Delhi – Patna road review

June 29, 2008 By:

Table of contents for Delhi - Darbhanga - Delhi

  1. Delhi – Patna road review
  2. A day at Prayag
  3. Bana Banaya Ras – Banaras
  4. A quick trip to Sarnath
  5. Kushinagar – Where Buddha breathed last

My intention behind writing road-reviews have been to provide necessary information to fellow travelers (read drivers) who wish to undertake that journey. With that thought, probably New Delhi to Patna by road, doesn’t make the cut, since not many would be traveling (read driving) such a long stretch. Patna is not a hot tourist place and neither is it close enough to let people choose the tar instead of routine rail or expensive air. So the only real reason I think would be then to use this is to get and feel high, since I did it, just the last week. I drove all the way to Darbhanga (200 Km further to Patna) from Delhi. May be 10 years down the line when I read this again, I would feel young (and stupid), so here it is Delhi Patna Road Review.

Delhi – Patna can be divided into following stretches.
Delhi to Patna Distance – 1050 – 1100 KMs , Time – 32 hours with a 12 hour night stop at Allahabad or Banaras. 20-22 hours non-stop with 2 meal breaks and 2 tea breaks.

1. Delhi – Agra – Etawah
2. Etawah – Kanpur
3. Kanpur – Allahabad
4. Allahabad – Banaras
5. Banaras – Patna


View Larger Map

Delhi to Patna Road Map
1. Delhi – Agra – Etawah Distance
Distance – 320 KM , Time – 5 hours including a 20 minutes stop at McDonalds, Mathura.

You need to get on NH2 which is more popularly known as Mathura Road. The road exits Delhi from the south so depending upon your point of stay in Delhi, you need to plan an early exit. Ask for ‘Ashram’, its on Ring Road, and then take Mathura Road. Stick to it and cross Badarpur on the way. Badarpur has the reputation of snarling traffic so try to cross that before 6 AM else you would lose some precious time. Keep going straight and cross Palwal. The quality of the road is fantastic and you can easily clock an avg of 65-70 an hour. The traffic would slow down at Kosi trade tax barrier. Again, if you can get past Badarpur by 6, you would be able to avoid this mini-jam. The directions are a no brainer since it’s the same NH2 all the way till Banaras (or Mohania to be precise). Apart from the good tar, there is nothing else great to look at so have some good music and conversation within the cabin. As you approach Mathura, look for that huge M sign of McDonalds. It’s the only decent place to stop for a quick grab but be alert on the time spent as it can eat your valuable minutes without anyone realizing it. Also, if you are leaving early, then its a good stop to relieve yourself and get some clean-hot snacks to fill your belly.

The above pic is from Aditya’s post on Delhi-Agra-Kanpur, which now seems like the most reliable and detailed post on internet. I was so busy driving that I actually missed it.

As you cross Mathura, you would shortly get into Agra madness. Keep your patience and drive safe. There is a lot of petty traffic and some of it can get aggressive very easily so resist your set-the-world-right temptations and allow the wrong-side traffic to carry on with this business-es. If you are not very un-lucky, it should not take lot of time, 30 minutes to cross Agra. If you care and have time, then you can stop for few minutes and watch Sikandra fort. Its right there on the road, on the left.

Once you are out of Agra, the road gets a little better and traffic reduces. Press the pedal and hit Firozabad. This is the first city (after Agra) where you would start to feel the Mughal Era. Some of the old buildings could be still seen, the city is known for its bangles and glass work. There are these big tempting bangles showrooms which you need to pass quickly else a female fellow traveler’s urge makes you stop. After Firozabad, you have Shikohabad and finally Etawah. The roads are really good and you should be able to do an average of 65 (if not 70). This road falls under ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ and NHAI is currently finishing the road in Etawah, so you would need to take a detour. It should be done shortly, most of it is done.

2. Etawah – Kanpur
Distance – 150 KM. Time – 2 hours non-stop
In this stretch you do nothing but just drive quick. Very sparse in terms of traffic and the road is new. The only but very critical and important thing which you need to be aware is that you would find oncoming traffic on the wrong side of road at full speed. It’s a double road so while you think that you can drive at 100 KMph on the right lane of the left road, in practice you can’t do that. This is something which you will see for almost rest of NH2, more when you get out of big cities and are in vicinity of small towns. There is no point in spoiling your drive by getting into the blame game so as I said before, resist the temptation of setting-the-world-right and give these guys their way and forget about it. Since the visibility is good because of no distractions like polls, posters, hoardings, trees, road being straight, it’s not too difficult to spot these wrong-side-right-fellas so just let them go. You can actually do this stretch in less than 2 hours.

3. Kanpur – Allahabad
Distance – 200 KM, Time – 4 hours since the by-pass is not yet done

Most of the road within the Kanpur city is an elevated road, so that takes you away from city traffic. You need to keep on NH2 and should not be taking any left exits, which go to the city. The landscape (and the social-scape) would now begin to change. We are now starting to get into Eastern UP and as you travel more towards East, the poverty would start to hit you. It’s not very visible since you are still on a big-side road but as your cross small towns, you would start to see it. The shops in these towns are more like the assembled contraption of wood-and-aluminium (from vanaspati ghee tins) and it’s not un-common to find small kids relieving themselves in open along the road.

The road is all the same, quick and clean with very minimum traffic. About 60 Km after Kanpur, look for a big BP petrol pump on your right, its in Malwa and is a COCO (Company Owned Company Operated). Its time to re-fuel (assuming that you started with a full-tank) and get some fresh air. There is a small tea shop where you can have tea and snacks. There are swings and some green area to relax. Loos are clean though not too great. It seemed like a nice-clean and big place to have some quick bites and get enough energy to hit Prayag, the Sangam city.

Allahabad is about 140 KM from this place, you would pass many small towns and finally you would reach a point, from where it appeared to me that NH2 is making a by-pass. Its not yet ready and didn’t seem like it would be done shortly. In any case, we had decided to stay put in Allahabad (a quick story on that later) so we went in. You would pass a town called Lukarganj. The road suddenly gets narrow and some of the stetches are actually stone-paved, with so much of petty traffic and narrow-potholed roads because of rain, you wonder whether you would ever make it to Prayag. Sustain all that and find a good place to stay. I stayed at Kanha Shyam which I think is incorrectly rated (high) and has lived its life. I looked at Map and it shows a by-pass kind of thing. Anyway.

4. Allahabad – Banaras
Distance – 120 KMs, Time – 2.5 Hours (if you are coming from city, once by-pass is there, it would be less than 2 hours)

I think I started to write about the social side but didn’t elaborate much. Now you are in true Eastern UP. While the quality of the roads remain same, the infrastructure seems to have taken a beating. The houses wont have plasters on the outer walls in small towns, the shops have no spank and the landscape looks more rural. There are less tractors in the fields and there are more people with bare chests and worn-out dhotis. Even though it would look more like apna-desh, it may not be necessarily pleasant. Almost everyone would be chewing pan or a gutkha, from toll man to rick puller to khaki clad police wallahs. There is definitely much less rush and there is more time per transaction but it can get a little depressing at times, especially for spoil-ed metropolitans. I noticed more of this since I stayed at Prayag and had to really pass through couple of small towns. I think one of them was Hanuman-Ganj (what a hindu-muslim solidarity name of a place, hanuman and ganj) but most of you would avoid this if you don’t chose to stay at Allahabad.

Anyway, I would come back and rather focus on road, since we have a long way to go. We stayed at Banaras but if you don’t then that’s much better since Banaras is not on NH2. You spend a lot of time going in the city and coming out (that has its own charm but can be avoided at least in one of the to or fro trip).

5. Banaras – Patna
Distance – 250 KM, Time – 5 hours
Eastern UP is gradually getting over. While you can survive the chaos and sheer variety of Banaras by being more patient, we were preparing ourselves to enter Bihar which over time has lost its reputation of being a hub of culture-education and power. Since we were in the city, we headed towards Mughal Sarai to get to other side of Ganga. Mughal Sarai used to be a big hub for Indian Railways at one point of time, it even is today, to a great extent but development over time has acted as a great leveler, and for the same reasons it’s fairly big and the urban sprawl goes on for a while. I still remember the times, when the loco of our train would be changed, from Diesel to Electric or vice-versa, depending upon which side you are going to. Banaras and Mughalsarai is divided by a bridge. After crossing Mughalsarai, we joined NH2 and it was again 6 lane high-speed drive till Mohania.

From Mohania, you can either go all the way down to Kolkata or take a left to reach Patna via Ara. As we took the left, the landscape suddenly changed. From a double road highway, we were on a single two lane road but very well tar-red. On both sides we had long stretches of fields. Since it was June, the rice has not yet made in and there was nothing on the fields at most of the places.

We crossed numerous small towns on the way, we were able to get past quick because there was hardly any traffic. The occasional bus or even less occasional tractor was what we needed to maneuver. We drove past Buxar (remember the battle of Buxar) and were heading to one of the big political and historical marvels of all times. This part of Bihar is a little better-off in terms of overall development, employment, money, at least till Ara. The distance of 150 KM from Mohania to Ara was spent in less than 3 hours. We had not planned to break till Patna so we kept going.

At Ara, we had a one hour stop at a railway crossing. As many as five trains passed while the barriers were down. This simply killed the good time we had saved but anyway. From Ara, the road quality takes a hit, especially as you reach Danapur, even though Danapur is a cantonment area.

One interesting ride which I should share with all of you is this real long road bridge, after Arrah. As we were approaching the bridge, we noticed that the traffic has gradually started to drift towards right and there is this serpentine line which seemed to be heading at some barrier. We suspected a railway crossing, being ignorant we kept on our left and after passing all the waiting trucks (which were now on our right), we discovered that there is this long road/rail bridge. So we reached to the head of the queue, may be the make of the car did it or what, we were not looked at with contempt by the few police-men who were controlling the entry to the bridge. After a while, we were asked to move in and boy what a view. Try to imagine a narrow real long straight bridge which is double-decker, since the rail bridge is on first floor, is old, the color if the iron has gone rust-colored, you look down and you see Ganga and there are not many cars in front, infact none for us. The bridge is so long that you can’t see the other end and I didn’t meter it but it must be more than a KM. If someone from that area is reading this then we would really benefit from some more details. It was one damn different experience.

Ok, So it’s already past noon. Enter Danapur, remember to take a right (so keep asking) else you would get into something which you would regret (we almost did). Get off Danapur and you are at Patna. You are still at the out-skirt but you could sense that this once has been one of the greatest cities of all times, the patliputra, a city which has seen the only golden era of Indian History. So much for drive and for the adrenaline, we were finally there.

I was to drive beyond Patna (200 KMs further towards North) but I would save you further fatigue. Its been a really really long journey. We crossed the longest bridge on Ganga (5 odd KM), Mahatma Gandhi Setu, which was not in a good condition. Some pics before I close.


Mahatma Gandhi Setu


Keep going

We could see the mammoth Ganga in its full glory and as we looked up, the astonishing skyscape was even more grand. Being humbled by both, we clicked some pics, thanked our stars , while still driving and carried on.

About Nandan Jha

Nandan Jha has written 115 posts at Ghumakkar.

Well traveled.......is what I would want to be tagged as, definitely far shorter of that as of now but hoping to reach there. Also, I genuinely believe that traveling builds tolerance, we do more of it, we build more tolerance, we build more peace, one trip at a time. Google

259 Responses to “Delhi – Patna road review”


  1. rakeshp says:

    Dear Nandan Ji,
    As requested one of our Friends –

    Your inputs would indeed be of great value to any first time road traveller like me who want to do Trip by road from Delhi to Patna or Varanasi

    1.Delhi -Varanasi Route- YEW> Firozabad> Etawah> Kanpur> Fatehpur> Allahabad By-pass> Varanasi> or

    2.Delhi-Patna Route- YEW> Firozabad> Etawah> Kanpur> Fatehpur> Allahabad By-pass> Varanasi> Mohania> Arah> Patna>

    Mainly we new Traveller Need –
    a.Timing to start from Delhi > @4:15 AM

    b.Good Filling Station and Restaurant In between .
    Like one our friend suggested … Stopped for a tea break somewhere near Fatehpur, and Just pass Kanpur and go about 30 kms. Brunch/lunch@ Shukla Restaurant. Take an hour’s break and head towards Allahabad . Not forget refuelled before Allahabad bypass ( as i come to know the from one of post that we will not get any petrol pump over Allahabad bypass , and start again… towards Varanasi .

    c. Night Halt @ Varanasi ( suggest hotel some where near Banaras cant so that we traveller can get car parking facility )

    d. Timing to start from Varanasi @ 6 AM ( after light break fast )..
    Varanasi> Saidpur> Ghazipur> Ballia> Chapra>….
    or
    – Arrah – Patna

    e.suggestion for Family who travelling along with their Family and kids

    Regards,
    Rakesh Pandey

    • Atul Kumar says:

      Hello Rakesh Ji,
      Nandan Ji would be the perfect person to tell you about the journey advice from Delhi. I do Allahabad to Patna trips on my Bike almost every 2 to 3 months. You should take the Arrah-Patna Route after Varanasi. If you take the Ballia -Chapra route, you shall be stuck at the Gandhi Setu Bridge in huge traffic jams.
      Also, like I said in my previous comment, When you are coming through Arrah. You will cross Koilwar Bridge. After some time you will reach a cross-road (chauraha) where, if you are going to Patna, its better to go straight than turning towards Danapur. Though if you turn left, you will have a beautiful scenic road. If you go straight ahead, you will save your journey to Patna by almost 10-15 kms and its a good paved state highway with some patches(15-20 metre patches) of ungrvelled roads.

  2. Kundan Jha says:

    Hi all,

    Have anyone drove recently on East west corridor- Gopalganj , gorakhpur- delhi? How is the 40 Km stretch in Gopalganj which was broken? I will start tomorrow morning from Darbhanga, driving a sedan so worried about Gopalganj pathholes .. Or should I take Patna – Mohania- varanasi route?

    Regards
    Kundan

    • Hi Kundan Ji,

      Drove this drive in the 1st week of April 14, the condition prevails as it is but I found it bearable than other routes. I used hatchback. Look for detailed comments that I put earlier in this thread, or get in touch in case needed. Although I had seen some initiatives like stones and bricks on the side-lanes but that wasn’t signalling enough the start of construction. No atleast in months to come.

      Regards,
      Ratnesh

  3. Atul Kumar says:

    Hello Nandan Ji, The iron and steel bridge you are talking about is River Sone. You cross river Ganga at Mohania itself. Once again you are near River Ganga (just 100 metres away) at the point where you turn off Danapur into Patna.
    Even if you dont turn right and keep straight head, you will reach Patna to cross Gandhi Setu at a much shorter route.
    Coming to the point of NH 30 a few minutes drive after the steel bridge, now Bihar government has developed a new state highway which is in superb condition and one can avoid the whole going to Danapur route by almost 20 kilometres.
    Thanks and Regards,
    Atul Kumar.

  4. pravin says:

    Hello,
    We are planning to drive from Delhi to sitamarhi on Saturday.we are staying in lucknow on Saturday and are sure abt routes till lucknow or Gorakhpur but not sure abt remaining routes.I will be travelling with my wife and one pet as well and only I can drive. Have not been to bihar from last 5 yrs.I am planning to take route Gorakhpur_kushinagar_gopalganj_barauli_madhuban_sitamarhi. It will be great help if anyone can let me know the road conditions or can suggest some other routes if pissibke .looking for quick help from someone who knows and travelled recently to these places.thanks in advance.

  5. Kundan Jha says:

    Hi All,

    Came to Darbhanga on 26th OCT, and used – YEW-Kanpur-Lucknow- Gorakhpur- Gopalgunj- Muzaffarfur- Darbhanga.

    This was the best trip to Darbhanga ever. I started at 3:30 from My east Delhi Residence and reached Darbhanga at 9:30 ( with 5- 6 breaks, almost one hour break before Muaffarpur too).

    The patholes of the 50 Km Stretch of Gopalgunj is repaired and converted to 4 lanes highway ( although about 15 Kms is single double way road, but ok ).

    The Innova was running very smooth after Gopalgunj too, and it took one and a half hour to reach Muzaffarpur).

    I am going back tomorrow morning at 3:30 AM again, and shall use the same route. Hope I reach Delhi by 9-10 PM tomorrow.

    Happy Driving…..

  6. ABHISHEK PANDEY says:

    Hi All,

    I traveled upto Bhagalpur (Pirpainti) from Delhi. Followed YEW-NH-2 upto Mohania and Nh-30 upto Patna. We reached Mohania at around 7PM and decided to move ahead upto Patna. As rightly advised by Nandan night drive is not advisable. We could manage upto Arah and stayed there overnight. We were informrd by a loacal friend about security issues on Mohania Ara Road. First day journey started from Kalkaji at around 0430 in the morning. Terminated first day at 1030 hours. Road condition is really bad on NH-30. Next day it was again a battle at Kiilwar bridge. Huge traffic jam!!! Started second day at 0830 Hrs and could clear Patna only at 1300 Hrs. I was advised to follow NH-31 for Bhagalpur via Barauni and that was the biggest mistake. From Begusarai to Khagaria 45 km stretch we could manage in 3 and half hours due to pot holes. Reached Bhagalpur at 2300 Hrs. Decided to move to Pirpainti another 50 km stretch on NH80. This shows why Shahnawaz Husain was defeated. Any way reached home at 0030 Hrs.

    Return journey plannded via Deoghar. Followed Deoghar Pirpainti Road. Offered Puja at Deoghar and started at 0930 hrs from there. Roads were smooth. The difference between Bihar and Jharkhand is evident. Managed to reach Banaras at 2100 Hrs. Next day started at 0930 Hrs reached Delhi at 2200 Hrs.

  7. Kundan Jha says:

    Hi Abhishek

    The joy of journey till Mohania is later screwed by Mohania-Patna Stretch. But, if you drive next time, try YEW-Kanpur-Lucknow-Gopalgunj- Muzaffarpur- Bhagalpur (Via Saharsa).
    I reached Muzaffarpur in 16 Hours last month, and drove to Darbhanga in next one hour. For Bhagalpur, we suggest NH28 Via- Zero Mile Barauni- Mokamah- Barahiya-Munger- Sultanganj-Bhagalpur. Its another 6 hours from Muzaffarpur- Bhagalpur. I have drove from Darbhanga – BHagalpur couple of times, and the roads are quite impressive on this route…

    Regards
    Kundan

    • Rakesh Kumar Singh says:

      Times have changed since the post of Mr. Nandan Jha. I took road journey in my XUV5OO on 29th Nov from Delhi to Arrah. Started at 0432 hours from Preet Vihar, East Delhi via YEH-NH2-NH-30. Reached my hotel at Arrah-Aditya Inn at 1830 hrs. Total distance 969 km covered in 14 hours with total stoppage time of 1.15 hours.

      Taj Expressway completed at 6.10 am, total distance 197 km in 1.38 hrs. Connected to NH2, excellent road condition right upto Auriya. Since it was morning, we could avoid the traffic at Firozabad and Shikohabad. Crossed Tundla at 6.29 am, Shikohabad at 7.11 am, etawah bypass at 7.45 am. Had first stop at Surya Hotel, Auriya after completing 380 km at 9 am. Had 45 minute stop and also had our diesel tank filled up. Surya Hotel was the only decent stop with good toilets and reasonable food.

      The Road condition on NH2 is generally excellent except from Etawah till Kanpur, there are various diversions due to bridge constructions. Took the elevated Kanpur bypass approx. 24 kms and in no time crossed Kanpur. No traffic on the Kanpur bypass. After Kanpur, reached Allahabd bypass, an excellent road of 84 kms except for bumps at every culvert. Hence, though we can go at much higher speeds but better to go at 110-120km/hr to smoothen the bumps. Had Tea break at the end of Allahabad bypass at 13.05 hrs after 653 km (Total travelling time 7.33 hrs including stoppage at Auriya)

      Continuing on NH2, reached Varanasi and took Varanasi bypass. Crossed bridge over Ganges at 15.16 hrs and entered Bihar at 15.50 hrs. Mohania Toll at 1600 hrs after 841 km. After Mohania, took left turn for NH30 going to Arrah and Patna. Surprisingly, no sign board for Mohania – Arrah road which is 126 km, 2 lane without any divider. Though 75% of the road is excellent condition but there are huge pot holes in some patches. Some stretches are real bad. we took 2.5 hrs to complete this road and reached our hotel in Arrah-Aditya Inn at 18.30 hrs.

      Total toll expenses of Rs 1040.

      Before I started this journey, I was having doubts but after completing the journey and excellent road conditions, it was really worth it.

      We started our journey back on 1st Dec. We visited our village at Kanra near Dhobaha bazaar. My sister was visiting our village after 35 years. In my lifetime of 50 years, this was my 7th visit. We started our journey back from village at 1200 hours, crossed Arrah at 1300 hours and on to Arrah Mohania Road. Since it was day time, it was much easier to negotiate the stretches of bad road and potholes. However, got into traffic jam for one hour at Nayak Tola crossing where a bridge construction work is going on. Got a Jam after Kanpur also for about 40 minutes. We travelled all night sharing the wheel between myself and my driver and reached home at 0510 hours in the morning of 2nd Dec. Though night driving is generally not advised but I found it to be more smooth as very less traffic.

      A word about the hotel in Arrah. Few years back when I visited Arrah, there were only two hotels, Park View and Regal, not really worth to write about them. However, this time I was pleasantly surprised to check into Hotel Aditya Inn. Newly built hotel, had all the luxuries, clean and very good food. We took two rooms, a suite for myself at 2500 + tax and another deluxe room at 1800 + tax. Generally services at the hotel is also very good except that the local people there will take some more time to become really professional. I have been travelling on business trips all over India and have stayed at various hotels. Considering Arrah, this hotel is really top quality. I could not get extension of my stay on 1st Dec as the hotel was fully booked. Pawan Singh, local film actor and singer of Bihar was getting married in this hotel.

  8. Amit Jha says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I have to travel from Madhubani to Delhi in next couple of days. Can someone guide me which route is best nowadays. I will be travelling by my Swift car, so please suggest some junctions where i can get some rest and get my car refueled.

  9. Kundan Jha says:

    Dear Amit,

    Use Madubani, Sakri-MFP , NH57, Gopalganj – Gorakhpur- Lucknow- Kanpur-Agra- Yamuna Expressway – Delhi.

    It will take about 19 hours with 4-5 Short breaks.

  10. Amit Jha says:

    Thank you KundanJi, appreciate your response on this !!

    I am sure you must have considered road conditions on your suggestion but just to be sure, double checking if I will have to face the roads en route which are not smooth ? Also, route you suggested will be shorter than that of Patna – Mohania – lucknow – Delhi route ?

    • Yayawar says:

      Hello Amit,

      If you take Patna-Mohania-Delhi route, Lucknow doesn’t comes enroute. At Mohanaia, you arrive at NH2 which goes to Delhi via Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Agra (at Agra, you have a choice whether to take the Yamuna Express Highway to Noida or continue on NH2 to reach Delhi via Mathura-Faridabad). What Kundan has suggested is the best route in terms of road conditions and time taken to reach your destination.

  11. Amit Jha says:

    Thank you Yayawar and Kundan for your valuable suggestions…It really helped me a lot to accomplish my journey.

    So here is a brief summary of my journey : Took the same route as suggested by Kundan and it took almost 18 hrs ( steering time) to reach Delhi from Madhubani. I however stayed in Lucknow overnight as I was not in massive rush to reach destination. Roads on this this route are pretty impressive with two exceptions of Gopalganj ( almost 20 kms ) and Kanpur ( 15 Kms – Highhway under construction). I donot know if this has been shared earlier on past posts or not but just thought of sharing the total toll given by me was 1325/- INR which includes the 320/- of Yamuna expressway Toll.

    Once again, I thank you everyone for your time you spent answering my queries.
    Merci et Bon Voyage !!

    Regards,
    Amit Jha


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