We drove down to Jodhpur from New Delhi earlier this month (Nov 2012). Being a recent observation, I jot (is it ‘key’?) down Delhi-Jodhpur road review for benefit of Ghumakkars. Needless to say, like any other trip, articles on Ghumakkar.com about Jodhpur were dutifully consulted before our departure and they provided insightful info about the journey and destination as well. Thanks to Mala, Anupam, Atul, Kallu, Smita Dhall et al for having inputted articles here about journey to/Jodhpur.
The Delhi–Jodhpur route, spanning a distance of 600 kms can be divided into two parts, as follows –
(i) Delhi – Jaipur – Ajmer – Beawar (NH 8) (Approx 450 kms) [generally southbound or SW].
(ii) Beawar – Bar – Bilara – Jodhpur (NH 14, NH 112) (Approx 150 kms) [generally westbound or NW].
Part I (Delhi – Beawar)
We left Delhi at around 7 AM and managed to avoid jams till Gurgaon. The traffic, however, caught up with us by the time we were approaching the second toll gate at Gurgaon. Real ordeal started after Dharuheda. Contrary to popular and long held perception about smooth & silky Delhi-Jaipur highway of NH 8 stretch, please note that the stretch is undergoing a ‘widening into 6-lanes exercise’. This means you will come across frequent diversions, bottlenecks, bumpy roads (and those repetitive, extortive toll gates; there are so many of them! ) interspersed with some gingerly portions of ‘smooth & silky’ stretches of yore days. The obstructions easily add some 1 to 2 hrs to our previous Delhi-Jaipur drive time of about 4 hours. Another irritating aspect on this ‘under construction’ route is absence of sign boards. Those green things with ‘Jaipur so many kilometers or Ajmer so many kilometers’ looking down benignly upon the travellers are sorely missing for major portions. The only written stuff (of exasperating relevance) that you come across the highway reads ‘Diversion’.
While driving southwards beyond Jaipur, the city can be by-passed through an impressive, many-laned carriageway locally called Jaipur bypass. Drive on this impressive bypass is dream like. It starts from Chandwaji, some 25-30 kms before Jaipur. In keeping with signage (or lack of it) conditions hitherto, we could not locate any indication at starting point of this bypass and halted behind two cars which stood haplessly at the point of diversion, seeking directions. Travellers may need to keep a lookout for this bifurcation. The main NH8 goes straight into Jaipur while the bypass loops off to the left, then turns right to cross the NH8 overhead. Somewhere at the middle of this bypass, they have a petrol station (rather two of them, on either side of the wide road, almost facing each other). Both these stations are quite impressive, though the one on south-north (towards Delhi) stretch is more operational thanks to a bustling food joint. The loo’s here can easily lay claim to largest, most well maintained and cleanest loo on an Indian highway.
Jodhpur bypass meets up NH-8 at a point south of Jaipur where you mingle with the local traffic for a few kilometers, trudging through overcrowded, under-construction roads thronging with local traffic before getting on to the next expressway (GVK e’way). Now, this GVK is a work of art……what with endless columns of monolithic stones planted on the dividers, signboards reading (and well meaning) ‘Toilet so many meters ahead, first aid facilities available at next toll gate’, etc.
NH-8 now passes through Ajmer, Kishangarh, Beawar and beyond. Kishangarh is famous for marble quarries and if you are keen, make a stopover at roadside outlets here selling marble wares. Kishengarh is close to Makrana, a place whose fame is linked to Taj Mahal (marble for the Taj was sourced from Makrana).
Roads till Beawar are in reasonable condition; wide and smooth. There are two issues here, though. First, there are at least three (if I remember correctly) railway crossings which tend to create bottlenecks and hold up the infinite traffic when the gates are closed (and also when gates are open! thanks to long, narrow passages leading into and away from the railway phatak). Second, this stretch passes through industrialised areas including the marble quarries of Kishangarh. This results in large number of container type lorries plying on the road. Imagine these mountainous vehicles clogging the roads at bottlenecks/ railway crossings – the impact is felt for many kilometers on either side of the crossings.
Ajmer, Kishengarh and Beawar have bypasses thus precluding the need to enter these cities. There has been some discussion about passing across Beawar rather than taking the bypass, since it entails longer drives. We, however, preferred sticking to Beawar bypass rather than entering the place and getting lost finding our way out from the other end.
By the time we took our right turn onto NH 14 after Beawar, it was 6 PM. We had wasted some 2 hours attending to a badly punctured tyre and rest part of the delay is attributable to the bad traffic and jams en-route.
Part II (Beawar – Jodhpur)
Beawar is the point where you leave NH 8 and turn right onto NH 14. Keep a watch for this point which diverts to right from NH 8, since I could not spot any sigh there indicating the diversion. The point is after the bypass road.
Now, one has to drive across the NH 14 till Bar, where a well-marked T-junction indicates the next diversion. From this T junction, turn right on NH 112 to go towards Jodhpur, whereas the left one goes towards Pali. Road conditions are quite good throughout the drive till Jodhpur, though in many portions it turns into undivided, single lane road. In fact, we spent driving almost the entire stretch in darkness but it was pleasant enough. This road also offers glimpses of Rajasthan form closer quarters along with some enticing market places through which one has to drive through. If you have time or inclination, you could explore these thriving markets. This drive would take you (after Beawar) across Var, Nimaj, Bilara to Jodhpur. We took 3 hours to cover this stretch between Beawar to Jodhpur, with small breaks in between.
The roads may not be very functional but toll booths/guys are hyper-functional – undaunted and merciless in their collection spree. One way toll charges from Delhi to Jodhpur come to some INR 400/-. Most of the toll booths are situated between Delhi and Beawar (NH 8 stretch).
A recap of the stretch is shown as under –
– Delhi – Jaipur – (270 kms) – NH8 (mixed road condition due to ongoing widening works)
– Before Jaipur, take Jaipur Bypass at Chandwaji (a smooth, 25-30 kms, wide-laned carriageway, fully functional, pleasant drive and not to forget those amazingly clean washrooms I mentioned above)
– Jaipur – Ajmer – Beawar (175 kms) – NH8 – Good roads, traffic interrupted by some 3 railway crossings and massive, slothful trucks usually carrying marble blocks among other things.
– Beawar – Bar (30-40 kms) – NH 14; turn right after Beawar to get onto NH 14, good roads
– Bar – Jodhpur (140 kms) – NH 112; turn right from Bar T-junction towards Jodhpur (NH 112), good roads.
So that’s it. Desert season is already upon us. Go ahead and enjoy your drives to the Blue City Jodhpur (and beyond, perhaps to the Golden City Jaisalmer).