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A New World Record!

4 Jul

Blow them trumpets, get Akon’s music pumpin, load up those biryanis, bring out the red carpet, and yeah don’t forget those flowers. Tantalizing India has created a New World Record! And how!

We’ve created a New World Record for perimetering India, travelling through the length and breath of the country – covering over 16,470 kms in 17 days 19 hours and 30 minutes. We’ve shattered the earlier record that was set at 19 days and 23 hours. We’ve broken the record by a solid 52 hour margin.

 

The record holds good for covering every state, every union territory and the capital cities of all the states and union territories in record time. The following are list of places that we covered:

Bangalore (Karnataka) – Vellore – Chennai (Tamil Nadu) – Puducherry (Puducherry) – Madurai – Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) –  Thiruvananthapuram – Kochi – Kozhikode (Kerala) – Mangalore – Karwar (Karnataka) – Panaji – Mapusa (Goa) – Belgaum (Karnataka) – Satara – Pune – Mumbai – Palghar (Maharashtra) – Silvasa (Dadra, Nagar Haveli) – Daman Daman (Daman & Diu) – Bharuch – Vadodara – Gandhinagar – Godhra (Gujarat) – Indore – Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) – Rajgarh – Kota – Jaipur – Bikaner – Ganganagar (Rajasthan) – Firozpur – Amritsar – Pathankote (Punjab) – Jammu – Udhampur – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Pang (Jammu & Kashmir) – Jispa – Manali – Bilaspur – Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) – Chandigarh (Punjab, Haryana & UT) – Nahan (Himachal Pradesh) – Dehradun (Uttarakhand) – Delhi (NCT) – Agra – Kanpur – Lucknow – Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) – Patna – Khagaria – Purnia – (Bihar) – Dalkola – Siliguri – Jalpaiguri – Cooch Behar (West Bengal) – Goalpara – Guwahati – Dispur (Assam) – Shillong (Meghalaya) – Karimganj (Assam) – Agartala (Tripura) – Silchar (Assam) – Aizawl (Mizoram) – Imphal (Manipur) – Kohima – Dimapur (Nagaland) – Jorhat – North Lakhimpur (Assam) – Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) – Tezpur – Nalbari – Kachugaon (Assam) – Alipurduar – Madarihat – Mal Bazar – (West Bengal) – Gangtok (Sikkim) – Darjeeling – Malda – Baharampur – Calcutta – Kharagpur (West Bengal) – Baharagora – Jamshedpur – Ranchi – Chaibasa (Jharkhand) – Kendujhargarh – Bhubaneshwar – Sambalpur (Orissa) – Raipur (Chhattisgarh) – Nagpur – Chandrapur (Maharashtra) – Nizamabad – Hyderabad – Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) – Anantapur – Bangalore (Karnataka).

We started our record breaking journey on the 16th of June, 18:00 hrs from Bangalore.

We’d like to take time out to thank our families, friends, supporters, well wishers and fans for their everlasting and encouraging support throughout this endeavour. A big gracias to our sponsor partners in the form of:

The official adjudicator for this record are Limca Book of Records. Limca Book of Records hasn’t authorised this as a record yet. We’ve got some documents to submit to Limca Book of Records which they will deeply scrutinize and if they find fit, will declare us as the new record holders. However, as of now, we’ve reached Bangalore and are confident that we’ve broken the record.

Bihar for you!

3 Jul

There were lots of places that Team Tantalizing India was curious to visit, explore, experience and see as part of our trip. One of them amongst that list was Bihar.

While we were preparing for our journey, all our friends, family, well wishers chipped in with advice, dos and don’ts, how to guides, be careful tips and more. A lot of them, a huge chunk dare we say said, be careful of Bihar. You never know what to expect.

Carefully and steadily we approached Bihar. What we saw? India in its 1960s in our words. Take a look at the pictures. In Bihar, the following are essentials:

  • Every fifth vehicle has people stuffed inside, outside and over it.
  • Motorcycles are modified and innovated into huge passenger ferrying / goods transportation vehicles.
  • Paltry and small roads overloaded with vehicles. Most of which happen to be trucks / people transfer vehicles.
  • Motorcyclists perceive themselves as monstrous truck drivers and storm onto you every now and then.

Inspite of all this, surprisingly – the place happens to be very lively. Jolly even. People involved in local chatter and gossips here and there. Smiles by ‘Bhaiyyajis’ all over.

Come to think of it, we really can’t describe it. To get the real feel, you need to go there yourself. For those who want to keep at bay, trust the pictures will help.

What took you so long!

2 Jul

‘What took you so long!’ – one statement that people have been bouncing us with over the last few days. We’ve been getting loads of emails, phone calls, comments, smses from family, friends and fans who’ve been curious to know about where we were, what were we upto, why were we *lost*, why weren’t we updating our status on facebook, yada, yada, yada….

But the most common – or *tantalizing* if you will – amongst all of them would be ‘What took you so long!’

The answer to that is a function of heavy downpour in the form of rains – the most torrential the Tantalizing India Crew has seen till date, poor visibility thanks to thick and dense fog, zero cell phone connectivity, nil internet connectivity and the most meaty and mighty reason – roads. Big Bad Roads. Roads that can’t be called Roads. Can’t connect? Take a look at these:

The pictures shown above are snapshots we took of roads in different parts of East India. The fascinating part of these roads is that these aren’t merely *patches* – these *patches* run into kilometers. Big long kilometers. One of these *long patches* that we did ran into over 200 kilometers.

What kind of time it took us to do that stretch? Do the math.

By any means – we’re not complaining here. Don’t get us wrong. We’ve had a whale of a time – a huge huge party over what we’ve done, what we’re experienced and what we’ve been through. Something that’ll live with us for the rest of our lives. Might make us look dumb when we post pictures of muddy roads – but to us its an experience of a lifetime!

Jalpaiguri: A Quiet Tale

1 Jul

A town in the state of West Bengal, Jalpaiguri lies in the middle of the vast fertile plains south of the Himalayas, watered by innumerable rivers and rivulets rising from and flowing down the Himalayas.

On a clear sunny day, Mount Kanchenjunga is visible from Jalpaiguri itself. The town lies on the banks of the Teesta River, possibly the second largest river in West Bengal after the Ganga.

Monsoons are very severe with the town experiencing high amount of rainfall, sometimes stalling all life and activities. Winters are again quite severe and chilly, with the cold Himalayan winds blowing straight into the town. Temperatures are around 3 to 8 degrees Celsius during this period.

The economy of the town is centered around the tea industry. We happened to chance upon some beautiful snapshots while we were passing through Jalpaiguri – scenes that we thought would delight our readers.

Tantalizing India – Contest # 2

30 Jun

Congratulations Hrish Thota for being declared the winner of Tantalizing India’s Contest # 1. Contest # 1 was a run away hit since we received more than 65 tantalizing entries. We’re excited to bring to you our Contest # 2.

To win Contest # 2, all you have to do is:

  1. Head to our Facebook Fan Page and Like our Contest # 2 Post.
  2. Complete this: I love Tantalizing India because………………………………………………………………..

The most fun, creative and tantalizing entry will receive a free Tantalizing India Mug sponsored by Chumbak! Whats stopping you folks, get on!

Entries will be accepted for this contest till 12:00 hrs noon on 1st July 2010.

Himalayan Luxury – The Wildflower Hall

28 Jun

Situated at 8,250 feet in the magnificent Himalayas, Wildflower Hall is a fairytale luxury resort set in 22 acres of virgin woods of pine and cedar. This stellar property owned and operated by The Oberoi Group is located in Shimla.

While Tantalizing India was being planned, there were certain places that Ratheesh, Sameer and me had our eyes affixed to and come-what-may, we promised ourselves to visit those places. No sooner we left for Shimla from Manali, the three of us were as excited as little boys would be about candies.

The Wildflower Hall was a resort we were looking forward to visit for a long long time. The Wildflower Hall happens to be the former residence of Lord Kitchener.

At about 21:30, we hit the gates of Wildflower Hall and were asked if we were from Indian Oil – we replied in the negative to which we were told that the whole property was blocked by Indian Oil and they weren’t letting anybody else in since they were packed for that evening.

We refused to listen to the guard on the gate and requested him to consult his Restaurant Manager since we’d travelled all the way from Bangalore. All we wanted was about an hour in the restaurant and a look at the property. He put us on to the F & B Manager who after a patient listening over the phone agreed.

Like an excited bunch of kids who’d just popped in to watch a Pokemon movie, we barged into the property. Teak wood floors, hand knotted rugs and rich furnishings complemented by spectacular views welcomed us at the Wildflower Hall. Wood panelling and original artwork created an aura of old world charm.

After spending some time in the grand lobby of the Wildflower Hall, we were escorted to the restaurant where in we had a couple of drinks followed by Chicken and Corn Risotto and Gosht Biryani. Italian and Indian – an odd combination we know – but then our bellys craved and our hearts yearned – we had no choice but to give in.

The staff of the Wildflower Hall was very courteous and we’d fail in our duty if we didn’t mention about them. They welcomed us warmly and interacted with us all throughout our brief stay. In the end, we walked out as if three boys had been kissed for the first time by their first girlfriends.

Tantalizing India Contest # 1

27 Jun

West Bengal gave us a super awesome reception today by welcoming us with a tantalizing breakfast. To celebrate our run till now, along with our sponsor partner Chumbak, starting today, we’ll be running a series of contests. The contests are simple fun questions based on the Tantalizing India Journey.

All you have to do is answer the question we ask you before the end of the day and winners will get free Tantalizing India merchandise.

Here are details of Contest # 1:

  • A dozen eggs. Half a dozen parathas. Half a liter of of ‘Kadak Chai’ with a dozen Parle G biscuits. 3 Hungry Stomachs. Tantalizing Breakfast this at a dhaba in West Bengal. Guess the total price of this breakfast and whoever comes closest to what we paid gets a Free Tantalizing India T-Shirt sponsored by Chumbak.in!

Go ahead – key in your answers here as a comment or else comment on our Facebook Fan Page. We’ll ship the merchandise to you wherever you are! ;)

Respecting the Terrain!

26 Jun

Its not just about creating a world record. Not just about social media, blogging, facebooking and interacting with the world. Not just about whiskering past territories at a breath-taking speed of 100 kmph. Not just about putting your footprint on the Indian peninsula. Not just about food. Not just about passion.

Its about endurance. Its about transformation. We’re talking about the lessons taught to us by mother nature in the Himalayan terrain. Where the roads can’t be called roads. Because they aren’t. They’re just strips of mud and stones which give you an average of 15 bumps a minute.

The terrain is rough. And tough even. Is wild. Is narrow. Is scary. In the real sense. Not for the faint hearted. No way. Then on the terrain, there are those murky truckers – with them fat trucks, refusing to bulge – reluctant to give you some leeway.

There are motor-cyclists who’re careful about balancing those 150+ kg bikes which make them look like rockstars – but when they’ve hit the road for about 30 minutes, all that rockishness immediately fades away. Don’t get us wrong – we’ve got nothing against motor-cyclists – we’re motor-cyclists too – but believe us – it ain’t easy.

Then them cars. Of all sizes. Light. Compact. Heavy even. Every one of which needs to get from point A to point B in the shortest span of time. However, if you follow the ‘shortest span of time’ route, you’re days are numbered.

On this Himalayan adventure, we learn’t to be safe. To be humble. To respect the terrain. To take it slow. Again, slow. Not easy. No. Easy would be wrong. All this because life’s just got started. We’re sure theres a lot more to been seen, experienced, lived, cherished and realized.

Blue Moon!

26 Jun

While lots of sights took us our breath away in the Himalayan Valley, one sight – that one perfect sight had us framed. Earlier when we entered Srinagar and caught the early morning sunrise, we thought we’d never get a better shot.

But then, in the valley, when we saw the moon popping up, we froze – the three of us just stared in tandem, in awe – and said to ourselves, we’ve been fortunate to witness this glorious sight from mother natures lap. That particular sight forced us to write this post.

Other than the mystical moon, we had tons to smile about in the Himalayan lap. The very sight of the valley was breathtaking. Suddenly one can feel so small – like an ant compared to a human when you stop and look at mother nature.

All of a sudden you can hear yourself  interacting with mother nature – thanking her for showing you this sight, asking her why you hadn’t come to observe and interact with her earlier, questioning yourself why didn’t you ever think about this beauty when you saw other peoples photographs with her.

One just can’t help but stop the car, look into the mountains, smile at the snow and say, lets take another picture. One more. And another one. All that jazz about breaking the record just vanishes. You just seem to indulge in nature and smile that you came this far.

You wanna stop at Zozilla Pass – at an altitude of 11649 feet. Then you wanna stop at Himank – the second coldest inhabited place in the world where in on 09th January 1995 the temperature touched a record -60 degrees. And then Fotula – the highest point in the Srinagar Leh Road.

Sometimes you just feel like stopping the car and staring at the sky. And then comes along Taglangla – the second highest pass of the world at 17,582 ft.

But then like they say, you gotta move on. Smile at life. Promise to come back again. Convince yourself that theres more on the other side. Move ahead like Columbus – to dream, to discover.

Snow Time in Leh!

25 Jun

Never before have we had such a ‘tantalizing’ experience like the one we had in Leh, Ladakh. Mountains covered with snow, freezing temperature, alert and vigilant military, tenacious bikers, excited foreigners, the calmness of the Himalayan range – you name it.

Lets get to details like what kind of altitudes we reached, and whether we had air / altitude / motion sickness, whether we found it difficult to breathe.

  • We reached 17500 feat at Taglangla in terms of altitude [Pictures coming up in our next post]
  • We got stuck in a traffic jam in the night where in we were stuck for more than six hours in our car in temperatures below -10 degrees.
  • All three of us suffered from serious altitude and air sickness. We were barely able to breathe and were freezing in the cold. Our heads ached, our stomachs cramped – how we wished we could get our feet into hot water and grab a cup of steaming Kawa. But that wasn’t to be.

All said and done, inspite of the hardships we faced, the result was sweet. We went through it and it was an experience that’ll stay with us all our lives. We’re glad we’re doing Tantalizing India!