Announcing 'Rickshaw Run' Aspirations

Update :

Thank you

Beth, Karmadude, Babasko (twice), Nick , Megha, Kaushik , Sivashankar, Ash, Gvenum, Naveen*,Shiva, Shane,'Peter and Emily*',Krishna*, Farah, Prem, Kathryn, Rajeev, Richard, Tehmina and the Pai Family in Mysore for sending us some money. Who's next

Also thank you Amit, Rash*, Megha, Desipundit*,Chugs*,Shiva* Sonia , Peter and Prem for the shout out.

And Yes you can also find us on Facebook

Expect pictures and notes from our first rickshaw lesson soon !!!


Mobiance is a tech start-up that is letting us give their fleet tracking technology a whirl and Hence allowing you to track our progress real-time during the duration of the run. Check them out.

Mobiance Logo

Listen to my Podcast Interview on the Kamla Bhatt Show. [mp3]

A Few months ago me and two of friends of mine got the crazy idea of volunteering ourselves into a race that involves driving over 3,750 km across India in the Monsoons over the Himalayas - if that wasn't harrowing enough we thought we'd do it in an mobile toaster on wheels - 3 wheels to be exact - yes we plan to ride an auto-rickshaw across India through torrential rains across the Himalayas.

No seriously - it is called Rickshaw Run

The run will take us deep into the heart of India. Once there we will travel through the Indian heartland in a transport that by all means Indian. By reaching a multitude of challenging way points through large stretches of grueling terrain, completing physical and intellectual exercises, we hope to complete the Run to our satisfaction.

The event, organized by the London-based Institute of Adventure Research, is intended to raise money for charity (learn more about the organizers - here ). The Run started last year with a drive from Cochin to Darjeeling, but not one of the participating teams was Indian. We’re trying to change that this time.

The Route

Starting from: Calcutta along the length and breath of the mighty Himalayan range, we will be taking on mountains, forest, jungles, wild plains and just about everything India can through at us and our almost useless vehicle. We can A spend your whole trip on tiny dirt tracks in the Nepalese mountains at or B thunder over to the deserts of Rajasthan before making the final push to the north and the hills.

Ending: in Manali high up in the hills.

Take a more detailed look at our Route here.

Meet The Team :

It's a four member consisting of bunch of rather interesting personalities. I'd think you'd agree.

Firstly there is this chap called Akshay - namely me.

Akshay Mahajan began his freelance career at the age of 19, when he quit engineering college and jumped on to a freight train for 200kms and sold photos about the experience on the internet . Two years later, Akshay is still wandering the country with camera and pen in hand. He mostly earns his money as a self schooled photojournalist, versatile in style with a natural eye for colour, tone and composition (sic!). His work has been published in a number of local and international publications and has documented a number of events culminating in an exciting and varied body of work. Akshay blames his parents for his restless feet; at every opportunity, they were off exploring the country but for some reason never made it to Goa, an omission that he put right recently [I'll put up some picture soon I promise].

He hopes to take a lot of pictures and expects do a lot of the navigation not by choice but because of the fact that he is the only male member on the team.

And we have Shez

Shaizia Jifri is the oldest in the group age wise. But definitely has all symptoms of one suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. Which means she'll never say no to an adventure. Shaizia or Shez, as she is fondly known, works in a film production house. Which means she lives a life filled with crazy hours and is constantly pushed to make the seemingly impossible, possible. From the age of eighteen she has driven vehicles long distance and is no stranger to long hauls and basic mechanics. In fact she has calculated that she has driven approximately 260,000 kilometres in her lifetime. Which for a wee woman of twenty-five is quite an impressive figure.

Shez is full of energy and has the stamina to go on and on. She takes much pride in the fact that she is stronger than she looks. Pint size and full of beans Shez is the left wheel on this three wheeled adventure.

Outlook magazine called her a New Argonaut - whatever that means.

And there is Neha

Neha has always been the sensible one. All rounder in school: good in studies, basketball team member, magazine editor. She's the friend everyone's mother loved. She always liked writing and started interning with the Hindustan Times when she was in class nine, so it was no surprise when she started working with the paper right out of college. But that's when things got a little random. After about a year and a half on the job, she decided to move cities, "so she could see a new one", and landed in Bombay. Now, she wants to do the Rickshaw Run and she has a good many reasons that she used to sell the idea to Akshay and Shez.

The last member of this team doesn't even know about their participation in this event yet but this last member also happens to be the most important one - Sorry to spring the surprise but the last member of our little team is YOU. How you ask ? Well we do need someone to sit at home and look at the pretty pictures, read the words and laugh at videos - it is a tough job but we know you are a team player.

Calling online Philanthropists

As I said earlier we are trying to raise money and awareness through this exercise - the money will be donated a NGO called Mercy Corps - which has helped organize Rickshaw run.

Mercy Corps is a non-profit organization engaged in humanitarian aid and development activities. Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than $1.3 billion in assistance to people in 100 nations. Supported by headquarters offices in North America, Europe and Asia, the agency's unified global programs employ more than 3,400 staff worldwide and reach more than 14.4 million people in more than 35 countries. There are working several Indian NGOs - the list to which you can find here.

The rickshaw themselves will be donated at the end of the race to people who gain meaning employment through their use.

Here is where I ask you for a small donation - so please do donate us some money.
To make the deal sweeter - for those nice people out their who give us money - I will personally send them a good-sized print of a photograph of their choice.

Here are some pictures you could have hanging on your wall.


Srinagar Reflections

Boats in Puri, India.

Like a Dancer in Blue

So yes support the cause and make a donation through paypal

If you have questions or need information on the run or want to send us some money in another way- you can email me at akshaym[@] - I also have document and a presentation ready which I can forward you upon request.

And Oh yes before I forget the team is called Teesra Paiya and stay tuned for updates.

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Zishaan Hayath said...

Good stuff!

Bone said...

this is so impossibly cool!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

You're all mad.

But I shall send a cheque, be it never so meagre.


H. Cardoso said...

Pure genius...

Anonymous said...



Aarushi said...

Yay, way to go Akshay :)

I really want to send you money, and I will as soon as I can figure out how.

And I really want a glossy for my room.
even though we already have some.
those are good prints.

Anonymous said...

A mostest crazy and cool thing, this is!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like great fun. I have made a humble contribution, hope it helps :) Good luck y'all!

gvenum said...

I am next -:). I usually get all the ideas sitting on the pottie (wonder why I never come up with neat stuff like this).

Nick said...

I have just browsed the proposed route for the Rickshaw Run. I am now 100% positively sure that AKSHAY IS CRAZY! What a trip. This looks nuts and I hope you can pull it off. VERY ballsy so major kudos for signing up.

Unknown said...

brilliant - you should also get castrol, bajaj and other such cos to place banners on your auto - for which you should receive money obviously - maybe Tata motors? :-)

Anonymous said...

wow!! thts a brilliant idea Akshay..
I'm sure this trip would be really exhilarating
with the kind of team u got & the places u gonna visit...its definitely going to be a journey to cherish
I would love be part of this wonderful experience but 3750 kms means atleast a month's break which will be practically impossible as of now. :(
wish you & your team all the very best for a joyful trip & generate maximum funds for the cause.

nilesh747 said...

Nice blog with cool photos!

I am Shez said...

Come on. I know that more of you out there have some lose change jangling about that could amount to an adventure...if you don't want to do that...suport some family who could do with some cash and a running autorickshaw....and if none of those grab you just buy a nice photograph off the talented Mr the least it will only add a little colour to some that horrible dull spot on the wall you keep staring at. In short puleeeez give us money!!!!!! - Shez

Anonymous said...


I am excited to hear about this run. I am more thank happy to support your team. I wish I had the time and finances to tag along..seems like a once and a lifetime experiance. I will be watching your blog like mad to see your pictures.

Mad love from "the States"


Ashu M said...

All the best, Akshay and friends!

I'll spread the word (and read your post in more detail) this weekend :)

Anonymous said...

All great things start with crazy ideas like these. All the best.

Kaushik said...

You guys are crazy! I love you guys!

Please be careful (but not too much).

30in2005 said...

I second JAP - you are all mad. Having sad that I am madly envious - I have neither the guts nor the spine to attemot something like this. Good luck. Where can I send a you even accept £ cheques? And will you really post me a picture of my choice? Really?

Andytgeezer said...

Did you do it?

It was one of the best events of my life I must say. Great pics by the way