DELHI – NAVI MUMBAI AND BACK ……A DRIVING TALE

Introduction:- This journey of ours was begun out of necessity. We have a pet dog and cannot part company with him even for a few days, so we take him wherever we go. Our choice of buying a vehicle was also dictated by the necessity of giving him a comfortable rear seat to relax in. During a previous trip to Mumbai, which is our home town, we had travelled by air with our pet but he did not take that trip well…..So it had to be a driving holiday.

The Travellers: – The travelling party consisted of me with my wife and two kids aged 8 and 2 and of course our Golden Labrador Tissue Paper……..Don’t ask he was named by our daughter.

Travelling in comfort...my daughter and Tissue paper



The vehicle: – We have a 1 year old Mahindra Xylo which has done about 5000 kms and was raring to go on a long drive as in city driving does not even tax its abilities. This baby proved to be a good choice with its long legs, comfortable seats, strong engine and menacing front end which had other cars scooting out of the way when they saw this black behemoth in their rear view mirrors. The black beauty is equipped with a video screen and also has folding seats for beds which help preserve your sanity when travelling with two brats.

The route: – We decided to take the Golden Quadrilateral since we had done Mumbai – Patiala earlier in 2006 and expected that the road construction work would have finished by now. The plan was to cover the 750 kms up to Udaipur on the first day, have a night halt at Udaipur and do Udaipur- Navi Mumbai on the next day thereby doing about 1500 kms total. It seemed a daunting task at the time but we were determined to do our best as we had to get away from Delhi as the kids’ vacations were on and the grandparents on both sides were waiting. Both my wife and I hail from Navi Mumbai with both our homes being about seven minutes walking distance away.

Delhi – Jaipur: – We set off from Delhi Cantt at about 6.00 am on a Sunday in early June and were hoping to cover this stretch before the world wakes up but little were we to know that Indian truckers do not sleep like the rest of us. We hit heavy truck traffic from Manesar itself and it continued till our brunch halt about 40 km short of Jaipur which we reached finally at 9.45 am. This stretch of road NH -8 is of very good quality with a few diversions but the volume of truck traffic is very high and to top it all these truckers do not stick to one lane and keep darting all over the place consequently forcing cars to overtake on the left and weave through frequently. Wish someone issues traffic manners and civic sense with driving licenses in India. After a one hour halt for brunch, some much needed exercise, food and water for Tissue paper we set off at about 11.00 am for Jaipur and beyond. Some 20 km short of Jaipur, a well bred English voice in our car (our satellite navigation system) urged us to take a right turn which we followed and found ourselves inside Jaipur city instead of taking the bypass as we intended. So we decided to make the best of it and took the touristy route through Jaipur as guided by our English nag. After a nice tour of the city we found ourselves back on the highway to Ajmer.

A view of the Amer fort at Jaipur

Cool water view in Jaipur

Jaipur – Udaipur: – We hit the bypass outside Jaipur at about 1.00 pm and found that we had lost about 90 minutes but decided to press on regardless. The road from Jaipur to Ajmer is excellent with six laning throughout and we could maintain a constant speed of 120 – 130 kmph. About 15 km short of Ajmer , NH 8 continues on straight to Ajmer and there is a left turn for Nasirabad on NH 79.NH 79 is part of the Golden Quadrilateral and is very good condition. We managed to keep up our speed and could comfortably reach Udaipur at 5.30 pm and were settled in our guest room in the cantonment by about 6.00 pm. We spent a relaxed evening in Udaipur meeting old friends and taking long walks. The plan for the next day was another early start so as to cover the Udaipur – Ahmedabad stretch by about 9-9.30 am.
Udaipur – Ahmedabad: – This stretch of the NH 8 is a driver’s delight with a nice six lane highway winding through gentle rolling hills and green country during the early monsoons. We started at about 6.00 am and found the road to be mildly trafficked. Maybe the truckers were taking the day off….maybe they were on strike….who knows? Anyway we made the best of it and also found that the truckers in these parts drove more responsibly with most of them sticking to the left lane and not straying into the fast lane. Maybe it is better policing in these parts….We were able to maintain a speed of around 110 -120 kmph on this stretch and this beautiful road makes one wish for a proper sports car with which to attack it ….Care to lend me a Porsche 911 or a BMW M3 or M5 anyone???I promise I will be gooood. We reached Ahmedabad at 9.10 am and were glad to make good time.

A sportscar road....

Ahmedabad – Vapi: – This part of the Golden Quadrilateral is well maintained and finally complete. The traffic is moderately heavy but reasonably well disciplined which helps you to make good time without affecting your blood pressure too much. The highway is well surfaced with mild delays when you cross the numerous towns on this stretch. The maintenance of the roads in Gujarat and Rajasthan is fantastic as I have travelled this same stretch earlier in 2006 and the roads are much better now. We had our brunch halt just after Vadodara at about 10.45 am and enjoyed a well deserved break.

Vapi- Mumbai: – This stretch can give you nightmares if you happen to hit it during the morning or evening rush hours. There are flyovers being built at all the intersections which cause frequent diversions to traffic and consequently the average speed drops way down. One also has to deal with slow moving carts, animals, dimwits and what not which force you to use colourful language ,but of course you cannot curse with children in the car, so you just sit and simmer hoping for a clear stretch of road to put your foot down. We had reached Vapi in the early afternoon and finally reached the turn off for Ghodbunder road, Thane at about 6.00 pm.

The final stretch of our journey was heralded by big thunder showers which started as soon as we made the turn off for Thane. We then ran into rush hour traffic compounded by heavy rain and flyover construction and crawled our way to the Mulund – Airoli flyover and finally reached home at around 8.30pm. It has been a satisfying journey so far and we have been blessed with good fortune in terms of relatively cooler weather, little traffic jams and no untoward incidents or vehicle breakdowns. Travelling long distances with a pet dog calls for water and exercise halts for the pet every 3 hours at least. But these halts also help us and the black beauty to take a break and also rotate driving duties between my wife and me. We are now looking forward to a relaxing two weeks in Mumbai followed by the drive back. I will keep you guys posted……till then drive safely and GODSPEED.

PS: – Well deserved thanks and Kudos to Mahindra for the Xylo, a mile muncher par excellence, Satguide for creating an excellent in car entertainment and satellite navigation system, Ghumakkar Aditya for the inspiration and being the path finder and my family for their patience and good wishes.

Faujidoc

23 Comments

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  • Sahil Sethi says:

    @ Anup Ji ,

    Welcome to the team of Ghumakkars.
    Great start with a Delhi- Mumbai drive . Very good interesting write up .

    Seemed your family enjoyed quite a lot . Wish there were some more pics :) Hoping to read many more stories from you.

    Sahil

  • Vibha says:

    Hello Anup,

    Welcome to Ghumakkar!
    A dog named Tissue Paper! Thats awesome. The most unique name I must admit.

    Sounds like a very adventurous trip. I read an article recently about adventure tourism replacing the good old family holidays. But if both can be combined together like in your case, then nothing like it.

    Cheers,
    Vibha

  • maheh semwal says:

    Very well written post !!!!!!!!!!!!

    “Tissue Paper” , what a different name :-). Any story behind it ?

    Looking forward to read your next part of Post.

    • faujidoc says:

      Dear Maheh,
      As mentioned in the story he has been named by my daughter even before he came home.We found the name cute so let it continue.

  • Onil Gandhi says:

    wow… too good

    i can’t help but share mine

    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2010/06/20/car-trip-mumbai-manali-mumbai-4550-kms-in-15-days/

    We too have a lab Jini, but didnt take her along as we were not sure about accomodation

    • faujidoc says:

      Dear Onil,
      Thanks for your comments,we were not worried about accommodation as our guest rooms permit dogs but yes travelling with pets calls for some care as explained in the article.

  • Onil Gandhi says:

    wow… too good

    i can’t help but share mine

    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2010/06/20/car-trip-mumbai-manali-mumbai-4550-kms-in-15-days/

    We too have a lab Jini, but didnt take her along as we were not sure about accommodation

  • rajesh says:

    dear Anup,
    good , and i too decided to bye Xylo, but i keep waiting in Pune?
    you are supposed to come to Pune.
    anyways.
    raj

    • faujidoc says:

      Sir,
      Sorry could not make it to Pune but will try next trip.We did a short trip to Alibaug and the surrounding beaches which i will publish soon.Welcome to the Xylo family.

  • Chandra81 says:

    Nice post Anup.
    And see you already found Rajesh (But I am unsure whether he decided to buy Xylo before or after reading your post. Guys at Mahindra should take heed :-)
    The name of the dog is definitely radical but mind you don’t throw him after use as we do tissue papers :-) (just kidding)
    Talking about dogs, you see on a recent trek to Tungnath I had met with a dog named Doughnut, an expert trekker who – as his owner told me – has trekked various peaks of Himalayas. Made me kinda jealous as Doughnut happens to have conquered more trekking trails than me :D
    Really loved the details and your way of presentation. Actually suffused with a kind of travel guide-esque element which could even help people looking forward to take the similar road or for that matter buy a new vehicle :-)

    • Chandra81 says:

      @Anup
      BTW my labs name happen to be ‘Buddy’ :-) and I am planning for another lab which I am going to name ‘Seriously Black’ :-)

    • faujidoc says:

      Dear Chandra,
      Our Tissue paper is not of the use and throw variety as i will find myself thrown out if i even think about it.Our brat sleeps in an a/c room in summers and has his own mattress for winters.Thanks for your comments.

  • Vivek says:

    Nice Post!

    Reminded me my adventure, which I did this route in March, driving solo in Swift. Started early morning from Gurgaon, reached Vadodara in the evening, took a break in the city and reached Mumbai next day late afternoon. The drive is usually smooth, except when you reach some industrial cities on the way e.g. A’bad, Vadodara and Surat and Vapi. The volume of traffic is enormous, mostly trucks. Seemed that everyone is heading to the ‘Maximum City’.

    • faujidoc says:

      Dear Vivek,
      Thanks for your comments.Gurgaon to Vadodara is possible in one day provided only humans are travelling and you do some night driving and yes Maximum city is a great place so why not?It’s home to us too….

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Anup.

    I hope you enjoy the ride here.

    I have been planning to do Delhi-Goa (and beyond) for a while and not been able to do it. I guess if one starts early enough, then may be we can reach Ahmedabad on Day 1 so that the next day ride is a little easier. Does that make sense ?

    I would also send this link to Aditya, not sure whether he got an opportunity to read this.

    • faujidoc says:

      Dear Nandan,
      Thanks for the welcome.Delhi to Ahmedabad is possible in one day as we reached Udaipur at about 5.30 pm and could have reached Ahmedabad in another 3 hours depending on traffic as the road is excellent.The second halt can be somewhere around Panvel or even beyond.The drive to Goa is best done in the day time so as to better enjoy the road which i am told is excellent.We did it in this manner as we do not prefer night driving.I would also like Aditya’s comments on this as he has been a source of inspiration as mentioned earlier.Regards,
      Faujidoc

  • Sharma Shreeniwas says:

    Your second Part compelled me to go though the Ist Part, Very nicely detailed story. Thanks for sharing with Ghumakkar.

  • Ashwani kumar says:

    I traveled from Delhi – Mumbai – Delhi on CNG. Below is google CNG pumps map.
    Neemrana – Google Maps (https://goo.gl/maps/HWBWQXah3Ez)
    Shamlaji – Google Maps (https://goo.gl/maps/LMUp5tXs8ar)
    CNG available all over Gujrat but make sure to get it filled from last CNG pump@ VAPI, Gujrat.
    Dahisar Toll plaza, Mumbai – Google Maps (https://goo.gl/maps/fb5Vy6CRyiw)
    Regards,
    Ashwani.anoptimist@gmail.com

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