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road trip from tamilnadu to kashmir




The Original Idea behind this Road trip from Madurai (a city from deep South India) to Ladakh (district at Northern most part of India) belongs to my friend "Mathalai Muthu Kumar" (Above Photograph).

It sounds interesting, when my friend told me about driving to northern most part of India on his Jet Black "BOLERO".
Wow!, it feels great to drive through several States, different Landscapes, changing Climatic conditions, variable Altitudes, but with Fixed Attitude to reach Ladakh.
I was much excited to join with fellow mates "Krishnamoorthy", "Muthu Vijayan" & "Muthu Kumar" for this trip


From Left
"Krishnamoorthy" often called Kicha, Always sleeps at small gap
"Muthu Vijayan" our Hindi Ji & Co-Pilot
"Muthu Kumar" expert than Google Maps, also crowned as "Village Vingyani"
& Me


It's Roughly an Un-Planned trip, we have decided to explore places on the Go!.

Traveling from Kanyakumari to Kashmir might be great. Since we have traveled several times to Kanyakumari & its located just 240KMs from Madurai, we find no point in starting from there.

Onward Journey
Return Journey

We rely greatly on Google Maps & Google Navigation right from the Beginning of our trip till we reached back to home.
Monsoon was not friendly when we start our journey & Television report shows flooding in Uttarkand (North India) we ignore all those things, since our travel plan did'nt fall through Uttarkand.



Day 1

19.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 0, Ending: 716
Distance Traveled: 716KM
Travel thru
Tamil Nadu
Karnataka
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 9
Toll Spendings: Rs.390
Stay
Sapthagiri Boarding & Lodging
Dabaspete, Karnataka
Chinnamanur > Madurai > Salem > Bangalore > Dabaspete

Had a Sleepless Night, Excited about Unplanned Road Trip to visit the Northern most part of India. Got up from Bed (not wake-up) around 3:45AM. I have Nothing to do till my friend reaches my Home. OK, I have to kill some Time. Switched ON my Laptop & Created this Trip Report Page around 4.00AM.

All Luggage's' are already Packed & Kept ready Last Night to avoid last minute hurry.
Starting from Chinnamanur, My Friend reached my home around 6.20am.



We Started from Madurai around 6.45am.  We have stopped only for breakfast on the highway & reached Karnataka in the afternoon.


{{{ Karnataka }}}

After a little shopping in Bangalore till late evening, we continued our journey & had our night stay at Dabaspete (a small town near Bangalore).



Day 2

20.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 716, Ending: 1460
Distance Traveled: 744KM
Travel thru
Karnataka
Maharastra
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 12
Toll Spendings: Rs.621
Stay
Rajyog Hotel
Godoli, Maharastra
Dabaspete > Hubli > Kolhapur > Godoli

We did not plan to see any places in Karnataka, just stopped at very few places to relax for a few minutes.








{{{ Maharashtra }}}


After a day long drive, we stayed at Godoli  (on the way to pune), Maharastra


Day 3

21.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 1460, Ending: 1927
Distance Traveled: 467KM
Travel thru
Karnataka, Maharastra
Gujarat
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 8
Toll Spendings: Rs.572
Stay
Hotel Vishram
Valsad, Gujarat
Godoli > Pune > Mumbai (Thane) > Valsad

Driving from Godoli, we've reached Pune.
From Pune we drive through India's first Six Lane Expressway Connecting Mumbai & it's one of the best roads in India. Pune-Mumbai Expressway stretches through the scenic Mountain range via passes & tunnels. It was my first time experience in traveling through Tunnels on Road.





After driving for a Couple of days we thought of spending a day in Lonavala & in Mumbai, but the rain spoils the sport.



It was raining heavy & the weather reports on the internet didn't encourage us to stay in Mumbai, we have decided to skip Exploring Lonavala & Mumbai and we continued our drive towards Gujarat.

{{{ Gujarat }}}
Couldn't find any welcome board while entering into Gujarat. I've attached photo of the Hotel we stayed in Gujarat



Day 4

22.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 1927, Ending: 2381
Distance Traveled: 454KM
Travel thru
Gujarat
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 10
Toll Spendings: Rs.418
Stay
Hotel Planet
Kalol, Gujarat
Valsad > Bharuch > Vadodara > Ahmedabad> Gandhi Nagar > Kalol

After 3 days of travel, Our first seeing stop was at Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
We just want to see some selective places on the go, since our original target is to see Ladakh.
After looking at Google Search results, we liked to visit Akshardam temple in Ahmedabad & want to see some of the Step-Wells which are famous in Gujarat.

Our 1st Stop near Ahmedabad is at Adalaj Step-well, Gandhi Nagar. It is five storied deep-well built on Octagonal shape, leading down to the level of water.







Click Here to read more about Adalaj  Step-well


Our next stop is at Akshardam.
I'm very much disappointed when we reach Akshardam, photography was not allowed inside the Akshardam Campus. After visiting the Temple I found no reason behind prohibiting Photography. The Temple was well maintained & Kept Clean. Laser show running on late Evening was the highlight & the entire show was amazing with laser lights on fountain.

After spending a night at Kalol near Ahmedabad, we have decided to proceed to Jaisalmer at Rajasthan.


Day 5

23.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 2381, Ending: 2973
Distance Traveled: 592KM
Travel thru
Gujarat
Rajasthan
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 3
Toll Spendings: Rs.80
Stay
Hotel Marina Mahal
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Valsad > Bharuch > Vadodara > Ahmedabad> Gandhi Nagar > Kalol

En-route Jaisalmer there were 2 more Step-wells on our list to visit in Gujarat.

It's a Sunny day while we visit Sun Temple at Modhera. It feels good to see the Sun-Shine after traveling through Cloudy & Rainy areas for several days.








after spending few minutes at Sun temple, our next stop is at Patan.
Rani Ki Vav, a famous Step-well located in Patan town.









Since the climate is Hot, it begins to sweat a lot.
We got re-energized after having a Good lunch at Patan town. (Forget to take a photo of that good restaurant).

{{{ Rajasthan }}}

Road to Jaisalmer seems very dry & hot and we entered into Rajasthan late in the evening.
Just after entering into Rajasthan, we could realize the scarcity of water in that region (below photo).


We reach Jaisalmer at late night after a day long drive through Gujarat.
It's one of the must see destination in India & its worth spending a couple of days here.



Day 6

24.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 2973, Ending: 3079
Distance Traveled: 106KM
Travel thru
Rajasthan
Toll
No Tolls
Stay
Hotel Marina Mahal
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
 Jaisalmer > Desert > Jaisalmer

Our "Bolero" needs a facelift and make-over, it's well taken care off by my friend "Mathalai Muthu Kumar" & Co-Pilot "Muthu Vijayan" at all times.
Thank you guys for keeping this Horse stunning & running.


We booked a packaged trip through Hotel to Visit places around Jaisalmer in our own Car.
Our 1st Stop is at Golden Fort.
Our Guide said that this entire fort is constructed on Inter-Locking System without the use of cement or other materials to bond construction layers.
Even though the fort looks Unique in color & construction, this place seems to be worst maintained.





The Yellow Colored stones used for construction in this area looks unique throughout the Jaisalmer city.
Since its yellow in Color, they Call it as "Golden-City".




Ignite this to take Short Route to Ladakh


We Spent some time for taking Photos


Here are some Photos with exterior view of Golden Fort



We spent few minutes in Shopping area  & then our guide has taken us to Patwon-Ki-Haveli, which is also located near Golden Fort.
It has five different Palaces. We have gone inside one of them; maintenance was so poor, so we have decided to skip looking inside the rest of the buildings.

Our Guide has taken us to the Next Spot, Gadisar Lake.
It's wonderful to see a Lake in the center of the City that has Ultra Hot Climate.

Entrance to Gadisar Lake





After having lunch, we have nothing to do in the rest of the afternoon as our next visit to desert is scheduled on the Evening.
It feels great to take rest in the Air-Conditioned room after wandering outdoors in the city which has hot climate.

After relaxing few hours in the room, we proceed to desert located about 45KMs near Jaisalmer.

Sand dunes, Spread over the Road


We could see many Camels crossing the road as they wish.

 
No Terrorists!!!!. They just cover their faces to escape from Blowing Sands.


It's me, Riding on the Camel


Wow! Everyone follows my Camel


We are about to get down from the camel


Sunset Point


Camel race!!!


Waiting for Sunset


Disappointing Sunset, yet managed to take few photographs


He never listens to anyone.
Listens to me, atleast to take a Photo.



Day 7

25.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 3079, Ending: 3392
Distance Traveled: 913KM
Travel thru
Rajasthan
Punjab
Toll
No Tolls
Stay
Kumar Hotels
Amritsar, Punjab
Jaisalmer > Pokran > Bikaner > Sri Ganganagar > Amritsar

There's no other place on our list to see in Rajasthan. Just a day long drive to reach Amritsar, Punjab.


Pokran By-Pass Road.
Pokran is said as research and testing site of the Indian nuclear programme.
To read more about Pokran, Click Here



Maximum Speed of our Black Horse


The Entire stretch from Jaisalmer to Punjab Border looks deserted like this


Came across a sandy dunes & Stopped here for a photo


Just a Pose, I didn't drive


Our Black Horse looks Stunning


{{{ Punjab }}}

Entered into Punjab


Evening in Punjab

We have reached Amritsar at late night.


Day 8

26.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 3392, Ending: 4359
Distance Traveled: 367KM
Travel thru
Punjab
Jammu & Kashmir
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 2
Toll Spendings: Rs.120
Stay
Hotel Bharti
Udhampur, Jammu Kashmir
Amritsar > Attari/Wagah (India-Pakisthan Border) > Jammu > Udhampur

Got-up earlier yet late to step-out of the hotel. Booked a Quad Bedroom & Everyone has to wait for their turn to finish their nature call.
It feels good to visit a temple, early in the morning. We have gone to one of the must see destination in India, Golden Temple at Amritsar


Riding on a Horse Cart, after a very long time.


Have to wear a turban before entering the Temple


Amazing!!! Golden Temple


A Closeup Shot


View from a distance


From the other side


Looks great, Maintained Clean


In front of the Main Entrance.

Jallianwalla Bagh is located very near to Golden Temple. We visited there after having Breakfast near the temple.

Entrance


Jallianwala Bagh Memorial


In front of Martyrs' Well


Martyrs' Well
to read more about Martyrs' Well, Click Here


After visiting the Golden Temple & Jallianwala Bagh, we then proceed to see India-Pakistan Border




Toll Slip.
Our Vehicle Number was typed wrong, Careless in Sensitive Border Area.



India - Pakistan Border





{{{ Jammu & Kashmir }}}




So far, So Good. 8 days of Traveling has gone like 8 minutes.
Things have changed when we enter J&K (Jammu & Kashmir).
I'm mentally disturbed when my mobile phone is disconnected from National Roaming inside J&K. Since I'm into Service oriented business, I hardly need my mobile phone Active on working Hours and that made my mind restless till i leave J&K.
The Govt. might have taken some safety measures by opting to stop roaming in to J&K area for Pre-Paid Customers from Other Circle, But most of the travelers will feel separated from family & work after entering into that region.    After visiting several mobile stores, I came to know that obtaining New Pre-Paid connection will take atleast 3 days to get active, which seems useless since we might travel back after visiting J&K in 3 days.
Highest percentage of Mobile subscribers is in India are using Pre-Paid mobile connections & Now-a-days Pre-Paid connections are working fine while traveling to International destinations & Restricting the use of Mobile phone inside J&K for citizens visiting from other parts of India seems un-acceptable.

No Mobile Phone, No Mobile Internet, No Navigation Support without GPRS/3G. It shows how much we depend on electronic devices in our day-to-day life. Yes! Electronic devices Rules us.

Mind may be tired, Our Attitude didn't change, and we need to drive a long-way.
After crossing Jammu, we drive through hilly region towards Srinagar.
Our night halt was at Udhampur, on the way to Srinagar


Day 9

27.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 4359, Ending: 4655
Distance Traveled: 296KM
Travel thru
Jammu  & Kashmir
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 1
Toll Spendings: Rs.100
Stay
Camp Tent
Srinagar, Jammu Kashmir
Udhampur > Anantnag > Srinagar

Again a day long drive with very few stops.


We travel through 2.85KM long Jawahar Tunnel



Believe us, We are not into Car Rally
We are in Highway


Dal Lake, Srinagar


House Boats in Dal Lake



We have reached Srinagar in the afternoon.
This day is almost disappointing & made me feel the negatives of Un-Planned trip.

Welcome Banners Everywhere for Amarnath Visitors, but totally Unorganized & Unprepared Officials to control too much crowd.
Road is jam-packed with cars, its pilgrim season for Amarnath Temple. No one is ready to follow the Road rules; almost everyone behaves in the way that they are on Road Race. Undisciplined driving leads to Inch by Inch movement of Traffic.
It's Hectic to hear unwanted HORN Sounds in gridlocked traffic. Wake-up India, We need to Change.

After spending Half-a-Day in the Grid-Locked traffic, we have not even crossed 10KMs from Srinagar .
It's already night, Cars other than JK registered were forced by the Officials to stop & park it on the ground.
Officials are not ready to listen that we are not going to temple & we are on the way to Leh, They simply forced us to park our vehicle along with Amarnath temple visitors.

It's already cold, we could see lot of woman with kids stranded on roadside.
When asked to local people about Amarnath, we came to know that we have to travel along with this crowd upto "Sonamarg".
Some local people were making money by offering Tents for Rent to pass the Night. Luckily we could rent out one roadside tent & we had managed to sleep in that on a cold night.


Day 10

28.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 4655, Ending: 5084
Distance Traveled: 429KM
Travel thru
Jammu Kashmir
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 3
Toll Spendings: Rs.120
Stay
Hotel Shanti Palace
Leh, Jammu Kashmir
Srinagar > Sonamarg > Drass > Kargil > Leh

Waked up early in the morning from Camp Tent.
Since our vehicle is locked into parking area allotted for Amarnath temple visitors, tension begin right from the morning. Amarnath visitors are asked to obtain registration slip from the Srinagar town.
When the officials inquired us, we told them we are going to "Leh", Luckily they believed & allowed us to travel through Check-post.
Thank God, we got your blessings.

We were Very tired after long journey. Stuck in the middle of traffic, couple of times (Photo below).
Almost a day left to reach our destination.


Again Traffic Jam


Beautiful View while in Traffic Jam


We are about to move again

After crossing "Sonamarg", We had got rid off traffic from Amarnath temple visitors.
Road is mostly deserted from Sonamarg to Leh. Very few vehicles & good looking scenic mountain range.
 

After crossing "Sonamarg"


Believe me, its NH1 (National Highways No.1)


NH 1


NH1


Picture equals 1000words.
I need not explain the road condition in words.


Wow!, Entered into Ladakh Region


Driving through NH1


Driving through NH1


NH1


Driving through NH1


Driving through NH1


100's of bridges constructed in these area looks like this


Happy & Lucky to visit such a place.
To read more about this place, Click here


Driving through NH1


NH1, fine road for very few kilometers


Driving through NH1




Driving through NH1


It seems School students are on their way back to Home


Kargil


Kargil Town



Hungry, after seeing this board


Army Cafe


Our "Black Horse" hardly needs a bath


It's done by fellow mates


Ready to go after a superb wash with Ice cold water.
Our "Black Horse" might have enjoyed it


Driving through NH1

Driving through NH1


Driving through NH1


Driving through NH1


Forgot the Joke!, Good Picture


road work in progress on NH1


Sun is about to set


Driving through NH1
Those who don't believe, look at the signboard.


After sunset, anyway we need to drive & reach "Leh"



Day 11

29.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 5084, Ending: 5116
Distance Traveled: 32KM
Travel thru
Jammu Kashmir
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 10
Toll Spendings: Rs.418
Stay
Hotel Shanti Palace
Leh, Jammu Kashmir
Leh > Khardung La > Leh

Wonderful day, we were about to reach our final destination, Khardung La.





















Day 12

30.06.2013
Odometer
Starting: 5116, Ending: 5438
Distance Traveled: 322KM
Travel thru
Jammu Kashmir
Himachal Pradesh
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 10
Toll Spendings: Rs.418
Stay
Camp Tent
Himachal Pradesh
Leh > Pang > Sarchu > Rangyo


Our Return Journey starts from this point












































































{{{ Himachal Pradesh }}}














Day 13

01.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 5438, Ending: 5985
Distance Traveled: 547KM
Travel thru
Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh
Punjab
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 1
Toll Spendings: Rs.38
Stay
Punjab Residency
Banur, Punjab
Rangyo > Rohtang Pass > Manali > Chandigarh > Banur

Traveling through Himachal Pradesh


















{{{ Punjab }}}




Day 14

02.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 5985, Ending: 6252
Distance Traveled: 267KM
Travel thru
Punjab, Haryana
Delhi
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 2
Toll Spendings: Rs.123
Stay
Indian Social Institute
New Delhi
Banur > Panipat > New Delhi

We were about to reach the Capital of India






{{{ Haryana }}}




{{{ Delhi }}}





Day 15

03.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 6252, Ending: 6764
Distance Traveled: 512KM
Travel thru
New Delhi
Uttar Pradesh
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 4
Toll Spendings: Rs.395
Stay
Hotel Apna Guest House
Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh
New Delhi > Agra > Gwalior > Jhansi

Starting from Delhi, we travel through one of the India's Best 6 Lane "Yamuna Expressway" to reach Agra






{{{ Uttar Pradesh }}}


























Day 16

04.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 6764, Ending: 7590
Distance Traveled: 826KM
Travel thru
Uttar Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Maharastra
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 9
Toll Spendings: Rs.565
Stay
Hotel Avantika
Yeotmal, Maharastra
Jhansi > Sagar > Nagpur > Yoetmal


Crossed 3 States in a day

{{{ Madhya Pradesh }}}

















Day 17

05.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 7590, Ending: 8571
Distance Traveled: 981KM
Travel thru
Maharastra
Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 14
Toll Spendings: Rs.874
Stay
N.C.M Lodge
Devanahalli Town, Karnataka
Yeotmal > Adilabad > Hyderabad > Kurnool > Devanahalli (Bangalore)

As usual, it's a day long return journey. Traveling through Andhra Pradesh was a Breeze, Entire Road Stretch right from tip to toe of the State was fine. Only because of the superb road condition throughout Andhra Pradesh, we were able to cover very near to 1000KMs in a single day.

{{{ Andhra Pradesh }}}

Finest road stretch across the state, starts from here


8 Lane Expressway to By-Pass Hyderabad


8 Lane Expressway to By-Pass Hyderabad


8 Lane Expressway to By-Pass Hyderabad


8 Lane Expressway to By-Pass Hyderabad



Day 18

06.07.2013
Odometer
Starting: 8571, Ending: 9288
Distance Traveled: 717KM
Travel thru
Karnataka
Tamil Nadu
Toll
No.. of Tolls: 9
Toll Spendings: Rs.440

Devanahalli (Bangalore) > Hosur > Salem > Madurai > Chinnamanur

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