4000 km solo drive from Hyderabad to Kedarnath in a Vento TSI

With an experience of driving 700KM per day, I put a target of driving around 800KM per day for this trip, in order to complete the entire journey in a weeks time.

BHPian cormodore recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My first travelogue on TBHP and a long read.

Somewhere in May 23, I received a mail that one can book helicopter rides on IRCTC to Kedarnath. Upon checking the Uttarakhand tourism website, found out that I can visit Kedarnath and book rides till November 15, 2023. I was more interested in the helicopter ride but could not book the same as they open in slots. Later on, I kept checking for helicopter booking but never could get the ride booked. Every time I checked the website, I saw no slots available banner on the webpage. (Once at Kedarnath, I wondered, how were so many helicopter rides got booked when the website shows no slots available. It’s a mystery. BHPians can let me know the tricks to book the rides for next year).

Informed wife, that I plan to drive to Kedarnath in the month of November 2023, which she said okay (thinking that I would change my mind as it’s a 4000Km round trip). In October she checked with me again, are you driving to Kedarnath or flying with a big question mark. I said I would be driving. She was still not convinced, as I never did such long solo ride. We did many trips, but she was always on to my left and kids were in the back. Also, all our trips were to the south. This would be first I would be driving alone. I was also skeptical whether I would be doing the trip. Reasons being:

  • Vehicle – 7 year old VW Vento TSI – you all know why.
  • New route (especially north where I drove for the first time)
  • SOLO ride.
  • MP Roads
  • 50 KM trek - Son Prayag to Kedarnath and back.

As the D-week was approaching, I was normal as usual at home with no preparations from my side. Usual family trip, there would be lot of activity at home trying to put all the travel stuff at one place(especially the last two days before the trip), checking for hotels and places to visit etc. But, I was very casual, and there were doubts if I would undertake the trip.


Very minimal. I had decided everything in the mind and being a light traveler, I didn’t have much to pack.

  • Reviewed few threads on TBHP about the Hyderabad-New Delhi stretch. Unanimous option that I should be careful on MP roads with respect to the craters.
  • Didn’t bother about the hotels, as I wanted to walkin/book online each day depending on the location. If I don’t find any, I was ready to sleep in the car.
  • Booked a bed on the GVMN website on top of Kedarnath.
  • Carried 10 liters of water (I hate purchasing water).
  • Basic clothing (two pairs of lose clothing and one pair of thermals and a thick jacket that I bought in US some years back)
  • Merrell shoes (my go to shoes for any trip/trek)
  • Protein/energy bars
  • I had a puncture kit, air pump and tow rope in the car, so didn’t bother about any other stuff.
  • Saved VW RSA and Kotak insurance RSA numbers.
  • Rough idea of how many KM per day and target destinations.
  • Applied 5 leaves (total 9 days of journey incl weekends) two days before the trip.
  • Registered on Uttarakhand website as a tourist (which is mandatory) and carried a printout of the scan code.

D-Day and Ride:

With an experience of driving 700KM per day, I put a target of driving around 800KM per day for this trip, in order to complete the entire journey in a weeks time. First day, I had kept Sagar as my destination.

Day 1 - Sagar, MP

Slept early around 8PM on Saturday with a plan to start at 4AM on Sunday. However, I got delayed by one hour and started the trip at 5AM. My apartment is almost on the highway, and with one right turn I was on Highway. Filled her with normal petrol on the first available HP petrol pump (I use IDFC HP PowerPlus credit card for my fuel purchases), and with sparse morning traffic, Car and myself munched Telangana KM’s as breakfast.

Did I say SOLO?, the trip is incomplete without my car and my mobile. Car was munching miles, and mobile was playing beautiful Telugu and Amol Palekar songs and we were cruising along. Not to forget the Google madam explaining the route in the back-ground.

Multiple places I was stopped by police to check if I was carrying any money (election season). The police were surprised after listening to my destination and myself driving solo. No one checked for license or any kind of documentation during entire journey.

The highway in Telangana was so good, that you will miss checking the speed, and will not recognize that you are travelling in triple digits. Many a times, I touched speeds of 120KMPH, which reduced my fuel efficiency. TSI engines react very sharply to our right leg actions and Vento is a car which makes you to drive aggressively. As a person, you will have to be always in control of yourself.

I stopped at Nirmal to have ghee idly packed by wife and set a speed alarm at 100KMPH and resumed my journey. Vento gives a gentle chime (its not repetitive) once you touch the set speed limit, and you can rest the right leg.

Once you enter Maharashtra, one will notice the difference in road conditions, although, the roads were flat and good, road noise would creep into the car. Fortunately, no craters in Maharashtra and we can maintain speeds of 80-90 KMPH without any issue.

After by passing Nagpur, had a second break for lunch (again packed by wife), and topped up fuel and resumed my journey. Fuel is cheaper than Telangana by 4 rupees and I had more surprises in store with respect to fuel prices as I go north.

Once we bypass Nagpur, you will enter Pench tiger reserve stretch, where one can experience good roads and on the elevated corridor stretch, we can have go-karting experience. Vento behaved very well on these roads and I thoroughly enjoyed driving through pench (will comeback for sure).

I have a habit of checking the vehicle numbers and truck manufacturers. I was surprised at the number of Nagaland registered trucks plying on our highways with national permit. Nagaland must be minting money with Truck registrations.

Around 2PM, I reached Seoni in MP, and the nightmare started. Two words are apt to describe the roads in Madhya Pradesh - Craters and Cattle (C&C). Not sure, how the craters form, but suddenly out of nowhere, a sharp crater would appear and we have to avoid it(some craters could be a feet deep), else, we should be ready to hear the infamous thud from VW cars. If not, we should be ready with broken suspensions (in worst cases).

The 250KM stretch from Seoni to Sagar was toughest with drastic reduction in speed and with slow progress. The roads were empty, you will not see any public transport, and we see only truck traffic. Any lapse in concentration/patience, you are bound to hit a crater.

You will see lot of Delhivery, Varuna transport and car carrying(long) trucks in this stretch that you will either overtake or come in the opposite direction. One can experience the ecommerce revolution as well as increase in car sales in India with the number of these trucks. Another thing I have noticed is the way the trucks are being ridden on the craters. Individual truck owners from TN and AP were driving their trucks carefully and avoided the craters, but Delhivery and other transport drivers lest cared about any and I felt they are pushing their trucks to the limits because of the delivery timelines. Not sure how long the Volvo trucks of Delhivery will last with the way they were being driven.

Navigating through the craters, I had couple of calls to home and explained about my progress and roads. My little one started missing me and was cried over the phone that I should be at home. Tired ness of driving and navigating the craters and talking to my little one, I had multiple thoughts in my mind. Am I doing the right thing driving alone, what if I hit a crater and if I had a broken car etc., I even had a thought to abandon the trip and return. Spoke to my wife and informed about my thoughts and she was the one who made me continue the trip.

NHAI should be ashamed of collecting toll on the MP stretch.

Mobile connectivity is also on and off on this stretch. By the time, I reached Sagar, it was around 7PM in the evening and with car being driven non-stop for around 400KM (8 hours), I just stopped at the first hotel and checked if there were any rooms and voila, they had a non-ac room for 1000 bucks, which I took. It’s a MP Midway hotel (Govt run) bang on the highway.

The food at the hotel was tasty and VFM. Anyone driving on this stretch much eat at the hotel. The room was nothing to talk about. Pretty basic with a cot and basic toilet. It had an immersion rod heater in working condition (for those who want hot water). Since it was only for sleep, I took it and crashed with no other thoughts in mind.


KM Covered – 880 Km

Speed – 70 KMPH

Travel time – around 15 hours

Mileage – 19KMPL

First pictures of the trip - Elevated national highway on Pench tiger reserve

Day 2 - Mathura.

Woke up at 4AM (I am an early riser) took bath and started driving at 6AM and with temperatures around 15C (it was cold by south Indian standards), I started slow, so that the car would heat up to the optimal temperature. The first 100 Km till Lalitpur, MP, the carters from previous day continued which consumed almost 2+ hours. Post Lalitpur, the road conditions improved, however, there was lot of cattle traffic till Jhansi and then normal traffic till Gwalior.

Post Lalitpur, I observed public transport in pockets and unique thing was you will find lot of roadside shops selling DEF fluid for new age trucks. I am not sure how genuine was the DEF sold by so many shops. On the MP, UP border, you will also find lot of truck washing/cleaning vendors, where they would spray water and clean the trucks.

I didn’t find too many eating places on this stretch. While bypassing Jhansi, I had a paratha around 10AM in one of the roadside hotels and could not find any decent place till I reached Mathura at 3PM. Just had couple of energy bars and drank lots of water to stay alive during the day.

Also, after entering Jhansi, I tanked up because of the petrol price which was at rs.96/liter and surprised at the variation of the fuel prices between North and South India. Not sure where my taxes are going.

While on one of the breaks, searched for hotels and booked Hotel Ganpati palace for the night stay at Mathura.

I got a first glimpse of North India traffic in Mathura, where the e-rikshaws have the right of way and was very careful in the by lanes(downside of google navigation that shows shortest route via the alleys of the cities) of Mathura.

Reached the hotel around 3:30PM and after post refreshing myself, came out to check the local attractions.

Based on google results, went to Dwarikadesh temple, Vishram ghat and Shri Krishna Janmastan temple. Had some mouthwatering chat adjacent to Dwarikadesh temple, purchased some stuff for my kids and attended aarati at Shri Krishna Janmastan temple and called it a day.


KM Covered – 515 Km

Speed – 60 KMPH

Travel time – around 9 hours

Mileage – 21 KMPL

Pictures of Day:

Dwarakadesh Temple

Krishna Janmastan Temple

Awesome Dhahi Bhalla at Mathura

Day 3 - Haridwar

Day of beautiful roads, awesome veg food.

Started driving at 6AM and my google madam took me to Yamuna Expressway connecting Noida. Entire stretch, I was on cruise mode at 90KMPH and car gave me excellent mileage on the stretch. I was surprised that a lot of two wheelers could sneak on to the expressway and people in the middle of the expressway asking for lifts. After the exit, I was barely in Noida for a stretch of 10KM, I took the eastern express peripheral way to Meerut. Even at 9AM, there was lot of fog, but did not hamper my visibility nor the drive. Enjoyed the company of lush green sugarcane fields as I was on the cruise mode again.

Post the expressway exit, I was welcomed by the hundreds of dhabas and restaurants on the Meerut-Haridwar stretch with most of them selling original shikanji’s. I was confused where to have the shikanji and to be on the safer side, did not have it at all.

Had a bit late breakfast at one of the good-looking Shiva Dhaba (where lot of cars were parked) where I was served with awesome Paneer pakoda. Used the time to search and book a hotel in Haridwar, which took considerable time, as I wanted a hotel with Parking facility near Har Ki Pauri. Booked Le Roi hotel for the day and started the drive to Haridwar which was again breeze, thanks to beautiful roads with moderate traffic. Had a pit stop after Meerut to fill my tank once again.

Around 1PM, I entered Haridwar, and was overwhelmed by the number of e-rikshaws near the railway station. I was seeing the hotel from the road but unable to enter the hotel as the gate was closed. After a couple of u turns on the busy road, gave a call and found out that I need to enter the railway station and then drive to the hotel. I was very lucky that I didn’t had any scratches on this e-rikshaw stretch. Parked the car in the basement of the hotel, checked in. Took an hour to refresh and came out to explore Haridwar.

Checked out with couple of rikshaw drivers to take me around various temples in Haridwar. One rikshaw driver quoted 400Rs for around 8 temples on the other side of Ganga which seemed ok and visited the temples for around 2 hours with the last being Mansa Devi temple which is on a hill. Walked/trekked to the temple. There is not much crowd in any of the temple.
Pictures of the some of the temples that I have visited.

Came down from Mansa Devi Temple, visited Ganga aarti and picked up Ganga water for home and had food at a busy place and called it a day.


KM Covered – 350 Km

Speed – 65 KMPH

Travel time – around 6 hours

Mileage – 22 KMPL

Pictures of the day:

Awesome paneer pakoda at Shiva Dhaba

Geetha Mandir

Maha Murtunjya Mandir

Daksheshwar Mandir

Pilot Bab Mandir

Swaropanand Ashram

Parad Shivling Mandir

Birds eye view of Haridwar from Mansa Devi Mandir

One of the best hotels I stayed in the trip - Le Roi Hotel in Haridwar

Day 4 - Son Prayag Car Parking

A quick check in google maps said the distance was 230Km, but travel time was 8 hours. I was bit surprised about the travel time. Had a very good sleep and started my journey to Son Prayag at around 6PM, which was a very good decision. The roads were narrow (single lane) till I crossed Rishikesh. Since it was early morning, the traffic was sparse and I could quickly munch miles.

Post crossing Rishikesh, the roads became wide and really enjoyed the twisties. The roads were okay with occasional bad stretches due to past landslides or construction activity. Took one pit stop at Dev Prayag and did not stop anywhere. Covered around 170Km in five hours and was surprised when I checked google maps when it showed 3.5 hrs for the remaining 50 KM. Once I crossed Guptkashi, the road became worse and as my speed drastically slowed down to 15-20KMPH. Being a low-slung car, I was extra cautious so that the rocks did not hurt the cars underbelly. The last 50KM did take 3 hours as google mentioned. Did not use AC on the whole stretch and drove with right side window down.

Reached Son Prayag around 3PM and parked the car in the multi-level parking and went about checking for rooms/beds. Checked out couple of beds, and on seeing the condition of the beds and smell, I decided to sleep in the car which was a wise decision. Strolled around Son Prayag for an hour or so and checked out timings of when to start he walk and where to scan the pass etc., came back to car around 6PM and slept in the car.


KM Covered – 230 Km

Speed – 30 KMPH

Travel time – around 8 hours

Mileage – 15 KMPL

Video of the drive and pictures of the day:


Dev Prayag

First view of Kedarnath hills

Much deserved rest for my car @ Son Prayag car parking

Day 5 – Trek to Kedarnath

Woke up around 4AM and freshened up and went to the queue at around 430 AM, completed the scan formalities. There were lot of Boleros taking pilgrims to Gaurikund, but they preferred group passengers, and it took 10 min for me to find a vehicle with single vacancy. Per person they would charge 50Rs and take around 30 min to drop the pilgrims at Gaurikund.

Started the trek around 530AM and was initially swarmed by the locals to hire a horse instead of the trek. I politely rejected the offers and started the trek. The trek route was fairly crowded and initial 4-5 KM, you will walk on horse dung, lucky that it was not raining and was pretty dry, and nothing got stuck in my shoes.

I covered the initial 8KM in around 3 hours and post crossing the Ram Bara Bridge, the progress drastically slowed down. The last 10KM took around 6 hours as the route was steep, and with horses having the right of way, I had no other option but to slow down. I took along with me an empty 500ML water bottle, which I filled as and when required. I also had energy bars whenever I felt hungry.

The entire route of 18KM or so, has small shanty’s all along the way, in which locals have setup hotels, you will get Maggi or Aalo parata etc. I was very wary of eating at those places.

Few pointers on the trek route:

  • The steps or route is not laid out properly. With the rugged climate, I didn’t expect anything smooth.
  • The entire route is littered with horse dung, especially the initial 3KM. My socks were stuck with a lot fine dried dung after completing the trek.
  • The horses have the right of way.
  • The entire route is littered with plastic (although cleaning is done, the amount of tourists that are taking the trek, the route is littered). Neither the pilgrims nor the locals seem to be bothered about the impact.
  • You will notice the blue tarpaulins (which are used by shanty’s as roof) all along the way. Hopefully the same is removed/discarded properly during the winter months.
  • There is a lot of construction activity happening near the temple. Not sure of the environmental impact of the same, but I am still wary of the activity happening on top which is an ecologically sensitive area. I feel we have forgotten the wrath of nature that happened in 2013.
  • Once you reach the temple, you will forget yourself.

I reached near the Helipad at around 3PM where the GVMN tents were set up. Went to the office (which is also a tent), where I had to show my tourist registration number and the GVMN online receipt and was allocated a tent. We can pick any available bed in the tent, each tent had 10 beds with sleeping bags.

Took a break of 30 min and again started walking towards the temple, which was another 1Km ahead. You will have to cross lot of construction sites to get a glance of the temple.

Although November being a lean and end of the pilgrim season, there was lot of crowd and took around 2-3 hours to complete the darshan.

Spent around 4 hours (I was in awe of the natural beauty of the temple and the mountains beyond) near the temple and went back to my tent. Had the complementary dinner(Poori, sooji sweet and aalo curry) and slept around 9PM. It was pretty cold with temperature hovering around 0 degrees. First time, I slept in a sleeping bag which provided me the required warmth.


KM Covered – 25 Km (first six km in Bolero, and rest 19KM trek)

Speed – 2 KMPH

Travel time – around 10 hours

Mileage – 2 KM per hour of walking

Pictures of the day:

Trek route

Awesome view of mountains while trekking. Pictures do not do the justice


Day 6 – Trek to Gaurikund and drive to Haridwar

Woke up around 4AM, and with temperature around -1C, I could not come out of the sleeping bag because of the warmth it provided. With lot of effort, came out of the sleeping bag, and completed my brushing in that cold and started walking downhill at around 4:30AM. It was only myself walking alone for the first one hour, later on I could catch up with three other folks from MH. The walking route was partly lit, and had to use mobile lights for some portion of the route.

There was no opposite traffic, because the authorities open the route at 4:30AM for uphill trek, but for downhill, there is no check. After 6AM, I started to see the first horses taking people in the opposite direction.

Reached Gourikund at around 9:00AM with a total walk time of around 5 hours and another 30 minutes for the drive in the local Bolero to Son Prayag.

I reached the parking place around 10AM and within 15 minutes took the car out and started driving back to Haridwar. In Son Prayag, one way traffic is implemented by authorities, and motorists were made to go through the bus stand and then merge the highway.

The first 50KM till Guptkashi was painful and tough, and this time I was struck in traffic jam for almost one hour before Guptkashi. Post crossing, it was uneventful, with only one stop at Rudraprayag, and another stop to purchase pulses (I guess it was after 30Km from Rudraprayag). Many shops along the highway were selling locally grown beans/pulses. There pricing was reasonable.

Around 6PM, around 25KM before Rishikesh, I was wondering about the traffic in Rishikesh, as google was showing the entire route in orange/red, and a drive time of around 3 hours to Haridwar. Suddenly, google maps put an alert that an alternate faster route was available but was around 10KM longer. It was through a forest (I don’t recollect the name of the forest), and I took a chance and accepted which was the best thing I did. The route didn’t have any traffic, and the road although single lane was decent and I could avoid Rishikesh in total and merged the highway around 15km before Haridwar.

Around 8PM(one hour ahead of original schedule), I was in Haridwar, stopped at a Dhaba after the flyover in Haridwar which was fairly crowded and had a very light dinner. Also, booked a hotel as well for the night. Reached hotel around 9PM, took bath and crashed.


KM Covered – 250 Km (including 20 KM walk)

Speed – 30KMPH for driving 4KMPH for walking

Travel time – around 15 hours including walking for 5 hours

Mileage – 15 KMPL

Pictures of the day:

Random house high up on the hills. Not sure how do they survive on top

Rudraprayag pit stop

Day 7 – Drive to Sagar.

Woke up around 5AM and completed morning rituals and started driving around 6AM. Filled up the tank as much as I can, as the petrol was cheapest in the trip at Rs.94/liter. The traffic was sparse, however, there was lot of fog and I did not dare to go beyond 80KMPH. The upside being I got terrific mileage of around 23KMPL till Noida. Made a pitstop at Meerut for breakfast and continued my journey and hit the Yamuna express way around 930AM. I was two minds whether to stop at Agra or continue to Sagar. At 11AM, I made a pit stop on Yamuna express way and pondered while savoring Raj Kachori whether to stop at Agra and extend the trip by one day or continue to Sagar. Decided to skip Agra and changed the map to Sagar and continued the journey.

At one of the tolls on Yamuna Expressway, my fastag didn’t work as I failed to check and add money into the same. I had setup auto top up on my fastag on reaching an amount of Rs.150 and unfortunately the top up didn’t work. I had to pay double the toll amount as fine and leave the toll plaza. Immediately, topped up the fastag and continued my drive.

After Yamuna express way exit, google maps took me Agra outer ringroad, however, it is still under construction, and I had to stop and check with locals for directions to the Gwalior highway. After couple of detours, I was back on highway.

Filled up the tank again at UP border to take advantage of cheap fuel price and continued my journey.

At the MP border, some one threw black muck on my car, at first, I was confused, if I went through a ditch or if some vehicle splashed on my car, or did someone splash tar. I continued for two to three kilometers and then stopped in front of a shop and checked out what was splashed. Luckily it was black muck which I could wipe with tissues.I got back and continued my journey and after 5-6 kilometers I saw a lot of cleaners who were ready to clean vehicles with water. Just gave them a pass, because it might be a handy work of these vehicle cleaning cartel and continued.

Continued non-stop till Lalitpur and C&C nightmare started. Reached Sagar around 7:30PM and took the same hotel in which I stayed on Day 1, had very light dinner and crashed.


KM Covered – 860 Km

Speed – 70KMPH

Travel time – around 14 hours

Mileage – 22 KMPL

Picture of the day:

Achieved a milestone on Yamuna expressway. Also notice the 100KMPH @ 1900RPM.

Day 8 – Back Home

Being an early riser, woke up around 4AM and was ready for another long day of driving ahead. Woke up the staff at 6PM, asked them to open the gate and started to drive. Truck traffic was less, however, the craters sans cattle continued for around 5 hours till Seoni.

The drive till Seoni had craters, but it gave me a good early morning views of central India. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning hues and views in MP.

Post crossing Seoni it was breeze and I could maintain a speed of around 80KMPH and thoroughly enjoyed the twisties of Pench tiger reserve once again. Took a pit stop for breakfast/lunch at around 11AM near Nagpur for almost an hour and continued my journey.

Post crossing Nagpur, I saw first TSRTC bus or a TS number plate in almost 8 days, which almost gave me a feeling that I had already reached destination although I had a good 7 hours drive left.

Nothing much to write about the highway in Telangana. Apart from election checks by police, it was an uneventful drive till I reached outskirts of Hyderabad. At the outskirts I was welcomed by huge traffic snarls. Gently avoided the traffic and reached home much to the relief of my family.


KM Covered – 890 Km

Speed – 70KMPH

Travel time – around 14 hours

Mileage – 21 KMPL

Pictures of the day:

Beautiful MP morning

Clicked a crater on a loo break in MP

Some Notes:

  • Thanks to my wife, and full credit to her for allowing me to drive alone and preparing food early in the morning on day 1. She also had to manage the household single-handedly for 8 days.
  • Vento is at its best on highways and loves the twisties. Be the Pench tiger reserve or the hills of Uttarakhand, it gave me the best ride.
  • After driving 800+ kms in a day, I used to be fresh at the end of the day and was ready for the next day.
  • Tank range of 1000KM+ in Vento is worth mentioning.
  • Cruise control is a savior. I was on cruise mode on all the express ways most of the time.
  • Traffic is same and notorious in part of the country. North you are swamped by electric rickshaws, south you will be swamped by two wheelers.
  • I prefer the eastern peripheral expressway than the Yamuna expressway because of the black top. The later is a cement layered road and road noise creeped into the cabin even though my car is on Continental UC shoes.
  • Hats off to all the BHPians who pen down their travelogues. Its takes lot of effort to pen down and post a travelogue.
  • Himalayas are awesome. You will get to know how small you are in front of mountains or in whole earth’s eco-system.
  • I was focused on the drive and enjoyed the sceneries that the route had offered and missed taking many pictures. All pics are etched in my mind.
  • Except for the election checks by the police in TS and MP, no one stopped me for any documentation. Police were more interested about checking the boot.
  • We care a damn about earth. Haridwar, Rishikesh and the trek route was littered with plastic which is a sad part.

Total expense of the trip:

  • 19K for Petrol
  • 4K for toll
  • 8K for hotels and other expenses

Let me know if you need any information on the route etc.

Thank you for reading and making it till here. Until next travelogue bye for now.

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