After detailed planning and packing mentioned in the previous post, we were ready to hit the road on 4th Jan 2022. We had decided to leave as early as possible to reach the day’s destination before it was dark.
Finally, the day arrived. On 4th Jan 2022, we started our 20 days long road trip at 6.15 in the morning. All packed up and stuffed in the car, the journey began with a sense of joy and excitement coupled with a bit of anxiety (first-time long adventure and Covid scenario all around).
The Day One: Balsana
Our high excitement nosedived soon around 6.30 as we came to know that our son living in Pune tested Covid positive. He left for Pune only 2 days ago from our place in Mumbai.
With the two thoughts, we crossed Dahisar toll. One is whether to go to Pune as they might need our support and two shall we get tested as we might also have been infected as he left our place only two days ago.
We started searching on Google maps for a 24 x 7 diagnostic lab on Ghodbunder road. Our going to Pune was ruled out as he would be quarantined and no outsiders would be allowed as per the society protocol.
Finally, around 7.30 we reached Dr. Lals’ path lab in Thane on Ghodbunder Road. The lab was open and we were the only two so the tests were done quickly. Hoping to get a negative report on the next day we continued our journey.
Our destination for the day was Balsana Jain Tirth about 84 Km from Malegaon. We enjoyed morning travel by passing through the famous Kasara ghat, Igatpuri, and Nashik. We crossed Nashik city quickly with the help of about 6 long flyovers one after the other. We also saw many walkers going to Shirdi. This is their annual event of going to Shirdi from Mumbai by walking. They had their food tempo along with them and rest places on the highway.
It was around 12 noon and we were hungry. We sustained till Nashik with the support of snacks taken with us in the car.
We stopped at Kashi Bhoj hotel on the highway after Nashik at Pipalgaon. As the Omicron scare was looming large, we were only two in the restaurant. We finished our quick lunch and were ready for the next phase of the day’s journey.
Roads till now were good. But alas! Once we took a left turn from the highway to cross the Malegaon, the roads also gradually turned from bad to worst. This last 84 Km we passed through terrible roads. Whether the town or the village road or Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak, all roads were in terrible condition. The pleasure of the road journey started to become the pain of the journey. It was only the 1st day.
In between, we passed through Papaya farm. We stopped there for some photography, tea break, and buying papaya from the village farmers.
At last, passing through an under-construction road we reached Balsana. Here another challenge was waiting for us. We had thought that this must be a big Tirth with good road and parking space. But it was just the contrary. Asking the village people about the location, and passing through very narrow lanes where only one vehicle can pass, we reached the temple.
This is a temple in a small lane in the midst of village houses. With great difficulty, we reached the place. We did darshan in the temple.
This temple was constructed in 1988 when about 11th-century Vimalnath Bhagwan’s (13th Jain Tirthankara) idol was found during an excavation in the region.
We planned to stay at Vishwakalyanak Guest House which was around 2 km from the temple. After the last 3 hours of tiring driving, we were not in a mood to drive even for two minutes that too in narrow village lanes. To our pleasant surprise, we saw a new Guesthouse Vishwa Mangal Dham just opposite the temple. It was so new that even Goggle had no reviews about the place. We inquired there and came to know we can stay for a day. We were only two in the guest house. They were expecting a few pilgrims to arrive the next day morning.
It was a happy ending to the day. We settled in the room. Since there were no other guests, their kitchen was closed but we were equipped to deal with such a situation. We ate the food we carried as dinner. This guest house is top class with well-equipped rooms and a hot water geyser in the bathroom.
The day started early in the morning also ended early and by 8 we were in bed. By then we had travelled 365 km and drove about 10 hours i.e. from 6.15 till 4.20 in the evening.
All’s well that ends well. Day one ended well. Our road journey memories had started to build up.
Day two – Indore
The day started with a good breakfast at the guest house bhojanshala. After packing we left the guest house around 8.30. A local driver who had come with other pilgrims in the morning told us about a new road to avoid last evening’s bad road.
Then we started our journey navigating the narrow lanes of the village, encountering cows and buffalos en route.
We followed the driver’s advice so after a while we could touch a good road. On a state highway that was in extremely good condition, we were moving towards Dhule to reach Sarwad phata. From the phata we took left onto the Indore national highway and bypassed Dhule.
Soon we entered MP. Around 12 we took a lunch break at Agarwal Midway on the highway in Sendhwa village. Then passing 4 toll booths we reached Indore. In between, we saw the road to Mandav (Mandu), a famous tourist place.
We skipped Mandu and reached Indore around 4.20 in the evening after having a tea break near Pithampur.
From the main highway, Indore city is about 12 km. AB Road (NH 3) (Erstwhile Agra Road which goes from Agra to Mumbai) was accompanying us throughout Indore. We had booked a stay in Indore through Air B & B in the Manorama Ganj area. Navigating Indore city traffic and with the help of google maps, we finally reached the place. This was a bungalow owned by a doctor couple. On the top floor, they have this room for guests put up on Air B & B.
After relaxing for a while, we decided to go to Sarafa Market for dinner. Sarafa market is a famous place in Indore for food lovers. Here the food vendors place their stalls after the jewellery shops are closed at around 9 pm. This is a great jugal-bandhi, on the backside jewellery stores and in the front, these food stalls crop up after 9. The food market remains open till late midnight.
In spite of Omicron’s scare, stalls started to come up one after the other, some also had fixed shops. As the time passed the street started to get crowded with food lovers. In a narrow lane of the market with so many stalls and so many people, it was scary in Covid times. Joshi Vadewala is one of the famous shops. We quickly finished our food and left the crowded place.
We travelled 286 km in around 7.30 hrs.
3rd Day – Indore
Today was no traveling and this was another day in Indore so we were relaxed. The plan was to do some shopping and to visit another famous eatery area known as 56 Dukkan.
We ordered breakfast from Head Saheb ke Pohe on Zomato. The advantage of Zomato and Google ratings is we do not remain new to any place. We know what is good at which place and how far it is from where we are.
In the first half, we finished little shopping at Kothari Market and avoided more roaming courtesy of Omicron. Had lunch at Apna Sweets near greater Kailash hospital road.
In the evening ordered the famous falafel on Zomato from the famous Al Arbi Falafel. We could not visit 56 Dukkan as the atmosphere was windy and rain was expected at any time.
Unlike homestays where we get complete food services, we do not get tea or breakfast at Air B & B places. We get only one B which is a bed, not breakfast. We had to order it from outside.
Our homestay experience so far has been wonderful in Coorg, Fagu near Kufri, Shimla, Thekkady, Cochin, Munnar, and Kumarkom. They offer you homemade local food.
4th Day Sanchi – Sagar
The day of travelling so we were ready early in the morning. We started at 7 and decided to go to 56 Dukkan just to have photography. But to our surprise few shops were open. So, I had tea there and we took some pictures.
We left for Sanchi leaving Indore early morning when the city was just getting up. There was no traffic and after about 12 km we reached the highway. The roads were very good. On the Bhopal highway, we bypassed Bhopal to reach Sanchi.
We had one photo break on the highway and we also crossed the tropic of cancer. This is one of the two lines around the earth that passes through the middle of the earth. This is at 23”27’ north. This line passes through 15 countries and India is one of these. (Another is the Tropic of Capricorn which passes through the southern part of the world)
At 12.30 we reached Sanchi. Just opposite the stupa site, there is MP Tourism hotel. We had lunch there and then we were ready to visit stupa.
This is a world heritage site managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). When we started the trip, we were not aware that we would be visiting 5 world heritage sites during our journey. This was the first.
To know the place better we hired a guide.
Sanchi stupa has an interesting history. These stupas are now on our new 200 rupee note on the backside. Our guide was carrying a Rs. 200 currency note just to show it to the tourists.
After completing the visit in about an hour followed by tea, we again started our journey. The plan was to stay in Vidisha (This is the parliamentary constituency of Late Smt. Sushma Swaraj) 11 km away from the stupa but we were early and could travel more before evening. We drove down to Sagar city 123 km further from Sanchi.
Sagar is a prominent town in this region. We reached around 5.30 and stayed at Sagar Inn hotel. The hotel was good and while entering our details in their register I noticed we were the first check-in for the day at 5.30 in the evening. Coronavirus and its variants have caused havoc on the tourism industry.
We drove 367 km in about 8 hours.
Day 5 – Nainagiri – Bhedaghat
Today the plan was to reach Bhedaghat near Jabalpur by evening via Nainagiri Jain Tirth. We started at 8 after breakfast. It was drizzling. Nainagiri is 43 km and one hour drive from Sagar. The road was okay. From Dalpatnagar we took the right and reach the destination after 13 km. We reached at 9.45.
This is an ancient pilgrimage center for Jains. There are 56 temples here. 36 are on a low hill and others are on the plane. These are divided into two complexes opposite one another. The temples here are about 1000 years old. This is as Siddha Kshetra which means a place where saints have attained Nirvana. There is a guest house also and bhojanalay. We had lunch there.
We started our onward journey at 11.30. After having a tea break, we reached Bhedaghat via Damoh and Tendukheda. After Tendukheda, a long patch of road was under construction.
It was 4.30 and we occupied one newly constructed hotel near Dhuandhar Falls. After a little unwinding, we left to visit the fall which was about a km from our hotel.
After parking the car, we walked down about a kilometer to reach the fall site. The scene was magnanimous. It was really Dhuandhar (smoky) and a powerful fall. The water was flowing with full flow and power. This is the Narmada River originating from Amarkantak in MP and going towards Gujarat. We took many videos and pictures. There were many tourists but we were told by the local shop owners that tourists are very few due to the Omicron wave.
After spending about an hour there we returned to our hotel after having dinner at Shagun resort en-route to our hotel.
Bhedaghat is also known for marble rocks. We could see this by boating in the river. The boating point was near our place but it was dark so we decided to do it the next morning. But who knows what is in store?
We settled in our hotel. It was a basic hotel but with a huge parking area. But this is what it is about the road trip. Accept, and adjust in every circumstance.
We drove a total of 296 km in about 7 hours. At the end of day 5th, we travelled 1314 km.
Here is a video of the first 5 days on the road.
Discover India Road Trip – Day 6 to Day 9 – Bhedaghat – Khajuraho – Orchha – Gwalior
Day 6 – Khajuraho
We started from Bhedaghat around 8 in the morning. It was drizzling so boating was doubtful. When we reached the boating area entrance, we were told that some puja is going on and boating will open in the evening. So, leaving marble rocks for the evening tourists we left Bhedaghat.
We moved on Jabalpur bypass road soon on Katni – Rewa road. We remained on this road for about 5 hours. We passed through the ghat area, jungle area, Panna national park, and tiger reserve area. We could not see tigers but in the midst of drizzling and green jungle area, our driving experience was exciting.
The road was so empty that we did not find Dhaba or a hotel. Though had tea in one of the villages en-route. But we had to skip lunch so we managed with our in-car snacks.
Passing through all these we reached Khajuraho around 3 in the afternoon. We stayed at Harmony hotel about 2 min from the Western group of temples. This is the main temple complex.
As usual, we were only two in the hotel. The hotel has more than 25 rooms. Though bit old hotel was made with a good taste.
The advantage of old hotels is you get a large room. We had skipped lunch so ordered hot snacks and relaxed in the room as the rain continued. We were concerned if the rain continued the next day, we may have to extend our stay in Khajuraho as we can’t move on without seeing Khajuraho temples which is also a World Heritage site. The prediction was another cloudy day with some rain for the next day.
Khajuraho is a little village thriving only on temple tourism. However, this place is visited by so many foreign tourists that though a small village it has an airport.
We travelled 291 km in about 7 hours.
Day – 7 – Khajuraho
The rain had stopped in the morning. So, after having breakfast in the hotel, we started our temple visit. Just walking down to the main complex across our hotel we reached the site. After finishing the entry formalities, we entered the Khajuraho complex.
At a first glance, it looked awesome. We hire a guide. In such places, if we don’t hire a guide we don’t see and know what needs to be known about the place.
In this complex, there are around 7-8 temples. The main temple is the Lakshman temple. These temples are constructed in the 7th century. The key is the art depicted on the temple walls. The magnanimous artwork with deep thinking behind it is clearly visible.
Though these temples are known for their erotic sculptures, it is not the only thing here to see. Rather than describing, here are the pictures of the temples.
With the help of a guide, we finished seeing these temples in about 2 hours which without a guide we could complete in half an hour.
After the lunch break, we left for the southern temples and eastern temples which are around 2 km from this place.
Eastern temples are Jain temples of Jain Tirthankaras. This is also atishaya-kshetra which means some divine event occurred at some point in time. Just opposite the temple complex, there is a shop called ‘Shram Daan’ which sells textile and garments made by local workers.
This we finished temple visit of Khajuraho by early evening. We planned to visit a western group of temples in the night for a sound and light show. But it was cancelled for the day due to the rainy atmosphere.
There are in all three-world heritage sites in MP (Out of a total of 40 in India). We completed two out of these three. One in Sanchi stupa and 2nd is Khajuraho temples.
We were told by the local guide that for two years tourists are significantly reduced. This place is visited by foreign tourists more than Indian tourists. Indian tourists are only 25-30% of the total tourists. Well, this is true for most of the heritage sites where art is on display. This impression was again justified when we visited our next destinations.
Day – 8 – Orchha
Again, the travelling day so we were ready by 8. Today though the travelling was less we had to reach Orchha and see the places there by evening,
After passing good roads, under construction roads, diversions, we reached Orchha at 12 noon. We checked-in in a hotel and had lunch there. This was a kind of homestay managed by a family. We had paratha made by the mother of the owner.
Orchha was not known to me till I planned for this trip. Orchha was the capital of erstwhile Bundelkhand. Fort and other monuments were built in the 16 and 17th centuries. Orchha and Gwalior are selected by UNSECO as Urban landscape projects in 2011 and since the number of tourists, especially foreign travellers to this place have increased.
A person from the UK stayed in this hotel who had travelled from Bristol and was going to Beijing on a cycle. He was a cancer survivor. Through we could not meet the person but we pictured his cycle. His website is brisol2beijing.org
Then after a while, we left to see the places. We walked down as all the prominent places were near to our hotel.
When we searched hotels in the planning stage, we made sure that our hotels are in the center of the local tourist place so as to avoid commuting to our destinations. We had identified and shortlisted all the hotels in all the destinations and inquired about the tariff, parking place, and read as many online reviews as possible.
As our dates were subject to change, we did not book the hotel barring Indore. At all other place, we confirmed the booking a day in advance or on the same day when we start from the previous destinations. As the travellers were few due to Covid we got the booking at all place at a short notice and at perhaps very competitive tariff.
First, we visited 500 years old fort. Not so well maintained. This complex with the fort, palace, temples, and even now a hotel, was built by Bundala kings in the 16th century and onwards by King Rudra Pratap Singh a, Bundela king and his successors.
Then the next place was Chhatris (cenotaphs) on the banks of the Betwa river. These are in fact tombs of the kings. We spent some time there. There is a boating facility in the river. In the nearby lane about 1 km away there is Kalpavruksha.
Returned to the hotel in the evening. After a while, around 6.45 again walked down to nearby Raja Ram Temple for aarti. Here in this temple Ram is worshiped as Raja (King) and not as a God.
After arti had dinner at 4.9 rated Indiana Restaurant. (Search courtesy Google). Good food was made only for two of us as there was no other customer.
Thus, a brief visit to Orchha was completed.
We travelled 181 km in about 4 hours.
Day 9 – Gwalior
Our next destination the famous Gwalior was 125 km away from Orchha. We started at 9 and reached by noon to Gwalior.
We directly reached Scindia Palace known as Jai Vilas Palace. This is a huge palace. The Scindia family used to live here till Late Madhavrao Scindia. This is 400 rooms palace. 44 rooms are now converted into a royal museum. Jyotiraditya Scindia lives in an adjacent property as was told to us by the guide.
Seeing this palace gives us a sense of how the royal families of India used to live with their royal and lavish lifestyle. Everything in the palace is mega and classic. From queen’s rooms, bathroom to dressing rooms, from the main hall to the dining room, from gifts from European kings to chandeliers. Actually, Scindias were originally Shindes from Maharashtra. They were the warriors of Shivaji and the era thereafter. Gwalior was given to them to manage by the subsequent Maratha rulers. Shinde become Scindia in British time like Ram become Rama and Yog become Yoga.
From the palace, we checked into a hotel, had lunch. Then the next destination for the day was Gwalior fort. We reached there in an autorickshaw as it was about 3 km away from our hotel.
This is another UNESCO urban landscape project site but a poorly managed place. It has two entrances. Visiting from Urvai gate is preferable for visitors coming by vehicles as there is a parking place. But there is no adequate facility to reach up to the fort that is 1-2 km on the hill. We got one and only option of Maruti Omni car there.
The driver took us to first to Saas Bahu temple, then Scindia school we saw it from outside. This is where rich famous send their children to study. We were told by the driver that monthly fees are about 1.5 lakhs.
Then a brief glance at Taili temple and finally he dropped us at Raja Man Singh’s Gujari Mahal near the fort. Raja Man Singh had 9 queens and 8 of them had to do Jauhar (mass immolation by women) when Ibrahim Lodi invaded Gwalior and killed Raja Man Singh and his 9th wife Mrignayani. All palaces and forts have interesting history but mostly the end of the glory is painful and somber.
We walked in and around the fort for some time. From the outside, the fort looks gorgeous. One can see the entire city from this place. Thereafter we walk down from the other end of the fort and reached the crowded city area.
One of the nine Ratans of Akbar, Tansen belonged to this city. There is a Tansen tomb in the city.
This was the end of the Gwalior visit and the end of the last eight days of Madhya Pradesh roaming. Tomorrow we will enter Rajasthan.
We travelled 125 km in about 3 hours.
After 8 days in Madhya Pradesh now we are entering Rajasthan but not before passing through the famous Chambal area.
Here is a link to the video from day 6 to 9.
Day 10 – Jaipur
Today long travelling day so we were ready early morning and left Gwalior at 8.30. The morning fog was so thick that we could hardly see more than half a kilometer. This continued till about 11 o’clock. We missed taking picture of the Chambal River from the bridge as nothing was visible and it was hazy. We can’t do anything when nature is against us.
Passing through the fog we passed from Morena and Bharatpur bird sanctuary. We did not visit the sanctuary as we had visited it in 1993 during one of our tours. For bird and nature lovers this is a paradise. Birds from Siberia and many other places come to this sanctuary at a fixed time during the year.
Hungry, we took a lunch break in a hotel on the highway. Our plan was to travel up to Dausa (parliamentary constituency of late Shri Rajesh and also of Sachin Pilot) and then the next day leave for Mandawa in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. But at lunchtime, we could make out that we can travel till Jaipur before evening. So, we did so and reached Jaipur by 4 in the evening and skipped Dausa’s stay.
We searched and booked a hotel from the car and drove to the hotel. Hotel rating helps us to find a suitable hotel so we need to not go from hotel to hotel to find a suitable hotel. After a brief break, I searched for Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar (LMB). (this was our 5th visit to the city so nothing new to see in the city). LMB was about a kilometer away in Zohari Bazar.
There was no other option to go for dinner but at LMB. By hiring a local vehicle, we reached LMB at around 8. Local shops around LMB were closing down. This is a large market area in Jaipur. LMB is one of the most favoured destinations for food lovers in Jaipur.
We travelled 334 km in about 8 hours.
Day -11 – Mandhwa – (Shekhawati region , Rajasthan)
Makar Sankranti day. We started from Jaipur after breakfast at 9. Navigating the city traffic in the morning we reached Sikar highway. This is Agra Bikaner highway. Suddenly at 11, the road become foggy and visibility dropped substantially. It remained so for long.
Sikar, Jhunjhunu, and Churu are the districts in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. This region is known as an open art gallery. Here many 19th and 20th-century Havelis are there where paintings are done on haveli walls. There are two kinds of paintings on Havelis – murals and frescos. Murals are large paintings done after the painting dries and frescos paintings are done when the wall painting is still wet.
These Havelis belong to several Rajasthan wealthy families like Morarka, Poddar, Kothari, and many others. The prominent places in the region are Nawalgarh, Fatehpur, Laxmangarh, Churu, Mandawa, etc.
We based our stay at Mandawa and decided to visit the Havelis while reaching Mandawa and on the next day in the Churu region.
We reached Nawalgarh around 11.30. Here we visited one of the prominent Poddar Havelis. Dr. Ramnath Poddar haveli is worth a visit. They have tried to maintain our culture by means of paintings and several other arts in the haveli. Initially converted into school Dr. Kantikumar Poddar thought to preserve our culture we have to make a museum and then haveli this was converted into a heritage museum.
Here are some pictures.
We were astonished. Then we started our onward journey after having lunch on a highway hotel. We reached our destination Mandawa around 3. It was a little tiring so we rested till the evening.
In the evening we went for a walk to see Havelis in Mandawa. We saw a few Havelis while walking the streets. Some are in depilated condition. Chokhani haveli is under renovation. Mandawa is a very small town though many Havelis are now converted into hotels.
Foreign tourists do visit this place in big numbers. Locals usually do not know about this place and they mostly visit prominent places like Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner Jaisalmer, Ajmer, etc. Shekhawati region has remained a hidden gem for Indian tourists.
We were surprised by the overwhelming Makar Sankranti festivity in the small town of Mandawa. Kite and at night Kandeel flying were in full swing till the late evening with loud music, the one we experience in Gujarat and Mumbai.
It was quite cold at 12 degrees Celsius, so returned back to our hotel quickly.
Our travel for the day was 174 km covered in about 4 hours.
Day 12 – Mandhwa – Churu – Mandhwa
We woke up at a 5-degree temperature in the mooring and thick fog. We could barely see our hotel compound but can’s see a street just opposite.
Today not much travelling so our morning started late. The early morning fog was heavy and remained till about 10. We started for Churu (43 km) at 11.
Passing through large mustard farms we reached Churu in an hour. Churu is a big town. We parked our car near the Reliance supermarket and then walked down.
We visited two Jain temples one after the other. The 2nd one was closed. Then had lunch. After lunch walked down in the narrow lanes of Churu and saw some Havelis. Here we landed in Malji ka Kamra, a beautiful haveli by Kotharis now converted into a hotel.
There are about 5 Havelis by Kotharis nearby and this one was made for entertainment purposes for the family and guests. They allow visitors to see the haveli from inside by paying entry fees.
After mesmerized by Havelis in the region, we returned back to Mandawa around 4 in the evening. After evening tea again went for a walk in Mandawa market about 5 minutes walk from our hotel.
The festivity continued. The next day of Makar Sankranti was also celebrated by the people here with huge fanfare.
Total driving was 86 km in about 2 hours.
Here is link to the vide from day 10 to day 12
Day 13 – Jodhpur
From today our return journey began. The main destinations of MP and Rajasthan were now covered. Now we will visit important places on our way back.
Today by travelling about 300+ km we planned to reach Jodhpur. It was foggy till noon. We drove cautiously.
We had lunch at a Har Har Mahadev Dhaba at the crossroad after Nagaur.
Roads were very good so we reached Jodhpur by 4. We decided to stay near the market so that in the evening we can go shopping. (This was our 3rd visit to Jodhpur so no sightseeing was on the agenda as we had covered it during our 1st visit).
Jodhpur is known for shopping. But to our dismay, we were told by the hotel manager that there is a weekend curfew and all markets are closed. It was Sunday.
We decided to stay in the hotel, though for some time we walked down to check whether any shops are open. We found one famous shop Pocker Sweets was open from the back door for home delivery of foods. We took advantage and bought dessert.
Day 14 – Pavapuri Tirth, Sirohi
Jodhpur was en route to our next destination so we stayed there. Last evening shopping was not possible so we decided to start late after finishing our shopping agenda. Our travelling for the day was also only 209 km.
After shopping and a quick lunch, we started at 12 for Pavapuri Tirth in the Sirohi district. We reached the place at 4.
This is a huge complex with two temples, 3 guest houses, gardens, Bhojanshala, and a large gaushala. The gaushala houses about 6000 cows. They also have a separate building for drivers to stay in and a large parking place. Here we were told that bathroom water is not wasted but used in gardening.
After resting for a while, we roamed the place. Then went to Bhojanshala for Chauvihar. Arti in the main temple began at 7. The main temple is a Parshwanath Bhagwant temple and on the backside there is a Jal mandir of Mahavir Swami.
In the night the complex and the temples are illuminated with lighting. The day ended by retiring in the room by 8.
Total travelled km was 209 in about 6 hours.
Day 15 – Idar
We are entering Gujarat today.
After having breakfast in Pavapuri Tirth, we started for Idar at 9. On Sirohi road, we took a right turn after 4 km and entered a very small village road. This rough road continued till another 25 km. We met many school children on way going to school. We stopped the car to meet them, entered the mustard farm, and took some pictures. It was a good feeling when we saw happiness on the faces of these children when we gave them Mapro’s pulpy fruit chews we had.
After a while, we entered the Abu Road highway. This was a good road. The road for Ambaji was very beautiful and green with many twists and turns. Just before Ambaji, we entered Gujarat. We then passed by Ambali temple and had lunch in Vadali, a small village en-route.
At 1.30 we reached Pavapuri temple 5 km before in Idar.
From there we reached Idar town and visited 500 years old Digambar Jain Mandir. This place has preserved many old Jain scriptures. Here Shrimad Rajchandra sued to visit for Swadhyaya.
From there finally, we reached Ghantia Pahad in Idar. This is a small hill on which Shrimad Rajchandra used to go for mediation. Now this place is well developed and has a Jain temple, a Swadhyaya hall, Dharamshala and Bhojanshala. A large Siddhashila on which Shrimadji used to sit is now converted into a small temple.
After parking our car at the base and we climbed up the hill which took 15 minutes. Our luggage was taken up by the luggage trolly. We stayed here overnight. We got the opportunity to do evening arti in the temple as we were the only guests here.
There were many monkeys and peacocks. Here the manager told us that sometimes even dipdo (leopard) comes on the hill from the jungle around. We can see one more Jain temple (Chandraprabhu) on another higher hill. One can go walking from this place.
The ended early as there was nothing else to do and our chauvihar (dinner) was over by 5.30.
We travelled 162 km in about 6 hours.
Day 16 – Ahmedabad
After breakfast, we left Idar at 8.15. We visited Pudhvi Shila a minute away from the base. Here Shrimadji visited and had Satsang with 7 Jain munis. There is a Jain temple also.
Then we started from Idar towards Ahmedabad which is about 150 km away. We had Bhajia after a while, a flavour of Gujarat Then from Mehsana Vijapur Road we moved towards Gandhinagar. After passing the green capital of Gujarat we reached Shrimad Rajchandra Adhyatmik Sadhana Kendra, Koba. We had lunch there.
Our next destination was Sabarmati Mahama Gandhi Ashram. Soon we reached there. This is a place on the bank of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad. A serene place. The ashram had Gandhiji & Kasturba’s cottage known as Hriday Kunj, Vinoba Bhave, and Meera Kutir, Magan Niwas, a museum depicting Gandhiji’s life – photos and paintings, and a shop selling Khadi clothes and souvenirs.
This is a must-visit place for every Indian. There were some tourists including perhaps a few African tourists. We had visited Ahmedabad several times since childhood but the visit to this ashram was for the first time.
Later in the day after a couple of social visits, we settled in a hotel near Kankaria in Maninagar.
Day 17 – Agas via Nadiad
We were just opposite Kankaria lake. We reached there by 9. Our antigen test was done before entry. Then we took a small round. This place has become a mega tourist destination in the city. Zoo, many eateries, children play area, around a huge lake. Perhaps evening might be more beautiful with lightings on.
On our way to Agas, we reached Nadiad. We visited a place, now temple and small complex, where Shrimad Rajchandra had written his masterpiece Atma Siddhi (142 stanzas in one sitting). Spending some time there we had lunch in Vangi restaurant in Nadiad.
Then we reached Agas Ashram near Anand by 3.30. Here we stayed for 11 days till 31st Jan.
87 km travelled in about 2.30 hours.
Day 17 to Day 28 at Agas Ashram
More about this Agas Ashram here: The First Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram You Need to Visit
The Last day – back to Mumbai
Finally, the last day of our road trip arrived. The longest day as far as driving and km are concerned. We started at 7.15 and reached Vadodara by 8.40 by NH 8. There is another road to reach Vadodara that is the Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway. After a couple of social visits, we drove off to Mumbai.
There were many Ponk vendors after Vadodara on the highway. The traffic was heavy. One could make out that this is perhaps the busiest highway in the country. On the road, till Mumbai, we found huge heavy vehicles traffic.
In Bharuch famous Narmada bridge is only started one way that is from Mumbai to Vadodara side, this side is still old, and used-up the bridge is operational. Via Bharuch and Ankleshwar, and navigating heavy heavy vehicle traffic we reached near Surat. Here we had a huge traffic jam and we could cross this part of about a kilometer in 30 minutes.
The problem with this road is this road has 4 lane highway but when it comes to little bridges on small rivers, it becomes two lanes. Due to this mismatch suddenly before every bridge, we encounter traffic jams and sometimes too long.
About 19 km before Surat and 2 km from the toll booth, on the highway we had our lunch at Girnar Hotel. Then via brief stops at Valsad, Udwada, and Tukwada, we crossed Vapi around 6. Petrol price in Gujarat is about Rs. 15/- less due to fewer taxes. So along with a final tea break, we took a petrol refill break.
In the end, we crossed Fountain hotel on Ghodbunder road junction ay 9 and home sweet home after dinner by 10.30 after 4 weeks and with lots of memories.
The final day of driving was 458 km in about 12 hours.
Here is a link to the video of the last phase of the journey:
On the whole, it was a super experience. By the grace of God, we did not encounter any difficulty.
- The total km we covered was 3898 km
- States passed through 4 (We by-passed Jhansi that is in UP, when going to Gwalior so UP the 5th state was avoided)
- Stayed at 14 places
- Lowest temperature – Mandawa – 5 degree celcius
- Passed through 80 toll plazas (78 fast tags enabled and 2 cash)
- Paid Rs. 3886 as toll tax
- Total driving hours – 95
- Days of travel – 16
- Two-night stays at 3 places
- One-night stays at 10 places
Ypu may be interested in: A Road Journey from Mumbai to the Statue of Unity