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|9th November 2008, 00:31||#1|
Senior - BHPian
MP: Temples,Hills, Marble Rocks, Water falls, Tigers, Erotic Statues and.....
Overview: 3172 km, Trip to Madhya Pradesh, covering temples, hills, rivers, marble rocks, waterfall, volcanic crators, tiger country, Erotic sculptures and one of unkindest roads of India.
Background: With Diwali approaching, the annual drive itch was gnawing the innards, something had to be planned and done. The disappointment of not doing the Ladakh round due to personal reasons was an ember; this ride has to kick some adrenaline into the system; at least a surrogate Ladakh?
This time, the leaves are shorter, 14 days and Madhya Pradesh is only next door, so we thought. Well.... the distances looked small, the horror tales of bad roads (though improving fast) low facilities and fear of unknown country was temptation enough.My eldest son could not join in, his Cambridge exams are on; its me, my ever enthusiastic wife and Nidish, son of 13 onthis ride. The bookings were done through our corporate contacts / rates at Indore, Panchmarhi, Jabalpur, Bandhavgarh,Khajuraoho and Bophal, did the route-research thro. TBHP posts, India Mike posts and MPTDC site, the truck was checked at the M&M ASC, everythying going green by 22nd. We removed the last seat; gave a gaping space for luggage, bought 4/5 luggage hooks and a cargo net to tie down the luggae in the back, it was a wise decision, some sections were bouncy as hell. We will name the Scorp. the WOLT (short for Wide Bolt, that's what comes to my mind when I think of the truck).
23-10-2008: The check list of things included, WOLT papers, Hotel confirmation printouts, maps, GPS gear, medicine kit, 12V air compressor (courtesy my friend Joy), tool kit, torch, extension cord with 5 plug points (a must carry item), extra batteries for cameras and the usual stuff. This time around we took the addresses of our company people stationedat various HQ's in MP, just in case we need to contact them for help.... turned out that the WOLT ensured an event free ride, touch-wood, considering the terrain we went thro., even a puncture could have caused a huge problem.
24-10-2008: Though we planned to start @ 5am, by the time we got ready and loaded the WOLT and kicked off it was 640. We entered the expressway and exited thro. the Dakor/ Nadiad exit quickly after 63kms in 50 mts, the road thro. Dakor, Godhra was uneventful and smooth. Most people take the Memdabad, Godhra route, but the expressway is much faster in the mornings and tests out the vehicle early on the run, you can gun it to see if the beast is caged properly. We covered 224 kms in 3 hours, pretty good time and crossed into MP and were grossly unprepared for what came out in the shape of roads.
When HVKumar cautioned on the MP roads, I took it lightly because the MPTDC guys at A'bad office were emphatic about improvement in roads and many posts at TBHP and India Mike were positive about the improvements. From entry to MP to the next 120 kms, the roads were pot-holed, bouncy as hell, no proper signages and gutted in many places. What I don't understand is the logic of patches of 5-10 kms of velvet like road and sudden moon-scapes for the next many KMS, this is beyond any rational thought; initially I fell right into the trap of speeding up when the good sections starts and fell 3-4 times into bone rattling sections on the turns and slowed down to a resigned 3-2-1-2-3 rhythm of gears every few minutes. There's no way one could avoid them or snake through them, you have to go into the craters, sea-saw thro. and try to stitch the best patch. The truckers were doing crazy stunts, heavily laiden and trying to zig-zag on clear patches. After Jabua I foundthe local Jeeps were merrily going off the road into tractor tracks on the fields by the side; people were packed like match-sticks in a box, dust raising all around, but no bounces or bone-jarring thuds. We were OK as the windows were up, away fromt he dust and heat and realatively insulated from the elements, this went on for 25 Kms and the side roads ran out, back to the rattle-roads again.
The landscape from Jabua on was stunning, hillocks after hillocks of green valleys, animals grazing all around, people tending to them and village life chugging on. We stopped every 30 mts for 5 minutes since we had all day long and my left hands and legs were screaming for rest on and off, the stops were well worth every minute, some of the scenes are etched permenantly into the brain. There was this ghat section, a ravine on one side and rolling hills all around and
a road-side Hanuman temple with a saffron triangle flapping on a post, no other soul in sight; life frozen in a picture- post card!!!!!! Moments like this makes you forget all the pains and perils of the trip.
We rollon thro. Sardarpur, Dhar, Betma into Indore, Hotel SriMaya at 2pm after 437kms very tired, battered and looking forward to a well deserved lunch. Check-in, lunch and a short nap for 30 later, we're ready for Ujjan, Mahakaleswar trip. We need to touch 2 "Jyothirlingas" on this route; of the total 12, we have covered 6 and with these two the score would go up to 8, taking us nearer to the target of 100% coverage. The 60kms+ road up is pretty smooth, toll road and well market but full of truck traffic. We make it in 90mts to find the temple blissfully empty, they said nobody would come around Diwali time; 3 of us, the priests and the security staff and a couple of other devoties put togethere there were about 25 people in the complex, what a lucky break!!!!!! We did a slow, peaceful Darshan and sat on the outer perimetre of the temple listening to the cocaphoney of the now settling down birds on the banyan tree. I sat and stretchedagainst the wall, time stood still, my brain went into alpha waves, muslin of peace slipped down from somewhere, and I nodded off to sleep without realizing; when I opened my eyes, I had switched off for 40 minutes!!!!
Felt like I had lost 40 minutes and gained 40 years; my wife and son did not want to wake me up, they were happy exploring around and then saw me awake. The ride back to Indore was OK, most people driving on high-beam and aggressively, gave them a bit of same medicine with the WOLT's fog lamps and all of 100V berelling down was no contest. We hit our hotel around 8PM; their restaurant serves great food and their bakery nearby makes melting cakes; a full day of action, we hit the bed early at 9 PM.
25-10-09: Wake up late, had a light agenda for the day only Omkareswar trip, back to hotel and rest. Lazy b'kfast around 10am and start @ 11am. Hotel has nice system, without being asked, the WOLT is washed clean, their taxi drivers very patient to explain routes, distances and details; great service all around.The Destinator GPS surprisingly has sketchy details in and around Indore, was wrong and way off track in many places, they need to re-track MP afresh.The toll road up to Barwah, SH22, 60 kms, including the 10 kms steep ghat section was well maintained, smooth roads and signages great. We cross the Narmada river to the Omkareswar turn-off to the let, take the tree lined beautiful 13km green stretch following the river. Reach the local toll gate and were accousted by a gorup of 6 Pandits who offered their services for whatever we will give them, so they said. We fix the deal for Rs.50/- and asked a young one to jump in, he shows us the way to the parking and takes us thrro. the new bridge, thro. the streets of usual temple town shops and up thro the steps to the temple. Again light crowd, they said transportation to this place is poor and only those who know and are stuck to the place take trouble to come, except on special days when the whole local population decends here. We were shown in thro. a side door, courtesy the Pandit, were taken very near to the Jyothirlinga, had a very satisfying Arthi and pooja and stepped into the outside. Our Pandit lead the way to a corner of the temple, told us to sit down and started chanting "Rudra and Chamaka" (had learned it way back in my childhood courtesy a Shiva temple in our neighbourhood, used to get lovely Kheer dripping with honey), 5 more I met near the toll gate joined him, the money sucking trap was sprung. I let them run their routine, all 6 started chanting loudly, when I joined them; that rattled them plenty, told them to stop after 30 minutes and got up. They demanded Rs.500/ for the effort and I asked them 250/-for my part and raised my voice. A small crown gathered and the Pandits realized the game was getting sticky the prey can sting, one of them told my quietly they'd seettle for 100/-, my wife said let's not spoil a good day for 50/-, I settled for 100/-. I was kicking myself for a long time for having fallen for such a beautifully crafted game after so much temple experiences and hearing stories from all around; well one more lesson learned.
Caution for those visiting Omkareswar, dont' take any Pandit arond here, the process is simple, walk up, cross the bridge, visit, buy flowers etc., full thali costs 25/- and if you feel put something on the Bhandar, keep the Pandits away.
About the temple, one can see it across the river clearly, the spires are what catches, its surrounded by Narmada, you can take a boat trip across from the 3 ghats. You have to climb up to the diety in contrast to going way down in Ujjain.
Somehow, felt very restless in contrast to Ujjain, maybe the Pandit incident was the trigger, place had a hungry look in contrast to the contented air of Ujjai. My impressions could be pretty prejudiced due to the setting, incidents and the very very hot day, just wanted to share what I felt. On the way back, I complained to the lone police man at the toll gate about the Pandits, he said loudly he's scared of them, they gang up on him!!!!!!!!!! What a story-teller!!!!!!!!!
Hotel Gopal Midway, on the banks of of the Narmada, just before the bridge spins out decent roti's, sabji's, dal and rice on an economic menu. Nice ploto spot and a well-oiled-joint all around, saw lots of cars / buses stopping for food here. We were hungry and the food tasted great.
Have more to add...... photos and story coming up.
Last edited by ramkya1 : 9th November 2008 at 00:47.
|9th November 2008, 01:01||#2|
Senior - BHPian
Some more photos.....
1. WOLT on a lolely temple on the ghat, a serene ravine place
2. Wolt near a Z bend
3. Wolt near BP to Dhar
4. One section with NO Roads
5. Local transport, they take 25 people on a Jeep, what a jeep!!!
6. Girl trying to cart water, on ghats near Dhar
7. Cattle grazing
8. Children managing the cattle
9. Bullock cart on 1st gear
10.Cattle stop on the road near Jhabua
11. Wolt - luggage secured with hooks and cargo nets.
Last edited by ramkya1 : 9th November 2008 at 01:20.
|9th November 2008, 09:31||#4|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
Thanked: 2,937 Times
Very very naish. It was bone rattling for bikes even as far back as 2005. When elections had happened. I'd say it was extremely hopeful to expect any road progress in those parts before elections. Unless it be new PMGSY roads, which are suuper.
|9th November 2008, 09:54||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2007
Thanked: 242 Times
A few questions
1. What's WOLT
2. What was the basic route night halt wise. (can't download your attachment on my Mac, will do tomorrow from work IBM)
3. What GPS were you using with what map? Was it of any real use?
|9th November 2008, 10:10||#6|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2006
Thanked: 64 Times
Nice one ramkya. Eagerly waiting for more. This brings back old memories. I am originally from MP and I have spent a month every year in Indore during my summer vacation. Keep it coming.
We will name the Scorp. the WOLT (short for Wide Bolt, that's what comes to my mind when I think of the truck).
|9th November 2008, 11:09||#7|
Senior - BHPian
If you download the excel sheet, you'd get all the answers, including names of hotels.
I'm using Destinator "India One" new version. It was of great help 70% of the ways and very very useful to get in and out of Bhopal, very accurately detailed. Would recommend it to anyone, a value-for-money investment for those doing long trips.
You'd see from my logs that getting lost and missing the 7 pm deadlines on forest chekposts would be a disaster if you are traveling with family; facilities are non-existant in between major cities. Good planning with GPS reduces chances of error.
|10th November 2008, 23:47||#10|
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: King Of Prussia, PA/ Indore
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Did you visit the Dam in Omkareshwar? You can see the dam in background in one of the pictures. You could have also visited Sidhvarkut. It is a Jain Tirtha across the river from Omkareshwar Island.
Also, the toll road to Ujjain (SH 27) is going to be converted in a Dual Carriage four lane highway by Govt of MP.
|11th November 2008, 11:43||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Yes, there's a dam in the picture, huge and imposing in the baground of the temple. We tried to drive up and see it; needs permission from authorities now-a-days, post blasts.
We missed the Sidhvarkut, did not have information, a miss indeed. May be next time.
That's great news on SH27, the present road is also good with great signages, a 4 lane would make it much faster. Already there's a lot of digging on the one side of the road, surprisingly that is done in such a way it does not distuptd the traffic on the present lanes.
Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th November 2008 at 11:46.
|11th November 2008, 16:45||#13|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Nice getaway trip. Any one tried driving on those rolling hills? What a country side for camping trip perhaps in winters.
and...errr..ahem...the erotic statues?
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