After getting the Baleno from Kerala, most of the driving was within the city and a long highway drive was overdue for the car. An unplanned drive to make good use of a long weekend around the Independence Day holiday. Hyderabad, unlike Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore is not blessed with as many weekend getaways, or so is the saying. But if expectations are not too high, and being on the road is more of the idea than the destination itself, there are some fair roads to drive on. One of those being the NH 7. The choice was between heading west, North or east and we chose North. I did look up about the road condition of the highway and got some forum responses, which though couple of years old, reflected the current scenario pretty well.
From Hyderabad till the Northern border of Telangana state, the roads are as good or better than many international freeways. Tolls sum up to around Rs.520/- per side, but if you enjoy driving and being on the highway, that’s the cost of therapy. The bad patch of roads after Maharshtra border last around 60 kms with a mix of really good roads and really bad roads.
In case driving at night, be wary of the stretch to throw up some unexpected huge potholes. Almost all of the towns along the highways are bypassed making it real quick. Would advise not to risk running a low fuel tank as petrol stations are not as frequesnt as one would expect on a gleaming highway. The roads are mostly deserted. Surprising lack of traffic, be it trucks, public transport or cars. Not sure if the BOT contractors are getting their investment repaid.
Breakfast: With an 5:00 am departure, we stopped at the small town of Armur for breakfast. We passed by a rather small local hotel, but the name pulled us back. Kochin Mess!. As always is the case with these wonderful small hotels, tasty idli, wada and tea was served. Had a short n sweet conversation with the owner, who moved over to this part of the country quarter of a century ago, but still loves homeland Cochin.
Sri Ram Sagar Reservoir
Beautiful reservoir and best stop in the trip till now.
A welcome change from the flat highway to short stretch of well laid winding roads with green trees. Water was scarce in the waterfall, stones nevertheless were in abundance.
Kochera Falls is yet another waterfall quite soon as we hit the highway again, 3 kms detour from the highway. Rocks yet again and there was hardly any water falling from them. No pic clicked. Decided not to fall prey to anymore waterfall boards on the way. Back to the highway and touched Adilabad town to withdraw some cash and then back to the road again.
Stopped for lunch at a dhaba @ Pandharkawada, Maharashtra. Mediocre food. Started seeing an overdose of Ghutka and special ways how the panwalahs mix it up for the customers. Fuel gauge was leaning towards the red and so filled up, which turned out to be a day saving decision. No more stops and reached Nagpur before daylight started fading. Well laid wide roads, but bad traffic discipline with no respect to the traffic lights. Halted for the day at Nagpur.
On Nagpur and return journey another day.
Day 3 of the journey was to the final destination, Hyderabad. With close to 600 kms to cover for the day and having had a good share of country sides and ghats traversed the previous day, decided to take NH7/44 for the last lug. Left Davengere to reach Bellary via Chitradurga. The road between Chitradurga and next major town Challekere is broken at many places. While travelling this 30 km stretch one can see Onion cultivation in it’s various stages ranging from just sowed to harvested through all possible stages of growth. No idea how much the farmers get paid for their hardwork compared to the high market price of Onions.
Contrary to expectations, Challakere, turned out to be pretty big and impressive town. Entrance to the town suggested that town be called “Oil city”, which I later figured out was from being 2nd largest producer of edible oil in India.The road from Challakere to Bellary is a dream stretch of 100 kms. Wider than many a National Highways in India, one can’t stop thinking that the road is laid out so that VIPs can ply between the mineral rich district to the capital city of Bengaluru in quick time. This stretch was also marked by thousands of acres of onion cultivation on both sides of the road.
Had breakfast from Bellary. I was slightly indecisive about the route to take from Bellary with slight bias towards taking the route via Raichur as that would be more scenic than the National highway. Decided against it though and headed towards Gooty to hit the Bangalore – Hyderabad NH there. No sales Tax/RTA checkposts at the state border crossings, this road too had thousands of hectares of onion cultivation among other crops being cotton, mustard etc. on either sides of the road. Rain was coming down heavily in small bursts by now. After the small town Gooty, hit the final NH with the last stretch of ~300 kms to final destination.
Excellent four/six lane toll roads with minimal traffic made me push back the driver seat bit more, lean back and relax. Nothing other than road side Dhabas to rely on till Kurnool. Once past Kurnool, there’s still hardly anything on the highway as it mostly bypasses whatever small towns and settlemets are there. Took a 15 km detour to visit Gadwal known for it’s unique weaving style. Entry to the small town will make you doubt if you are the right place, but right at the end of the town, one whole street stretching more than a km from Gandhi Chowk and it’s bylanes is marked by houses and shops selling Gadwal sarees.
Hit back the highway to cover the last lug of th journey. Noticeable name change of National Highway 7 to it’s new number NH44 and not so frequent humble green and white boards mentioning that the road is alsoone of the four Asian Highways passing through India. This one being AH43 connecting India and Sri Lanka through the Palk Strait!
Reached home at Hyderabad by around 1830 hrs with heavy downpours on the ORR. clocking 1595 kms on the tripmeter. Thanks largely to the car for a completely glitch free ride despite having taken some rough terrains and Maps navigation for some good and some challenging route suggestions. All in all a great time on the road!. Nothing to complain much about other than slightly stiff back for next two days. 🙂
- Final Trip Meter Reading: 1595 kms (638 kms on Day 3)
- On Road Time Day 3 :13 hours.
- Average Fuel Consumption : 15.04 kms/litre (India does care for this!)
Thanks to Google Maps Location history, the entire route gets tracked with timestamps without any extra effort. Click on the image below for an interactive map with main waypoints.