Delhi-Vadodara-Delhi Road Trip (Part -2)

This post is in continuation with my last post Delhi-Vadodara-Delhi Road Trip (Part -1). Starting from Delhi, with a stop-over at Udaipur, we arrived Vadodara on 1st of October. Stayed there for the next 2 days and started the return journey on 4th of October. We took off at 5 in the morning as around 450 Kms had to be covered that day to reach Chittaurgarh.

Vadodara to Ratanpur (Rajasthan Border) : We were already aware of road conditions and decided to have breakfast at A1 Plaza which was located around 25 Kms before Ahmedabad on Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway. Let me tell you that in the past, we had great experiences with A1 Plaza on our trips to Jaipur and Agra. But this one was no good, we couldn’t understand why, but only South Indian snacks were available at the two A1 Plaza’s we visited in Gujrat. If not anything else, one would at least expect some good Dhokla, Khandawi or Theple, but all we could find there were Idli, Vada and Dosa! There was no printed menu and the only one displayed on wall was in Gujrati!. We left quickly without wasting any time and decided to take a break later.

Roads were clear in the morning and I was trying to cover maximum distance because we had only half a day in hand to explore Chittaurgarh. Wifey was getting hungry and angry as I was avoiding some stops for breakfast. But I was clear that the more time we saved during the drive, the more we’d get to spend at Chittaurgarh. Finally, looking for a decent place for breakfast, we reached Rajasthan border (Ratanpur).

After reaching there, we realized that we’d covered around 240 kms without eating anything since morning! It was 10:00 am and being desperately hungry, we stopped at RTDC Midway Ratanpur. Old looking setup, first impression – No good. We did not have much options so started our breakfast with a safe order of Tea, Butter toast, 1 omlette.

And to our surprise, the bread was fresh and well made. So we ordered one more plate of Butter Toast, followed by another plate one and one more round of Tea! We still wonder whether we were too hungry or breakfast was too good. After stuffing ourselves and taking some pics, we started again. Now we were on my favorite stretch of Part-1 (Rajasthan border to Udaipur). This time Shagun also steered for some time.

Straight to Chittaurgarh : We decided not to stop at Udaipur and continue on NH-76.

We did not know about the road beyond Udaipur as now we were going to take different route to reach Chittaurgarh (and then Jaipur) i.e. Chittaurgarh – Bhilwara – Nasirabad – Kishangarh – Jaipur. After bypassing Udaipur, the road converted to 2 lane for some 10 kms. It was already 12:10 pm and we had 100 kms to go. Our only concern was if we get late in reaching Chittaurgarh, we might not be able to explore the fort it that day.

After sometime the 4 lane highway started again :-). Finally, we reached Chittaurgarh around 2:00 pm and checked into Hotel at 2:30 approx. The hotel was outside Chittaurgarh on Jaipur highway.

Chittaurgarh: Engine stopped at Hotel Padmini, Chittaurgarh. An Old looking building but nice and huge property. I’d booked the hotel around 15 days back from Delhi on phone. Tariff was Rs 1200 for a day. Blame it to my non-bargaining skills but that was it. I read a post on ghumakkar it self that you can get rooms for 200 Rs in Chittaurgarh but I did not try it as I was with wife and wanted a safe hotel. I tried to bargain at the counter and got free morning breakfast and stay in ‘Deluxe Room’ in place of the Standard A/C Room ;-).

We did not waste any time in going out for lunch and stayed in hotel for next 1.5 hours. Had some snacks (Gujrati theple, namkeens et all) we’d picked up from Vadodara along with a cup of Tea. I needed some rest so took a short nap as well. We left hotel for Fort around 3:45 pm and reached the main gate very quickly. At the gate, we were surrounded by a herd of Guides. We bargained and hired one who claimed to have a government approved ID. He took the rear seat in our car and we headed for The Mega Fort.

The boundary of fort is 13 kms with number of places to see inside like Rana Kumbha Mahal, Vijay Stambh, Rani Padmini Mahal, Meera Mandir, Keerti Stambh and many more. We liked the front gate of fort the most. It gives a complete view of a vast ground (the battle field in old times) with number of hills spread at the other side. Our guide charged Rs 50 for the complete tour and was worth every penny.

We went to city for quick evening snacks as we had to rush back to Fort by 7pm for the Light & Sound show at Rana Kumbha Mahal. The show has been introduced recently and was in its ‘testing days’ so was free of cost. We got late by 5 minutes in reaching the fort and all the seats were occupied. There was a huge crowd which mainly consisted of localities. Somehow we managed a place to sit. The show was very informative, covered the history of Chittaurgarh and more specifically stories related to Rawal Ratan Singh and their gorgeous Rani Padmini.

We left the fort around 8 pm and had dinner in Hotel Pratap which was one of our considerations for stay while booking hotels. I’d rate Hotel Pratap better than Hotel Padmini because of its service and also as it is newly built/renovated. It might be because we experienced their restaurant area only, but overall, it seemed as a better option in similar tariff. We reached back our hotel and had a tight sleep after a long day of 450 kms drive and Chittaurgarh exploration.

Chittaurgarh to Jaipur: Next day there was no hurry of leaving early because we had to cover only around 300Kms to reach Jaipur. We had our breakfast in hotel and left for Jaipur around 10am. We were on NH-79 and road was awesome, but not as scenic as NH-8 while we were coming to Udaipur. The distance to Jaipur was covered quickly with just one break for Lunch at A1 Plaza (near Dudu). We had bitter expereince here as well when we found an insect in one of the dishes ordered. All in all, we did not find the same good quality in all A1 Plazas as the one near Jaipur (Shahpur) or Agra. You must be wondering why am i obsessed with A1 Plaza and why do we stop at there only? It is because of many reasons 1) They are owned by Relaince, 2) good experiences at Jaipur and Agra and 3) I took complete list of A1 plaza network with me on this trip (Courtesy www.a1plaza.net) and knew where they were located on the way. One pointer to follow when you take information from this website is to make sure that you check the side of the road on which the Dhaba is. This could be important when one is in a hurry and doesn’t want to take u-turns and opt for other option on the same side of the road. We learnt it the hard way :(

Jaipur: Reached Jaipur around 3:30pm and since our Hotel was also on Ajmer road we didn’t have to waste time in the city traffic. We already had an agenda of what to do in Jaipur – Shopping (for wife) and Dinner at Chokhi Dhani (both of us). After some rest, tea and snacks, we headed for Bapu Bazar around 5-5:30 pm. This time we did not use our car and took an Auto ricksaw to the market to avoid traffic and parking problems (wise decision!). We were in Bapu Bazar for around 2 and half hours shopping and spent few thousands for carrying big heavy bags. Came back to hotel to freshen up and again left for Chokhi Dhani.

We’d visited Jaipur last year and thanks to my elephent memory, we found the correct way to Chokhi Dhani easily. Although I had already visited the place but i was excited to be there again.

This time we entered early for dinner probably because we came in late. Awesome food, specially their style of pushing you to the last limit. After having dinner one can not move easily, so we took rested on khatiya and then planned to move back to the Hotel. Again good sleep. Guess it was because of the drive and shopping and of-course the “huge” dinner @ Chokhi Dhani.

Jaipur to Delhi: Even more relaxed next morning, last 240 Kms to back home. Wifey decided to see some more jewelery in ‘Johari Bazaar’, so we started from hotel around 10:30-10:45 and spent some time there. We had decided to come back, but Nandan called in and suggested us to see the Canon at Jaigarh. Finally started for Delhi directly after that at 1:30 pm. Now to tell you the truth, I was experiencing worst road of my trip. It was one of my favorite roads before this trip. But because of comparison data available I was not feeling very good on Jaipur-Delhi road. Took lunch break again on A1 plaza (again!) :-) near Kotputli, and moved on. Entered Gurgaon around 6 pm, had to in between on the traffic lights and road construction work.

Suddenly I was in an ocean of cars, and I was not at all comfortable driving in initial few kilometers. My Delhi driving instincts took some time to revive and after some time I was also racing with every body on the newly built flyovers of Gurgaon. Around 8:00 pm ,we finally reached home (my in-law’s place, It was staturday evening and every body was there including Nandan).

The wonderful roads in our entire journey have spoilt me. I just hope that in the next trips (to other destinations) i do not compare the roads with the one’s covered in this trip else I’d end up cribbing!

Few interesting points:

1. We spent around Rs 1000 just in toll tax.
2. Our car, Maruti Esteem gave an unbelievale milage of ~22km/l.
3. We spent around 40 hrs in drving (in 5 days).
4. We drove 2270 kms in this trip (includes city driving).
5. Use of maps from Mapmyindia, Google Maps for planning the road trip helped a lot.
6. Reliance Petrol performance was good.
7. We do not like masala tea with lots of milk and sugar, so always carry hot water and tea kit. Which really helped us as a good cup of tea is one of the biggest stress busters!

17 Comments

  • nandanjha says:

    lovely. The part which I liked the most was last thing i.e. ‘Few interesting points’. 1000 Rs as toll tax, 40 hours of driving. Also you seemed to have kept good notes about places and its a very very information rich post.

    I guess anyone who is planning to take this route to Udaipur/Vadodra should read this.

  • manish says:

    I also agree with what Nandan has written.

    I was just smiling at the relativity: I used to tell everyone that the roads from Delhi to Jaipur are the best. And you felt they were bad, after driving in Gujarat.

  • backpakker says:

    South Indian food is so universal … I liked your last interesting points ..sometimes a good travelogue becomes more interesting with these little snippets ..will remember to do so in my next ..Btw, we have driven down from Udaipur to Ahmedabad many years ago..your story brought back memories

  • rajvir says:

    nice wtite up. We have also travelled twice to delhi from ahmedabad on this route but always via udaipur-rajsamand -ajmer (nh8) route. It gets very crowded and narrow between udaipur and ajmer. The road too is bumpy at stretches with some rural roads kind of stretches especially around Bhim etc. You start thinking if you are still on NH8.
    We are now planning another trip to delhi in a short while and intend taking udaipur- chittorgarh-bhilwara-ajmer (nh79) route this time. But in case its as much as 50 km longer, it may not be worth it. ( particularly when you start off in the direction of chittorgarh from udaipur, you feel you are going into a circuitous route.)
    but how is the road. You think it will be a better idea to take this route– NH 79 for the udaipur-ajmer stretch??

  • Aditya says:

    I think NH79 is faster and well maintained because of toll road. Yes it is longer but you can save some time by driving little faster, and Avoid driving in late evening on NH-79, I got this information from some source that it is not advisable to drive between Chittorgarh and Bhilwara in late evening. If you are planning to take one stop during your journey you can stay at chittorgarh and continue on NH-79 next morning.

    Advantage of NH-79 is that there are very less heavy vehicles(because of toll road), and 4 lane road with divider.

    Udaipur-Bhim-Beawar-Ajmer is busy road and it is little stressful driving but i guess more safe(for night driving) and scenic.

  • Aditya says:

    BTW, Thanks for your comment!

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    It takes one hour to go from Chittorgarh to Bhilwara (by bus) and there are regular busses connecting the two towns. I don’t think that there is any safety issues also unless its very late in night after 10:00/12:00 pm

  • Aditya says:

    Manish, Thanks for your comment. Actually, i just heard from some body who works in marketing field and travel a lot in Rajasthan. He suggested me to take Bhim-Beawar route for late evening drive when i was planning my trip.

  • rkumar02 says:

    Very nice write up and details are very useful.
    I am planing for Delhi – Diu. Can someone suggest the route and itinerary between Ahmedabad and Diu?? Specially whether take NH8E or take longer route of NH8A & NH8B?? bit confused.

  • R. Chacko says:

    Nice write-up, Aditya. It brings back nostalgic memories of my travel on the same route twice once via NH-8 and the other via NH-79. I also liked the roads from Udaipur to Vadodara, except for a small portion near Ahmedabad, the best. Though the journey by NH-79 is a little longer, it saves a lot of time because of the fast driving possible on the four-laned highway compared to the other 2-laned one. While returning, after Gurgaon, I also felt just as you did seeing all the cars vying to inch forward. I look forward to undertake this journey again as soon as possible.
    Raji

  • tripper says:

    GREAT WRITE UP

  • Desh says:

    Great motivational piece of writing.

    Infact I and my wife were also planning to go to Vadodara ( which happens to be my in laws place ) from Delhi.

    Lets see.. am all game for it n so is my wife.

    Lets Vroom this Dec..

  • Shailender Singh says:

    No Words….
    I CLONED your trip to PLAN my trip

  • m m bhat says:

    a nice piece of timely information. infact i am planning to take road route from dehradun to vadodara where i am finally settling down. sharing experiences is useful . hope i take the road route and share my experience with you

  • raakhi says:

    So how long in total did it take to drive from udaipur to vadodra? Thanks!

  • Kumar says:

    Any advice if want to drive straight to A’bad without night stay in between from Delhi?

  • swadesh says:

    Hi dear, Very Informative Post, In fact I was not willing to go to Delhi from Vadodara by my new car Xcent. Buut after reading your post, I think I should really give a shot !

    I’m planning to reach Delhi from Vadodara in single day ! . Not sure if possible,but have read blogs of few others, who have done this. Just a few questions –

    1. How are the roads from Ahmedabad to Himmant Nagar
    2. How are the roads from Himmant Nagar to Udaipur
    3. How are the roads from Udaipur to Chittaorghar
    4. How are the roads from Chittorgahar to Jaipur
    5. How are the roads from Jaipur to Gurgaon?

    I know, it seems stupid but I needed to break the way points !

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