I must appreciate my company for declaring a National holiday on Monday so that people could take a long weekend off and spend time with their families. This was done essentially to reward us for a blockbuster performance in June. It did not take too long to persuade the Missus to take one day off at her workplace and the plan was made to drive Nainital for the weekend. I had by then already read around 4-5 reviews on this site and had the route figured out mostly. This is just meant to be an update on the latest road conditions.
We started off on Saturday morning from Faridabad in an i10. We also have a Swift, but it was parked in Chandigarh where I usually travel for work (such complicated lives we live these days I must say). We hit the Ring Road and then NH24 within 25 minutes. Thankfully we did not face any jam at the Ghazipur crossing and then it was peaceful cruising right upto the Garh. It had rained pretty heavily the previous night and there were spots in between where we could see Water logging by the side of the roads. The interesting point was that we were catching Delhi FM signals right upto Hotel Skylark, which must be at least 80mks from Delhi
The next phase was from Garh to Moradabad bypass. There were only 4-5 places on the highway where flyover construction is on and these were the places where we had to slow down to a speed of around 40kmph and travel single file. The rest of the journey was made comfortably at around 110kmph. We hit Moradabad bypass at around 8.15. Do keep a watch out for the bypass. You have to take a Right turn under the flyover which is being constructed. This will take you on the wrong side of the flyover. The funny thing on the bypass was that you have to stop twice for paying the toll, the great thing being that driving here was a dream. No potholes, no cows, no mad truck drivers … the bypass just flew past
We had decided to take the Bazpur route and so as we had read on the site, there is a hard left turn which has to be taken at the end of the bypass road. You have to take the route directed to Jim Corbett. Just follow the road and then after around 4-5 kms, there is a right turn which has to be taken which will lead you to Bazpur. The straight road will take you to Jim Corbett Park. This part of the road was essentially without dividers, but traffic was sparse. I could easily hit around 100kms.
There are 2 bridges on this stretch, one just before Bazpur town, which has been earmarked as “Dangerous for Heavy Traffic”. There are single lane bridges with a barrier which prevents heavy vehicles from passing through. I think, these are the only two potential bottlenecks which exist on the route. Once you hit Tanda, the forest area begins. You are surrounded by dense forests on both the sides and it can get a little scary at night. We reached Kaladhungi by around 9.45 and decided to stop at the Jim Corbett Museum
This was actually Jim’s house which is now converted into a museum. I am a great fan of his and have read his biography called “Carpet Sahib”, so the trip to the museum was absolutely must do. We heard from some locals that the route to Nainital from Kaladhungi was prone to traffic jams and landslides and so we decided to take the roundabout route from Kaladhungi to Haldwani to Kathgodam. This leg again takes you through the jungle, so beware of travelling at night. From Kathgodam began the hilly route which we started climbing at 10.15
The Missus has a vertigo problem which gets aggravated while driving in the hills. So I have standing instructions not to exceed 40kmph while in the hills and I obviously had to obey. We took the Bhimtal diversion and reached Bhowali by 11.30. All in all, the journey took 6.5 hrs including a 15 minute break for eating sandwiches packed at home. We had booked our rooms at Rewa Retreat, Bhowali. The 2200 plus taxes for a night’s stay was worth it according to me
Other pointers about the stay at Nainital. The stay at Rewa Retreat was comfortable. However the hotel is located right at the junction of Ramgarh Road so it does get a little noisy. Nainital was very crowded so we spent our time at Bhimtal and Saatal. A trip to the Mall at Nainital will cost you Rs. 50 at normal times and Rs. 100 after 4PM
We started back early morning on Monday and were back home at Faridabad by 12.15 in the afternoon. The total kms that we clocked during the trip was 812 and got a healthy average of 13.5 which included almost a 130kms drive in the hills. We had to pay a toll of Rs. 55 one way (beware at the Ghaziabad Toll Gate … the guy there will charge Rs. 10 for an entry without a reciept and Rs. 15 which is the official entry with a reciept)
It was a weekend well spent and the drive not as scary as some people had suggested to me