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Old 5th March 2012, 21:42   #76
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

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We are on Day 9 of our drive from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and have just come out of Tarkarli beach in Malvan, coastal Maharashtra.
Destination Mumbai, but not before visiting some temples and beaches on the way...

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The road to Kasal, to rejoin NH17

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A crowded Kasal market. Thursday, today, may be a 'fair' day. Trading fresh vegetables from around the town.
We also find fresh cashew apples - tempting, but dislike the aftermath cleaning of the juice stains.

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The joy of driving on NH17 !

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But cautious enough to drive on the notorious curvy stretch near Rajapur.








A small crowd in front of a roadside cart opposite MSRTC depot at Pali, near Ratnagiri.

Why ?

Vada pav !! Hot and fresh !

As we relish the slightly spicy vada pav, the ' chef ' impresses us more. Holding a potato - saab, the aalu ( potato ) is from Indore, we use the softest pav from Ratnagiri and use only branded refined oil. Hey, he is selling hard !

He succeeds. He assures that a freshly packed vada pav could be consumed even after six hours. So, dinner is packed !

packed some gyan also - we come to know that the best aalus are from Indore !

The cart opposite Mithibai college has some serious contender !



The junction opposite the cart. From here, NH204 to Kolhapur.

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Mango orchards all along the highway near Ratnagiri

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Diversion to Ratnagiri

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4 kms later, Nivili Phata.

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We turn left. Ganpatipule !

Heavy rains lash the entire 33 km stretch to the temple town. Mango showers ?

We park Chota bheem at the MTDC resort and walk to the temple.

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A unique temple. The sanctum inside a small temple houses the torso and feet of Lord Ganpati, whereas the head and the trunk is found atop a small hill behind the sanctum. So, the entire hill denotes the idol of Ganesh. A swayambhu idol ( self originating or naturally manifested ) facing the sea.

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We walk on the parikrama to complete the circumambulation

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On the shikhar ( peak ), the swayambhu head and trunk of lord Ganesh

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As we walk back down on the other side, the hill offers a panoramic view of the sea. Really pleasant, the rain clouds have blocked the sun !

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The priest asks us if we have completed the parikrama and conducts a small pooja. We are satiated !

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A gate for Lord Ganpati ! Does he stroll on the beach ?

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MTDC, Ganpatipule

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Cottages amidst well manicured lawns and gardens

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Tarang, a spacious, clean restaurant

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We walk through the property and view the beach from the lofty cottages. There are steps going down to the beach

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'Konkani huts' of the resort

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Family cottages as seen from the beach - a house in itself - 3 spacious rooms, kitchen, veranda and a small private lawn.
Wanna stay here ? www.maharashtratourism.gov.in

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A charming beach, overlooked by the lord himself !

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Coming up - a 'flashback' drive on the MSH4 from Ganpatipule to Rajapur, which we did in 2009. Aarey varey road !

Bus yun gaya aur yun aaya !

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Old 6th March 2012, 03:41   #77
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

As we drive out of Ganpatipule, we recall some nostalgic moments from the year 2009, when we stayed at the MTDC resort for a day.

We had come here by chance. How ?


Flashback starts - read in sepia !

Shirdi and Shri Shani Shingnapur is on our yearly calender since 2006. Invariably, Mumbai and Pune also come into the picture. So, each year, we set out to explore various places around these two mega cities - Asta vinayak circuit, Forts and dams around Satara, Lakes around Pune, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, Alibag, around Nashik, Ajanta, Ellora, Lonar, Tuljapur, Pandharpur....

In October 2009, after darshan, we wish to revisit Mahabaleshwar and then head back to Bangalore via Satara and Kolhapur. We book rooms at MTDC Mahabaleshwar. Bad decision - we should've known how this hill station behaves in October. Imagine our plight as we ascend the ghats after Wai. Visibility - minus one !!!

Not to stay a minute further, we request the Manager at MTDC to cancel the booking or transfer our stay to any other resort within drivable distance. He advises us to go to Ganpatipule. Its a different story how we manage to drive down the 35 kms to Poladpur in full fog.....after dusk ! and reach Ganapatipule at midnight !

Anyway, after a days' stay, how do we plan to drive back to Bangalore ? through Goa !!



That's when we first hear of MSH4. Lets go !

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Before that, I need to mention ! We missed Chota bheem then. Rather, he missed us !!







Aarey Varey stretch - the road from Ganpatipule to Ratnagiri


Around Varey beach

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Aarey Varey bridge

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Aarey beach

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After driving through Ratnagiri town, we continue on MSH4 towards Rajapur


Outskirts of Ratnagiri, this resort demands Rs.250 as entry fees for a car ! for what ? viewing the Arabian sea ? Yes, he owns the sea !!

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We find the vacant land next to the resort - with better views !

Bhatye beach !! in all its glory !!

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20km further, we have darshan of Swami Swaroopanand Samadhi at Pawas. In the queue, locals suggest us to visit Ganeshgule beach.

2 kms from Pawas, Ganeshgule village is confusing - we do not find the road to the beach. Villagers help us when we realise that there is no road beyond the village. This elderly villager takes us through the lanes of the village and shows the path to the beach.

We have not seen any beach so remote !!

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A dense outgrowth of casuarinas hides this beach

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Emerging from the outgrowth, Paradise !

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Back on the road, Purnagad bridge. An old fort town.

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Behind this wall of casuarinas, Gavkhadi beach

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Ah, now better !

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MSH4 deviates after Adivre and we proceed on this road to Rajapur

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We would rate this road as the most scenic coastal stretch in India. Just a notch above Vishakapatnam - Bheemunipatnam road.

any other contenders ?



End of flashback !!





Where were we ?

Oh, ok, driving from Ganpatipule to Harihareshwar....

Last edited by roamingrao : 6th March 2012 at 03:54.
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Old 9th March 2012, 01:52   #78
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

At Ganapatipule, we enquire if we could take the coastal state highway ( MSH4 ) to reach Harihareshwar. The answer is yes, but the manager at the resort doubts if we can make it to Bankot before dusk for the last ferry. There are four ferry crossings, he says, the road is not so good and with rains all over the coast, he advises us not to take the risk of driving after dusk. We heed and return to NH17.


Its always a pleasure to drive on NH17. Rivers snaking along the highway with occasional bridges over them, smooth roads, not much traffic, except on gradients where trucks struggle to keep up speed and of course, the konkan railway playing hide and seek with the highway.


approaching Sangameshwar

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The diversion to Devrukh and a cave temple of Shiva at Marleshwar

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The railway line from Mumbai to Mangalore, aptly named Konkan railway.
We've heard that there is no fifteen minutes without crossing a river bridge or passing through a tunnel. Truly an engineering marvel.

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Pretty names for a town and a river - Chiplun and Vashishti

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As we ascend the Parashuram ghats after Chiplun, Vashisti bestows a spectacular view as she meanders through the rugged Konkan countryside. We stop for a while to enjoy the beautiful sight !

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Little do we know that slightly further, we could also enjoy a hot cup of coffee amidst lush greenery and panoramic view of the ghats.

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Had we taken the MSH4, we could have enjoyed today's sunset also on a beach ! But no, this sunset is one for the road !

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7pm, its dark in Khed. Poladpur and Mahad see us through in quick succession as we look for the diversion to Harihareshwar after Mahad.
Diesel filling attendants at Mahad have told us not to take the diversion at Lonere to Mhasala, instead to go to Mangaon and then turn left. But policemen at Mangaon junction ask - why Harihareshwar at this time ? Stay here and leave tommorow morning, the road to Mhasala is very soona ( desolate )

Mangaon does not boast of any hotels - there are only lodges here. We see Maharaja Lodge. We drive in, its crowded. Atleast, there is parking here !

The manager is in the bar, the security guard says

I walk in.

There he is - dispensing hic ! water and looks at me - Kya hona ?

Chubby Idagunji ganesha stands behind him. smiling at me !

Wow Ganesha, what a place to stand !

Room unta ?

He breaks into a big smile, comes out of the counter, holds my hand and walks out - illi sari illa ( its not good here ). I know what he meant.

He calls the owner of an another lodge and bids us goodbye



A brand new hotel on Nijampur road, Hotel Madhushanti Lodge, Mangaon. 02140 263180 /81/83. Excellent AC room for Rs.1000 is what we get. Safe and secure parking too.

Dinner ? The packed Vada pav was consumed at Mahad ! Vada pav day !









Day 10, Mangaon - Harihareshwar - Diveagar - Mangaon - Mumbai, 315 kms

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On our way to Hariharareshwar at sunrise

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Savithri meets the sea at Harihareshwar, like other rivers in this region, bringing in loads of minerals and coating all the beaches in the region with black sand

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A MTDC resort here too ? lets check it out, atleast for a poha !

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MTDC Harihareshwar.

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Konkani Huts, as we walk towards the restaurant.

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The path opens up to a bay.

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Further down, dining huts with a view !

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Gudiya and Titli had to stand in the kitchen to get Poha after 30 minutes !








Driving back, we follow a ST bus with the board 'Dakshin Kashi'.

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Yes, this temple is called by that name. We walk along a long line of shops and enter the 16th century temple. A priest instructs that it is custom to have darshan of Kalbhairava and Yogeshwari first and then come back. The main deity Harihareshwar is manifestation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva into three identical lingas on a stone platform well below the ground level ( as in Triambakeshwar, near Nashik ). We offer flowers, sit and meditate for a while and return.

We have heard about the famous parikrama ( circumambulation) around this temple - climb onto a hill, step down on the other side and walk on the rocky shore before returning from the northern end of the hill. As we start to climb the first flight of steps, a family is returning after attempting to do the parikrama. They advice us not to go - its high tide, rained the previous evening making the steps very slippery. We miss the rocky view of the parikrama.








Harihareshwar beach. The black sands stand out ! No, its not dirty - its just the colour of the sand - laden with minerals.

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Dodging mining trucks on the steep and narrow roads from Shrivardhan, we look to visit the most famous beach in this area - Diveagar

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A fabulous beach - vast, flat and clean...

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An evening here would be breathtaking...

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What's surprising is, there are no big hotels in the village. Almost all houses have converted themselves to a sort of 'home stay'. A family beach !









We drive to Dighi and .... MSH4 ditches us again - the ferry to Murud and Janjira does not allow cars. We frown.

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As we drive back to Mhsala and Mangaon, we realise that two days is insufficient to take up a drive on MSH4 and yet visit all the places of interest. Four days sounds feasible to be gifted with all that the state highway offers ! Do we bookmark this ? Yes, certainly !!

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Back in Mangaon, we weigh options if we should drive back to Murud and continue to Alibag - a huge detour after returning from Diveagar.
A tough decision - if we decide to go in, we could visit the forts and drive on the fabulous road along Kashid coast. But can we make it to Mumbai before evening ?

Four of us are split 50:50, so we ask chota bheem...

??

He wants to continue on NH17 !

He says, you anyway want to come back to drive on MSH4, so now lets meet Mumbai.

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A hot summer afternoon coupled with irritating traffic from Nagothane to Pen and all the way to Panvel. Kamath Residency at Nagothane was the only oasis we could get on the highway to quench our thirst.








4pm, Navi Mumbai. After we are joined by the expressway from Pune, the camera goes in... mission accomplished !

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Reason ? Phase 2, we continue from here !






We have appointments in Mumbai, lots of them ! Only that all appointments are related to food ! Our first stop is at Sadguru, Chembur for their heavenly chats ( we thank god for the municipal parking opposite the restaurant ! ). We found this restaurant during our stay at Hotel Pearl five years back and have been regulars since. Speak in Tulu for an extra smile !! Fruit juices near Haji Ali is next, Sabudana vada after darshan at Siddi vinayak temple, and stuff the remaining space in our tummy with a mandatory vada pav at a cart opposite Mithibai college before crashing at our relatives place in Malad. No, not for the night, we are back on our way to Bangalore just before midnight, after dinner !!

We speak to Hv kumar. He is in Delhi and suggests us to meet another senior member here, Khoj, who calls us almost immediately. We meet him in Vashi. Sir, Thank you for coming out to meet us at that hour. An oddest hour TBHP meet ??

As we leave, he warns us about the slow traffic up the expressway past midnight. Yes sir, we could only inch forward for almost two hours and drive past Pune only at 4am ! A long power nap of two hours outside Hotel Nataraj.



6pm, we are at home in Bangalore, just in time to watch Chennai super kings lift the IPL4 cup. We feel victorious too - after a 10 day drive on the coast !

Cost consolidations follow. We've spent Rs.42135.00 for the 11 day drive ( 14935.00 for diesel, 10250.00 for room / stay, 13237.00 for food and beverages and 3713.00 for misc / tickets / toll / shopping... ) But, memories of experiencing ten glorious sunsets on the coast and having the Arabian sea for company on all the days.... priceless !!!


We've learnt lessons too - by embarking on a drive without hotel booking. With a family, has its pluses and minuses. Pluses are more ! So, its a hit and we plan to continue that way on phase 2 of our drive.

Another impeccable performance, as always, by Chota bheem !





Fast forward to October 2011...

Preparations at home and factory apart, we wait for Gudiya and Titli to write their mid term examinations and at 2pm on October 1st, 2011, the last day of their exams, wait for them to jump into the car directly at the school gate !


Tatte idly for lunch at Pavithra refreshments, Kyatsandra, Tumkur byepass and soon, chasing the sun at Chitradurga

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We skip Belgaum for dinner and instead have a refreshing wash at MCD Kolhapur. Its midnight.

Kailash Kher and Neeraj Sridhar tear their vocal cords as we drive into the night ....


3am - Katraj, Pune and two hours later, Mumbai, we're back !!
We turn right onto NH8 at Bandra, Mumbai and drive to Hotel Fountain at Godbunder to catch up some sleep...


Next morning, we continue from where we left - on our 'Saagar se Shikhar tak' drive...




Sorry for a long post. And yes, Thanks for reading !!!


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Old 9th March 2012, 16:04   #79
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
At Ganapatipule, we enquire if we could take the coastal state highway ( MSH4 ) to reach Harihareshwar. The answer is yes, but the manager at the resort doubts if we can make it to Bankot before dusk for the last ferry. There are four ferry crossings, he says, the road is not so good and with rains all over the coast, he advises us not to take the risk of driving after dusk. We heed and return to NH17.
That is not true.
Starting at 6 am from Bankot, there is a ferry every hour till 10 pm.
But yes, the approach to Bankot has some terrible roads, but nothing Chhota Bheem cannot handle.
No safety issues after dark

Quote:
But policemen at Mangaon junction ask - why Harihareshwar at this time ? Stay here and leave tommorow morning, the road to Mhasala is very soona ( desolate )
Some people think everyone else should think like them! I have not heard of any safety issue son this route. I have myself driven on the Managon-Harihareshwar road at midnight, and the cops have stopped me near Mhasla just to check because the RDX that was used in the '92 Bombay blasts came on this road via Dighi


Quote:
Dodging mining trucks on the steep and narrow roads from Shrivardhan, we look to visit the most famous beach in this area - Diveagar
I think you missed the scenic sea route. There are 2 routes from Srivardhan to Divegar. One goes through town and runs right on the coast offering some fabulous sea views to Diveagar. If you take the Srivardhan bypass, the other road goes along the hill side interior, looks like that is the one you took.

Quote:
We drive to Dighi and .... MSH4 ditches us again - the ferry to Murud and Janjira does not allow cars. We frown.
Yes, that ferry takes only mobikes. But you can take a coastal route via Mhasla to Murud-Janjira without returning to NH17.

Quote:
As we drive back to Mhsala and Mangaon, we realise that two days is insufficient to take up a drive on MSH4 and yet visit all the places of interest. Four days sounds feasible to be gifted with all that the state highway offers ! Do we bookmark this ? Yes, certainly !!
MSH4 requires at least 3-4 days if you have to do justice to the beaches & temples en route. Each village on that route has a story to tell.
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Old 12th March 2012, 01:12   #80
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Roamingrao,

Sir I have only read till Athirapilly falls part on this incredible journey.

Appreciate you & your family's energy & enthusiasm to undertake such a mega driving holiday and my hats off to you all

And thank you for visiting Fort Cochin and posting those pics here. I'm from Fort Cochin and is a parishioner of the Santa Cruz Basilica that you all visited. My house is just 500 mtrs from the Church

My 5 stars added.

NB: A minor correction regarding the oldest Church. It was actually the St. Francis Church which was constructed 1st in 1503 by the Portuguese and our Santa Cruz Basilica was constructed 2 years later in 1505. The St. Francis Church is actually the oldest European Church in India.
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Old 12th March 2012, 14:27   #81
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Hi roamingrao. I've been reading this thread and waiting for updates. Appreciate your effort. This one has just about enough Pics and a compelling and fun to read write up.

Waiting for the Shikhar part
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Old 12th March 2012, 18:16   #82
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Whew. Amazing log. And the pics of Ganapatipule brought memories of a crazy drive I had (kolhapur - Ganapatipule - chiplun - Raigad fort - deep jungles with raging forest fires - chiplun - mahad - some crazy drive - waranda ghat - pune). Also looking at your Harihareshwar pics, I could feel the pain in my leg in another crazy drive!

Waiting eagerly for the shikhar part now! Great going.
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Old 13th March 2012, 12:14   #83
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Dear Roaming,

Both the pictorial as well the written word of this T-Log is like a canvass of Art that is an explanation in itself as to the adventure, spirit and joy garnered by your fantastic journey. Its a template which many on BHP will try and replicate but without those "two" (your daughters-pioneers and inspiration behind Daddy.
Thank you for some wonderful reading.
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Old 13th March 2012, 17:29   #84
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

RoamingRao,

You and your family are a true inspiration.
Embarking upon such a long journey that spans the entire length of our country is no small feat in itself. To add to that, you also have your whole family along with you.
I would also like to mention that your daughters must be really glad that they are able to see India beyond their Geography and History books. India's geographic expanse and diversity, its people, different states, different cultures and cuisines, unique flora and fauna . . . its the best that you could do to instill within them a sense of Love, belonging and respect for our motherland. They would cherish this drive for their entire life . . .
Voted my 5 stars for all you 5 stars (you and your family + chhota bheem)

Best Regards,
Kaustav
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Old 29th April 2013, 15:34   #85
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Smile Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

roamingrao sir, More than a year has passed since the last update to "'Saagar se Shikhar tak" Travelogue. You treated us to a very engaging travel through MSH4 and then set off towards the Shikhar. do continue this Travelogue as it deserves to be completed.
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Old 10th February 2014, 11:09   #86
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Rao sir. I happened to see this thread only now. Did I miss the Phase2 travelogue, is it in separate thread?
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