Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Car journey to Shirdi

We travelled to Shirdi last weekend - took my own car along for a good self-driven road trip.

The road is quite straightforward - from Mumbai take the Eastern Express Highway to Thane and Bhiwandi. This is the NH3 to Nashik, but we took a route avoiding Nashik. Left from home at 7:30 am.
First stop was for snacks at Manas Resorts Igatpuri at around 10:30 am. The resort has been nicely done-up and looks a good spot for a weekend getaway a la Fariyas.

7 km after Igatpuri is the town of Ghoti which has a bypass road to Sinnar, which avoids Nashik completely. There is a board on the highway pointing to a right turn to Ghoti. The off-road leads through a market for about 2 kms, but ask for directions to Sinnar/Shirdi if confused. It leads to a railway crossing and a toll booth later - and then the bypass road smoothens out.
This route was a scenic drive through some unspoiled lands. The photos show the windmills and lakes seen along the Ghoti-Sinnar bypass road. Another advantage was no high-speed overtakers on this route, since the road is well-hidden. There are no boards informing you of this route, and you get 60 kms of peaceful leisurely driving.

At Sinnar, you rejoin the SH10 which is a straight road to Shirdi. Back to the superfast buses and crazy drivers. We reached Shirdi at 2:15 pm and quickly found a hotel for ourselves.
The Hotel Sai Baba International - which is right opposite the main gate of the temple complex. The rooms were adequate, 3 star hotel with clean facilities.

Road distances:
Andheri East - 0 Km
Ghatkopar on EEH - 13 Km
Shahapur - 74 Km
Igatpuri - 124 Km
Ghoti - 131 Km
Sinnar - 190 Km
Shirdi - 250 Km

The journey took 7 hours on the way out, but we spent 1.5 hours in breaks.
The return was quicker since we knew the route well, 6 hours in all including lunch at Foodplaza beyond Igatpuri (Avoidable!) .

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