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Old 3rd July 2022, 12:34   #1
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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect

Disclaimer:

1)Take a bucket of popcorn & the beverage of your choice to go with it, this is going to be a long one.
2) As there are restrictions on MP4 attachment here, I have added few small video clips to the copy of this travel blog in my personal page. Rest of the content remains the same.
Link : https://thirugata.blogspot.com/2022/...rritories.html

Prologue:

Visiting every state of this vast country has been a dream we have been nurturing for a decade now. But it always looked too big a task to be put into a plan. During the lock-down 1 when we had nothing to do, in one of the discussions this topic appeared.
During the discussion we realized it has taken us more than 10 years just to explore 4 southern states of India. At this rate it would take very long to achieve the dream of visiting all states. So we decided we needed at least one destination in every state to make a plan & state capital was a easy option, hence the state capitals were chosen.
Curiosity to know exactly how big this drive could be, took us to google maps. Half a day of a weekend went into making a route plan & during this process the UTs were added too. The final picture confirmed that this is not a practical thing to do. But since we had put in so much effort to make a plan, I added all the data to an excel file & saved it.
On 28th Dec 2020 I read an article in News paper where a couple from Bangalore had been to all state capitals on their bikes. This reminded me of the excel file I had saved.
Got in touch with them and spoke to them about their experience. Post this,we stopped thinking that this trip is not possible & we started thinking what if we do this trip.

Planning & Preparation:

We were sure irrespective of what we do, with this Covid waves coming one after another, it was impossible to decide on when a long trip like this can be planned. But there was a shift in thinking from not possible to do the trip to what do we need to do to make this trip happen. ( I sound like Robert Kiyosaki who has famously told, "never say I cant afford it ask yourself what do I need to do to afford it." ). And this brought a list of challenges to work on as we started planning for the trip.
First thing we did as part of the planning was to breakdown this trip into one destination at a time.
Few questions we were looking for the answer were:
How long will it take to reach the destination?
Does it need a pit-stop or can it be done in a day?
If it needs pit stop what it should be?
Once we reach destination what are the local attractions to see? ( We decided to pick 2 per destination considering the time constraint )
Is there anything on the way to visit without taking a big detour?
What is the best time to visit?
Since India was gripped with deadly wave 2 of Covid we knew we could only gather information and feed it to Excel at that moment. And that is what we did with out even thinking about when we can actually start this trip.
At the end of this exercise we realized it could take us approximately 8 weeks to complete this trip and the distance could be anywhere in between 15,500 - 16,500 KMs. And we arrived at 2 possible time window to do this trip Oct - Dec or Mar - May.

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Final route plan with destinations marked in sequence looked like this.

Oct - Feb is our favorite time to travel as the weather is ideal and nature is also at its best. Most of our past road trips have been in this time. But Oct 21 was when India was going through wave 3 with covid numbers rising. Also monsoon extended itself till Dec and there were floods in northern part of India. So it looked unlikely. We were not very keen on summer time as it is never pleasant to do a road trip in hot summer. But we were also not sure if it is wise to wait for Oct 22. A decision was made to start this travel as soon as we see wave 3 numbers starts going down and threat of another lock-down diminishes.
The biggest challenge with both the time window we had chosen was it was not very conducive for visit to Leh. But cant alter plan because of 1 out of 35 destinations we had planned. So we decided to leave Leh as probably not possible and go ahead with rest of the plan.
Next challenge was how do we do this trip in a car that is almost 10 years old. Also it is a hatchback so luggage carrying capacity, ground clearance and all these factors come into picture. We decided to remove the backseat and make space for the luggage & also travel as light as possible. This means we needed more laundry breaks. We started looking for which of the destinations are covered by Airbnb to rent a house with washing machine facility, that data was fed into the excel as well. All this was done without even knowing when we will actually be able to start this trip. It was just the desire that we wanted to do it rather than anything else.
By end of Dec 21, wave 3 peaked and it looked like starting the trip in Mar - May 22 a real possibility. Then my mind started playing games with me. I have done multiple road trips over the years. But none of them had been of this scale. My longest trip has been for about 2 weeks and not crossing 2000 KMs. And I had never driven beyond Konkan region in Maharashtra. So this was at least 4 -5 times bigger in terms of time and 8 times bigger in terms of distance. And 10 year old Skoda was also creating enough doubts in mind. Skoda has limited service centers across Indian and just 1 in entire NE. Decided not to doubt the car which has never let us down in any road trip till now.

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The places we have been to prior to starting this trip

But idea of driving 16000 KMs alone looked like a mammoth task and I kept thinking if it foolhardy to embark on a trip like this. My wife kept encouraging me saying "I know you can do it". Her desire to do this trip made sure she overlooked all possible challenges. I eventually decided not to look at it as a single road trip and look at it in pieces from one destination to another. This approach helped and the mental block disappeared. We also knew that the biggest challenge in this trip is going to be how we cope with constant change in food and weather condition on daily basis.
Once the wave 3 numbers started reducing we decided to start the trip by 3rd week of Feb. Anyways Leh was considered not possible so there was no reason to delay it.
Got new set of wheels for the car, got the annual service done along with thorough checkup of the car to prepare for this trip. But some unfinished business delayed the proceedings and we could not start the trip as intended. In the process I had already driven about 2000 KMs after getting the car ready for the trip. Finally the date for the trip was decided as 20th Mar. Now only and the biggest hurdle in front of us was to convince our parents to allow us to go for this trip. It took some time and persuasion, eventually that was done too.

As part of planning we made following rules for us to adhere to :

1) Consider this like a marathon and not a sprint.
2) No driving in the nights, driving window to be between 7 AM - 6 PM.
3) Do not drive beyond 7 hours in a day unless it is unavoidable.
4) Not to cross 110 KMs speed limit irrespective of how good the road is. ( I was able to stick to it in most parts)
5) Eat light, do not experiment much with food to avoid stomach upsets.




Route: Bangalore - Panjim - Mumbai - Dadra - Daman - Diu - Gandhinagar - Bhopal - Jaipur - New Delhi - Chandigarh - Jammu - Srinagar - Leh - Shimla - Dehradun - Lucknow - Patna - Gangtok - Guwahati - Itanagar - Kohima - Imphal - Aizawl - Agarthala - Shillong - Ranchi - Kolkatta - Bhubaneshwar - Raipur - Hyderabad - Amaravati - Chennai - Puducherry - Thiruvananthapuram - Bangalore.

We decided not to remove the back seat and split the luggage into 2 sections. Boot was filled with all the clothes and shoes which will not be unloaded on daily basis. All the accessories, camera, laptop, snacks, water cans, clothes to be carried to the room on daily basis were in the back seat. We were also carrying an electric multi cooker and good life milk packets to make our morning coffees. This cooker can also be used to cook maggi if needed. Added hooks to the car seat head rests which helped us to hang few small bags that holds things which might be needed to be accessed on the move. One of the hook was dedicated for garbage cover.

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Luggage waiting for the car

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Car waiting to be on the road

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Road trip begins

Last edited by thirugata : 15th October 2022 at 07:05.
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Old 10th July 2022, 16:22   #2
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re: 28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect

Bangalore - Panjim:



A couple of days prior to starting this trip, we had visited some popular places in Bangalore to kick start the trip.

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Vidhana Soudha looks like a golden palace in early morning sun light

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State central Library

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Cubbon Park

Day 1: 20/03/2022

Everyone knows how difficult it is to get a good night sleep before starting the trip because of all excitement, we too had similar experience and woke up by 3:15 AM. Most of the luggage was already loaded in the car the previous night. We got ready and left home by 4:30 AM. It had rained a bit the previous night and when we started it was still drizzling.
At this hour you dont have to worry about any traffic on the road, so it was a trouble free drive to NICE road and from there we took an exit to hit Tumkur road. We took our first tea break as soon as we hit Tumkur road. We generally start the trip early for 2 reasons; beat the traffic and find a nice spot to watch sunrise. But with cloud cover, there was no luck with sunrise, so we drove on. Our next stop was for breakfast around 7:30 AM.

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This guy was enjoying an early morning drive too

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Our next stop was near Hubli at this UP Daba for a tea, it was around 9:30 AM. We also stopped to buy some Dharwad peda for the road. It was still cloudy, which was pleasant to drive. Road condition was pretty good except for a stretch of 25 - 30 KMs after Dharwad.

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We stopped for our lunch in Ramnagar at 12:45 PM, post this next stop was for fuel after crossing to Goa. We spotted this under renovation structure in Goa and stopped take few photos.

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Safa Masjid

We reached Panjim by 3:30 PM and went to visit the monument we had planned to visit.

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Panjim

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Immaculate Conception Church

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Every junction in Panjim was decorated like this

We had not booked any room for our night stay. This is the first experience for us to travel without booking a place. Our bookings are done well in advance all the time. This trip is different in every count from all the road trips we had done till date. Quick internet search, found some hotels nearby and called them. Few were full, found a couple of them, didnt like them once we visited there. Finally found a hotel in Dona Paula and checked in by 5:00 PM. We got freshened up, went to visit the Dona Paula beach. Because of cloud cover there was no chance of watching sunset. Had some snacks and returned to room.

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Dona Paula beach

We were not very hungry by dinner time, so had some snacks for dinner and called it quit for the day.

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Route taken: Bangalore - Chitradurga - Dharward - Ramnagar - Panaji

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What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 11th July 2022 at 08:57.
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Old 16th July 2022, 11:42   #3
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Panaji - Mumbai:



Day 2: 21/03/2022

Considering the distance between Panaji and Mumbai, we had decided to split this distance into 2 days. There were 2 more reasons which influenced this decision. My friends live in Pune and we had not met in a while, so this was an opportunity to meet them and this also allows us to enter Mumbai the next day avoiding the evening rush hour.

We left from Panaji around 8:30 AM and our first stop was for breakfast in a small shop called Jagan at Porvorim after exiting Panaji. We had delicious poha and tea to kick start the day.

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Being a Monday we had some traffic of office goers, but it was not much of a hassle to manage. We had to go through a bad section of narrow road for 6-8 KMs and we reached to road that leads to Amboli ghat.
We made it a point to top up the fuel before leaving Goa considering the difference in fuel price between Goa and Maharastra. From here the road was 2 lane but in decent condition.

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We stopped for some photos on the way. We were having a leisure drive knowing that the destination can be reached well before evening. We stopped for some sabudana vada and tea near Amboli waterfalls.

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After the ghat section we entered Karnataka again near Nipani and connected to butter smooth NH48. From here we continued our journey on this road till Pune. Stopped for lunch at a daba after crossing Kolhapur.
And till here I was familiar with the road as I had driven in these roads in the past, from here onward it was unexplored territory for us.

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Well paved NH48

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First meal in a daba of this trip

Our next stop was to try some satara kandi pedas after crossing Satara city. There are a lot of shops setup on highway around Satara who sell these pedas, and if you have not tried them before, these pedas are worth a stop.
Our final pit stop was in the evening just before entering Pune to try misal pav in Kailash Express Inn ( Would like to thank @VT_RNS for this recommendation).

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We reached our friends place by 6:15 PM, had to encounter some evening city traffic but considering this road trip is all about visiting capital cities encountering traffic would be unavoidable.
Rest of the day was spent in catching up with pending stories of last few years. This was mostly an eat and drive kind of a day and we enjoyed every bit of it.

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Route taken: Panaji-Amboli-Nipani-Satara-Pune


Day 3: 22/03/2022


We left Pune around 9:00 AM. Had breakfast at a small hotel Shivay Vadevale, this one is just before entering the expressway. Once we entered expressway going was smoother. There were some sections here which was under repair.

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Display unit showed 20.5 KMPL for Pune- Mumbai Express highway when we reached Mumbai. I dont go by what is displayed for mileage, I always prefer full tank method, but still I cant recall seeing a mileage of 20 + ever. We reached Navi Mumbai by 11:15 AM. We had to meet friends here. A quick hello and some snacks and we were off from here by 12:30 PM. Reached Gateway Of India by 1:30 PM. We spent almost an hour here clicking photos. It was cloudy and it was threatening to rain, but thankfully rain stayed away.

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There was a Shivaji Maharaj statue tooo

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Taj of Mumbai


We left from here at 2:30 PM. Our next destination was Malad, to meet another friend. We were given strict instructions to have a very light lunch and I knew I had to take him seriously.
We drove via the famous Bandra Worli sea link road. Traffic was building up and going was slow. We reached Malad by 4:00 PM.

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We left Malad after having some lip smacking home made Maharastrian snacks at 5:00 PM to Borivali, where we had planned to stay in a friends house.
Though it was just around 10 KMs drive it took us almost an hour because of bad road condition and lot of traffic. Reached Borivali at 6:00 PM.
By late evening rest of my friends and their families were also under one roof. Didn't realize how rest of the evening went by.
Around 10:30 PM (Late evening in Mumbai) we decided to end the day with an ice cream and we stormed into an ice cream shop near by who was closing the business for the day.
He couldnt resist the temptation of serving a big group of people, hence the business was done behind half closed doors.
Perfect end for the day.

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Route taken : Mumbai Pune Expressway

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What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 16th July 2022 at 14:34.
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Old 17th July 2022, 14:50   #4
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Mumbai - Dadra - Daman - Diu:




Day 4: 23/03/2022

By the time friends left, it was past midnight, so we slept around 1 AM and woke up by 7. Had breakfast and left from Borivali by 9:45 AM. Advantage of staying in Borivali was we didn't have to struggle much to exit the city traffic to connect to Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway. It was cloudy and windy day. Just before exiting Maharastra a 20 lt empty water can came flying from some where and hit the car bumper. That's how strong the wind was, but thankfully no damage was done, I am guessing it hit the wheel instead of bumper which saved the car, lucky escape.
Once we crossed to Gujarat we spotted a beautiful temple on the roadside at Nandigram, Sri Simandarswami Jain Thirth. We spent about an hour exploring this temple and taking photos. A thing to note about this temple: For men, you need to wear pant/dhoti and for women covering the head is a must. If you are not carrying the attire needed, it is available for free to use in the temple.

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We continued our journey from here and reached Dadra. The first thing we did here was to hunt for a petrol station and fill fuel (never miss a chance to fill fuel in a UT). One thing that surprised us about Dadra was the number of outlets selling marble stones for flooring, never knew this was a hub for it. We reached Sri Swami Narayan temple, Dadra by 1:00 PM. Temple closes by 12:00 PM, we spoke to the staff in charge there and took permission to click some photos from outside.

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A beautiful temple, wish were in time to visit and check from inside. It was opening for public only at 4 PM, 3 more hours of wait was not possible for us on that day, so we decided to continue.
We stopped for lunch near Vapi around 1:45 PM. Post lunch we drove on and reached Daman by 2:45 PM. Here we first went to visit St Joreme Fort, a small fort built by Portuguese in 17th century.

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From here our next stop was Daman beach and light house. Since it was very hot we didn't spend much time here in the beach. And black sand on the beach ( mostly because of the oil extraction in this area) didn't encourage us either.

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There are some facilities for adventure sport here

We left Daman by 4:00 PM and continued our journey. On the way stopped for a tea in Valsad. Reached Surat where we had booked our accommodation for the night and checked in by 6:30 PM. Road condition was very good in most places. There were some bad patches once we entered Dadra and the route to Daman via Vapi also had some broken patches with huge potholes. We ended the day with a delicious Gujarati thali @ Purohit thali, Surat. This is a very famous restaurant, right opposite to Surat railway station. Wonderful food, but be ready for mad rush here.

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Route taken: Mumbai - Nandigram - Dadra - Daman - Surat



Day 5: 24/03/2022


We checked out of hotel in Surat by 9:15 AM after breakfast. We were in for a sweet surprise when we saw our car shining clean in the parking area. Hotel staff had done complimentary car wash for us. We had bit of traffic to manage till we crossed Bharuch. We stopped for a coffee break @ McD in Bharuch. This place has clean toilets, so a recommended place for break on this route. From here traffic eased out and going was smooth.

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We found some road side vendors selling local fruits and stopped to pick some for the road.
After crossing Vadodra traffic was almost non existent.

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Wood Apple

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Sweet tamarind/ Jungle Jalebi/ Madras thorn

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Mulberry

We took deviation to state highway at Vataman. From here it was mix of 4 lane and 2 lane highway, but they were all well paved roads. We stopped for a buttermilk here. A little further ahead we spotted Vatnam Chokdi Dharmadham Adhinath Jain temple. Stopped here to take couple of quick photos before we moved further.

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Once we crossed Sanes we got to see a lot of salt fields on the road side all the way up to Bhavnagar. We had booked our accommodation in Bhavnagar for the day and we reached our hotel by 4:30 PM.
After check in, had some snacks and tea as we had skipped our lunch.
This entire stretch the road was of excellent condition, did not encounter even one patch of bad road. Gujarat has lived up to the reputation of having best roads so far for us.

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Route taken : Surat - Bharuch - Vadodra - Vataman - Sanes - Bhavnagar

We took some rest as it was very hot outside. In the evening went out in search of famous Gujarati sweets to Muni Pedewala. This is certainly a recommended place to try the Gujarati sweets in Bhavnagar.

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Thandi Penda

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Rajbhog Mattho

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Kesar Shrikhand

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Kesar & sada churma laddoo

By now one of the rules we had made of not experimenting much with food had gone out of the window.

Continued....

Last edited by thirugata : 17th July 2022 at 15:03.
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Old 21st July 2022, 12:20   #5
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Day 6: 25/03/2022

We checked out of our hotel in Bhavnagar around 9:00 AM after our breakfast. We took route towards Somnath and Dwarka.
This is a 4 lane coastal highway under construction. So most of the places road was broken to non existent. Going was slow because of the road condition.
Overhead condition was pleasant with good cloud cover.We stopped for a tender coconut at a place called Vadli.

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Spotted these kingfishers resting after their breakfast

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Saw this Skoda fan in Vadli

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Spotted this colorful temple on the way

By the time we reached Diu it was 3 PM. It took us almost 6 hours to cover a distance of 200 KMs because of the poor / under construction road condition. Had our lunch in Diu and checked into the guest house we had booked around 3:30 PM.

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Route taken : Bhavnagar - Trapaj - Talaja - Bhaguda - Mahuva - Pipavar - Timbli - Una - Diu

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We had spotted some flamingos when were approaching Diu, this was about 8 - 9 KMs from the guesthouse we had booked. Since it was very hot in the afternoon and also we were very hungry we skipped taking the deviation to watch them from close quarters and proceeded straight away.
Afternoon heat was severe, so by the time we decided to go out it was almost 5:30 PM. We spoke to the guest house owner and got our stay extended by a day to explore Diu. We also spoke to a working staff there who agreed to wash our clothes for an extra fee.
First we visited INS Kukhri memorial (a must visit place in Diu).

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From here we went to Gangeshwar Mahadev temple. Specialty of this temple is, during the high tides sea water enters the temples through a small canal engraved in stone and washes the shiv lings.

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Had thepla and tea after the temple visit

After the temple visit we visited the Khodidhar beach's sunset point and waited for the sunset to conclude the day.

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There was this colorful temple too on the beach

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Car was enjoying some cool sea breeze


Day 7: 26/03/2022

We woke up early and went to Ghoghola beach, but since it was cloudy, could not witness the sunrise. From here we went on in search of flamingos that we had spotted the previous day.
We reached wet lands at Naliya Mandvi, but there were no flamingos. Instead there were a lot of pelicans and other water birds. Spent an hour here clicking photos.

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Pelicans

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Black winged Stilt

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Citrine wagtail female

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Black tailed Godwit

I am restricting myself from posting more bird photos to make sure I finish this section in one post.

From here we went to Fudam bird sanctuary expecting to see some flamingos. This place was disappointing and there were no birds here.
We spotted Fudam church in front of it and visited. After the church visit we went to have our breakfast and returned to guest house by 10:00 AM.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-21.jpg

We handed over the clothes to be washed and took some rest.
We left again around 12:00 PM to visit Diu Fort. This is a huge area and needs at least an hour to explore.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-23.jpg

Pani Kotha, this was prison during Portuguese era, also used to keep a watch on sea movement in the later stages

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There was a light house too in the fort

We left from Diu fort in an hour. We visited St. Paula's church and Diu museum. Museum was closed, not sure if it is operational. After this we had our lunch and returned to guest house by 3:00 PM.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-28.jpg

In the evening we went to visit Diu port. If you like colors this is the place to be. Most colorful boats you get to see in one place. Clicked some lovely photos here and went to watch sunset to Jalandhar beach.
But because of cloud cover we could not watch the sunset. Had some maggi, lemon soda and just sat on the beach side till 8:00 PM and returned back to room.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-30.jpg

We collected the clothes which were given for washing and paid the balance amount to the guest house owner.
We had planned to checkout early in the morning, so we didnt want to keep any formalities for the morning.

Last edited by thirugata : 21st July 2022 at 14:29.
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Diu - Gandhinagar:




Day 8: 27/03/2022


As planned woke up early and left Diu by 7 AM. Guest house owner had warned us that road condition is not that good, so we needed time to reach Gandhinagar. As soon as we exited Diu gate, our car completed a milestone.

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At around 8:00 AM we stopped in a small town called Dhokadava for our breakfast.

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Fafda

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Jalebi & Channa laddoo

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-04.jpg

Methi Bhajiya

This entire route is via state highway and Major District Road (MDR) . In most parts the road is narrow, but condition of the road is good. Because the road passes through villages and towns the going was slower.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-05.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-06.jpg

It was a very hot day, so we took breaks to hydrate ourselves very often. Our first break post breakfast was at Amreli for a tea, then a tender coconut at Botad. We stopped for lunch at Dhandukha at around 1:00 PM.
Post lunch we drove on and stopped for fuel in Ahmedabad around 3:00 PM. Our next stop was at Adalaj Stepwell at 3:50 PM.
It was about 42 degree here, but once we entered the step well area temperature cooled down by good 10 degrees, an amazing structure.

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This place was crowded, so we left from here in 30 mins and reached our hotel in Gandhinagar by 4:30 PM.
In the evening we went to visit Aksharadhama temple which was at walk-able distance from our hotel. Here no camera and phone are allowed inside, so no scope to take photos.
We saw another temple at a distance so we went in search of entry gate. After asking around and misguided a couple of times, we finally reached the temple.

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Vishwa Maitri Dham Borij Jain Tirth

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We returned to our hotel room post sunset. Took some rest and went out to try some street food. Also tried some desert in Radhe Prem Ni Mithaiwala and called it a day.
There is one thing you need to be extremely careful about when you drive in Gujarat, people here have the habit of opening the door of moving car to spit the gutka they are eating. So watch out if you are looking overtake someone.

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Kaju Anjeer Mattha & Green Apple Mattha

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Kesar Dudh

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Route taken: Diu - Amreli - Lathi - Gadhara - Ranpur - Bagodara - Balva - Ahmedabad - Gandhinagar

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-17.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-18.jpg

What we covered so far

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Old 23rd July 2022, 16:53   #7
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Gandhinagar - Bhopal:




Day 9: 28/03/2022


We left from our hotel in Gandhinagar around 8:30 AM after our breakfast. We took NH 48 and drove on. Nothing much to see on this route. Road condition is very good in most places especially till we cross Gujarat. Traffic was manageable too. Our first break for tea was at Menpura at a hotel called Pet Pooja. This hotel has very impressive art work across all the walls.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-01.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-02.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-03.jpg

Once you take a turn from NH48 to NH47 there are not many food options available, so plan accordingly.
For those who want to take advantage of difference in fuel prices before crossing Guj to MP, there are hardly any fuel stations closer to border.
An IOC fuel station is available closer to Dahod, I guess about 2 -3 kms before Dahod (this is about 25 km before border), but it sells only Diesel.
If you want petrol, take a deviation off NH47 to Dahod smart city, at about 500 mts in, you have another IOC station where you can fill petrol.
Found one more Reliance petrol station after Dahod, I think it was after about 8 Kms or so. As I had already filled petrol, didnt check what is available here. No fuel stations after this in Guj on this route.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-04.jpg

Once we crossed to MP, road condition deteriorated a bit and driving in the opposite direction at whatever speed you like became legal. We stopped for lunch at Dattigao in a daba.
It appears that toll charges are much higher in MP compared to all the states we covered so far. (I could be wrong). The drive was mostly uneventful, surroundings are much drier here so there is nothing much to see around on this route.
Once we reached Indore around 4:00 PM, google map played its usual trick and took us through some real narrow lanes before we reached our hotel around 4:20 PM.

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Route taken: Gandhinagar -Ahmendabad - Chandial - Kathlal - Ladvel - Godhra - Limkeda - Dahod - Jhabua - Indore


We took some rest after check in. Went out late in the evening to Chappan Dukan to experience some street food. This was at walk-able distance from our hotel. You get to eat a variety of food here and the place is maintained really clean.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-07.jpg

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-09.jpg


Day 10: 29/03/2022

We checked out of our hotel by 8:00 AM and went to Chappan Dukan for our breakfast. Had Indori Poha and tea. City was yet to wake up completely, so we had no traffic to negotiate while exiting the city.

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On the way in Rolupipalya we spotted a temple and stopped to take some photos. We spent about 30 minutes here.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-12.jpg

Pushpagiri Tirth Jain Temple

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As the heat was unbearable, we left from here soon. On the way stopped for a sugarcane juice and on the outskirts of Bhopal we stopped for a tea. We reached our destination, Taj Ul Masjid by 12:30 PM. We parked the car here and went to visit the mosque.

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After this we had our lunch and buttermilk at Radhe Krishna Bhojanalay right across the street from the mosque.
Post lunch we had couple of attractions to visit, when we checked the map it showed just about a km of distance, so we decided to leave the car and went walking.
Shaukath Mahal is in complete shambles, not worth the visit. Clicked couple of pictures and we walked further.

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Spotted this one on the way

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-21.jpg

We walked towards Gauhar Palace, this place is not open for tourists any more and some sort of cloth sale was going on when we visited. Clicked couple of photos from outside.
Spotted a small garden and a huge lake right opposite to this palace. We went there to get some respite from the afternoon sun.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-23.jpg

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Uppar Lake

By now we had realized that choosing to walk during the afternoon was a bad idea, so we took an e-rickshaw to Taj Ul Masjid where we had parked our car.
We had booked our stay bit outside the city to help us exit the city avoiding traffic next day. We reached our hotel by 3:30 PM.
All that walk in the hot sun had drained us completely, decided to rest for remainder of the day.

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Route taken: Indore - Dewas - Ashta - Sahore - Bhopal

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-26.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-27.jpg

What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 23rd July 2022 at 21:40.
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Old 30th July 2022, 10:01   #8
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Bhopal - Jaipur:




Day 11: 30/03/2022


We checked out of our hotel in Bhopal around 8:30 AM after our breakfast and started our onward journey. Our destination for the day was Kota. Going was good as the road condition was very good in MP. But weather was very hot, also we could not find many hotels to take tea breaks on this route.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-1.jpg

Passed through huge number of shops where truck drivers buy their goodies.

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Spotted this DJ van, mostly used in wedding processions here

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-3.jpg

Traffic was very little except for some trucks, but you have someone or the other driving on the opposite side here in entire stretch, so need to be watchful. We bought some oranges on the way as we couldnt find any hotel for lunch here.

Once we entered Rajastan, had some deviations to take because of road construction, in rest of the places it was 2 lane roads of decent condition. We spotted a hotel in Khandiya and stopped for lunch.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-5.jpg

Farmers were taking their harvest home

Post lunch we continued and stopped near Kota at a place called Ghatotkacha circle when we spotted this massive statue. Had tea in a tea shop near by and reached our hotel by 4:30 PM.

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Route taken: Bhopal - Kurawar - Narsinghgarh - Raigarh - Aklera- Jhalawar - Ranpur - Kota


Day 12: 31/03/2022


We checked out a bit early from Kota as our stay did not include breakfast. We spotted a beautiful Gurudwara just out side the Kota city. Then stopped for breakfast at a daba in Bundi.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-9.jpg

We continued our onward journey post breakfast. Daba had just opened for the day, so it took some time to serve our breakfast. Our next stop was at another hotel at Tonk for a tea. Road condition was excellent throughout.
We had booked a house through Airbnb for 2 days in Jaipur. We reached our host's place by 12:30 PM.

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Spotted one more colorful temple on the way

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Route taken: Kota - Bundi - Deoli - Tonk - Niwai - Jaipur

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Once we checked in, we went in search of Rajastani thali for lunch and had lunch in a place called Thali and more and it was delicious and filling.

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Our host's neighbor owned this one

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Post lunch went to visit Rajputana Customs. I have been a big admirer of their work for quite a few years so didnt want to miss an opportunity to see their factory when in Jaipur.
But to my utter surprise, I struggled to find them as their workshop does not even have a name board outside. And when i went inside it looked like a local mechanic's workshop and nothing more. Wonder how they do what they do in a place like this.
Spoke to the owner who was happy to answer most of my questions, on his request did not click any photo of the project they are currently doing.
Anyone who is interested in knowing what exactly they do, check the below links:

https://rajputanacustoms.com/
https://www.instagram.com/rajputanacustoms/

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-17.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-18.jpg

We returned back to the house we were staying by 4:00 PM and took some rest.
At 5:30 PM we went to visit Hawa Mahal. Traffic in these narrow city roads are difficult to manage and it took some time to reach the destination.

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I had read it some where that Jal Mahal gets beautifully lit in the night. So we went to visit Jal Mahal around 7:30 PM. There was not much of lighting here, but it was still beautiful.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-23.jpg


We returned from here and on the way stopped to see Hawa Mahal again. And reached home by 9:30 PM. Our afternoon lunch was too heavy and we had access to kitchen so we made maggi and had for dinner.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-24.jpg


Day 13: 01/04/2022

We went in search of breakfast after searching on google and shortlisting a place and found out that it was closed after reaching there. Came back and went to Laxmi Sweet corner on our host's recommendation for breakfast. Had Dhudi halwa, dry fruits laddoo, samosa and tea. Also got some ghevar parceled.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-26.jpg


On our way back got a haircut done and also did some grocery shopping so that we can cook our meal during our stay here. Our host was kind enough to allow us to use his washing machine to wash our clothes at a nominal fee.
Post this I went in search of a tire shop and got the wheel alignment done as it was due.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-27.jpg


Our lunch was some fruits and ghevar. Rest of the day was spent resting as we were feeling tired after relentless travel all these days. In the evening washed the car, re-arranged all the luggage in the car & cooked some sandwich for dinner and called it a day.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-28.jpg

What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 30th July 2022 at 10:25.
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Old 31st July 2022, 13:57   #9
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Jaipur - Delhi:




Day 14: 02/04/2022


We left from Jaipur at 8:00 AM after thanking our hosts. We stopped for breakfast in a road side daba at Shahpura. Our next stop was once we crossed Rajastan for fuel and the next to that was in Bilaspur for a tea. This is a well traveled road, road is wide but this is an average quality road with a lot of roughed up surface to drive on.
We had some traffic to manage once we entered Gurugram, we reached our destination Qutub Minar by 1:15 PM. We had some snacks here in a food outlet near by and bought the entry tickets.

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We spent almost 1.5 hours here clicking photos, what a massive structure.
We had to meet a couple of friends here, met them in City Walk Mall. Here we had our late lunch too. In the evening around 5:15 PM we checked into our hotel room.
Later in the evening went out for some street food and had momos in Aunty momos.

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Spinach and beetroot momo

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Route taken:Jaipur - Chandwaji - Kotputli - Behror -Gurugram - Delhi

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-10.jpg


Day 15: 03/04/2022


This was our day to explore Delhi as much as possible. We took it easy in the morning and left from our hotel around 9:45 AM to visit Humayun's Garden Mausoleum. It was a short drive and reached there in 15 mins. This is a huge complex area with multiple structures. You need about 2 hours at least to explore all of it.

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Isa Khan's tomb

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Afsarwala Tomb & Mosque

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Bu-Halma's Tomb

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Nila Gumbad

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Humayun's Tomb

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We left from here around 12:15 PM and reached parking area of Red Fort. We took an e-rickshaw from here and went to visit Jama Masjid.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-25.jpg

This place was crowded, so we returned quickly after taking few photos. We returned back to Red Fort area.
We were informed that we can only see it from outside. It was very crowded too, so we returned from here after a quick visit.

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28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-27.jpg

For lunch we had chole kulcha, chole rice and lassi. We were feeling bit uneasy after roaming around half a day in 40 + degree centigrade temperature, so we decided to return back to hotel to take some rest.
In the evening went out to try some street food and had dahi balla, ram laddoo and sev puri.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-28.jpg

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-29.jpg

What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 31st July 2022 at 14:04.
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Delhi - Chandigarh:



Day 16: 04/04/2022


We checked out of our hotel in Delhi at around 8:00 AM. Since there was some delay in serving breakfast we decided to have it on the way. Combination of city traffic and some construction work made sure that it took us about 90 mins to pass the city limits. Our first stop was for breakfast in Amirk Sukhdev, wonderful breakfast and airport like washroom facilities. We should thank our friends who suggested this place.

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After crossing the Delhi limits the road condition improved drastically and traffic was also moderate.
Our next stop was in Kurukshetra for a lassi. We drove on and reached Chandigarh at around 1:15 PM.
This city has to be the greenest city we have visited so far and cleanliness too is a notch above rest of the cities.
We checked into our hotel by 1:45 PM, had lunch and had a nice afternoon nap.

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Route taken: Delhi - Panipat - Kurukshethra - Ambala - Chandigarh

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In the evening we went to visit Rock garden around 5:30 PM. In hindsight wish we had reached a bit early here, there is so much to see. We were here for about 2 hours.

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There was a doll museum too which was setup in the theme of a village

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From here we went to sector 22, had some snacks and dinner and returned to our hotel room by 9:30 PM.
The rock garden was way better than what we had expected and certainly was the highlight of the day.

28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect-24.jpg

What we covered so far
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Old 7th August 2022, 14:34   #11
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re: 28 State Capitals, 6 Union Territories | All-India Road Trip | Capital Connect

Chandigarh - Jammu - Srinagar:



Day 17: 05/04/2022


We checked out of our hotel in Chandigarh by 8:15 AM after the breakfast. We filled fuel to take advantage of the lower price in a UT. There was moderate traffic till we exited the city limits.
Google map suggested a route because of which we took a deviation from highway and entered a 2 lane state highway road. This road was of average quality, but we got to see some country side of Punjab.
Also came across a field full of colorful flowers. On inquiring we learnt that the farmer is growing these flowers to sell the flower seeds to nurseries.

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We got connected back to the highway after about 20 Kms stretch, from here onward we had excellent 4 lane highway to drive. We were also given langar prasad on the way.
Our first stop of the day was and McD @Balachor. Lunch stop was at a hotel in Channi, HP.
Most part of this route is in Punjab, some section in HP before you hit Jammu border.

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An Auto rickshaw in Punjab

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Once we entered Jammu, we had some deviations to take and had some rough patches wherever the road construction was going on. We checked into our hotel room by 3:45 PM.

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Route taken: Chandigarh - Jalandar - Pathankot - Birpur - Jammu


In the evening at 5:00 PM we left our hotel to visit Mubarak Mandi palace. Google took us through some bad patch of road and we finally landed behind the palace complex. We had a steep climb from here to reach the palace.
This place is under renovation by ASI and did not look to be in good shape. There were some locals who had come to play and for evening walk here. Did not look like a favorite spot for travelers. We spent about 45 mins here and took some photos.

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The museum was closed

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Our next destination was Bahu fort. We tried the route suggested by google, it took us through some roads which was fit for tractors.
We returned back, tried 2 different routes after asking the locals, even those did not lead us anywhere.
After trying for about 45 mins, we decided to take photos from far and move on.

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We could also spot a temple complex on the foot hills of this fort from far

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We also got a birds eye view of the Jammu city. We went to city center area, had some snacks in a coffee shop and returned to our hotel by 7:30 PM.


Day 18: 06/04/2022

We woke up by 6:00 AM and we were ready for the most anticipated day of our journey by 8:30 AM.
To begin with exit from Jammu was a breeze and road condition was pretty good.

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After exiting the Jammu city, the road began to ascend steadily and road quality remained excellent with 4 lane highway throughout. And we began to see the himalayan range in the horizon.

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We entered Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee tunnel. This is 9.5 KMs long engineering marvel, the longest tunnel you can drive in.
Once we crossed this tunnel, we were no longer seeing the mountains, we were amongst it.
From here we encountered under construction road, so had to deal with a lot of slow moving traffic and dust.
After a bit of bad stretch of road, the road condition improved again and I could focus more on the nature's beauty outside.

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Glacier melted to form this beautiful waterfall

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We stopped for lunch at Zainbal around 1:45 PM. Toll road started from here and road condition was much better.
We entered Banihal - Quazigund tunnel. This tunnel was yet to be officially opened for public, but traffic was allowed on trial basis. This tunnel is also equally stunning and approximately 8.5 KMs in length.

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Snow capped mountains started to appear in the far announcing we were closer to our destination.
And we also got a glimpse of what we were going to see in terms of natural beauty.

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We reached our home stay at around 4:30 PM in Srinagar. It was one heck of a drive, there were some parts of road that was challenging, but we were happy that we were in the most beautiful part of India.
Highlight of the day was driving through Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee tunnel (9.2 kms length) and Banihal - Qazikund tunnel ( 8.45 kms length).

We had to extend our stay in Srinagar due to road closure for maintenance between Sonmarg and Kargil.

You can use the following facebook link to check the route status between Srinagar and Leh.

https://www.facebook.com/HighwayUpdates

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Route taken: Jammu - Udhampur - Patni top - Ramban - Banihal - Srinagar.

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Continued...

Last edited by thirugata : 7th August 2022 at 18:28.
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Old 8th August 2022, 16:35   #12
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Our home stay owner spoke to his relative who has a shikara business and booked his shikara for the evening ride in Dal lake.
We just didnt want to to sit inside the room here. For the first time in this trip sitting out side in the sun was not a concern for us.

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Spotted this Eurasian sparrow right outside the room

Around 5:30 PM we went to Dal lake for the evening shikara ride. Dal lake is at a walking distance from the guest house, so it took us less than 10 mins to reach the lake.
I dont think I need to say anything about this boat ride, the photos are self explanatory.

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Once the sun went down and the lights were switched on of these boat houses and shops around, this place transformed into a completely different place.

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We went to the floating market area where you can shop for clothes and spices of Kashmir.
Most of these shops sell things at rates guide lined by government, so you find good quality at a nominal rate.



We returned to our room after the shikara ride, had dinner and called it a day by 9:30 PM. A perfect end for an awesome day.


Day 19: 07/04/2022

We started our day leisurely, had breakfast and left from guesthouse around 10:30 AM. Our first destination was Botanical Garden.
It was a short drive of 15 mins, but the route takes you around Dal lake making it a very scenic route to drive. We spent about 30 mins here clicking photos.

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Spotted this Himalayan Bulbul in guesthouse premises

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We left our car in the botanical garden parking area and went walking towards our next destination, Tulip garden.
We were lucky to be in Srinagar during the tulip blooming season which allowed us to visit the tulip festival that happens for about 3 weeks every year in Apr - May season.
We spent almost an hour here and as the crowd started to build up we left from here.

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We left from tulip garden around 12:15 PM towards our next destination, Pari Mahal. BSF does a thorough check of your luggage here as this route takes you right in front of Governor's house.
We were not taking out most of our luggage from car when we check in, only things needed for a day used to go into the room. So we had all the luggage with us, all the luggage was scanned here.
Do not carry your drone here (we didnt have one). Drone will not be allowed and will have to be left at the security check post.
In fact this was the only time our luggage was checked in the entire trip.

We reached Pari Mahal by 12:45 PM. Parking area here is very cramped, the last 30 mt or so road is very narrow and only 1 vehicle can go at a time.
Saw multiple cars taking time to get in and get out of the parking area. There was no one to manage the vehicles here when we went, which added to the mismanagement.

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From Pari Mahal you get a beautiful birds eye view of the Dal lake and the mountains around it. We spent about 30 mins here.
From here we went in search of a hotel for our lunch.

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Had burger for lunch at a place called Kullad Chai and awesome gulab jamoon pan and mango pan in a place called Mast Banarasi Pan next door. They have some unique flavor of pans, worth a try.

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We returned to guest house by 2:45 PM, took some rest. It also rained a bit once we came back to room.
Rest of the evening was spent roaming in the market area around the Dal lake.

Continued...

Last edited by thirugata : 9th August 2022 at 18:39.
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Old 9th August 2022, 18:51   #13
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Day 20: 08/04/2022


Our original plan was to stay in Srinagar for 2 days and go to Leh from here. However traffic update suggested that the road is closed for maintenance and the expectation was, next day on wards traffic would be allowed on either side. We came to know about it previous evening as the route update happens around 5:00 PM for the next day. So we had planned to visit Gulmarg taking advantage of an additional halt day here.
We had our breakfast in a near by hotel and we were getting ready. Our guesthouse owner learnt about our plan and suggested us to visit Wular Lake instead as Gulmarg would be crowded.
We left from our guesthouse at around 10:15 AM. This lake is about 70 KMs drive outside the city. We had some traffic to negotiate inside the city because of road closures. Police closing the road temporarily and diverting traffic is a common practice in Srinagar.
Once we were out side the city, traffic was less and road condition was good too, though it was just 2 lane highway.

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There were apple orchards on either side of the road on this route

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After about 40 Kms of drive, road narrowed down further and we started a steady climb. Once we were on the top of the hill, we had first glimpses of the lake from above.

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Last 3 Kms the road is very narrow with no tarmac, 2 cars can barely squeeze past each other here. But we had no such issue as we didnt come across any on coming vehicle while going.
Finally we reached the lake around 1:00 PM. A 70 KM drive took us close to 3 hours because of multiple photo stops.

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Gadwall female

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Pekin duck

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Indian runner duck

There were more birds here, but to try and keep the length of this blog short not adding more here.
There was no one here other than us at this place. There are no shops for food or snacks here too.

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We left from the lake after an hour of exploring this place. We were looking for hotel for food on the way in smaller towns. Because of Ramzan month all hotels were closed during noon.
We were carrying some fruits, bought some biscuits and cake in a bakery and managed our lunch with them. We reached back our guest house by 4:30 PM.
Evening was event less, went out had some snacks and returned back.


Day 21: 09/04/2022


After the Srinagar - Leh road was closed for maintenance yesterday, for today the traffic was allowed only from Leh to Srinagar, so our expectation that the traffic would be allowed from either side was wrong.
This meant an additional day's stay in Srinagar as we waited for our turn to continue the journey.
Our guest house owner came up with another recommendation, that meant we change our plan to visit Gulmarg again. After visiting Wular Lake as per his recommendation it was impossible for me to neglect his recommendation. So we decided to to visit Doodhpathri.

We left the guest house around 9:15 AM after having our breakfast. As soon as we exited the city limits we had snow capped mountains in front of us and the road showed that we were going towards them.
However google soon enough directed us towards some narrow rural roads and we also started to climb the hill from here.
But the suggested route was not of good condition and we kept passing through some village markets and crowded areas. So the going was slow.
We stopped for a tea break on the way and from here we decided to take help of locals for the right route. Finally We reached Doodhpathri around 12:30 PM. It took us 3 hours to cover a distance of 55 Kms.

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There is an entry fee to be paid here at the gate. From here the road condition improved a bit.
After driving about 5 - 6 KMs we arrived at the parking area. We were stopped here by the pony guys who provided with horses to explore this area.
En route when we were asking for direction from locals one of the local guy had informed that we need not take the horse ride here though they compel us to take, instead we can drive through this meadows area all the way till the river bank.
So I refused to park my car and take the horse from here, after some persuasion that turned into an argument they finally let us go.
So it is just a business tactic by these guys, their defense for not allowing us to drive was this is their livelihood and if we drive they loose an opportunity to make some money.

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Once you drive for a KM from the parking area you get another entry gate where you have pay an entry fee. Here there are cottage facilities available to stay and also few options for trekking for those who are interested in trekking.
We arrived at Shalingang river bank and parked our car. We spent almost an hour here clicking loads of photos and enjoying the nature.

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We left from here at 2:30 PM, had lunch just outside the Doodhpathri main gate. There are some road side vendors who had set shop here and sold Missi roti, Maggi, khawa, chai. We had lunch in one such place. Food was good, but way expensive than we thought. But that is understandable that the only source of income is during the tourist season from the people who visit this place.
On the way back google took us through the right route and we were back in guest house in just 2 hours.
Finally got the route update that next day the traffic would be allowed from Srinagar to Leh, so washed car, did all the packing, settled the guest house bill in the evening and called it a day.

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What we covered so far

Last edited by thirugata : 14th August 2022 at 13:38.
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Old 15th August 2022, 17:33   #14
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Srinagar - Leh:




Day 22: 10/04/2022

We had started this trip thinking visiting Leh might not be possible, but we were about to start our day driving towards Leh. So we thanked our luck for making it possible for us to visit Leh in the beginning of the travel season.
Also would like thank TBHPeans am1tshetty and Bunny Punia who provided the inputs about the road conditions to Leh when I was planning this section.
As per the J&K traffic police guidelines, we had to cross Sonmarg gate by 8:00 AM. We woke up at 4:00 AM, got ready and checked out of guesthouse by 5:00 AM. Initially going was bit slow because of multiple reasons like morning walkers had taken up most part of the road, it was still dark and foggy so visibility was poor and lot of places the barricades were kept to slow down the traffic as we exited the city limits.

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We stopped for a tea after crossing the Srinagar city. By then we could see that the day break was happening and the peaks were already lit with the sun light. A wonderful sight.
Road condition was OK in most places and average in some, but there was nothing to be alarmed about.

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We reached Sonmarg at around 7:15 AM, well within the time we had to cross. From here onward we let all the drivers in hurry go at their pace and slowed down considerably to enjoy the surroundings.
By now we had enough light to see around too.

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Sun kissed Sonmarg

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After crossing Sonmarg our photo stops were almost one every KM or so. It was not possible for us to not to take a photo at every turn and twist as the terrain kept changing.
The best part is you just need to point at any direction and shoot, no photographic skills needed.
Road condition from Sonmarg was switching between average, bad and worse very often and melting snow had made the road wet all over. But we were happy to drive slowly and soak in all the beauty around. There were a lot of taxis racing with each other and trucks trying to cope with the terrain which made sure that the going slowed down further. Every traffic jam was an opportunity for us to step out and take some photos.
We reached Zojila pass around 10:00 AM. Zojilla was very windy and cold, car indicated external temperature as -5 degrees.

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We drove on from Zojilla pass, the road condition improved a bit from here. This is when we realized that we had not had our breakfast yet.
We were so engrossed with watching the terrains pass by, this had just skipped out of our mind. We stopped for breakfast at Maithan.
Once we entered the Kargil district road condition improved drastically and we started moving away from the snow.

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We reached Dras at 11:45 AM and stopped to visit the Kargil War Memorial. We spent about 30 minutes here paying our respect and clicking photos.

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From Dras onwards road condition was excellent and terrain turns flat with very minimal climbs and land turns almost barren. We drove on and reached Kargil at 1:45 PM. We had booked a guest house here, checked in by 2:00 PM.
We went out had lunch, came back to room and took some rest as we had started our day early. In the evening, went out had some snacks and also picked some snacks from a local bakery for the road.

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A beautiful house with the apricot orchard in the background



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Route taken: Srinagar - Sonmarg - Zojila Pass - Dras - Kargil

Continued...

Last edited by thirugata : 24th September 2022 at 14:27.
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Old 19th August 2022, 14:06   #15
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Day 23: 11/04/2022


Our initial plan was to stay in Leh for 3 days and continue our journey via Manali route. But the previous day we had a confirmation that Manali route was still not open for public.
We had already spent 2 extra days in Srinagar than what we had planned for waiting for the Leh route to open. We had just covered about 35% of our over all trip with another 10,000 KMs at least to cover. If we spent one additional day in Leh it meant we adding 2 more days to our trip looking at the pattern of traffic management of J&K police. Considering all this we decided to stay in Leh just one night and start our return journey.
With all this calculation done the previous night, we woke up early by 5:00 AM and checked out from our guest house by 7:00 AM. Plan was to spend as much time as possible en-route enjoying the surrounding as we reach Leh. This day traffic was allowed from Srinagar - Leh, this meant there was not much on coming traffic and people who started from Srinagar had not reached Kargil yet, so we had all the road for ourselves.
Our first stop was for a tea right after exiting the Kargil city. We had picked some cup cakes the previous evening, they went well with the tea. Our next stop was for breakfast at a daba in Mulbekh.
Most hotels were yet to open as this was beginning of the travel season. We were informed that most of the hotels and home stays operate only from May onwards.

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Birds eye view of Kargil City

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Eurasian Magpie

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Red billed Chough

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The Future Buddha

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We exited Kargil district as we drove towards Leh. We had stopped so many times for photos that it had taken us 3 hours to cover first 60 KMs.
Road was in excellent condition so there was little attention needed towards it, I was able to see around more in this route compared to Srinagar - Kargil stretch.
Our next stop was at Fotula top and the next one at Col. Kushalchand Memorial.

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We stopped for another tea break outside Lamayuru town. This guesthouse was under renovation so couldnt get the name. But here they have washroom facility which is a big plus on this route.
We stopped for lunch at Cafe De, Saspol. We had ordered soup and some food. They were understaffed and there was a big crowd that had come there on their way back from Leh. They were not able to manage all the orders. We had soup and tea as we waited for an hour for rest of the food to arrive.Eventually paid bill for soup and tea and we moved on.

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Lamayuru Monastery from where we stopped for tea

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Spotted this beautiful temple on the way



We reached Leh by 3:45 PM and checked into our hotel. Immediately went to market area and had some snacks.
Also we had to buy few things from market as per the request of our home stay guy in Srinagar.
We had informed him about Manali road not being accessible, hence had asked him to keep a room for us in Srinagar for our return journey.

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Route taken: Kargil - Lamayuru - Nimmo - Leh

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In there evening at around 5:45 PM, we went to visit Shanti Stupa. This was a short drive of 10 mins from the hotel. We took a lot of photos here, waited till the sunset and returned to hotel by 7:30 PM.

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View of Leh City from Shanti Stupa

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What we covered so far
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