Grand India Road Tour (GIRT) - covering more than Golden Quadrilateral (GQ+)

A 33-day, 9388KM, car-drive to the four corners of India. This driving tour undertaken by two IIT-KGP-ians (class of 1970) retired in recent years, was to celebrate freedom from work  .... after 35+ years of working!

India




Highlight Pics from main places visited

 Sahelion-Ki-Bari at Udaipur

Views at Mt. Abu

Dancers at Mehrangarh, Jodhpur

Camel Rides at Sam, Jaisalmer

 

 Puppets & Hand-Crafts at Jaisalmer

A Musician at Jaisalmer Fort

Palace Hotel at Bikaner

 

Golden Temple ... at Amritsar

 

 Taj Mahal .... at Agra

 

Boat on Ganges .. at Varanasi

Tibetan Monastry ..  at Sarnath

Golden Quad's 4-lane H/way ... scenic at Tilaya/Barhi, Jharkhand 

 Street Gods - at Bhubneshwar

 Coconut trees, line the way to Puri

 Sun Temple ... at Konarak

 Swami Vivekanand stands tall ..  on H/way between Vizag & Vijayawada

 

 Srirangam Temple ... at Trichy

 

Big Temple ......  at Tanjore

 

 Me & Tapan ...  at Dhanushkody

 Sunset ... at Allapuzha Beach

 

 Refurbished 1970 Willys Jeeps ... for sale on NH17 near Alleppy, Kerala

 Beautiful scenery.....  on way from  Cannanore to Karwar

 

Marvanthe Beach on NH 17 ... just north of Kondapura, Karnataka

 Beautiful sea view ... at Karwar

 Main Square ...  at Madgaon, Goa




How it all started ......


Finally, a 30+ year old dream got, fulfilled!!!  I had always  'dreamed' of travelling to the four corners of India.  In the initial years (7o's) the mode of travel was a bicycle. Later (during the 80s) the vehicle (in the dream) had changed to a motorcycle (a Yezdi or a Bullet). And still later (in the 90s) the  vehicle got upgraded to a car or better still  a Jeep or an SUV!  

But only after retiring in 2004, did I get serious about fulfilling that dream .... or rather, I had to (voluntarily) retire to make this dream (and many other such travel and trek dreams) finally, come true. 


 Me with my IndicaV2 car, on a 4-lane divided Highway, near Udaipur

In 2005, after a careful study of all available cars & suvs, I finally settled on Tata Indica-V2 (Diesel) as perhaps the most fuel-efficient, sturdy and "repairable-anywhere" in India. And so, in August 2005, I finally bought this car and did a few solo driving tours:  

(1) Saurashtra Coastal tour  (2500Kms - Sept 2005) 

(2) Madhya Pradesh Tour  (3500Kms - Dec 2005)

(3) 

 Konkan & Goa Coast cum Hampi  (in Dec-2006)



But for the All-India tour I was looking to get some more people, with similar interests, to share the driving load. In 2006, during a Reunion Meet with some of my college wingmates (Dorm Mates),  I put forth this all-India Car Tour idea and some of them showed interest. 

Later one of them, Tapan Ghosh, followed up with an email ...  he said he was quite serious about doing it (in fact, he too had been dreaming of doing  such a tour for many years) .... but he said he can join only after 9th Dec 2007, when he retires from his Telcon job in Jamshedpur.  That meant I had to wait for another year or so, but I readily agreed. At least, I now had a driving mate with similar interests and passion.   

Tapan Ghosh takes a  picture of sunrise, as we leave Mt. Abu

Meanwhile, Tapan started making detailed route plans from various State maps ..... and he suggested several different routes. We discussed these, back and forth, several times, via email and finally froze on one Plan. Our main objectives were (1) to drive to the four corners of India (excluding J&K and North-East, but do more than just the Golden Quadrilateral  ... (2) visit only a few important tourist spots (on the route), particularly, those that neither of us have visited during our prior family vacations (3) to do this tour in winter, i.e. in Dec/Jan, so the weather conditions will be pleasant and not requiring car AC and (4) see as much of the rural country-side and people in areas near the National Highways, but not go too much into the interior regions.

The GIRT route plan we froze by early Dec-2007 was : PLAN 

Though our plan was to complete the entire route in 40 days or so, we found the going much smoother and less tiring than we anticipated. Thus in the initial sections through West and North India, we did take alternate days rest from driving ... in the latter half of the circuit, after Bhubneshwar we started skipping the rest days .... and in the end completed the entire planned circuit in 33 days, shaving-off nearly 7 days from original Plan.        

The Actual Route, KMs, Night-Halts and Schedule that we executed is shown here :  ACTUAL 

This Page-1 of GIRT displays a kind of summary mosaic of small size pictures from each of the places we visited. These pictures will give you an overview of the places we saw on the GIRT Tour.



Fisherfolk straining to pull in the net of day's catch ... at Dhanushkody


The Lifting Railway Bridge at Pamban, Palk Straits, Rameshwaram  

Massive wind farms with hundreds of turbine near Kanya Kumari

(Lto R) Myself, Tapan & Sujit ... at Durgapur we stopped at another IIT Wingmate's home that was just on the NH2. We had breakfast with him.

 (LtoR>) Ranbir, Tapan, Sumeru, Me, Amiya and Sumit ...  In Kolkata, on our Rest-cum-Car-Service stop day (2nd Jan 2008) we had a mini-meet with Wingmates of Nehru Hall, IIT-KGP in Sumerus's office.

GIRT ends ... at Thane on 15th January 2008


In the following pages you will find a detailed Diary of our day-to-day car drive, the events that unfolded on the roads and highways, and the tourist spots we visited.  

**********