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Old 18th June 2020, 14:57   #1
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Default Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

**NOTE: This is supposed to be an informative document for people who would like to travel on this route in near future.
Only few photos were taken due to the lockdown and curfew situation across the country. The journey was intended to be quick with as less breaks as possible.

Writing a travelogue has never been my strongpoint, hence I have missed out on sharing the memories of many of my trips with my fellow teambhpians. However, this journey was very special, challenging and test of physical and mental endurance.
But as you know, there is a saying: "If you have to do it, you have to do it".

The backdrop of this story goes like this:
It started in the month of Feb'2020 when I was supposed to go to Delhi for a month’s training, leaving my wife and 3 months old kid alone in Bangalore. So, I decided to send them to Kolkata to stay with her parents while I could go for the office work. Accordingly, I booked the flight tickets and send them off to Kolkata. I promised them to come soon after the training to Kolkata in the month of March, and take them back to Bangalore.
After I sent them to Kolkata, and was waiting for my official clearance to fly to Delhi, my travel to Delhi got cancelled due to approval related issues and then finally when I got the approval it was too late. By that time Corona had struck and spread in many places including Delhi. Thus, my Delhi trip was cancelled but I had, like a fool sent my wife and kid to Kolkata.
When I was planning to go to Kolkata, the most unlikely thing happened in the form of nationwide lockdown from March-22nd due to COVID-19. My flight ticket was booked for Kolkata on March 25th which was also cancelled due to the lockdown.
The lockdown continued till 30th May. Unlock 1 was declared from 1st June.

All this while I was trying to find out what would be the best possible way to go to Kolkata.
I was going to get mad staying alone in the apartment and missing my 3 months old kid. Thankfully I had a friend and his family staying in my apartment with whom I could spend some time having lunch and dinner together during the entire lockdown period. During this time, me and my friend discussed possible ways of going to Kolkata by my car.
I started the preparations by applying for passes in Karnataka and West Bengal. I got the exit acknowledgement form the Seva-Sindhu portal of the Karnataka government and confirmation for entry from West Bengal government.
With the unlock 1 the flight service started however I had made up my mind on driving to Kolkata in my dependable workhorse- my i10 Sports.
All the research work for the road trip was done through various sources as well as teambhp portal.
I got my car serviced, changed the tyres with new Bridgestone tyres. Changed wipers as they were worn out and there was forecast of rain on the eastern part of India.
I ensured to get the Fastag for my car and recharged it with around Rs 2500 thus I could avoid contacts and delays at each of the toll booths.
Me and my friend also discussed about taking lot of dry food items and water enough to last 3-4 days in the worst-case scenario. After lot of deliberations and discussions with him we finalized that we would stop at Vishakhapatnam for night halt. Then do the rest of the journey in one go. In case of any emergency we would take another night halt at Bhubaneshwar.
Accordingly, we started enquiring to the hotels to understand if they were operational, if they had rooms available for our journey dates and if things around the city were normal for us to travel.
Thankfully most of the hotels gave us quite vital information about the condition in the city and around them during the lockdown situation. Thus, we were assured that we can travel and in case of emergency get into a hotel for rest, since they were operational.

Journey start date: 12th June Friday 7 pm from Bangalore.
The road on this stretch was smooth, well-lit and with many dhabas and tea coffee shops.
At the Karnataka - Andhra Pradesh border there was a check post where we were stopped and the details were noted before letting us pass though the state. They asked the name and number of the driver. Vehicle number, number of passengers. From-To points were noted.
First stop at 12:30 am Saturday at Tirupati
For fuel refill and rest to the engine, also break for coffee. The road before approaching Tirupati was quite bad and not properly lit. It was dark with one side of the highway closed for repair work; hence the trucks were coming from front on the single lane. Without the streetlights it was really tough to drive at night the bad condition of the road was making matters worse. However, once we crossed Tirupati the road condition improved with little bit of rough patches in between.
Next stop at 2:30am at Nellore.
We decided to have late dinner so that we don’t feel sleepy or hungry for the rest of the night. We stopped at the petrol bunk for refuelling and rested for half an hour after dinner.
Next stop at 6:30 am at Vijayawada.
We drove non-stop for the next 4 hours and reached Vijayawada. The road on this stretch was very good and hence we could drive comfortably without a break. However, there were no shops opened for breakfast, not even the tea shops were open at that time of the day. We did stop at one of the petrol bunks for refuelling and had some snacks which we were carrying.
Next stop at 10am at Rajahmundry.
We stopped for refuelling and for breakfast, which we were carrying from home. Took some rest and rested for half an hour.
Next stop at 2pm at Vishakhapatnam
It was already decided that we would stay the night here. Although we reached before our anticipated time we decided to halt and so we checked-in. We had already spoke to the manager at the hotel before the start of the journey. He ensured that the rooms were sanitized and the staff were using sanitizers, masks and gloves to handle the luggage. We stayed at Hotel Supine Comfort – recommended for its cleanliness and courteous behaviour of the staff. The restaurant did not have a lot of things in the menu since there were only a few guests. But the food was of decent quality and at reasonable pricing. Overall, it was a good experience at the hotel.
In the evening we decided to just go to Rushikonda beach for a drive around. It was around 8km from the hotel. We came back and had our dinner in the room and then crashed into our beds.
Sunday 14th June:
We had breakfast at the hotel. They served all the food in paper plates with plastic spoons. They had taken care to keep minimum contact as possible.
Started from Vishakhapatnam at 10 am on Sunday.

Next stop at 4 pm at Brhamapur.
At the Odhisa Andhra border there was a check post again. Where we had to provide all the details and were allowed to pass through the state.
At Brhamapur we stopped at a non-descript location for refuelling. We parked our car inside the petrol bunk and had our lunch which we had packed from the hotel in Vishakhapatnam. It was very hot and humid and we repeatedly splashed water on our faces to keep ourselves cool and hydrated. Although the entire journey was done with the AC on. However, during the breaks in AP and Odisha it was really hot outside and there were no decent hotels/dhabas or restaurants to provide us comfort or shelter.
Next stop was planned at 7pm at Bhubaneshwar.
The entire state of Odisha was under weekend curfew hence on the Sunday evening not a soul was seen on the highway. We had to stop in one nondescript location at a small tea shop. We bought cold drinks from that shop and had some snacks and chocolates from our store of dry food. This stretch did not have street lights and again one side of the road was closed for repair work. Thus, causing difficulty in driving with all the trucks driving with their high beam on.
Next stop was at 2am Monday at Kharagpur.
We drove for around 6and half hours continuously to reach West Bengal border. At the Bengal -Odisha border we were stopped for one last time to enquire all the details at the check post. After providing the details we were allowed to enter West Bengal. We stopped at a petrol bunk for refuelling and again gave the car a rest time of around 45 minutes. We decided to skip dinner as there were no proper eateries on this stretch. The well-known ones were all closed. Only a few very shabby dhabas were catering to the needs of the truck drivers. We relied on our dry food stock of chips, biscuits chocolates and juice along with water. After the rest we started on the final leg of the journey.
Final stop was at the destination at 4:30 am Kolkata.
The road after Kharagpur was the best in the entire stretch of 2000KM. It was smooth as silk and I could maintain a consistent speed of 110-120Km/hr till the end of the highway till Dakhineshwar. I was relaxed once we reached the city limits of Kolkata, and all my tension evaporated in a moment. Relieved to be home after the tough journey.

Summary of the experience:
In the entire stretch we did not see more than 20 personal vehicles and the number of trucks were also very less. Due to lockdown not many would like to venture out to the highway. It was not very safe to stop frequently and that is why we did not stop for any photo sessions. Our focus was to reach Kolkata at the earliest and without stopping at any point. It was a real test of the endurance of human body and mind. A calculated risk had to be taken since this ensured that the Covid -19 situation would not affect us if we travelled in our own car with least human interaction.
We did not depend on the roadside food or water. In the worst case scenario of a breakdown- we would have to rely on the 24*7 highway service provided by the car company or the insurance company. Since there were no shops operational.
Presently I am in home quarantine, isolated myself in a room in my apartment, thus ensuring the safety of my family and my kid. I am waiting for the 14 days to pass so that I can hold my kid in my arm again.
Hope this travelogue would be helpful for anyone planning to travel this stretch in near future. Thanks to teambhpians for providing their valuable inputs to my route query. Many of you have inspired me to take up this drive and write it down for future reference of other.
Signing off for now…until another road and another journey calls me to take up the next challenge.
Attached Thumbnails
Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200612_214409.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_131815.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_131838.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_132026.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_163303.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_163539.jpg  

Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown-img_20200614_163601.jpg  


Last edited by sourav.info111 : 18th June 2020 at 15:15.
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Old 27th June 2020, 12:46   #2
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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Originally Posted by sourav.info111 View Post
**NOTE:
I started the preparations by applying for passes in Karnataka and West Bengal. I got the exit acknowledgment form the Seva-Sindhu portal of the Karnataka government and confirmation for entry from the West Bengal government.
Thanks for sharing your driving experience on the highways across the states during Covid-19 times and good to hear that you are safely back home.

Sometime during the next few weeks, I intend to visit my home near Chilka, Odisha driving from Chennai through Andhra Pradesh.
From your post, is it correct to assume that for interstate travel we just need to apply for e-passes in the originating and the destination state, i.e. in my case I will require e-passes for exit from TN and entry to Odisha?
I will be driving with my family and would really like to avoid any issues at the border check posts. Any insights will really be helpful.

Last edited by deep_behera : 27th June 2020 at 12:48.
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Old 27th June 2020, 12:48   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

This was indeed the test of physical and mental endurance, meeting your family at the destination was the biggest driving factor. Happy to see you reached without facing any significant hiccups.
Surprised to read that there were not more than 20 personal vehicles!

On the other note, you had one reliable workhorse with you. I have done many 400-500 kms runs in a day in my i10 and have never faced any issue. Though touching 100 kmph in 5th gear is somewhere around 3000 rpm, but it doesn't send vibrations inside or let any engine noise creep in. This thread inspires me to plan longer distances post lockdown. May be Pune-Bangalore.

Your car isn't the one with 1.2L engine, right?
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Old 27th June 2020, 13:08   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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Originally Posted by deep_behera View Post
Thanks for sharing your driving experience on the highways across the states during Covid-19 times and good to hear that you are safely back home.

Sometime during the next few weeks, I intend to visit my home near Chilka, Odisha driving from Chennai through Andhra Pradesh.
From your post, is it correct to assume that for interstate travel we just need to apply for e-passes in the originating and the destination state, i.e. in my case I will require e-passes for exit from TN and entry to Odisha?
I will be driving with my family and would really like to avoid any issues at the border check posts. Any insights will really be helpful.
Yes you are correct. Only originating state and destination state pass is required. Although they are not harassing people. They will stop to ask the details and then let you pass through. Just ensure you have enough food and water, to avoid roadside stoppage. All the best for your journey and thanks for your response.
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Old 27th June 2020, 19:17   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

Short and compact narration of your travel with not much happenings on the road to bother you in addition to the COVID-19 related incidents which is already taking a toll on us. You didn't take stayover in Bhubaneswar, as it's a bit risky driving continuosly such a long stretch without rest. I have a similar plan of traveling by car from Kerala to Kolkata via Bangalore if I get transfer order within this/next month hopefully. Was searching for a blog on inter-state travel during this lockdown situation, and thankfully I came accross your blog. Is there any mandatory 14 days quarantine clause in those states which you already crossed like Karnataka, AP, Odhisa if I have a plan to take my night-rest in a hotel in any of those states?
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Old 27th June 2020, 23:32   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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Originally Posted by topse View Post
Short and compact narration of your travel with not much happenings on the road to bother you in addition to the COVID-19 related incidents which is already taking a toll on us. You didn't take stayover in Bhubaneswar, as it's a bit risky driving continuosly such a long stretch without rest. I have a similar plan of traveling by car from Kerala to Kolkata via Bangalore if I get transfer order within this/next month hopefully. Was searching for a blog on inter-state travel during this lockdown situation, and thankfully I came accross your blog. Is there any mandatory 14 days quarantine clause in those states which you already crossed like Karnataka, AP, Odhisa if I have a plan to take my night-rest in a hotel in any of those states?
If you plan to travel in the next few days then there will be no quarentine rules, if you paln to stay in a hotel just call them and ask them about their rules. Tell them your plan. That will be helpful for you. By the way I stayed at Hotel Supine Comfort..in Vizag. The manager Mr. Ram Babu was very helpful. The hotel is very clean and they follow all precautions religiously. Rooms were neat and clean and their inhouse restaurant was decent. Just ensure you carry sanitizer and surface sanitizing sprays in case you wanting to be extra careful. Apart from that, I did not feel tired driving at night on the first night. Then I had a much needed night halt at Vizag. That recharged me a lot and I again got the encouragement to drive full night till I reached Kolkata. It is better if you take minimum night halts, thus avoiding staying at multiple places and avoiding any unwanted contamination on the way. Hope these information helps. My sole objective for this post was to ensure that people feels encouraged to take up the challenge of driving during Covid 19 situation. Also note in the upcoming days the lockdown rules may change.

Last edited by sourav.info111 : 27th June 2020 at 23:46. Reason: Grammar
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Old 28th June 2020, 08:09   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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Originally Posted by petrolHead_1609 View Post
This was indeed the test of physical and mental endurance, meeting your family at the destination was the biggest driving factor. Happy to see you reached without facing any significant hiccups.
Surprised to read that there were not more than 20 personal vehicles!

On the other note, you had one reliable workhorse with you. I have done many 400-500 kms runs in a day in my i10 and have never faced any issue. Though touching 100 kmph in 5th gear is somewhere around 3000 rpm, but it doesn't send vibrations inside or let any engine noise creep in. This thread inspires me to plan longer distances post lockdown. May be Pune-Bangalore.

Your car isn't the one with 1.2L engine, right?
You should definitely try that out - I have done Bangalore - Shirdi - Pune - Mumbai - Lonavala - Bangalore with my 2009 i10 Magna. Around 2500 kms and it was smooth, reliable. It starts vibrating once the speed reaches way past triple digits, but I believe that's speed is too much for it.

Last edited by moralfibre : 28th June 2020 at 08:58. Reason: High speed mention
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Old 28th June 2020, 08:49   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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You should definitely try that out - I have done Bangalore - Shirdi - Pune - Mumbai - Lonavala - Bangalore with my 2009 i10 Magna. Around 2500 kms and it was smooth, reliable. It starts vibrating once the speed reaches way past triple digits, but I believe that's speed is too much for it.
I'd definitely do one. Thing is whenever my friends came along, we did have other options (Ecosport, Hexa) , so never really took my car that long. That said, my car has done many Goa, Mumbai and my hometown (390 kms) trips and also, Pune is blessed with array of places to visit in rainy season but the max I did was a 950 kms trip.

On a different note, I request you not to, on any road, however smooth, banked and empty, take this car beyond 120 kmph. The kerb weight, the brakes, the tyres, the suspension, nothing of it is meant for that speed.

Last edited by moralfibre : 28th June 2020 at 08:58. Reason: Editing quoted post.
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Old 28th June 2020, 10:34   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

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Originally Posted by sourav.info111 View Post
If you plan to travel in the next few days then there will be no quarentine rules, if you paln to stay in a hotel just call them and ask them about their rules. Tell them your plan. That will be helpful for you. By the way I stayed at Hotel Supine Comfort..in Vizag. The manager Mr. Ram Babu was very helpful. The hotel is very clean and they follow all precautions religiously.
Thank you sourav for this much needed information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolHead_1609 View Post
On a different note, I request you not to, on any road, however smooth, banked and empty, take this car beyond 120 kmph. The kerb weight, the brakes, the tyres, the suspension, nothing of it is meant for that speed.
I second you. I have i10 sportz 2010 model as our family car. This machine is good upto 110-120kmph on the highway, after that even slight zigzag to overtake another car makes it unstable because of its light weight and high body roll, also its non-abs version so during highspeed braking I experienced complete wheel lock. But i10 is best for city driving anyday.
At the same time my ecosport being a much heavy vehicle can easily withstand upto 170kmph along with highway zigzag till 150-160kmph. Weight and body roll plays a major game here.
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Old 28th June 2020, 13:43   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore to Kolkata in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown

Thanks a million Sourav for the detailed write-up. The information that you shared is very useful indeed and will prove to be a boon to others planning to travel during this phase.
Good to see you reunited with your family in Kolkata.
Wish all of you the very best. Do take care & stay safe.
Best wishes,
Arjab
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