The un-route is a simple yet devastatingly effective concept. There's a start line and a finish line. Everything in between is up to you.
Proper adventure only happens when you do a follow-through fart right in the face of the tourist trail and wobble off the edge of the map. No hand-holding, no arse-wiping, just you and all the magnificent chaos the Indian sub-continent can muster.
To attain this nirvana-like state of ignorant adventuring bliss you must resist the temptation to shove the complete works of Lonely Planet into your portable device. Pay no attention to the hordes of travel bloggers posting boring-bombs all over the internet about what they ate for dinner and the top ten reasons why they are fucking awesome. Ignore it all. The less you know the better. If India unexpectedly appears on the telly quickly jab your eyes with a fork to avoid any advance knowledge seeping into your unsullied brain.
It's not just about protecting the sanctity of the unknown either. Trying to tame the beast that is the Rickshaw Run is just not going to work. Crafting a daily route is pointless. Trying to work out where you'll stay every night is pointless. Detailed planning of any kind is highly likely to go completely to shit by the second day on the road. India will see to that.
So if you're the kind of person that likes an itinerary for the love of all the gods bugger off and never come back to this website. If you like having no idea what will happen next and a vague sense of direction based on the position of the sun read on...
The un-route is designed to tickle your adventure balls (or lady balls), make you snort chai out of your nose then slap you in the face with disaster. Probably all in the space of an hour.
Cochin to Jailsalmer
Jaisalmer to Cochin
Cochin to Jaisalmer
Having a set route is tremendously boring. If you want to be told where to go then we can suggest something - but it's very rude and your nan certainly won't like it.
We therefore devised the marvellous un-route. We provide a starting point and a finishing point and in between you are left to your own devices, free to carve your own marvellous work of adventuring art. Between tropical Kochi and mystical Jaisalmer there's a whole arseful of adventure to be had and it's up to you to jump in your arse-machine and go find it.
There's jaw-droppingly good driving to be had in the Western Ghats, and scores of hill stations en-route if you feel like popping into a tea plantation for a decent brew.
Then of course you have the famous beaches of Goa where we hold the halfway party, just beware of losing too many days or brain cells here. In fact there are shedloads of deserted beaches on the way - as are the vineyards of Nashik, where the best Indian wines hail from.
If it's some culture you're after then there's more than you can shake your cobra at. You'll likely be passing the indescribably cool Ajanta and Ellora caves, ancient Udipi - famous for it's food, scores of Rajasthani palaces and forts, Mumbai...we could go on, but we won't as we don't want to spoil your fun.
Of course, you might want to go completely off the beaten track and just head off into the unknown and see what you find. If so - bloody good show. That's precisely the way it should be done.
How do I go about getting there, then?
It's normally easier to get a return flight to one of the major cities (either Mumbai or Delhi generally work best), and then do your onwards travel from there. Internal flights are pretty cheap generally, especially if booked in advance
Cochin is a breeze for most as handily it has an international airport. It's about an hours taxi journey away from where the magic of the Run happens in Fort Cochin (traffic permitting). If you can't find a flight directly in or out of Cochin that suits you, then you can easily get a flight to a bigger transport hub such as Mumbai. An airport taxi will cost around £10, or there's a rather marvellous AC bus you can take for about £1.
The airport in Jaisalmer has been under construction for the past forever and looks set to remain like that. The easiest way to get there/away is probably via overnight train to Delhi, which is extremely reasonable depending on what class of ticket you get. There is a ridiculously detailed website about Indian rail travel here. Trains should be booked in advance as they do tend to fill up. The nearest airport to Jaisalmer is in Jodhpur, which is around 5-6 hours away by road. A taxi will probably cost you around £40, or you can get a train or bus also for much less.