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Journalist: udgoa
Status: Public
Entries: 23 (Private: 0)
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Start Date: May 9th, 2009
Last Update: Jan 1st, 2015
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Description: 16000 km road drive to raise funds for 22 NGOs

Drive from Jamnagar to Mundra, Day 21 of Garlanding India
Date Posted: Jan 1st, 2015 at 19:02 - Comments (0)
Day 21 of Garlanding India, May 16 2014; Jamnagar (cumulative 6194 KM) to Mundra (cumulative 6533 KM)

For pics visit www.facebook.com/garlandingindia

May 16 2014 Poll results day for Lok Sabha Elections 2014, and here we were in Narendra Modi's Gujarat! We expected some celebration-roadblocks on the road and had therefore decided to leave early. However, after the previous day's tiring drive the earliest exit we could manage was a 9am departure from our Jamnagar Hotel. There were, however, surprisingly few signs of celebrations as we left Jamnagar.

Instead of hugging the coast and driving around the Gulf of Kutch from Jamnagar to Mundra we took the Highway to Rajkot as my traveling partner for the Gujarat stretch, Raghuram Tata, was to get off at Rajkot and head back to Jamshedpur.

We reached Rajkot at 1030 am and after 5 days of being on the road together, we bid goodbye to each other. Now my photographer was gone! You would notice therefore the reduction in the quantity and quality of pictures for this day! To take pics I would have to halt, and that would slow me down!

We hadn't had anything for breakfast so I was very hungry by 1130 am. However, the first three attempts were futile, two tea shops had nothing but tea and the third had only dhokla! Finally, just outside Morbi, at around 12 noon I sighted the Uma Resorts and had a full fledged Gujarati Thali!

Just half an hour out of Morbi I decided that I had to stop and take pics... there were miles and miles of salt pits and salt heaps! Soon I was speeding along the beautiful highway towards Kandla Port and before I realized it I was at Mundra! GIM Alumnus Prashant Mundra had arranged my accommodation at the Shiv Nautica which I reached by 4pm; this was one of my earliest arrivals on the drive!
Drive from Sasan Gir to Jamagar, Day 20 of Garlanding India
Date Posted: Dec 27th, 2014 at 15:52 - Comments (0)
May 15 2014, Day 20, Garlanding India: Sasan Gir (5732 KMS) to Jamnagar (6194 KMS) This is Part 1 of the post for Day 20 of Garlanding India.

For pics visit www.facebook.com/garlandingindia

We had a full day on our hands: we were to drive to Dwarka, to Okha, almost the western most tip of India and then on to Jamnagar… and we had to go to the Gir National Park, the only remaining abode of the Asiatic Lion!

We were ready at 8am. Thanks to Raghu’s wild life friend circle, we had the Forest Department’s vehicle waiting to take us on the safari. The core area of Gir (the National Park area) is spread over 258 sqkm and the total area (the Sanctuary) is spread over 1412 sq km. An estimated 400+ Asiatic lions now live in this, their last remaining abode on Planet Earth.

We set off with our amiable guide and within minutes of entering the Sanctuary he slowed down to indicate pug marks on the dirt track…. I saw none! As we drove in, I soaked in the sight of the lion’s homeland: dry scrub land and the deciduous forest… I just loved it! And then we spotted our first wild life: a herd of dainty chital! And soon after a Nilgai which seemed as interested in us as we were in her!

And then as we drove in, a wildlife photographer in another jeep indicated to us through hand gestures that there was a lion ahead and asked us to get our vehicle off the track. We did, and watched silently and with heightened anticipation. And then there he was: with a measured, confident gait and a slight swagger … the King of the Forest!

As he came towards us he noticed our vehicle but treated us with total disdain: he looked the other way, moved from the right side of the track to the left, and continued his measured walk. As he came closer we could see a hurt just below his left eye .the ranger later told us that the old guy (he was old) had been spotted being involved in a fight with a younger male a couple of days earlier. And then he came in closer… and we could see his tooth… and noticed the massive, massive paws. We were absolutely quiet but the silence was broken by the incessant clicking sounds from Raghu’s camera. And that seems to have attracted him… he gave us one of those looks; straight into our eyes; black lips drooling with saliva, a light tuft of mane surrounded perfectly by the darker mane as if he had just got himself coiffured. But then Raghu stared back (through his camera lens!) and the King paused to think, showing us a side profile that sadly looked old and defeated. And then his eyes drooped, and with a last tired and defeated (by Raghu) look he passed us by.
While Raghu was busy clicking the stills I had been filming the lion with my GoPro, hand-held. But just as the lion neared us I tried swapping my GoPro for my still camera to get a close-up shot of his face. As a result, if the GoPro movie is viewed it looks as if I chicken out as the lion approaches me and drop the GoPro out of sheer fear; but don’t go by the looks: I had just swapped cameras!

After this experience of a lifetime we carried on. The deciduous forest kept me hooked. We crossed a rail line and saw a vehicle ahead that had stopped; there was a lioness cooling off in the shade a distance away! Though you can spend hours just sitting and watching these animals, we had a Highway to take and therefore decided to drive on….

After we had seen the lioness Raghu was very (very, very!) keen on sighting a pride. So we drove in further. What we next sighted was not a pride of lions but a proud, brilliant show of colors by a peacock! He just kept dancing and dancing, wiggling his back-side, spreading his feathers, holding his head all the while spank in the centre of his majestic spread. We were impressed, but not the two pea-hens who were the target of his attention; they were absolutely unmoved 

We drove further and sighted a sparrowhawk ‘break-fasting’ on a snake; and then there was the stone curlew sitting on her eggs. And then the white necked heron followed by the perfectly camouflaged owl. That was something that struck me: how perfectly camouflaged these birds and animals were in their native environs: the chital, the nilgai…. Our trip to the Gir was crowned by the sighting of many paradise flycatchers (couldn’t capture the pic of the white one!) and the beautiful Indian pitta!

After a fabulous safari, we came back to the forest rest house and set off immediately (we had a long way to go Dwarka, Okha, Jamnagar!) but not before we got our ranger-guide do the honors of sticking the Sasan Gir destination sticker on the Duster!

After a fabulous safari, we set off on the road for what was to be a long drive to Dwarka, Okha and Jamnagar. It was already 11 am and therefore we decided not to go towards Somnath and take the coastal road all the way; instead we decided to take the road via Kutiyana. Till Thepda we were on State Highways but then, near Kutiyana, we got on to the beautiful NH 8B. From Ranavav the NH 8B turned west towards the coast and the town of Porbandar, the birth place of the Mahatma Gandhiji!

At around 2 pm, after navigating some really crowded narrow streets (I suspect we unwittingly went on the wrong direction on a one-way street, too!) we reached Kirti Mandir, the memorial to Gandhiji. Adjacent to Kirti Mandir is the ancestral house of the Gandhi family where Gandhiji was born on October 2, 1869.

The house, a simple multi-storied structure built like a haveli, was purchased by Gandhiji’s great grandfather in 1777… which makes it of much more vintage than that!. Surprisingly, there were very few visitors when we reached there…and most of the visitors seem to have been travelers from places close by; we expected to see many more visitors at the birth-place of the Father of the Nation. We were also impressed by the simplicity and the lack of pomp … and what also hit us was the fact that there was absolutely no security, no gun wielding commandos, that you normally see at such places in India
However, the absence of visitors meant we could wander around the quiet premises in silence and soak in the atmosphere. It was very peaceful and quiet and Gandhiji’s exact birth-place, his study room and other places were very simply marked. I loved the wooden carved windows, the numerous staircases, the play of light and shade in the rooms, the quiet courtyards. Since we were short on time we barely spent 30 minutes at the house and skipped the Kirti Mandir memorial entirely… which was a pity! The Kirti Mandir is a beautiful structure, its height of 79 feet representing the 79 years of life of Gandhiji. And symbolizing religious integration, its architectural design draws from the architectural styles of religions structures of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Muslims!!

From Kirti Mandir, we proceeded to the town centre, had a quick lunch and left Porbandar town by 315pm.


Post lunch, we traced the coast, driving from Porbandar to Dwarka. The road was not very good, but just the thought that we were tracing the coast (we could not see it!) thrilled Raghu and me and kept us happy. Less than half an hour out of Porbandar we sighted the first windmills and that got Raghu hooked…. He woke up from his post-lunch slumber, sat up straight, and kept clicking; he must have taken a pic of almost every single windmill from there till Dwarka.

Meanwhile, about 60 kms before Dwarka, we hit Miyani…. check it out on the map. At Miyani a rectangular piece of the Arabian Sea juts into the Saurashtra mainland. It is said that Lord Krishna himself worshipped at the temple here! A little further on we were captivated by the sight of the white sands on both sides of the road and so we stopped and took some pics.
We reached Dwarka well before sunset, at 5pm but decided not to go the temple itself because we still had to drive to Okha and back and then on to Jamnagar. Dwarka is one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, Chardham.

From Dwarka we drove the 30 kms to Okha. Mid-way through, at Mithapur, is the Tata Chemicals factory. Okha, projecting into the sea, has a beach on one side and a sea port on the other. Literally hundreds of colorful fishing boats were berthed on the side of the road; and now Raghu had another subject.. he filled his remaining camera capacity with pictures of boats! We imagined ourselves at this extreme tip of the mainland and decided to check out the road distance to homeland Jamshedpur; so we keyed in ‘Jamshedpur’ as the destination in my MapMyIndia navigator and out came the result….. 2425 kms! All excitement over, we started off on our drive to our destination of the day, Jamnagar. We reached Jamnagar at 830pm tired, dusty, sweaty.. we had done Gir, Porbandar, Dwarka and Okha… all in a day!

We had an apology of a South Indian dinner, and then hit bed by 10pm!
My 60 Day Road Drive "Garlanding India': Post for Day 19, May 14 2014
Date Posted: Jul 16th, 2014 at 14:13 - Comments (0)
May 14 2014, Day 19, Garlanding India: Bhavnagar (5368 KMS) to Sasan Gir (5732 KMS)

For pics and more details go to www.garlandingindia.in and the facebook page

We had been warned by various people that the coastal highway we planned to take from Bhavnagar to Diu- and then on to Sasan Gir- was a bad stretch. However, because the distance was not much, Raghu and I decided to go in for a relaxed, late start. But getting up early had already become a habit for me, and I ended up waking up at 530am. I went down to the ground floor of the Hotel and got a person to agree to wash and clean the Duster; she was very dusty after the ride in the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park the previous day.

We finally had a late breakfast at 9am; before setting off we walked across the road to see the cigarette baba temple; it is a shrine where the offering to the deity is cigarettes!

We finally left Bhavnagar at 9:40 am and took the Bhavnagar-Mahuva Highway: the road was bad! Within an hour we reached Tansa village and soon after reached the spot on the Highway from where there was a diversion to the east to the Alang Ship Breaking Yard. This was a place I had always wanted to visit; Raghu too was keen on seeing it. So we drove in through the welcome arch. Alang is truly the graveyard of world shipping. By estimates about 250 ships of all types are brought in here every year to be dismantled/ scrapped: that apparently is about half of all the ships scrapped annually in the world! Alang falls on the western side of the Gulf of Khambat. As we drove in, there were these neat sheds selling all manner of things salvaged from ships. I was looking for one selling compasses, telescopes and time devices; finally located one from which Raghu and I picked up some interesting pieces.
After the sheds come the beaches on which the vessels are berthed during high tide and worked on (that is, scrapped and dismantled) during low tide. Alang is infamous for its safety and work standards; there were huts in shallow waters just next to the massive skeletons of old ships. Sadly just last week (June 28 2014) there were 5 deaths in a blast triggered by a gas leakage .. and from the visuals on TV I suspect it was on one of the ships that we took pics of….

After our detour to the Alang Shipyard we came back to the Bhavnagar-Mahuva Highway. We then got on to the Mahuva-Una Highway and at Una took a detour to the pretty historic town of Diu. Diu was where the very interesting Battle of Diu was fought between the navies of Portugal on one side and the combined forces of (imagine!) the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamluks of Egypt, the Zamorin of Calicut; the anti-Portugese forces were supported by the Ottomans, the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Dubrovnik!! A truly international battle for controlling the Ocean spice trade routes! Today, Diu is a pretty town on the eastern edge of Diu Island. We decided to have lunch at a resort very close to the entry gate. The resort had a nice beach front and a good view of the Diu Fort. While Raghu cooled himself down with mugs of chilled beer, I, the disciplined driver, hydrated myself with plain water.
Before leaving Diu, we went to Fudam village to see the famous Gangeshwar Temple. My Chief Guide for the Gujarat segment of Garlanding India, Dr. Shreyas Goswami, had told us that we should not by any chance miss the temple…and we sure were happy we made it! Driving through quaint Goa like streets, we reached Fudam and the temple in no time. The temple, right on the shores of the sea, has five shivalingas which, according to legend. were worshipped by the five Pandavas during their exile. Each linga represents one of the Pandavas, with Bheem obviously being the biggest! The temple is very peaceful and scenic. And then as we went down the steps of the temple towards the sea we were greeted by the magnificent sight of the sea waves coming in with the tide and gently paying obeisance to the lingas, bathing them in foam and receding! (No wonder Raghu kept referring to the temple as Jaleshwar Temple in spite of repeated corrections from my side!) Shreyas’ grandfather used to be the chief priest of the temple; now his uncle is.


From the pretty island town of Diu, instead of going north towards Una and then on to our destination the Gir Lion Park (yeh!), we decided to go west on the Una-Somnath highway and try and reach Somnath by sunset; we wanted to complete Somnath and then move on to Gir so that the next day (which we anticipated would be heavy…and heavy it was!) would be lighter.
We reached Somnath Temple just as the sun was setting. The temple, with its very distinctive Chalukya style of architecture looked lovely against the backdrop of the setting sun. Somnath one of the twelve Jyotirlingas attracts a lot of visitors. It is located such that if you look across the waters you see no land mass from here right up till Antarctica!! From Somnath we turned back east and headed towards Gir. We were booked at the Forest Guest House at Gir and were super excited as we checked in at about 8pm. After dinner I used my portable washing machine to wash all the laundry that had been accumulated till then and strung it out to dry in the courtyard…
May 13 2014 Part III Day 18 of my Garlanding India Drive
Date Posted: Jul 14th, 2014 at 13:22 - Comments (0)
May 13 2014, Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat (4939 KMS) to Bhavnagar (5368 KMS) This is Part 3 of the post for Day 18, Parts 1 and 2 having been posted earlier.
It was about 7pm when we finally started moving out from the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park. We had a TV Crew waiting to meet us at Bhavnagar and a dinner meeting with our host Dr. Amit Patel. So, I was in some bit of a hurry and did not allow Raghu the luxury of stopping to click pictures. In spite of that, Raghu did every acrobatic maneuver possible to get some great pictures of the setting sun. However, I did not heed his pleas to open my mouth so that he could get a ‘trick’ pic of me swallowing the setting sun!
We passed through some stunning landscapes, especially at the point where the waters from the Gulf of Khambat form an inlet, Padolia, into the mainland. There was the setting sun, the grasslands in the distance, the silver waters and the white salt pans! We soon reached the Shree Khariya Hanuman Salt Works Pvt Ltd. The brown of the grasslands, the white of the salt heaps, the dark sky and the setting sun provided Raghu with just the setting that he wanted…and he clicked away! From there we turned west to reach Bhavnagar. After spending about 15 minutes locating the Hotel where Dr. Patel was waiting for us, we finally reached the Hotel at 745 pm ending a fabulous 429 km drive; look at the picture of the route that is there below: starting from Surat in the morning, we had looped around the Gulf Of Khambat to reach Bhavnagar which was spank opposite Bharuch on the opposite side of the Gulf..the water route would have been so short! After taking a quick shower, we went down to the Hotel lobby to meet with Dr. Patel; the TV crew too was waiting. I actually managed to go through an interview with a Gujarati channel with my horrible Hindi and slightly better English and no Gujarati. After having a typical, traditional Gujarati dinner hosted by Dr. Patel and his friends Raghu and I retired for the night at 1030 pm; we were headed for Sasan Gir, via Diu and Somnath, the next day!
Pictures on www.facebook.com/garlandingindia
May 13 2014 Part III Day 18 of my Garlanding India Drive
Date Posted: Jul 14th, 2014 at 13:21 - Comments (0)
May 13 2014, Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat (4939 KMS) to Bhavnagar (5368 KMS) This is Part 3 of the post for Day 18, Parts 1 and 2 having been posted earlier.
It was about 7pm when we finally started moving out from the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park. We had a TV Crew waiting to meet us at Bhavnagar and a dinner meeting with our host Dr. Amit Patel. So, I was in some bit of a hurry and did not allow Raghu the luxury of stopping to click pictures. In spite of that, Raghu did every acrobatic maneuver possible to get some great pictures of the setting sun. However, I did not heed his pleas to open my mouth so that he could get a ‘trick’ pic of me swallowing the setting sun!
We passed through some stunning landscapes, especially at the point where the waters from the Gulf of Khambat form an inlet, Padolia, into the mainland. There was the setting sun, the grasslands in the distance, the silver waters and the white salt pans! We soon reached the Shree Khariya Hanuman Salt Works Pvt Ltd. The brown of the grasslands, the white of the salt heaps, the dark sky and the setting sun provided Raghu with just the setting that he wanted…and he clicked away! From there we turned west to reach Bhavnagar. After spending about 15 minutes locating the Hotel where Dr. Patel was waiting for us, we finally reached the Hotel at 745 pm ending a fabulous 429 km drive; look at the picture of the route that is there below: starting from Surat in the morning, we had looped around the Gulf Of Khambat to reach Bhavnagar which was spank opposite Bharuch on the opposite side of the Gulf..the water route would have been so short! After taking a quick shower, we went down to the Hotel lobby to meet with Dr. Patel; the TV crew too was waiting. I actually managed to go through an interview with a Gujarati channel with my horrible Hindi and slightly better English and no Gujarati. After having a typical, traditional Gujarati dinner hosted by Dr. Patel and his friends Raghu and I retired for the night at 1030 pm; we were headed for Sasan Gir, via Diu and Somnath, the next day!
Pictures on www.facebook.com/garlandingindia
May 13 Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat-Bhavnagar Part II
Date Posted: Jul 2nd, 2014 at 14:24 - Comments (0)
May 13 2014, Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat (4939 KMS) to Bhavnagar (5368 KMS) This is Part 2 of the post for Day 18, Part 1 having been posted earlier.
After having had tea at a Desi Dhaba and offering a ride to two villagers to Bhavnagar, we set off to Bhavnagar at around 5 pm with dark rain clouds hovering over us. We had hardly progressed for about 15 minutes when Raghu’s wife called Raghu to tell him that we were passing through an area that was designated as a National Park! She was tracking the Duster live on www.bus-i.com/track/uday-xlri and had stumbled on this fact: bus-i.com had come in useful yet again!
We asked the villagers whether the information was correct; they told us that we were just 300 metres from the diversion that would take us to the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park! We jumped at the opportunity and asked the villagers whether they would mind if we took a diversion to the park; they were as eager as us and off we went to the park! Our drive as we took the approach to the park will remain etched in my memory for a long, long while: dark clouds, empty road winding through dry grassland, thorny bushes on both side and then the first sightings (even before we entered the park) of herds of Blackbucks, the beautiful antelopes native to the Indian sub-continent.
We reached the Park’s Gate as the Forest Officer was packing up for the day. Raghu struck up a conversation with the Forest Officer, enquired about a few researcher friends of his who had worked in the park and then, after purchasing the tickets, we entered the park with a guide in tow… the Duster was on its maiden journey into a National Park! The Velavadar National Park was originally the ‘vidi’ or grassland property of the Maharaja of the Princely State of Bhavnagar; today it is a 34 sq km Park that touches the Gulf Of Khambat at one edge. The villagers agreed to wait for us outside the gate, though they increasingly looked as if they regretted the decision to hitch a ride to Bhavnagar from us… they were now at the National Park!
The drive into and through the park was fabulous: there were herds and herds of Blackbucks and Nilgais. There were birds of various varieties and we were lucky to witness a rare sight: wild boar feasting on a kill of an unfortunate Blackbuck. But Raghu’s desires were not sated; he kept telling the guide “Abhi, you show me a hyaena to complete this fantastic day” By then, I was getting a little edgy both because the villagers were waiting for us and because we had lined up appointments in Bhavnagar with various people, including a TV crew who wanted to interview me. But Raghu was unmoved and his single-minded focus paid off, finally: we sighted a hyaena!
I too got into the “Let others wait” mode and spent another 15 minutes enjoying the landscape that looked out of the world in the soft hues of the setting sun. By the time we came out of the park gates it was close to 7pm; the villagers were looking a little cheated but as we got them into the car and chatted them up they relaxed!
Enjoy the pics; most of them were taken by Raghu, some by me. Two ways to identify who took which: the better ones are Raghu’s. Also mine are date stamped; his are not. The pics are on the web-site www.garlandingindia.in
Will continue the Day’s post in Part 3
May 13 Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat-Bhavnagar Part I
Date Posted: Jul 2nd, 2014 at 11:32 - Comments (0)
Delayed Post, May 13 2014, Day 18, Garlanding India: Surat (4939 KMS) to Bhvnagar (5368 KMS) For pictures visit www.garlandingindia.in and go to the facebook page
This was the day that Garlanding India crossed 5000 kms. Set off at 8am from Mohit Kapoor’s house in Surat after Mohit’s cute niece stuck the Surat destination sticker. After crossing the Tapti River we got on to NH 8, the National Highway that connects Mumbai to Delhi. The 1375 km NH 8 is considered to be the busiest highway in the sub-continent and it sure was busy! After cutting through the busy industrial township of Ankleshwar, the Garlanding India drive crossed 5000 kms at 936 am near Mandva. At Mulad, just after Mandva, partner-NGO Gram Vikas Trust’s (GVT) volunteers were waiting for us to take us to one of the villages where they have distributed bicycles to girl students. Seeing the gleeful, bright-eyed girls with their brand new bicylcles was a joy. Raghu and I spent about two hours at the village. We came back to the National Highway and crossed the mighty Narmada River at the by-pass before Bharuch town. Was tempted to take a detour to go and see the river island Aaliya Bet but decided to drive on. By noon we crossed Palej and at 1230pm, veered off the NH 8 westwards at Karjan before Vadodara, to start looping across the Gulf of Khambat; by then we had covered over 200 kms from Surat. This was a big thrill for me because looping across the Gulf of Khambat (or Gulf of Cambay) was something I used to dream about while poring over India’s map… look at the map and you might get the same thrill! We crossed the Mahi River and were on the Vadodara-Borsad State Highway when we decided to break for lunch. Lunch was the absolutely yummy Parathas prepared and packed by Mohit’s mother; she had assumed that we would have the appetite and the greed to polish off the large quantity that she had packed..we lived up to the expectation! We crossed the Sabarmati River before Vataman and took a sharp turn southwards to begin tracing the Western side of the Gulf of Khambat; we were entering the Saurashtra region! And then, as if on cue, as we raced down the western side of the Gulf of Khambat on the very good State Highway, everything seemed to change. It had been hot and humid all the way from Surat, but as we entered Saurashtra thick black rain clouds gathered and the first few rain drops fell. Till then we had been driving through crowded towns but now we had wide open spaces! And then we yelped in delight when we saw a herd of camels crossing the road! We stopped to take pics. There were many camels including some tiny ones; we realized that they were all attracted to water conveniently leaking out of a bore well at the height of their mouths! As we started driving again the skies opened up and we were bathed in rain! The feeling was beautiful: wide open spaces, dark clouds, silky smooth roads, camels and the rain! Since we were less than 100 kms from Bhavnagar, at 430pm we decided to take a tea break at a Desi Dhaba near the Adhelai-Velavadar Link Road, the only one we had sighted in miles! (Check out Google Maps). We had tea with a bunch of villagers who got very interested in the Garlanding India map and the destination stickers on thecar. Raghu did a very good job of taking them around the car, explaining the concept, showing them the gadgets. Such a good job that the dhaba owner refused to take money from us… and the villagers too agreed with him: how can you take money from a traveler who is traveling across the country?! Post-tea, as we set off with the dark clouds still hovering around two villagers requested us for a ride to Bhavnagar and we readily agreed. So the four of us set off for Bhavnagar. [Will stop the day’s post here and continue with it later; too much to post!]
Day 3, Garlanding India: Apr 28 2014, Vizag KM 907 to Vijayawada KM 1312
Date Posted: May 23rd, 2014 at 10:53 - Comments (0)
On Day 3 of my drive, I set off n the morning with two friends for the picturesque coastal town of Bheemili. Bheemili was a bustling port city, a Dutch settlement and the second municipality in the country after Surat. Visited the cemetery and also went to the beach. It is a beautiful little town and the drive from Vizag to Bheemili along the coast is fabulous. After reaching back Vizag I set off alone for Vijayawada. The roads were good but I spent some time reaching the home of my host in Vijayawada. For pics and details go to my website www.garlandingindia.in
Day 2, Garlanding India: Apr 27 2014, Bhubhaneshwar-Vizag KM 447 to KM 907
Date Posted: May 20th, 2014 at 11:49 - Comments (0)
I have set off in my Duster car on a 14000 km, 60 Day drive trying to raise money for 22 partner NGOs.

This is the post for Day 2. More details and pics on my web-site www.garlandinginda.in

Left Bhubhaneshwar with the meter reading 447 kms. Reached Vizag at 907 kms. The drive is beautiful. I particularly like the Chilka lake sector at Barkul. Was tempted to take a detour, but having started late from Bhubhaneshwar, I did not have the luxury to do it. A few friends followed in their vehicle for up to 60kms out of Bhubhaneshwar. We went to a templke, they prayed for my safety and went back! I carried on alone to Vizag. Was hosted at Vizag by a friend whose flat overlooks the sea!
Garlanding India: 14000 KMS in 60 Days: Day 1 Apr 26 2014
Date Posted: May 19th, 2014 at 08:07 - Comments (0)
I have set off in my Duster car on a 14000 km, 60 Day drive trying to raise money for 22 partner NGOs.

This is the post for Day 1. More details on my web-site www.garlandinginda.in

April 26 2014, Day 1, Garlanding India: End of day at friend Gopal Nayak’s house in Bhubhaneshwar. All seems well. But the day started off in typical (for me) chaotic fashion. Or rather it all started the previous night (Day 0) when we went last-minute shopping in Jamshedpur and got ourselves a parking ticket for parking right in front of a ‘No Parking’ sign. Woke up on Day 1 and realized that in order to pay the fine we have to produce the original car papers at the Police Station. So off I went at 8am to the Police Station with Freddy and managed to get the fine paid by 9am. Flag off from XLRI Jamshedpur Campus (where I teach) was scheduled at 930am and from Renault Showroom at 1000am; so there was tension. The XLRI flag off was a typical happy noisy XL affair; abso fun! (Oh ya, and my GoPro camera? Instead of putting the charged battery I had put the uncharged spare battery and therefore it captured nothing!) Flag off from the Jamshedpur Renault showroom was a very nice relaxed happy affair; except for the fact that I don’t know what the Hindi media will report given that our combined command over shuddh Hindi was severely limited. For example, aided by my wife Suma’s helpful interventions I think that they thought I was a part-time truck/ auto driver! We finally left the showroom at 1130 am. Had a nice lunch at Sparda NGO in Baripada; they do great work in the forest areas in and around Simplipal forest. Then we dropped off friend Pitabas at his sister’s place in Balasore. Friend Ashis came right up to Bhubhaneshwar. And then I went straight to a fund raising dinner by Pradeep Thakker of the first batch of XIMB (where I had taught too). Was great meeting some XIMB Alumni including AAP Lok Sabha candidate for Bhubhaneshwar, Bismaya!
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