Delhi-based Neeru Gandhi (62), backpacked with her friends Monicka Chanana (54) and Pratibha Sabharwal (62), and travelled around 1,700 km over six days. If that’s not enough to give you travel goals then I don’t know what would! They traversed the India-Bhutan border at Phuentsholing, an adventure they exploited driving through four states, The Hindu reported.

The trio has self-labelled themselves as ‘nanis on the highway’, and on their way to Thimphu, they even tried their hands at activities such as archery. If one is en route to such a beautiful destination how can one miss out on tasting some local butter tea? That they did, but after that long journey they needed a much-deserved break. Post the rest, they headed over to Paro Valley to attend the eponymous dance festival dating back to the 17th century.

Neeru said their expedition had raised eyebrows in the beginning as three elder women travelling alone still gets negative response from the society. But she claimed they are well-seasoned road trippers as they the nanis embarked on something this unique to break the stereotype. In 2016, Neeru finished a drive from Delhi to Rameshwaram—longest ride for her—prompted by an earlier trip with her son to Haridwar. She convinced her friends, Sarita Manocha, and Monicka, to join her in her next voyage. Later, Monicka and Pratibha became her travel buddies.

They Google for navigation but when there’s no Internet on the highways, strangers come through to guide them.

Today, Neeru and her friends have completed four road trips. However, the nanis faced certain challenges and overcome those as well. On their second drive — Varanasi via Ayodhya — the team went through a rough patch when Monicka’s wallet was stolen. “Also, the highway from Ayodhya to Varanasi was in very bad shape,” Neeru added. “Because of that, we had to drive late in the evening, and even at night, against our routine practice.”

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For their first three trips, they chose to drive in a Suzuki Ertiga, before moving to an S Cross Nexa. Most nights the trio spends quality time in many cities participating in local activities like camel rides, desert safaris and rafting.

“As we move further away from Delhi, people get shocked seeing our car, with only ladies behind the steering wheel,” admits Monicka adding that people often get surprised knowing that the nanis are the ones behind the wheel.

“Over the past three journeys, I have become more confident and capable,” says Neeru who has been dealing with criticism but smashing stereotypes like a pro.

The highlight of their journey is meeting people and making new friends. They also shared interesting anecdotes of their journey like when a group of male schoolteachers helped them change a flat tyre en route from Amravati to the Ajanta Ellora caves; to the Bishnois villagers of Jodhpur who taught them block printing and pottery making. These memories will stay with the three women forever.

After reaching Bhutan and back to Guwahati, the nanis are back in Delhi and are already planning their next trip.

We salute the three for their grit, determination and achievement!

Feature Image credit: The Hindu

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