Taj Pedal Yatra
after a reception organized by binani cement, we hastily made it to the overnight volvo bus back to Kanpur. everyone did very well, including a lot of people who had never bicycled long distances until a week ago. the tragedy was that due to a logistics problem, five people, after finishing the ride and reaching the taj well on time, landed up at the wrong gate and were not able to enter.
agra at last - cycles outside itimad-ud-daula. santhosh vijay amit deepak sudhansu prince sailesh mainak
off to AgrA: day 1 (etawah)
early morning pedals on the road - shail mainak ravi (photo:santhosh)
riders posing in a line at the panki bypass
sudhansu shukla crossing bhauti
shakeel riding as dawn comes up
main group crossing bhauti
ravikiran mainak sailesh vijay - dawn
amit - near sachendi trying to catch deepak lovy. support car.
jd shakeel abhishek ripu samarjeet gaurav - sachendi mainak santosh himanshu.
deepak amit lovy. note bumpy trails bicycles banner on amit's bike (click any image on page to zoom in).
vijay sailesh mainak with police escort
sailesh mainak santosh vijay abhishek samarjeet ripu - police jeep. ripu abhishek
jhansi turnoff near akbarpur - ravikiran himanshu vijay gaurav mainak jd shailendra sailesh. ravi vijay himanshu mainak gaurav jd shailendra.
lovy shivik amit - bananas.
breakfast stop: deepak amit himanshu. gaurav vijay abhishek jd sailesh mainak - outside swami dhaba
abhi jd mainak vijay gaurav - santosh photographing the picture above right.
air force team
ripu sailesh santosh ripu. vijay w police escort car.
abhishek jd gaurav ravi shail vijay. roadside break while shakeel fixes a bike.
ancient talab made by mahewa kings.
deepak with a big grin - he has just exchanged the motobecane roadie he was riding, with the schwinn frontier sport which shakeel had...
amit and lovy trying out green chanas from pods
rest stop - shail himanshu vijay santhosh. all spread out - vijay shail gaurav himanshu ravi.
get a sense of the fast moving cyclists in this video shot daringly by shakeel from the roof of the moving car. sailesh ripu samarjeet himanshu mainak vijay santhosh ravi.
road tire shop stop abhishek jd ripu shivik. ravi sailesh mainak - shikohabad maybe.
air force team
sailesh ripu plus six on road
ancestral traits - vijay
day 2: reaching agra
17 riders (lovy was tying a cycle to the roof; samarjeet is occluded).
sailesh. mainak vijay himanshu ravikiran
amit surrounded by crowds. lovy. we had stopped at a village past jaswantnagar to fix a puncture.
joydeep with ear-splitting grin - agra seems within reach. shakeel.
gaurav in pensive mood
a small detour to a factory making gur, guD, a sugarcane jaggery, off the road abt 40 km from etawah.
samarjeet on his way. shivik taking a quick nap in the car
shakeel ripu joydeep. joydeep at a puncture shop
deepak on the highway approaching the chungi (itimad-ud-daula turnoff). you can see the taj (circled) in the grainy distance.
everyone made it to agra!despite ripu and abhishek having upset stomachs after lunch (it might have been some kind of food poisoning - ripu also threw up), and despite joydeep and sudhansu and deepak and a number of others getting punctures, everyone made it to agra on their pedals!! however, things were extremely tight. himanshu was the first to reach - about 3 PM - nearly an hour ahead of everyone else, and he eventually entered the taj on his own. deepak, prince, sudhansu, santosh and i explored some other sites on the route (itimad-ud-daula and kuchpura), and then joined up with sailesh, mainak, ravikiran and vijay. the main group was expected around 1730 and we started for the taj around 1715.
sudhanshu santhosh prince deepak amit at itimad-ud-daula
itimad-ud-daula gate through arch. prince.
cycles at the taj - ravi sudhansu deepak prince mainak sailesh amit santhosh vijay. santhosh picking up the taj from across the jamuna
ravi sailesh prince deepak sudhanshu santhosh vijay mainak - taj kachupura
tragedy while entering the tajat kuchpura, a policeman told us (though he didn't seem quite certain) that admission to the taj would be closed after 1700. so we started rushing to the taj. on the way, both deepak and sudhansu had punctures (deepak on both wheels). fortunately shakeel had come up well ahead of the main group (he had raced furiously for the last 30km), and he was able to fix the flats and they proceeded to the taj. eventually the lead group who went to the taj determined that admission was possible till 1745 provided one had tickets. we had already purchased twenty tickets, so this was good news. as soon as the main group appeared (around 1735), prince and i who were waiting joined them and we all raced off to the taj. however, the car with three people (abhishek and shailendra and shivik) and two bicyclists (lovy and ripu) went to a different gate and couldn't get in touch with us, and in the process they could not get the tickets and could not enter. though lovy and ripu had cycled ahead of us, they couldn't enter, while joydeep and i got in just as the gates were closing.
sailesh santhosh samarj gaurav ravikiran mainak. minaret at dusk
group of 14 at the taj. missing are lovy, ripu, abhishek, shivik, shailendra who were not able to come in because of poor communication at the last minute.
group in front of taj
back in hall 1 - himanshu santhosh vijay
Joydeep Dutta and Amit Mukerjee at the Mati hq of Akbarpur district. The DM, Mayur Maheswari was extremely co-operative, and arranged a very effective police support.
list of pedal yatris and pedals
- sudhanshu shukla : BSA ACT 110
- prince saurabh bassi : Atlas Hawk
- shailesh chouriya : Atlas
- gaurav kumar : ??
- joydeep dutta : trek 3700
- ripu singla : firefox cyclone
- amit mukerjee : btwin sports one
- shailendra mandloi : ??
- mainak chowdhury : firefox la-good
- himanshu mohan : firefox cyclone
- v santhosh : trek 4300
- vijay jawla : firefox cyclone
- lovy singhal : bsa mach
- deepak chaudhary : schwinn frontier sport
- ravikiran : ??
- l abhishek (also our medic) : ??
- shakeel (maintenance) : motobecane
- samarjeet (volunteer) : bsa mach
- shivik garg (volunteer) : ??
amitabha mukerjee mar 2011 mukerjee [at] gmail