RADVenture2 (Part3) : Ranchi to Singrauli - 09 October 2016 - 396 Km

Ranchi to Singrauli (Part3)

  • October 09, 2016
  • Ranchi to Singrauli (Day2)
  • Start Time from Ranchi: 0525 hrs; 
  • Arrival Time at Singrauli: 1745 hrs;
  • Elapsed time : 12hrs - 20 mins
  • Distance : 396 Km

Ranchi being the capital of the State of Jharkhand, has developed & expanded exponentially. 

We set out at 5.30 am, daylight was just about breaking, the morning walkers were all over the place. It was early October and one could feel the nip in the air. We went passed Kadru/Harmu were we lived (familiar names .. significantly transformed), I think I spotted my friend Uttam Kumar Sinha’s house, were we had spent many precious moments during the school years. It was during our School leaving exams (Higher Secondary, Class 11 Board in those days), me and my mate Ravi Suri, (we used to live in Harmu Colony, 3 – 4 Km  away)would cycle upto Uttam’s house. Leave our bike, and the trio would take the public bus to our examination center in HEC Dhurwa. I remember that experience quite vividly. Because these days, you see most children accompanied and supported by parents at exam halls, just like in boxing matches where support staff massage you and refresh you after every bout. 

The drive past the old lanes and streets was as nostalgic as it can be. The city seemed to have expanded way beyond my imagination.

We took  Lohardaga – Latehar – Daltongunj – Garwha – Singrauli route. The Ranchi – Daltongunj road is a National Highway, a hilly terrain and passes through forests. Most of the road is decent, yet narrow and single lane. But very scenic and pleasant. We faced some heavy showers on the way but an enjoyable drive.
Scenic Road until Daltongunge

Ranchi to Daltongunge - the rain added to the charm

Latehar, Lohardaga, Daltongunge are very scenic, something very luring about the place. Given a chance would like to go and spend some time in those hills and forests. There is something very rustic and captivating about the place.  Daltongunj and Medinanagar, are twin cities on two sides of the river Koel. Both are crowded towns, with some rough road patches here and there.

Until Garwha everything went fine. At Garwha, we faced a major traffic jam as we entered Garwah town. One of the worst traffic jams ever witnessed by me. There was some religious ceremeony happening at one of the Mazhars and the whole city population had convened there, with no regard to any traffic discipline. The cops had to finally come in and restore some discipline. Eventually lost over 2 hours in the melee.

The chaos at Garwha

After Garwha, National Highway 75 (NH39 as per Google ) gets very bad, not only does it force you to cut down speed drastically, it brings in a state of shock seeing its dismal condition. There were stretches where the road simply did not exist. And then there were stretches were you could not fathom the danger of a puddle unless veered into it. Sometimes too late! before you realize your wheels are on a roll, and the bottom is stuck. Sheer luck and with high risk you kind of figure out the best way to get out before you are stuck. In such a god forsaken place, help of any nature would be hours away. I did carry emergency steel cable to get hoisted out, incase we were stuck. Lucky such a catastrophe did not arise.

 As you get into UP, the NH75 / NH 39 becomes even more dangerous for two reasons. Slow pace of repair work initiated in some of the sections, and heavy rainfall that made matters worse. There were lot of diversions on the way, and those diversions being muddy roads, it was extremely dangerous to maneuver. Ours was perhaps the only sedan making its way through, all other vehicles were either SUVs or Trucks. 

The surprising thing is that there is no data available on the internet about the road condition in Jharkhand, UP, MP. I did my best to collate information from many sources. At best I was told that the stretch is good in some sections and bad in others. There were inputs that this was a naxalite infected stretch, hence best avoid. Some said it is a 4 Lane highway and a beautiful road to drive. One of my school mate though conveyed to me that no road existed beyond Garwha. Through this blog of mine, I want to publish the actual state of affairs along our route. 

Glimpses of National Highway

Glimpses of the messy road.... the picture does not look that bad!

With my heart in my mouth, and my better half praying to God we made it through. As if the state of the highway was not enough we had to constantly manage the numerous super-sized speed breakers all along, which is practically impossible to handle for a sedan. The height of the speed breakers far exceed the ground clearance of a sedan.  

In the melee & nervousness, we misjudged and chose a wrong road, which took us to Rihand Super Thermal Power Plant. From there got led to a periphery road by the Power Plants water reservoir. A scenic road for sure, but could'nt really enjoy the drive as we were'nt sure what lay in store enroute our destination for the day, and sunset was fast approaching. One of our cardinal principle always has been to take shelter before sunset.

From the pictures above you can realize how a great romantic setting can change to a state of horror in a matter of few hours. Moreover a 400 km drive took over 12 hours to reach, gives you a reasonable indication the condition.

We finally arrived at Singrauli Palace Heritage Hotel at 5.45PM in the twilight. Singrauli is also famous as the energy capital. 7 Super thermal power plants, Northern Coalfield headquarter, Hindalco, etc.. Its a big industrial town. Few decades ago it was a forest, and now its deforested industrial jungle. 

Singrauli Palace Heritage Hotel

Singrauli Palace Heritage Hotel is owned by Mr Bhuvneshwar Prasad Singh, the Raja of Singrauli (Raja Babu).  The erstwhile royal family of Singrauli made a decision to convert their ancestral kothi into a hotel for the convenience of tourists and guests visiting Singrauli on work or leisure.  The entire property is very well maintained. Raja Babu and the Rani take personal interest in the upkeep and maintenance. The hotel is lined with royal ensembles, collections and photographs. It kind of depicts an association with who's who of India and Royal family of UK. It feels as if you have walked into the drawing room of a King.

Raja Babu (Raja BP Singh, is fondly called) was present at the hotel while we checked in. Later in the evening we met. He was very excited to see us drive from Kolkata. We had a brief chat on our itinerary, and he had some good tips and advice for our onward journey. He confirmed my worst fear, that roads in Madhya Pradesh would be in a bad state, due to excessive rains. He also suggested that we hire a driver until our next destination, but looking at my resolve, he kind of reluctantly withdrew his suggestion, but at the same time called one of his assistant and told them to load some food for us in the car, as nothing decent would be available on our route. On hearing that I would be leaving next day at 5am, he called the assistant once again and made sure that the hotel staff understood the timing of our departure. 

Nice meal followed, and in a nice hotel, without internet, sleep was the natural choice .... we packed up for the night.  

Next> Part4 ../1: Singrauli to Panna