Drive to the Sahyadris

Background:
The following trip-reports chronicle our drive from Noida to the Sahyadris.
Originally, our plan was to take a typical 7-10 days vacation and visit the Sahyadris. But during the planning phase, we kept adding destinations and soon realized that it would take longer to cover all the sites on our wish list.
So, our plan evolved into a full blown Noida – Kerala – Noida road trip that covered all the major forests along the way.
Preparation:
To prepare for this road trip, we pored over numerous trip reports and research papers and shortlisted our destinations. Once the destinations were finalized, we contacted hotels, home-stays and local guides to gather location specific information.
In parallel, we prepared a to-pack list and got our car ready for the adventure.
During the entire planning phase, our family kept supporting and motivating us while our birding friends chipped in with valuable information on birding sites.
By the end of the preparation phase, we had a detailed day-by-day itinerary in place along with a list of target species, accommodation options and back-up plans.
The Drive
We had an unforgettable experience driving across India and got an opportunity to witness the varied landscapes that make the Indian subcontinent so unique. Our drive spanned across the Semi-arid and desert regions of Rajasthan to the parched land of Kutch to the coasts and finally opening up to the dense forests of the Sahyadris.
The road trip also gave us an opportunity to relish on the delicious cuisine of the land while giving us a glimpse into the many cultures and beliefs of people.

Wildlife sighting was equally rewarding and we managed to spot several birds and mammals along the way.
Birds:
Critically Endangered (CR): White-rumped Vulture, Sociable Lapwing, Forest Owlet

Endangered (EN): Lesser Florican, Black-chinned Laughingthrush, Nilgiri Blue Robin, White-bellied Blue Robin

Vulnerable (VU): Houbara Bustard, Indian Skimmer, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, White-naped Tit, Yellow-throated Bulbul, White-browed Bushchat, Kashmir Flycatcher, Nilgiri Pipit

Near Threatened (NT): Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Kerala Laughingthrush, Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher

Other Sahyadri Endemics/near endemics: Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Rufous Babbler, Crimson-backed Sunbird, White-bellied Treepie, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Barbet, Malabar Lark, Flame-throated Bulbul, Nilgiri Thrush, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Malabar Woodshrike, Malabar Starling

Mammals
Primates: Bonnet Macaque, Lion-tailed Macaque (EN), Nilgiri Langur (VU), South-western Langur (VU), South-eastern Langur (NT)

Even-toed Ungulates: Gaur (VU), Nilgiri Tahr (EN)

Carnivores: Asiatic Wildcat, Jungle Cat, Mongoose, Striped Hyena (NT), Golden Jackal, Indian Fox, Nilgiri Marten (VU)

Rodents: Indian Giant Squirrel (NT), Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Dusky-striped Squirrel (VU)

Trip Statistics
Kilometers driven = 10,864 km
Days = 53 days
Driving Hours = 240 Hrs
States/UT covered = 11