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Old 14th April 2013, 02:07   #1
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Default Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

'Its better late than never' !!So finally after closely an year, I manage to write this travelogue about one of the most memorable road-trips I drove in May 2012 in my faithful Tallboy.I started this one primarily to pay tribute to my companion - My workhorse which is now reaching the 200000 Kms mark on the ODO in coming days

THE ITCH STARTS FOR ANOTHER LONG DRIVE.....

Nobody at home raised eyebrows when I first talked about the idea of Just another long drive sometime soon. After all, they are used to my addiction and acknowledge the habit now.

Everyone naturally assumed it would be Pune/Mumbai/Aurangabad again.My hometown Belur & Chikmagalur never falls into long drive category anymore even for my daughter of 3 years who has taken up drives as far as Gujarat over the past and those very regular drives to Pune ever since she was a 3 month toddler!

While I was all excited about my plan, apprehensions about the initial reaction from everyone at home when I revealed what I had in mind and how we intend to do it was quite obvious:

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AND THEN THEY ALL HAVE NO OPTIONS BUT AGREE....

Nobody jumped from the couch in shock and none were amused as they knew I was planning a drive to New Delhi for the 2012 Grand Prix at BIC.

For the sheer passion for driving that I have and the fact that I have been living to drive, I could manage each one of the family members agree for this circuit The Drive on the Golden Quadrilateral for just one reason The reason to just DRIVE!

WHEN DO WE DO IT?....

My Boss (Legally known as my wife) and my daughter are off to Rajkot for 2 weeks and I will miss my little one who for the first time will be staying away from me for 2 weeks since she was born. To kill time at home in her absence gave rise to this "better option" of driving the Golden-Quadrilateral.

So, I thought to myself - Why not start off on the weekend once I drop Wife and Daughter to the Airport on 5th May?

I NEED COMPANY, WHO WILL MAKE THE CROWD?....

The very first obvious choice was my usual co-passenger, my father who had no hesitation to accompany me on this fantastic circuit. My cousin Bro in Chikmagalur always wanted to join me for at least one of many long drives that I take up in future and hence I roped him into this who agreed to join without second thoughts.

Question: WHY TO TRAVEL SO MUCH ON ROAD AT ALL??......
  • Just another drive
  • Leave carbon footprints on the Golden Quadrilateral
  • With absolutely no sight-seeing, drive by the day and rest by the night
  • Explore the roads my car has never seen before

WHICH CAR WILL HELP US WITH THIS?....

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-wagonr.jpg

There were no second thoughts on opting for my older workhorse; The Wagon-R despite of the option to opt for the City in the family. The Tallboy never gave an opportunity for Dad to complain of lower back pain ever unlike the City many a times.

The WagonR's ODO was already hovering beyond 166000 mark and it had run less than 8000 kms since the last service and this drive will definitely be an endurance test for the faithful tallboy under typical peak summer conditions up-north.

A thorough check-up at Surakshaa car care and we were all set for the drive.

PLANNING THE DRIVE....

I had driven till Gujarat over the past couple of years on many occasions and beyond this was completely a new circuit for me. In detail, I read a lot of travelogues on GQ in Team-bhp that gave me an idea of the possible sectors for each day and the night halts.

Nevertheless, one person I always remember while taking up such drives was our very own H.V Kumar. A very long telephonic conversation and he impeccably gives me all the details in each sector regarding traffic pattern, best times to drive, bottlenecks, tricks and tips, places to eat and refuel etc. I jot down as much information as I can and that instills more confidence in me. A very big thank you to Kumar sir for the valuable guidance and continuous support all through the drive.

HOW MANY DAYS AND NIGHTS?....

With my average of almost 1000 kms per day, inputs from the travelogues and the discussion that I had with HVK, it became evident that our typical halts will be like this:

May 5 (D1) - Pune
May 6 (D2) - Udaipur/little further
May 7 (D3) - New Delhi
May 8 (D4) - Varanasi
May 9 (D5) - Asansol/Dungarpur/Kolkota
May 10 (D6) - Vizag
May 11 (D7) - Bangalore


.....Continued

Last edited by paragsachania : 15th April 2013 at 13:30.
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Old 14th April 2013, 02:40   #2
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

A pictorial snapshot covering diverse aspects of this drive:

Following were the Cites and states that we passed from 13 states which contribute a number of kilometers of the 6000 kms of the Golden Quadrilateral

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With the Odometer reading at 166787 kms, we covered a distance of approximately 6200 kms in 7 full days that included
  • Mumbai-Pune expressway
  • Baroda Expressway
  • Kishangarh-Jaipur expressay
  • Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway
  • Few minutes spent at the Taj Mahal,
  • Spectacular and one of the longest bypass of Allahabad
  • Unplanned entries into Varanasi and Kolkota cities
  • Longest Railway Platform at Kharagpur (Thanks roamingrao for this)

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-legent.jpg

Here is what we spent per head for the entire trip:

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Highlights of the entire drive**
  • Complete drive spanning almost 6200 kms was driven by me as my father does't drive and my cousin was too new to highway driving
  • Traffic Pattern included all types - Fastest, Slowest and Bumper to Bumper
  • The worst stop and go traffic were Between Jaipiur and Delhi where each toll consumed 30 minutes (late at night)
  • Entering and exiting Kolkata city was the worst nightmare
  • The fastest sector was Bangalore-Pune
  • The slowest sector was Uttar Pradesh till Varanasi
  • The Best roads were in Karnataka,GJ, RJ & AP (Perhaps emptiest)
  • The worst roads were of Orissa (Roads were not done completely at many Railway crossings)
  • The best "highway" traffic behaviour was in Bihar, Jharkhand and AP (Yes!!)
  • The worst "highway" traffic behaviour was in UP and Tamil Nadu
  • Highest number of unexpected speedbreakers - Karnataka and Orissa (GQ was not fully done in Orissa then)
  • The worst (read Jammed) border entries were - West Bengal, Haryana and Orissa
  • My car was stopped and checked by cops at 3 places only in AP (Owing to Elections)
  • Longest continuous single handed drive - 1750kms (Mehsana-Varanasi) 31 Hours including breaks
  • Second longest single handed continuous drive - 1250 Kms (Vizag-Bangalore) - 19 Hours including breaks
  • Cheapest food - Bihar -Rs. 80 for 3 curries and 10 Rotis
  • Costliest food - Kharagpur Railway station and the Hotel at Varanasi
  • The best and the safest 3 lane highway was undoubtedly the Ajmer(Kishangarh) -Jaipur expressway
  • The best road surface was between Asansol and Kolkata
  • The overall best roadwork and design was in Andhra Pradesh
(**Keeping May 2012 as reference)

The slowest, fastest and the overall average

It doesn't usually happen as planned and here is what was the end result of the entire drive. Having started at 14:30 hours on 5th May ensured a cascading effect on the rest of the days owing to beyond midnight halts and late morning starts.

The below table shows how fast or slow we were in each sector of the circuit and how many kilometers in a stretch I drove on a particular day.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-sectorspeeds.jpg

....Continued

Last edited by paragsachania : 15th April 2013 at 14:50.
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Old 14th April 2013, 23:33   #3
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

GETTING SET AND READY TO GO....

Apart from the usual luggage essential for travel, here are a few basic items that we carried along with us that would help us in various situations.

Note: All these pictures belong to respective sources on the Internet and illustrative only since I had not clicked snaps of any of these when I started the drive

1. Glass Cleaning Liquid, Wiper & Newspapers:

A drive that involves 6000+ kms would put a test on the windscreen. Keeping it clean during the drive was very important and hence I picked this up from Tata Star Bazaar (Koramangala).
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The Glass wiper is the simple product from scotchbrite and I have been using it since 2 years.
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2. Belkin DC-AC Converter

A very essential and a must have car accessory that I have been using since more than 3 years. With devices like Laptops, Mobiles, cameras, this one comes in handy to use to charge the devices on the go.
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3. Bottle Warmer

A very useful accessory to keep that bottle of water or milk warm over an unlimited period of time. We used this most of the times during night drives carrying hot water that actually remained hot (not just warm) even after hours of driving. MX6 gave this away to me when we met in Pune in March 2011 when I was driving to Gujarat.
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4. Car DVR

I always wanted this as part of my car accessory list and bought one way back in 2011 and used it extensively for my drive to Gujarat. Not only does this help you watch those videos on your TV later on to remind you of some wonderful stretches you drove, but it otherwise (more importantly) acts as a source of evidence during unavoidable situations on the road.

Will be sharing a couple of Videos from the DVR in subsequent posts.
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4. Spare fuses

Headlights, Wipers, 12V socket, Heater, Power Steering, Brake light etc are some of the most vital functional components required during every stage of the drive that carrying enough spare fuses was of utmost importance.

In reality, I didn't use any of these fuses as non of the electrical component fused during the entire drive.
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5. Shampoo sachets

At times when the windscreen gets very dirty, shampoo sachets played a helpful role in getting rid of the muck and oily dirt.
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6. Electric Kettle

This one is the best companion whenever you want to prepare instant tea/coffee/milk spending just 30 seconds of electricity at the Hotel or the fueling station. Been using this ever since I started to drive along with my toddler but during our GQ trip we used this many times to prepare some "home made" Tea
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7. GPS Navigation

None of we 3 travelers had an Android phone that I could load Sygic maps and use that for realtime navigation whenever required. After reading a few reviews picked the MMI RoadPilot II for 9999/- from an accessory shop just 2 days before the drive. (way back in May 2012, Gmaps still didn't have voice navigation for Android Phone also)
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Most of the times, we used a combination of common sense, MMI and Google maps on mobile and guidance from HVK (who constantly tracked me on latitude) to assess our locations and routes.

8. Spare headlight bulbs

Something that I always have in my car even for my daily commute.
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Some more items....

Last edited by paragsachania : 15th April 2013 at 14:57.
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Old 14th April 2013, 23:49   #4
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

9. Torch

Goes without saying that this is another basic and a must have essential for your long drives.
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10. Water bottles

We carried at least 10 1 Liter drinking water bottles with an additional 10 liter can to help us quench thirst during typical May summer conditions.
Apart from this, another 10 liter jar containing plain water was always present to help us wash the windscreen on many occasions.
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11. Facial Wipes

Perhaps the most quickest and easiest way to feel fresh during a long journey and who wouldn't need a fresh face in that summer heat!
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12. Tubeless Puncture Repair Kit

You really don't want to call puncture a 'Breakdown' that can cause very long delays. Best was to carry a puncture repair kit to address the situation. Nevertheless, in the total journey of 6000+ kms, there was not even a single puncture on the newly installed XM2 (155/65/13).
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The drive begins....at 166787 kms on the ODO
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All loaded....
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Day 1 to Day 7 details coming up....

Last edited by paragsachania : 15th April 2013 at 12:21.
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Old 16th April 2013, 11:40   #5
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

Day 1 - Bangalore - Pune
Date - 5th -6th May 2012
Start - 14:30 Hours
End - 01:45 Hours


Who said, History was boring ? I for one, love History, my Location History!!
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-glat_history.jpg

I successfully accomplish the project of dropping wifey and daughter to the Airport, return home and then I along with my Father and cousin load the car to spend the next one week on roads traveling a distance of 6000 kms across 13 states in our beloved Tallboy.

We start from home around 14:30 hours already realizing that its an odd time that will make us reach Pune only post midnight and will give us less time to sleep in case we plan to start for Day 2 very early. Nevertheless, each one of we companions knew very well that sticking to a particular plan was not going to be easy.

A few pics of the journey till Haveri.

Somewhere between Tumkur and Chitradurga
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-32.jpg

The usual hint of Windmills galore as we approach the fort town of Chitradurga
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-38.jpg

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-39.jpg

May Summer, melted asphalt ensured trucks were leaving an impression on the roads they traveled.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-40.jpg

A close up shot of the windmill
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Backward Glance! Without Trucks, how would you call it a highway?
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-46.jpg

Shadow of the Tallboy! Sun will begin to call it a day soon
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We are now between Davanagere and Harihar
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-73.jpg

One of the most badly designed bypass (Harihar town) where you would always expect vehicles on the wrong side pouncing on you.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-75.jpg

Day 1 continues....
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:03   #6
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This section of the road (Harihar Bypass), forks into 2 as soon as you approach it from Bangalore side without any indication or a warning sign. What follows next is a very cautious drive for the next 4 kilometers trying to negotiate wrong side vehicles that includes trucks as well.

I wish they cared for their (and others') lives!
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-76.jpg

Crossing the river Tunga-Bhadra on Harihar Bypass just before we approach the end of the bypass.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-77.jpg

The first break on Day 1 happens at the end of Harihar bypass at a typical truckers' Dhaba (around 280 kms from home).
You have driven us only 5% of our total journey darling!! A long way to go...
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-79.jpg

Our usual cruising speeds always remained at a respectable 90-110kmph band.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-88.jpg
The Fuel Gauge Indicator level just below half mark means we have crossed more than 300 kms now and the scene ahead is a clear hint that we are on Ranebennur bypass.


Empty roads! Perhaps the only section of GQ that I think witnesses very minimal traffic.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-89.jpg

My Cousin Nishant with his basic Nikon Coolpix Camera managed to capture some beautiful shots of the sunset as we began to approach Haveri.
Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-83.jpg

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-95.jpg

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-96.jpg

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-98.jpg

Time to say goodbye to that hot summer sun and wait for him to treat us again the next day!

Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D-100.jpg

Refueling break after Dharwad:
A 10 minute stop at a BPCL COCO after Dharwad and we refill the tank and continue our journey.

Dinner Break after Tawandi Ghats:
Around 9pm, we decide it was time to stop for dinner and we pulled over after Tawandi Ghats at Hotel Amar and relished some excellent vegetarian food in the open area listening to those trucks making all noises while approaching the steep gradient at the end of the ghats!

End the Day 1 at Pune:
With no further breaks after this, we reach my Mother's place in Pune (Sinhaghad Road) around 1:45am to call it a day!!

(Day 2 continues....)
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:18   #7
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly Line section to Travelogues.
Excellent detailed coverage here. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:45   #8
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

Parag, For a long time we have waited for this Travelogue to come up. Looks like lots of details are in the waiting for the members who wish to do the GQ. The narration and flow is perfect and looking forward for the updates in a rapid manner.
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:48   #9
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

Beautifully narrated! Awesome pictures. Impeccable details. I have only heard you talk about this drive. To be honest, have been waiting for this one since long.

I cannot even imagine how you did the GQ Drive in summer. For ages, I have avoided driving in Summer to even cooler hill stations. I am sure this drive would have sapped 20-30% more energy and hydration. This is really a great feat at these conditions. Your Waggy deserves a standing applause. Not too many people even dare to get idea of such a long drive on a small hatch. You have definitely re-defined long drives by this. One big thanks to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who definitely shrunk India and gave us this GQ.

Your dad and cousin too deserve an applause!

I am very inspired to do the GQ on my Palio, with solo driving!

EDIT: Oh my, just realized that this is my 2000th post on Team-Bhp

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Old 16th April 2013, 12:49   #10
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Wow! Just wow! Such organized and methodical capturing and presenting of detail! Amazing! I am hooked here!

And yes, that section from the Harihar bypass is shocking! I was shocked when I was doing about 90 kmph on my bike and saw a loaded truck in front of me!

I am still confused if it's a two lane bypass or people come in the wrong way. There is absolutely no indication of anything and people don't seem to think they are driving the wrong way. Is it a 2-lane bypass?
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:21   #11
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Tall boy in a tall boy scorching the GQ !!

Parag, looking forward to experiencing the GQ through your eyes. Keep it coming !

and, Alokgunhal, Welcome to TBHP !!
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alokgunhal View Post
Parag, For a long time we have waited for this Travelogue to come up. Looks like lots of details are in the waiting for the members who wish to do the GQ. The narration and flow is perfect and looking forward for the updates in a rapid manner.
Thanks Alok. In fact, I always wanted to write a Travelogue for one of the most cherished drives that I took up in the recent past. I will be adding details of Day2 and further that has many twists to the decisions we took and some unexpected and inordinate delays in Rajasthan! More on that as I post details in subsequent posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkykar View Post
Beautifully narrated! Awesome pictures. Impeccable details. I have only heard you talk about this drive. To be honest, have been waiting for this one since long.

I cannot even imagine how you did the GQ Drive in summer. For ages, I have avoided driving in Summer to even cooler hill stations. I am sure this drive would have sapped 20-30% more energy and hydration. This is really a great feat at these conditions. Your Waggy deserves a standing applause. Not too many people even dare to get idea of such a long drive on a small hatch. You have definitely re-defined long drives by this. One big thanks to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who definitely shrunk India and gave us this GQ.

Your dad and cousin too deserve an applause!

I am very inspired to do the GQ on my Palio, with solo driving!

EDIT: Oh my, just realized that this is my 2000th post on Team-Bhp
Congratulations on your 2000th Post Karthik.

I had no choice but May as this is when my wife and daughter would fly to Gujarat. No way both of them would have allowed me to go on a 6000 kms drive without them otherwise.

My father has always been the most reliable companion and co-passenger for all my long drives - Whether it is Belur,Chikmagalur or Pune-Mumbai or Gujarat, he is always in front seat helping me at every toll booth passing me the exact amount and preserving the receipt back, Passing me water and fruits while we are on the move and more. I cannot thank him more for one reason in this drive that he could easily sit for 31.5 hours and over 1750 kms on Day3 and Day4 continuously and still had all the energy for the rest of the leg. Each night we were reaching our destination after 12 and even then he was always fresh the next morning.

The Waggy turned out to be most reliable even under those super hot summer conditions. With AC doing duty round the clock, never once the car showed any signs of fatigue. It achieved 2 feats : Managed to clock 1750 kms in one go (with usual bio breaks) and ensured zero breakdowns when the ODO was already 166,787 kms when we started. For me, this is called impeccable reliability at this age of the car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
Wow! Just wow! Such organized and methodical capturing and presenting of detail! Amazing! I am hooked here!

And yes, that section from the Harihar bypass is shocking! I was shocked when I was doing about 90 kmph on my bike and saw a loaded truck in front of me!

I am still confused if it's a two lane bypass or people come in the wrong way. There is absolutely no indication of anything and people don't seem to think they are driving the wrong way. Is it a 2-lane bypass?
Thank you for the compliments! There is a lot more to come in future posts.

Yes, the bypass is 2 lane and forks into 2 for South and Northbound traffic. While the northbound traffic usually continues on the main corridor, it is the southbound traffic which has to take a bit of detour closer to Harihar town and join back on the other side. To avoid this, lots of locals (and trucks) cut through the median and drive on the wrong side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Tall boy in a tall boy scorching the GQ !!

Parag, looking forward to experiencing the GQ through your eyes. Keep it coming !

and, Alokgunhal, Welcome to TBHP !!
Thanks romaingrao. Your Travelogue was one of the pointers that made me do the GQ apart from the fact that we visited Kharagpur Railway station. More on why we entered Kharagpur in my later posts.

Last edited by paragsachania : 16th April 2013 at 13:34. Reason: Added another quote
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:30   #13
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Default Re: Sojourn on the Golden Quadrilateral in my WagonR F10D

Super start Parag. The attention to detail is just excellent. I loved the highlights of the drive post and I am sure it will be one of the highlights of this travelogue. Hopefully, after you did the drive, the conditions of the 'worst' things you mentioned in the highlights would have been improved.

As funkykar says, I really admire you doing this in peak summer. That must have been exhausting. All in all, a super start to the travelogue. Waiting for the next 6 days
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:35   #14
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Another Golden Quadrilateral drive amazing.

Nice pictures to start up the travelogue.

These highways looks good from your lenses.So how long was your planning to hit the highways.
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Old 16th April 2013, 13:42   #15
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and, Alokgunhal, Welcome to TBHP !![/quote]

Thank you Sir. I do look forward to those Travelogues of your's : Sagar Se Shikhar Tak.
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