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Old 3rd October 2009, 15:40   #1
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Default Leh'd and Back from Hyderabad: The 18 Day, 7804 Km Saga

Visiting Ladakh had been my dream ever since a friend did the trip way back in 2002 August in his RD 350 riding all the way from Coimbatore and back. This dream received a serious impetus when we bought the Bolero in May. Even though it was high up in the agenda of places to be seen, things weren't certain. Our original plan for the year was a drive to Delhi in June and then another drive to Udhampur in late October for a friend's marriage. Even though due to work pressure the June trip to Delhi got canned, we were still hopeful of the October run to Udhampur and may be Srinagar.

Then came Suman's travelogue to Ladakh in June which had Bidisha & me hooked and I even sent the link to my friends Naveen & Smitha who at that point of time were not on the forum. I was trying to work out if my october trip to Udhampur could be extended to Ladakh but things weren't exactly positive. While all this was happening, came the Mitsubishi Driving Challenge in which I also participated and was shamelessly seeking votes from every known soul. Inspite of our Ladakh trip planning happening on the side, the primary focus had shifted to TGDC, but Somewhere in the middle of the contest, me and Bidisha disgusted with the fake votes being polled, decided to drop TGDC from our agenda and aggressively focus on our Ladakh trip.

Even though various travelogues talked about car preparations, Tanveer's excel was my first peek into what all it takes to prepare for a Ladakh Trip. Smitha & Naveen both smitten by the lovely pics on Ladakh also decided to join-in. Tentative dates were fixed for me to leave from Hyderabad on 12th September and leave Delhi on 14th morning. Our initial plan was to go by Manali and may be return by Srinagar, but advice on various forums told us to take the reverse route so that we have better acclimatisation. That incorporated into the plan, I made sure to read each and every Ladakh travelogue out there on various forum to try and understand the place and what to expect. In this I would like to thank everyone especially to Bharat Patel for the maps and Tanveer, Yogesh & Anupji for various important info for the trip. Then I hit the jackpot reading about HVK's upcoming trip to Ladakh which was supposed to be running a day ahead to mine. I had heard on various forums about HVK and his accomplishments and felt that travelling with his convoy would be the best thing that could happen to my trip. Spoke to him and getting his go-ahead to join his convoy, pre-poned my trip plan by a day. That was mid July.

HVK's planning for the trip right upto the last detail amazed me. Even though I had joined the group quite late, HVK brought me upto speed on various things that had already been discussed. His write-up on the variopus places and what to see enroute is a must have ready reckoner for anybody doing this route. As part of the email group, we shared at times 50 mails per day discussing various topic related to the trip. Hats Off to HVK and his knowledge!!! Slowly as time went by our prep for the trip was also gathering steam and before I knew it we were in September. Even though almost everything was in place, the T-Shirt and Car Stickers that Venkat (RedLiner) had designed for us were not ready. Glenn's last moment coordination with his supplier in Bombay saved the day for us.

This trip is one of the best I have ever undertaken with the nature as its amazing best and the company made it even more worth the effort. Even though I had previously been to Kashmir and have been exposed to Army guys courtesy my dad, this trip exposed me to the harsh conditions that our armed forces endure with smile everyday to protect us from our adversaries. BRO also needs to be commended for keeping Ladakh connected to the rest of the country. I hereby dedicate this travelogue to the brave men & women of our Armed Forces, BRO & other Paramilitary Troops whose dedication to their job allows us to lead our peaceful and happy lives!

Last edited by aah78 : 3rd October 2009 at 18:38. Reason: Edited. Call the city whatever you wish MileCruncher - it's all good, except politics. :)
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Old 3rd October 2009, 17:33   #2
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Cheers AB, punch that story and pictures in.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 17:52   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Visiting Ladakh had been my dream ever since a friend did the trip way back in 2002 August in his RD 350 riding all the way from Coimbatore and back. This dream received a serious impetus when we bought the Bolero in May.
mate, we're eagerly looking fwd for a proper travelogue with the fine details added in. You've had one hell of a drive. congrats on that.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 17:56   #4
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Aha! Another Leh travelogue in the making. Its Himalayan treat time on T-BHP. keep it all coming buddy.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 19:20   #5
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MC, since you did the NS corridor (NH7), I would be interested to know the road conditions from hyd to Delhi (specially MP roads). Is there any improvement?

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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
I hereby dedicate this travelogue to the brave men & women of our Armed Forces, BRO & other Paramilitary Troops whose dedication to their job allows us to lead our peaceful and happy lives!
Excellent idea MC !! much appreciated.

Abhi
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Old 3rd October 2009, 19:53   #6
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MC, since you did the NS corridor (NH7), I would be interested to know the road conditions from hyd to Delhi (specially MP roads). Is there any improvement?
I had done the NS corridor last year while coming from Delhi to Hyd. This time while going to Delhi took the Hyd - Nagpur - Bhopal - Shivpuri - Gwalior - Agra - Delhi route. But i came back through the GQ upto Mumbai and then Mumbai -Pune - Hyd route.
You'll get the idea of the route soon.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 22:53   #7
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Day 1:
Start Time: 2255 Hrs, September 10, Hyderabad
Stop Time : 0025 Hrs, September 12, Bhimbetka
Sector : Hyderabad - Nagpur - Betul - Itarsi - Hoshangabad - Bhimbetka
Starting Odo: 7561 Kms (Trip Meter: 0 Km)
Closing Odo: 8496 Kms ( Trip Meter: 937.4 Km)
Distance covered : 937.4 Kms

Even though our original plan was to start at 0200 Hrs on September 11, due to sudden change in plans at work, I was required to be in Delhi by 2 PM on 12th for a business meeting. So the departure time was set for 6 PM on 10th and I came back from office at 12.30 pm to finish the final packing. At 4 pm wifey called up to inform that due to an emergency at work she would only be at home by 9 pm. So I reconciled to the fact of driving through the night and decided to catch a nap to be fresh for the drive. But as luck would have it, I couldn't sleep at all. Wifey came and we did the final packing and we were all set.

Got the luggage down and tried to fit it into the car but to our horror, our luggage itself took-up the entire space. But we were to have another 2 people and their luggage from Delhi and I had no clue how we would make space for them. Anyways with these thoughts in mind, we set off from Hyderabad at 10.55 PM.

The NH7 towards Nagpur is a 4 lane toll road and we made goo dprogress to about 50 Kms by 12 midnight. Seeing the first decent dhaba on the highway decided to stop for grub as both of us hadn't had lunch and dinner. While polishing dal, roti and subji, called up Naveen who also was slogging it out at some vendor's end. Anyways informed him the status on luggage front and told him to get as less luggage as possible since there was no space in the car. After the 1 hour dinner break and later on 30 min power nap break, we did good time on the 4 laned section which lasted for about 105 kms from Hyderabad. After that the road become a normal well tarred 2 lane highway. Speed was good and even though I did take 2 more 15 each power nap/ Coffee breaks and few bio-breaks, was able to hit Adilabad (300 Kms) by about 6.30 am. Took a few pictures of the Storm.Name:  IMG_1078.JPG
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Nagpur is about 200 Kms from Adilabad and progress from here on was slow due to the extensive construction activity on the N-S Link. We were finally on the Nagpur outskirts at 9.30 AM.
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Last year during my Delhi - Hyd run I had had amazing vada pav at this decent bakery on the Airport Road and the plan was to have the same for break-fast. But two runs of the place and I wasn't able to locate it and it looked like that the place had wounded up with some kind of construction was going on. On the opposite side we found Big Bazar and decided to go in and get some snacks for one the move food. Even though we were running late by 2 hours I was confident of making it to atleast Shivpuri, if not Gwalior as the rest stop for night. By 11.00 am we are out of Nagpur and at around 11.30 ABOUT 30 Kms from Nagpur, all of a sudden the blower stopped working. The blower was working at the maximum setting only but AC wouldn't come on. As it was pretty hot and travelling without AC was without question, decided to take the car back to Nagpur and get it checked. The ASC in Nagpur is in MIDC and was about 50 kms away. We reached the workshop by about 1.15 PM and even though they we had notified the ASC of the problem over the phone, there was no mechanic due to lunch time. The problem was diagnosed and fixed but by then it was already 3.30 PM. The only good thing about this unscheduled break was that I was able to catch some good wink in the nicely Air Conditioned Customer Lounge of the dealership.

Out of Nagpur, tanked up at a HP fuel pump (Avg - 11.78 kmpl; Rs.36.25/Litre). One thing to note here is that Diesel inside Nagpur city is costlier by Rs 2 due to octroi so if passing through, makes sense to fill outside city limits. As we were already delayed, decided to alter our night stop to Bhopal which is about 380 Kms from Nagpur. The roads between Nagpur and Betul (220 Kms) is decent and can take even upto 140 KMPH. There is large beautiful lake just outside Betul town which looked really magnificient in the evening twilight.


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We reached Betul at 7.10 PM and as by this time it was already clear that I wouldn't be able to make it to my meetings the next day, I wanted to stop over in Betul itself for the night and start early morning next day. But since we didn't find any half-decent hotel, decided to push on till the next town which was Itarsi and about 80 kms away. The only decent hotel in Itarsi near the railway station was so bad that both of us decided to rather sleep in the car than stay in that hotel. So target was next town, Hoshangabad about 20 Kms away. Even though hotels were decent over there, the parking for all hotels were outside and the hotel guys were not willing to take responsibility for the parked car.So off we went for Bhopal about 80 Kms away. Thankfully about 40 kms before Bhopal we came across MPTDC's Highway Treat at Bhimbetka with awesome rooms and enclosed parking. So called it our night stop.

Total Toll Paid in the this section: Rs 170/-

Last edited by MileCruncher : 3rd October 2009 at 23:00.
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Old 4th October 2009, 00:29   #8
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Hi MileCruncher,

Good to see this much awaited travelogue of yours.

The first dose of your travelogue clearly shows how descriptive and interesting it would be in the coming days. Please keep writing along with the snaps over the weekend.
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Old 4th October 2009, 06:38   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish View Post
Hi MileCruncher,

Good to see this much awaited travelogue of yours.

The first dose of your travelogue clearly shows how descriptive and interesting it would be in the coming days. Please keep writing along with the snaps over the weekend.
Thanks Irish for the compliment. Will try to do justice

A few things that I missed out on Day1:

The ghat section starts just before Betul but its mainly a plateau. But after the Betul, its a pure Ghat section. Even though we were travelling in night I could feel that I was passing through dense forest of the Vindhyacal Ranges. Certain places the highway crosses jungle streams through bridges which will definitely get submerged in rainy season with little increase in water level. Another point to note is that even though this section was decent, one cannot average more than 45-50 KMPH in the Nagpur - Bhopal section what with truck traffic, bad roads and certain places narrow roads.
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Old 4th October 2009, 07:43   #10
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MPTDC's Highway Treat at Bhimbetka is a great discovery!

How was the condition of the road between Adilabad and Butibori - if I am not mistaken, the 4-lane road resumes at Butibori?

Did you have any trouble navigating Nagpur city, or did you take the Ring Road and bypass it?

Where exactly is the M&M ASC in Nagpur?

Were the roads after Nagpur in good condition?
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:20   #11
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Wow, MC---looks like a great trip. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:57   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
MPTDC's Highway Treat at Bhimbetka is a great discovery!

How was the condition of the road between Adilabad and Butibori - if I am not mistaken, the 4-lane road resumes at Butibori?

Did you have any trouble navigating Nagpur city, or did you take the Ring Road and bypass it?

Where exactly is the M&M ASC in Nagpur?

Were the roads after Nagpur in good condition?
The road between Adilabad and Butibori is 60% 4 lane but because of the work still going on, one has to drive on the same side quite a bit. Its only after Butibori that the road becomes better. I went to Provincial Automobiles. Their workshop is in MIDC near Wadi Naka.

Passing Nagpur city for the Betul Road wasn't too much of a problem and we went right through the city. I think that is the fastest way.
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Old 4th October 2009, 16:36   #13
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This line touched me the most. Without their dedication and hard work, enjoying the scenic beauty of Leh-Ladakh would not have been possible for us mortals.

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I hereby dedicate this travelogue to the brave men & women of our Armed Forces, BRO & other Paramilitary Troops whose dedication to their job allows us to lead our peaceful and happy lives!
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Old 4th October 2009, 17:12   #14
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Day 2:
Start Time: 0755 Hrs, September 12, Bhimbetka
Stop Time : 0231 Hrs, September 13, I.P. Extn Delhi
Sector : Bhimbetka - Bhopal - Beora - Guna - Shivpuri - Gwalior - Agra - Delhi
Starting Odo: 8496 Kms (Trip Meter: 937.4 Km)
Closing Odo: 9324 Kms (Trip Meter: 1766.3 Km)
Distance covered : 828.9 Kms


Bhimbetka (Bhimbetka rock shelters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) is famous for rock shelters and paintings which are from the Mesolithic Ages and supposed to be atleast 9,000 years old. Even though we wanted to visit the caves which was about 3 Kms from the hotel, our schedule didn't allow us to make the trip. May be we will visit soon. Here are some pictures from the Highway Treat.

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The room was awesome and allowed us to catch up on a good night's sleep. Packed up stuff into the car and waved goodbye to Bhimbetka at 7.55 am. We were approximately 40 Kms from Bhopal and did good time inspite of the truck traffic and pot holes to enter Bhopal at 8.40 A.M. HVK had told me about the Bhopal Bypass. We did enter the bypass but on getting to know from truckers that the road was not good and had 2 ft craters, decided to avoid it. Took the route through the city instead and filled up near the Bus Stand (12.02 KMPL; Rs.36.25/Litre). By 9,50 am we were on the other side of the city on the NH12 heading towards Guna. Even though the road heading out is a 4 lane, there are quite a few potholes which slows the traffic down considerably. Thereafter we did good time and were at Beora MPTDC Highway Treat @ 11.35 am (Tripmeter: 1104.4 Km). While ordering lunch had a chat with Ramky & Saji and got to know that they were on schedule. Lunch finished, we left at 12.30 and decided to do a non-stop run till Agra. Guna was crossed at 2 PM and we crossed Shivpuri at 4.15 (tripmeter:1319 Kms). Some views of the road.

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Here on even though the road till Gwalior is goodbut due to evening traffic we were able to enter Gwalior only by 6.30 Pm. Bypassing Gwalior we came out on the 4 laned NH3 to Agra.Did some good run to Dholpur, where the bridge over Chambal is under construction and slows down traffic considerably . Also the construction work within the city has resulted in 2 feet craters resulting in it becoming a trucker's nightmare as well. We reached the outskirts of Agra by 8.45 PM but as both of us (me and wifey) are extremely fond of Agra's Chat, decided to go right into the city (Mall Road to be precise).The new bridge on the highway into Agra is complete but has only one side open. Having satiated ourselves with the mouth watering Aloo Tikki's and PaniPuris of Agra, we headed out at 10 PM.

As my tank had hit reserve, I wanted to refuel but was surprised at the lack of Diesel Fueling options in Agra. There was a lone fuel pump selling diesel and it didn't inspire much confidence hence decided to push upto Mathura and fill up at the Bharat Petroleum outlet there (11.83 KMPL; Rs.36/Litre Hi Speed). The continuous driving and the chats finally took their toll I started feeling sleepy near Kosi. Hence pulled into a busy fuel pump and caught a wink. There on it was a good run till Badarpur Border where we reached at about 1.00 AM. The massive pile-up took about an hour to clear up and I was finally home in I.P.Extn near Mother Diary at 2.31 am.

Since it was already quite late and I was supposed to meet up with HVK and gang at 6.00 am, decided not to sleep but get ready for the next day's drive to Udhampur.

Total Toll Paid on this section: Rs 75/-
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Old 5th October 2009, 12:18   #15
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Cheers mate, congrats on your dream coming true and what a coming true it has been.
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