Friday, May 17, 2013

Delhi to Ranthambhore by road

I have been toying with the idea of driving down to Ranthambhore for some time. But the easy availability and comfort of train had prevented me from taking this 450km journey. Driving down also means two additional days. Hence train had always been the preferred route for Delhi photographers. Finally I found companions this time who were willing to drive down. Thus my longest road trip from Delhi becomes a reality in May 2013. I had earlier driven down to Ajmer which also is 400+. I enquired with fellow friends who regularly drives down to Ranthambhore and was advised to take the familiar Delhi – Jaipur – Dausa – Sawai Madhopur route. My research on the net also yielded similar results. But I found an alternate route which I had planned to use on return after enquiring about it at Ranthambhore. In fact the alternate route turned out to be a fabulous route. This is how both the route are :

My starting and end point for the trip is Kaushambi, opposite Anand Vihar ISBT in East Delhi. The general zero point for trips put of Delhi at Dhaula Kuan is about 20km from my home. We started at 0530 in the morning to beat the rush at Guragaon and Manesar toll gate.

Route 1: Delhi – Jaipur – Dausa – Sawai Madhopur

Kaushambi – Gurgaon : 36 km
We used Kaushambi – NH24 – Sarai kale Khan – Barapulla Nallah elevated road – Moti Bagh – Vasant Vihar – Gurgaon. Beat the rush by starting early. You should aim to cross Manesar before 7am. Toll : Rs.21/-

Gurgaon to Jaipur : 247 km
Continue on NH8 via toll gates at Manesar (27rs), Shahjanpur (107rs) and Manoharpura (51rs). Though the road condition is good, there are at least 15 flyovers under construction resulting in slow diversions and hold up on these sections. This can easily add upto 1 hr to your travelling time. Total Toll is Rs. 185/-

Jaipur to Dausa: 50km
Leaving NH8, continue to Jaipur city by following road signs. Once you reach intersection for Amer, continue straight (or slight left). The right goes to Jaipur via Amer. Couple of KM down the line you will reach a flyover which has two carriage way. Take the leftmost carriageway for Dausa. The right one goes into the city. Almost immediately at the end of the flyover turn left to find the road for Dausa. This is the Jaipur – Agra NH11. There is a toll palza. Private cars are toll free at this plaza. To avail this use the leftmost gate. Soon you enter a tunnel and gets out to an excellent four lane highway. You will have to pay toll at Rajadhok. Leave the highway at Dausa by turning right. Toll: Rs.50/-

Dausa to Lalsot: 35km
Once you leave NH11 and enter Dausa continue straight, cross a zig-zag flyover and then turn right al the end of the flyover. Once you leave the town, you will find true country side. The condition of road upto Lalsot is decent. About 10km of this stretch is bumpy and potholed. Keep your speed low to avoid potholes that appear out of nowhere. No toll on this section.

Lalsot to Sawai Madhopur: 75km
Maneuvering Lalsot town is a nightmare. The 1 km stretch has literally no road with potholes as big as small ponds. To compound it, the stretch is jam packed with buses, jeeps, tractors, etc. Can’t think of how one would drive in monsoon. The town seems to exists on this 1km. Once you manage to leave the town, you are back on a fabulous stretch of tolled road. It passes through beautiful country side. We found two decent places to eat on this stretch. Toll: Rs.40/-
Traffic nightmare at Lalsot town

Finally on reaching Sawai Madhopur, cross the flyover and take a left turn at the end of it to enter the Ranthambhore road. All hotels / resort are located on this 10km stretch. The journey took us almost 11 hr as we took healthy breaks en-route amounting to almost 3 hrs owing to breakfast, lunch and a puncture repair. We also drove leisurely only occasionally touching 100kmph.
Total distance: 445km
Total Toll: 296

On return we deiced to use the following route.

Route 2: Sawai Madhopur – Dausa – Sikandara – Rajgarh – Alwar – Bhiwadi – Dharuhera - Delhi

Sawai Madhopur to Dausa : 110 km
We started very late around 9am planning only one break journey. On return from Sawai Madhopur to Dausa, route description is same as onward journey. On reaching Dausa, drive upto the point where you turned right (at the end of a flyover). Now turn right to get onto the Agra road. Continue straight through it to come onto the Jaipur-Agra NH11. Almost close to the highway was a barrier preventing heavier vehicles entry. They have to take a detour to get onto the highway. But we followed other smaller vehicles and went through the barrier to get onto the highway. Toll: Rs.40/-

True countryside
Dausa to Sikandara : 26km
Tolled highway with excellent condition of road. On reaching Sikandara you pay a toll which is very high for using it for only 26km. Toll : Rs.50/-

Sikandara to Alwar : 71km
Now you are on a single carriageway state highway. But the road condition is as good as the Jaipur-Agra highway. This is a tolled road. Traffic is very low. Sikandara to Rajgarh is 35km. Toll: Rs.50/-

Alwar to Bhiwadi to Dharuhera : 95km
On reaching Alwar turn right to get onto the bypass to avoid city traffic. Continue on this till you reach the circle with Ashok Leyland insignia. Turn right here. Now you are onto the Alwar –Bhiwadi tolled state highway via Tijara. It is an excellent 4 lane highway. There are occasional dhaba type eateries on this stretch. In case you are hungry then you should fill your tank in any of these. There is no decent restaurant. Toll: Rs.55/-

Dharuhera to Gurgaon : 50km
This is where we faced traffic for the first time on return. Two flyovers under construction, diversions and Manesar toll gate ensured heavy jam. Fortunately traffic was moving and we got away with about 40 min of additional time as compared to our onward journey. Toll: Rs.27/-

Gurgaon to Kaushambi: 36km
It was around 3pm when we had reached the toll plaza. There was long queue at each gate. Yet we were out within 10 min. Despite all the bad publicity. I was impressed with speed of toll processing. Toll: Rs.21/-

The return journey took us about 7 ½   hrs despite of additional 1 hour from Dharuhera to Kaushambi. It was one break journey and we drove leisurely around 80-90 kmph. This route turned out to be at least 55km shorter – only 388km as compared 445km. The total toll was also lower – Rs.246 as compared to Rs.296. To add to it we beat all the traffic hold up, diversions on Dharuhera – Jaipur stretch constructions. On the entire Dausa to Dhrauhera stretch there was hardly any traffic and road condition was out of the world. I failed to understand why people are not talking about this route. One reason may be the tolled state highways have been constructed / completed recently. I highly recommend using this route.
Total distance: 388km
Total Toll: 243

(Note: Journey described herein was undertaken in May 2013)


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