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Old 17th January 2016, 00:35   #16
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Default re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

Day 13, 21-January-2015: Kutch

Since we had included Chahri Dandh Wetland sanctuary just a day back, we decided to leave very early in the morning. By 6:30 we were driving already.

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Good Morning

Within an hour, we had reached the sanctuary.
We could hear calls of lots of cranes but could hardly see any. We went on following the sound.

But at a particular point the road was over!
There was only a path with a few tyre marks. There were no people at sight.
I took out my phone and searched for the sanctuary and it showed me a building around 1 km ahead of where we were.
So I held the phone so that the compass pointed in that direction.
Looking at a suitable spot, I got off the road into what was a lake bed.

The tyre pressure was low but since the terrain was not very good…we had not filled up.
That decision really helped us here since the road was really rough and there were lot of thorny plants in the path.

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Thorny path

Following the compass, we finally reached the building.
The board read that it belonged to the forest department.
When I got down, I saw that the gates were locked. However I saw a motorbike inside.
So we called out and also sounded the horn. This made one person to come out.

We spoke to him and understand that it was the forest department building and used as a lodging place by visitors- mainly hardcore bird photographers.
I enquired him in which direction we should go and he gave some pointers.
He also gave us a brochure with details of the birds that could be seen. It was short but informative.

I then asked him if there is any option for breakfast. He told that he could prepare some parathas and Omlettes for us but would be ready by 10 PM. That was just perfect for us.

With that we went in search of cranes. The entire area was echoing with the bird calls.
Slowly we saw some birds flying. At the horizon we could see a line of birds standing.
Even as we moved forward we didn't seem to go close to them.

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Sarus Cranes

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My favourite photo

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Low Pressure, low risk

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One for the Pose

The tyre marks started vanishing and the surface got rougher. So I stopped the car and got down.

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Rough road ahead!


As we got out, the bird calls were coming from everywhere.
This is when we understood that the birds were moving away as they saw the car.
Also because of the rough surface, the tyres were making lot of noise which had scared the birds.
We learnt later that cranes are shy birds.

So both of us took our cameras and walked in different directions so that the birds do not get scared.
We saw huge number of cranes everywhere and it was just amazing. On foot although we got closer, the birds still were too far for good close up snaps with our lenses.

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Strength in Numbers

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We spoilt their sleep

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Awesome threesome

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More and more

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They were just everywhere!

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V-couple

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Side view

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The closest I got with my 140mm lens

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They were here

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Footprint close up

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Flying away!

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Feather touch

If we took 10 snaps of the cranes, we took 2 times of that of ourselves and the car Sharing a few of those here

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'Punto' means 'Point' in Italian!

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Poster material

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Look at that dust

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One last photo

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Oh god! Hemanth, Take my photo too na

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Moon walk!

We spend a good two hours and at 10, we came back to the car.
The land area here is so large that our brains couldn't figure out which direction we had to go to reach the forest department building.
Only with the Phone, we could figure out the direction and it was 10:30 when we reached the place.

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Hopefully we are going in the right direction

As soon as we parked our car…a small female White-eared Bulbul came near the car. How did I know its a female? Let the pictures tell you

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White eared Bulbul

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Am I looking fat?

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How is my new dress looking?

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Mirror, mirror Who is this princess!

To be continued...

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 18:42.
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Old 17th January 2016, 00:48   #17
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Default re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

... Day 13 Continued

We went inside the dining hall of the building and our breakfast was prepared
There were only 3 people who were caretakers of the building it seems. We had a sumptuous breakfast while talking to them.
After a while, couple of photographers from Delhi also came in. They told us they were in the sanctuary itself for a week.
Their attire and more than that, the lenses they held just proved to me that they were deep into bird photography.

While talking to them one of the guys asked me if I was on TBHP and asked my name( he had seen the TBHP sticker on my car).
When I told them, he told me that he had read my North-south travelogue.
He was an inactive member in TBHP he told.

After our breakfast, we paid a nominal amount for the breakfast and came out.
We were now following the GPS and we set it to the white desert.

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Interesting terrain

After 15 minutes of driving through some small village roads, the asphalted road ended and a sand desert started.
GPS told that we were on the right path but there was no road ahead.

There was an old person standing there. We asked him if this was the correct way.
He told us that although it was the correct way, what lies ahead is just desert and if we go, we will get lost!
Hearing that, we were shocked and we were in splits. One second we thought we try it out and make an adventure.
The next second, we thought we will waste time unnecessarily and may get caught with the heavy 2-wheel drive vehicle.
We were undecided for more than 10 minutes.

In the end, both of us became conservative and decided we will go back and take the longer route Via Nakhatrana.
Most of this decision was because of the car.
So we came back to Nakahtrana and drove on the Nakhatrana-Devisar road.
There were ample road markings to the Kutch festival grounds.

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Gujarat Tourism

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Mirrorless reflection

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Welcome everyone

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A look at the mirror

There was a police check-post where we had to get permits for the places of visit in the area.
We went inside and gave all the details regarding our car and us.
We had to fill a form and pay a nominal fees. It was a 15 minute affair.

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Police post to obtain permits

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The permit

After that, we went till the road took us. On both sides of this road there were many stall selling handicrafts and other things.
There was a BSF check post at the end of it all. After checking our permits, they asked us to park the car and walk further.
So, we took our cameras, water bottle, our hats and started the walk.

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Accommodation at the festival grounds.

After this gate, we only saw two colours…White and Blue.
The huge expanse of land had nothing but white ground and clear blue sky. Till our vision could reach, this is what we saw.
It made us realize that two simple colours can be so beautiful.
From here on, it was only my camera clicking away to glory.

After a while we got down from the concrete road to the white ground.
As soon as we put down our feet, it felt something different, the surface under our feet started to sink.
It was like walking on a trampoline.

Basically this was because the entire area is a thick layer of salt sitting on a layer of marsh and water.
For a photo, I was sitting down for quite sometime and by the time I woke up, my pants had slightly become wet.
Mohith wanted to drive on this ground and was initially disappointed that vehicles were not allowed. But after seeing this, he understood why.
At one place, we saw that someone had dug a small hole and we could see the layers.

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Car couldn't come, key could

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Click Click

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Selfie stick

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Some respite for the camera

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Camera angry with me!

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Jump up!

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Moonwalk or Saltwalk!

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Good Boy!

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Layers!

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Salt

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Penetrating out

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Hey buddy, Wanna take a selfie?...

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No sir, I prefer a portrait

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Tiny Tiny

After an hour or so, we went back to the stalls area and had our lunch at one of the many big AC tents.

Post lunch, we drove to Kaalo Dungar-The highest point in Kutch.
The road to the top of the hill is a very narrow concrete road with just the exact width for two vehicles.
At some places we had to be careful when a vehicle from the opposite direction came in. because there was no edge protection.
At the end of it all, there is a straight steep road with parking at the end. Strictly not for a learner!
We enjoyed this part for it provided a contrast to the otherwise straight roads of Gujarat.

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Kaalo Dungar-Black Hill

The small temple on top of the hill was closed. I had heard they give food to foxes here but didn't see any of those

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Dattatreya Temple

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Offerings!

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India Bridge from behind the temple

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Salt farms

To be Continued...

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 15:09.
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Old 17th January 2016, 01:11   #18
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Default re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

... Day 13 Continued

When we go ahead, we will find a view point which gives a clear view of the entire Rann.
It was well maintained and also scenic.

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Sunset point

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Shadow play

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The total view

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Sandstorm

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The last View Point

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458Mtrs...thats half the height of Bangalore!

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Back from being extinct

We spent an hour here and then decided to go down to the India Bridge. It is almost the border of the country with Pakistan on the other side.

It took us 20 minutes to get down and reach the bridge.
There was a check post on one side with a soldier guarding the gate.
He stopped us and asked us not to take any photographs on the bridge. I asked him what’s on the other side.
He told that after crossing the bridge, obtain permits at the other end to visit a war memorial which is 10-20 kms further.
If we decide to visit that memorial, we have to go there accompanied by an army person.
If not we shall not be allowed further and should come back.

We had no intention to visit the war memorial so we just crossed the bridge to the other end.
We parked our car there, went to an army canteen there and spent some time talking to a couple of soldiers over a cup of tea.

I asked them if we could go till the border. They told that we will not be allowed beyond the war memorial and the actual border itself is around 50Kms from the memorial

After 15 minutes, we started our journey back again to the white desert.
This was because we wanted to see the sunset there.
A moonlit white desert would have been the best thing but it was close to a new moon day and hence we didn't have that opportunity.

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What do you do when you got an empty area?...

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...Go beserk!

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Fiat Duster!

By 5:30 we had reached the white desert again.

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Rann Utsav

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Reflection of the festival

At the parking lot, there were lot more cars than in the morning. Mohit drove the car to the fag end of the parking area
The ground started to turn white and we decided to go as deep as possible to get a good photo on the white salt.

I got down the car to take some photo and right in front of my eyes, I could see the car slowly sinking down.
I took one photo from every angle very quickly and asked Mohith to take back the vehicle.

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White Sunset

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White on White

After he took it back, we could see how much it had sunk in.
If it had sunk in, not only would it have become difficult to pull out the car, but the salt might have caused some invisible damage to the vehicle

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Almost Sunk

There was a small stage put up at a place and there were performers dressed in colourful dresses preparing themselves for the show.
The colourful attire on the white background was a beautiful sight.

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The Gang!

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Choras...

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...and a Chori

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Selfie everywhere

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Oh! a normal kind of photo as well

We then walked around before finally settling down to view the sunset. I finalized an ideal location and started making a time-lapse video of the sunset on my phone.
While my phone was busy making the video, Mohith was taking photos around.

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Time Lapse

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Ride to Live!

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Orange going to meet White

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Tangent

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Semicircle

After the sunset, we watched a small dance and moved to the tent city to see more shows.
But since we didn't have a lodging booking we were not allowed inside.
If I had known this, I would've made a booking there itself even if the tariff was very high.
I had not booked a tent here only because of the higher cost compared to what we had done in Bhuj.

Disappointed we moved on to the shopping area and took some handicraft items. All items seemed overpriced so we purchased very few things

Also at the BSF checkpost, we saw some weapons exhibited and spent some time looking at those.

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7.62 caliber

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Mortar

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Machine

By 9PM we went back to our car and headed back to Bhuj.
Mohith was at the wheel and he drove non stop in just a little more an hour

At the restaurant we ate some light Gujarati Food for dinner and went to our room.
I informed the receptionist that we would leave early and hence finish all the payments now itself.
He told that he would keep everything ready and we could settle it the next morning, as early as we wish.

With this, we ended the most beautiful and eventful day of the entire trip. The climax was over!

Day 13 Statistics:
From: Bhuj
To: Bhuj
Distance: 490Kms (64191-64681)
Time taken: 15hrs
Average Speed: 32.67Kmph
States: 1 (Gujarat)
Fuel filled at: Bhuj ODO 64679 at ₹ 61.68/ltr

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 15:17.
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Old 17th January 2016, 17:50   #19
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Default re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

Day 14, 22-January-2015: Bhuj to Dasada

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Early in the morning I got ready and came down to the reception at 6AM. The receptionist had kept everything ready as promised.
Since I had mistakenly booked the room for one person, and since we were allotted a double room, it was known that there would be a tariff change.
Also we had still not paid the restaurant bill and asked them to include in the final settlement. The restaurant bill was around ₹1.5K.

When I asked the final amount I needed to pay, he asked ₹800 and I was shocked.
I asked him to check again and reminded him of the restaurant bill.
He told me that it is considered as well. I asked him for the calculation.
He told me that when we booked the room, the tariff was higher and the current price had reduced.
A double room at the current price was cheaper than the single room at the time I had booked!
In reality, he had to pay me back just for the room. The restaurant bill offset that and I had to pay only ₹800.
We were happy and packed our car and left. We thought the day had started well.

However, that feeling didn't last long!
Although it was 6:30AM, because it was the western part of the country, it was still dark.
I was driving and we had hardly driven 5 Kms. The road was a 4-lane road with a median.
There was a bus going on the left most lane at around 60Kmph. I must've been doing 80-90Kmph.
I started to overtake him and crossed half of the bus. Suddenly the bus swerved to the right without any indication whatsoever!
My heart was in my mouth, I braked hard and went towards the median as much as possible.
We prepared for the worst and were ready to be crushed between the median and the bus.
Mohith screamed and came towards the centre fearing impact on his side.
But fortunately for us, I saw that there was a break in the median.
I turned further to the right. The rear right wheel scraped the median hard and the car was on the right lane of what was now a 2-lane road.
We missed touching the bus by a whisker and averted a major accident.

I pulled over to the side almost immediately. We took a breath and got down to check the damage to the car.
The wheel was scratched but luckily most of the hit was to the tyre and not the wheel.
We initially were angry at the bus driver. But once we saw the road, we understood.
The road had changed from a 4-lane median road to a 2-lane median-less road immediately with sharp edges.
There was almost no shoulder on the road and the bus driver had to take that evasive action.
Blinded by him, I was in a very bad position.
We thanked our stars for having avoided a major mishap and continued much more carefully.

By 9AM, we reached a place called Rapar and stopped over for breakfast.
It is a very small town and at the heart of it, we found a small restaurant.
We had a plate of our new favourite Fafda and some dhoklas to go along with that.
It was tasty and satisfying.
More than the food, I was surprised to see CCTV cameras in this small hotel which may been around 30x30

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Fafda and Dhokla

After Breakfast, Mohith took the driver’s seat and we drove to Dholavira-The place where Harappan civilization remains are found.
Enroute, we passed another big salt area like the White desert in the Rann festival area. We took a brief stop here for some photos

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Beautiful!

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Keepsake

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One of the oldest civilizations

In Dholavira, we directly went to the Archaeological society of India Museum which is nicely maintained and show the different items recovered from the site and facts related to them.
It is a good experience and shows us how far we as a human race have come.
The people at that time were very good in mathematics and masters in town planning it seems.

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ASI Dholavira

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Good in Metal Objects

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Terracotta bangles

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Shell Beads

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The famous hoarding

After the museum visit (which was empty by the way), we moved out to see the actual site.
It has a big citadel with water reservoirs at the outside corners. Once we entered the Citadel, we could see remains of a town that was well planned.
It seems it was the biggest port and the grandest city of its times.

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The grand Citadel

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Well planned layout

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Wells

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Good Construction

In the museum, I had read that the Dholavira is most famous for a big signboard that was hung on one of the gates.
Such a huge public sign board with some sort of symbols is supposed to be one of the firsts of mankind.
I was interested in seeing that but they had removed it and kept in safe custody because the wooden signboard was decaying it seems.

It took us close to an hour to quickly go through the different aspects of this ancient town

At 11:30AM, we started to drive out of the Museum towards A fossil museum which is the road’s end in this direction.
At noon, we reached the fossil museum. This stretch of road is not asphalted at all.
However the fossil museum itself is around 2 kms from its gate and this has concrete roads with a width of one car.
This route was manned by BSF soldiers with Guns.

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Snakey

The fossil museum itself was not much interesting to us and hence we took only 20 minutes here.
However the fact that we had come to the end of the road with 5 kms of dried sea bed with open skies till the Indo-Pak Border gives you a different feeling.

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End of the road

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Fossils

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Millions of years old

At 12:30PM, we started our drive to our next destination-The little ran of Kutch-to have a visit to the Wild Ass sanctuary.
We had to trace back the same road till Rapar.
When we came close to the ASI Museum, we found an open helipad. it gave us an opportunity for some nice photos.
After having driven 150 Kms, Mohith gave the key to me.

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Ready to fly

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Wavy

5 Kms into the drive, the car crossed 65000Kms mark. And somewhere on the way, we stopped for Lunch at one of the restaurants.
We took a Katyawadi Thali. Unknowingly it was the last Katyavadi Lunch of our trip.
It took us 45 minutes to finish and move forward.

This stretch didn't have any more events and we reached the Rann Riders resort at 6PM, just in time for the sunset.
We had booked our accommodation here and we completed our check-in formalities quickly.

The resort was really beautiful with lots of open green spaces. The accommodation was in environment friendly Koobas
We had taken the Non-AC one because the building itself was constructed from Mud which kept it cool.

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The Kooba

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Traditional Wall design

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My favourite switch design

I went around the place clicking some pictures and Mohith just relaxed on the lawn.

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Relaaaaax

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The lounge

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Environmental friendly design

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Canal

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This is the Stable...

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...and this one is stable!

We went to the reception later and confirmed the timings for the safari next morning.
He told us that it would start at 7:00PM from the resort itself. I asked him if I could take my own vehicle inside.
Surprisingly he told we can, but one staff will accompany us. That was no problem.

Dinner time was early. The menu surprised me because there were non-vegetarian items too.
Sitting there, when I checked the internet on my phone, It busted the myth which I believed that Gujarat is a completely vegetarian state.

Anyway, the highlight of this was that we saw some serious photographers discussing about what they shot in the morning and their plans for next day.
They had some equipment beside them and each one needed strong bodies to carry around.
I was looking in awe at those equipments and I do not remember what I ate that day.

No TV and No Wifi was very nice because it ensured that we had a healthy 8 hours sleep.

Day 14 Statistics:
From: Bhuj
To: Dasada
Distance: 509Kms (64681-65190)
Time taken: 11hrs 30mins
Average Speed: 46.27Kmph
States: 1 (Gujarat)
Fuel filled at: Sami ODO 65138 at ₹ 61.87/ltr and at Dasada ODO 65253 at ₹ 61.99/ltr

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 15:29.
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Day 15, 23-January-2015: Dasada to Pune

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We both were ready by 6:30. We vacated the room, finished our breakfast and we went to the entrance by 7:00AM.
Our guide was ready to go. He told me that he will drive till we enter the sanctuary and after that I could drive. I gave the keys to him.
On the way he explained that he will take us to the wild ass sanctuary first. After that we would visit a salt farm and finally end it with a visit to a lake where we could see Flamingoes.

After 15 minutes we entered the sanctuary. He stopped the vehicle and showed us a Black winged Kite.
The sky was not very clear and I couldn't get a clear picture.

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Good morning!

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White Shouldered Kite

He took us forward and at a particular place he stopped and showed us a single Wild Ass at the far end inside some bushes.
He asked us to get down and take pictures from a distance. It was too far for a good picture.
I had read that Wild Asses always live in groups.
That turned true and one by one The Wild Asses came out of the bushes and it was much better when they walked close to us.
The guide gave us a small warning to stay at a distance even though they are not very dangerous or shy.
He also called up guides of other vehicles and informed them about the location.

The Wild ass looked like a cross-breed between a Horse and Donkey.
The colour of the coat was a really beautiful light brown.

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Off to work!

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Cranes cranes everywhere

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Loner

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In a different terrain!

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Down under

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First sight of Wild Ass

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Walking towards us

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The complete gang!

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Did you come to see me?

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Walking away...

As the Ass walked away from us, 4 Nilgais also joined them-2 adult males, one adult female and a young one.
We spent 20 minutes in total till all of them disappeared.

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Nilgais joined for company

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The big male

From here on, I drove the vehicle. We were taken to a small salt farm.
Water pumped out of the ground with a small pump. The person in the farm came out on seeing us.
I asked him how deep the bore-well was and he told its 15 to 25 feet.
I was really surprised at the amount of water coming out at such a small depth.
Our guide told us that the water is saltier than salt water. I just tasted it and he was right…it was very very salty.
He told us their process of salt making at it was astonishing to see that just drying out this water would give so much salt.

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Pump it out

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Drying it

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Almost dried...can see some salt.

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The ground around the LRK

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Other safari Vehicles

After 15 minutes, we started off from there to our next stop - A lake to see Flamingos.
It was hardly 5 minutes before we reached that spot. It was a big lake with many birds in them.
We could see many ducks and cranes among other birds slightly closer to us but the main attraction-The Flamingos-were unfortunately far away.
With the 70-300 lens too it was too far for me to capture a good photo of the flamingo.
But for the eyes, it was a wonderful sight seeing so many Pink and white Flamingos together.

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Flamingos in the Background

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The farthest my lens could go

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Digital zoom level 1

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Digital zoom level 2

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The best one with the highest cropping

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Black winged Stilt

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Brahminy ducks

We spent only 20 minutes here. If I had a better lens, we would’ve stayed for longer time.
Our Safari was over and it was just 9:30AM. We dropped the guide back at the resort.

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European Stonechat

Our initial plan was to end this day at Surat.
We had plans to spend the next day going around Pune with a friend and then go to Bangalore on 25th.

We had not booked any hotel for this day since we didn't know by what time the safari would end.
We even had plans of going till Surat and staying there.
Since it was only 10AM, I asked Mohith if we could drive directly to Pune.
Mohith was missing home already and he told me another idea.
He wanted to drive to Pune directly and then the next day directly to Bangalore.
This way we would go home a day earlier and also get an additional day of rest.

I calculated if we could drive to Pune and it seemed achievable.
Mohith started to drive and I called up our common friend and informed him about the change.

So, I had to make a hotel booking in Pune for the overnight stay.
With such less time, I didn't search any hotel but called Ginger Pune and booked a room in their Wakad branch.
We selected Wakad because it was on the Bangalore Highway

With this done, The next thing was to fill up fuel. We did it at the next available station.
Here we also set the tyre air pressure to the optimum level. Two of the tyres were at 20! I set it to 33 and off we went.
From here on, it was just highway driving that was left.

Mohith drove for the next 200 Kms in no time and we were at Vadodara.

We had lunch in one of the many good restaurants on this highway. As usual, it was delicious and simple.
Post lunch, I took the wheel and Mohith dozed off.
As I approached Bharuch, I saw the flyover filled up with vehicles and a couple others turning back.
I didn't bat an eyelid to decide that I have to go via the old Narmada bridge.

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The bypass

I drove non stop for 350 Kms and reached Thane by 7:30PM. We fancied reaching Pune By 10PM.
But destiny had something else in mind. There was a huge traffic jam and we may have moved one Kms in 45 Mins.
As we were standing in the traffic jam, I saw a fuel station and thought I'll fill up.
I drove inside and filled up one tankful.

As we were about to drive away, I opened the boot to take something. As I went back, I spotted a flat tyre!!
There was a tyre repair shop just beside the fuel station but that guy told that he will not repair tubeless tyres.
We had to remove all the luggage from the boot, take out the spare wheel and replace the tyre.
It cost us 20 minutes more. But fortunately, the traffic had eased up.

Mohith took the driver's seat and via Thane, reached Pune in 90 minutes.
Fortunately, there was no more drama on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.
In the meantime, I had called up Ginger hotel and informed them of our arrival time. I also ordered food.

We reached Ginger at 10:45PM.
When we went to the reception and gave them our details, the receptionist told us that he'll complete the check-in formalities later and sent us to the restaurant.
Since we had already ordered food, It didn't take much of a time for it. We finished it in 30 minutes.
We completed check-in and went to our rooms by around 23:45. That was the end of all the sightseeing for the trip!

Day 15 Statistics:
From: Dasada
To: Pune
Distance: 777Kms (65190-65967)
Time taken: 12hrs 30mins
Average Speed: 64.75Kmph
States: 2 (Gujarat, Maharashtra)
Fuel filled at: Ahmedabad ODO 65323 at ₹ 61.93/ltr and at Mumbai ODO 65803 at ₹ 65.28/ltr

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 18:28.
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Day 16, 24-January-2015: Pune to Bangalore

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The only thing in our mind was reaching home. By 6:45AM, The car's boot was packed for the last time in the trip.
Breakfast wasn't ready and so we didn't wait for it and started our journey immediately.

We reached the ghat section after Khandala in an hour.
The traffic was huge - May be because it was a long republic day weekend - and it took half an hour to cross the ghat.
Here, I saw a tata Safari come beside me and trying to get my attention. when I turned towards him, he asked me if I was Hemanth.
I said yes and he asked me where I was headed to? I told, I'm going home after a trip.
He was BHPian maheshbandel. We chatted for some seconds in the slow traffic and then bid goodbye.

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BHPian maheshbandel

After this, Mohith Asked me how come People are recognising me but I'm not able to recognise anyone else.
I told him that people are not recognising me but they are recognising my car.

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Sunrise somewhere

After this, we stopped at Parth food mall at Surur for breakfast.
Misal Pav, Upma and fried eggs made up our breakfast.
We purchased some chikki for the drive and also for home and continued our drive.

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Last highway breakfast of the trip

I was sailing through the smooth roads till my flow was interrupted by a traffic cop. He pulled us over in Kolhapur and asked to check our papers.
This time, I intentionally gave only the photocopies of the documents. Everything was in order but suddenly his eyes started to glow when he saw the emission certificate where it mentioned that it had expired on 18th January (6 days before).
But then I removed the latest emission certificate which was made a day before our trip which had a validity of 6 months!
He let us go without troubling us any more.

By 11:30, We had crossed Maharashtra and entered our home state. Its a special feeling.

After we had crossed Vidhana soudha near Nipani, We stopped for fuel.
There was a tyre repair guy and he told that he car repair tubeless tyre puncture.
But what he found out son was that it was not a puncture at all. it was a damage that had happened some months ago and was patched up.
The patch had given away and hence he suggested it needs replacement.
We put it back and resumed. It was a risk driving 1000 kms without a spare tyre but on this highway and our home state, it was not a huge one.

After completing 300Kms, I changed over to the passenger seat.
Our next stop was at Belgaum for Lunch. we went to the same restaurant which we had gone in my north-south and east-west drives.

It was just 30 minutes and we were back on the fast lane. The car was gobbling up kilometres very fast.

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In the fast lane

Mohith was aiming to drive 400Kms before giving it back to me. But he stopped when he complete 399Kms.
Reason being that the ODO was showing 66666. changed over, took a photo and resumed the journey.

There was around 150Kms more to Bangalore and It went was covered really quickly. I was at Nelamangala at 8PM.
Both of us were happy that we could go home really soon.

I wanted to fill up fuel and hence decided to go to Yeshwanthpur Shell station instead of taking the NECE road.
It turned out to be the worst decision of the last 16 days. There was a huge traffic jam and by the time I crossed ISKCON, it was 8:45PM.
For those who do not know Bangalore, it is around 2.5 Kms.

All the quick distances we had covered went in vain and By the time I could drop Mohith, It was 9:30PM.

All his baggage was unloaded within 5 minutes. I said "Thank you, Sorry, Good night" to him and drove towards home.

15 minutes of the next half an hour to my home was a time for recollection.
It was a wonderful 16 days where we witnessed some of the most diverse cultures in the country.
All of them had only one thing in common- The Arabian Sea.

It was the first mega drive for my car and the third one for me.
I was really happy that the car didn't trouble us at all (except for that Bonnet scare).
We troubled it a couple of times but fortunately no mishaps happened.

Since I had not told my family that I would be coming today (remember our initial plan was to return the next day), I was eager to look forward to their reactions.

At 10PM sharp I parked my car in the basement and went home. As I rang the Bell, My wife opened the door.
She was shocked pleasantly and tears of happiness came out of her eyes.
She hugged me once and the first thing She told was "I knew this, I knew you'd come back earlier than your plan"

My daughter who had learnt to walk just two months back, saw me and gave a big smile and came running towards me and I picked her up.
I hugged her and kissed her and it was an amazing feeling to be back home!
She always wants to be with her mother but that day she made me realise how much she loves me and missed me.

My mother asked me how the trip was and took my status report. Then she rushed to the kitchen to prepare dinner for me.

After Dinner, I unpacked all the gifts and showed it to them while talking about the trip
I slept in the comfort of my home by 00:00 hrs.
No, No Hotel can give you a better sleep than your home!

Day 16 Statistics:
From: Pune
To: Bangalore
Distance: 866Kms (65967-66833)
Time taken: 15hrs 15mins
Average Speed: 57.73Kmph
States: 2 (Maharashtra, Karnataka)
Fuel filled at: Belguam ODO 66333 at ₹ 64.89/ltr and at Bengaluru ODO 66833 at ₹ 64.95/ltr

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 15:47.
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EPILOGUE

The First of the rest day was completely spent with my daughter.
Although I was able to hear her voice everyday over phone, spending a complete day and catching up with all the new things she had learnt over the last 16 days was just priceless!

I called up paragsachania and updated him of the events that happened in Gir.
He felt bad and told me that I should have called him soon after that incident.
I didn't want to talk about the bad experiences caused by other people when his only intention was to help me.
I thanked him for all the information he had given to me which had helped us in our drive.
Also updated a few friends and well wishers about the successful completion of the trip.

This is how it finally happened

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Map

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-actual.jpg
This is how it played out

On the Republic day of 2015, I short-listed photos which took almost the entire day.
Also I finished and verified the expense reports and statistics.

Statistics :
From: Bangalore
To: Bangalore
Distance: 7256Kms (59577-66833)
Drive time: 181:15 hours
Average Speed: 41.1 Kmph
Distances driven by: Hemanth(4292Kms) and Mohith(2964Kms)
States/UTs: 7 (Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Daman&Diu)
Fuel filled: 19 times at an average of ₹63.45/ltr
Tolls paid: 67 tolls totalling to ₹3341
Kitna Deti Hai?: 12.8 Kmpl

On an average toll price/Km fro the entire trip had seen a ~3% increase. ₹0.70/Km in 2013 compared to ₹0.60/Km in 2012. (Compared the Pune-Bangalore tolls for this)

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The cost

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The Pie

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Who spent on what?

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The Distance

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The speeds

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Most famous question

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We are the fuel

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-pune-bangalore.jpg
Changing Times

After 2 days of rest, I returned to office almost 3 weeks later.
The entire day was spent in catching up with checking and answering emails.
In the midst of it all, telling the stories and experiences of our journey was also a big part.

It took me close to a month to edit and finally upload the photos on Facebook.

In March, I started writing a concise travelogue for our company quarterly magazine.
It took me 2 weeks to finish this. More than the writing part, The tough part was to give only 30 Photos.
I somehow managed it.

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-img_20160125_17310801.jpeg
My company Magazine featuring this travelogue

However while writing this, I noted down all the important things that happened during each day so that for the TBHP Travelogue, I will not forget anything

Simultaneously I started the TBHP travelogue in March. I had plans to finish it as early as possible.
But it has turned out to be the slowest of my 3 travelogues. as I'm writing this, Its exactly one year of finishing the trip

In April I had to go on an official assignment to Germany for 3 Months.
It was a new role, new location and new people for me and it made me very busy.
After returning back in July, I was busy in office.
Also the flow was obstructed and The TBHP travelogue took the back seat.

But the flow returned back in October When a discount on printing albums was offered for a week in December.
Every evening after office hours, I spent creating the album.
On the last day of the offer I completed the album and ordered it.

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-20160125_19382801.jpeg
50-pages of everlasting memories

Christmas time gave me some free time and this ensured, I could complete major part of the travelogue.
I gave myself a deadline that I should complete the travelogue by Republic day 2016
It is coincident that all three travelogues will were made public on days with Historic significance.
My North-South travelogue was made public on the day of India winning the Kargil war
My East-West travelogue was made public on Independence day

Snapshot of Hotels
the first thing that any person worries about, before any trip is the accommodation. I am definitely a person who doesn't go without any plan for accommodation unless it is an emergency.

Below is a quick snapshot of the hotels that we stayed.

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-hotels.jpg
Small Review

So finally, I have made some collages to sum it all up

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-roads.jpg
The Roads

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The distances

W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip-food.jpg
The food

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 20:09.
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CLOSING NOTES


So, that's about it. We finally traced the West coast of India.

Different cultures, different states, different people, different terrain different languages, different histories, but united by the Arabian Sea.
It was humbling to see all these in person, to drive around at my own pace, in my own car
It took around 2 months to plan, 16 memorable days to complete, Exactly one year to complete this travelogue but a lifetime of memories.

I have tried to present our experiences in the most honest way I know. I hope you people like it.

The question remains...WHAT NEXT?

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th January 2016 at 19:58.
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Old 25th January 2016, 20:37   #24
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Thread moved to the Travelogue section.
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Old 25th January 2016, 23:58   #25
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MY!!! MY!! MY!! I revisited the dates of the travelogue multiple times to find out that it was really 2015 that you travelled. They say " When everything else fails, perservance wins". How True. No Doubt that you and your car is famous in the TBHP forum. Amazing detailed description of the WEST. I am equally amazed that you are able to find time to visit such wonderful places. We all know that as a country we are diverse, but these travelogues and the great pictures show how colorful and expansive the landscape is. I was spellbound by the salt lake photos. Great Going. Would love to join you in any one these sojourns some time.
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Old 27th January 2016, 09:15   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSMILES View Post
MY!!! MY!! MY!! I revisited the dates of the travelogue multiple times to find out that it was really 2015 that you travelled.
Wish It was 2016. My Earlier two travelogues took 10 and 11 months for their own reasons. I didn't want to continue with that trend and had expected it to finish within 3 months. But, This one had its own reasons to get delayed

Quote:
They say " When everything else fails, perservance wins". How True.
True that.

Quote:
Amazing detailed description of the WEST.
Thank you so much.

Quote:
I am equally amazed that you are able to find time to visit such wonderful places.
I've realised one thing over the years. When you want something, you can and will make time for it.

There is a similar dialogue in a Hindi movie (Om shanti Om I guess)

Kehte hain ki ...... Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai...

Quote:
We all know that as a country we are diverse, but these travelogues and the great pictures show how colorful and expansive the landscape is. I was spellbound by the salt lake photos.
We should feel very lucky to have been born in this diverse country.
I see many people go and tour other countries even before they have seen our own country. I have no words for them
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Old 27th January 2016, 11:20   #27
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Default Re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

Well that my friend, is one amazing TL! Look at the sheer quality of the stuff you've posted up there. Simply took the notch way way higher. I thoroughly enjoyed every single bit of it.

It was like watching a very well directed movie with astonishing work by all the actors! Splendid experience exploring the WEST! Absolutely loved it. And you've got some fabulous shots of the Punto there.
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Old 27th January 2016, 11:40   #28
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Loved the travelogue. Amazing pictures and incredible details. I would love to do a trip like this one its just that my company won't give me so much of leave.... ...
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Old 27th January 2016, 11:54   #29
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Woah! I just spent 1.5 hrs reading the entire travelogue.

Awesome pics and narration.

Now the itch to be able to write something like this of my own.
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Old 27th January 2016, 11:55   #30
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Default Re: W.E.S.T. - Western End from Southern Tip

Amazing travelogue! just browsed through the photos. Beautifully captured, meticulously documented travelogue for a truly colorful,diversity of our country!!.This needs to be sipped slowly not gulped.
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