Ever since I read a small write up in an earlier issue about Shaam-e-Sarhad, I promised myself I would visit this place some time in the near future. Now the October issue of Outlook Traveller has made me plan a definite visit to Hodka this winter by road. I have chalked out a rough route from Ludhiana (where I live) to Hodka via Bhatinda-Suratgarh-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Barmer-Bhuj. I have travelled up to Jaisalmer several times and know that the roads are good. But beyond Jaisalmer I don’t know the road conditions, places to stay on the way and the time it will take to reach Hodka. Can you please shed some light on this? Also, please let me know if the route I have chosen is okay or if you have any other suggestion.
Manmohan Singh Bhogal
Dear Manmohan Singh Bhogal,
The total distance from Ludhiana to Bhuj is roughly 1,048km. After Barmer, follow NH-15 to Samkhiyali and then take the state highway to Bhuchau and then to Bhuj. Be sure not to turn onto NH-8A to Gandhidham from Samkhiyali to get to Bhuj: this will increase your driving time by over two hours. The total distance between Barmer and Bhuj is 327km and it will take roughly eight hours to cover this distance. The condition of the road between Barmer and Radhanpur is pretty bad because of recent flooding. But it gets a lot better after Radhanpur.
The only problem once you move out of Barmer is accommodation: there are several dhabas on the way, so food will not be an issue. Some of these dhabas do have a couple of rooms that they let out, but the quality of accommodation leaves much to be desired. I strongly recommend that you get through this stretch at one shot.
If you need assistance or clarifications on the road, you could call Pravin Dangera (9925426770), who runs Dangera Tourism in Bhuj and who knows this region very well. Incidentally, he works closely with Shaam-e-Sarhad as well