To begin with my first post, I am expressing my sincere thanks to Nandan and team Ghumakkar for motivating me to drive this long. It has been a long time to complete this tour, but I think it will be worth writing my experience of driving to eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, to our hometown Gorakhpur.
It was October 2008 when I first visited www.ghumakkar.com, and read one of the most interesting post Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow trip. Since then my wife and I started planning to drive to Gorakhpur, keeping Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow road review as our bible for road reference. My son was about 6 months old and we knew that it is going to be difficult to manage and drive to that far, so I managed to convince one of my friend to come along. Our decision was never welcomed until we covered the journey successfully. To add, I was the only one to drive among all the passengers.
One very interesting fact about eastern UP is, most of the people don’t like to drive, especially to Gorakhpur. There have been couples of reasons with this. First, Gorakhpur is very well connected with Indian Railways (having HQ of NER), and the second reason, due to very bad road conditions.
Anyway, to make this post readable enough, I will further break my journey in two parts:
1. Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow ~550 kms (Day 1)
2. Lucknow-Gorakhpur ~300 kms (Day 2)
On one fine day of November, we started from West Delhi early morning (with wife and a 6 months old child, it surely is an early morning). It was about 5:30 AM when I started engine of my car. We were four in the cabin, me, my wife, my son, and my dear friend D. P. Crossing Badarpur in the next 45 mins was my first target, and we achieved that well within time.
We quickly reached to Mathura and then we stopped at McDonalds near Mathura refinery, as Aditya already have mentioned in his post that there is no other good place for refreshment on this road. Thanks to Aditya, and I agree with him that if you miss this place, you have to drive dry for the whole way.
We tried to leave McD early but it took us about 50 mins to start again, but thankfully we got the speed and momentum quickly. I have had a bad traffic experience earlier when I was driving to Agra, where one cycle rider took 90 degree right turn and about to come down to my car. Thank God I saved him, and us too :)
Realizing the traffic fact in the Mathura-Agra zone, I kept myself calm this time by keeping my speedometer to 60-70 kmph only. Sorry……I missed…..I managed average speed of 90-100 from Delhi till McD Mathura Refinery, as in early morning you really don’t find much traffic.
Agra bypass is not really a bypass and it is now an accepted fact. It took us sometime to get out of the city traffic and it was 10 AM. After Agra we found some broken road which took us about 15 mins to get out of that few hundred meters patch. Anyway, now we were on the right track with right momentum again. Between Agra to Etawah, it was a fantastic journey with clear road except some traffic in Firozabad, but that too didn’t take much time. As Aditya mentioned in his post about the “WORK IN PROGRESS”, it was completed by the time. Bypass near Etawah is functional now and one can drive smoothly now.
After Etawah it was even better road and I was high on driving. Obviously how often you see such wonderful road without traffic, and that too in Uttar Pradesh ….hahaha (laugh). Atmosphere in the car cabin was great. We didn’t stop in between as my intension was to quickly reach to Kanpur and have lunch there. Also, we really couldn’t find any good place to stop in between, so I kept driving. It was a wonderful experience to drive on this road with some ups and downs, made this journey memorable.
Caution: You have to be careful while driving on this road as it was mentioned in the earlier posts also, you will frequently find traffic coming from wrong side on this road.
Our journey was quite comfortable and as planned till Kanpur. We reached Kanpur by 2 PM and then faced a difficult situation. Despite of earlier readings and people’s suggestions, I thought that in Kanpur it should not be very difficult to find Kanpur-Lucknow road, and there I made a mistake. I took the bypass and didn’t come down where it was required to take left. We spent 1 hour extra to get out of the city and come to the right track, to Lucknow road. By the time it was 3PM and we realized that finding a proper restaurant for lunch is difficult. I stopped my car on Kanpur-Lucknow before Unnav road side for some quick snacks in place of lunch and we had some samosa, pakora and chai. Continued to Lucknow and we completed the patch in 1:45 hrs as there were some construction going on the road.
We planned to stay overnight to our relative’s place, as it was more like a family strategic decision and it was very much required for the trip passengers too. Though my idea was to complete the trip as quickly as possible, but as after Lucknow it was quite an unknown road route for me also, I agreed to restart the journey next day morning.
I knew it was never going to be so easy to drive from Lucknow to Gorakhpur, as this is probably the most densed part of the country and road is not wide enough. Work in progess for road widening was another topping added to my dring trouble. Anyway, even I tried it very hard to start early, we could start only after 7AM, and it took us 1 hr to come out from the city. I wonder polytecnic chowk is still a bottleneck for highway traffic?
It was only 30-40 kmph till we crossed Barakanki, mainly due to traffic and the two lane road does not have divider on it. It is probably the worst traffic in country, even worse than Delhi where people were trying to use all the road for overtaking. After Barabanki it was a breeze. Though you can find road widening work everywhere but because there was almost no traffic on the road we managed to maintain 70 kmph easily. Till holy city Ayodhya it was really good even with the road without traffic separator. It was 9:30 AM when we crossed Ayodhya, and by that time we had covered around 150 KMs from Lucknow. After 30 mins I stopped at a fuel pump station in Basti district for breakfast etc. I must admit here that the route has extremely good refreshment stops, which I never expected.
I instructed everyone to move quickly, but with the good food and good mood, we couldnt make it to start quickly. It took us more than 1 hr ro start again and it was 11 AM when we started again. I thought of reaching Gorakhpur in another 2 hours beacause it was only about 150 kms left. We started and we reached GIDA (Gorakhpur Industrial Development Authority) area well within time frame, and then we felt the worst part of the whole trip. Before Gorakhpur, road was broken between GIDA and Gorakhpur city, and it was so bad that it took us more than 1 hr to complete 10 km road. Finally we reached Gorakhpur city by 1 PM at noon and it took us another 30-40 mins to reach home where we had our delicious lunch together with family.
I coudn’t take any photograph during my trip as I was driving whole way and thought of completing the journey as quickly as possible. Therefore I am not able to put any photo with this post. I extremely apologies and promise to write with photos going forward.