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Hyderabad to Ahmedabad, Little Rann of Kutch, Dholavira and Great Rann of Kutch.

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My friend and fellow moderator Sagar always wanted to explore Gujarat.


Personally, I had very less expectations on Rann of Kutch.
When he came up with Gujarat, our plan started to take its shape but I tried to skip it. I have initiated different plans and suggestions, but he did not budge.

 

On one fine day, he booked the tickets from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad.
We pulled in a few more friends and Now we are a group of 10 members ready to explore Gujarat.

 

Car booking:

Our next step was to book self drive cars, Only options available were Zoom and Myles.
All the 'Myles' cars were booked on our dates, So we have booked three cars from 'Zoom'.

 

Initial plan was to book 3 Eco-sports.

 

But due to unavailability and bad car conditions, we booked the following cars.

 

1. Ford Figo
2. Ford Ecosport
3. Mahindra Scorpio

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Day -1 Ahmedabad to Little Rann of Kutch.

 

We hired a cab from Ahmedabad airport to Zoom car pick up location.
We completed all the formalities and we are out by 10:30 AM

We started hunting for the breakfast, We couldn't find a proper restaurant for breakfast.:o

 

We searched for 15 kilometers with in the city and gave up.
Once on the Highway, we found a small Dhaba and had a heavy brunch, we resumed our journey by 1 PM.


Little Rann of Kutch Permissions:

 

  • Little Rann of Kutch requires permission to enter, Officially bikes are not allowed inside, but many people ride around without any issue.
  • It has many entry and exit points.
  • Many people don't take permission, when get they stuck or get caught, they end up paying fine which is very high.

 

How to get the permissions to explore Little Rann of Kutch?

 

  • Little Rann of Kutch Permission is available at Bajana.
  • Forest Guest house is located the entrance of the village.
  • If you miss it, not a problem, you can ask around, It is very well known to the locals.

 

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How much does the Little Rann of Kutch permit cost?
It costed us around 1800/- for 3 cars and 4 cameras.


Is the guide mandatory for Little Rann of Kutch?

Guide is not mandatory, but if you are not sure about trails,  and have no idea about routes, in a single vehicle, It is suggested to take a Guide.

We did not take a guide and have faced some issues. More on that later.


Is it easy to get the permission?

Permission is pretty straight forward, they even gave us some map.
They insisted us to hire a guide but we decided not to take.


Can we do Little Rann of Kutch in a Hatch back?

Yes can be easily done in any car.
We have done it in a Ford Figo, We did not face any issue.

 

Do we require GPS to cross Little Rann of Kutch?

It is better to take offline maps along with you, but you can easily manage without it.

Simple rule, follow the white stones and trails. Don't even try to make our own road which might lead you to end up in a no man's land at times.

What to do when we got lost in the Little Rann of kutch?

It is not completely isolated, you can get help from the other people, many locals roam around.
When in doubt always stop and ask around.

 

Best season to vist Little Rann of Kutch?

Post January is the best time to visit.

Entry Points at Little Rann of kutch?

You can get the latest information at the Bajana forest guest house.

  • Major entry point is at a village name Zinzuwada and entry is from Mandapol gate. Use this route to cross Little Rann of Kuch and exit at Palasava. Check with the forest department before finalising the route.
  • Bajana is the second point of entry.


Stay options at Little Rann of Kutch?

Stay options at Little Rann of kutch are very limited.
Accommodation options :

  • Rann Riders
  • Deseret coursers
  • Bhavan resort and farm
  • Royal Safari Camp
  • Flemingo Acropolis

 

Let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

We took the Bajana entry point due to time constraints, If we were early, we could have taken the Zinzuwada entrance.
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We soon realised that it is tough to navigate without any analysis.

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Fords Kicking some dust

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We stopped at many water bodies enroute and we spotted numerous variety of birds which were in large colonies.

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Ready for the takeoff

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We will either find a way or make one. We drove deep into the barren lands of Little Rann of Kutch.

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Visibility is poor for the cars driving behind, better to maintain space

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A look at ford said 'Keep calm and drive'

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Creativity is always a leap of faith, When we face waste empty lands, time analysis is needed

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Small dude joined the party late due to GC issues

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Some walks you love to take alone

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Birds have wind, they are free, they have mobility and still we envy them

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Scorpio: I wish to be as free as birds do

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Getting stuck and Falling out has been quite an adventure
 

It's not about the destination, it's all about where you end up, mishaps and memories you create will stay down the memory lane.

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Always follow the tracks, If you try to make your own road, get ready for this.

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Happiness is finding the rescue equipment in a no mans land, when you get struck.

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We managed to get the Scorpio and Figo out quite easily, but the EcoSport got royally struck.

 
We found a villager few miles away with some raw tools.
 
Though we have the tools, we are not able to get the vehicle out.
It is getting deeper and deeper.
 
He pointed out at our wrong techniques on how we were trying to get the car out.
 
Now it was his turn to guide, we followed his instructions/inputs.
 
We are able to pull out EcoSport in 20 minutes.
He proved to us that experience is superior to any theoretical knowledge.



Video-log of our trip.

 

Accommodation details:

Name : Holiday village resort, Gandhidham.

 

We had booked our stay at this resort through 'Make my trip' which costed us 8000 INR (after 50 % discount) per room for 3 nights. The resort was beautiful and royal with all the amenities available. 

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Rooms are neat and decent enough in area

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There was good amount of greenery all around the place

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Day-2  Great Rann of kutch, Dholavira.

 

Stay options at Dholavira?
Dholavira tourism Resort (Would suggest you to stay at 'Great Rann of Kutch')
 

Great Rann of Kutch is spread across a vast area where one can explore either sides of it.

  1. Dholavira
  2. Dhordo (White desert Rann of Kutch)

 

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We have decided to explore Dholavira on Day-2

We started from our hotel by 9 AM and stopped by for breakfast at a Dhaba on the highway.
Roads were excellent through out the journey. Some of the best roads in the country.

 

First glimpse of 'The Great Rann of Kutch' white desert, Dholavira.

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Black and White!

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What Gujarat roads say? Stop worrying about the potholes and enjoy the drive.

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We didn't bother about the burning hot climate as the view seemed breath taking!

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Quote

When he came up with Gujarat, our plan started to take its shape but I tried to skip it.

 

After this view, I felt that I would call myself an idiot, If I had skipped this trip

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Freedom of travel. We could go as far as we could sightIMG_8161-01.jpeg

 

After spending around 1 hour, we left the place to explore more

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Our next destination was towards the Dholavira excavation site - Ancient Harappan and Mohenjadaro sites

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En-route we found a 'Sambar' in the middle of the road, by the time got to her, she ran deep into the woods

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We finally reached the Indus valley civilisation and moved towards the the huge walls built of mud and stone to explore the ancient Harappan culture

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Hats-off to the Tourism department of Gujarat who is still working on cleaning the remains and spoilts post earthquake

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After the Harappan culture visit, we drove down towards the Fossil park which is end point of Dholavira

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The poetry of earth is endless, breath taking view.

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Even our cars are enjoying the view.

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Helipad at Dholavira

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Nature is cheaper than some random therapy in your city

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On our way back to the resort, we stopped by the white salty marshy land to enjoy the sunset

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Sunset from the place where we were was bliss to watch and we spent about 2 hours even after it got dark on the salt desert admiring the nature in peace. A beautiful end to the day

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Day - 3  It was planned to explore the 'Great Rann of Kutch' and we reached this salt desert by noon

 

Great Rann of Kutch accommodations (Decent resorts - would suggest you to stay here)

  • White Rann Resort
  • Gateway to Rann
  • Toran resort Kutch

 

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Took the necessary permits and reached the entry point from which private vehicles are not allowed beyond this post.

We are supposed to walk down for 2 kms or hire a camel cart to reach the White desert land of the Great Rann.

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We had paid 1000 INR to hire this camel cart for a journey up and down

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We were given an hour's time to explore 'The Great Rann of Kutch' by the cart owner to take us back to our start point

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On our way back from 'The Great Rann' we took an off road track to explore Dordo

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Having everything set for this drive, we tightened our rocker-arms to enjoy our drive further

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We made our own tracks driving deep into a place where we could find no human in the vicinity

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Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this drive as we drove down and simultaneously, we were being very watchful after a crazy adventure on Day-1 at 'The Little Rann of Kutch'

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The Ford turned out to be an absolute performer on these tracks throwing out her brilliance in handling and dynamics

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The Mahindra also turned out to be quite a stunner apart from being bumpy at times

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And that's how it happened :D

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Surprisingly, The Figo showed up nothing less on an off road track

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Next destination?
Mandvi beach for sunset

 

Mandvi has many beach view resorts.

  • Serena beach resort
  • HV Beach hotel. (right on the beach)
     

After experiencing high temperatures, everyone decided to visit Mandvi beach

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Memories made at the beach will last for a lifetime

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Promise of a new tomorrow

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Cleanest sunset ever

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Superb pictures @gowtham. Thanks for sharing all the information which would help the fellow road-trippers.

I would like to share a few memories that I've carried back home from this amazing road trip. Cheers!

 

Day - 1 (Ahmedabad - Little Rann of Kutch - Gandhidham) 

 

We started our road-trip from Ahmedabad towards Bajana to explore the 'Little Rann of Kutch'   

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We have taken the necessary permits at Bajana village for our exploration drive and in no time, we made our tracks into the 'Dhrangdhara' wild ass sanctuary

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The scorpio fared really well with the off-road conditions out there 

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One needs to be really careful without getting lost during their exploration as the place looks almost deserted

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There already existed few tracks which were laid by the regulars, otherwise we need to pave our own paths at times 

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We passed by a huge lake whose area seemed absolutely dried out on a vast scale

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One needs to pay 25000 INR as fine or undergo 7 years of imprisonment if any rules are violated or skipping of permits

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We have arrived by a small lake which had numerous variety of birds such as swans, flamingos, cranes, herons etc.

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Having spent some time by the lake banks, we moved further towards the lake bed which was quite hard

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Another glimpse of the birds on the partially dried lake banks

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We hovered up in between to stretch ourselves and relax a bit while the sun was scorching on us

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We raced further deep into the woods to explore further and ended up in a no man's land

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What is a road trip without any adventure in the tale. All the 3 cars ended up getting stuck in a deserted land with no other human to spot at for help. A lesson learnt, we need to be a watchful while we trace our track here.

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A few miles away, we found a small shack where we could get some help with the equipment to dig the wet mud and clear the track and get out of the pit. The whole process of getting all our cars out of this wet land took us 4 hours

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We drove back to the highway and headed towards Gandhidham as the land beyond where we got stuck seemed even more wet which seemed impossible to explore

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Day - 2 (Gandhidham - Dholavira - Gandhidham)

 

Our day drive towards Dholavira started off post breakfast from Gandhidham

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The road towards Dholavira was quite decent with neatly laid roads even after you bifurcate into the villages after you cross Bhuj highway

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All the 3 cars lined up to halt at our first sight of the white salt desert of Dholavira

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We parked the cars on to the side and got down the bridge to walk into the salt desert

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Fabulous view of the vast salt desert of Dholavira which goes endless

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We paved our path a little deep into the marshy salt land which seemed a little loose on friction to hold our feet 

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All of us got involved in the photo sessions enjoying the magnificent view even though the sun was shining bright 

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Having spent ample time clicking pictures, we started to walk back towards our cars to explore the next destination

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There are absolutely no short-cuts to any place worth going!

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We paced up the track, towards our next destination

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Our next was the Harappan civilisation - The ancient genius

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Harappan or Indus valley civilisation was built in 48 acres land with tall walls to protect it's residents from outsiders

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A few glimpses of the Harappan civilisation

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We then drove down towards the Kutch fossil park road to reach the end point (Karni temple) of Dholavira. 

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The whole of day-2 turned out to be tiresome but eventful and we drove back to our residence in Gandhidham

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Day - 3 (Gandhidham - Dordo - Great Rann of Kutch - Mandvi - Gandhidham) 

 

View from my room - The Holiday Village Resort

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The resort were we had stayed is a beautiful place which offers all the amenities including sports like squash

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The Restaurant inside the resort serves continental food suitable for any person in the country

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Tried some authentic Gujarati food such as Dhokla, Fafda, Bhajiya goti, Dabeli etc. 

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Our drive towards the 'Great Rann of Kutch' was an eventful one 

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Fabulous view of 'The Great Rann of Kutch' - The place where 'The Rann Utsav' takes place every year

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We chose to hit this place post 'Rann Utsav' to avoid the crowd which could be best suitable for exploration

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We further explored the barren lands of Dordo and drove down to the Mandvi beach to enjoy the beautiful sunset 

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Mandvi is one of the best beaches in Kutch, Gujarat to enjoy the sunset and relax amidst nature

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We reached our resort late in the night to set everything for our drive back to Ahmedabad from Gandhidham on day-4

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I am seriously amazed by the beauty of that place, super intriguing stuff .. It reminds me of the Amitabh bachchan's Ad on Gujarat 'Katch nahi toh Kuch nahi' :D Brilliant stuff guys..

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A-1 drive & another scintillating report embellishing every bit of winsomeness. Kudos to the whole team for coming up with such a sterling story

Gujrat has always been an inviting territory with its elegant vista diffused all over.

Wish to go on an expedition with you guys soon.

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A-1 drive & another scintillating report embellishing every bit of winsomeness. Kudos to the whole team for coming up with such a sterling story

Gujrat has always been an inviting territory with its elegant vista diffused all over.

Wish to go on an expedition with you guys soon.

28214dbf40cfb58fb0f096fae4ab2e89.jpgbec945665a4433db710d835e7dbd92d1.jpg9e6a4bdb272912c048b6ebb4b1d05cfb.jpg

Ur comment described a lot abt this trip. For the next trip count me in
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First picture of the post itself moved me. Lovely way of explaining with mind blowing pictures. Definitely a 5 star thread :)

 

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This arid dry land is a beauty on earth. I had goosebumps all the way while I was going through this travelogue. Awesome pictures and very well narrated. It has all the information needed for a traveller.

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It has been one of my best trips so far, super adventurous.. Thanks for making it a memorable one guys.. And when is the next :D

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Awesome travelogue.. The beauty of this white desert is something which cannot be explained in words.. how hot was the temperature there when you had gone there :D

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The Rann is so mesmerizing and humbling when you are standing in the middle of it. Another super duper travel story in your chariot ,, Great going team :)

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  • Similar Content

    • By LoneRanger
      Precursor to the Trip: 
      Mr.Daddy calls me up on Oct 2nd in the evening. 
       
      Daddy : I had to work today , who the hell works on Gandhi jayanthi? They don't even sell Liquor today. 
      Me : Chill Macha , we chose this job. And have to take everything it throws at us. 
      Daddy: I need some relaxation , plan something for the weekend. 
      Me : Hmm, lets go to Bhuvanagiri Fort, I have been meaning to trek that fort since childhood. 
      Daddy: Done. 
       
      The plan has been made , but could not be executed the Dussehra weekend, due to the obvious reasons. Our Wives would let us go on a trek on a festival day. And i totally forgot about it , till 12th When Mr.Daddy messages to ask me if i'm available to do the trek on 13th (Sunday). I said yes , and the trip was on. 
       
      Hill Fort of Bhuvanagiri: 
      If you have ever have traveled to Warangal by road or by train you would not miss this small fort on top of the hill. I remember watching the hill for the first time as a kid, from a train window, on my way to Hyderabad. Since then i was always fascinated by this small fort and it was my long lasting desire to trek to the top of it.  
       
      The fort is constructed in the 10th century A.D by Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI. That makes this fort atleast 1000 years old. In contrast Golconda fort is 400 years old. And Since it is built by Tribhuvanamalla , the fort is called Tribhuvanagiri , Which latter became Bhuvanagiri and with the Persian and Urdu influence of the local kings became Bhongir. The fort was built on a small egg shaped hill, and there were small steps cut into the rock to climb up to the fort. 
       
      Drive To The Fort:
      I started at 8:30 A.M on Sunday morning , and started towards Mr.Daddy's home in Manikonda, Hyderabad. I picked him up and on the way we stopped at Organic hotel to have breakfast. After having quick breakfast we took the ORR to reach Warangal Highway.
      (Organic Hotel , where we had or break Fast) 
       
      As there was no hurry , we mostly drove in the middle lane at 80KMPH max speed, The ORR charged us 140/- to get down at Warangal high way, And soon after that we had to pay another toll on the highway, We took a to and fro pass for 140/- and went on our way. The toll has dedicated lanes for fastag , and if you still don't have one Get one ASAP. 
       
      As soon as you cross the toll gate and proceed further , you see something like this (Image is taken from Wiki) 
      With the help of google maps we reached the entry point of the fort. There are two gates to get into , one for regular tourists and another for rock climbing school in the premises. There is ample space to park 8-10 cars. We parked our car , proceeded to the shop next to the ticket counter bought ourselves a water bottle & moved to ticket counter to buy our tickets. Ticket cost for Adults is rs: 10/- per head.

       
      The Rock has steps cut into it , which looks fairly a recent addition to the 1000 year old Hill Fort. We started our climb from this point. 
       
      The weather forecast for Bhongir on that day was partially cloudy and with intermittent rains. But Sun god has different plans for us. It was hot and the rock reflected the heat. After a brief walk , we ended up at the first gateway to the fort. There was some shade and i sat there for a couple of minutes. 
      (The first gateway , where you will find some shade.) 
       
      After the first rest stop , there is enough tree cover and it was a little cloudy , we reached the second Gateway in some time. 

       
      The distance between the second and third Gateway is not much , but there is a increase in elevation. We soon reached the third gateway , and the the view looked like this after crossing the third gateway. 

       
      From here there is no tree cover , and to my bad luck there is no cloud cover either.  From here ,  if you walked towards right from the path , you would find some ruins. This signifies that you have reached level 1. From here the path goes on to the top of the hill. We kept on walking and discussing on how ingeniously the architect of the fort has constructed multiple Dams to conserve rain water. 

      (Level 1 ruins towards the left of the picture and Check Dams to conserve towards the right of the Picture) 
       
      From here the walk way is very steep , one has to be careful. And this can be slippery during rains. 

      (Steep Walk way , with stairs cut into the rock, Rails installed in the modern era for support, Another Check Dam towards right and Mr.Daddy gauging on how far we have to go)
       
      After this i was completely exhausted , and stopped at every 5-10 minutes on the pretext of taking pictures 😛 ,  Approximately after an hour we started , we reached the top of the fort. 
      (Celebratory pic of climbing the hill, My smile will tell you how happy i was on the top, the cannon at the back might be a late addition to the fort , as they were developed only in 15th century) 
       
      There are three structures at the top of the Hill , one ruined old fort , and two other government buildings , with Cellular tower on top of one. The other building was build on top adjacent to an old well. (The Pic of the fort). 
       
      The views from the top of the hill are simply amazing. Google maps told us that we were 1000 meters above MSL. Below are a few pics of the views from the fort. 

       (You can spot Bhongir Railway station , from where i first saw this magnificent Hill Fort. Also , at the bottom right , notice how Dams were constructed to save water.)
       

      (Another pond , and the fort wall at a distance)
       
      We explored the whole place for an hour , found a small entrance and a staircase, just out of curiosity i went in and started climbing the stairs , and Mr.Daddy followed me. 
      The stairs took us to the top of the fort. There is no higher point in Bhongir Than this.  

      (The fort view from behind)

       

      (Me after conquering the fort, instead of a sword i posed with an Umbrella, modern day weapon to fight the soldiers of the nature) 
      By 2 o clock we were hungry and decided to descend, as soon as we thought of of it , we could see dark clouds manifest out of no where and weather became cloudy and pleasant.  I wonder where these clouds were when i was climbing up the hill.   

       
      We climbed down, and there were 6 other cars parked in the parking. We went to the shop next to ticket counter had another bottle of water. Went to a nearby restaurant in Bhongir and had our lunch. After and uneventful lunch , we started back to Hyderabad , and it started raining just as we were ready to leave Bhongir. 
      Tips for Trek to the Top : 
      Carry your own water one bottle per person. Carry an umbrella , Sun or Rain it will help you a lot.  Avoid Summers , It was tiring to climb in October Sun. Imagine April Sun beating down on you.   
      Suggest to go in groups, Half of the time i was engrossed in deep conversations with Mr.Daddy , and didn't feel the tiredness. 
      Wear shoes and avoid Slippers and Flip flops at all costs

      PS: For those who are wondering , why i call him Daddy , You can find the explanation in my previous write up






    • By rkamal
      This Dussehra holidays we planned a long road trip to Coimbatore in our EcoSport.
       
      Thanks to India-Drive members, especially @sagar @Ranger for suggesting trip route and staying food options along the route. 
       
      Day -1:
       
      We started around 4 AM from Miyapur, Hyderabad. Drive till Anantapur is quite familiar to me, as i have driven this route many times.
       
      Drive was excellent with good pleasant weather, around 9:30 AM We reached Anantapur for breakfast at Club RuRu.
       
      Food was good as well as the service and atmosphere. After some nice breakfast we started towards Bangalore, as we approach the outskirts of the city traffic made us slow down, and also the fear of over-speeding and getting fined made me cautious, kept at 60-80 speeds reached Devanahalli around 12:30 PM.
       
      Our EcoSport flyaudio gave us this route which bypassed the traffic areas of the city (silkboard, electronic city) and took us to the sarjapura main road and joined on the NH just after the electronic city. The route we took to bypass the city is quite scenic and some places were narrow roads. and in some parts very rough roads (2-4 KM) with construction work is ongoing. I am attaching the route map for reference.
       
      Around 2:30 we reached Hosur outskirts, despite being a Sunday afternoon the road is filled with heavy vehicles occupying all the lanes and made us slow down, managed to reach a good restaurant which serves good tamil meals by 3:00 PM.
       
      The food was good and hot. after staying so long out of Tamilnadu we always look forward to eating in Tamilnadu hotels, glad we could make it for lunch.
       
      After lunch started the journey towards Salem, Roads were quite good and smooth but not as wide as Hyderabad-bangalore highway. Not a pleasant experience as the vehicles seems to be in hurry and not giving space occupying all lanes, had to be very patient to outmatch the city buses.
       
      Kept a average speed of 60-80 KM reached Salem, thought have a break at Salem, but due to some politicians visit (i am guessing its CM visiting his native Town) the roads were filled with cops asking us not to stop and keep left. At some places the cops were confusing us with their directions, over all a confused environment, but good thing is they reroute the heavy vehicles like lorries and trucks to some other route, so we had a clear road ahead of us.
       
      The only catch is we couldn't stop for the tea break. And it started drizzling once we past Salem, it's almost 7 PM, and those rerouted trucks joined us back while we are nearing Coimbatore making our last leg of journey more interesting  At Komarapalayam we stopped for some hot Badam Milk and much needed break.
       
      After that it was nice to drive to the coimbatore city with with lit wide roads, reached around 9:15 PM to Sungam cross roads, Coimbatore. After parked the vehicle and went inside the house all of us were feeling that still we are moving. From morning 4 to night 9 this makes my longest distance driven in a day. (960 KM says speedometer)
       
       We visited the famous GeDee Car museum, Coimbatore. the beauty of the museum is we can see so many vintage cars at one place which are maintained so good.
       
       Checkout few pics:

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • By SK01
      It was February  2018, me and my father visited  Malik Tata Bowenpally to enquire about Tata Tiago and Tata Tigor in our handsome shiny golden brown Honda City after a good leather upholstery polishing at Stunnerz. We we’re impressed by the car, the build quality and interiors, we felt it’ll be a good upgrade to my WagonR CNG which was showing its age after 3 years 65000 kms. We asked for a test drive and they couldn’t arrange. We were irritated by the sales team response and reluctance to sell their product. We stepped out. 
       
      Fast it forward to August, my father who was driving my WagonR slightly brushed to the electricity pole in a  narrow lane. The impact was small, but the damage was really huge. A thought to upgrade to a safer vehicle struck my father’s mind. 
       
      Fast forward to November, we put our Wagon R on sale at OLX and sold it in 5 days for 3,25,000. Got to know the meaning of resale value. Booked Ford Freestyle after just one test drive. We were taken away by the car, it’s build quality, ruggedness, and not to forgot the punchy TDCi engine. Ford has  always been my  favourite brand, I always wanted to own it, drive it. And this time I got the opportunity, we wanted to book the car the very next day but being a Sunday it was delayed. 
       
      Monday, after attending a club meet at my college, at around 3:00 PM I booked my car at Mody Ford Begumpet. It was Ford Freestyle ambient 1.5 TDCi oxford white which was booked and later upgraded to top of the line model Titanium 1.5 TDCi charcoal black. 
       
      Dealership Experience: 
      The delivery was done as promised in 5 days. Initially the dealership experience was really good. they treated us well, the car was delivered as promised and everything was good until I noticed what they have done. The dealership has given me 4 months old vehicle, which was lying in the stock yard without informing me and without giving any old stock discounts. 
       
      Found it by decoding the VIN number. The old stock/first batch vehicle came with fixed rear headrests and the newer one which I was supposed to get according to Ford as I booked in November came with adjustable rear headrests. Multiple mails and calls to the dealership proved to be waste. After a week of follow up, a good member of the Ford Freestyle WhatsApp group forwarded me the mail IDs of Ford India top management. A mail to Mr. Anurag Mehrotra MD Ford India sorted out the issues and the dealer was ordered to replace the entire rear seat with the new ones.  
       

       
      Experience with Ford India:
      I must say, the experience so far with Ford has been really good. Right from solving my issues with the dealer to addressing each and every minor issues in the vehicle for which Ford is known for.
       
      To be honest, Ford is not a reliable brand like the Maruti Suzuki, Honda or Toyota. It is known for those small yet really irritating glitches. But the way the company addresses the issues is what matters. And I must say, Ford outshines every other manufacturer in this department. We as a valued customer have the freedom to even talk to the bosses of Ford India and get the issue solved. Be it the General Manager of a dealership or Managing Director of the company. The mangers and general mangers (service) are always available on phone for our queries. 
       
      Life With Ford
       

       
      It’s been 10 months since I bought the car and I’ve been to many road trips, explored many places, and done some really crazy things with it. So far So good.
       
      Stability, Steering Feel and Feedback, Braking, Ride Comfort, and Performance:
      The next month after buying the car we did a road trip to Vijayawada. Couldn’t go beyond 100 kmph as the vehicle isn’t supposed to go beyond 100 kmph before 2000 km checkup. while returning I touched 170 kmph effortlessly after 2000 km checkup at Laxmi Ford Vijayawada. No where I felt loosing the control of the car. After driving WagonR for 65000 kms this felt like a really big upgrade in terms of drivability and stability. 
       
      The response from the steering was spot on. Though the brakes did not inspire confidence at last minute braking for the first 5000 kms of ownership because of over sensitive ABS now they are perfect. Crisp and spot on braking performance. Or dont know if I’m
      used to it.
       
      Ford Freestyle is built to tackle bad roads and those beautiful untouched, unexplored roads. This said, the ride quality will definitely be on the stiffer side making all those shocks on the bad roads creep in. We can feel the thud sound when the car goes over speed breaker, potholes even in very low speeds. The suspension is on the stiffer side making the car super stable during high speeds and super rough on the bad roads. Space is strictly adequate in the front row and strictly average at the rear and the boot. The driving position is commendable. We sit higher than many of the hatchbacks making us see the road clearly. The car sitting at a height of 190mm from the ground makes driving on worst roads a breeze. No worries of under body hits. 
       
      The performance from the engine on offer is something else. It effortlessly touches 80 kmph in the second gear itself and 0-100 kmph in under 10 seconds making it one of the fastest car in India. This car even outshines VW Polo in terms of performance. This is the most economical, fun to drive car in India giving good fuel efficiency numbers.  Even Ford EcoSport doesn’t offer the low end torque and that jump this car offers. Reason being same engine for a lighter car. 
       
      Capabilities:
      Ford calls the Freestyle a Compact Utility Vehivle and in my opinion its justified. It is not just a raised hatch/hatch with cladding or hatchback in SUV cloths as claimed by few online forums. Having used this for almost a year, clocking 20,000 kms, going for some unexplored areas, I can confidently say that this means some serious business, built for a purpose, a very practice vehicle. If not for serious off-roading, this is made for serious travelling and to glide on those beautiful untouched roads... 
        Safety:
      Ford is known for this. It’s always ahead of the other cars in the segment when it comes to giving safety features if not fancy features.
      2 airbags ABS with EBD Reverse parking sensors Driver and passenger seat belt alarm is standard across all the varient in all the models of Ford Central Locking  Speed sensing door locks  Child safety locks  Making it the most value for money varient. 
       
      The top of the line varient Titanium comes with added features like 
      TCS HLA ESP  
      And the even premium varient the Titanium Plus comes with added features like
      6 airbags SYNC3 system With all the above features. 
       
      Road Trips:

      I’ve done many road trips in this 10 months. Multiple trips to Hyderabad-Vijayawada but there are few trips that standout, that tested my skills, that took me to places I’ve never thought I would. 
       
      The first one being 
       
      Hyderabad to Maredumilli

       
      This remains my favourite trip of all. This tested my skills on the ghat during heavy rains and low visibility, took me to a beautiful place called Pamulery Vagu inside the forest.

      It was fun driving this car in those ghats. Steering feel and feedback was really good and was spot on. This trip will be forever remembered. The engine sound coupled with cool breeze and nature sounds made this a really wonderful and memorable trip with my Ford Freestyle.

       
      Hyderabad to Yanam via Ramachandrapuram 
       
      This place is really beautiful. I’ve been to Yanam in 2012 in our Swift Dzire. I was siting beside my father and was observing him cruising in that beautiful cool, rainy weather. I was 16 back then. Learning driving from my father in our colony roads. I was amazed by the way it cruised, clicked many pictures  in my father’s Galaxy S3. I couldn’t know more about the place. All I knew was the beach and the beautiful Jesus statue. Nothing beyond that.
       
      This is 2019 and I was on the wheel with my father sitting beside me and my Sony A6000 DSLR in the rear seat to click the beautiful places. It was 4:30 in the morning, I fired the loud TDCi engine waking up others in my house at Ramachandrapuram. We hit the roads and it was all nostalgic.
       
       
      The roads were bad, full of potholes and very bad curves. This gave me a new experience to drive on those village roads full of potholes and truck traffic from the opposite direction with high beam. Made me explore Yanam and the nearby mangroves and getting to know the place beyond beach and of course the beautiful Jesus statue, reminded my father of his childhood and the hotel where he used to sometimes eat and now we having  our breakfast which is still running with the same quality at Drakshramam. This also proved how beautiful my car is gliding  over those big potholes with very loud and uncomfortable sounds in the cabin and  zero underbody hits. making this another memorable road trip. 
       
      Vijayawada to Hyderabad
       

      I’ve done multiple trips between Hyderabad-Vijayawada on our Honda City as well as Ford Freestyle as my father is posted there. But this will be remembered.
       
      This unexpected drive for few minutes under the railway bridge tested my knowledge on flood water driving, knowledge can be acquired by learning but not experience. And this kind of experience is very rare. This tests our skill, It’s a do or die situation. Drive well and come out of the pool or get stuck ruining your car permanently. 
       
      The experience was all together a very different one. This kept me in a situation where It was all on me. No one to help me, guide me or drive the car. This proved the capabilities of ford Freestyle and my driving skills. The punchy low end torque never worried me or gave a feel of stalling. It never lost the grunt. I successfully came out of it which doubled my confidence in driving and my love towards the car.
       
       
      Accidents & Incidents 
       
      It was 24th of April, 8:45 in the morning. I was driving towards Suchitra Junction to meet my father’s colleague and take my internship certificate which I forgot in her cabin the previous day. I tuned into 98.3 radio mirchi my favourite radio station and was just 5 minutes away from my home when the unexpected saddest thing happened.  

       

       

       
      A construction truck which was coming from the opposite direction taking a 90 degree banged into my car’s rear third quater leaving a really bad damage. It was a hit and run case. Many villagers ran behind him but he fled away leaving me in utter grief. The impact was huge but the damage was small considering the impact.
       
      Did anyone remember this? “the impact was small, but the damage was really huge” “A thought to upgrade to a safer vehicle struck my father’s mind” and this proved to be the right choice, the safer vehicle. 
       
      It was 31st of July, 3:30 in the evening, I was driving  from Tellapur towards Kompally on ORR. An incident which taught me the meaning of hydro planning, made me realise the power of water and yet again made me fall in love with my car.   
      It was raining, the road was good obviously because it’s the ORR a Hyderabadi drivers favourite, the road was empty and there’s a water pool that can be seen on the left most lane.
       
      A child in me touched triple digit speeds (100kmph) from 80kmph wanted to spill the water and went straight onto the waterlogged pool only to loose control over my car. The vehicle immediately lost traction, drifted towards the right, steering was out of my control for few seconds, I tried very hard to steer the car to the left keeping it in the lane and I succeeded.
       
      All thanks to the traction control that my car has. This taught me how much dangerous water can be and the force of water. Never after this incident I touched triple digit speeds during rains. 
       

       
      To sum it up, Freestyle is a car that definitely puts a smile the drivers face. Particularly the TDCi. It’s rightly called a pocket rocket. 

      Freestyle is not about luxury, its rugged, rough, not so comfortable when compared to the competition, the interiors are hard, the plastics are not placed well but as said before its lal about ruggedness and practicality. Once you are behind the wheel of a Ford you’ll forever be the fan of Ford.
       

       
      Srikrishna Bhavaraju
      A true Ford Lover


    • By Ranger
      Current status:

      Hyderabad to Tuni : Good
      Tuni to Chilka : under construction
      Chilka to Kolkata : Good
       
      Information shared by @ARAY
       
      ***NH 16 - Route update***
      Folks planning for a road trip via NH16 to WB next weekend for Durga Puja, please be aware of the latest road conditions. Post Tuni till South Chilka is getting a major road expansion for last 8+ months as we all know.
       
      Diversions and all are manageable, however with the recent torrential downpour in the region the soft soil has washed off exposing the cemented Culverts and small bridges that are constructed at the first phase of any NH build or expansion.
       
      Due to the absence of proper markings and boards this is more risky. Absence of soft soil or temporary soil in general will further make the cemented bridges even more harder to climb and slush and soft mud can make the situation tricky.
       
      People driving low slung sedans and hatchbacks please be careful, there is a high probability of underbelly hits while making the ascend to and decent from the bridges. People with FWD SUV be careful of lateral torque steer in the slush making the car go sideways and out of control.
       
      A close friend of mine while driving to Assam has severely damaged the front left lower arm, track rod for steering and partially the ball joints of Honda city. He took that ascent at roughly 32kmph as per his GPX data.
      Use caution drive slow post Tuni and have a very safe trip everyone !
       
       
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