Self driven road trip from Goa to Khojuraho!

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Dr. Vinay Raykar, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Goa to Khojuraho a self-driven road trip.

    On 20th of October (2017) at a very young age i.e., sixty-five I embarked on an approximately 4000 kilometers road journey along with my girlfriend Asha (she happens to be my wife also (age 57) from Panaji, Goa.

    The route I had chosen was Panaji> Poona > Nashik > Indore > Bhopal > Khojuraho > Bandhavgarh tiger reserve> Jabalpur > Kanha tiger reserve > Nagpur > Aurangabad > Poona > Panaji, Goa.

    Obviously my friends and relatives advised me not to drive but to take a driver or go by flight! I was repeatedly told that I am in vulnerable age and therefore not to take risk. Unknown road, unknown destinations and unknown people etc. were in fact a challenge.

    These people had limited influence on me on my decision but major concern was from my wife! She didn’t know whether to swallow or spit! She didn’t want me to go alone at the same time she was scared to travel such a long distance! (I am bit of aggressive driver of course!)

    The intense concern about me ultimately took over and she was willing to join me!

    The ‘maps of India’ were a great help in deciding route and also assessing the distances. The distances shown in ‘search’ were quite accurate. We did have problem at times on google maps and navigation often due to snapping of connectivity. But overall satisfactory navigation!

    I had decided not drive after 5pm and take complete rest on the day of driving. Secondly I had decided to park my car in the hotel in whichever city we are and hire a cab to site seeing. Third we would drive about 200 kilometers and maximum 500 kilometers in one stretch. We would begin driving around 8 in the morning for short journey and around 6 am on a long journey. The early start was to avoid the city traffic and also enough time to reach before dark even if there is some impediment.

    I found that this early morning start had an advantage since we used to reach the destination well in time for lunch which would extra comfort of nap thereafter.

    The car was Mercedes E class.

    IMG_0985.JPG IMG_1243.JPG

    Attached Files:

    Joydeb Mallick likes this.
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Amazing shots Dr. Raykar Sir, thank you for sharing. How long did the trip take you ?
  3. Thanks! twenty two days!
  4. Continuation to above Travelogue (the system does not allow more than 1000 words I believe!):

    1st Day (20th), Panaji (Goa) to Poona; distance approx. 420 kilometers, overnight stay; good road, national highway.

    2nd day (21st) Poona to Nashik; distance approx. 200 kilometers, overnight stay at Nashik Club. Extremely bad road for about 120 kilometers taking more than 5 hours to reach Nashik. Visited Sula winery which is about 30 kilometers from Nasik city. For Rs 750 per person we had wine tasting of six varieties. This place has in-house restaurant and good on palate but may not be on the purse!

    3rd Day (22nd) Nashik to Indore; distance approx. 420 kilometers, good road, stay at Indore Yashwant Club for two nights. The club is named after the prince and son of famous Ahilyabai Holkar the erstwhile ruler of Indore. The club is in center of city, good room, bar and dining. This was possible being affiliated member of Club the Gasper Dias, Panaji Goa.

    The Rajwada (palace is worth visiting! The most famous place is Sarafa which opens up after 8pm and goes well beyond 2am! It is famous for local snacks as street food. Very clean and no dirt, safe to eat. Indore is also known for more than 350 varieties and plenty of sweets too.

    5th day (24th) Indore to Bhopal; distance approx. 200 kilometers, two nights stay at 10 suites a service apartment. Good homemade food and hospitality!

    The lakes are quite clean and was pleasantly surprised to find an open gym in the lake park, greater surprise was to find women also exercising! The other surprise was to find eco bicycles on hire adjacent lake! The owner of 10 suites also had arranged for his own car with driver (chargeable) to visit Sanchi and Bhimbelkta caves. Both are situated in opposite directions may be around 60 kilometers and worth visiting. One should not miss Museum of Mankind Bhopal is a tribute to the tribal community of the country. It takes about 4 hours to see the place and for artists it is the place! While we were there the screening of Hindi movie ‘Jane bhi do yaro’ was going on for public.

    Visit to Bhimbekta takes almost half a day and involves a good amount of walking. The caves happened to be the dwellings of pre-historic man during the Paleolithic era. Majority of paintings are still intact! Most of historic tribal art seems to have taken off from here!

    There is also an ancient Shiva Temple on the way to Bhimbekta caves. The Shivlinga is 18 feet in height supposed to biggest Linga!

    The local visit to Taj-ul-Masjid Bhopal is worth.

    7th day (26th) Bhopal to Khojuraho; distance approx. 400 kilometers, good road even though majority is state highway. Originally planned for four nights but cut down to two and stay at Ramda. First day we attended sound and light show and was highly impressed. Next day we went for photography early in the morning before the crowd gathers. We went back to hotel for breakfast and returned at 10 with guide. The temple architecture brings tears of joy! The erotic sculptures are not even one percent but is promoted as if there is nothing else! The mythological female Apsara is gracefully sculpted with ultimate feminine beauty explicitly!
  5. Sumit Dev

    Sumit Dev New Member

    Nice photos Dr. Raykar. Khajurao is quite close to my place but I have never been there. Seeing your pics now wants me to go there. Thank you for sharing.
  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hello Dr. Raykar,

    Inspired by your photographs, I am now planning to visit Khajuraho in Feb or March. I will be asking for your help about what should I see and where to stay Sir.
  7. Thank you and you are most welcome!
  8. Continuation...

    9th day (28th) Khojurao to Panna tiger reserve; approx. 35 kilometers, some very bad road and some good road.

    We felt two days were sufficient we decided to visit Panna tiger reserve for next two nights which is hardly 35 kilometers but consumed three hours to reach! Half the road was very bad. I think the journey of bad roads started here.

    But the cut down of two days added bliss at Panna tiger reserve! Reviewing the reviews on net I talked to a gentleman who was quite young of a resort. While enquired about his resort he was totally open and stated that his resort can offer good food, good room and good service but no luxury! (This comment as he asked where we are staying in Khojurao, Ramda). He also told us that his partner, Abhinav would be at resort. He is recipient of India Today Award being youngest cinephotographer. The resort stated on the bank of Kan river simple but great! Two days of last minute decision was worth.

    We met a middle aged couple from Pune and other young couple from Bombay. The Pune couple went for early morning, evening and night safaris for all three days! The second couple had come for tiger photography and had checked out but returned same day for further photo shoot! When we told them that we would be staying in Nagpur for four days, the gentlemen (he was from Nagpur) told us that we would wasting our days and disappointed as there is nothing to see in Nagpur! We again cut short our tour by two days’ post Kanha. My wife was extremely happy as she was home sick or rather ‘fish’ sick! For Goan’s life without fish is very hard!

    We did see panther, wild boar, deer, foxes, peacocks etc.

    11th day (30th) Panna to Bandhavgarh) approx. 250 kilometers; very very bad roads. We could hardly have speed of 30 kms per hour and unfathomable road pits!

    This road was mother of all! Pits, potholes, no road but mud at rubbles for miles together. We were fortunate enough to get a pickup driver who drove for our sake to guide us to a better road! People did not know “Bandhavgarh’ even though they were just about 100 kms away! The road signs and directions though new, were showing directions of such pathetic road.

    We had mix-up on dates and the resort people did not bother to call us when we did not show up! We had booked safaris for same day evening and next day morning. We had stand in line for more than one hour (it was week end and big crowd) to get two seats in bus safari! The bus started late instead of 3pm it started at 4pm! The return is 6pm, the driver and the guide on the way did some time pass, except one or two dears and jackals nothing could be spotted. It was disappointing as here also we could not spot the tiger. Other people form safaris also did not see the tiger!

    May be the jungle is quite dense and the rains were just through. The Aranyak resort was good but was missing warmth of hospitality.

    13th day (1st Nov) Bandhavgarh to Jabalpur; approx. 200 kms again bad and some good roads.

    We had booked at Vijan Mahal hotel at Jabalpur but had very pleasant welcome by the young General Manager who sorted out which had happened due to mix up in dates from our end. He was magnanimous of condoning our mistake and went the extent of upgrading us for a special room and showered us with complimentary fruit basket etc. He was exhilarated to find young couple like us driving all the way from Goa! For a day our Mercedes was parked by the hotel just at the entrance of reception!

    Our excursion to Bedaghat was worth. For no reason the cars not allowed near the falls and an ordinary person has to walk for more than half a kilometer! But I saw few cars below and when I enquired with our driver, he told us he can also take us for Rs 400 more as half that goes for bribing the authorities! Everywhere there is corruption and bargaining.

    We came to know that there is a rope way which starts at 10.30 am and we chose to take the same. It was worth as the rope way car crosses over the falls and reaches on the opposite side of the river. It is across Narmada river. The water gushes in a cascade and flows through marble rock gorge for more than five kilometers I believe. We also went for boating which took us on the further down part from the falls. We saw our rich Indian custom of worshipping of the river by hundreds of ladies on the banks.

    15th Day (3rd) Jabalpur to Kanha; approx. 160 kilometers and extremely bad roads.

    We had booked at ‘Royal Kanha’ and turned out to be of great disappointment in terms of accommodation, hospitality and tiger reserve safari. We had, as said earlier, there was mistake in reservation dates and as per which we should have checked-in previous day. We had also prepaid for safari to the resort. The resort staff never bothered to enquire as to why did not show up! However, they allowed to check-in without charging extra. We had to stand in the que for about two hours and typical to our country there was chaos at booking counter. With lot of haggling we got into safari bus and suffered! In other tiger reserves we had seen plenty of common animals like dears but here we could not see ten of them! I wonder whether it is farce safari.

    17th day (5th) approx. Kanha to Nagpur, 266 kilometers, bad roads.

    We had booked at CP Club wherein only members and affiliated club members can stay. It was just a night’s stay. We picked famous orange burfi and it was unique, but its shelf life is only four days.

    18th day (6th) Nagpur to Aurangabad; approx. 500 kilometers, good roads.

    We reached by lunch time at VITS hotel, the chef ordered excellent chicken dish and without transferring our bags we hired a taxi and went for half day site seeing, covering Ellora caves and local spots like Pan Chakki, Bibi ka Makbara. All worth visiting!

    19th day (7th) Aurangabad to Kolhapur, approx. 400 kilometers, (took short cut bypassing Pune and regretted due to bad roads).

    20th Day (8th) Kolhapur to Panjim (Goa) approx. 250 kilometers, good road.

    Back to pavilion, instilling confidence in my wife that she can rely on me on my driving!
  9. Avier

    Avier New Member

    Great pics Sir
  10. Thanks! Your travelogue is also good!

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