Greetings from India!

I, Vishnudas Sheshrao Chapke welcome you to Hindayan.

I was working as a journalist with Mumbai-based English newspapers. Life was normal, just like a straight line on a paper – work hard during weekdays and, on weekends, watch movies, eat and sleep.

Fortunately or unfortunately, one day, I had to visit a hospital for a small surgery. Life changed dramatically, as soon as the liquid anaesthesia dissolved in my blood.

Post-surgery, under influence of anaesthesia, I could not move for two days. While lying on the bed, I realised the truth – life and body are not guaranteed. Travel till there is strength and the spirit in the body.

When I stood again on my own feet, I resolved to see at least a few places of this beautiful planet on which I am born. And I must hurry because the departure bell can/will ring any moment.

When I was leaving my sister’s house on March 19, 2016, in Thane/Mumbai, my plan was to visit North East of India. I had $1000 (Rs 67,000). When I reached Kolkata, my plan extended till Thailand as Myanmar consulate was extra generous to grant me tourist visa which was otherwise not granted to overland travellers during junta rule.

Bombay (Mumbai) to Bangkok road trip was a dream come true. I was working on plans to come back to Mumbai. Just then, a friend, Dr. Rucha Lahane, asked me whether I would like to visit another country. I said yes. Next day, she deposited her first salary in my account.

Mr. Umesh Kashikar, Mr. Sujit Bangar (IRS), Hrishikesh Modak (IAS), and dozens of friends voluntarily offered me help. They donated their hard-earned savings so I could fulfil my dream. Abhijit Bangar, Nirbhay Jadhav and Vijaykumar B Gadekar promised to look after my old parents in my absence.

My travel plan was simple – stand on the road and request for the free lift. For shelter, I used to write a request on Facebook, ‘Hello friends, I am reaching Santiago de Chile. By any chance do you have any friend or contact please share.’ I used to stay with them, eat their bread help them in their routine work and continue the journey ahead.

I volunteered in Chile’s national emergency over wild forest fire. Then, President of Chile Ms Michele Bachelete greeted me with a hug and offered a promise/favour. I accepted her offer of a favour and requested if I may have the honour to plant a tree with her in the Presidential Palace. She smiled and said ‘yes’. Besides her, I was honoured to plant trees with several Environment Ministers around the world.

Friends who gave me shelter or took me around their cities to show their heritage used to ask me whether I will show them India when they come here. I did not have an answer to that question.

In September 2019, a Mexican friend, Ms Lilian, visited India. I travelled with her for two weeks around India as I had free time. I realised that I cannot travel with every individual friend for two weeks. So, I thought, I should organise an annual event to show India to my friends.

In late 2019, I had the honour to meet then Hon Sport and Youth Affair Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju sir and brief him on our plan of the HindAyan Cycle Race and Expedition. He was kind enough to appreciate our plan and offer help for HindAyan.

Meanwhile, the Corona epidemic came and our plan was halted. In 2021, again I started to follow up new Sports Minister Shri Anurag Thakur sir and Hon Secretary Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Ms Meeta Rajivlochan ma’am.

Success Story of HindAyan:

The first edition of the HindAyan Cycle Race from New Delhi to Pune was completed successfully between February 5 and February 19, 2023. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) GoI, the Ministry of Defence and the State Governments of Delhi, UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan & Maharashtra provided civic support and police bandobast to the cyclists.

The Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra Shri Ramesh Bais distributed the certificates and mementoes to the participants from the Indian Army and Indian Navy at the Maharashtra Raj Bhavan.

HindAyan 2024 Prospective Plan:

We are preparing for the second edition of HindAyan from Delhi to Pune via Agra, Jaipur, Gandhinagar, Thane and Mumbai from 10 to 19 February 2024. The theme this time around is ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. In this regard, the Hon Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt of India has already issued instructions to the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra to provide logistic, civic and police support to our Cycle event. This year, besides the armed forces, the paramilitary forces and state police have shown interest in sending cycling teams for the HindAyan Cycle Race & Expedition.