3,000 km family road trip in a Fortuner: Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar

Reliability wins over everything else (comfort/electronics etc.) for us in a car. Toyota has always kept us happy in that department over the years.

BHPian rakutty recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Odhisa – India’s best kept Secret (official tagline) – it’s been missing from our list for some time. Dussera vacation for kids gave us a small gap to fit it in, but given the short time window, we were not able to extensively cover it in one go. So decided to do the highlights (Eastern Golden Triangle) for now. In the next road trip to the North-Eastern States, we will cover the other areas.

With Odhisa done, we have taken the Fortuner to 16/28 states and 4/8 Union Territories. The Plan is to cover all states in India, It will take a lifetime to explore each state minutely, and the plan is to do the highlights. As the car was bought specifically for road trips we are trying to maximize its usage. It’s done 40k+ KM across these states in the last 24 months.

States travelled with Fortuner in over 25 months


Machine : Toyota Fortuner 2021 4 x 2

Again reliability wins over everything else (comfort/electronics etc.) for us in a car, Toyota has always kept us happy in that department over the years. We use it as a 4 seater so that gives us ample space for people and bags. No travel fatigue so far and we have done a max of 1100 km/day in our earlier trips, in this trip we did a max of 770 km/day.

Fill It Shut It Drive It


Nothing for the vehicle see the point above, the meter reading had touched 37k so after the trip will take it for the 40k service, topped up the AdBlue as it lasts only 7k for us. The usual snacks etc. for the road. Network was very good and reliable all along the route, in fact even took a few work-related video calls with no buffering at all.

People: Wife , Daughters and Me

The people

Executed Plan:

Onward/Return Journey

We took the same route BLR/TIR/VTZ/PURI/BBI/VGA/TIR/BLR both ways the only difference was the stay at Vijayawada instead of Tirupati while returning. Onward we could start only by 5PM due to school and work engagements, so we stopped at Tirupati instead of doing one long drive to Vizag.

I compliment the “State of Roads” every time we do a road trip in India, we are second to none in that department now. Yes, there is scope for improvements in terms of disturbances/irritants on the road, as it does require more alertness as compared to road trips we have taken outside India.

Country Roads Take Me Home

As a rule, I avoid night driving but this time we broke that rule to witness the Brahmotsavam festival in Tirupati on the last day of our journey. The “Aswa Vahanam” procession was from 7-9 PM so we could start the journey only after 10PM towards Bangalore.

Day by Day itinerary

(Request: For all the travelogue writers please always put this in, this helps us a lot in planning. We always use this as a starting point before adding/deleting based on the days/likes)

Travel Itinerary

Road Trip by the Numbers:

  • 1.39 Cost per KM (INR) for Toll
  • 54.00 Number of Toll Gates
  • 87.66 Diesel price (INR) Minimum in KA
  • 110.96 Diesel price (INR) Maximum in AP
  • 235.00 Diesel Consumed (L)
  • 3220.00 Distance Travelled (KM)
  • 4491.00 Toll (INR)

This should ideally be a trunk route for Tourism, lots of details are available in this forum itself including the state of the roads, will list a few tips / places we enjoyed.

Miles of Paddy Fields all along our journey


Our first impression was that this is not very different from Rio De Janeiro (ok minus the samba, party vibes and carnival), we had the mountains next to the sea, long sandy salubrious beaches, impressive hotels and restaurants, Beach side eateries. Clean as compared to Bangalore, we need to market these cities more and more firstly within India itself, domestic tourism can become a mainstay economy. Had my quota of Andhra meals for the year. The three museums on the beach road, don’t miss them. Dolphin’s Nose Lighthouse can be avoided (the lighthouse itself was too crowded) but the place can be visited for some beautiful views of the city.

Do visit Thotlakonda (Natural Arch), Bheemili (Mermaid Statue) beaches hardly 30min away from the city and drive along the Dr. NTR Beach road (the PCH / H1 of AP), wish they could extend it all the way to Odhisa.

The hotel we stayed at was right on the beach road and had a good view of the sunrise from the rooms and restaurants

Vizag was an eye-opener for us

View from the Dolphins Nose Lighthouse

The beauty of Vizag

Never Ending beaches of Vizag

Natural Arch Thotalakonda Beach


Stayed at Swosti Resorts on the west side of the lake, it’s an ok place but there are not many options to choose from. They do have a jetty area right behind the resort so you should be able to hire a boat from the resort or any of the union boats. Price is fixed so just take any boatsman who comes to you first and go to the islands. We hired the boat for 2.5 hours, went island hopping and also got to see the sunset from the boat.

Swosti Sunrise island on Chilika Lake

Sunset Cruise


Engage a Panda for the visit to the Jagannath temple, life will be so much easier. If the right Panda you get to see the deities inside the sanctum sanctorum in peace without the push/pull from the cops. Also witnessed the flag-changing ceremony. Other than the temple itโ€™s the beaches at Puri that are famous.

Puri beach signpost

Mayfair Beach Puri


The IOCL Foundation Konark Museum is a must-visit, the interactive screens + the movie make it worth the time. Do note for the Sound and Light you have to be physically available to buy the tickets an hour before the start.

At the Konark Temple


Wow is the word, I had my idea about this city but now I am a fan. The well-maintained museums with great staff, free and ample parking space and canteens were a sea change for us from what we are used to in other places we have been. The staff (government employees!) actually came to explain the art and culture on display and all this for an entry fee of Rs.10! We made sure to visit multiple museums while we were there. Kala Bhoomi Odisha Crafts Museum deserves a special mention here.

Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves

Wall Art in Open Area

Kala Boomi a must-visit


Another wonderful place, yes we were too early for the Olive Ridley Turtles but the beach is always there! The place we stayed had sand dunes to walk across to access the beach which made the trip to the sea to watch the sunset even more memorable.

Sandunes Gopalpur beach

Tirupati & Tirumala

It has been over 20 years since I last visited the temple, lots of changes. The security check for entry to Tirumala is quite intense so be prepared to empty your car. As we had packed bags for 10 days taking it all through security scanners was a bit of work.

Also do note the uphill journey has a minimum time you need to take to reach the top (28min) and to come down (40min), it’s printed on the ticket, so do take care and drive slowly uphill. As it was crowded due to the Brahmotsavam festival we decided to witness the “Aswa Vahanam” procession only. It was a good break from the long drive and much-wanted exposure to the religious/devout side of life. Local friends helped us get premium seating to witness the procession.

Aswa Vahanam gif

Aswa Vahanam

Bramhotsavam at Tirumala

Saw this car on our return journey somewhere after Vijayawada where we had stopped for a tea break, could not find the occupants they must have stepped out to eat. They are doing what we plan to do but at an accelerated pace.

Once again a big shoutout to all the members in this forum – we all come together to harness the magic of travel.

Cheers to another successful journey

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