All India Road Trip

10:45 AM

Editor: Ankita Sinha,Gaurav Sinha

Fact File: Bangalore - Hubli - Pune -Mumbai - Daman - Surat - Vadodara - Ahmedabad - Udaipur - Jaipur - Ajmer - Kotputli - Chandigarh -Ludhiana -Jalandhar - Amritsar - Pathankot - Dharamsala - Mandi - Manali - Shimla - Delhi - Mathura - Agra - Jhansi - Jabalpur - Amarkantak - Bilaspur - Nagpur - Hyderabad - Bangalore

Time: 18 days

Total Distance: 8545 km

Date of Start: 30th Sept 2010

Meet the Family : Gaurav Sinha(star driver) ,Ankita Sinha(Sister),Karuna Sinha(Mother),Bijay Kumar Sinha(Father)

Some journeys are insane yet incredibly beautiful. In Sept 2010,my brother came up with a unique idea of driving All India covering thousands of kilometers and by our 11 year old non-AC Maruti 800. We drafted a rough plan, as to how many days it will take, printed a few road maps and finally took the seemingly impossible plunge. Here’s a quick glance on how we did it:

Day 1-2: Bangalore - Hubli - Pune (890kms)

Bangalore-Pune is a long journey and we started early in the morning at around 7:00 AM to avoid traffic at Bangalore outskirts, and cover Pune in a day. The journey from Bangalore-Pune is smooth and took us around 14 hours on a non-stop drive where we stopped at Hubli for lunch and reached Pune at around 9:00 PM. Luckily, our car stopped just in front of our hotel and not in the middle of a highway which would have thrown our plans for a toss. Due to overexertion on the car and after checking it up with the local mechanics they said our alternator need to be fixed, so we had to extend our stay at Pune for one more day. The culture in Pune is predominantly cosmopolitan mostly students, the weather was great. We explored the nearby city mall, and walked around Pune to get a glimpse of the city. End of day2.

Day 3: Pune-Mumbai-Daman-Surat (449kms)

The Pune Mumbai 6-lane high speed expressway is a cakewalk for drivers. The stretch of long non-stop roads along with numerous tunnels on the way made the journey of around 2 hours worth.  At a point, there were two diversions - one leading to Lonawala and the other to Mumbai. The hills on the way to Lonavala though much greener bore stark resemblance to the ones around Bangalore, we would have definitely visited Lonavala but our Mom was reaching Surat in the evening so we proceeded towards Mumbai. Mumbai welcomed us with traffic jams. That’s when we thought of heading straight to the unexplored Daman.While travelling to such long journeys, you often witness changes of temperature, quite evitable on the Mumbai-Surat road journey. While Mumbai was humid and hot, Daman was burning.The beaches of Daman are cluttered, dirty and black. The popular beaches "Nagoa","Gogma","Jallandhar" are not really worth visiting.Though we had heard the Diu counterpart is better but then Diu is almost 660 kms from Daman and is on a completely different route altogether. The drive in Daman city is itself very confusing.  Gujrat smiled us at Surat next. My Mom joined us at Surat and we were very happy to see her. Surat really isn’t a travel destination for the adventurers but there are some temples nearby and the diamonds and saree of Surat are world-famous. Even though I am not really interested in these things my Mom was very excited. Remember her broad smile on that day, I can safely say that girls will not be disappointed here. It served as a perfect stopover for the night where we did some shopping and went to some popular temples. Next day we would be covering whole of Gujarat.

Day 4: Surat-Vadodra-Ahmedabad(263 kms)

Vadodara has a rich historical background and is the town of educational insitutes.In Vadodara, We visited  the Indian railways training institute where my dad was commissioned as an Officer in the railways and then proceeded towards Ahmadabad, Gujarat’s most commercialized township and one of the fastest growing city in India. South east of Ahmadabad is the artificial Kankaria lake, which was near to where we stayed. We visited the temples, Kankaria Lake and the local markets. As we were going back to the hotel which was nearby Ahmedabad Railway Station, we were stuck in the worst traffic jam that we encountered in the whole trip of ours. We were literally stuck for more than 2 hours and we reached our hotel at 10:00 PM in the night, far far behind what we had initially planned.

Day 5: Ahmadabad-Udaipur-Ajmer (525 kms)

Next day we had planned to reach Ajmer by the evening.  We had two choices, to go via Udaipur or to go via Chittorgarh. I am not sure whether we did the correct thing or not but we selected the Udaipir route which is more popular. At the same time, I would like to inform everyone that people say Chittorgarh route is very scenic. We started from Ahmedabad at 7:00 AM and reached Udaipur at 11:30 AM. Udaipur palace is no doubt one of the most majestic palaces in India. The city's famous Lake palace sits proudly on Jal Niwas or Lake Pichola.The palace was splendid. We clicked some photographs and then proceeded towards Ajmer and reache there in the evening. Ajmer is famous for the Ajmer Sharif dargah. Thankfully, one of the Imam at the dargah is in the same organization as my father and he organized a fantastic visit of the whole dargah on the same night.

Day 6: Ajmer - Pushkar - Jaipur-Kotputli (274 kms)

Planned: Ajmer -Gurgaon
Reached Ajmer - Charkhi dadri (haryana)

Next morning, we went to Pushkar which is only half an hour from Ajmer city. It is a famous place all over India for its fair as well as the numerous temples. It has the only Brahma temple in the whole country. After visiting some of the temples, we started for Jaipur. We reached Jaipur at 11:00 AM. We thought of spending 3 hours there. Jaipur is bursting with forts, museums and palaces. Famous for the Bandej sarees, we explored the city as much as we could. With such shortage of time and also because I have gone to this city earlier, we only visited the forts from the outside. After taking our lunch,we started from Jaipur at 2:00 PM. Our next stop was to be Gurgaon but when its old Maruti 800 and the light is dim, it’s difficult to find out what has gone wrong.  We realized we should have atleast carried one emergency light with us. We were stuck at the highway at around 7 pm and our car just didn't move. The worst part being on the Gurgaon-Jaipur highway particularly at night, getting help from stranger is a pretty tall task. There are lots of vehicles zooming at high speeds which just doesn’t stop and there is no one who is walking who could have referred us to the local garages.With two ladies (my mother and me) and my brother, we managed to find respite in the interiors of Haryana around half an hour drive from Kotputli, our vehicle towed to theirs. The best part about road journeys are the people we meet along. It turned out to be one of the most memorable stays. Village all around, unperturbed by beeps and honks, simple people and great food. 

I have never had such a pure dhud(milk) in my whole life and freshly prepared vegies from the khet with the ghee roti.Loved every bit of the experience.Wish we'd stayed there more..But as they say,we had to go!

Day 7: Kotputli- Chandigarh (310kms)

Next morning, we checked the car and we found out that there was no major problem in the car, just one of the wires connecting to the battery was loose! We were relieved and we thought we can skip Gurgaon as we will be coming to Delhi later anyways. We proceed towards Chandigarh bypassing Delhi. Delhi-Chandigarh highway is favorites with delhites.Though our journey was from Charkhi dadri (haryana)- Chandigarh crossing Jhajhar,Rohtak,Sonepat,Panipat,Ambala,Chandigarh.The interior roads in haryana ,at that time ,was broken and many a times not even a concrete road. As the area was flooded a month back, the journey turned into an adventurous bumpy ride with views of flooded villages. A journey of even 10 kms was taking as long as half an hour and our only goal was to somehow connect to the highway, thankfully, Kurushethra was where we connected, and we reached Chandigarh by night.

Day8: Chandigarh - Ludhiana- Jalandhar - Amritsar (242 kms)

Punjab is quite synonymous with Amritsar for the golden temple and Chandigarh for the rock gardens. For us, we just spent a couple of hours driving around Chandigarh and then we started off for Amritsar. Chandigarh-Amritsar at some sections are definitely good with green fields and water bodies like beautiful canals and rivers on the way. Punjab after all means the land of five rivers. The road from Jalandhar was crowded and had bad traffic. We reached Amritsar by noon and went straight to the famous Jalianwala bagh and Golden Temple. Then was the visit to Wagah border to witness the ceremony and I was completely overwhelmed , it’s a feeling I cannot describe. Anyone who is going to Amritsar must visit the Wagah border. Then we visited the Golden Temple at night again and the lighting there was spectacular.

Day 9: Amtrisar-Pathankot-Dharamsala - Palampur (211kms)

The view of the hills along the route is very beautiful and for some time, we felt like we were in heaven. Unlike other hill stations, the road leading to Dharamshala is very very narrow and a very steep climb.Dharamsala is untouched by commercialization hence the beauty is intact. Dharamsala is home to the Dalai Lama. Tsuglag Khang the temple complex houses Buddhist monastery - Namgyal Monatry from where Dalai Lama performs prayers.  Famous with foreigners and tourists, we loved the monastery. We had booked hotel at Palampur so we visited the Chamunda Devi temple which comes in between Dharamsala and Palampur.

Day 10: Dharamsala-Mandi- Manali (245kms)

Our next destination was Manali. A special thanks to the Indian military which has built up a long tunnel which has shortened the journey to Manali by about 50 kms. One of the very interesting feature about this trip was the hills on one side and the free flowing river Beas on another with many waterfalls enroute. Every scene was picturesque and we clicked as many pictures as we could. Manali welcomed us with panoramic views of snow laden mountains. We reached Manali at noon and for the rest of the day, visited most of the important tourist places around Manali.

Day 11: Manali-Shimla(248kms)

Shimla Tattapani hot sulphur springs was on the Manali- Shimla route,famous for the healing properties of water and we enjoyed going to the hot springs as well. Mall road is the lifeline of Shimla and we absolutely loved our experience walking down the mall road. I bought some woolens there but you need to bargain hard.

Day 12: Shimla-Delhi(367kms)

Just around 1 and a half hour drive from Shimla is the famous Naina Devi Temple located on the hillock, the road is steep and we got lucky that our car didn’t break down in between. We visited the temple and started our journey towards Delhi. We took our lunch at the McDonald’s and reached Delhi at 5:00 PM. There’s something about India gate in Delhi that's so nostalgic. A must visit for everyone : janpath and the India Gate. Our father joined us at Delhi who suggested us that we should avoid Uttarakhand and Bihar as because of the recent floods the roads were severely damaged. So we decided to cut our itinerary short by going straight to Jhansi.

Day 13 : Delhi-Mathura-Vrindavan-Agra-Jhansi(428 kms)

Mathura, a little town,birth place of Lord Krishna comes in the way of delhi-agra road. After visiting Hari Krishna Janm Bhumi , Vishram Ghat , Dwarkadeesh Temple , Gita mandir, Nidhivan , Seva Kunj and Banke Bihare Temple and crossing fatehpur seekri near Agra,we reached Agra. Agra is famous for Taj Mahal,and it truly deserves the title of "one of the seven wonders of world”. A visit to Agra isn’t complete without a visit to Taj Mahal. We also tried Badia,petha and Jalebi,famous in Agra.  Agra is also home to one of the biggest fort in India, the famous Agra fort from where King Akhbar ruled the country.  We reached Jhansi in the evening at 6:00 PM. Our parents were tired and we took a well-deserved rest.

Day14 : Jhansi-Sagar-Jabalpur(400 kms)

Next morning we went to the fort at Jhansi which is very well maintained, compact and worth seeing. Rani Lakshmibai, one of the most famous fighter of our country had used this very fort. After spending some time in Jhansi, we proceeded towards Jabalpur.  After accumulating lots of dirt in the ongoing road trip, our car gave up at a town known as Sagar. Quite an irony, as there is no sea nearby! But we again got lucky and our car stopped right in front of the mechanic’s shop. He charged only Rs.200 for cleaning the carburetor but it took him more than 3 hours. We were already running very late so we asked him if there is any shortcut to Jabalpur. He said to us there is an alternate route which is much shorter but in between comes a jungle and in a stretch of over 20 kms, there is absolutely no road. We thought we have no other choice because had we taken the longer route we would have reached Jabalpur very late. The road was great for the first 20 km or so but then started the nightmare.  Maruti 800 is a very small car and its not meant for jungle roads but we took the risk and plunged into the jungle. We literally crossed little rivers and the tyres gave up after some time. We became quite anxious and changed the punctured tyre as quickly as we could have done. Then came a small bridge and horrible was over. We realized we were extremely lucky as we didn’t had any more spare tyres. We finally reached Jabalpur at 8:00 PM.

Day15: Jabbalpur-Amarkantak-Bilaspur(323kms)

At Jabalpur,we took the cable car over the Narmada River at Bhedaghat from where the bird’s eye view of Dhuandhar Falls and Marble Rocks is amazing. We also did boat cruise at bhedaghat. Of all the road trips we have taken so far,this route is one of the best and most scenic. With flowers alongside the road, the route took us by surprise. In the midway, comes Amarkantak,which is a hill station as well as a famous pilgrimage spot in MP.We visited the famous Narmada temple, the place where river Narmada originates and then we started off for Bilaspur.

Day16:Bilaspur-Nagpur(392 kms)

Lata mangeshkar musical garden at Nagpur is a landscaped garden and lawn. The garden also has the musical fountain. We visited the Mahavir Mandir,ganapati temple along with Lata Mangeshkar Musical Garden.

Day17: Nagpur-Hyderabad(490 kms)

Located in the middle of the Old City, Charminar is a major landmark of Hyderabad which we cannot ignore as the monument is situated right at the heart of the city.We started off from Hyderabad next morning.

Day18: Hyderabad -Bangalore(570kms)

End of the journey. What a great and memorable trip it was!

Sorry guys for very less pics,and no videos..The road trip was way back in 2010,may be next time,we have lots of videos and pics 4 u..Till then happy reading :)

Travel Tips:
1)Plan properly (Destination,current road conditions etc  etc)
2)Know your limits(Start with small road trips and then proceed to something like this)
3)Don’t panic when in trouble
4)Carry all the emergency items

                                    The All India Road Trip On Outlook Traveller July Edition!

You Might Also Like


  1. Sounds wonderful with all the adventures, though must have been so tiring! :)

  2. @sunil: well,it was hectic and tiring at some sectors(haryana to punjab was a nightmare) otherwise it was a beautiful journey with so much to see enroute that at the end it was all worth it :)

  3. Wow! great tour

    thanks for sharing wonderful moments occured during the travel

  4. Thanks Krishna..Yeah it was a nice journey with great people and wonderful moments.I dun think any country apart from India would offer such unreasonable adventures(potholes on roads,animals,driving in rivers..etc etc)..

  5. Very encouraging Ankita. I and my husband are planning to do something similar sometime in Dec 2012. Could you share an approx. travel cost for the entire trip?


  6. Hey deepa,for us cost wasn't an issue,except the cost of petrol,as my dad is in railways and lodging was arranged at places.All the best for your trip in Dec :).Though if you want it to be budget,you can purchase a lonely planet guidebook,and stay at homestays or hotels which are relatively cheaper.That would cut down cost considerably.

  7. Wow! the trip looks beautiful. I wish i could do something like this in the near future.

  8. sounds lovely.. I always wanted to do it but need to learn to drive before it :p I did a Pune -> Mumbai -> Pune by my 100cc bike and it was amazing. Cant even begin to imagine how wonderful driving 8000+ km would be. Need some heart to pull something like this.

    PS: I wished for this : Pune -> Goa -> Trivandrum (already stayed to 3 months) -> Kanyakumari -> Pondichery -> Chennai (I lived here for 3 years) -> Vishakhpatnam -> Bhuvaneshwar -> Raipur (my in-laws place) -> Amarkantak -> Jabalpur (hometown) -> Jhansi-Agra -> Naitinal -> Chandigarh -> Shimla/Chandigarh -> Bikaner -> Ajmer -> Udaipur -> Ahmedabad -> Surat -> Mumbai -> Lonavala -> Pune

    But I dont think its possible within this year. But will do it sometime for sure. Thanks for sharing ur experience and the traveling tips

  9. Thanks for sharing the story, cheers to your adventures and courage:-)

  10. Impressed by your move..Infact i too planning an all india trip from south to north along with my brothers ..Soi would like to take your advice to make our journey safe an adventurous.

  11. Wow! This is such a fantastic idea, and I think I might have just been tempted to plan one of my own :) Thank you for the inspiration Ankita :)

  12. This is great! Kudos! Fantastic account of the road trip and great photographs!

  13. Awesome journey with all the lovely places....


Please introduce yourself here.

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images