Join Date: Aug 2013
| | Ranchi To Bangalore: 2000 Kms on Hyundai i20
I have always loved long drives. But with my existing car, Hyundai Santro, and its limited engine refinements could never get the confidence of driving continuously over 1000 kms. Then came the idea of driving my dad’s spare car(i20) from Ranchi to Bangalore, and I jumped on the idea. Roughly it would be a 2000 kms drive. Sorry no pictures, as my SD card has crashed and I fear I have lost all my photos.
The first thing I did was to check google maps for the route. That actually added to the confusion, as it showed three different routes.
Route 1: Ranchi - Raipur - Nagpur - Hyderabad – Bangalore
Route 2 : Ranchi – Sukma – Hyderabad – Bangalore
Route 3 : Ranchi – Bhubaneshwar – Vishakaptanam – Vijaywada – Tirupati – Bangalore
Then I checked internet for possible help but people did talk of Bangalore to Jamshedpur or Bangalore to Howrah route. But there was no help on the Ranchi to Bangalore route.
Finally I called up my friend who has already done this route twice and his inputs were most helpful and the guiding force on the planning. He had preferred to drive non stop 34 hours from ranchi to Bangalore. But I am a different kind of driver. I like driving but more than that I like a relaxed driving. Also growing up next to a highway I fear driving at nights, not because I doubt my driving. But because the trucks are driven by sleep deprived drivers, cars by drunks, and near small settlements people and bikers crossing highways in pitch darkness, increasing probability of a car hitting them.
Hence I made a plan of relaxed driving over 3 days with 800 – 800 – 400 kms breakup for each day. But my father asked me to go even slower with 600-600-600 and 200 kms breakup, as I planned to drive alone. Accepting his inputs I planned to start on April 10 2014 and enter Bangalore on 13 April 2014. But then at last moment came to know that Narendra Modi had a rally in Jamshedpur on 10th April and also my planned night stay city, Berhampur also was having elections on April 10th itself. Hence 10th April plan was cancelled, and instead planned to start on April 11th. My father was somehow tensed as he knows how stressful driving on Indian roads could be and that too in the summer heat. So he immediately called up my uncle and asked him to send his driver who is a long distance professional. So the driver started on 10th night itself from Howrah and was supposed to reach Ranchi by morning 6 am. But while crossing Jamshedpur his bus was confiscated by poll officials and police and then he had to come to Ranchi taking lift in various trucks.
Finally we could start around noon from Ranchi. We had planned to go though Jamshedpur and eneter Orissa, and avoid the Ghatsila road to enter Orissa. I was told that Ghatsila roads are not that good and also in Orissa border police do create some nuisance and sometimes even need to be bribed. Jharkhand roads were just OK, but as soon we entered Orissa, we could make out the difference. The roads even though at some places were single lane, their quality was too good. I could easily drive 80-100 on them as well. Just that for overtaking or giving a pass required car to spare two tires on the well laid mud path.
We stopped at Hata for a quick lunch. By sunset we did touch the claimed NH5. We topped up in Balasore. As I do not prefer to driver after sunset on highways, I gave the wheels to the driver. But soon we realized that the headlight didn’t have much brightness, and the driver was also too much tired. So we planned to stop for night in Bhadrak. The only hotel we could find next to highway was Hotel Moonlight. It was a below average hotel, where I got a room each for myself and the driver. Ate at a nearby local stall, as that was the only place where they were preparing freshly made rotis.
Distance : 423 kms.
Time : 7 hrs including a lunch break, tea break and a petrol pump break.
Roads : Mostly 2 way state highways or single lane village roads. Road quality Jharkhand OK, Orissa Good
Anyways slept early and we started back again early at 5 am. Stopped after Bhubaneswar for a quick breakfast, and continued. The roads were good and straight. We went cruising at an average of 110 kmph. The place where the speed needed to be controlled and look for crazy truch drivers was near Orissa – AP border. Staring from Berhampur to Srikakulam. And Peaking at Ichchapuram. The truck drivers had parked by the road, the road had developed some potholes. They were running across roads with documents and permits, and some truck drivers were turning sudden left and right without any indicators. But once you are through, you are through.
Police did stop us for enquiry near Chilka. But after few questions let us go. In Poladpur they stopped us and scanned our car for illegal items, but did let us go after a quick search of luggage and glove box and a few questions. Then again in Nakkapalli (after Vishakaptanma) for some questions. It was possibly because I was travelling just before the scheduled elections on April 17th. But no one asked for paper verification. Just some questions asked. We had stopped for lunch at Narasanapetta (before Srikakulam). We took an hour break as we discovered the tire and break temperatures were very high. So we gave the car a rest below a big mango tree.
NH5 enters Vishakaptnam. Try not to follow NH5 here. Instead take SH38 before Velanki (which actually is the straight road, NH5 turns right before velanki), follow till pendurthi on this two way state highway. The truck driers and locals know of this bypass and hence the road was a bit crowded when compared to NH5. Before entering Anakapalle, take a left and a right after 500meters to join back NH5 on other side of Vishakapatnam. And once you are back on NH5 you will definitely have the smile back on your face.
On reaching Rajahmundry, we didn’t enter the city. Instead we followed NH5 via Ravupalem. The roads are very good in this part and lot of greenery on both sides even during peak summer. And the cars on road did prove the high income level of people around there. We were feeling the tire pressure was low and hence were looking for a petrol pump with air filling feature. But no one was willing to fill air. Finally we stopped in a HP petrol pump in Ravupalem, filled petrol for 1000 rupees and got the tire pressure checked. It was down to 18-22. We got it to 33 and soon the bumpy ride quality was back for next 50 kms after which the tires settled again to a comfortable ride. We entered Vijayawada by 5 pm. By that time we were targeting Nellore by 9pm before we take a break. But the we realized how big city Vijaywada is and how bigger is its signals and traffic. By the time we crossed Krishna it was already 7 pm. Lesson learnt that next time try crossing vijaywada in afternoon when heat is max and traffic in minimum. That called us for a change of plan. It was pitch dark and the roads ahead suddenly became 4 lane one direction, trucks were driving zig zag like a mad dog on highway, and then there were multiple diversions thrown here and there. We had crossed Guntur, but realized it was risky to travel further and next city Ongole was still 90-120 mins away. So we turned back and entered Guntur for a night stay.
After few questions here and there the only place suggested for a night stay hotel was just opposite the bus stand. Being a new town for us, we believed the people. The bus stand was overly crowded and a bus leaving / entering probably every minute. We parked the car on side by the bus stand and went on foot to find a hotel where there was a car parking. After half an hour of bargaining and questioning one hotel allowed to park in front of the hotel for night by the road with an assurance that he will look after the car whole night. The rooms were horrible and the bathroom disgusting, but we were so tired we took the rooms. We parked the car, paid for the room and put luggage in room. It was disgusting, but then I assured myself, just this time and never again. We went for dinner in nearby restaurant. The food was good for a change. We bought some bottles and when we came back, the hotel front desk guy was searching for us. As per him the traffic police inspector had asked to remove the car from that parking slot till 11 pm. So we parked in a nearby alley and started waiting for 11 pm. Soon we realized the bus stand are has some small pockets of brothels. We wanted to run away, and soon we were asking other people for some other area with hotels. I feel bad to claim this but seriously Guntur people were least helpful. My internet on phone was also not working. Grrrr.. I was stuck. I crossed my fingers, waited for 11 pm, parked car in slot and prayed god and slept. It was not a good sleep, and by 4.30 in morning we were again ready to leave the hotel and back on road.
Distance : 1088 kms.
Time : 14 hrs including breakfast, lunch break, couple of tea breaks and two petrol pump breaks. We also took an hour break during lunch for cooling down the car. I think we drove not more than 10-11 hours
Roads : Mostly NH5. Patch works done on stretches to cover potholes. Orissa –AP border is bad road and over crowded. State highway (2 side road) while bypassing Vishakapatnam – quality of road good though. Near Rajahmundry and after Vijaywada the road is butter smooth with new tarring of the roads. But lot of diversions after Vijaywada as road works are still under process.
We stopped just outside hotel in front of bus stand for a cup of tea. By the time we were in NH5 it was 5-10 minutes post 5 am. The roads till naidupeta were butter smooth barring some flyover works going on which introduced sudden diversions. At naidupeta, one needs to take right and then left onto the way to Tirupati. The roads are newly tarred and are smooth. But the traffic is high which reduced our speed to around 40-50 kmph for that stretch. Before tirupati take a left to bypass tirupati and move directly to chittoor. The road is 2 way state highway and lot curvy with some blind curves. Saw lot many accident cars by road side. And the reason were the stupid drivers who were ignoring all signals and were in a hurry to overtake with high risks. In chittoor better to ask auto drivers for road as there are small left right turns within the town which may be confusing. After chittoor the roads were still curvy but traffic reduced. Just after entering Karnataka and before mulbagal there is some road construction work going on. But after mulbagal the roads were single way 2-3 lanes and arrow straight. Cruised straight to Bangalore and parked in front of my house by 2.15 pm.
Distance : 512 kms.
Time : 9 hrs including breakfast break, couple of tea breaks and a petrol pump break.
Roads : butter smooth NH5 from Guntur to Naidupeta but with frequent diversions as road construction underway. After Naidupeta it is 2 way state highway through Tirupati to Karnataka border. Newly tarred road (some work was still underway) was smooth. Karnataka road initially 4 laning is under construction but after Mulbagal to Bangalore it is an arrow straight awesome 4-6 laned road.
Also I made an observation. Highway manners by truckers as well as car and bike drivers in Jharkhand and Orissa is much better than AP drivers. AP drivers mainly bikers are horrible on road. Even truckers are bilind to signals sometimes. But the worst is Karnataka drivers (on with KA numbers). Trucks are driven by teenagers, cars overtaking another car which infact is overtaking a truck on a two way highway while I stand in front flashing my light. No signaling by drivers. To give an example to prove my point, I didn’t see an accident or a smashed vehicle in all of my stretch through Orissa and Jharkhand, where in fact I travelled most of my 2 way highways and village roads. In AP on NH5, I did see a couple of jeep/bolero and a Nissan sunny with smashed front on other side of road. But after tirupati, I did see so many smashed cars, turtle trucks by road sides. One accident including a indica and a truck happened just minutes before I passed that point. Also infact I was almost involved in an accident myself, thanks to my quick reflexes. But Karnataka drivers seriously need to understand interpret and respect signals on highways. Its not a city road where these maneuvers are OK at much lesser speeds.
Adding my travel itinery with detailed route. (Kms reading I have tried to take through Google maps. I felt guntur to nellore distance wrong as per google maps. I found my car trip meter giving around 40 kms more on that stretch)
Last edited by icecool; 21st April 2014 at 01:31 PM.