Monday, November 8, 2010

Long Drive Back From Pune to Hyderabad

I discovered why the journey between Pune and Hyderabad is taking longer, by almost a couple of hours, now. Completely stunned by my lowest timing of 12 hours last week, I analysed the journey and zeroed down to the bottle neck - the Pune - Sholapur stretch which is narrow, bad and under construction. Since it is narrow and also has some heavy traffic you normally spend all your time tailing the huge outsized trailers or trucks for miles and miles. Accordingly I changed my strategy for this trip and started out early enough to beat the heavy traffic. At 530 I found little traffic, save the crazily weaving Volvos which swung drunkenly, and made as good a time as I could. Still, the distance to Sholapur which normally was covered in 4 hours, was still done in 5 and a half. Once the four laning of the Pune-Sholapur stretch is done, this route should be  a breeze, and if you have a good car, you can do the Pune-Hyd distance of 550 kms in seven hours I'd guess.

I made the most of the slightly better road conditions on the Sholapur-Hyderabad route and that paid off. I was at the Hyderabad outskirts by 3 p.m. which is pretty good time and after struggling through some awful traffic and terrible roads at Kukatpally, landed up at home at 4 p.m. Weather was beautiful all through, a bit of rain once in a while. Except for a lot of mud on the car which now looks like its been through a rally, it was good fun. Stopped at the Indian Oil petrol bunk outside Zaheerabad for a cup of coffee.

This route has a few good joints to stop on the Hyderabad- Sholapur side. Three joints come up at Zaheerabad, which is 100 kms from Hyderabad - two neat and clean restaurants with the BPCL and Indian Oil petrol bunks which come well before Zaheerabad (and very clean loos), and one Haritha restaurant which is operated by the APTDC, again well before Zaheerabad. For those who want a longer drive before a stop, there is Sangeeth Plaza, again a very neat restaurant that comes to your right in a petrol bunk, soon after Basavakalyan, about 180 kms from Hyderabad. That spot is rather picturesque as well. After Sholapur it gets difficult to get good joints to stop but I found one outside Temburni which had a good drive in, neat and new place and again, all the highway guys are realising this aspect I guess, well maintained loos. From there Pune is about 150 odd kilometres so that should sustain you till then.


Anonymous said...

Came to your site thx to Prasanna (first comment on MSD's leadership)

550km in 7 hrs.. Reminds me of a Yogi Berra quote -
In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is

Harimohan said...

Ah so there is. And I am sure Yogi Berra knew what he was saying. But my argument is that we can do this stretch with its current bad roads etc in 9 and a half hours to ten hours (in a Santro), then if the biggest bottle neck in this stretch which is the narrow 2 laned road with some of the heaviest traffic, the Pune Solapur road, is 4 laned then you could probably do it in 7. This stretch which used to take me 4 and a half hours earlier now takes 5 or even 6 hours. 4 laning should cut it down by half since its a straigh, flat road - and you have a good car!

Anonymous said...

Anon Again ..

Ah.. the joys of watching a growing economy..

Based on my experience driving LA to San Francisco - 580 KM (Speed limit is 112 for 60% of the route, 104 for the rest). Also, No civilization between LA and SFO

In theory, I should I be able to complete this route in 5-5.5 hrs. (I don't take breaks)

But, I have never been able to do better than 6.5 hrs and usually, I budget 7-9 hrs.. The reason is that it takes 2 hrs to get out of LA and 1.5 hrs to get into SFO.

The only time that I was able to get the avg 120 kpmh was driving on a christmas morning starting at 3 am.

Harimohan said...

Hi Anon, You're right - getting in and out of the towns is a killer so we normally start out (or try to) at 5 am or so so we get out of town easy. That saves an hour in traffic and also helps us get to Pune before the office traffic begins. Since speed limits are not followed out here, I can merely watch the Audis, Mercs, BMWs, Toyotas, Hondas zip past me (and I am say doing 90-100 kmph) and out of sight in a couple of minutes. If these guys do those 120-130s on double lanes with no dividers and bad roads, imagine what they'd do on four laned highways. But surely the LA -SFO is more scenic than Pune-Hyd so that could be a good reason for taking it slow.

Anonymous said...

Anon again..

Driving from LA to SFO is like driving through lunar landscape - I am exaggerating a little but Google Maps - street view of I5 will confirm my point

And, when you want to be somewhere, even the prettiest lady will be a distraction..

My point is this - Initially, I am sure that you will be able to complete in 6-7 hrs. But, as other discover the convenience of driving, the system will be overwhelmed and you will find yourself back to the 10-12 hr routine

Harimohan said...

I agree.

Sumeet Mukherjee said...

It reminds me of the journey i made some time back from Pune to Hyderabad. I simply enjoyed it like anything.