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The Great Bangalore-Paris Road Expedition

20.05.2015 - China:

Its been tough to share updates for last couple weeks, especially with fb and google and gmail heavily restricted here in China and to top it, limited Internet connectivity. There is lots to share and fill on but will have to save our China experiences for a future release.

The Team and Family is doing good, learning and experiencing a lot! We are excited for whats coming up next week!


19.05.2015 - China:







17.05.2015 - China:



16.05.2015 - Dunhuang,China:

Gigantic Sand Dunes at Dunhuang! The kids climbed till the top. You can see the miniatures of the people in backdrop on the top!


14.05.2015 - China:





10.05.2015 - China:










08.05.2015 - China:

Life through the lens during our "eventful" and "beautiful" self-drive from Nepal through China. Due to lack of time and limited Internet, the descriptions to these pictures are limited. As and when we get time, will add in more details.





06.05.2015 - Kathmandu:

Quick shout out and trumps to Punita. A trip this sort requires both mental and physical grit. Its bound that each of the team members be negatively susceptible to both these time to time. It continues to be a challenge for all of us every once in a while.

Punita bore the brunt during the gruellingly long Gorakhpur-Kathmandu stretch with multiple health issues. She also understood the importance of reaching Kathmandu on time for the Chinese Visa. She braved it through very strongly and not only that, graced it with the application formalities as well, as I was completely juiced out with the drive.

To add to her credit, it was her commitment to drive us through as much as possible in India. It stands that she drove over 65% of the journey from Bangalore to Nepal.

She is often referred to as the backbone of Team LIFE within the circles. Salut Woman!

19.04.15 - Good clean shower:

Decided to give the Jet a good clean shower. We contacted Life Automobiles in Kathmandu and it turned out that they were having free check up camp. Good timing. Here is the Jet in before and after condition.

Quick word about the Jet - it has performed phenomenally well, despite being fully loaded and the treacherous road conditions it has been through since the start of the trip. Also glad that Michelin tyres are performing well so far.

thanks to Life Automobiles for the health check in Kathmandu.

Must add that the road conditions in Kathmandu are so bad that 5 minutes after the wash and on the main road the Jet looked like it desperately needed a shower again.



17.04.2015 - Nepal side via Sanauli Border:

17th April, we crossed into the Nepal side via Sanauli Border. We had to rush to Kathmandu for our China group visa, which meant that we had to skip a visit to Lumbini (birthplace of Buddha) and exploring landscapes of Pokhara for our next trip. The border formalities took up unexpectedly long time. About 2 to 3 hours of running around between the Nepal immigration and the Indian customs offices. Part of the reason was also because it was our first international crossing and we wanted to be sure that things were in order. It was a pleasant and nice contrast in terms of the road conditions compared to the Indian side.

Enroute in Nepal towards Kathmandu, we were suddenly taken by complete surprise with very heavy hailstorm. It felt like someone was having fun with a Gatling-gun (Arnold Terminator type). Else, a pleasant and scenic drive.

We reached Kathmandu around 6:30 p.m. and took us about 45 minutes to locate the travel agents office who was going to arrange for our chinese visa. Incidentally his office is located in Thamel area, which is notorious for narrow by-lanes. The TJet got its first international kiss here. Thankfully nothing too bad.

After driving for over 14 hours straight, I started to have double vision when filling up the chinese application form and so goofed up in one of the forms as well. The agent duly obliged to fill the form for me, understandbly so. Punita on other hand filled hers and the kids just fine.

It had been a long day and we decided to call it a day and parked at a hotel right next door the agents office.

Enroute in Nepal towards Kathmandu, we were suddenly taken by complete surprise with very heavy hailstorm. It felt like someone was having fun with a Gatling-gun (Arnold Terminator type). Else, a pleasant and scenic drive.




16.04.2015 - Gorakhpur:

We dashed off to Gorakhpur from Varanasi. Pooja Lohia (my school friend) gave us bottle of ganga-jal (water from the Ganges), achaar and sweets. Once again, was wonderful meeting her and Punita has a new friend in her as well.

It was about 8.30pm ish when we reached Gorakhpur, our last city-town in India. Our cousin Vikas Hirawat called us midway for location status and he was furious we were still driving post sunset (A deal our dad made us sign). He sensed it would be trouble some to look for hotels (we don't plan to book hotels in this trip, as we prefer to keep things open ended). He quickly made a few phone calls and shared the number of Anubhav Verma, an architect based in Gorakhpur. He asked us to co-ordinate with Anubhav looking for Hotel. We called Anubhav on the way to Gorakhpur and he asked us to meet him at his office once we reached the city. The first impression of Anubhav came out as a fun-loving, friendly and cheerful guy. He refused to share details about hotel and simply asked us to follow him in his car. Soon we realised he is taking us to his home and there we met up with his wife, Parul and two wonderful kids. She had prepared dinner for us and they even arranged for our night stay at their place. Anubhav helped us with route information from gorakhpur to kathmandu via the Sanauli border. We decided for early morning start as it was going to be a long drive from gorakhpur to kathmandu. We woke up at 430 and were ready to leave by 530 am. Parul even prepared breakfast for kids. Such a wonderful couple and lovely kids. We look forward to meeting them up in bangalore sometime soon.

There is also an hdfc card incident but that is worth mentioning only in the book once the trip is complete. One quick note about the city of Gorakhpur is that it is not as shaded as it is often been portrayed. We were pretty impressed in some ways.

Picture with Anubhav, Parul and Team LIFE before our takeoff to Kathmandu.


14.04.2015 - Varanasi:

Happy Birthday to the back-bone of Team L.I.F.E - Punita. Beautiful day today with darshans to the Ganga, witnessing the soul-soothing aarthi and doing the holy-dip at the Ganga. The rickshaw ride to the ghat is an experience in itself.

Dinner was chat at the Kaashi's by the lanes. Their 'tamatar-chaat' is a must try. During the day - had a wonderfully pleasant surprise. The room phone rang and on the other end was Pooja Agarwal Lohia. A class-mate from my 8-9th grade from a shcool in Chennai. She happened to see the car parked in the Bhawan from her house that was right next to it. She recognized it from our fb posts. We caught up with her and she suggested things to do while here in Varanasi.







Sharing few pictures from the Nepal earthquake experience. While these pictures describe very little of what the Team actually experienced, this is at best what we could capture with no power supply for 6 days and limited battery life. Big shout out to Chinese Army for taking care of us in bestest ways posible. They are real heroes of the entire episode along with Yash and Dhriti.






'The Socks Family' as labelled and shot by Rochelle Kilgariff from

This was taken during the days when we were caught between cold weather and quakes at the border. We had no warmers and used all our socks to warm ourselves up. Kalenji from Decathlon will be proud of this endorsement. Lovely fun click! Tks Rochelle! smile emoticon!


13.04.2015 - Katni-Varanasi:

Wait for a day when you can undo your route decision. The worst stretch ever driven. Non-existent roads an understatement. Days like this you only wish you had an intervention. 13 hours of putting the Jet to some serious tests. Through it all, it did great and got us home well. We stopped at Rewa for lunch at Hotel Maharaja. Good food and got some good break from the maddening drive. We reached Kanhaiyalal Gupta Smriti Bhavan late night. Very nice bhawan, good clean beds and fantastic air-conditioning and food. Dinner and drop-dead-bed.


12.04.2015 - Nagpur - Katni:

A quick note about the drivers in Nagpur - most of them need some serious lessons in road manners. They simply love to honk for no real reason. You maybe at a stand-still bumper-bumper scenario, but who cares - have horn, will honk!

To sum it up Day 4 - long arduous journey today. Good scenic-view country drive. Not much to say about road conditions. Of the 13 hour drive, Punita drove a good half-length. Google map durations are so deceiving. The second half of the drive, roads were in terrible condition. Dropped the avg. down to 45 kmph. Nonetheless, some nice moments that were captured. We had lunch at The Arihant Palace in Jabalpur. Good food again. We bought some sun-shades for the window here and moved ahead.


11.04.2015 - Nagpur:

By late last night, the sting in Yash's arm had deteriorated quite a bit. The sting-venom affected a good patch of his upper arm and he had a swelling. Though in some pain, Yash remained in high spirits, especially showing-off the swelling in arm to Dhriti as newly built muscles.

We stay put in Nagpur today as advised by the doc. Yash and I decided to drive to town to buy few essentials for the car like phone holder, chargers, power bank etc. While we were at once such store, a biker stopped-by and shared he read about us in the papers. He took pictures with us.

Being shown the 'thumbs up' sign while on-the-move has been a standard since we left home from Bangalore - as news about our travel spread pretty fast, courtesy the media and the wonderful supporters on-board.

Yash and I lunched at the Haldirams while the ladies took care of the re-packing and other arrangements to leave for next day. We visited a relative for dinner and they were curios about our travel plans.

On our back to the hotel, we stopped by to visit the 'zero miles' in Nagpur. A biker stopped by looking at the car and shared the interesting story about how an English governor let four-horsemen in 4 directions to measure distances in India. Makes for an interesting wiki read. Not sure why it isn't maintained like a monumental spot. Pic of the zero-mile location.


10.04.2015 - Hyderabad:

What a fun way to start the morning when you get to meet the 'muffin man' at the Marriott. Kaavya from the hotel helped arrange a behind the scenes at the confectionery and it was lot of fun to have a 'hands on' experience.

Soon after breakfast, just as we were all set to leave for Nagpur, a good friend and ex-colleague Vijay Bhasker stopped by to meet us. He even gave us a solar-powered torch and a hand-receiver that can be connected to the mobile phones that cuts down radiation. A couple weeks ago, Vijay had also helped in the process of the Iranian Visa. We also received help from our Uncle and Aunt and a good friend Srikanth Bhogi from Hyderabad for the same Visa - as a lot of co-ordination was required.

Something that we missed mentioning on Day 1 of our trip when we reached Hyderabad was a visit from our uncle Vikas Baid and his son, Mudit who came down from Vijayawada just to meet and wish us. Due to our delayed start from Bangalore we reached Hyderabad late and unfortunately could only meet them for a short time as they had to head back.

On Day 2, we had our aunt and uncle visit us who even packed home-food for our journey next day to Nagpur. Love, help gestures and good luck wishes has always come in many ways from various sources all through conceiving the journey plans. Very humbling experiences. he Hyderabad-Nagpur Journey was mostly uneventful. The only thing worth mentioning are the mostly decent road conditions with very lovely flowers planted on the highway-median when exiting Hyderabad. Couple of hours before entering Nagpur, the road conditions were in very bad condition and only improved 100 kms before Nagpur. Punita did most of the driving today, including the run from Blr-Hyd.

Yash noticed he had been stung in his arm by an insect. It looked like a bee-sting to all of us and we were still couple of hours away from reaching Nagpur. The weather had cooled down quite a bit as has been the case in most parts of India, with rains pleasantly surprising all in the month of April. Nagpur greeted us with mild showers.

We showed Yash to the Doc at the Orange City Hospital and he immediately suggested we get a blood test done. When we told him of our plans travel to Varansi the next day, he decided against it and suggested we stay put in Nagpur as there are no big hospitals enroute. We did not want to take a chance. We parked in the The Pride Hotel, just outside the Airport. An old-fashioned hotel with very good staff and food. End of a long day.



09.04.2015 - Hyderabad:

A much self-deserved break from everything we had been doing for the last two weeks. We lay put in the hotel to get some much needed rest. Lunch was at Chutneys Himayatnagar. Good food and very friendly serving staff. Highly recommended.


08.04.2015 - Bangalore:

Big Day. Big Moment. After 7 months of planning and over 2000+ email exchanges to put the logistics together - the day had come to finally begin the journey. The last few days had quite a few press coverages and interviews - none of which was anticipated / expected. Feels great to be finally on-the-move. Posing with family outside our home. We had a 9am start and within 15 mins the odo read 18k for the Jet.


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