Table of contents for Delhi-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Bikaner Road trip
Note 1: Please check for the updated highway numbers as per the re-numbering of the National Highways across India, wherever you see NH in this article.
Note2: Take the most of the usage of Google Maps for highways, its just wonderful.
A road trip starting from Delhi to Jodhpur, then over to Jaisalmer and a return back via Bikaner is an amazing experience. It is always advisable to start the journey at the break of dawn to avoid the rush hour. We started around 3:00 AM (did I say break of dawn?) and were in Jaipur by 7.00 AM. The Delhi-Jaipur Highway (NH-8) is under construction for expansion. Be prepared to face a lot of mud & deep craters on the roads.
We still managed to go maintain a speed of 60-70 Kmph and sometimes accelerated to about 110 kmph. Good facilities for breakfast and refreshments along the highway provided by Rajasthan Tourism & other privately held outlets make the journey comfortable. If you are not planning a visit to Jaipur, it is advisable to take the Jaipur Bypass (around 45 KM before Jaipur). The roads here are in top shape and the journey to Ajmer is a breeze. We travelled for another 2 hours before we reached Ajmer bypass around 9AM.
Another bypass from Ajmer leads us towards Nasirabad. From Nasirabad we took the road to Beawar. From Beawar it is advisable not take the Beawar bypass, but go through the Beawar city instead to get on the road to Jodhpur. Beawar bypass otherwise will be much longer. A word of caution here, ensure that you do not take the road to Udaipur instead while entering into Beawar. The drive to Jodhpur from Beawar (NH 112) was picturesque and awe inspiring. The roads are in excellent shape. At a consistent speed of 120-140 kmph we cover the distance of 200km in just 2 hours 45 minutes. We covered a distance of almost 630 kms in one day. The best part was that the journey was comfortable and we hardly felt any fatigue. It was the first time that I drove for 630 KM at a stretch with a 20 minutes break for breakfast.
The journey from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer via Pokharan is a different experience (through NH-114 till Pokhran and NH 15 from Pokhran to Jaisalmer). We woke up around 3 am and started the day’s journey around 4 am. We were aiming to cover a distance of around 278 kms that day. The first part of the journey was uneventful and we travelled comfortable for around 70-80 kms. Then we hit a really bad patch. There were boulders everywhere and after a lot of dodging we finally hit a huge boulder. It was right in the middle of the road. But, luckily it only hit a tyre. We lost a good 45 minutes changing the tyre and then getting it repaired. So be careful a bit in this patch.
The rest of the journey was comfortable with good roads and good amenities along the way. En-route we had aloo paratha’s and milk tea at a roadside dhaba. The milk tea was a different experience. For a little taste of Rajasthan add daal bati to the breakfast order.
From Jaisalmer to Sam sandune you again have to take NH 15 only and cover up a distance of 42 KM. The drive again was an unique experience on its own, just mind blowing through the barren lands and deserts. Enroute are again various tourist places to visit. We could not visit those because of time constraints.
The next part of the journey was from Jaisalmer to Bikaner via Pokhran and Phalodi (NH 15). This was one of the best roads I have experienced so far in my life time. We started around 9:45 am from Jaisalmer. This drive is my best experiences so far. The road upto Phalodi is very good but, suddenly it hits a bad patch (but not for more than 10-15 minutes). The rest of the journey was smooth and after two tea breaks and a distance of around 330 kms we reached Bikaner around 1:30 pm.
The final leg of the journey turned out to be worst. We decided to take the shortest route to Delhi via Jhunjhunu and entry via rohtak road (NH 11). This proved to be a mistake. We also did a mistake when we took a state highway from Ratangarh for Jhunjhunu. My advice would be to take the route via Jaipur or Chomu or Churu. Even though those routes are longer, there will be no problems with the journey and no bad impact on your vehicle. The roads via Jhunjhunu (the state highways specially) were in a really bad condition and a distance of 430 kms took over 10 hours to cover. The highways were clogged with traffic and the villages in Haryana along it made the journey worse.
It was overall a good experience and all the driving has given me confidence and heightened my sense of adventure.
On way through NH8 and Jaipur bypass, there will be frequent toll gates while entering various places. Always keep the toll receipts with you, because quite often, you do not need to pay the taxes while making an exit and the existing receipts will prove that you have already paid an entry tax. Another important thing to note is that while coming back if one is taking the Jhunjhunu route (which I took), there will not be any toll taxes to be paid. It’s an open entry to Delhi. In all, one shall have to shell out an average of at least 400-500 Rs as toll taxes.
Best time to visit: November->January