Day 1 29th June 2018

Exactly an year ago we landed in Delhi terminal 2 and were out of the airport at 2 AM. We were debating on Uber or Ola but went with a prepaid taxi at the airport exit. we hired a Kaali Peeli (it’s a black and yellow taxi) to Mahipalpur where our friend was already staying. The hotel was inside a small street even the Google map was confused and took us a long way via tiny streets. After going through a lot of small streets we reached the hotel and had to book another room as we didn’t have our car yet. Plan was to be on the road by 4 am hence we had not booked an extra room in Delhi  but to our luck plans had to be changed we all bitched about our luck , scolded the transport service  and tried to get some sleep for the rest of the night, hoping that the truck delivers the car tomorrow morning.  

In the morning we tried to contact all the transport guys multiple times no response received we were disappointed again. We had to check out of the hotel as the usual check-in time is 12 PM and check out was 11 AM. So if we wanted to continue to stay in the room we would have to pay for another day of stay but we were not sure how long we were going to be in Delhi so hence checked out of the hotel. But we had a lot of luggage but weren’t interested to keep the luggage somewhere and get delayed at the end for just getting our luggage back.  After some discussions, we decided to rent a self-drive car to keep all the luggage in the car and as our plans were hampered anyways we planned to salvage the day by roaming around Delhi while repeatedly following up with the transport guys.  

We rented a Honda jazz which was surprisingly spacious and had enough space to fit all our luggage along with us 4. Even though Jazz was spacious it was packed with our luggage and that made us worry about the space situation in swift which is more compact than Jazz.  

We visited the Qutub Minar hired a guide to explain the history of the place which was really well explained by the guide. The guide charged around ₹350 and the ticket to visit the Qutub Minar was 30 per head for Indian, which maybe around 100 or 300per head for foreigners. Also, we had to pay around 10 for parking.  

After the Qutub Minar, we planned to visit the Lotus Temple as it’s supposed to be a very beautiful place. However, when we reached there it was very crowded for a Friday afternoon had a mile-long queue which could have easily eaten an hour of our time to enter the Lotus temple hence with no options we had to skip Lotus temple and go for a good lunch instead.  

My friends had heard about a place called Hauz Khas which had a lot of good eatery places hence we went to Hauz Khas village and searched for places by walk. After searching for a while we decided to go to a place called Re-cycle even though it was a kind of Tibetan place we ordered Indian food. Like roti, paneer sabzi, dal makhani and jeera rice, etc. The food was tasty and good but felt a little pricy but the ambiance and the view were good we felt it was worth it.  

The View from the Hotel

During our lunch we tried calling all the transport guys again we got hold of the transport guy from Bangalore he was rude but told that our car will reach by 6 pm and his person will drop it off Delhi. Even though we were not sure or happy with his answers, we got the transport guys contact details in Delhi who will be picking the car up. Anyway, after some time I tried to call the truck driver directly he answered the phone after few tries he updated that he has reached his destination at 3 pm and the car will be unloaded in some time.  We called the transport guy he was not even aware of the current status told him the truck is at their warehouse which is a few kilometers behind Gurugram (Gurgaon). We called the transport contact and enquired when he can deliver the car, he upfront told that he cannot deliver now as he was busy. That answer was more frustrating hence we decided to drive there in our rental car and pick up the car ourselves. which may be a bad idea, will come back to that later. So we drove to the place where the car was dropped it was around 35 kilometers but it took us 1.5 hours to reach, there was a lot of traffic which was very common for our day in Delhi that day. I mean the whole day there were always traffic jams. Also, we had to pay road tax at Haryana border as apparently rental cars don’t have all India permit and have to get permits when we need to enter other states(Another reason for us to use our own car) hence we paid ₹100 at the Haryana border before we reach Gurugram toll. We reached the truck stop around 6 PM and the car was unloaded but it was not starting hence the truck drivers did a jump start that fixed the issue. After a lot of discussions with the transport guy as he was asking more money that the discussed we got our car by 6:30 pm by paying only the decided amount. We moved all our luggage in our  Swift which was a tough fit but we somehow managed it.  We split into 2 car headed back to Delhi Mahipalpur as we had to return the rental car.  

During the course of our journey back to Mahipalpur our cars split up due to small confusion in maps. The rental car took a wrong turn and got stuck at Dwarka road which had a mile-long jam. Also, we had to refill the diesel as per the rental car rules. the swift reached the rental car shop by 8 pm. For the rental car to reach the shop it took more than an hour as the traffic was too much at Dwarka road, after that they were unable to find the petrol pump who sells anything other than CNG, this was a tough task as there were no petrol/ Diesel bunks on their route. They had to hunt for a petrol bunk it took a while and traffic-filled roads dint help with that after a lot of searching diesel was refilled. We returned the rental car back by 10 pm.   

Earlier I mentioned we made a bad call with taking the rental car to Gurugram the issues were we have to pay the road tax which is bearable but we wasted like 2.5 hours to return the car instead. we Should have taken a cab and avoided all the return traffic and started to Srinagar from Gurugram. The cab cost which may have been more but when u consider the time wasted and fuel costs for rental car the charges would have been minimum.  

After all the Chaos we have officially started our journey from Delhi to Srinagar at 10:30 PM, even though delayed but we started. However, that was not the last of the inconveniences, that is a story for next time…  

Road Trip of Dreams Leh, Ladakh in a Swift

Pangong Lake

Day 0.5 28th June 2018

I am Hareesh born in Bengaluru and brought up in many parts of north Karnataka. I did my diploma in Bengaluru where have made some awesome friends who has the zeal to travel. It was an all time dream of ours to do a road trip of Leh , Ladakh trip. Almost every year since 2011 we plans for the trip and postponed it every times. Year 2018 was the year all my core friends were able to get their leaves in place. And the date was set between June 28th 9th July. We did a lot of research went through so many blogs and videos to come with our plan. As per the research we understood that taking a rented (self drive cars) to Leh may not be a good option as the local cab unions in Leh will cause problems so it was decided to take our own car. The total head count was set to 4, places were decided, stay was booked for each day and bought all the essentials for the trip. As we are taking our own car we had to ship our car to Delhi even that was done like 10 days in advance. Speaking about the car we have a Maruti Suzuki Swift 2009 model yes not a SUV class or a Sedan or 4X4 vehicle just the good old swift hatch back for 4 people with luggage. When we shipped the car we packed the a box of accessories which we bought for the trip and placed it in the car. This was done to avoid luggage weight issues during our flight. Also to note people did suggest us that we will face issues if we travel with swift and Swift cannot climb the mountains. Did we face issues may be but to find that out go through the remaining blogs in this series.

Now the day had come which I am calling as Day 0.5 that was the day when we all travelled to Delhi. 1 out of us 4 reached Delhi on 28th morning to collect car and get some last moment checks. Other 3 of us had a flight at 10pm from Bangalore to Delhi. 2 of us did have to go to office and plan was to leave office a little early and start for airport at 6 as Bengaluru traffic cannot be predicted. We had planned everything and did every bookings well in advance but sometime things don’t go as you plan. 

During the day of 28th June we tried to get an update on the car delivery surprisingly the car was still 700km away that was a very upsetting news we called all the guys involved in the transport like the transport guy, truck owner truck driver there answers were not helping us. But we got to know the truck will not reach us on time as the plan was to start early morning on 29th July that dint happen. We were all disheartened, angered and sad as we started facing issues  even before beginning the trip. 

Our friend who reached early had to stay in a room in Delhi  and wasted a day without a car he could not do anything. And we boarded the flight to Delhi with lot of doubts, concerns and worries.

But the journey started.