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Old 30th December 2011, 09:32   #16
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Incredible travelogue. Great beginning to the thread. Without doubt you will inspire many more to do these trips. Voted 5 stars.
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Old 30th December 2011, 19:19   #17
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What a way to sign off this year! You possess something extraordinary to pull this off. It takes a lot of courage and stamina. Kudos to you to drive for 13K odd kms. You're an inspiration to me and many, sirji. Take a bow.

The Scorp, time and again proves what its capable of doing. 3 cheers to you and your family. I'm sure your kids must have had the time of their life.

Just out of curiosity - How did you manage 33 days of leave?

Definitely a 5*
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Old 30th December 2011, 22:50   #18
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Does 'S' stand for "Shiva" or "Sainik"?

Awesome travelogue! It is mind blowing.

My wife has one question: Where do you work? How did you manage to get so much leave to go on a trip like this?
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Old 1st January 2012, 14:51   #19
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Hi,

Many of you are asking how he managed so many leaves for these trips. My guess is that he is Self Employed and don't have to ask anyone for leaves. Am I right Sir?
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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:41   #20
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Boss, you seem to be hell bent on having my employers sack me, the last travelogue of 2010, made me jealous and skipped office for 2 weeks, recently skipped office to do Sringeri, Srisailam and Mantralayam. Now this travelogue is already created a furore at home, with elders calling you as bad influence on an innocent son & son-in-law

I am not sure if my employers come to know of the reason for my long absence is due to Team-BHP - The Definitive Indian Car Community - Portal, they are sure to ban use of it in office hours, but atleast at home would not be able to browse in front of parents, sacrilege!!!!. Planning a sabbatical to explore India in the next 1-2 years.

Is it something to do with Scorpio owners, like HVK, Fauji and yourself ???????

Amazing start to travelogue, planning to touch Kanyakumari end of Jan, convert the Republic Day to a long weekend and run, am not keen to do Kerala, as heard the roads very narrow and local buses drive pretty fast and furious, no offence meant to fellow Keralites, but hearsay.

Once again, it is amazing deserve a standing ovation.

HVK,Fauji and Yourself: Please help me plan Bangalore - Nashik -Somanth - MP, want to do some Jyothirling tour and add Gir to it, in October 2012.

Last edited by Rajesh1968 : 2nd January 2012 at 12:44.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 13:24   #21
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh1968 View Post
Planning a sabbatical to explore India in the next 1-2 years.

Is it something to do with Scorpio owners, like HVK, Fauji and yourself ???????
Each year, even if you take 10 days off, you can see most of India with some good planning


Quote:
HVK,Fauji and Yourself: Please help me plan Bangalore - Nashik -Somanth - MP, want to do some Jyothirling tour and add Gir to it, in October 2012.
Ah ha, this is exactly the plan I put together for someone last summer. Here is that plan:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...GhsV1F3QXBQcHc

Bangalore-Bombay-Ghodbunder-Dakor-Ahmedabad-Somnath-Sasan Gir-Dwaraka-Ambaji-Mt Abu-Udaipur-Nathdwara-Pushkar-Ujjain-Omkareshwar-Aundha-Nagnath-Nanded-Basara-Hyderabad-Ananthapur-Bangalore
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Old 2nd January 2012, 14:01   #22
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Awesome, that's great. Thanks a lot, will comeback to you when I start putting things together.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 15:08   #23
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Roaming Rao

You had already inspired me with your GQ travelouge last year and this year with start of S2S
Probably will need to sell my city and buy an SUV
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Old 3rd January 2012, 11:42   #24
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

incredible indeed! hats off to you and your family. Happy to start the year with such a great travelogue and I'm sure this will inspire many more like me to attempt GQs.

Liked the moonlight shot you got at Kanyakumari. Brilliant shot

Stones??
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Old 4th January 2012, 02:24   #25
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Wishing the very best of health, wealth and happiness to all in 2012 !


Wow ! We were'nt aware of so many 'S's surrounding us during our drive..

Sainik, Sikh, Sikhara, Sarhad, Sarovar.. definitely adds to our tryst with S !

But sirs, unlike Sand, Salt and Snow, we could'nt have held these in our hands !


This clue may be give away - The colour of this 'S' inspired noted filmmaker Satyajit Ray to make a film in the 70s.



Members, I would intersperse questions like the one asked to make this travelogue a sort of 'know our country' blog - not because we know the answers, but to share what we have learnt - in an interesting way. Also, please feel free to share any information / uniqueness of the places visited in this travelogue. I hope this is accepted / taken well !




Quote:
Originally Posted by tht'snotME View Post
Kurunchi or Kurunji is a rare flower which blossoms once in 12 years
Thanks for sharing ! Learnt why Nilgiris got its name - Neelakurinji flowers !
thanks again.



Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
You're an inspiration to me and many
No AM, Its the other way around !! Your travelogue was an inspiration for us.

Three cheers to you for that adventurous drive to ladakh. !!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Awesome travelogue! It is mind blowing.
Thank you Vasanth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
Just out of curiosity - How did you manage 33 days of leave?
Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
How did you manage to get so much leave to go on a trip like this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sami316 View Post
My guess is that he is Self Employed and don't have to ask anyone for leaves. Am I right Sir?
Yes Sami316, you are right !

Aviorp and vasanth, the opening lines of this travelogue says it all. The entire 33 days was split into two - 11 days in May and 22 days in October. I could manage with work on the move in May. In October, 22 days was in between ayudha pooja and Deepavali holidays.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh1968 View Post
already created a furore at home, with elders calling you as bad influence on an innocent son & son-in-law
recommend sanga dosha parihaara homa


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh1968 View Post
Please help me plan Bangalore - Nashik -Somanth - MP, want to do some Jyothirling tour and add Gir to it, in October 2012.
You've got a tailor made itinerary from Hvk. Last year, you had 9 months to prepare / take leave. This year, its 10 months !


Quote:
Originally Posted by mm403 View Post
You had already inspired me with your GQ travelouge last year and this year with start of S2S
Thank you mm403. We hope your dreams come true.
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Old 5th January 2012, 23:51   #26
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by sv1976 View Post
Stones??
How did i miss this ? sv, you are close ! could you please prefix a 'S' word to this stone to make it look like gold ?


--------



Day 2, May 19, 2011

Kanyakumari - Suchindram - Nagercoil - Padmanabhapuram Palace - Kovalam Beach - Thiruvananthapuram - Varkala, 184 kms





We rush to the terrace of our hotel at 530am and see this

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The eastern horizon promises a spectacle

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The rapidly changing hues of the sky seem to say something - make way, make way !

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The tiny stars go to sleep !

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Shunting out darkness

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Yes ! I'm here ! can't you see me ?

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Celestial wonder !

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Basking in the glory of the first rays of the Sun !

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Turning the sky into gold

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A new day !

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Watching this spectacle is nothing short of mesmerising. A glorious sunrise !



Having worked all night long, the moon deserves a break, fades away and slips into the western horizon

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We check out of the hotel ( Hotel Tri Sea, Light house road, 04652 246586, 2+1 bed - Rs.1000, spacious rooms and parking ) and
head straight to the jetty for a ferry ride to Swami Vivekananda memorial rock. We're shocked when we see a 1km long queue to board the ferry. At 7am !
On hearing that it would take atleast an hour just to get to the dock, we decide against the ride and instead walk towards the cape.





Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Mandapam. Some windows on roof are designed in such a way that on October 2nd, sun rays fall on the place where his
ashes were kept on 12th February 1949, before immersion in the triveni sangam of the seas.

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Kamarajar Memorial. A very renowned statesman and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

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Cape Camorin - the tip of peninsular India !

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Before driving out of Kanyakumari, we drive on the long beach road looking for photo opportunities - at the start of our quest


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Sunset point

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Chhota Bheem too wants a snap - solo ! and we oblige ! He says he is northward bound and wants to ascend the Himalayas. He poses, full of bubbly enthusiasm and power !

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On NH 47 towards Nagercoil

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Approaching Suchindram - narrow bridge across Palayar river.

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Gopuram of Arulmigu Sthanumalayar temple at Suchindram

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The temple theertham

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A 1300 year old temple dedicated to the unified lords - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva embodied in a single idol and worshipped as Lord Sthanumalayar.

The first legend has it how Sage Narada spoiled Lord Thanulamayar's desire to marry Devi, who had taken ( unmarried ) Kanni form to kill demon Banasuran. Kanni remained as Kumari !

The second legend says how Anusuya, wife of Atri Maharishi proved her devotion to her husband. It is also a legend how Indra / Devendra was purified here by passing through boiling ghee.

So, Suchi ( purity ) : Indran : the place where Indran was purified.

Testing ones chastity / purity continued here in the late 17th and early
18th century in a ceremony called 'Kaimukkal' by Namboothiris - dipping the hand inside boiling ghee to prove innocence until it was banned.


The temple complex is huge, housing around 30 smaller shrines inside the complex. Ancient intricate architecture is found lining all the long corridors around the main sanctum.

Apart from Lord Sthanumalayar's idol, the crowded shrines were of Vinayagar, Dakshina moorthy and outside the alankara mandapam - the extremely attractive and tall, gigantic Hanuman ji in 'vishwaroopam' form - folded hands - as if in front of Sita devi.


The temple is said to be unique in a way that here, a Hindu can find all the Gods he should worship.





7 kms north, we enter the extremely confusing Nagercoil town. After numerous bottlenecks, traffic jams, left, right and U turns ! we ask and find our way to Arulmigu Nagaraja Koil. The town is named after the temple.

Its already noon and closing time, we request for a quick darshan. The sanctum of the five headed serpent deity is unique - it is not fortified with stone walls, rather with dried coconut tree leaves.

The prasadam offered too is sand - from inside the sanctum. Lord Nagaraja is flanked by Krishna in the adjacent shrine - Lord Ananthakrishna.

All the priests follow us to close the temple !





Tonic for the humidity levels in the region

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Past a large lake and this aqueduct, boards direct us into the Udayagiri fort and in front of Padmanabhapuram Palace.


Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-sagar-se-shikhar-tak-366.jpg


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Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-sagar-se-shikhar-tak-403.jpg
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Old 7th January 2012, 05:02   #27
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We are in Padmanabhapuram palace - earlier known as Kalkulam Palace - the centre of power of the princely state of Travancore ( English version of Thiruvithamcode which in turn means region of prosperity ). Descendents of the ancient Chera dynasty.

Though the first palace and the mud fort here is traced to the year 1300, it was only during the reign of Maharaja Marthanda Varma in the 1740s that the present fort and palace were built. He is known as the maker of modern Travancore. He and his successors ruled Travancore from here until the seat of power was shifted to present Thiruvananthapuram.

In 1750s he dedicated the entire kingdom to their deity Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy. This meant that he, as King and his family become the servants of the lord and ruled the state in the name of Lord Padmanabhaswamy as sacred trustees. All property, assets and wealth belonged to the Lord. Hence, "God's own country"

It was also natural for this palace to be renamed - Padmanabhapuram Palace.


The complex houses 14 palaces and 127 royal rooms built in a way to suit the climate in the region - wooden walls, carved ceilings and pillars, stone
pillars and statues. Though not as grand as palaces in rajasthan, this has a charm of its own.



Lets go inside


The main entrance to the palace

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-1.jpg




We enter the Kings council chambers, Poomukham. The wood ceiling is adorned with delicately carved flowers

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-2.jpg




Furniture gifted by chinese and Dutch merchants

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-3.jpg




We climb a narrow wooden stair and enter the Mantrasala - to seat the King and his council of ministers, Colourful mica decked windows and slanted wooden slats for adequate breeze.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-4.jpg



Climbing down to another part of the palace, we enter the large Oottuputa - dining hall to accommodate atleast 1000 people at a time during festive occasions. Wooden beams as long as 30 feet supports the massive hall !

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-5.jpg





The next building houses the Thai Kottaram - the mother of all palaces which has very intricate wood carvings and ceiling

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-6.jpg

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-7.jpg





Thai Kottaram is the oldest of the palaces here.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-8.jpg





Ornamental bedstead made of 64 different kinds of medicinal and herbal woods ! Healer to the user !

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-9.jpg





Said to be gifted by Dutch merchants.

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Wooden slats of a different design to facilitate cool vetilation

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-11.jpg





Looking below at the Navarathri Mandapam ( hall of performaces ) from the higher windows of Thai Kottaram.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-12.jpg





Maharaja Martanda Varma's successor, Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma, who ruled till 1798. Dharma Raja because he actively practiced dharma shastra - providing asylum to thousands of people during the military onslaught of Tipu Sultan.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-14.jpg




At the armoury.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-15.jpg

Notice the black shining floor throughout the palace - laterite, lime and river sand, egg white, charcoal and burnt coconut shells. Ok, laterite for strength, black to absorb heat, lime for bonding and egg white for shine ? fantastic !!!






Indra Vilasom - for the foreign guests, in European style !

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Pathway from one palace to another

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We are at the Navarathri mandapam. The only hall constructed of stone in the entire complex. The dance floor has been polished to super shine and is called kannadithara - mirror floor. In Kannada also, kannadi thara / taraha means mirror like !! Similarities ?

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-18.jpg




This chamber meant for the royal family, could see the dance performances but not seen ! called kilivathil.

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We come out of the palace and look back at the imposing hills of western ghats.

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For close to two hours, we were lost in Travancore ! An island of Kerala in Tamil Nadu.




Outside the palace gate, we walk towards our car and then we see this shop. wow !
How can you resist going into a shop selling sharbath made of palm fruit on a hot summer afternoon ? ( taati nungu, tadgola ). We drench ourselves with it !






on NH47, Art of cement !

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3pm, we enter God's Own Country. And after our briefing at the palace, GOC has more meaning !

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-22.jpg





Kovalam kalling !

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-23.jpg





We overshoot the left turn at Balaramapuram towards Kovalam beach and struggle to take a U turn for 20 minutes on the busy highway. Later, we again overshoot the left turn before Leela hotel and end up on the rocky north beach. This time we ask the way to the main beach, drive to the edge and view the frolic of sea.

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-24.jpg


I was a kid when Kovalam was known to be the most sought after tourist destination in South India. I now wonder, is that this beach ?
Hippy or no hippy, we are heppy to turn back !!

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-25.jpg





8 kms north, we make no mistake and take the right diversion from the highway and drive straight to KSRTC parking lot, Fort, Thiruvananthapuram.





I was busy trying to divert my wife's attention to beautiful offices on the other side of the road.

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Maharaja Swati Tirunal sangeetha sabha. Centre for cultural activities in
the city ? most befitting !

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-27.jpg





Walking past the huge Padmatheertham , we enter Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and are made to sit in the huge mandapam opposite the sanctum. 7pm sharp, with blowing of conches and beating of chenda / chhende / drums, we witness the celestial arathi of the lord. He is barely visible from a single door of the sanctum, so we climb down from the mandapam and walk across the steps to the sanctum - having darshan from all the three doors. We follow with darshan of Sri Yoga narasimha and Sri Krishna within the massive precincts of the temple.


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Roadside cartwala hot Nendra banana chips - the best we have tasted anywhere !

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Not to leave without a quick glimpse of the city, we drive to the Kowdiar park area, appreciate the posh area, drive back and leave the city after we join the highway near the airport.

Past Attingal, we divert left at Kallambalam and reach the helipad at Varkala cliff. 10pm.


Hotel Sanctum Spring. Helipad, Varkala. No occupancy at all. Rs.3000 room for Rs.1200. 0470 2606993, www.sanctumspring.com





Next morning, did not expect this ! What does this signify ?

Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-31.jpg
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Old 7th January 2012, 09:38   #28
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

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I was a kid when Kovalam was known to be the most sought after tourist destination in South India. I now wonder, is that this beach ?
Hippy or no hippy, we are heppy to turn back !!
Very true. The entire charm that it had once is all lost. Now its just another seashore!!

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Next morning, did not expect this ! What does this signify ?
Did you get a hartal(a form of "bandh") - that too a surprise one?
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Old 7th January 2012, 10:18   #29
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

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Did you get a hartal(a form of "bandh") - that too a surprise one?
Yes laluks ! a 'sudden' hartal after a fuel price increase. From Varkala to Fort Kochi, hardly 10 cars drove past us. We were lucky to have filled diesel in TVM the previous day.

Thanks for posting here and a very happy new year to you and family. Looking forward to more travelogues from you this year too !
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Old 7th January 2012, 10:42   #30
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

@roamingrao Ashok sir - wonderful travelogue, superb narration and awesome pictures, hats off to you

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience, I think you should be a brand ambassador for the 'Incredible India' tourism campaign !
When I started posting my travelogue for Bangalore-Madurai-Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram last week I saw this lovely travelogue also covering some of the same places and I knew you'd cover with lot of detail and facts so I decided to focus on the route, travel experience, etc and leave the rest to the master
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