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Old 13th January 2010, 01:48   #1
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Default Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )

After this:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...k-10-days.html (Madurai - Chennai - Kolkata and back in 10 days)
this:http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ys-photos.html (Madurai-Kolkata-Madurai (4500Km) 5days - with photos)
and this:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...i-20-days.html (Madurai-Goa-Mumbai-Jaipur-Delhi-Manali-?-Madurai in 20 days.)

This trip happened because of Team-bhp, I was encouraged, motivated and it proved key to giving me the balls to do it. Major gratitude to hvkumar ( I seriously don't know how to thank you enough ) and everyone else who makes this place what it is.

Its difficult to describe the trip with words, it was a dream and people said it was not safe, especially solo, but it was my dream and I protected my dream.

If there is one thing I take away from the experience, its the goodness of people. I was blown away by the kindness of people across our country, the willingness of people to share their joys and always sport a smile. Every single one of the 13 states and the 100+ cities that I drove through, not only had the most beautiful and awe inspiring landscapes, but the feeling of being a local, of being safe, of being accepted, enabled me unravel the idiosyncrasies of life in a pleasant way.
I gave lifts to people, I was open, honest, frank and at every juncture, it was reciprocated, even by the police. I had carried small token gifts with me, and giving them to random people I met was a life altering experience.

I drove the vehicle with reckless abandon, I never caressed the vehicle through the speed breakers, bad roads, stones, mud, sand, ice, snow, potholes. I never once had any body ache or tiredness. At the end of the day, I was fresh enough to drive another 1000Km.
Vehicle issues faced -
1] Glove box fell open ( lock screws loose, 2nd day )
Fixed: In 15 minutes by random Tata truck service mechanic on NH17 who found the right screws, cut them to size, filed them and fitted it for free.
2] Low coolant ( 12th day )
Fixed: In 15 minutes by random tata truck service mechanic who bought the coolant, mixed it and filled it in.

The video is a flash movie made with the photos, it can only be seen at my website, which, the last time I linked, was not allowed for some random reasons- it does not have any advertising and is very simple, oh well. I'll link it if someone specifically replies positively to it.
Plus, I'm not able to upload some of the photos even after resizing due to the 1.00MB limit. Some shots exceed 24000px and even when I bring it down to 2000px, its not less than 1.00MB.

Some stats ( also in the .xls file )

Total Distance - 8083Km ( Odo - 7117:15200 )
Average Driven/Day - 538.8Km
Total Time Driving - 151hr54min
% Time of Trip Spent Driving - 42.19
Driving after dark - 58hr28min ( 38.45 % of total drive )

Total Volume of Diesel - 602.85L
FE - 13.407Km/L

Resting Locations:
9 days - Hotels
4 days - Contacts
1 day - Fuel Station
Final day - Home

Onto the log & the photos: ( not in any particular order )
Attached Thumbnails
Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-bikaner_13.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-bikaner_18.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-bikaner_6.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_mumbai_before_ghat_.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_route_nh_17_2.1_.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_route_nh_17_2_.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_route_nh_17_4.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_route_nh_17_6.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-goa_route_nh_17_7.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_1.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_2.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_4.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_5.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_7.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaipur_11.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaisalmer_1.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaisalmer_4.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaisalmer_5.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaisalmer_6.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-jaisalmer_10.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-manali_1.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-manali_2.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-manali_7.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-mangalore_route_nh_17_.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-udaipur_1.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-udaipur_5.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-udaipur_9.jpg  

Madurai-Manali-Madurai [8083Km 15 days 13 states] Solo Drive- ( photos,video & logs )-img_2495.jpg  

Attached Files
File Type: xls The trip log 15 days KtoK India.xls (28.5 KB, 771 views)
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Old 13th January 2010, 03:21   #2
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Keep going .
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Old 13th January 2010, 05:00   #3
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Guts to be real.

keep on rolling mate!!
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Old 13th January 2010, 06:37   #4
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God awesome. Post the link man. or PM it. simple

Lovely stuff - me likes alot!
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Old 13th January 2010, 08:25   #5
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Great.The overall experience would have been fantastic.Could you please share few more details? i.e. the road conditions and the places where you spent time etc..
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Old 13th January 2010, 09:40   #6
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Fantastic! Do pass on the photos soon
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Old 13th January 2010, 10:07   #7
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That was a quick-fire trip! Some interesting wide angled photographs - could recognise many of the places, but some captions will definitely help! Curious to hear your reviews on the hotels that you stayed in. And road conditions too.
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Old 13th January 2010, 10:16   #8
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Wow! A great trip in deed. I am amazed by your driving skills and endurance..

Average Driven/Day - 538.8Km
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Old 13th January 2010, 10:44   #9
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Default Awesome!!!

Wonderful Trip buddy!! People like you , HVK , adc are all living examples guys . So wanting to follow you'll in the same lines, and hope I will in a couple of months . Please go Ahead with your travelogue, waiting for more!!


@NihilisticLogic: How about a Leh drive in Second half of this year. We'll plan for one!!

Cheers!!
Ramesh
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Old 13th January 2010, 11:12   #10
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i am drooling over the pics now.. i am going to keep a close eye on this thread

was just curious, you went till manali and missed leh ? :o
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Old 13th January 2010, 11:18   #11
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WOW ! Awesome!

Pl come up with details. So many are waiting eagerly here. Just 3 quick compliments: 1. Salute to your ability in self belief, 2. to your discipline, and 3. the way you carried those token gifts, meeting freely with locals, lovely and innovative, the cultural assimilation shows one of the top points of your trip.

keep posting mate.
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Old 13th January 2010, 11:19   #12
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Awesome wide angles. Please continue the travelogue with all the details. Eagerly awaiting updates and other snaps.
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Old 13th January 2010, 18:18   #13
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awesome snaps dude, keep going. we are hooked

Wondering why you had to sleep in a Fuel station though
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Old 14th January 2010, 03:15   #14
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To answer a few of the questions:

1] Leh road is closed during this time of the year. It was a wonder that I even managed to touch Rohtang, even that road is closed. One can only go upto snow point and because I was at manali on the 31st of dec, there was a traffic jam, so I directly climbed the hill (4x4)while the other vehicles were stuck waiting for the traffic to clear up. Then I parked my vehicle, assembled my bike and rode my way up. Without 4L, I couldn't have done it. The more experienced drivers were telling me that my vehicle will not climb/not to attempt it ( they were trying to come at speed and climb the hills ), I just put it on 4L and it climbed with ease and then all the tourists wanted lifts from me...

2] I always wanted to stop "only" at fuel bunks/stations. The only reason I did not do it was because people close to me were scared and from what everyone told me, I was apprehensive. But only when I did stop, I realized that it was the best was to rest during a road trip. The people at every bunk where I filled fuel were so courteous and humble, I was blown away; it was particularly significant because I chose random bunks, no brand affinity of any sort whatsoever.
Stopping at a bunk saves you a lot of time, else, you have to enter a city, wade through traffic, find the hotel after an hour of phone calls and reserve a room, drive to the hotel through the maze of 1 way roads, spend time checking in, the do the same the next day; checking out, driving through morning hour traffic, navigate signals/one way roads and join the highway.
I was flexible with the hotel, any hotel with a room would do, even then, it was tough, do you think its worth the trouble for a night? I don't.
The fuel bunks have hospitable people, you can spend time talking to them, use the perfectly hygenic toilets/washrooms they have, and sleep comfortably in your SUV ( vehicle size is kinda important I guess ).
Its not the cost, its the comfort.

If anyone has any specific queries, I'll be glad to answer them.

The Road conditions:
Fantastic all the way through, I have absolutely not an iota to complain about; perhaps its the vehicle or my age, but not once did it even occur to me that I was driving on bad roads...I just...never even thought about it. I can't remember a single stretch of the journey that slowed me down or was irritating.

The ghats from palakkad-mangalore-goa-mumbai (NH 17 & a few SH ), were amazing to drive, the police stopped me and told me that they were dangerous roads, but I didn't find any dangers there, nothing to worry about. The worst accidents I saw were both after mangalore city, within a span of 2 Km ( a volvo bus in 2 pieces and a gypsy in half, both fresh with medical aid yet to arrive. )

The road from delhi to chandigarh had about 10-20 fresh accidents in a 50Km stretch due to fog. I either followed or led a convoy of vehicles, it was pretty safe with fog lights and the raised seating position. I think the spate of accidents were announced on the news the next day.

The roads from mandi to palampur were the best part of the drive. I did it at night and at times, I was the only vehicle on the road for 10-20Km, the roads had landslides at a lot of places, and the width was only enough for one vehicle. I wished the drive would never end. I wanted to see dharamsala in the morning, hence I stopped at palampur.

The road from amritsar to hanumangarh and bikaner to jaisalmer were also memorable. Very few vehicles, 2 way roads and nothing green in sight.

If I am pressed for something average, I'd say the drive from palakkad to thalassery and from goregaon to vasai were very average, due to traffic and nature of the roads/, although the actual roads were perfect without diversions or potholes.

Weather:
The only time it rained during the entire trip was when I left madurai...for about 15 minutes. Then it rained a little in jaisalmer during the night.
The drive was so much fun that I came from jaisalmer to madurai in 3 days.

Stay-Hotels:
The .xls log I've attached includes the names of the hotels.
It also includes the routes taken along with driving distances, times, duration, places of rest. Refer to it for details.


Captions for the photos to come soon.
Also, this trip did not take self-discipline, endurance or anything of such high order; if it did, I couldn't have done it. All it took was a few words from Team-bhp, cash and some interest from my part.
The planning was minimum, the dates were flexible and the aim was to drive, not to see some specific sights.
The original trip plan can be obtained from the previous thread which I've linked in the op. It shows a total or 24-28 days, but the actual trip took 15. I think that indicates what was the best part of the journey.
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Old 14th January 2010, 14:15   #15
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Excellent travelogue! Waiting to hear more!
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