Dr. K. Benny Prasad – World’s Fastest to Travel to 245 nations in 6 years, 6 months & 22 days
First International Concert Tour
I got my first passport on 10/Dec/1996 and I had applied for my first visa to UK & I was rejected on 31/Jul/1997, I applied again & I was rejected on 15/Sep/1997. They told me that I was not good enough to travel and that I might not return back to India. I love my country India and I have no plans to settle in any other country. I travel to make my Faith & my Nation known around the Globe.
My dream was to travel to ONE country and that was fulfilled on 15/Aug/1998 when I arrived in Colombo – Sri Lanka. In 2002 I got a divine call from God (that’s what I believe) to travel to every nation on earth, to spread the good news of HOPE, PEACE & RIGHTHEOUSNESS. I had about Rs. 30,000 (545 $) with me and started of my First Concert Tour to Europe. I purchased my flight tickets on Aeroflot to go to Moscow – Russia but I was not allowed to board the flight from New Delhi on 19/Feb/2002 as I did not have my ECNR. So I returned to the Ministry of Labour Office and got my ECNR and on 20/Feb/2002 I took the flight and landed in Moscow. I had a valid visa to go to out but they wanted a bribe. I refused to give a bribe and hence they held me in the airport for over 30 hours and after that they deported me back to India and I arrived back in New Delhi on 22/Feb/2002.
The next day on 23/Feb/2002, I was able to gather 25,000 Rs. (455 $) and took Uzbekistan Airlines and flew to London via. Tashkent. I spent 14 hours of layover in Tashkent and again they troubled me by asking for a bribe to board the flight to London. By God’s grace I persisted and they allowed me to board the flight and arrived in London on 24/Feb/2002. On 25/Feb/2002 I was able to apply for the Latvian Visa and on the 27/Feb/2002 I took a flight and arrived in Riga – Latvia and started off my First International Concert Tour. In 2 weeks I did 22 concerts and traveled 3000 kms (1864 miles) and the temperature was -28°C (-18.4°F). That whole trip I did a 55 concerts in 5 nations in 2 months.
World’s First Bongo Guitar
In July 2003 when I was performing at the Global Arts Gathering in Hollywood-LA, USA, I got an invitation to perform on Cultural Stages for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. I really wanted to share my life-story & journey as part of my performances and they strictly told me that it will be only music. So I prayed to the Almighty God to help me to design the a new guitar that the World has never seen, and through DIVINE provision I designed the World’s First Bongo Guitar and Tulsi Guitars took 1 year and build it and I called it BENTAR.
Beginning of 2005 I started designing a 54 String Guitar(6 Steel Strings, 6 Nylon Strings, 22 Harp Strings, 20 Sympathetic Strings, a mini Tabla & a mini Turkish drum) and once the guitar was completed, I performed with this instrument at the cultural stages of the Fifa World Cup in Germany in 2006. But this guitar was not a practical guitar in terms of traveling and quick tuning and the craftsmanship was also not upto the mark by the guitar maker (different from Tulsi Guitars).
After learning from the mistakes and also the new idea that were emerging, I designed the 20 String Bongo-Harp Guitar. It was a perfect guitar and served the purpose of my travel & music very well. With this guitar I performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Largest Military World Games in Hyderabad in 2006 where 101 nations gathered together. This guitar has been exceptionally good and I’ve taken it to extreme temperatures for my performances from the heat of Niger in Central Africa to the coldest places such as Antarctica and had no problems with tuning or the wood and had very memorable performances.
Traveling the WORLD
From 2004 onwards my travels became hectic & organized too. It became very evident that I was going to travel to every nation with the help of God. That year alone I traveled to 50 nations and registered my name in the Limca Book of Records as the Most Traveled Indian Musician. People suggested me that I get a different citizenship that will allow easy access to visa’s & travel and I was offered citizenship with USA, UK, Holland & Australia. But I refused those and I knew that God could use my Indian Passport to make History and also to make my Nation Proud.
Getting the visa’s were very very challenging and some of the country’s requirement was ridiculous. But by God’s grace my travels continued and I ended traveling an average of 50 countries, 240 days every year. Going to the Sovereign countries became easier in terms of travels but the remote nations was getting challenging.
I remember when I had to go to Pitcairn Is. which is the most remote nation in the World. It is a UK Dependency and it takes 2 days by boat from Mangareva in French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean but the boat was available only once in 3 months. Finally I did end up going there on 1st April, 2010 and also made history by performing the first ever concert in 200 years. The population of the nation is 66 people and 52 were present at the concert, that’s almost 80% of the nation.
Then came the challenge of going to Antarctica. With the unbearable cold, I wanted to skip as I have arthritis and with my health, I might not be able to make it. By God’s grace on 3rd Dec., 2009 I flew 34 ½ hours from Bangalore to King George Is. in Antarctica (via. Paris, Atlanta, Santiago & Punta Arenas) and performed for the Geologists at the Chilean Base and ended up spending 6 hours, seeing the Glaciers, Penguins etc. and took another 34 ½ hours to fly back to Bangalore. It was an unforgettable trip.
I never traveled to World Record for the sake a World Record, but rather I traveled coz it was Divine Plan and also to spread hope & value into the life of people & culture. Infact, all my concerts around the World has been free and I’ve had common people to Presidents who have attended my concert. In 2009 I came to know that Mr. Kashi Samaddar had created a World Record of becoming the Fastest to Travel to every country in the shortest time i.e. 218 nations in 6 years, 10 months & 22 days. By then I was just short of 7 more nations to break the World Record. It came to a point that I had been to 244 nations and just 1 was left for me to break the World Record and i.e. Pakistan.
Last & 245th Country Pakistan – WORLD RECORD
I called the Embassy of Pakistan in New Delhi and mentioned to them that Pakistan was the last country left for me to complete my travels to every nation & also break the World Record. The Consular General told me that there is only 2 ways for me to get the visa to Pakistan and i.e. if I have an official invitation letter from the Government of Pakistan or if I have a blood relative. I had neither one of them and the time was ticking and I was almost loosing hope of completing the Globe. The only hope was God to do a miracle.
I did applying for a NOC (No Objection Certificate) to the Pakistan and I even ended up making 334 phone calls in 4 days but did not get through at all. I was loosing out of hope.
On 29th Apr., 2010 when I arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, I went to check-in to the 43 storey hotel called Yang Gak-Do. I took the lift and came out of the 32nd floor and 2 Pakistanis were about to get into the lift. They asked me who I was, and I answered and when I asked them who they were, they said “We are the Official Delegation from the Pakistani Parliament”. I told them that Pakistan was the last country for me travel to and they told me to meet them at 10:00 pm in the night. Not knowing what to expect, I took my guitar and went and shared my story & music. They were kind to me and told me that I they would help my visa. I was more than a co-incidence as it’s beyond a miracle to get a Pakistani Contact in North Korea, so I call it a GOD-INCIDENCE.
When I came back to India I told them the friends that I met in North Korea, and they called the Ambassador and told him to grant me the visa. I got a call from the Ambassador of Pakistan on Nov. 19 to come on Nov. 22 and that they would grant me the visa in 10 min.
Thus on 22nd Nov., 2010 I arrived in Karachi, Pakistan a broke the World Record by becoming the Fastest to Travel to Every nation i.e. 245 Nations including Antarctica in 6 years, 6 months & 22 days.
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