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Old 23rd March 2014, 03:56   #1
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Post March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT

Simba (Toyota Fortuner AT) came into my life in July 2013 and since then we have travelled to Agra few times. But I was missing the fun of having driven a decent distance with Simba on a NH or SH. There is no fun driving on toll roads like the Yamuna expressway. In October wifey and I were blessed with a baby. So that kind of put everything else on the back seat. Driving out of Delhi was simply a non topic. Chance came up early this month. With wifey and baby not in Delhi and my father who was visiting deciding to leave early morning on 15th March. To me it gave just enough time to push Simba for a decent length drive and be back on Monday evening for joining work on Tuesday.


Simba and I agreed on Jaisalmer. The distance (approx. 900 kms) was respectable to be covered in a day. Plan was to go non stop. I asked friends if anyone wanted to join. Some said I was insane to be driving non stop, spending a day in Jaisalmer and then drive back. But then where's the fun in being too logical.

I quickly asked around at TBHP on possible routes and road conditions. There was unanimous view that the roads were good. Regarding routes there were couple of options.

For going, we decided to take Delhi - Jaipur - Ajmer - Nagaur - Jaisalmer.

So off we went to tank up on the night of 14 March


15 MARCH 2014

On 15 March, Simba and I left at 5.20 from home, dropped father at the airport for his flight to hometown and got on to NH8 towards Jaipur.

Sheer number of trucks and the condition of roads for upto 100 kms was a pain. But the pain eased and road opened up around Neemrana.

By 10.30 I was on the Ajmer bypass.

The road is good.

I had decided not to use the GPS and rather ask locals for directions. Because I had chosen to go via Nagaur and not using the GPS, I entered Ajmer. Got held up at few places because of traffic and on one occasion at a railway crossing. Eventually, exited towards Pushkar. That's what I was told would take me towards Nagaur.

At Pushkar, managed not to pay the 'tourist tax' for visiting the holy town. I told the guys who stopped me that I was enroute Jaisalmer. They let me go with a look on their face that kind of hinted me as crazy.

Soon I was on the road towards Nagaur passing through couple of small towns. While I did get slowed but I was starting to enjoy excellent roads, the wilderness and view.

I chanced upon peacocks, camels, fox and blackbucks (I think, definitely not deer) - in wilderness. If you have kids with you, they will be thrilled.

Though the surrounding was good, it also brought in the ever rashly driven local transports. Buses and pick ups. Their driving is completely devoid of any logic. Be careful if you see one coming towards your way.


By late afternoon I had crossed Nagaur and was enroute towards Phalodi. The road was equally good and wider but by now it was getting dusk and I therefore decided to slow down to 80 /90.

Saw sunset (with no buildings around) after a long time.


Simba and I hadn't stopped since morning when we left Delhi. So we decided to take a quick break. Stopped 129 kms before our target.


Be careful of stray animals when driving at night at this stretch. I barely managed to avoid a dead camel on the road.

By 7.48 pm, I was at my hotel at Jaisalmer. Named: 1stGate. From what I had read on the web it promised all creature comforts. I was not disappointed. Nicely done up room.


A hot water bath later I was up on the roof top terrace dining area. The view was splendid. I enjoyed a quiet dinner with the backdrop of the Golden Fort.


In my excitement to drive out of Delhi, I made fatal mistake of not checking the camera. What you see above are taken from a Samsung phone. Coming back to camera. The camera had run out of memory.

Post dinner, went to my room and spent some painful time deleting pictures from camera.

16 MARCH 2014

Next morning woke up at around 10 am. Asked the hotel staff about 'things to do' in the Fort and how much should I be paying a guide. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told the Hotel had its own guide to take guests around.


Spent 2 hours doing the touristy round at the Fort.

I was surprised to see guest houses inside the Fort. The guide told me that in fact families stay within the Fort. The ASI does no have jurisdiction within the Fort. Not a fancy Fort but a beautiful Fort nevertheless. I was amazed at the Jain temples within the Fort. Few pictures from the Fort visit.



The guide wanted to take me around the town. I politely declined. For me it was the drive as against the touristy to do thing. Came back to creature comfort of the Hotel. Slept for 2 -3 hours.



At around 5.30 left the hotel to tank up Simba for the run next morning. In hindsight, I was happy that I chose to take Simba for tanking up in the evening and that I did not take Simba during the day. While I got fuel, finding an outlet for air pressure was turning out to be a challenge as 17th was Holi and while the pump was open the machine was turned off as the staff had left early for Holi. Finally found a helpful soul. All done, I returned to Hotel.

What I saw on my way back was amazing. It was dusk. One could see the Fort with the fading natural light. But the halogen had been switched on and it added the special element. See for yourself. Simba proudly posed.

The beauty of the Fort is seeing it at night. I was blown away. Below few pictures taken on the evening of 16 March.

After few rounds of clicks, I had my dinner and retired to bed.

17 MARCH 2014

The hotel owner's husband had suggested that I take Bikaner route while returning. He had said the road was good and there was no congestion like the Nagaur route.

Jaisalmer - Phalodi - Bikaner - Sikar - Chomu - Delhi bypass (need not enter Jaipur) - Delhi


I checked out of the Hotel at 5.20 am. And, what I saw outside brought out the photographer in me!

There was the Fort, the lighting and the Moon on top shining through the light cloud cover. I happily clicked few pictures.

Well - cameras never capture what the eyes see.


Clicks done, I headed out.

As 17th was Holi, I hardly encountered any traffic on the road. I did come across town bikers driving on both sides of the roads.

Saw sunrise. Again, after a long time and that too outside concrete.


Passed along an area called 'Bap'!


Saw an accident between 2 trucks.


The view is simply too good. Straight road as far as you can see.


Simba earned his stripe.


There is an interesting development I noticed. In patches there is cultivation being done.

As there was no traffic, by 1 pm, We were near Jaipur. Asked around and I was guided to bypass that took me to NH8.

By 3.50 We were home. Didn't get any traffic on NH8.


Going: 14 hours

Coming back: 10 hours

Should you be doing this with family (i.e., with kids): yes - but break your journey.

Recommended route from Delhi: You can go via either Bikaner or Jodhpur and return via the other. If with family and kids better to avoid Ajmer - Nagaur. I haven't done Jodhpur route but would assume it to be good with heavy tourist traffic. Roads are good. There are petrol pumps. Avoid driving at night. Keep food in your vehicle. You will not find many decent outlets.
Attached Thumbnails
March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-15th-morning.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-far-you-can-see-1.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-15h-sunset.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-15th-taking-break.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-7.48-pm-_-15-march-2014.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-jaisalmer-15-march-14.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-15th-evening.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-fort-view.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-jain-temples-1.jpg  

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March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-16th_the-fort-moon-lights.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-17th-morning-simba-moon-fort.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-fort-moon-_-17th.jpg  

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March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-goodmorning-1.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-goodmorning-2.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-goodmorning-3.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-simba-earns-stripe.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-simba.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-20140317_155313.jpg  

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-20140317_155328.jpg  

Attached Images
 

Last edited by GTO : 24th March 2014 at 12:39. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 23rd March 2014, 10:49   #2
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Default re: March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT

Nayak, thank you for sharing this travelogue with us. I had liked the photographs of the moon and sun and I can understand that clicking them would have been a tough task.

I would like to request you share more pictures and also tell us how the Fortuner A/T handled the entire terrain.

I am also planning to buy this car in the automatic variant. Information from you will be of great help.
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Old 26th March 2014, 03:42   #3
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Default Re: March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by mints21 View Post
I would like to request you share more pictures and also tell us how the Fortuner A/T handled the entire terrain.

I am also planning to buy this car in the automatic variant. Information from you will be of great help.
Simba drove practically non stop while going other than a 5 minute break at 129 kilometre milestone and fuelling at Phalodi. This was the first time I had pushed Simba to go without a break for a great distance. The roads are good and as I didn't go into the desert, in terms of the terrain it was not a challenging drive. But the drive was good. I didn't feel tired. The air conditioner also worked great. 14 hours and 20 minutes.

I otherwise drive close to 70 kilometre daily. City traffic. Being an automatic has been of great help if you get stuck in slow moving traffic. Highway drives have been good. So far nothing to complain. I am planning a drive towards the hills around 10 April. Will update.

Here are some more pictures.

The fort is stunning. Be it during the day or at night. The carving at the Jain temples is intricate. At night the fort kind of becomes romantic.

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02181.jpg

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Few pictures clicked at night.


March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02322.jpg

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02328.jpg

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March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02346.jpg

When compared with Jaipur or Agra Forts, this one has (or had) only one cannon. Wonder how the then state managed to defend itself?

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-only-cannon.jpg

The pug at the Hotel who happily posed for the camera and a town with the name of 'Bap' (passed by on the return journey).

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-i-will-pose-you-click.jpg

March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-ironical.jpg

Hotel as seen from the Fort and Simba at the Hotel parking.


March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02246.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT-dsc02327.jpg  

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Old 26th March 2014, 07:44   #4
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Default Re: March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT

Nothing like the rustic charm of Rajasthan. Its quite fulfilling to note, how the place is amazingly simple for its needs and yet its so diverse and true to its roots. Really miss it for the amount of time I spent there.
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Old 26th March 2014, 08:26   #5
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Default Re: March 2014: Delhi to Jaisalmer in a Fortuner AT

Very nice write up and especially some lovely pictures. I smiled throughout your posts, as I had just done this leg a fortnight before you and everything was very familiar ! The only difference was that my vehicle was at the opposite end of the spectrum - an i10. So, also as I read, I envied your Simba, just as a cub would envy the alpha male of the pride !
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