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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Road Trip to Bhubaneshwar - from Hyderabad

Hyderabad to Bhubaneshwar

It was that time of the year when we, do visit Bhubaneshwar for a family reunion. Till date the travel has been either by Air or sometimes by Rail. This time, I thought and Madhu seconded that why not drive down and were very upbeat about the same. Well, a drive down of 1100+ KMs needed preparation, mostly in the mind and some in the form of logistics. I had to get around knowing the Indian Highways, get travel related stuff ready, kit for car like tubeless tyre puncture kit, foot pump and get the car serviced before the D-Day. I also, subscribed to the “IndiaHighways” yahoo groups and got a feel of views aired by people, tuned into National Highway Authority of India ( ) website to get some information. We also, decided that we will not drive during the night and have break in journey at appropriate places. The drive was to take us through two highways i.e. NH9 – from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and NH5 (GQ) from Vijayawada to Bhubaneshwar.

Some of the highlight of the journey are as follows:

NH9 – Hyderabad to Vijayawada

The road is a two lane one for most part of the 270+ kms except 30+ kms from Hyderabad to beyond Ramoji Film City and 40+Kms before approaching Vijaywada i.e. around a place called Paritala. The condition of the road is not particularly good and it is a dangerous road to drive with too many bends and curves. We witnessed around 5 accidents while going and 15 accidents on our journey back (some of them ghastly). I would not suggest anyone to drive on this road during night. You can average around 70-80 Kms/hr during this stretch.

NH9 criss-crosses through three districts i.e. Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda and Krishna. As one enters the Krishna district boundaries one would see the richness/fertility of the land around and lot of crops being cultivated. Along this route there are many small and big towns like Chityal, Nakrekal, Suryapet, Kodad, Nandigama & Kanchikacherla

Another feature of this highway is the number of petrol pumps almost touching the 100 mark in the 270 Km stretch and the numerous dabas to meet the hunger requirements of the travelers.

As you are approaching Vijayawada, one would see the towering statute of
Lord Hanuman and its breath taking. Also, on the way just before Vijayawada is a place called Kondapalle famous for the Kondapalle toys and two industries of Visaka Thermal Power Station and Lanco Power project. You will also be paying Rs.30 as toll fee for using the highways as you are closing Vijayawada.

Vijayawada city has the famous Kanaka Durga temple on the NH9 itself and if you are religious minded suggest visiting the temple. The city stretch is long and one has to cross the Prakasam Barrage, which looks splendid during the night time.

NH5 - Vijayawada to Bhubaneshwar

The NH5 (from Chennai to Howrah) a part of the Golden Quadrilateral(GQ) project, has four lane roads of world standards with lane marking, sturdy surface, exit roads, median with plants/flowers, road directions, side barriers at critical points etc. The whole stretch from Vijayawada to Vishakapatnam(400+ Kms) and from Vishakapatnam to 30 + Kms before Icchapuram(just before entering Orissa boundaries) the four lane continues with some patches in between being made. Once you enter Orissa boundaries, the NH5 reduces to a two lane road sometime one lane from Icchapuram to Balugaon. The road condition is bad and one could see no initiatives for four laning this stretch. Most difficult patch to drive and lot of pot-holes and extremely poor road condition. From Balugaon to Bhubaneshwar, one side of the four lane is done and one could see work progressing and hoping that during the next drive it would be ready.

Hues of life - Andhra section of NH 5

NH 5 criss-crosses through five districts of Andhra Pradesh i.e. Krishna, East Godavari, West Godavari, Vishakaptnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulum. Again the whole stretch is very fertile and one could see the lovely green paddy crop, rice fields or coconut plantations. Some of the important places on the way were Gannavaram, Eluru, Tadepallegudam, Tanuku, Rajahmundry, Annavaram, Tuni, Elamnchilli, Anakapalle, Vishakaptnam, Srikakulum, Tekkali and finally Icchapuram.

What I saw was the each of the town/city in this stretch had the idol of Lord Hanuman guarding them. Some of the large and beautifully crafted ones have been captured through my camera lenses.

There are no good dhabas in the NH5 unlike the NH9, however there are the Reliance Plaza’s (Petrol pumps with shopping complex) that would soothe the tired travelers.

The concept of Reliance Plaza started by the Reliance group is very interesting wherein attached to the petrol pump is a plaza that houses resting rooms, paid baths, toilets, dhabas(with affordable price), sit-out areas and proposed vehicle care centers. The petrol pump is COCO with a ROI(Retail outlet Incharge on rolls of Reliance) and PIC(Plaza incharge on rolls of Reliance) who ensure quality, image etc of the Reliance brand. The plaza is franchised with Reliance getting a royalty on the same.

In some stretches I saw the recommended speed mentioned by NHAI was 100 Km/hr which I have seen only in one road i.e. Mumbai Pune highway(there might be other roads where such speeds are recommended). 85% of this stretch my Esteem touched 110-120 Km/Hr and the driving is very safe. Saw a couple of accidents only, that too heavily loaded trucks turning turtle. One would enjoy driving on these roads and be prepared to pay toll fee around Rs.185 for using the beautiful infrastructure.

Hues of life - Orissa section of NH 5

NH 5 criss-crosses through two districts of Orissa(till Bhubaneshwar)i.e. Ganjam, Khurda. Some of the important places on the way were Berhampur, Gopalpur on Sea(deviation of 7 kms from NH5), Chatrapur, Balugaon, Rambha, Tangi, Khurda and then Bhubaneshwar.

A special mention of Gopalpur-on-Sea is worth as one can enjoy the lovely & serene Bay-of Bengal, the early morning sunrise & the lighthouse.

Near Balugoan you can see the beautiful Chilika lake and during winter a lot of migratory birds from all over world come here for nesting. Orissa Tourism department( does have tour packages from Balugaon for seeing the birds. Near Chatrapur on the banks of the Rushikulya river, winter is the time for the nesting of the world famous endangered Olive Ridley(OR) turtles. OR numbering in lakhs come to the banks of the river mouth and lay eggs. With the permission of the Wildlife officials one can take a look at this spectacular sight. For those interested in Gods/temples the Tara Tarini temple and the Bhaygradevi temple are on a little deviations from the highway.

Average speed of 40-50 + Km/hr will be a boon for any driver till Balugaon. From Balugaon one side of the four lane is done and one could see work progressing and hoping that during the next drive it would be ready. You could average 70-80 Kms/hr and night driving is not recommended.
Overall it was an exciting trip and at the end of 2300+ kms we did enjoy every bit of it, the countryside, the drive, the food and most of all the fresh air which one doesnot get in the cities.


  1. Well Written and would have been a great Expereince

  2. Pupu,

    Excellent snaps... that shows the photographer in you..

    when read ur blog, i had a virtual trip..

    nice one. keep blogging..

  3. Your Appreciation for A-1 Dhabas at Our (Reliance Petroleum Retail Outlets called Truck Stops) is a Feedback we have been getting from From Lots of Customers.

    Recently, I along with my Family also Drove (1400kms) From Delhi to Nainital Back to Delhi Then To Jaipur to Bhilwara and Back to Delhi. We stopped at 7 of Our Reliance COCO Truck Stops. Even my wife who is from Hospitality Industry was full of Praise for The Quality of Food and Hygenic Kitchens.

    Sharad Maheshwari
    Reliance Petroleum Ltd

  4. Mr. Mishra,
    I am encouraged to take up Pune to Bhuvaneshwar (Puri - in fact) by road after going through your experience. Since your journey was about two and half years back, I presume that roads would be in much better condition.
    We are two families (7 of us) planning to take it up in Scorpio.
    Could you share your experiences, particularly problems that you may have faced during your journey. I apprecitae it may be tough to recall though.
    I suppose that Relaince outlets on this road also must have closed just as in western Maharashtra due to their higher prices of motor fuel.
    Another question... did you try it again?
    Please get back at your convenience.
    Thanks in advance.
    Best regards.
    Rajesh Kulkarni


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