The Golden Temple at Amritsar
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Where have we been in each country:

Europe - Turkey - Iran - Pakistan - India - Nepal - China

India - Pakistan - Iran - Turkey - Syria - Jordan - Lebanon - Syria - Turkey - Europe

Reisverhalen, grensovergangen, de auto en de opdrachten in het Nederlands

Route in India
Date GPS Location Story
23 February 2003 N2728'42.8"
E8328'7.8"
Sonauli
(98 m)
Sonauli is a small village with a ramshackle gate in the center of town: this is the border between India and Nepal. Even with a vehicle it takes only an hour to get through the customs and to obtain a visa for Nepal.
Dutch: In een uurtje de grens over.
18 - 22
February 2003
N2517'8.6"
E830'11.4"
Varanasi
(74 m)
Varanasi is still called Benares by many people. It is one of the holiest places in India. If you die in Varanasi, you will be released from the cycle of rebirths and you will go straight to nirvana. No suprise that the burning ghats in Varanasi are a mass industry for cremation, using small and public "campfires" to burn the bodies.
Dutch:
Opdracht 6 mislukt - Tata dinky toys zijn onvindbaar.
Opdracht 17 - de smerigste wc tot nu toe.
17 February 2003 N2451'1.9"
E7955'32.1"
Khajuraho
(214 m)
About 1000 year old and in superb condition. When the temples of Khajuraho were rediscovered in the 19th century, the almost pornographic sculptures shocked the Victorian English. However, even in the 21st century the scenes of bestiality will raise some eyebrows.
16 February 2003 N2412'44.5"
E8011'23.8"
Pawai
(393 m)
Highway 7 was great up to Katni, but for the road from Katni to Khajuraho you need an Apollo moon vehicle. Therefore we didn't make it in one day from Nagpur to Khajuraho and had to camp near the village of Pawai in a beautiful canyon landscape.
15 February 2003 N218'57.6"
E796'50.1"
Nagpur
(314 m)
Just a stop-over en route to Khajuraho. Highway 7 appeared to be remarkably smooth and quiet for Indian standards: today we drove the 498 km from Hydrabad with an average of 63 km/h - new records for us in India, both for distance and speed. Still, we did not manage to exceed 100 km/h at any moment. Cows, idiots and potholes are just too abundant.
13 - 14
February 2003
N1723'11.0"
E7828'38.7"
Hydrabad
(510 m)
With about 50% muslim, Hydrabad is a muslim island in hindu mainland. The city has therefore a more hospitable atmosphere than other Indian cities. The huge Golconda fort is impressive, but unfortunately we had no time to visit the famous Salar Jung museum - we have only 2 weeks left reach Kathmandu where we will meet our parents.

Route in South-India
Date GPS Location Story
10 - 12
February 2003
N1519'33.7"
E7626'9.6"
Hampi
(439 m)
Founded in 1336 as Vijayanagar and already destroyed in 1565, only ruins remain from what was once one of the biggest cities in the world. The ruins are set in a weird boulder-strewn landscape and cover an area of 33 sq km. The Deccan sultans did their job thoroughly, so not much is left of the metropole described by Portugese travellers.
7 - 9 February 2003 N1258'18.2"
E7736'56.6"
Bangalore
(922 m)
The place to buy solar panels and so we did. Especially the electronics (voltage regulator) needed to use a solar panel is amazingly cheap in Bangalore. And yes, also in this high tech business Tata is the key-player on the market (in a joint-venture with Britisch Petroleum). We found the adres of the dealer in the Indian yellow pages, again a product of Tata.
Dutch:
Maar Tata is natuurlijk het meest bekend van de vrachtwagens.
Opdracht 13 - Peter wordt 62.
6 February 2003 N1255'20.4"
E798'7.0"
Vellore
(227 m)
Nice fort, nice temple, nice bazar, nice stop-over.
4 - 5 February 2003 N134'32.4"
E8015'45.5"
Madras
(sea level)
Madras is called Chennai by many locals, but the rest of India (and the World) still calls it Madras. The city itself is not really exciting and the immigration office does not give visa extensions, contrary to the information in the Lonely Planet.
2 - 3 February 2003 N1237'10.6"
E8011'48.8"
Mamallapuram
(sea level)
The Unesco recognised sea shore temples of Mamallapuram are great from the outside, but the inside is not worth the $5 ticket. Unless of course, you are a local, because then you only pay Rs 10 ($0.20).
1 February 2003 N1156'6.2"
E7949'46.5"
Pondicherry
(sea level)
Pondicherry used to be a small French territory in a British empire. Now it is famous for its straight city pattern and the lowest tax on beer.
31 January 2003 N1047'46.9"
E7840'54.7"
Trichy
(109 m)
A pleasant city with the nice Rock Fort Temple, which is build on a (surprise, surprise) massive rock in the center of town.
Dutch:
Opdracht 5 - hoogte- en afstandsgrafiek.
Opdracht 9 - de bijgewerkte prijsindex.

The Ramanathaswamy Temple.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram.
30 January 2003 N912'37"
E7921'54.6"
Dhanushkodi
(sea level)
In 1964 a cyclone destroyed the village Dhanushkodi on Rameswaram Island. The ruins are still there, on the narrow, most eastern tip of the Island. A bizarre place which can only reached by foot or with a 4WD vehicle. Sri Lanka is less than 50 km away and visible as faint spots on the horizon.
29 January 2003 N84'41.9"
E7731'55.9"
Cape Comorin
(sea level)
The most Southern point of India. At Full Moon in April or September one can experience sunset and moonrise, or moonset and sunrise, over the ocean simultaneously. However, today is not April, nor September, nor Full Moon. So from our camping place on the cliff we had an ocean sunset and sunrise only. Life can be miserable. :-)
Sunset at Cape Comorin
27 - 28
January 2003
N829'24.7"
E7656'56.5"
Trivandrum
(58 m)
Hey, there is a planetarium in Trivandrum! The show will only start when enough people are interested because of electricity shortage, but it is a nice apparatus and we were lucky: the minimum of 25 people was reached during our visit.
24 - 26
January 2003
N844'2.7"
E7642'20.9"
Varkala
(22 m)
The name and the cliffs resemble Vagator in Goa. Also the number of tourists is similar, but here nonstop dance parties are not allowed. Even alcohol is not allowed, therefore one can order a "special tea": a tea-pot filled with KingFisher!
23 January 2003 N930'6.4"
E7621'7.7"
Alleppey
(sea level)
Famous for its backwaters. Just like the lakes in Holland but with palmtrees instead of willows and huts instead of villas.
20 - 22
January 2003
N958'37.0"
E7616'46.8"
Cochin
(sea level)
The Portugese, Dutch and British ruled Cochin each for about 150 years. There are some nice buildings from those days, but most of them are not well kept.
Dutch: Hollands bezit.
18 - 19
January 2003
N1016'31.0"
E779'45.3"
Marayoor
(990 m)
Close to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and next to a sandalwood forest lays the village of Marayoor. A great starting point for hiking trips in the forest.
17 January 2003 N1120'42.8"
E7647'58.1"
Coonoor
(1820 m)
Driving from Ooty via Kotagiri to Coonoor is a magnificent trip: beautiful hills with forest and tea estates, the Catharine falls, and superb viewpoints like Dolphin's Nose and the Doddabetta peak at 2622 meters.
16 January 2003 N1124'9.0"
E7642'12.3"
Ooty
(2211 m)
Since we have a toy-car we didn't take the toy-train to reach Ooty. The town used to be a pleasant hill station, but nowadays it is a full of Indian tourists and thus has become a normal Indian city. The surrounding mountains are still beautiful, but off-limits due to the presence of bandit Veerappan.
15 January 2003 N1251'27.7"
E7629'14.0"
Sravanabelagola
(879 m)
Due to its huge statue of Bahubali, an important Jain teacher, Sravanabelagola is a Jain pilgrimage centre. The 17 m high monolithic statue of Bahubali stands on a 140 m high rock, giving a superb view over the countryside.
11 - 14
January 2003
N1218'43.0"
E7639'14.6"
Mysore
(757 m)
Nice palace, nice zoo, nice bull statue, nice climate. Mysore has nothing really special, but it is a pleasant city to buy and arrange necessities.
Selling paint in Mysore
10 January 2003 N121'16.4"
E766'10.1"
Nagarahole
(810 m)
In this national parc many deer, monkeys, birds and a single elephant made their appearance. Unfortunately, none of the 58 tigers found it necessary to pose for our cameras.
7 - 9 January 2003 N1214'0.1"
E7538'21.8"
Yavakapudi
(1062 m)
From this tiny hill village we climbed the Coorg mountain. The view at the top of 1742 m is somewhat limited due to haze rising from the dense forest, but the landscape of forest and coffee plantations is superb.
Driving in Karnataka
6 January 2003 N1225'25.1"
E7544'20.3"
Madikeri
(1134 m)
The capital of the Kodagu (Coorg) region and our stopover en route to the Tadiyendamol, or Coorg, mountain.
5 January 2003 N1413'34.5"
E7448'25.4"
Jog Falls
(486 m)
With a drop of 250 meter the Jog Falls are the highest waterfalls of India. Although the amount of water is limited in this pre-monsoon season, the falls are still impressive, especially because of the canyon landscape.
3 - 4 January 2003 N1432'49.6"
E7419'8.4"
Gokarna
(sea level)
The combination of wooden houses, Hindu temples and pilgrims, and beautiful beaches make Gokarna an attractive alternative for the Goan villages. Fortunately, the higher prices for alcohol keeps the party crowd (still) restricted to Goa.
2 January 2003 N1535'42.2"
E7344'5.9"
Vagator
(10 m)
White churches in green fields behind steep cliffs and an air filled with the 24 hour rumble of Goa Trance. Legislation should have banned open air music between 10 pm and 6 am, but in India bribes often determine what is allowed or not, instead of government legislation.
1 January 2003 N151'53.0"
E7359'27.8"
Agonda
(sea level)
We celebrated New Year with (new) friends from Holland, Germany, Austria and England. We only had a little fireworks, but who needs fireworks when you can make bonfires on the beach?
Info: Survival in Goa.
8 - 31
December 2002
N151'53.0"
E7359'27.8"
Agonda
(sea level)
Agonda Beach lacks the facilities for package tourism and backpackers, and because of this it is not only quiet, it is also the only place where you can park your car next to the beach. We "share" this paradise with 6 other vehicles from Europe, mostly Mercedes campers from retired Germans.
Survival in Goa View this place in Google Earth

Dutch:
Opdracht 1 - strandzand van Goa.
Opdracht 13 - Erwin wordt 34.
Opdracht 22 - een echte kerstkaart.

Route in West-India
Date GPS Location Story
7 December 2002 N1556'11.8"
E7345'3.0"
Sawantwadi
(45 m)
Just a stop en route to Goa.
6 December 2002 N1756'46.7"
E7350'1.8"
Harisons Folly
(1127 m)
The Grand Canyon like landscape West of Wai offers camping spots with a superb view. During the monsoon, a massive 6 meters of rain falls in this area!
View this place in Google Earth.
5 December 2002 N1831'9.8"
E7352'46.0"
Pune
(578 m)
One of the biggest holiday resorts in India is the Ashram of Bhagwan Rajneesh (Osho). The commune differs only in three aspects from Club Med: the dresscode (red/maroon), the activity programme (meditation, more meditation and spiritual dance), and an HIV-test is not compulsory at Club Med.
Dutch: Opdracht 20 - Mediteren bij de Bhagwan.
3 - 4
December 2002
N201'24.8"
E7510'24.1"
Ellora
(603 m)
The Kailash temple is probably India's second most impressive building (after the Taj Mahal): the temple measures 46 by 30 meters and is a monolith - one single piece of rock! The temple, dedicated to Shiva, was hewn out of the rock in the 8th century. It is still the largest monolithic structure in the World.
Dutch: Autorijden in India - een betonschaar voor je stalen zenuwen.
2 December 2002 N2033'5.9"
E7542'2.4"
Ajanta
(495 m)
The rock-hewn Buddhist caves of Ajanta were abandoned in the 7th century and rediscovered in 1819. The well preserved paintings, a little similar to frescos, are superb and surpass European paintings of the same age. Interesting is the absence of Buddha statues in the oldest temples (200 BC): in the beginning of Buddhism it was uncommon to represent Buddha.
1 December 2002 N2053'6.8"
E7510'49.2"
Parola
(278 m)
The "highway" between Indore and Dhule is in a terrible condition and packed with Tata trucks. Our average speed did not exceed 30 km/h and therefore we could not reach Ajanta in one day from Mandu. A volcanic hill near Parola however, gave us a nice camping spot with a superb view over the countryside.
29 - 30
November 2002
N2219'40.8"
E7524'8.2"
Mandu
(579 m)
Mandu fort is located on a hilltop and was more or less deserted after the decline of the Mughals. It was the Afghan ruler Dilarwar Khan who introduced in the 15th century the use of marble into Mandu and with that into India - only two centuries later the marble Taj Mahal was build.
27 - 28
November 2002
N228'54.2"
E7527'14.8"
Khalghat
(153 m)
On a dyke of the Narmada river a nice Government Resthouse is located. Being about 30 meters above the river to withstand possible high monsoon levels, the dyke gives a beautiful view over the rather flat countryside.
26 November 2002 N2243'8.0"
E7552'23.1"
Indore
(561 m)
Another long drive South, today even with an overall average speed of 51 km/h! Who had thought of that in India? Not a surprise are the accidents. Today we counted more than a dozen head-on collisions of trucks, making a good contribution to the monthly traffic death toll of 30.000.
Dutch: Opdracht 7 - de 20.000 km gepasseerd.

Route in Northwest-India
Date GPS Location Story
25 November 2002 N2525'45.7"
E7743'54.1"
Shivpuri
(404 m)
The roads in Madhya Pradesh are of reasonable quality and there is not so much traffic, making driving South quite comfortable.
24 November 2002 N2710'4.1"
E780'53.1"
Agra
(164 m)
A third visit to the Taj Mahal is a little bit too much, especially with the current entry fee of about $20 - it used to be 20 rupees and free entry on Fridays. The route through Uttar Pradesh is exhausting for the roads are in bad condition and the cities rename the car's bullbar in a rickshaw-bar.
Info: the Taj Mahal and more about India.
23 November 2002 N2914'48.5"
E7743'34.9"
Khatauli
(232 m)
Although heading South we take a route East of Delhi to avoid endless traffic jams. Without major tourist traps in the neighbourhood we camped next to some cornfields near Khatauli.
22 November 2002 N3045'11.7"
E7648'15.7"
Chandigarh
(357 m)
The Rock Garden is an amazing creation of Nek Chand: sculptures and Tolkien like buildings and gardens assembled out of human garbage.
Chandigarh itself is a planned and structured city dating from the 1950s, similar to Islamabad. However, even in Chandigarh Indians prove to be incapable of throwing their waste in garbage cans.
Rock Garden
21 November 2002 N3126'59.2"
E7651'16.4"
Mandi
(636 m)
With more than 80 temples and a nice river and mountain scenery, Mandi would be worth a visit. However, the bridge to the town was too narrow for our car so we decided to camp next to the river outside the city - the first time we engaged 4WD since the accident in Pakistan.
Sorry Mandi, but the beaches of Goa are calling for us...
18 - 20
November 2002
N3214'4.3"
E7619'28.1"
McLeod Ganj
(1718 m)
This settlement on a hilltop above Dharamsala is home to the Dalai Lama. Countless Tibetan monks walk around here in their typical red dress. Almost just as many Western tourist walk around here, many of them in the same type of dress.
16 - 17
November 2002
N3137'7.9"
E7452'41.9"
Amritsar
(216 m)
Amritsar was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru and its Golden Temple is the centre of the Sikh religion. Hospitality is an important part of Sikh culture and therefore staying in the temple dorms and parking the car is for free. Of course, we are in India, so a donation is expected for experiencing such hospitality.
Info: liability insurance on the subcontinent.
15 November 2002 N3136'14.5"
E7434'10.6"
Border Pakistan - India The Monty Python like border-closing ceremony, performed each day on both the Pakistani side and the Indian side of the border, was an amazing ending of three months Pakistan and the start of many months India.
We were warned for lots of hassle and baksheesh on the Indian side of the border, but the Indian officials appeared to have improved their behaviour and the crossing of the border went smooth as it should go.
Dutch: Een uitgebreid verhaal over de opnieuw verrassend soepele grensovergang.

Picture copyright owned by Erwin Voogt.
Please contact me first if you want to use any of these pictures for any purpose.

Harisons Folly
View this place in Google Earth