Noida to Rameswaram road trip via the Eastern Ghats || A Challenging, Intense, and Enriching Journey through Six States of India

My sabbatical was coming up and I would have nearly 1 month off. I wanted to do something memorable during this time and be at a beautiful place while doing that "something memorable". Ghats was the natural choice. One of our friends enidhi suggested two likely itineraries :


My sabbatical was coming up and I would have nearly 1 month off. I wanted to do something memorable during this time and be at a beautiful place while doing that "something memorable". Ghats was the natural choice. One of our friends Shrinidhi suggested two likely itineraries :






Both the itineraries sounded interesting to us. However, it seemed difficult that we would be able to take more than 15 days off so we really needed one focal point and weave an itinerary around it. Both of us have seen much of Western Ghats, so we decided to do Eastern Ghats this time. After a bit of thought we decided on the following approximate plan, that was a combination of both the itineraries and was focused on the Eastern Ghats. 

Onward Journey:



Return Journey:



However, we were clear at the outset that this was to be our guiding plan and we would need to stay flexible. Our target would be Rameswaram and we would need to make both onward and return journeys exciting. We did not want to commit to any city as a stop and therefore we decided not to make any hotel bookings upfront. 

While were were excited about this journey, we were also very nervous. We were not sure if we would be able to sustain. We were not sure if we would be able to navigate all challenges that an unplanned, long road journey is likely to pose. We had done road trips earlier, but nothing as long or as diverse as this one. Till the very last day, till the moment we set out, both of us were secretly considering if we should call it off. But we did not share our anxieties with each other, and I think that was the best decision we made (before the road trip, during the road trip we made many more good decisions).

While were were excited about this journey, we were also very nervous. We were not sure if we would be able to sustain. We were not sure if we would be able to navigate all challenges that an unplanned, long road journey is likely to pose. We had done road trips earlier, but nothing as long or as diverse as this one. Till the very last day, till the moment we set out, both of us were secretly considering if we should call it off. But we did not share our anxieties with each other, and I think that was the best decision we made (before the road trip; during the road trip we made many more good decisions). 

So at 4AM on Saturday 10th December 2022, with our two suitcases, cameras, binoculars, and some sandwiches packed, we set out in our MG Hector from our place in Noida. Following is our day-wise itinerary:

So at 4AM on Saturday 10th December 2022, with our two suitcases, cameras, binoculars, and some sandwiches packed, we set out in our MG Hector from our place in Noida. Following is our day-wise itinerary:

Day 1: Noida to Bhopal (A valuable lesson in terms of hotel bookings)  As per our plan, we would stretch on the first two days so that we could reach South India early. So we drove almost 747 kilometers on this day. We started at 4 AM and reached Bhopal at 4:30 PM, after taking just one food break enroute. It also helped that we had stuffed ourselves before leaving home. We stopped at Shivpuri, where we had some of the sandwiches we had packed and tea and one paratha from the dhaba.

Day 1: Noida to Bhopal (A valuable lesson in terms of hotel bookings)

As per our plan, we would stretch on the first two days so that we could reach southern India early. We drove almost 747 kilometers on this day. We started at 4 AM and reached Bhopal at 4:30 PM, after taking just one food break enroute. It also helped that we had stuffed ourselves before leaving home. We stopped at Shivpuri, where we had some of the sandwiches we had packed and tea and one paratha from the dhaba.  


At Bhopal, we headed straight toward the Upper Lake after taking a few wrong turns, thanks to the wrong tagging in Google. We asked our way around to the promenade around the beautiful lake. We were in time to witness the glorious sunset and that felt like a good culmination of the day's travel. However, after that we had our hotel misadventure.

At Bhopal, we headed straight toward the Upper Lake after taking a few wrong turns, thanks to the wrong tagging in Google. We asked our way around to the promenade around the beautiful lake. We were in time to witness the glorious sunset and that felt like a good culmination of the day's travel. However, after that we had our hotel misadventure. 

We searched for hotels near us using Google and used booking.com to book the hotel that fit our criteria (budget, parking, cleanliness etc). Then we drove to it. However, it turned out that he hotel was in really congested streets of medicine market and the parking that it had was underground. It would be impossible to maneuver our car in and out of it. Since we had already paid for the booking, we were left with no other option but to stay there because the hotel wasn't co-operative in waiving booking charges. So we parked our car at some distance from the hotel and then spent a restless night there.

We searched for hotels near us using Google and used booking.com to book the hotel that fit our criteria (budget, parking, cleanliness etc). Then we drove to it. However, it turned out that the hotel was in really congested streets of medicine market and the parking that it had was underground. It would be impossible to maneuver our car in and out of it. Since we had already paid for the booking, we were left with no other option but to stay there because the hotel wasn't co-operative in waiving booking charges. So we parked our car at some distance from the hotel and then spent a restless night there. 

However, this misadventure taught us valuable lesson for future hotel bookings. We decided that we would look at the rooms and the parking ourselves before making the booking. For all the remaining nights we made bookings at the counter of the hotels after surveying the rooms and parking spaces.

However, this misadventure taught us a valuable lesson for future hotel bookings. We decided that we would look at the rooms and the parking ourselves before making the booking. For all the remaining nights we made bookings at the counter of the hotels after surveying the rooms and parking spaces. 


Day 2: Bhopal to Hyderabad (Useful Advice by a Local Restauranteur in Telangana)

On Day 2, we had planned to reach Nizamabad. However, the confidence that one food joint owner in Telangana expressed in us pushed us forward to Hyderabad. But more on that in a few minutes. For now, let us focus on the day's summary.


On Day 2, we had planned to reach Nizamabad. However, the confidence that one food joint owner in Telangana expressed in us pushed us forward to Hyderabad. But more on that in a few minutes. For now, let us focus on the day's summary.

We started our day early once again at 4 AM, and drove past the Satpura Reserve Forest, which was a little adventurous because the road was under construction. We decided to not let the events of the last evening dampen our spirits, and as if in order to help this thought further, Madhya Pradesh offered us the perfect place for breakfast right next to a stunning lake near Partapur. We had poha and tea there, while admiring some beautiful birds. This is where we also spotted our first Common Kingfisher.

We started our day early once again at 4 AM, and drove past the Satpura Reserve Forest, which was a little adventurous because the road was under construction. We decided to not let the events of the last evening dampen our spirits, and as if in order to help this thought further, Madhya Pradesh offered us the perfect place for breakfast right next to a stunning lake near Partapur. We had poha and tea there, while admiring some beautiful birds. This is where we also spotted our first Common Kingfisher.  

On Day 2, we also crossed Maharashtra. We drove past Nagpur where we noticed orange orchards along the sides of the road and this is also where we noticed the first kapaas farms. And this is also where we were first stopped by the police. In fact, throughout the journey, this was the only time when we were stopped by the police. I (Vibha) was driving at this time and the policeman asked for my Driving License and the papers of the car. He made cursory inquiry about where we were headed. We answered "Rameswaram". He asked us the purpose and then commented that we have a long way to go. And after that he let us pass. And the roads here were quite bad too.

We crossed into Telangana at around 4 PM and had planned to stay at Nizamabad. However, the owner of the restaurant where we had our lunch told us that we can comfortably reach Hyderabad. This boosted our confidence and we decided to follow his advice. This would also mean that we would be able to make the next day more productive. 

So we continued past Nizamabad and Adilabad to Hyderabad. There we wanted to take a hotel that was close to the highway so that we wouldn't take much time in the morning. So we took the Hyderabad Outer Ring Road and spent the night at a hotel close to the Airport. As was our practice in this trip, we retired early. 

We had driven 850 kilometers that day and for almost 16 hours. It helped that both of us drive, otherwise this would not have been possible. 

Day 3: Hyderabad to Madanapalle (the day we actually started our sightseeing)

Once again we started at 4AM, and drove into Andhra Pradesh past some stunning landscapes of granite hills. By this time, we were also in the zone hit by the Cyclone Mandous and skies were cloudy and it had started drizzling. We first stopped at Belum Caves to explore the mystifying network of underground passages. These caves were once occupied by Jain and Buddhist Monks and traces of human settlements have been found ranging till 4500 BC. 

The caves are the second-largest cave system in the Indian Subcontinent and are known for their stalagmite and stalactite formations. At the deepest point of the cave (46 meter / 151 feet), there is a constant waterfall that is known as Patalganga.  It is tough to explore these caves as the airflow, despite the airflow ducts that have been created by the authorities, is restricted and at places the caves get really narrow and very low.

The caves are the second-largest cave system in the Indian Subcontinent and are known for their stalagmite and stalactite formations. At the deepest point of the cave (46 meter / 151 feet), there is a constant waterfall that is known as Patalganga.

It is tough to explore these caves as the airflow, despite the airflow ducts that have been created by the authorities, is restricted and at places the caves get really narrow and very low. 

After Belum Caves, we headed to Gandikota. And for that we had to drive through the interiors of Andhra. The roads here could have been better and the traffic less noisy. But the destination took our breath away. Not only is Gandikota Fort an understated, yet worthy destination, the Gandikota Canyon is really grand too. We got a little drenched because of the constant drizzle, but it was completely worth it.

After Belum Caves, we headed to Gandikota. And for that we had to drive through the interiors of Andhra. The roads here could have been better and the traffic less noisy. But the destination took our breath away. Not only is Gandikota Fort an understated, yet worthy destination, the Gandikota Canyon is really grand too. We got a little drenched because of the constant drizzle, but it was completely worth it. 

And the biryani we had outside Gandikota fort after fasting for nearly 24 hours was worth it too. It was simply amazing and our first taste of authentic dum biryani down south. By this time, we had switched from tea to filter coffee and even though we couldn't get coffee at Gandikota, we made a brief stop for it on our way.

And the biryani we had outside Gandikota fort after fasting for nearly 24 hours was worth it too. It was simply amazing and our first taste of authentic dum biryani down south. By this time, we had switched from tea to filter coffee and even though we couldn't get coffee at Gandikota, we made a brief stop for it on our way. 

By now we were debating where to search for a hotel for our night stay. We didn't want to stay at Gandikota because the drive next day to Thanjavur would be hectic. Moreover, the hotels we saw didn't appear exciting. Our next planned stop was at Horsley hills, so we decided to book a hotel at Madanapalle, which was about 30 kilometers from Horsley Hills. And we were fortunate to find a good option.   This is where we had our first dosa and it was amazing. It was a simple, family-run restaurant right next to our hotel. We packed it up with an amazing cup of coffee at a popular outlet on the street.

By now we were debating where to search for a hotel for our night stay. We didn't want to stay at Gandikota because the drive next day to Thanjavur would be hectic. Moreover, the hotels we saw didn't appear exciting. Our next planned stop was at Horsley hills, so we decided to book a hotel at Madanapalle, which was about 30 kilometers from Horsley Hills. And we were fortunate to find a good option. 

This is where we had our first dosa and it was amazing. It was a simple, family-run restaurant right next to our hotel. We packed it up with an amazing cup of coffee at a popular outlet on the street. 

Day 4: Madanapalle to Thanjavur (the day we met cyclone Mandous)


The next morning was really cloudy and we were not sure how much of Horsley Hills we would actually be able to explore. So we decided to head to our next destination, Thanjavur or Tanjore. On the way though, we took a little detour toward Vellore and Tiruvannamalai.

The next morning was really cloudy and we were not sure how much of Horsley Hills we would actually be able to explore. So we decided to head to our next destination, Thanjavur or Tanjore. On the way though, we took a little detour toward Vellore and Tiruvannamalai. 

We drove into the premises of Vellore Fort, explored the CSI St John's Church, the Jalangandeeswarar Temple and Museums inside. We could not explore the palaces though because the way to them are blocked by the Police Training Academy that has come up there. They don't allow people to visit the palaces anymore.

We drove into the premises of Vellore Fort, explored the CSI St John's Church, the Jalangandeeswarar Temple and Museums inside. We could not explore the palaces though because the way to them are blocked by the Police Training Academy that has come up there. They don't allow people to visit the palaces anymore.  

We then proceeded to Tiruvannamalai. Apart from the splendid Annamalaiyar temple, the town also has some really special ancient meditation caves that are still popular among those interested in exploring spirituality. It takes a bit of a trek, of which we were blissfully unaware at the time, to get to these meditation points.

We then proceeded to Tiruvannamalai. Apart from the splendid Annamalaiyar temple, the town also has some really special ancient meditation caves that are still popular among those interested in exploring spirituality. It takes a bit of a trek, of which we were blissfully unaware at the time, to get to these meditation points. 

The first of these meditation points is the Virupaksha Caves. We saw several yogis deep in meditation here. There are signs politely requesting visitors to maintain silence and to turn off their mobile phones. The atmosphere of this place is amazing and so is the aura of the people who you find meditating here.

The first of these meditation points is the Virupaksha Caves. We saw several yogis deep in meditation here. There are signs politely requesting visitors to maintain silence and to turn off their mobile phones. The atmosphere of this place is amazing and so is the aura of the people who you find meditating here. 

A short but steep trek from this place is Skandasramam, another meditation point where Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi lived from 1916 to 1922. This place is also silent and beautiful and a few 100 meters from here is the viewpoint from where you get a panoramic view of the Annamalaiyar temple.

A short but steep trek from this place is Skandasramam, another meditation point where Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi lived from 1916 to 1922. This place is also silent and beautiful and a few 100 meters from here is the viewpoint from where you get a panoramic view of the Annamalaiyar temple.

By this time, the rain finally caught up with us and it rained incessantly while we were trekking back to our car. We got badly drenched but came back happy.

By this time, the rain finally caught up with us and it rained incessantly while we were trekking back to our car. We got badly drenched but came back happy. 

Our drive on to Thanjavur was really pleasant after we managed to change into dry clothes. And we found a great family-run restaurant that served parotta and korma, and fried rice. It was tasty food.

Our drive on to Thanjavur was really pleasant after we managed to change into dry clothes. And we found a great family-run restaurant that served parotta and korma, and fried rice. It was tasty food. 

We reached Thanjavur at around 7 and found a decent hotel very close to the Brihadeeswara temple. After checking into the hotel, we went in search of food and didn't have to go too far. We found another family-run restaurant close by where we had hot dosa and idlis with chutney and sambhar. It was lovely and a perfect way to close our day.

We reached Thanjavur at around 7 and found a decent hotel very close to the Brihadeeswara temple. After checking into the hotel, we went in search of food and didn't have to go too far. We found another family-run restaurant close by where we had hot dosa and idlis with chutney and sambhar. It was lovely and a perfect way to close our day. 

Day 5: Thanjavur to Rameshwaram via Tiruchirapalli (The day we drove on the bridge across the Indian Ocean)

Day 5: Thanjavur to Rameshwaram via Tiruchirapalli (The day we drove on the bridge across the Indian Ocean)

We woke up to a foggy morning and started our day with a visit to the magnificent Brihadishvara Temple or the Big Temple. The huge Shikhara was shrouded in mist and looked incredible appearing out of it as we walked toward it. The temple had no hassles such as a restriction on carrying mobile phones, clothes as long as one is conservatively dressed, restriction on clicking pictures, except inside the temple structures. We felt free and the weather was good too.


We woke up to a foggy morning and started our day with a visit to the magnificent Brihadishvara Temple or the Big Temple. The huge Shikhara was shrouded in mist and looked incredible appearing out of it as we walked toward it. The temple had no hassles such as a restriction on carrying mobile phones, clothes as long as one is conservatively dressed, restriction on clicking pictures, except inside the temple structures. We felt free and the weather was good too. 

The temple was ornately carved and was an overwhelming structure overall. It felt humbling to be in its presence. It was difficult to believe that this architectural marvel was built in the 11th century. It is a fine specimen of the Chola Architecture.

The temple was ornately carved and was an overwhelming structure overall. It felt humbling to be in its presence. It was difficult to believe that this architectural marvel was built in the 11th century. It is a fine specimen of the Chola Architecture. 

After this, we had breakfast at the local coffee shop where vadas were being fried. We had a couple of vadas with coffee and couldn't have asked for anything better than that. After that we checked out and set out in our car to explore the rest of the city.

After this, we had breakfast at the local coffee shop where vadas were being fried. We had a couple of vadas with coffee and couldn't have asked for anything better than that. After that we checked out and set out in our car to explore the rest of the city. 

We visited the Thanjavur Palace and saw the amazing Saraswati Mahal Library along with the bell tower and Maratha Palace. After spending a couple of hours here, we started for Tiruchirapalli or Trichy. At the museum inside Vellore Fort, we had found out about this temple and had decided to try to adjust it into our itinerary. We had found a good route from Thanjavur to Rameswaram through Trichy, which would take us about an hour extra. It seemed like a good tradeoff.

We visited the Thanjavur Palace and saw the amazing Saraswati Mahal Library along with the bell tower and Maratha Palace. After spending a couple of hours here, we started for Tiruchirapalli or Trichy. At the museum inside the Vellore Fort, we had found out about this temple and had decided to try to adjust it into our itinerary. We had found a good route from Thanjavur to Rameswaram through Trichy, which would take us about an hour extra. It seemed like a good tradeoff. 

In Trichy, we visited the Ranganathaswamy temple, which was quite spectaclar and then started our drive to Rameshwaram. The sun had set by the time we reached close to the ocean. It was fascinating to observe the land getting narrower and narrower and ocean getting closer in Google Maps. And soon we had crossed over to the Pamban Island on which the city of Rameswaram is located via the much-photographed Pamban bridge.

In Trichy, we visited the Ranganathaswamy temple, which was quite spectaclar and then started our drive to Rameshwaram. The sun had set by the time we reached close to the ocean. It was fascinating to observe the land getting narrower and narrower and ocean getting closer in Google Maps. And soon we had crossed over to the Pamban Island on which the city of Rameswaram is located via the much-photographed Pamban bridge.

In Trichy, we visited the Ranganathaswamy temple, which was quite spectacular and then started our drive to Rameshwaram. The sun had set by the time we reached close to the ocean. It was fascinating to observe the land getting narrower and narrower and ocean getting closer in Google Maps. And soon we had crossed over to the Pamban Island on which the city of Rameswaram is located via the much-photographed Pamban bridge. 

After locating a suitable hotel, we checked in and headed out for dinner. We had parottas and Korma that day and then turned in for the night satisfied that we had reached the farthest point of our journey on Day 5 and that a lot still remained to be explored.

After locating a suitable hotel, we checked in and headed out for dinner. We had parottas and Korma that day and then turned in for the night satisfied that we had reached the farthest point of our journey on Day 5 and that a lot still remained to be explored. 

Day 6: Exploring Rameswaram (Dhanushkodi, Ram Setu, and APJ Abdul Kalam's legacy)  We started our day with an early morning visit to the last drivable point of India's territory. This narrow section of land (literally on road) with beaches on both the sides is quite a site to behold. It is known as Dhanushkodi and we visited it in order to view the sunrise. And from there you can see sections of Ram Setu heading off to Srilanka. After Dhanushkodi, we visited Vibhishan Teertham, which is a temple located in the middle of the ocean connected by a drivable bridge. This is said to be the place where Shree Ram did the Rajyabhishek of Vibhishan.
 
Day 6: Exploring Rameswaram (Dhanushkodi, Ram Setu, and APJ Abdul Kalam's legacy)

We started our day with an early morning visit to the last drivable point of India's territory. This narrow section of land (literally just a road) with beaches on both the sides is quite a sight to behold. It is known as Dhanushkodi and we visited it in order to view the sunrise. And from there you can see sections of Ram Setu heading off to Srilanka. After Dhanushkodi, we visited Vibhishan Teertham, which is a temple located in the middle of the ocean connected by a drivable bridge. This is said to be the place where Shree Ram did the Rajyabhishek of Vibhishan. 

Then we returned to the city and started our day with a breakfast of Idlis and Pongal at a nice family-run restaurant. After this we visited APJ Abdul Kalam’s ancestral home, which has now been converted to a museum. And then we visited Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple or the Rameshwaram Temple, which is one of 12 Jyotirlingas. Here we were asked to leave our cameras and mobile phones in a locker outside as it wasn't allowed to carry it in.

Then we returned to the city and started our day with a breakfast of Idlis and Pongal at a nice family-run restaurant. After this we visited APJ Abdul Kalam’s ancestral home, which has now been converted to a museum. And then we visited Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple or the Rameshwaram Temple, which is one of 12 Jyotirlingas. Here we were asked to leave our cameras and mobile phones in a locker outside as they weren't allowed inside. 

Through the day we visited several other temples and Teerthams, among them the panchmukhi Hanuman Temple where one can see the floating rocks that were apparently used to build the Ram Setu.

Through the day we visited several other temples and Teerthams, among them the panchmukhi Hanuman Temple where one can see the floating rocks that were supposedly used to build the Ram Setu. 

We concluded the day around the ocean appreciating the sunset among fishermen on a local beach with an excellent view of the Pamban bridge. This is not a tourist beach. We just ended up there while we were searching for a sandy beach to spend some time on.

We concluded the day around the ocean appreciating the sunset among fishermen on a local beach with an excellent view of the Pamban bridge. This is not a tourist beach. We just ended up there while we were searching for a sandy beach to spend some time on. 

We wrapped up our day with a feast of Chicken Kizhi Parotta, which is a layered stack of chicken and parotta at a local food joint at the recommendation of their staff. We had ordered simple parotta with Korma, but they offered us this alternative and we really enjoyed this meal. We packed it in with a wonderful cup of coffee from a bakery close to our hotel.

We wrapped up our day by sharing one Chicken Kizhi Parotta, which is a layered stack of chicken and parotta, topped with an omelet at a local food joint at the recommendation of their staff. We had ordered simple parottas with Korma, but they offered us this alternative and we really enjoyed this meal. We packed it in with a wonderful cup of coffee from a bakery close to our hotel. 

At the night before turning in, we washed our car and it looked ready for a long drive the next day.

At the night before turning in, we washed our car and it looked ready for a long drive the next day. 

Day 7: Rameswaram to Pondicherry (A lovely drive along the coast)

Day 7: Rameswaram to Pondicherry (A lovely drive along the coast)

For our trip to Pichavaram (at that time we did not know that we would end up at Pondicherry) we chose to drive along the east coast. Our first stop on this day was at Velankanni, where we saw the Morning Star Cathedral, Old Velankanni Church, and the Bascilica of Our Lady of Good Health. We reached there and were surprised to find a service in progress in Hindi. Apparently there is a service schedule in various languages and we happened to visit when it is scheduled to happen in Hindi.

For our trip to Pichavaram (at that time we did not know that we would end up at Pondicherry) we chose to drive along the east coast. Our first stop on this day was at Velankanni, where we saw the Morning Star Cathedral, Old Velankanni Church, and the Bascilica of Our Lady of Good Health. We reached there and were surprised to find a service in progress in Hindi. Apparently there is a service schedule in various languages and we happened to visit when it was scheduled to happen in Hindi.

After this we proceeded to Tharangambadi (Tranqebar) to see Danish fort and other establishments around it. Then went to Gangaikobda Cholapuram to see ruins of Chola dynasty and an ancient Chola temple.

After this we proceeded to Tharangambadi (Tranqebar) to see the Danish fort and other establishments around it. Then went to Gangaikobda Cholapuram to see the ruins of Chola dynasty and an ancient Chola temple. 

We debated on whether we should stay at Pichavaram or move on to Puducherry. Pichavaram had some exciting sounding Mangrove Forest which we could explore on boat. There was also a promise of seeing some interesting birds. We had done a similar trip at a lake in Siem Reap in Cambodia and would be visiting a bird sanctuary later in Pulicat. So we thought that we could skip that experience. We were excited about Pondicherry and were eager to reach the city.


We debated on whether we should stay at Pichavaram or move on to Puducherry. Pichavaram had some exciting sounding Mangrove Forests which we could explore on a boat. There was also a promise of seeing some interesting birds. We had done a similar trip at a lake in Siem Reap in Cambodia and would be visiting a bird sanctuary later in Pulicat. So we thought that we could skip that experience. We were excited about Pondicherry and were eager to reach the city. 

Pondicherry was around 100 kilometers further up and we had time. The drive itself was more or less pleasant until we got into Pondicherry. There we faced the same traffic and narrow streets that Google often leads you into. After identifying and finalizing the hotel, we checked into it and headed out for a quick dinner.

Pondicherry was around 100 kilometers further up and we had time. The drive itself was more or less pleasant until we got into Pondicherry. There we faced the same traffic and narrow streets that Google often leads you into. After identifying and finalizing the hotel, we checked into it and headed out for a quick dinner. 

Day 8: Pondicherry to Tada (A walk around the French town and a motel on the highway)

Day 8: Pondicherry to Tada (A walk around the French town and a motel on the highway)

In the morning we walked up to the Serenity beach to witness sunrise. We found a handful of tourists enjoying the white sands and the lapping waves while the sun slowly emerged from the horizon.

In the morning we walked up to the Serenity beach to witness sunrise. We found a handful of tourists enjoying the white sands and the lapping waves while the sun slowly emerged from the horizon. 

There were some tourists who were surfing. It was thrilling to watch them knowing that this was Bay of Bengal, one of India's most restless waterbodies. But that also means that it throws some really fantastic waves that are suitable for surfing.

There were some tourists who were surfing. It was thrilling to watch them knowing that this was Bay of Bengal, one of India's most restless waterbodies. But that also means that it throws some really fantastic waves that are suitable for surfing.  

After this we got ready and checked out of the hotel. We explored the French Town, the Promenade, the Sacred Heart Basilica, Pondicherry Museum, and Sri Aurobindo Asharam on foot. While walking we came across the Hope Cafe and its brilliant graffiti. That lured us in and we ended up having our breakfast there.    Then we drove on toward Auroville, which is a very interesting place. The vibe around the place is completely different from Pondicherry. It is right next to Pondicherry and as you get closer to it, you start observing some really cool eateries and shops and places where you can spend some good time with friends discussing the philosophies of life.

After this we got ready and checked out of the hotel. We explored the French Town, the Promenade, the Sacred Heart Basilica, Pondicherry Museum, and Sri Aurobindo Asharam on foot. While walking we came across the Hope Cafe and its brilliant graffiti. That lured us in and we ended up having our breakfast there.  

Then we drove on toward Auroville, which is a very interesting place. The vibe around the place is completely different from Pondicherry. It is right next to Pondicherry and as you get closer to it, you start observing some really cool eateries and shops and places where you can spend time with friends discussing the philosophies of life. 

Inside Auroville, one can walk up to the Matrimandir (the golden domed temple), but unless you are an Aurovillian or an approved guest, you cannot go in. In order to get initiated you need to write to Auroville and need to be willing to explore spiritual research. It seemed like a great place to experience and is an experimental township run by Aurovillians who have come and made it their home. We found this place interesting and will definitely explore it more closely sometime in future.

Inside Auroville, one can walk up to the Matrimandir (the golden domed temple), but unless you are an Aurovillian or an approved guest, you cannot go in. In order to get initiated you need to write to Auroville and need to be willing to explore spiritual research. It seemed like a great place to experience and is an experimental township run by Aurovillians who have come from all over the world and made it their home. We found this place interesting and will definitely explore it more closely sometime in future. 

Then we drove on to Pulicat, but discovered that there aren't many stay options there. So we searched for some hotels on the highway at Tada, found one that suited our requirements and budget. After checking in, we went for dinner at a nice little restaurant and had some really good biryani.  Day 9: Tada to Markapur (Bird Sanctuaries, Temples and a lucky stop)

Then we drove on to Pulicat, but discovered that there aren't many stay options there. So we searched for some hotels on the highway at Tada, found one that suited our requirements and budget. After checking in, we went for dinner at a nice little restaurant and had some really good biryani.

Day 9: Tada to Markapur (Bird Sanctuaries, Temples and a lucky stop)

Tada is about 30 kilometers from Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, which is located near Sriharikota which is also the home of Satish Dhawan Space Center, the famous rocket launch site. We started our drive through the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary at 7AM and reached the Satish Dhawan Space Center at about 8 after stopping at many places to click fishermen and birds. We were obviously not allowed entry to the rocket launch site, but apparently visitors can register online to come and watch an actual rocket launch.

Tada is about 30 kilometers from Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, which is located near Sriharikota which is also the home of Satish Dhawan Space Center, the famous rocket launch site. We started our drive through the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary at 7AM and reached the Satish Dhawan Space Center at about 8 after stopping at many places to click fishermen and birds. We were obviously not allowed entry to the rocket launch site, but apparently visitors can register online to come and watch an actual rocket launch. 

At Pulicat, we saw Pelicans, Open Bill Storks, Painted Storks, Egrets and Herons, out of this Pelicans and Open Bill Storks were new to us. Then we headed to Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary, which is around 85 kilometers from Pulicat. When compared to Pulicat, Nellapattu is definitely more organized. However, the joy of discovering birds is more in Pulicat.

At Pulicat, we saw Pelicans, Open Bill Storks, Painted Storks, Egrets and Herons, out of this Pelicans and Open Bill Storks were new to us. Then we headed to Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary, which is around 85 kilometers from Pulicat. When compared to Pulicat, Nellapattu is definitely more organized. However, the joy of discovering birds is more in Pulicat. 

From Nellapattu we headed to Nellore where we visited the Shri Thalpagiri Ranganathaswamy Temple and the ghat of Penna River. And then we headed to Markapur.

From Nellapattu we headed to Nellore where we visited the Shri Thalpagiri Ranganathaswamy Temple and the ghat of Penner River. And then we headed to Markapur. 

If you are headed to Srisailam, like we were, it is better to stay at Markapur and then reach the ghat entry at about 6AM next morning because entry to the ghats is restricted during the night and you might find yourself in a tight spot. The ghat road opens at 6AM and closes at 9PM. We were just lucky that we were tired and had decided to stay at Markapur.     At Markapur, we checked in and then went out for a simple dinner of Idlis and Chutney. It was light and tasty and helped us sleep better.

If you are headed to Srisailam, like we were, it is better to stay at Markapur and then reach the ghat entry at about 6AM next morning because entry to the ghats is restricted during the night and you might find yourself in a tight spot. The ghat road opens at 6AM and closes at 9PM. We were just lucky that we were tired and had decided to stay at Markapur.   

At Markapur, we checked in and then went out for a simple dinner of Idlis and Chutney. It was light and tasty and helped us sleep better.


Day 10: Markapur to Hyderabad via Srisailam (The second Jyotirlinga of this trip and Golconda Fort + catching up with an old friend)

The morning started with a drive through some pitch dark roads that were under construction and then a minor jam at the Ghat entry where there was a long queue of vehicles waiting to get in.

The morning started with a drive through some pitch dark roads that were under construction and then a minor jam at the Ghat entry where there was a long queue of vehicles waiting to get in. 

This was also the day when we wasted considerable time researching national parks where you could go for a tiger safari. The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve only offers a jungle safari and not a tiger safari. The Jungle safari starts at 9AM and there are no possibilities of spotting a carnivore. The online search will yield conflicting information, but all that is stale. We did not opt for the jungle safari because time was precious for.

This was also the day when we wasted considerable time researching national parks where you could go for a tiger safari. The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve only offers a jungle safari and not a tiger safari. The Jungle safari starts at 9AM and there are no possibilities of spotting a carnivore. The online search will yield conflicting information, but all that is stale. We did not opt for the jungle safari because time was precious for. 

When we asked someone outside about Tiger Safari, he informed us that the tiger safari does not happen anymore on the Andhra side of Nallamala Reserve Forest, but it happens on the Telangana Side. So we decided to check it out after exploring Srisailam. It would be exactly on our way to Hyderabad anyways, so we would not need to take a detour.   Srisailam turned out to be a clean town with some interesting breakfast options very close to the Shri Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple. We had pooris and sabzi and idli-chutney there along with coffee. And the lady running the outlet also encouraged us to sponsor the food for two Sadhus. One of them wanted Dosa while the other wanted Idlis. After paying for their food we started our walk toward the temple.   There we realized two things - men are only allowed in in traditional attire Dhoti and angavastra that covers the upper body/kurta pyjama/full sleeves pants and shirts and women are only allowed in if they are wearing saris or suit with dupatta. We we were conservatively dressed, we still did not make the cut for the temple. Also cameras were not allowed inside the temple. Since before this we had not faced this in any other temple as long as we were conservatively dressed, we hadn't anticipated it. Our pointer for this is that when you are visiting any temple or religious place, it is better to research the dress code in details so that you are prepared. Also, at many temples they have now started the practice of enabling sulabh darshan if you are willing to pay a fee. Just putting this information out there without discussing whether it is right or wrong.

When we asked someone outside about Tiger Safari, he informed us that the tiger safari does not happen anymore on the Andhra side of Nallamala Reserve Forest, but it happens on the Telangana Side. So we decided to check it out after exploring Srisailam. It would be exactly on our way to Hyderabad anyways, so we would not need to take a detour. 

Srisailam turned out to be a clean town with some interesting breakfast options very close to the Shri Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple. We had pooris and sabzi and idli-chutney there along with coffee. And the lady running the outlet also encouraged us to sponsor the food for two Sadhus. One of them wanted Dosa while the other preferred Idlis. After paying for their food and coffee we started our walk toward the temple. 

There we realized two things - men are only allowed in in traditional attire - Dhoti and angavastra that covers the upper body/kurta pyjama/full sleeves shirts with pants and women are only allowed in if they are wearing saris or suits with dupattas. While we were conservatively dressed, we still did not make the cut for the temple. Also cameras were not allowed inside the temple. Since before this we had not faced this kind of a restriction in any other temple as long as we were conservatively dressed, we hadn't anticipated it. Our learning from this is that when you are visiting any temple or religious place, it is better to research the dress code in details so that you are prepared. Also, at many temples they have now started the practice of enabling sugam darshan if you are willing to pay a fee. Just putting this information out there without discussing whether it is right or wrong. 

After this we went to the Srisailam Dam viewpoint which was also on our way to Hyderabad. After clicking some pictures here, we crossed the Krishna River over to Telangana side and entered the Nallamala Reserve Forest there. We were on a lookout for the entrance to the Amrabad Tiger Reserve. After talking to the person manning the checkpost we discovered that you don't ever see tigers in this tiger reserve as well. The entrance ticket too was low which confirmed that this is also just a jungle safari. So we decided to move forward. We still had some possibilities in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the form of Tadoba and Pench so we decided to research on that.   For Tadoba we found that you need to book safaris much in advance in order to get a slot. It is recommended to book almost 90 days in advance. Some tatkal slots also open up 3 days before the safari and close one day before the day of the safari, but no tatkal slots were available for our days. For Pench rules are different on Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh sides. There we were able to contact some agents who were willing to provide us safaris on good gate the next day, but the problem was that we were supposed to book the entire jeep which would cost us Rs. 7500. It sounded too steep for two people and there was no option to book two seats, even though the government website mentions that it should be possible. However, through the government website, no slots were available.   We were getting frustrated now and decided to give up on the idea of safari in this trip. After making this decision, our minds were at peace and we started looking forward to exploring Hyderabad and meeting up with an old friend and ex-colleague, Akash Katare.

After this we went to the Srisailam Dam viewpoint which was also on our way to Hyderabad. After clicking some pictures here, we crossed the Krishna River over to Telangana side and entered the Nallamala Reserve Forest there. We were on a lookout for the entrance to the Amrabad Tiger Reserve. After talking to the person manning the checkpost we discovered that you don't ever see tigers in this tiger reserve as well. The entrance ticket too was cheap which confirmed that this is also just a jungle safari. So we decided to move forward. We still had some possibilities in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the form of Tadoba and Pench so we decided to research on that. 

For Tadoba we found that you need to book safaris much in advance in order to get a slot. It is recommended to book almost 90 days in advance. Some tatkal slots also open up 3 days before the safari and close one day before the day of the safari, but no tatkal slots were available for our days. For Pench rules are different on Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh sides. There we were able to contact some agents who were willing to provide us safaris on a good gate the next day, but the problem was that we were supposed to book the entire jeep which would cost us Rs. 7500. It sounded too steep for two people and there was no option to book two seats, even though the government website mentions that it should be possible. However, through the government website, no slots were available. 

We were getting frustrated now and decided to give up on the idea of safari in this trip. After making this decision, our minds were at peace and we started looking forward to exploring Hyderabad and meeting up with an old friend and ex-colleague, Akash Katare. 

It also helped that we passed the Dindi Reservoir and the dam which is right next to the highway made for a spectacular sight. Next we headed to Hyderabad and headed straight for the Golconda Fort. Since it was a working day for Akash, we had a few hours with us to explore. The magnificent Golconda Fort took care of those.

It also helped that we passed the Dindi Reservoir on  our way and the dam which is right next to the highway made for a spectacular sight. Next we moved on to Hyderabad and headed straight for the Golconda Fort. Since it was a working day for Akash, we had a few hours with us to explore. The magnificent Golconda Fort took care of those. 

Noida to Rameswaram road trip via the Eastern Ghats || A Challenging, Intense, and Enriching Journey through Six States of India

After spending the evening with Akash and Ashita and feasting on some wonderful home-cooked food after 10 days, we started finalizing the plan for the next day. We were in two minds about whether we should go to Warangal or head straight to Adilabad and then Nagpur. After some research it turned out that Adilabad to Nagpur worked better for this trip, so with Adilabad in mind, we drifted off to some much-needed sleep. 


Noida to Rameswaram road trip via the Eastern Ghats || A Challenging, Intense, and Enriching Journey through Six States of India

Day 11: Hyderabad to Nagpur via Adilabad (Some hidden gems and some struggle for a hotel)

After bidding bbyes to Akash and Akshita, we headed off toward Nagpur. On the way we made several rejuvenating stops near Adilabad.

After bidding byes to Akash and Ashita, we headed off toward Nagpur. On the way we made several rejuvenating stops near Adilabad. 

The first stop we made was at Medak for Medak Fort. When we got there, the fort road was under construction so we couldn't reach the fort. However the CSI Medak Cathedral was open and we visited that. It was a beautiful church built in Gothic style, so our moods improved considerably. This was also where we replenished our stocks of wet tissues and sunscreen and had a really tasty dosa at a local shop. This was also our last dosa of this trip. After this we remembered this at multiple places during our remaining journey.

The first stop we made was at Medak for Medak Fort. When we got there, the fort road was under construction so we couldn't reach the fort. However the CSI Medak Cathedral was open and we visited that. It was a beautiful church built in Gothic style, so our moods improved considerably. This was also where we replenished our stocks of wet tissues and sunscreen and had a really tasty dosa at a local shop. This was also our last dosa of this trip. After this we remembered this at multiple places during our remaining journey.  

Then we headed to Pochera Waterfalls near Adilabad, which was peaceful and beautiful and the some good food for our souls. We also stopped briefly at Sriram Sagar Dam to give ourselves some rest.

Then we headed to Pochera Waterfalls near Adilabad, which was peaceful and beautiful and turned out to be good food for our souls. We also stopped briefly at Sriram Sagar Dam to give ourselves some rest.  

We reached Nagpur in the evening and decided to explore the two important lakes in the city. The Ambazari Lake was closed for renovations, but the Futala lake was open. We clicked some pictures of its amazing lights and then headed off to find a hotel. Some of the good hotels that we had located had no vacancy. Apparently the assembly is now in Nagpur so many hotels were booked by them. After driving through the city for a couple of hours, we managed to find an acceptable hotel and checked in at about 9:30 PM.

We reached Nagpur in the evening and decided to explore the two important lakes in the city. The Ambazari Lake was closed for renovations, but the Futala lake was open. We clicked some pictures of its amazing lights and then headed off to find a hotel. Some of the good hotels that we had located had no vacancy. Apparently the assembly is now in Nagpur so many hotels were booked by them. After driving through the city for a couple of hours, we managed to find an acceptable hotel and checked in at about 9:30 PM.

Day 12: Nagpur to Sagar (Interesting stops at Ramtek and drive through the beautiful Pench forest)  From Nagpur, we started early and took our first stop at Ramtek. There we visited the serene and secluded Karpur Baoli and then stopped briefly at the famous Digambar Jain Temple. After that we visited the hilltop Ram mandir and fort, which was quite beautiful and completely worth the detour. Ramtek turned out to be a really good stop, and a refreshing one as well.

Day 12: Nagpur to Sagar (Interesting stops at Ramtek and drive through the beautiful Pench forest)

From Nagpur, we started early and took our first stop at Ramtek. There we visited the serene and secluded Karpur Baoli and then stopped briefly at the famous Digambar Jain Temple. After that we visited the hilltop Ram mandir and fort, which was quite beautiful and completely worth the detour. Ramtek turned out to be a really good stop, and a refreshing one as well. 

We had our breakfast of samosas with tea near Ambala lake. The stall owner fed us with a lot of care. Put more curry when he thought that our samosas had gone dry etc.

We had our breakfast of samosas with tea near Ambala lake. The stall owner fed us with a lot of care. Put more curry when he thought that our samosas had gone dry etc. 

Then we drove toward Sagar through the stunning landscapes of Pench Reserve Forest. We crossed several good gates of the forest and resisted the temptation to take a detour.

Then we drove toward Sagar through the stunning landscapes of Pench Reserve Forest. We crossed several good gates of the forest and resisted the temptation to take a detour. 

It was also during this drive that both of us felt really sleepy, so we parked our car in one of the truck laybys and slept for half an hour. There were several truck drivers around and somehow we felt very safe doing that. This trip did tell us that mostly people do not want to harm you, they would help you wherever possible. We would discover this again the next morning.

It was also during this drive that both of us felt really sleepy, so we parked our car in one of the truck laybys and slept for half an hour. There were several truck drivers around and somehow we felt very safe doing that. This trip did tell us that mostly people do not want to harm you, they would help you wherever possible. We would discover this again the next morning. 

After this we had tea, and refreshed, we headed on toward Sagar. We reached Sagar at around 4 and drove through the nice part of the town near the university. It looked really cool. But that is where this impression ended. We headed toward the Lakha Banjara Lake, and Google decided to take us through some narrow streets. This too was fine and we spent some minutes along the Lakha Banjara lake, which was almost dry.   Then we wanted to visit the Gadpahra fort but had to take a u-turn because of pathetic roads. We asked some local people on advice about whether we should search for a hotel on the highway or stay in Sagar and then head out in the morning. They advised that we should not try to search for a hotel on the highway as we are not likely to find any suitable options. This also matched with our Google research. They also pointed us to the exact hotel that we should check out because of its proximity to the highway and the condition of the hotel. We decided to check that hotel out and it matched our criteria. It was in the Gujarati Market. We checked in and then went for some Gujarati Namkeen shopping.   On our way back to the hotel, we had kulhad chai with some black-colored Mawa Jalebi. It was a new thing for us. Back at the hotel, we drifted off to a peaceful sleep, blissfully unaware of the challenges that awaited us the next morning.

After this we had tea, and refreshed, we headed on toward Sagar. We reached Sagar at around 4 and drove through the nice part of the town near the university. It looked really cool. But that is where this impression ended. We headed toward the Lakha Banjara Lake, and Google decided to take us through some narrow streets. This too was fine and we spent some minutes along the Lakha Banjara lake, which was almost dry. 

Then we wanted to visit the Gadpahra fort but had to take a u-turn because of pathetic roads. We asked some local people on advice about whether we should search for a hotel on the highway or stay in Sagar and then head out in the morning. They advised that we should not try to search for a hotel on the highway as we are not likely to find any suitable options. This also matched with our Google research. They also pointed us to the exact hotel that we should check out because of its proximity to the highway and the condition of the hotel. We decided to check that hotel out and it matched our criteria. It was in the Gujarati Market. We checked in and then went for some Gujarati Namkeen shopping. 

On our way back to the hotel, we had kulhad chai with some black-colored Mawa Jalebi. It was a new thing for us. Back at the hotel, we drifted off to a peaceful sleep, blissfully unaware of the challenges that awaited us the next morning.  

Day 13: Sagar to Gwalior via Chanderi (A rewarding stop after some misadventures and a hurried walk through the Gwalior fort)

Day 13: Sagar to Gwalior via Chanderi (A rewarding stop after some misadventures and a hurried walk through the Gwalior fort)

This day was a bad road day, but there were some amazing stops that managed to cheer us up enroute. From Sagar there are two historical sites that can be managed on the way to Chanderi - Eran and Khimalsa. However as per Google, when we measured the distance vs the ETA, it appeared that the roads might be bad, so we decided to head straight to Chanderi. On the hindsight, this appears to be a really wise decision.  We seemed to have avoided losing a lot of time to bad roads, however the challenges were not yet over.   The point where Google said that the local road would merge into the highway was closed and the road was under construction. Luckily a pan masala and chai shop was open there even in those wee hours and the man pointed us to a "road" through the village that would take us to the highway. In the dark this road appeared really scary. It was a muddy street that at times appeared to end in a dead end but as we drove toward it we found a small cut next to some house so we had to navigate our car through it. It was a miracle how we managed to do that. Then we reached a plain area from where there did not seem to be a way out. In the distance however, we could see some trucks parked and some men were moving around with torches in their hands.   I walked up to them and asked for directions. They pointed us toward a small tricking looking track that was headed towards a bushy area. It did not look promising but we were out of options, so we drove toward that areas and a path suddenly opened up. And this is where the off-roading got serious. There was an uneven climb with lose soil and our MG Hector barely managed to pull through it. Two trucks were headed our way and they patiently parked their vehicles at a distance while we maneuvered our car through this stretch.   Throughout this trip we have had really good luck in terms of the people we met. They helped when we asked for help, they gave us space when we needed it, and they just let us be when we did things we had never done before.

This day was a bad road day, but there were some amazing stops that managed to cheer us up enroute. From Sagar there are two historical sites that can be managed on the way to Chanderi - Eran and Khimalsa. However as per Google, when we measured the distance vs the ETA, it appeared that the roads might be bad, so we decided to head straight to Chanderi. On the hindsight, this appears to be a really wise decision.  We seemed to have avoided losing a lot of time to bad roads, however the challenges were not yet over. 

The point where Google said that the local road would merge into the highway was closed and the road was under construction. Luckily a pan masala and chai shop was open there even in those wee hours and the man pointed us to a "road" through the village that would take us to the highway. In the dark, this road appeared really scary. It was a muddy street that at times appeared to end in a dead end but as we drove toward it we found a small cut next to some house so we had to navigate our car through it. It was a miracle how we managed to do that. Then we reached a plain area from where there did not seem to be a way out. In the distance however, we could see some trucks parked and some men were moving around with torches in their hands. 

I walked up to them and asked for directions. They pointed us toward a small tricky-looking track that was headed towards a bushy area. It did not look promising but we were out of options, so we drove toward that area and a path suddenly appeared. Remember it was was till dark! And this is where the off-roading got serious. There was an uneven climb with lose soil and our MG Hector barely managed to pull through it. Two trucks were headed our way and they patiently parked their vehicles at a distance while we maneuvered our car through this stretch. 

Throughout this trip we have had really good luck in terms of the people we met. They helped when we asked for help, they gave us space when we needed it, and they just let us be when we did things we had never done before. 

Anyway, finally we merged into the highway and our next stop would be Chanderi. On the way we came across a temporary bridge across our old friend Betwa River. It was a beautiful sight. Then we headed off to the Chanderi fort. The roads throughout were really good. 

All the monuments at Chanderi - Chanderi Fort, Khooni Darwaza, Kati Pahari, Koshak Mahal, Badal Mahal, Jama Masjid etc - were really well-maintained and overall the town had a great vibe. We also checked out some Chanderi Silk Sarees.  After this amazing stop, we headed on to Gwalior and discovered that the town, especially around the fort was really noisy. It was full of honking traffic and because of some road closures we got really late for the fort. We reached at 4:30PM whereas the fort closes at 5:30 PM. We explored the Mansingh Palace and the Fort at lightning speed and clicked some good photographs for memories.

All the monuments at Chanderi - Chanderi Fort, Khooni Darwaza, Kati Pahari, Koshak Mahal, Badal Mahal, Jama Masjid etc - were really well-maintained and overall the town had a great vibe. We also checked out some Chanderi Silk Sarees.

After this amazing stop, we headed on to Gwalior and discovered that the town, especially around the fort was really noisy. It was full of honking traffic and because of some road closures we got really late for the fort. We reached at 4:30PM whereas the fort closes at 5:30 PM. We explored the Mansingh Palace and the Fort at lightning speed and clicked some good photographs for memories. 

After this we headed down to find a hotel. The room here was nice but the parking was a tricky underground one. So much so that it impacted my sleep that night. I kept on strategizing how to drive our car out of it. The curves were sharp and the incline steep.  Day 14:  Gwalior to Noida via Bharatpur (Fog and Birds)

After this we headed down to find a hotel. The room here was nice but the parking was a tricky underground one. So much so that it impacted my sleep that night. I kept on strategizing how to drive our car out of it. The curves were sharp and the incline steep.

Day 14:  Gwalior to Noida via Bharatpur (Fog and Birds) 

As I had feared, it took a lot of effort to get our car out of the parking. It took a lot of maneuvering and tire burns to make it happen. Above all, we needed to keep a cool head. However, once we were out of it, we had another decision to make - whether or not we should go to Bharatpur. We wanted to make one more exciting stop before we got home and both of us cannot have enough of birds. Moreover Bharatpur is reliable, hassle-free, and the returns are 100% guaranteed.

As I had feared, it took a lot of effort to get our car out of the parking. It took a lot of maneuvering and tire burns to make it happen. Above all, we needed to keep a cool head. However, once we were out of it, we had another decision to make - whether or not we should go to Bharatpur. We wanted to make one more exciting stop before we got home and both of us cannot have enough of birds. Moreover Bharatpur is reliable, hassle-free, and the returns are 100% guaranteed. 

However, at that time we were not aware that we would be passing through some very foggy areas. We drove through dense fog with close to zero visibility for almost 50 kilometres and were worried if we would be able to see any birds at all.

However, at that time we were not aware that we would be passing through some very foggy areas. We drove through dense fog with close to zero visibility for almost 50 kilometres and were worried if we would be able to see any birds at all.

But just as we reached the sanctuary, the fog miraculously disappeared. As a result we were able to spot Northern Pintails, Greylag Geese, Bar-headed Geese,  and the usual favorites such as kingfishers, darters, cormorants, egrets, herons, raptors etc. We walked about 13 kilometers and 22000 steps through the day.

We were on the road for 14 days. Drove across 7 states of India and one Union Territory, a total of 6300 kilometers.   We went without any prior bookings, decided the itinerary on the go every day, booked hotels each night, ate local food with local people, and felt at home at almost every city we landed in.   The warmth of the people, especially food joint owners, the generosity of the spirit of our country and how eager everyone is to help others out, their curiosity about an Uttar Pradesh number plate in their state - all this made this journey all the more special, apart from the incredible landscapes and amazing historical sites we visited.    Now that we are back, we are already missing that life on the road, the excitement and the unpredictability. This has been an enriching experience and there will definitely be some profound returns from it. We will only need to look back at it after some time. This will definitely be a milestone in our lives.

Then we took the Yamuna Expressway back home. 

We were on the road for 14 days. Drove across 7 states of India and one Union Territory, a total of 6300 kilometers.   We went without any prior bookings, decided the itinerary on the go every day, booked hotels each night, ate local food with local people, and felt at home at almost every city we landed in.   The warmth of the people, especially food joint owners, the generosity of the spirit of our country and how eager everyone is to help others out, their curiosity about an Uttar Pradesh number plate in their state - all this made this journey all the more special, apart from the incredible landscapes and amazing historical sites we visited.    Now that we are back, we are already missing that life on the road, the excitement and the unpredictability. This has been an enriching experience and there will definitely be some profound returns from it. We will only need to look back at it after some time. This will definitely be a milestone in our lives.

We were on the road for 14 days. Drove across 7 states of India and one Union Territory, a total of 6300 kilometers.
 
We went without any prior bookings, decided the itinerary on the go every day, booked hotels each night, ate local food with local people, and felt at home at almost every city we landed in. 

The warmth of the people, especially food joint owners, the generosity of the spirit of our country and how eager everyone is to help others out, their curiosity about an Uttar Pradesh number plate in their state - all this made this journey all the more special, apart from the incredible landscapes and amazing historical sites we visited.  

Now that we are back, we are already missing that life on the road, the excitement and the unpredictability. This has been an enriching experience and there will definitely be some profound returns from it. We will only need to look back at it after some time. This will definitely be a milestone in our lives. 

Our final route was quite different from what we had decided before we started out on this journey. Following was our final route:

Day 1 to Day 5:


Day 6 to Day 9:


Day 10 to Day 12:


Day 13 and Day 14:


Comments

Arpit said…
What an amazing journey and beautifully captured.
Thanks Arpit ! There are lot of photographs from this 2 weeks trip and I am yet to process them and share on the blog :)

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