This is in continuation to my trip blog Wellington to Kolkata and back.This will deal with my return Journey from Kolkata to Wellington.The TL for the trip is as follows:-
1.DRIVING AROUND KOLKATA.
If anyone thinks that Kolkata roads will be like any other metro city is highly wronged.Kolkata roads are hell.There is simply no thought process in building roads within the PWD of KMC.There is no design aspect or surface aspect of the roads, most of the places there is no roads.I could not drive comfortably in any major road of Kolkata barring the AJC Bose Road Flyover and the connector road between Prince Anwar Shah Road and Dhakuria Lake.There is too much traffic on the roads but the town planners have paid no heed in planning for the roads.
a) bus drivers - A law unto themselves
b)Auto Drivers - Traffic Rules....whats that? most of the auto drivers own their alligence to either the ruling party or the left and political leaders dare not pull them up for sake of vote bank politics.Most of the drivers do not have a DL and worse they are anti social elements who take ordinary passengers for a ride and upon seeing any private vehicle espicially those bearing outside registration numbers eg other than WB01, 02,06, will take every oppurtunity to hit you and claim damages/compensation in lieu
c)Pedastrians- Kolkata has most probably the most egoistic pedastrians.Lots of jay walkers, they see private vehicle owners as "class enemies" who are out to trample their freedom (by product of 40 year commie rule).Suppose you honk at a pedastrian who is crossing the street after the signal has gone green, the person will stare down at you with killing looks as if He is as innocent as a baby and we car drivers are trying to show our money power.Pathetic condition .
a) Aggressive police especially in city limits - During my short stay I saw many traffic police catching bikers without helmets, penalising car drivers without seat belts and even rebuking jay walkers. Once I was lost in the bylanes of Howrah and GPS was showing the route to Vidyasagar Setu through oneway traffic, I approached the traffic police and they really did help me with the correct directions and upon seeing the "ARMY"sticker on my car he gave me a salute also.Pretty impressive.
b) Bikers - Kolkata has a very less number of two wheelers and most of them are surprisingly well behaved, they give proper indicators and do follow traffic rules unlike in Chennai/Bangalore/Vijayawada.Good to see that
2.KOLKATA TO GOPALPUR
Dt of journey 22 Sep 2013
Start time 0700h sharp.
Tank top up @ Alipore BPCL
Breakfast break at Sher-e-panjab Kolaghat. Lovely aloo paratha with dahi and sweet lassi.
Lunch stop at defunct A1 plaza at Khantapada, Orissa. Yummy butter prawns and egg fried rice. total cost for lunch for two was around 400 rs.Dirt cheap and absolutely yummylicious, good facilities also.
Tank top up at HP Khantapada. Odo reading 26865km
Brief halt at Bhubaneswar for tea break and finally reached Gopalpur at around 7 pm.
3.GOPALPUR TO VISHAKAPATNAM
Dt of journey 23 Sep 2013
Start time 1100hrs
Visited Gopalpur beach which was deserted but beautiful
Tank top up at IOCL Gopalpur-ODO reading 27264kms
Good roads all the way and scenic and beautiful drive without any fuss.
Reached Vishakapatnam at around 5 pm and wifey dear was amazed to see the beautiful beach city of Vizag.Its a pleasure to drive in this city.
We stayed at waltair Club which is really very beautiful and with good facilities to boot. Food is good and decent.
Next day being bandh we could easily visit Simhachalam temple and had a free darshan within 15 mins . One of the preists being bong took us to a guided tour of the temple at absolutely no costs but he did request for a good donation which we happily gave. Next went to the Rushikonda Beach and sonny boy was very excited to see the waves and spent a good time playing on the beach.Next stop was the RK beach, again sonny boy on seeing his favourite "horsy" wanted to take a ride and boy , he enjoyed it a lot.
4.VISHAKHAPATNAM TO VIJAYAWADA/ TUNUKU
Dt of journey 25 Sep 2013
Start time 0930hrs
ODO reading 27602kms
Upon hitting the NH5 at Vizag we were stopped by a mob protesting against the Telengana issue, delayed by 1 hr. First bad incident of the day.
A friend of mine had suggested that we have lunch at a particular resort by the banks of godavari in rajahmundhry which offered scenic views of the river as well as the "double" bridge. So promptly went there only to find that the restaurant had closed,second bad incident, so with empty stomach punched in "vijayawada" on my GMaps and started.Andhra state highways are absolute mess and it was pain to drive. Filled up at BPCL kovvur and asked the attendant for directions to the place where we can hit the NH5, the man replies Tunuku, so again punched in "Tunuku"and off we go. Pathetic roads and I was driving very slowly and all of a sudden we get caught up in a traffic jam due to the Telengana issue , was held up for around 30 mins and then we started again. This time artound the road surface changed dramatically and I picked up speeds and was driving comfortably in the speed rage of 90-100. We crossed a town called "Konnuru" at around 4.30 pm and in order to reach Vijayawada as soon as possible, floored the acclerator and was driving at speed in excess of 100 kmph.
All of a sudden I saw a huge crater on the road and applied brakes but by the time the brakes were into action the front wheels had crossed the crater and I heard a"DHINGGGG" kind of sound. I looked at the IRVM and what I saw absolutely horrified me, I saw some kind of oil spillage , promptly parked my car to the side of the road and bent down to see what happened.I saw that the oil sump had cracked at the impact and there was a fountain of engine oil flowing. Luckily an auto driver who was passing by saw the car and stopped, he offered to call up a mechanic and do some kind of patchup work so that I could reach Tunuku.So while the auto driver went to fetch the mechanic a farmer whose house was next to my car came out and offered tea, milk and biscuits for my son and wife.
Here comes my hero "HVK". I call up HVK and tell him my problem , he immediately connects me to Dr Uday Reddy and Dr Rakesh Raju.I call them up and both assure me that help is on the way in the form of Dr Uday Reddy's Jeep and hotel bookings have been done at Tunuku . In the meantime the local mechanic arrives and seals the crack with m seal and engine oil is put and we are ready to go. Dr Uday's jeep also arrives and acts as our guide to the hotel (Chittauri Heritage).All this takes about 4 hours .For all his running around and getting the sump fixed the mechanic takes only rs 100 as token money, the farmer refused to take any as one of his relatives is in the ARMY.I did keep HVK updated and was in constant touch with both dr uay and dr rakesh .Dr Uday met me in the evening and it was decided his driver would come in the morning to take the vehicle to the nearest ASS
in Bhimavaram, which is the hometown of Dr Rakesh.Next morning at 7 sharp the driver comes and off we go to Bhimavaram to get the vehicle repaired. Dr Rakesh also drops in to check the vehicle and advises the chief technician at ASS
to repair it on priority, luckily they have only 1 oil sump of Wagon r and they fit it. Dr Rakesh is kind enough to take me to his home and arrange braekfast for me which is my all time favourite "poori and subzi". Now that the vehicle is repaired , I am a less worried man and enjoyed the return drive from Bhimavaram to tunuku amidst green paddy fields.A big thank you to all the ppl who helped me in an unknown territory especially Kumar HV, Dr Uday and Dr Rakesh. I am indebited to you forever.Thanks a ton
Dt of journey 27 Sep 2013
Start time 0700 hrs
ODO reading 27960kms
Because of the accident and loss of two days we decide to hit Tirupati directly without any halts. Had a good breakfast at a HP COCO on the outskirts of Vijayawada and crossed Vijayawada by 1000hrs. I was driving very cautiously due to the accident which had occured. Reached Nellore by 1430 and had a decent lunch there. The NH in this stretch nothing to write about but there is a lot of diversions due to lane widening and speeds are low in this stretch. Took the Naidupeta connector to Tirupati and was in Alipiri checkpost. All our belongings were checked and only then we were allowed to go. Reached our destination at around 8 pm at Tirumala. Had a darshan of "Govinda" next day and rested.
Dt of journey 29 Sep 2013
Start time 1000 hrs
ODO reading 28601kms
After a lazy breakfast at Sannidhanam, left Tirumala at around 1000h and hit the chitoor road, also took the bangalore bypass to avoid getting into Chittor town and directly hit Vellore. From Vellore the road surface is brilliant and could easily cruise at a speed of 90 kmph. From Dharmapuri took the ettur sathyamangalam road. The road is not in a good condition and was driving steadily , also it was getting dark.Roads turn fantastic after Sathyamanglam upto Mettupalyam. This stretch of road can put even the NH7 to shame, its a pleasure to drive in this road. Reached Mettupalyam at around 2200h and halted for a tea break at a tea shop opposite Black Thunder water park. Finally reached wellington at 2330h. the Mettupalayam- Ooty road is a hell to drive on, very narrow and absolutely no traffic discipline by anyone.