Part-1 : Delhi to Udaipur
It was almost a year that I had not taken any long road trip (since the last trip to Spiti Valley in September 2017). I was looking options for next trip and while going through some random search on web, I came across some VLOGs on Delhi – Mumbai trip and got excited about the reviews and comments on excellent highway conditions on this route. I had a plan to visit Mumbai in July related to my work and this is how the idea of road trip to Mumbai clicked. The next task was to find a companion which was easier than I thought, one of my colleagues happily agreed to accompany for same business reasons. Further it took some efforts to explain to respective families as most of them were worried due to monsoon and long journey. Moreover, the idea of long road trip in India still developing therefore you always has to go through various reactions when planning trips which are usually covered by air or train. Some of them even suggested that flying by air will be comfortable and cheaper, but you don’t take road trips for comfort rather for sheer love of driving and exploring places and cultures.
Initially I was thinking to rent a self-drive car, but later I thought it will be fun to drive my own i10 and I also find it more comfortable because it is auto gear. My experience with i10 has been amazing as I never got tired even driving for long distances (e.g. nonstop Delhi to Manali covering more than 500 KMs). Many people raised eye brows when they learned that we will be driving the i10 to Mumbai. The Car has already done over 1 lac kilometres and 7 years old, it was serviced recently therefore it was in good condition, but I was not too sure about the tyres condition, so took it to a tyre shop while returning from office on 5th July and got one of the tyre replaced.
I did some online to find the best route for Mumbai and based research decided to follow below itinerary, which proven to be the right decision at the end of the journey.
Day-1 : Delhi – Gurgaon – Manesar – Jaipur by pass – Kishangarh – Ajmer by pass – Beawar – Rajsamand – Nathdwara – Udaipur
Day-2 : Udaipur – Samalaji – Godhra – Halol – Vadodara – Surat – Mumbai
The entire road is either 4 lane or 6 lane divided highway from Delhi to Mumbai except of an 80 km stretch from Jawaja (Beawar) towards Udaipur (this is also a good wide undivided road with not much traffic).
If you are starting your journey from South Delhi or Noida, then I will suggest to follow an alternate highway to reach Manesar. The eastern peripheral expressway or KGP is open for traffic since May 2018 and you can avoid Delhi/Gurgaon highway traffic. The KGP is 6 lane barricaded road, from Delhi or Noida, you need to take Noida-Greater Noida expressway and take right from Pari chowk towards Kasna, just follow the route and you will find an exit which will take you to KGP, you need to go towards Palwal to reach Manesar.
We filled the tank of our car and started our journey at 05:30 AM on 6th July from Greater Noida via KGP. We would have hardly covered the 50 kms and starting facing problem with our Car A/c, there was a noise from blower and the cooling started to come down. We got worried as we don’t want to waste time in finding a mechanic and getting it repaired. We drove further while looking out for any road side mechanic shop but most of the shops were closed due to early hours. Finally, we found a good mechanic at 7:30 am, with 10 min of inspection he said that blower is working fine but there is something got stuck in the duct and will need at least 3 hours to open it up and clean. We decided to continue our journey and try to reach Udaipur as soon as possible for getting it repaired through authorized Hyundai service station. Luckily the A/c started working fine and noise stopped after driving another 50 km which was a big relief for us.
Our first break was for breakfast at 9:00 AM after covering 234 kms in 3.5 hours. We stopped at Hotel Highway Prince at Kotputli (http://hotelhighwayprince.com/) which turned out to be a good decision because of their service, hygiene, clean washroom and tasty aaloo paratha with white butter which reminded me gulshan dhaba at murthal (Delhi-Chandigarh highway).
We started our onwards journey again at 9:35 AM and faced with some traffic while crossing Kotputli but our i10 could easily manoeuvre through the traffic and we were again cruising at 120 kmph within 5 minutes.
I have read in several blogs that many people make a mistake when approaching Jaipur and instead of going via by pass, they have entered Jaipur city which can easily waste your 1 to 2 hours. Therefore, be careful and look for a fork (around 20 km before Jaipur), you need to go left side towards Ajmer highway. There is a sign board which mentioned Jaipur/Jaipur city on the right side, which you should not take.
My car was not in good mood today and we again faced a problem, this time it was the horn which stopped working. We found a road side mechanic near Beawar around 1:00 pm, luckily it was just a broken wire which got fixed in 5 minutes and we resumed our journey towards Udaipur.
The drive from Ajmer towards Udaipur is quite scenic, especially during monsoon it becomes a sight for eye due to lush green hills.
While crossing Kishangarh, we found many shops selling marble and stone artefacts and handicrafts. There are lot of industries enroute which deals in stone and marble for building and constructions. We find many trucks carrying marble slabs and huge rocks which than shipped to these industries to cut into various sizes and shapes.
We passed through the Chirwa Tunnel between Nathdwara and Udaipur and entered the Udaipur city of lakes at 04:00 PM.
The distance from Delhi to Udaipur is around 770 KM which we covered in 10.5 hours with around 1 hour break for breakfast and other necessities. We started at 05:30 AM and reached Udaipur city by 4:15 PM. The entire journey was smooth and a great driving experience due to no pot holes, no traffic jams (except 5 min delay at Kotputli) and no truck drivers nuisance. Though the weather was cloudy, but we faced no rain throughout our journey. We decided to have lunch at Udaipur before checking in our hotel, and we stopped at Rajwada restaurant on our way to our hotel.
If you are planning this trip, it is advisable to stay overnight in Udaipur, we had a booking at hotel Shiv Niwas Palace. A portion of the City Palace has been converted in a hotel and this is one of the best place to stay at lake Pichola, especially if you are first time to Udaipur. See my review of the hotel at link https://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowUserReviews-g297672-d307011-r595577767-Shiv_Niwas_Palace-Udaipur_Udaipur_District_Rajasthan.html
We checked in the hotel at 05:00 PM and were fascinated by the property and its location. We got rejuvenated by seeing our room and view of lake pichola from the balcony (jharoka).
Link to Part-2 : http://www.ghumakkar.com/?p=106274