We were nearing Vadodara around 3:45 am in the morning. As mentioned in my previous post, my brother had just driven for 7 hours and was still enjoying the drive. The NH-8 bypasses Vadodara and there are series of exits in between if one has to enter the city. The highway forms like a ring outside the city. The road from Bharuch to Vadodara is very good. There are no potholes on the road and the road is just too good. I wonder how come Mumbai roads have so many potholes, while the national highways are so efficiently and well maintained. We were driving easily at an avg. of 100 kmph while bypassing Vadodara. Very soon, we had reached the exit for Vadodara – Ahmedabad express way. If the road on the NH-8 was good, this road was beauty to drive on. We were able to touch the speeds of 150 kmph on this road. The 4 lane express way is just a superb road. The best part is again the road has been very well maintained and the exits are well marked. I wanted to try a different route and there was an option to get off the expressway at Anand and take the interior road bypassing Ahmedabad altogether. But it was 4:30am in the morning and we werent any in mood for any experiments. The entire drive in itself was turning out to be a good experiment and I didn’t want to try anything different.
The distance between Vadodara to Ahmedabad is approx. 90 kms and we were able to cover the entire stretch in less than a hour. We didn’t want to go through the city as I had read about traffic police stopping vehicles which do not have a yellow tape on the right side headlight. It is a rule in Gujarat to have a yellow tape pasted on the right side headlight. This apparently helps cut off the high beam light and allows oncoming drivers better visibility. I say they should simply ban fine people driving with high beams on, just like how it is in Chandigarh. Anyways, that’s a topic for different discussion. We got off the SP road exit. The exit clearly mentions way to Udaipur. We bypassed Ahmedabad and were now again on NH-8. The road between Ahmedabad and HimmatNagar is not a good one and there is one stretch on the road which is really bad with very big potholes. We then stopped a local dhaba to freshen up. It was 5:30 am and we had driven an entire night. My brother was tired now and he asked me to take over.
After our 15-20 minute break, I started driving and almost got involved in an accident. There was bike which was turning and merging with our road and simply didn’t see the car coming. I had to swerve left to avoid colliding with him. That was like a good wake up call and any lingering sleep promptly disappeared after that. It took us about 2 hours to get to Gujarat/ Rajasthan state border. I decided to have a tea break as by that time I had started to feel sleeping and didn’t want to take a chance of falling asleep on the wheel. After another 20 min break, we were well on our way. The road condition had improved significantly and thus we were able to accelerate. However, the road is full of curves and one has to extremely careful while turning at high speeds here. The road also passes through some towns and again caution needs to be exercised. After driving for another 2.5 hours, we saw the exit signs for Nathdwara and took the exit. The road passes through the RIDCO area (Industrial area) and is full of truck traffic at any given time of the day. It is better to the take the Udaipur city exit as it would take the same amount of time. We continued through the Udaipur bypass and finally joined Udaipur. The last 50 kms of the journey were now here. This last part was probably the most trickiest for me as I had never driven on ghats before. One has to cross a small ghat before arriving at Nathdwara. We were able to negotiate the ghats without much of an issue an after 15 hours of driving, we had reach Nathdwara at 11am the next day.