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Old 5th December 2011, 23:29   #76
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Sorry nomadabhi for seeing your post so late. The forest guest house was organised by a friend who is an IFS officer of the Rajasthan cadre. The guest house is alloted by the DFO in Udaipur, who informs the range officer in Kelwara. I do not know the procedure for booking it for people who do not know anyone. But I was clearly told that if any government official came even late in the night we would have to vacate the room. We were also unofficially told by friends that no one goes there !!
There are quite a few other resorts in Kumbhalgarh. Club Mahindra has a property where you can stay. If you love nature, you must spend at least a full day in Kumbhalgarh.
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Old 13th December 2011, 18:53   #77
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Sudiptoda, lovely travelogue and wonderful photos. I read it in one shot. Driving alone to Rajasthan from Kolkata is a litmus test of strength, both mental and physical, for you, your family and your beautifully maintained car. Kudos!!!
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Old 3rd January 2012, 16:27   #78
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Shantanu - sorry about seeing this so late and thanks for liking the travelogue. Fear, I have realised through my own experience, comes when you think too much about something in advance. And once you overcome that and do what seems like a daunting task, you will realise that there isn't much to it.

By the way my Rajasthan trip (seperately written) has been published as the Good Year Travelogue of the Month in Geo magazine. There is no online link, I regret. But it's a great start to what I hope will be a Good Year :-) I get to take home 4 Good Year tyres to start with.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:03   #79
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

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The city of Benares, as usual, is a nightmare for motorists, particularly after sun down. There is absolutely no sign of any efforts at administrative intervention to bring order to the chaos. It is a complete mess. After entering Benares (through Chunar Road) it took us about an hour and a half to cover the 10-km distance.
Dada, fantastic travelogue and congratulations for making it to the top of the Good Year list. Hoping for many more to come soon. Specially your pictures are amazing.

I myself am planning to do a longish trip via Varanasi. Since I want to spend the night at Rahi Tourist Bungalow opposite Varanasi Cantt. Rly. Stn. would it be a good idea to take the Vishwa Sundari Byepass and then get on to NH2 back into Varanasi? Would this help avoid the maddening traffic of Varanasi? Your suggestions are highly appreciated.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:43   #80
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Thanks Samarjit. Frankly I don't know the Vishwa Sundari By-pass. I used to take the Chunar Road to enter the town and it goes through really bad stretches and quite a few right turn and left turn which I can intuitively go now but cannot explain.
For going to the Cantonmentt area I would take the old GT Road which is after the second flyover after you cross the river. This way you drive a little more but the road is absolutely straight forward. There is no left right turn.

PS 1: Despite all the traffic madness of Benares, one great thing about the city is it has excellent road signages and directions at virtually every crossing.

PS2: Always ask the local people about "Cantt". Never ask them where "Cantonment" is. You will get vacant looks. They have no idea that Cantt is the short form of Cantonment.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 3rd January 2012 at 17:47.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 17:59   #81
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Thanks Samarjit. Frankly I don't know the Vishwa Sundari By-pass. I used to take the Chunar Road to enter the town and it goes through really bad stretches and quite a few right turn and left turn which I can intuitively go now but cannot explain.
For going to the Cantonmentt area I would take the old GT Road which is after the second flyover after you cross the river. This way you drive a little more but the road is absolutely straight forward. There is no left right turn.

PS 1: Despite all the traffic madness of Benares, one great thing about the city is it has excellent road signages and directions at virtually every crossing.

PS2: Always ask the local people about "Cantt". Never ask them where "Cantonment" is. You will get vacant looks. They have no idea that Cantt is the short form of Cantonment.
Thanks Sudipto da. The Vishwa Sundari Byepass is basically a byepass before Mughalsarai which lets one avoid getting into Varanasi completely if one needs to continue on NH2 onwards. On second thoughts it might be a good idea to carry on straight on NH2 till Rahi.

EDIT Also meant to ask you since you have done this trip fairly recently, where are the bad stretches of road one needs to look out for? I have this tentative plan for managing the trip.

Name:  kolvaranasirt.JPG
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Appreciate your feedback on this.

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 3rd January 2012 at 18:07. Reason: Asked some more questions
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Old 3rd January 2012, 18:42   #82
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

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EDIT Also meant to ask you since you have done this trip fairly recently, where are the bad stretches of road one needs to look out for? I have this tentative plan for managing the trip.

Appreciate your feedback on this.
@samarjit, as I told in another thread, I did this trip last week, so I am in a very good position to answer your queries on Kolkata-Varanasi route. There are no bad stretches, but there was a huge truck jam on NH2 before Varanasi both while going and coming back. Otherwise, it is a delight to drive on this stretch.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 18:55   #83
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@samarjit, as I told in another thread, I did this trip last week, so I am in a very good position to answer your queries on Kolkata-Varanasi route. There are no bad stretches, but there was a huge truck jam on NH2 before Varanasi both while going and coming back. Otherwise, it is a delight to drive on this stretch.
Oops sorry BlackPearl, I must have missed your post. This is then very good news. I was apprehensive after going through Sudipto da's post earlier that there were quite a few stretches which were in a pathetic shape. Good to know that these areas then have been fixed. I also generally had the same sense that from Barhi to right upto Varanasi its a dream drive.
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Old 4th January 2012, 07:19   #84
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

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Thanks Sudipto da. The Vishwa Sundari Byepass is basically a byepass before Mughalsarai which lets one avoid getting into Varanasi completely if one needs to continue on NH2 onwards. On second thoughts it might be a good idea to carry on straight on NH2 till Rahi.
Did you want to know how to enter Varanasi or how to by-pass and not enter? It is not clear when I read the two posts.

If you want to know how to enter Benares from NH2 there are 4 routes that I know of. One is via Mughal Sarai and then you need to take the old bridge. Two is via a road that comes immediately after you cross Ganga over the new bridge - I have never taken this. Three is via Chunar Road that comes immediately after crossing the first flyover (underpass) after crossing the new Ganga bridge. Four is via the old GT Road that you get after the second flyover after the new Ganga bridge. This is the first entry point if you are coming from Allahabad side.

If you want to by-pass the town there is no need to consult any map or look at any Viswa Sundari Bypass. Just keep driving along the main highway. You will not even understand when you crossed Varanasi.

Regarding your proposed plan - I see 3 negatives. 1. You are starting really late. 2. You are wasting precious time in such meaningless pursuits as breakfast and lunch and that too within close proximity to each other. 3. You are reaching Dehri on Sone at 7.30 in the night. Two comments on this last point. Why should it take 12 hours to reach DOS? And if you do reach DOS at 7.30 PM, then when do you propose to reach Benares? A normal drive from Calcutta to Benares outskirts takes 10 hours.

Also, I have no clue where Rahi is.

I have a suspicion your travel plan is based on some discussion with someone really senior who perhaps did it in his Ambassador 30 years ago. My hats off to him. Those days it used to really take a very long time and involved a lot of adventure to reach Benares from Calcutta. But nowadays it doesn't take so long. I will post my actual log later. But my travel logs don't have any elaborate breakfast and lunch breaks and I never drive at night.

Regarding BlackPearl's latest feedback on the road - it is great to know that they have fixed the pot holes of Panagarh and Durgapur and Dehri on Sone and Mohania. It was pathetic in these sectors in October, especially Panagarh.
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Old 4th January 2012, 09:53   #85
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Default Re: Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta

Here is my trip log. Please remember there were two major jams that consumed a lot of hours for me. One was right inside Calcutta (sasthi traffc) and the other and much worse jam was Panagarh.
Please also note that it took about an hour and half to penetrate through the Benares town's 15 km stretch (highway to Cantt area).

I am just copy pasting from my XL sheet. Hope the tabular format works.

It didn't. Please send me your email id I will send it to you as a mail. Request mods to please merge this post with the previous one.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 4th January 2012 at 09:54.
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Old 4th January 2012, 11:03   #86
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Did you want to know how to enter Varanasi or how to by-pass and not enter? It is not clear when I read the two posts.

If you want to know how to enter Benares from NH2 there are 4 routes that I know of. One is via Mughal Sarai and then you need to take the old bridge. Two is via a road that comes immediately after you cross Ganga over the new bridge - I have never taken this. Three is via Chunar Road that comes immediately after crossing the first flyover (underpass) after crossing the new Ganga bridge. Four is via the old GT Road that you get after the second flyover after the new Ganga bridge. This is the first entry point if you are coming from Allahabad side.

If you want to by-pass the town there is no need to consult any map or look at any Viswa Sundari Bypass. Just keep driving along the main highway. You will not even understand when you crossed Varanasi.

Regarding your proposed plan - I see 3 negatives. 1. You are starting really late. 2. You are wasting precious time in such meaningless pursuits as breakfast and lunch and that too within close proximity to each other. 3. You are reaching Dehri on Sone at 7.30 in the night. Two comments on this last point. Why should it take 12 hours to reach DOS? And if you do reach DOS at 7.30 PM, then when do you propose to reach Benares? A normal drive from Calcutta to Benares outskirts takes 10 hours.

Also, I have no clue where Rahi is.

I have a suspicion your travel plan is based on some discussion with someone really senior who perhaps did it in his Ambassador 30 years ago. My hats off to him. Those days it used to really take a very long time and involved a lot of adventure to reach Benares from Calcutta. But nowadays it doesn't take so long. I will post my actual log later. But my travel logs don't have any elaborate breakfast and lunch breaks and I never drive at night.

Regarding BlackPearl's latest feedback on the road - it is great to know that they have fixed the pot holes of Panagarh and Durgapur and Dehri on Sone and Mohania. It was pathetic in these sectors in October, especially Panagarh.
I am sorry I created so much confusion. Think my representation of the plan gave the impression that I reach Dehri On Sone at around 7:30. Actually my plan is to reach Varanasi latest by 7:30 or even earlier if I can. Here is the revised plan below. Hope it makes better sense now.

Rajasthan on self drive from Calcutta-kolvaranasirt.jpg

A few constraints on my side include.

1. Too early a start for me is a problem (earlier than 7 AM) due to various logistical reasons.

2. My parents would be traveling with me hence I would need to space out the trip a bit with a few breaks during the day. Women in the traveling party must have access to relatively clean toilets so it needs a little bit more innovation for the breaks. Add to that I want to ensure that I too remain refreshed during the trip.

3. This is my first longish road trip so obviously my experience on road trips pale in comparison when it comes to veterans and experienced travelers like you.

4. I also have planned only sedate speeds for now but I know I will step on the gas a bit to cover some distance if it helps me to reach Varanasi specially after lunch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Here is my trip log. Please remember there were two major jams that consumed a lot of hours for me. One was right inside Calcutta (sasthi traffc) and the other and much worse jam was Panagarh.
Please also note that it took about an hour and half to penetrate through the Benares town's 15 km stretch (highway to Cantt area).

I am just copy pasting from my XL sheet. Hope the tabular format works.

It didn't. Please send me your email id I will send it to you as a mail. Request mods to please merge this post with the previous one.
Dada, your input is highly appreciated. I am PMing you my email ID. Fierce jams I guess is a matter of luck so one has to cover as much distance and recover time as possible on open stretches to deal with this contingency. Thanks a lot again for your insight.
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