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|3rd January 2008, 15:24||#1|
Me and wifey, 5 states, 4300 kms, 15 days
I mentioned about this mammoth trip in my introduction text to T-BHP. Though its been more than 2 months now, the memory of this ride remains etched in my memory and will remain so for a long time to come.
Here is the first account.
Firoz Khan was a renowned hero in his heydays. So is Firoz Ahmed of Nagpur! The guy saved me a day, tons of stress and loads of money. His untiring and relentless efforts for a good 5 hours till late 2 am helped me get our car back on the road. I will never forget Firoz's contribution to our journey. I have even saved his number and promised to meet him when I visit Nagpur the next time around.
The start was as auspicious as it could get. We were off from Pune at 6:15 am and headed towards our day's destination, Nagpur via Pune – Ahmednagar – Paithan – Jalna – Buldana – Sultanpur – Malegaon – Nagpur. Pune to Ranjangaon was a 4-lane beauty. Contrary to popular belief that the Pune – Nagar stretch is a 4- lane, what we discovered was a 4-lane till Ranjangaon and then narrow 2 – lane and ghat roads till Ahmednagar. Not much traffic so driving was pretty comfortable. Kanchan got her hands behind the wheels on this two-lane road from Ranjangaon to Nagar. We stopped on the outskirts of Nagar for breakfast. After a rather quick b'fast we headed further on NH-222 for a considerable distance. This road would lead us to Paithan. The stretch half-way of Paithan was scenic and a broad 2-laner. An interesting sign-board on the way read, “Sadak par masti, jaan nahin sasti”. And many more on the way, warning us on the dangers of rash and reckless driving. Fortunately, we were having fun but not at the cost of risking our lives. Another good thing was the presence of very thin traffic all the way.
We headed towards Jalna. It was 12:45 pm and the stomach raised an alarm for lunch time. We dropped into a highway-side hotel called 'Sai Garden'. Had a quick lunch-break and we were onto our drive at 1:15 pm. Nagpur was still a good 350+ kms away and we would have daylight only till 6:15-6:30 due to the advent of the winter season. Till then we were doing an avg speed of 50 kph. We surely needed to up the tempo if we had any chance of making it to Nagpur by say 9 pm. Fortunately, the roads obliged and we could drive much faster than before. There was this newly constructed road from Jalna to Nagpur via Wardha that by-passed two major cities mid-way, namely, Akola and Amravati. This ensured we would not lose time passing through the cities. By 6:15 pm, it was the onset of darkness and we had to run on lights thereafter. The new made NH-207 was a treat to drive. Serpentine, winding roads all the way till Nagpur and virtually no traffic made the drive enjoyable and hassle-free. Though the moment we hit Wardha it started drizzling. The drizzle continued till we reached Nagpur city limits. We hit the city limits at 8:15 pm and it took us another hour to fetch a decent hotel. All was well till this point and then disaster struck us like lightning in broad daylight!
We were checking into Hotel Vrindavan in Nagpur and I was getting the car parked in their parking lot. The ramp was a series of iron grills and the silencer of our car got stuck into it damaging the foundation bolts. In the hustle and bustle, the front portion of the silencer snapped! My heart sank at that very moment. After a fabulous ride all the way from Pune to Nagpur we were to face this disaster in the city at a time when mechanics would not be available. This was jeopardizing our journey next day. We would have lost one full day in getting the repair work done in Nagpur also adding to the cost of stay in Nagpur for one more night. But destiny had other plans. I managed to get hold of Firoz Ahmed. The guy worked relentlessly for 4.5 hours to get the car ready to be on the road the next morning. During this time, I got a chance to visit a few places in Nagpur. Particularly Mominpura, a Muslim dominated locality where Firoz stayed. With Ramzan in its full glory, this busy and shady locality of Nagpur was buzzing with activity at 1 am as well. It was as if only one part of the city was alive and kicking! Reminded me of the place we stayed in Bhandup in Mumbai. Firoz's efforts finally paid off and the car was ready at 2:30 am. We slept at 3 but with a huge sigh of relief and raring to head to our destination Allahabad the next day.
Note from mod: thread moved
Last edited by tsk1979 : 3rd January 2008 at 15:47. Reason: Thread moved
|3rd January 2008, 15:46||#3|
|4th January 2008, 13:06||#7|
The ordeal of the previous night was reason enough to delay our start for Allahabad. We started at 8 am instead of the planned 6 am. This meant we had to drive longer distances with very few breaks if we were to make it to Allahabad well before night. The distance from Nagpur to Allahabad is roughly around 670 kms. We had to cut through the whole of MP via Jabalpur - Katni - Maihar - Reva and enter Allahabad. The roads were unknown quantity for us. All this made the drive highly unpredictable. Nonetheless, we headed towards our destination with renewed vigour and a precariously tied-up car exhaust sans the foundation bolts!
For the intial few kms the idea was to drive cautiously and ensure that all major bumps and potholes were negotiated comfortably to avoid any damage to the exhaust set-up which was in terrible shape owing to the mishap in Nagpur. We crossed the MP border at around 9:30 am and headed towards Jabalpur with no worries. The roads were in decent shape. From the MP border the landscape changed dramatically and we were now into the woods. I guess the change of landscape is what our forefathers looked for when they constructed the boundaries for the states in India. And I believe its the same across the globe. The culture, the people, the homes, the shops all seemed different. Enroute we also saw a house with something written on it. On close observation, we found the words to be 'Gareeb Parivaar'. We were not sure what was the reason behind this and neither could we find someone to explain the fact to us. We proceeded to Jabalpur amidst the jungle. The roads were straight out of the movies. Hairpins, windings, s-curves marked the next 150 kms of our journey. By far the best driving pleasure I derived on our journey.
We crossed Jabalpur and headed towards Katni. It was now about 2 pm and the belly was on fire for want of fuel. Bloody unfortunate we could not locate a decent dhaba all the way upto Katni. Infact we found one only after we crossed the city limits at around 3 pm. Time was running out so we had a quick lunch (20 odd minutes) and were back on the road. The relentless driving was now showing on my face. I was a bit fatigued but I did not want to take a chance of letting the wheels goto Kanchan. She is a good driver, but the roads ahead were treacherous and worse a 2-laner, albeit lesser traffic. Thankfully so, because at around 4pm we hit a patch of around 15kms that was crater-laden. It took us a good 1 hour to negotiate this 15 kms stretch. Really was a nightmare. Wonder how the NHAI has not taken into consideration the stretch. Afterall its part of the NH-7. I guess it will soon be mended and not many people will suffer the pain of riding/driving on this pot-hole riden road. By now we had reached Maihar of the 'Maihar Devi' fame. Its a very old temple and has very high religious value. People from all walks of life come to visit this temple atleast once in a life-time. We could only get a glimpse of the temple as visiting the same was out of question. It was not in the plan, neither we had the time at our disposal to visit.
With winters approaching, sunset was imminent at around the 6 pm mark. Fortunately for us we were in the last leg of our journey as we entered Reva district. Thank heavens they had a superbly constructed bypass for Reva city and we saved precious time. By 7 pm ,we were hitting the UP border. Allahabad district is big and we had just managed to enter the district at around 7:30 pm. The milestone showed another 60 odd kms for Allahabad city. This was it. We were finally on our way to accomplish the plan of reaching Allahabad in two days with a night's halt. It was quite dark and head-lights were on high beam. The traffic on the other side was thin, which made it easier to touch speeds of 80+ kph even at that hour of the day.We did encounter some bad roads enroute to the city. By 8:30 pm, we were knocking on the doors of Allahabad. A bout of heavy traffic awaited us at the newly constructed Allahabad-Naini bridge on the vast Ganges. An engineer marvel as Allahabad gets a cantilever bridge (Has been notorious as well since a lot of people have found it the perfect means to end their lives!) We reached our destination Jhusi (Kanchan's Uncle's place) at 9:30 pm and pumped our fists in the air!
We had done it finally, albeit a few hiccups on the way. We managed a whopping 1370 kms in two full days of riding and an overnight halt in Nagpur. It was a dream come true!
PS: Will post the pictures over the weekend. Have tons of them.
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