Monday, April 02, 2007

A ride to Mountains...with car of the nation

A ride to Mountains…with car of the nation

It was a clear mountain call; I got up at 4 am and planned to leave early morning for the hills.
I was in Jalandhar, a town in Punjab. I was short of time as my planned vacation got shrink due to unforeseen circumstances. So I geared up with standard stuff required for traveling, my rucksack was loaded and mind all set. It was 6:30 am already and no sight of taxi (which I called for early that morning).
Things were getting out of sync, so I called for plan II. Took out the alternate vehicle of the house, a mighty Maruti 800, this was one of the house cars owned by my uncle as a second car. This was a 2005 model, underused and well kept, with lot of arguments of me not having enough experience of driving in hills, finally I got the keys.
I stuffed the car with everything required, my aunt, her friend and her daughter, oh! Also lot of home made snacks like special Punjabi Aalo ka paranthas and kulche.
Oil checked, coolant checked, lets role… we started at 7:45 for Himachal Pradesh, no plan in sight it was just a ride without a destination.
After a ride of almost 1 and a half hour on flats across Punjab, suddenly we were elevated 10 degrees towards north; we had reached the footsteps of Himalayas.
Sight was overwhelming and scary as the huge mountains stood in front, and me on a Maruti 800 (The most underpowered petrol car available in the country).
I shifted the gear to second and engine roared as I put full throttle on the accelerator.
With thoughts of not able to make it and engine getting over heated in mind, I still drove the car in first 2 gears to get us on the curvaceous hills.
There we are, after traveling almost 45 minutes we were on a small hit top to take a breather and refuel the car, great sight we could see snow on mountains very far. It was a breathtaking view.
Seeing a board in front, this road lead to Chintkurni Mata and Chamba devi temples, here we go, we got ourselves destinations. Chintkurni Mata was 80 KMS from there. So we planned to reach there ASAP, stomach filled with buttery paranthas and lassi we roared with a plan in sight.
It was a very good height and elevation, so the car had to be in lower gears to maintain the throttle required.
The car had no issues, Maruti has really done a great job on the car, the first Indian car having a life span of more then 25 years now, powered with a 798 CC giving out power of only 36 BHP and torque of only 59 Nm, we were still driving fast and churning kilometers, this was my first road test of the car in these conditions and I was impressed.
So we reached chintkurni mata in only 2 hours, not bad for 80 KMS on mountains, including two breaks for great views on the hills.
The temple was good and flooded with people, as it was the last navratra and people had come from many places to visit this very famous temple.
Some more photographs and we were ready to roll back to Jalandhar. We visited many temples on way back as my aunt is very religious and her logic says if we are passing from any temple on the way, we should visit it, without any arguments on this I stopped on every temple on the way, there were only threeJ.
We reached home well in time for dinner as coming down was a bit fast and car was still running good, salute to Maruti for making such an amazing car which took mountains with a roar…

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