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Old 5th June 2009, 14:59   #61
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Default 4 idiots and a little Spark!

SS da, awesome pics and travelogue, as usual. You're really bitten by the wanderlust bug, arent you?

Waiting for the Ahmedabad to Abu pics now. Just a little anecdote of mine to add to the flavour.

Sometime in June 2008, when I was still posted in Ahmedabad, 4 office friends decided to do a Ahd-Abu-Ahd trip over the weekend. It was an impulse thing, conceived and finalized on Friday afternoon. One guy in our office had recently bought a new Chevy Spark LT. That was to be our steed for the trip.

All of us left office at around 6. Rendezvous was to be at another colleague's house in Ahd at 9 PM. I showered, packed and reached the rendezvous point dot on time, as did the car owner. To our surprise, we found that the remaining 2 guys had been sitting there, enjoying Mr. J Walker's finest the whole evening. They were sozzled and out of contention for driving. Just making them pack up took another hour or 2.

At around 10.30, the car owner took the wheel, me beside him, and we dumped our luggage and the sozzled teammates in the back. It had started raining heavily.

After barely driving 10 kms, the car owner stopped by the wayside. "Dude, I've never driven highways before, and I'm scared to drive in this weather. Can you drive? Or else we'll just cancel the trip and head back!"

Now assess the situation. I was the only capable highway driver left in a group of 4, about to drive a car I had never driven before, on a road I had never driven on before! But there was no way I was cancelling the trip. So without blinking an eyelid, I agreed to drive the whole way, asked the car owner to sit beside me and took off.

I will never forget that journey. The skys opened up like there was no tomorrow, visibility got very limited. Thankfully, it also led to the highway clearing up quite a bit. I consistently maintained speeds of 100 kmph, so confident was I about the state of Gujarat highways. The little car made quite an impression on us too. It was rock steady despite the high speeds and strong crosswinds, and gave me the confidence I needed to carry on. I must have driven 180 kms (till Rajasthan border) in about 2 hrs.

Upon entering Rajasthan, the road condition deteriorated, so I had to slow down. Thankfully the rain had stopped too. Progress till Abu Road was slow and undramatic.

From Abu road, another drama unfolded. Thanks to the rain, the ascent to Abu was heavily foggy and slippery. The solitary shop open on Abu Road advised us not to make the trip at night. But it was only 30 kms, and i would not give up the comfort of Hotel Hiltone (in Abu) for a ramshackle dhaba. So I drove on through the fog. Every turn was a page out of some horror novel. I was half expecting a monster to leap out of the darkness at us, or some phantom hitchiker wanting a lift at a corner!

However, for someone who has driven earlier on the Himalayas, the road to Abu is a comparatively safer and wider road. So we ultimately made it without any drama.

We had a lovely weekend in Abu and drove back on Sunday evening. Thankfully the skies were clear and it was just another regular drive. But the first trip really made me fond of the little Spark.
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Old 5th June 2009, 15:31   #62
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Thanks mobike. My Viva CRDi has completed 97k km, and the FE with AC on full time (even when climbing Mt. Abu), varied from a worst of 11.8km/l to a best of 15.9 km/l. This included continuous runs at 120-130 km/h, not switching off at tea stops, and being generous with downshifts when overtaking (remember, I had a lot of ground to cover on the 1st day - 1600 km in 24 hrs). Zero oil consumption. Not exactly calculated yet, but ballpark FE figures for the total trip are about 14.9-15 km/l.

At 1 pm on the NE-1 (outside temp. 44*C, AC full on), at speeds exceeding 135-140 km/h (over 3200 rpm), the temperature did start to nudge up a little. Keeping the revs between 2500-2700 (110-120 km/h), the temp came back to normal in a few minutes. Didn't exceed 3000 rpm continuously on 5th (sure, I did it while overtaking, for a few seconds) for the rest of the trip, no more overheating issues. I guess the car needs a radiator flush and new coolant.
97K kms, wow thats something. My car is a baby in front of your's then. Just completed 40K kms.

I am quite pleased to know that it performed so well and the FE figures after completing so many kms on the odo is also quite good. I am looking forward to continue using my car for another 30k-40K kms.
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Old 5th June 2009, 16:43   #63
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SS da, awesome pics and travelogue, as usual. You're really bitten by the wanderlust bug, arent you?

However, for someone who has driven earlier on the Himalayas, the road to Abu is a comparatively safer and wider road. So we ultimately made it without any drama.

We had a lovely weekend in Abu and drove back on Sunday evening. Thankfully the skies were clear and it was just another regular drive. But the first trip really made me fond of the little Spark.
Hey PW: That wanderlust bug had been with me more years than I care to remember! Nice and short travelogue of yours from Ahmedabad to Mt. Abu. You ought to put up the pics sometime - if you won't start a new thread, you're welcome to post them on this one!
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97K kms, wow thats something. My car is a baby in front of your's then. Just completed 40K kms.

I am quite pleased to know that it performed so well and the FE figures after completing so many kms on the odo is also quite good. I am looking forward to continue using my car for another 30k-40K kms.
@ mobike: Hey, there's a campaign going around that says the 3-cyl CRDi on the Accent is a bad engine, though it has been known to last for 2L-3L km under Indian conditions, and 6L km under Korean conditions. There are folks on this forum who've run Accent CRDi's for over 1.5L km without trouble - on the other hand, there are NO members on t-bhp that I've come across, who report premature engine failure for this engine.
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Old 5th June 2009, 17:04   #64
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Finally found a place called "Gamthi" where the food was excellent though the temperature outside was not. A half-hour in the heat was bad enough to set off a heat stroke, plus the fact that we calculated that we'd reach Mt. Abu after 8:30 pm - without a confirmed hotel reservation - swerved the decision towards stopping over at Ahmedabad.

So we've decided to defer climbing up to Mt. Abu till the dawn tomorrow...
So here are a few pics of that Gamthi place, and a few of the rest of the drive from Saputara to Ahmedabad.

The SH leading up to NH-8
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THis was on the NH-8... doesn't look like it!
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Another Reliance fuel stop
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The restaurant at AMD. Would have been a wonderful experience if this was winter... The food was good.
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My GPS found us a small hotel called Gangotri, 4 km from Gamthi, and we happily deferred the drive up to Mt. Abu till the next day.

You know what, Aniket, I would have carried on to Mt. Abu that evening if I was deciding on my own. But it was my wife's moderation that made me finally decide to stay back at AMD that afternoon.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 5th June 2009 at 17:10.
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Old 5th June 2009, 22:29   #65
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Default The drive to Mt. Abu...

We decided to take the route via Ambaji, rather than via Palanpur.

The scenic drive to Ambaji
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Entry to the Mota Ambaji temple
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Gujarat isn't better than Delhi
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Gateway at entry and exit to Ambaji
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At Abu Road - a detour/shortcut where a flyover is being constructed. No entry for SUVs.
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Stopped on the way for a photo session
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Monkey business - this Innova stopped to feed the monkeys while there are bold signs along the road asking people not to do it, or pay a hefty fine...
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Entering Mount Abu
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Our hotel at Mount Abu
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This was peak season at Mt. Abu, and all hotels were acting pricey. We first found a pretty hotel called the Lake Palace next to the Nakki Lake, with a beautiful view of the lake from the balcony of the 3-bedded suite. The fellow at the reception asked for Rs.2800 - by the time we came back with the luggage (no bellboys to help), he decided to add taxes, extra person charge, AC charge etc. and hike the rate to Rs.3600. Well, we were not buying! On the other hand, the hotel where we stayed (Sheratone) had a very courteous gentleman at the reception, very helpful staff who didn't let us carry our own luggage, and even washed the car without asking the next morning!

My car gets a well-deserved wash at Mount Abu, after 3 days on the road...
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc02156.jpg
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Old 6th June 2009, 14:17   #66
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SST, gr8 travelling experience along with some fantastic pictures.Reminded me of my trips to Mt.Abu on my college days.
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Old 7th June 2009, 16:41   #67
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Default Glimpses of Mount Abu - Delwara and Trevor's Tank

Thanks, vijaythacker. Here are a few of the pictures from Mt. Abu...

At the Delwara temple. Photography not allowed inside. The carvings never fail to amaze me, and this was the 4th time I was there.

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Footwear for sale, Delwara
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Trevor's Tank - my first time to this small sanctuary and lake
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That surprised me for a fraction of a second
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Glimpse of a crocodile
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One for sorrow, two for joy, then let's see if it's a girl or a boy
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Warning for deaf ears and blind eyes
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Last edited by SS-Traveller : 7th June 2009 at 16:44.
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Old 7th June 2009, 22:21   #68
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Default Achalgarh temple, Mt. Abu

A short 15 minute drive from the Delwara temple is the Achalgarh temple.

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05397k600.jpg

Enter the temple with your camera and this gentleman will charge you Rs.10
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05404k600.jpg

for photographing the Nandi bull there, made of "Ashtadhatu".
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Ring the bell to have your prayers answered twice over - it's a bell inside a bell.
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05399k600.jpg

One cannot click photos in the main sanctum sanctorum, however. But the smaller idols around the temple are no less beautiful.
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05402k600.jpg

Outside is a dried-up lake,
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05395k600.jpg

and little brick rooms where 'sanyasis' are said to have lived and prayed.
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05396k600.jpg

There's also this larger structure above the lake, which was supposed to be the king's residence when he visited the temple.
Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05394k600.jpg
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Old 14th June 2009, 01:05   #69
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Default The rest of the pics...

I did a quick disappearing act in the meanwhile, working hard for a living , taking a 2 day trip to Dehradun to worship and recharge, and planning for the upcoming trip to Thailand.

A little respite now, so here are the rest of the pics from Mount Abu...

A newly opened aquarium called the Datda Sea World, trying to become a pseudo-"underwater world"! Entry fee Rs.10, but they say it'll be Rs.40 once the owner has everything - even dolphins in place...

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Old 14th June 2009, 01:20   #70
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The many moods and colours of the Nakki Lake...

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05428k600.jpg

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Old 14th June 2009, 01:54   #71
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Default The drive back to Delhi...

The drive back home was long and slow, especially after Jaipur. The initial stretch of the NH76 was great and traffic-free, except one 2km bit where the road work was not complete. Really messed up the freshly-washed car!

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05483k600.jpg

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05484k600.jpg

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Shoes for sale at 24x7 shops near the Gangrar tollgate. The shops were open even at 3 am, when we passed this way on our outbound drive.

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05489k600.jpg

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Our lunch stop was at this restaurant attached to a Reliance pump where only LPG was available - no diesel. The food was so-so, and there was a 10% surcharge for an AC room in which the machine was quite useless.

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A few trucks we photographed on the way...

One carried a Limca ad - the first time I saw a soft-drink ad on the back of a commercial truck.

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05492k600.jpg

One was neatly dented to ask people to set fire to it!!!

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And one spoilt our lunch... Is this a civilized country or what???

Delhi-Pune-Shirdi-Mt. Abu-Delhi - A 4000-km Roadtrip-dsc05488k600.jpg

END OF TRAVELOGUE...

Coming up: Dehradun via uncommon roads.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 14th June 2009 at 01:57.
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Old 14th June 2009, 11:23   #72
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nice trip you guys had.
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Old 14th June 2009, 15:57   #73
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SS, nice pics sir, when did that acquarium started in Mt.Abu as its been 5 years havent been there.Did you also went to Hill top point and had those lemonade, .
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Old 15th June 2009, 10:38   #74
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Thank you, Sameer.

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Originally Posted by vijaythacker View Post
SS, nice pics sir, when did that acquarium started in Mt.Abu as its been 5 years havent been there.Did you also went to Hill top point and had those lemonade, .
Thank you Vijay. We were told the aquarium had started just a month ago. No, we skipped driving up to the Hilltop Point and to the temple. Was mostly spending time around the lake, where the breeze was so pleasant after the heat of the plains!
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