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Old 22nd March 2023, 20:49   #1
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5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

When you are going to be 60 in a few years, you suddenly realise all that you have spent most of your adult life doing was something called 'work'. While work perse was and is interesting, satisfying and challenging, weird 'close encounters of the third kind' with babudom, in addition, can get one irritable and depressed. The antidote through most of the past year was with weekend drives of 600 kms after work. Listening to classic rock and Handel while driving with the calming presence of my wife by my side was not only music to the ears but balm to the soul also.The audio upgrade last year made a phenomenal difference in this regard as the stock speakers were pathetic. With a stressful 2022 over, and things finally falling in place what better time to celebrate than by having a road trip than now before the Indian summer starts.


'We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again -- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.'
Pico Iyer



The plan:
Very basic and not detailed
1. Padhar hospital, MP where my classmates have been working for 30 years.

2. Jharkhand to a village called Chandankiyari, 45 kms from Bokaro, where my daughter is working with a NGO.

3. Lake Chilika5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230323181621.jpg



Everything else was thrown in at the spur of the moment.

As our holiday trips had been plagued by some medical/ surgical emergency in the last couple of years to either me or my wife, she was keen to have somebody else also who liked driving and relieve me. We finally found someone (DC), a cardiologist just turned 60 looking to take a break. On top of that, I had severe impingement of the left shoulder making shifting gears from 3rd to 2nd painful. I had a colleague give me a local shoulder injection after which there were no issues.

We planned a trip for 2 weeks leaving last Sunday of February. As it turned out, I started coughing 2 weeks prior with exhaustion. I postponed to Monday, but the physician gave clearance to travel only on Tuesday and I was hell bent to go. DC's mother fell sick and he said will join us in MP.

I was not too concerned about the boot space of the XUV 300 having packed our stuff in 2 duffel bags and a small suitcase. Other things were the TUSA tyre inflator, my ever present Swiss Army knife, a windshield breaker and a seatbelt cutter. Our lap top bags were wedged between the seats. I had earlier changed the spare wheel from a smaller r 16 to r 17. The TPMS read 35.5 PSI for the front tyres and 35 for the rear at 19 degrees C.


5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230228_045035.jpg


For someone who usually booked places 3 months in advance, this lack of planning was new and actually liberating for the soul.

From my residence to Padhar, it was 1334 kms according to Google map. Hyderabad was 600 odd kms away and Nizamabad 800 odd kms away, so we decided to see our progress and book our stay for the night accordingly.

Day 1

My wife and I started at 5 am. With hardly any traffic on the usually clogged streets, we crossed the border into AP in 25 minutes and were met by a mixture of concrete and tarmac roads. We passed Cuddapah at 7.40 am( 208 kms) and as we were making good time decided to keep going. Unfortunately, it was only around 10 am about 40 kms from Kurnool we found a small eating joint where they made dosas and giant pooris.

I then decided to book our stay in Nizamabad in a place called TRP Bliss as my only criteria was a safe parking space. The only time I had been to this area was back in 1990 when I spent 10 days with my friend who was working in Dichpally to watch the World Cup and Maradona past his prime. At that time we had ridden a Rajdoot from Hyderabad with the thrill of riding in the then Naxalite territory and had the most fabulous food at the roadside shacks and biriyani at Nizamabad.
Around 12.30 pm, we entered the amazing Hyderabad ORR. As everyone was cruising at 100 kmph, it looked like all the cars were at standstill.

We stopped about 20 kms after the exit and had the Hyderabadi biriyani, very different from our Ambur/Arcot ones.

We then turned off the main road around 4 pm and entered the Dichpally- Nizamabad road. The road kept deteriorating around a railway crossing and was the first of many instances where vehicles were parked blocking traffic once the gates opened.

This hotel had a steep underground parking lot, which we reached at 5 pm and the room itself was nothing fancy but clean. We went for a walk and dinner was bananas, as the biriyani for lunch reminded us we had enough.

Distance travelled 835 kms
Toll 1100 INR
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_202303240947242.jpg



Day 2

The next day, we started for Padhar at 6.30 am. Once we got on the Hyderabad- Nagpur highway it was smooth sailing and kept going on and on, but couldn't spot a single place to eat with clean toilets. And so we took comfort with dried figs looking at all the small dhabas, mostly closed go by.
After the fabulous roads in Telengana, I was surprised at the state of roads in Maharashtra, which were broken, with potholes and uneven. After a long, long time I even saw a single lane toll and was stuck behind a lot of trucks.

Finally, about 8 km from Himanghat, we saw this welcome sight, with a very wide choice to eat with even ghee masala dosa. It also had very clean toilets. This was the only decent eating joint between Nizamabad and Nagpur.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230301_1100362.jpg

About 40 kms from Nagpur the roads became better and we were greeted with the beauty of what became common in nearly every other state we visited, the bright orange flowers of the palash trees.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img20230306wa0004.jpg There were also hordes of motorcycles near Nagpur and once we went past Nagpur and entered MP, the roads were even, with hardly any traffic, with a mixture of some concrete but mostly tarmac. There were oranges being sold almost every 100 mts in this part of MP. We finally reached Padhar around 2.30 pm.


RC and his wife DT were my classmates in undergrad from 40 years ago and DT, from school also and we stayed in their house. They had been working in this hospital for 30 years, not for fame nor wealth, providing quality services in a rural area. After lunch and a siesta, there was a dinner in their house with all their doctors.
Distance 549 km
Toll 785 INR
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230324094814.jpg


Day 3

After a sumptuous breakfast, I went to the hospital
and I was shown around by 2 doctors who had done post graduation in my department. The open spaces in the hospital were a welcome sight compared to the ugly concrete jungle where I work.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230302_0955312.jpg
I also had the best tasting samosas I ever had in a roadside shack opposite the hospital, paler than what I was used to, each with a couple of peanuts.5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img20230316wa0032.jpg

The evening was spent playing table tennis in the recreation room and when I reached the house, my driving partner and colleague DC had arrived by cab after a flight to Nagpur. After dinner, the time was spent swapping stories, which in college parlance was called 'gas sessions', till late night.

Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 16:35.
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Old 23rd March 2023, 20:17   #2
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re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Day 4

After a leisurely breakfast by which time RC had gone for work, again there was time talking. RC, in addition to being a skilled surgeon has a hobby which is woodwork. The picture below with a sample of his work:
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_082336.jpg

As afternoon was approaching we, the 3 tourists and DT, went to the Satpura Tiger reserve to Churna, a distance of 41 kms, the last 10 with bad gravel roads. We had left RC behind as he was apparently jinxed not having sighted a tiger in 4 previous visits. The safari was in an open modified Gypsy and took us through 35 back breaking kms through the buffer zone into the core area. Other than a few Nil ghai
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_150345__01.jpg
there was nothing much and hot, sweaty and dusty were beginning to feel the twinge of disappointment. I was skeptical of this whole business as I had never seen a tiger in multiple visits to Bandipur and Mudumalai. What happened next was truly magical. There was a chatter from the langurs up in the trees and the guide pointed excitedly upwards and lo and behold there was this leopard looking at us beautifully camouflaged with the foliage.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-2image.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-1image.jpg

This leopard stayed and looked at us and suddenly ran down into the forest. We then started moving and saw bison, wild boar5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_1722362.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_1736512.jpg
and the silhouette of a sloth bear.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_171550.jpg

But still there was no tiger and it was time to leave the core area. Almost at dusk, about 100 metres away we saw this tiger resting majestically on a river bed. I was cursing myself for forgetting to my SLR camera but a gentleman in the adjoining jeep was gracious enough to share this photo taken with his powerful lens with everyone and I took his permission.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_1859242.jpg
It then moved slowly and disdainfully away into the distance.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230303_180317.jpg
We realised how fortunate we had been as we met another group who had been coming 3 days in a row without spotting a tiger.


We came back tired but excited around 8 pm. After freshening up and dinner, we were deciding where to go next. I wanted to travel North East to Varanasi and have a dip in the Ganga, but the others wanted to travel due East, to Rajnandgaon, Bhilai and Raipur, so there it was. So this kind of planning became a regular feature. We were hoping for a start around 5.30 am.

Day 5

Again we ended up talking and after 2 cups of coffee, were ready to move. RC and DT, ever the gracious hosts asked us to stay another day. Tempting though it was, we reluctantly bid adieu and moved on at 7.30 am.5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_073319.jpg
Now with 3 passengers

DC drove the car and he was mighty happy with it. After about 125 kms we stopped for breakfast, still in MP about 70 km from Nagpur and had the staple aloo parathas.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_0917062.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_0938592.jpg
This place also had clean toilets.
I then took over the wheel and within 5 minutes was stopped by cops. They were extremely polite and asked for my driving licence and let us go.
We soon entered the traffic around Nagpur and then entered Chattisgarh. Roads were good mostly with a few stretches under repair. Around 2 pm, just outside Rajnandgaon we had lunch.

We went on to a hospital in Rajnandgaon where my classmate's brothers had been working for many years.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_1513152.jpg
The next stop was Bhilai, where another classmate was working.It was atleast an hour in the garden before even entering the house. There was a fruit garden, vegetable garden and a flower garden.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_1650304.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_1650162.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_1637432.jpg

There was everything from mulberries to spring onion. She pulled out a carrot from the ground, washed it and we had it fresh.Aparently all their fruit and vegetables are from their garden.By this time her husband landed up and by the time we left it was 6 pm.
Raipur was close by but with heavy traffic, speed breakers and some broken road, it was slow progress. We were stuck at nearly one spot for close to 30 min near Station Road and we reached our stay, M Hotel, neat, clean with parking space. Again with so much of eating during the day it was bananas for dinner.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230324195624.jpg

Distance travelled 477 kms
Toll 470 INR
Attached Thumbnails
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_163743.jpg  

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230304_151315.jpg  


Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 10:39.
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Old 24th March 2023, 19:52   #3
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re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Day 6


'These roads are truly different from the main ones. The whole pace of life and personality of the people who live along them are different. They're not going anywhere. They're not too busy to be courteous. The hereness and newness of things is something they know all about. It's the others, the ones who moved to the cities years ago and their lost offspring, who have all but forgotten it.'

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

We had a lot of distance to cover today to reach where my daughter was working. We left at 6.30 am before the traffic became irritating and were making good time. But hungry, there was no shops open till we saw a ramshackle dhabha open at 9.45 am with an adjoining fuel station with reasonable toilets After the by now usual aloo paratha, we started and entered Odisha and hit the Biju Expressway, married by speed breakers and toll to be paid by cash.
We entered Jharkhand and encountered twisting roads and some stretches of bad road and reached the outskirts of Ranchi for a non veg lunch around 3 pm.
As we were nearing Bokaro it was dark and reached Chandankiyari around 7.30 pm. It was pitch dark because a transformer had blown and we were without power for 2 days.
We met our daughter and took her for dinner at a nearby dhaba and went to sleep tired at the guesthouse.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230324201312.jpg
Distance travelled 725 kms
Toll 530 INR
Biju Expressway 95 INR

Day 7

We met the couple who have worked here for 40 years with the local population in an adjoining house and had a simple and nice breakfast. They live in a mudhouse with a nice court yard.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-1image.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230306_0710002.jpg
View from the guest house showing a typical village scene

We thought we'll see the Ajodhya Hills and we took our daughter along. The W Bengal border was only 20 kms away.
On the way we saw a sight, soon became common which will be imprinted for the rest of my life which is the 'koilawallah'.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230306_0956172.jpg

My daughter explained their
terrible life hauling illegally mined coal on reinforced cycles cycling/ pushing cycles to go around 250 kms in 3 days to sell near Kolkata for a paltry 2000 bucks. In fact she had met a man the previous week doing this for 17 long years. There were 3 variations, a lone cyclist, a cyclist sitting in a weird position pushed by someone on a motorised 2 wheeler and rarely someone on a motorcycle.
While chewing on this, we reached W Bengal and greeted immediately by bad roads especially near railway crossings. We went past Purulia and then onto Ajodhya Hills. A distance of 100 kms took nearly 3 hours but worth it.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-1image.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230306_131108.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230306_131151.jpg


There was also palash, palash everywhere.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230306_134255.jpg





5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230324211119.jpg


We then headed back after lunch in a dhaba near Purulia and reached back in the evening.

After dinner with our hosts, around 10pm we were wondering how to get to Bhubaneswar, my colleague DC suggested going through Baripada. My daughter chimed in saying if we're going to Odisha we have to go to Bissamcuttack hospital and a nearby school for tribal children where she had worked earlier. We had never thought of this place till now and decided to go there after Bhubaneswar. And so we went to sleep in darkness after looking at all the stars above without any light pollution.

Day 8

We decided to leave early and it was fun getting ready with light from the cell phone as there was no electricity, though shaving was a bit difficult.
After saying goodbye to our daughter and our hosts we set out for Bhubaneswar via Baripada around 6.30 am.
We were stopped at the W Bengal border by very polite cops who checked our car number against probably the mParivahan app and let us go.
After the roads in W Bengal, Jharkhand was a relief for sometime till we reached near Khandra. I lost the way having missed a diversion and did some off roading through black dusty road. It took about 45 minutes to get on some sort of road. Being hungry we stopped at at a place called Kohinoor Inn and there was great breakfast. For the first time, ordering a set of pooris meant 6 in number but it was good. We discovered the car was covered in grime and just the act of touching the door handle got our hands dirty. I decided to have a car wash in Bhubaneswar and carried on.

As soon as we reached Orissa, the colour changed from the brown of wheat fields or barren to lush green rice fields.

This time in Orissa there were roads with potholes and speed breakers and reached Baripada around noon. After Baripada,the roads were uneven with multiple speed breakers.

Once we reached the Kolkata Chennai High way NH 16 we made good time, crossed a multitude of rivers around Bhubaneswar and reached a serviced appartment which we had booked in advance earlier, around 7.30 pm.
Dinner was with my wife's classmate and my junior in post grad working in KIMS and his family at the only swanky hotel we ate in on our entire trip, the Swosti Grand. We also discussed our plans for the next day and I wanted to see Lake Chilika, Jaganath temple at Puri and also the Konark Sun temple. His daughter told us that the best time to see Konark was at sunset with the light filtering through the temple.5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230326082257.jpg

Distance travelled 602 kms
Toll 315 INR
Jharkhand State Highway 40 INR

Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 13:48.
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Old 26th March 2023, 11:09   #4
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Day 9

We were invited for breakfast by my colleague DC's relative. We reached at 9.30 am and as there lot of things to do expected to be there for half an hour before moving on but ended up being there till noon. The car was washed meanwhile and we set off for Satapada.

As it was Holi we were accosted by few groups of men in varying states of euphoria in the villages with colour all over them. On seeing the TN registration, a few started banging on the bonnet and windows shouting 'Tamili'. After this futile exercise and throwing balloons at the car they let us go. One started coming abreast on a bike and gesturing but I pretended not to notice and drove slowly away. There was not a single woman on the road.

On reaching the OTDC office at Satapada, we were the only ones wanting a boat trip and we got on the boat for an hour and a half trip.

After the multitude of prawn hatcheries we saw plenty of river dolphins, often in twos and threes. As ours was the only boat for a significant period of time, they were happily frolicking without any disturbance.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230308_1517382.jpg

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We had a very late lunch at the restaurant there we were on our way to Puri. There were cows everywhere on the road and by the time we reached Puri and got stuck in the small roads it was dark. So we decided to drive on to Konark. I decided that the next time I will spend an entire day at Puri and Konark. Thus we returned to Bhubaneswar without seeing the temples but the road back was fraught with danger with cows in the middle of the road and blinded by the headlights of oncoming traffic it was a miracle that we reached back unscathed and made a mental note to come this way only in daylight in future.

As my wife wanted to do saree shopping, it was almost 10 when we got back to our stay. By now we had got used to the routine of eating bananas for dinner.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230326112722.jpg

Toll 195 INR

Day 10

We set off for Bissamcuttack, now called Bishima Ketek around 7 am. NH 16, as expected was a breeze. We turned off at Berhampur, now officially Brahmapur and had breakfast there.
Theron the road was a joy with twisties for about 70 kms with 2 ghat sections. This area was sparsely inhabited with very few houses in each village and usually away from the road usually across a small ravine. About 10 kms from Bissamcuttack, the road was broken with gravel only and we reached the hospital at about 2.30 pm. We were keen to go to the school 18 kms away and realised why my daughter was so impressed. J O and his wife had come here 30 years back. J O was a couple of years senior in undergrad before going onto far greater things than most of us who stayed on the beaten path. When he had first come there, the headmen had told him, that to be like him, their children should have a private school education. These first generation learners had gone on to be engineers, teachers, nurses and female sarpanches for the first time from this community. J O could speak fluent 'kui' and they considered him one of their own. Interestingly, their language shared many words with Tamil like 'kai' and 'kaal'.5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230309_164344.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230309_181252.jpg

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5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230309_1813573.jpg

After dinner in J O's house we were wondering where to go the next day. DC suggested Bhadrachalam with the famous temple, at a river side resort. But it was full and I booked in a place I had never heard of, Tampara Resort as the more popular Gopalpur resorts in that vicinity were full, on the weekend. We the retired for the night at the guest house.


5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230326174318.jpg

Distance travelled 390 kms
Toll 200 INR

Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 10:44.
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Old 26th March 2023, 18:40   #5
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Day 11

We had a more traditional south Indian breakfast with dosas and the like in the canteen when J O joined us. After rehashing old college stories, we left at noon.

Soon after leaving the TPMS threw a low pressure warning in the left front tyre. We turned around to find a puncture shop while the pressure stayed at 29 PSI. At the shop the tyrewallah found air leaking at the same place, at the shoulder about 2cms front the sidewall which was fixed 2 months earlier. He put a patch inside and we were ready to go.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230310_1258562.jpg

We finally left around 1 pm and reached the resort at 5 pm. It was just by Lake Tampara and the rooms were built around a pool.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_1324233.jpg

After an early dinner at the restaurant inside finally got to read a book and then went off to sleep.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230326184713.jpg

Day 12

I woke up early to see the sunrise over the lake.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_062109.jpg

There was a nice impeccably clean waterfront OTDC restaurant where you just sit and look over the water and see the boating and jet skiing going on. Besides there was soft instrumental music playing and we complimented the manager for his choice in music. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were had here as the food was good and reasonably priced.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_1329032.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_1340042.jpg

In the evening we drove to the sea beach at Nuagaon now renamed Biju Patnaik beach, which is very close as the crow flies but quite some distance to drive. The beach was deserted and the approach is so desolate that one can become apprehensive. I had heard about the beautiful unspoiled beaches of Odisha and this was one such.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_1735152.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_1734172.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230311_173318.jpg

Day 13

We left at 6 am to reach Guntur today. NH 16 as expected was fantastic and driving just over 100 kmph made 194 kms in 2 hours as there was no traffice. We made a stop at Vizag to have breakfast at another of DC's relatives. Lunch was on the outskirts of Vijaywada and checked into Amrawati Hotel with ample parking space. Dinner was at my wife's classmates house where we had the hot spicy food Guntur is known for.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230326201526.jpg
Distance travelled 694 kms
Toll 925 INR

Day 14

We left around 7.30 am. NH 16 was a breeze, till we had to turn off toward Tirupati NH 71, with 50 kms of bad roads, with multiple unmarked speed breakers.
Once we neared Tirupati, the road was good and had lunch on the Tirupati bypass. Had to have Andhra meals before exiting AP.
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230313_1517502.jpg
We reached home at 5.30 pm after dropping off DC and thanking him.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230327071901.jpg

Distance travelled 501 kms
Toll 425 INR

Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 14:10.
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Old 27th March 2023, 09:25   #6
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Epilogue

Most travelogues on this forum are pilgrimages to temples, drives to Leh/ Ladakh/ North East/ Pondy, planned and executed and written well with great detail and great pictures.I had no plans to write at the start but I found so many new, interesting things and things kept unfolding as we moved on, that I put finger to the keyboard.

This was more of a meandering, follow the road like a vagabond.
It was good that there was someone else also to drive. On the days with a longish drive, I would drive till breakfast and then my colleague would take over for a couple of hours while I slept in the rear seat, after which I would take over.

Stay

Mostly, our stay was with people known to us. The most expensive hotel we stayed in was Tampara Resort where it was 3500 INR per room a day and the cheapest was at Nizamabad at 1500 INR. All of them were comfortable, clean and adequate.

Eating out

In TN there are generally good restaurants every 40 kms or so which open at around 6.45 am which was not the case elsewhere with even the dhabas opening after 9.30 am. I found the aloo paratha extremely filling and not feeling hungry till 4 pm. The cost of breakfast at these dhabas came to around 240 INR for the 3 of us, with my wife and I usually coffee drinkers having 2 chais each. We know that good things need not be expensive and here's a sample of the menu card where we had one of our best breakfasts in a very clean place, about 30 kms from Jamshedpur:
5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230307_0953372.jpg



Toilets

As good restaurants were scarce, the petrol bunks were the go to place. In Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa they were not clean where we filled up diesel. For travellers of the fairer sex especially, a soap and hand sanitizer will come in handy.

Travel hazards

Animals on the roads, especially cows in Chattisgarh, Orissa, and added goats also in Jharkhand are to be watched out for. As much as possible, I tried to stay on the left lane which often meant overtaking on the left. At diversions two way traffic were not sign posted as such in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, with suddenly vehicles coming at you in the opposite direction. Wrong side driving was prevalent everywhere with Telengana having the least.

State of roads and driving manners

Firstly, out of TN there were no barricades.
AP was good mostly.
Telangana exceptionally good and drivers were driving sedately well below the speed limit.
Maharashtra was uniformly bad
Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa other than NH 16 had mixture of good and bad roads. With massive road work going on, they should be good soon.
MP was good mostly.
W Bengal around Purulia were the worst.
As I had to drive in the dark for a couple of hours past Bokaro, it was a pleasant surprise that 4/10 drivers dipped their headlights as opposed to 4/100 here.

Lack of planning

This was the greatest thing which was the key as I had no clue what to expect. In fact, when my colleagues asked about where I was going and not having any idea they often looked quizzically. However, often I take heart from this quote:

'There is a pleasure sure in being mad, that none but madmen know.'
John Dryden

The XUV 300

Comfortable to drive with phenomenal acceleration. While all my colleagues were surprised when I got this instead of more famed ones, I wanted something rugged, with firmish suspension, with service presence all over the country. For the first time, I sat in the rear seat. It was comfortable, while if there was a little bit more under thigh support it could have reached luxury levels. One does however get thrown a bit on hitting uneven junctions at high speeds, as one can expect. I knew that I was going to drive distances and hence preferred a monocoque construction rather than BoF, but which could handle bad roads with aplomb. I like a vehicle which doesn't attract attention, plain to look at but with terrific grunt hidden under the hood with pleasing interiors. The much maligned boot space was not a problem, accomodating luggage for 3 adults for 2 weeks.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230313_112936.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img_20230313_1128022.jpg

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-screenshot_20230327101156.jpg

Distance travelled 5700 kms
Fuel used 315 litres diesel
Mileage 18.1 km/litre
Toll fasttag 5623 INR
Biju Expressway toll 95 INR
Jharkhand State Highway toll 40 INR.

In these 2 weeks, got to renew old friendships, make new ones and got to experience a slice of our beautiful country with different eating habits, cultures, languages, customs, landscape from the wheat fields of Central India to the paddy along the East Coast and knowing that this diversity and tolerance for each other is what makes our country great.

Last edited by Duckdoc : 27th March 2023 at 16:37.
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Old 28th March 2023, 06:39   #7
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re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th March 2023, 11:50   #8
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re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckdoc View Post
In these 2 weeks, got to renew old friendships, make new ones and got to experience a slice of our beautiful country with different eating habits, cultures, languages, customs, landscape from the wheat fields of Central India to the paddy along the East Coast and knowing that this diversity and tolerance for each other is what makes our country great.
Congrats on completing your trip.

You have rightly summarized, that traveling is the only way to experience the difference in culture, language, habits etc and at the end realize that irrespective of the diversity we are the same.

I can see this itch to travel across states even in colleagues who are in mid 50s or nearing retirement. May be the comfort that you have earned enough or kids are settled now or the desire to live for yourself.. etc is pushing them to buy new cars/suv and take on trips across India for several weeks. What ever the reason, I feel happy to help them and I am proud on their achievements.

Wishing you many more such trips in the future
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Old 28th March 2023, 20:58   #9
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Wonderful reading and must be really tiring. Thanks for igniting the spark of long distance travel covering small towns. You have inspired me, as I am also moving towards 6o.
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Old 29th March 2023, 01:31   #10
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Dear Sir,

What stuck the most from your travelogue was not just the pep you have at your age, but the amazing and wonderful company you keep.

Your friends are serving communities in very humble places - and your daughter is doing mighty fine work in rural NGOs. You and your wife must also be quite exceptional.

A heartfelt thanks for making the community a better place.

GreenerPlanet.
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Old 29th March 2023, 05:16   #11
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Beating the ordinary of the daily mundane is something we all yearn to but frequently donít get to. Time being a constraint. But still occasions like this are good enough to cheer us up. An impromptu travel, unplanned is a very joyous experience. Going as the way goes is a sense of adventure and joy in itself. The best trips that I had are also the unplanned ones. Felt great reading trip.

I noted that most of the places you visited are mission hospitals. They are usually in great locations. Even some of my classmates worked in padhar and bissamcuttack. They do great work there. I though, being from north got to work in mission hospitals around Punjab and Himachal.

Any connection to CMC perhaps??
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Old 29th March 2023, 06:46   #12
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

Dear Sir,

May God Bless you and your family, the colleagues who are doing noble things.

Literally had tears running down reading about Koilawallahs.

Life. Makes us do a lot of things.

Kudos to you for inspiring me in many ways and i shall continue to do if not magnanimous things like you and your kin, the things that I can in my capacity.

I'm thankful to God that you noble beings have set foot in my hometown Guntur and it brings me joy i cannot explain.

God Bless.
Drive Safe.

Last edited by matchvan : 29th March 2023 at 06:47. Reason: Typo
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Old 29th March 2023, 07:07   #13
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

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Originally Posted by matchvan View Post

Literally had tears running down reading about Koilawallahs.

Life. Makes us do a lot of things.
This is another picture of how they go sitting in this abnormal posture for hours on end while being pushed from behind by someone in a motorised vehicle.

5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT-img20230328wa00412.jpg
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Old 19th April 2023, 13:53   #14
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

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Originally Posted by Duckdoc View Post
When you are going to be 60 in a few years, you suddenly realise all that you have spent most of your adult life doing was something called 'work'. While work perse was and is interesting, satisfying and challenging, weird 'close encounters of the third kind' with babudom, in addition, can get one irritable and depressed. The antidote through most of the past year was with weekend drives of 600 kms after work. Listening to classic rock and Handel while driving with the calming presence of my wife by my side was not only music to the ears but balm to the soul also.The audio upgrade last year made a phenomenal difference in this regard as the stock speakers were pathetic.
I have booked an XUV300 AMT and expecting delivery in a week of time, I was curious to know what upgrades you have done with your Audio system, I have experienced a mediocre XUV300 sound system which is the first thing I want to get rid of

Great post BTW, enjoyed your journey
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Old 19th April 2023, 21:19   #15
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Re: 5,700 km trip touching 8 states in a Mahindra XUV300 W8(0) Diesel MT

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Originally Posted by cartron View Post
I have experienced a mediocre XUV300 sound system which is the first thing I want to get rid of

Great post BTW, enjoyed your journey
Hi @cartron, the following posts may be of help:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offic...ml#post5247875 (Mahindra XUV300 : Official Review)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/car-e...ml#post5130783 (Car audio upgrade for SQ with DSP under 2 lakhs | Need advice)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offic...ml#post5080620 (Mahindra XUV300 : Official Review)

I am not able to contact you personally and hence posting as above. Further queries are probably better asked in the XUV 300 official thread. Cheers and all the best.
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