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Old 27th December 2015, 19:08   #1
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Default A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me

"Kuchh dinn tho Guzaariye Gujarat mein" -- That's a pretty powerful invite line by Amitabh, it definitely has had a sub-conscious effect on the decision to head to Gujarat.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-001_routemap.jpg

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Old 27th December 2015, 20:01   #2
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Default re: "Kuchh tho Dinn Guzaariye Gujarat Mein" - a road trip to Gujarat!

Day 1: Bangalore to Satara 733 KM

Started at 5:15 am. There were lots of vehicles at Toll booths due to the Christmas holiday rush. Overall encountered 13 booths between Bangalore to SAtara which takes/wastes about 70 min. Took two breaks for breakfast at Rannebennur (30min) and Lunch at Belgaum (1 hour). It was a 9.5 hours drive excluding the breaks and time wasted in toll booths.

The best stretches were encountered around Belgaum and the surrounding areas felt very beautiful there as well.
The roads are a bit conjested with road work going on after crossing into Maharastra. Also there was lots of two wheeler traffic all the way upto Satara

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Old 27th December 2015, 20:05   #3
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Day 2: Satara to Surat via Daman 540 KM

Started out from Satara quite early at 5:45 am. It was dark until about 6:30 am as we were on the western side and realized that the day would break later than Bangalore.
Traffic was sparse with only heavy truck movement and was a smooth sail to Pune in 2 hours. Pune looked amazing in the early morning light in a sea of buildings.
The hunt for breakfast began and there was no hotel open anywhere along the road even at 8 am. Luckily found one open and stopped there for an hour before hitting the Pune-Mum expressway. Traffic was dense but smooth flowing in Mumbai. Google maps provided good directions. Followed the Panvel-Thane-Ghodbandar-NH8 road to Surat. The road all the way until Surat had heavy truck traffic.

Decided to visit Daman en-route as it is 13km off Vapi. Drove straight to the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church which is beautiful and drove around the fort and the beach before continuing towards Surat.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-1_day2_daman_bomjesuschurch_152304.jpg
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-3_day2_daman_bomjesuschurch3.jpg

The Church is located inside the fort and a small township (Moti-Daman), I didn't realize this initially and was searching for the Fort while being inside the Fort for sometime
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-4_day2_damanfort1.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-7_day2_damanfort2.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-6_day2_daman_fort_bythesea.jpg
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-5_day2_daman_fort_outerwalls.jpg

The roads were excellent and the traffic was dense with trucks scattered on all the 3 lanes and blocking fast moving traffic. There were scores of two-wheeler riders zooming at 80-90 kmph without helmets and lady pillion riders seated sideways. It looked dangerous for sure.
Although roads are good, the dense traffic makes it really hard to make progress. The 125 km from Daman to Surat seemed to take forever.

Surat was the first city in Gujarat we visited and was more of a transit point on the way to Ahmedabad. It felt extremely crowded and not at all a touristy place but was extremely commercial and was good for shopping clothes. The magnitude of textile wholesale business that happens in Surat is on a gigantic scale.

Surat from one of the rooftop revolving restaurant.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-8_day2_surat_night_time_shot.jpg

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Old 27th December 2015, 20:07   #4
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Default re: "Kuchh tho Dinn Guzaariye Gujarat Mein" - a road trip to Gujarat!

Day 3: Surat to Ahmedabad 270 KM

It was quite hectic driving 1400 KM in the first two days, so had a relaxed morning in Surat and started towards Ahmedabad. Encountered extreme truck traffic all the way until Vadodara.

The Vadodara-Ahmedabad expressway was on a class of its own. All the truck traffic seemed to have suddenly disappeared.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-9_day3_vadodara_amdavad_expressway.jpg

It had taken 6 hours to cover the 270 KM and a huge 45 min traffic jam bang at the entrance to Ahmedabad.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-9_day3_suratahmedabad_eveningjam.jpg

I decided to take a detour around the city's ring roads and avoided further getting stuck. It was dark by then so decided to head to one of Gujarat's biggest Mall. Surprisingly, no parking fees for cars were being charged at the mall unlike Bangalore where the parking charges at the malls are sky high.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-10_day3_alphaonemall_largestingujarat.jpg

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Old 27th December 2015, 20:24   #5
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Day 4: At Ahmedabad
Started early at 8:30 am with a visit to Sabarmati ashram.
It was a sublime experience seeing the artifacts, photographs and writings and lifestyle of the Mahatma who sacrificed his everything for the nation, a truly remarkable and serene place.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-11_day4_sabarmatiashram.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-11_day4_sabarmatiashram_gandhiji.jpg

Letters to Gandhiji carried no address, they were addressed as "wherever he is"
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-12_day4_sabarmati_letteraddress_gandhiji.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-13_day4_sabarmatiashram_gandhiji_making-shoes.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-15_day4_sabarmati_gandhijisroom_andcharka.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-16_day4_sabarmatiriver.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-17_day4_sabarmatiriverright.jpg

Spot the parrots perched on the trees
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-18_day4_sabarmati_spot-parrots.jpg

It was a good learning to see the charaka being demonstrated and how the thread is generated from a cotton ball.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-14_day4_sabarmati_charka_live_demo.jpg

Next visited the Hathi Singh Jain temple
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-19_day4_hatheesinghtempleahmedabad.jpg

followed by Jhulta Minara (this place is actually off limits to visitors following a stampede and casualities in the past. So this place can be skipped)

Next destination around noon was the Aksharadam temple at Gandhinagar. Going by reviews, it was expected to take considerable time, security is extremely tight with nothing allowed inside, once after entering, came out quickly after darshan and had Gujarati thali lunch in the canteen all in 2 hours.

Then visited Adalaj stepwell on the way back which is a beautiful place and very crowded. Returned back to hotel with lots of time to spare ti relax.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-20_day4_ahmedabad_adhalajstepwell.jpg
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-21_day4_ahmedabad_adalaj_view-bottom.jpg
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-22_day4_ahmedabad_adalajstepwell_intricatecarvings.jpg

One full day turned out to be sufficient to cover Ahmedabad. One interesting thing was nobody stops at most red traffic signals, everybody just ignores them and proceed as if they don't exist. Roads are very good with no pot-holes, very crowded but flowing.

Interesting salt and pepper despenser at a restaurant
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-22_day4_saltandpepperdispenser.jpg

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Old 28th December 2015, 23:03   #6
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Day 5: Ahmedabad to Somnath - 415 KM

The planned route was through Rajkot and Junagadh to Somnath. Decided to start by 8:30 am and reach by late afternoon.

However while cleaning the glass before starting, I noticed that the front right tyre looked underinflated, it was definitely punctured.
The hotel guys mentioned that the puncture repair shops would open only by 10am.

I had bought along a puncture repair kit, air inflator and pressure guage. The kit didn't come with a nose plier and without a plier, I realized it would be impossible to pull any nail out of the tyre, so carried a plier as well. This turned out to be a good decision.

It was time to try and fix the puncture myself for the first time. I had read that there is no need to remove the tyre in case of front tyre.

I inflated the tyre to 35psi and jacked up the wheel, started the car and turned the wheel to the right, found and removed the nail with plier and patched the puncture with the kit in about 30 min. and felt happy with this DIY.
One important thing I ensured is to push in the smoothening tool in the same direction as the hole caused by the nail, so that you dont push the tool in the wrong direction and create a new hole and mess up the tyre. I actually pushed the nail back into the tyre to confirm the exact path taken by the nail.

On the way out of the city, I decided to the tyre pressure and the self repair job checked. Topped up the air and the guy checked the patch and gave a thumbs up.

The rest of the journey was fantastic on the butter smooth and awesome highway/expressway all the way to Somnath.
Reached around 5 pm after a relaxed 6 hour drive and visited the Somnath temple for a nice darshan. Absolutely nothing is permitted to be taken inside, had to return from the queue during frisking and deposit the car key in the cloakroom (because it has a remote lock).

Throughout the trip, I felt the tyres wobbling at >100kmph speed, it looks like during the last service, they have managed to unbalance/ruin the perfectly balanced wheels (before the service) in the name of wheel balancing.

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Old 29th December 2015, 15:14   #7
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Default re: "Kuchh tho Dinn Guzaariye Gujarat Mein" - a road trip to Gujarat!

Day 6: At Sasan Gir and Gir interpretation zone - Devaliya.
Sasan Gir us about 42 km from Somnath, about an hours drive.

The safari through the jungle trail can be only booked online, and is filled up days in advance, so the only other option available was a short safari at Devaliya interpretation zone which guarantees lion sighting in its near-natural Gir forest setting along with other animal like deer, fox etc usually found in the Gir ecosystem.
The booking timings are from 9 to 11am and 3 to 5 pm with an unusual 4 hour lunch break. We missed the first slot and had to wait, thankfully the counter opened at 2 pm and were out of the park by 3 pm.
Interesting notice board
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-23_day6_gir_noticeboard.jpg

The lions with their backs turned towards the safari trail. Looks like they just want to look away and totally ignore prying eyes.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-24_day6_girlions1.jpg

Even more funny was the way people would go into a frenzy in the van whenever an animal is sighted, crowding and almost falling one on top of the other
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-25_day6_girlions2.jpg

Visited Bhal ka theerth at Veraval on the way back. This is the mythological place where Krishna's feet was hit by a poisoned arrow by a hunter mistaking it for a deer and his departure from this world on feb 18th 3102 BC as per the inscription there.

Visited Somnath again in the evening and stayed back for the "light and sound" with narration of the temple history and its plundering and reconstrustruction through the last milennium as witnessed and narrated by the sea. Felt sleepy towards the end with nothing to write about on the light effects but was alright to listen to.
The temple and its surroundings is absolutely spectacular with a breathtaking sunset. Overall it was a day well spent.

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Old 31st December 2015, 00:23   #8
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Day 7: Trip to Diu - 170 km
The plan was to spend the whole day at Diu. Started from Somnath at 9:30 am and covered 80 KM in an hour and half at a leisurely pace. The road all the way to Diu was an undivided highway but was very smooth. I happened to glance at the MID and was surprised to see the average fuel efficiency crossing the 30kmpl mark and peaked to 33kmpl. The car was just cruising at a constant 60 to 70 kmph and it was a relaxed drive.

Diu looked even better than Daman, neat. Entered the narrow roads within the fort as guided by google maps and found it too narrow. Came out and took the broader road along the Diu tourism office and visited the Jetty and Diu Fort,

The three wheeled indigenous vehicle in the background with the motorcycle like front is a real lifeline in Gujarat. It is a versatile local means of transport for the local people and does its job absolutely well.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-26_day7_diu_jetty_phatphatia.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-28_day7_diufort.jpg

Absolutely formidable fort completed around mid 1500 AD with 3 sides surrounded by the sea and one side facing the land had a deep moat. Part of it is still being used as a local jail.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-29_day7_diufort_canonsfacingthesea.jpg

St. Pauls 400 year old Church which is very beautiful and serene, museum,

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-27_day7_diuchurch400yearold.jpg

INS Kukri memorial,
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-31_day7_diu_inskhukri_memorial.jpg

Jalandar Beach and the splendid Nagoa beach.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-30_day7_diu_jallandarbeach.jpg

Started back at 5:45 pm and reached Somnath at 7:30 pm.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-31_day7_diu_somnathsunset.jpg
It was pitch dark with lots of truck traffic. Couldn't help noticing the high fuel efficiency figure of 29.2 kmpl for the entire Diu trip.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-32_day7_diu_middisplay.jpg

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Old 31st December 2015, 22:17   #9
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Day 8: Somnath to Dwaraka via Porbunder - 241 KM.

Before the trip, I had heard from many folks that it is going to be "brrr cold" up North and so the luggage included quite a heavy payload of warm clothes. It was quite chill when driving out of Bangalore with fog until the sun came out. But it turned out that Gujarat is far from cold in winter for someone used to Bangalore weather, in fact we ended up using the AC in most of the hotel rooms, so carrying all those winter wear (read extra luggage) was futile . I bet it will be like a furnace here in summer.

Interesting menu in one of the restaurant.
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Started from Somnath quite late around 9 am, except for a short initial stretch, the road NH8E was divider-less throughout but quite smooth to drive.
Came across a number of wind turbines in this stretch along the coast.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-32_day8_1somnath_dwaraka_windturbine.jpg



The scenic sea-side drive started from Madhavpur beach.
Turned into Porbandar around 1pm to visit Kirti Mandir; Gandhiji's ancestral home and birth place.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-32_day8_porbandar.jpg

Porbandar was extremely dusty, narrow and chaotic to drive through with finding a parking space a real challenge.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-32_day8_2porbandar_narrowcrowdedroads.jpg

But it felt good to visit Porbandar, about which we have been reading as Gandhiji's birth place since school days.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-33_day8_porbandar_gandhijisbirthplace1.jpg


Reached Dwaraka late afternoon and checked in to hotel and waited until 5 pm for the temple to open. Again here security is extremely tight and no electronic items including car keys are allowed inside.

The crowd management in both Somnath and Dwaraka is really good, there was no holding up pilgrims in long queues and despite the crowd, the queue for darshan remains short and free flowing. Dwaraka is beautiful little place.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-34_day8_dwarakaview.jpg

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Old 2nd January 2016, 21:29   #10
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Day 9: Nageshwar Jyothirling, Rukmini devi temple and Gopi talav, Bet Dwaraka.

Started out from the hotel leisurely towards Nageswar temple about 18 km away, followed by Rukmini devi temple 6km further down the same road and then drove towards Bet Dwaraka which is on an island on the sea about 1km off the boat jetty at Okha. The mechanized boat took 20min to reach the island and were back to Dwaraka by 6pm.

Nageshwar Temple
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-36_day9_nageswarjyothirling.jpg

Found this squirrel in a playful mood near the Gopi Talav
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-37_day9_gopitalav_squirrel.jpg

Dwaraka Temple. The flag at the top are frequently changed with a choice different colours and patterns.
A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-38_day9_dwarakatemple.jpg

Day-10 would be a 520 km long drive back with Vadodara as the pit stop. One of the tempting options would have been to continue the drive ahead to Bhuj/Rann of Kutch. It would have been just 400 km extra to the overall drive. However it would extend the already 12 day long trip by 3 more days and would be very taxing, so decided to drop it and do the Rann of Kutch next time.
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A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-39_day9_returnfrombetdwaraka.jpg  


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Old 2nd January 2016, 21:41   #11
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Default re: "Kuchh tho Dinn Guzaariye Gujarat Mein" - a road trip to Gujarat!

Day 10: Dwaraka to Vadodara - 520km

Started out from Dwaraka at 9 and drove through Jamnagar which looked impressive, Rajkot, by-passed Ahmedabad and reached Vadodara by 5 pm.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-40_day10_rajkot_ahmedabad_trucktraffic.jpg

A cop asked to stop on the way near Rajkot and checked license, he looked a bit surprised when I said Dwaraka to Bangalore, then he just asked whether all the original documents are in the car to which i said yes. Then he had a quick look in the boot and I was on my way.
Vadodara city looked like a nice and clean city with broad roads.

Day 11: Vadodara to Satara - 650 KM
This was quite a long duration drive starting at 8:15 am. The roads all the way to Mumbai were filled with huge number of trucks occupying all the lanes and blocking the smooth/fast flow of traffic. I managed to keep a steady pace watching out for cars cris-crossing the lanes working their way through the scattered and slow moving trucks. Google maps directions was consistent and good in guiding the way through Thane and Navi Mumbai towards Pune. It grew dark after crossing Pune and reached Satara by 8 PM. It was a 12 hour drive including the 2 hour breaks taken.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-41_day11_navimumbai.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-42_day11_punemum_expresswaytunnel.jpg


Day 12: Satara to Bangalore - 730 KM.
This was another long stretch during the last part of the trip. Started out relaxed at 9:30 am. It was a smooth drive all along the NH4.

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-43_day12_belgaum_vidhanasabha.jpg

A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me-44_day12_nh4.jpg

After getting used to the awesome roads of Gujarat, these roads felt inconsistent, wavy and wobbly although they were multi laned. Except for a short stretch around Belgaum and Chitradurga, the rest of the roads were far inferior. I hadn't come across any speed breakers on the highways in Gujarat and here on the NH4 expecially after crossing into Karnataka, the sudden unmarked speed breakers felt so awkward and un-necessary.

Some Highlights:
* The overall distance to and fro for this trip was about 4600 KM with about the same number in Rupees for Toll.
* The vehicle returned a overall fuel efficiency of 22.9 kmpl.
* After crossing the Karnataka border, didn't come across a single KA registered car/MUV in Maharastra or Gujarat throughout the trip. Came across one SRS travels bus in Surat and few trucks with KA registration. In comparison, there were plenty of MH registered cars touring around in Gujarat.
* Who-ever has conceived/built the roads in Gujarat has done a fantastic job. Even the state highways in Gujarat are awesome. I had heard and expected that a lot of toll would be collected in Gujarat, but it turned out that the tolls collected were very reasonable and the amount was low (usually Rs 20 and sometimes around Rs 35). Compared to this, the toll amount collected on NH4 looked very high.
* Hotels in Gujarat and plentiful and bookings were easily available even in December on short notice.
* Almost everywhere in shops around Dwaraka etc, there was hardly bargaining going on, the price was reasonable, same to all and it was a nice(matured) way of doing business and was a hasslefree shopping experience.
* Bangalore turned out to be the coolest place in terms of weather compared to all the places travelled. It was on the hotter side in Gujarat even in December.

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Old 10th January 2016, 08:07   #12
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Default re: "Kuchh tho Dinn Guzaariye Gujarat Mein" - a road trip to Gujarat!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th January 2016, 11:18   #13
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Default Re: A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me

Great travelogue, thanks for sharing. Gujarat certainly has quite a variety of sights to see and I'm looking forward to making the trip soon, though I think I'm going to try it on two-wheels. Those misspelled food menus are always a sight to see on these road trip. I have to know, did you try that "pullaw" ?
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Old 12th January 2016, 11:49   #14
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Default Re: A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Great travelogue, thanks for sharing. Gujarat certainly has quite a variety of sights to see and I'm looking forward to making the trip soon, though I think I'm going to try it on two-wheels. Those misspelled food menus are always a sight to see on these road trip. I have to know, did you try that "pullaw" ?
Thanks Tushar I'm sure you'll love your roadtrip. I'd suggest making it in the cooler months before Summer hits.
As hungry as we were that day, peas would have been yummy, but after seeing that menu item, it was not at all a palatable choice, could not dare try that pullaw

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Old 12th January 2016, 14:10   #15
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Default Re: A road trip to Gujarat - Kuch din to gujaro Gujarat me

You are tempting me to drive via MP into Gujarat. Let me see how the planning goes, and when can we make the trip.

I am looking at Day 1: Kanpur - Gwalior (260km only as Gwalior is my in-laws home), Day 2: Gwalior Indore (500km - brother-in-law)) and day 3: Indore to Gujarat.
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