Last Saturday (July 15, 2007), I was driving on NH24 as I had some work in Naukuchiatal and thought that I would write a quick Road Review (and about Delhi to Nainital road condition), since there are lots of folks who use this road for going almost anywhere in Kumaon. Though I didn’t go to Nainital, but probably going till Bhimtal is as good as going till Nainital from Road Review perspective ;)
Delhi to Nainital by road. This road can be divided into many sections.
- NH 24 – Delhi, Ghazibad, Hapur, Garh Mukteshwar (NHAI)
- NH 24 – Simbhavli, Gajraula, Moradabad, Rampur (NHAI)
- NH 87 – Rampur, Bilaspur, Rudrapur (mostly UP)
- NH 87 – Rudrapur, Haldwani, Nainital/Bhimtal (Uttrakhand)
Section 1 (Delhi to Garh Ganga route) which starts from Nizamuddin Mode in Delhi has lots of small cities/villages en route. Expect a little jam at Ghazipur Crossing (almost all times of day), then one at Ghaziabad Trade Tax (just beyond Vijay Nagar) and usualy slowness as you cross numerous towns. Hapur bypass is lovely and amazingly smooth, you can go beyond 120 easily. I drove at 80-100 KPH (in my Mahindra Scorpio) as it was raining and road was wet, so less traction. Beyond Hapur, the road is mostly single and not too much of traffic till you get closer to Brij Ghat or Garh Mukteshwar where it can take from 15 minute to many hours depending upon whether there is anything big at Ganga. By the way, this is the closest point for Delhi-ites for a Ganga dip. Avoid mornings on major poornimas (full moons) or big festivals.
Section 2 is after Garh. Again single road for some time and then you start to see the NHAI work. There are stretches where the road work has been done and there are two roads, 3 lane each. On these stretches you can easily go beyond 120 and make merry but every 20-30 odd kilomters, you will enter a bottle neck, mostly at the places where they are trying to make a flyover, these bottle necks can actually kill your entire fun if its raining or if there is a break down. But all in all, this stretch is better than Section 1. Once NHAI is done, it would be cream. Moradabad bypass is already a marvel. I don’t know why they stopped accepting money at a single toll for the whole stretch, now you have to stop twice to pay toll. As you pass Moradabad bypass, Rampur City can get a littly stuffy but it’s just a couple of kilometers, so, not too much of a pain.
Section 3 is when you cross Rampur city and take a left turn to get on NH87. Now the ordeal begins, now you are not with NHAI but on a road maintained (or not maintained) by government of UP. I have been driving this stretch for at least last 8-9 years and I have never found this good. You have to handle this till Rudrapur.
From Rudrapur, you again take a left leaving the road which goes till Lucknow, and now you drive along-side jungle. Infact both sides. Amazing drive. For 20 odd kilo meters you and this long serpentine road amid Tanda (thats the name of the Jungle Reserve), reach Rudrapur and then Haldwani. From there the road to Nainital is very good. For Bhimtal/Saat Tal/Naukuchia Tal or going to Almora/Bhavali/Binsar/Mukteshwar, you need to take a right exit at HMT factory, which is about 6 KM from Kathgodam station, if you don’t take a right and keep going straight you reach Nainital.
Tip – Start early in the day (5 for Summers and 6 for Winters) to avoid traffic and it should not take you more than 7 hours to reach Nainital or other places.
I was back on Sunday, July 16 2007.