Monday, 4 January 2021

Christmas 2020 Trip

Christmas 2020 turned out to be a solo trip. I just went to Bhopal and visited some place around Bhopal. It was a regular road trip with nothing out of the ordinary.

Here is the complete travelog in form of a video playlist. Click on the video below and watch all the videos.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Dussera 2020 Road Trip

After locked down in our homes for most part of 2020, we decided to make a contact free road trip from Bengaluru to Bhopal, Delhi and back during dussera vacations.

Since we had decided to make this trip contact less, the plan was to carry everything and not stop at any intermediate place. The two stops were at Bhopal and Noida where we have family.


If you prefer to see the stuff in video, here is the video for the day's travel.

Since we were going to do a non-stop drive, we left pretty early. We were on the road by 3:30am.

08:40 am We continuously drove for almost 5 hours and stopped near Mahbubnagar at a truck stop and cooked breakfast for ourselves. The whole stop, cooking and eating lasted for around one hour that gave us ample time to rest and stretch our legs as well.

10:20 am We stopped at Bharati 97 Food N fuel for topping up the car and using the restrooms in the associated food court.

1:05 pm We crossed the outer ring road and stopped at Cafe Coffee Day for using their restrooms. We ordered hot coffee to make sure we are not taking advantage of their facilities without bringing some business for them.

6:40 pm We stopped at Borkhedi toll plaza to use their restrooms. Some of the toll plazas have comparatively clean and usable toilets while some are horribly maintained. This was one of the better ones.

2:20 am After this stop, we had a continuous drive till Bhopal and arrived at Bhopal at twenty past two AM.

Next couple of days were spent in Bhopal in taking care of some things.


06:06 am We left for Noida. We planned on going from Guna highway. There are multiple paths to reach Guna highway and I seem to always get confused about them. We decided to following what google maps told us and this was even though the good route, it was not the best. The best route was via biora which we used while returning.

09:38 am Just after Guna we found this clean and hygenic resort called K-Square highway treat on the highway and we stopped for tea. We carried our own flasks and ask them to fill hot tea in those flasks.

2:04 pm We stopped just after Morena on the road to have our lunch which we had packed and carried from home.

04:10 pm We entered Yamuna expressway. Just stopped to use toilet at the rest area.

7:00 pm We arrived in Noida at our home.

Next couple of days were spent in resting and taking care of some things locally.


09:40 am We left our home in Noida and straight away we were on Yamuna Expressway.

11:20 am While coming to Noida, we had not refueled our car so we stopped on YEW and refueled our car in one of the rest areas.

2:35 PM Stopped at Subhim Highway Treat just after Morena for toilet break.

3:35 pm Stopped at road side to have our lunch which we had packed from home and were carrying it with ourselves.

6:20 pm Stopped at the same K-Square highway treat for tea break and toilet break.

10:30 pm We arrived back in our home in Bhopal.


4:35 am We left from our home in Bhopal to our home in Bengaluru. The plan was to again drive non-stop till Bengaluru.

7:30 am Refiled the car at Reliance petrol station near Hoshangabad. Toilets are bad and dirty.

11:30 am Crossed Nagpur and refilled at Reliance petrol station. We did not need to refill but needed a bio break.

2:40 pm Stopped at roadside to have our lunch which we had carried with us. Make a tea on roadside and continued on.

5:45 pm Entered Hyderabad ORR and exited at 6:30 pm

7:05 pm Stopped at Hill Park food court at Mahbubnagar but found completely useless. Most restaurants have closed down. Just used the toilets and left the place.

7:30 pm Refilled the car.

7:45 pm Stopped at the roadside and had our dinner which we had carried with ourselves.

2:30 am Arrive at our home in Bengaluru.

Total toll paid on this trip was ₹ 4795. Total fuel consumed was around 475 litres. The prices varied from low eighties to high eighties per litre. So assuming an average of ₹ 85 per litre. It would be around ₹ 40000.

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Monday, 13 January 2020

December 2019: Sad Ending to the year

The end of the year 2019 is upon us. Unfortunately, this year turned out to be quite a sad year. There were stories of trips that had to be cut short because of vehicle failure but the end of the year was nothing that I had dreamt of.
After a short illness and some dubious treatment by the doctors, my mother passed away in the month of December. I went to Bhopal and was there with my mother on her last day. After the funeral, I decided to return with a plan to come back for the rest of the rituals to be completed.
The earlier trip plan was completely abandoned and it was primarily to drive around and make sure all the rituals were done on time.

3:30 PM Left after the end of school.
6:30 PM Crossed Ananthpur
7:03 PM Arrived at Cafe Coffee Day in Ramrajupalle.
9:50 PM Stopped at Food Pyramid after Kurnool.
12:10 AM Arrived at Oakwood Kapil in Hyderabad for the night.

9:00 AM Checked out of the hotel and quickly we were on our way toward Nagpur on Outer Ring Road.
3:30 PM Arrived in The Breakfast Story for Lunch.
7:58 PM Stopped for a fuel refill.
9:25 PM Stopped at Studio Park near Hoshangabad for dinner.
12:30 AM Reached home.

18-December-2019 to 24-December-2019
Stayed at home in Bhopal for ceremonies.

07:00 AM Left home. The destination for the day was Noida.
08:55 AM Stopped at a Dhaba after joining Mumbai - Agra highway.
12:30 PM Stopped at Barista Gwalior for Coffee.
5:45 PM Stopped at the food court on Yamuna Expressway.
8:00 PM Reached Noida

26-December-2019 to 28-December-2019
Stayed at home in Noida.

I decided to get an early start by reaching Agra on the night itself.
07:30 PM Left Noida
09:10 PM Stopped at the food court on Yamuna Expressway.
10:45 PM Reached Agra.

We had decided to start early, but the tiredness, cold and fog made sure we started very late.
09:11 AM Started from Agra
10:34 AM Got stuck at Mehra Toll plaza for 10 minutes
10:55 AM Stopped at Barista Gwalior for Coffee but unfortunately, it was closed.
12:04 PM Fueled up the car.
01:50 PM Found a new restaurant called Gravity Family Restaurant and Bar on the highway in Lalitpur.
7:05 PM Stopped at Dhaba for Tea
10:47 PM Refueled the car
11:00 PM Reached Le Meridien Hotel

Again, like the previous day, we had planned on starting early but got late.
10:50 PM Started from Nagpur
2:34 PM Stopped at Amruthpur for a small break. Had some biryani and tea.
4:15 PM Stopped at Coffee Day at Nagulapally
5:30 PM Entered the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad.
6:15 PM Exited ORR
7:00 PM Stopped at M Food Court at Mahbubnagar
9:00 PM Stopped at Hangout just after Kurnool.
12:00 AM Crossed over into the new year near KIA factory in Ananthpur.

2:42 AM Arrived home.

The total distance covered was approximately 4300 kilometers. As we wrapped up the new year, it was not the best of the years of life. Hoping the next year turns out to be better with better road trips and general happiness.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Dussera 2019: The trip that ended under unfortunate circumstances

The original plan was to complete Char Dham Yatra, or more appropriately Chota Char Dham Yatra during Dussera vacations in 2019.

The trip had to be abandoned under unfortunate circumstances due to two tires failing near Nagpur. To add insult to injury, BMW did not have any tires available and these had to be imported from Germany. For the duration of the complete trip, the car was pretty much lying in the workshop in Nagpur. Here is the story of this trip.

Finally, the trip was complete with a total distance of 2816 kilometers, much less than what was planned. There were segments of the trip which were completed using flights just to somehow salvage some of the vacations. Overall this was one road trip that I would rather forget about.
The FasTag toll situation has dramatically improved. Except for the  Pandharkawada, all other tools were processed through FasTag. Total toll amount was Rs. 3255/-
Around 330 litres of Petrol was consumed during the trip.

Day 14 & 15 -- Back to Bengaluru with an overnight stop at Hyderabad

05:25 AM Started from Bhopal. The goal at the end of the day was to reach Hyderabad. Cattle and all other types of domesticated animals are becoming a serious problem for driving in MP. Earlier it was restricted to only UP.

Found a Reliance petrol station just after Hoshangabad. Decided to fill up the car there.
Stopped at a Dhaba midway near the border. The place was not really great. I just had a paratha and tea and continued on.
12:30 PM Tried to take ring road for crossing Nagpur for skipping all metro construction, was not of much use. I still ended up taking 40 minutes to cross Nagpur.
2:30 PM Crossed Hinghanghat
3:30 PM Crossed Pandharkawada
4:15 PM Crossed Adilabad
5:05 PM Crossed Nirmal
5:50 PM Crossed Nizamabad
7:55 PM Entered Hyderabad ORR
8:50 PM Reached my hotel in Hyderabad.


04:30 AM Started from my hotel back towards Bengaluru. I took ORR and got on exit towards Bengaluru.
05:30 AM Exited ORR
07:30 AM Had horrible breakfast at a roadside Dhaba after Pullur toll.
09:30 AM Entered Ananthpur.

11:30 AM Arrived at Bengaluru Airport. I had to pick up family here. So had lunch here, picked them up and then left for home.
1:30 PM Arrived at Home.

Day 12 -- Back to Nagpur, Pickup the car

Finally got the call from BMW  Munich Motors Nagpur. The tires had arrived, the car was ready. I took a morning flight from Delhi to Nagpur. Reached the service station. Finally it was great to see car with new tires.

1:45 PM Left the service center, got on to Nagpur ring road towards Betul.
4:30 PM Crossed Betul, the good highway was over. Stopped at Hotel Meghna and Restaurant for belated Lunch.
The roads near Budni, Itarsi, Hoshangabad are a bittersweet story, there are portions of four laning that are complete and at the same time, some of the roads have developed large potholes.
09:45 PM Reached home in Bhopal.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Day 11 -- Rail Museum

One of the places that I always wanted to visit since the early 1990s is the National Rail Museum in Delhi. Finally, the time had come to visit the place.
It is a comprehensive museum about the development of Rails in India. It can take a good part of a day to see everything properly. There is an indoor museum that has models and other displays and an outdoor museum where old actual equipment is stationed.

The galley contains display for all the stamps that have been issued by India Posts on railway achievements.

There are a couple of simulators in the indoor museum. I did not really like them but it is a good place to get a feel of what is going on. There is a toy train that kids like. You can also take a ride in that.
The outdoors museum is more interesting. There are actual coaches and engines from the bygone era. It is impossible to enumerate all of them but I am listing a few of those here.
The Meter Gauge composite First Class (8 passengers) and Third Class (44 passengers) wooden coach used on the Nilgiris Mountain Railway in Southern India was manufactured in 1919 by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. with frame supplied by Leeds Forge Co. Ltd. It is fitted with a double pinion on one axle. The teeth of the pinion matches with the rack placed on the center of the track to increase adhesion to tackle the steep gradients of this railway said to be the steepest in Asia. The bogies are provided with coil springs in the primary suspension and laminated bearing leaf springs in the secondary suspension. Canvas curtains were provided for the protection of the passengers against the elements. The cost of the import was Rs. 7742.
F-734 has the distinction of being the first locomotive to be built in India. Manufactured in 1895 by the Ajmer workshop of North Western Railway, it set the ball rolling for future locomotive manufacture in the country. Prior to it, locomotives were assembled at Jamalpur workshop from spare parts supplied by the original manufacturers. The 38.25 ton 0-6-0 wheel arrangement locomotive is equipped with Stephenson valve gear and inside connecting rods. It was used on the Rajputana Malwa Railway also known as Rajputana State Railway before 1882. It ran from Delhi to Indore and up to Ahmedabad and later on B.B & C.I railway for mixed traffic (passengers and goods). The manufacturing cost of the locomotive was Rs. 15369.
This saloon was part of a special three coach train used by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore
and his family. The other two coaches of this train namely the Maharani's coach and a dining cum kitchen car bearing number CR-7342 and CR-7345 are now preserved at the rail museum Mysore. This particular exhibit is a wooden-bodied eight-wheeler having steel underframe and has a provision for vestibule to enable it to be connected with the rest of the train. A special feature of this carriage was that it could be run on both broad gauge as well as meter gauge by changing bogies during the journey without disturbing the royal occupants. Original furnishings, beautiful floral patterns painted on the ceilings and the brass fenced verandah is still retained as part of the original design. Built-in the year 1899, its cost was Rs. 29500.

The 18 seater eight-wheeled, wooden-bodied milky white dining car was manufactured at Ajmer
workshops of BB&CI Railway and was a part of the Viceregal train containing five coaches used by Viceroy of India during his journeys. This carriage is well decorated with beautiful wooden carvings and is fitted with a water filter, hot cases, and an almirah for keeping all the crockery and utensils, etc. in a separate portion. The light and fans are still in working order. Originally fitted with plain bearings, this car was retrofitted with roller bearings at a later stage. The entry to the dining car is from the platform on both ends of the coach. Arrangements for the simple vestibule system to connect with other coaches of the train exist on it. The coach is fitted with vacuum brakes and provides a place for four armed guards.
Madras to Tambaram was the first meter gauge section on the Indian railways to be electrified in
1930. This 43 ton 1500 volt DC locomotive was amongst the first to be used on this section. Four of these locomotives were imported from Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. with electrical equipment supplied by English Electric Co. The two bogies are connected by a link and the 4 axle hung motors were connected in two groups of 2 motors each permanently in series and started with all in series connection. The locomotive is provided with a transition system to change the motor circuits from series to parallel arrangement at high speeds. This 640 HP locomotive had a maximum speed of 65 kph. Locomotive YCG1/21901 is preserved in front of Tambaram station. Its import cost was Rs. 89928.
This tiny locomotive was imported from John Fowler & Co., Leeds, and was originally used to work
light passenger trains in the areas of Gondal and Saurashtra state. Later it was used as a shunting locomotive in Ajmer Workshops of Western Railway. Diesel traction got off to a very early start in the arid regions of Saurashtra in Gujarat, on account of perennial water shortage, and the subsequent no-availability of sufficient water supplies for steam locomotives. This diminutive diesel engine was one of the first to run in that area.; indeed one of the first diesel to run on Indian soil. She was retired in 1970. It has a four-stroke, four-cylinder 150 BHP diesel engine with mechanical transmission. Its maker number was 4200031, Saurashtra Railway No.  203, Western Railway No. 1004. It was imported at the cost of Rs. 5936.

When I visited the place, there was a Gandhi exhibition going on. Here are some of the pictures.

Here are some more pictures.

As I mentioned earlier, it is an interesting place to visit and comparatively not crowded. One can learn a lot about trains here.

Christmas 2020 Trip

Christmas 2020 turned out to be a solo trip. I just went to Bhopal and visited some place around Bhopal. It was a regular road trip with not...