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Old 5th January 2010, 20:59   #16
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Day 3:

The conditions in AP were not great, and we were getting worried.

Made a couple of calls to Vikram to know the latest status of the highways in AP. He advised us to get the tank full at every opportunity and stay on the highway as much as possible.

We started after having breakfast at OTDC. Drive to Ichapuram was amazing with NH5 winding through hills and forests. You also get a great view of the Chilka lake. The road condition is decent, but there are a few stretches where you have gravel road when you are climbing the hills. Four lane work is also going on.

On the way, my wife spotted a banglewala near Berhampore and bought few bangles from him.

Soon we were at Ichapuram. The road condition is very bad at the border. Also, as soon as you cross the border, there was a long queue of trucks on the other side in a narrow road. There is a bypass for Ichapuram town, but it is not well marked. We missed the bypass, although we suspected that it might lead to GQ. But due to lack of signage, we drove through the town.

There was a demonstration going on one side. Also there were cops everywhere, with smoke coming out from the middle of the road. The traffic was really bad too. Probably due to the demonstration they blocked the highway. Anyway we passed through the town without any event and joined the GQ.

GQ is excellent between Ichapuram and Vijaywada. Once we crossed into AP from Orissa, the number of stray cows decreased, but there were autos appearing from nowhere in front of the car. In fact we avoided an extremely close call when an auto took a sudden turn to the right lane in order to exit the highway. The next day a bus rammed into an auto killing some of the passengers near Guntur. We were passing by the place soon after the accident.

We had a great lunch in one of the dhabas next to BPCL COCO.

We were in Vizag by afternoon. We spent some time in R.K.Beach and visited the places nearby. There are also a number of good eating joints on the beach.

We had dinner and took rest in a hotel for a couple of hours. There were demonstrations and roadblocks going on everywhere in Visakhapatnam and other coastal areas in A.P., so we decided to leave in the middle of the night and cover as much distance as possible before sunrise. There was a bandh in some of the districts and a couple of private vehicles were also attacked by the protesters. We still had almost 780 kms to cover in A.P.

The hotel room was not great. We started for Chennai at 1.30 A.M.

Last edited by sumannandy : 5th January 2010 at 21:02.
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Old 11th January 2010, 13:27   #17
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The next day we started at 1.30 A.M. However about 10 kms after Visakhapatnam, there was a stange sound coming from the AC.

We did AC work at Kolkata before leaving for Bangalore, so was not sure why there was a problem.

Called Tata Motors helpline, but they took almost an hour to reach there. They confirmed that the noise was from AC, and we could continue to Bangalore without switching on the AC.

The manager did try to charge us Rs. 300 telling that night calls are not covered, but a quick chat with Tata Motors sorted out the issue.

We started from Visakhapatnam at around 4, loosing more than 2 hours. There were little traffic. There is a pump which fills Nitrogen in the tires, seems to be a big pump.

Drive to Vijaywada was uneventful. We passed through Vijaywada around 12.30 P.M. Visakhapatnam to Vijaywada is about 400 kms, ut we took a long breakfast halt, and there was lot of traffic around the city.

Soon after we passed the city the road condition was not that great. We had lunch in a roadside dhaba opposite to a drinks company. Highly recommended.

There was an accident on the way to Guntur. A bus rammed into an auto. It is possible that the auto was at fault, like there were multiple incidents with us on the way where autos just drives the way they like in GQ. In one incident we had a close shave when an auto decided to come to th eright lane for taking U turn ignoring other vehicles.

On the way we had another road block due to a possession crossing GQ. We were worried that we might be stuck there for hours, but the road was cleared in 10 minutes or so.

We reached Ongole around 4. We decided to get our checked at Ongole workshop. They diagnosed the AC fan to be faulty. The same fan was changed at Just Services. But they advised us to continue without AC.

We lost another 1.5 hours there.

Although we thought of staying at Ongole, we continued till Nellore. It is possible to go to Chennai in one day from Visakhapatnam if you are starting early. We drove at an average speed of 80-100 kmph, and still we could have made it to Chennai if we did not stop in the workshop.

However, it is better to stay at Nellore due to the heat and humidity in Chennai.

The city is about 7-10 kms inside from GQ. The traffic is horrible. In one event where we had to take a U-turn, we ended up blocking the traffic for a couple of minutes. We found a decent hotel nearby and stayed there.

That day there was an announcement from the Ministry regarding Telengana which created lot of protests in Hyderabad and Telengana region. Also, there was a bandh in Chittoor distric the previous day.

We decided to leave early the next day, and drive through Chennai. There are a number of COCO pumps between Nellore and Chennai.

We wanted to refuel at Chennai, but it was hot and the traffic was bad. There is no proper directions in Chennai. If you are driving through Chennai to Bangalore, continue on NH5 till you reach a roundabout with a huge flyover over you. Take a right there and get on the flyover. Drive for a couple of kms and then you need to take a right on the Bangalore GQ. We did not have any GPS here, but we used our Nokia handset with BSNL SIM and a map effectively to navigate through this area. BSNL SIM shows your current location accurately on a nokia handset at least, not sure about other models. No GPS is required.

We had lunch outside Chennai. Chennai traffic does not seem to be managed well at all. Also the trucks don't care for other cars.

Drive to Bangalore was uneventful. We reached Electronics City by 6.30 P.M. We were not sure about the NICE road. So continued on the Hosur Road. We were really surprised at the rapid development of infrastructure. Electronics city traffic was reaaly bad 4-5 years back. But this time it took us about 30-40 minutes to reach Silk Board from Electronics City.

Last edited by sumannandy : 11th January 2010 at 13:31.
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Old 18th July 2010, 21:49   #18
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Hi Sumannandy, just saw this thread. Nice trip you had there !

I have just a couple of queries. I plan to drive to Bhubaneswar from Bangalore next month, in my Scorpio. Is it better to drive via Hyderabad, or via Chennai, in terms of driving time and road quality ? What will be the total driving time involved (I do 100 to 110 kmph on highways) ?

Thanks in advance
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Old 18th July 2010, 22:00   #19
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mooza, No Hyd, No Chennai Route (unless you have some work there)

Take the normal route. See my travelogue for the route via Tirupati, Nayudupet.
Blr - Vizag - 15hrs (6AM start and breaks included)
Vizag - BHubaneshwar - 5hrs (5AM start and one break)

I have done similar timings on Alto, I think you should fare better timings in Scorpio.
Abhi
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Old 18th July 2010, 23:41   #20
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Vizag - Bhuubaneshwar - 5 hrs: looks tight, we took around 7 hours though some portion of it was at night.
re-checked the google map for distance, 440 odd kms, keeping in mind road conditions in Orissa, it will be 6 hrs+ definitely.
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Old 19th July 2010, 00:02   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
Vizag - Bhuubaneshwar - 5 hrs: looks tight, we took around 7 hours though some portion of it was at night.
re-checked the google map for distance, 440 odd kms, keeping in mind road conditions in Orissa, it will be 6 hrs+ definitely.
Till BBSR road is good.
Only at andhra-odhisa border(Ichapuram) the road may not in good condition.
The GQ work still in progress. But the surface is good.Do that patch at daytime.

Last edited by KALINGA : 19th July 2010 at 00:04.
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Old 19th July 2010, 01:06   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
Vizag - Bhuubaneshwar - 5 hrs: looks tight, we took around 7 hours though some portion of it was at night.
re-checked the google map for distance, 440 odd kms, keeping in mind road conditions in Orissa, it will be 6 hrs+ definitely.
ok may be i am a bit optimistic looking at his SUV.
but i remember I did it in Alto in that time nonstop from bhubhaneshwar hotel to 30km before Vizag (A1 plaza) in abt 5.5 hrs (i will rechk the timing in the travelogue)...He has a scorpio so thought he can do faster.

I remember doing Icchapuram - Vizag very fast. infact i averaged 97-98km in an hour (calculated realtime).

Abhi

Last edited by akroy : 19th July 2010 at 01:08.
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Old 19th July 2010, 07:55   #23
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Many thanks to Akroy, Arindam and Kalinga for the replies.

I will plan to leave early morning at 5 am, and use the route suggested via Tirupati (bypass), Nayudupet and NH5 thereafter.

Since I will be travelling with family, I plan to halt at Vizag for the evening / night, at any reasonably good hotel preferably close to NH5
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Old 17th August 2015, 08:53   #24
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Default Re: GQ Driving - Kolkata-Chennai-Bangalore

How are the road conditions between Bangalore and Kolkata now? I am planning to do a Kolkata - Bangalore - Trivandrum road trip next week. Where should we plan our night halts?
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Old 19th November 2016, 03:49   #25
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How are the road conditions between Bangalore and Kolkata now? I am planning to do a Kolkata - Bangalore - Trivandrum road trip next week. Where should we plan our night halts?
Same question. I will start my solo ride from Kolkata day after (Monday) and intend to reach Chennai by Thursday afternoon/evening. Intend to cover between 400 to 450 km per day. Won't be riding at all at night. Would also request all to shed some light on the availability of credit-card accepting fuel pumps on the way.

Regards,
Shiraz
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Old 23rd November 2016, 15:17   #26
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Originally Posted by Shiraz Shah View Post
Same question. I will start my solo ride from Kolkata day after (Monday) and intend to reach Chennai by Thursday afternoon/evening. Intend to cover between 400 to 450 km per day. Won't be riding at all at night. Would also request all to shed some light on the availability of credit-card accepting fuel pumps on the way.

Regards,
Shiraz
Three months ago i did Chennai - Kolkata, with family, in my Swift. Road conditions good throughout. Between Chennai - Nellore, there are some diversions as a few road overpasses are being constructed - nothing alarming.

I covered Chennai - Vishakhapatnam in one go. Around 800kms. Next day i covered Vizag - Kolkata. Roughly another 800kms. Both took me between 12-12.5 hours on the road, including short breaks of 20-30 mins.

If you are looking at covering 400-450 kms in a day, I suggest you break journey at Vijaywada the first day (Chennai - Vijaywada = approx 400kms). Next stop can be Vishakhapatnam. You can do a bit of sightseeing in Vizag as its a nice place to go around. 3rd Day can be Vizag - Bhubaneswar (400kms approx) and the last day Bhubaneswar - Kolkata.

Most petrol pumps in Vizag, Vijaywada, Bhubaneswar accept credit cards. In addition gas stations in larger towns such as Nellore, Rajahmundry, Behrampur(Ganjam district), Balasore(orissa) and Kharagpur accept cc's. AMEX cards no one accepted though.

Dont be worried about safety issues. We pushed till 10-1030 pm at night without any hiccups.

Hope this helps! And drive safe !
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Old 23rd November 2016, 16:16   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
...If you are looking at covering 400-450 kms in a day, I suggest you break journey at Vijaywada the first day (Chennai - Vijaywada = approx 400kms). Next stop can be Vishakhapatnam. You can do a bit of sightseeing in Vizag as its a nice place to go around. 3rd Day can be Vizag - Bhubaneswar (400kms approx) and the last day Bhubaneswar - Kolkata.

Most petrol pumps in Vizag, Vijaywada, Bhubaneswar accept credit cards. In addition gas stations in larger towns such as Nellore, Rajahmundry, Behrampur(Ganjam district), Balasore(orissa) and Kharagpur accept cc's. AMEX cards no one accepted though...
Thanks a ton Arjab! The information you've provided is exactly what I was looking for -- all encompassing, yet precise And I am not at all averse to driving (a car) at night, but riding a motorcycle at night on our highways (especially if one is doing that particular route for the first time), that too solo, is best avoided. Unfortunately, the ride has been put on hold right now, but I am going to save your write-up and refer to it as and when I start it. Most probably next month it should be; shall share the experience here for sure

Thanks again!
Regards,
Shiraz
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Old 23rd November 2016, 16:30   #28
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. Next day i covered Vizag - Kolkata. Roughly another 800kms. Both took me between 12-12.5 hours on the road, including short breaks of 20-30 mins.

If you are looking at covering 400-450 kms in a day, I suggest you break journey at Vijaywada the first day (Chennai - Vijaywada = approx 400kms). Next stop can be Vishakhapatnam. You can do a bit of sightseeing in Vizag as its a nice place to go around. 3rd Day can be Vizag - Bhubaneswar (400kms approx) and the last day Bhubaneswar - Kolkata.

!
Agree with Arjab here, did Kolkata - Vizag couple of months ago and it took us 12-13 hours as well with some short breaks.

Suggest to start early around 4am to avoid the traffic at Dhulagarh toll. Food options are restricted before Bhubaneswar if you are not going to leave the expressway. There is a small line of roadside snack shops after Chandhikhole which is just about 25-30 kms before cuttack. You will surely get hunger pangs by that time

Also do note, petrol used to be Rs 5 cheaper in Orissa(not sure about the situation now) than in WB so the standard practice is to go half tank just about enough to cover Orissa border without stress and then tank up as soon as you enter Orissa, though COCO's may take cards, I've been paid cash.

Also remember to tank up before entering Andhra, the amount saved, will definitely save some of the tolls. I remember spending close to 1k on tolls upto Vizag.

Cheers
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Old 23rd November 2016, 19:10   #29
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Thanks a ton Arjab!
Most probably next month it should be; shall share the experience here for sure
Thanks again!
Regards,
Shiraz
You're most welcome Shiraz! And if its next month better cover up well as the stretch between Balasore to Kharagpur gets quite cold - on a bike you'll feel it more!
Cheers!
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