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Old 25th February 2013, 12:55   #1
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Default My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

I don't remember any one in this forum narrating such a long distance travel in a nano except Late Sam Kapasi, his journey from Mumbai to Delhi (YetiBlog® - The Yeti®, Normally_Crazy and The Tata Nano drive to Delhi!).


Here is some turn of events that happened with me which led to the awesomely interesting road journey from Bangalore all the way to Kolkata, all alone, that too in a Tata Nano. Sounds unbelievable right? Read on...

It was the 1st of February, due to some unexpected emergency; my better held had to leave to Kolkata the previous evening. I too had to go but I didn’t have any booked ticket for a train. Checked the airfare for that day and next as expected it was sky high. No busses from Bangalore to Kolkata. If I had to leave immediately, I had just 3 options, first, pay the ridiculously high air fare, the second one was travelling by bus from Bangalore to Vijayawada, Vijayawada to Bhubaneswar, and Bhubaneswar to Kolkata. This would take more than 4 days and I wasn’t even sure if I would get buses between those cities. The final option was driving down to Kolkata in my car. I had always dreamt of driving to Kolkata and this is would probably be my only chance. But again I thought it won’t be as easy as it sounded. It was more than 2000 Kilometers after all.

Thousands of things started coming to my mind. The risk involved, if the Nano could do it, my health etc. After giving this a long thought, I came to a conclusion that booking a tatkal ticket would be wiser. Hence, I booked a tatkal ticket hoping for the best. I started packing my stuff that I might need if I travel by train or drive down. Recharged a flashlight, kept the tool kit ready in the car, car papers etc. I was still not sure if I would be driving down or taking the train.

Day 1
The next morning, I woke up early. The first thing I did was, checked my tatkal reservation status, as expected, it was still showing wait list "chart not prepared". I was still in the dilemma whether to start or wait till the chart is prepared, finally at about 11 am I see that the chart was prepared and my ticket was not confirmed. I was both excited and worried about my expedition. I decided not let anyone know about the drive until I reach Kolkata. So that I don’t give anyone a headache. (I know I am dumb) I checked the car coolant level, engine oil level, brake oil, washer fluid, Tire pressure and all the lights. I headed to a Tire service shop to balance the front two tires as it had a slight wobble while travelling above 80 kmph. Once everything was complete, came back home loaded all my stuff into the car, after a short prayer I headed out. I was still confused, little worried on whether I should be doing this, as it was too long for a drive. But finally I somehow convinced myself to do it.

It was 2PM and I started after my lunch. I headed towards KR Purim and took the Tirupati road which goes via Kolar; I used my mobile GPS to reach Nellore, as I would get NH5 from there. I had set a distance myself that I should reach Vijayawada and halt for night. Vijayawada was 667 KM approx. considering the time I started it would be midnight or later to reach. By the time I reached Nellore it was getting dark. I was maintaining a constant speed of 80kmph. I had this in my mind that I cannot stress the engine, as once I reach my native it would be again 2000km back.

Roads were good up to Nellore, except single roads after around 100 kms from Bangalore. I continued driving as the car was showing no signs of strain. I had to stop every 240 km to refuel as tank capacity was 15 liters only. From Nellore onwards it was toll roads, had a quick stop for tea, otherwise all stops were for refuel and start off immediately. At around 12 am I was still 67 km's away from Vijayawada, I was feeling tired and wanted to take rest. I found a road side lodge and checked in for the night, informed at the reception that I will leave early morning.

Day 2

Next day woke up at around 6am, had a shower a hot cup of tea, went down cleaned the car, as it was smeared with flys and insects all over the front. At around 7.45 am headed to my next destination, Bhubaneswar, it was about 900+ km from Vijayawada. I reached Visakhapatnam around 2.30 pm. I had little snacks as I was not feeling hungry. The journey so far was nonstop, except for refuel stops. The road was excellent and I was getting bored as could not go beyond 80kmph, not that I could but I did not want to. It was evening and I was almost close to Orissa border, now I started feeling hungry, I stopped by dhaba and had nice late lunch. Went for a little stroll and checked the tire to notice pressure loss or unusual wear.

So back on the road again and I was still thinking if I could make it to Bhubaneswar. Remember when we had only single roads, night driving was stressful with all those powerful headlamp literally blinding, well it was dusk with my headlights on, but thanks to the double roads with dividers and trees in between that kept headlights of opposite vehicles away I could cover a good distance without much stress. So around 10.30 I was entering Bhubaneswar, I felt a sense of great satisfaction that I had made it. I decided not to stay at any hotel as I wanted to be home by noon. Now it was 400kms only . So pulled over by a big BP pump, asked the security if I can park the car and sleep. He said he had no problems, also asked me when we could wake me up. I said by 4 am. I did not trust him so set an alarm on my mobile and tried to sleep, after lot of difficulties sleeping I finally slept off.

Day 3

The alarm went off early in the morning the next day, I woke up snoozed it. After 5 minutes it started rigging again, now turned the alarm off and slowly woke up. Gathered my shoes, I couldn’t see anything outside except for street lights all the windows are full of mist. Got down and damn!! It was too cold and I started shivering, I got back in and wore a jacket. Got out of the car and freshened up a little, could not see the security guard around, I think he must have slept off. The roads were empty and only a few trucks were plying. I got in the car and thought for a moment and decided to start off, it was 4.15 am, for a moment I thought, I should be home by 10am. But it did not happen soon after I started I was into deep fog, had to tail a big trailer, it was doing close to 60, I did not want to overtake as the visibility was less than 5 meters!! Slowly it was morning and the fog started to descend, about 7am I was able to gain speed and around 9.45 am I was close to Kharagpur, a sheer joy that I am close to home, I did not want to stop anywhere as I wanted to reach home as soon as I could. There was a little bit of cold drinks and biscuits in the car, had it and continued. It was noon 12 and I was entering the gate of my house. A feat well done, me and my Nano we did it. 2000 km in about 33 hrs. excluding the night halts. It was a great surprise at home, all were like how did you come? Train? I said no! Flight? I said no! What Nano? was the next question, I said Yes !

Synopsis:

Day 1
Distance covered - 612 kms
Driving time - 2 pm to 12 am

Day 2
Distance covered - 925 kms
Driving time - 7.45 am to 11 pm
Day 3
Distance covered - 463 kms
Driving time - 4.15 am to 12 pm

Fuel filled- Rs 6112
Toll Tax paid - Rs 1060

I really wish I could get some nice photos of my trip. But every minute was important to me, it wasn't a relaxed driving nor was it stressed. The anticipation of covering 2000km gripped me so much that taking photos became secondary. Also I had to prove that Nano is not a car to be disgusted or hated about (I am sure this image has now changed among people). It is a "practical car" well thought out. I have a few photos and videos that I am sharing hear with. My inspiration for this trip is my dad. Who has covered entire north India by car!

Return Journey:

After about two weeks it was time for me to come back, my dad was supposed to join me but had to opt out at the last hour due to some work. Driving back all alone again for another 2000km was not at all enthusiastic. This time it was a compulsion.

Nothing much to talk about the return journey.

Day 1

Started about 7 in the morning, had breakfast at Kolaghat, passed Kharagpur and reached Bhubaneswar around 2.30 pm. Stopped for Lunch. Started again aim was to reach Visakhapatnam. Was able to make it to Visakhapatnam at around 11 PM. In between stopped for refuel and tea and pretty much it was nonstop drive. Was getting bored, missing home. Anyhow reached Visakhapatnam and spend the night at a hotel.

Day 2

Another day with me and my Nano... The sky was overcast and was drizzling, started around 8 am, confused in my mind if I can make it home as it was 1000+ km to reach Bangalore. I thought if I can manage to pull it through then I should reach home midnight. But they say what we plan turns out to be something else it was 10 pm and I was just reaching Nellore. It was still 400 kms to reach home, so I thought if I pullover for the night I will end up reaching Bangalore late afternoon and if I continue drive early morning I should be home, but I have already driven 800kms and I was already tired. For a moment I thought I have to push it to the limits to cover the night.
The first challenge was to overcome the bright blinding headlights. The second challenge was to drive through the single roads and finally third challenge was to rely on GPS as the route to Bangalore from Nellore was unknown to me. It was around 12.30 am I started feeling sleepy, I could not find a pump to pullover. Finally after 10 minutes I found one, took a 1 hr power nap. At 2am woke up washed my face and prepared for the final stretch. As I was heading the kms seem not ending at all, suddenly thunder showers started I could barely see and my speed dropped below 40kmph. I was wondering at this pace I would probably can't even make it by morning, But by God’s grace the rain disappeared, I was back on track, and soon after the last 99km to Bangalore double road came, 5 am I parked my sweet Nano. 5.30 I hit the bed and the journey came to an end. A lifetime memory and accomplishment something worth sharing, A car that's no SUV, no Sedan but the "Cheapest" and probably the "Smallest" none other the nano!

Synopsis:

Day 1 - 932 km
Driving time - 7 am to 11.30 pm

Day 2 & 3 - 1068
Driving time - 8 am to next day 5 am

Toll tax paid - Rs 1090
Fuel filled- Rs 6150

Average economy through out - 24kmpl
Average speed - 60 km +/- 10 km
Max speed - 105 kmph
Cruising speed - 80kmph +/- 5kmph

Thank you guys for reading.

Last edited by Rehaan : 8th March 2013 at 15:36. Reason: Correcting typo.
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Old 26th February 2013, 00:15   #2
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Default re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Attached are few photos taken on my return journey.

Attached Thumbnails
My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone-img_0003.jpg  

My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone-img_0009.jpg  

My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone-img_0015.jpg  

My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone-img_0017.jpg  

My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone-img_0047.jpg  


Last edited by MadTiger : 26th February 2013 at 09:56.
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Old 8th March 2013, 17:29   #3
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Wow!! this truly is unbelievable! You really need nerves of steel to think about driving a Nano for such a long distance and that too alone. Was surprised that the Nano could do this without any issues ! anyways, this shows how competent the Nano is!!
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Old 8th March 2013, 21:41   #4
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Fantastic, kudos to your spirit, a long lonely drive is not easy even in faster cars and you did it in a Nano and that too a solo return journey. Way to go, did you at any point feel the car was not suited for these kind of long drives?
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Old 8th March 2013, 21:52   #5
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The true spirit of a wanderer! Admirable decision and a nice travelogue. Having done two long distance trips, one mini off road trip and driving it daily I know the Manor is much more capable than what people think.

And kudos to your Nano too!
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Old 8th March 2013, 21:53   #6
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

@MT,
Hi,
While things are fresh in your mind, a comparison of the Nano vis a vis other cars for long distance travel would be appreciated.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 8th March 2013, 22:33   #7
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Really hard to believe that you could do such long trip in a nano and that too all alone! Amazing spirit i must say. I guess it would have been a fantastic one and to remember for a very long time. Good to know that the little Nano did it without breaking a sweat. It Will be interesting to know more about the driving experience in the Nano on the long highway.
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Old 8th March 2013, 22:56   #8
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Your TBHP handle is 100% suited!! Mad Tiger indeed!! Hats off to you on doing this. Driving alone is not something a lot many can accomplish, especially sticking to the speeds you were doing and that too for 4000kms. Its an experience of a life time. Did you have any issues with the Nano, at all? None is mentioned on the thread, hence I take that you had a trouble free journey.
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Old 8th March 2013, 23:22   #9
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

It is an experience most of us in the forum would want to do at some point in life , but only few can dare .
Hats off to you and your NANO ,
Did you find that after you cross kolar - all of a sudden every second car on the road seems like a tata one - I found so during one the trips Bangalore - Vizag .
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Old 9th March 2013, 00:22   #10
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Fantastic, kudos to your spirit, a long lonely drive is not easy even in faster cars and you did it in a Nano and that too a solo return journey. Way to go, did you at any point feel the car was not suited for these kind of long drives?
Thank you Lukeskywalker, well to be very honest nano is not meant for long drives specially what I did, but it's engineered so its very much doable. Specially the seats you need better cushioning, I had got my seats done after I purchased it, still I took a foam cushion to sit on, also took a cushion to rest my shoulder that way I reduced the chance frozen shoulder. I had done Blr - Hyd - Blr and I got to know that this car can be driven if driven well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
The true spirit of a wanderer! Admirable decision and a nice travelogue. Having done two long distance trips, one mini off road trip and driving it daily I know the Manor is much more capable than what people think.

And kudos to your Nano too!
Thank you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
@MT,
Hi,
While things are fresh in your mind, a comparison of the Nano vis a vis other cars for long distance travel would be appreciated.

Regards
Sutripta
Hi Sutripta,

Any car can be driven its all about the mind set you have. So I don't want to start a debate by pointing which car would be good and which would be bad. Yes off course you need to consider the roads, prime factor, which was indeed very much favourable for me, without these butter smooth roads I could never complete the trip in the expected time frame. If I had a BMW I could have saved at least 6 hrs if not more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar24 View Post
Really hard to believe that you could do such long trip in a nano and that too all alone! Amazing spirit i must say. I guess it would have been a fantastic one and to remember for a very long time. Good to know that the little Nano did it without breaking a sweat. It Will be interesting to know more about the driving experience in the Nano on the long highway.
Thank you, sridhar24! I would say roads were spectacular, all I needed was company to drive away the boredom at times, otherwise it was just munching miles after miles!

Quote:
Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
Your TBHP handle is 100% suited!! Mad Tiger indeed!! Hats off to you on doing this. Driving alone is not something a lot many can accomplish, especially sticking to the speeds you were doing and that too for 4000kms. Its an experience of a life time. Did you have any issues with the Nano, at all? None is mentioned on the thread, hence I take that you had a trouble free journey.
Thank you! Yes you are very much right not a single issue I had to face, not even a flat tyre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rovergen View Post
It is an experience most of us in the forum would want to do at some point in life , but only few can dare .
Hats off to you and your NANO ,
Did you find that after you cross kolar - all of a sudden every second car on the road seems like a tata one - I found so during one the trips Bangalore - Vizag .
Thank you Rovergen! Strange, well I was busy finding my way to Nellore so dint quite notice it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pri2 View Post
Wow!! this truly is unbelievable! You really need nerves of steel to think about driving a Nano for such a long distance and that too alone. Was surprised that the Nano could do this without any issues ! anyways, this shows how competent the Nano is!!
Thank you!
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Old 9th March 2013, 00:43   #11
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Now I want to ask a stupid question. How much was the last minute air fare? One way only, because the return was almost two weeks later, so that one would have been cheaper. :-p

But congratulations on this personal milestone, I'm sure the experience will be very useful. The actual worth is in taming some devils that reside in our minds.
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Old 9th March 2013, 09:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LithiumSunset View Post
Now I want to ask a stupid question. How much was the last minute air fare? One way only, because the return was almost two weeks later, so that one would have been cheaper. :-p

But congratulations on this personal milestone, I'm sure the experience will be very useful. The actual worth is in taming some devils that reside in our minds.
You are actually right, this was more of a situation to accomplish a dream. I have inherited this dare attitude from my dad but when I was young my plans were doomed by my mom as she was scared and now better half. This was the only chance to sneak out with out much resistance. From now onwards they are little tamed that its doable off course risks are there, but that should not held some one back from accomplishing something. Last but not the least answer to your question - 9k onward journey return 8.5k. I know I did not save something huge, but archived a lifetime experience which always cannot be measured in rupees :-)

Last edited by MadTiger : 9th March 2013 at 09:08. Reason: Typo
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Old 9th March 2013, 11:34   #13
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Vow you are a Tiger at heart and that too a mad one to boot!! Wonderful spirit and thanks for sharing the experience
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Old 9th March 2013, 12:35   #14
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

@MadTiger - Wow, amazing experience, kudos to your spirit to do this all alone in a small car. Thanks for sharing
If you compare your trip to one that is planned much ahead with proper breaks/stops for the night identified, etc -
those kind of trips either never happen (planned too much in detail or you keep discussing it and getting too many contradictory opinions, people will definitely find a lot of 'risks', negatives, so on).
So, it's the impromptu / quick plans that really see light of day, yes there is the element of risk/unknown but they largely succeed due to your sprit and determination and I would say this is one such trip.
You should thank the airlines for their high fares, the railways for not getting tickets, otherwise this trip may not have happened

Last edited by NPV : 9th March 2013 at 12:41.
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Old 9th March 2013, 12:46   #15
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Default Re: My journey from Bangalore to Kolkata in a Tata Nano, that too Alone

Wow! You have re-affirmed the saying "Its not the ride that matters, but the rider".

Kudos to your spirit. Wish you many many more happy miles ahead.
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