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Old 3rd February 2014, 22:10   #1
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Default Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

From Lucknow, a trip down south by car has been a long enlisted and a much ambitious one among my priorities—priorities that people can easily laugh at, be taken by surprise, and even quickly address me as one of those crazy (sometimes even mad, if you want) petrol-heads. Yet the singular experiences such a trip would provide have always remained irresistible. I had planned it for the month of May 2013, since my summer vacation is a longer one, of more than 45 days, but had to eventually give up for reasons I do not recall at present. Then the winter vacation came handy, with the whole of December to spare, but again my daughter’s school would close for vacation only by 24 December. What to do? I decided to remain in Lucknow, taking office duty for long twenty days, and finally planned to hit the highway on the 23 December—one day of schooling I simply don’t care! What follows is no travelogue, but what can be at best called a trip report, with some pictures that are intended only to help other travellers or driving enthusiasts in the famous north-south corridor, and not a manifestation of any picture quality of anything at all.

I must instantly add this too. Just a couple of days before I started, I was excited to spot a new Fiesta at Sahara Ganj parking in Lucknow, a KL registration Fiesta that must have come all the way from southern Kerala (it had the Kairali Ford label). Another inspiration and justification that others too do these trips:

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And now back to my trip: it begins from Lucknow targeting Mysore, and further to Coorg and to Payyanur in the Cannanore district of Kerala, and has to cover something around a whopping 2500 kms one direction. The route was Lucknow – Mysore – Payyanur via Kanpur – Jhansi – Sagar – Lakhnadon – Nagpur – Hyderabad – Bangalore – Mysore – Hunsur – Virajpet and Kannur. Starting on 23 Dec, I wished to reach back in Lucknow by 15 Jan. Needless to say, I could not strictly stick to this schedule.

Preparations:

a) The first task was to get my stock MRF ZV2Ks changed. They had already carried me across many places for more than 30000 kms. Still they were a headache as they have always been harsh on the roads. After 20000, they also spoilt the comfort of driving with a detestable road noise, and many a time I got the rotation done, but of no use. I was waiting for 30000 in order to justify the purchase of Michelin Energy XM2s, and there they are:

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The stock MRFs, before I sold them off to the authorised Michelin dealer himself:

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It took quite a while though to get the alignment straight, the imported Michelins have instantly proved to be softer and much more handling-friendly. As I had decided to stick to the stock size, I did not go for a bigger one, as it may eat into the warranty my vehicle has to enjoy for another one and half years.

b) A general checking at the Ford’s was another demanding thing. After the last servicing, my Ford had already run more than 7200 kms! And it was another two months to go for the next 10000 kms’ servicing. So I asked for the checking, and it was useful to do so: they had to fill in the battery some distilled water, top-up the engine oil, change one bulb inside the left headlight unit, and so on.

c) My Ford was also there in the company of those they recalled for rear twist beam inspection. In the same go, that work was also done though it took quite some time there. I really don’t know, but I observe differences in the rear suspension levels, I mean the rear height, of different fiestas irrespective of the tyre pressure we keep. Does it really happen so, I don’t know.

d) Then came the need for a comprehensive interior cleaning. Though I never abuse its interiors, it was quite sometime nothing was done. And children travelling at the rear, one can always imagine. The long hours of sitting required in a north-south voyage necessitated vacuum cleaning and ozonization, and I took my Fiesta to Carz Spa in Lucknow. Of course, they did a comprehensive work which included a one-stage wax polishing.

e) A list of Ford workstations enroute was to be prepared. After I got my owner’s manual along with the vehicle, much water flowed in the Ford’s. So a new list was to be generated from the Ford website. The stations were in these places: Lucknow, Kanpur, Sagar, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Anantapur, Bangalore, Mysore and Cannanore.

And the vehicle was technically equipped three/four days before the cruise on the 23 December. Other “domestic” preparations did not certainly fall under my concerns; true to be male, I too smartly relegate them to “family”. My family formed the team, and I was the only one, not only to drive but also to be the lone occupant of the front! My rule is that on highway drives, my wife and my two daughters will invariably remain at the rear.

The first leg of the journey was decided as Lucknow – Sagar, of around 535 kms, a distance I wanted to cover only in 12 hours. I am generally in no hurry. The entire break-up of the journey was therefore planned like this:

Day 1: Lucknow – Sagar (MP) with a stay at Hotel Deepali Residency

Day 2: Sagar – Nagpur (MH) via, importantly, Lakhnadon (I was particular of touching NH 7 at Lakhnadon itself for some mysterious and instinctual reason) with a stay somewhere at Nagpur after a run of around 390 kms.

Day 3: Nagpur – Hyderabad (AP) via the notorious Pandharkawada stretches, and stay in Hyderabad for four days with a few formal things to do in my University’s main campus and to meet a few friends (Days 4, 5, 6, 7 in Hyderabad), after another run of around 490 kms.

Day 8: Hyderabad – Bangalore (KA) via Kurnool, Gooty, Anantapur (though my choice is obviously NH 7, these places enroute are to be specified and reminded of as they used to be during my many nostalgic bachelor-days’ bus journeys between Hyderabad and Bangalore around the years 1999 – 2003). This was pitted to be the longest and the finest surface to be covered, around 580 kms. I decided to remain in Bangalore for two nights (thus Day 9 goes).

Day 10: Bangalore – Mysore – Payyanur (KL) via Hunsur, Siddhapura, Virajpet, Mattannur, Kannur ( a day of different topographies and many state highways, for a change first time since we leave Lucknow, before I briefly touch the infamous NH 17 which runs from Trichur in Kerala to Panvel in Navi Mumbai) – that meant a run of 387 kms, the briefest I had to cover on any leg. What was more important was my plan to ignore Mysore bypass: I was particular of touching the Mysore city, stopping for lunch there, and also touching Kannur (Cannanore) town on my way, and take SH 66 that runs via Payangadi instead of taking the NH via Taliparamba.

The return: I wanted to do more or less the same schedule, except for that I did not plan to do a day’s break in Bangalore. I also wanted to take the same route through-out, except for Nagpur. At Nagpur, this time, I wanted to take the Oriental Nagpur bypass and avoid a stay inside the city, and at Kareli in MP I wanted to take the town route instead of bypass!

My aim was to start early, around 5.30 am possibly... the worry remained, that of fog. I was relieved in the early morning before sunrise that there absolutely no fog. It was however 6.25 exactly when I hit the road, and it was still dark. Though I stay near the starting point of the Shaheed Path bypass on the Faizabad road, I decided to take the conventional Hazratganj and Cantt route towards Kanpur – I always have mine own reasons and ways which cannot be explained! But once I entered the Cantonment, the situation suddenly turned horrible, with no visibility around, due to dense fog, to the extent that I could not slot the vehicle in the fifth gear anywhere before I climbed the NH 2 flyover at Kanpur!! The visibility was indeed poor, that it was this low:

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Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05651.jpg

Every time I cross Kanpur and take the Kolkata – Delhi GT Road bypass, I turn leftward at Rama Devi, travel around 4 kms the Allahabad way, and take a U-Turn before the Pushp Honda showroom. This time, I did not take any turn from Rama Devi, and straight: there you are on the flyover!

Visibility was still poor even as I stopped for a delayed breakfast at a dhaba straight before the Chaunraha railway station, on NH 25, to be precise on the East-West Corridor. In my earlier Jhansi drives too, this truckers’ dhaba was the same place I stopped! No change even for the spot where I park the car! Plus you have no remarkably better options on this route, to eat.

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My younger one is pretty comfortable with the idea of dhabas, whatever kind these dhabas may be:

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Despite the dense fog, and despite a no-hurry kind drive on my part, I managed to hit the outskirts of Jhansi in around 6 hours from Lucknow. But by then the atmosphere thankfully turned a little clearer, with a little sunlight around. For a shot of the East-West Corridor that takes you from Silchar to Udaipur and Dwarka, I stopped just before the entry point into Jhansi city:

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Jhansi is not that difficult to cross. You have no bypass; just follow the traffic through the city straight. Somehow I liked the place with a couple of hillocks around. A person used to the boring plains of the Gangetic areas has to like it. Entering Jhansi:

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Bundelkhand University is impressive in infrastructure and geographical setting, though its academic reputation can be disputed. I came across many educational institutions on my way. Here, in front of the University gate in Jhansi:

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When you cross Jhansi, you will come across traffic like this:

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Once I moved into the Jhansi Cantt, I came across the first milestone, showing Lakhnadon to be 401 whopping kms away, the first milestone on the NH 26, on a highway on which 401 kms must have been really hell-like to cover until recently when it was four-laned. I could get a feel of it abundantly in no time, as I missed the abrupt leftward short-cut that takes you to the Babina bypass through trees and some residential compounds, after the flyover under construction. But then I could see the BHEL at Jhansi, a public sector navaratna organisation where my father served in Bhopal several years.


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The condition of the road demanded no further curse:

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Yet encountering it through Babina was good, and you don’t pass Babina ever without a look at the military machinery there, be you on train or on road:

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Babina also has white tigers to offer. Are safaris possible over there, I don’t know.

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After a tiring 25 kms run, I was almost beginning to feel that there is no four-lane, and to find unreliable a friend of mine who told me that Jhansi – Sagar is fantastic to drive. In the colonial times, when some people were told by some other people that there was something called train, they did not believe it, and said that there can’t be such a thing called train at all! I thought the four-lane will never come! At least that’s how I spoke when I got fed-up! Instantly, there was the four-lane highway, and my next requirement was lunch; it was more than 2.30 in the afternoon, and Sagar was around 180 kms away. The first place that came was Dhisauli dhaba, a place I liked and a dhaba my wife disliked. You can like it because it gives all primary facilities including a vast open front, and you can dislike it for what you can eat. They must improve: it is not just truckers who eat there!

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As told to me by the “accursed friend” the highway after lunch was fantastic to drive. The first was the Betwa river/bridge to cross. Work on one of the lines is yet to be completed; one can expect it in a couple of weeks. Crossing Betwa:

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The NH 26, now part of the North-South Corridor (or NH 44, as it is/may be renumbered) continued to be of a little variety, with quite often water reservoirs coming around, and a few hills thrown here and there. What I mean is, the geography was good. The road remained smooth. I had a sedate drive, and my family sitting at the rear was by then wholly asleep. I could not show them the tiny part of the Govind Sagar that we have to touch when we reach Lalitpur, the last town/bypass in Uttar Pradesh. Thus I clicked a few pics of whatever I could see as Govind Sagar, and even my wife did not get to know due to sleep what I was doing.

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A small view, but not good at all, of Govind Sagar:

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Sagar was yet another 100 kms to go, and Lakhnadon, which I reserved for the second day of the journey was again 300 kms away:

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I thought, enroute, I will properly give a pictorial coverage of the North-South Corridor in these regions, as they remain sparse in the team-bhp reports too. When she got up, however, my wife did not like the idea of stopping here and there since she found those MP regions far empty of people around, and probably, darkness coming in, she was worried about the chances of robbery, etc. To add to it, traffic is also very sparse in these places, and it can be sensed when you see endlessly straight stretches on the highway:

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At 6.10, I thought I am just outside Sagar town, on the bypass. The hotel should not be far from the bypass, though it is close to the Makronia Railway crossing. The problem was, how to get to the town from what seemed to be an undeviating highway which showed no signs of an exit point. I continued to drive, and due to some hills around, you cannot even have a view of the city anywhere. I came across a diversion to Damoh, but why should I take it, was my reasonable question! Around ten kms ahead, I saw a board “Makronia Railway Station”, but the diversion was going through the thicket of darkness and horrible in the road condition. I went ahead, and saw Bundelkhand dhaba, stopped there and enquired. They asked me to travel back around 10 kms, and take the Damoh diversion: if you take it leftward (rightward from Lalitpur side), you are at Hotel Deepali, after a drive of 2 kms! It seems the hotel belongs to some Vidhayak who was newly elected, and because I enquired about that hotel, I got undue respect at the unknown Bundelkhand dhaba, a reason adequate for me to remember an insignificant dhaba ever. While returning too, I calibrated 10 kms to reach Sagar, once I saw this dhaba!
At Sagar, hotel Deepali Residency seemed to be an impressive one, though Hotel Paradise also could be a good alternative. Good rooms. And very close to the Vinayak Ford at Sagar, the third service station on my route from Lucknow, for Ford owners. The dinner and breakfast at this place were pretty good, that my wife and elder daughter demanded then and there that we stay at this place while returning too. Commendable breakfast as it was, we could start the next day towards Nagpur only by 9.50 am, which I thought was perfectly alright since I had to cover only around 390 kms, but whose road conditions nevertheless remained unclear to me.
At Sagar, Hotel Deepali:

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Last edited by Vipin Kumar : 3rd February 2014 at 22:39.
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Old 3rd February 2014, 23:11   #2
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vipin Kumar View Post
From Lucknow, a trip down south by car
Wow. that was an amazing trip log to read. It requires tremendous confidence to undertake such a longish drive. and your narrative is superlative. I had driven to Allahabad / Varanasi for Kumbh last year from Bangalore with friends and had a real horrible time driving after jabalpur towards varanasi Via Katni and Reva because of bad roads. I was so horrified that I had decided to take a detour of even a few hundred kilometers of road just to avoid that section and finally a friend suggested me a bypass to Jabalpur through Umariya and Shahpur and that was a dream road to drive. what a contrast in UP. some stretches can hardly be called a road and then there are some stretches over hundreds of kilometers without a single pot hole.
And of course you were right when you said that there are not threads covering the North India -UP roads and this is indeed a useful thread and a ready reckoner for guys driving in those regions.
Waiting for the remaining part of the travelogue. and not to forget to mention that your little angel is very cute. reminded me of my niece who is of similar age. God Bless the child.
Oops sorry there Katni and Reva are in madhya Pradesh not UP. My mistake.

Last edited by ashkamath : 3rd February 2014 at 23:14.
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Old 4th February 2014, 13:37   #3
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Smile White Tigers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vipin Kumar View Post
Babina also has white tigers to offer. Are safaris possible over there, I donít know.....
Vipin , just to clarify, that is the name of the army formation located in Babina. They call themselves White Tigers. If you look carefully on the board, it has some army insignias on it. The only white tigers IIRC were to be found in Rewa (MP).


Cheers !
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Old 4th February 2014, 18:50   #4
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Default Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

Getting on to the Corridor from Sagar city-side seemed to be a perennial problem, as I had to take the other side, and there was no cut. I had to use an artificially created one, which in India is not difficult to find. People in Sagar, at Deepali, seemed to have ideas about the condition of the road only up to Narsinghpur, but they exaggerated it to tell me earnestly that they have four-lane stretch right up to Lakhnadon. I had my doubts, and what I heard till then was that there are bridge works still going on, and one has to be very careful especially on the dangerous diversion climbs, courtesy, Mr. hvkumar, long back. Anyway, let me see: when it comes, I will encounter it.
Sagar bypass, if that was the model for the hotel staff to boast of, happened to be true to their claims. You have fantastic and very scenic backdrop for the highway, even though it was all barren. But soon, you are in the midst of many agricultural fields: what we saw as making the journey through Madhya Pradesh a pleasant one, as well as what made my wife’s trip a kind that allowed her do agricultural geography on the way. I wish if some university confers degree.

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I could comfortably cruise at 90 km/ph (I did not want more, this was very enjoyable), and cover around 100 kms without any hitch, in order only to see the much predicted diversions and bridge works:

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There was a hill with a temple like this:

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I crossed Narmada at a place where it was quite thin, and there too work is on. The diversions were now coming in too frequent intervals, and there were certainly vehicles ahead of and behind me, till a point when I suddenly found none around, except a two wheeler. Two wheeler is the best vehicle, you can carry it anywhere. For a moment I thought I lost the way, and all the vehicles tailing me had taken some other road from somewhere. When I realised it, it was already around 4-5 kms! Going back? I was not ready to slot it in the reverse gear or to take U-turn by an inch. By then there was in fact no road, and whatever was there looked like a bypass under construction:

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Then, this was precisely the problem. I had now come across the dead-end:

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The Fiesta did not know what awaited ahead. And I got down from the car:

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I enquired with a lone senior person whom I could see there, who informed me that it would be better for me to go down from the bypass into the Kareli town, cross the railway gate and proceed. I was not happy to relent. I went ahead and asked the workers who were doing honours to the bridge. They asked to haul the car ahead, and take the bridge as they put some more stones to level the surfaces:

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With their kind blessing and reliable assurance I did cross the bridge, and thought now I would be able to continue. But with another kilometre ahead, I had to really get down to a worse road in the paddy field itself:

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And this was the problem, and this time, no levelling would have worked, unless I wait there for days together:

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But then it was both fun and adventure. We crossed the railway line, which I know is the one that takes you from Itarsi Junction to Jabalpur. My elder daughter, who was always eagerly looking at roads and places and kept talking to me mostly, really found this stretch thrilling. After the railway crossing in the field, we were on the other side of the ROB under construction:

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And then there was a very steep climb. My wife was apprehensive, but before she could complete, I finished the climbing, in an extraordinarily perfect execution; let me do a bit of self-certifying here!

Then we were relieved to be back on a surface known understandably as highway:

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Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05842.jpg

Other vehicles soon joined from another side, with a few trucks I had overtaken earlier. It continued to be smooth till I stopped at Green Park dhaba at Narsinghpur. By now, I was also badly in need of diesel, full-tank. First I parked at Green Park, had lemon tea as their milk was rotten by then, and had a long conversation with the dhaba proprietors! At Green Park:

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They informed me about a couple of decent hotels there (in case I required while returning), the quality of the food they themselves serve, and also, importantly, the need to go to Nagpur (my destination that day) via Chindwara instead of via Lakhnadon and Seoni. They said there are craters after Lakhnadon which will actually devour my whole car itself; trucks alone can manage to emerge successfully from them! And diesel, of course: I had to drive another five kms ahead towards Lakhnadon to get it, and then must return to take the Chindwara diversion. I took diesel, paid through card (on highways, it is rarely accepted) and followed my instincts rather than the expert advice. At 1.00 pm, I boldly and confidently took my car ahead towards Lakhnadon itself, and told my wife to forget Chindwara. Reasonably, Chindwara should be ideal, for there is a Ford workshop too; but again reasonably speaking, or speaking reasonably, I should not have driven from Lucknow to Mysore at all, as trains and flights are available aplenty. The highway to Lakhnadon, as much as I drove, continued to be good, geographically varied, and agriculturally diverse (let me include all perspectives now, to be just on gender! Eco-feminism is not a meaningless idea, I begin to feel):

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Sugarcane was the most dense in these areas, with not only truckloads but tractor-loads too:

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And the highway continued to be excellent as well as a little zig-zag which, needless to add, makes the steering set-up of the Ford one of the most favourites of the driving enthusiasts:

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The much awaited Lakhnadon came finally at 2.30 pm, and there was not even a tea-stall at the famous T-junction! A couple of pictures from Lakhnadon:

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From the flyover, you can see on your left the exciting NH 7 in an extremely unexciting condition leading towards Jabalpur. Thankfully, you have to turn right where the road will be exactly opposite of that, and then Kanyakumari appears on the signboards:

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I thought I was crossing the Wainganga river here, but it was not:

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The highway came to be good for a long distance here around Seoni:

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Last edited by Vipin Kumar : 4th February 2014 at 19:02.
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Old 4th February 2014, 19:30   #5
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

Dear Vipin,

An explicit and well described drive with great pictures. I know you will be covering it but please give out the road conditions in a gist at the end so that I can use this info for a drive planned in Sep/Oct this year.

Regards

Jude
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Old 4th February 2014, 22:51   #6
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Default Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

From Lakhnadon onwards, wherever the NHAI could manage four-lane, they did so, with even a surprising one km stretch too having that expansion! It becomes two and four-lanes alternatively, and wherever it is two-lane, it was full of craters, yet manageable, I felt. Around Seoni, it is neat four-lane for a long stretch. A PB-11 Scorpio that was there ahead and behind me several times over came across again at the toll-both somewhere near Seoni (why didn’t they take the Chindwara route?). Lunch was suddenly the urgency by then, as the effect of the heavy breakfast was no longer there. The Bison valley begins there, the highway became two-lane again, and there we were at the Bison Highway Treat, a good place to stop over:

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It takes a hell lot of time to get your things on the table at this MPTDC motel, but there is enough to pass your time, from swing for children, monkeys to snatch your snacks to a 500 years old single tree:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05878.jpg

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So far, if not so good, so manageable. But then here it was: the waiter informed me that the road ahead would be horrendous, and although Nagpur was just another 90 kms away from there, the places en route are never safe with the Pench National Park too, and that it would be better if I hurried up. I asked him to hurry up and let us go; we had pretty good food there, and I was back on the traditional type NH 7 immediately. If you want to know how it would feel in the old times to drive on NH 7, it would be like this (I am aware that these photos are far from having good quality, partly due to the hurried manner they are taken and partly because I am no camera person; yet if it helps others who drive this way...):

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But notwithstanding the conditions so far, the NH 7 was indeed becoming worse by each kilometre I covered, and after much real struggle -- several times stopping and checking at almost each point to find out which would be the less difficult craters to reach the other shore, and having had to take even reverses at times in order to avoid huge falls -- I finally managed to reach Paoni, a small MH town where I saw a sardarji’s dhaba, for taking tea:

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The sardarji informed me about the dispute between the National Park authorities and the NHAI, and why the road remains like that. I was somehow more interested in knowing how long the road would continue to be like that. He said another 20 kms! And it was already night. The relief was that then it was not for 20 kms, but only for 15!!
I struggled in the Pench tiger reserve area again, and finally at around 7.20 pm, managed to reach Mansar, after approximately those 15 kms. There you are on the four-lane, but for a brief while till you take the diversion to Nagpur, via Kandri. Though I did not book any hotel in advance in Nagpur and though I thought it would be easy, it was not all easy for me to get one. Finally, after much tiring search, we were in Hotel Shravan at Sitabuldi, something that turned to be an unhappy choice but out of no options. We decided that while returning we will have some other place, preferably before Nagpur, or after, at Bison Highway Treat. Even the parking slot was given to us on the road itself.

Last edited by Vipin Kumar : 4th February 2014 at 22:59.
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Old 8th February 2014, 17:48   #7
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

My actual plan had been to leave Nagpur only by 12 noon, but the scary experiences of others who drove in the Pandharkhwada area prompted me to leave earlier. The condition of the hotel where we had to stay was another factor that drove us away from Nagpur as early as possible. Going out of the Nagpur city was quite easy in the morning at around 9.00 am. Traversing the city of Nagpur:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05909.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05911.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05916.jpg

At Sonegaon, I filled my diesel tank, and got air in the tyres. The road is good here:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05922.jpg

At Jam, you have to take a 90 degree right turn in order to proceed to Hinganghat—it needs to be mentioned that this is a right turn which would look quite unlikely if you think of Hyderabad as your destination in a general geographical logic. I was quite at ease and feeling fresh on the third day of my driving, but I could not imagine any exciting thing on the way from Nagpur to Hyderabad. It is one section I had kept for driving for driving sake—relatively nothing for “sight seeing”. At Hinganghat, you have an ROB still under construction and the road below which you have to take is also bad. After some distance from there, approximately 75 kms from Nagpur, you reach the bad stretches on the NH 7. In the Pandharkhwada area, it was as bad as this, and this way it gave me much strain to cross the 20 kms distance in more than an hour:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05923.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05924.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05925.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05926.jpg

Then you have a better stretch, after Wadki. I stopped for tea, around 12.15 pm, at a small but friendly place. I came across a rehabilitation centre team driving from Bangalore to New Delhi. I spoke to them, and they informed me that the worst section of around 20 kms was yet to come, in a triumphant style as though they had already reached the other side. I returned the same information to them too, and told them that without experiencing what is in store for them not only at Pandharkhwada but also at Mansar-Pench-Bison area before Lakhnadon, they could not claim that they had come through the “worst”. I also wondered why they chose my route from Bangalore, when one could more comfortably drive from Bangalore to New Delhi via Pune and Udaipur. Here is their Ambulance vehicle which was going to Delhi, standing next to mine:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05928.jpg

The dhaba person was particularly nice, and gave us good cup of tea, and a few snacks. There were a few chickens whose photograph he wanted us to take! In order to honour him...:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05936.jpg

The highway was quite good in that place:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05938.jpg

The “worst” section was not that "bad" as the previous one, but by no means could I term it as nice:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05939.jpg

Once I sailed through that, I realised that Nirmal would still be far away for being our lunch point. Therefore, Ichoda, in the Adilabad district, suddenly turned up with an Annapurna Family dhaba, on the right-side when you drive from Nagpur. I made that as our stop-over for lunch, at 2.30 pm, and good food is available in this very ordinary dhaba. By then, my children sitting in dhabas had become a very regular thing to visualise:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05956.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05962.jpg

Once I left the place, I decided I would have a sedate motoring, via Nirmal bypass and Kamareddy, and the highway was excellent as if it were adequately compensating for the Pandharkhwada tragedy:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05966.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05965.jpg

I had to cross the Godavari river:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05971.jpg

The NH 7 continued to be wonderful, and we expected it to be like this till Bangalore where I will leave it:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05978.jpg

By then, I noticed that there was a little problem in the steering angle of my Fiesta, and I had to survive with it till I reached Hyderabad. In the evening, I stopped at a dhaba, around 75 kms away from Hyderabad: this time it was obviously for tea:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc05980.jpg

I entered Hyderabad at around 7.30 pm, and was at my university’s guest house near Tarnaka by 8.15 pm. The drive on that day was a mixed experience – good roads and bad roads, and with a problem in the steering. Altogether the NH 7 has two extremely bad stretches of 20 kms each which demand extreme care from the drivers. There is only one small point where I could locate some patch work taking place. Next four days, I had to stay in Hyderabad.

On the third day, I wanted to visit the Hyderabad Central University, and it is a good 30 kms from my campus. On the way, I stopped at the Mody Ford showroom, got the details of the nearest workshops; but then I decided I would visit the Vibrant Ford workshop at Sanatnagar. The guys at Vibrant Ford attended the issue quickly, and were able to diagnose the problem. The vehicle was ready in an hour and half. The Fiesta at the Vibrant Ford, Sanatnagar:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06003.jpg

I was indeed impressed by their facilities, except for a major thing, i.e., they do not have proper road outside their workshop to take the vehicle for a comprehensive road test. And moreover, they wanted me to receive the Fiesta without taking it for road test. When I refused to do so, they agreed and I took it for a four kms drive. Everything seemed to be okay.
I then proceeded to HCU, and on the way stopped for lunch near a junction after Tolichowki, next to a Rapid (the Skodas have always attracted me):

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06015.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06016.jpg

The entire area from Mehdipatanam to HCU used to be very relaxed and quite barren once upon a time. Now they are densely populated and hardly a barren hillock could be seen, due to the development of the Hi-tech city (?):

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06019.jpg

Approaching the HCU:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06023.jpg

Entering HCU (I used to be here very frequently in the past! and now after a very long time):

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06025.jpg

In front of the guest house in the English and Foreign Languages University, my employer:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06064.jpg

On the same campus where I was...

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06066.jpg

Outside its main gate:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06071.jpg

Vipin.

Last edited by Vipin Kumar : 8th February 2014 at 17:57.
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Old 9th February 2014, 01:11   #8
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Default Hyderabad to Bangalore

On the Day 8 of my journey, I had to proceed further from Hyderabad to Bangalore, a route I was pretty familiar with, but during those days when there was no four-lane. It used to be a twelve and half hours expedition by bus in those days around the years 1999 and 2000. Eventually it was reduced to 10 hours, thanks to better highway. The distance was around 580 kms. I knew that getting points where we could take food is no problem in this section. To repeat, this was also a section that was the longest during my trip, for a day to cover, and also, the smoothest of all surfaces. The itinerary included, mostly laughably, a glass of Mousambi juice at Gooty that I offered my elder daughter, and a strong coffee at Chikballapur that I offered my wife! Packed Hyderabad biriyani was given to us by a colleague of mine from Hyderabad itself, and that was our lunch for the way.

Again, I was in no hurry, and I wanted to take a neat 12 hours minimum for this stretch, by not taking bypass at least at Gooty and Chikballapur, in order to at least remind me of the past Ė the days of my bus journeys! And instead of taking the flyover to the Bangalore highway from Masab Tank in Hyderabad, I preferred to go via Imliban and Salarjung Museum road. Thus from my Campus, at around 8.15 hrs in the morning, I entered the Osmania University Campus and crossed it, via its Arts College:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06073.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06075.jpg

Crossing the city of Hyderabad via Bharkhatpura:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06076.jpg

I stopped for breakfast at a place I thought I was almost safely outside the city. It was a small but good place to have breakfast:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06081.jpg

Once I was on the four-lane after the Shamshabad airport diversion, I found the highway fantastic. From somewhere near Jadcherla, around 90 kms from Hyderabad:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06087.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06096.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06101.jpg

I had to cross major three rivers that day: Krishna, Tungabhadra and Pennar. The Krishna river was particularly impressive:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06103.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06108.jpg

When we saw the chilly fields near Kurnool Town, 220 kms after Hyderabad, we felt like stopping for a while. We had enough to see there, with my wife with her knowledge of the cultivation. The chilly fields before Kurnool Town:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06121.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06123.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06126.jpg

The cotton fields were just adjacent:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06127.jpg

This was the place where I stopped my car for our "field visits" in Kurnool:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06142.jpg

The NH 7, about which I must constantly say something in this log, was good there too, and soon we saw the Tungabhadra river:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06145.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06151.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06152.jpg

There is a diversion that you can take from Kurnool Town if you want to proceed to Bellary in Karnataka:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06154.jpg


After a little town-ish atmospeher, there we were back on the fine surface of the NH 7:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06168.jpg

I felt I need a cup of tea, but from a small place. Thus I was here:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06171.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06175.jpg

The highway continued to be fine. I was in Kothappalli:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06181.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06182.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06183.jpg

I soon crossed Dhone, and the NH 7 now began to meander around very barren hills. I knew that the geography would show this trait until at least we cross Penukonda, the last town in Andhra Pradesh, before entering Karnataka.

My ORVM shot that I thought is customary:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06187.jpg

By now, lunch was a necessity, and my friendís food was readily there. All that I required was a good place to sit and eat, and at every 2 kms, there was an empty bus shelter. I chose a convenient one of them, for the purpose of having lunch:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06196.jpg
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Old 9th February 2014, 16:33   #9
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Default Hyderabad to Bangalore

When I reached Gooty, I deviated from the highway, and took the conventional town road. There was that old railway crossing:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06208.jpg

And we were in Gooty town, just outside the APSRTC bus station. For the first time, I saw people beginning to wonder there at the sight of a UP registered car; in Gooty:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06216.jpg

Since the juice is mandatory, the only thing that is edible in Gooty town according to my friend in Hyderabad (no offense intended to the homely food made in many households in Gooty), I made the stop...

My wife instantly gave me a certificate that I alone would be capable of a madness of this magnitude! Leaving Gooty:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06217.jpg

It was barren, but it was picturesque too:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06220.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06224.jpg

A couple of highway shots more:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06222.jpg

Back on the highway, and after the toll, my wife came across many guava sellers. So she must buy some, which means I must stop for a while. So, if I could stop for cotton, why not for this more benign purpose?

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06226.jpg

I had to cross the Pennar bridge:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06229.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06230.jpg

You reach Anantapur a few miles after this, and take bypass. There was an ISKON temple on the way, and that appeared quite grand from outside to see:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06234.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06236.jpg

At the Anantapur bypass, outside the ISKON temple:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06243.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06244.jpg

On the bypass, I also reached the Rithvika Ford workshop, the most convenient and relaxed of all Ford showrooms/workshops I have come across:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06254.jpg

The highway was fine all through the Penukonda region also:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06263.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06280.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06292.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06276.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06323.jpg

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06332.jpg

Somewhere, some school children asked me for lift for some distance, and my front seat was always vacant. I agreed and they accompanied me. They wanted to cover just around a kilometre to reach their home, though I was generous enough to take them straight to Bangalore itself!!

It was then becoming dark:

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06340.jpg

My wife was by then asking me to hurry up, and much to her irritation, I again deviated from the NH 7, and entered the Chikballapur town, and stopped at a place I knew good coffee was available. There too people enquired with me whether I was really driving from UP itself, to which I answered proudly, yes but of course with adequate breaks en route. I managed to cross the toll-plaza before the Bangalore airport around 7.45 pm, and entered the Bangalore city, in its heavy traffic in the peak hour (no further clarity was possible, it seems):

Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further-dsc06346.jpg
I took the car via Hebbal and Yesvantpur in order to reach Nagarbhavi circle, where my brother resides in a flat. I parked my car in a parking slot available there, at 9.00 pm.

I took around 12 hours and 45 mins for covering the 580 kms from Hyderabad to Bangalore and paid a total toll of Rs. 520 for that section. The total toll paid from Lucknow onwards had become Rs. 1825 by then. I knew there was no toll further from Bangalore to Mysore and Payyanur in the Cannanore district of Kerala.
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Old 9th February 2014, 21:08   #10
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vipin Kumar View Post
I managed to cross the toll-plaza before the Bangalore airport around 7.45 pm, and entered the Bangalore city, in its heavy traffic in the peak hour (no further clarity was possible, it seems). I took the car via Hebbal and Yesvantpur in order to reach Nagarbhavi circle, where my brother resides in a flat. I parked my car in a parking slot available there, at 9.00 pm.
Vipin, this is an epic trip indeed. Kudos to you for embarking on such a long journey. Slightly , but you covered the distance from KIAL to Nagarbhavi in jut 1 hour 15 minutes!!!. Lucky you. Normally it would take about 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours in peak traffic.
Waiting for the next leg of the travelogue.

Cheers,

Samish
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Old 10th February 2014, 20:30   #11
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Default Re: Hyderabad to Bangalore

Quote:
Originally Posted by samish_g View Post
Vipin, this is an epic trip indeed. Kudos to you for embarking on such a long journey. Slightly , but you covered the distance from KIAL to Nagarbhavi in jut 1 hour 15 minutes!!!. Lucky you. Normally it would take about 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours in peak traffic.
Waiting for the next leg of the travelogue.
Cheers,
Samish
Thanks Samish! Yes, truly I could cover the distance in that time itself. On earlier occasions, whenever my brother had picked me from the Bangalore airport, it had taken the time you mentioned. But I found it quite easy to cruise through somehow, fortunately. I boasted to my brother once I reached his place that a vehicle coming from Hyderabad would not find that silly traffic much of a problem!!

The next leg is about to be posted.

Vipin.
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Old 11th February 2014, 20:15   #12
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

Kudos to you on your great journey Your early adventures and off roading has later has transpired to smooth journey. Hope you did enjoy the journey as much reaching the destinations.

This gives someone like me lot of courage of long journeys I have been dreaming for ever now
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Old 12th February 2014, 16:51   #13
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

Vipin, wonderful travelogue. Please take us further along. Thanks
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Old 13th February 2014, 15:08   #14
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Default Re: Southwards from Lucknow: To Mysore and further

This is a great triplogue I must say! MP roads are still a mystery to an average highway enthusiast. Appreciate your details, especially around the Pench/Seoni section. I wonder when these areas will also have better roads!
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Old 15th February 2014, 22:10   #15
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Sir, this seems to be an epic journey. Would love to share the details when you are back. And do check your PM.
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