Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Road Trip comes to a fine end!

It was an honour to be the official blogger for the Tata Nano Superdrive and I was extremely privileged to have readers like you.

Like all grand sagas, even this one had to come to an end. After a gap of 28 days, I have returned to my home base Bangalore. But, I will continue to “be on the road” whenever possible.

If you like what I write and would like to follow my travels, you can look me up at www.beontheroad.com, my travel blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Superdrive reaches its final destination…

It has been a saga that lasted 26 days, covering 6,200 kms across 9 states and umpteen cities.

This road trip has been so great that starting Tuesday when I head back to Bangalore, I will miss the Superdrive Nanos. They definitely made this road trip extremely memorable for me.

Currently, I am at Mumbai and there will be a flag in ceremony tomorrow at Taj Presidency to celebrate the successful completion of this road trip.

Mr. Ratan Tata will be flagging in the entire Superdrive cavalcade from all three routes (Saffron, White and Green).

Stay tuned to your television sets, online news sites and newspapers for the event coverage as a lot of media houses will be covering the flag in ceremony.

Photo Shoot from Aurangabad

The Superdrive team had spent a couple of days in the “Land of the Nizams – Hyderabad”. Now, the turn had come to visit Aurangzeb’s city – Aurangabad. In Aurangabad, the team visited excellent historic places. Below are some photos from the landmark photo shoot.

IMG_3177-800 In front of Daulatabad Fort

IMG_3193-800 At Biwi Ka Maqbara (also known as Taj of the Deccan)

IMG_3202-800 Biwi Ka Maqbara – Carbon Copy of Taj Mahal

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Superdrive – the final few days…

It has been an eventful last 22 days for the Tata Nano Superdrive team on the White Route.

We have clocked 5, 200 Kms so far….stamped our presence in nine states…survived some of the hottest places in India…loved the diverse cultures and cuisines in the various states and are still going strong.

In our final leg of the trip,  we will visit Aurangabad in Maharashtra tomorrow, before culminating the pan-India road trip in Mumbai on the 28th of this month.

At Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Our third and final landmark for a photo shoot session in Hyderabad was Golconda Fort, a National Heritage Monument, tucked in the outskirts of Hyderabad.

This historic fort, which was built by many rulers and destroyed by Aurangzeb in the 16th century is an amazing place to explore.

Unfortunately, the Superdrive Nanos did not get the opportunity to go inside the fort, but got enough opportunity to admire the perimeter of this vast fort and in return got admired by hordes of people.

Photo Shoot at Birla Mandir, Hyderabad

The Birlas have done a great job of building temples and religious places across India. Most of them are in extremely picturesque locations.

In this case at Hyderabad, the Birla Temple is situated atop a hill and offers brilliant views of the city.

The temple in itself is made out of White Marble and is a treat to the eye.

This was our second landmark location in Hyderabad for a photo shoot.

Nano Superdrive at Charminar, Hyderabad

When you are at the Land of the Nizams, what better place to be at than Charminar, the pride of Hyderabad.

A bustling part of the city revolves round Charminar. It is possibly one of the busiest parts of Hyderabad.

And this is where the Superdrive Nanos stopped for their first landmark shoot.

It was tough for us to make it a perfect photo shoot as this part of town sees heavy traffic, but we managed somehow.

But, irrespective of the traffic, this place has got a lot of culture and history attached to it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hyderabadi Biryani and more…

The Tata Nano Superdrive team has arrived at Hyderabad and has satisfied their taste buds by sampling sumptuous Hyderabadi Biryani.

Tomorrow morning, the Superdrive Nano will take to the streets of Hyderabad and will aim to cover nearly all of this large city.

Here’s the schedule for tomorrow to let you meet these bedazzled beauties in person:

11 am: Charminar
12 noon: Birla Mandir
1 pm: Golconda Fort

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

To the Land of the Nizams…

Tomorrow, Tata Nano Superdrive will make its way into the land of the Nizams and the capital of Andhra Pradesh - ‘Hyderabad’.

Watch out for the Superdrive Nano parade in Hyderabad tomorrow and the day after (June 23 and 24).

P.S. The Superdrive team is currently resting at Vijaywada after a long drive from Vishakhapatnam.

Pit Stop at Godavari River Bridge, Andhra Pradesh

The NH 5 in Andhra Pradesh is a great four lane highway and the Superdrive Nanos were zipping on these roads till they stopped at the Godavari River Bridge to admire the vast expanse of water.

The Godavari River Bridge is the longest river bridge in Andhra Pradesh and one of the longest in the country. Actually, there are 2 bridges and cover a total distance of five kilometres.

The amount of water that this river carries during the monsoons is said to send shivers down the spines of the people, but today, it was not that bad, but enough water to make it look picturesque.

In essence, a great refreshing break for the team and for the three Superdrive beauties.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Afternoon Drive to Rishikonda Beach, Vizag

After finishing our scheduled landmark visits, I made my way to Rishikonda Beach, one of the more famous tourist attractions of Vishakhapatnam.

Rishikonda Beach is situated on the marine drive and is about 15 kilometres from the heart of the city.

Unlike the other beaches of Vizag, the Rishikonda beach is safe for swimming and one can indulge in water sports.

The Rishikonda beach, which in itself is pristine, is set amidst beautifully green hills. On one side of the beach are popular health and spa resorts. While, on the far side, one can see bungalows situated on small hills and the IT park of Infosys and Sutherland technologies in the far background.

The entire place was bustling with people and there was lot of opportunity for them to go into a shopping frenzy at the beach side shacks selling variety of wares including ornaments made out of sea shells.

Superdrive is at Kalimata Temple, Vizag

The 3rd and final landmark for the Superdrive team at Vizag was Kalimata Mandir.

This temple faces the Bay of Bengal and is a picture of calm.

Situated just on the Marine Drive, this holy place was a great place for the Superdrive team to seek the blessings of Goddess Kali.

Most Scenic on the White Route…

In Vishakhapatnam, the Superdrive moved forward from the Submarine Museum on the marine drive towards Kailashgiri that stood on top of a hill facing the Marine Drive.

As we took the turn off from the marine drive and started ascending, the views got extremely beautiful.

Every turn on these steep turns provided us with un-paralleled views of the Vishakhapatnam beach line and splendid views of the city.

But, the best views were reserved for the last mile. Once we reached the top, the views were truly heavenly.

This was the most scenic spot so far on our 20 day road trip. Such was the intoxication by nature that we forgot that we had a photo shoot to prepare for.

Soon, we got into our normal work and proceeded to set up the Nano Superdrive Photo Shoot and even found some time to go and pay a visit to the Shiva temple on top of the Kailashgiri hill.

Next to the Submarine Museum and on the Marine Drive of Vizag!

The city of Vizag has a 40 km marine drive and every bit of it is enthralling.

It is on this marine drive that the Superdrive Nanos stopped for their first photo shoot session in Vishakhapatnam and the landmark was the Submarine Museum.

The balmy weather added to the day’s charm. The Submarine Museum was closed, but the entire team could see enough to admire the huge submarine, its torpedos, its indicator buoys and the likes.

And finally, the Superdrive Nanos got a breath of the salty breeze blowing in from the Bay of Bengal.

Vizag Primary School Class Photo!

Primary school kids from Vishakhapatnam were on a field trip through the city when they got a great opportunity to see the Superdrive Nanos up close.

All these school girls were giggles and smiles on seeing the automobile beauties. Before they got back onto their school bus, all the school girls said in unison “Thank you Sir” and that too in typical school sing-song style.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nano Superdrive reaches Vishakhapatnam

After spending a couple of days in the “Land of the Kalingas”, the Nano Superdrive has reached Vishakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The drive from Bhubaneshwar to Vishakhapatnam was a breeze on the golden quadrilateral roads except for some minor traffic hiccups in Orissa.

Highlights of the drive today:
Driving parallel to Chilika Lake in Orissa for more than 20 kilometres. (Chilika Lake is the largest salt water lake in India).

Our first rains during this road trip. We have been on the road for the last 18 days.

Splendid views of delightfully green and mist covered Eastern Ghats on both sides of the NH 5 highway as we approached Vishakhapatnam.

Stats for the day:
Odometer reading crossed 4,000 kms today.

Arrived at our 9th state on this road trip.

Watch out for the Superdrive Nanos if you happen to be at Vizag tomorrow!

Schedule for June 21, 2010 (Monday):
11 am: Submarine Museum
12 noon: Kailash Green Park
1 pm: Kalimata Temple

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A visit to Buddha’s Stupa at Dhaulagiri in Bhubaneshwar!!

After visiting all the scheduled landmarks in Bhubaneshwar, I had enough time with me to go and visit Dhaulagiri situated on top of a hill and a very important landmark in Bhubaneshwar.

Dhaulagiri or locally known as Dhauli, is known for its Sanchi Stupa and Peace Pagoda.

This is one of the places where Lord Buddha would pray for peace and would spread his learnings to the community.

Since this stupa is placed atop a hill, one can get excellent panoramic views of Bhubaneshwar city, the green paddy fields and fantastic views of the meandering rivers.

Raja Rani Temple and the Superdrive Photo shoot, Bhubaneshwar

Our 3rd landmark at Bhubaneshwar was Raja Rani Temple. This temple built during the Kalinga rule has been beautifully maintained by the Archaeological Society of India.

IMG_2308-800 Raja Rani Temple, Bhubaneshwar

IMG_2342-800 Superdrive Nanos pose in front of Raja Rani Temple, Bhubaneshwar

IMG_2347-800 Big FM and their lucky listeners are a happy bunch after going for a spin in the Superdrive Nanos!!

Photo at Bindu Sagar, Bhubaneshwar

Earlier this morning, the Superdrive team were at Bindu Sagar, our first landmark at Bhubaneshwar.

This place is one of the most important religious places in Orissa and in India. Built by the Kalinga rulers, the exquisite and ornate Lingaraj temple is in the backdrop.

Here are some of the photos!

IMG_2239-800 Superdrive Nanos next to Bindu Sagar and with the Lingaraj Temple in the backdrop

IMG_2285-800 View of Lingaraj Temple from through the Nano

IMG_2298-800 Old temple complex next to Bindu Sagar Pond

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sunset Pit Stop at Mahanadi River Bridge, Orissa!!

Earlier this evening and right during sunset, the Superdrive team on the White Route took a pit stop on the Mahanadi River Bridge in Orissa.

The Mahanadi river is the largest river in Orissa and is considered quite a sight in the monsoons. The bridge over this river is also the largest in Orissa and provide some panoramic sights of the river and its associated horizon.

Here are some photos taken during our sunset pit stop session!

IMG_2122-800 Pinky over the dry Mahanadi river

IMG_2124-800 On the Mahanadi River Bridge

IMG_2127-800 Lined up on the extremely long Mahanadi River Bridge

IMG_2136-800 Sunset View from the Nano’s Eyes!!

Nano finds yet another admirer!!

We had stopped for a late lunch by a road side dhaba in Orissa. And this where the Superdrive Nanos found themselves a lot of admirers.

Not only did these guys admire the cars, but had a lot of glowing comments about its looks.

On hearing the price of these cars, one of them commented: “Why did I pay so much money to buy a bike? I could have put in some more money and bought myself a shining new Nano”.

Pit Stop at Chandipur Beach, Orissa!!

The Chandipur beach, situated in Orissa and by the Bay of Bengal is a very special place indeed.

This is one of the few places in this world where the differences in low and high tides are the largest. To cite an example, during low tide, the water recedes by as much as five kilometres and one can walk all the way into the ocean bed before rushing back as the water comes back to original levels during high tide.

This was the place where the Nano Superdrive team took a relaxing pit stop!