Krishnan and I love road trips ! They give us an opportunity to explore our beautiful country and we get to meet some amazing people. Ofcourse travel of any kind expands your perspectives but for us road trips take care of our twin interests – driving and travel :). We really missed doing these trips during the pandemic.
The ShikshaDaan Yatra was a great way to combine our work and see for ourselves the rapid developments taking place across the country. This trip was no different …
March 28, 2022 Day 1 – Gurgaon to Sagar – 654 Kms
For the first time, we didn’t take the Yamuna Expressway. We took the Western Peripheral Expressway from Gurgaon to Palwal then got onto the old Agra expressway. The new Agra bypass is unbelievably convenient and it gets us straight onto the Gwalior and Jhansi highway. We turned towards Babina and Lalitpur reaching Sagar.
Ok am getting excited and jumping ahead. First, the Gurgaon to Western Peripheral Expressway through Sohna is fully built and is another excellent highway. Small stretches where the road has to be completed, but its a delight to drive on.
I don’t like the old Agra expressway…. it has too much traffic, especially tractors coming the wrong way. The road has been re-laid completely but the traffic is a turn off especially since you know that the Yamuna expressway is just nearby :).
We started at 6.30 am and stopped for a bio break around 9 am at the Reliance Fuel Station just after Mathura. Once we got onto the Agra Bypass, Krishnan and I couldn’t stop smiling – the road just takes you all the way till we reach the Gwalior bypass. Do read about the nightmare it was till a few years back – Gurgaon to Sagar – 04/06/2016.
The best part was the new bypass roads that have been built around Dabara and Datia. The worst road to drive on was through Dabara, a small town that seems to live on the road and the road itself was a series of large potholes. Now its a breeze. Thank You Nitin Gadkari Ji. You have changed the road infrastructure completely 🙏🏿. Am sure other countries will soon be taking your help to improve their road infrastructure.
We refuelled at our favourite Indian Oil Fuel Pump in Jhansi that’s just outside their factory. Again its a four lane road with a flyover in the place of a two lane crowded road in 2018. We then took the turn off at the two unfinished pillars towards Shivpuri/Lalitpur. Didn’t see our friends Mukesh or Tupkan Bhaiya’s tea stall at Babina toll plaza so kept driving on.
Reached Hotel Deepali Residency Sagar by 5.30 pm. We stopped every couple of hours, got out of the car and stretched, had tea. Total driving time was about 9 hours. The fastest that we have done this stretch is in 10 hours via the Yamuna Expressway but with hardly any stop.
March 29, 2022 Day 2 – Sagar to Nagpur. 419 Kms.
In all our trips before this one, we would drive the 900 odd kilometres from Sagar to Hyderabad in one day. This time we decided to stay one night in Nagpur and it turned out to be a great decision. The weather is really hot with temperatures reaching 41 deg C. We used the car wash facility offered by Hotel Deepali, did a short morning walk, and ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before starting for Nagpur at 8.30 am.
The beauty of Central India just fills your heart with joy …. the Palash (Flame of the Forest) trees in full bloom, the Pench Tiger Reserve and the world class roads.
Just as we neared the Hotel Le Meridien Nagpur, Google maps played its favourite trick on us !! It made us leave the national highway and turn into a pothole filled narrow street to reach the hotel. Just 2.5 kms of pure road hell. We still reached by 3 pm.
Ate our dinner and slept for a couple of hours. Just as I was about to doze off, the hotel called to take feedback about the food 🙄. Despite our mentioning to them that we are really tired due to the heat and want to take rest, they still wanted their feedback. I had to pop a Combiflam to get rid of the terrible headache :(.
March 30, 2022 Day 3 – Nagpur to Hyderabad. 487 Kms
We all had a good night’s sleep and then a fantastic breakfast at Le Meridien before heading out to Hyderabad. The Le Meridien hotel is about 20 kms outside the city of Nagpur, and just a few metres off the National Highway, so we never got into the Nagpur city traffic. Started at 9.30 am and reached Hyderabad around 4.30 pm.
The road all the way is truly world class and such a pleasure to drive on. We continued the best practise of stopping every couple of hours, walking around and stretching.
So thrilled that we could get back on the road … May the pandemic be a thing of the past and the Shubhakrita year bring loads of good luck to everyone.