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Old 3rd January 2017, 16:33   #1
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Default The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata

Bengaluru – Kolkata – Bengaluru


Well it has been in my mind for last few years but then getting the right mix of things to get things started was not materializing.

Come October 2016, made a firm resolution that this is the year when I will make it happen and then started my casual discussion with my Wife. Initially she was against this; as my plan was of a Solo Drive of 1900+ Kms (each Leg). Then I started on with my Convincing Act and how our Group “TDI-Team Duster India” will be with me all this while supporting and encouraging and in case of any assistance, I will have either support from a Team Duster India Family or someone from the HVK Forum.

Finally, she gave into my constant nagging and she was my only confidante who was aware of the entire plan; and then I started working on itinerary and vehicle readiness. I must take this opportunity to thank her for her support on this and keeping me focused on the drive.
Spoke to my Office and arranged for a Working from Kolkata option for the 2 weeks of stay that I intend to after my Leg 1 of the drive and things started falling in place with the tentative Start Date from Bengaluru as 3rd of Dec 2016.

Everything was falling in place and multiple discussions with ARAY, who just completed a similar trip with his family and 2 of our TDI, Duster family members, Prashant Kamat and Jennis. Must thank each one of the them for their valuable comments and suggestions which helped me in planning and making the travel a comfortable one.

1st Dec 2016, I have purchased a few set of things to make a comfortable Bed inside my Renault Duster – 110, which will be my companion for the ride. I was feeling pretty confident of my arrangement and was eager to start the journey, well almost. By evening, I started running High temperatures of 102 and my wife became worried and concerned about my health and wanted me to drop the plan. But she was well aware how much this travel meant to me and asked me to visit out family physician for a checkup with a condition that if all is well by the 2nd, I will undertake my travel as per original plan. As luck would have had it, Doc cleared me of any major issues and put me under medication which made me feel absolutely fine by the 2nd Afternoon itself. Yippee!

2nd Dec 2016 evening, topped up the Diesel Tank from Shell and added a few liters more, got the Tyre pressure reduced from 32 of Nitrogen (That’s for my City Usage) to 30 for long Highway run. Checked all the fluid levels, including Windscreen Washer and I was all set. Completed my Packing with a few set of dresses and hit the Bed by 10:30 PM with an intent to leave by 5AM in the morning.

3rd Dec 2016 woke up at 4:15AM and finished a Shower and got ready to Start my travel. Bid adieu to my Wife and Daughter in the early morning and hit the road. Day 1 Plan was to reach Vizag for a night halt.
The Starting Odo Reading for Day_1 : 31592 Kms and my destination was a Good 1033 Kms.
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-map_1.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-leg1_opening.jpg
Route Planned was Bengaluru – Hoskote – Chittoor – Tirupati – Naidupeta – Gudur – Nellore – Ongole – Vijaywada – Rajahmundry - Vizag
I started my Travel at almost 5 AM in the morning and encountered mild to heavy drizzle all the way till I crossed Tirupati which ensured that my ride had a good coating of Mud all around by the time I hit GQ. I was maintaining a good pace and my first stop was at around 9 AM in the morning for a breakfast and I stopped at a small eatery near Tirupati. I had my dose of Masala Dosa and resumed my journey after a 35 min halt. Good Portion of this stretch is a 2 Lane Highway and getting past the morning Village traffic was an ordeal of sort. As per Doctor’s advice I stayed away from Tea and Coffee for this entire journey but indulged on Kapico for a minimal dose of Caffeine. Once I hit the GQ the roads turned into 4 lane highways and was able to maintain a good pace of around 100 Kmph. The roads leading towards Vijaywada was maintained really well and barring a few stretches of Work in Progress Flyovers it was really a well maintained highway.
As per preparation of this Trip, I had got a Fastag UHF RFID Tag pasted on my Windscreen and started with a Top Up Amount of INR. 600 with plans to top up on the go once I exhaust.
At some places I was greeted by Dedicated Unmanned Fastag Lane where the overhead antenna will scan the UHF RFID and open the Gates Automatically, a small video of the entire process captured here


All the booths barring 1 after Hoskote, had Fastag acceptance and either it was via Overhead Scanning through a dedicated lane or by a Handheld scanner which can run across any booth where you take your vehicle. Overall I felt it was addressing my need to maintain as much as possible Non Cash Transactions and I had freed myself from the unnecessary hassle of providing exact change or accept Chocolates as change. Overall a Big Thumbs Up to Fastag, even though there were a few Teething issues, but then none of them were so significant. A detailed Toll Report will follow later.

Stopped at N5 Toll Plaza for Lunch and was pleasantly surprised by the sheer utility value of Vertical Space utilization that has been achieved here. It has a Good Lounge and very neat and tidy Washrooms for the travelers along with good choice of food with decent choice of taste and brand presence. The Staff were friendly and food was of decent quality. People travelling with family will definitely appreciate this N5 Food Plaza (Timing: Morning 7 AM to Night 11 PM, serving Breakfast to Dinner). As a car Lover nothing can cheer you up more than to find a Covered Car Parking when you stop for a Food Break, N5 did just that!
After completing my Lunch of Simple Roti and Chicken Curry and spending a good 1hr at the Food Plaza it was time to hit the road again. Started moving with good pace and in short time reached Vijaywada by around 3:30PM. That’s when things started getting busy. Encountered huge pileup of traffic and held me back till 5:30PM till I was out of Vijaywada completely. Having wasted so much time I started to move fast and that is when the Speed Gun caught me at doing speeds of 95kmph when the limit was 90kmph, damn! Pulled up and paid the fine of INR.400, collected the receipt and moved along. No Point arguing and wasting time on such things and more so when you are in a different state. Must appreciate the AP Police for being professional and not haggling unnecessarily knowing that I am from KA.
Started moving again in about 15 mins after completing the formalities and was about to reach Rajahmundry where Google Map played its part of delaying me further. It sent me to narrow roads and by the time I hit the GQ again it was well past 8:15 PM. I realized the mistake and started feeling bad for keeping my Hosts, the Kamat’s waiting this long. Finally, I reached the meeting point and I was greeted by the Kamat Family with great hospitality. Both of us are connected by Team Duster India and it truly is an amazing feeling on how a Car, Duster, has brought us together.
It was time for Day_1 Closure and surrender to some gossiping and rest. Day_2 will begin early as well and I intend to leave from Vizag by around 5:30AM

4th Dec 2016 woke up at 4:30 AM and finished a Shower and got ready to Start my travel. Bid adieu to my hosts and headed straight to a petrol bunk to get me tanked up again. Day 2 Plan was to reach our Kolkata home before dinner time and provide a surprise for my mom.
The Starting Odo Reading for Day_2 : 32628 Kms and my destination was a Good 883 Kms.
Route Planned was Vizag – Srikakulam – Brahmapur – Cuttack – Bhadrak – Balasore – Kharagpur – Panskura - Kolaghat – Dakhineshwar – Kolkata Home

I could start my actual journey only by around 6:15AM as I had to tank up and there was a long delay for CC Payment. But then once I hit the GQ Again things started moving faster and in sometime I stopped near Brahmapur, again at a very small shop for breakfast. Today I was a bit adventurous and opted for Poori and Palya (Andhra Style) and still continued to stay off Tea or Coffee.
Stopped for about 30 mins and resumed my journey towards Cuttack. While I approached towards the AP-OD Border I could spot a huge pile up of trucks and as I had been forewarned that I need to go in the reverse lane, I promptly switched lanes and switched on the Hazard Warning lights and kept moving for about 1.5 Kms till I reached the toll booth. I crossed the toll booth using the dedicated Fastag lanes and couldn’t thank enough ARAY and Jennis for this crucial survival trick on this GQ. I encountered another 3 such instances and followed the same maneuver every time.
While you are travelling in OD, do remember that the right of way belongs to the 2 wheelers and they can travel in Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Middle Lane and of-course, Opposite Lane too!

It’s your duty as a Driver for their well-being and safe keeping on the busy highway stretch.Period!

Stopped just before entering Cuttack at a traditional Odisha Hotel and ordered a traditional Fish Curry meal. The Food was of acceptable standards and nothing great to write home about, but the respect shown by the Hotel Owner and some Police Folks on learning that I am travelling Solo from Bengaluru to Kolkata was mind boggling. They wished me for a safe journey and I was back again on the road and my target was to cross Kharagpur before the sunset as I have heard of some Maoist presence in that belt. I kept on maintaining good pace on this decent piece of Tarmac and kept moving at fast pace till I reached the Bengal Border and by mistake I entered the long queue of trucks instead of moving in the opposite lane, damn! I slowly managed to move to the right most lane from where I could maneuver a cross over via trench (Lucky that Duster has a significant Ground Clearance) and reach the opposite lane and start moving towards the toll booth which was a good 1.5km away with Hazard Lights on. Again the Fastag proved its mettle and I was able to zip past the toll booth into Bengal. Crossed the entrance to Kharagpur and my next destination in mind was Panskura for its legendary Deep Oil fried snacks. I reached Panskura around 7:15PM and stopped at a very small Stall (typical of Bengal) and ordered deep fried varieties of Brinjal, Potato and a Hot earthen pot of Tea (This was my first sip of Tea / Coffee) and it felt divine! I spent a good 30 mins at Panskura and before I started again, gave a good wash to the windscreen and headlights as both of them had significant insect hits to make them dirty.
The remaining leg of the journey was uneventful but my excitement of completing the Leg_1 kept me focused and in no time I was on Nivedita Bridge which connected me to Dakhineshwar; and from there it was a meagre 10 min to our Kolkata Home. Before I reached home I managed to get myself a helping of the legendary Mughlai Parota and Fish Cutlet (Fry) and carried it home for Dinner.
Leg_1 of my journey completed with a total of 1919 Kms of Road (Odo Reading at 33511) travelled across KA, AP,OD,and WB with a net driving of 17.5 Hrs on Day 1 and 14.5 Hrs on day 2.

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-leg1_closure.jpg

Drowsiness Tip for Solo Traveler’s: Keep some chocolates / chewing Gum Handy as they tend to keep you more focused and sing along as loud as you can in the car. It’s a super antidote for boredom due to travelling alone. After all you will be the sole audience of your super singing effort (Pun Intended in my case) make it as loud as you want to, while keeping your eyes on the road!

5th Dec 2016: This was a day for giving rest to my Trusted Companion and get myself a bit of rest from driving while I continued to work for my Workplace.

6th Dec 2016: Had to hit Maniktala fish market after completing my days work for the employer. And lo behold! I had the most amazing and raving pieces of Bengali delicacies right in-front of me. Starting with Hilsha, Pabda, Parse, Tangra,Topse, Pomfret and Prawns. Picked up all that I could and the next course of action will be on my mother for serving the delicacies in authentic home food style. Burrp!
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-img_20161206_18253401.jpeg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-img_20161206_18273001.jpeg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-img_20161206_18274001.jpeg


7th and 8th Dec 2016: Was busy working for my employer and couldn’t venture much other than hitting the locality and gave adequate rest to my companion.

9th Dec 2016: It was my Long time wish to visit Tarapith, a sacred place in the hearts of many Bengali’s and offer my Prayers to the residing deity Maa Tara (Incarnation of Goddess Durga). And this trip provided me with the opportunity that I had been looking for.
A round trip of around 440 Kms (220Km each side) touching Saktigarh – Burdwan – Khargram – Tarapith and back. Started our onward journey at around 6AM in the morning and the first stop was at Saktigarh, a much famed place for the Sweet Loving folks.

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-langcha1.jpeg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-langcha2.jpeg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-langcha3.jpeg

We had our breakfast comprising of Stuffed Poori (Kachori) and “Langcha” with a serving of Hot Tea in the earthen pot called as “Bhaar”(Khullad). We left in about 30 mins from Saktigarh and crossed Burdwan town and headed as per route plan. We reached Tarapith at around 11 AM and headed straight for the temple. We managed to find a “Panda” type person who arranged our offerings and took us through the special queue. It was a wish come true for me; when I was able to offer my prayers and then absorbed the moment by spending some time within the temple courtyard. Had lunch near the temple and resumed our return journey by 1 PM. It was an uneventful one till we reached Saktigarh again, here we attacked the shop once more for Snacks and Sweets. With our stomach and heart filled with containment we reached our home by 5:30 PM and thus bringing an end to the much awaited visit.

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-tarapith2.jpeg

10th, 11th Dec 2016: Being weekends I spent the time socializing.

12th Dec 2016 to 16th Dec 2016 : A week full of Work, Sigh! But evenings were always with Hot Hot Telebhaja(Multiple choices of Fried Vegetables and Cutlets) and Moori (Puffed Rice)
17th Dec 2016 and 18th Dec 2016: One more weekend driving around in Kolkata and capturing some Heritage views of Amby Taxi’s and Electric Tram running alongside my Dusty. Some more pics for your viewing.

The Legendary Kolkata police in White Uniform and Red Bike
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata-police.jpeg
The Tram
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata3.jpeg
One of the Oldest Post Office Buildings
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata4.jpeg
Tram Again
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata5.jpeg
Kolkata without a Circus in Winter, No way !
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata6.jpeg
The(Much Renovated) Original House of Naren, better known as Swami Vivekananda
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata7.jpeg
The(Much Renovated) Original House of Naren, better known as Swami Vivekananda
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata8.jpeg
Unmistakable the Amby Taxi
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata2.jpeg
Our Family M800, the first car i ever drove,meets the Dusty from KA
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-blacknwhite2.jpeg
A Bonus Pic
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-kolkata9.jpeg

19th Dec 2016 and 20th Dec 2016: Was busy working as I was to start my return leg on the 21st Dec 2016, early morning. And evenings were reserved for gobbling up some more trademark foods from Kolkata, before I leave, Sigh!
It was a nightmare to hunt for a Petrol Bunk which has Nitrogen dispenser for Tyres, but then luckily I did find one and ensured that all tyres were showing 30 PS (Long Highway runs, I maintain 30-31, while in cities I maintain 32 PS for making the ride much plusher). Filled up the tank to the brim, by the customary shake it, shake it method. Well Fuel is the cheapest in WB than the other states in my route and surprisingly its highest in AP where they have refineries in Vizag!
21st Dec 2016: Woke up at sharp 4 AM in the morning, finished my morning rituals and was all packed up to start my journey by 5 AM.
The Starting Odo Reading for Day_1 : 34218 Kms and my destination was a Good 883 Kms
As many of you were aware of the prevailing riot like atmosphere in some parts of Bengal and trickling news that Highway traffic might be impacted as well; I was determined to cross over to Odisha as early as possible, and specifically cross Kharagpur region before 8 AM. I was stuck to my plan and did cross the foggy roads of WB and entered Odisha by 8:45 AM. That was my first stop for breakfast and it was a typical Highway Dhaba and was served hot-hot tandoori rotis with Dal and a super steaming cup of tea. The foodie that I am, never wasted a time and finished off everything along with the customary Onion,Lemon and Green Chilies.
I had decided to take a Break and visit lake Chilika on my way back and followed the road signs and reached the lake Chilika from where Boats can take you to the Sea and back. And this is where my Dusty met with the Lake Chilika
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-chilika1.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-chilika2.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-chilika3.jpg

After finishing the Boat ride, I was tempted to visit the famous Chilka Dhaba, but then I was warned about the possibilities of food poising and hence avoided it altogether and rather ventured to the safe Govt run Panthanivas (OTDC) and had Crab Masala with Rotis (I generally avoid Rice while driving)
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-crab_curry.jpeg

I had planned for a night halt at Vizag in the company of another Team Duster India( TDI), Jennis. Our mutually decided meeting point was at Hindustan Shipyard Circle and that is when the Black and the Brown Duster met for the first time (And it was also our first meeting). Had a nice round of discussion about our rides and interests and closed the day with some food and drinks. The next day was a reserve day and wanted to visit Araku Valley and Bora Caves. It was a wonderful gesture on the part of Jennis to take a day off to be with me for this local sightseeing and drive me around in his Duster while mine got a rest for the upcoming 1050 Km long drive the next day.

contd..

Last edited by soumobakshi : 3rd January 2017 at 17:02.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 16:57   #2
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..contd

22nd Dec 2016: As planned I was ready by 8AM in the morning and was ready to leave for the days trip. We started around 8:30AM after the customary Tank filling up ceremony and we were on the road towards Araku Valley. Our first halt was at a small Tiffin Shop and we had our share of Dosas and Coffee. It was a long drive considering the distance, as the road was a typical single lane highway and was not in the best of condition too. Wonder why the Govt has not upgraded this road, considering the number of tourist foot fall that Bora Caves and Araku Valley witnesses.
First Destination was Bora Caves and we parked the vehicle in the designated parking area and trodded up towards the cave. That is when a guy of around 15 years approached us to place an order for Bamboo chicken and he will have it ready by the time we are back from the caves. Again, this was on my Bucket List so wasted no time and placed the order and marched along the gentle slopes leading towards the Ticket Counter for Bora Caves. We picked up the tickets and paid the fees required for Camera’s and our Cell Phones and went inside the caves. As soon as we crossed the gates we were greeted by a flock of monkeys and a huge Board proclaiming the history of the place.
The Stalactites and Stalagmites were really amazing and as usual most of the shapes were named after various Gods and their beloved animals. But what was most irritating was the presence of fancy neon lights in varied shades of Pink, Violet and so one, which only showcased the irony and apathy of Govt agencies responsible towards maintain them. Also we spotted a couple of devices which appeared like some kind of a signal generators, and appeared to have been installed to chase away the Bats which had been residents of these caves for years together. How selfish of us, the Human Race!
Some Pics to round of the Bora Caves

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bora-caves1.jpeg

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bora-caves2.jpeg

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bora-caves3.jpeg

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bora-caves4.jpeg

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bora-caves5.jpeg

We came out of the Bora caves at around 12 noon and headed straight towards the designated place where Bamboo Chicken was waiting for us and we were pleased to have ordered it here as the guy took good care of us and served us with a Hot and Spicy Bamboo Chicken.
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bamboo-chicken1.jpeg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-bamboo-chicken2.jpeg

After gobbling up the food we decided to start our journey towards Araku Valley and the destination in mind was the Coffee Museum (Somehow, coming from the Tea Loving belt of India I had a strange affection towards Coffee than towards Tea)
In a short while reached Araku Valley and parked the vehicle in the designated parking area in front of the Coffee museum and we picked up the tickets and started meandering through the various signages describing the history of Coffee and how it evolved.
For me the most interesting piece was how it came to India. It’s said that a young Saint from India visited Arab lands(Mecca) and he was offered a dark color sweet drink called “Qahwah” and it rejuvenated him and gave him great relief from his tiredness. Now the Arabs closely guarded the seeds, which was their new found lucrative industry and did not allow any seeds to cross their border unless it has been roasted / boiled in water to prevent the seeds from germination. But, Baba Budan was determined and he hid 7 of these seeds under his religious belt and was able to travel out of Arab lands undetected, and sowed the first seeds of coffee in the Chikmagalur region of Karnataka in India. That’s how coffee was first planted in India! Kudos to the man in risking his life to bring Coffee to India.

After tasting the history bit we ventured around the delicacies which were prepared there, starting from Coffee Powder to various delicacies made with Coffee and Chocolate. Both of us picked up a few of the items for our folks back home and started to venture into Harita (An AP Govt run group of Hotels) for lunch. The place was well maintained and food was reasonably good, which both of us enjoyed and then decided to roam around the valley a bit and test the worthiness of the All-Wheel Drive system of the Duster AWD. We did venture off the road and up and down the slopes a bit and did find that these obstacles were too small for the vehicle as most of it was gobbled up by the considerably high GC and the AWD System. It was them time to head back to Vizag. The remaining bit of the journey was uneventful and in few hours we were back to Vizag and started planning for the evening. Again had some bucket list to complete, which was to meander around the RK Beach road and pick up some of the specialties’ served by KAMAT restaurant. Spent the rest of the evening cherishing the food and drinks and it was almost 12:30 in the night when we decided to call it a day.

Must thank Jennis for being the perfect Host and taking me around, long live the Duster Brother Hood via Team Duster India.

23 Dec 2016: Woke up by 4:30AM and was ready to hit the road by 5:45AM for the final leg of my Solo Journey. Mixed emotions of the journey coming to a close and the feeling of reaching home to the loved ones. The Starting Odo Reading for Day_3 : 35105 Kms and my destination was a Good 1033 Kms.
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-return-map2.png
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-leg2_day2opening.jpg

It was an un-eventful drive and my first stop was for break was after crossing Rajahmundry and I ensured to stick to the GQ even after multiple prodding from the Google Map to take diversion. I had plans of stopping at N5 Toll Plaza again for lunch so ensured to have a leisurely breakfast which will last me for the distance and the time.
I was aware of a deviation from GQ while I approach Vijaywada town and as soon as Google Map showed that to me, I took the deviation and must say that it saved me from meandering in city traffic for long. It was within 30 mins that I was out of Vijaywada and was back on highways and continued on my journey towards Tirupati and reached N5 Toll Plaza with the customary fully automated Fastag toll system. Parked the vehicle under the shaded parking space provided ( Its really nice that someone has carefully thought about providing a shaded parking space for our beloved rides) and ventured up to the first floor for food service.
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-n51.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-n52.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-n53.jpg
Completed my Lunch and I must admit that I made it elaborate and long as I wanted to reach Tirupati a bit late so that I can avoid the city traffic and also the Single Lane highways thereafter will be easy to navigate. The roads in GQ was well maintained and stopped at multiple places to soak in the beauty of the Indian Highways.

Stopped for Tea and Bhajji break just before taking the deviation off GQ and gave a good wash to the Windscreen and Headlights, which has picked up a lot of stains from the insect hit. This is when I was reminded again of the effectiveness of a Bug Deflector. Continued my journey and crossed Tirupati and stopped for a refreshment stop at the only Cafι Coffee Day Outlet (Have visited this place before and this is the only place I found to have a hygienic and clean wash rooms). Post this it was a non stop drive to Bangalore and I entered back into Karnataka via Mulbagal, Hoskote stretch and my next stop was at a newly Opened Outlet of Imperial Hotel, adjacent to Mysore Road KSRTC Bus Stand at 0120 Hrs for getting myself a dinner. Eventually that was the only place open at that time of the night too. From the Imperial restaurant to my home was just a 10 min drive and I just soaked in that last stretch with my mouth beaming from ears to ears on successful completion of the much awaited Solo Drive of Bangalore – Kolkata – Bangalore. The Closing ODO read 36175 Km and I parked my Vehicle in our Apartment Parking at 0143 Hrs of 24th Dec 2016.
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-leg_tripclosure.jpg

Total Distance Covered: 4583 Kms including my Local Sightseeing at Kolkata and City Travel, with an Overall Mileage Figure of 16.14 Kmpl (Full Tank to Full Tank Method from Same Bunk, Same Dispenser)


Our Beautiful Indian National Highways

The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-additional_2.jpg
The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata-additional_3.jpg

PS: Separate Log Files from Fuel Buddy which helped me in keeping track of Fuel and Mileage Data AND Fastag log file Updated for easy reference. Hope its Handy for other Traveler’s on this stretch, Happy Motoring!

Long Live the Team Duster Brotherhood
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Fastag_Complete_Trip_Report.pdf (8.5 KB, 539 views)
File Type: pdf Fuel_Buddy_Log.pdf (4.6 KB, 625 views)

Last edited by soumobakshi : 3rd January 2017 at 17:10.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 17:16   #3
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Default re: The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata

Let me be the first one to congratulate you on such an awesome trip. Some excellent pictures there. The pictures of Hilsha, Pabda, Parse, Tangra,Topse, Pomfret and Prawns just takes the cake away. Hope to see such great blogs from you in future.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 17:51   #4
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Fantastic Trip report !! Really liked the detailing in the narration. The script was gripping & took me on a road trip with you. I missed meeting up with you since I was out of town on a business tour. But there is always next time.

Keep traveling & Keep writing

Regards,

Pawan

PS : Next time record your solo singing performance. Would be a treat to watch.
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Old 4th January 2017, 12:51   #5
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Default Re: The South East Expedition - Solo Drive in a Duster from Bangalore –> Kolkata

Wow! This was what i was exactly looking for. One of the best travel posts i have seen on Team BHP! Bookmarked as soon as i saw the title.

I also plan on bringing my Honda Brio from Calcutta to Bangalore preferably around May. I have some questions for you. If you can please answer, that would be of great help.

1. Would you recommend this trip in a hatchback?
2. Can you approximately tell me the cost of tolls (Kolkata to Bangalore leg) including toll plazas which did not have Fastag?
3. Can you highlight the stretch of roads which are bad (in terms of traffic or road condition) particularly for hatchbacks?
4. What were the permissions required and money paid in order to travel to Calcutta with KA plates? Did anybody catch you there/harass you?

Please don't mind my so many questions. I have to convince my parents in order to bring my car, so trying to cover all the bases before i approach them.
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Old 4th January 2017, 13:09   #6
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Awesome report Soumo. Reminds me of my Drive from Kolkata to Bangalore in May 2016 when I shifted to Bangalore. The roads are indeed awesome on the GQ. I had lost a lot of time as well in Vijaywada traffic and also while leaving Vizag due to an accident which blocked the entire exit to the GQ.
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Old 4th January 2017, 15:18   #7
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Congrats on a great trip !. Since the OeM recommendation for Duster is 29 PSI on all four tyres , is there a specific reason why you use 32 PSI on city drives ?

You chose the time of the day well for the Tram and Shyambazar shots , it is almost impossible to park in those places otherwise (unless you have a Chauffeur to mind your car).
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Old 4th January 2017, 16:25   #8
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I will try to answer your questions, Soumo can definitely add.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avikbrio View Post
1. Would you recommend this trip in a hatchback?
Yes definitely. Brilliant roads all through. I did it in a Petrol Ritz

Quote:
2. Can you approximately tell me the cost of tolls (Kolkata to Bangalore leg) including toll plazas which did not have Fastag?
Generally its Rs 100 per 100 kms. So it should be around Rs 2000 total.

Quote:
3. Can you highlight the stretch of roads which are bad (in terms of traffic or road condition) particularly for hatchbacks?
Around Tirupati, where the ghats start, it gets a little bad but nothing a hatchback cannot manage or maintain decent speeds. The upside is brilliant views, so you wouldn't mind the decrease in speed.

Quote:
4. What were the permissions required and money paid in order to travel to Calcutta with KA plates? Did anybody catch you there/harass you?
No permissions. Just keep all your papers in order. I was just checked once at Kolaghat but that was election time in WB and was 12 AM. No papers were checked. Other than that not a single time was I stopped for checking enroute.

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2017 at 11:47. Reason: Please use QUOTE the right way. Fixing.
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Old 4th January 2017, 17:56   #9
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An excellent travelogue with the right amount of detailing. Rated a well deserved 5 star! Good to know that you had a great trip. I am planning a Kolkata drive sometime in 2017.
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Old 5th January 2017, 01:50   #10
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Haha wow !
The entire on going trip was done on one cup of tea ! That is a task by itself !
Kudos to your effort ! I find it very hard to stay alert without tea on these kind of drives !
I also noticed you put Terrano Rims on your duster ! Very nice choice !
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Old 5th January 2017, 11:08   #11
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Originally Posted by Avikbrio View Post
Would you recommend this trip in a hatchback?
Definitely Yes. I recommended this to a close friend of mine and he did this on his i20, now he is on his way back with his family. So go ahead, the roads are waiting.

Quote:
2. Can you approximately tell me the cost of tolls (Kolkata to Bangalore leg) including toll plazas which did not have Fastag?
At the end of my Post 2, i have attached a PDF File, entire stretch is covered by Fastag barring 1 closer to KA-AP Border, so refer to the PDF File for accurate figures.

Quote:
3. Can you highlight the stretch of roads which are bad (in terms of traffic or road condition) particularly for hatchbacks?
None as such. Roads are good overall, just be careful of some diversions due to flyover Work in Progress.

Quote:
4. What were the permissions required and money paid in order to travel to Calcutta with KA plates? Did anybody catch you there/harass you? Well actually its always safe and must to carry all original documents.
As i mentioned in Post 1 that i was stopped by AP Police for over speeding but they let me go with just the fine even without checking or asking for any documents. Just keep in mind, if you are caught on the wrong side, be polite and humbly accept the mistake and move on. No point in arguments, Period!

Quote:
Please don't mind my so many questions. I have to convince my parents in order to bring my car, so trying to cover all the bases before i approach them.
That's a difficult task than driving the long stretch, so all the Best

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2017 at 11:49. Reason: Please use QUOTE the right way. Fixing.
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Old 5th January 2017, 11:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
Congrats on a great trip !. Since the OeM recommendation for Duster is 29 PSI on all four tyres , is there a specific reason why you use 32 PSI on city drives ? I use Nitrogen instead of Air and have found this to be the best pressure for a plush ride over broken patches of gravel and mud, called as Roads in Bengaluru

You chose the time of the day well for the Tram and Shyambazar shots , it is almost impossible to park in those places otherwise (unless you have a Chauffeur to mind your car).
Yes,very true, having been born and brought up in Kolkata, I was certain that if i wanted to take these shots i need to be there around 6:30 AM and I did the same on a Cold Sunday Morning. BTW, no one drives / cleans my car other than my own self..
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Old 2nd March 2017, 20:31   #13
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Phew that's great man, even we have a dusty, guess have to hit the road. Unfortunately I am a senior citizen and not in peak health, cheers!!!
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Old 4th March 2017, 11:20   #14
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Originally Posted by soumobakshi View Post
Bengaluru – Kolkata – Bengaluru


While I approached towards the AP-OD Border I could spot a huge pile up of trucks and as I had been forewarned that I need to go in the reverse lane, I promptly switched lanes and switched on the Hazard Warning lights and kept moving for about 1.5 Kms till I reached the toll booth. I crossed the toll booth using the dedicated Fastag lanes and couldn’t thank enough ARAY and Jennis for this crucial survival trick on this GQ. I encountered another 3 such instances and followed the same maneuver every time.
contd..
Wonderful Travelogue @soumobakshi. The pictures of the fishes in Maniktala market should make any Bengali brought up in Kolkata nostalgic.
If possible can you pin these location on the map. Apologies, if I am asking for too much.

Regards

Samish
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