I had prepared, on the basis of information from various sources, for a journey of 12 hours. When I crossed the Gujarat border into MP in just over three hours (260 kms), I wondered to myself why the time is overestimated. The 150 km journey beyond Dahod to Pithampur via Jabua and Dhar knocked me back to reality. The 5 hours on the road to cover this route was painful, tiring and car bruising. I was warned that the ‘Macheli Ghat’ is not very safe after sun down and that it should be done in day time. Day time it was but it knocked the day lights out of me. The transformation of NH 59 beyond the Gujarat border is to be seen to be believed. In some places the potholes are too deep even for trucks. This experience transported me back to some of the roads I had done in Assam and West Bengal. I manfully kept on at it thinking of the wonderful drive I had from Ahmedabad to Dahod via Godhra and the time I had saved on that leg. The worst stretch is the Dhar bye pass or the Ring Road. I thought I would get stranded on that section. I was amazed at how woeful the maintenance is considering the fact that MP promotes tourism aggressively. But the road infrastructure, at least on this stretch, does not support the talk. MP promotes itself as the ‘Dil” (Heart) of India. While traveling on such roads one’s Dil almost stops.
On the approach to Indore I stopped to check if there is ‘Mukhti’ (Freedom) from the torture as I had suffered almost 5 hours of it. A kind soul directed me via Pithampur to the NH3, the Agra-Mumbai highway. In a short while I got to the superb NH3, which indicated 210 kms to Bhopal. Via the Dewas bye pass I took the SH18 to Bhopal. I covered the distance in about 150 minutes. The last leg of the trip wiped off some fatigue of the previous. Overall, the distance of 620 kms was covered in slightly over 10 hours. I did not even have a cup of tea on the way. Biscuits and water from 6 am to 4.15 pm made me ravenously hungry by the time I reached Bhopal and checked in to the ORH in Habibganj. The quantity of rice and dal I consumed after ‘Celebrations’ amazed the boys in the ORH. I completed 19000 kms in the course of the trip.