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Old 5th November 2010, 02:47   #1
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Default Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi

The idea was to drive as much as possible. Drive away from frustration and into the excitement.
The Car: Linea MJD. Odo 16,552 kms.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00165.jpg
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00164.jpg
Occupants: I will do the driving and my wife will be the judge of that.
Day 0: Saturday 9th October 2010
Well; no driving today. Got the car serviced to rectify two issues. The first was a tak-tak sound as I turn the steering and the second was a mysterious loss of wiper fluid each time I fill it up. In addition I asked for regular checks, top up of oils, wheel balancing and alignment. The car was delivered in evening and I was told that tak-tak was because the ball bearing of steering mountings was damaged. I might have driven harshly over some bump. Well I suppose that will happen again, as I have no idea where the next pot hole will be. Anyway it was replaced under warranty. The wiper fluid was topped up with water and they did not have the solution I wanted. The alignment and balancing was done and suspension and other things checked and tightened. The ride felt much smoother and quieter. So filled up the diesel and packed just a small bag to start early morning next day.

Day 1: Sunday 10th October 2010 ĖNH8+NE1 to Udaipur
The plan was to reach Udaipur before sundown. This requires starting early and the target was to get out of Mumbai and hit the highway as the first rays of sun lights up this side of the world. Well so much for the planning, we started exactly at 0700 in the morning against some careful planning of 0600 start. That means any chances of reaching Udaipur in daylight had evaporated and dissolved in the polluted environments that we live in.
The mornings as it looks from my current residence was a proof of the time I spent taking this picture,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00395.jpg
The starting block,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00396.jpg
In 28 mins and travelling 26 kms, I paid my first toll at Dahisar, a whopping Rs 30 for exiting Mumbai. What this means is that I was delighted by the experience of banging my car over the potholed, paver block made roads of Mumbai on which I reached dizzying heights of speeds and the peace of driving, thus I was giving the toll contractors a parting tip. Though my wife felt otherwise and argued that we are fleeced here.
Without arguing further I decided take the road on and the next 33 kms to Virar toll took me lightening fast 50 mins. I put the seed in my wifeís mind (like the movie Inception) that we might have to settle for Ahmedabad as the night stop. The price to battle around the traffic diversions and perfecting my handling and maneuvering skills over potholes of this stretch was a meager Rs 47. Again, my wife did not see the learning aspects of this stretch. I drove ahead with more vigor and in search of better roads and lesser traffic.
Look carefully that Iím driving on the opposite side of the road as my side of the road, look towards the left, is not moving as well as is full of stranded vehicles.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00400.jpg
Someone had mentioned in their travelogue that one can stop at Silver Miles, which I reached by travelling another 26 kms at an improved time of 27 mins. Thatís a whopping improvement in average speed which went unnoticed by the spectators. Still the stop was due because of the break neck pace that we were maintaining. I needed a leak and the rest room was an overflowing testimony of the relief that lot other experienced. Alas, my wife again did not agree to it. I ordered a tea but somehow I was served inexpensive sugar syrup looking like a chocolate sauce. The cook must be congratulated for his foresight that sugar syrup will give lot of energy to the drivers and help them stay concentrated. In team-BHP tradition my inner voice said +1 for that.
The place where high energy sugar syrups and watertight restrooms are to be found,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00404.jpg
With so much energy gained I drove ahead in right earnest to break all road records. Voila! We were greeted by another toll booth. A narrow one that is; to ensure that nobody approach at hyper speed as long queue is always maintained. The speed gun (?) showed that we drove another 25 kms in exactly 31 mins. The sugar syrup was keeping my energy levels still high but the same cannot be said for my wife. The price for this stretch of 51 kms was a meager 42 kms.
This is how it looked at the narrow toll ahead; a total choc-o-block.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00403.jpg
At 1005 hours we entered Gujarat and we were greeted by a Mexican wave made by all the trucks stranded at the border. The spectacle cheered my wife more than what Kalmadi and Co. put for Common Wealth Games. The time taken to cross into Gujarat was 3 hours and distance travelled was 149 kms. Reducing the 10 min stop at the leaking Silver Miles, the average speed came to 53 km/hour. To manage this speed in Maharashtra was an achievement, as my opinion is that Maharashtra has the most expensive yet bad roads. That holds true for roads that are to be maintained by central government agencies. For the amount of truck load Maharashtra road handles, people driving around in expensive cars, the tolls charged, the roads are just not worthy of it. I was disappointed and my wife seconded my feelings, for once the fruit of this road trip made us think on same lines. The notion of complimentary thinking was replaced by consenting point of views. The road remains occupied by loads of trucks and some had few funny lines on their back. This one reads; Dekho aur tarso, fir milenge parso.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00405.jpg
This one reads: ek fool do maali, aaj bhari kal khali. Currently this seems to be bhari.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00406.jpg
My previous visits to Gujarat have left good impression with regards to its road infrastructure. The traffic never subsided, but the speed of trucks increased, the roads improved considerably with a width of three lanes. Then off course all this does not help either. The spirited truck drivers try to out speed each other and maintain lane discipline of driving in the right most lane. The only lane that is a little bit of use is the left most lane. Iím not suggesting or supporting anything here but I was able to overtake few trucks by using the left most lane. Cheeky it may sound, but the results were still the same with regards to average speeds. The first toll was at Vapi and we paid Rs 47. I was asked a question for which I had no answer. Was the toll for the coming stretch or the part that has already been covered? In search for our quest to find such fundamental answers I drive further into the dark road ahead, as it is made of Asphalt unlike the concrete obsessed Maharashtra. Since the last toll we had travelled 66 kms in 68 mins. To know that we are making almost a first grade (close to 60 km/hr) progress the drive ahead looked a cake walk. Still, heavy truck movement remained as we crossed the industrial belt of Gujarat.
Donít be fooled to think all of these trucks as standing, they are moving in unison and maintaining lane discipline at prescribed highway speed of under 30 km/hr. Beat that.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00413.jpg
At exactly 1100 hours the trip meter magically popped up 200 kms. That puts an average speed (including stoppages) of 50 km/hr. I was proud of this achievement but my wife reminded me the unfinished drive lying ahead and no celebratory champagnes were opened. Another 35 kms in 31 mins and paid another toll of Rs 41 at Bharuch. Here again the toll booth is small and there was a long queue, full of trucks. I had stopped wondering who design these toll booths, narrow design to ensure long queues and maintaining constant cash flows. Must be a genius.
This side of the road was devoid of any decent looking dhaba or restaurant. The sugar of the sugar syrup had broken itself into alcohol and other components in my stomach. On such high alcohol levels I stopped at a holy restaurant named Hare Krishna. I was in no mood to top up with sugar syrup so just stuck to light idllys. To our horror everything that we ordered was stale and we decided to move on. With no energy for the top driver in the business, I resorted to something I drink after a game of football. Gatorade. So the stop cost us 28 mins and an empty bottle of Gatorade.
At 1251 we crossed Surat toll by paying Rs 50 with the trip distance reading 289 kms. The stop till now total 38 mins, so the average speed was a lightening 55 km/hr. As the speed was dizzying I decided to take things in my hand. So I reduced the temperature further to 20 deg, changed the disc to a mix of English and Punjabi and increased the seat height. Yeah! This should increase my speed for the rest of the leg. So the next 54 kms to Ankleshwar was covered in 41 mins. From Ankleshwar to Baroda toll the distance of 35 kms was covered in 23 mins. So the minor adjustments to driver aid were doing its bit. I decided to stop to celebrate this momentous moment of breaking into echelons of speed records. We ordered a cup of coffee in a small hotel called Sahyog. There were lot of people at the hotel and to a traveler this might look to be a popular joint, but it is advisable not to use any of their services. The coffee cup had coffee inside out, drink from the inside or lick on the outside is your call. The rest room was; well; forget it. Though, we still graced the place with 25 mins of our precious time.
At 436 kms and 1452 hours we reached a road called NE1. That is the Baroda Ė Ahmedabad expressway. The toll for expressway was Rs 81 for 90 kms to Ahmedabad. Well, for starters it is not a concrete road and does not have ups and downs and rounds of ghats. There were no trucks and it had only 2 lanes. The supposedly third lane is; well to be left alone at best. The road is excellent and arrow straight. The fun part is; well there is no fun. You start off, change gear, get into the top gear, reach top speed and maintain that. Itís straight, less traffic, no trucks with lane discipline and itís got good grips. Go straight. It is the fastest road, no doubt, but most boring. So the exit reading was 520 kms and time taken was 38 mins. That means an average speed of 132 km/hr. Not bad considering that I drove with speedo showing 160 km/hr. Believe me, it was boring. My wife was asleep and did not bother to look ahead at the endless road. The time was 1530 so Udaipur was looking possible after all. No points for guessing correctly that because Iím driving and wife is sleeping, there are no more photos.
As sooner we left the expressway and took some bypass road around Ahmedabad to connect back to NH8, the dreaded crawl is back. Suddenly I take back everything I said about the expressway and wisehd it extended into Udaipur. Some more tolls and next hour yielded 48 kms. The myth of expressway was broken and I was putting the maneuvering and pothole dodging skills to best use on the worst part of the NH8. No divider, just two lane and full of broken road and slow moving traffic. At 1644 the tip meter came to life and displayed 600 kms. Well, the fuel gauge got angry at the generosity shown by the trip meter and to please the fuel gauge I stopped to fill up the tank. The tolls were taking all my hard earned savings at a regular interval in small chunks.
With the sun dropping low over the horizon and Udaipur still some distance away I finally decided to put in the flying gear. To those who wonder what is the flying gear? it is the gear that gives you speed. Remember; red bull gives you just the wings. At 1743 we were greeted by a gate. Wondering who put a big gate in the middle of the road we looked around to find the board reading welcome to Rajasthan. Another 40 kms and 40 mins afterwards we reached Udaipur. Ohh no, after we paid the toll, a board mentioned that Udaipur is still 38 kms ahead. We were duped of some more cash on the pretext of toll. I paid the same hoping for the betterment of roads whereas wife paid to allow us to pass through. At 1848 hours and 742 kms later we rolled into the traffics of Udaipur.
As one approaches Rajasthan the roads just gets better. The traffic after Gujaratís industrial belt is visibly thinner. The truck drivers drive in the left lane and respond to high beam flashes. As one enters Rajasthan the roads start to twist around, the topography changes from the fields of Gujarat to barren, shrub filled land of Rajasthan. The roads are excellent, good grip, the view is excellent, the traffic thin, and there are just endless twists and turns at reasonably high speeds. Even though I was driving for a long time, though not feeling tired, I enjoyed the best part of driving. Drive in Rajasthan, Yeah!
The part most challenging for me was to start now. Search for a place to stay overnight. Throughout the route I relied on Google maps on my mobile and it was extremely helpful. Gave the right directions and when we thought it was not we asked someone walking by the road. Thatís the beauty of this all, road side assistance to get and validate the directions. Anyway, the search was about to start and it was already dark. I had read on some travelogue about a place called Madan hotel near railway station. It was on the out skirts so will not waste time of getting into the city and thus we decided to check. We saw the room, did not liked it and without asking the price drove away. I did not search for any hotel on the net and decided to try my luck in the city. As I drove further inside I saw another hotel. Stopped and we went in to check the room. It was not good but we asked the price which was quoted at Rs 750.
Armed with this market insight on hotel prices in Udaipur we decided to search the internet. I know of a place called Jaiwana Haveli, but still searched for hotels in Udaipur on my mobile. The result was the Swaroop palace near Lake Pichola. We asked a person around where are all the hotels gone and the gentlemen told us to go towards the lake side where they have setup themselves. As if they (hotels) are some street side vendor. Anyway, we mysteriously decided to follow directions to Swaroop palace on Google maps on my mobile. The thing is that, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google have never been to Udaipur. I doubt their Google map cartographers/programmers have either. What the map lead us into was a small Ďgalií in which only one car can enter. Linea being the widest of all sedans in its class proved to be the best fits of the narrow lanes of Udaipur, leaving no space for other road users.
The area around Lake Pichola is like an old city, like old Delhi, narrow lanes dotted with shops and bustling with two wheelers, small pickups and lots of people walking. Larry and Sergey made me drive in the Parisque lanes for which I must be very thankful. Parisque (meaning like Paris) is because of my impression of Paris roads from the movie Ronin. Still, the driving skills perfected by avoiding autowallahs and bike wallas, the potholes in shining concrete roads of Mumbai, made driving in the narrow lanes seem like a walk in the park.
The trouble is you cannot see far ahead as the person or object you are driving around is very near, in fact at a slapping distance. This means instead of our destination I drove into the Taj Udaipur Palace hotel (or is it Oberoi). At the security check I looked up and saw a massive arch of stone and lots of lights. I realized that the other end of the narrow lane took us to the opposite side of the lake. I politely and quietly turned around and drove away.
Dhan tan tan! There was a hotel called Rang Vilas palace right in front of us. We stopped and went in to check for room. This being a Sunday night I was very confident of finding a room. In the name of reception it was a small shack, like that on a roadside in Mumbai. Two affordable rooms were available at 1200 or 950. We saw the two; both were excellent, clean, big bathrooms, spacious and quite. We took the room that was costing 1200 as I did not like the red colored back wall on the other room. That was the end of the first day of driving. I parked the vehicle inside the Hotel and proceeded for a rest. The exploration through the narrow lanes of Udaipur and globetrotting around the lake meant that we ordered our dinner at 2130 in night. The distance on odo when I parked read a healthy 794 kms and the fuel economy achieved at 17.4 km/ltr with AC on all the time. The max speed achieved was on NE1 at 170 km/hr, which was pretty comfortable. Here are some pics of the hotel.
The bed in the room,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00428.jpg

The stone table on the verandah,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00445.jpg
The morning view from the front our room,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00447.jpg
This is verandah of the room that we took,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00448.jpg
The walls, even in bathroom was full of paintings like these,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00450.jpg

Few more things about day 1,
The route was NH8+NE1. No surprises and Google maps in the mobile kept us on the road. There are no decent places on the entire stretch
Roads in Gujarat are way better than in Maharashtra, Rajasthan even better.
Get better speakers for Linea and add another layer of carpet to improve insulation.
Keep red bulls and Gatorade and lot of candies
Google map is very good and gave correct directions on my mobile. But is you are going to use it on mobile get a mobile charger.
Airtel sucks
At the start, Diesel is cheapest in Mira Bhayender at Rs 40+ whereas in Maharashtra and Gujarat it is Rs 42+. Rajasthan is Rs 39+.
Get good sunglasses.
Book your room and plan the route to the hotel before you reach Udaipur. Do not rely on Sergey Brin and Larry Page only for mapping the route.
The next day is the longer distance to Delhi. Then afterwards its to Mohali. An independent Mohali-Kasol-Mohali and Mohali-Amritsar-Mohali trips before the return leg to Mumbai. There is lot to write even though I did lot of driving. I take some time to write so consider this just the part one.
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Old 5th November 2010, 16:24   #2
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Well written TL: distances, averages, relevant names of hotels, prices of rooms and tolls are willfully included, and that makes for good information. Hope the following parts also include such detailed description as a guide to others. Apart from the helpful content, your style of prose is quite interesting: you have managed to subtly mix the ecstasies and the frustrations of a long drive in the narration. Waiting for more.
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Old 5th November 2010, 16:51   #3
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Hi Jawanak

Wonderful writing. you appears to be one of those script writers in the comedy Golmall series of movies, or atleast i felt so.

look forward to your next episode.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 5th November 2010 at 17:03.
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Old 5th November 2010, 19:07   #4
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That was a hilarious account of the route! Traffic on NH8 is seeing spectacular increases and I do hope they complete the 6-laning till Surat ASAP. By which time it will be time to start the 8-laning!

Where exactly is Silver Miles?

The hotel in Udaipur looks good. Any contact details? Favourable review? Car parking available?
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Old 6th November 2010, 11:43   #5
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Excellent. I am following this thread closely.

Very nice and good looking hotel in Udaipur. This being peak season 1200 rupees is a bargain.

And you did Mumbai - Udaipur in very good time !
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Old 6th November 2010, 12:28   #6
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Good start and narration.
Hotel in Udaipur looks good and good bargain too.
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Old 6th November 2010, 12:45   #7
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Could you kindly share the contact details and exact location for the "Rang Vilas Palace", thanks.
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Old 7th November 2010, 17:24   #8
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Good to know that you have enjoyed my eccentric writing, if only my teachers enjoyed that too. Anyway, we relied on Google to plan us through, that means pulling through blogs, hotel and tourism websites the information that we seek.
Silver Miles hotel is in Manor. We were driving in temperatures of 34 and around Manor it was foggy with temperature dropping to 28. Search internet for Silver Miles hotel and one can find the location on Map.
Do search for Rang Niwas Palace and you will find their website. The hotel is clean, quite and spacious. Food sucks, though. There are also other but having been there I will recommend this. There is space to park just 4-5 cars only. Its a cozy place to stay and one can walk to Pichola lake nearby or dine in the Udaipur Palace next to it.

Day 2: Monday 11th October 2010 ĖNH76+NH8 Udaipur to Delhi
Once again we committed ourselves to execute the schedule to perfections as we did on day one. The roads were only getting better and traffic was thinner. We asked the guy in the shack, the reception that is, for the route guidance. He guided us to drive straight out of the narrow lanes and go via Chittor and take the NH76. Even though I said a lot against Sergey Brin and Larry Page, I still referred to the Google maps on my mobile. We were waved off in our grand quest by the massive crowd led by the lone guy in the shack. The weather was very nice and car was holding good. The trip meter was till at 794 kms and the time was earthly 0719 hours. Our search for tea, diesel and air for tires was turning out to be a challenge in itself. In such early hour people keep themselves busy with attending natures call and not making tea or attending petrol stations. Still driving aimlessly, we stuck refined black gold, a petrol bunk that is. With the diesel in the tank we drove around further for air. The left rear tire was not looking healthy and I suspected a leaked valve for loss of pressure. Finally one reliance chap filled some air and after driving around 18 kms and consuming 30 mins we took the road with the big board showing the directions to Chittor. The road ahead was open and inviting.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00455.jpg
The thing to note here is that it is advisable to fill up the night earlier and do not expect tea at the Rang Villas Palace before 0700. At 0820 hours and driving 63 kms we paid the first toll of Rs 55. The day had started and the sight of toll booth and parted money means we were driving. The road was excellent, the traffic sparse and the sun was straight into the eyes. Next 50 kms was covered in 34 mins. After paying another toll of Rs45, we covered 30kms in 20 mins. And then another toll of Rs 40 and this was turning out to be very expensive. The road, NH76 is excellent, some part is concrete but it is way better made than the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The concrete part is smoother with less noise and better grip. The road itself is good because it is not straight, it has high speed corners, it goes up and down, there is less traffic, very few villages and the truck drivers were driving in the left lane. I was enjoying the drive and speeds above 100 are easily manageable. We started to believe that this part will be a cake walk, not like day 1 but a better cake. The requirement of tea for wife and some carbohydrates and proteins for me made us read a big board saying Apna Dhaba Ė 12 kms ahead. We decided to give it a shot.
Between 0925 to 1005 hours was spent at Apna dhaba. My wife had poha which tasted sweet and I savoured great aloo parathas. It is not a dhaba but a decent little restaurant at a petrol station. I doubled on parathas and we both ended up having coffee instead of tea. Being the first customers everything was unused and clean, thus we had no complaints. The heat was catching up and at 1045 the trip meter illuminated with 1000 kms. The next 22 kms were covered in 20 mins when we stopped to give more toll of Rs 50. The next 107 kms was covered in 75 mins and we reached the toll of Kishangarh. Another Rs 70 was taken from us and by now we had stopping thinking of the logic of toll at such frequency. What we both agreed is that roads are excellent, the toll is high and because of high speeds the next toll gate is reached in short time and thus frequent high toll payments were looking very expensive. Next toll was at Jaipur bypass by travelling 117kms in 86 mins. On the last stretch we were back on NH8 and the traffic had picked up, the trucks were back to maintaining the lane discipline and roads were not as good. The trucks on this part of the world have their individuality.
This one has such a beautiful picture painted on a truck,
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00466.jpg
The Jaipur bypass was a nightmare. All three toll booths had huge lines of trucks and there was no space for tiny cars. The bypass road was in very bad condition. There were repairs going on and the effective driving space was just two lanes and at some places just one. I believe that as the central government, led by UPA, needs money, they decided to dig up the road and lay it again. The Keynesian theory will be at work and the GDP of the state and country will go up. Anyway, economics apart the result was that we were driving over a failed bypass surgery. The beauty with Linea is that it can be driven fast on patched roads without getting uncomfortable or unsafe. With that good a car we soon found ourselves in middle of empty roads. We both wondered where the trucks have gone, where are the sign boards. Ok! I was driving at 120 but still itís not enough to open time portals and transport us to another dimension. With so much science we seek the help of an expert. Well, itís not Stephen Hawkins but Google Maps. The Map informed us that we were supposedly driving on some road which was going away from Jaipur city and will join back NH8. That was way too much helpful. This bypass is fairly long. As we exited we were again asked to pay toll. My argument of having already paid at the entrance had no effect on the toll collector. I rumbled on and the car grumbled on. Just as we hit back NH8, the dhabas started totting the stretch.
It was 1420 and the car was stopped at 1278 kms. I had heard a lot of Delhi-Jaipur highway and with just 250 kms to go I was comfortable that we will reach our destination in evening. My wife was wiser and pointed to the slow moving convoys of trucks and the cars that were displaying Brownian motion in real life at high speeds. Anyway, we stopped at 1420 at a dhaba called Shri Krishna. We made ourselves comfortable in one of those wooden chairs lined up with a cut used cycle tire. It was uncomfortable. It took these chairs to make us realize how comfortable our car seats were. Even after such long journey sitting in the car we immediately recognized the uncomfortable chairs at the dhaba. Atleast Linea can claim to have seats better than the roadside dhabas. We deliberated for a long time at the menu recited to us and eventually ordered tea and pakodas. In true north Indian fashion the pat reply was that it will take time. We asked how much and he said it is lunch time and as we are asking for tea and pakodas, it will take time. We both smiled at each other and started our wait. The tea was excellent and so were the pakodas of paneer and vegetables. This little adventure by the roadside cost us 40 mins, but with a dose of tea and pakodas, we were still confident of not driving too much in night.
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00461.jpg
Mumbai to Mohali via Delhi-dsc00462.jpg
The road ahead was a sheer test of patience. The first one to lose was my wife; thank god she is not driving. Between Jaipur and Delhi, NH8 is 6 lanes. As I said earlier UPA (Congress) is using its master stroke. The prime minister that we have, along with a Bengali finance minister, the economics was applied in its purest form. Two of the 6 lanes were dug up and the new 7th and 8th lane were; well also dug up. That left just 4 lanes to drive, two on each side. There is no better place but Indian roads to apply theories of science. I decided to understand the Brownian motion of other car drivers and the laminar flow of truck drivers. Having spent considerable time in Engineering college, I quickly calculated the path of least resistance. Even with such superior scientific methods, I invariable found myself stuck in some jam in all the villages that come ahead.
Currently entire NH8 between Delhi-Jaipur is being converted into 8 lanes along with construction of flyovers over all the villages/towns enroute. Thus, I came in the wrong time as it is the end of the Congress term at the center so they are going all out to do as much digging of roads and construction of flyovers at national level. Anyway, since the stop for tea, I had with a skill of a surgeon opened the traffic ahead and managed 96kms in 112mins. Imagine what would have been my speeds if I had been less privileged and without elite education. I was feeling proud but my wife was not impressed at all but she was smiling and that was good enough for me. This is when I paid another toll of Rs89 and the smile was no longer there to give me any more solace. I braved on and we arrived in Manesar after 56 kms in 60 mins. The roads were pathetic for a national highway and the traffic was too much.
The industrial belt has been widely written about. I will do my bit by saying that it has too many intersections, entry and exit points with no flyovers. That is a classic recipe for traffic jams. May be Rahul Dravid will have patience of getting stuck in such traffic jams. Iím more like current older, Virender Sehwag. Young Sehwag will be too much of a driver. In next 27 mins we covered 19 kms as we entered Gurgaon. The road has huge steel wall separating the two sides of road. My wife wondered why build such high wall as a divider. I think it is when the sun is at its hottest the road might be full of fast moving cars and then someone might try to cross the road. For safety of cars and drivers, the steel wall is an excellent and very cheap idea. My wife asked another question as to why then they have not made speed breakers, instead. I said that is because speed breakers are very expensive as they damage the cars which need lot of repair. It is not good for fuel economy thus the country will pay a lot to import oil. As the speeds are lower at speed breakers the insurance companies will suffer as not many will buy expensive accident insurance. Thus, Manmohan Singhís government might not be able to show high GDP growth. All this economic talk did not impressed my wife and she proposed an alternative of using a traffic light. Well, it was my signal to move on as there is no logic stronger than a female logic.
The traffic was dense and the last Gurgaon toll was paid with the tip meter reading 1467 kms and the time of 1846 hours. The entry in Delhi was greeted with good raods. For a metropolitan not as big and mighty as Mumbai and where the citizens does not take local causes like MNS and Shiv Sena does, the roads were looking good. The traffic was very dense and I somehow recalled Godzilla. Delhi is a Godzilla like Mumbai is Antilla. Mumbai has people that will fill all crevices on this planet whereas Delhi has cars. It fills up the roads. Then, we were both greeted by the excellent work of common wealth games organizers. I saw the bike drivers driving in the center leaving the left lane empty. I cursed the driver, honked a bit and tried to occupy the left lane. This is when I saw painted on the road ĎCWG laneí and I also saw some volunteers standing around. I took back my honking and dissolved in the sea of cars.
I read the signs on the roads to take the ring road and go towards Noida. We followed those while avoiding the CWG lane and reached without a scratch from Delhi drivers to our destination in Mayur Vihar. As I commended the excellent road infrastructure and the welcome thrown to us by the CWG organizing committee, my wife pointed towards corruption and bad name that CWG bought to the country because of Kalmadi and Co. Anyway, at exact 1499 kms and 1951 hours, I switched off the car to mark our arrival in Delhi. The next day was to be spent in Delhi meeting friends and the day after is to go to Mohali. The best part is this trip was in Himachal. 3-4 days and it was excellent.
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Old 7th November 2010, 18:43   #9
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I enjoyed reading your travelogue, jawanak, accompanied by many smiles. I will be travelling on the same route on 20/21 November 2010 in my Fiat Linea. Did you face traffic jam while crossing the Narmada bridge in Gujarat? Did you go on NH 8 bypass or go through Bharuch town?
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Old 8th November 2010, 10:00   #10
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i took all the bypass and did not go through any city. While going towards Delhi there was no traffic over Narmada and we sped across the bridge. While coming back there was a long jam but a left lane was kept open for cars only and that saved us some time otherwise be prepared to get stuck. Having said that, one will not stay stuck for more than 15 mins but on a highway it seems eternity and is very frustrating.
The exit from Mumbai is the most ardous so leave a bit earlier, say about 6 to avoid getting stuck over bad road. All teh best for your journey. Diesel is cheaper in Mira Bhayander at Rs 39+ then get more in Udaipur at Rs 39+, then the cheapest will be in Delhi at RS 38+.
Do get yourself a tubeless puncture repairt kit and a footpump. Rajasthan is pretty empty and I realised this after I reached Delhi.
Happy and safe motoring.
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Old 11th November 2010, 10:23   #11
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Excellent posts dude. I am planning for a similar route for catching the WC semifinals next year. Do keep the post updated
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Old 29th November 2010, 16:33   #12
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nice narrative...small errors - you mention you reached Bharuch first at 200kms around 11 am in the morning and then Surat. Can't be. You should reach Surat around 240-250 km mark and Ankleshwar - Bharuch is another 60 kms from there.

Quick tip for those who want to avoid the longer highway route / traffic jams and the toll between Ankleshwar Bharuch. When you cross Panoli and drive toward Ankleshwar (you cant miss it because of all the deadly stench from those chemical facories), lookout for a road which diverts on the left away from the highway leading to Ankleshwar station. Infact right after Surat/Kosamba, the highway goes parallel to the railway track (on the left).
As you take the road away from the highway, keep going straight. Just straight. The road is the old Ankleshway - Bharuch highway used by daily commuters/rickshaws etc and goes pretty closely parallel to the railway line. You will cross the Narmada bridge and get into Bharuch. Keep going straight for another 4 kms after you cross Bharuch station/Narmada and then take a right turn towards GNFC Naramdanagar township. When you take a right from that junction (straight will take you to the GNFC factory), and two kms later you will rejoin the NH8 minus all the truck traffic.

A dhaba called Nyaymandir there is very good and famous.
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