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Bimal Dey is the most famous among bengali globetrotters besides predecessors like Ramanath Bishwas and Bimal Mukherjee,who succeded in travelling across the world in a bicycle.His epic journey spanned for six years from 1968 to 1972.He started from Rajbhaban in Kolkata with only 16 rupees in hand.But he managed to overcome all the obstacles to succed in his heroic stint.The exerpts from his travell diaries was later compiled by him in a book called Sudurer Piyaasi(Longing for the distant).

Early Years and childhood

In his childhood Bimal faced extreme poverty as his parents passed away when he was very young.His family was run by his elder brother.They lived in Ichapur a small town adjacent to the northern outskirts of Kolkata and situated besides the river Ganges.Bimal was a born traveller by nature and combined with unbearable hardship in life it inspired Bimal to break free from family and set out for the unknown a number of times.He travelled accross many shrines in India and met with several spiritual gurus.When he was only 16,he suddenly dissapeared from home and went to Kathmandu,the capital of Nepal.From there with a group of monks he crossed the Himalayas and traversed the Tibetian platue by foot to finally reach the forbidden city Lasa.Soon after this adventure China took control over Tibet and the route from Kathmandu to Lasa got closed and abandoned.An account of this fabulous adventure was later written by him in the book called Mahatirther Shesh Yatri (The final traveller to the great shrine).This feat showed what bigger achievement was waiting for him and what he is capable of.

The adventure of a lifetime

Finally in the summer of 68 he decided to leave home and plunge into the uncertainities of the unknown as he set out for a globetrotting adventure on his bicycle literally being penniless.He started from Kolkata in front of a small gathering beside Rajbhaban and rode his bicycle all the way to to the coastal city Bombay(now Mumbai).There he had work for a month as a part- time teacher in Palm Beach school to raise money for the ticket in a ship bound for Iran.He reached Khoramshaher,a coastal town in southern Iran and started cycling through the plains of Tigris.He crossed Esfahan enroute to Tehran and after staying there for some days rode to traverse the Iranian desert and finally reach Kabul after crossing the Afgan border.From Kabul he sought for the visa to enter Soviet Union.But Soviet government only gave him permission to enter the country if he agrees to stick to an official guide who'll show him a few major cities of western Russia.He flew to Moscow according to the schedule planned but soon came back to Kabul as he wasn't intereseted in a restricted visit under the watch of government.However he came bavk to Tehran and through Iraq and Turkey finally landed in the European soil of Greece.He travelled in and out through Greece and stayed there for a couple of months being a part of a fimly of a Greek professor in Athens.while staying there he got an oppurtunity to travell accross the Mediterranean sea in a yatch and visit some of the port cities in northern Africa.It was all arranged by the professor,whose family had a great affection for him.In europe he rode across a lot of countries but spent most of his time in Switzerland,where he reached after leaving Greece followed by crossing the Alps.From Luxemburg he was given a free ticket to Reykjavik in Icelandic Airways as a complement to his outstanding adventure.Needless to say,by that time he was famous in many countries of Europe,appeared in several newspapers in several languages,which all described his enormously courageous feat in different stories.He also made a huge number of aquintances in different countries,who helped and inspired him to continue.while staying in Iceland he went to Greenland in an Army Helicopter and stayed there with a Eskimo family for nearly a month.He returned to Reykjavik and from there he took the trans-atlantic flight to finally land in New York.He was initially blocked while he tried to check because he had only 7 bucks in his pocket,but he had to show old paper-cuttings of his interviews in European newspapers to convince the officer that he will be able to continue on his his and money is not a hindrance for him.Thereafter a long struggle followed to survive and continue his journey.Not only he managed to do that;America remained the country besides Switzerland to recognise his extraordinary achievements most and contributed much to his success.He even had a short meeting with president Richard Nixon who wished him a successful journey.He stayed nearly a year in America and travelled extensively.Then he moved on to Mexico and through rode across the Middle-American countries.In the meantime he went Tahiti with a french team in their yatch.He stayed there for a few months,worked and raised money for a trans-pacific cruise to Aucland in New Zealand.Thereafter he went to Australia and finally returned to Madras(now Chennai).From there he cycled his way to Kolkata again.



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