Uday Damodaran with his SUV. Telegraph picture
Two months down the line, a finance professor at XLRI may just be the right person to guide you on a road trip across India.
Meet avid traveller Uday Damodaran who is all set to embark on a life-changing road trip on his SUV (Renault Duster) from Saturday.
But, more than adventure, his Garlanding India tour is a fund-raising programme for as many as 22 NGOs.
The funds will be raised by donations.
A self-sponsored journey, Garlanding India will cover 14,000km across 30 cities. The two-month-long trip will conclude on June 25.
Garlanding India also has a website — www.garlandingindia.in — that will go live soon after Damodaran starts his journey.
Though he calls the journey a carnival of driving, Damodaran confesses that this is the first time he is going on such a long trip.
“This is for the first time that I will be driving for such long hours. Though I am a traveller and I keep visiting places, this time it’s going to be different. The last time I went for a really long drive was when I visited Kochi and Goa last year,” said Damodaran, adding that the reason why he choose summer for the drive was because the season would allow him to visit places like Sonmarg and Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked how and when the plan occurred to him, the professor said: “I have nurtured this idea of travelling around the country in one uninterrupted trip for long. Last year, when I was in Dubai, I dreamt about driving across the length and breadth of the country and then started thinking of the route. I looked up Google Maps and its route outline was clear and neat.”
Initially, the trip was supposed to be only an adventure.
“The idea to help NGOs came later,” Damodaran who has plans to document the trip, said.
“Roadside dhabas and restaurants will feature in the that,” he added for the benefit of foodies.
Apart from the adventurous and social angle of his personality, Damodaran also displays ecological concerns.
Since he will be driving for 14,000km and emitting carbon monoxide, Damodaran has taken the effort to plant 330 plants in the Sunderbans via grow-trees.com.
While for the major part of the journey Damodaran will be travelling alone, his two colleagues — Ashish Pani and Pitabas Mohanty — and his help Sanjay would accompany him till Balasore in Odisha.