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Old 27th December 2008, 14:18   #1
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Default 4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore

Every Deepawali I visit my home town Ahmedabad. Take two weeks off. Drive to Ahmedabad. Spend 7-10 days with family and friends along with Deepawali celeberations. Drive back. May be via Goa, or Hampi. This has been a kind of routine for past three years.

This time was a little different. My Father In Law has reminded me many times that I have to visit him (Ajmer) during the Navaratri. And so a different plan has to be worked out.

Driving in your own car opens up many options. Some serious research starts on the possible routes that can be taken and possible destinations that can be explored. The idea of driving thru Ahmedabad (towards Ajmer) is a no no. It has been decided that we have to first visit Ajmer (not enroute NH8), then reach Ahmedabad; stay for some time and drive back to B'lore.

I had Chittaur on my wish list for quite some time. After some good amount of research, the route is finalized. And the destinations to be explored as well.

Bangalore - Pune: NH4 (850 Kilometers)
Pune - Nashik: NH50 (206 Kilometers)
Nashik - Indore: NH3 (396 Kilometers)
Indore - Ajmer: NH76/NH79 (510 Kilometers)
Ajmer - Chittaurgarh: NH79 (186 Kilometers)
Chittaurgarh - Ahmedabad: (NH79/NH8 385 Kilometers)
Ahmedabad - Bangalore: (NH8/NH4 1560 Kilometers)

Note: The distances mentioned above are not from my trip log.

Tryambakeshwar Temple - Nashik
Mahakaal Temple - Ujjain
Mehdi Khola Mata Temple - Ajmer
Sanwariyaji Temple - Sanwariya

Journey start date: 1st October 2008, 3:00 pm
Journey end date: 17th October 2008, 4:00 am
Odo reading at the start of the journey: 35088
Odo reading at the end of the journey: 39603 (total distance: 4515 kilometers)
Vehicle: Fiat Adventure Sport
Occupants: Myself, Wife, Son, Parents, and My Aunt (my son was 10 months old and my aunt 72 years)
Rest of my family from Ahmedabad joined us at Chittaurgarh in Chevy Spark.

I will close this post with the picture below. This car took us thru some of good, better, and best roads during this trip. But more importantly it also tooks us thru some of the bad, worse, and worst roads with an aplomb.
4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn3004.jpg

To be continued...
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Old 27th December 2008, 14:23   #2
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Awesome end to first post. Can't wait for more! Please do write about road conditions as well.
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Old 27th December 2008, 16:54   #3
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Awsome opening Akbaree

The context, the route, the destination, and the etecetra everything seems exciting.

The Adventure Sport looks imposing.

Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
(my son was 10 months old and my aunt 72 years)
What a contrast !
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Old 27th December 2008, 22:06   #4
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Originally Posted by BomBatt View Post
Awsome opening Akbaree
Originally Posted by hondadude View Post
Awesome end to first post. Can't wait for more! Please do write about road conditions as well.
In fact the motivation behind this travelogue has been fellow tbhpian's encouraging feedback for my previous travelogue (that was on Hoysala Temples)

Originally Posted by BomBatt View Post
What a contrast !
Such a varied age group added the challenge in terms of what can be explored and what cannot be.
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Old 27th December 2008, 23:44   #5
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Perfect vehicle for Indian roads and perfect vehicle for such a trip... I just wish it came with the 1.9 Litre JTD. I would buy it with my eyes closed.
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Old 28th December 2008, 00:43   #6
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Default Tryambakeshwar

Day 1 – 1st October 2008

The plan was to start early morning and reach Pune by evening. But plans are just plans. Some last minute urgent work at office ensured that we don’t leave until 3:00 pm.

I am not going to drain this part. The journey till Pune was uneventful and we reached Pune at 3:00 am.

Road Condition
The roads are excellent except the Chitradurga – Haveri stretch. I am not sure if this stretch is facing some land disputes. No work was in progress as well. My advice to fellow bhpians would be to avoid traveling on this stretch after sunset. It is dangerous as incomplete work has resulted in many diversions and there are no proper sign boards. The traffic is moderate to high.

Day 2 – 2nd October 2008

We had checked in Hotel Radha on the Pune bypass (just before the Wakad flyover). The stay was comfortable and we got ready only at 2:00 pm. We had decided to have our lunch outside at a restaurant next to the hotel (around a kilometer). It is kind of a popular joint – Sour Curry,but every time I eat at this restaurant, my distaste for the restaurant keeps increasing. It’s decent enough but for some reason I don’t enjoy eating food in this restaurant. Everyone else was happy with the food though.

It’s already 5 when we hit the NH50 to Nashik. Please remember I have 10 months old son with me. Everything takes more time than usual. We reached Nashik at around 9:00 pm. After taking our dinner at Nashik, we head towards Tryambakeshwar temple – our first destination. We reach Tryambakeshwar at around 10:30 pm.

Road Condition
The NH50 between Pune and Nashik was in good condition. It’s a two lane road. The traffic was moderate.
The road from Nashik to Tryambakeshwar was also in good condition. It’s also a two lane road and the traffic was sparse.

Search for the hotel
If you are traveling to Tryambakeshwar, finding a stay shouldn’t be difficult. At the cross road, just before the temple, there were many people (even at 11:00 pm) – auto wallahs, young guys on bikes, etc – who were more than eager to help you find a stay. Finding stay may not be that easy during the festivals though.

If anyone is to take my advice, stay at this dharmshala that is situated on the left hand side just before the main entry gate to the temple town (some 500 meters before the temple entry). It’s cheap, organized and adequate for a short stay. Unfortunately I have forgotten the name of the dharmshala as well as the trust that runs it. May be the pictures below will help in identifying the place.

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn2992.jpg
4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn2999.jpg

Day 3 – 3rd October 2008

At 5:00 am, the alarm scares the hell out of me; seems to be the ugliest ring tone. I don’t have an option but to wake up. And if waking up early was not enough, all the rooms of this dharmshala are such that only cold water is available in the attached rest rooms. For hot water there are couple of common taps on each floor. I rush with a bucket to one of the common taps. Aagh, there are 3 people already in the queue. And the water is flowing drop by drop by drop… Oh my God. Half an hour later, I have half bucket of moderately warm water. I return to the room. My son is to take bath first. I say okay. But if you keep the bucket engaged, there is no extra bucket. How will I bring more hot water? So? Oh yeah, nothing…

All of us were ready at 7:30 am and left the dharmshala for darshan. I was warned by some well wishers that the temple is usually extremely crowded and queue for darshan would be frustratingly long. But to my surprise there were hardly 40-50 people. We spend some 2 hours in the temple. The temple in black stone with the blue sky and Brahmagiri on the background looks majestic. It was clean. Meditating for an hour or so inside the temple was a calming experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it. When not meditating, observing activities of devotees, pandits, and temple priests is quite intriguing as well.

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn2997.jpg
Only a part of Tryambakeshwar temple is visible

The temple has a large compound. There were hoards of pigeons feeding on the grains scattered by the temple authorities. It was my son’s turn to have fun. He is quite amazed seeing so many pigeons up close. So far, he had only come across some pigeons and crows when I take him to terrace for the morning sun. He is uneasy in my lap now. He wants to get down. Okay. He quickly crawls towards the pigeons but the pigeons take a flight. The sound of so many wings fluttering and not been able to catch any of them makes my son look in disbelief. Disheartened, he crawls back towards me. The pigeons are back in a few seconds. My son makes a second attempt with the same result. The game continues for some time and he finally gives up.

We then decided to offer our prayers once again and take leave. It was time to have some breakfast and roam around in the market.


We left Tryambakeshwar at 12:30 pm. Our next destination was Maheshwar, 350 kilometers from Tryambakeshwar.

Note: This post has fewer pictures. The camera was not allowed inside the temple and I missed taking pictures of the market and a few others. While visiting temple, it is advisable to leave everything (especially mobiles, cameras and leather products) in your hotel room or car. Otherwise you will have to take a locker to secure these belongings.

To be continued…
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Old 28th December 2008, 10:29   #7
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Nice travelogue and good pics. Keep them coming.

4515 kms looks amazing. Managing with 10 month old kid for this distance should have been an hurricane task. Hope there were no complaints of your aunt during the journey. Your car looks brilliant with the formula red colour and back ground....

Last edited by snaronikar : 28th December 2008 at 10:31.
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Old 28th December 2008, 11:17   #8
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Have not yet read the entire travelogue, but beautiful opening and great pics, will read it in leisure to savour the journey. Good going mate.
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Old 28th December 2008, 17:12   #9
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Default Tryambakeshwar (FYI...)

Rudra Abhishek

It is possible that even at the main temple entrance, there would be Pandits approaching you to check if you are interested in Rudra Abhishek. In my opinion, please don’t enter a deal with any of these Pandits at the main entrance.

Inside the temple sanctorum itself, there are a lot of Pandits offering Rudra Abhishek service. There is a desk right inside, manned by the Pandits who offer Rudra Abhishek and other services. You can chose to observe which Pandit is doing better and hire him.

What is Rudra Abhishek? I don’t know what the right method of Rudra Abhishek is? But these Pandits typically chant some Shiva Mantras and then will finish the ceremony with an Aarti. It may take up to 20 minutes for the ceremony. And the expense would be between rupees 200 and 500 depending on the number of people in your group. The expense may be higher if you are visiting on a special day or something like that.

Note: All the information below is available online (however the information below is not cut paste from any wesbite). You may chose to ignore this post. I will continue with the travelogue in my next post. i did some amount of reading and thought of sharing the information with you folks. For arriving at the information below, one will have to go thru atleast 20 websites and will require a reading of lot of pages.

About the temple

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn2996.jpg

Tryambakeshwar temple is one the most popular of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is situated at the foot of Brahmagiri hill. Brahmagiri hill is considered to be the origin of river Godavari (at least three tributaries of Godavari river originate here). You can see the hill in the picture above (yes it has 5 peaks).

Godavari is considered sacred, so much so that local populace calls it Ganges. It is also called Ganges due to its mythological association with Lord Shiva. It flows eastwards and empties its water in Bay of Bengal.

Inside the temple
The Lord has manifested Himself in the form of a swayambhu Sivalingam. The Sivalingam can be observed in a depression on the floor of the temple sanctorum. There is a constant flow of water that keeps oozing out and provides for perennial Abhishek. However this Sivalingam is most of the times covered with a Silver mask that is decorated over the depression. This mask is in the form of a Linga and so unless you are aware, you can mistake the mask to be the actual Sivalingam. One will have to remain inside the sanctorum for some time if one is interested in the darshan of actual Sivalingam. The temple priests keep removing the Silver mask from time to time to do various Abhisheks.

Another peculiarity of the Sivalingam at Tryambakeshwar is that it has three faces (three thumb shaped Lingas). The three faces embody the Hindu trilogy of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; hence the name Tryambakeshwar.

It would be advisable to visit the temple on a Monday (although it may be a lot more crowded on a Monday). On each Monday, the Silver mask of Tryambak is placed on a palanquin and taken to Kushavarta for Abhishek. Between 4:00 and 5:00 pm the Sivalingam is decorated with a jeweled crown (over the Golden/Silver mask). This jeweled crown is from the age of Pandavas who ruled this place in 17th century.

Located in a large courtyard, the temple is built in black stone and the architecture of the temple is deeply influenced by Nagara style. The present day temple was constructed by Peshwa – Shrimant Balaji Bajirao. The construction began in 1755 AD and completed in 1786 AD.

This temple (or Tryambak ) finds mention in Padma Purana, Sinhasta Mahatmya, and a score of other Marathi literature.

If one has the liberty of time, one should visit the place with at-least two complete days in hand. It is believed that the Original Trimbak Tirth is on the Brahmagiri hill – Kushavarta, and Gangadwara (Godavari takes it actual course from this place).

It is considered sacred to circumambulate Brahmagiri hill.

There are various other Tirths (on Brahmagiri hill and some other near by hills) that can be considered for a visit.

One can also look at exploring Vedic Gurukuls (giving Sanskrit education) and Ashrams & Muths devoted to Ashtanga Yoga.

Then we have Anjaneri mountain, which is just 7 kilometers from the Tryambakeshwar temple. This mountain is considered to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman.

If one has more time, even Nashik has a lot to offer. Nashik has its association with Ramayana and has remained historically significant.

List of places
Shri Kala Ram Temple
Gangadwar Tirth
Kushavarta Tirth
Varaha Tirth
Bilva Tirth
Indra Tirth
Vishwanath Tirth
Mukund Tirth
Prayag Tirth
Rama Kund
Lakshman Kund
Ahilya Sangam Tirth
Kolambika Temple
Muktidham Temple
Dhammagiri, Igatpuri (for Vipassana Course)
Pandav Lani
Sita Gufa
Godavari Ghat
Shri Ved Temple
Shri Someshwar Temple
Shree Kapaleshwar Temple
Shri Nilambika/Dattatreya Temple
Naroshankar Temple

Some festivals
Sinhasta Kumbh Mela (once in every 12 years)
Godavari Day (sometime in February)
Nivrutti Natha Festival (sometime in January)
Rathyatra of Tryambakeshwar (sometime in November)
Maha Shivaratri (sometime in March)

There are at least three legends associated with Tryambakeshwar…

One of the legends has that Lord Shiva and Parvati got married here. And Lord Brahma couldn’t keep his eyes off the beauty of Parvati. Lord Shiva then unleashed Ganges (in the form of Godavari) so that Lord Brahma can take a dip to rid his sin.

Another Legend is associated with sage Gautama and his sin of killing the cow. Lord Shiva had unleashed Ganges (in the form of Godavari) so that sage Gautama can get rid of his sins. It also had helped to get rid of the famine that had dawn the area. Actually Lord Shiva was getting infatuated with the beauty of Ganges (who was in form of a woman). When Parvati came to know about this, She and Ganesh came and started staying at sage Gautama’s Ashram. The famine, killing of cow, all was just Maya to help Lord Shiva to part with Ganges.

Yet another legend, also known as legend of Lingodbhava, has that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of cosmic fire. When Brahma and Vishnu couldn’t locate Shiva, they lied and Shiva cursed Brahma that He wouldn’t be worshipped on earth. In turn Brahma cursed Shiva to be pushed underground (under the Brahmagiri hill). Hence the Sivalingam is also manifested itself in a depression on the floor of the temple sanctorum.

Other Pointers
Tryambakeshwar is extremely popular for some of the Hindu Samskaras, especially Shradh and Mundan ceremonies.

Tryambakeshwar is also popular for performing some dosha vidhis like Kalsarpa, etc.
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Old 28th December 2008, 20:44   #10
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Great writeup. Liked the legends associated with the temple.
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Old 29th December 2008, 10:40   #11
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never perform it it in a temple. they do not do it properly due to pilgrim rush. plain rudrabhushekam will take 1 1/2 hours. whereas Mahanyasa Rudrabhishekam lasts more than 3 hours if it is done properly. it can be done at home with the help of proper priest.

Check the net for mahanyasam
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Old 29th December 2008, 10:57   #12
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Very interesting travelogue.

A 4k kms trip in an Adventure with a 10 month and a 72 year old. This does require some guts and confidence on your vehicle!

Do go ahead with the posts.
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Old 29th December 2008, 11:50   #13
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Great going. Do post pics....lots of them. As the pics will tell the story itself. ;-)
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Old 30th December 2008, 02:22   #14
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Default Enroute - Maheshwar

Day 3 – 3rd October 2008, 12:30 pm (Continued from post #6)

As we leave Tryambakeshwar, I am feeling little sad for not been able to visit Brahmagiri and some of the Tirths around. But then I am quite happy with the darshan we had that morning and am also pretty excited to hit the road again. If that is not enough, our next destination – Maheshwar is adding to the thrill.

Route: Nashik - Chandvad - Malegaon - Dhule - Sendhwa - Julwania - Kaalghat - Maheshwar

Advantage Karnataka
While we were crossing Nashik, suddenly a bike comes close to my window. I look out and it turns out to be the Maharashtra Police. The policemen on the bike were gesturing me to stop.

5 minutes later, while the policemen were reviewing the documents, another policeman (this time on Enfield Bullet; looked to be a senior policeman) enters the scene. I am looking at him and he is smiling at me. I am confused. He walks closer and starts talking in Kannada. I am like… what?

Policeman: are you coming from Bangalore?
Me: Yes, but I am sorry, I don’t know Kannada.

He smiles again. Then he says something in Marathi to the other two policemen and leaves the scene. The other two policemen give back my car's papers and say – thank you sir, you may proceed; please understand due to bomb blast and all, we have to be extra careful.

All said and done, the unhappiness stemming from a lost opportunity to steal some money is clearly visible on their faces.

Advantage Maharashtra
We had our lunch at a restaurant just after crossing Malegaon.

At around 5:15 pm we were at Shirpur, some 30 kilometers from Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border. And it happens again. There is a police check post and the policemen stop us. They review all the documents and figure out that the pollution certificate has expired. I knew it but I had assumed that it may not be an issue. He is asking 1000 rupees. I had to put my negotiation skills to test. After 10 minutes of negotiation and story telling, he is now a friend. He not only agrees to take just 300 rupees but he also suggests that I take a pollution certificate from a center that is just 2 kilometers from this check post.

Here is the catch. My car has a FFE by the legendary Raj Hingorani. And the Bharat Stage III sticker on the boot door is just that – a sticker. I had not tried taking a pollution certificate anytime after fitting the FFE. I decide to try my luck and stop at the shop that read – Pollution Certificates Issued Here. I walk up to the shop owner…

Me: Bhaiya, Pollution Test karana hai. Hoga kya?
Shop Owner: 100 rupees lagega
ME: Okay, gaadi kahan lagana hai?
Shop Owner: (he takes out a pollution certificate) gaadi number kya hai?
Me: KA-03…..
Shop Owner: (he scribes something on the pollution certificate) lijiye sir.
Me: (with my eyes popping out) bas ho gaya? Koi test vest nahin karoge?
Shop Owner: (with weird look) certificate chahiye ke nahin?

I pay 100 rupees, take the certificate and leave as a happy man. The Bharat Stage III sticker on the boot of my car again has some meaning.


4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn3001.jpg

I was surprised when the trucks in the picture above did not collide. But then India is a land of mystics. I will see many such scenes during my drive on this stretch and every time they manage to come out clean.

At 6:10 pm, we leave behind the last settlement in Maharashtra – Palasner behind us and cross over to Madhya Pradesh. And in 10 minutes after entering Madhya Pradesh we are climbing our first ghat. The Satpura Ranges…

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn3007.jpg

While I was shooting some pictures, my mom was talking to my uncle in Indore. And after talking to my uncle, my mom is convinced that we need to visit this dargah in Julwania. Such is the faith in this dargah that most of the people in this region believe that when you have tried everything and have lost all the hope of getting your wish fulfilled, you should come to this dargah to offer prayers and the Baba (Karim Baba) will surely grant you your wish.

Thankfully, No effort was required in locating the dargah. As we drove across Julwania, the dargah is right on the highway and even a blind person will not miss it. The sweet fragrance emanating from the dargah will announce its presence.

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn3010.jpg

We offered our prayers and continue with our journey. At around 8:45 pm we are Kaalghat. At Kaalghat there is tourist office as well as a good tourist guest house. But unfortunately, the guest house is full. The road construction work is in progress and the whole guest house has been booked for the engineers and other people working on the project. But nothing to worry, Maheshwar is jut 20 kilometers and the gentlemen at Kaalghat govt. guest house was able to book two rooms for us at the tourist guest house in Maheshwar.

We have to take a detour of about 12 kilometers from NH3 to reach Maheshwar. The road from NH3 leading to Maheshwar is single lane and broken at many places. But driving on this county road with just enough moonlight gave a high. It just set the stage for next morning’s rendezvous with Maheshwar.

We finally retire for the night at around 11:00 pm after having our dinner at Maheshwar.

Note: We were searching the govt. guest house when we came across a home stay and decided to give govt. guest house a skip and settled for the home stay. Some more details about the home stay coming up in my next post.

4500 km: B'lore-Nashik-Maheshwar-Ujjain-Ajmer-Chittaur-Ahmedabad-B'Lore-dscn3109.jpg

However please note that the govt. guest house is also a good one (also has a good restaurant) and the rooms in the guest house give very nice view of the Narmada River.

Road Condition
The condition of NH3 in Maharashtra is above average. At least 60% of the stretch is 4 lane. And the rest 40% though 2 lane, is good. The four lane part is not of the same quality that we see elsewhere. But may be as the work is still on, the finishin touches may be pending.

The condition of NH3 in MP section is horrible. 4 laning work is in progress and there are diversions and diversions and diversions. The stretches, where the construction activities are not in progress, are in really bad shape; may be govt. is not repairing them as these stretches will also be taken up for 4 laning.

Some Tips
After entering MP there was not a single good Petrol bunk till Indore. So tank up in Nashik or Dhule (there is a good HP bunk just 10 kilometers after Dhule).

To be continued…
Coming up next (with a lot of pictures) -> a day at Maheshwar…
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Old 30th December 2008, 07:13   #15
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Fundoo stuff. I can only commend the patience of your wife - managing one side aged aunt, and one side your baby boy while you have the drive of your life with the adventure

PS: Saw your garage. 35k km in four years on an adventure seems to be underutilizing that beast! You need MORE such trips!

Last edited by phamilyman : 30th December 2008 at 07:17.
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