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Vinay**

In search of snow and ghats - 5000KM road trip, Hyderabad to Manali and Shimla

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wonderful detailing vinay, really amazed by the drive you have done from hyderabad being a lone driver. The roads look similar to the one i used to drive when in US. Nevertheless, driving in snow would be so much fun and thrilling. As per my knowledge tyres manufactured for snowy areas are not available in India and I feel their have to be introduced soon atleast in the Himalayan ranges.

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Beautiful.. Just one word,, Beautiful,, excellent piece!! Really nice write up & super snaps!! Good job.

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wow,  what a wonderful drive and your post has some super content. Loved every bit of your narration and I can imagine the level of difficulty you have faced drifting on the snow roads. Sounds fun but super risky. Would love to experience this :)

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Very good detailed description.. If i am ever doing this trip, I will just carry a hard copy of your whole travelogue. Thanks much for sharing

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@Vinay**
Your Travelogue almost made me cry
Beautiful write up..
Awesome pictures
And a breathtaking place
I couldn't wait till i completely read the travelogue to express this...
You gave me a life goal...

5f54ebdd7718b59b5a333ea6ea40a8a3.jpg

Sent from my Galaxy S8+ using India-Drive mobile app

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Thank You India Drive

Sent from my Galaxy S8+ using India-Drive mobile app

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Day-10: (Places around Shimla)

Having driven to places farther from Shimla the previous day, we chose to visit famous places (heritage sites) in Shimla (below is a list of them).

  1. Annadale army heritage museum
  2. Viceregal lodge/IIAS
  3. Himachal state museum
  4. Jakhu hill/temple (Shimla's highest peak)

Stepped out from hotel at 8.30AM; first, we went to Jakhu peak - it offers panoramic view of Shimla. People have to be careful while visiting temple (courtesy: monkeys) - one of them took my glasses away from my face (I didn't even realize); got them back upon providing food (available near temple).

 

Jakhu temple

81.jpg

 

After temple visit, all of us started searching for breakfast places - people in car demanded good breakfast that day, without taking a walk. Things get complicated if one plans to visit Mall road by vehicle - parking was available at a distance of 1.5KM from Mall road. Nevertheless, we walked, walked, and walked - finally reached Mall road. We had breakfast at Central Perk - amazing restaurant in Shimla; they served huge Burgers (best burgers, any of us ever had). Feeling happy, all of us walked back to parking spot, drove to Annadale museum.

83.jpg

 

Annadale museum: Good place to have a look at old artillery, medals, flags of countries (army secured), uniforms, prototypes, etc.

85.jpg

 

Viceregal lodge (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies): Ranked #1 in the places to visit list, visited this place - one can visit this place to witness 19th century architecture.

84.jpg

 

Himachal state museum: It has various sections covering coins, cultures, history, sculptures, etc. - each has large collection of items to display. Below is the view from museum.

82.jpg

 

After driving around city for some time, we went back to hotel (reached by 4.15PM). Yet another good day for us (breakfast being highlight of the day) - we relaxed in hotel that evening. As we planned to drive early next morning, we packed our luggage, and slept early.

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Return journey

Day-11: (Shimla to Agra - 560KM)

We woke up early (it was too cold outside) and started driving at 4.30AM. After crossing occasional bad stretches of road in Himachal, we entered Chandigarh - it was a breeze to drive on highway (called, Grand trunk road). Visibility reduced to 50meters in Chandigarh/Punjab (we didn't face visibility issues in Himachal), and one has to be really careful while driving in foggy conditions (refer this article for driving tips in fog). We stopped at Punjabi place for breakfast - it was first time we witnessed Punjabi culture (people having food, singing and dancing - very vibrant, I must say).

 

We didn't take many breaks - it was breeze to drive again, after passing through dense Delhi traffic. We reached our destination (Agra) early (by 3PM, courtesy: Yamuna expressway). We weren't impressed with cleanliness in Agra (even some of the hotels looked shady). After visiting Taj Mahal, we went back to hotel, and called it a day (it was cold in Agra, too).

91.jpg

 

Day-12: (Agra to Nagpur - 834KM)

Consider relatively more distance to travel, we started early at 4.45AM (not the wisest of decisions, I'll explain why). Visibility was good to start with (less than 50m in Agra); once we crossed city, I was just clueless about road (visibility was less than 10m, I could hardly spot anything on road). I was terrified for the first time ever in a driving seat - I safely negotiated road till 6.20AM (couldn't spot occasional speed breakers).

 

Fog incident

It was 6.20AM; all of us were wide awake, looking outside to spot anything; all of a sudden, Google maps told us to take diversion (wasn't showing any road in front of us). We had to reverse, cross main road, and enter a narrow road (none of us were in a position to clearly think). Visibility became zero (almost) - switched off headlights, started driving slowly only with help of fog lamps (white lamps would hamper visibility under foggy conditions). We were driving on a shaky bridge - not even sure if it was broken; kept driving for about 200m, while I kept saying "this cannot be the road". After a while, we spotted a big boulder in the middle of road (figured out that it was an abandoned highway) - had to reverse while visibility was almost zero. There was nobody to guide us - finally we figured out that the road which were driving earlier was the correct one (newly laid out).

Summary: Never plan to drive in foggy conditions, especially in UP.

 

Fog continued for the next 1.5 hours (visibility was better). As usual, we had to drive slow near Jhansi stretch (bad stretch). Continued driving, took break every 1 hour, and reached Nagpur by 7PM. Relaxed for a while in hotel, stepped out to have dinner outside (it was delicious!). We came back to hotel, talked about drive that day (fog), and called it a day.

 

Day-13: (Nagpur to Hyderabad - 500KM)

Considering less distance to travel, we started at 6.30AM. It was familiar road again - NH44; safely negotiated occasional poor stretches in MH. All of us were happy when we entered TS (Adilabad). It didn't take much time for us to reach home (thanks to our roads) - we reached our starting point (home) by 2PM.

 

****End of a safe and happy (uneventful) road trip****

 

I'll post details about stays, expenses, snow driving, etc. in next post.

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Miscellaneous information

  • When does it snow in Manali Mid-December to mid-January would be the perfect time to witness snowfall in Manali.
  • Don't under-carry protective clothing One cannot drive without gloves in cold. Therefore, two layers of gloves (rain-proof outer ones) are suggested. Also, clothes available on rent (in Manali) won't be clean; so, better to carry 3-in-1 jackets (link) along with thermals.
  • Make sure to replace engine oil before you drive Thinner engine oil is desired in cold conditions (it won't freeze easily). However, no need to use winter-grade oil if you plan to stay there fore less than week.
  • Ensure battery is in good condition (Diesel) Starting diesel engines in cold conditions result in heavy load on battery (takes 3-5 seconds for car to start when you press "start" button).
  • Shovel (mini) comes handy when you get stuck in snow.

Driving on snowy paths

  • Tires Traction depends on tyre condition, load, and air pressure. Don't plan to drive on snow if car tires are nearing replacement (>30K KMs old).
  • Hard ice Hard ice provides least traction; therefore, vehicle would slip when driven on hard-ice.
  • While on snow Don't brake/accelerate hard while driving on snow; While on snow, brake only when you have to; when car comes to a stop in snow, it gets really difficult to gain traction.
  • When stuck on snow When stuck on big snow blocks, create a jerky motion - (1) Press accelerator hard (only once), so that you move front and come back; (2) While moving back, press accelerator hard again, so that you gain momentum to come out of snow.
  • **Tip** Don't press accelerator continuously - this would make ice beneath tire harder, making it much harder to gain traction.
  • **Tip** Reduce air pressure/increase load (make more people sit inside), to gain traction (when stock on snow).

Driving with sedans

Driving with sedans shouldn't be a problem while driving from here to Manali (poor stretches can be easily managed). Even in Manali, ground clearance won't be much of a problem (except on very big blocks of snow). Driving becomes difficult only when it snows (fresh snowfall) in Manali - otherwise, driving around won't be a problem.:) Also, municipal authorities regularly clear snow on street roads.

 

Stays/Resorts:

  1. Manali (Snow Valley Resorts) - 4.5K/night for 2 people (when booked 2 months in advance): All of us were very happy with food, hospitality, and cleanliness. Price includes room heater, breakfast and dinner (outside restaurants would be closed in winters) - food was simply amazing. Resort offers good parking space, great views (Himalayas), indoor games, and dance floor. They have branches in Dalhousie and Shimla too.
  2. Shimla (Hotel Kapil) - 3K/night for 2 people (when booked 2 months in advance): We weren't impressed with hospitality provided. Nevertheless, okay place to stay if you plan to roam outside most of the time. Price doesn't include food and room heater.
  3. Sagar, MP (Hotel Vardaan) - 1K/night: Okay place for money (gets noisy at the time of weddings) - has good parking space. Hotel Deepali is a good option, if you plan to stay a little longer in Sagar.
  4. Greater Noida (Gaba corporate suites) - 2K/night: There weren't any good places with decent parking space in Delhi; because of which, we chose to stay in Noida. Clean place to stay, has good parking space, and hospitality was good.
  5. Agra (Treebo White Inn) - 1.5K/night: It has decent parking space. We weren't happy with this place; poor maintenance and hospitality.
  6. Nagpur (Jog Center) - 2K/night: Clean place to stay, has good parking space, and hospitality was good.

Fuel: Spent around 20K on fuel (~7 full tanks of Diesel) for our 5K KM journey.

Tolls: Spent around 11K on tolls (to and fro).

 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions - I'll be happy to assist in planning.:)

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Completed reading your entire story, I can only appreciate the kind of true passion you have to undertake something of this magnitude, being a single driver. :)
 I have been to Manali and Shimla in monsoon but it is not so great.

In winter it is completely a different experience.

 

13 hours ago, Vinay** said:

Driving with sedans shouldn't be a problem

Me and Wife decided to drive down this year. Hope our Civic can do it.

 

13 hours ago, Vinay** said:

Stays/Resorts:

Very useful information.
 

13 hours ago, Vinay** said:

Spent around 11K on tolls for 5k kilometers

2/- per kilometre, very high. 
Generally it is around 1/- per kilometer.

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14 hours ago, Vinay** said:

 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions - I'll be happy to assist in planning.


Man! Thank you so much for the details. My plan already started. Will execute soon.

 

 

 

51 minutes ago, Ranger said:
Completed reading your entire story, I can only appreciate the kind of true passion you have to undertake something of this magnitude, being a single driver. 
 I have been to Manali and Shimla in monsoon but it is not so great.
In winter it is completely a different experience.
 
2/- per kilometre, very high. 
Generally it is around 1/- per kilometer.

 

Gowtham, what do you think about the fuel consumption of our civic? In general our fuel consumption will be avg of 12 to 14 kmpl in flat roads highways). And half of the way we will have flat roads. Rest Will be hill climb. As civic is naturally aspirated petrol engine, it 'll consume more in hill climb. We can't expect 10 kmpl also and we will be in 2nd or 3rd gear in the hill climb. Civic drinks a lot in 2nd & 3rd. For diesel he spent 11k as it's a turbo diesel car. For a naturally aspirated petrol engine it 'll be triple I think.

What's your opinion...

Sent from my S7 - Using India-Drive App
 

 

 

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Lovely travelogue with some beautiful pictures. Sikkim is one of my favourite places and your pictures reminded me of some of the places I visited. You are an inspiration to do a drive there from Hyderabad to Sikkim in this weather. Hopefully 2017 will be the year that I will drive down.

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58 minutes ago, Saran said:

Gowtham, what do you think about the fuel consumption of our civic?

Petrol price is around : 70/- per litre 

Average : 12 KMPL for my driving. (@saran not more 11KMPL for you. :P)

 

Distance: 5000 kilometers
Fuel price : 5000/12 X 70 = 30,000/- (roughly)

Toll : 11,000 /-

Total car expenses around : 40,000/- :ph34r:

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2 minutes ago, Ranger said:

 

Average : 12 KMPL for my driving. (@saran not more 11KMPL for you. :P)

:ph34r:

 

Are you sure that it's gonna give 11 - 12 kmpl in the ghats :ph34r:

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2 minutes ago, sagar said:

Are you sure that it's gonna give 11 - 12 kmpl in the ghats


Hyderabad to Delhi section, If we hold our horses, We may achieve 14 KMPL.
Ghat section around 10 KMPL, average can be somewhere around 11~12 KMPL (Conditions apply)

 

4 minutes ago, driveking said:

40k is too high.


Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer --

Inspired by the above quote. ;)

 

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Petrol price is around : 70/- per litre 
Average : 12 KMPL for my driving. (@saran not more 11KMPL for you. )
 
Distance: 5000 kilometers
Fuel price : 5000/12 X 70 = 30,000/- (roughly)
Toll : 11,000 /-

Total car expenses around : 40,000/- 


As Sagar said, 11 - 12 in ghats is little tough for any 1.8L naturally aspirated engine. Car will have goods also. While climbing up, ur fuel tank will be in inclined position and u 'll have more weight at the rear end. And, as I mentioned earlier, in those wet road condition, we will be driving low gears. So, to my math, 10 itself not possible (only ghats). Highways can get upto 12 - 13kmpl (I agree)

 
Are you sure that it's gonna give 11 - 12 kmpl in the ghats


Definitely not!


No words man, very passionately penned down review.
 
saran andranger
Haha
You guys are planning to drive in civic?
40k is too high.
 
Hehe.. yes...
vinay**
What is the EcoSport mileage?


I guess it would be around approx 19kmpl (highways). Ghats (atleast 15 to 16kmpl)


Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer --
Inspired by the above quote. 
 


Totally agreed to the quote

Sent from my S7 - Using India-Drive App

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Google maps average speed is interesting.


Total kilometers : 2099
Drive time : 36 hours


Average speed is around : 60 km/hr , which indicates good roads. 
Capture.JPG

 

 

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      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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