Kolkata->Varanasi->Allahabad->Sultanpur->Lucknow->Delhi Road Review

Kolkata->Varanasi->Allahabad->Sultanpur->Lucknow->Delhi Road Review

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Road review for this journey or rather saying road review for NH2 in one word to say is simply awesome. It is advisable to start as early as possible in the morning so as to avoid the city rush.
Starting with the Durgapur Expressway from Kolkata, this is one of the best highways in India, there is absolutely no doubt in that. If you are actually driving in this highway, the road quality is so good and the greenery around are so nice, that you will just want to keep driving on this road. A maximum speed of 150 KMPH is no big deal in this highway and you can easily maintain an avg speed of around 90-100 KMPH.
Every now and then one can find decent places to have tea and snacks, there is not limitation on any kind of meals, whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner. Shaktigarh around 100 KM from Kolkata is one such ideal place to have a good breakfast. It’s known for its famous sweets (langchas). It’s also known as “langchagarh”.

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Kolkata to Delhi drive : Part 2

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Another early travel on day 4, this time the destination was Sultanpur, where I did my MCA from Kamla Nehru Institute of Technology (UP Technical University). I always had an idea that Allahabad -> Sultanpur distance although only 99KM, the road is not good, so it will take minimum 4-5 hours.

So we started around 4-4:30, however we found the road to be much improved. NH96 was much improved now. While driving almost around 2 hours, I thought I would be reaching the college way to early, however, took a wrong highway to Amethi somewhere. So I had to take another 35 KM drive back to Sultanpur and was at college by around 7:30. I showed my parents the campus, went to the mess and immediately all of them recognized me, offered breakfast for free.

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Kolkata to Delhi drive : Part 1

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Journey from Kolkata to Delhi through the awesome Durgapur Expressway, was something I had dreamt of since the time I went to Kolkata back in August 2007. I had my plans sorted out that I will be working in Kolkata not more than 2-3 years and then when I return back to Delhi, I will do that by road. It was January 1st week, when I got an offer in hand for a job back in Delhi, and I immediately had in mind, it’s now or never.

We were all set to start on the 4th of February 2011 for Delhi from Kolkata by road in my most loveable Santro.

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Delhi -> Jodhpur ->Jaisalmer -> Bikaner Road Review

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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.

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Soul of Kolkata – Festivals, Food, and Sports

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Calcutta also known as the city of festivals almost remains enlightened all through the year with various festivals every now and then. Whether it’s Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Laxmi Puja, Kartik Puja, Vishwakarma Puja, Holi, Diwali, Christmas or whatever, the city enjoys them all with full celebration. Durga Puja is ideally the biggest festival of Calcutta (and West Bengal). The city of Calcutta has a completely different look.

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Chandrataal – the Moon Lake

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As we moved ahead, we crossed more and more nallahs. To our surprise they were even more dangerous now. The water flow was huge, it was so violent, we thought as if we were going to flow away with the water down to the Spiti river.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 5 : Manali to Delhi Via Shimla

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With green mountains on one side and the beautiful Beas on the other side, we crossed beautiful places like Bhunter, Aut and Pandoh. We halted for sometime at the very beautiful Pandoh Dam on the river Beas. This is basically the end of Beas river with us and it diverts towards Punjab. From there on we reached Mandi in another 1 and half hours. Mandi is a plane area and is not very cold. The sun was really on its peak, but then it’s a lovely small town. There are numerous Dhabas enroute and in one such Dhaba we had our lunch.

Another 30 minutes and we reached Sundernagar. At Sundernagar, we took the Shimla Highway and dropped the excellent Manali Delhi Highway. Sundernagar is also a good small town. Around 4 PM, we had already entered the Shimla District. And again we started climbing up. The roads in Shimla off course not to explain are awesome. It was drizzling slightly and the fog was dense. That was one adventurous journey through the hills.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 4 : Kaza to Manali

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Chattru at a height of around 13000 ft, around 17 KM from Gramphu, 32 KM from Rohtang top, and we started around 4:30 from there. Next was Gramphu on way and because of the pebbled roads another 1 hour to reach Gramphu. And lots of small as well as big waterfalls. And lots of nullahs. As we approach towards Rohtang top, greenery starts to appear and the dryness starts to disappear. Lovely view of small waterfalls in distant mountains on the opposite side, makes the journey lovely. In one such waterfall, Lekhram stopped the cab and washed it, while we enjoyed the view of the waterfall, the chilled water and the amazing view.

Once Gramphu is crossed, then starts the steep rise to Rohtang Pass. And oh man, the view is something one can never forget. Just before getting up, there is a route that joins the route we were into. This route is coming directly from Ladakh, the well know Leh-Manali highway. As one rise up, there may be numerous landslide clearances. And stoppages and long traffic snarls can eat up few hours. But all these clearances are very enjoyable.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 3 : Kalpa to Kaza

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It’s a lovely monastery with the monks all around at a height of 12774 ft. specially the view of the spiti valley and the amazing spiti river from that height. The monks are always available to explain you everything about the monasteries. Since the number of tourists in Spiti is always few, you always meet up the same people again and again, and mainly foreigners.
Taking snaps inside the monk is prohibited, so I did not waste the opportunities to take pics from outside and the valley. Spent around half an hour in the monastery, before getting back into the cab.
It took us around another 20-25 minutes to cover this monastery and around 1 PM we got back into the cab. From Dhankar Monastery it took another hour or so to reach Kaza via the Kaza bridge at Shitlong village as I mentioned early in the write-up. Kaza is a lovely small city in the Spiti valley and is the district headquarter at a height of around 11500 ft. By 2PM, we checked in into a hotel after some searching. It was a beautiful hotel, located at a nice location right beside the Kaza monastery. Time was stretching, as we had to cover Kibber also the same day.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 3 : Kalpa to Tabo

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Time to get up early in the morning to get a view of the awesome Himalayas from the balcony. It was so cloudy all around at 6AM, that hardly anything was visible. With a cup of tea, we started waiting for the fog and cloud to clear up. After that it was cloud moving around with occasional clearances of the mountains. Believe me, its one of the most awesome views as the clouds play around with the kailash range. And with the sun occasionally coming out in between the clouds with clear lights, another lovely worth seeing site.

While we were able to see the Kinnaur kailash easily, we were not able to spot the shiv ling. The hotel staff said, because of the fog we might not be able to view it. It was hidden behind the clouds. But then suddenly, one of the hotel staff said, its visible now. As we saw, the 69 ft height shiv ling was clear visible from that distance not more than 1 inch. But a very beautiful view.

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The Great Himachal Circuit – Part 2 : Shimla to Sangla via Sarahan

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A very important thing about Himachal, is that people are very cooperative and they are very happy with what they are and have. I am writing this because I tour as well as I interact with people over various places, trying to find the differences in the cultures, way of living etc. This is what travelling is all about. I found Himachal people in the remote of the areas to be very well educated (better than what we are in cities) and well behaved. They are clean by heart and they educate their child to be as clean as them.

Soon it was getting dark and we entered the temple which normally opens up after 7PM. Not everywhere inside the temple are cameras and accessories allowed, but there are lockers where they can be kept. So we put our accessories in the lockers and entered the temple. The Bhimakali Temple at Sarahan is quite big and unique in its own way and own beauty. It looks more like a monastery rather than a temple.

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The Great Himachal Circuit Part 1: Reaching Shimla

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In the evening, we started for a small walk up towards the Mall. On the way, The Grand hotel and the Kali Bari are located. So visited all and then finally reached the Mall. We spent around 3 hours in the Mall and Lakkar Bazaar right below the Mall. Took beautiful photographs and had our dinner in a cool restaurant. The Shimla Mall road is a real beauty in the evening, there is no doubt in it.

We got back to our hotel in the same route walking around 9 in the evening. Quickly I called up the cab we booked for the rest of the tour and everything was as per plan. The cab driver was on target for the next day and informed us about the time he would be in.
After this went in for a nice sleep. We had to cover a long and adventurous journey ahead.

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