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Old 16th May 2011, 08:45   #1
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Default Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

Hi All,

Part 1

It was my intention to write a travelogue on my trip to a beautiful place called "Auli", as soon as i came back. But, lazy me and other important schedules kept me off till now. Posting some of the pictures now. I am yet to awaken the writer in me.

So, here goes. Now, thanks to Samurai, i stole an hour from my schedule and posting this brief travelogue.

Ok, the first point being, all along, i have been a big car guy(read that as a mid size car). My two cars in India had been Fords, iKON 1.8 & Flair 1.3. In USA, generally, cars are big. So, when i wanted to get a AT for my wife, my initial inclination was to either go for VW Vento or Honda City. But as my wife is employed in Delhi and when she saw the traffic conditions and more particularly the parking issues, she persuaded me to get her a small car. And i searched Team BHP site, made my decision. It's gonna be Hyundai i10 AT. Again my choice was the high-end, i10 Asta AT, with ABS. But again my boss(read that as my wife) said no to Asta as she thought that ABS and Fog lights were the additional features we would get for a lots more money.

And this is how i ended up purchasing the new, i10 AT Sportz. I forgot to mention that i lost one more battle. I fancied the silver/steel color. Again the boss said no as almost all the cars that we drove in USA were of the same color and the choice was definitely a black one. Sadly for her and to my secret joy, that color was not immediately available. The sales guy told that we would have to wait for couple of more weeks. And so settled for the Champagne Gold.

Meanwhile, my sister and brother-in-law called me and influenced me to take a week off to go to Manali. Wow! Anything to beat the Delhi heat. So it was planned that on 9th April, the 3rd day after taking delivery of the car, we would be off to Manali. And my lil sister and brother-in-law arrived at Delhi on 8th by 09.30, both me and my boss, damn, it has become a habit, my wife went to the airport to receive them. On the way back home, as my wife was sitting in the back seat with my sister, she suddenly decided not to come to Manali with us as the back seat was found to be crampy. Such is the influence of bigger, made in USA Fords, Nissans and Mitsubishis. And the next sucker punch was delivered by my brother-in-law. He told that one of his friends had strongly suggested that we should go to a place called "Auli", pronounced O li, in the state of Uttarakhand. And thus Manali was dumped.

What's this? Just what the hell is happening? Doesn't anybody listen to what i have to say? What i really care about? What i truly want? After secretly weeping inside, i said, "fine, great idea. Let us go to Auli. Whew"!!!

We googled the destination and the route and were all set to hit the road the next dawn.

Part 2

Ok, the D day dawned and instead of leaving by 04.30 as planned, we could manage leave by 07.00 only. And Google told me to go to Noida, Ghaziabad, Modi nagar, Muzafar nagar, Roorkee, Haridwar, Rishikesh, and to take the same road upto Joshimath and from Joshimath to take a detour to Auli. And that most of the queries and relevant web sites told me that it is about 531 Kms from Delhi and that it would take about 10.30 to 11.00 hours to reach the destination. So, i assumed that we will safely reach the resort, Cliff Top, max by 20.00 hours. Fair enough, right? I couldn't have been more wrong!

Well, if i am to sum up the entire experience in one sentence, i would put it this way. Mesmerizing Ganges, Awesome Himalayas and lots of bad roads. Period.

Now, i wanna tell something about the car, i10 AT Sportz. It's a cute, little package. Very surprisingly, it's spacious inside. At least in the front side. The car looks and feels expensive. The electrically controlled ORVMs, Turn indicators integrated into the ORVMs, Back-up monitor poured into the RVM, Lever that releases the fuel tank lid and one more feature that truly surprised me is the knob under the steering wheel with that you can tilt up or down the headlight beam! These are the features that makes this little DAVID, a darling. The factory--fitted music system is ok. Neither good nor bad. But, Chaltha he. The USB and Auxiliary slots are pretty useful, though. AC is good and that should be taken as a very good compliment considering the fact that this is Delhi, yeh dilli he mere yaar! As i write this, today, on 17th May, Delhi registered 44.7 degrees F! The boot space is just adequate. You will be pushed to park your additional baggage, more often, on the back seat too. And the doors close with a pleasing thump. These are the wow factors.

Here, i want to thank Samurai whose initial ownership report of the i10 AT Sportz largely influenced my decision to buy this car.clap.

But i regret that i did not go for bigger tyres as per his suggestion. Mainly because my wife felt that since the car's gonna be used by her and mostly within the city limits, no pressing need to spend more on bigger tyres. That's a huge mistake on our part as the small OEM tyres really roll the car and throws it up too.

This was a big annoyance felt on the bad roads that start right after Rishikesh. And this is where i sorely missed my other car Ford Flair 1.3! If you look at some of the photographs, you will find that there are no roads at all. Just plain kucha raastha. And pretty dangerous too.

But this is where the automatic scored over manuals. The stop, go, stop, go traffic where you just barely do 5 to 10 kms an hour, AT is a big boon. Your left leg is given complete rest and so is your left arm. Many a times, i simply don't know what to do with my left arm!!! May be under different circumstances ------ And on steep inclines when you are caught in a traffic snarl, the anti-roll back nature of AT is pure joy and doesn't add tension to your already frayed nerves!

But, the one place where i really, really missed AT (before i bought this) was at the exit from the parking lot of FORUM Mall in Bangalore. Lots of nincompoops tail gate you when you are stopped and waiting for the car in front of you to move, and that's a steep incline!!! Sure, all Bangalorians will agree with me on this.

Since it was brand new and had run for only 320 kms till then, i didn't want to zip the vehicle and was cautious about not revving the engine beyond 2500. Up to Haridwar, i did only 100 kms/hour. And beyond Rishikesh, it's uphill and i sensibly averaged 60 to 70 kms, depending on the road conditions. Remember, the car was loaded with 3 adults and lots of baggage.

It was my intention to have as few stops as possible and to reach the resort by 8.00 p.m. because some guys told me that the road would be closed for transportation by that time. But having a trigger happy brother-in-law in the car proved difficult for me to stick to my schedule. Almost all the photos were clicked by him. Moreover, the traffic was heavy too. And thus it was 8.00 p.m. when we reached Rudraprayag and decided to stay for the night there. Managed to get a couple of rooms in the local "GMVN". Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd is the Uttarakhand government's tourism guest houses. Absolutely nothing remarkable about them but for the only fact that they are situated on the best of locations, mostly on the banks of the Ganges. I had been continuously driving for almost 13 hours but for a few short smoke & tea breaks and i managed to cover only about 400 kms. (Too bad on my reputation. Usually takes about 5.30 hours to reach Bangalore from Madurai, 3.30 hours from Chennai to Trichy, and about 4.15 hours to reach Chennai from Bangalore. Please don't tell my wife.) My sister had packed some home made food and that took care of our hunger. As the GMVN was just beside the Ganga Maiya, the gentle ripple sang lullaby and i drifted off to sleep. Completely out of this world till 06.30 a.m. the next day.

Hey All, now, i am facing some problems in uploading more photos. So, i thought that if i can paste a link to my picasa web album, you all can click that and see them all.

Here it is, https://picasaweb.google.com/syedmun...51083287525570

So, we left Rudraprayag by 07.30 and reached Joshimath by 12.30 p.m. Nothing worth mentioning about this stretch except that traffic was heavy, road was bad and got held up twice in a traffic snarl. Joshimath is believed to be the place where "Agasthya Muni" did penance and "Kanchi Shankaracharya" came there when he was a little boy, around 10 years of age, and did penance. Finished our lunch here and waited for the guy from "Cliff Top" resort to come and take us to the resort in Auli. Since the mobile signal was pretty bad, both ours and the resort guys', there was some confusion. We waited for another 30 minutes but the guy didn't turn up and we decided to reach Auli by ourselves. That was a short drive. There were some sign boards that led us and We reached kinda a dead end, That place was adjacent to some army camp or base or something. There was a small hill to climb but no road at all. And a sign board said that "Cliff Top Resort is just 2 kms up" and something else like no pain, no gain or whatever. Whatever path was there, it was very muddy, slushy and totally non-traversable, strictly a no-no for anything that doesn't have 4 wheel drive system with BIG tyres. No way my lil david could handle that. SAD. We ventured a reconnaissance on foot and that too was ruled out as our feet went down at least 3 feet down the slushy mud and was too damn slippery. All 3 of us managed to fall down just after a couple of steps.

How can we ever reach "Cliff Top" resort in a situation like that? Even though, as the board said, we were perfectly willing to go through some pain to gain something. Heaven answered to our prayers and suddenly somebody called me up in my mobile and told that he is the driver who is supposed to take us up to the resort and that he is on the way in his jeep.

Sure he did arrive in 10 minutes and climbed out of the Mahindra jeep. HE WAS NOT A DAY OLDER THAN 21. Here i am, with around 400,000 kms under my belt, Master of long drives, Have driven in USA, UK and Singapore and i know Indian roads just like the back of my hand!!! But i have my own doubts about how to over-power this tricky road and here comes a kid who seems all cheerful and smiles! And while transferring the luggages from my i10 to the mahindra jeep, he peeks inside my car and asks me why the gear-shift looks different and where the heck is the clutch pedal? Man, i wanted to hit the ground on my knees, crying out to God asking Him why he wanted to punish me like this? Take my life but spare my sister's and brother-in-law's!

Now comes the best part of the story. The 15 minutes that will stay on my mind forever, till the end. That 15 minutes smashed and crushed my ego completely. Taught me not to underestimate anybody else for the rest of my life. The kid took off in whatever full speed the diesel Mahindra could muster and he very sparingly used the brake pedal. He was in complete control of the jeep, using only the gear and clutch pedals. The jeep groaned painfully and on every sharp bend will try to skid and go off the road either on the left or on the right. The guy presses the clutch, shifts to reverse gear and backs up without ever touching the brake pedal and again 1st gear, full speed ahead. Allah, Jesus and Lord Shiva, all of them were definitely on my side. Ok, but the diesel mill could not take the torture any more. The tyres got stuck in the mud and spinning crazily managed only to get deeply stuck down . Our dear driver gave up on the Mahindra and asked us to stay put and went off to fetch a Maruti Gypsy. Well, that petrol engine tamed the rest of the path and by God's grace and because of my mother's prayers, we reached "Cliff Top" safely.
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Last edited by Capitalson : 19th May 2011 at 12:18.
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Old 19th May 2011, 12:34   #2
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

Allow me some more time to write about the trip back from Auli.

Last edited by Samurai : 19th May 2011 at 13:09.
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Old 20th May 2011, 19:48   #3
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

Very Nice . BTW i was also there last week on my Maruti Ritz Vxi & reached Clifftop club by that , also visited Mana , Badrinath. Just posted my thread, waiting to get approved.
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Old 21st May 2011, 08:31   #4
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

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Originally Posted by sharmaruns View Post
Very Nice . BTW i was also there last week on my Maruti Ritz Vxi & reached Clifftop club by that , also visited Mana , Badrinath. Just posted my thread, waiting to get approved.
@sharmaruns: Did you manage to drive up to the resort? Was the last 2 kms mud road dry and motorable? If so, you really missed the thrill of your lifetime!!! Waiting to read your post. Safe and happy motoring to you all.
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Old 21st May 2011, 15:39   #5
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

True ! That muddy way was dry when we drove to Clifftop club , but next day it was wet due to rain in night & we drove down to joshimath & that too was a thrill.
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Old 21st May 2011, 16:12   #6
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

The i10s front looks damn good. And your trip has proven me wrong to think that an automatic would be a problem on hills.

And agree to you on who's the Boss. :-)

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 21st May 2011 at 16:14.
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Old 21st May 2011, 20:08   #7
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharmaruns View Post
True ! That muddy way was dry when we drove to Clifftop club , but next day it was wet due to rain in night & we drove down to joshimath & that too was a thrill.
Hi sharmaruns,

Lucky you. having driven all the way from delhi and back, i regret not having the opportunity to drive that last 2 miles. May be next time. Happy motoring and many more happy miles to all.
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Old 21st May 2011, 20:16   #8
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Default Re: Trip to Auli, in Uttarakhand, in my new i10 AT Sportz

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Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
The i10s front looks damn good. And your trip has proven me wrong to think that an automatic would be a problem on hills.

And agree to you on who's the Boss. :-)
Hi San Phrangmung,

Yes, the new front-grill with the logo is good, not like the older drab looking one. And its my opinion that AT is much better than manual on hills. But if AT gets stuck in mud or a hole or something, then you will dearly miss that clutch pedal and manual gear shift. Happy and safe motoring to you.
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