Friday, November 11, 2011

Bangalore - Nagpur NH7 (or now NH44) in one day!

Bangalore - Nagpur NH7 (or now NH44) in one day!

I drive from Bangalore to my home in Nagpur every Diwali since last 4 years. To people who don't realize that I (or anyone) can actually enjoy it, I give the reason as 'no reservations available'. But the truth is I go home for Diwali mostly because I get to drive.

Total distance to be covered one way is ~ 1100 - 1200 km depending upon which villages / towns you bypass and which you don't. Year by year, I improved steadily in the distance I covered in one day. Last year I had stopped at Armur (~300 km from Nagpur) in onward journey and Kurnool on my way back to Bangalore. With more and more of the NH7 being 4-laned, I was confident I could finally beat Rajdhani train (which takes ~21 hrs) this year.

Things did not start well with powercut on the eve of the journey. This meant we started 1 hour later than planned 04.30 hrs. Still it wasn't too bad as unlike last year no rain was predicted anywhere on the route. Thankfully it actually did not rain and I could maintain the maximum allowed speed of 100 kph throughout. With GPS speed also available, I noticed that at actual 100 kph, Beat speedometer showed 109 kph. We made it to Hyderabad by noon and took the Nehru ORR. I had glimpses of this modern marvel last year.

This year it is almost ready. It has 4 lanes each sides with shoulders, well marked exits and on top of it nice views. Believe it or not, the speed limit here is 120 kph (75 mph)! This is more than even the maximum limit of 70 mph in US! I finally felt proud about infrastructure in India clap:Problem is you have to get off the ORR at Gachibowli-Miyapur road as the work is still in progress beyond that. I took the Medak-Medchal road and got back on NH7 (which is already renamed as NH44 in AP). Here we stopped for lunch.

Post lunch, we got back on road and everything was nice till 30 kms to Armur. Here again the road work is still in progress and I had to stick to the old highway. You also have to pass through Armur town which is a bit bad on the nerves after 800 km of 4/6 lane road. But it ended soon after Armur and the road was again great till Maharashtra border.

I remember as kids in Nagpur we used to joke about roads in MP and how Maharashtra roads are way better. The feelings are reversed when you enter Maharashtra from AP. Lot of places the rennovation work has started and then stalled since past 3 years. The Bori - Wadki stretch is finished but Wadki - Wadner is still as horrible as it was 4 years back with no hope on the horizon.

Once we crosed Wadner around 19:45 hrs, road is again nice through Hinganghat - Jaamb all the way to Nagpur. We made it home around 22:00 hrs. clocking 1100+ km in 16.5 hrs. comfortably beating Rajdhani :D

I am starting with the map - roads marked based on their quality...

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