Sangeetha Sridhar takes off on a Bharat darshan all by herself and hopes it will be the best experience of her life
“India is one of the best countries to explore. I cannot wait to do it. This is my way to celebrate India”, says 51-year-old Sangeetha Sridhar. From Coimbatore, she plans to cover a distance of 29000 km through 310 cities (29 states and five union territories) across India, in a solo trip she calls Clean India Trail. “I always had an adventure spirit. This journey will help me find out if our country is safe for a woman to travel alone. This trip will commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi and the Year of Zayed, the founding father of the UAE.” says this ex e-government consultant who was working in Oman. She will also audit the public toilets along the state and national highways during her trip and hand over the findings to the Ministry of Tourism, Swachh Bharat Mission and United Nations Sustainable Development Board.
Sridhar’s journey will begin on August 12 from The Gateway of India, Mumbai in her modified SUV, Tata Hexa. “It will be my 28 sq ft home. I removed two rows of seats to add compartments. I have designed it in such a way that it will also double up as my sleeping space. I have solar panels to generate electricity, a fan, a light, and power points to charge my electronic devices.To avoid plastic, I am taking re-usable utensils with me. I plan to learn the local cuisines around our country.”
She hopes to cover around 300 km everyday, starting at 5.00 am. “I will drive at a stretch for four to seven hours depending on the topography. I will also speak about cleanliness in schools and colleges in the evenings.” Sridhar has prepared 50 questions based on the ASEAN public toilet standard to assess the facilities available. “It has been developed as an app and I will add my findings in it daily. I will look into aspects like cleanliness, distance from the previous toilet, availability of water and soap, for evaluation.”
Her trip will be tracked by the team HiVayKing Club who will also help her to re-route if required. “I am planning to have 150 stopovers. I will visit 29 industries in our country. I hope to find safe parking spaces on the way to sleep inside my car.”
She has set a budget of ₹ 7.5 lakh for this trip.“All this money is from my saving. I hope I will find a fuel partner before the trip. The cost will be reduced considerably if I manage to get one.”
To stay physically fit during the journey, Sridhar has been following a routine. “ I was surviving on just two meals a day for the past two years. I can go without food for up to 16 hours now. I do yoga to maintain my physical fitness.” She expects to complete her trip and come back to Gateway of India by mid-February. “This trip will be a dream coming true for me. Nothing can compare to the experience that I will gather on this trip. I am excited. ”