Trip to Varanasi, Allahabad: On a Tight Schedule!


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Akash

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After a very long time, I got a chance to please the travel bug in me. The break was in the beginning, intended for Kolkata. It was a 720km one way trip through GT Road. A total of approx 1700km (two ways) was good enough to satisfy my hunger. BUT God had planned for something else. The trip shortened to just 1300kms, for details, read on!!


Now a road trip was long planned, but it could never turn into a reality due to unavailability of leave. Fellow TAIns working in Project s would well understand my situation. Getting a leave is a Project in itself.
However, I struck gold when Monday was declared an OFF day (Vishwakarma Puja). This translated to the fact that I could work till second half on Saturday and move for the destination in evening itself and reach early morning. I am a kind of person who prefers night driving over day, why?
Because I save the day for sight-seeing, since driving never fatigues me, A power nap of an hour (A little more than what Professor Viru Sahastrabudhhe of 3 idiots took[lol]) is enough for me to recharge my battery.


A recap of how this trip was planned:

Initially it was thought that our destination would be Kolkata. I had even started visualizing taking pics of my car on Howrah Bridge; however, the only issue was the distance and time. This combo was not working out well since I was instructed to join office on time on Tuesday. This made our plans almost cancelled. 1 of our travel companion hopped out, and we were in apprehension, on where to go or not!

Finally an Orissa Locale, a senior of mine, suggested going to Puri. I denied straight away. No, its not that I don’t love beaches, but I previously had been to this place a few months ago (yeah, the travelogue is pending, I know). So Puri trip was cancelled, however I regret my decision. More about it, at a later stage of thread.

Now, all of a sudden Varanasi came into picture, courtesy- Another senior of mine.
He too is a UPian and a native of that place. After seeing lots of amazing pics of Ghats in his lappy, I could finally make up my mind that our Destination is going to Be Varanasi, however, after giving some thoughts, we planned to extend it till Allahabad.

Preparations:

  • Vehicle Check Up: General check up done.
  • Engine Oil & Filter: Changed a day before the trip.
  • Wheel Alignment: Done
  • Tire condition: I had purchased new Rubber a few weeks back, so no issues here, I just got all the valves checked for leakage.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid: Filled it with 10% Collin solution. Also carried spare pouches, which went short at later part of the trip.
  • Spare headlamp/fog-lamp bulbs: Kept in glove-box
  • First Aid Kit: Reloaded with new medicines.
  • In addition to all these things, I also carried other food stuffs, water bottle, etc.
  • My Samsung Omnia W was the navigator for the trip.

The Route:
  • Day1: Ranchi(NH99)-Chandwa-Chatra-Dehri crossing(NH2)-Aurangabad- Varanasi(350kms Night halt at Varanasi)
  • Day2: Varanasi-Allahabad(NH2- 300kms to n fro) (Back to Varanasi in Evening)
  • Day3: Varanasi- Chandwa, latehar (350kms)
 
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Thread Starter #2

Akash

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The Journey Begins:

We followed the trend of the Indian Railways, by being late by 3hours from planned schedule. Got back from office, packed the bags, and took the car to give it a quick-wash. After the quick wash, we were all set to go.
10 minutes zoom by and we were on NH99. We were welcomed by warmth of the Sun although, we could clearly see the black clouds that means; we would have lots of rains waiting for us ahead.

On NH99, had lots of deep potholes with some shallow ditches too!
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A brief halt to enjoy the landscape
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The broken bridge, thanks to heavy rains.
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We took the parallel bridge to cross this stretch.
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Seemed like the rain god was waiting for us
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After 2hours of driving, we were ready to hit the NH2 or the Grand Trunk road.
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The rains still pouring every now and then
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Varanasi: 228kms!
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Reaching the first toll plaza of the trip
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Thread Starter #5

Akash

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Akash,

Your Alto Looks damn good man.

Well maintained and nice set of alloys. I like the spoiler very much[clap]
Thanks buddy. More than alloys, i drool over spoilers!

nice write up and stills
awaiting to rest part of the story and photos.
Did you replaced the alloys to R13?
Thanks buddy, more pics coming right away. As for the alloys, they are R12.
 
Thread Starter #6

Akash

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The moment we passed the first toll, we started feeling hungry, but to our dismay, we couldn’t find any fine place to eat. My senior who was dozing off every now and then on the backseat was well-known with this course told me about a Motel which serves good foodstuffs. This was somewhere near Aurangabad (no, not the Maharashtra one). That means, we were still 30kms away, so convinced with fact, I continued driving.

Finally we reached the place. With Mahabharata going inside our stomachs, this place appeared a heaven. Although, it was nowhere close to my expectations, yet it looked decent. Rains still pouring, I was keen to have a cup of tea, with hot pakodas (Yes, I have a typical North Indian taste glands), but with minimal staff, I thought we would barely get anything to eat here. However to my surprise, he was ready to prepare everything we demanded for!

After feeding ourselves, I thought of taking in some fuel for our car. Now the search for the fuel bunk started. No, it’s not that the bunks were less, nevertheless it was my inclination to get the fuel from a good looking pump where I could do a proper shoot. Crossed Pump1 then 2 then 3 then 4 then??? Yes we were running out of fuel. So, I made up my mind to get refueling done at the next pump. To my surprise, this bunk looked good. So got in here, and topped up the tank. And set off to the nest segment of the stretch. Heavy rains, empty roads, and latest bollywood tracks kept us on till we reached the next Toll plaza.

A few steps away from the first toll plaza of the journey
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At the plaza, great chaps working, had the courtesy of wishing Happy Journey!
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Our food: At the Motel
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Feeding the Baby Suzuki
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The next Plaza[clap]
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Thread Starter #7

Akash

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After 70kms, was another toll Plaza. The toll was Rs.75 (pretty cheap, for the quality of roads). The roads were good with minimum traffic. I guess the rains were the primary reason for this amount of traffic, most of the truckers could be spotted enjoying tea at the Dhabas.

At the Toll Plaza 2
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Excellent roads with less traffic
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Finally the much awaited view of the Ghats: Yes we have reached Varanasi, at 10.00PM. The drama begins now!
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Thread Starter #9

Akash

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Wonderful set of pictures man[clap].
BTW What camera do you use?
Thanks a lot. The pic quality has gone done due to re-sizing. I used Sony Cybershot DSC-HX7V Point n shoot cam. More pics to follow soon.
 
Thread Starter #10

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It was 9pm and we were about 60-70kms away from Varanasi. I thought of taking a halt to take some tea and but intense rains forced the lazy soul (ie Me) to keep on driving.
At about 10pm, we finally reached the Holy City of Varanasi. Unlike Ranchi, the city seemed crowded even at these wee hours. We had taken out the print out of maps of the city with location of the almost all the hotels marked on it. We were told by the locales that the best place to stay in the city is the Cantonment area. So without any second thoughts, we headed straight to that area. As we entered the said lane, we could spot 4-5 hotels nearby. So finally parked the car near one of the Hotels and went inside to check the availability, but unfortunately the hotel was full, however I was glad that there were many more options available nearby. We Checked each of them only to find that none of them had any occupancy.

Now, we were left with one hotel ie New Temple Town. I had made up my mind that we may have to spend sleepless night in the car, but to our surprise, the hotel had only 1 room left which was unoccupied. We asked him to book it for 2 nights, but he expressed his inability to do so, since the same was booked for tomorrow. So for the time being, we asked him to book it for tonight. The place was clean and the staff was courteous. By the time we checked in, it was already 11.30pm. I asked the service guy to bring some tea to which he gave me a startled look. After that he obediently went away and was back with our tea. We took some Biryani as dinner and dozed off since the next day was planned for Allahabad.

A only pic i clicked of the room we stayed for 2 nights.
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Hi Akash,

Good write up so far. Me too travelling from Kolkata to Varanasi in early Nov, so hooked up to your thread.

Have pre booked a hotel in Assi Ghat on the Gnages. It is one of the few hotels which apparently is on the river and yet can park my car.

Waiting for the rest of the travelogue
 
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Akash

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Next morning, we got up pretty late. The weather was gloomy, still, we were glad that it wasn’t raining. We tanked ourselves with delicious North Indian delicacies and started for Allahabad. I switched on the GPS of my Omnia to acquire the directions. It showed a distance of 130kms from the Hotel’s Parking lot. We calculated the route and started for the journey. However, I was not pleased with the existing visual state of my car. It was soiled from head to toe. I had asked the Valet guy to get it cleaned, but they didn’t have a separate washing bay and expressed his inability to do so in the parking lot.

**FAST FORWARD- 30minutes**

Within 30minutes, we were back on GT road (NH2), all set for our destination (yes, with the dirty car), though, in corner of my heart, I was wishing to see a car wash centre on the way. After driving for 10-15kms, I saw line of roadside shops which had washing bays, immediately pulled the car to a side, and entered one of the bays. I gave the washing guy some shampoo pouches and he was all set for his job.
In the mean time, I thought of taking some pics of the stretch nearby. This is when I saw a flock of Desert Ships (yeah, the Camels) going by, on the other side of road. I clicked a few pics, however I felt pity for those creatures who were looking pretty weak. I asked the guy where he was taking them, to which he replied that they are walking down to Kolkata for some fair.
As I write this post, I hope they have reached someplace near West Bengal border, If not to their destination.

**FAST FORWARD- 20minutes**

The car was washed and was back to her innocent self. The guy demanded 150bucks, I gave his 50, and he was more than happy, pretty cheap wash, I must say! I took her out of the bay, hit the highway and in no time I was cruising at 90kmph. Unlike yesterday when we had forests all the way, this stretch had more of temples at regular intervals.

Extremely broken stretch inside the City.
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Yeah, GT road, we are back in action!
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New Scorps, dont know where they were heading to!
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Washing bay!
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Herd of Camels, heading to Kolkata!
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Yup, done with washing
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Back in action
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A brief halt
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Thread Starter #13

Akash

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Extremely sorry for delayed updates. Here is the next set of pics.

Next Toll Plaza, a small one with small charge; 35 bucks!
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Now i know why they collected just Rs. 35, had they collected a rupee more, i would have returned to them for cash back. Yes, these craters were there for more than a km long stretch[anger].
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However, the roads turned back from worst to great. To the right, yet another herd of camels heading to Kolkata.
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A pic of the rear windshield. Thanks to the absence of rear wash n wipe system, we had to clean it up manually each time we took a halt.
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Wrong turn. The passenger bus hit by a truck during a U turn.
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Halt, to get some drinks.
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Soon after getting some tea and snacks, we started the drive. After 8-10 kms, this was what we saw.
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Time for some snaps
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A brief photoshoot after driving a few meters more.
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And we started yet again
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Rain god seemed to shower his blessing every now and then[glasses]
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Lovely pictures Akash...i am sure you must have enjoyed a lot. I am too waiting for this kind of travelling.
 
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