Showing posts with label Nashik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nashik. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Travelog: Seven Jyotirlings and other stuff, 14 days

In summer of 2013, we decided to drive to Seven Jyotirlings and back in 15 days. This travelog tries to capture the drive, experience and anything else that I found interesting. It is divided in 15 parts with each devoted to one day. The trip was done mostly in continuation with few day rest in between. The return journey was done after a gap of 11 days.

  1. 06-April-2013 Bangalore to Pune, Part 1/14
  2. 07-April-2013 Pune to Aurangabad, Ghrusneshwar Jyotirling and other local sightseeing, Part 2/14
  3. 08-April-2013 Aurangabad to Nashik with Bhimshankar Jyotirling on the way Part 3/14
  4. 09-April-2013 Nashik to Ahmedabad with Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling on the way Part 4/14
  5. 10-April-2013 Ahmedabad local stay, visit to Gandhi Asram Part 5/14
  6. 11-April-2013 Ahmedabad to Gir National Park Part 6/14
  7. 12-April-2013 Stay in Gir National Park, Safaris Part 7/14
  8. 13-April-2013 Gir to Dwarka via Somnath Jyotirling Part 8/14
  9. 14-April-2013 Visit to Nageshwara Jyotirling, Dwarkadhish Temple, Bhet Dwarka Part 9/14
  10. 15-April-2013 Dwarka to Surat Part 10/14
  11. 16-April-2013 Surat to Ujjain Part 11/14
  12. 17-April-2013 Car repair in Ujjain and Indore
  13. 18-April-2013 Visit to Omkareshwar Jyotirling and Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling Part 12/14
  14. 19-April-2013 to 28-April-2013 return trip postponed
  15. 29-April-2013 Ujjain to Pune Part 13/14
  16. 30-April-2013 Pune to Bangalore Part 14/14
The total journey took 14 days and total of 128 hours of driving time and completed almsot 700 kilometers. The total diesel consumed was approximately 550 litres. The fuel consumption was 12.8 kpl. The total toll amount paid was Rs. 4933/-. Here are the details of the tolls.
In summary, the whole trip was fantastic. We always preferred better road even if we had to travel longer. We found driving on bad road very tiring.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Travelog: Seven Jyotirlings and other stuff, 14 days Part 4/14

We got up early and after a quick breakfast, we headed towards Trimbakeswar Jyotirling.
Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling
Hotel is decent but the breakfast spread did not have much variety. But the food was good enough. It seems the hotel is patronised by many people from the business establishments near by and is very popular among business crowd. Here is my review of the hotel in Tripadvisor.
We left the hotel at 9AM. Hotel Ibis is on the road towards the temple and it took us around half an hour to reach the temple. We were in temple parking at 9:26am.
Of all the Jyotirlings we visited, Trimbakeswar Jyotirling seems to be one of the most popular ones. When we reached there, we found atleast six large buses full of tourists (pilgrims) from Gujarat.
We had to stand in a queue in sun for almost one hour. One could regularly see VIPs directly going to the temple, while the commoners had to stand in queue for a glimpse of the god. It seems like VIPs don't even have time for god, it is the god who has to accomodate them rather than other way around.
Another lesson that I learnt the hard way, again, was that most of these places, the best approach is to delay buying the prashad as late as possible, so that you can leave your footwear there. The official footwear stands are generally too far and walking barefoot on hot road or granite is very painful, specially for children.
Anyway, we were finished with the darshan and out in parking by 11:20am. Our destination for the day was Ahmedabad, we started towards Ahmedabad. One has to be careful though, the route shown by Google Navigation from Trimbakeswar Temple to Ahmedabad finds a shortest route that is not good, it is better to go towards Nashik town and once closer to Nashik town, then plan a route to Ahmedabad. The basic strategy that we followed in finding this route was to reach NH-8 as soon as possible. Google Navigation designed a path for us that went through SH22 and joined NH-8 near a town called Killa Pardi. Here is the route that we finally took to our hotel in Ahmedabad.

View Larger Map
12:15pm We reached SH-22. The road is extremely bad in places and better in some other places. The Maharashtra side of the road is really bad and its gets significantly better once you enter Gujarat. On Gujarat side also the road is narrow, but surface quality if very good and not much traffic so driving improves after that point. On Gujarat Side it becomes SH 186.

1:35pm We continue on MSH-22/GSH-186 combination and cross the Maharashtra border into Gujarat.
The only problem is that this whole combination of road MSH-22 & GSH-186 is completely isolated, you don't find any cities on the way, even finding petrol is hard. There are small settlements and few houses. It is a rocky and hilly terrain with most of the traffic composed of trucks.
2:35pm We hit the national highway (NH-8), drive becomes significantly better from here onwards. Most of the roads become 4-lanes with some even 6-lanes from here onwards.
3:30pm Fuel time, we decide to stop at a Petrol Bunk with huge signage of Sugar 'n Spice. I must say that the restaurant was horrible, the toilets were really dirty and ladies toilet was not even functional. I have never understood the whole point of a highway restaurant that can't even have clean toilets. Food anyway is just about ordinary. We get out of that place quickly.
Another interesting feature of Gujarat is that even on national highways people blatantly, with full confidence, drive on the wrong side of the road in both left and right most lanes. Not that it is only happening in Gujarat, but here it happens more often than what I have seen in other places.
The good thing in Gujarat highways is that people with move away from right most lane if you are coming fast behind then, the bad part is that they will move too late and you have to slow down anyway.
5:30pm We cross Baruch.
6:45pm We cross Vadodara.
6:53pm We enter the NE-1.
7:45pm We exit NE-1 and enter the Ahmedabad city
For a car driver, Ahmedabad city is extremely painful. Most of the road is dedicated to the the city bus system and more than half of the road is cordoned off for the buses. One would not feel bad about it if there were actually buses plying on them. During my drive in the city I could spot not more than couple of buses.
8:30pm Finally we end up in our hotel on Ashram Road.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Travelog: Seven Jyotirlings and other stuff, 14 days Part 3/14

9:30am We started from the hotel after the breakfast. It was not
great but we still stuffed ourselves to make sure that we survive without any additional food intake for the day.
10:45amCrossed Newasa, looks like a pretty nondescript town with a single highway passing through the city.
11:25am We cross Ahmednagar, go towards SH 222. The drives through the towns are always very painful and slow you down completely.
As we drive along SH 222, the landscape changes completely, it is almost a drive to nowhere. The road is narrow, just about one and half lane and overtaking is extremely difficult, fortunately there is very little traffic so one can make quick progress.
11:55AM We cross a small town called Bhalwani. This whole stretch of road is very interesting, the land around it looks absolutely barren, but there are small towns all around. Each town has a school.
A Panorama of SH222
The road is fun to drive, almost like a hill drive but without hair-pins or incline. The road has sufficient twists and turns. The only problem is that buses in this area seem to like to drive almost in the middle of the road. Once you are stuck behind a bus, it is a while before you can over take him.

The road continues for a while leading to join Pune Nashik SH50 highway
12:51pm We join Nahik-Pune highway going towards Pune. Sarja Hotels, the hotel looked brand new and toilets etc were properly maintained.
The road gets significantly between from here onwards. As we are driving towards pune, around 35 Kms from where we join SH50, on the left hand side there is a very nice restaurant called
15 minutes drive away from this hotel is a town called Manchar, this is where one needs to take a right turn to go to Bhimshankar Jyotirling. One needs to keep an eye for this, because it is very easy to miss this.
1:10pm We reach Manchar and take the road towards Bhimshankar Jyotirling temple. The road is called Manchar Bhimshankar Road, it is a  very narrow, village kind of road but atleast it is tarred. When we went there, there was no traffic so life was easy. But on the days when there is lot more traffic, I can see this would be very difficult to navigate.

4:00pm We continue on this road and reach the Bhimshankar temple at around 4pm. At places the road is dangerous with place for only one vehicle and ditches on both sides of road. We also found small settlements around this road.

 There is a nice parking area just before the temple.
One should be careful to not buy prasad etc. too early. This place does not have any good shoe stand. So your prasad vendor also doubles up as your shoe stand.  Particularly in sunny days, buy the prasad from the last vendor so that you don't have to walk barefoot in hot road. The temple itself was very hassle free. Unlike many other places, not too many pujari-types hassling you.
We were in and out of temple in less than half and hour and were on our way back enroute to Nashik.
We had to endure 3 hours of same narrow road before we land up on SH50.
6:25pm Reached Manchar and turned left to go to Nashik.
7:45pm We reach Vithal Kamath on SH50. By this time it was looking very likely that by the time we check-into the hotel there won't be any dinner left. We we decide to catch something to eat here. The food was reasonable and rest rooms were reasonable. Nothing to write home about but not unusable either.
8:45pm Crossed the town of Sangamner
9:26pm Crossed Sinnar
10:30pm Finally we reach Hotel Ibis in Nashik and check-in. The place is ok, has parking in open. Here is my review of the hotel on TripAdvisor.