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Old 6th January 2009, 16:31   #1
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Default Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part I

Decided to do a Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai holiday over the New Year weekend. Did some research on the Team BHP Travelogues Forum, wrote to Ramky for some clarifications and finally decided to go for it. So, my wife and I left Andheri at 4.15 am on 31st morning in our Accent GVS Petrol.

Was at Dahisar Check Naka at 4.34 AM. Roads not very good on this stretch. There are little potholes in the middle of the road on a continuous basis. Reached Manor Toll booth at 4.58 AM. There was a lot of truck traffic on the other side, and their headlights were blinding. Since the road has potholes, was driving going slower than I would have liked to on account of poor visibility. Reach Charoti Toll booth at 5.32 AM. The roads had improved by now, and higher speeds were possible. We reached Baghwada Toll Naka at 6.22 AM.

A few kilometres out of Baghwada, there was a sharp noise from the right rear side, followed by series of thuds. I realised I had a flat and pulled over to the side with the hazard lights on. Quickly getting to work, I changed the tyre. There was the head of a bolt sticking out of the punctured tyre. I pulled it out, and it turned out to be a four inch long blunt bolt that was also quite large in diameter. I really donít know how that got into the tyre, but I was sure by looking at the bolt that the tube was beyond repair, considering the size of the hole in the tyre. There was a puncture repair shop nearby but it was closed and there was no one around. So I drove on, and stopped at the first open puncture-repair shop we came across. Sure enough, the tube had huge tears where the bolt had gone in. The shop did not have a new tube, but sold me a used R13 tube (not 175/70) for Rs. 150. Then he recommended something called an Omni patch (Rs. 250) for the tyre. Not having any choice, I agreed and while he worked, we had chai from a shop nearby. This entire exercise cost us more than an hour. We decided to not stop for lunch and head straight on to Udaipur, since we were carrying enough snacks. So we got going once more.

The Surat-Vadodara stretch is being converted to 6 lanes and so currently is reduced to a single lane with many diversions. Overtaking is difficult. This stretch took around 4 hours. Reached the Boriach toll booth at 8.07 AM, and at 11.57 AM entered the Vadodara Toll booth on the Vadodara-Ahmedabad stretch, National Expressway 1. This is a brilliant road, but there are no fuel stops on this stretch and I wanted to tank up soon, as I would have done 500 kms by the time I exited the NE1. One observation I made was that the truckers are generally decent chaps who move over to let you pass Ė it is the cars and some buses that insist on hogging the right lane and not moving. This is what happened on NE1, with many cars just staying in the right lane and refusing to move. I hate honking so I initially changed lanes to overtake them, but then got annoyed as this kept happening. So then I started getting closer to them and flashing my headlights. If they still didnít move, I honked. But this was a regular feature, one that I encountered even on the drive back.

From the NE1 Ahmedabad exit, it was the Ahmedabad Ring Road, a fuel stop and then on towards Himmatnagar. There is a small undivided single lane stretch here, but at the circle it again opens up into a well-maintained 4-lane highway. The roads were excellent from this point on and I could maintain a good speed. Passed Kathpur Toll Booth at 1.45 PM, Vantada at 2.48 PM and Paduna at 3.52 PM. We were booked at this homestay called Mountain Ridge in a village called Sisarma outside Udaipur, and the owner had asked us to take a small country road 10 kilometres before Udaipur. I took that narrow road, and after approximately 8 kms of driving on this narrow road, reached the approach road for the homestay Ė which was a complete dirt track, up a small hill, all the way to Mountain Ridge. After waiting for a few buffalos to let us pass, we climbed up and reached the gates at 4.30 PM. I had been on the road for 12 hours 15 minutes, of which driving time was approximately 11 hours (one puncture, and one fuel stop). Total distance so far was 770 kms.

Mountain Ridge is a homestay run by an Englishman named Piers Helsen. It is a really wonderful place, and Piers is a great host. He is extremely knowledgeable about Udaipur and its surroundings and has lots of helpful tips. The rooms are great, the food is good, the staff is very friendly and helpful and the views are great. Highly recommended (MOUNTAIN RIDGE), but please go with the knowledge that it is a homestay, not a hotel! We had a great time here, as Piers had organised a small party for his guests on the 31st, and we got to meet some interesting people.


Udaipur and its surroundings in part II, and the return trip in Part III. With photographs of course.
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Old 6th January 2009, 20:33   #2
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Default Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part II, with Pictures

[FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, decided to visit Kumbhalgarh Fort and the Ranakpur Jain temples. Kumbhalgarh Fort was about 90 kms from Mountain ridge, and it took us almost 2 hours to get there. Itís a great fort, strong and sturdy, with a very huge perimeter. After the Kumbhalgarh Fort, I drove towards Ranakpur, approximately 55 kilometres away. Stopped at a little village for a lunch of Dal-bati. Delicious! Reached Ranakpur at 3.45 PM (it closes at 5) which gave us enough time to look around. Ranakpur is famous for its pillars, of which there are 1444, though no oneís really counted them. Or so they say. After this, we decided to head back to Mountain Ridge, which was again some 90 kms away. We stopped at Udaipur City on the way back and had a delicious dinner of "lal maans" at Swaroop Vilas Hotel. Then drove back to Mountain Ridge.[/SIZE][/FONT]
Attached Thumbnails
Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part I-ceiling-ranakpur.jpg  

Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part I-ranakpur-facade.jpg  

Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part I-lake-pichhola-lake-palace-left-city-palace-right.jpg  

Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai in an Accent GVS: Part I-dsc_0081.jpg  

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Old 8th January 2009, 11:28   #3
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Default Mumbai-Udaipur-Mumbai: Part III

This was our last night at Mountain Ridge, as Piers didnít have rooms free. After a rural Udaipur trek from the morning until lunch, we left Mountain Ridge and checked into a state hotel called Anand Bhavan, on a hill between Swaroop Sagar lake and Fateh Sagar lake. It is at a good location, is a nice looking building and has a great view. But the interiors of the room are terrible (run-down carpets, sagging sofas) and the service is bad. But anyway, that was all that was available and so we checked in.

That evening we visited the Udaipur ropeway which gives you a great view of the old city, including the city Palace and the Lake Palace, as well as Udai Vilas in the distance.

The next we did a walking tour of the old city Ė the palace, the markets and the temples. It was 3rd January and we were to leave early morning on the 4th, Sunday. Based on the experience on the way in, I decided to leave Udaipur at 5 AM on Sunday.

We reached Paduna Toll Naka at 5.32 AM, Vantada at 6.56 AM, and Kathpur at 7.18 AM. As mentioned earlier, the roads are excellent here and so I made good time. At 7.45 I was at the Ahmedabad Ring Road Toll Booth at Ranasan. Then it was the NE1 again (strangely, this time they charged me a toll of only Rs. 69, whereas on the Vadodara-Ahmedabad stretch they charged me Rs. 72. Perhaps they reduced their rates in 2009!). I exited the NE1 at Vadodra at 9 AM. Again I had the same problems on this stretch: slower cars sticking to the right lane and refusing to move!

The Vadodara-Surat section was bad as usual. Stopped for lunch and a fuel refill. I crossed the Boriach Toll Booth at 1.14 PM. Crossed the Bagwada Toll Plaza at 2 PM, and Charoti at 2.46. Traffic had started building up as we approached Mumbai and the roads got worse as we got into Maharashtra. Reached the Dahisar Naka at 4 PM, and was home by 4.45 PM.

Total time taken on the return leg was 11.45 minutes, of which driving time was about 11 hours. Udaipur-Mumbai was 770 kms.

Total Trip Distance: 1814 kms. Average Fuel Efficiency: 14.15 kms/litre. AC: On all through, except for three hours each in the mornings.

Toll amount on onward journey: Rs. 354.

Toll Amount on return journey: Rs. 351.
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Old 8th January 2009, 17:30   #4
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One thing I always do is to carry spare tubes with me.

On NE1, simply overtake on the left lane - many stick to the right lane all the way and it is impossible to dislodge them - and it causes more tension to ease them off than to simply overtake from the left.

Toll on NE1 was probably less because you entered from SP Ring Road, and not from beginning of NE1 near Naroda in A'bad city.
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Old 9th January 2009, 11:31   #5
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Thanks for the tip, HVKumar. It seems a logical thing to do to carry a spare tube, and I should've thought of it!

I agree, trying to get the cars to move is harder than overtaking from the left.

It seemed to me that the Surat-Vadodara stretch would not be ready before 2010.
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Old 9th January 2009, 12:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axe View Post

It seemed to me that the Surat-Vadodara stretch would not be ready before 2010.
The 6 lanes may be ready in the next 3-6 months but the flyovers should take longer, and I agree with you, we have to look forward to 2010 for a smooth drive.
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Old 9th January 2009, 13:57   #7
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Kumbhalgarh fort!!!! one of the most imposing structures ive seen. I just hope it was maintained a bit better. Otherwise the beutifull view you get from there of the surrounding valley (till haldighati on a clear day) is simply breathtaking.
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Old 9th January 2009, 14:00   #8
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On NE, while going from baroda, one should ask ticket for gandhinagar/sarkhej/himmat nagar rather than to a'bad - that will save rs. 3

For log, never note the time mentioned on toll tickets, they are different from the real.
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Old 9th January 2009, 14:38   #9
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Good travelogue. Pls be more careful while overtaking from left. Although it is not encouraged, IMO you should be honking constantly while overtaking so that these truck guys or others will not steer towards left all of a sudden.
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Old 9th January 2009, 16:11   #10
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Axe,

Nice start, watiting for you pictures. Udaipur has a charm, year round.

Mountain ridge looks like a cosy little place; how much did it cost? If economical, it could be another choice to recommend to people, many of my friends are now looking for homestay, instead of hotels, they know what to expect.

Sorry, I could not really help you with full details when you wanted.

About overtaking on the left, its a truckers way of life now, they encourage you to overtake thro left so that they can hold course. When cars do the "sunday-afternoon-drive" speeds and hold the right lanes, what other option do you have? I've found that an idea of speed in the Expressway for many cars is 100 and they stick to the right lane, satisfied they are fast, how can you not overtake them through the left? I do whenever I get a chance.

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--Ramky
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 9th January 2009 at 16:17.
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Old 12th January 2009, 20:36   #11
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Deky: It was quite well-maintained, and it's quite an imposing fort.

Joie-de-vivre: thank you for the information!

Snaronikar: Thanks for the encouragement. I did not overtake from the left after a few times in the beginning. I made sure those cars in front of me moved over! But as HV Kumar said, it is an extra hassle.

Ramky: Thanks for the encouragement. Mountain Ridge is a great place and very reasonable - 2500 per night, including breakfast. But you should have your own transportation, as it is out of the city, even thought Piers arranges an auto to take you to the city and bring you back. But that requires a bit of co-ordination. If you have your own vehicle, nothing like it.
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Old 12th January 2009, 21:20   #12
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This ropeway in Udaipur seems to be a first. It wasn't there when I had visited in 2006. Hotel Kajri of RTDC is also a good reasonable option..
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Old 24th January 2009, 13:35   #13
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AXE - Nice place this Mountain Ridge is. Looks fantastic !! Will stay here next time.

I went in March 2008 last year and stayed at the Mewar Haveli.

GD - Ropeway is a first for me !! Never heard about it last year. It's probably new !!
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Old 25th January 2009, 10:32   #14
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Quite true. The paint on the cabin cars looks so fresh & new and not yet affected by the vagaries of weather & time..

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GD - Ropeway is a first for me !! Never heard about it last year. It's probably new !!
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