Day 1: July 16, 2014: Started our adventurous road trip from Chennai to Delhi crossing on route 7 states (TN, AP, TG, MH, MP, UP, DL), covering a distance of 2400 KMs, and spending Rs.1604 towards 25 Toll roads and Rs.9,600 for Diesel, with a minimum travel per day of 400 kms and maximum upto 850 kms per day in our Fiat Grande Punto. What a trip this was…. ‘awesome’ would be an understatement. Covering 2400 kms over 4 days as a sole driver is tough but with a wonderful company of my wife, it indeed was one of our best trips so far. The road conditions on the entire stretch, unlike expectation, was extremely good except for some bad patches for roughly 80-90 kms right upto the ride till Delhi. We took it easy and stopped at many places enroute for taking pics, resting etc. The pic quality may not be great since all pics were taken through smartphones.... unfortunately we forgot to carry our camera. Started off from Nungambakkam in Chennai on Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 at 6.45 am towards Hyderabad via Guntur Chennai highway (AH 45, SH 2, NH 9). We got our breakfast packed from the hotel which came handy during the trip. Once we crossed Chennai, the highway towards Hyderabad via Nellore, Ongole, Addanki, Piduguralla, Miryalaguda, is very good except for lack of facilities throughout the entire stretch. To amplify, it would not be an understatement to mention that except for natural landscape, one would hardly find anything or anyone on route to Ongole from Nellore. The distance of roughly 659 kms was achieved without too much of an effort given that the road conditions were quite good. Packed Biryani for Lunch from a small restaurant called Family Veg & Non Veg Restaurant in a place called Nekarikallu, Guntur dist. at 1.40 pm and relished it in the car itself. Must say, that it was one of the best biryani’s we savored by us. . The presentation of the Biryani itself was quite satisfying, with good sealed packing and a thermocol disposable plate ( a very rare sight and absent/missing even in bigger cities) with accompaniments of raita, salan , onion, pickle etc. Post this finger licking lunch, resumed the voyage towards Hyderabad with a coffee break in between at 4.30 pm on the highway.. Before you hit the city, lies the famous ‘Ramoji Film City’ which is certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest Film studio complex spread across 2000 acres of land. It is said, that at Ramoji Film City, a filmmaker can walk with a script and walk out with film. For the others, Ramoji Film City flung open a wonderland where 1.5 million tourists build memories every year. Since entry to this place is closed at 5.30 pm, we only managed to take few snaps from outside. Post our brief visit to Ramoji Film city, managed to reach the Hyderabad city by 6 pm, however given that our hotel was inside the city, it took us around one and a half hours to reach the hotel. Finally managed to be settle at the hotel by 7.30 pm. Filled up fuel at a local station for next day’s journey. Had dinner from hotel itself and hit the bed early as we planned an early start next day for Nagpur. The stretch from Chennai to Hyderabad had 9 tolls on route. Day 2: Thursday, 17 July, 2014 started off at 7.30 am for Nagpur via AH 43 (NH 44). Packed breakfast from hotel and had it on the way. The route from Hyderabad to the border of Maharashtra is one of the best roads I have seen in India. From a road condition perspective, wide and clean roads with proper signages, coupled with green and scenic landscape was a real pleasure for sight. Must say that this was one of the roads / highway which rest of India should emulate. Broadly, the street lights and the traffic signals at all intersections were sourced through solar panels. A rare sight in India, but leading the thought process of conserving energy with optimum utilisation of the natural resources. The roads were very broad and very well maintained; however, the only sad part again was that there were no facilities enroute. Once we hit the Maharashtra border, the nightmare began with extremely bad roads, full of potholes with some stretches where the roads were not in existence at all. This was a stretch which started from Pandharkawada till about Hinganghat which really tested the suspension and wheels of my car. Finally we managed to reach Nagpur at 4 pm and checked in at the hotel. However, prior to calling off the day, filled up the fuel tank at a local station for next day’s journey. On our second day, drove around 500 kms and came across 8 tolls. Once at the hotel, had a late lunch, took some rest and then I ventured out to explore the city (only couple of kms). Came back, had dinner and hit the bed for the journey next day. Day 3: Friday, July 18, 2014 started off at 9.30 am for Bhopal given that the distance was only around 350 kms after having our breakfast at the hotel itself. We commenced our travel for Bhopal and first went to the place known as the Zero Mile stone which is a monument locating the geographical center of colonial Indiain the city of Nagpur. The Zero Mile Stone was constructed by the British who considered Nagpur as the center of India and used this point to measure all the distances. The Zero Mile Stone consists of four horses and a pillar made up of sandstone. Post taking some pictures at this historical place, we continued our venture and took the Pandhurma, Betul, Itarsi, Hoshangabad route towards Bhopal via NH 47 (old NH69). The roads till Betul were again a pleasure to drive and were very well maintained. From Betul onwards, the roads were okay … not so great and not so bad as well. However, given that the road passes through Satpura National Park, the view on both sides of the road was just amazing. We also crossed through the Western Ghats range on couple of places and it was amazing to see that the highways were laid out right through the range. Enroute we also stopped at a nice restaurant called ‘S to S Food Hub’ for tea at a place called Sakadehi, Betul which is around 80 kms before Itarsi. Just before hitting Itarsi (11 kms before), we decided to take a right turn towards a place called Tawa Dam where there is a resort run by MP Tourism. The plan was to check out the place and also have lunch in the resort. This stretch was right through the jungles (but excellent one lane road) but 20 kms detour from the main highway. This stretch was so secluded , that after driving some 5 kms, we decided to drop the idea of visiting the dam and returned to the highway. Just before hitting the highway again, we saw couple of people standing near the intersection of the internal road and the highway and we decided to enquire from them about the route to the Dam and how safe the same was. They informed that the Dam area and the resort were good and worth exploring. On being satisfied that the route towards the resort was safe, we again went back on the same route and after some 20 kms through an excellent road, we reached the resort. From outside the resort looked okay, but as soon as we entered the restaurant, the view was breathtaking. There was a huge reservoir with various island like places in between. It was such an awesome view that we forgot about the lunch and started exploring the place. This place is located in Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh and was formed by the construction of the Tawa Dam, which began in 1958 and was completed in 1978. It is a big tourist attraction during the monsoon months and a cruise boat service has been started by the tourism department for visitors to the dam and reservoir. Tawa Reservoir also forms the western boundary of Satpura National Park and Bori Wildlife Sanctuary. The resort by MP Tourism has around 10 rooms and is mostly booked to its capacity through August onwards till around March being the peak season. We left Tawa Resort at 4.30 pm but the route from Itarsi to Hoshangabad which is around 20 kms was really bad which cut down our speed considerably. From Hoshangabad we took NH 12 which goes through Obaidullahganj and finally managed to reach Bhopal at 7.30 pm. Filled up fuel tank at a local station for next day’s journey. We checked in at the hotel but struggled for some time to get the room since the first 2 rooms shown by them were not clean. Ordered dinner from hotel and slept like a log. Overall drove close to 400 kms but given the bad condition of roads in some parts, it was more tiring than the previous days. Surprisingly, there were no toll roads in this entire stretch. Day 4: Saturday, 19 July 2014, woke up at 6 am and after breakfast from hotel, started our journey at 7.30 am towards Agra which is around 600 kms. Post deliberating for long, we finally decided to take the Vidisha, Bina, Malthone, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Gwalior, Morena, Dholpur route to Agra. There’s an alternate route from Bhopal which goes via Beora, Guna, Shivpuri, Gwalior and then to Agra. This road, I was told, was not in a great condition and hence avoided it. The route, as thought, was good though it was mostly 2 lane road but in a very good condition and lot of agriculture fields on both sides of the road. However enroute there were no facilities as usual. We believe that while the Government has accomplished a task of connecting cities through excellent highways, it would be more convenient and helpful for the commuters, if paid and clean rest rooms are also provided at some sections. Reached Jhansi sometime in afternoon and had lunch from a restaurant in the city (forgot the name). Post this road from Jhansi to Gwalior and then to Agra was a mix of good and bad roads running through several small towns and villages but the majority of the roads, can be termed as good. From Masoodpur to Dholpur lies the famous Chambal Ghati which was once ruled by the dacoit queen, Phoolan Devi. Filled some fuel at Dholpur for onward journey and managed to hit Agra city by around 7 pm. Inside the city of Agra, the traffic was a mess with cars and cattle at battle ground to occupy space on roads and flag off their supremacy and jurisdiction. It took us some time to navigate through the traffic, before we could hit the express way to Delhi. Since the route to Delhi through Yamuna Expressway is really a pleasure with well maintained broad roads, we took the decision to continue our drive of another 250 + kms and surprise our daughter, since she wanted us to reach on Saturday itself. Took a coffee break at the first toll on the expressway at around 8 pm and then continued our straight drive to Delhi. The entire stretch from Bhopal to Delhi had around 8 tolls including the one at Expressway. We finally managed to reach home by 11 pm.