I was, as I wrote, on a one week long driving trip. The question is, how do you get from point to point? More precisely, how do you navigate through the towns to get on to the next leg of the highway? How do you reach your hotel, especially late at night or, when it is raining?
The best way to start,is to get a map. In earlier days, you had a map like the Eicher Driving Map of India. I have one of those in my car.
Better still, especially these days, is to get a map downloaded from the internet, like Google Maps. The advantage of this, is that you can get one that is as large as you want and does show the terrain.In India, add two hours to the estimated driving time that the map indicates. This will give you a good indication of how much time you actually need.
No map, however, can be all accurate. So, in times of doubt, follow the next best option – roll down your window and ask the man on the road the way. 80% – 90% of the time, this works well.
Yet, there are times when this does not work. The traffic may be bad. Or, it may be dark. Or, it may be raining. What do you do? You can use Google Maps on your phone. I find Google Maps better than Apple or Yahoo.
However, there is a downside here. The mapping service is expensive on data charges. It kills your phone battery and, is only as good as the map.
When I was in Orchha, it was raining heavily, and I was looking for my hotel. Google took me onto the highway, and cheerily announced – “Your destination has arrived”. I peered around, and all I saw was trees.
What do you do?
I had installed a navigation system. On prior inquiry, I was advised by everyone to use the service by ‘Map My India”, and not Tomtom.
So, I switched on my navigation system, and in 10 minutes, I was curled up in the coffee shop of the hotel, with a nice cup of masala chai.
There you have it.
Now, if you dare, you can drive in India!!
Disclaimer: No navigation system will indicate when you are going to encounter lunatics on the road…