They have taken a break from their routine lives and embarked on a journey to discover the ‘real’ India with a budget of Rs.500 a day. And guess what is ‘guiding’ this Delhi-based couple — tips on social networking site Facebook.
Saurav Jha, 28, a consultant at Energy India Solutions, and Devapriya Roy, 26, doing research at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), left their work and began their journey through the country on May 1. After a 100 days journey, they will return by the end of July.
“We wanted to see India as it is. The only way we could do it was to have a travel budget, eat budget and sleep budget,” said Jha. The couple calls it the “Heat and Dust project”.
Their experiences will eventually find place in the pages of a book to be published by Harper Collins.
When the couple were in Bhopal, their Facebook friend Sarajit Jha posted a suggestion: “No trip to Bhopal can be complete without visiting four places: Raja Bhoj lake, Hotel Jahnuma, the old city, and the Union Carbide factory.”
To which Saurav replied: “Thanks we are in the old city now and we will try to visit those four places; let’s see if we can.”
In Gwalior and Kannur, they got suggestions like “Try out the fort in Gwalior” and “While in Kannur play with these elephants”.
While going to Mahabaleshwar from Panchgani, they received a suggestion to stop at Mapro garden on the way. “In most states we have been able to eat and sleep for around Rs 500 a day. But we certainly have had to do a fair degree of scouting, sometimes late at night, before we have found a place that suits our budget,” Jha said.
“Notes on Coorg: Red earth, pouring rain and a thousand degrees of green!,” Roy posted on Facebook on June 16.
While staying at small, out of the way places, the couple had often to prove their marital status in order to get a room. “Being a man-woman duo, we have had to prove our marital credentials in quite a few places for accommodation,” he said.
On being asked whether this journey was worth giving up their jobs, Jha said, “Absolutely, it’s worth it because ultimately it is an inward journey. Through it we have been able to discover stark insights about ourselves.”