There are two types of people: those who like the beach and those who don’t. The Indian peninsula is blessed with a 5,423 km-long coastline, so we can only feel sorry for those who don’t! Such a lovely part of the country shouldn’t be left unexplored. Recently, BS Motoring set off on a journey that would see us take off from Mumbai on the western part of the country and drive all the way to Kolkata on the eastern side. Giving us able company throughout this 4,500 km-long journey were two excellent cars — the Hyundai i20 and the Hyundai Eon — that effortlessly managed to traverse the challenging and diverse terrain on offer.
Leg 1: Mumbai — Thiruvananthapuram,
Distance: 1,703 km
We picked up a shiny new top-of-the line Hyundai i20 Asta (O), complete with a sunroof, Bluetooth-enabled audio system, steering-mounted controls, ABS, driver, passenger and even side curtain airbags from one of Hyundai’s many service stations in Mumbai and set off for the sunny beaches of Goa, of course!
NH17 was primed for this sort of trip, with its panoramic views of the coast. It was a great thing that the i20 had more than enough power to execute overtaking manoeuvres without planning well in advance, then. We’d reached sunny Goa, but couldn’t stay there for much longer as we had to push on towards Thiruvananthapuram.
Through the trip, the i20 didn’t miss a single beat, keeping up with us through some treacherous terrain the locals call the highway and all this while frugally sipping fuel too. And by the end of day three, we were well within Thiruvananthapuram to end the first leg of this epic trip.
Leg 2: Thiruvananthapuram — Kolkata
Distance: 2,780 km
This time we set out in a silver Hyundai Eon. The catchy design and modern interiors in the Eon meant that we didn’t feel like we were downgraded from the i20 at all. We headed south till we couldn’t go any further and then started to climb north towards Chennai. Because the roads were in such perfect condition, we could maintain an average speed upwards of 70 kph. We managed to enter Chennai in the evening, just in time to watch the sun disappear.
The roads from Chennai all the way through Andhra Pradesh were fantastic, allowing you to maintain high average speeds throughout. As you get into Odisha, the road meanders inland a little, and gains a little altitude as well. The views from here are stunning, but with Bhubaneshwar calling, we couldn’t stay to enjoy it. One more day of driving and we were done with this epic trip. We’d arrived at the gates of the City of Joy — Kolkata!
In eight days, we covered 4,500 km, drove through nine states in all and passed by many beautiful, deserted beaches. What a drive! Read about our epic drive in the October and November issues of BS Motoring and soon on bsmotoring.com.