Our love for road trips pushed us to take another . After two Ladakh trips from Delhi and One trip from Delhi to Bhuj (Rann of Kutch)we wanted to explore the much talked about National Highway 1 .(Delhi-Udaipur-Vadodra-Panvel-Goa). So, we planned a trip to Goa. With a family of four, two boys (14yrs and 10yrs old)and my wife we started our journey on 1st January 2016 and concluded it on 15th January 2016. Besides basic planning like the distance we planned to cover in a day or the destination we wanted to reach on a particular day, only other preparation we needed was getting our old work horse (2011 model XUV 500 W-8) ready for the trip, which included a visit to Mahindra Service centre. Surprisingly, they assured us no routine service was needed as the vehicle has not covered the required KMs. They handed over the vehicle after basic check ups.
Day 1(1st january2016): Delhi – Himmat Nagar (Gujrat)
5.45a.m. Started our journey from I. P. Extension, Delhi with a target to reach Udaipur. We reached Udaipur by 3.30 pm, So, decided to move further before calling it a day. We reached Himmat nagar in Gujarat, covering a distance of over 850 km on day one. We spent the night in Hotel Milestone, on the main highway with a plan to start early next day as the kids were eager to reach goa as soon as possible . The route covered on Day one included I. P. Extension -Gurgaon-Manesar-Jaipur Ajmerbypass-Udaipur-Himmatnagar.
Day2(2nd january2016): Himmat Nagar (Guj) – Panvel – Mane gaon (Maharashtra)
6.00a.m.started our journey with an intention to cross Panvel and get as close to Goa as possible. And here comes the highways, very nice and well maintained ,felt very proud . We reached Thane around 5.00pm & then started the great confusion, the roads got messed up and we lost good two hours in getting the right route. Our GPS too got confused.
Finally we crossed Panvel and moved on to unknown towns and villages .Now we were desperate to find a decent hotel, but the places we crossed had a dark haunting look, as the local people had called it a day. Although, there were hotels but we were not sure about them. Then we asked a few shopkeepers to suggest a hotel. We were assured that we can check into any hotel we come across on the way. They are all safe but the services would be very basic. It was around 9.pm by now, tired & desperate, we decided that we will enter the first hotel that comes on the way ….Finally in Mane gaon (Maharashtra) we stayed in basic hotel( Hotel Open Umbrella, a family owned hotel cum open air restaurant).This day we covered around 750km. Places covered included Ahmadabad By pass- Vadodara by pass- Panvel – Thane – Panvel – Manegaon.
Day3(3rd January2016): And to Goa
10.a.m.started again, after a hearty breakfast, to reach Goa (400km) .On the way the scenic beauty of Maharashtra mesmerised us. Green feilds lined with coconut trees and the western Ghats, all made the journey worthy…These are the things that make the road trip special .Around 5.00 pm we entered the borders of Goa , by 7.00p.m.we checked into a resort (Primo Bom) at Baga beach ( We had been to this resort during our last visit to Goa in 2012). Distance covered during the day was about 400 km.
Day4-8(4th January to 8th ) : Goa Goa and Goa
We stayed in Goa for 5 days visiting spice garden, Palolem beach, Dhudh sagar falls, Aguda fort etc. enjoying in the spirits of Goa.
Day 9(9th January): Goa – Pune
We started the return journey. Our plan was to take a different route, visiting Pune, Mumbai & Shirdi . We took a route to Pune via Savantwari, Pune- Bangaluru highway, once again a beautiful, Sceanic road & reached Pune by evening (approx. 450 km). We had our dinner at one of our friends place & spent the night at Hotel Cocoon, in Magarpatta. I was visiting Pune after 25 years ( I did my Engineering from D.Y.Patil College, Pimpri, in 1990).Pune had gone through a virtual make over in all these years, I was not able to locate the roads, which we had used in those days. A lot of grrenery has been lost & the place had expanded a lot, with so many flyovers, new roads & townships. About present day Pune, one can easily name it the city Of traffic Lights (After every 2 minutes one can see a signal..)
Day 10(10january): Pune – Mumbai
After visiting my college (& spending some nostalgic moments), we headed towards Mumbai, around 12.30 pm. The Mumbai- Pune highway (Which has been converted to an excellent Expressway) also had changed significantly & we reached outskirts of Mumbai in no time. Even Mumbai has expanded, but improved a lot since my college days. The roads & Traffic were much better. We crossed Navi Mumbai although we saw many good hotels (which I believe was a mistake) & finally had to spend the night in a hotel near Airport (Hotel peninsula Grand- quite a expensive hotel).
Day11-12(11-12th January): Mumbai – Shirdi
Visited Gateway of India and drove through Sea link(Worli-bandra). Around 2.30 p.m. we started our journey to Shirdi via Thane & Nasik By-pass. Once again a beautiful scenic road. Visited a vineyard with loads of grapes, also on the route, took few short breaks for photography and tea & reached Shirdi at 7.30p.m.Stay was at Hotel Gsquare just opposite the Shrine Gate. We stayed for another day to recapture our stamina and relax. The distance between Mumbai & Shirdi is about 250 km.
Day13(13th January): Shirdi – Indore – Shajapur
From here we planned to take our return journey via M.P.(indore).We started around 10.a.m. and took state highway 3, a single lane highway with quite a lot of traffic, progress was very slow & frustating. We regretted the decision but could not back out as we covered a substantial distance.(Shirdi-Dhule-Indore-Dewas-Shajapur).We started to look for hotels around 7pm, but were not able to locate a decent place (this stretch has mostly small townships with little options for good hotels) .Finally at shajapur we got a room in PWD rest house, clean enough to spend a night, very thankful to the man to allow us to stay. The distance covered during the day was 525 km.
Day14(14th January): Shahapur – Gwalior
Started for Gwalior around 8.30a.m.(shajapur-Guna-Shivpuri-Gwalior, a distance of about 400km. We reached Gwalior at 6.p.m.and stayed at (Hotel Tansen). We did some sightseeing in the evening & next day. The most exciting part was the Light & Sound show in Gwalior fort- only four of us were inside the fort, on a cold, foggy & dark evening, for the show.
Day15(15th January): Gwalior-Murena-Agra-Mathura-Yamuna expressway-Noida-Delhi
Last day of the trip .We started the last stretch to Delhi reaching home by 10.30 pm.
5000km of sheer pleasure of driving and seeing India through its highways was a unique experience for us. Vast expanses of Gujarat and lush green fields of Maharashtra, dry lands of Madhya Pradesh .
I would be very happy to answer any queries around road quality or around our driving experience.