A road journey from New Delhi to Imphal
- (3 Days, 3 Nights, 3 Guys) -

Yumjao and Malem *

Let us start by re-affirming that 'Life is a Journey'. Indeed the road journey from New Delhi to Imphal would be a life time achievement in a way. In this piece of writing we will try to share information which might be interesting to those who are planning to undergo a similar trip like we did.

Since our childhood days, we had been hearing about people buying cars and transporting them, by driving all the way from New Delhi to Imphal.

As per the en-route stories we had been hearing, the journey is a challenge with bad road, on top of unnecessary stoppage of vehicles by officials or otherwise. We believe this time, overall atmosphere across the states' road conditions are very improved, though some sections of the roads are still under construction.

Now let us get into the details of our journey. We started on the morning of 2 nd June, 2019. The vehicle we travelled was 'Dzire', which was serviced few days before the start of the journey. We were three in number.

I (writer) did not drive because I am yet to learn driving. And other two friends i.e. Daravi Bhaiya did all the driving day & night. I am thankful to them and they also thanked me for the role I did i.e. navigation.

Daravi came from Imphal to Delhi, just to kick start our journey and Bhaiya got his flight ticket cancelled to travel with us. Before we started the journey, we just had a planning discussion, about our journey, for around ten minutes. Bhaiya came up with an excellent idea that made our journey happening.

The idea was to carry a small cold storage (Maybe 20 litres capacity). With that, throughout the journey, cold water & some drinks were available. At some location, due to poor or zero net- work connectivity, carrying a map really helped.

In order to reach Guwahati, we had to cross UP, Bihar, West Bengal. Therefore, for this long distance journey, apart from keeping the vehicle ready, we needed to choose the route by which we can travel safely and on time.

Our first target was to reach Lucknow. Around 0730 hours on 2 nd June 2019 we started the journey from Delhi and we followed Delhi-Agra expressway. In-route we had break- fast and took around half an hour break which includes nature's calls.

Thereafter, we moved on towards Agra. We always managed to keep, as agreed on board by all the three members, fuel level more than fifty percent of the total capacity. Therefore with this agreement we had to fill fuel at Agra. After having fuel tank full, we followed Agra-Lucknow expressway.

Expressway is awesome, although it comes along with toll tax. We could travel much faster with ease & comfort. Some stretch of the road are earmarked as emergency air strip, so you can imagine the road condition. We reached Lucknow by lunch time, where we had chicken Biryani, Chicken curry & Paratha.

We filled some fuel for the vehicle like we had lunch. It has been observed that Daravi used to carry out visual inspection of the vehicle including tyre pressure.

Music system, we had a difficult time fixing Bluetooth connection with mobile phone. In Lucknow we bought one AUX cable which solved our difficulty. Jio Network was pretty good and we enjoyed listening Manipuri folk fusion song on YouTube.

Our next target was Muzzaffarpur via Gorakhpur. From Lucknow, we followed NH-27 (east-west corridor) towards Gorakhpur. By the time we crossed Gorakhpur, it was dinner time. We stopped by a roadside Dhaba, where we had Anda Curry with Roti and yes, green chilly & onion too! Having finished decent dinner, we moved on. Now the Road signage read Guwahati 1500 Km (Approximately, I don't exactly remember now).

Bhaiya took over the charge of driving. The timing & energy we had by that time was little less than comfortable. Time to remind ourselves that 'we must move on!' We gathered positive energy to continue driving to cover maximum possible distance, though the speed was dropped down to 60 kmph.

I was taking power nab at the back seat. Suddenly, Bhaiya said, 'Are we being stopped?' Daravi replied, 'Yes'. Bhaiya pulled over the car by the road side. Men in uniform came towards us.

One of them asked, 'No Alcohol' and we replied 'No'. This was the first night of the journey, the whole night we were on the move. By the next day morning (2 nd Day), we had crossed Muzzaffurpur. The natural beauty, the greenery and hills looked so refreshing. The locals were walking by the roadside with water bottles in their hands.

Our next target was Siliguri via Kishanganj. Daravi took power nab at the back seat while we were crossing Kishanganj. The back seats were arranged with some luggage in a manner suitable for one person to have a good power nap. The road condition was good until we reached Kishanganj. The east-west corridor road was undergoing construction.

Once the construction is over, the road trip would be much faster & easier. We reached Siliguri by lunch time and traffic was busy. We stopped there for half an hour for lunch; of course, nature business.

After having lunch at Siliguri, we started moving towards Guwahati. Vegetation was different, trees are tall, tea gardens on both sides of the road were a treat to our eyes. We were continuing on NH- 27. It was evening when we entered Assam. After a while, it was raining; lots of trucks were travelling. Therefore we slowed down the speed.

Suddenly, there was an announcement from the GPS saying, 're-routing due to road congestion, please take a turn ahead'. Daravi took a turn as suggested by the GPS, then we were led to state highway which was narrow and dark. Our speed was drastically dropped and we doubted the suggestion made by the GPS.

After some struggle, we got back to NH27 from where we crossed the Brahmaputra. We were expecting to reach Guwahati by 2100 hours, but we reached around 2230 hours. We looked for restro-bar and found a good one at GS road where we had dinner of our choice. It was then the second night of our journey and we took rest there.

Our next and final target was to reach Imphal via Dimapur. We left Guwahati around 1000 hours( 3rd Day) i.e. 4th June,2019. We crossed Karbialong, the biggest district of Assam, to reach Dimapur.

The road condition of this district needs improvement. We crossed Dimapur by 1600 hours as per our target. We were hungry and wanted to eat something truly north-east. We looked for a restaurant as we moved on, we found one just after crossing Patkai Bridge.

It was kind of early dinner, the place was clean & ambience was friendly. We ate pork Thalli which consisted of pork, rice, boiled vegie, chatni etc., it was rewarding.

We moved on towards Kohima, the road was under construction, there were so many pot holes and mud. It was the worst stretch of the road which we encountered in the whole journey. It was late night when we crossed Kohima, we moved on towards Imphal. At last , we reached our final target by 0400 hours, it was a proud moment!!!

It was a 2500km (approximate) long journey, which is not ordinary. Therefore endurance and team work will play a key role to sail through all the odds. It was learnt that apart from having a good vehicle, we need to have proper schedule as per weather condition.

Three persons is a good number to travel together, because one could take rest as required while the other two persons take turns navigating and driving. It is very important to carry all vehicle documents (RC, Insurance & Pollution Card, Driving Licence etc.) to have a smooth journey.

For safety, 'Do not mix drinking with driving' and always remember our family & friends are waiting for us. 'Safe Driving-Happy ending'.

* Yumjao and Malem wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 14, 2019.

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