicle) and 6 (thorough check up is a must, depends on the vehicle).

Regarding YEH: agree that SUVs should not be pushed too hard. I saw a few dog gangs hanging out on the highway. and a number of tyre burn marks on the road, some heading towards the crash barrier (poor souls).
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Old 23rd January 2013, 03:34   #4
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Hi. I'm doing the trip tomorrow. Given the condition of the Jaipur - Delhi road, would you recommend that I travel from Jaipur to Delhi via Agra?
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Old 23rd January 2013, 07:08   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athani
Hi. I'm doing the trip tomorrow. Given the condition of the Jaipur - Delhi road, would you recommend that I travel from Jaipur to Delhi via Agra?
Its not that bad as its projected. I too did this route around 10th jan. Timing is important. Start early.when starting from delhi and start around 11 from Jaipur for lesser traffic.
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