Really not too much. The Xylo went for regular servicing, changed mobil oil, air filter and diesel filter, topped up coolant, silencer clotting, smart testing (a computerised check up on which I did not have much of an idea). Total Cost Rs 6,747/-
Needed to buy a Bridgestone rubber as one of them had burst earlier. Along with it was wheel balancing and alignment. Total cost Rs 8,000/-
Another Rs 1,000/- was spent on polishing the interior and exterior a day before departure.
Before I go into the further details here is the log (in as much details as my father could capture it) upto Varanasi, split into 2 days. Varanasi 1.xls DAY 1 - 6th Nov
Wanted to start at 7 am but mentally was prepared for a half hour delay, and finally left at around 7.40, but not before the Xylo was stashed with loads and loads of luggage of 5 adults and 1 kid (max luggage belonged to my son)
Having started from South Kolkata we chose the exit option via the Vidyasagar Setu, but that turned out to be a disastrous decision as Kona Express from before Santragachi Station right upto Lake Land Country Club was bumper to bumper traffic as a bridge was being repaired and traffic diverted through a single carriageway. It took me 1 hour to cover a distance I normally do in 10 minutes.
From then on to Dankuni Toll Plaza (can anyone tell me why these Tolls have been discontinued and plazas dismantled) and onwards to Singur the Xylo picked up speed but very soon encountered another traffic snarl as a trailer was being lifted from a ditch which held me up for a cool 15 minutes.
So in the very fifty km of the journey the 2 hold ups accounted for almost 1 hour additional driving time which was quite disappointing.
Since then the Xylo flew towards Shaktigarh with a brief toilet break at the HP pump (10 km before the BPCL Azad Hind joint) which houses a vegetarian AC joint, a guest house, a CCD and the stand alone toilet which is comparable with any Domestic Airport wash room in the country. I specifically mention this because each time I travel I get impressed with its cleanliness and get up.
Shaktigarh is the first stop of most of my drives through NH2 and this was no different.
We wanted to do a quick 15 mins pit stop but my son had his own way of delaying things with his breakfast.
From then on to Dhanbad (Govindpur as Dhanbad is 10 km off the Highway) it was a breeze crossing Burdwan, Panagarh (luckily NO traffic), Durgapur, Assansol & Barakar (Bengal / Jharkhand border).
Reached Dhanbad by 1.15pm and we were still not hungry and could have stretched for another hour at least. But had been advised earlier that there is a lack of proper dhabas / eating joints with decent toilet facilities after this, and so decided to stop over at the Khalsa Veggie hotel.
No I am NOT a veggie and on the contrary a strictly Non Vegetarian person but had to settle here as the Non veg joint lacked proper seating arrangements and wash rooms.
The menu card was impressive but food was ordinary. In fact I any day prefer the road side dhabas to these joints but since I was unsure of their existance in the remainder of the journey, had no other option.
An hour's break for lunch and I utilised the time in calling up the Tourist Lodge at Bodh Gaya if they had any vacant room available. Had checked on the net the previous night that they were and so was confirmed by the manager and 2 rooms blocked over telephone.
The road from Dhanbad to Dobhi where the Xylo would exit the NH2 on to the Dobhi Patna route which goes via Bodh Gaya was excellent. It was good from the condition point of view and of course the scenery.
This is the Parashnath Hills just past Topchanchi (which again has a beautiful lake nestled within the Hills). Parashnath hill top houses the famous Jain Mandir and is usually visible form the highway but the clouds engulfed it and the Xylo just sped away as it had a journey on hand.
From then on through Bagodar, Barhi and Champaran the roads mostly could be mistaken for a runway rather than the highway. The hills on either side added the magic. Roads however were not too densely populated and it is advisable NOT to travel in night in this section.
Dobhi was reached by 5 in the evening and even as the Sun went down and twilight took over, the Xylo took its right exit from under a flyover to join the State Highway to Bodh Gaya. The distance from the main highway was 20 odd km but took us half hour to reach the Hotel called Siddhart Vihar (owned by the Bihar Tourism).
We got ac rooms for Rs 950/- per room. Mind you Bodh Gaya is expensive to halt with average room rates coming to Rs 3k, as it gets mostly international tourists (usually from South East and East Asia who spend very high as against the backpackers). This hotel was well maintained, rooms were big, toilets clean, had a big balcony and food was good (nothing exceptional though).
Dinner was taken early and retired to bed.
Next day we were to check on Bodh Gaya first and then proceed for Varanasi.