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Old 16th June 2012, 15:37   #1
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Default Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

This time it was not just the road bug that was bugging me! It was also a bit of necessity. I was shifting out from Hyderabad to my hometown Kolkata. I had to shift my Alto as well and I did not want it to be in hands of other people. Thus, the initial decision of driving the entire way. Also, I knew that I was a kid in the highway driving club and I badly wanted to graduate to a grown-up. I had earlier done a bit on the Andhra highways but never went cross-borders. I had a feeling that I could do ~800km a day and thus the entire distance of about 1600km can be done in 2 days. Then I started the research and asked people how the idea sounded to them. To my surprise, everybody who drive in the city told me that this was sheer madness to take an Alto for a 1600km, 2 day trip. My research spoke otherwise. People have taken theirs from Bangalore to Kolkata and M800 from Hyderabad to Gujarat and back. So I started to talk to TEAM-BHP people and my service engineers. None of them said that this cannot be done. This gave me the strength to plan forward. I knew, driving alone was a tough ask and tougher would be to be alone the entire trip. So, I fell back to my biggest companion on the highways, Pukin. He is not a driver, never sat on the steering, but still the best navigator for me. He can sit awake on the front seat for the entire day even after sleepless nights. Added to him was our junior, Debadrito. Debadrito is a very interesting character. He would fall asleep almost as soon as the AC is on even in terrible city traffic, :-). Still when required, he can talk for hours so that we do not get bored. So, this was the team.

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(from right)Debadrito, Pukin and I

I met Ranjith from t-bhp and wanted him to see my car once and certify that its fine. That went well. Then I got my car checked up at Varun Motors, Begumpet and Carnation, Maula Ali. Both the places certified that its fine. Pukin and I had earlier spent about 3 hours to create the route map. Print-outs were taken. 28Th April was hectic for me. The movers & packers took all the stuff from my flat at Kompally. We were to spent the night at Saket at Debadrito's flat and start early next morning from there.

We started at 5 AM on 29th April with two inexperienced guides and an equally inexperienced driver. The only thing we had to boast about is the will and the passion. Ranjith had earlier told me that the time-lines are very pessimistic, but I knew that with my level of experience we might take even more than that. I took a wrong road to Uppal from Saket that took us about an hour extra. After Uppal were the highways and the Sun rising from the front as we were heading east. Lovely experience, lovely photos!

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However, not so good roads. Our first stop was at Chityala, 87.6 km from Saket for a roadside tea break at Orissa Dhaba at 7 AM. Not good speed by any standards. A short 20 mins break and off to Suryapet at Highway Food Court 7. The odometer read 137.9km and we took a long break of 1 hr. Off we went for another 50 km to Kodad in the next hour and carried on to Gollapudi, the outskirts of Vijaywada by 12:15 PM. The NH9 is filled with diversions for constructions and we already overshot our time-lines. After Gollapudi, we had to take the Elluru road to get onto NH5. I was longing for the Golden Quadrilateral that I had heard so much about. But the wait was eluding to say the least. It took us an hour to cross Vijaywada. We got glimpses of the Eastern Ghats earlier and now I could understand the we were crossing from under the Easter Ghats. While we were in Vijaywada, we decided that we would have our lunch only after we cross the city. We did so and reached the other side just after 1 PM. We stopped at a very small roadside restaurant called Paradise and had our lunch there.

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The next leg was the one I was looking for from the morning. It was the GQ and we were headed to Rajahmundry. We did 173 km in 2:45 hrs. We stopped once in between for a smoke break and this was better speed compared to anything in the morning. We got drizzles on the way and of course it was so soothing. I did not know till then that there were lots to follow in the day. We stopped at Rajahmundry for a tea break and expected to be in Vizag within the next 3 hours max.

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Things were planned differently for us. We left Rajahmundry with a storm behind us. Dust was blowing all around us and we quickly managed to run to the car. As we did rain drops started. But it was still pretty manageable and we expected the Sun to be there for quite sometime more as we were by then almost the sea shore. Within 15 mins, visibility started dropping and the storm started blowing harder along with a heavy downpour. As soon I was behind a truck, visibility was almost zero.

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The setting Sun on the skyline of the Eastern Ghats was mesmerising! Once I considered stopping, but dropped the idea as this was damn exiting for me. I knew that a test was on for me, but thunderstorm on the GQ and driving through it, may be the best that any driver can ask for India. I gradually realised that I could not see even with the high beam on and that freaked me out. I thought it may be the changing light and wanted to see till it was completely dark. But still I could not see the roads. As soon as it got dark, we stopped on the roadside to see what was it. The showers have stopped a bit and I thought we were through it. I found out that the headlamps have a few layers of dust almost turned into mud. I had to rub the headlamps, the windscreen and the side mirrors to be able to see again. A white duster completely turned black. Outside was completely pitch dark by then.

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We started off again, happy that the rain was behind us! We were badly mistaken. Ahead was not just the rain, but the thunderstorm and tremendous downpour. I have never been in such trying limits of my driving capabilities. Its rare that I am afraid of the roads ahead. This time I was, really. Driving at almost 80kmph, it was not easy to say the least. Both sides of the road were pitch dark and it was tunnel vision for me. This was the border of the Alluri Sitaramaraju Forest Area.

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Our plan was to stop at Annavaram but skipped all of that and headed for Vizag. I knew I had to make it to there before late. Finally, we were on the suburbs of Vizag by 8:30 PM. We had to find the Haritha and did so and parked there at 9:15PM. The last leg was a whopping 210 KM in 4 hours and next day one of my friends told me that there was a mini cyclone on the Vizag coast last night. I was [don't know what the feeling is called :-)], but proud of myself to say the least. We had our dinner at Haritha restaurant. Nothing great but all was good for me after a day of 688 km of driving. It was the first time I was having rice in the day and I had it good. Then it was a hot water shower and to bed. Good Night!

Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto-img_5006.jpg
Rushikonda Beach

30th April, we started at 5:15 AM from Vizag. We took the Beach Road till Bheemunipatnam and the sight was too good! It was almost driving through the sea shore. We got back to NH5 a bit ahead of Peddipalem. We reached Srikakulam in 2 hours and had out morning tea and breakfast at a roadside tiffin center.

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Tiffin Center

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NH5 again!

The road was good ahead and I stepped on the gas at full throttle. It was lovely on both sides of the road with Eastern Ghats skyline. I wanted to cross the AP-OR border at the earliest. My first cross-border experience, as I mentioned earlier and I was quite confused. At several places, there were road bumps and police posting and we took each one of them as the border :-P and then we would see sign boards again in Telugu. Finally at one place, we could see the truck- drivers sleeping under the trucks and the private cars passing through the wrong side. That had to be it. We passed through without being stopped. This time we the sign boards in Oriya. We went all the way to Berhampur and stopped for tea there and checked tyre pressure. This leg was again 270 km, a pretty fast one considering the borders and all.

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Man of the Match

Our initial plan was to cross Chilka and have lunch at Rameswar. But as we were approaching Chilka, we were astounded by the sight and decided to have our lunch there only. The lunch was great at the Panthanivas, Barkul Khurda. I again opted out of rice and went with local fried shark. It was mouth watering!

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Enroute Chilka

As we started from Chilka, we found out that we are no longer following the GQ, but the old NH5. This was not at all good. This not only a heavy toll on the schedule, but also on the car. Filled with potholes and local buses, this took us quite a bit to cover this stretch and get back on the GQ. They are constructing the GQ here. The NHAI website says this is about 16 km. This had put us so behind the schedule that I pulled through straight up to Bhadrak and we stopped at a hotel at 6:15PM. In between we had stopped just outside Cuttack at 4 PM for a tea. Added to the delay was the road from Bhubaneshwar to Cuttack. The road is a stretch of 22 km with no bypasses as people had told me with pure city traffic. It also had a few diversions due to flyover constructions. This distance as 230 kms done in 4 hours, such was the bad road conditions and the Bhubaneshwar traffic. As we started from Bhadrak, we were of the idea that we would not reach Kolkata the same day. We decided that we do the night stay at Baleshwar, 70 km away from there. The sky was again turning cloudy and I did not have the energy to do another thunderstorm drive as the previous day. We called our respective homes and said that we stay the night at Baleshwar, start off early morning the next day and reach home by next morning. Only Debadrito was a bit concerned as he had a date the next morning and he was tired of sleeping on the back seat :-P. But he knew that if I can't pull it off, he can't be of much help. So, he had to agree. We started from Bhadrak very relaxed, hoping to rest in about an hour at Baleshwar. As we were heading to Baleshwar, Debadrito was completely asleep and Pukin was dozing off. I could see the milestones saying Kolkata is less than 300 km. Something happened to me and I drove through Baleshwar and was revving at 120+ kmph. When Pukin opened his eyes, I told we are reaching home late. He was gazing at me, surprised. He knew I have already done 1300 km in last 36 hours and might not be able to pull it through. He just asked me if I was okay and I nodded. That's why I like him as my navigator. He immediately understood that the road bug and the home sickness has taken over in me simultaneously. I would not be able to stop myself. He sat up, washed his eyes and concentrated on the roads harder than me. He was pointing out every turn, every bump and every vehicle ahead. I was just sitting at the steering, actually he was driving.

We crossed the OR-WB border about 8:45 PM. The bad part was that just before the border, the road was very bad. There were minor constructions going on. But the major problem were the small continuous bumps. I drove through a couple of them at 90+ kmph and then pull back every time as Pukin pointed them out. All our mobiles beeped at the same time - “Airtel welcomes you to West Bengal”. The sign boards spelt places in Bengali. Back home after 8 years. Shivers down my spine, adrenaline gushing through my veins, - WOW! We stopped just after the border at Dantan. Again we called our homes to say that we would be back the same day, but late. Everybody were very concerned. We found out from the locals that there were no further bumps ahead. Feet on the gas at full force, we crossed Kharagpur Bypass at 10:30PM. Had a bit of tea there, updated at home and off we went again. The last leg was here. We drove though Kolaghat, Uluberia and finally into the traffic of Vidyasagar Setu by 11:30. However, it took us almost 45mins from there to Kalighat. Debadrito and Pukin got dropped at their respective homes and when I parked the car in front of my home, it was 12:45 AM and the odometer read 1563 kms.

I had just one phrase to say to myself before I dozed off – I DID IT!!!!

Last edited by SDP : 25th July 2016 at 14:21. Reason: Removed an implied reference to high-speed driving
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Old 16th June 2012, 23:14   #2
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Congrats on Successful completion of your first inter-state long drive.Your narration has brought back the memories of my first Highway drive in the year 2007 and it was from Hyderabad - Vijayawada - Annavaram - Hyderabad.

Wish you crunch many more miles in the future and take us along with your travelogues.
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Old 16th June 2012, 23:27   #3
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Congatulations Debopam for the successful completion. This is another thread teaching us to never underestimate hatches(Abhijeet, are you listening?). Wish you many more miles in yourAlto.

Keep revvin'
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Old 17th June 2012, 07:15   #4
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

You did it - indeed. Congratulations.

Could you post a few more photographs , especially of the roads of Odisha, if you can?

Thanks again for the great travelogue and narration.
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Old 17th June 2012, 08:45   #5
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Congratulations on completion of your first big highway drive. NH5 is a fantastic piece of road, and its just your luck that you encountered a thunderstorm on the first day. A few pointers:

1. In your next day-long trip, sit with a map and find out the important places en route. Calculate approx distances and the time it'll take to cover them. This will let you form an idea where to take breakfast and lunch breaks, and keep your overall schedule in check.

2. Stretching your schedule at night to cover an additional distance is a good idea (like you did from Balasore to Kolkata). But do remember to keep taking chai/smoke breaks. Your body is tired, and it needs occasional breaks more than it would do in the day.

3. Next time you do this route, try stopping at OTDC Rambha instead of Barkul. Its more scenic, lesser number of people, and the food is equally good.

@noidea - There are plenty of threads with Orissa pics, including 2 of my own!
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Old 17th June 2012, 09:40   #6
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Debopam,

You have attempted what I would never have. I was able to do a stretch of 250 km traveling North from Hyderabad on NH7 (now called NH44) and a return trip on the following day about a dozen times. I also covered the stretch at night, twice. However, after having stayed away from the wheel for about 6 months, I tried to go 120 km North on NH7 (Hyderabad to Kamareddy) and back last week but it was hard to stay focused on the road especially with the cloudy weather.

I did once attempt the 250 km stretch on NH7 non-stop (without the 5-10 min break at Haritha's at Kamareddy) and my back simply couldn't take it. The 800 km drive you did on just the first day was no easy feat.

I do hope to make a longer trip sometime later this year, simply because if I catch a flight I would be in a city without a car to drive around (getting a rental would mean an unfamiliar vehicle and an unfamiliar city - adding at least something of familiarity in that equation would add some comfort). BTW, what distance of the route consisted of dual-carriage roads? Those are the ones that would slow me down considerably because I'd stay at 60-80 km/hr on those roads and I cannot take more than an hour of driving on dual-carriage roads without a break.
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Old 17th June 2012, 10:29   #7
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

There seems to be something special between an Alto and Kolkata!

Check out another BHPian akroy's trendsetting drive between Bangalore-Kolkata in his Alto a few years back: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-kolkata.html (Travelogue: Bangalore to Kolkata)
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Old 17th June 2012, 21:43   #8
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

I am so sorry guys that I could not reply to your messages. Normally, I get the responses to my posts on e-mail. This time I did not get any.. may be some mistake of mine.

First things first - Thanks to everybody for your kind words. Encouragements like these would push me to crunch more miles.

theMAG - I had kept akroy's post bookmarked on my browser for about 6 months.... that's where from I learnt the this is possible by wildest means. He's somebody I look upto with high reverence in driving and photography. Now that I am in Kolkata, hope I would get to meet him sometime.

k_nitin_r - Nitin, the entire GQ is dual carriage from Vijaywada to Kolkata, if I understand the term correctly (Seniors, please rectify if I am wrong). That's about 1200+ km. Sorry to hear that your back troubles you. I had a back problem when I was in Noida (then I did not have a car). That aggravated after I drove about 2500+ miles in US in 2 months. So, when I got this car, the very next day I got a medium sized square pillow behind my back on the seat. With that, I never had back pain in this car. It's a bit uncomfortable, but you get adjusted and it's definitely worth. You might want to try that if you haven't already.

predatorwheelz - Of course I was taking breaks every 100 kms. I am an avid smoker and can't do more than 100km without a smoke. This time I could even think about it as I was getting back home. Otherwise, I doubt if I would have done that. When I stop, I am atleast 10ft away from the car and also keep doing superficial inspections for any visible damages. (with the hatch, I am always skeptical). I'll keep the OTDC Rambha in mind for the next time.

noidea - I do post all my photos in a skydrive folder. But, I think t-bhp does not allow giving an external link. Let me know if you need the link, I would e-mail that across to you.
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Old 18th June 2012, 11:00   #9
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Nice, crisp description of your first road trip. I am sure you will be doing many more now. What is the condition of NH5 between WB and Odisha? It is generally smooth except for these sudden gradient changes when there is a bridge or an underpass. It kind of unsettles the car at high speeds. Is it the same thing you were talking about when you were in the Odisha section of NH5? Also how was the condition in Jaleshwar where there is invariably a huge pileup of trucks being the WB-OR border?
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Old 18th June 2012, 12:51   #10
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

So has the Hyderabad - Vijaywada road been fully done up?

When I last travelled in January this year, the road was mostly done, however had some diversions. Has the entire stretch till Vijaywada now divided?
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Old 18th June 2012, 12:59   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Wonderful drive! I plan to do a similar trip to Kolkata from Bangalore someday. Day I I would try for Vizag, and then Day 2 to Kolkata from Vizag as you did.

A question: why were you checking tyre pressures when you stopped for a break? The pressures would be high due to heat and running, and could erroneous results. Were you apprehensive about a puncture?
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Old 18th June 2012, 16:14   #12
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by debopam View Post

I met Ranjith from t-bhp and wanted him to see my car once and certify that its fine. That went well.

We started at 5 AM on 29th April with two inexperienced guides and an equally inexperienced driver. The only thing we had to boast about is the will and the passion. Ranjith had earlier told me that the time-lines are very pessimistic
It was a pleasure meeting you and your enthusiasm for the drive was infectious

Glad to know that you completed the drive safe and sound.Well I guess now it must have given you the confidence to drive to the North-East.All the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauravdgr8 View Post
So has the Hyderabad - Vijaywada road been fully done up?
Its still not entirely done up Gaurav,but road quality is very good and at most places,one side of the new 4 lane is open.HYD-VJA can be done in 5hrs now a days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Kolkata from Bangalore someday. Day I I would try for Vizag, and then Day 2 to Kolkata from Vizag
Nilanjan,BLR-Kolkata is a breeze.Bangaloreans are blessed souls when it comes to GQ.We poor Hyderabadis have to suffer the ignominy of driving 2 laned roads till the HYD-VJA NH9 is completed.

Leave early and Vizag can be easily done in about 16hours.

BLR-Nayudpeta(NH5): 5 hrs

Nayudpeta-Guntur: 4hrs

Guntur-Vijayawada: Could take upto 1.5hrs due to 6laning

VJA-R'mundry: 2hrs

R'mundry-Vizag: 3hrs

You could stay at Best Western India - Visakhapatnam
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Old 25th July 2016, 12:16   #13
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Your thread is an interesting one i found while trying to search for HYD - Kolkata Route. I am planning to do a Hyd - Kolkata - Sikkim(old Silk road) - Kolkata- Hyderabad in Oct 2016 and started doing my research today. Its going to be a 6000Kms trip that i want to undertake in 15days. The vehicle i will be using is an Innova Crysta. The most important part of my trip will be my drive from Hyd to Kolkata. I don't want to loose many days in this drive and hence, i am planning to do this in two days.
Day1: Hyderabad - Bhubaneshwar/Cuttak
Day 2:- Cuttak - Kolkata/Shantiniketan
I have to plan further after that. However, since my parents would be along, i am also exploring the option of resting in Vizag on Day 1 and Day 2 can be in Kolkata.

Any suggestions.
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Old 25th July 2016, 14:00   #14
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Kolkata in a Maruti Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
Day1: Hyderabad - Bhubaneshwar/Cuttak
Day 2:- Cuttak - Kolkata/Shantiniketan
I have to plan further after that. However, since my parents would be along, i am also exploring the option of resting in Vizag on Day 1 and Day 2 can be in Kolkata.

Any suggestions.
I did Hyd-Kol twice (Oct 15 & Jun 16). I usually stay at Srikakulam, two reasons
1. Its at the middle
2. Avoid Vizag city traffic

If you need any other info, please ping me
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