The Covid-19 pandemic started from China and soon it spread like a wildfire across the world. In India, as a preventive measure, the Government announced a lockdown in order to prevent the spread of this Chinese virus at a frightening speed. While the strict restrictions have now eased up in most parts of the country, there are still many portions that are currently under lockdown. Amid the current unprecedented situation, we recently travelled from New Delhi to the Blue City – Jodhpur in Rajasthan on our long-termer Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 in order to primarily answer two questions. First, what are the restrictions like at present and second, how are the road conditions on the said route? Also, as a lot of people travel on this route on their personal vehicles, in the process, we would also be revealing the FASTag status and the status at toll booths. So sit back and enjoy the ride!
Though the restrictions have eased up to a significant extent in Delhi and Rajasthan, it is still best to leave early morning. However, with the ongoing pandemic in place, you will encounter lesser traffic compared to what it used to be like before during the ‘normal’ days. Now that the restrictions have been lifted big time, the Haryana-Delhi state border has opened completely and hence, no need to worry about any chaos there. The road till Jaipur is smooth and nice. The good part is that a few places where the road needed a repair have been reconditioned now and hence, will make your journey smoother. If you maintain a decent speed, you should be able to reach Jaipur from Delhi in four to four and a half hours with a couple of breaks included. In order to avoid the Jaipur city and save some time, you can take the Jaipur Byepass road that is towards the left a few km after you cross Shahpura.
Estimated time – 4 hours
This is certainly my favourite part of the journey and the reason is the flat six-lane Jaipur-Ajmer Expressway. The traffic on this portion of the NH-8 highway is lesser compared to the Delhi-Jaipur highway and hence, you are sure to enjoy your ride or drive. You can maintain decent speeds of 80 to 100 kmph and that said, you can cover the 135 km long stretch in a couple of hours at max without really having the need to take a break. After crossing a few kms from Jaipur, on the left, you will notice that Agra Byepass road whose work has been almost finished. Once you reach Kishangarh, there is one bottleneck due to road construction work on the right. For almost a km, you will encounter slow-moving traffic as the left side of the highway is being used by vehicles coming from both sides.
Estimated time – 100 minutes
Taking the Beawar Road, Ajmer onwards, the six-lane NH8 highway ends only to convert into a single lane road that continues a few km after crossing Daurai. After that, the six-lane National Highway 8 starts again and if you continue on the said highway, you can bypass the Beawar city. After proceeding 28 km from Beawar, there is a T-point from which if you take a right, you will be directed towards Bar, a small town that is quite famous for its Ghewar – a sweet that is usually made in Rajasthan around the time of Rakshabandhan. On the other hand, continuing on the same highway will also make you reach Jodhpur via Pali however, taking this route will result in a longer duration as the journey extends by around 45 km. That said, taking the Bar-Jodhpur route is a better option.
Estimated time – 80 minutes
From here on, you will reach Jodhpur crossing towns like Jaitaran and Bilara. The road to Jodhpur is not smooth throughout. Bar-Bilara-Jodhpur four-lane highway is in the final stages of completion, all thanks to which the travel time now cuts down significantly. At regular distances, there is still some construction work going on and while the cemented surface is an absolute delight to ride/drive, you will come across multiple diversions in between and hence, you need to be a bit careful and should not get lost while quenching the thirst for speed. From Delhi to Jodhpur, Bar to Jodhpur stretch is a mixed bag of super smooth surface and at the same time, has a considerable portion of broken and bad roads as well.
Estimated time – 110 minutes
There are a total of eight toll booths on the Delhi-Ajmer-Jodhpur stretch. We noticed that all thanks to FASTag, the queues of vehicles at almost all toll booths were almost negligible. In case you still don’t have a FASTag for your vehicle, you don’t need to worry. The reason being, at most of the toll booths, there are small stalls that issue a FASTag to you at a nominal charge. Also, it should be kept in mind that not all FASTag lanes are working at all toll booths and hence, you might need to pay the toll at some booths through cash. That said, we advise you to keep some cash handy before heading out for the said road trip.
1. Delhi to Jodhpur stretch is not properly lit throughout and hence, if your journey demands riding/driving in the dark, we highly advise you to first make sure that the headlamp(s) of your vehicle is working fine before heading for the said road trip.
2. Delhi to Ajmer stretch seems tempting especially for the speed freaks but you need to hold your horses due to the unpredictable movement of the cattle and cows & buffaloes can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
3. Delhi to Jodhpur can be covered in a day but at the same time, one might not find it a very ‘happy-go-lucky’ thing as the total distance between the two cities is over 600 km. That said, it is best to start early morning and one should aim to reach Jodhpur by afternoon. The benefit is that upon reaching Jodhpur, not only you are left with a half a day but you will also get to witness a beautiful sunrise on the way that will certainly cherish you up!
4. The lockdown has now lifted up in Rajasthan, however, in case if it gets implemented when you are reading this, it is advised to apply for an e-pass before. You can apply for the same at the Rajasthan Government website and it might take up to 24 hours for approval. So plan your journey accordingly!
Wishing you a happy and safe journey!
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