FINAL DAY – 62nd day Thurs 12th June: Udaipur to Ahmadabad – FINAL LEG OF OUR OFFICIAL JOURNEY, TRIP FROM UK TO INDIA.

Left Udaipur at about 11.30 am to complete the final leg of our road trip.

Udaipur has numerous lakes with lovely settings, but unfortunately we would have to leave this for another time. The immediate focus was to reach Ahmadabad by about 4.30 pm at a well known sports club, where we would be greeted by some local and national press. Did not know what to expect regarding the press, arrangements had been made by Kirit’s friend, at whose house incidentally, we were staying this evening.

photo 1 photo 2Just over 12,000 miles traveled reaching our final destination.

photo 3

I drove all the way to Ahmadabad, needed to do this after the incident the other day.

photo 4Damage to the spot lights ,after yesterday’s accident – not a lot,considering the force of the impact.


Experienced the now usual traffic and highway violations on route and I had to be attentive right throughout the journey. The start of the journey was quite unusual, when we had to dodge an elephant at a junction. Yes this time, in this very animal friendly country, it was the elephant’s turn to test our driving skills.

Click to Watch Video of Elephant

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Made Ahmadabad by about 5pm, the following hour and a half that followed at this popular … club was an experience and a half.

photo 5

As soon as we arrived and entered the building, Jayesh – Kirit’s friend here, informed us that some of the press were already here and they would like to conduct interviews as soon as possible.

photo 4Flowers for the adventurers!

photo 1Let the interviews begin. Initially all three of us with one reporter.


Like proper celebrities we were escorted into a posh conference room, seated and interviewed by a particular news paper reporter. No sooner had he finished when another two suddenly arrived, and they too sat around us and started asking similar questions about our trip.

photo 2

It was great fun, but it was starting to become organised chaos, so what was suddenly decided – and it worked – was to split Kirit, Manvir and myself so that we now sat individually with the reporter.

Quick firing questions and hopefully we gave a good account of ourselves and of the journey we have just undertaken. Its very easy to give top layer answers to the best and worst moments on the trip, but for me, it will take a bit of time and more reflective thought to convey with greater detail my feeling about the trip. Unsure how at present but I would like to break the thoughts into smaller pieces – about the countries and their people, the journey itself and importantly whether this experience has changed me in anyway.

photo 3Kalpesh paying us a visit.

Kalpesh Solanki – Pharmacy Business, was in town and was also present here – this time not as a reporter, nice of him to come and share the moment.

Back to the board room scene – We were now told that the photographers were waiting outside and wanted to take photos of us and the Land Cruiser.

photo 5 photo 4
There were so many people waiting outside, from the press and others and for that moment of time, we all felt we were in another world. It got so busy, answering questions fired at us from the various reporters, taking photos and even showing the various gadgets on the vehicle.

Our fridge was already switched on, and we demonstrated how cold it was with the beer we had inside. They took numerous snaps of Manvir and myself holding a couple of cans of beer we had previously purchased in China. Thinking afterwards about this, hope the reporters don’t run with the story – World road travellers caught without liquor permit! Gujarat is a dry state – where liquor permits is required. Too much to think about at the present time, we will cross the bridge when and when it happens.

photo 1 (1)

This chap was the campaign manager and helped Mr Modi, during the recent general elections.

photo 2 Wow, for a moment we are all celebrities.

photo 3

Even so soon after the end of our journey, there was a happy feeling, a feeling of contentment that a dream has been fulfilled. Importantly we had all returned safely and all of us will be shortly making our way home back to England. The day ended with a small party at Kirit’s friends house .

A really big thank you, to you all, for following my blog over the last two months. Its been a great adventure and ticked so many boxes for me. Although it’s been hard work keeping a daily record, it’s been absolutely worth it because it will act as a great reference point in years to come.

In the next few days, I am going to try to give a brief overview of the trip.



Hiten Patel



Received coverage in local and national news papers including India Times, and also on newspaper websites the following day (13th June).

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3


61st day Wed 11th June: Jhansi/Orchha to Chittorgarh or better still – Udaipur

If we achieve the latter then we would have covered 560km today. Started the journey this morning with the knowledge we would have to do a lot of miles by the end of the day if we were to have a relaxing day tomorrow, travelling to our final destination of Ahmedabad.

The day started pleasantly, I was driving and the first challenge of the day was to cross a narrow bridge across a pretty river setting – why? Just because it was a bit of a challenge. A bigger challenge would have been to cross the bridge in reverse gear.

photo 1

A very pleasant river setting, near where we stayed the night in Orchha.

photo 2 photo 3

Me at the wheels, crossing the narrow bridge – great experience, wonder how I would have coped if the river was swollen form the monsoon rains.

photo 4 photo 5

Very picturesque.

photo 1 photo 2

Sudden abrupt end of the highway – No signs, no diversion notice – nothing!

photo 3Cute – had to take this.

photo 4
Random village we had to pass through, resembled some of the places we passed through when travelling through some of our earlier countries.

photo 5
Target Udaipur.

The roads we have travelled on so far in India, especially the main highways, between the cities, have really been excellent – not one pot hole!
However signposting and discipline of drivers, especially those travelling in the wrong direction on a duel carriageway is a major safety issue and one which you need to be constantly vigilant of whilst driving. It does sap your energy and in fact both driver and co- driver need to be equally aware.

Couple of videos below showing some of the dangers we faced whilst driving:

Click to Watch Oncoming Bike in Wrong Direction

Click to Watch Goat on the Road While Driving


A very sad incident :
The road was good and I was doing a steady 65mph when suddenly completely out of the blue, a major situation developed - On this particular patch, where the duel carriageway was separated by an elevated island, there were a large number of thick overgrown bushes running along its length. Although I was completely focused on the road, with both my hand on the steering wheel, a large cow ran out of these bushes and straight onto the road. I did hoot and in desperation did put my foot firmly on the breaks. Neither was enough and the cow took the full force and impact of the bull – bar protecting the front of our Land Cruiser. It was literally flicked, with such ease, several feet in the air and landed off the road on the LHS. The Land Cruiser did not flinch an inch and I brought the vehicle to a stop.

We got out of the car and I went straight to where the animal had been thrown too, the poor thing still had its eyes wide open, was lying almost motionless. I felt pretty helpless, nothing I could do would comfort it. It was probably for my own benefit that I gently stroked it’s head several times and tried to close its eyes.

By now a few people had gathered around, they all looked like local farmers. In terms of our location we were well into rural area, so the site of the incident was remote. A couple of the farmers were very pragmatic, saying they had seen what had happened, I could not have avoided the animal and it’s best to move on. They also said these type of accidents occur regularly, the cow could not be helped and was about to die. At that particular instance the only way, and there are no guarantees with this, was for me to take a sharp left or right turn with the consequence that I might have hit either end of the stationary cow, but the car itself could have flipped – thereby endangering the lives all of us sitting in the car.

Felt a bit sick about the whole incident and I will have to deal with what occurred in my own way.

The remainder of the journey seemed obviously longer for me, but everyone was very supportive.

Random monsoon rain – which lasted very briefly..

Click to Watch Monsoon Rain Video

photo 1 A guy on moped driving on the opposite direction of traffic on the main highway.

photo 2A cow sudden runs across the road.

photo 3 photo 4

My favourite photos – India shining in the sunset
Made it to Udaipur – travelled nearly 500 miles today. It was a massive achievement. And it means the last day of our official trip, travelling to Ahmedabad will take about 4 hours and will be more relaxed and hopefully incident free.

Final day tomorrow !!!

Map 11June


Map of today’s journey!

60th day Tues 10th June : Sightseeing in Lucknow and then drive to Jhansi

Count down to the last few days of our Epic Road Trip.

Spent the morning, driving around Lucknow and visiting a few sights. The main one being the Bara Imambara monument.

This was a pretty unique building – with sounds travelling through it’s many walls. Pretty large, impressive and imposing building, with a lot of history and of particular interest was how it was originally constructed. We took lots of photos.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Possibly the largest arched wall building in the world.

photo 5

Our guide lit a match at the very far end of the hall and we could hear it at the far end, where we were standing.

The whole building is made of small size bricks and lime plaster. No wood or metal has been used in the construction which took 11 years and started in 1784.
It was built as a part of a relief project for a major famine that took place in that year.

The amazing hollow walls of the central hall not only keeps it cool during summer but also help to lighten the load of the structure.
You can view the grave of Nawab Asaf-ud-Dowlah and his crown is also kept in the central hall.

The Bara Imambara has a unique style of construction. The central hall of Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world. The hall measures 50 meters long and goes up to a height of 15 meters. What makes the construction unique is the fact that the blocks have been put together with interlocking system of bricks and there has been absolutely no use of girders and beams. The roof stands steady till date without any pillars to support it.


photo 1 photo 2
The Bara Imambara is also known for its incredible maze called Bhulbhulaiya. This is located not on the ground but on the upper floor of the monument. A stairway leades to this level. The best way of finding our way out was hiring our guide.

photo 3 photo 4
They got the height of the ceiling right all those years ago, well over 6 feet – endless whispering corridors.

Looks pretty majestic.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Possibly the first selfy taken at the Bara Imambara monument.

We were viewing this and other places in temperatures over 45 degrees C. I haven’t ever experienced such high temperatures, it felt extremely close and suffocating, the heat was intense and when walking, you got from A to B in a straight line and as quickly as possible. I was actually dripping sweat. The monsoons are late and are being effected by some Al Nino jet streams – let’s hope the rains come soon. Easy for us to travel in an air conditioned car, difficult to imagine the challenges ordinary people face, going about their every day lives and coping with such high temperatures, but they do – absolutely amazing, the resilience they show.

Some photos – on leaving Lucknow.

From what we saw its a lovely city and would have liked to have spent some more time here.

photo 1End of the road for this particular flyover.

photo 2 photo 3

You can see that the crack on our windscreen has been progressing very well.
Good thing we don’t have that much more travelling to do!

photo 4Can you believe this – the car recording the outside temperature as 50 degrees C!!!!!

We had already decided, now that our main objective of driving from London to India had been achieved – the key was now to drive to Ahmedabad (our final destination) as quickly as possible. We still had well over 1,000 miles to go, but were determined to reach there the latest by Thursday 12th June afternoon.

We started today ‘s journey in the afternoon, thankfully even after contending with the extreme heat and normal chaotic traffic conditions.

photo 1

You wouldn’t believe the incredible loads, some of these lorries were carrying.
Health and safety is still a long way away in India.

photo 2 Land Cruiser in India – coming nearly to the end of our journey

photo 3 photo 4Random fires on our way to Jhansi.


We arrived at Orchha Resort at 10 pm (near to a town called Jhansi), a four hour journey that took over six and a half hours.

Our map of today’s journey:



59th day Mon 9th June: Now In India, we travelled from Gorakhpur to Lucknow in India

Big day for me – I drove the whole 270kms to Lucknow. My first ever drive in India. The roads were pretty good, getting out of Gorakhpur town had its own particular challenges but when you are driving the big beast, you do have certain advantages, importantly you do start to gain the technique of gently, but with steely determination nudging your way through the mangled mesh of traffic.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Driving up to Ayodhya.

photo 1

Fresh Sugarcane juice being extracted.

photo 5

Today’s drive.

On the way, we stopped at Ayodhya where in 1991 were the scenes of major Hindu/ Muslim troubles, in which to maintain crowd control, police killed a large number of Hindus over a disputed site, which the Hindus claim was the birth place of Lord Rama. This place is beneath the Babri Mosque built by Babur (the first Mughal ruler in India), though deserted now for many years. The demands that a temple should be built on that spot caused widespread tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities. The site was later excavated and remains of a temple beneath the structure of the mosque were found.

photo 1

Priest in deep meditation in one of the temples

Quite a character.


photo 3

Short break before getting back on the road again.

photo 4

This was the temperature today – stifling to put it mildly!

We were really entertained by a 12 year old boy, an enterprising kid who wanted to show us around the temples in Ayodhya – I have posted a short clip of him in action.

Click Here to Watch The Video of the Boy

Gift of the gab!

photo 2

Got to Lucknow in good time, had a nice hotel to stay in – for the first time!

photo 5

Time to relax after the long drive.

We then went to a local Kebab restaurant for our evening meal – what an experience. This is where we eat this evening – pretty good food.

Click Here to Watch Our Chef for the Evening Dinner

Dinner, this evening.

photo 1 photo 4 photo 2
The place was heaving – Not bad considering there was only four varieties on the menu - Nandos eat your heart out – this was pretty tasty.

photo 3


58th day Sun 8th June – The day we reached India : Second attempt to see The Mountain Peaks and then to the Nepal / Border

An even earlier start to the day then yesterday.This was going to be a long and challenging day.

We were at the airport by 6am, to make our second and final attempt to see Everest and all the associated peaks. The omens were good, the weather seemed a bit clearer then yesterday, the aircraft was bigger and more comfortable.

photo 1 photo photo 2


The flight was for an hour, and it was probably one of the best hour I have ever spent looking at such natural beauty.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 4 photo 5

Lots of great shots of the Mountains from The Nepal side.


Cockpit View

A view from the cockpit.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Click to watch Mountain Flight Video 1

Click to watch Mountain Flight Video 2

Click to watch Mountain Flight Video 3

Click to Watch Mountain Flight Video 4

Click to watch Mountain Flight Video 5

Click to watch Mountain flight Video 6

Click to Watch Mountain Flight Video 7 photo 1 photo 4 photo 5 photo 2 photo 3

These were breathing scenes.

Numerous peaks of snow capped mountains, being seen from the top of the world, in the comfort of an exclusive flight. The bonus, and it was a big bonus we also got to see the views from the cock – pit of the air craft. The whole viewing experience was completed with exceptional friendliness from the aircraft staff. This was a big tick in the box, particularly when it was possible to relate one particular peak – The North Face to the time we spent at Everest Base Camp, only last week.

photo 1

Service with a smile – This Air Hostess is wasted on Yeti Airlines.

Coming into land – fairly smooth.

Click to Watch Our Plane Landing Video

photo 2
All happy bunnies after seeing such a beautiful sight – second time lucky.


Got back to the hotel, had a quick breakfast and we were soon on our way to the Nepal border – the mission was to cross over into India today.

We had a long tiring journey ahead of us.

A bit complicated to explain – but effectively it would be Peter’s last journey with us on this road expedition. Because we had to sort out the Carnate (a vehicle thing), some of the car documents were in his name, he was going to cross the border, with us into India and then rejoin his family back in Nepal.

Two cars were travelling to the border crossing, and mine and Kirit’s wife were going to rejoin us for the India leg of the journey.

photo 1

Journey to the Nepal / India border, fraught with danger.

photo 2

photo 3

Nepalese side of immigration and Car registration formalities.

photo 4

I drove the first leg of the journey, hell raising or what – anyway we finally reached the border crossing. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the customs formalities on both sides of the border were completed without too much fuss or bother. After passing through 16 countries this was our last border crossing and symbolically for us the most satisfying because we had almost completed our intended mission, of driving from London to India. Just going to repeat it for my benefit – have driven from London to India!!
We have waited a long time to see this posting – and very welcomed it was too.

photo 5

Said our farewells to Peter who was going to spend a little more time in Nepal. Have spent a lot of time together in the last eight weeks and it will be unusual not to have him travelling with us from now. No doubt we will all catch up soon, after we return to England.

photo 1

And now to deal with the Indian side.
Indian customs were pretty relaxed about inspecting our vehicle – a pleasant first. I didn’t get any of my photos deleted on this occasion, they were quite relaxed about photographs being taken.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Area of Border crossing in Nepal:

photo 5

Saying our farewell to our fellow traveller, Peter – wishing him well with his onward journey. No doubt we will do a catch up as soon as we are all back home.

photo 1 photo 4

And Welcome to India and traffic!

photo 2 photo 3

It was now almost 6.30pm and we were on the Indian side near the border and we still had 100 miles still to go to get to the nearest, decent sized town. Unfamiliar roads, still had to get the direction sorted out, lightening had suddenly started- seemed after the euphoria of crossing into India a realisation that we still had a bit of work still to do.

The beautiful scenes of the mountains this morning were, for the present a distant memory.

The drive to Gorakhpur was challenging, in pitch dark, vehicles coming towards you with full beam on, we were now driving on the RHS of the road for the first time in a vehicle which had a LH steering wheel. So many vehicles coming towards us, with no lights or even reflectors who we had to suddenly avoid. We made it in one piece, determined we will make every effort not to drive in the dark in the few remaining days we now have left, before our journey comes to an end. We were also lucky it did not start to rain, the monsoon season is late by a week in these parts and any rain would have made driving very hazardous indeed.

Happy memories of Nepal.

photo 5

Just one scene of the types of challenges we faced driving in the dark towards Gorakhpur.

Journey today – From the mountains of Nepal – Kathmandu to border town Sonauli to Gorakhpur in India.

photo 1 photo 2
Have reached India!



57th day Sat 7th June – Plane journey to the mountain peaks‏

Got up at 5 am this morning to go and see the mountains by plane. It was a short journey to the local/international airport in Kathmandu. Not the same level of security we are use to. After a delay for an hour, on safety grounds we were given the green light to board our small air craft. Had to crouch and crawled my way inside to get to my seat.

Unfortunately a somewhat wasted journey, all we got to see, when we got to the maximum height was a wide variety of fluffy white clouds – but no mountain peaks. We were going to get another opportunity tomorrow early morning.

Back to the hotel and caught up on some desperately needed sleep.

Fast approaching the end of this ‘epic’ road trip. Tomorrow we will be attempting to cross the Nepal/India border into India and enter the final leg of our journey.

Went to a traditional Nepalese Restaurant in the evening.


photo 1

Pilot going for a leak – seriously he was!

photo 2

All smiles before take off.

photo 3

Jane a bit apprehensive mis way through the flight and Peter with a comforting hand.

photo 4
Back on land – no sighting of any mountain peaks.


photo 1 (1)

Traditional Nepalese meal in the evening.


photo 2 (1)
Cheers! Gin and 7 Up – no tonic available

56th day Fri 6th June – Some White Water Rafting to be done today‏

Had a very early start this morning. Had to leave the hotel in Kathmandu by 7 am. We were off to do White water rafting.

To reach the starting point we had to undergo again, the tedious journey on the same dangerous road we took to go to Pokhara.

Finally we were all set to get started – my first White Water Rafting experience. We were told by our particular instructor that the river could in places get to a grade 3 or 4 level rapid and that our journey would be about 20 kms.

Again, as with the Para sailing in Pokhara, there was a gradual build up of excitement. Got the helmet and life jackets on; took on board some rowing and safety instructions being given to us and soon we were all set to go.

Turned out to be extremely enjoyable and particularly thrilling experience especially when we did encounter the grade 3 and 4 rapids. Another definite activity for me to do again in the future. The nearest I had got to doing this in the past was in one of the water rides in Disneyland Florida!
We also had some decent water fights with the other boats on our 20 km track. I was unable to take too many photos for obvious reasons, but did get some.

What a day.


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

All getting ready to go on our little adventure on our way!!

photo 1

The motley crew on the river trip.

photo 2
This the calm, before the storm.

photo 3
Manvir, doing something or the other.


photo 4

A selfy with wifey.


photo 5
Kirit with Nalini.


The only part I intentionally allowed myself to get wet – I think the life jacket is too small for me:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

A short video clip of our River Trip:

Click to watch the video of the river trip


Evening meal – Pizza at a local Restaurant in Kathmandu with friends and partners, some of whom had joined us for the next few days.

photo 4 photo 5

55th day Thurs 5th June – in Kathmandu, visiting local sites‏

Went to Nagarcot which is 30 miles from Kathmandu with the hope of viewing the mountain range. Unfortunately due to the heat and pollution the range was hidden behind a cloud of smog, but the views of the valley were absolutely amazing.
On our return to Kathmandu we visited a Buddhist temple called the Monkey Temple. As it’s name suggests, quite a few monkeys here. Also great view of the city from the top.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Local, tribal Nepalese lady gathering dried grass.


photo 4

Nice backdrop

The inevitable selfy:

photo 5


On route to Nagarcot:


photo 1

With Ragini.

photo 2

photo 3 photo 4 photo 5
What you looking at!


Photos from Nagarcot:
Managed to climb the tower, for an even better view from Nagarcot

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


Capturing our conquest of the 1


View from the Buddhist Monkey Temple, near Kathmandu.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


Some – monkey scenes. With a magnificent background views.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Not quite – Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Say No Evil.

Click to watch video of monkey mischief


Back to our hotel.

photo 1

Bricks manufacturing.

photo 2 photo 3

Broken down, on the way to Nagarcot.

photo 4 photo 5


In the evening went to Ragini’s old school friend ‘s house for dinner – They had got in touch recently via Facebook after almost 35 years. Had a really good time, great hospitality and got a very informative and impressive insight of Rajni’s Royal connection with Nepal going back generations.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Ragini – finally gets to meet her friend Rajni, after 35 years.

We had a wonderful home cooked Nepalese dinner.

54th day Wed 4th June – Half a day in Pokhara and then back to Kathmandu‏

Spent the morning in Pokhara. The morning was superb, birds singing, clear blue sky- there is just an air of tranquility and calm about this place. Would love to come back to discover it more in the future.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Beautiful scenes of Lake Phewa in Pokhara.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

photo 5


Drove to a Lake ….. And spotted a lot of para – gliding activity up in the hills.


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

On seeing this – the dye was cast,we were going to do this.

One enquiry, followed another and we landed up ourselves high in the skies.


ParaSailing – Here we come!!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

It was thrilling and exciting to drive to the top of the hill overseeing Lake …… There was an air of anticipation and nervous excitement when the harness was put on me. Instructions were given on what I and the instructor had to do to lift off into the skies i.e. basically run in tandem down the hill. It was as simple as that and within a matter of seconds I was nearly a mile up into the sky.

One way of travelling to the top of the hill.

Click to watch the video of travelling up the hill

The whole flight was being recorded, the views were superb of the lake and surrounding area. I knew it was going to be risky but I had to take a few video clips and photos with my iPhone. Thankfully I managed it without dropping it. My instructor was superb.


Just before take off.

Click to watch the video of take off

In the air – in the hands of the instructor, air currents and God!

Click to watch the video of in the air


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Gliding smoothly through the sky. What a scene.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Safe landings for all – brilliant experience!

As soon as we had finished we got into the car and headed straight back to Kathmandu because we knew it was going to be, again a long and treacherous journey, managing the curves and bends of the mountain road. We would have to take on the lorries and have to contend with the heavy oncoming traffic.

photo 1

Passenger on lorry, oblivious of the world around him. 

Some of the traffic we had to contend with on our journey back.

photo 2


Sunset scenes:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5
We reached Kathmandu at about 7.30 pm and as expected after a very nervous drive.

On arrival it was great to see Ragini again after almost eight weeks of leaving London. She and Nalini (Kirit’s wife) will be joining us for the rest of the trip, into Gujarat in the car.

The whole group had a wonderful meal together at New Orleans restaurant. From previous visits to Kerala in South India I have really loved the flute and tabla played together, but this was the first time a guitarist was also involved. Absolutely brilliant – (video clips attached).

Click to watch music clip 1

Click to watch music clip 2

Click to watch music clip 3

Click to watch music clip 4

Had a really good day.