Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh in XUV - Drive to the abode of 3 of the 7 Sisters


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I’ve been toying with the idea of visiting North Eastern states for last couple of years. My family was quite reluctant to allow me to drive to NE states. At last they allowed me to go in the year 2015. Add to this my Co-Brother (sister-in-law's husband) Ajay also wanted to drive to NE and hence planning started.

There are lots of places to see in the North East, so it was difficult to decide what all to be seen in the fixed time period (winter holidays – will get about 3 weeks). The planned days were from 11th December (After 5 pm) to 3rd Jan 2016 (Need to be in office on 4th Jan). The car was decided to be my co-brothers Mahindra XUV500 W8. The places which we wanted to see were Root Bridge in Meghalaya, Tawang, Ziro, Mechuka, Kibuthoo in Arunachal Pradesh. Puri/Konark in Orissa and Kamakhya in Assam if possible. The probable itinerary was as follow

11-Dec – Start
12-Dec – Puri/Konark
13-Dec – Hit Road by noon
14-Dec – On Road
15-Dec – Guwahati
16-Dec – Shillong
17-Dec - Shillong
18-Dec – Shillong
19-Dec – To Tawang
20-Dec – Tawang
21-Dec – Tawang
22-Dec – To Ziro
23-Dec – Ziro
24-Dec – To Mechuka
24-Dec – Mechuka
25-Dec – To Kibuthoo
26-Dec – Kibuthoo
27-Dec – Return Journey Starts (with break in Guwahati)
03-Jan – Back Home

Any person wishing to enter into Arunachal Pradesh needs to have Inner Line Permit (ILP). Thanks to J.Ravi for his timely advice on how to get ILP.

Procedure for Getting ILP
The procedure is quite simple.
1. In plain paper write the request (format what I sent is given below) with Photo
2. Photocopies of ID card (Used Passport – License, Aadhar will also do).
3. Extra Photo (We need 2 photos of each person, one in the request letter and the other for ILP which will attached by the authorities)
4. We put vehicle details also (I think it’s not needed)
5. Demand Draft Drawn in Favour of “Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Payable at Delhi”. Rs.100/- for each person (Rs.200 in our case as we were 2 persons)
6. Self-Addressed envelope (Speed Post) with stamps for getting the ILP
7. Put all these in an envelope and send it in Speed Post to “Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Aruncahal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi”

I got the ILP within 10 days of sending to Delhi. I think the authorities took less than 3 working days to process the request.

This is what I sent

The Trip

The plan was to take the route from Trivandrum to Vishakhapatnam via Madurai, Trichy, Chennai. Just two days before the start of the trip, my cousin brother (Sankaran) asked whether he could jump in. The routes had to be modified due to Chennai rains and my cousin jumping in who resides in Kochi. As we had ILP for two of us, taking the ILP (without wasting a day in Guwahati or Arunachal border) became a challenge. We were lucky to get a contact in Arunachal Pradesh (through our Cousin who works @Arunachal Pradesh) who took the responsibility of getting one for brother. Surprise, the contact is a Doctor Pakha Tesia in Shillong who is a member of Team-Bhp.

What Materialized



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Day 1: 11-Dec-2015 – Kazhakuttom (Trivandrum) to Ernakulam

Dumped my bag into car and could start by 5 pm towards Haripad. Reached co-brothers’ house@Haripad by 8pm. After dinner loaded my bag into XUV and we hit the road by 9pm to pick my cousin from Ernakulam. Reached Ernakulam before 11pm, dumped his bags and hit the road by 11:30pm. We had decided to drive till we get sleepy.

Destination:Tripunithura (Ernakulam)
Route:Kazhakuttom – Haripad – Tripunithura
Odometer Start:56,822
Odometer End:57,021
Kilometres:199 KMS
Number of Tolls:1
Toll Charges:Rs.15
Start Time:5pm
End Time:11pm
Running Time:4 Hours
Total Time:6 Hours


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Day 2: 12-Dec-2015 – Ernakulam to Vijayawada

We continued our drive and had our first stop at Coimbatore for driver change and snack break. By Salem I felt sleepy, so stopped the car at a Toll gate and had a small wink for 1 hour. Continued the journey till Krishnagiri where we had our breakfast. As we had packed lunch we had it at around 1pm near Sri Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh. We continued our journey and by 7pm we were tired and decided to rest for the day.

Home Lunch@On Road [Near Kalahasthi]

Odometer Start:57,021
Odometer End:58,110
Kilometres:1,089 KMS
Number of Tolls:9
Toll Charges:Rs.455/-
Start Time:00:00AM
End Time:19:00
Running Time:16 Hours
Total Time:19 Hours
Hotel:Hotel VD Residency, Chandramoulipuram, Benz Circle, Vijayawada
GPS Coordinates:16°29′51.4″N 80°39′11.6″E
Rating:Not Recommended. Only advantage is that it’s next to NH5.

Restaurant Tried:Idly’N’Idly, Back Side Of Relance Fresh, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Acharya Ranga Nagar, Benz Circle, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh 520010, India
GPS Coordinates:16°29′ 56.477″N 80°39′ 9.111″E
Rating:Can be tried, not so great.


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Day 3: 13-Dec-2015 – Vijawada to Konark

As planned we hit the road by 6am with a target in mind to reach Konark by night. While crossing Godavari noticed that sand being excavated (lots of lorries/trucks carrying sand from the river), felt that it’s going to be emptied of sand in another couple of days (felt sad, that the nature is being destroyed uncontrolled).
It seems that the people here are strong believers of Lord Hanuman, saw lots of huge statues adjacent to NH5.
Encountered the first traffic jam at the border between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. When enquired with the local person they mentioned that the jam can take more than 2 hours, but if we take the other lane it can be crossed in no time. Thanks that the vehicle was an SUV, just clambered over the median and could cross the border without any issues. Took a break at a local tea shop in Odisha, where we had good tea and some great samosas/chats. Once we entered the local road to Konark, it took more than 2.5 hours to cross 60 Kilomeres and reached the hotel Yatri Nivas@Konark by 9.30pm or so. Hit the bed early after having a quick bite so that we could wakeup early to see the sunrise.

Beautiful Roads of Andhra Pradesh/Telegana

Godavari Riverbed

Lord Hanuman

Lord Hanuman


Wanna Eat???

Destination:Konark, Odisha
Odometer Start:58,110
Odometer End:58,970
Kilometres:860 KMS
Number of Tolls:15
Toll Charges:Rs.890/-
Start Time:06:20AM
End Time:21:00
Running Time:14.15 Hours
Hotel:Yatri Nivas, SH 13, Konark, Odisha 752111
GPS Coordinates:19°53'27"N 86°5'44"E
Rating:Mediocre Hotel, Good Location, Average Restaurant

Restaurant Tried:None


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Day 4: 14-Dec-2015 – Konark to Kharagpur
Got up early (around 4am or so) to see the sunrise. As it was cloudy could not see the rising sun, still had a wonderful time in the beach. Did not feel like having a dip in the ocean. Returned to the hotel and after breakfast went to visit the Konark Temple. By 11 am we were out and went straight to Puri. Unluckily no cameras are allowed inside and we were out in about 1 hours’ time. We had our lunch at Agrawal Restaurant which turned out to be good. By 2 pm we hit the road. On the way we stopped at Mahindra’s Service station to change the wiper. The service was too slow for my liking. At the border we took the other lane (we learnt that from our previous experience at Andhra/Odisha border) and could cross the border without much fuss. We reached Kharagpur at about 10pm where we decided to rest for the day.

Destination:Midnapur (Off Kharagpur), Westbengal
Odometer Start:58,970
Odometer End:59,392
Kilometres:422 KMS
Number of Tolls:5
Toll Charges:Rs.335/-
Start Time:15:00
End Time:22:00
Running Time:7 Hours
Hotel:Atithi Guest House & Banquet Hall, Kharagpur
GPS Coordinates:22°20'58"N 87°20'7"E
Rating:Good. Small rooms but very clean.

Restaurant Tried:Agarwal's Pure Veg Restaurant, Puri
GPS Coordinates:19°47' 59.639"N 85° 48' 9.134"E
Rating:Good, Neat Restaurant




Would You Believe

@Hotel - Yathri Nivas

@Hotel - Yathri Nivas


Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Sun Temple

Iron Bars@Sun Temple

Sun Clock@Sun Temple

To Puri