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Old 26th October 2009, 19:07   #1
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Default 5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back

Last year has been quiet eventful for me as I had the opportunity to travel the southern part of India and Pune/Goa side extensively by road.After being initiated to such long driving holidays, I could not get enough of it and the next plan was to venture into Northern part of India. What better way to incurse into north than through the GQ, via Rajasthan? So, as a precursor to my next grand trip of Ladakh, wanted to make a trip back in time to Rajasthan's historic places. With Diwali vacations of my son coming, applied for vacations in my office and managed to get them in time to pack the bags and leave. My initial route plan was like this to be done on 14 days

Bangalore - Pune - Ahmedabad - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Jaipur - Agra - Indore - Pune - Bangalore. Like all things in life, things seldom go according to plan. After talking to few BHPians ( HVK, Nitin, Ranjit ) the route was modified to

Bangalore - Pune - Surat/Vadodra( stop ) - Udaipur( 3 night stay ) - Jodhpur ( 1 night ) - Jaisalmer ( 1 night ) - Jodhpur ( 1 night ) -Jaipur ( 2 nights ) - Agra - Gwalior - Indore - Pune - Bangalore.

Finally this was the plan and decided to follow the schedule. Found out even this is not final and I have to change things. But, hey am not complaining. It was fun.

Preperations

As I am the only driver, ( wife knows driving, but not very confident on highways ) and to be accompanied by a six year old, I had to be prepared for eventualities. On the day before departure, purchase foot pump, a nifty holder that can be hung on the front seat,wind shield cleaner, tissues and such stuff. Was hunting around a tow rope in case of emergency but could not get one. Went to JC road, roamed around but of no help. Called one guy listed in 4X4 section and he said they make according to length we want and I have to visit them to get it made. Did not have time and gave that item a miss. In fact I did not have any need for this missed item as I never had any mishaps ( touch wood ).

Navigation is the next preperation. Here is the list of my navigation tools.

I have been using the Satguide GPS for the last three months and it has been quiet useful. I tried in Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore and has served the purpose well. Backups were Eicher Maps, Rajasthan road map and of course Outlook Travellers guide to Rajasthan.

Day 1, 2:

ODO - 63279

My trip from Bangalore to Pune on 8th evening and arrival at Pune 9th early morning totally like clockwork as I do this trip regularly. The road condition at Davengere are bad, gotten worse after recent rains but it is something I am used to. Chitradurga bypass is getting ready and that saved some 10 minutes. Atleast traffic on one section was open to use the bridge instead of going through the crater filled road. Arrived at Pune on 9th early morning, took a nap. I am fortunate to be working for a company that allows working from home and hence worked from Pune on 9th.

ODO - 64169
Distance done - 890 kilometers
Toll Paid - Rs. 479
Fuel Consumed - @60 liters

Day 3, 10th October:

My son's school ends at 11:30 AM which meant I can leave only by 12:30. But wife had done all the packings already and what was remaining is to load them in the trunk. And, this is how the Corolla's trunk looked when loaded! Could not have imagined travelling by traing with all this. It is a such a long trip and we wont be staying at one place. So, no options to do laundry also. Which means, dresses for the whole family for the complete trip of 12 days. That includes a 6 year old. Then my DSLR, camcorders, tripods, and associated parapernalia.

My plan was to drive upto Ahmedabad, but it was pointed out by people that it wont be possible given my late start and asked me stop at Surat. So the trip started from Warje by 12:10 PM on 10th October.

We hit expressway entry at 12:30, paid the toll and were cruising along at 120 KMPH. Felt hungry and stopped for lunch at the food mall. Had a leisurely lunch for an hour, yapping about things. Left again and hit Mumbai outskirts.

And right in Thane, was stopped by a cop as I was driving a KA registered car. Showed him all the documents and he was curious why am I driving to Rajasthan from Bangalore. Bahuth Lambi safar hoga, kyun kar rahe ho!! Told him for the fun sake and he figured everything is in order. Said, "Have a good trip Sir" and let me go.

I have gone through the Bypasss guide written by HVK and fortunately my Satguide also suggested the road, albeit with some minor changes to enter SV road in Thane and Mumbra bypass which is a major deviation.. Followed the GPS as my wife was sitting in the rear seat with the kid and I could not drive and read directions. Mumbra Bypass is also in good condition and I could get out of Bombay by 4:56 PM,took me a little more than 80 minutes to get out of Bombay touching Khaniwade Toll booth by 4:56 PM.

There was too many trucks in NH8 from Bombay and roads are also not that great with patchworks. Could not speed up. Had to hover around 80-100 with frequest stops. This continued till Manor after which things eased up a little bit. Stopped for coffee at one of the resorts by 6:00 PM after Charoti Toll gate. Continued driving till Choryasi toll gate after which stopped for dinner at Hotel Safari by 9:30 PM. The food was pretty good even though it is completely vegetarian. Hit Bharuch toll plaza by 11:00 PM and was in Vadodra by 11:15.

Now starts the trouble. I have to find a place to stay and unfortunately the log books did not have places to stay in Vadodra. Again tried the GPS which directed me to some hotel Apex International inside Vadodra. Stopped and found out that the hotel is full. Tried the next one called Aditi and it is full as well. Finally went a little forward and found a place to stay for the night by 11:45 PM. Slept well to start the next day.

Distance Covered - 550 kms
Toll Paid - Rs.446
Fuel - @35 Liters

In the picture you see the navigational tools that I used. I still have to figure ways to upload pictures right after text.

To be continued.
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5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-img_0007.jpg  


Last edited by anainar : 26th October 2009 at 19:13.
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Old 26th October 2009, 19:31   #2
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Default Rajasthan.. :-)

Awesome trip- I did a trip to Rohtang this Oct and visited Udaipur/Jaipur, man.. Rajasthan is a beautiful place and Udaipur is simply superb, the roads are a dream. For those of you who have not visited this beautiful state dont assume it is all dry and sandy... its green all over.

Looking to visit again this Dec and try to see the desert itself- one funny instance that I recall in Rajasthan was asking a guy on how to get to a dessert and he was not sure what I meant by the term "Registhan" (hindi ofcourse), didnt know whether to be suprised or feel like a fool.
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Old 26th October 2009, 19:48   #3
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Very interesting trip Anainar.

I think you should contact TBHPians to find places to stay in respective cities. Am from Baroda myself and would have helped you to find one.

Well I too had been to a short trip (compared to yours) to the Raj deserts. Its in the travelogue. Am eager to read your part of the story.

Cheers, Sam
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Old 26th October 2009, 19:49   #4
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Interesting. I don't recollect reading which car you wrote in your travelogue. Can you share details of the car too please?
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Old 26th October 2009, 21:21   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightinin95 View Post
Very interesting trip Anainar.

I think you should contact TBHPians to find places to stay in respective cities. Am from Baroda myself and would have helped you to find one.

Well I too had been to a short trip (compared to yours) to the Raj deserts. Its in the travelogue. Am eager to read your part of the story.

Cheers, Sam
Ohh! you travelled to Rajasthan too? Looks like it is Visit Rajasthan time!! Funnily I ran across another motorist who drove from Mumbai in Jaisalmer dunes. He was on his way to Mount Abu and believe it or not, he did not have a map with him also. Just relied on locals for directions. While I was driving around with a GPS and three maps.

I know. I realised that late. But my GPS had hotels listed in Vadodra. So, did not lose too much time. May be I was lucky. Lesson learnt is that keep a database of local BHPians enroute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Interesting. I don't recollect reading which car you wrote in your travelogue. Can you share details of the car too please?
It is a 2005 Corolla H5. Champagne gold, with beige leather seats as seen in the picture. I did take a few pictures of the car in the last day of stay at Surat will be uploading the pictures as I progress day by day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiJack View Post
Awesome trip- I did a trip to Rohtang this Oct and visited Udaipur/Jaipur, man.. Rajasthan is a beautiful place and Udaipur is simply superb, the roads are a dream. For those of you who have not visited this beautiful state dont assume it is all dry and sandy... its green all over.
I agree. It is fantastic place to drive through and roads are awesome. Especially Jaisalmer - Bikaner... Dream drive...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiJack View Post
he was not sure what I meant by the term "Registhan" (hindi ofcourse), didnt know whether to be suprised or feel like a fool.
I think it is the right term to use for desert. Am no hindi expert as I learnt it myself after my marriage. But the hotel guy in Bikaner also used the term when I enquired about desert safaris.

Will be following up with rest of day trips tomorrow.
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Old 26th October 2009, 21:28   #6
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Yeh dil maaange more....
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Old 26th October 2009, 21:46   #7
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How has the Satguide experience been so far? I am planning to buy one. Got a Garmin 205W. Was planning to load it with Satguide.

How is city, highway and state road experience ?
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Old 26th October 2009, 22:42   #8
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Inside the cities it is pretty good. It guided me well in Chennai,Hyderabad,Pune, Udaipur, Jodhpur,Jaipur and even in Chittorgarh. Only problem is its route calculation algorithm needs cross checking especially for long drives. It made me go through some gullies in Jodhpur while there was a nice route to Mehrangarh fort. And while travelling from Jodhpur - Jaisalmer, it made me take a route which single laned while there is a two laned highway, just because the single laned road is shorter. So, I check the route before following it blindly.. Overall I am happy with it. My experience with other GPS systems that I used in the US were the same as well. So, I use them as a tool, not without scrutiny..

Nainar
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Old 26th October 2009, 22:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anainar View Post
Inside the cities it is pretty good. It guided me well in Chennai,Hyderabad,Pune, Udaipur, Jodhpur,Jaipur and even in Chittorgarh. Only problem is its route calculation algorithm needs cross checking especially for long drives. It made me go through some gullies in Jodhpur while there was a nice route to Mehrangarh fort. And while travelling from Jodhpur - Jaisalmer, it made me take a route which single laned while there is a two laned highway, just because the single laned road is shorter. So, I check the route before following it blindly.. Overall I am happy with it. My experience with other GPS systems that I used in the US were the same as well. So, I use them as a tool, not without scrutiny..

Nainar
Perfectly said. Even up in the hills of Leh, ladakh the roads were mapped which was quite a help. But directions and turns do your scrutiny once in cities.

Nice trip nainar. Waiting for the pictures
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Old 26th October 2009, 22:50   #10
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Thanks folks.
Now back to the story please!
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Old 26th October 2009, 23:07   #11
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Rajasthan has been my favourite state !!

I look forward to this travelogue with loads of pics

Corrolla is a great car to travel in, comfortable and spacious.
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Old 26th October 2009, 23:15   #12
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Wow, you made quite a long haul to Rajasthan. Looking forward to your experience. Has the weather cooled off significantly or just about beginning..?
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Old 26th October 2009, 23:22   #13
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I spent more than 10 years of my life in Rajasthan. Each and every place is worth a visit again, and again and again !

Esp. the Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Abu and Chittorh sector!

Bikaner, Bhilwara and Jodhpur form the other link in the spectrum. I never had a chance to check out the road status and development in Rajasthan once I left the state. Get to know about these things from folks like you !

Waiting for more!
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Old 27th October 2009, 10:00   #14
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Wow, that's is one ride, perfect to prepare for the Big one Leh

Waiting for more pics
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Old 27th October 2009, 10:14   #15
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Thanks folks for the comments and observations.

For the historically inclined, Rajasthan was divided into five different kingdoms Mewar, Marwar, Amer, Shekawats and Bunds. Some people add a sixth one also called Bhatts of Jaisalmer. Of these Mewar has produced some of the finest and inspiring leaders and fighters who kept freedom and dignity above all else. Our first stop was at Udaipur the capital of Mewar after Chittorgarh.

Day 4, 11th October

Our stay at Hotel Sapphire Regency in Vadodra was pretty comfortable. The rooms were spacious and costed us around Rs.1500. Website is www.sapphireregency.com, phone +91 265 2361105. I could not manage an inside picture but this is outside the hotel. The breakfast was nice with Aloo parathas, toasts.

Before the trip it has been told crystal clear to me that early morning starts are not feasible. As my son's school starts at 8:00, he is used to getting up at 6:30 everyday including saturdays/sundays when he has his dance classes, he made it clear, muje mera neenh pyaara hai atleast in vacation let me get up when I want. So, he gets up at 7:30 or 8:00 and then we get ready. So, by the time we left the Vadodra it was 10:00 AM. Filled petrol at the Shell pump I run into in NH8. Filled 35.36 liters costing Rs.1809 for full tank.

And I learnt another lesson here. Set my destination as Udaipur in my GPS and it made me take the NH8 while skipping the expressway. I drove for around 25 kms before realizing the folly. I entered one toll way called Chayyapuri, with a toll of Rs.13 to be followed by another tollway called Vasad with toll of Rs.25 On checking with the locals who directed me to the expressway but I could enter only at the Vasim entry, with a toll of Rs.45. Would have lost 15 minutes in this whole episode.

And I noticed a funny board in NH8. Could not take a picture, but it said "Amdavad" and a straight arrow. Is Ahmedabad called Amdavad in Gujarati?

Finally managed to enter expressway, zipped through and saw some of the most disciplined driving that I have ever seen. No overtaking from left, right lane empty for overtaking maneuvers only,flashing if lights once good enough to get the vehicle ahead moving to left. Unbelievable experience.

I entered Ramol Toll plaza to bypass Ahmedabad 11:22 AM, with a toll of Rs.18 to cover the next Ranasan toll plaza also. I am still confused whether I took the Sardar Patel Ring road that HVK mentioned. From then on it was again in GQ and usual tolls kept coming time and again. Stopped for lunch at a place called Asapov Palace by 1:15 for an hour. My son found a toy shop to buy a toy. Finally reached Udaipur at 3:15 PM.

I had made bookings at a place called Mountain Ridge ( MOUNTAIN RIDGE ) which is supposed to be in the outskirts of Udaipur on top of a hillock for three days. Misfortune stuck first. I tried calling their place and the phones were coming not available. Went to Sisarma and looked for boards and nothing. Asked locals and no one had any clue about that place. Above all the road to Sisarma is undergoing repair and there was a deep gorge that scraped my rear bumper when I went over it. And we were desperately looking for a place to jump and refresh ourselves.

What to in such a situation? Fall back on trusted RTDC, easy to locate.. Went to RTDC Kajri, asked for rooms and they had rooms available. Checked into non A/C room costing Rs.1400+ taxes. The place had nice parking, easily locatable. Food was not that great and breakfast was not good at all. Just bread and some cutlet. But the place served the purpose. We checked into the hotel, freshened up and decided to go around Udaipur.

Our first stop was at Moti Magiri. They had light and sound show which I wanted to see. The place had some tacky models of Chittorgarh fort, Haldhighatti battlefield, weapons used and such stuff.

The light and sound show content was good as the story revolved around the heroics of Maharana Pratap Singh and Khumba, but the audio was pathetic. They had nice fountains but before I could take my SLR out to take some nice pictures they turned them off started the show. A bit disappointed but cant help it as I was running close the show time.

Did not have time to look around for good restaurants for food. Went back to RTDC, had dinner and hit the sack. The food sucked big time for my son and wife, for me it was ok.

Total distance Travelled - 321 kms
Toll Paid - 211
Travel time - 5 hours with 1 hour lunch stop.

Then here are the pictures. I have resized them to occupy much less space as I had trouble uploading 800kb pictures themselves.

And Day 4 ended with us having traveled to Mewar kingdom and saw a bit of the heroics. Day 5 to be continued.
Attached Thumbnails
5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-stp65036.jpg  

5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-stp65050.jpg  

5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-stp65053.jpg  

5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-img_0001.jpg  

5800 km long drive back in history to Rajasthan from Bangalore and back-stp65440.jpg  

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Last edited by anainar : 27th October 2009 at 10:24.
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