Category Archives: Road Trip

Road trip to Chail and Shimla

Last month I went on a road trip from Gurgaon(Haryana) to Chail and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, India; with my cousin and a friend.

It was a nice escape from torturing heat of Delhi, driving on Delhi- Chandigarh highway and through the serpentine roads of Himachal. We started in the morning  at around 7:30 am, took a halt for breakfast at the famous Sukhdev-Amreek Dhaba, Murthal for butter-drenched parathas with chach and lassi, and then continued non-stop till we reached Sadhupul.

Sadhupul is a small village in Himachal Pradesh on the way from Kandaghat to Chail, based around a small bridge constructed over the hill river “Ashwini”. The waters are quite shallow here and you can easily walk through it. There are few sheds with tables and chairs arranged in the middle of the river and a small restaurant serving you maggi, pakoras, omelette, tea, drinks, etc. Though you can enjoy few hours in the evening here but move on before it gets dark as the roads are narrow and not in good shape.DSC_0023 1DSC_0069

We reached Hotel Chail Palace by around 6:30pm, where we were greeted by lots of monkeys, ready to snatch on anything they could. But luckily we were not carrying anything loose, thanks to the information gathered from TripAdvisor. You all must be cautious of the monkey menace at the Chail Palace!!

1 3 52After check-in we drove towards the Deluxe Log Hut which is about 1 km deeper into the forest area. The path was too narrow and scary; just a few inches mistake and our car would have gone deep into the valleys. The hut was quite simple with basic facilities and lots of mirrors all-around(I hope you can guess the purpose well !!). The attendant was quite helpful and provided us good room service. The food was also good. Night was too cold as expected. We got up in the morning, took some nice shots and went for local sight-seeing. There isn’t much to see in Chail. We first saw the Palace which has some nice paintings and ornate maharaja style furniture. Overall, it was an awesome experience at the Palace, with fresh mountain air and  towering pine trees all over. Then we went to Kali ka Tibba, which is a small temple of Kaali Maa, made in white marble ,situated at a great height. It has idols of many other gods too. The views from here are spectacular. Its so peaceful here that the only sound you will hear is of fresh air gushing through. This place is not to be missed at all. Later, we went to the Gurudwara situated near the main market area.

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3 4By this time we were too hungry and headed straight towards the Sharma Bhojnalaya, which is about 2-3 kms uphill on the way to Shimla. It is a small family run dhaba with very basic furniture and nothing attractive for the eyes. But you will get nicely prepared home-style food which your taste-buds and stomach will really love to have. We had few parathas and tea and were ready for our next destination- Shimla. On the way, we stopped at Himalayan Nature Park, Kufri. It is a small zoo with few animals and a museum. Adjacent to it is the Potato Research Institute of India.

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After drive of about 40kms from Chail Palace, we reached at Hotel Kapil, Shimla. It is a small hotel in Lakkarbazaar area near the Mall road. The room was nicely done and had a beautiful view of the valley. After few hours of rest, we went to the mall road for evening stroll. Sunset was really worth watching from the Ridge.

1 2Though it was not the peak season but still the crowd was huge. There were school kids, teenagers, newly married couples on their honeymoon, older couples and all sorts of people, everybody enjoying  in their own ways. There are many things to entertain tourists like horse riding, plays, folk dances and lots of eateries serving momos, pakoras, kachori, gol-gappe, gulab-jamun and variety of shakes and juices. Here, on the Ridge, is the famous Gandhi statue, the State library and the Church. You have to move slightly down on the other side of the Ridge to reach the Mall, which is a long road with innumerable shops and restaurants on both sides.  There is also a Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex on the Mall. If you are interested in theatre and art this place should be on your must-visit list. There is a guided tour and plays are showcased here regularly.

Next morning we had our breakfast at the hotel and checked-out. There are many places to see in Shimla like Jakhu Temple, Tara Devi Temple, Kali Bari Temple, Kalka-Shimla Toy train but we had to miss most of them due to time shortage. Kalka- Shimla railway will get you through the breath-taking spectacular views of Himachal valleys with very tall pine trees all over. We had that mesmerising experience during our last trip to Kasauli.

Toy train2 We went on to the Viceregal Lodge, also known as Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. It was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy of India. They have a guided tour of about 30 minutes which will take you through the marvellous architecture inside the lodge, all made of wood with beautiful carvings. There is also a huge lawn outside where you can relax if you have the ample time. There is also a library and a souvenir shop where you can buy some books, postcards, t-shirts, etc.

4 DSC_0223After that we went to Annandale, the Army museum. It houses some big artillery guns and many other weapons, mannequins of army personnel in different uniforms, posters showing some great achievements of our brave soldiers, details of various UN missions, etc. There is a huge golf course  for the army personnel. This place is really beautiful, very well maintained and a bliss for the eyes and the soul.


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That was all from my Chail-Shimla trip. And we drove back to our hometown !!

You may also like to read my reviews on specific places of Chail and Shimla on TripAdvisor.

Wanna drive outside India?? ….read on!!

If you love travelling and have that passion to drive, you would be enthralled to know that there are many foreign countries where you can drive with your Indian licence.

n-ROAD-TRIP-ABROAD-large570Here’s a list of roadtrip-friendly countries, where all you need is your Indian driving licence to take the wheel.

With Left-hand driving:

Great Britain

Great Britain(England, Scotland and Wales) allows foreigners to drive with their home country’s licence for one year but only for the class of vehicle which your licence permits.


In Australia also you can drive with your Indian licence. But in Northern Territory, it is permitted only for a period of three months.

New Zealand

You can enjoy the breath-taking drives all along the New Zealand, but you should be at least 21 yrs old to rent a car there.

South Africa

South Africa is another country with left-hand driving where you can drive with your valid Indian licence. Make sure your Indian driving license is valid, is entirely in English and it has your photo and signature. Some vehicle hire companies ask for an IDP(International Driving Permit)when hiring a car. Confirm it, so that you can have it in time.

With Right-hand driving:


You can drive for a period of one year in USA with your Indian licence. You also need to have a copy of the I-94 form, which shows the date you entered the US.


Indian visitors can drive in Germany for up to six months against a valid Indian driving license. It is advisable to get an IDP, otherwise, obtain a translation of your Indian driving license from any German diplomatic mission.


France allows Indian drivers to drive for a year against a valid Indian license, as long as they also carry a French translation with them.


Everyone’s favourite alpine country with its turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains allows Indian visitors to drive for up to one year on a valid Indian driving license.


Norway allows Indian nationals to drive its roads for three months after entering the country.

How to get your International Driving Permit: international-driving-permit1


  • You need to hold a valid driving license and a valid passport.
  • Fill out and submit form CMV 4-A and medical form CMV 1 and CMV 1A, with attested copies of your passport and Indian driving license. This can be done at any regional transport office (RTO).
  • You will also have to submit three-to-five passport-sized photographs.
  • You must show a valid visa for the country in which you wish to drive.

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Happy travelling!!

Safe driving!!


Short trip to Taj Mahal

As everyone knows, Taj Mahal is one of the Wonders of the World and recently ranked among top three Landmarks in the World. It is the pride of India and a symbol of Love.


I had visited Taj long time back when I was a kid and always wanted to visit again. This week finally I went to see Taj Mahal while going to Dhaulpur (Rajasthan) for my friend’s wedding. I was really amazed to see such a marvellous and beautiful monument. I could imagine the tremendous planning and hard work that had been put into constructing the beautiful landmark, and that too in those times, without any sophisticated tools and machinery. I will surely visit it again and again!


I will take you through the pictorial tour of Taj Mahal with some useful information:

How to reach (from New Delhi)

  • By Road: 215 Kms, around 3-4 hrs via Yamuna Expressway (Toll Tax Rs. 300-400 for private vehicle). 8-lane highway, Speed limit 100kmph. Restaurants and restrooms available on the way.
  • By Train: Agra Cantt. is the nearest station with no. of trains connecting to New Delhi. Bhopal Shatabdi (12002) at 6:00am takes just 2 hrs from New Delhi to Agra. Taj Express (12280) at 7:05am takes 3 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin. Both these return back in the evening.
  • By Air: Air India operates flights between New Delhi and Agra, but there isn’t any point when you can reach in same time at lower costs.

Where to stay- There are a number of hotels in Agra ranging from Budget to 5 Star ones, you can check on TripAdvisor for ratings.

General Information-

  • Car parking is about 1 km away from Taj Mahal entrance, battery-operated autos are available for hire from there. You can also take a camel ride to the Taj Mahal from there.
  • It is good to hire a guide but don’t forget to bargain well.
  • Entry Tickets: Rs. 20 for Indians, Rs. 750 for Foreigners and free for children below 15yrs of age.
  • Audio Guides are available for Rs. 71 per person. These are very informative if you have time to listen. Alternatively, you can look to  Audio Compass Apps for iOS and Android.
  • Shoes are not allowed inside the Taj Mahal. Facility is available to keep your shoes or you can buy a shoe cover if you don’t want to remove the shoes.
  • Eatables are not allowed inside.
  • Timings: Sunrise to Sunset, Fridays closed.
  • Other things to see: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri (45kms/about 1hr drive) and the Fort of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, also known as Baby Taj Mahal.
  • Click for Official website of the Taj Mahal.









Waah Taj !!

Essentials of A Road Trip

roadtripIn my last post I mentioned things which you should carry in your car while going for long road trips.

Here I will list some important points which you should keep in mind while preparing for the trip and during your journeys to ensure safety and comfort for yourself & others on the road.

  1. Get your vehicle serviced regularly but don’t just embark on a long trip right after the service. Wait for couple of days and drive in your city for those days.
  2. Learn to change tyres (A lot of people don’t know) and headlight bulbs so that you may use the spare bulb provided with your car in case of an emergency.
  3. Check the levels of engine oil, gear oil, brake fluid, windshield water; condition of wiper blades, lights, horn, brakes, tyres & tyre pressure (don’t forget the stepney & toolkit).
  4. Properly clean your windshield and rear view mirrors before starting your journey & also in-between regularly.
  5. Carry a list of authorized service stations in areas where you will be going through. Also have your car & insurance helpline numbers at hand.
  6. Always have contact numbers of banks you use cards of to report any lost or stolen card immediately.
  7. Get some idea of contact numbers and locations of police stations and emergency services on your way.
  8. Take sufficient sleep before going for any road trip. Even the most experienced drivers need enough rest to drive safely.
  9. Spare key should always be carried along while going distances away from hometown. Don’t keep that in your car. Instead have it with a lanyard around your neck (can be easily kept under your shirt and you will never lose this key) or give it to your co-passenger.070808RoadTrip
  10. Keep yourself well hydrated and take regular breaks during the journey… are not going on a race. It would be good for you as well as your vehicle.
  11. Don’t over speed….be in your limits. While we all know the speed at which we are travelling, we generally do not realise how fast we are going. As a thumb rule, when you are doing 100 kmph you are travelling about 100 feet per second, at 120 kmph you are doing about 120 feet per second. When you keep this at the back of your mind it helps to put things in perspective.images-2
  12. Try to avoid overtaking from the left side of another vehicle. If you still have to, give proper horn/signal.think-safety-icons-fatal-four
  13. Rear Bed: By keeping your luggage between front & rear seats and covering with a bedsheet or thin mattress you can make a full flat bed out of the rear seat for those long journeys.
  14. If you drive on highways, retain the toll tickets till the end of journey. In addition to usual benefits like proof of travel it has the emergency helpline numbers usually printed on the back.
  15. The rear window of a car (or any other passenger vehicle) is the weakest link, during an emergency all you have to do is to lie down on the back seat and kick the rear window out, preferably with both legs. It is designed to be opened (or kicked out) during emergencies by an adult.
  16. Lastly maintain a good log of your trip. You might need it in future if you plan to visit the same place again or may be share with your friends for their trip.Here you can note down the distances and time intervals for police stations, hospitals, fuel pumps, eating joints, highway numbers, road conditions in different patches, etc.

That is all from my side. Your inputs based on personal experiences will be highly appreciated.

Please share the post with your family and friends.



Have a nice & safe journey…!!!!!



Stuff You Should Carry on Your Road Trip


Most of us love travelling. Even those few who don’t, have to travel for work or business or to attend some occassions. Nowdays, owing to better road connectivity and much advanced & comfortable vehicles, many of us go for long drives for various purposes as cited above.

Here I will share with you various things which you should carry in your car to make your journeys trouble-free. You can carry most of this stuff in just an old medium sized duffle bag. The importance of each item varies depending on individual perspective.

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It would be really great to have your valuable inputs and suggestions!!!

Must Have Things All the Time in Your Car :

  1. Service booklet and car manual: Many people consider it useless and don’t carry it. Ideally you should go through it atleast once. Some small tips may be very helpful when you are struck at a far-off place with no authorized service centre.
  2. Documents: You should always carry all your vehicle documents in original as well as photocopies. Others like Mediclaim Card, I-Card and prescription of your eyeglasses(if you have one) should also be there with you to deal with any emergencies.
  3. Notebook and Pen: To note down any important information on your way.
  4. Medical Kit: Apart from the First-aid kit provided with your vehicle you should also have some basic medicines( I will list them in another post) always in your car. Those with prescription glasses should keep a spare spects in their cars.
  5. Car charger: Very essential for long drives especially if you use GPS on your smartphones.
  6. Bluetooth Headset: People can spend lakhs on their expensive cars but can’t spend just few thousand rupees for something which can save their lives as well as others. Please start using one if you are one of those ignorant ones.
  7. Torch: To carry out minor repairs during dark if ever be needed.
  8. Iron Rod: Keep a small iron rod for self defence specially if you travel during night or through some lonely patches of road. And keep it where you can reach it easily like by your seat’s side i.e. between the door & your seat.
  9. Music: For long drives stock enough of your favourite music to keep you engaged during the drive.
  10. Cleaning cloths & Newspapers: Newspapers are best to clean your windshield and windows(newspaper ink acts as a polish for the glass).
  11. Polybags & paperbags
  12. Tyre puncture repair kit
  13. Nylon Rope(approx. 15-20 ft.): For towing your vehicle in case of a breakdown or maybe to help others on the way. Might also come handy to tie your extra luggage.
  14. Water bottle & Petrol can: Always keep atleast 1ltr water in your boot which might be used to clean your windshield or for any other purpose. Petrol can if you get your tank empty in middle of nowhere.
  15. Umbrella: On long drives you may pass through different weathers and may encounter unexpected rains.
  16. Turmeric powder/M-Seal: In case of an accident where your radiator develops a crack or leakage, put some turmeric powder in the radiator, it will act as a sealant. M-seal also to seal any cracks or leakage anywhere in your vehicle.


For Long Road Trips:

You may not have these all the time in your car but should not miss on long journeys atleast.

  1. Duplicate keys
  2. Spare cash hidden somewhere in your car
  3. Food items: For long trips always carry some snacks & dry fruits. You might not always be lucky to find a good restaurant or dhaba on the highways when you need it the most. Even a plain sugar sachet is like a bliss in those times.
  4. Chewing gums: To keep you engaged & awake while driving.
  5. Soap: Again minor cracks or leaks can be temporarily fixed using a soap cake.
  6. Good knife: To cut fruits or salads you may buy on your way. Never buy cut fruits from a vendor if you love your stomach. Knife can also be used to cut your seatbelts (if you care enough to wear them) if they get jammed during an accident.
  7. Cello tape/ Duct tape: To fix any broken part or windshield or lights during an accident.
  8. Air pump & pressure gauge: If you are going to travel through very desserted areas.
  9. Extra toolkit: If you know to do some minor repairs yourself.
  10. Extra phone: You may carry a very basic extra phone in case your main phone gets lost or stolen or just dies out. Don’t forget to save important phone numbers in that extra phone.
  11. GPS Navigator: Though we have great navigation apps in our smartphones but while on highways & passing through outskirts of cities mobile network is hardly good enough to run those apps.
  12. Baby seat: If you are traveling with a baby on long drives it better to have a baby seat to ensure their safety and comfort.
  13. Drinking water: If your vehicle has large enough boot, carry a 20ltr bisleri jar with a dispenser to save on water bottles or atleast carry 5ltr bottles. In any case keep yourself well hydrated during those journeys.


Again many of you will find this list not so useful but believe me you will thank me if you ever get in a difficult situation ever on your trip.

You should go on that pleasure trip worry free and it is always best to be prepared for the worst.

Have a nice, safe and memorable trip….!!!!!