Jothi Viknesh, a 32-year-old from Tamil Nadu, undertook a trip across India in December 2021.
Aboard his 7.3KW powered Mahindra Treo, an electric auto-rickshaw aptly named ‘Hope’, Jothi wanted to set a Guinness Book of World Records for the longest journey ever taken in an electric auto rickshaw.
It all started during the pandemic.
“The pandemic dealt all of us a blow and many were left with the realisation that life is too short. We run behind money and societal tasks only to realise one day that life has passed us by,” he says.
The auto-rickshaw journey commenced on 5 December 2021 from Bengaluru and is still on.
“I love stopping along the way, hearing people tell me their stories, and in turn I share mine,” he says.
But aside from the dreamy ride that he seems to be on, there is a more important mission in the foreground — to set that elusive world record.
The current Guinness World Record is 19,000 km. Jothi has completed 15,800 km and aims to complete 30,000 km by the end of this year.
Having started from Bengaluru, he wishes to circle back to the city towards the end of the trip.
Traversing 19 states and breathing in the beauty of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, and the North East, among others, has given him memories to cherish for a lifetime.
“I have been fortunate to have met lovely people along the way,” he says. “They have welcomed me into their humble homes and I have stayed with them in their villages.”
However, a challenge is finding charging points along the way. Jothi says he is grateful to Mahindra for the free charging and service they offer him at their showrooms.
“The speed I rely on is 40 km/hr, which helps me have a balance,” he says.The journey costs him an average of Rs 20,000-25,000 per month, most of which he spends on food and accommodation.
Should you wish to catch snippets of his experience, he shares these on his YouTube channel ‘India on 3 wheels’.
Through his journey, there is a simple fact he wishes to convey to people. “Do not worry about the intricacies of the trip. You can make it happen as long as you are adaptable and spontaneous.”