Delhi – Jaisalmer Road Review

It was a long drive and we were dreading that it would get very grumpy in the end. Like my other road reviews, where more moments were spent (on the review) trying to understand the in-between places and peculiarities, here I am spending few more pennies to build the story for it was as many as 782 KMs and that too in a single day. I have never done that long a trip. As a rule, we never drive in night so it has to end by evening or a little late evening, if it stretches in the night then we are just fooling ourselves. The good part was that none of my co-passengers have clocked those many miles as well so with four adults and two kids, I knew what I was getting into. The saner part of mine kept hunting for a good hotel in Bikaner but I never did. Somehow I was thinking that we would make it time. Our avg in previous trips has been close to 50 KM an hour since a 6 odd hour drive has at least one break so even if you are doing good it takes you 6 odd hours to finish a 300 KM thing. For 800 odd, it would be 16 hours and with every extra hour the average should rather go down then going up. We have not seen the last 500 Km of the road and have been only till Mandawa couple of times so even though we had some idea of what we were getting into, we simply were oblivious to what lay ahead. Someone said, Ignorance is bliss and then someone said that serendipity is the way to go so we went.

Delhi – Jaisalmer Road can be divided into following sections.

1. Delhi – Loharu (different routes to do this depending on where you live in Delhi/NCR) – 160-170 KM
2. Loharu – Fatehpur (100 KM)
3. Fatehpur – Bikaner (170 KM)
4. Bikaner – Jaisalmer (328 KM)

To keep the fun, I would tell you driving time later in the review.

1. Delhi – Loharu
From Delhi, you can choose to either go via Rohtak Road or take the more standard NH8. The one through Rohtak Road is a little shorter, 20 to 30 KMs depending upon your place of stay. NH8 is more higway-ish and standard. The road via Rohtak Road is a little off-beat. Road quality is same/similar. If you are staying in North/West/Central Delhi then choose the Rohtak Road, if you stay closer to South border or Gurgaon then take the NH8 route.

For South bound, get on to NH8 (the famous Delhi-Jaipur road), go on till Rewari Cut. Go right at the fork, towards Rewari. From Rewari, you can go towards Mahedragarh and then ask for Loharu (shorter route, recommended) or you can take the published route which is via Narnaul.

For North bound, take Rohtak Road. Go till Bahaudur Garh, take a left, go till Jhajjar, then Charkhi Dadri and finally Loharu.

There is nothing great to write home about for both of these options. These are fairly standard road-driving experience with fields accompanying you most of time, you cross tiny hamlets, moderate kasbas and you keep going. Whole of this is in Haryana so road quality is good, and you are mostly in semi-urban areas.

Driving Time -2.5/3 Hours

2. Loharu – Fatehpur

As you get on to Loharu, you get a Tolled road so road quality suddently goes up, the landscape changes from sub-urban to country and it starts to get interesting. Take Loharu – Chirawa – Jhunjhunu – Mandawa – Fatehpur route. This whole region is called ‘Shekhawai’ region and it attracts quite a large of international tourists. Famous for wall drawings, motifs, colors and Haweli, the old grandeur and majesty of rulers can’t be missed. While you drive through Mandawa and Fatehpur, go a little slow to see those Hawelis. The vibrant colors and paintings are hard to ignore. There are some great reviews of this region on ghumakkar so search and enjoy.

Driving Time – 1.5 Hours / 2 Hours

3. Fatehpur – Bikaner

So far we have been on a mix of semi-urban to urban to rural roads, now you truly get on to a marvelous piece of tar where you can let loose. Its one staright road where you dont have to think much and keep driving. Fabulous road to drive by. Try to push more gas to up your average. As you drive on this road, you would start to get a feel of dry Rajasthan, the one which is vast with little habitation. There is no toll and not many towns on the way. After navigating through numerous small towns, now you dont need to worry about next small town, as there aren’t many.

Driving Time – 2.5 / 3 hours

4. Bikaner – Jaisalmer

Bliss. I have not driven too much but still done a fair bit of it and this stretch was something which was totally new to me. Like most of it, you dont need to do every thing in the world and while some of us are great at the art of extrapolation, I would still bet my bread for anyone who hasn’t been there to really explain the stretch. Its simply mind boggling. You need to do this to understand it. Since you have read this much, it would be unfair for me to just wind this without explaining to best of my abilities.

As you get out of Bikaner, you find yourself on a long and straight (sometime straight for 25 Kms with no tilt or swerve) road which seem to be cutting the vast expanse of desert. There is no dust so you can see as much as your eyes can take it. So try to imagine, you are behind the wheel, looking at this straight glowing road, on your left is unending streak of land and the right seems to be mirror image. There are patches of small bushes amid yellow sand and thats about it. Since there is nothing which is blocking your view like trees, hills etc, you find yourself in a real large pool of light (anti heavy) light (anti dark). Its like being a small bug on a large yellow bed spread. And this goes on and on and on. Only two kinds of people visit Jaisalmer, tourists and Army. So you only see a occasional taxi or a local bus as you drive. You go on till Pokhran and then get on to Jodhpur – Jaisalmer road.


Total Driving time – 3 / 4 hours

Average driving time – 9.5 / 12 hours. Add at least stops worth 2 / 3 hours so that would make it 11.5 / 15 hours drive.

We started at 5.30 from Delhi. By 9 we were beyond Loharu. We stopped for an hour to ease out bowels, get kids some exercise, break fast. By 1.45 were were beyond Bikaner. Stopped for an hour and a half for lunch. By 6.30, we were in Hotel. We took 13 hours to do this with 2.5 hours of stop. We didn’t go beyond 140 ever, may be 150 once or twice. On an average were at 120 for most of our trip after Fatehpur. For food stop, Bikaner has some good food joints for lunch. For b’fast, stop at Mandawa. Before Mandawa, the other big town is Rewari (via NH8).

We did it. The reading on the speedo-meter said 788 Km which also meant – Welcome to Jaisalmer. :)

44 Comments

  • Aditya says:

    Nice description. You didn’t tell me that you touched 150 also!!! So what is your feedback of Scorpio at 150km/hr?

  • Nandan says:

    I would repeat what I tell all the time. The real bhp is in the drive then the car :), I really have to work very hard to go as much as 150 in scorpio. Its fairly stable and cool at that speed, the only thing is that you can’t drive at that speed for long.

    I also touched 150+ on Kishangarh-Jaipur Bypass road. Heard that new Scorpio (2.2 Litre) gets speed fast. For the 2.6 Turbo which I drive, you need to have quite a clearing to take it to 150.

  • Nandan says:

    To add more, it was easier doing this with four people and 2 kids on board. Aditya did this with just his wife around :) and i can imagine that it can get a little monotonous sometimes. But then he also did Delhi-Vadodra, just the two of them.

  • Avinash says:

    hmmm… good one. You DID it. That was the best part.
    I have felt it in past while driving on much smaller patches… if you drive for too long on a straight road without anything there to get your attention, your mind starts getting numb and you feel as if there’s nothing in front of your eyes.
    And after taking lunch when stomach is at it’s most efficient working hour, rest of your body starts aching for rest.
    Congratulations on completing 788 with all these factors. Wow!

  • backpakker says:

    u did it ! thanks for the ride ..and wish you a very happy new year

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Man, that was grand!

    Never ventured beyond Jaipur but now I will!!

    Pat

  • nandanjha says:

    Thanks.

    We were lucky since the Road from Fatehpur to Bikaner and then after you leave Bikaner-City, the road till Jaisalmer is really very very good. We took the plunge and it worked in our favor.

  • VIVEK KHANNA says:

    Dear Nandan , i took the South Delhi to Bikaner route suggested by you to visit a relative in Bikaner. Thanks for the advise on the short route , since almost evryone suggested route via Chaomu near Jaipur which would have been almost 175km more. The road was very good accept between Mandawa and Jhunjhunu which might have been damaged due to rains. I took a Innova . We started from Delhi at 7am and could reach Bikaner at 3 pm with 2 stops ( gap of 1.5 hr ). Thanks for your advise and excellent discription.

  • nandanjha says:

    Not many people drive all the way to Jaisalmer and thats probably the reason that almost anyone you talk to, would refer the chomu route.

    Glad that it worked for you Vivek.

  • ashish bisht says:

    could anyone please suggest the route for going on bike trip from jaisalmer to delhi and how long would it take make this trip, and what about availability of petrol pumps on the way and good hotels

  • nandanjha says:

    Ashish – you could take the same route as in this post. I would assume that you would need to take a night halt, can take at Mandawa, for a bike trip.

    Till Bikaner, there are enough petrol pumps, but beyond Bikaner, you should go tank-full and I am fairly sure that there is a pump at Pokharan so you are covered.

  • Sanjay Sharma says:

    Its really nice, long and interesting description of long drive. I’m from Raj and I love to see / read such comments.

  • Anurag says:

    hi…. i am planning a trip to jaisalmer from gurgaon next week… i am confused on the route to take. please advise me the best road to take… also which is the shortest route and how is the condition of the road currently….

  • nandanjha says:

    Anurag – Take following
    Gurgaon – Rewari (via NH8 or Delhi Jaipur Road)
    Rewari – Mahendargarh – Loharu (via Narnaul is longer)
    Loharu – Chirawa – Mandawa – Fatehpur
    Fatehpur – Bikaner – Jaisalmer

    Try to do Gurgaon – Rewari very very early since this stretch would have the most of traffic. Rest of it is more or less same through out the day.

    I am not sure about road conditions but I do not hear complaints about roads in Rajasthan :-) so you are in good hands.

    Please update us with a quick review comment on this post on roads after you come back. Best wishes

  • manish says:

    @Nandanjha: Would it be good to drive on rewari-narnaul-chidawa-jhunjhunu-mandwa-fatehpur during night? Its an SH, thats making me apprehensive!!!

  • nandanjha says:

    @manish – In my humble opinion, its not a great idea to drive at night.

    If at all you have to do it then I do not think it bothers me to drive on the above stretch during night, you would see less of trucks and as long as you go steady and not drive fast, you should be good.

  • amitn says:

    hi.. am planning a road trip from dwarka (ND) to Jaisalmer in early March. I plan to take the route prescribed by Nandan..but i am conscious that the post is a bit dated. Can somebody who has done a road trip recently in that route please update the orad condition. I will have my parents and a small kid hence getting a heads up will be great. Thanks!

  • Siddharth says:

    My route id..

    Gurgaon-Rewari-Narnaul-Chidawa-Jhunjunu-Nawalgarh-Fatehabad(Sikar)-Bikaner-Jaisalmer.

    Only the road. between Chidawa and Narnaul is bad…

  • RITESH says:

    HI NANDAN…I AM VERY EAGER TO VISIT JAISALMER WITH MY FRIENDS. CAN U PLZ TELL ME WILL IT BE A GUD OPTION TO TAKE MY ALTO THIS FAR….LOOKING FOR UR REPLY….

  • Nandan says:

    Why not Ritesh. By all means. All the best.

  • Rahul says:

    Hi all–

    Planning a road trip with six friends. Could anyone suggest where can I get SUV/MUV self driven on hire?

    Gurgaon-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Gurgaon

    Also, in Jaisalmer any suggestion on Dessert Safari?

    Would you suggest Bikaner or Udiapur– if we have to choose between these two?

    Thanks!

  • Varinder says:

    @Rahul – Autoriders.net. You can rent a car from them

  • ashwani rustagi says:

    I am planning to go to Jaisaimer at year end,by santro car ,from noth delhi, Which will be the best route to follow? pls. suggest any stop over during tour.

  • Jaskirat singh says:

    Hi,
    Planing to visit to Jaisalmer as per the route Gurgaon-Rewari-Narnaul-Chidawa-Jhunjunu-Nawalgarh-Fatehabad(Sikar)-Bikaner-Jaisalmer on Bike (Enfield)
    Please help in follwoing query:
    1) Hotels to stay in between (best stop over) keeping in mind tht we are riding with ladies.
    2) Food
    3) Petrol pumps where we can refill

    Thanks
    Jas

  • Praveen Mehta says:

    Dear Friends,

    Is any one has latest update on Delhi-Jaisalmer by road since planning to go during last week of October 2012.

  • Satya says:

    any update on this route? planning to take my ertiga this month. any description on hotels mid-way, road quality and fuel pumps would be helpful.

  • Chinmay Bajpai says:

    Thank you for the detailed description of the route. It was indeed a good road trip we did in Mar’13 and the route condition does not change much from the one described by you. It took us almost 15 hours to cover the distance. While the road has been generally good; the distance between Rewari and Loharu is a stretch because of the pathetic road condition which inturn increases the effective travel time. Post Loharu, the toll road continues and becomes a good place to drive

  • susmit roy says:

    Thanks Nandan for such a detailed guide map. Its because of you and other confident folks only we are planning a road tour to jaisalmer from dwarka directly. I need a bit updated info about the road condition here. As we will be starting from Dwarka and one more pick up will take place at Palam Vihar, we have decided to take this route:

    Gurgaon-FarukhNagar-Jhajhhar-Chakri Dadhri- Loharu-Fatehpur-Bikaner-Jaisalmer.

    The question is we are planning to take Basai Rd which directly meets FarukhNagar and from there to Jhajhhar. Will that be a good idea depending on the current road condition? And I heard the road between Loharu and Mandwa is not good. It’s a bit narrow which will slow you down. But you mentioned a toll road after Loharu. So I am a bit confused here. Is the road between Jhajhar and Chakhri Dadhri ok?
    Thanks,
    Susmit

  • Nandan Jha says:

    I believe Gurgaon-Jhajjar via Farukhnagar is not far. I checked at Google Maps and it tells me that it about 50 KMs. If you are planning to do this part in early morning then I guess it would be fine. Even if the road quality is not too good, there wont be any petty traffic.

    Ex Loharu, the road is narrow but since it is tolled, the tar is good + not a lot of traffic. You wont get good speeds but then you would not want to go fast since the country side with those stunted trees spread over the yellow-custard-soil is worth a view. All the best.

  • susmit roy says:

    Thanks Nandan. What a quick reply….I got your point. Do you have any idea about jhajhhar-loharu road condition?

  • Nandan Jha says:

    No Sir. I do not have any current updates. The section covers Rajasthan and Haryana with Pilani as one of the vantage towns so I would tend to think that it should be OK. I am not confident on the Harayana part but this is not a frequented route. Post Loharu things seem good , as per Chinmay’s comment which is of March 2013.

    so all in all, pack your bags and go for it. Wishes. And once you are back, please update here on current road conditions.

  • susmit roy says:

    All set to go. Route is unchanged ( till now :-) )

    Will surely provide a feed on the route once returned.

    Thanks Nandan…thanks a ton Man!!!!

  • P. ROY says:

    Hi – I will be travelling to Jaisalmer with family from Gurgaon next month. Can anyone suggest me a good route to take up that provides enough stop-gaps for elderly people , who can not sit still in a car for too long , as well as minimum journey time ? I have been looking at google maps and seems there are multiple routes.
    Any pointers will be highly appreciated .

    Cheers
    P ROY

    • Satya says:

      i did the route suggested by nandan last year march and the condition of the road was same. i would suggest to take the gurgaon-rewari-loharu-fathehpur-bikaner-jaisalmer and avoid nh8 as far as possible. stopover on the way are not much except for the roadside dhabas and small towns.
      bikaner would be the ideal place for overnight stay. we started from noida at 07:00am and reached bikaner by 07:00pm with several stopovers in between. bikaner to jaisalmer took us around 4 and half hours. you would love the drive. try to reach jaisalmer and the dunes before 04:00pm so that you can visit the dunes before sunset.
      word of caution: before you reach jaisalmer, (around 50km before) there would be several touts on mobikes (without registration number) asking you to stop on the highway. beware of them and do not stop in between.

    • S Banerji says:

      Hi Mr. Roy,

      I read that you were planning for a road trip to Jaisalmer – since i am also doing the same tomorrow – though I could get some update from you about road conditions.

      Cheers
      S Banerji

  • JAYANT says:

    Hi Nandan,

    I am all set for a direct Delhi -Jaisalmer trip this weekend 29 Nov 2014.

    Thanks for ur yet another blog helping me.

  • P . ROY says:

    Hi Mr Banerji
    Apologies ! I could not respond to your question earlier. We did not travel to Jaisalmer last year but went to Khajuraho, so I did not have any update on the Jaisalmer road.

    However, I am planning for Jaisalmer again this February. If you had travelled to Jaisalmer , can you update about road condition ? I am thinking about taking NH8 to Ajmer and beyond , then Jodhpur , and Jaisalmer.

    My main concern about taking shorter route through Shekhawati is the road through towns , and traffic would slow us down. Any information on these road conditions would be helpful.

    Cheers
    P. Roy

  • Ankush Sharma says:

    We are planning(4 people, 3 can drive) a road trip from delhi to jaisalmer of 7-8 days trip. Please help me making a itenary covering jaipur and udaipur as well.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Hi Ankush – If Jaisalmer is your primary destination then I wont recommend adding Udaipur to it. It is not on the circuit and Udaipur deservers a vacation on its own (along with Kumbhalgarh, Chittor, Haldighati trips).

    I would suggest Delhi – Bikaner (one night in Bikaner) – Jaisalmer (three nights, including one night at Sam, desert) – Jodhpur (2 nights) – Jaipur (2 nights). If you are short on days then skip Bikaner and drive directly to Jaisalmer. If you are not keen for Jodhpur then I would suggest that you spend more time at Jaipur, it has a lot to offer.

    Hope this helps. If you do drive all the way, then please update here on the road conditions. It is greatly useful for fellow Ghumakkars.

  • Raj says:

    Thank you for the details about your trip!
    This is helpful. I’m driving to The Oasis resort (100km from Jodhpur) towards the end of december…

  • Yadu says:

    Hi Nandan, Any idea if the same route that you took remains one of the best possible ones or any better route available. Thanks in advance

  • Nandan Jha says:

    I have not been to that side for a long time now. But I would imagine that it is one of the better routes, still.

    Couple of weeks back, a fellow Ghumakkar (Srijesh) drove to Jaisalmer, requested him to share what route he took.

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