Delhi. The name of the city invokes tremendous passion and emotion. The political capital of India, this historical city state has seen a lot. People love it, as much as they hate it sometimes. However, one thing which everyone agrees to is how great a public road infrastructure it has as compared to the rest of the Indian metros. It might not be perfect but no other metro city has such a network of wide roads. Being the petrolheads we are, we often pick one of these beautiful pieces of tarmac to indulge in our passion for motoring. So here I am, sharing #TheNextBig10 – 10 best roads in and around Delhi.
#1: Shanti Path.This road is inhabited by the high profile diplomats of New Delhi. It is a 3.2 km stretch between Moti Bagh redlight and Teen Murti Bhawan. Anyone who lives in Delhi must’ve driven through this road and I believe they love it as well. Flanked by embassies on both sides, it has a wide stretch of gardens on either side. The gardens probably act as a protective barrier between the active road and embassies boundaries but rather than being an eye sore, which most barriers are, they are a pleasing view. I usually do not drive fast through this stretch as I want to enjoy every moment of it. Expect to see some nice luxury cars, owned by the ambassadors on this road.
Shanti Path. Look at the beautiful hedges on the side
#2: Rajpath: Who doesn’t know Rajpath? Stretching from Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate, not only is it one of the most well maintained roads in India, it is one of the most beautiful city roads in the world. Those who have not been to Delhi, must have seen it on television as this road is where India showcases its rich culture and formidable defence arsenal on Republic Day Parade. On 26th January every year, one can see a sea of uniformed men and women saluting the President of India followed by India’s military might and cultural diversity. When I started riding motorcycles, this stretch used to be a meeting ground for bikers and we have had several photoshoots here. These days, my favorite mode of transport is my cycle and every Sunday I am riding on this beautiful road flanked by runners and other cyclists.
Rajpath is best seen in the morning with the dawn breaking behind India Gate
#3: Mother Teresa Crescent: This road too lies in the NDMC area like the other two. It’s a big 3 km curve between Teen Murti Bhawan and Talkatora Road roundabout. I believe every cyclist, biker, or car nut has had their ride photographed on that intersection atleast once. I have. Every time I pass that statue of Gandhiji leading the dandi march, I am reminded of the struggle our freedom fighters went through to get us our much celebrated freedom.
#4: Vandematram Marg: Also known as Ridge Road, this stretch is between Dhaula Kuan and Shankar Road intersection. Though it has lost some of its charm in recent times with the construction of metro, have ridden on this stretch several times to get to Karol Bagh, the mecca of bike parts and accessories. Though it has heavy traffic at times, this road passes through breathing lungs of Delhi – the Ridge forest. All one can see is boundary walls on either side but there are stretches where the vegetation peaks through broken walls and one does get a feel of riding through the jungle. Especially at night or early morning.
#5: Yamuna Expressway: The famed Expressway was built to bring Agra closer to Delhi. This almost 200 km road starts from Greater Noida and takes you to Agra, not far from Taj Mahal. This road is super wide, made out of concrete and is frequented by Superbikers and Supercars. Working as an auto blogger, based in Delhi, I have been to Buddh International Circuit (BIC) countless times. To get to BIC, one has to drive on a Yamuna Expressway for a while. Every time I take the ramp to join the expressway, a smile wider than the E-way’s own width spreads across my face. Whenever we want to test a car or a bike without any traffic obstructions, we hit the Yamuna Expressway.
#6: Surajkund Road: A lot of people might disagree with me on this. Especially because it is not a wide road, the section is too small and usually has lot of traffic. However, when I fell in love with this road, it wasn’t as crowded. Just having learnt to ride my first bike –I would go to this stretch as it was not too far from my place. It was the only road which had several turns and hence one could have some good cornering fun on this section. I used to go there whenever it would rain and would enjoy a ‘Bhutta’ while getting drenched in rain. I think it’s my experience with the road which makes it special to me.
Yamuna Expressway – Perfect Testing Grounds for Machines like this
#7: Sohna Road to Damdama Lake: Another one on the list because of the experience and memories. This road takes you from Gurgaon to Damdama lake in Sohna, Haryana. This isn’t a road for everyone to write home about as it now passes through the concrete jungle of Gurgaon. However, one can always see several groups of bikers and cyclists on a weekend on this road. I have ridden there as part of a biking group ride, and have taken a couple of SUV’s to Damadama lake to test their off road capabilities. Damadama Lake has some resorts if one wants to stay overnight. But even for a day trip, one can get some good food sitting next to the lake. There are some good off-road trails around it. The trails offer sharp turns, elevations, long straights and almost everything one can expect from an off road trail. However, there is always a possibility of a puncture as there are thorny bushes on the trail.
It is moments like these why I love going to Damdama Lake. Proving Grounds for offroaders
#8: NH1: How can this not be on the list? But let me tell you that I share a love hate relationship with this highway, especially the Chandigarh – Delhi stretch. I love it because this road takes me to my first love – the Himalayas. Anyone who has been to Himachal, and has driven on this road will tell you that you can smell the Himalayas on it. Though it’s only 30 odd km from my home and Himalayas are still more than 230 kms away, but as soon as I hit the highway, I can feel the mighty Himalayas much closer. While long stretches of smooth tarmac can get boring, one can get rid of that boredom by having delicious food at beautiful dhabas offering delicacies for all palettes. Be it the paranthas of Murthal or the famous chicken at Pooran Singh, this highway fill make sure you gain some pounds on your road trip.
I have seen more Sunrises on NH1 than from my home
#9: DND: DND stands for Delhi Noida Direct. Though this road is no more a big deal and just a way to get to Noida, it was revolutionary when it was first opened in February 2001. It was the first toll road within Delhi NCR region and not only did it ease the traffic off Kalindi Kunj, it allowed auto enthusiasts like me to stretch their bikes and cars. I remember scaring the hell out of my crush on in my trusty Maruti Suzuki Zen, Bon Jovi blaring on the speakers and me indulging in some exciting driving. Needless to say, she said no to my proposal. So gentlemen, way to lady’s heart is not by showing your driving skills and scaring her but taking it slow and safe. On a lonely Sunday morning with no ride plans, I would sometimes hit the stretch, take a U turn and come back home in time for morning tea. Even if it was a longer route, I would use the DND to get to Noida or Ghaziabad. Coming back to the road, the DND does not evoke any emotions anymore as traffic on it has increased, there is heightened speed restriction and exits are a bottleneck. Also, it’s just not how smooth it used to be. The road looks beautiful at night. Like a necklace around Yamuna. I remember my mom telling me that this road looked a lot like the roads in Europe, where she had visited a few weeks before I took her to DND.
#10: Barahpullah Flyover: Constructed during the CWG 2010, this elevated stretch of road was made in order to let commuters and athletes fly over the congested roads of South Delhi. It connects Thyagraj Stadium to Sarai Kale Khan ISBT. The road was recently renamed to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Road after the legendary Sikh warrior on the 300th anniversary of his martyrdom. The road is just two lanes on either side with hard concrete walls to greet you in case you are not careful. I really like it at night as one goes over the concrete jungle of Delhi, on a beautifully illuminated road with barely any traffic. It has some good turns to test your racing abilities. Be careful though as our stupid authorities have installed some speed breakers before these turns. So it’s slow entry and fast exit through the stretch. I personally love the stretch which passes close to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, offering a grand view of the sporting arena. Once a football fanatic friend of mine was sitting with me and said that he would love to see football legends play at JN Stadium. When I asked which players? He showed me this video and said “#TheNextBig10 Players who wore these T shirts”.
Please let me know what you think of the list. I am thinking about another list of #TheNextBig10 things to do. Any suggestions? Could be anything. 10 best racers of the world? 10 best Cars in India? Is this a teaser to one of those cars? One would never know