6050 Kms road trip from Noida to Dhanushkodi and Back.
Self and Son Ravindra, after the trip Noida – Hyderabad – Tenali and back in October/November 2016, were thinking of another annual long drive. At that time New brand road opened by PM to Dhanushkodi and several road enthusiasts posted their experiences in various forums. We were impressed by the posts and the idea of driving to the end of land and on the narrow road flanked by sea on both sides. We also for a long time thinking of driving on the western route from Ahmadabad to Thane and Bangalore. So we planned to combine these two and add our home town Tenali, in AP and decided on the route Noida – Jaipur – Chittorgarh – Udipur – Ahmadabad - Vadodara – Thane – Pune – Bangalore – Madurai – Rameswaram – Chenni – Tenali – Hyderabad – Nagpur – Chhindwara – Narsinghpur – Sagar – Jhansi – Agra – Noida. This looks impressive and since we travelled on NH 44 from Noida – Hyderabad in 2016, we are familiar with that route.
So we started planning and gone through various Forums and there is plenty of high quality information. Earlier in September 2015, we went to Gujarat and hence know the route up to Ahmadabad. Initially we planned to go via Ahmadabad as we want to drive on NE1. However as we drove on the YEW and ALE recently, which are better than the NE1, we decided to drive Via Godhra to avoid heavy traffic on NH 48 in this sector. Also we liked the route via Chhindwara to the one via Seoni, for scenic as well as for the smooth surface and low traffic we decided to stick on the via Chhindwara route from Nagpur to Narsinghpur.
For Bangalore to Rameswaram route, we extensively studied the post from Various Travel Forum and decide on Via Madurai instead of via Tiruchirapally, as both take same time and though distance via Madurai is more we will be driving on fine NH44 for more distance which we assume will be less stressful and fuel efficient, than the not so good road till Trichy from Namakkal. Also for the drive from Rameswaram to Chennai we will be travelling via Karaikudi and Tiruchirapalli ( Chettinadu Route ). Also instead of taking the route inside the Madurai city, we decided to go further till just before Tirumangalam and take the Airport – Kappalur Ring road and then NH 38 and meet NH 85. We were advised by some Forum members on the route condition and were aware that the status of road from Lt turn from NH 44 to the junction of NH38 and 85 is bad as well as that the road is narrow from the junction for some distance. Rest of the route is straight forward and I will provide the info on Road status, Fastag status and facilities date wise.
After deciding on the route we serviced our four years Vento Highline Petrol ( Manual ) and got it checked thoroughly. Purchased some snacks and Dry fruits for the Road. We always carry hot water in Flask and instant coffee, Tea bags, milk powder and Sugar powder for making coffee or tea at places which we like, like Ghat sections, river fronts and Hills etc. Also , we always plan to start early by 0400 hours and that time hotels mostly will not provide coffee or tea , we also carry a Electric Kettle ( Though most of the Hotels are providing coffee/ Tea kits in the room now ) and also 5 liters of water apart from few bottles drinking water. We also carried basic medicines, few basic tools, Torch light and a Stick. We made sure we also carry all the original Car documents and two sets of photocopies as well as First Aid Box.
Team : The main team is self and Son Ravindra, main Pilot. After hearing our trip plan, my nephew Ramana, from Bangalore decided to join the trip from Noida to Chennai, and Sivaram who was with us for part of trip from Noida – Hyderabad – Tenali during 2016, decided to join from Hyderabad to Noida. One of our relation Srinivasa Rao from Tenali is very enthusiastic and decided to travel with us from Noida to Thane.
So the trip started on 10th November 2017 at 0407 Hours from Kendriyavihar -2, Sector – 82, Noida, with four members, after a customary selfi.
Highlights : The trip went of nicely and the highlight is of course Dhanushkodi. The drive in the early morning from hotel, avoiding the goats on the road after the main town, Sea on both sides, one side turbulent and other side peaceful and finally the end of Land at Dhanushkodi is excellent. We reached at 0555 hrs , but it was bit cloudy and we can see the Sunrise only around 0615 hrs slightly above the Horizon. We prepared for heavy wind blowing sand as experienced by some Forum members, but that day its only mild cool breeze. Its peaceful and refreshing to be at Dhanushkodi beach and we spent about an hour and half there. Also we carried our coffee kit had refreshing coffee on the beach. A fulfilling experience and trip. Driving on Pamban sea bridge is also a great experience and we enjoyed short stop on the bridge.
The second Highlight of Trip was the drive through the Ghat section before and after Chhindwara. Its nice drive in the curvy roads and sharp turns. The Road is super smooth and scenes are great. We love the drive in this sector.
The third Highlight is going to our Village Pohumarru, near Tenali, in our Car after Driving all these miles and seeing the green and Yellow fields.
Finally We completed our trip and back to Noida passing through 11 states and clocking 6050 Kms from 10th to 25 November 2017. The roads for most part are excellent and we faced mostly very low truck traffic. We thank the members of various Travel Forums for detailed and voluble inputs in various posts which helped us to plan and complete the trip.
Two new things ( I think ) we observed during the trip.
1. The brand new Bypass for Ongole on NH 16 is complete and operational. The bypass is great quite far from the town.
2. The Railway flyover at the Hinganghat is almost ready. The Central section of the bridge over the Railway line, which has been left vacant for the last few years has finally been installed and the flyover may be operational in a couple of months.
3. Brand new bypass for Ramanathapuram is ready and operational. Excellent surface.
The day wise route, Distance, time and some observations are listed below. Few Statistics :
Few Statistics :
Vehicle : Vento Petrol Highline ( Manual )
Total Distance : 6050 Kms
Petrol : 367.15 Lt
Cost of Petrol : Rs 27018.55
Mileage : 16.47 Km/Lt ( with AC Throughout) Best mileage we got from HP Pumps and then IOC
Average Petrol Cost : Rs 73.65 / Lt
Cost per Km : Rs 4.47
Tolls Paid : Total : 87 Cash : 33 ( +2 On YEW Paid at Agra Toll ) Auto : 54
Fastag : Rs 3556 Cash : Rs 2432 Total : Rs 5988/-
Total Trip : 16 Days : Drive Days : 10 Days : Rest : 6 Days.
Longest Drive : Home Noida – Ratanpur : 805 Kms 14 Hrs 38 Mnts.
Shortest Drive : Chitradurga – Domlur, Bangalore : 206 Kms 3 Hrs 21 Mnts
10 Nov 2017 :
KV2, Noida – Jaipur – Kishangarh – Nasirabad – Chittodgarh – Udaipur – Ratanpur.
Distance : 805 Kms
Time : 0407 – 1845 Hrs : 14 Hrs 38 Mnts.
Planned to start at 0400 Hrs and started at 0407 Hrs. Not much smog and no fog. Not much traffic till Gurgoan toll then the truck traffic started to build up and slow down the drive.
Road Status: The 6 lane work between Gurgoan and Jaipur is still not completed and there are a few diversions where flyovers are under construction. Heavy Truck traffic almost till Jaipur Bypass. The road after Kishangarh toll till Udaipur on NH48 is better compared to our trip during 2015. Road from Udaipur to Ratanpur is very good. We could not enjoy much the scenic road from Udaipur to Ratanpur as ir was dark already.
Fastag : Fastag is available at all Tolls except Lambiya, Khedi and Khewra. No toll collected at Paduna as it was under maintenance. Rithola toll after Chittorgarh is discontinued. Al type of vehicles are allowed in the fastag lanes and no automatic sensors installed. Manual scanning is used and taking considerable time to clear the toll as vehicles paying by cash are also allowed in the lane.
Facilities/Breaks : Lot of food options between Gurgoan and Jaipur with new decent hotels coming up. We halted at Hotel Orbit after Kotputli for Coffee. Decent rest rooms. Had breakfast ( carried from Home ) at Highway Kings, after Jaipur bypass. Decent hotel with clean rest room. Not many facilities after Kishangarh till Bhilwara except Dhabas. Had Lunch at Hotel Midway, Bhilwara. Good and fast service. Ok type rest rooms. Two new hotels have come up just after the turn to Chittorgarh from NH48, Hotel Elegance and Hotel Vishal. Seems to be good, not tried by us. No decent facilities after this till Udaipur. Just had tea in Udaipur city at way side.
Stayed at Hotel Kingfisher at Ratanpur ( Rajastan – Gujarat Border). We booked accommodation at RTDC Motel Ratanpur and the RTDC closed this Motel permanently and we were informed on 6th November. So we booked in the Hotel Kingfisher, just 2 Kms from border. The rooms are very good, clean with clean toilets and bathroom. The food in the attached Restaurant is good. The hotel mainly caters for the people for Alcoholic drinks from Gujarat which is under prohibition. Hence may not be appropriate for Families, though we did not face any problem or trouble.
11 Nov 2017
Route : Ratanpur – Godhra – Vadodara – Vapi – Thane West ( Brindavan Society )
Distance : 621 Kms
Time : 0410 – 1554 : 11 Hrs 44 Mnts
Started at 0410 hrs and held up for a few minutes at the Border as Trucks are being checked at the check post. There after the drive was smooth till we reach Vadodara.
Road Status : The road via Godhra is excellent 4 lane Road and in no time we reached Vadodara. The road from Vadodra to Thane is well discussed in various forums and is excellent. But there is very heavy 4 wheeler and truck traffic, most of the time unruly. After Vapi the traffic eased out till Thane where we were held up 30 minutes in terrific traffic Jam, before the turn to service road for going to Brindavan Society. The drive after Gujarat – Maharashtra border is scenic and nice till we reach Thane outskirts.
We had lot of expectations of the Narmada Bridge and got down before crossing the bridge for photos. But the view is not clear and we could not see all the bridges. We stopped after the Bridge and the foul smell at that place drove us back immediately back in to the car. It is sad that the planners of the bridge did not think of creating some viewpoints without obstructing the traffic.
Fastag : No toll on Godhra road till Vadodra for cars.
Fastag available at all the tolls, from Vadodara to Thane with auto scanner but status is same as on 10th Nov and all vehicles are allowed in the fastag lane. Auto Sensor is switched on only when we reach the toll and conveyed that we had fastag. So it is taking more time at the tolls and its same for those with Fastag and without fastag. At three tolls we could not recognize the Fastag lane and missed due to heavy trucks lining up and have to pay by cash. Time lost at the Toll could be 30+ minutes. Sometimes the cash lanes are faster than the Fastag lane.
Facilities/ Breaks : The facilities on the way from Rtanpur to Vadodara via Godhra seems to be improving and a few new Hotels have come up but we did not try, as it was too early. We stopped at IOC petrol pump after Godhra and made coffee from our kit and used the so so toilets there.
There are plenty of Food Options from Vadodara till Thane and well discussed in the forum. Every few kilometers we see decent hotels/restaurants. We halted at the Varsada Food Court for Breakfast and is good. We reached there at 0800 hrs and only few outlets just opened at that time. The food is good but expensive. The service is bit slow, may be as the outlets are just opened. Coffee is average.
After this we planned to stop at Chokhi Dhani in Surat bypass, but its not opened. So we halted briefly and made and had our coffee outside. We stopped Hotel Swagat ( ?) after Valasad Bypass and had lunch. It has AC Restaurant but not so good. There are better places. Food is ok and the service is fast. The AC Restaurant has attached Rest room and are clean and good. No further stops till we reach Thane and Traffic Jam.
Halt at Thane on 11th and 12th Nov, Stayed at Sisters House in Brindavan Society.
13 Nov 2017 :
Route : Thane west – Mulund – Pune EWay – Satara – Kolhapur – Belagavi – Hubballi - Chitradurga ( Hotel Mayura Yatri Nivas )
Distance : 786.5 Kms
Time : 0455 – 1805 Hrs : 13 Hrs 10 Mnts
Initially we considered driving till Domlur in Bangalore, but the traffic in the evening/night hours in Bangalore made us to stop and choice fell on Chitradurga as it is closer to Bangalore and we can reach before the traffic build up in Bangalore. The decision was probably right.
First time in our Road Trips so far for the last 12 years, we were stopped by Police after the Khed Shivapuri Toll, in Pune. We had all documents in order and there is nothing to fault by the constable. In the end he asked whether the First aid Box is available. We replied in affirmative and asked him to see the boot. He did not bother and waved us to go.
Road Status :
Good roads throughout except for diversions near Satara. Overtaking trucks on Pune Express way in ghat section is a problem as the trucks occupy all lanes and try to overtake each other and move slowly. The best part of drive is from before Kolhapur to Chitradurga. Excellent road, low traffic ( except in Belagavi ), scenic roads with minor Ghat sections. We had an average mileage 63.7 Kms/ hr and 76.49 Kms/hr when breaks are not considered.
No fastag at Airoli Toll in Mulund and Khalpur in Mumbai – Pune EWay. At 7 tolls Fastag is working with dedicated line and with automatic sensor and at one manual scanner used. At Khed Shivapuri toll after Pune Bypass time is wasted as vehicles without Fastag are also allowed. At other tolls its smooth. At 6 tolls Fastag is not working or not installed.
Facilities / Breaks :
Plenty of very good restaurants and food options throughout and we regretted that we could not try most of them. We stopped at the Food Carnival after the Telegoan Toll and the toilets are good but not excellent. Since many outlets are not opened at the early morning hours, we used our coffee kit and had coffee. Next we stopped in the Ghats after Khandala for Photos, Snacks and Coffee. We stopped for Brunch at Sai International Food Court before Kolhapur and the food was excellent and the rest rooms are very good and clean. Once entered Karnataka, there are Kamat Upachara Restaurants every now and then. We had coffee at one such Restaurant after Herbagewadi toll as well as filled Petrol at IOC pump in the same complex. Coffee is ok type. Once more we halted for Tea at way side Dhaba after Davangiri.
We stayed at Hotel Mayur Yatri Nivas, a KSTDC hotel, in Chitradurga. This is in the city and towards the other side of NH48. Since we want to avoid going through the town we proceeded till Valmiki Chowk and then took Right turn below the NH 48 Flyover. From there we followed Google Maps and it took us through a very narrow lane and bit difficult to maneuver the Sedan. There is a straight road which Google did not show us. While returning next day morning we took that road and it is smooth going.
The Mayura Yatri Nivas is very close to the Chitradurga fort. Since we reached after dark , around 1800 hrs and left in the morning around 0500 Hours, we could not see the fort. We booked Ac double room and the room was nice, spacious with attached spacious and clean bath room. We had food in the hotel only and it was good. Only issue with this property was that the staff were not well trained, though good, cooperative and helpful.
14 Nov 2017
Route :Mayur Yatri Nivas, Chitradurga – Tumkur – Neelamangala – MIG, Domlur, Bangalore.
Distance : 206 Kms
Time : 0508 – 0827 Hrs : 3 Hrs 19 Mnts
Road Status : Very good road till Domlur. Encounter heavy traffic from Yesvantpur Metro station, till Domlur. Clear roads till Neelamaangala, made very good progress.
Fastag : Auto sensor Working at all tolls. Cleared fast.
Halted in Domlur with Nephew Ramana, who accompanied us from Noida till Chennai. Had excellent lunch at MTR, Indiranagar with relatives.
15 Nov 2017
Route : MIG, Domlur, Bangalore – Selam – Dindigul – Madurai – Manamadurai – Ramanathapuram – Hotel Jivan Residency, Rameswaram.
Distance : 623 Kms
Time : 0402 – 1430 Hrs : 10 Hrs 28 Mnts
Road Status : Started early at 0402 Hrs. No traffic, reached fast to Silk Board Junction. The Electronic City elevated road is closed and we have to go by service lane. Since early morning not much traffic. In Hosur elevated road is ready, very good, no traffic and crossed Hosur in no time. Road up to Krishnagiri Toll is 6 lane and is in excellent state and after Krishnagiri 4 lane excellent road till we turned left from NH44 towards Airport – Kappalur Ring Road ( Old Tirumangalam Road ), Madurai. Moderate traffic till Selam and then very low traffic. Not much problem in crossing Selam at the early hours around 0650 Hrs. The Ghat Road inbetween is good and scenic.
Airport – Kappalur Ring Road and NH 38 are under expansion to 4 lane and the condition of road is very bad, full of pot holes and lot of diversions till NH 38 and NH 85 intersection and turn to Rameswaram/Dhanushkodi Road. From the turn till Manamadurai, the road is under expansion and quite a few diversions . There are no bypasses ( some are under construction ) for the towns & Villages and the Road is very narrow at some places.. There is heavy truck, bus and local traffic and the driving is not smooth. Once we cross Paramkudi town ( no bypass as of now), the road though undivided, is wide and with smooth surface and less traffic, till Rameswaram. The Ramanathapuram bypass is ready and operational and is very good. Driving on Pamban bridge is great feeling.
One unusual thing is, there are barricades every 4 or 5 kms, at every junction and before & after towns, from Selam till Rameswaram and none of them has any warning for the Road user. However all of them are having good reflectors and can be spotted without any difficulty but causes delay and one has to reduce speed considerably, fulfilling the objective of traffic police. In fact the same continued on Trichy – Chennai section and Chennai – Guntur section, though the barricades are not well installed in Andhra Pradesh section.
Fastag : Fastag is working great and the dedicated fastag lane is implemented seriously. All 7 Tolls have Auto Sensors and working fine and took about 1 or 2 minutes to cross the toll booth. At Krishnagiri toll we missed the fastag lane by mistake and paid cash. Rest is fine.
Facilities / Breaks : Great till Selam, lot of food options. After Selam not many good Restaurants till Dindigul and Madurai. There is a Hotel Temple City Restaurant between the Kozhinjiipatti Toll and Vagai river, before Madurai which seems to be good. After that no good restaurant or Rest room facilities till one reaches his hotel in Rameswaram.
We had Coffee/ tea at way side dhaba after Thoppur/Palayam toll, not good. Filled Petrol and made coffee at Bharat Petroleum outlet, just after Karur town. Tolerable toilets, but place is dusty. Had Breakfast at a fake Sarvanabhavan after Dindigul town. Breakfast is ok, but ambiance is not good and Toilets are average. After this we stopped only after Manamadurai and made our coffee. Next stop was on Pamban bridge for Photos. There is warning on Pamban Bridge that no stopping and Parking and Rs 600/- fine, but everyone is stopping in the centre of the bridge and there is a mini traffic jam.
Stayed at Hotel Jivan Residency, on the beach, just after Hotel Tamilnadu. Decent hotel, with good and spacious rooms and clean toilets, 24 hours hot water and RO plant for Guests use. The food at the Pure Veg restaurant is very good, particularly the Buffet Breakfast, but a bit expensive.
Reached Hotel at 1430 Hrs and after bit rest went to Temple at 1700 Hrs. It’s a majestic and Huge Temple with long corridors, which are longest in the world. But most part of temple is wet as devotees take bath at the various Theerathams, inside the temple. The crowd was comparatively less and we could finish the darshan in about an Hour. Just roamed around the sea front, which is paved and not very clean.
Returned to Hotel by 1930 Hrs and had early dinner by 2030 hrs and went to bed early so as to get up early for the main Dhanushkodi trip.
16 Nov 2017
Hotel Jivan Residency, Rameswaram – Dhanushkodi - Hotel Jivan Residency, Rameswaram.
Left hotel at 0530 Hrs and drove straight to Dhanushkodi. The roads inside the town are narrow and once out of town, found plenty of goats and cattle on the road till we cross the outskirt villages. Then the fantastic Road to Dhanushkodi is before us, with trees and bushes lining up on both sides of Road for some distance, then the sea on both sides of the road, till we reach the end of Land at Dhanushkodi. We reached the the Ashoka stoopa and took U turn around it symbolizing the accomplishment of main objective of the trip. Took lot of photos, some videos and waited for the Sun rise. The horizon is cloudy and we can see the Sun only after it raises a bit. Went in to the beach and to the sea and spent about 90 minutes there. It is surprising that the Sea on the right side ( Facing Sea ) is rough with huge waves and that facing left is calm and almost no waves.
Made coffee from our kit near the stoopa and enjoyed the Hot Coffee on the Beach. Stopped at the Ghost town Dhanushkodi on the way and purchased some shells. Also stopped at a Jetty after the Ghost Town. We were told by some persons that we cannot take the car towards the Jetty and asked us to move it away. Since we are already there, we spent some time irrespective of protests from these people whose authority we are not convinced and questioned. On the way back we visited the Kodandarama temple and came back to hotel.
After Breakfast we went on sightseeing in Rameswaram and visited, Ramapadam Hill ( Or Gandhamadhana Parvatam), Rama and Lakshmana Teerthams etc. Then we visited the Dr Abdul Kalam sirs Memorial and his house. The memorial is maintained by DRDO and is excellent, Lot of Photographs and items associated with Dr Kalam. In the central hall is the place where he was finally rested,
The house also contain mostly Photos taken during the life and work of Dr Abdul Kalam. Above the museum, there are shops selling sea shells etc and we purchased two big shells with writing “ Rameswaram “ on them and two chains. We had lunch at Hotel Tamilnadu and were disappointed. We had lot of expectations as we had stayed in the hotel 1980 and 1982 and the food and accommodation were excellent. Now the lunch is not at all good and the food at Jivan Residency is far better. In the afternoon we went to the Light house about 5 Kms on the road in front of the hotel. There is no one at the Light House and the gate is closed. We were told by some people staying inside the compound that the Light House is closed. We could not understand, whether it is permanently or temporarily. We returned and went in to town to get Petrol at the IOC pump in town and then took a boat ride in the sea. Met some friends who are posted in my earths while Department at the Hotel. Took early dinner and slept early to get ready for the drive to Chennai, next day.
17 Nov 2017
Route : Hotel Jivan Residency, Rameswaram – Ramanathapuram – Devipatnam – Karaikudi Bypass- Tiruchirapally – Hotel Kalyan Homtel, Vandalur, Chennai.
Distance : 522 Kms - Time : 0421 – 1330 Hrs : 9 Hrs 9 mnts
Started early around 0420 Hrs so as to reach Chennai early and reached Vandalur at 1330 Hrs.
Road Status : The Road from Rameswaram to Ramanthapuram is excellent undivided wide road, as already mentioned, and we could make good time and reach Devipatnam. From there till Karaikudi Bypass, the road is narrow and very bad, with potholes as well as surface washed out at most of the stretch. Added to that is the heavy traffic of Trucks, Busses and Cars, come with blazing lights and driving becomes a torture. Its advisable to drive on this 75 Kms stretch during day light hours only. From Karaikudi bypass till Tiruchirappally the road is very good and traffic also less, till we encounter local Trichy traffic. There are cattle and mostly goats on the this stretch, once it is day light and one has to be cautious. Once we enter the Trichy – Chennai Highway, NH 45, its excellent road its great to drive on this NH45. Surprisingly not much traffic was encountered and we made good time.
Fastag : There is no Toll till Karaikudi bypass and 8 tolls after that and 6 are Fastag enabled. At the Lembalakudai Toll, in Karikudi bypass Manual Scanner is used and Rest of the tolls Auto Sensors available and very good. 2 tolls at Attur and Parnur, near Chennai, no Fastag is available and cash paid..
Facilities/Breaks : No decent facilities for food or rest rooms after Rameswaram, till the out skirts of Trichy. There is a IOC Petrol Pump after Deviakottai town having good toilets. We stopped here and made coffee from our Kit and used the toilets. Once on NH45, plenty of very good Restaurants, probably having good rest rooms. We stopped at Hotel Sangeetaha, after the Samayapuram Toll for Coffee and the Rest rooms here are clean and decent. Next we stopped at Adayar Anandbhavan, after Sengrchi Toll for Breakfast and is very good. Rest Rooms are very clean and decent here also. We purchase some sweets and snacks here as we are very fond of them, having stayed few years in Bangalore and tasted their stuff regularly. Our next stop was at Manoj Bhavan, after Athur Toll for Coffee. This Hotel seems to be a new one and very decent and the ambiance is excellent. The coffee tastes very good and is served in brass utensils. There is a attached Sweet and Snacks out let. The rest rooms are very clean and neat. No further halts till we reach Hotel kalian Hometel where we stayed the night
The Hotel Kalyan Hometel is on the Highway itself near to the Vandalur Zoo intersection. We selected this hotel, so that we can reach and leave Chennai, without entering the City and avoid the Traffic Jams in the city. The Hotel is Very Good and the Double Room we booked is excellent with all basic facilities. The attached Restaurant is highly expensive and we did not find any nearby good Restaurants. This is only drawback with this hotel. We met three of our close friends and also my colleagues while working in New Delhi. My nephew Ramana left us after reaching Chennai and returned to Bangalore. So self and Ravindra proceeded from Chennai to Tenali and my wife Usha joined from Tenali to Hyderabad.
18 Nov 2017
Route : Hotel Kalyan Homtel, Vandalur, Chennai – Gudur – Nellore – Ongole – Guntur Bypass – Tenali
Distance : 463 Kms - Time : 0407 – 1140 Hrs : 7 Hrs 33 Mnts
Road Status : We stayed at Vandalur so that we conveniently proceed on the Chennai Bypass and to join the NH 16. Immediately after entering the bypass from Hotel we filled Petrol at the BP pump and then drove on NH 32, NH 48 and joined NH 16. Though the traffic is less, the trucks were stopped on the bypass at several places, particularly at the tolls requiring cautious driving. After the bypass, the Road is bad with pot holes and the truck traffic is more. At the AP border check post, the trucks were parked haphazardly and obstructing the traffic causing jam and a delay of 12 minutes. After crossing Tada the road condition improved and traffic also eased. But vehicles particularly, two wheelers and tractors are coming from wrong direction, requiring extra caution. The road is excellent 4 lane and we made good time. From about 20 Kms after Nellore bypass, NH 16 is 6 lane excellent surface and great for driving. The traffic is also less and no unruly drivers or unexpected intersections. The construction of one flyover is not completed after Nellore and there is a diversion for a few Kilometers. Excepting this the NH 16 is excellent and we could get an average mileage of almost 80 km/ Hr without ever crossing 100 Km/ Hr. There is brand new Bypass for Ongole Town now from right side, quite far from town and is excellent. No toll at present on this bypass. This bypass seems to have been commissioned recently.
The road to Tenali after the turn from NH 16 is undivided 2 lane narrow road and not bad. Plenty of local mixed Traffic.
Fastag : No fastag at the three tolls on Chennai bypass and cash paid. All the 6 Tolls after that till turn to Tenali are all having Fastag with Auto sensors, dedicated lanes ( Strictly enforced) and very good. We can clear the tolls within a minute.
Facilities : Not many decent facilities once we enter AP till NH5 Food Plaza above the Tangutur Toll. This Plaza is excellent for food as well as for rest rooms and a must Pit Stop. We had breakfast here, which is buffet, mainly South Indian fare, for Rs 199/-. There are a few restaurants at Gudyr bypass seems to be good but we did not try. Immediately after Budhanam Toll after Noidupeta, there is a Tirumala Dairy outlet on the Right side where one can purchase Milk and Kova products. The Gulabjam here is very famous. We did not find any toilets at this facility. We purchased few Gulabjams and made coffee from our Kit. Our next stop is only at NH5 Food Plaza. After that we stopped only for Petrol after Chilakaluripeta.
19 and 20 November : On 19th Nov, we went to our Village Pothumarru and roamed around the Paddy fields, which are turning from green to yellow and a great sight. We had plenty of coconut water and spent a few hours in the village. On 20th Nov we celebrated the birthday of my wife Usha, and purchased a few specialty snacks of Tenali for the further drive.
21 Nov 2017
Route : Tenali – Vijayawada – KV-3, Haidershakote, Hyderabad
Distance : 345 Kms - Time : 0458 – 1017 Hrs : 5Hrs 19 Mnts
KV-3, Haidershakote, Hyderabad – Myhome Jewel, Chandanagar : 25 Kms, 35 Mnts.
Road Status : Tenali to Vijayawada is single road and moderate traffic in the early morning. The drive in Vijayawada town is not that bad as it was early morning hours. Once we reached the Hyderabad Highway NH 65, its great road till Pathangi Toll and then encountered local Hyderabad traffic till ORR. ORR is breeze and reached Kendriyavihar Phase 3, Hyderabad after exiting the ORR at TSPA. After about an hour stay at KV3 we left for Myhome Jewel apartments in Chandanagr and stayed till 23 Nov. Filled petrol on 23 Nov at IOC pump near the Apartments.
Fastag : All tolls except Payhangi Toll are Fastag enabled with auto sensor and excellent. Cleared the tolls in a minute. At Pathangi Toll fastag is not working.
Facilities/Breaks : There are some Hotels after Vijayawada on NH seems to be good. But the best is Hotel Seven after Suryapet. Great food and excellent Restrooms. We stopped there and had good breakfast, and did not stop anywhere. Nearing Hyderabad, before the ORR, there are very good restaurants, though we did not have the opportunity to try any one.
24 Nov 2017
Route : Myhome Jewel, Chandanagar – Medichal – Adilabad – Hinganghat – Nagpur – Savner – Chhindwara – Hotel Kusum Valley, Narsinghpur.
Distance : 749 Kms - Time : 0403 – 1756 Hrs : 13 Hrs 53 Mnts
Road Status : Road from Myhome Jewel to ORR is bad for most part. Once on NH 44 from Medichal, its excellent 6 Lane Road till MH border at Penganga River. There are lot of intersections and no proper markings. Since its early morning not much traffic and not much unruly drivers. After crossing in to MH at Penganga River, the road is undivided and narrow and very bad for some distance. After crossing the MH Integrated check post the 4 lane work is in progress and Flyovers are being constructed. The road up to Darora Toll is a mixed lot with about 20 Kms very bad road around Wadki and torturous at Wadki. The 4 lane work is complete for rest of the 60 Kms, but no markings or signage and motorists are confused which way to go. Most of the time 60 to 80 Kms speed can be maintained except for the 20 Kms. After Darora Toll its all nice road.
The Hinganghat Railwayflyover is almost ready and may be commenced in near future. The central portion of the flyover, just above the Rly Line, which is left unfinished for the last couple of years, is now complete. The Height of the flyover seems to be problem, as the height has been increase by constructing platforms on both edges, to increase height. This a good sign for the Drive enthusiasts.
Traffic in Nagpur after crossing the ORR is a mess due to the Metro construction. At some places the road is made very narrow making it difficult to negotiate the traffic. After crossing the other side of IRR, it fine and the Savner bypass is good. The drive once entering MP is great with excellent Road and drive through the scenic Ghat Section is wonderful. The road to the Kusum valley Hotel in Narsinghpur is bad from the turn from NH 44 and need to cross a Rly Line. Held up to 10 mnts at the crossing.
Fastag : Very bad experience with fastag in the section. Of the 14 tolls only at 5 Tolls Fastag is available and at only 2 tolls Fastag auto censor is working and at 3 tolls its Manual Scanning, rest at 9 Tolls either fastag is not installed or not working for a long time. The manual scanning takes a lot of time as only after the toll is reached, the sensor is called for then after scanning they go for uploading and check, then only the bar is lifted. This is taking from 5 to 10 minutes. At the cash only tolls, the Fastag lane is permanently barricaded. Its sheer waste of time.
Facilities/Breaks: There are some restaurants between Medchal and Adilabad, and some may be good, we did not try. Also, there are Toilets in-between, built by NHAI, but not sure about the cleanliness. There is a BP Ghar Dhabha after Adilabad bypass and is maintained very badly. No food is available at this place, except some person is making Tea and Pooris outside. After entering MH nothing till Nagpur except some primitive Dhabhas. After crossing Nagpur nothing except Petrol on NH 547 till reaching Hotel in Narsinghpur. There are two good Hotels in Chhindwara, but one need to go in to the town.
After crossing Indalvai Toll, halted at a upcoming HP Pump for Coffee made from our Kit. There is an IOC Pump, just before that and there are tolerable toilets at that place. We halted at BP Ghar Dhbha after Adilabad and had breakfast of bread, buns and some dry fruits, outside. The toilets are not maintained properly here. Stopped for Petrol at IOC Pump and had Brunch at Vithal Kamat, Buttibori. Good place with clean toilets. Food is also good. Next stooped in the Hills after Chhindwara for Photos and Coffee.
Stayed at Hotel Kusum Valley for the night. The suit we booked is very good, neat and clean. The toiletries are provided and towels are clean. For food we had only Poha and buttermilk, both are tasty. The rooms also had Coffee making kit and provisions. Staff are good and helpful. Its ok for a short one night stay.
25 Nov 2017
Route : Hotel Kusum Valley, Narsinghpur – Sagar – Jhansi – Gwalior – Agra – YEW – KV-3, Noida
Ditance : 788 Kms - Time : 0427 – 1830 Hrs : 14 Hrs 3 Mnts
Road Status : Once turn on to NH44 from the narrow lanes of Narsinghpur, its breeze drive till Jhansi. The road is excellent, though at some stretches the surface is a bit worn-out, compared to our drive on the same stretch during November 2017 and the resurfacing work is going on. The traffic is less throughout, but one need to be cautious as the cattle come on to the highway, once it is day light. The Jhansi – Gwalior stretch is in the same worst condition with unruly traffic throughout and the Datia & Darba towns making the drive very tough. The stretch after Gwalior bypass and outskirts of Agra is good but there is heavy Traffic.
The passing through Agra is still a nightmare, though we took the cantonment route and then Agra – Bah road to enter YEW at its south most end. Traffic is very heavy and utterly unruly till turn in to cantonment and on Agra – Bah road. Once on YEW its great till reaching Home in Sector 82, Noida.
Fastag : Not very good experience with fastag. At only 2 tolls the Fastag Auto sensor is working and is good. At the 4 tolls where manual scan is done, its taking considerable time. At 2 tolls no Fastag is enabled. On YEW so far Fastag is not enabled at the Tolls.
Facilities/ Breaks: No decent facilities on NH 44 till YEW, unless one enters the towns. However there are Dhabas and one has to take his chance. There is Pathway Retreat on Sagar Bypass and probably good, but not opened when we crossed Sagar Bypass. Hotel Deepali in Sagar is very nice, and can be approached easily from the highway. There are very decent restaurants on the way in Agra but one may face traffic and parking problems. On YEW , the Food Track at Mathura Toll is the best on YEW.
We stopped for a few minutes after Sagar bypass and made coffee from our Kit. The IOC pump just before Lalitpur has average toilet facilities. The BP Ghar Dhaba at Lalitpur seems to be oK, but we did not try. We had breakfast at a Dhaba after Lalitpur, and is good. The toilets are decent here. We had snacks at Food Track at Mathura toll and is very good.
We reached Home in Noida after a extremely satisfying and enchanting drive of 6050 Kms and the exciting visit to Dhanushkodi.
Photos link --> Dhanushkodi Trip Photos - Google Drive
Time Distance Charts Link --> Time Distance Chart - Noida - Dhanushkodi.xlsx
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