Awara Model 2011 aka Life Begins with Retirement


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Day 51. 20 Feb '17. Maheshwar & Mandu

After waking at dawn & then having an early breakfast, we left PACE Hotel, Aurangabad.

Early morning from PACE Hotel

Crossing the Ghats

Breakfast stop. Clean toilets

No wonder Dhabas have charpoys for drivers to stretch out

Smooth toll roads

Wind turbine blade being ferried

Slow overtaking the slower. Patience!

River Narmada

Stopped for lunch at MP Tourism resort on Narmada's banks at Maheshwar. Beautiful place

Fried fish was excellent!

And serene flows the Narmada

Went to the Ghats

The ancient ghats

Eco awareness

Imposing archway

Temple top

Went to Rehwa Society, Richard Holkar's NGO, which is a production-cum-sale centre for Maheshwar saris

Weaving centre in same complex as Sales centre

Bought some saris & stoles & on to Mandu

On road to Mandu

Google misled & we found ourselves on this road under construction

Still on road to Mandu (hopefully)

Entering Mandu

Reached MPTDC's Malwa Retreat, Mandu, at 5:30 PM after negotiating bad road for quite some distance. After a quick cup of tea, on Manager's advice we went to Sunset Point atop a ravine near Lohani Caves. The wind coming up the ravine was gale force as you can see from the tree's branches

Branches bending in the wind


Day 52. 21 Feb '17
Early morning to Rupmati Mahal to see sunrise

There was not guard at the gate so we entered

Looking down from Rupmati Mahal on Baz Bahadur's palace


Rupmati Mahal at dawn

Steep climb to Rupmati Mahal, now visible after sunrise

Many Baobab trees in Mandu

We went to Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid

Peeping Toms

After that we went to the Tomb of Hoshang Shah

Hoshang Shah's Tomb

Ashrafi Mahal opposite Jama Masjid

Then to Jahaz Mahal

Tank in front of Jahaz Mahal

Hindola Mahal or Swinging Palace

After that we proceeded to Mhow

Leaving Mandu at 11 AM we reached Mhow at 12.30 PM to meet friends and pick up one more of our party to make us a foursome. At dinner that night local Mhowists advised us to take the road via Rau, Ujjain, Agar, Susner, Jhalawar & Baran to Shivpuri en route to Gwalior

Day 53. 22 Feb '17. Drove to Gwalior

Crossed into & out of Rajasthan at several places

Reached friend's house in Gwalior at 6 PM.

Gwalior Fort from their terrace

Great mutton curry for dinner followed by ...
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Day 54. 23 Feb '17

"Gwalior" breakfast of Aloo-Puri, scrambled eggs & sausages too!

Drove to Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort. Babur described this as 'the pearl amongst fortresses'

Looking down on the city

Tigers, elephants, ducks & fish adorn the fort walls

Eastern entrance, a steep climb from town

Dancing figures in Mansingh Palace 1508 AD

This palace is said to be one of the finest examples of the architecture of its time

Some of its ancient residents

Oldest existing Zero in Malwa is here

Leaving the Fort

Jain rock sculptures

Then on to Bharatpur. But first Agra to see the Taj again

Very crowded

Selfie craze

No visit to Agra is complete without Sadar Bazar chaat

Then had a hard time exiting Agra for Bharatpur through a very crowded Bazar. Reached Rajasthan Tourism's Hotel Saras in time for dinner.

Day 55. 24 Feb '17. Birdwatching so no pics except to say that after a long day of birding with a very good guide we treated ourselves to delicious Paneer & chicken pakodas at The Birders Inn

Day 56. 25 Feb '17. Birding in the Chambal River near Dhaulpur

We hired MP Tourism boats from here

An hour-long boat ride from 8.30 AM to 9.30 AM

Women from nearby villages have a long trek to fetch water

Had our fill of Indian Skimmers to our heart's content

Bhag Milkha Bhag!

Boys fishing out coins from the river

Trip mileage on way back to Bharatpur

Then to Delhi via Mathura to get on to the Yamuna Expressway


East Coast-West Coast Trip Odometer - 9202.8 Km in 56 days!


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Being an Awara is highly addictive, so much so that I've been travelling so much that I didn't get time to post. However, now that I'm going to Spiti in about a fortnight and I've been poring through all the logs on BCMT, I feel very guilty in not sharing my enjoyment over the last 2 years. After returning to Delhi in Feb '17, I went to Dinapani, Binsar & Pangot in March, all over Italy in May-early June (Westerners say that driving in Italy is so unruly but, armed with an India-issue International Driving Permit & compared to North India, it was child's play), & Jilling in Uttarakhand in mid-June. Drove back in October from Delhi to Patna via Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi, Raichak-on-Ganges, Chandbali in Odisha & Kolkata, another 3200 km to the earlier 9,200 since leaving Patna on 1 Jan 2017. Flew to Goa with family in November for my son's 40th after which I showed some friends around Bihar's Buddhist & other ancient treasures in South Bihar later that month. Went with family again to Jaipur in December for my grandson's 6th. Drove from Patna to Delhi again in May 2018 after which we drove further to Sattal, Pangot, Chaafi, Binsar in Kumaon & then crossed over to Garhwal where we birded with Yashpal Negi ji around Makkumath, Monal Point beyond Chopta, Tungnath, Chandrashila before returning to Delhi & then driving back to Patna via Kushinagar in June. Next went with Nature India in late December to Andamans & Little Andaman (latter by overnight ship with a cyclone brewing) before scuba diving in Havelock with Barefoot Scuba. Welcomed 2019 in Dehradun before driving to Bharatpur later that month. Returned to Patna & was overwhelmed with house repairs & painting. So, apologies folks - in between, I didn't even have time to follow BCMT logs! Wonder when I'll be able to post some of my doings now that I'm so much in arrears. And, as I mentioned, I'm off to Spiti later this month ... but thanks to all the wonderful people of BCMT who post informative, enjoyable travelogues with beautiful pictures! They are such a source of inspiration to all, especially this Awara!


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Oh, I forgot to mention that during the Makkumath trip in Garhwal, I was having flat tyres everyday due to the rocky roads. Now that I'm going to Spiti, I'm wondering which tyres to buy for my 2011 Innova, Bridgestone or Goodyear that my tyre dealers say are customised for India or Michelin or Yokohama All Terrain, so I'm again scouring the internet, BCMT, etc
Apollo has 4g life unconditional warranty
it covers even accidental damage
Apollo 4g life has good sales quantity in Leh region.

2 years accidental damage coverd hai and 5 years manufacturing defect.....

Options are MRF wanderer, Yokohama Earth etc.


Well-Known Member
Apollo has 4g life unconditional warranty
it covers even accidental damage
Apollo 4g life has good sales quantity in Leh region.

2 years accidental damage coverd hai and 5 years manufacturing defect.....

Options are MRF wanderer, Yokohama Earth etc.
Thanks. Will check with south Delhi tyre dealers since I plan to drive to Delhi with current tyres some of which need replacement. Capital Tyres, Green Park, Delhi, told me over phone that Yokohama AT is for about Rs.5,700 with 5-year unconditional warranty. Any idea of how good this tyre is?


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Now, before I start on another trip, here is my trip to Spiti from May 18 to June 2. Actually my trip began from Patna to Delhi on May 13, starting from Patna at 4 AM and reaching Delhi at 8.30 AM. I went in for 4 new tyres on May 14. Capital Tyres recommended Goodyear Assurance Plus on which the manufacturers had a Worry Free Service Scheme - WFS meant that in addition to the usual 5 year warranty against manufacturing defects, if there was any damage, cut, etc, within the first 2 years even for the driver's fault and the tyres would be replaced! So here goes from May 18. I was with my daughters and their dog.

Our overall itinerary - Delhi-Chandigarh-Narkanda-Batseri-Kalpa-Kaza; trips with Kaza as base; then Kaza-Pooh-Tandi-Dagshai-Delhi:

Day 1, May 18: Delhi-Chandigarh


Nothing much to write about.

Day 2, 19 May: Chandigarh-Narkanda


Stopped for tea at Wildflower Hall


At Narkanda we saw Himalayan Griffons soaring above in the thermals.


Day 3, 20 May: Narkanda-Banjara Camps, Batseri, in Baspa valley:


Instead of the direct Narkanda-Rampur road we meandered through apple orchards along the scenic route via Thanedhar.


House of Samuel Stokes who later became Satyananda Stokes and introduced apple cultivation in Himachal. Apples are now a major source of income for the state.


Apple orchards are covered with anti-hail nets


We stopped for breakfast at Nau Nabh restaurant adjoining the Rampur Bushahr palace; good chicken cutlets


Continued towards Batseri, branching off at Karchham. Amazed at how the road just cuts and tunnels through the rocks


"Kinnaur Dwar" - yes, it's been written about and photographed many times but experiencing it for the first time is special!


Nature's car wash!

The road from Karcham to Chitkul via Sangla, Batseri, and Rakcham is mostly rough. It started raining on the way



Locals believe that accidents have stopped after this temple was built. HP PWD labourer serves as the pujari.

Banjara Camps & Cottages, Batseri, is set amidst an apple orchard with a stone "Retreat", cottages on the banks of the Baspa river and tents in the orchard.


Our tent amidst apple trees



The camp has a bonfire every evening before dinner and we went to sleep in our tent fortified with hot water bottles


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Flashback to Narkanda with some more pics

A visitor on our hotel balcony

Youngsters having fun (though style is questionable)

We also walked up to Himachal Tourism's Hatu Hotel

Narkanda main road

Waiting for transport

Family enjoying the last rays of the setting sun

Hatu Peak at sunset

Full moon rising behind hills opposite Narkanda with brightly lit Narkanda petrol pump in bottom left. It was open at 5.45 AM next morning

Lights of Shimla on far hill

Good night!

Day 3, 20 May (continued)
Car was parked very near hotel in municipal car park with a locked chain at entrance. Since we were making a 7 AM start, the lady in-charge was phoned and came to unlock it. But, before that some early morning views from our Narkanda hotel balcony soaking in the silence and peace




Then the scenic drive towards Thanedhar

Ripe cherries on the trees

Picturesque houses with fruit godowns and packing centres on ground floor

A sign of what can happen at any time on this road

"Zero Waste Management" but burning trash, especially plastic, adds to pollution. Our rule was to carry back all non-biodegradable trash to Delhi for disposal and avoid plastic bottles, etc, strictly

High above the Satluj till we descended later. It was a steep climb followed by a steep descent to Bithal

We also made a detour to Tannijubbar to see the lake but it was more of a pond set in serene surroundings

Now at river level

Crossed this group of returning bikers

Jacaranda trees in full bloom adding a touch of colour and romance to the drive

Stopped at Nau Nabh restaurant and hotel for breakfast. It's adjacent to the Rampur Bushahr Padam Palace. Intricate wood carvings everywhere

Parathas were below par but chicken cutlets & masala tea were very good!

View of palace grounds from our table. I've already posted a picture of the palace earlier

After breakfast we continued onward crossing scenes of several landslides that had been cleared or were in the process of it

This gate welcoming travellers to Kinnaur was obliterated by a landslide about a month later

I have also already posted bits of our first day in Banjara Camps & Retreats. Some more to add detail

HP PWD has hacked through the rocky mountain to build the roads and overhangs are their favourite!

Always ready for clearing roads

Awesome mountain faces everywhere

Many such bridges

Baspa Valley after Karchham

Mother & baby sheltering from the rain

Glaciers on opposite hill across Baspa river

Rain-drenched hillsides

Turned off towards Banjara Camps

Our camp below set amidst apple orchards on Baspa river's bank

Luggage being taken to our tent

Welcomed with traditional "khada"

Friendly visitors

Riverside. One could hear the rush of the river everywhere


That night after the bonfire and dinner we did some stargazing. I decided to fetch my tripod from the car for night photography the next night. We were going on the Camp's "Signature Rakchham trek" the next day - my next post