Seven Days Seven Places Road Trip

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्॥

South-Western India, especially Maharashtra, has good roads and great places to visit. My recent road trip included seven places that I desired long to visit. This trip was completed in seven days hence the name of this blog- #SevenDaysSevenPlacesRoadTrip .

Here’s account of the trip, how you too can accomplish and things that you must note during your adventure trip. In case you have missed my blog on tips to plan for a Great Road Trip you may click here to read the blog.

Although the aspirations to undertake this Road trip was there since quite sometime, we started bringing our aspirations to realty a couple of week before the Road trip started.

Day 0 of #SevenDaysSevenPlacesRoadTrip

Preparations-

Five things that we prepared for in advance for the road trip. The below image explains the details of the

  1. Distance, navigation
  2. Local weather
  3. Trip cost calculation
  4. Leisure and rejuvenation
  5. Trip fuel

Preparation4

The route:

  • Total Distance travelled- 1563 KMs
  • Total Drive time(including break time)- Approx. 31 Hours
  • Average Distance travelled per hour (including break time)- 50.5 KM

Map

Day 1, Saturday

Pune to Sula Vineyards, Nashik

Distance travelled- 228 KMs

Road Quality:

  • NH60- 174 KMs- Excellent
  • Gangapur- Savargaon Road- 11 KMs- Average to Poor
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At Sula Vineyards, Nashik
Sula Vineyards, Nashik

We started our journey early on a Saturday morning at 7 AM and travelled 226 KMs to reach Sula Vineyards in Nashik at approx.. 01:00 PM. Sula Vineyards. The weather was overcast and the drive was perfect. We filled up the fuel tank before we started the journey. Sula Vineyards are the pioneer winery on India that launched Wine production in India in the year 2000. Their property is spread over 1800 acres across Nashik and other locations in Maharashtra. Sula introduced grape varietals such as Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel to India and as of 2013, they hold a market share of almost 70% in the Indian wine Industry. Sula was named after Rajeev Samant’s (the CEO & Founder) mother – ‘Sulabha’. Sula Vineyards offers you a leisure time away from the din of the city, midst of the seemingly endless grape farms with the best of Indian Wines to taste and buy and a restaurant serving exotic food, too. It also offers a resort in the middle of the grape farms to rejuvenate.

Sula Vineyards, Nashik to Trimbakeshwar

Distance travelled- 23 KMs

Road Quality:

  • Mahiravni – Gangapur Road- 1.4 KMs- Poor
  • NH848- 15 KMs- Excellent
img201906291700328991065472264128538-e1563201497449.jpg
Shri Trimbakeshwar temple

After spending a few hours in Sula Vineyards, we drove further west for 30 minutes to reach Trimbakeshwar. Shri Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. We were on a journey to worship three more Jyotirlingas to make the count to eight for us that we have worshiped so far. The other two are- Shri Omkareshwar and Shri Mahakaleshwar. We put up in a hotel approximately 150 mtrs. away from the temple. We went shopping in the evening. In a preparation to the following day, we had light dinner and went to bed early.

Note- When you drive in Shri Trimbakeshwar, the traffic assistants will ask you to park your car in a Parking lot that’s approximately 1 KM away from the city centre, which means you would have to walk with your luggage till your hotel. They’ll offer to drive your car till the hotel using a secret route and charge you Rs. 200+. That’s a scam. You need to ask them to let you speak to their senior police officer. They’ll remove the barricade and allow you in. Of course, for free! No strings attached.

Day 2, Sunday

Trimbakeshwar, MH to Maheshwar, MP

Distance travelled- 378 KMs

Road Quality:

  • NH848, NH60, NH52- 362 KMs- Excellent
  • Dhamnod Road- 16 KMs- Average to Good

We were at the Shri Trimbakeshwar temple at 6 AM, Sunday morning. It took us about an hour for us to complete the Darshan of our most beloved God, Lord Shiva. We checked out and started to our next destination, Maheshwar by 7 AM. The weather changed drastically immediately we exited Shri Trimbakeshwar, it started raining heavily there and reportedly, it received over 700 mm of rain that created a flood like situation in Trimbakeshwar and Nashik. As we exited Nashik, the weather was dry and sunny. We had a great drive to Maheshwar, which is 380 KMs away from Trimbakeshwar. After a seven hours joyful drive, we reached Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh at 3:00 PM on Sunday. Maheshwar is an ancient city, which finds its references in the Hindu Holy scriptures including Ramayana and Mahabharata as Maheshmati. A brief account of the ancient history of the city is mentioned this Wikipedia page. It’s history quite interesting. In present time, it has a beautiful fort belonging to the Holkar family who had been the rulers of the city. The city stands as a strong witness to the great work of a person whom I consider the greatest Hindu of all time- Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar. I would restrict my strong urge to explain her achievements in this blog post. When you visit the Maheshwar fort, remember to hire a guide who would walk you through the greatest achievements and sacrifices she made for humanity and Hinduism. You may also refer to a brief account of her on this Wikipedia page. The place is a MUST VISIT for any travel enthusiast interested in Indian history.

We put up in a tent facing the Narmada River. While the tent gave us the feeling to be closer to the nature, it was equipped with all the modern amenities like a wide screen LED HDTV, Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, Telephone, Walk in Wordrobe, modern washroom. The first thing that we did after check in was to take a dip in the pool. Then, through the evening, we enjoyed the views of the tranquil Narmada river over a cup of tea and snacks. We witnessed a thunderstorm at the midnight, the sound of which was quite overwhelming when you spend the night in a tent. An experience we wanted to witness for long.

Day 3, Monday

We spent the entire day exploring the city of Maheshwar, which despite being relatively small had a lot to offer. We hired a guide who took us in the history of the Maheshwar fort and the palace, temples constructed by the royal family, Maheshwari silk handloom industry and an ancient temple believed to be constructed by Lord Parashuram. We also took an hour-long boat ride to Sahastradhara Waterfalls which is also associated with an ancient Hindu story from the Holy Scriptures. Ask your guide to explain or visit the Wikipedia page to have a brief understanding of the story. We also did some shopping, of course, Maheshwari silk straight from the factory outlet or the Loom outlet to be more precise. We spent the evening at the hotel.

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Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar statue at the Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, MP
Maheshwar fort, view from the Narmada River
Architecture at the Ahilyeshwar Temple
Ahilyeshwar and other temples at the Ahilya/Maheshwar Fort
Various temples at the Maheshwar/Ahilya Fort
Palace and the palanquin of Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar
Maheshwari Silk Handloom
Sahashtra Shiva Linga Puja inside the Ahilya Fort

Day 4, Tuesday

Maheshwar, MP to Shri Omkareshwar, MP

Distance travelled- 67 KMs

Road Quality:

  • Maheshwar to Barwaha- 50 KMs- Good
  • Barwaha to Mortakka- 5 KMs- Poor
  • Mortakka to Omkareshwar- 12 KMs- Good

Shri Omkareshwar, MP to Indore, MP

Distance travelled- 85 KMs

Road Quality:

  • Omkareshwar- Mortakka- Mundi Road to Khandwa – Indore Road- 14.5 KMs- Average
  • Khandwa – Indore Road to NH52- 66 KMs- Good to Excellent
  • Kushabhau Thakre Marg- 5 KMs- Good
Shri Omkareshwar Temple
Omkareshwar Dam

We picked up some Vrat-ahar from the breakfast and checked out early morning and drove to Shri Omkareshwar which is around 70 KMs. Shri Omkareshwar, is situated on an island named Mandhata, surrounded by two rivers, Narmada and Kaveri (a tributary of river Narmada). You need to take a five minutes boat ride to reach Shri Omkareshwar. You may, alternatively, take a walk over footbridge to reach the Shri Omkareshwar temple. Being a Jyotirlinga, it’s usually crowded and sometimes you may buy a special darshan tickets available from the temple authorities that will make your darshan/puja extremely quicker. You can take the holy water from river Narmada or river Ganga (if you are carrying with you) to do the Jalabhishek of the Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga. You may also carry flowers and prasad for the worship. The worship of Shri Omkareshwar is not considered complete unless you worship Shri Mamleshwar Shiva linga on the other side of the river, which is on the mainland. After worshiping the two lingas of our most beloved God, Lord Shiva, we headed to Indore (85 KMs away) where we put up in a hotel. We spent the rest of the day in the Indore hotel relaxing.

Day 5, Wednesday

Indore, MP to Ujjain, MP & return

Distance travelled- 56 KMs one way- 112 KMs two ways

Road Quality:

  • Indore – Ujjain Road- 45 KMs- Good to Excellent
A Saffron flag on the way to Ujjain, MP
Tourist bus in Ujjain, MP

The next day, we drove to Ujjain which is 56 KMs to worship the third and last Jyotirlinga of our trip, Shri Mahakaleshwar. After about an hour of drive, we reach Shri Mahakaleshwar. We already had booked online special darshan tickets. It took us about 45 minutes to complete the Shri Mahakaleshwar worship. After the worship we drove back to Indore. We spent the rest of the day in Indore. In the evening, we visited the Lal Bagh palace, which is a heritage palace, managed by the local government authorities. You need a Rs.10 ticket to enter the venue and mobiles are not allowed inside. We spend our rest of the time in the 56 Bazaar Street exploring the local cuisines and snacks. We spent the rest of the evening at the hotel.

Day 6, Thursday

Indore, MP to Shirdi, MH

Distance travelled- 419 KMs

Road Quality:

  • Kushabhau Thakre Marg- 8 KMs- Good
  • NH52 till Malegaon, MH- 320 KMs- Excellent
  • Solapur – Dhule NH- 91 KMs- Average to Bad
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Lal Bagh Palace, Indore

We started early morning on our day 6 from Indore for Shirdi. We drove almost the entire and enjoying our drive through the rain soaked highways and reached Shirdi at 4 PM. We spent the evening at the hotel over some unique snacks that the hotel had to offer us.

Day 7, Friday

Shirdi, MH to Shani Singnapur, MH

Distance travelled- 73 KMs

Road Quality:

  • NH 160 till Rahuri- 47 KMs- Good to Excellent
  • Rahuri to Shani Singanapur- 26 KMs- Bad to poor

Shani Singnapur, MH to Pune, MH

Distance travelled- 148 KMs

Road Quality:

  • Aurangabad – Pune Highway- 148 KMs- Excellent

We completed the special Sai darshan early morning on our day 7 of our journey, thanks to the online special darshan ticket that we booked before the start of our journey. Then, we drove about 70 KMs to reach Shani Singnapur to offer our prayer to Shri Shani Dev. After we spent sometime there, we drove to home, Pune which is 150 KMs and reached home in the evening.

This travel account has been published with an intent to help fellow travel enthusiasts to help them plan their road trip or round trips across these places. Do put in your comments, should you have any queries for me.

#SevenDaysSevenPlacesRoadTrip

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