15-day, 5,000 km road trip in Toyota Fortuner: Bangalore to Rajasthan

Even though PUC wasn’t required as our SUV was brand-new, we still got it done for this journey across 5 states & 1 union territory.

BHPian gadadhar recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A road trip outside South India was a long pending dream, and we thought the time has come with the arrival of the new Fortuner, Covid cases dipping after the 3rd wave, and most importantly 2 weeks’ leave at disposal.

As always, Team-BHP was the first place to go while planning for a trip to unfamiliar roads, and the response to the thread (Destination & itinerary for a 14-day road trip from Bangalore) was amazing. It was a treasure of information and the whole plan was based on inputs from that thread. Special thanks to the Admins for featuring that thread in the weekly BHP emailer as well.

The team

My regular travel buddies – Cousin + wife and my better half.

Few tips from our planning

Our trip plan was covering not more than 600 Kms per day with no major night driving, we had exceptions on a few days, the max we drove one day was 744 Kms and till 8.30 pm.

Most of the hotel bookings were done in advance through online portals. We depended on Google Maps to check if the hotels were not too far from our travel route. Tripadvisor reviews were another point of reference for the overall feedback, parking facility etc. We also ensured free cancellation option availability for all bookings, this gave us the flexibility to make some adjustments later.

Other preparations included the purchase of a puncture kit, and tool kit for the Fortuner (tyre inflator, jump start cable, seat belt cutter and a fire extinguisher were already part of the armory). We also did a dry run of a flat tyre change procedure, though it was the same as in my old Fortuner, we wanted to make sure that we were familiar with the procedure. Fortuner went for a wash, top-up of AdBlue, windshield washer etc.

We took a PUC certificate for the new Fortuner though it was not required legally, the thinking was it will be easier to show the certificate than convincing some clueless officer that is not required for a new vehicle. All vehicle documents were kept in mParivahan, but we also kept a backup of the hardcopies along with double vaccination certificates.

Below is a summary of the 15 days trip

It is compiled using data from Google timeline. We were completely dependent on Google Maps for the entire trip, we never got lost except on one occasion.

Finally, the day of the trip had arrived.

Day 1 – Bangalore JP Nagar to Hotel Vaishnavi, Sholapur – 645 Kms

Odometer was at 6225

Our Junior (TeamBHPian itsnotdeva) could not join due to classes.

Started from JP Nagar 9th phase, Bangalore around 6.30 am, took NICE and got on to Tumkur road, our usual breakfast point on that route is the Kamat at Sira. We found a new place in VRL – Vasanthanarasapura. It’s just an okay-ish place, with limited breakfast options and not-so-bad washrooms, it’s really meant for their bus passengers and lorry drivers. The key advantage here is that it comes on the left side of the road.

First Pitstop at VRL for breakfast

Gender Discrimination

Traffic was thin after the VRL break. Our next stop was a photo break near the Tungabhadra dam reservoir, which was a huge, endless, pristine blue water body.

Lunch break was at a neat no-frill veg restaurant (Nandagokula) at Kushtagi. There are very few food outlets on this stretch and we found this after a lot of searching. Food was tasty and the service was very quick.

Ladies took over the cockpit after lunch

We made good time and decided to make an unplanned stop at Gol Gumbaz. It was a very small detour and was worth the visit.

State of Maharashtra welcomed us

Day 1 stay in Solapur was in Hotel Vaishnavi was probably the only wrong choice we made in hotel booking. Hotel is located in a busy part of the city and had a very narrow entrance to the basement parking. Our initial thought was to look for another hotel with parking, but with help from hotel staff to block the outside traffic, we could finally manage the narrow entrance making a straight approach.

Was not an easy task getting down here

There was a veg restaurant attached to the hotel that served excellent Maharashtrian food. We retired early planning an early start on Day 2. It was a satisfying day’s drive with excellent roads all the way.

Veg Maharashtra Thali

Day 2 – Hotel Vaishnavi, Sholapur to Hotel Lavanya Plaza, Sala Khedi, Ratlam, MP – 744 Kms

Started at 6 AM, excellent scenic roads awaited us once we exited Sholapur. We were warned about speed checking in MH, MP and RJ and tried maintaining the speed limits most of the time (but not always). We encountered vehicle-mounted mobile speed cams near Jodhpur town and on the Mumbai Pune expressway (there are many fixed cams in this stretch as well). Though it is not too many cams to be really worried you will never know when you may get a challan.

Breakfast was at Kanhaiya Dhaba on the highway after around 2 hours drive, there were many eateries around this place. Rest of the stretch to Ratlam doesn’t have good eateries except for small roadside dhabas that serve tasty veg food, but may not have the type of washroom and comfort a family expects. Roads were excellent with sparse traffic till we reached the Gautala ghats, roads turned single lane here and there was a huge pileup due to an accident. Situation improved after around 1 hour of crawling through the ghats, roads continue to be single lane and pass through the busy Chalisgaon town. I am not sure if there is a bypass available since we just followed google maps, since the trucks were not found on the town stretch, I guess there would have been an alternate option. To make it worse, main road through Chalisgaon is in a bad shape, and this was blocked by Cops at some point and all vehicles deviated through some country road. We got lucky to join back on the main road with help from Google and locals and soon got on to the 4 lane.

I would suggest BHPians planning this route do some homework around the Gautala ghats and Chaligaon, this probably was the only real bad stretch of road we encountered in the whole trip.

We entered Madhya Pradhesh after a small ghat stretch, roads are excellent with 4 lanes in all of MP. We found traffic deviated through one track for kilometers long in many places with some sort of maintenance happening on the other track. You need to be very careful while driving through these diversions especially when it is dark due to the high-speed oncoming traffic.

We were flagged down by Cops in Chalisgaon, but were given the green signal by the time we parked and got down. Same thing repeated in Rajasthan the next day, I guess they were validating the PUC and other docs online and then let you go. While we were warned about Cops’ harassment of outside vehicles in MH, these were the only instances involving Cops during the whole trip.

Twin found in MH

Eat like a Roman while in MH

But couldn’t resist Dosa and Vada

Roadside small dhaba for lunch after a lot of hunting

Mother of all Grids

Inviting roads

Sivaji Maharaj is everywhere

This guy was doing 3 digits

Gautala Ghats – Huge Solar farms stretch across the valley

Mahindra is the most popular form of Taxi in Chalisgaon

Red Chilis in Chalisgaon

Sky turned Red after the Red Chilis

We reached our destination at 8.15 pm, the stay was in Hotel Lavanya palace near Ratlam, rooms were excellent and reasonably priced and had wide open parking. Tasty veg food was served in the room for dinner, they even made arrangements to pack sandwiches for the 6 am start the next day.

Continue reading about gadadhar’s road trip for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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