The city of Hyderabad, with its rich history, had plenty in it to see. Day 2 of the second leg of the Mini Epic Drive saw us make stops at famous monuments like the Charminar and the Golconda Fort. These are crowded areas and the chaos would make it difficult for us to get any decent photo opportunities, so we got there very early in the morning, before the city woke up properly. As magnificent as these structures had been in the glory days, they have been pretty well-maintained even today.
And then it was onwards to Nagpur. Now the first half of the journey while we were still in Telangana continued to be as smooth as the one between Bangalore and Hyderabad. We were on brilliantly paved stretches and made good time. When we stopped for lunch, we noticed that we were low on pressure on the rear right wheel. Fortunately for us, we had our own air pump and didn’t need to get the car to any workshop. With our stomachs and tyres filled, we set out for the next challenge.
We had been warned that the roads leading to Nagpur weren’t in the best of shape and we would be hard pressed with the conditions. So while we were anticipating broken sections, sometimes, reality has a way to surpass your wildest imagination.
As we entered Maharashtra, the roads disappeared. No, we hadn’t left the highway, hadn’t gotten lost. It was just that the way ahead could hardly be recognised as or called a road. There were only small patches of tarmac to be seen, the rest was entirely craters and dust.
Now the Mini is a stiffly sprung and low slung car. And while it had dealt with some broken sections back in Kerala, this was like nothing we had seen before. Given the state of the roads, the only other vehicles on this stretch were trucks. So on top of navigating our way across and around moon-like craters, squinting and using our fog lamps owing to the heavy dust clouds kicked up by vehicles crossing this bit, we also had to negotiate heavy traffic. It was a nightmare. We were literally crawling forward as we had to exercise utmost caution that the Mini didn’t scrape its belly.
The car took to the challenge brilliantly and, we have to say, it performed very impressively for the kind of vehicle it is. An approximate 200km stretch, it was exhausting and physically draining. Our photographer, who had been in the back seat all through, was shaken but still in one piece. And finally, Nagpur loomed in the horizon. The roads improved and the last stretch leading up to the city was pretty decent.
Both us and the Mini had gone through a lot that day. And both were grateful for the night’s rest.