30-Dec-2003 -- 24-Dec-2003 -- My Expedition to the Discovery of 19N 74E
Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 0830 hours
Visit by: Praveen Goggi
Place: Pimpalgaon Village, near Manchar town, Pune District, Maharashtra State, India
Distance: 60 Kms NNE from Pune.
Earlier Visits: 17°N 78°E, 17°N 79°E 18°N 74°E, 18°N 75°E and 17°N 80°E
Expedition dedicated to: Guenter Walser, Austria
I visited my parents this winter and planned to shoot for the nearest confluence point (19N 74E), 58kms NNE from Pune. Since I grew up here, I know surrounding very well and a quick look of the state map was enough for me to understand the route.
On 30th Dec 2003, I got up a bit early (about 5am) and drove off in NNE direction. This expedition was very similar to the earlier but for a difference, I was alone this time. I was very confident of getting to the point and return in 4 hours. One advantage of starting early in the morning is no crowd in the city.
The journey was quite uneventful through the Indian National highway number 50 till I reached a cross-road (6.2 Kms before Manchar). The GPS started pointing to the South-side (to my right), which lead to a smaller village road. I stopped to take directions from one and only middle-aged villager. He was pretty helpful and I offered him a ride in my car, so that I could drop him to his workplace. His name was Rajaram.
I explained our project to him. He seemed to understand it, unexpected to me. He confessed that he did not study too much, but he understands the compass / navigation and he seemed to have a great sense of directions. I was impressed.
I showed him the GPS (etrex) and he was thrilled with moving numbers and features of the machine. He had now become my navigator !!! Talking to him revealed that he was from a place called "Junnar", about 20kms from current place. He comes down to this place for his work, he works as a tractor-driver in a sugar factory. I offered him to ride him to his work place, provided, he accompanies me to this confluence. He readily agreed and started helping me with directions.
We passed half-a-dozen small villages to reach a junction, which led to another village named as "Pimpalgaon". The GPS showed 412 meters from the village road, where I parked my car and started walking. We went through the marvellous fields full of corrinder, potato, Onion and Garlic.
Following the GPS directions, in about 15 minutes, we walked to a place where GPS showed just 9 meters, it was in front of a wet onion field. I was adviced by the near-by farmers not to step inside the fields as they are too wet and about 2 meter deep wet mud. I took the snaps as required by the projects (I have a GPS proof of reaching within 9 meter range from the confluence). I thought for a moment to step into the mud (possible quicksand) and get the exact reading quickly and come back, but it would have been dangerous. I would not dare do that !! (got a family back home) :)
With a great sense of achievement and gratiude to Rajaram and farmers, I left the place to drive back home in Pune. I called up Chandra Dasaka in Hyderabad to tell him about the feat. Chandra congratulated me and said "We, as a team have 6 confluences now, We do we do the next?". Hence, the story continues... U will soon see more posting by myself or Chandra.