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Thursday, 12 January 2012




Why do these trees look so funny? 
One fine morning, my hubby and I were suddenly bitten by the travel bug …we must explore India by road was the thought. Both agreed spontaneously, decided to undertake the venture and started the spade-work for the Rajasthan-Gujarat stretch which was covered by us in 16 days at an absolutely relaxed and leisurely pace. The decision was quick and it was followed by unending hours on internet Googling for all the details.

I must admit that we were too lazy to go to the Tourism Deptt offices at Chandralok Building at Janpath which definitely is an easier option for collecting information. Neither did we want to take the help of any tour operator. The idea was to go on our own, by our own car, at our own will and at our own pace singing, “Nikal pade hain khuli sadak pe apna seena tane…kahan ki manzil kahan hai jana, ooper wala jaane..”

We drove from New Delhi to Dwarka(Gujarat) and back, a distance of app 3000 km in 16 days, on a shoe string budget…. thanks to the Guest House facility given to our Bank’s officers even after retirement. Compliments to my chauffeur…ooops…my shauhar (hubby) who proved his driving skills and endurance beyond doubt at the ripe old age of XX (censored). I, of course, acted as a navigator all through.

On day one, we travelled from New Delhi to Jaipur covering a distance of 238 km leaving our residence at 9.10am. The morning was foggy, Delhi-Gurgaon Road had peak traffic at that time as expected and the cars were virtually crawling. But who was worried? Let it take as much time as it does. We were enjoying every moment of it. We were accompanied by my hubby’s elder brother and sis-in-law and catching up with all the family gossip chattering non-stop.

The first stop was at CafĂ©’ Coffee Day after 85 km at 11am. A much-needed bio-break followed by big glasses of Cappuccino coffee and cheese sandwiches which I had carried from home and which we enjoyed sitting in the warmth of our car was quite refreshing. We were on the road again at 11.25am.

At the Farmers' Retreat Restaurant
just before Jaipur
The next break was for lunch at the Farmers’ Retreat before Jaipur at 2.20 pm. We chose to sit in open with nice bright sun shining on the lush green grass. What a change from the cold and foggy Delhi! Soon we found a gunman walking towards us and I could not help asking, “Are you going to shoot us down?” He was highly embarrassed and quickly shook his head from left to right and said hurriedly, “No Ma’am, this is for your safety. There are too many monkeys around and they may attack you.”

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Lunch soon over, we decided to visit Amer Fort before heading over to the Guest house. A good guide at the rate of Rs. 150 for over 4 hours was quite helpful in seeing the Fort quickly with proper focus.

Inside Amer Fort
After the visit to the Fort, the guide insisted that we must visit the Rajasthan Handicrafts Emporium which we did only to realise that they wanted to sell various items to us at exorbitant prices. We escaped that bid and came out unhurt and reached the Bank’s Guest house by 9 pm. As we had already rung up the caretaker for keeping the dinner ready, we had our hot and healthy homely dinner.


1. Keep your favourite music handy. I had ripped my music CDs and transferred all my favourite songs on MP3 format on an 8 GB pen drive which I put into the USB port of my i20 car. It is not a great idea to carry loads of CDs especially when space is limited in the glove cabin.

2. Keep sufficient change ready in your wallet for paying up at innumerable Toll Plazas on the way. We paid Rs 21 before Gurgaon, Rs 27 at 34th km, Rs 98 at Shahjahanabad Toll Plaza at 108th km and Rs 47 at 205th km just before Jaipur. You certainly would not like to be searching all your pockets for change at every such plaza.

3. In winters, wear layers of clothes and keep taking them off as the temperature rises in the car. Don’t ever get stuck with a thermal underneath. It can indeed make you miserable.

4. Shoes are an important part of the outfit.... a comfortable pair which one can wear the whole day without feeling the need to take them off and walk endlessly in case the programme changes suddenly.

5. Keep extra camera batteries with you. The batteries in the camera have a unique tendency to drain 
off when you need them the most.

6. Feed the necessary phone numbers and address of Guest House in your mobile in advance. Who wants to search around a paper and read it in the dimly lit interiors of the car at night?

For more TRAVELOGUES, please visit my dedicated blog on travels
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