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Old 28th April 2011, 11:19   #16
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Saw those place more than 100 times in my life. But it is so different to see with descriptions :-) ..

So rightly said 'Chiraag tale andhera'. (Darkness beneath the lamp).
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Old 28th April 2011, 11:59   #17
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Good to see pics of Patna's history.
See a Linea parked in the Golghar pic.
I last heard that the revolving restaurant has already started. It was in making since long, the structure was there for more than 15yrs now.
The NIT(formerly B.C.E) is where I did my I.Sc from and when it rained we just used to go the ghat behind the college and stand there soaking in the rain and the views. It used to be awesome. The approach to Ghat from the college is now walled.
(for people who are not aware: all the colleges under Patna University are built on the bank of Ganges, except for the Patna Women's college may be)

And I am embarassed to state here that I have not been inside the Patna museum till now.
Good to see Patna from a tourist pov. Did you happen to click St. Xavier's school, maurya lok, etc?
BTW I forget to mention, there is a car wash facility at the Indian oil bunk next to the Dinkar Chowk. Was it not functioning ?
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Old 28th April 2011, 12:40   #18
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Those are nostalgic pictures lucifer. Once I also visited museum and climbed Golghar during early 90s. View from Golghar is absolutely fantastic specially Ganges river flowing down.

Market of Patna is still old fashioned and there is no mall culture arrived yet. We generally visit MauryaLok and there are many restaurants also nearby where we take dinner.

Patna City (it is different area than Patna Town) has more historical value as one can find many monuments there from ancient age. Specially, Gurudwara Sahib which has very big value among Sikh community. Also, there are few places of Ashoka and Maurya era. There is also one water well of Ashoka age. It is said that Ashoka murdered all of his brothers and sisters and put their body in this well.
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Old 28th April 2011, 13:18   #19
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Market of Patna is still old fashioned and there is no mall culture arrived yet. We generally visit MauryaLok and there are many restaurants also nearby where we take dinner.
Mall culture is slowly arriving. Khaitan supermarket is there for a long time now, but then it cannot be called a Mall in the true sense.
Recently Prakash Jha, inaugurated the first Mall in Patna at Patliputra colony(P&M Infrastructures Limited) with a 4 screen multiplex and Big Bazaar outlet.
Vishal Megamart, CCD and other big names are already there since long now.
There's talk to build a new museum(Canadian Firm Presents Plan for Future Museum | PatnaDaily.Com).
Few good hotel chains like Hyatt are going to be present in Patna soon.
Plus the most encouraging is the new IIT at Bihta and talks of a New Infosys centre alongside. Hope it materialises.

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There is also one water well of Ashoka age. It is said that Ashoka murdered all of his brothers and sisters and put their body in this well.
Agamkuan you are talking about.

Last edited by Fordmanchau : 28th April 2011 at 13:32.
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Old 28th April 2011, 13:22   #20
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Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Good to see pics of Patna's history.
See a Linea parked in the Golghar pic.
Yes, I deliberately kept the Linea in the shot to give a feel of the massiveness of the structure. The Linea is not in the family, so to speak.
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I last heard that the revolving restaurant has already started. It was in making since long, the structure was there for more than 15yrs now.
Yes, the restaurant has started functioning. Need to visit it next time I am in town.
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...And I am embarassed to state here that I have not been inside the Patna museum till now.
Well, I have been in Hyderabad for donkey's years and I still have never been to the Chowmahalla Palace.
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BTW I forget to mention, there is a car wash facility at the Indian oil bunk next to the Dinkar Chowk. Was it not functioning ?
There was a long queue at that car wash. The man said it would only be possible the next day.

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...There is also one water well of Ashoka age. It is said that Ashoka murdered all of his brothers and sisters and put their body in this well.
Visited the place. The pictures will come up shortly.

Last edited by lucifer1881 : 28th April 2011 at 13:25.
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Old 28th April 2011, 14:27   #21
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Day 6 - Patna Sightseeing

This was yet another day of city sightseeing. We spent two days going around in Patna but we could not cover even half the things of importance. Perhaps in my next visit to the seat of learning in India (a very poor pun given the fact that you used to find stools all over the city) I shall complete Patna darshan.



Patna on a usual day...

Ashoka was 100th in the line of succession. He killed 99 of his brothers and dumped their severed heads in Agham Kuan. Courtesy a certain someone named Laloo Prasad Yadav, who believed a temple built around it will keep him in power, this archaeological site of historical importance has been desecrated by the usual unsanitary conditions that exist in the temples of North India.

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Agham Kuan, Patna

A little before Agham Kuan are the ruins of ancient Patliputra. Now, I am a sport with most things but this was complete fraud. The site has absolutely nothing to see save for one pillar of the Mauryan Hall. The lawns are beautiful though, and mostly serve as refuge for young lovers of the city.

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Ruins of Ancient Patlputra

As you move towards the city centre from Patliputra ruins, you get on a flyover much resembling the famed Howrah bridge. But this being Patna, no thought went into the planning of the flyover. There are two junctions on the flyover. Seriously, the very purpose of a flyover is to simply fly over intersections not having to stop at them 30 feet above the ground.

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Howrah Bridge, not in Kolkata

Patna is a city of contradictions. On one side there is extreme poverty. On the other there is extreme wealth. Perhaps, it is the best mirror of the kind of society we have become in the last 20 years or so. Patna has a sprawling golf club, and a very active flying club.

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Patna Golf Club

The best zoo I have seen is the Patna zoo. It is huge. And the range of animals they have is very wide.

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Patna Zoo

This was also the day that my wife joined my father and I at Patna. She landed at Patna Airport around 2:45 in the afternoon.

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Patna Airport

Situated very close to home is Patna’s Khetan market. It is one of the earliest malls to come up in the city. It is one of those places where one can get a metre of cloth for Rs. 20 or a metre of cloth for Rs. 20,000. Basically, it caters to all sorts of pockets.

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Khetan Market, Patna

We had dinner that evening at Windsor Castle, not in UK. There is a Hotel Windsor in Patna that serves surprisingly good vegetarian food.

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Windsor Castle, not in UK
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Old 28th April 2011, 14:30   #22
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Great pics lucifer! While I have never been to Patna, your pics bring back many memories of our own cities while they were still unspoilt by all the traffic and hoardings. A time when man, animal and bird all had a lot of space. Nowadays, all that we see everywhere are these ugly hoardings/ banners and all that we hear is white noise from all the traffic.

I was also reminded of this when I saw some maidans & schools in a small town while travelling between Bangalore & Pune (may be Davangere or Hubli, not sure)
Thanks for bringing back the memories

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Old 28th April 2011, 16:59   #23
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Quote:
The best zoo I have seen is the Patna zoo. It is huge. And the range of animals they have is very wide.
Official name of this Zoo is "Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udhyan". Yes, it is biggest zoo I have visited in India and it is very difficult measure its length and breadth by walk.

Along side Zoo is Governer house and in front of Zoo Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar stays on same road opposite to each other. Road name is "10 Janpath".
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Old 28th April 2011, 22:19   #24
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Originally Posted by lucifer1881 View Post
Situated opposite the museum is Patna’s tallest residential building. At 14 floors, it almost looks like a Singapore sprouting out of the ground.

Attachment 536661
Singapore, Patna
Is this apartment Neelgiri Or Udaigiri by any chance?

I have very fond memories & attachment from this.
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Old 29th April 2011, 12:49   #25
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...Along side Zoo is Governer house...
The land on which the Zoo is previously was part of the Raj Bhavan. Just imagine the sheer size of the Raj Bhavan if they could build one of the largest zoos on its land and still have enough to keep the entire Governor's Residence going.

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Is this apartment Neelgiri Or Udaigiri by any chance?
Udaigiri.

Day 7 - Patna – Bodh Gaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Pawapuri – Patna (385km; 5:15 am) - Part 01

By far, this was the most productive day of the trip. It was also a day in which old memories were renewed. I had last been to Bodh Gaya and Rajgir in 1987 when I was only 6 years old. It was quite a pleasant surprise that I could still recall some of the places I had seen then.

Tip for a first timer: To get to Bodh Gaya from Patna ask for directions to the Mahatma Gandhi Setu. When you see the Setu, do not get on it. Turn the opposite way. When you get to a junction, take the left and get on SH1. At Masaudi, get on NH 83. This will take you to Gaya.

Gaya is possibly the dirtiest city on God’s green earth. The roads are barely wide enough to allow two cars to pass simultaneously. There is a bypass but we could not find it and ended up driving through the city. That turned out well for us actually because we could then stop to buy the famous tilkut. Tilkut is a Gaya delicacy. It is almost similar to gajak but not quite the same. All said and done, it is a delight for those with sweet tooth.

Bodh Gaya is 11.3km from Gaya. A State Highway takes you there but for some reason that highway is not numbered. But the quality of the tarmac is excellent. The highway runs along the Falgu river, which is no more than a dried up river bed really. Legend has it that the once flourishing river was cursed by Sita since it had lied to her. When the river begged for forgiveness, Sita said that the water would now flow under the sand. Digging below the sand a few feet does indeed bring the water up.

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The vast expanse of the Falgu river bed


About 5.2km before Bodh Gaya, I turned into a dirt track to get close to the river. For some reason, I forgot that the Bolero does not have 4WD or even a limited slip differential. We all know how such sojourns turn out.

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The Bolero beached!
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The huge pit left afterwards.
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Only in Bihar can milestones be accurate to the tenth of a kilometre.

Until 1987, there was only the Maha Bodhi temple in the town of Bodh Gaya. The temple is under the shade of the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It is a magnificent temple complex.

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Maha Bodhi Temple
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Miniature huts in the Maha Bodhi Temple complex

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Maha Bodhi Idol
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Bodhi Tree

In the course of the last decade or so, many Buddhist trusts have started building their monasteries and temples. There was even a Bangladesh Buddhist Monastery which I found quite paradoxical given that Bangladesh is an Islamic country.

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Bangladesh Monastery
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The Great Buddha, unveiled by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, stands at 64ft atop a 16ft high pedestal.

We travelled to Rajgir from Bodh Gaya. Travelogue for that part of the journey will be up shortly.

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The rains cometh on the drive to Rajgir
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Old 29th April 2011, 14:05   #26
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Well, I have been in Hyderabad for donkey's years and I still have never been to the Chowmahalla Palace.
Don't worry. Me neither!!

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The site has absolutely nothing to see save for one pillar of the Mauryan Hall. The lawns are beautiful though, and mostly serve as refuge for young lovers of the city.
Ah!! Kumhrar!! I took my wife and in-laws there in March 2009. As you say there was hardly anything to see, but the lawns were good and while I was there a film shooting for a bhojpuri song was going on.

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But this being Patna, no thought went into the planning of the flyover. There are two junctions on the flyover. Seriously, the very purpose of a flyover is to simply fly over intersections not having to stop at them 30 feet above the ground.
haha!! the flyover above the Bahadurpur Gumti. I too seriously don't know what the planners were thinking but atleast it saves from the craziness below.

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The best zoo I have seen is the Patna zoo. It is huge. And the range of animals they have is very wide.
I am not too sure about this, may be Patna's zoo is big but Mysore zoo is more organised, well maintained and have even better range of animals than Patna.I have still not gone to the Hyderabad one

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We had dinner that evening at Windsor Castle, not in UK. There is a Hotel Windsor in Patna that serves surprisingly good vegetarian food.
Same one on the Exhibition road above a shopping complex?
I have not gone to their restaurant but rooms there are awesome for the price. A good suite room is available for 1500/- and it was well furnished and very clean. Room service was also good.
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Old 1st May 2011, 14:42   #27
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Day 7 - Patna – Bodh Gaya – Rajgir – Nalanda – Pawapuri – Patna (385km; 5:15 am) – Part 02

We turned back to Gaya to get on NH 82 to reach Rajgir. Rajgir is a small little place nestled among some hills. There is a ropeway built by the Japanese to take you all the way to the Stupa on the top of the hill. The ropeway is possibly the scariest way to travel. Seriously, travelling on top of a bus is safer. No wonder that they do not allow photographs to be taken of the ropeway system itself.



The ropeway entry at Rajgir

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The stupa on top of the hill

We had lunch at Marwaadi Bhaasa. There are tens of these bhojanaalays in the town. How things change! I was here last in 1987 when it was a struggle to get a decent cup of tea.

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Rajgir Lunch

There are ruins of an ancient jail built by Bimbisara (aka Bindusara) where now cattle graze.

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Bimbisara Jail

Sonebhandar supposedly is just that – a repository of gold. It contains all the gold of the kingdom of Magadha. Apparently, the gold is still stashed away behind the imposing stone façade. The doors open only when the right mantras are read in the right way, a la khul ja sim sim if you will. No bulldozer has been able to bulldoze its way through those rocks.

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Sonebhandar, Rajgir
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The road to Sonebhandar

From Rajgir, we continued on NH 82 to Nalanda. Now, Nalanda is a place to behold. Facts like wall thickness of 2.2m completely boggle the mind. Pictures cannot do justice to its vast expanse. Being there makes you feel as if you are in the company of the greatest minds of their time.

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The ruins of Nalanda

Our next stop was Pawapuri. To get to Pawapuri, we continued on NH 82 upto Bihar Sharif. There we turned right on the intersection with NH 31 (the road from Ranchi to Patna). About 25 odd km later we turned left on a small village road to reach Pawapuri.

Pawapuri was the place where Lord Mahavir was cremated. The legend of Pawapuri is truly magnificent. The temple is build in the middle of a lake which was created by man. Legend has it that post cremation the demand for ashes was so great that the adjacent soil was dug up. This pit formed the lake.

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Pawapuri Temple

From Pawapuri, it is just a matter of getting back on NH 31 and driving in the opposite direction all the way to Patna. Had it gone our way, we would have been in Patna by 8:00pm or so. But this is Bihar. Nothing goes as per plan. At Bakhtiyaarpur (about 40km before Patna) there was a huge jam. We found out that this was called ‘overtake’ jam. The funny bit is not that the highway gets jammed because vehicles overtake as per their whims and fancies on this single carriageway. The funny bit was that it happened so often there was actually a name for it.

We finally reached home around 10pm. I had all but forgotten that it was my birthday. But my chachi hadn’t. Waiting for me was a gorgeous cake and a super dinner of mutton biryani, roast chicken, boiled eggs, sandwiches, salad, etc. For dessert there was rasgulla and Maalda mango. Life’s good!

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Happy Birthday to me!
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Old 1st May 2011, 15:00   #28
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Day 8 - Patna

Did nothing of any note this day. Rested all day, rather all of afternoon and evening and night since I only woke up at 11 in the morning. Took some pictures of cats. My chachi has seven of them!

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Cats do sleep anywhere, any table any chair
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Old 1st May 2011, 15:09   #29
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Day 9 - Patna – Mohaniya – Varanasi – Jabalpur (750km; 5:15 am)

The long way back! Why is it that the way back is always longer and more tiresome?

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The sleepy gali of Daryapur, Patna at 5:00 am

We left home at 5:15 am. Patna being on the east, the sun rises very early. The people rise earlier. There was life, chaos, and people everywhere at this ungodly hour. Being a resident of Hyderabad off and on for 20 years it is beyond me to expect traffic before 9 am. Shops in Hyderabad start opening around 11. In Patna, at 5:30 business was already booming.

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Mahindra Commander used to its fullest capacity

Patna to Arrah (a distance of about 60km) is continuously populated. There is no sense of driving on a highway. There are houses on both sides of the road making it impossible to overtake unless that part of your brain which warns you of danger is totally non-functional.

At Arrah, the road gets better. Palm tress line up on both sides of the highway, a clear indication of the demand for Toddy in the region. On the way in to Patna darkness had already fallen for this part of the journey. It was only now that we could appreciate the pristine beauty of the region. And the extremely heavy traffic.

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The palm trees at Arrah
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Only in Bihar can urinating be a crime

Patna to Mohaniya is one of those freak stretches of single carriageway highways where it is easier to drive at night. The traffic during day was mind-boggling. I would still not advise night driving, but in case you find yourself on NH 30 at night there is no reason to fret.

This time we did not come across one of the infamous Mohaniya jams. NH2 is a beautiful road. It is dangerous too. Despite being a dual carriageway, Indians being Indians, there is traffic running both ways on each side of the road. Tip: Drive about 20% slower than your usual speed on similar roads.

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The glorious NH 2

Since the objective was to now get home, we tried to make good time. It was not to be. The traffic was heavy from Patna all the way to Varanasi. Heck, not counting the hold up at Mohaniya we had on our way in, it probably took us lesser driving time from Varanasi to Patna than the other way around.

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The Bolero, not gleaming at Mauganj, MP

Driving through MP was good as it always is. I like the ghats of MP, and being surprised by the occasional shower or rain.

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An old brick kiln

We stopped at Jabalpur for the night.
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Old 1st May 2011, 15:17   #30
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Day 10 - Jabalpur – Nagpur – Adilabad – Hyderabad (797km; 5:30 am)

This was the most beautiful drive on this trip. The monsoons had hit MP which meant that all those areas which were yellow and dried when we had passed through them 10 days ago were now lush green. The ghats came into a life of their own.

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Snake Hole
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Ah, the ghats of MP

We stopped at this place called Bison Highway Treat at Rukhad, MP. It is a resort of MPTDC. What a gorgeous place!

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Bison Highway Treat, Rukhad

From Rukhad we drove non-stop (discounting fuel and toilet breaks) to Hyderabad. We were home by 6:30pm.

Dad and I had covered a distance of 3712km across five states in 10 days. As far as father-son bonding goes, this was the trip of a lifetime!
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