Two youngsters, one from Chennai and the other from Puducherry are taking buses, trains and the odd flight across India in a Guinness World Records attempt
“Travel For Tourism”, as they call it, attempts to cover much touristy ground entirely by public transport and following an inked-in itinerary.
When their Guinness World Records-approved itinerary is behind them, the duo would have covered a “distance of about 34,500 km across 23 States and 4 Union Territories by 34 trains, 18 buses and 8 flights in 70 days”. This attempt, which will “criss-cross the country thrice north-south and thrice east-west”, seeks to topple the record set by Durga Charan Mishra and Jyotsna Mishra from Odisha.
On its website, Guinness World Records mentions Jotsna Mishra and Durga Charan Mishra as holders of the record for “the longest journey by scheduled public transport in a single country” covering 29,119 km (18093.71 miles) across India, from 18th February to 30th March 2018. It adds that they “beat the previous holder by over 12,000 miles”.
Both Dheleepan and Adamsonraj are connected closely with the tourism industry, the former as a research scholar, working on his doctoral thesis in “rail tourism” with processes and models adopted by IRCTC as the focal point; and 26-year-old Adamsonraj, who has an MBA in travel and tourism to his name, is focussed on creating a career in tour operations. Their paths crossed at the Pondicherry University due to their academic pursuits.
Support for the initiative
- In a written communication, Dheleepan G V from Chennai and Adamsonraj J, who are for a record in the category, “the longest journey by scheduled public transport in a single country”, under Guinness World Records, list the organisations that have supported them variously.
- “Our Record Attempt is supported by various governmental and nongovernmental organisations like India Tourism, Indian Coast Guard, Pondicherry University, BRICS Generation, Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) and DAIRIYAM by Prakruthi,” it says.
- “The Indian Coast Guard has honoured us by handing over their Flag at a felicitation function organised by BRICS Generation and DHAIRIYAM by Prakruthi in association with the Russian Cultural Centre, Chennai and IRCURF. We will be carrying the flag throughout our trip and create awareness about the Indian Coast Guard,” the communication adds.
- “During the course of our attempt we will be promoting the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India,” they add.
- Dheleepan points out that the the south, west & central zones of India Tourism is taking care of the hospitality part of the duo’s trip in areas.
“We applied for the record way back in April 2020, and we got the guidelines. Based on that, we prepared an itinerary that was approved by Guinness,” says Dheleepan. In a communication about this attempt, the duo reports: “Our first bid to Guinness World Records was in 2018 where we proposed to cross the North Temperate Zone in the fastest time by Train. However, our proposal was not accepted since it did not match certain criteria. The following year we applied to break an existing GWR Record titled, ‘Greatest Distance Travelled by Train in 24 Hours’. Though our request was approved, we could not proceed further as the target was revised.”
The record-attempting tour was flagged off at Puducherry on February 7 by the Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University; and before that, a felicitation function was organised for the duo at the Russian Cultural Centre in Alwarpet by groups that support the initiative. Scattered events over the years and the insights gained from them have encouraged the duo to make public transport central to any Guinness World Record in tourism they would attempt.
“I went on tour to Singapore in 2019, a planned family trip, and barring two trips, we used only public transport to get around Singapore, as the entire city was adequately connected by buses and trains.
In Chennai, I have been using public transport right from my childhood, because my parents would encourage it. Yet, I had not taken a close look at our public transport systems,” Dheleepan points out.
It also took a feedback from a friend from Puducherry for the scales to fall.
“When a friend from Puducherry, Hemachandiran R., was in Chennai, I took him by the Metro, the suburban railway and a feeder service to a car service facility he had to visit, and he was impressed with the public transport network he experienced. He had done a semester in France as part of his graduation programme, and he compared the Metro in Chennai to the one in France. That was an eye-opener,” says Dheleepan.
Dheleepan believes parents should encourage their children to explore and use public transport networks in their areas, an encouragement he received from his own, even while during his schooling at Alpha Matriculation in CIT Nagar, Saidapet. Later, when he would go on to study at Madras Christian College, the suburban rail network would become an integral part of his workaday life. In fact, Dheleepan is a ferroequinologist, and his interest in railway systems stemming from an early age, and his choice of a career was solidified at that point.
“I am a rail fan from my childhood, and that is the reason I pursued tourism in my UG and PG studies. I do regular blogging on a number of railway sites, am a member of Indian Railway Fan Club Association; and at India Rail Info, I am an admin,” reveals Dheleepan.
Adamsonraj is into backpacking, and at 26, sees himself as a veteran at backpacking, having undertaken many trips. “For my internship in my MBA programme in tourism, “backpacking” was my topic and it took me to Shimla, where I explored untouched areas, backpacking.”
Adamsomraj was working in the travel industry when he was laid off in July 2020 due to the pandemic, and as a stop-gap arrangement, he took up employment with a company dealing with publishing and copyright processing work.
He points out that before this trip, he quit the job, and after it runs its course, would start focussing again on his career in tour operations.
There would be updates on the duo’s travel on Instagram: tripsandtidings and at www.tripsandtidings.com.
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