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Mangalore: Trio Explore Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) on 4 Wheels
by Florine Roche - Mangalore

Feb 12, 2009
 

The enterprising and adventurous streak of Mangaloreans (in all fields) is well-known the world over.   Taking a cue from our elders who were intrepid and valiant, the younger generation is out to prove this adventurous streak in them to the outside world.  The recent venture of 3 youngsters of Mangalore who went on a 10 day adventure driving on the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) covering more than 7000 kms on 4 wheels certainly merits appreciation.  Probably they are one of the few and certainly the first ones from Mangalore to embark on this grueling but worth a try voyage which was full of excitement.  

Dr Govindraj Bhat, Dominic Pinto and Nikil Sameer were the three guys who went on this adventurous expedition on 24th January. Despite the exhausting tour these guys who are in their early 20’s were still bubbling with enthusiasm as they went on explaining about their unique achievement.  Dr Govindraj says “it was Nikhil who came up with this brilliant idea and we both accepted and we are happy we could do it”.  He further adds “simply driving down the GQ does not make much sense and so we went on exploring different places of historic and religious importance en route.  We have enriched our knowledge and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience”. 



TO SEE IS TO BELIEVE 

Golden Quadrilateral is the largest Express Highway Project in India launched by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.  It is the first phase of the National Highway Development Project which comprises 5846 kms of four/six lane express highways and form a kind of quadrilateral while connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkotta and Chennai and pass through 13 states. Mumbai-Pune express highway was the first road to be built as part of the GQ. Though the GQ is only 5846 kms, this adventurous lot went around visiting places covering 7000 kms.   

The trio Govind, Domionic and Nikil are childhood friends and share a fascination for adventure which made them venture out on this tour.  They started on their Hundai Accent car from Bangalore and proceeded to Pune, Surat, Udaipur, Jaipur, Delhim Mathura, Kanpur, Allahabad, Kolkotta, Bubaneshwar, Vishakapatttnam, Hyderabad etc.  Dominic, who is yet to come out of the exhilarating experience, is quite sincere when he says “we could not believe such roads existed in India until we traversed through them. These roads, especially the express highways are simply superb.  One can see nothing but straight roads running into infinity up to 50 kms”.    

 

The trio covered on an average about 700 kms and encountered some memorable some pleasant and some not so pleasant experiences during their adventurous journey.    In the process they have collected 67 toll tickets which they have put it in an album “to preserve it for posterity”, says Govindraj Bhat.   The fact that the trio was traveling to the north for the first time made it more exciting.  “It was physically tiring because we were seeing places.  One of us used to sleep when two others were awake.  Though we wanted to avoid night traveling we had to drive in the night as we had only ten days”, points out Nikhil.  


FUNNY QUOTES 

Tasting the different cuisine and seeing the Taj was the highlight of their tour.  A staunch foodie who loves to savor the multitude of Indian cuisine Govind Raj says his mouth waters thinking those yummy sweets and snacks, especially Rajasthani Dal Baati, Churma, Kachori, Ras Malai of Varanasi.  “The butter milk in Varanasi which comes in those earthen pots is so thick and tasty one can make two more glasses from whatever is stuck around the pot after drinking the buttermilk”, Govind Raj recalls.  Along with Govind Raj both Dominic and Nikhil relied on hot vegetarian food to avoid any complications.  

Contrary to the general belief of long journey to be boring and lethargic the trio had some of the hilarious moments traveling through the highways reading the one liners behind the passing trucks.  When most trucks carried the slogan ‘milk – not for sale’ one ingenious/ignorant one added “sweety” before milk.  Slogans like “be Indian, by Indian” “Waith for your saide” (wait for your side), “Horan ok Plaise”, “2 Dil 1   7 “(do dil ek saath) “fallow traffic Roulls” “Po Po Horn” (for  horn please), “will will find way” etc., provided the right tonic to keep their moods high and alert.  “Most trucks in the north used have the slogan “buree nazarwale tera muhn kaala” and hang an old used chappal beside that probably to ward of evil eyes” says Dominic, who particularly remembers most of the slogans by heart. 

They took the help of a traveling guide which came in handy without wasting their time.  The guides make it mandatory for the travelers to visit the handloom markets and the three youngsters ended up buying lot of sarees for their mothers and sisters (they are still bachelors).  ‘We did not know much about sarees but the guide and shopkeepers explained us so much we were compelled to buy” Dominic explains.  
 

POLICE TURNED PREDATORS 

The flipside of the tour is the harassment the youngsters faced from traffic policemen especially those from Uttar Pradesh. “It was just looting without any hesitation in flimsy pretexts”, contends Nikil. For example in Allahabad their car was stopped for violating seat belt rules and the cops demanded Rs. 3800/- but in the bargain settled for less.  One more police in plain clothes just stoped their car got into their vehicle and asked them money or just go to the police station.  He demanded Rs. 3000/- but the youngsters could only pool in Rs. 450/- which was handed over to them.  “These police in the north are so huge and hefty one would easily get scared talking or looking at them. They are very unsympathetic and harsh and would not lose an opportunity to loot tourists. We did not want to get into trouble by going to police stations because we knew the other police would support their own ilk.  So we had to pay”, explains Govind Raj.  

In Orissa a RTO even demanded they pay state tax and gave them a challan, which is against rule.  State tax has to be paid only of the vehicle halts in the state for more than a month.  They bargained and finally ended up paying Rs. 800/-. The best advice they give for anyone planning to go on long tours is to avoid taking hard cash with them.  The trio was saved from being looted royally but for their dependence on plastic cards.  

The other memorable experience was walk-in-bargain skill they put to good use at hotels.  They walked in to some of the luxury hotels and found to their surprise they could bargain and settle for much less than what is mentioned in the tariff.  In one of the hotels they bargained and settled for Rs. 800/- from Rs. 3000/- quoted initially.  


LINK THROUGH daijiworld.com

The group relied on Geo Positioning System (GPS) available in some high end mobiles only.  They just fed the required information and it went on giving proper directions through voice activated system.  The lap top and internet system kept them connected with happenings back home.  “It was daijiworld.com which kept us informed about the events back home.  We came to know about the pub attack though daiji”, points out Nikil.  Every day the trio updated their blog and sent pictures to keep their friends informed about their escapades.  As a grand finale to the adventurous trip they are now busy writing the travelogue about their experience on “GQ on 4 wheels”.  

The youngsters say they relive this experience everyday and whenever opportunity crops us would go on a longer tour covering parts of north and north east.  Something for posterity can we say!

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Comments on this article
Ajit Lakshmiratan, BangaloreThursday, March 14, 2013
Very nice to read the post...I also drove on the Golden Quadrilateral at age 63 with my wife...from 16 Jan to 12 Feb 2013...total driving days were 14....the drive and experience was good...
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Rajiv Nair, HyderabadThursday, February 28, 2013
Hey Folks,

Hats off for your awesome trip. I am actually planning a trip from Kanyakumari-chennai-Kolkata-Delhi-Mumbai-Hyderabad-Bangalore-Kochi. We are four guys planning this trip. Probably during the end of this year (2013). Myself, Emmanuel, Salim & Reny. We work for the same organisation since 2001 in the middle east. So Lets hope we too will a lot to share with our fellow Indians after our trip.
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Vinson Vaz, Kadri, Mangalore/KuwaitSunday, February 15, 2009

First of all you guys deserve to be applauded. Thanks Florine and Daijiworld for giving a fantastic coverage on the same. Dominic in fact happens to be my cousin and incindently their experience bring back my experience on a similar travel. Way back in 2002, my cousin, Naveen rodrigues and I happenned to make a similar travel from Delhi to Mangalore.

Since Naveen, my cousin purchased a used Cielo, Daewoo car from Delhi, we has no other alternative than to drive it down to Mangalore. In fact we were just two and when one slept the other had to drive. We travelled through Agra, MP...Bhopal, which has best raods, I can matter of say, may be an aeroplane can definetely use it as a runway, From Bhopal through Pune, Dhule and Mangalore.

We go to see the chambal valley, the late Rajesh pilots constiutency, the haphazard nonlit highways, the shady shops without electricity, which acccording the the local appeared only during election time and th way people survived.

The heat which was unbearable, even with the car aircon, etc we had the good fortune of travelling without ever being stopped once.....believe it or not by the police, RTO or any other person, since we travelled in the Cielo car bearing the Delhi Registration, and none bothered at all to even check out car papers. We also had our share of ups and downs, where each one had his share of driving and we even twent through hallucinations due to the heat, lack of sleep etc.

Its a good one of these trio which made me live my travel again. Keep up the good work and Govindraj, Dominic and Nikhil, the next time you plan something try to connect to various organisations like the Rotaract or the Rotary or any other organisation and carry a "MESSAGE" for the whole of India. All the best!!! Vinson Vaz

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Steeve Pereira, Mangalore/BangaloreSunday, February 15, 2009
Great going guys.. Looks like you had a whale of a time on this adventure..
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Padmanabha Shenoy, Udupi / Saudi ArabiaSaturday, February 14, 2009
Great Adventure guys! Keep it up. Its nice to know few tips from the article bargaining with police and hotels.... best of luck for the future adventures...thanks to daijiworld and Florine Roche
Comment on this message     

J PRABHU, MANGALOREFriday, February 13, 2009
Great adventure. Most of the readers have come to know - what GQ is. At this young age, your adventure is fantastic. Only with monetary strength you could do it. Good Luck for your next adventure. I like you guys, you look very energetic and full of charisma. May God bless you and keep you happy.
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george borromeo, angelore, mangaloreFriday, February 13, 2009
Hats off to our youngsters, the spirit of adventure has lured them to visit,feel and touch India traveling through Golden Quadrilateral.Their experience is precious to our younger generation,which can ignite adventurers spirit within them.
Comment on this message     

Jess, MangaloreFriday, February 13, 2009
Very nice to go through your road experience... Congratulations to all of you.. You 3 really proved no matter what we (Hindu, Muslim, Christian) are one. let everyone read this and u/stand. God bless you all.
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Gurumurthy rao, MangaloreThursday, February 12, 2009
Congratulations guys !!!
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Anil, KundapurThursday, February 12, 2009
High class stuf dudes. Even i wish to go someday. Great adventure.All the best .
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Ashley Machado, Mangalore/NJThursday, February 12, 2009
good stuff. great adventure
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