Home-coming of a Car traversing through the ancient ruins of the Hindi Heartland


Going to Neverland
Somewhere around Diwali 2008, empowered with a new job and a credit card in his pocket, my younger brother went to Deep Hyundai, Dwarka and brought home a shining blue Hyundai i10 car with a mere swipe of a card. The family was pleasantly surprised at his audacity. However, in year 2010 he left Delhi and shifted to a small town called Abu Road. However, he left the car at Delhi only. Meanwhile, I used this car, the blue i10 during my initial few mountain travels (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/travelogues-north-india-f61/kumaon-road-trip-may-2009-a-t34075/) (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/tra...escape-valley-flowers-vasudhara-falls-t17909/) (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/travelogues-north-india-f61/not-usual-lansdowne-log-t48102/) (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/tra...ve-redemption-garhwal-february-2010-a-t33499/) (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/tra...one-day-trip-lake-siliserh-near-alwar-t34064/) (http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/tra...f61/chakrata-photologue-august-2010-a-t33784/).

Chapter 1

October’ 2014: My younger brother had shifted from the peaceful environment of Abu, Rajasthan to the hotbed of naxal activities at Bastar, Chhattisgarh and I drove his car along with him all the way to Raipur, Chhattisgarh covering hinterlands of UP and MP. The journey was beautiful and was chronicled and posted on this forum which can be accessed through this link: http://www.bcmtouring.com/forums/th...lpur-lalitpur-sanchi-bhojpur-bhimbetka.62178/

Chapter 2

May’ 2016: Again, my brother was shifting his base from Chhattisgarh to Muzaffarpur, Bihar (for the uninitiated, Muzaffarpur is one of the chosen cities for Smart City Project of Bihar). Again he needed to take his car from Bastar to Muzaffarpur. Again he asked me to accompany him, in return he promised to take me to the hinterlands of Northern Chhattisgarh. I lapped up the idea of visiting some remote parts of Chhattisgarh. The journey can be tracked in detail by following this link: Dakshin Kosal to Patliputra – a journey through excavated history

Chapter 3

August’ 2018: After his two year stint with Aga Khan Trust at Muzaffarpur, Bihar, he finally decided to head back to home. He again asked me to join for the drive back – from Patna to Delhi, a journey of about 1100 kms which could have taken less than 18 hours. However, we decided to stretch it over 4 days and 1350 kms covering some of the Buddha relics enroute.

This report will briefly cover the journey of the unassuming little car from the metropolis of Delhi to the hotbed of naxal struggle and then to fertile land of political gamesmanship. The last leg of the journey to Delhi, the home-coming will be presented in detail.
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Going to Neverland
Chapter 1- Delhi to Raipur: October 1 - 4, 2014

Dussehra holidays were fast approaching. The good thing was that Gandhi Jayanti was one day before Dussehra to be followed by Saturday and Sunday. This definitely called for a road trip. My brother who worked at Tokapal, a kasba near Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh was visiting us. He wanted to transport back his car to Tokapal. It involved a two day long drive and he asked me if I could tag along. I lapped up the idea. Checked air tickets for the return leg and found them at less than 2500 which were quickly lapped up.

I asked him to pick me up from my office at Moti Nagar by 4.00 pm on the 1st October itself thereby getting a head-start of 5-6 hours. We planned to reach Dholpur, Rajasthan by dinner time. My brother was bang on time and we started our journey by 4.00 pm from my office at Moti Nagar. We reached Dholpur by 9.30 pm. In th emoring before leaving Dholpur, we visited Chopra temple. This name had stuck in mind since I saw its board while visiting Orrcha few months back http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/tra...states-10-hours-short-visit-orchha-mp-t58837/. Its spire looked impressive from outside. We thought to check it from inside. It turned out to be a marvelously carved out. It was certainly foolhardy of me to think it to be built in honour of Prem Chopra by some die-hard fan.

The subject Car

My Brother

Chopra Temple at Dholpur, Rajasthan

the Chopar (well)

We crossed Chambal River before entering into Morena, Pan Singh Tomar’s town. We left NH 3 while bye-passing Gwalior and headed towards Jhansi by taking NH 75. We took a slight detour and went inside Datiya town. We found some beautiful water bodies and old buildings situated right next to these water bodies. The imposing Datiya fort stands tall right in the middle of the town. Just before entering Jhansi town, we saw a bye-pass to Lalitpur which took us initially on NH 76 going towards Shivpuri. After few kilometers we diverted on NH 26 which was completely empty and with super quality 4 lane where we made good speeds.

Crossing Chambal after Morena

At Datiya


The Datiya Palace

We reached Lalitpur by 1.45 pm. We took a diversion by entering the town and headed towards Deogarh/Devgarh which was about 30 kms inside the town. The roads were completely broken or entirely missing at many small villages enroute. However, the country side was very beautiful to say the least and it kept us going. It took us more than one hour to reach Deogarh. Ruins of a beautiful temple known as Dashavtar temple welcomed us. It is a rock cut temple with square shape sanctum with numerous beautifully carved stone idols on the walls. The temple was built during Gupta period. The beauty of the temple is admirable even though the temple has been destroyed and ruined during Aurangzeb’s rule over Indian mainland.





One the information board outside the Dashavtar temple grabbed our attention. It said rock cut Narsingh Dev at Dudhai which was again around 40 kms away and all to be covered through broken country side roads. We got lost few time and had to ask for directions several times from the locals. It took us more than 90 minutes to reach near the Dudhai village. We came to end of the road with no roads or tracks in sight. While we were searching for direction, a young kid who was cycling around appeared and asked us to follow him. We went through grasslands, some rocky terrains, some sandy trenches and few dry water crossings before we got sight of the majestic rock cut image of Lord Narsingh. We thanked the kid for his help and about two kilometer of cycling he had done to help us.

The rock cut statue was in our plain sight. We reached at the base of the statue without any further trouble. An image of Lord Narsingh has been carved out on the face of a hillside. This statue is an impressive work of art and listed as a sacred site by ASI though not much information or literature is available about this statue. This statue is over 30 feet tall and the sculpted figurine of demon Hiranyakashipu is stretched across the Lord's lap. ASI has now constructed cemented pillars and a ceiling to shelter the sculpture, which, however, has ruined the aesthetics of the sculpture.

finding our way through this unmarked track

young cyclist came to our help

finally we reached



Going to Neverland
On our way to Sagar, we got lost few times while we reached the main junction called Pali from where we could take the cut for joining the NH 26. It was completely dark before we reached NH 26 again. While Sagar was still around 100 kms away, we decided to change course and head towards Sanchi instead. Sanchi was almost 150 kms away. We left the luxuries of super smooth 4 lane national highway and entered a two-lane-no-divider state highway. The road condition was good with low traffic density. We managed to reach Sanchi by 10.00 in the night and got rooms in MP Tourism property – Gateway Retreat Sanchi.

Day two started leisurely. By 8.30 in the morning we had checked out from our hotel and left for the Sanchi Stupa which is situated on the Sanchi hill. Sanchi Stupa is the oldest stone structure in India. Its foundations were laid by Emperor Asoka the Great during 3rd Century BC. It was built over relics of Buddha and additions were made over it by later rulers. We spent a good one hour at the Stupa and left before the sun became too harsh and taxing on our bodies.










Going to Neverland
From Sanchi we continued on NH 86 and took a diversion towards Raisen. After crossing Raisen, the district town, we drove further for few kilometers on the same road and joined Bhopal bye-pass (NH 12). After driving on NH 12 uptill Rapadiya, we took Bhojpur road for about 10 kms and reached the town of Bhojpur. The place derives its name from Raja Bhoj. Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojeshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple houses one of the largest shivlinga in India which is about 5.5 meter tall and 2.3 meter in circumference crafted out of a single rock. The temple was commissioned by Raja Bhoj in eleventh century. The door frame of the temple rise upto ten meters high and five meters wide while four huge pillars rise to support an incomplete dome of the temple. The sheer scale of the temple structure humbles the mind even though the temple construction remained unfinished.










Going to Neverland
Our next target was Bhimbetka which was about 25 kms from Bhojpur. We joined the national highway at Abdullaganj and thereafter continued on NH69. Another 3 kms detour on the right took us to Ratapani Reserve Forest wherein the Bhimbetka rock shelter lies. Bhimbetka rock shelters exhibits the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent and the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. Some of these shelters were inhabited by humans even 100,000 year ago, while, some of the rock paintings found here are around 30,000 years old. The name Bhimbetka is connected to Bheem of Mahabharat fame. Its meaning connotes – Sitting place of Bheem. Paintings here bear striking resemblance to similar rock art sites such as rock shelters in Australia and those of the Bushmen in Kalahari Desert. The paintings here usually depict hunting, dancing, horses and elephants, honey collection and animals such as bison, wild boars, antelopes, etc. By 2.15 pm we had covered the rock shelters substantially. We came back to join the NH69. We took buffet lunch at MP Tourism hotel near the cut for the highway. We closed out day at Chhindwara, the only seat in MP, Kamal Nath had secured for Congress during the 16th Parliamentary Elections 2014.







tortoise rock






We started early as we had to cover almost 400 kms to reach Raipur. Good thing was that the entire journey was through 4 lane highways. We had no destinations planned for this day. We took Nagpur, Bhandara route to Raipur. We reached Raipur in late afternoon. We went straight to my brother’s office which had a guest house too. After a nice bath we went to the biggest mall of the city, watched Bang-Bang and followed it up with a nice dinner. We came back to the guest house for a nice and comfortable sleep. I took an early morning flight to Delhi while my brother carried on with his journey to Tokapal, Jagdalpur.


Chapter 1 - Completed