The IdeaRoad trips have long been a fascination for me, but due to paucity of time I could not plan one till October?18. In Durga Puja vacations my daughter was first time coming to home after joining college and we wanted to make it a memorable vacation for her. Me and my wife needed a break from our routine busy life as well and a road trip was the best option for utilising this short spell of festive season. My son was equally excited for the road trip and was the first to broadcast the news about planning of this 'much awaited road trip' among the kids of our friends' families. I talked to my friends and finally we, four families from Bhopal and one from Delhi, decided to visit the Royal Rajasthan on a short trip. After much deliberations we planned a compact road trip from Bhopal to Udaipur and Chittorgarh whereas one family from Delhi had to join us in Udaipur. For me, the main attraction of the trip was having my best buddies as my drivemates, that too on a leisure trip.
My 11 month old Tata Nexon (XZ+ Diesel) had the responsibility of taking my family on this Odyssey from Bhopal and my three drivemates were to cruise in their Duster, Creta and Polo GT alongwith their families. I was really excited to take my beast on the long drive and it was the best time to test it's might before the third servicing scheduled in November.
The PlanOur trip was to start from Friday of the festive week which was a holiday. So we planned to drive out on Friday, and reach back by late Monday after covering both Udaipur and Chittorgarh.
We had a set itinerary with planned activities for each day but that was not followed exactly to avoid the stressful punctualities of departures and halts and we decided to go on with our group's relaxed pace.
Day 01: Driving from Bhopal to Udaipur
Day 02: Udaipur tour
Day 03: Driving from Udaipur to Chittorgarh and Chittorgarh tour
Day 04: Driving from Chittorgarh to Bhopal
The Drive Map
Bhopal to Udaipur
Udaipur to Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh to Bhopal
Day 1: Driving from Bhopal to Udaipur
It was a beautiful Friday morning. We started from home at 6:50AM which was already late by 50 minutes from our scheduled departure. But we all knew that no matter how well we plan our journey, we always feel rushed on such trips with a group. Here we were four families comprising of 15 persons (8 adults and 7 kids) traveling in four vehicles so these delays were inevitable. Later I realised that these sort of delays made our journey even more exciting and satisfying.
We took SH 18, Bhopal- Indore road after crossing the city area via Bhauri Bypass. This was a straight drive up to Dodi where we took a halt for having breakfast. Road was smooth with very less traffic due to holiday. We cruised this portion of our journey of 104 Kms in 1 hr 30 min and reached Highway Treat Dodi at 8:20AM.
Highway Treat, Dodi is an excellent place for stopover on Bhopal-Indore highway for meals. Good location, ample parking space, good food and hygienic toilets is USP of this MPTDC run restaurant.
After a lazy but sumptuous breakfast at Highway Treat, Dodi we started again at 9:15AM.
We drove to Ujjain via Dewas and took the ring road to bypass the busy traffic of Ujjain city. After crossing Ujjain we took SH17, Nagda road for onward journey.
After munching 203 kms more from Dodi, we took a halt at Jaora to have our lunch at 12:25 PM in Cafe Joyo. We covered this distance in 3Hrs 10Minutes enjoying the road side views of chaotic human life and disciplined herds of animals.
It was fun having meal together at Cafe Joyo. Food was good and service was also not that slow. Kids loved the food and had their favorite delicacies at fast food corner and ice-cream stall outside the restaurant.
With heavy tummies and satiated spirits we started again at 01:50 PM on SH31 towards Mandsaur.
We bypassed both cities of Mandsaur and Neemuch and kept on driving on SH31.
We took a short break at a road side tea stall just after crossing the integrated check post on the border of Madhya Pradesh. Tea was really refreshing after the long post-lunch driving. Here kids again gathered for some brief masti time.
After 25 minutes break we drove towards Nimbahera at 4:00PM. We took the Nimbahera bypass to mount on Nimbahera-Mangalwar road and drove towards Udaipur via Mangalwar. Road condition was OK but this 40 Kms long road was open to all type. There were taxis, buses, cycles, bikes, pedestrians, cattle and everything else rushing from all sides. This 40 kms long road took more than one hour time to bid us adieu. But my Nexon was still blissfully gliding without any grievances and so were we.
On reaching Mangalwar Chauraha we got NH27/NH48 Udaipur-Chittorgarh road with heavy traffic, couple of speed breakers, some diversions and other obstacles. Our destination was 72 kms away from this place and it took almost 1Hr 20 minutes to traverse this distance. We reached our destination at 6:20PM and till then we had covered 546 kms distance in total 11hrs 30minutes time out of which 9 hours were purely of euphoric sailing in my Nexon with my family.
Our sojourn in Udaipur was Zade Mount View in Sajjan Nagar area. We had booked two complete villas having 6 rooms in ?Zade Mount View? which is a bit ?far from the madding crowd? of city to enjoy the fun of togetherness. Here we got warm hearted welcome from our friend from Delhi. It was fun having a wonderful reunion after a wonderful drive and we enjoyed it to the fullest till late night.
Day 2: Udaipur Tour
Saturday morning everybody looked refreshed but interested and excited about the Udaipur tour. After having breakfast at our own comfort in Zade Mount View, we decided to start our tour from Fateh Sagar Lake. Taking our car in the busy lanes near lake and city palace was a herculean task so we decided to hire a bus for local conveyance with a local guide. We boarded the bus at around 9:45AM and headed to Maharana Pratap Smarak and Moti Magri via Fateh Sagar Lake. The sky was bright and sunny but comfortable.
Maharana Pratap Smarak is situated atop Moti Magri or Pearl Hill on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake. It is a historic site dedicated to the gallant Maharana Pratap and his horse Chetak. From the comfortable height of the hill, you can click some of the best pictures of Lake and Udaipur city.
After taking beautiful pics of the scenic beauty around the lake and the park, we took the bus to visit our next spot Saheliyon ki Bari.Our guide was most interested in taking us for some shopping and on the pretext of cleaning in Saheliyon ki Bari he took us to the nearby handicraft shops on Saheli Marg where we didn't find anything worth buying.
We moved towards Saheliyon ki Bari and reached there at around 12:00 noon. Saheliyon ki Bari is a major garden and a popular tourist place of Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Sangram Singh for the royal ladies. It has fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. There is also a small museum here. This was heavily crowded and busy place. We spent 35 minutes enjoying the beautiful garden and cool breeze of fountains.
It was almost lunch time, so we decided to have lunch. After some googling about the nearby eateries we decided to have lunch in Rajwada Bites near Swaroop Nagar. Here our guide announced that he was leaving us as no outside guide was allowed at our next spot, City Palace. We agreed to pay and relieve that good for nothing guide who was least interested in our tour and was with us to mint some money from our shopping only.
Food in Rajwada was good but service was a bit slow due to heavy crowd. But it was overall good experience of authentic Rajasthani cuisine.
After the heavy lunch we boarded the bus at 1:40PM for City Palace. We had to leave the bus about 1.5 kms before the palace. We took auto rickshaws to reach the main entrance of City Palace which is known as Bada Pol and purchased the tickets for museums and Palace visit. For better understanding of grandeur of the palace we hired one guide and entered the museum. The palace complex is full of wonderful collections of numerous objects of artistic, cultural, historical and scientific importance depicting the grandeur of Maharanas of Mewar. Delicate mirror-work, marble work, murals, wall paintings, silver work, fabric paintings and a lot of colored glasses make this palace a perfect example of the splendour that the rulers of Mewar enjoyed centuries ago .
One need to devote one full day to do justice with the beauty of City Palace. However we tried to capture as much as we can in 3 hours time. Needless to say this visit was really grand. We left the palace from Tripoliya side at around 5:15PM and moved towards the Lake Pichhola in auto rickshaws again for enjoying the sunset boat ride.
After taking tickets we landed on the boat.The amazing view of mountains, Palaces, Temples, Ghats, Havelis all lined up along the bank of Lake made us realise why Udaipur is often called "The Venice of the East" and "The Most Romantic City" in India. Breathtaking views of dazzling sunset rays on the honey coloured monuments and sun hiding behind the mountains made this boat ride even more captivating.
After this mesmerizing experience in Lake Pichhola, we rushed to Bagore ki Haveli for the dance show scheduled at 7:00 PM. We reached Bagore Ki Haveli at 6:40PM and till that time tickets were sold out. But we were lucky enough to not miss this special attraction of Udaipur as another extra show was also there at 8:00PM kept in view of heavy crowd of tourists.
We bought the tickets of Dance Show and decided to have some snacks at nearby rooftop restaurant of Hotel Udai Niwas. It was very relaxing break after a hectic, but memorable tour. We enjoyed the picturesque night view of Lake and city from the rooftop of Udai Niwas. Snacks were also tasty and now we felt contented with the failure of getting the tickets of 7:00PM show.
We entered Bagore ki Haveli at 7:55PM and hurriedly occupied seats wherever we could find in the small Neem courtyard. The one hour show was nicely packed with folk dances, traditional music, puppet show and an act loaded with vibrant dance and music. Kids just loved the puppet show . Chari, Terah taal, Ghumar and Bhavai dances made this show a perfect closing event of our wonderful Udaipur trip.
Day 3: Driving from Udaipur to Chittorgarh
On third day, everyone woke up late. After having tasty and heavy breakfast we departed Zade Mount View with sweeter than sweet memories of Udaipur. Here I would like to share our experiences at Zade Mount View. Zade Mount View is about 7.0 kms away from City Palace and it is a great choice for those who want to stay away from the hustle bustle of the city without compromising with the amenities. Ambience of the Villa was very calm yet happy and the cleanliness was impeccable. Rooms were spacious, neat and tidy with great interiors. Food was at the same time very nice. Menu was limited but we could get delicious home cooked food of our choice. Staff is very courteous, cheerful, kind and helping. Their personalised services made us feel at home. Property Manager is a gem of a person who was always ready to make adjustments according to our requirements. Overall we all had an incredible time in Zade Mount View. Thanks to the staff for the warmth and hospitality extended to us during our stay.
We started for Chittorgarh at 10:30AM and took Udaipur-Chittorgarh Highway (NH27/NH48). Though we had planned visit of some more places en route from Udaipur to Chittorgarh , we decided to skip them and drive straight to Chittorgarfh so as to save time for the fort .
The road was full of closures and diversions due to ongoing construction of overpasses at various highway intersections. These diversions on this otherwise good road killed our driving time and we could finish this travel of 120 kms in 2 hours 20 minutes. We had booked Kundan Leela Resort for our stay in Chittorgarh which is a newly built property outside the city. It is around 12 kms away from the fort. Rooms are spacious, clean and nicely decorated but some mismanagement or you may call it inexperience can be sensed just by looking around. The restaurant is not a regular type and we had to wait almost one and half hour to get our food ready. This delay in restaurant service actually wrecked our already compressed program of Fort tour. Restaurant ambience was like a roadside cheap Dhaba and hygiene was also not up to the mark. The only good thing of the restaurant was the taste of the food. However, restaurant services need drastic improvements otherwise this resort will end up being a marriage garden only. Overall, the resort seemed to fall short of our expectations and we would definitely not dare to give it another try.
Day 3: Chittorgarh Tour
After taking lunch, we drove to the Fort and reached there at 4:10PM which was a little late for covering all the spots of Fort with such a large group. However, we were more interested in enjoying the group's togetherness than the coverage of sights. The fort has seven gates which are called as Pol. Out of which only two gates are being used for entrance, Badipol and Tripol.
Here we hired one guide who actually spiced up our Fort tour with his interesting narratives. In the fort area we drove in our own vehicles while our guide escorted us on his Royal Enfield.
Our first spot was Vijay Stambh (Victory Tower). This 9 storeys tall tower was constructed by King of Mewar Rana Kumbha to celebrate his victory over the combined forces of Malwa and Gujarat led by Mahmud Khilji.
Adjacent to Vijay Stambh there is beautiful Samadhishvara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Raja Bhoj as a token of gratitude for great hospitality extended to him by Mewar King during Raja Bhoj's one night stay in Chittorgarh. Here the proud Mewari guide told some very interesting stories about Kings of Mewar and also underlined the differences between Mewar and Marwar regions of Royal Rajasthan. The guide was such an excellent storyteller that the kids were also engrossed in usually not so interesting historical tales.
From the temple complex itself, we had the iconic view of the reservoir which is the most popular spot for photography by tourists. This Gaumukh Kund reservoir was the main source of water at the fort during numerous sieges. A spring feeds the kund from a carved cow's mouth in the cliff continuously but still it's not exactly known that from where this water comes. In the same premise we could see Jauhar Sthal where Rani Padmini along with other royal Rajput ladies preferred to die through the Rajput's ultimate tragic rite
From the Vijay Stambh we drove directly to Rani Padmini Palace skipping some not so interesting spots as we were already running short of time. Padmini palace premises has beautiful gardens and mainatained somewhat in better condition than other ruins of Chittorgarh. It was built for queen Padmini having an adjacent Jal Mahal built in the centre of a large pool as her summer residence. This Jal Mahal is the place where the queen was standing when Alauddin Khilji caught a glimpse of her.
After spending some time in Padmini Palace, we drove for the next spot having a brief halt to have the panoramic view of battlefield surrounding the fort of Chittorgarh. Now this battlefield is being used by tribals for farming.
Next we came across the Suraj pol. As the name suggests it was the first place of Chittor to receive sun rays in the morning. The gate was the main entrance from the east side and approach was strategically designed to foil an attempt of attack by enemy.
It was getting dark so we skipped some more spots and drove straight to Kumbha Shyam temple which shares the same compound as the smaller Meera Temple. This temple was a private place of worship for Meera Bai. Our guide beautifully narrated the stories about Meera Bai and her single-minded devotion to Lord Sri Krishna. Kumbha Shyam Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped here as Varaha. The temple possesses footprints of Meera's Guru, Sant Ravidas of Varanasi.
At around 6:30PM we reached Kumbha palace which is on a walking distance from the temple complex. We purchased tickets for the Light and Music show produced by ITDC and operated by RTDC.The show narrates the story from the starting of the 6th century when King Chitrangada started searching land for his capital and found Chittor as the safest place from any invasion. Bravery of Bappa , beauty and pride of Rani Padmini, devotion of Meera, sacrifice of Panna Dhai and many more interesting and exciting stories depict the valour, pride, history and traditions of Mewar. I was a bit sceptical about kids? interest in this show but was relieved after hearing their giggles during the show.
While driving back to resort from the Fort we took a brief pause in Gandhi Nagar area for energising tea at a road side Gumti. We reached resort at 8:50PM and sat for a refreshing drink followed by a succulent dinner.
Day 4: Driving from Chittorgarh to Bhopal
Next day morning, it was a slothful start and after having heavy breakfast we could leave the resort at 10:40AM for our return journey. Here our friend from Delhi bid us as he was having his train in afternoon.
We took NH56 and drove straight to Jaora bypassing the busy towns of Nimbaheda, Neemuch and Mandsaur. Road was smooth and pothole free. I could test the sprinting might of my Nexon on Chittorgarh-Nimbahera road with speed surging up to 150Kmph. Excellent performance with rock solid stability and full control on road. Full marks to Nexon-the beast J.
We left Jaora at 1:15PM driving towards Ujjain via Nagda on SH17. This road was also pretty smooth and we reached Ujjain at 3:00PM covering almost 100 kms. We decided to have lunch in Ujjain so driving on Agar Road we entered Ujjain city skipping the Ring Road at Mohan Nagar chauraha.
?Tadka?, one of my favourite eateries in Ujjain, was the best option for a square meal after this long drive. Food was awesome as always and after this unrushed tasty lunch we all set for our return journey to home at 4:35 PM.
The drive back to Bhopal was comfortable and relaxing and we covered this distance of 200 kms in 3 hrs 5 minutes and reached home at 7:40PM. It was wonderful satisfying feeling of finishing the trip where we were able to make a plan to spend some time with our family and friends and accomplished what we set.
Summing the Smilometer
Our total trip was of 1175 kms with an average driving speed of 64.5kmph. During this journey AC was on full time and speed was between 80-100 kmph on highways with frequent bursts up to 120kmph on smooth portions. On some more polished portions I could test the beast up to 150 kmph speed. In city areas I kept the speed between 40-50 kmph. Almost 60 percent drive was on Sport mode which I find thrilling on long runs in moderate traffic. My Nexon gave an average of 19.2 kmpl (tankful to tankful method) whereas meter displayed 21.8 kmpl, I think this fuel efficiency is on lower side as compared to the claims by other Nexon drivers but that may be due to my ?Test Mode? driving style for this particular trip with Nexon. Overall thrilling, satisfying and comfortable driving experience!