Yamuna Expressway, Delhi Kolkata Varanasi road trip by Maruti suzuki Baleno Petrol

Delhi to Kolkata Road trip .. and Back 🚗

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750 km more? Just after 30 km this thought came to my mind, as I was crossing from Delhi to UP around 4 am !! It’s just the start of the Delhi to Kolkata Road trip and still 750+ Km to go before I reach even my mid-way night-halt for this mega drive !!. Delhi to Kolkata is about 1500 km, Varanasi almost the mid-point.

The lockdown gave me the time & idea to give this Road trip a try. I could work remotely and may not need to drive -back immediately. The news of rapidly improving road infrastructure also pushed the idea.

Research

  • Checked travelers articles. Anything more than 1 or 2 years old had no relevance due to massive changes in the road infrastructure.
  • Several different routes were suggested (other than the standard NH-19 route).
  • Compared different routes from Team-BHP, google-map, blogs etc.
  • YouTube had several videos by many car & two-wheeler travelers for this road trip.
  • Finally shortlisted last 2-3 months feedback. Team-bhp.com was a good source for feedback, stay, diversions, constructions etc.

Route Summary

Agra Lucknow Expressway, Maruti Suzuki Baleno car, Delhi to Kolkata Road trip, Uttar Pradesh, Express Pradesh.
Agra Lucknow Expressway – a symbol of evolving road travel in India
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Two primary route options are as follows

  • Delhi >> Agra (YEW) >> ALE >> Etawah (NH-19) >> Kanpur >> Prayagraj (NH-19) >> Varanasi >> Dhanbad >> Durgapur >> Kolkata

Or, you may take ..

  • Delhi >> Agra (YEW) >> ALE >> Lucknow >> Raebareli (NH-30) >> Prayagraj (NH-19) >> Varanasi >> Dhanbad >> Durgapur >> Kolkata

For Kolkata to Delhi road trip, just the reverse..

Useful information:

  • YEW: Yamuna Expressway (Delhi to Agra). UP state expressway.
  • ALE: Agra Lucknow Expressway (Agra to Lucknow). UP state expressway.
  • NH-19: National Highway-19 (Agra >> Varanasi >> Kolkata)
  • Agra, Connection from YEW to ALE via a good bypass.
  • Kanpur, has an old busy bypass.
  • Prayagraj (Allahabad), has an excellent 80 km long bypass
  • Lucknow, the route is from inside the city. So plan to avoid rush hour.

Travel Trivia

Agra Lucknow Expressway, Maruti Suzuki Baleno car, Delhi to Kolkata Road trip, Uttar Pradesh, Express Pradesh, Runway on road
Provision of “Aircraft runway” on the highway (Diversions also pre-planned)
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)
  • Car used: Maruti Suzuki Baleno (Petrol).
  • Delhi to Kolkata: Solo person/Driver.
  • Kolkata to Delhi: 2 Adults + 1 kid.
  • The primary route, NH-19, (previously NH-2 – new NH number Apr-2010) is almost parallel to the legendry G.T.Road (but not same).
  • My first ultra-long drive (if we can call it that). Previous ones were in 6-8-hour range.
  • I found the Durgapur expressway (NH-19) stretch most beautiful, maybe because of the greenery.
  • Most of Jharkhand and Bihar had beautiful roads (NH-19).
  • ALE and YEW were the fastest & easiest to drive, You will miss the traditional Indian highway with dhabas. These are UP-government expressways, not part of NH.
  • On ALE, fuel/washrooms/amenities are well marked, but about 100 km apart. So, plan accordingly.
  • For the under-repair bridge at the UP-Bihar border, I followed the locals for diversions (that don’t appear on google maps). Inputs from Team-BHP forums.
  • The biggest risks for a road trip, as per me were stray animals. On several occasions, I saw cars/trucks suddenly avoiding a standing cow or a running dog. Observed numerous evidences (some old, some new) of animal hits on almost all the stretches of the roads.
  • Take care to remain hydrated as AC/cold weather may not make you thirsty. Otherwise, you may feel lethargic.
  • Carry at least 2-3 Liters of water per head, per day. Refill them during your stay to minimize plastic waste.
  • The best washrooms are with petrol-pumps. Noticed that pumps away from populated areas were the cleanest.

Delhi to Kolkata road trip

Delhi to Kolkata and Kolkata to Delhi. Bihar highway, NH-19
Somewhere in Bihar (NH-19)
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)
Bihar national highway, NH-19
Somewhere in Bihar (NH-19)
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Day1:
Started: Delhi (Dwarka), just before 4:00 am
Reached: Varanasi hotel at 8:00 pm
14-hour drive + 2-hour break = Total 16-hour journey time.
(~800 km Drive)

Day2:
Started: Varanasi hotel at 7:00 am
Reached: Durgapur town (Relative’s place) at 8:00 pm
11-hour drive + 2-hour break = Total 13-hour journey time.
(~500 km Drive)

Day3:
Started: Durgapur town (Relative’s place) at 10:00 am
Reached: Kolkata destination at 2:00 pm.
3.5-hour drive + 30-min break = Total 4-hour journey time.
(~200 km Drive)

Note: Drive-time is measured by the engine-running timer in the car-MID display.

Fuel

Tank-full start from Delhi, Dwarka.
Tank-full again just before Varanasi.
Reached Kolkata (and fueled up).
So, a single refuel on the entire route. Each tank-full gave ~780+ km range (with few liters remaining).

Delhi-Varanasi: 24.7 km/L (as per car-MID)
Delhi- – -Kolkata: 22.3 km/L (as per car-MID)
My observation is actual mileage is about 1km/L less than what the car-MID shows.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Petrol average, mileage.
Delhi to Varanasi (~800 km).: 24 km/L
As per Car-MID

Complete Route Map

https://goo.gl/maps/Jv9xKJ6NsyAwPi428
Delhi >> Agra (YEW) >> ALE >> Etawah (NH-19) >> Kanpur>> Prayagraj (NH-19) >> Varanasi >> Dhanbad >> Durgapur >> Kolkata

Good 😃:
Delhi >> YEW >> ALE >> Etawah >> Kanpur. Almost uninterrupted stretch.
Dhanbad >> Durgapur >> Kolkata. Smooth & green.
Most of Bihar and Jharkhand. Good roads, small hills, green fields.

Bad 😡: Kanpur to Prayagraj, hundreds of construction activities. For about 4 hours, there is few mins of good road and few mins of diversion, continuously.

Ugly 😭: UP-Bihar border Karmanasa bridge. Long jam for bridge-repair. Followed the locals for way-out.

NHAI is really in overdrive mode with a massive infrastructure boost. Many stretches were newly renovated and up-gradation ongoing for the rest. So maybe a year later, all this will be super smooth.

Stay:

Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi. Ganga Ghat.
Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi. At 9:30 pm, things had started to wind-down here.
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

There are almost no hotels on Highway. Few with ~5 mins detour. I also wanted to visit the Varanasi Ghats & RIver. (It was to be a late visit, as not possible to reach by Ganga-Aarati time, by starting at 4:00 am from Delhi.)

From map-study, the area between BHU and Assi-ghat, seemed a “possible zone to stay” for a road trip. Quick NH-19 entry/exit plus a short visit to the Ghats/River. The map below explains it. I selected ‘Sarweshwary hotel‘ (good parking area and easy entry/exit for NH-19). Even Radisson was available for a good deal, but it’s neither near NH-19 nor near the Ghats/river.

I reached the hotel at 8 pm. Kept luggage/changed and went out at 8:15pm to Assi ghat , 10 min walk away. Then extended the walk till the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat along the river (~2 km). It provided a fresh relief after a 16-hour drive. Also experienced a different chilled-out view of the city with groups strolling & singing songs on the well-lit ghats, buzzing river-side cafes.

Varanasi, Delhi Kolkata highway, halt, hotel, stay
The area between BHU and Assi-Ghat is a good stay option for a Road trip if you want to see the city also.
(Map source: Google-Maps)

The next day started at 7 am. Was out of Varanasi in 4-5 mins via Ramnagar bridge (in the map). Reached NH-19 a few km away in about 10 mins more.

Kolkata to Delhi road trip

Delhi Kolkata highway, NH-19, Durgapur expressway
Durgapur Expressway stretch (NH-19)
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

The Kolkata Delhi Road trip was an equally enjoyable road trip.

Day 1:
Started: Kolkata at 10:00 am
Reached: Durgapur town (Relative’s place) at 2:00 pm
3.5-hour drive + 30-min break = Total 4-hour journey time.
(~200 km Drive)

Day 2:
Started: Durgapur town (Relative’s place) at 4:30 am
Reached: Varanasi hotel at 6:30 pm
11-hour drive + 3-hour break = Total 14-hour journey time.
(~500 km Drive)

Caution: Long traffic holdup at Karmanasa river for bridge repair. Followed the locals for fastest way out.

Day 3:
Started: Varanasi hotel at 6:00 am
Reached: Delhi at 12:00 midnight
14-hour drive + 4-hour break = Total 18-hour journey time.
(~800 km Drive)

(From Varanasi, we were not worried about the relatively late start + relaxed breaks, as we knew that YEW and Delhi will be easy to drive even after dark, and Delhi / NCR roads were familiar).

Stay at Varanasi:

Ganga Ghat, boat ride, Varanasi, Delhi Kolkata road trip, halt,
Vibes of Varanasi – A relaxed boat ride
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Stayed at “Hotel Temple on Ganges“, Varanasi
This has sufficient parking of its own. About 2 mins walk from Assi Ghat.
It’s one of the very few hotels, within walking distance from the river, and with their own parking.
This time I spent 2 nights at the hotel to explore the Ganga Ghats, Vishwanath-temple, city,food, riverside-cafes, Thandai, boat-ride, and the Vibes of one of the oldest cities known to human civilization. This also provided a refreshing break for the drive.

Complete route map (Kolkata to Delhi), I followed
https://goo.gl/maps/Go8RSzxkamZ7vk8WA
Kolkata >> Durgapur (NH19) >> Dhanbad >> Varanasi >> Raebareli (NH30)>> Lucknow >> ALE >> Agra (YEW) >> Delhi

Good 😃: Kolkata >> Durgapur >> Dhanbad. Excellent & continuous good roads.
Bad 😡: Aurangabad >> Dehri. Occasional diversions and bad patch near Dehri bridge
Ugly 😭 : Mohania toll-booth with a long truck pileup. Karmanasa Bridge traffic due to ongoing repair.

Delhi to Kolkata and Kolkata to Delhi. Jharkhand highway, NH-19
Jharkhand with small hills and forests
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)
Delhi to Kolkata and Kolkata to Delhi. Jharkhand highway, National highway NH-19
Somewhere in Jharkhand
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Food

Like any other Indian highway, there are numerous restaurants & dhabas, big and small. Except ALE, you always get something to eat within 20-30 mins. Generally difficult to get hot breakfast before 7 or 8 am.
Some food items to spice up the Delhi Kolkata road trip are ..

  • Khullad Chai at Shiva Dhaba, YEW
  • Thandai at Godowlia, Varanasi
  • Simple Dal-tadka & Roti at any dhaba in Bihar
  • KheerMohan at Chouparan, Jharkhand
  • Langcha at Shaktigarh, West Bengal

Shaktigarh Langcha, Delhi Kolkata highway, NH-19, Durgapur expressway
Shaktigarh is a ‘must-stop’ in West Bengal. Famous for its ‘Langcha‘.
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Toll Plazas & charges

Toll (Delhi to Kolkata road trip)

In this Delhi Kolkata Road trip, helped a lot to avoid queues and cash transactions. Fastag is a new adoption. Some toll lanes were slower to read, some faster. If they cannot read a valid tag, they have to let go for free. I think was not charged at one or two places 🙂

Toll Plaza Name AmountPayment
Yamuna Expressway415.00Cash 
Agra Inner ring road35.00 Cash 
ALEP Main Plaza 21165.00 FasTag 
Anantram Toll Plaza 90.00 FasTag 
Barajore toll plaza145.00 FasTag 
Badauri Toll Plaza70.00 FasTag 
Katoghan Toll Plaza55.00 FasTag 
KOKHRAJ (Sirohi) Toll Plaza205.00 FasTag 
Lalanagar Toll Plaza60.00 FasTag 
Mohania Toll Plaza50.00 FasTag 
Sasaram Toll Plaza115.00 FasTag 
Saukala Toll Plaza90.00 FasTag 
Rasoiya Dhamna Toll Plaza105.00 FasTag 
Beliyad toll plaza  80.00 FasTag 
Banskopa Plaza70.00 FasTag 
Dankuni Toll Plaza85.00 FasTag 
Rajchandrapur Toll Plaza50.00 FasTag 
Total             1,885.00
Delhi to Kolkata Toll
(As per FastTag statement)

Toll (Kolkata to Delhi road trip)

Toll Plaza NameAmountPayment
Palsit Toll Plaza85.00 FasTag 
Banskopa Plaza70.00 FasTag 
Beliyad toll plaza  80.00 FasTag 
Ghanghri Toll Plaza100.00 FasTag 
Rasoiya Dhamna Toll Plaza105.00 FasTag 
Saukala Toll Plaza90.00 FasTag 
Sasaram Toll Plaza115.00 FasTag 
Mohania Toll Plaza50.00 FasTag 
Lalanagar Toll Plaza185.00 FasTag 
HANDIYA Toll Plaza105.00 FasTag 
Andiyari60.00 FasTag 
ALEP Main Plaza 290595.00 FasTag 
Agra Inner ring road35.00 Cash 
Yamuna Expressway415.00 Cash 
Total2,090.00
Kolkata to Delhi Toll
(As per FastTag statement)

YEW and Agra-bypass are not NH, but are expected to start accepting Fastag soon.

YEW Update:
As per reports, YEW is expected to take FastTag from 15-June-2021 onwards,

Agra Lucknow expressway (ALE) at night. UP expressway
Agra Lucknow expressway at night. UP expressway
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)
Prayagraj (Allahabad) bypass, NH-19 in UP National Highway.
Prayagraj (Allahabad) bypass, NH-19
(Photo credit: Arindam Sarkar)

Overall a memorable Delhi to Kolkata Road trip by car.
3,000+ km, across 5 states.
Different roads, beautiful landscapes.
Lots of eateries & numerous memories.
Happy Travelling !!

Check out some exciting travel articles in the travel category with some excellent travelogues on Vietnam and Croatia.

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Alakananda Bhattacharya
Alakananda Bhattacharya
1 year ago

Very nicely, elaborately and interestingly written. The little tips, infos and the way you described your whole journey was almost like an experience for the readers. Thank you for sharing your amazing adventure

Vidya M
Vidya M
1 year ago

Hey, thank you. I am planning a road trip to Kolkata and was browsing for blogs like this. You have really made it quite simple for me now. Fasttag seems like such a good option. Very informative article i must say again.

Akash Mukherjee
Akash Mukherjee
1 year ago

Awesome. Great achievement.
Very well documented.
You can edit the distance from varanasi to Delhi. Five star.

Govind Raju
Govind Raju
1 year ago

What was the total cost of fuel intake overall for 3000+ Km journey ? If u can share

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