Drive from Hyderabad to Pondicherry
My quest for driving seems to be increasing day by day. After every long drive, I feel the next time I can possibly do an even bigger one. When I managed to complete the Hyderabad – Gir stretch, I realised that Hyderabad to Pondicherry road trip won’t be that difficult. Being the first vacation with my dog Eins, the road trip had its own fun and challenges.
Due to the expected political disturbances on 02-Oct, we preponed our trip to 01-Oct. Little we knew that we would get stuck while coming back.
Total kms driven: 2200 km from door to door
Onward Route: Hyderabad – Vijayawada – Chennai – Pondicherry
Onward Time: 16 hours
Return Route: Pondicherry – Vellore – Bangalore –Penukonda – Bangalore – Hyderabad
Return Time: Journey break – political disturbance
Car: Ford Fiesta Petrol (2006)
Passengers: 5 (Both of my parents, my wife Supriya and my dog Eins)
Conditions: Hot weather with car AC on for the entire length of the trip
Average Mileage: 12+ km/lit
Total Cost of Fuel: Approx Rs. 14500
Total Toll: Approx Rs. 1000 (Both ways)
Driving Objective: Safe and Secure (no genuine rush with proper pit-stops for fuelling, breakfast and lunch)
Maximum Driving Speed: 170 km/hr (occasionally on expressways when the roads were too inviting)
Day 1: 01-Oct 2013 (Tuesday) – Drive from Hyderabad to Pondicherry
The plan was to leave Hyderabad by 5 AM, but by the time we could set-off it was 5-45 AM. Straightaway took the Outer Ring Road and went towards the Vijayawada (VWD) highway. The stretch till VWD was beautiful, newly laid bitumen surface was really a treat to drive. Before the journey I did some research on the route to be selected, there were 2 options, one via VWD and second via Bangalore which is a little longer one. I chose the VWD route thinking I will catch the golden quadrilateral (GQ) from VWD to Chennai.
The road condition from VWD to Chennai was not as I expected it to be. The GQ work is still under progress and there are umpteen diversions to be taken all the way along. Most of the times you have to drive on the service road. Although you don’t face any oncoming traffic, yet driving on the service road one can never increase their driving speed beyond 100 kmph. Precisely the reason why it took more than 16 hours for us to cover that 950 km. 950 km was also the distance between Gir and Mumbai which I covered in 13 hours, however this was a different story.
This time we were travelling with our dog and it was very important for us to stop after every 2 hours to give him a break, make him walk and relieve himself during the journey. Since the car was packed with 5 passengers so all the luggage had to go in the boot, even the refreshments and the snacks. I was really surprised to see the 7 year old car running absolutely perfect carrying all that weight on its back. Kudos to my first love.
Somehow before evening stuck, we reached Chennai, but unfortunately it was Monday and we got stuck in the Chennai traffic for almost 2 hours before we could finally catch hold of the Pondicherry highway. After that it was cool and we managed to reach Pondicherry by 10 PM. It was an extended drive of 16 hours however I did share some of the driving distance with my dad.
A debatable topic comes forth here, self driving vs shared driving. I will probably write about it in a separate post, but the fact remains true – for me shared driving is too difficult to manage. I will prefer to get tired and drive on my own rather sharing the car with some other driver – even if it is my dad. The peril of sharing the driving seat is that I hardly get any rest. Even when I’m not driving virtually I keep watching the road and that keeps my mind occupied. My foot automatically goes to the brake pedal on watching a possible obstruction; hence I don’t find it to be a good idea to let somebody else drive the car with me taking a back seat.
Day 2: 02-Oct (Wednesday) – Resort stayNo driving, just relaxing on the sea beach.
Day 3: 03-Oct (Thursday) – City tourWent on a city tour to cover some of the prominent tourist attractions in and around Pondicherry.
Day 4: 04-Oct (Friday) – Resort stayNo driving, just relaxing on the sea beach.
Day 5: 05-Oct (Saturday) – Drive from Pondicherry to Bangalore
After all the fulfilling days of enjoyment, now was the time to go back. Considering the traffic of Chennai, and not so good road condition of GQ, I decided to go to Hyderabad via Bangalore. Now the usual route from Pondicherry to Bangalore was under construction hence people were driving through vellore. We did the same and reached hosur by 12 noon. The road condition from vellore to hosur was just awesome. Till vellore it was good enough with very little traffic through Arni which runs a state highway. From hosur we took a right turn and plan was to skip the city and join the Hyderabad road at the new airport. After a lot of effort through the so called bypass, we managed to reach the bang-hyd highway. We stopped at BP Ghar which had a Kamat dhaba. Had our lunch and started for our onward journey to Hyderabad. Minutes after entering Andhra we got to know from a toll booth that the roads were blocked by seemandhra agitators and we couldn’t move ahead.
Now Bangalore was 150 km behind us, but with family I couldn’t take a chance of going forward. Hence went back to Bangalore and stayed at my childhood friend’s place. This was the second time I went to Prabhat’s place in Bangalore; he was too kind to offer us a place to stay for the night.
Day 6: 06-Oct (Sunday) – Drive from Bangalore to Hyderabad
Today, we planned that we would leave after dark and drive through the night till Hyderabad to avoid the disturbances during the day time. Left Bangalore city around 5 PM and entered Andhra border by around 7 PM, things were cool along the way and we reached Hyderabad safely around 1 AM. I always avoid night driving, this was a deliberate one hence learned a lot about driving in the night. Will write a different post on the pros and cons of day driving vs night driving.
Hyderabad Bangalore stretch is heavenly as always. This was the third time I was driving from Bangalore to Hyderabad and the roads are still as beautiful as they were a few years ago. I restricted my speed under 100 kmph and under 3K RPM mark all through the journey from Bangalore to Hyderabad, and surprisingly my car gave a mileage of 17+ kmpl. Being a 7 year old petrol sedan, with 5 passengers on board, boot filled to the brim and AC always on, I think it was a remarkable achievement.
GO FIDA once again!