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Old 5th October 2010, 17:41   #1
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Default From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)

The itch to drive to Rajasthan-the land of the Marwars,the Mewars,the Shekhawatis & Rajwadas began the day I began to drive my own car.The only question which kept popping up in front of us was whether we do it in our existing car or wait for a bigger car.Slowly we realised that this was one q that we put to ourselves each time we began planning for a long drive and each time we came out trumps thanx to our little Maruti800!!.If ever there was a soul on this earth who instilled confidence in me that I could drive the whole of India on a M800 it was HVK.So a big thanks goes out to him without which we would not even have attempted this drive!

Having said this,we got down to planning the drive,the logistics,where to stay etc etc.Everything was planned to the last detail.The final route that was to be taken was decided as follows:
1st Leg :Hyderabad-Solapur-Pune-Mumbai
2nd Leg :Mumbai-Vapi-Surat-Vadodara-Ahmedabad
3rd Leg :Ahmedabad-Mehsana-Palampur-Deesa-Tharad-Sanchore-Barmer-Devikot-Jaisalmer
4th Leg :Jaisalmer-Pokharan-Balesar-Jodhpur
5th Leg :Jodhpur-Bar-Beawar-Nasirabad-Kishangarh-Jaipur
6th Leg :Jaipur-Kishangarh-Pushkar-Ajmer-Nasirabad-Bhilwara-Chittor-Udaipur
7th Leg :Udaipur-Ahmedabad-Vadodara-Surat
8th Leg :Surat-Dhule-Malegaon-Shirdi
9th Leg :Shirdi-Nagar-Karmala-Tembhurni-Solapur-Hyderabad.

1st Leg : Hyderabad-Mumbai:

Route: Hyd-Kukatpally-NH9-Sangareddy-Zaheerabad-Homnabad- Naldurg-Solapur-Indapur-Pune-Chembur-Bandra-Borivali
Distance: Approx 785kms(Home to Home)
Time taken: Approx 17hours

This was a route which we have done upteen number of times and knew this road like the back of our hands by now,and we also knew this stretch would be the most boring of the drive.Left home at Sainikpuri at 0330.The rain gods decided to keep smiling and so we encountered waterlogging at almost all the places till we reached Kukatpally.The worst was at the Monda market yard near Diamond Point.Bad scene with water stagnant at almost 2 to 3 ft.We paid the toll at Patancheru and we were surprised to find that the toll road had waterlogging and the roads were not in the best of condition at many places,we even had to encounter a couple of bad thuds on the road.The road till Solapur kept varying between good,bad worse.We just had boring truck traffic to keep us company.We were not doing any great speeds thanks to the condition of the roads.Finally reached Solapur at 0845.We had carried breakfast with us so did not stop for breakfast,else the Aviraj Dhaba at Solapur is our pitstop.Since it was early in the morning the infamous Solapur cops were still not around!

Tanked up the new age BP pumps that have come up in the most deserted of places.They even accepted cards.Solapur was as dirty as possible.The place is the sugarcane belt of the country and yet I find it difficult to understand as to why cleanliness is such a low priority for the muncipality there.

Some pictures of Naldurg Fort on NH9 between Hyd & Solapur:

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Left Solapur at 0930 and thereafter crossed the towns of Mohol,Shetfal,Tembhurni,Indapur.The road from Solapur to Indapur is great,the only good stretch of NH9 at the moment.From Indapur onwards the road widening is in progress and no road shoulder,rough tarmac,no roads at certain places.In short and simple words,its a driver's nightmare.We saw trucks and buses lying overturned,they were trying to overtake or trying to give way to oncoming vehicle and realised there is no road shoulder!!

Finally reached the Mumbai-Pune Bypass road at 1500.This time we decided to drive through the city via Swargate-Katraj-Bypass since it was afternoon and low traffic,else it is advisable to take the left before the Hadapsar flyover and come via Saswad road and join up at Katraj signal.

We did a lunch stop at the famed Joshi Vadewale just after the Hinjewadi flyover.Stuffed ourselves with Misal Pav,which unfortunately wasnt all that great.Place is losing its charm and it was downright dirty.The rest-rooms were plain and pure dirty.
Fuel within Pune city is expensive as compared to the outskirts.So tanked up at the first food court with HP pumps on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

The MPEW as usual was a delight to drive,all the tiredness of the backbreaking HYD-Pune drive vanishes with the pure delight of the landscape and the speeds that one is able to maintain on the MPEW.Left Pune at 1600 and reached Panvel signal at 1730.From thereon the dreaded Mumbai traffic began and it took us almost 3hours to reach home at Borivli.Quite an uneventful but backbreaking drive it was,not to mention the boring part of it!Home to home took us an unbelievable 17hours(something that is usually done in 13hours,road conditions speak for themselves!!)

Random shots of the MPEW in all its lush green glory after the rains:

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-canon-241_1.jpgFrom"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-canon-232_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-canon-242_1.jpg

Mumbai :

It was a rest & recreation stop at Mumbai.Stayed in Mumbai for close to a week.Made a quick trip to Thane on one of the days and met up with HVK.Coincidentally it was the same day Wingmann and company were on their way to Ladakh and had stopped over at Ghodbunder the previous night.Did not meet with them,this information was courtesy HVK.Did some town hopping and the usual pani-puri-sandwich-vada paav-dharas dhaba routine!

This was an interesting board seen on the table at Mainland China,Andheri.Those were the times of the oil slick off the Mumbai coast.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-02092010295.jpg

By the way,the lunch buffet at Mainland China,Andheri is a must not miss one in case you are a chinese foodie,its not an eat all you can kind of events,but an amazing one indeed.



2nd Leg: Mumbai-Ahmedabad

Route: Borivali-WesternEW-Ghodbunder-Vapi-Surat-Vadodara-NE1- Ahmedabad
Distance: Approx 500kms
Time taken: Approx 10hours

It was decided to reach the Dahisar toll plaza by first daylight as the road from Dahisar till Vapi isnt in the best of shapes.We left home at IC Colony,Borivli at 0600.Luckily for us the Dahisar check naka did not have a traffic jam,so quickly cleared the toll plaza and went our way.The roads were fully potholed and Ghodbunder junction was a total mess.With some deft driving and since we had a baby in the form of a maruti 800 we could drive ourself out of the mess.We could see that the traffic jam on the other lane(towards Ghodbunder) was running on for kilometers.We were thanking our stars that we were not driving this stretch in the dark as the road began to get heavily potholed as we reached Vasai,virar etc.Then came the 1st shocker when we saw that we ended up paying close to INR85 for driving on potholes.!!!

With a sore back and sore tyres,we finally managed to reach Vapi by around 9 in the morning.The road through the town was in a pathetic shape,in fact there was no road,people were all driving on the road shoulders.We stopped at the McDonald outlet in the Empress Mall which came to our left,but as luck would have it,the outlet was closed for some meeting and would only open at 11 that day.The outlet otherwise is a 24hour outlet(part of Mcdonald Western India's initiative to have outlets in almost all Gujarat highways).The only downside being that the outlet does not have its own rest-rooms and has to share the rest rooms with the mall,and as expected the mall's rest-rooms were in pathetic shape.Something that other travellers please make note,do not stop here in case you are looking for rest-rooms.

From thereon it was pure bliss with us maintaining constant speeds of 100kph.There was a small jam on the Narmada bridge at Ankleshwar,but nothing too bad.Refuelled again just before Surat.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Palazzo just before the NE1 begins.Beautiful place,superbly clean restrooms,good food,shaded parking and some things to do for the kids as well.With the tummies full and the car tummy full as well,we entered the NE1.I must admit the NE1 is a far better road to do good speeds at a constant pace as compared to the MPEW(Pune expressway).Ofcourse the MPEW is the more challenging one in terms of landscape and geographical conditions.Before we knew it we were beginning to see Ahmedabad at a distance!

People driving on this stretch,please note that there are only two fuel stations on the 100kms stretch,and the both are on the other side of the roads,and both are Reliance pumps.It makes more sense to fuel up at Baroda if you are going towards AMD and fuel up at AMD if you are going towards Baroda,else you would end wasting a lot of time and effort in trying to locate a U turn to go to the other side of the road.

Once we reached the end of the expressway we called our Man Friday in AMD,T-Bhpian Ramky who guided us to our stay for the night at Platinum Inn on Anjali Charasta on Ashram Road.
([COLOR=#0e774a]www.platinumhotels.in)[/COLOR]

Lovely,cosy room, and uber clean bathroom!

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-002_1.jpgFrom"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-003_1.jpg

Lovely place,lovely food,good parking.We checked in,again went out and tanked up for the next day.Also met up with Ramky who dropped by the hotel.It was wonderful to meet him after so many emails and phone calls!Early dinner and called it a day.

Next day was when the real fun was expected to begin.
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Old 5th October 2010, 18:55   #2
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People do Hyd-Bombay for a full stretch. And that is the start of your journey! Way to go!

The hotel in AMD looks amazingly clean!
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Old 5th October 2010, 18:57   #3
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WOW! That is one hell of a trip! I agree with M800 being the ever reliable vehicle on our roads but I think HVK's ride was a Matiz. Waiting for the detailed report and more snaps from the trip.
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Old 5th October 2010, 20:36   #4
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Great trip, Ranjit.
I agree with you and EXtremeTorque, M800 is one of teh best cars ever produced in India, it is a lovely car, so reliable. MIne was the Matiz, after all a M800 clone.
Good discoveries the McD and Palassio - is it on Baroda bypass?
And the A'bad hotel looks fabulous - how much did it cost? Is it easy to get into the hotel from the SP Ring Road?
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Old 5th October 2010, 21:59   #5
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Fabulous pics and narration. I am waiting with bated breath for more!

M800 is one of my favourite cars---I'd owned one for 12 years!
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Old 6th October 2010, 05:22   #6
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Nice travelogue and good pictures. Hope you have more pictures to come.
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Old 6th October 2010, 07:35   #7
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Great pics and some lovely story telling. Keep more coming in!
Did you stopped over at Lonavala?
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Old 6th October 2010, 10:07   #8
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Nice one Ranjitp1, M800 being close to my heart your trip is admirable. Please post pictures of your car and details of speeds and non-stop distance you are able to manage. Nice Platinum hotel looks very nice, what was the tarrif like? Drive Safe!
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Old 6th October 2010, 11:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sindabad View Post
Nice one Ranjitp1, M800 being close to my heart your trip is admirable. Please post pictures of your car and details of speeds and non-stop distance you are able to manage. Nice Platinum hotel looks very nice, what was the tarrif like? Drive Safe!
Yes,Platinum Inn was an excellent place for a night's stop-over.It was 2200 for a night inclusive of bf(they gave some packed breakfast when we told them that we would be leaving early the next day).Of course these rates are courtesy TBhpian Ramky-thanx to him.The maximum non-stop distance we have driven till date is around 800kms from Hyderabad to Mumbai,else we regularly drive 600kms non-stop and car does not even burp!4laned highways we generally do speeds of 100-110 beyond which the car begins to vibrate with AC(an avg of 70-80kph for the entire distance).2laned highways we do around 80kph(an avg of 50-60kph for the entire distance)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
Great pics and some lovely story telling. Keep more coming in!
Did you stopped over at Lonavala?
Thanx Sailor!No,we did not come via Lonavla,I did see your tlogue up,reading it on the side as well!We bypassed the MPEW on our return,hence had to skip Lonavla this time.Thanx for your tips on Sahil Portico.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Great trip, Ranjit.
I agree with you and EXtremeTorque, M800 is one of teh best cars ever produced in India, it is a lovely car, so reliable. MIne was the Matiz, after all a M800 clone.
Good discoveries the McD and Palassio - is it on Baroda bypass?
And the A'bad hotel looks fabulous - how much did it cost? Is it easy to get into the hotel from the SP Ring Road?
Yes,I learnt it the hard way that there is no better car than M800 in India especially when a buffalo comes crashing on your bonnet in the middle of nowhere on a highway and just for the fact that it was a Maruti,I was able to get roadside assistance from local workshops!

McD is after Vapi town,you cant miss it,on the left in Vapi's only mall I guess called Empress Mall.

Plazzo is on the Baroda bypass,a km before you reach the NH8-NE1 junction.It comes to your left towards AMD.AMD hotel courtesy Ramky,the place is in the city but relatively easy to find,not at all complicated.

The next parts of the travelogue coming up now.
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Old 6th October 2010, 13:04   #10
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Hi Ranjit!!

Loved the first photo with the magnificent fort above the green hills. Everything looks so nice, green and clean. Also like your choice of hotel at Ahemdabad, looks very neat and clean. How much did you pay for it btw?

Waiting for the rest of the TL to unfold as I am sure it will be a nice read. Staying in Jaipur I have only done Udaipur. Still need to take a trip to all the places you have covered in Rajasthan. This will be of a great help.

Thanks
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Old 6th October 2010, 17:37   #11
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Default Ahmedabad-Jaisalmer

3rd Leg:Ahmedabad-Jaisalmer

Route: Ahmedabad-Mehsana-Palanpur-Disa-Tharad-Sanchor- Barmer-Devikot-Jaisalmer
Distance: Approx 620kms
Time taken: Approx 10 hours


This was when the real action begins,or atleast thats what we believed!The hotel accomodated our request to provide us with a packed breakfast as the breakfast in the hotel would be served only at 730,and that would be too late for us.The car was washed and looked spic &
span,thanks to the housekeeping guy who washed the car for us.Finally everything was dusted and done and we checked out of the hotel at precisely 7am.Ramky had given us a detailed note
on how to get out of Ahmedabad and onto the Mehsana toll highway.The directions were precise and correct to the T.Thanks Ramky.

Since it was early in the morning,we managed to reach the Mehsana road toll plaza in 40minutes time.Enroute we passed the beautiful Vaishno Devi temple which has been built in Ahmedabad.It is reportedly an exact replica of the original temple structure.We havent been to Vaishno Devi so wouldnt be able to comment further!We also passed by the famous Nirma
university.Our impressions of Ahmedabad was that it a nice little city with food being given primary importance!The amount of farsaan shops we saw were unimaginable!I dont think anybody would go hungry in Ahmedabad!Long live the hospitality of the Gujaratis.

An important note to people driving through Ahmedabad,the BRTS(Bus rapid system)is being implemented within the city at the moment.As a result of this dedicated lanes are being earmarked for the buses,one needs to be very careful that one does not get into the BRTS lanes,because rest assured there is always a policeman waiting at the end of the lane ready
to book you!!The start of the dedicated lanes are very poorly marked so its very easy to get into those lanes.The safest way to avoid these are to stick to your extreme left lanes and drive.I dont think,the policemen are that bothered about the yellow line on the headlamps anymore on out of state cars.

After having paid the toll just before Kalol,we find that the road is a beautiful 4 laned state Highway (SH 41) all the way to Mehsana.Beware of random cattle crossing and people crossing,even if its 4 laned,the road is very busy and crowded.We crossed the toll plaza at the other end and stopped for breakfast.Must admit the food wasnt all that great!Probably
would have tasted better if we had it in the hotel,but we were well stocked with juices,nuts,fruits and absolute junk food in the form of chips & farsaan!Remarkably our 2 year old lady also hung in there and survived certain stretches on fruits and juices alone!

From Mehsana till Palanpur it continues as a 4 lane unmarked state highway.Not much of traffic.This road continues all the way till Mount Abu.At Palanpur,we refuelled and took a left for Disa.We were now on NH14.The road was fabulous,very well maintained and well
marked.In no time,we reached Disa.In the meanwhile,we received a sms from BhPian-Ramky stating that the route via Dhanera to Sanchore was in terrible condition and advised us to take the route via Tharad,which would mean a few extra kilometers.

At Disa,Ramky's inputs were confirmed by the local cab drivers and bus drivers that the Dhanera route was indeed bad and lonely.We were advised to take the Tharad route.The turn off to Tharad & Dhanera are well marked on NH14.We got onto the SH54 which took us to Tharad.The landscape began to change very rapidly.The roads were undulating and we kept going up and down.This road is a very tricky road to drive on because if you are trying to overtake a vehicle from its right,there is no way for you to guess if there is an oncoming vehicle as the roads are all on undulating plains with no visibility on whats oncoming.It is the same way till you reach Jaisalmer,so it tests all your driving skills,We did have a
close shave at one point,but luckily nothing major.Traffic was very sparse on the road except for the occasional truck and for the occasional 7-seater rickshaw carrying 27 people inside.

We reached Tharad at exactly 1130am,which means it took us a whole 4.5hours to reach NH15 from Ahmedabad with a half-an-hour break at Mehsana for breakfast.

At Tharad on NH15,we took a right on NH15 and we were now on the BRO maintained NH15 which is of strategic importance to India.This road runs all the way from Kandla in the west coast to Pathankot(via Bhatinda-Amritsar) in the north of India and the entire stretch is
maintained by the Border Roads Organisation as a part of its Project Chetak and what a job they are doing.Amazing roads all the way.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-005_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-006_1.jpg

From Tharad onwards,we got a feeling that we were all by ourselves!There was an occasional truck and an occasional 7-seater,just that these were very rare now and the intervals were far and wide between the appearance of two vehicles!As luck would have it,it was the Baba
Ramdev yatra time and so we were kept company on the entire stretch by the yatris who were walking 1000s of kilometers to Ramdevra,near Pokharan(where a temple in honour of the Baba Ramdev Guru was built).Hats of to their faith,it was a sight to be seen to be believed.


Within half an hour we were crossing the Gujarat border and we headed full steam to Sanchore.We were greeted by a couple of new age BP petrol pumps,the one on the right was the largest I have seen on any highways,it had a curving kind of kerb.Tanked up again.The
people filling petrol at the pump were all bemused to see an AP registered car and that too a Maruti 800 with a lady and a small 2 year old in tow.They came up to us and asked us if we needed anything.We thanked them for their offer and went our way.There was also a BP GHAR at
this point.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-007_1.jpg

Sanchore town is a total mess.There is a bridge under construction which I suspect has not been built for a long long time and because of that the surrounding areas do not have any roads,for a stretch of around 5kms there is absolutely no road,it was a came ride and it took us almost 30mins to clear 5kms.Pathetic.No good restaurants or hotels to stop at
Sanchore.

We were back to familiar terrain again of no cars,no inhabitation.We sped on with a silent prayer in my mind!The NH15 is an arrow straight road.The only turn on the road between Tharad and Jaisalmer comes at Barmer where one takes a right,that is the only turn on the road,else the road is as straight as you could get.

At 1430,we docked in at Barmer.

You could witness India's road to development in Barmer & the surrounding areas.You suddenly see scorpios whizzing by and windmills all around.All this activity is thanks solely to Cairns finding huge deposits of oil & gas in Barmer.The famous Barmer-Salaya 600kms oil pipeline runs from Barmer to the oil terminal in Salaya in Gujarat.You see innumerable
offices of Cairn in Barmer.The town is also flourishing,with big hotels.We saw atleast two big hotels in Barmer.Kalinga Palace & Shubham Palace and there was one more coming up next to a Railway gate.Cairn plus the fact that the town is a cantonement adds to the importance of the place.From Barmer,Munabao(the last railway station of India on the Intl border with
Pakistan is approx 120kms).

"Good Hall"-the only restaurant in between Tharad & Barmer was an oasis in the desert.At the entry into Barmer town,you are again greeted by the new age BP pumps(for the entire trip,I was amazed and impressed by BP's maintainance
of standards at pumps,new vending machines,good facilities,ok restrooms).We had some amazing Ker Sangri ki kadi,phulkas,dal.Typical Rajasthan fare and this was the best food we had in
the entire drive.Refuelled again after a 30minute break and we were now on our home stretch.

Good Hall Restaurant-Fully Tented one

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-009_1.jpg

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-019_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-021_1.jpg

From Barmer,the landscape changes all the more rapidly,with sand dunes on both sides of the road.Excellent road tarmac and we were able to do speeds of 100kph with AC easily without any strain on the engine.One needs to only lookout for stray cattle/camel which suddenly come from nowhere and disappear.There was an occasional sand storm and some sections of the road had sand building up on them which could be fatal if they rise to a certain height,as then the tyre might get stuck in them.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-012_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-016_1.jpg

We whizzed into Jaisalmer at precisely 5pm.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-025_1.jpg

We were welcomed into Jaisalmer with a huge army of windmills standing on both sides.Jaisalmer is a huge source of wind energy and a company called Suzlon Energy erects these windmills in these areas.A distance of close to 620kms in 10hours.We saw the Jaisalmer Fort rising in front of us at a distance.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-026_1.jpg

Around 5 kms before we enter town,we see that we are beginning to be chased by bikers and as I had already read somewhere about this,I was well-prepared for this intrusion.The bikers were frantically waving their arms and wanted us to roll down our windows.Finally I decided
to give them a hearing,and they were all local tours & travel representatives waving their cards.I told them I am not interested,but they persisted with us for another 2-3 kms after which they gave up.The AP registration was a give-away as they knew we were from out of
town,these car-chasers on bikes can be quite a nuisance/put off for people who come to Jaisalmer without knowing what to expect.
Jaisalmer is also known as the Golden city,the town having derived this name from the fact that none of the buildings in the town are ever painted,they are all of the same sandstone colour.It is commendable thing that even the newer buildings and hotes that are coming up are respecting this fact and are maintaining the same colour shade.

What we see next is something that I couldnt in the wildest of my dreams think I would see in a place like Jaisalmer.Right ahead of us we see a shop and the name of the shop "NEW KERALA STORE"All kerala items available!!!We had our mouths open when we saw this!Afterall it feels nice to see your brethren in the middle of nowhere.

From thereon we drove to our home for the next two nights and three days-"Suryagarh".(www.suryagarh.com)

Suryagarh:

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-030_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-034_1.jpg

Suryagarh is a modern building with a fort architecture.What is unique about the place is that it is not one of those forts converted into hotels,but is a fort made in today's times for the specific purpose of being a hotel.What a magnificent structure it was.I could go on
and on about the place,but I shall let the pictures do the talking.

The Living Room:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-035_1.jpg

The Bedroom:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-038_1.jpg

The Bathroom:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-039_1.jpg

The Fort Entrance as seen from our window,The Sam Road goes in front of the hotel.
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-043_1.jpg
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-044_1.jpg

The Lighted-up Courtyard
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The Temperature-Controlled Pool
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The place is located on Sam Road and so is a few kilometers away from Jaisalmer town.

Checkin was the new-age style of check-in that most hotels adopt,where the check in procedures are done in-room.The heat was terrible and we were more than happy to do the procedures inside the room.The hotel was so very thoughtful and had all kinds of baby stuff inside the room ready and all kinds of baby cosmetics,toys etc when we told them that we are travelling with a baby.

The AP registered M800 raised more than a few astounded eyebrows here as well!!

We settled into the room and went about our photo sessions inside the hotel.There was so much to click within the hotel itself.Dinner in the town was vetoed out by the lady and so dinner in the hotel.

We want food!We want food!We want food!
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I actually got to know what it is to reside in a 100 room fort with just we being the only guests!Talk about off-seasons!Evenings brought with it lots of toads and frogs and all kinds of insects due to the geographical landscape.

Fort by Day:
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Next day morning,breakfast was a good affair,by which time the heat began to hit us really bad!We decided against taking a walking tour of the fort.We decided to drive to the fort and see it from outside.It was 38degrees that day!!

All set to conquer Jaisalmer:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-056_1.jpg

We drove to the fort area and clicked pictures all around.We saw one place advertising of camel milk lassi in the fort.Apparently its a famous lassi place and the lassi is so very thick.Another place selling blankets and bed-sheets had this very intriguing board hanging outside which read: "MAGIC BEDSHEETS-NO NEED OF VIAGRA ANYMORE"How corny was that?

Typical huts enroute to Jaisalmer:
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Jaisalmer Fort by Day:
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From thereon,we drove to Bada Bagh or the Royal Cenotaphs.This was the final resting place of the royalty of the region.Next to it was a beautiful man-made lake which was full with water.Another round of photo sessions and we decided to head back into the hotel.

The Cenotaphs with the Suzlon Energy Windmills in the background:
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The whole of Jaisalmer has a very special and unique feel to it.It is quite impossible to describe in words,but the quieteness and the stillness of life in the place is very very interesting,something that can be quite addictive.As it is we were not on a "SPOT" hunting trip wherein we wanted to cover all the interesting "spots".We were on a trip in which we
had decided to take whatever comes and as per our moods,this helped us avoid disappointments when we couldnt make it to certain places!

Coming up: The Drive to the Tanot Mandir close to the Indo-Pak Border
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Old 6th October 2010, 18:27   #12
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Your choice of hotels are amazing! How did you zero in on such places?
Beautiful! AMD I can think : Ramkya sir! But how about places in Rajasthan!

The Roads too are classy! I remember going along
Kota-Singoli-Begu-Chittorh-Udaipur-Abu....
Sawai Madhaupur, Indore, Ratlam (through the MP Border)

And I could go on and on and on!
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Old 6th October 2010, 18:46   #13
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Back in the hotel and after a quick lunch and a power nap,we decided to leave for Tanot Rai Mata Mandir at Tanot.

Tanot is a village bordering,Pakistan and is close to the famous battle site of Longewala and 15kms from Tanot temple is the the BOP 609(Border Outpost Pillar).Till a couple of years/months/days back one could register at the BSF check-post and then go on towards BOP 609 where one would be standing at the border and the area is filled with BSF bunkers.But there was apparently a rumor spread by the local drivers levelling charges of corruption against the BSF people.Following this,no civilians are allowed beyond Tanot now.Even Longewala is off-limits for civilians now.

During the war,live shells and bombs were placed in a temple which never exploded.Even today the bombs and shells are kept for public view in the temple.Some things just defy human rational and logic.

Tanot is approx 140kms from Jaisalmer and is a very very isolated drive through the middle of nowhere.So we decided against driving there as we did not want to risk a breakdown somewhere with a 2year old.We decided to do this drive in the hotel cab.

We left the hotel at 4pm.You just have sand dunes for company and the occasional camel herds.Between Tanot and Jaisalmer,comes the town of Ramgarh.This is the only village which has inhabitation on the route,so everybody enroute to Tanot and back does a ritualistic stop here for tea.


The journey took us around 2.5hrs one way,but a drive which will remain etched in our memories forever.No petrol pumps in the entire 140kms stretch.So fuel up at Jaisalmer in case you are heading to Tanot.On our way we encountered a big camel herd and the driver estimated that there could be a minimum of 500-600 camels in the herd.They just came running
onto the road and went their way.It was a sight worth seeing.

The 600 camel herd crossing the road:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-093_1.jpg
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Enroute to Tanot Mandir,comes the Ghantyali Mata mandir,we paid our respects there and continued onwards to Tanot.The Tanot mata mandir witnesses huge number of people during Diwali.There is even a daily
State Transport bus that runs daily between Tanot and Jodhpur.It is an 8 hour journey and the buses leave Jodhpur and Tanot in the morning and reach the destinations in the evening.

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-101_1.jpg

The Ghantyali Mata Mandir
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The temple is under renovation now so couldnt capture that many pictures that we would have liked to.The priest at the temple is a BSF Jawan as well.

The Tanot Mandir Entrance(under renovation)
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When we were there,a Maruti Alto guy had come without refuelling at Jaisalmer and he didnt have enough petrol to get back to J'mer and he was seen asking the jawans if he could get petrol.They said they have diesel and was asking him to fill the tank with it,saying all fuel is the same the car would run!!They were having fun at the guy's carelessness.


The BSF Camp @ Tanot
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The Victory Pillar at Tanot & The Indian flag
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-118_1.jpg

On our way back,we suddenly run into a big huge sandstorm,and we realised that in a sandstorm unlike when you are in a fog,lights dont pass through the storm,you just have to patiently sit and wait for the storm to pass and pray that no vehicle comes at you in the opposite direction.

The Sandstorm Receeding:
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-125_1.jpg

We did our customary stop at Ramgarh for the tea and reached Jaisalmer at around 830pm.

Jaisalmer's natural resources are vast and abundant.Suzlon has windmills erected for wind energy,Cairns is around for the all the gas and oil reserves and then there are a couple of huge mines which do limestone mining!Wonder what is left?

Back in Jaisalmer,we have a hearty meal of a Rajasthani thali at a nice little restaurant called Riddhi Siddhi.After the meal we head back to the hotel around 930.

On our way my mind was wandering away thinking of the people posted at Tanot and at the border.In the middle of nowhere with just sand for company....you need nerves of steel for that.This phrase "in the middle of nowhere" started to become an all too familiar phrase for me during this trip.

We were back in the cool confines of Suryagarh by 10 in the night and decided to call it a day.

Suryagarh by Night:
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One thing that I realised that night,be it the urban Hyderabd or the deserts of Jaisalmer,the one thing that stays common are the TV Channels.You see the same channel in Hyd and you see the same thing in Jaisalmer.That gives you a comfort feel of known surroundings!!

Next day was an early morning start for us.We had asked for the same cab to take us to Sam to see the sunrise.We left around 6 in the morning and there was not a soul in Sam except for some insomniac camels and their handlers.

I would reccomend to all and sundry going to Sam,that the mornings are the best times to go there in case you want a peaceful time there all by yourselves.Thank You SS-Traveller for this advise,we took yours and we really didnt have any reason to complain or regret.We negotiated with Ali Khan and his camel Hrithik for a price of 100 for a camel ride for all the three of us.I know poor Hrithik!

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-136_1.jpg

The Thar was unbelievable in all its golden glory.Amazing sight we had.
From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-128_1.jpg
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After our share of photographs and camel rides,we were back in the hotel and after an excellent breakfast we checked out of Suryagarh with a tad bit of sadness as we were surely going to miss Suryagarh!

3days back we entered Suryagarh through that small door and now its time to say bye!

From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-158_.jpg
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From"Aadab & Bagunnava" Land to Land of "Khammaghani"(Hyd to Rajasthan by M800)-rajasthan-104_1.jpg  

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Old 6th October 2010, 18:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Your choice of hotels are amazing! How did you zero in on such places?
Beautiful! AMD I can think : Ramkya sir! But how about places in Rajasthan!

The Roads too are classy! I remember going along
Kota-Singoli-Begu-Chittorh-Udaipur-Abu....
Sawai Madhaupur, Indore, Ratlam (through the MP Border)

And I could go on and on and on!
Thanx a ton Amp.

Prior to a trip I do my fair share of research on hotels.I am an active member on Tripadvisor and that helps because I find Tripadvisor by far the most genuine site globally today, when it comes to hotel reviews(www.tripadvisor.in). Sites like Holidayiq and the millions of other sites just dont seem to be giving out what people actually want to read about hotels.

Next I get down to making a comparison excel sheet on the tariffs that hotels offer directly via fone or email/travel agents tariff/online portals tariff/direct hotel online tariffs.From that I choose the cheapest one and then get down to finding out how much more inclusions can be added in that tariff.I just abhor all the tours and travel agents that exist today,they just refuse to give you what you want and they expect you to go by what they offer!!
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Old 6th October 2010, 21:54   #15
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Ranjit Sir,

Thanks for the great writing and the amazing photos.

We all have benefited from Ramkya's encyclopedic knowledge.

K
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