He was not a passionate biker who would go for long expeditions every month. Nor was he part of any biker group that went on motorcycle tours frequently. He bought his first bike at the age of 22 when he was in his last year of graduation. However, by the time he turned 24, he had covered 50,338km on his motorcycle, a fete that can earn Krishanu Kona, a record for covering longest solo motorcycle journey in India. Currently, the record is held by Manigandan Manjunathan, who rode 38,239km.
Life was on the right track for Kona, a resident of Sheikh Sarai. After graduating from Delhi College for Arts and Commerce and he went for post graduation in International Marketing, Kona worked with a digital marketing company in Gurgaon. He was earning a decent salary. He was content.
One day he along with three of his friends decided to go on a long bike trip to Munsiyari in Uttarakhand. This was his first bike trip. Since it was getting dark and they still had around 150km to cover, they halted at named Raiagar, a small hamlet in Uttarakhand. “The next morning in Raiagar, while sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the scenic beauty of Uttarakhand, I asked myself, ‘What am I doing with my life?’,” he said.
“I was born and brought up in Delhi and having lived all these years here I met the same kind of people and have not seen the diversity of India,” he added. After coming to Delhi, the first thing he did was quit his six-month-old job. He was working as a sales manager and earning ` 30,000per month, good enough for a beginner.
Thereafter, riding his Bajaj Pulsar 200, Kona started his journey of 50,338km from CR Park in New Delhi. He halted at Chandigarh, his first stop, in August, 2015, and completed it last month. He covered a total of 25 states while travelling through places as diverse as Ladakh in the north, Kanyakumari in the south, the Rann of Kutch in the West, Cherrapunji in the northeast, Mountain Man Dashrath Manjhi’s village in Gehlaur hills, Bihar, and other places in between.
“The most difficult part of the journey was travelling through mountainous areas it was raining heavily. But it was a thrilling exploration,” he said. The route leading to Tawang that passes through Sela Pass is considered one of the highest motorable road in the world. “I met several people on my way, who offered me their hospitality. I managed to go to their places. They were all very generous,” he said.
It was a challenge to convince his parents and then to arrange finances for his travels. “My mom agreed immediately. She told me she, too, wanted to
do something similar when she was young. But my dad was apprehensive,” he said. After some persuasion, he, too, agreed. “Ironically, when I was covering Andhra Pradesh, he also travelled with me on a hired bike for 13 days. He said that despite being from Andhra Pradesh he hadn’t seen those parts of the state.”
The initial plan was to travel 50,000km using public transport. But when Kona received financial assistance from a company, he decided to undertake the journey on his motorcycle, which began in August 2015. He called it his ‘green dream challenge’. There is a Facebook page with the same name that talks about his journey.
“When I was in Sikkim, I met a biker from Pune on the way. We exchanged numbers and later when I was in Pune, I called him up and he made arrangements for my stay at his house,” Kona said.
In West Bengal, a woman at a shanty helped him with food. When he tried to pay her, she said that her son too works in the city, maybe someone will help him too. “People across India are the same. Despite their problems, they are loving and caring,” he said. Kona has recorded his journey with a camera fitted to his helmet and has also marked the coordinates of the places he visited through his GPS device as a proof for entry to the Limca book of Records. Kona does not want to go back to his job. He wants to start a website on motorcycle tours or write a book on his travel experiences.