UPDATE: Click the link to go directly to the FULL TRIP REPORT post. Mission accomplished! --- Folks, ZigDrive 9 is here. This time we are doing the Great Lucknow Kebab Run in association with the The Roadographers Club on Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18, 2016. The plan is to sample the new Agra-Lucknow Expressway that was inaugurated a few days ago. On this Expressway, the time taken from New Delhi to Lucknow, via Yamuna Expressway and the Agra Lucknow Expressway, is supposedly reduced by nearly three hours, making it only a six hour road trip. However, owing to the foggy conditions prevailing these days, we are taking a break in Lucknow overnight and returning the next day.
Accommodation in Lucknow as of now is being sorted out in two bungalows owned by group members. Between the two places we should be able to squeeze in about 18 people. Others will have to look for reasonable hotels for an overnight stay. The reason we are doing an overnight stay is because of the weather conditions. It is going to be foggy and hence we didn't want to do a to and fro trip on the same day - although that is technically possible. It is a 1000 km round trip - so according to the car you are driving or travelling in, split / budget the fuel bills accordingly. It roughly works out to Rs. 7 per km in a petrol car and about Rs. 5 per km with a diesel. The plan is to leave by about 7 am and reach Lucknow post noon. Since there is likelihood of fog, it will take about 7-8 hours to get there. Theoretically, in good weather it should take only about 6 hours now. Post any other queries you have below and we will sort them out.
And here's the updated menu folks! This is what we expect to eat: For Dinner: Kabab- Mutton Kabab @Tundey Kababi Aminabad Lucknow. Biryani- Chicken/ Mutton @Dastarkhwan Lalbagh Lucknow Handi Mutton @Kalika Gomtinagar Lucknow. For Dessert: Kulfi Rabri Faluda Prakash Kulfi Aminabad Gilauri Paan@ Aminabad/ Hazrat Ganj. Jafrani Kheer, Shahi Tukda, Kashmiri Chai@ Aminabad For Breakfast - Neelkanth Sweets( Dahi jalebi/ Khaste)@Gomtinagar Lucknow Vajpayee Poori @Hazrat Ganj. Nanitaal Momos@ Gomtinagar Besides this there is also a lot of street food we can try out at Lucknow. And don't forget to pack some stuff for the folks back home.
[QUOTE_NODE]"Originally posted by Yash_Kansal" RoshunHi I will be there with 2 more people in my own Vehicle. Would be great if we are able to squeeze into one of the bungalows.Vehicle: Volkswagen Passat TSI [/QUOTE_NODE]
"Originally posted by Yash_Kansal" RoshunHi I will be there with 2 more people in my own Vehicle. Would be great if we are able to squeeze into one of the bungalows.Vehicle: Volkswagen Passat TSI
Great, look forward to having you join us. Final meet up time and other details will be posted shortly.
Kshitij_Verma You could just confirm your participation here only. Please mention your car and your co-passengers (if any). We'll meet at Mahamaya flyover (near the bus stop) in Noida between 07:00 to 07:30 hrs on saturday. You can also email your personal contact details to email@example.com
Hey Guys.. Good afternoon to you all. As I heard from somewhere regarding your upcoming trip 'The Great Kabab Run' So I just wanted to welcome you guys to my newly opened coffee shop in Lucknow 'The Coffee Castle' It will be a great opportunity for us if we can serve you in my coffee shop... It's my personal invitation to u guys if u wanna come and have a great time along with a Cuppa.. Coffeeholic Regards! Akhil Chitransh Owner and founder The Coffee Castle 9717463395
Hey Akhil_Chitransh . Thanks for the offer. We would love to meet up. Let's see how our schedule is depending on the weather conditions (as that may affect our travel time). We will surely try and make it. Sharing the details on our Whatsapp group too.
Official meeting up time is 0700hrs at bus stop just beyond Mahamaya Flyover, at the start of the Noida-Greater-Noida Expressway. We aim to leave at 0715hrs from there, so please be on time. Carry enough water, spares and supplies for your car and passengers. Carry enough change for tolls along the way, especially Yamuna Expressway. Carry cash for fuel. We will be doing a refuelling halt at Agra as we are not sure about refuelling points on the new Expressway to Lucknow after that. We are not sure if cards / PayTm will work. It's a 1000 km round trip, so fuel costs are likely to be about Rs. 5000 to Rs. 7000 depending on the car you are driving. Keep some cash aside for the kebabs in Lucknow, tolls and other expenses. Start out with a full tank of fuel (fill today if you have to, as prices are increasing tonight). We will have 2-way radio communication between most of the cars. Those who do not have 2-way handsets can put in a request to rent one at Rs. 500 for 2 days. Message Karan vaid : +91 92101 22222 for this. Car count so far is about 8 cars. Most of you would have been added to the Whatsapp broadcast group by Karan vaid . So you should already be getting messages on it already. If not, keep following this thread or mail your contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org
✅ Convoy rules ✔ Maintain your place in the convoy ✔ Keep an eye in your mirror for the car behind you - if you lose sight of it slow down, car ahead of you will also slow down. ✔ There will be one lead and one sweep car. Don't overtake lead, and Sweep won't let you fall behind it. ✔Keep your fog lamps / DRL or low beam on, so it is easy to identify our cars in traffic. And safer as well in fog. ✔We won't be doing speeds higher than 100-110 kmph max to make the drive safe and enjoyable. ✔Most cars will have 2 way radio, so use it to notify if you want to stop. ✔We will plan stops every 2 hours for Bio breaks if possible at decent places. ✔All occupants to wear seat belts at all times in all cars. ✔Driver to avoid mobile use, unless equipped with hands free/ Bluetooth. ✔No drinking alcohol while driving. We have time to party at Lucknow in the night. ✔Drive safe, enjoy the drive.
And we are back! We had a good road trip of discovery... We discovered that all that you see in the print media is NOT true. We discovered that where there's a will there's a way. We also discovered that sedans can off-road too. We discovered that you can't build bridges in a week. We discovered that you can build pavement ramps in 2 minutes.
We discovered that what you think does not exist exists. We discovered that what you think exists, does not exist.
We discovered that cashless systems are a pain, but they work. We discovered that cash is still king, but hard to come by or part with.
And we re-discovered what we always knew - Lucknow has some of the most amazing food you can get.
Congratulations!!! Hope you all had a fun time together. RoshunPraveenJijoMalayilNikilSJ and all Zigwheelers/members who did the great Kebab run! When Can I expect to join the great Idli-sambar run here in TN? Eagerly waiting for the dates.
KPR Slowly, but surely this one will be added to the calendar too. We have been thinking of a Chennai to someplace run for a while - perhaps an East Coast Road drive, or a drive to Dhanushkodi from Chennai & Bangalore. Would you be up for something like that? We can start working on the logistics. :-)
The Great Lucknow Kebab run – ZigDrive 9 - The Full Report (December 17, 2016) The Great Lucknow Kebab Run was a journey of discovery as I said before. A journey to explore the new Agra-Lucknow Expressway that was “inaugurated” on November 21 and was to be ready for full public operation by December 23. This Expressway promised to cut the travel time between Agra and Lucknow from 7 hours to just 4 hours. So, in association with The Roadographer’s Club, a group that is passionate about travel and as the name suggests, photographing roads, we planned this ZigDrive to see what lay in store for us and promised ourselves just rewards in terms of sumptuous food in Lucknow.
The final list of cars and participants – 22 people in 10 cars (6 SUVs, 3 sedans, 1 hatchback): 1. Roshun + Praveen + Nikil + Jijo (Mahindra Scorpio 4WD) 2. Yash + Lalit (Volkswagen Passat TSI) 3. Amit + Kshitij (Hyundai Elantra) 4. Ajay J + Puneet (Ford EcoSport) 5. Karan + Yugank (Mahindra Scorpio) 6. Vipul (Hyundai i20) 7. Anjali (Tata Safari Storme) 8. Vinod + Sindhu + Yash + Bhavna (Hyundai Santa Fe) 9. Kalyani & friend (Hyundai Creta) 10. Sandeep + Ajay A (Maruti SX4) All the cars were equipped with licensed 2-way handheld radios to enable constant communication on the trip. Fuel expenses were to be borne by each of the car owners, while we pooled in for food (it finally came to just Rs. 1455 a head!). Stay was organized in Lucknow at an empty house by Yugank Mishra. A big shout out to him for the excellent arrangements. Ajay Anand was the designated Cashographer (the one with the money!). THE TRIP LOGS 0605 hrs – 28°32'15.8"N 77°09'12.5"E (Vasant Kunj) We tanked up my Scorpio with diesel at Pushpanjali fuel pump in Vasant Kunj. Nikil, Jijo and Praveen landed up at my place at 0555 from Gurgaon. With a full tank, the Scorpio has a range of nearly 700 km, but since we were unsure of places to fill on the way, I decided to keep it brimmed whenever possible.
0615 hrs - 28°33'02.7"N 77°10'53.3"E (Ber Sarai) Vinod and family drove up in his Hyundai Santa Fe. We drove together till Bikaji Cama Place, where we were joined by Anjali in her Tata Safari Storme. Our next stop was to be under Mahamaya Flyover, where the rest of the group was to assemble. Our planned roll out was at 0700 hrs.
0634 hrs - 28°33'21.8"N 77°19'32.7"E (Below Mahamaya Flyover) The three of us were the first to arrive and were slowly joined by the others. By 0710 hrs nine of the 10 cars had landed up at the designated meeting point. We had a brief round of introductions and since the weather was clear, we decided to head out towards the Yamuna Expressway, and wait for Yash to catch up. We rolled out at 0720 hrs.
0743 hrs - 28°26'51.9"N 77°29'55.5"E (Yamuna Expressway) We regrouped at the beginning of the Yamuna Expressway. We got a safety briefing from the Yamuna Expressway marshals who were at the spot. Yash caught up with us there and we set out on our Kebab run, keeping a steady 100-110 kmph in a convoy.
0815 hrs - 28°06'47.6"N 77°34'30.9"E (Jewar toll plaza) All the cars in the convoy fanned out to pay for toll. We had to pay Rs. 415 as toll all the way to Agra. The thing is PayTM and Debit Cards are also accepted now at the Toll Plaza. But as luck would have it, they claimed neither of those options were working and we had to part with precious cash. All except Vinod, who insisted on paying by card and miraculously the card machine appeared and he paid up.
0901 hrs - 27°32'58.0"N 77°45'18.7"E (Food court at Mathura cut) We pulled up at the Village Dhaba just after the Mathura toll. We had carried pot luck food (at least some of the folks did, we just had biscuits and chips), which we shared. This was also the point that everyone pooled in cash for the trip ahead. And we finished up the mini meet with some tea and stickering of the cars. There is an Indian Oil petrol pump here and we topped up the cars.
Stickering the cars with The Roadographer and ZigWheels stickers.
1039 hrs - 27°09'31.2"N 78°06'53.3"E (Beginning of Agra-Lucknow Expressway) Our first hurdle on this trip. The entry to the Agra-Lucknow Expressway was closed at the point at which it turns off from the inner-ring road / Yamuna Expressway on the outskirts of Agra. We paused for a moment to deliberate our next course of action and decided to proceed straight and take a left towards Fatehabad, running parallel to the Expressway to look for a point where we could get back on the Expressway.
Heading down the Fatehabad road, to turn back towards the Expressway a few KM later.
1120 hrs - 27°02'19.6"N 78°20'23.2"E (Climbing back on the Expressway) After travelling a few kilometres on the Fatehabad road and taking a left at Galla Mandi, we were back at the Expressway. This time, there was an open turn towards the Expressway and we climbed on. Work was still going on at the bridge just behind the point where we joined the Expressway. We stopped for a group photograph at this point, before deciding to proceed cautiously down the Expressway as work was still in progress and there were plenty of construction vehicles and a few local vehicles moving back and forth. Since work was happening on either side, we sometimes had to drive on the right, sometimes on the left, depending on where work was taking place.
Climbing up to the Expressway.
Lining up for a photoshoot, now that we had got on to the Expressway for the first time.
Driving down the Expressway, we had to keep switching lanes as the construction folks told us that one side was ready.
1151 hrs - 27°02'13.7"N 78°26'10.7"E (Yamuna river crossing) There are no signboards or lane markings in place. The fence between the lanes on the divider is just being constructed. Barricading is not fully in place either. After about half an hour of cautious driving along the expressway, we arrived at a major bridge that was under construction, across the River Yamuna. Both spans were incomplete, but the construction folk told us there is a way under the bridge. So, we drove down a sandy embankment and went below the bridge. We crossed the Yamuna at a narrow point across a temporary metal bridge. And then it was a very sandy climb back to the Expressway. It was fairly steep, and we even saw a JCB giving a dumper truck a push up the slope. The sedans also managed a bit of off-road driving here, clambering up the sandy slope. The thing is we had now landed up on the right lane of the Expressway and there was no way to cross back to the left. Since it was closed, we carried on straight, quite cautiously.
Climbing up after crossing the Yamuna (see above pic for Yamuna bridge construction). The dumper gets a shove.
And the sedans were introduced to off-roading! Amit in his Elantra.
Yash bravely pushing the Passat to its limits.
Sandeep's SX4 makes a run for it.
Easy work for the SUVs.
1215 hrs - 26°58'20.5"N 78°44'35.2"E (Major railway bridge under construction) And just as well. A few kilometres later we found ourselves looking at a huge bridge that was being built across the railway line. The only way to get across was to go down, under the expressway, through an underpass, and get on a village road (Balrai-Bhadan road). We drove for a few kilometres down this road and then turned left to a level crossing (26°56'08.3"N 78°48'07.5"E) to cross the railway track. However, our convoy got split at this point as the gates closed when 8 cars had got across. So, we had to wait at a small bridge over a canal on the other side for the cars to rejoin. We then drove a few kilometres ahead through Beebamau village and rejoined the old NH2, turning back towards the Expressway.
More off-roading to get back to the road.
Ajay's (The original Roadographer) EcoSport in action.
Railway crossing ahead.
Waiting for the other cars.
1255 hrs - 26°58'26.9"N 78°48'19.6"E (Back on the Expressway at NH2 Interchange) Once we had the Expressway back in sight, the question was how to get on to it. Again the convoy split into two, with five cars turning right and climbing up on to the Expressway, while another five (me included) took the left loop to climb up just before the overbridge over NH2. Big mistake. That bridge has a 2-foot gap between spans – it is incomplete. We first contemplated placing wooden planks and driving over (there were planks kept there), but decided against it. Fortunately, the other side was complete, and there was some mud dumped over the median, enabling the cars to clamber over to the other side. We were now back on the right side of the median, while the others were on the left (5 cars on the left and 5 cars on the right). The fencing had been completed in this section, so there was no way to cross back to the other side. In any case, we decided to press on till the next diversion.
So, do we use planks to cross this gap?
Wait, there's a way on the other side.
And now the convoy was split on either side of the road.
A neelgai running across the road.
1320 hrs - 27°00'07.7"N 78°53'04.5"E (Blocked bridge on left lane) As luck would have it, we came across a bridge that was complete on the right, but incomplete on the left. The five cars in the left lane had to back track about 200 metres and cross over the median to get to the other side. There were some conveniently placed stones to assist the sedans across the median. Once everyone had regrouped on the right lane, we set forth wondering what the next obstruction would be.
1356 hrs - 27°00'58.0"N 78°55'47.2"E (Major overbridge under construction) We didn’t have to wait too long. A few kilometres ahead was another bridge being built over a road. We had to back track a little and drive down the sandy embankment, and then drive towards Karhal on the Bamtapur-Karhal road. A couple of kilometres later we met the Expressway again at this point on the Mainpuri-Etawah road. (27°00'58.0"N 78°55'47.2"E). Here we crossed under the Expressway and then turned right, managing to get back on and drive for a few kilometres.
Finding the road again.
1430 hrs - 26°58'40.9"N 79°00'07.0"E (Road work, bridge work) Another road block. This time by tarring work taking place on the Expressway on one side and bridge construction on the other. We back tracked from here and decided to head back towards Etawah and then try and catch the Expressway again from Kannauj. Also, most were quite hungry by now, so we had to get something to eat. We returned to a part of the Mainpuri-Etawah road and drove along till we saw Sri Krishna Dhaba – and pulled in for a bite.
Backtracking to the old road.
1515 hrs – 1636 hrs - 26°54'28.9"N 78°58'10.0"E (Sri Krishna Dhaba) We were still 225 km away from Lucknow and wanted to recharge ourselves and take stock of the route ahead. One plan was to try and rejoin the Expressway at Etawah itself, but we decided against it, as Google Maps didn’t show any traffic movement of any sort on that part. What we did see was traffic movement happening between Kannauj and Lucknow, and therefore we decided we should head towards Kannauj and rejoin the Expressway there. The road towards Kannauj was a State Highway and in pretty bad shape with large potholes. It was a single lane road and we did get held up for a while at one point where there had been an accident between a bike and a car. But that cleared soon enough and we were on our way.
Karan playing chef. Making some tea for us.
1929 hrs – 26°54'34.1"N 80°01'37.0"E (Back on the Expressway at Kannauj) Just as we took the Kannauj Bypass and were about to get on the Expressway again, we found the loop blocked. We had almost given up hope at that point, and moved a little further. But Ajay Jagga and Karan Vaid who were at the end of the convoy tried the opposite loop up and found a taxi coming down from it. That cab had come all the way from Lucknow apparently. Hallelujah! We had finally found a motorable section of the Expressway. Only thing is here too it keeps switching lanes, as work continues on this section as well. However, we managed to maintain a steady 80-90 kmph speed on this section, with mild fog setting in. And yes, neelgai again!
2008 hrs – 26°55'11.9"N 80°15'00.3"E (Expressway becomes runway) The Expressway is lonely, very lonely. We hardly encountered any traffic – a few trucks a couple of buses and a few cars. We did find at least three instances of road kill – all seemed like jackals or foxes. Twice we also found neelgai deer walking across the Expressway. And then suddenly at one point, the Expressway became really wide and we found these huge white markings on the road. Yes, this was the spot that was marked for aircraft landing. This was the spot where the government had got fighters to touch down at during the “inauguration” of the Expressway – as part of the plan to use highways as runways during emergencies.
2110 hrs – 26°49'56.2"N 80°49'05.8"E (Fatehganj, Lucknow!) At 2110 hrs and 530 odd km later we had reached Lucknow. We had completed one of our major tasks, which was to take the new Agra-Lucknow Expressway to Lucknow – to check out for ourselves if it was open to the public in the true sense of the word. Well, the short answer is no – it will take at least six more months to be fully operational.
2150 hrs – 26°50'56.8"N 81°00'39.3"E (Freshening up at Gomti Nagar) Two from the convoy broke away to stay at a friend’s place. Another 17 of us were staying at the house Yugank had arranged for us, along with bedding that had been rented. Yugank himself is from Lucknow and lives just opposite the place we were staying in, and a couple of others were staying at his place. But first, we had to get to the most important task at hand – The Great Kebab Run. 2220 hrs – 26°52'20.8"N 80°58'50.6"E (Aadab-E-Dastarkhwan restaurant) A table had been booked for us at Aadab-E-Dastarkhwan restaurant, one of the places that serves authentic Mughal – Lucknawi food. We ordered the whole shebang – gehlauti kebabs, tangri kebabs, chicken biriyani, mutton biriyani, Mughlai paratha etc. We were a really hungry bunch, and we sure did the food justice. But that was just Round 1.
2350 hrs – 26°50'48.0"N 80°56'46.1"E (Hazratganj, Park Road) After dinner, we went for a drive to Hazratganj, before heading on to Aminabad. This place is apparently one of the key shopping and business districts of Lucknow. 0014 hrs – 0050 hrs (Tunday Kababi, Aminabad) More Kebabs at Tunday Kababi – one of the oldest and most famous kebab joints in Lucknow. Next to it is Prakash Kulfi (to be had in summer), and a shahi tukda place that serves amazing Kashmiri chai. We also sampled some interesting paan varieties on that street, near Tunday Kababi. This place was bustling with activity even though it was past midnight.
0132 hrs - 26°50'56.8"N 81°00'39.3"E (Vineet Khand, Gomti Nagar) ZZZZZZZZZ. End of Day 1. Got some sleep.
Nikhil Kalra It's great to know that work is progressing at a good pace on this road. Even though it missed the promised deadline to be fully open, one can now catch the Expressway from just before Karhal (before Etawah on NH2). The exact location from where you can get on the Expressway is this: 26.974188 N, 78.806170 E This is the point where we had also got back on the Expressway earlier, but got stuck with road tarring and bridge repair works ahead. That appears to be complete now.
Day 2 of The Great Lucknow Kebab Run December 18, 2016 dawned on us. I was up at 5.00 am, considering we were 14 people staying in a house with mattresses spread out in all the rooms. There were only two washrooms, so as they say, the early bird gets the… whatever. Today, was going to be another day of gastronomic satiation. In other words, gluttony again! The plan was to head out to Hazratganj again and sample some of Bajpai’s famous poori-chole, aloo-kachori and then head next door to have some hot jalebis in curd.
But first, we had to get everyone up. Since all I could hear was satisfactory snoring from all corners of the house, I decided I would head out for a walk and check out the neighbourhood we were in, looking for some hot tea or coffee. A 30-minute walk later, I found only one tea stall just opening up. Rounded up a few of the others and we got there for some tea. Anything passes for a helmet in Lucknow:
At 9.30am we finally managed to get everyone out of bed and bundled into the cars. We headed straight for Hazratganj and Mr. Bajpai (I assume that’s him) was busy doling out the pooris and kachoris. We had to queue up to get our share. Incidentally, his shop is unmarked and of course, deals only in cash – no cards, no PayTM.
Want to go there? Navigate to: 26.850003 N, 80.943310 E
This is right opposite Ram Asrey’s sweet shop. And then some in the group went shopping for Chikan work clothing – again a Lucknow trademark.
A farewell shot with Yugank's family:
We finally headed out of Lucknow at 1.00 pm. We tanked up just outside the city and caught the old NH2, towards Kanpur. Kalyani stayed back, so we were one car short in the convoy. We made our first stop at 3.45pm for lunch at 3.45 pm at Raj Mahal Dhaba, halfway between Kanpur and Etawah. (Location: 26.3782586 N, 79.6229955 E).
We finally left the Dhaba at 5.06 pm and reached Agra at 8.22pm, getting on the Yamuna Expressway.
A quick catch up at a Toll Plaza:
We reached Greater Noida (Domino’s Pizza) at 10.15pm, having called ahead for some grub. Post the pizzas, it was time to bid farewell and head home.
Lighting for the above photo provided by Karan's mammoth LED bar:
I was back home at exactly 12.06am, well-fed and satisfied from a fantastic road trip. 12.30 am: Zzzzzzzzz.