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Old 17th June 2013, 00:36   #1
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Default Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-collage.jpg

It all began surfing casually in the internet and facebook, just happened to visit the page Tata Motors Full Throttle and started following it for a while. It was somewhere in November I noticed in their events section they had Kutch Experience 2013 scheduled to start at 24th Jan 2013. Since the Animation Series which I was working at my office was about to get over by the first week of Jan, I thought this would be the right time for me to take a break and do some long drives. After discussing with my wife about it and going through the terms and condition mentioned in the website, contacted the organizers to clarify about things like the registration, vehicle as mine was a 4X2 dicor2.2 Lx as I was under the impression that these kind of events are meant for 4X4. The event was scheduled for 4 days and 4 nights and the cost 20 k per head and for kids free, including accommodation and food, entry is first cum first serve limited to 30 vehicles.

My family included me, my wife and my 4 yr old daughter so it was 40 k.

We started planning the route as I had to start from Bangalore and join the Team at Vadodara, Gujarat on 23rd evening for a small get-together and briefing about the event and dos and don’t s. Since this was the first time visiting Maharashtra and Gujarat we thought we will have extra days before and after the events and visit all our friends and relatives' places on route and as I was the only driver ( my wife did not know how to drive) we planned in such a way that we would start early in the morning and reach the planned destinations by afternoon or maximum evening( as I do not like to drive in the night for safety reasons).

We had planned it like this

19th start from Whitefield Bangalore , and reach Hubli and halt at my sister in law's place
20th start from Hubli to Pune and Halt at my cousin's place
21st from Pune to Mumbai and spend 2 days at my wife's cousin’s place and visit places in Mumbai
22nd Elephanta caves and other places and meet friends there.
23rd Mumbai to Vadodara and reach there by evening and join the Team.

Our main idea was to make sure we will have balance of both the drive and rest and enjoying the places.

I became too busy with work and totally forgot about the registration process like sending the photocopy of my DL, RC copy, Insurance , photo id of all the members of the family and other medical details and family doctor's name and address, people to be contacted in case of emergency and the payment . I got a call from Cougar motor sports personnel who were organizing the event for Tata Motors and I was told that the rates have been reduced to 10 k per head (20 k in total), I double confirmed it as I couldn’t believe it and immediately started the process of making the payments and other formalities through net. 25 days to go and I gave my vehicle to Kht motors Kundenahalli (my regular service centre) to have a general check and also got 24/7 roadside assistance done for extra safety.

December was an eventful month for me in office as we were juggling between finishing the project and working on a live action short film for an in office competition(one I was directing and the other I was acting ) and in the mean time I had to drive to Mysore to visit my friend, and to Nagarahole (that’s my regular destination every time I visit Mysore I don’t miss this forest for an hour or two watch the nature) that was for Day 1

Day 2 I had to attend a function at Malebennur near Harihara it was two different directions about 1200 km in 2 days and less time for sleep.

Day 3 early morning shoot to finish the short film, where I was supposed to runn in a footpath, and I starting running fast and then came a big Bang! I had hit my right elbow into the Telephone Junction box in the footpath which had a sharp edge and started bleeding heavily, and the only thing that came to my mid was 20 more days for the start of my journey and I am down with the injury, it was a deep cut and my friends starting telling me not to look at it and it was paining a lot I almost for a moment fell unconscious ! We went to the nearby hospital and luckily bleeding had stopped and the doctor said no stitches required (which gave me a relief to an extent)

but the fact that the injury was quite deep and I fell unconscious kept creeping in my mind and almost kind of lost confidence in myself thinking what will my wife do if something like this happens in the tour? But my wife was confident that I would be fine and we decided if it heal properly and pain persists we would cancel at the last moment .

I was feeling better as Days passed pain reduced, about 10 dys left I was asked to conduct a seminar for journalism students at Alvas college (Moodabidri, Dakshina kannada district on Animation and it was supposed to be held on the same day as the start of my journey 19th Jan, I could not deny it and for this we had to alter my plans so we decided to Skip Pune and the new plan was

19th start from Whitefield Bangalore , and reach Moodabidri finish the seminar between
( 3-5 pm) and halt at my in law's at , Mala Karkala
20th start from Mala Karkala to Hubli at my sister in law's place
21st from Hubli to Mumbai and spend 2 days at my wife's cousin’s place and visit places in Mumbai
22nd Elephanta caves and other places and meet friends there.
23rd Mumbai to Vadodara and reach there by evening and join the Team.
24th Vadodara – velavadar national park -Ghir
25th Ghir – Somnath temple- Dwarka temple- Jamnagar
26th Jamnagar to Rann Rider's camp , Dasada
27th Rann Rider's camp , Dasada – Little Ran Of Kutch - Sun Temple, Modhera- Rann Rider's camp
28th end of the tour and people would leave to Ahmedabad or other places.

Since it was impossible for me to drive to Moodabidri and do the set up and conduct seminar, I ask my cousin who is also a professional driver at Mysore to accompany me till Hubli.

We started preparing the journey by listing out the things needed for emergency ,
like medicines, first aid kit, important phone numbers, tubeless tyre puncture kit, electric pump to fill air, torch, a flask, lots of cup noodles to make sure we don’t starve, snacks, extra fuses. And important thing camera and lenses . As usual my wife would keep the bags organized and packed all the items. We also had an empty bag to keep

19th Jan 2013 ,

as per the new plan we started the journey early morning with me in middle seat (for the first time as I badly required proper sleep and energy for the seminar), we went through the beautiful Charmadi ghat , stopping occasionally for the photos, reached by 1:30 pm

even though I was not driving I could not sleep as it was for the first time someone else is driving my safari and I was kind of little extra alert , after almost talking fro about 1.5 -2 hrs in the seminar we reached Mala (a small village between Karkala sringeri) we halted at my in laws place

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-charmadi_ghat.jpg
Charmadi Ghat


20th Jan

we started around 8 and went through Sringeri , we planned to go through Shimoga, honnali and join NH4 at Ranebennur and reached Hubli by around 1:30 at this point my cousin who was driving had to leave for Mysore and with me at the steering we continued to our destination Hubli

whenever we reach the speed of about 120 kmph we would hear a loud wind noise inside the cabin, and it would be there only when the road is on a higher side and low lands on either side, and when we go beyond this speed it would vanish, though it was there earlier I never used to bother much as I had read about the wind noise in safari in the team-bhp forum, but my cousin would say that this is a different kind of noise and he doubted that it would be because of Stepny cover and I would kind of deny it say it would be something else. I started recollecting when I noticed it for the first time and then I doubted on the Hiker carrier which I had got it fixed few years back, so we decided to dismantle it and keep it in Hubli and take it back on the way back.
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-owlet_sringerihubli.jpg "spotted owlet" at Bhadra sanctuary


21st Jan

From now its was myself , my wife and our 4 yr old daughter in the car and we started to Mumbai at early morning around 6 am, after we crossed Karnataka border we thought we will stop for the breakfast , we stopped at Vithal Kamath after having nice food

we realised that my mobile roaming is not working! nnd I was not able to make / receive calls, strangely my wife's mobile was working even though its an add on card for my number . I contacted the service provider and told them to fix it immediately as I had stored all my Mumbai route information turn by turn in my email and I was mainly dependent on google navigation ! I was assured that within 4 hrs it will be active! We reached pune and took Mumbai express highway by around 2 and stopped for a brief time to have cup noodles in between Mumbai-Pune highway . The flask which we had bought at Decathlon was really good and the water was still super hot even after 9-10 hrs

reached Mumbai around 4:30 we were supposed to reach Dindoshi Depot where my wife's uncle and his family reside but my mobile roaming still not working ! And we dont know the route to their house! Luckily I had my 4g dongle and a pocket wifi router and I could access my mail and all the route information. My wife had a Videocon-Ducati Phone which had Map my India & GPS in built and this helped us to navigate to their place.

Finally roaming started working from late night

22nd Jan

we booked a car to tour the city as I still had pain due to the injury and moreover did not wanted to waste time searching the directions, we visited Elephanta as I had this place in my mind as one of the 1st places to visit in Mumbai.
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-gateway_of_india.jpg

Took the ferry from Gateway of India
and the mini train at elephanta , then the climbed the steps with my big backpack ( camera and lenses). The caves and the carvings are really wonderful, and we enjoyed every bit of it.
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-elephanta.jpg

By the time we reached back to the Gateway of India it was 4 and we had to be back at Dindoshi as we were supposed to meet my old friends at the Oberoi Mall , we tried to see as much places as possible and reach Dindoshi by 8:30 , had great time meeting friends and we were back to my wife's uncle's place by 12 :30 in the night .

23rd Jan

since Dindoshi is near Mumbai- Ahmedabad highway we decided to start late around 10:30 and expected to reach Hotel Gateway Vadodara where we had to join the team for a small get together and briefing.
Driving on this high was fun

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-mumbai_ahmedabad_road.jpg

By around 5 :30we reached Vadodara and since there were some road reair/fly over construction road was closed we had to take some alternate route to reach the hotel, and our google navigation failed here and kept looping and we reached the same junction again much to the amusement of the police constable who had given us the direction !

By the time we reached the hotel it was around 6 pm our luggage was unloaded and kept at the lobby and I went to enquire the room no then then came a shocker there was no booking done for use in that hotel ! We asked them to cross check and told them that we are here to join the Kutch experience from Tata, and then they said “ Sir there was one more family who came here but we told them no rooms booked but only the party / conference hall was booked for the evening meet ” . I called the organizers to find out whats happening and they said the actual booking start from 24th Jan to 27th 4 days and 4 nights and 23rd is only a briefing and a small get together and for that night only we need to take care of our stay!

And there was a slight miss-communication. Immediately I asked the hotel people to put the luggage back into the vehicle and started searching for a room and it turned out to be a some wedding season and most of the hotels were booked , we decided that if we dont get any we will sleep in the car ! And to give a last try called the organizers and they helped us to find a
budget hotel for the night .

We reached Taj Gateway hotel hall to join the team meeting,it was around 8 pm and the meeting had already started and we were the last family to join !There was a quick introduction session, some videos of the previous events and a briefing on how to drive in the convoy, following traffic rules and not racing each other at any point of time. All the vehicles were cleaned and Decals were pasted everyone was allotted numbers and we were handed out a route map with turn directions around the landmarks, the start and destination for the day etc. T-shirts , caps and airbags to all the participants.

The team : People had come from different parts of India , like Delhi, Bhopal, Rajkot, Mumbai and Bangalore.
The first vehicle would be the one who would lead the convoy and it was a 4X4 safari Dicor
with a winch followed by the participants vehicle which included safari dicor 2.2 Lx ,Ex and Vx, one tata motors 4X4 dicor2.2 with a snorkel , few Arias both 4X2 and 4X4 Xenon 4X4 , tata safari Storme Vx , a Sumo Grande which was modified to an ambulance , a doctor's vehicle, one organizer's Sumo which used to be the Sweeper to make sure no one is left behind and few media people from magazines and channels ,official tata motors photo and film makers.

The main Motto of the experience is to enjoy the drive, following the traffic rules, safe driving while visiting places.

There were few participants who had attended previous experiences /trails , few were newbies , like us , there were 2 lucky winners of the slogan contest who were given the all paid trip and a storme to drive for full week by Tata motors,

Everyone dispersed after the meeting

24th Jan

We were supposed to start at 7 am from Vasad, and start the real adventure ! we were late to join the team bec of the delay in the billing at the hotel we stayed, and by the time we reached Vaad the team had already started and the sweeper vehicle was waiting for us and one more participant, and then we managed to join the est of the team at the hotel Apex for the breakfast
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-breakfast_time2.jpg my safari is numbered 2
The Team :
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-breakfast_time.jpg

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-theteam.jpg
we then started with all the team members to velavadar national park with frequent photo breaks and the destination was to reach Sasan ,Ghir Taj Gateway hotel, which means we need to pass the forest gate before 6 pm
Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-onthewaytovelavadar.jpg on the way to velavadar
(for now I would be stopping here and will continue next week with more photos and videos)

Last edited by GTO : 18th June 2013 at 09:33. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for better readability
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Old 18th June 2013, 09:34   #2
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Default Re: Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd June 2013, 23:41   #3
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Default Re: Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)

24th Jan

We were supposed to start at 7 am from Vasad, and start the real adventure ! we were late to join the team bec of the delay in the billing at the hotel we stayed, and by the time we reached Vasad the team had already started and the sweeper vehicle was waiting for us and one more participant, and then we managed to join the rest of the team at the hotel Apex for the breakfast we then started with all the team members to velavadar national park with frequent photo breaks and the destination was to reach Sasan ,Ghir Taj Gateway hotel, which means we need to pass the forest gate before 6 pm

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-onthewaytovelavadar.jpg

Around 10:30 Am we took a right turn towards Velavada national park road from the high way, this was a very narrow slightly elevated road and grasslands on either side, and we had to drive little slow and some places had to stop as we had to make way for the oncoming vehicles from the village. The grasslands are so beautiful and its reminded me of the African grasslands seen in Animal Planet .

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-nilgai.jpg

We sighted some Black-bucks and Nilgai and we Stooped our vehicles, got down to the grasslands to have a closer look and to take some photographs.
We spent about half an hour and proceeded to Sasan since we had to cross the forest before 6 pm.

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-black_buck.jpg

Got little disappointed as I would have loved to spend some more time and may be go for a forest safari and see hyenas and desert fox !

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-entering_gir.jpg


We reached the Gir forest gate on time and after taking the required permissions from the forest dept we all entered the forest . The drive inside the forest road was really nice with just a mud road and bushes and trees around. Though this forest seems to be on a drier side compared to the south Indian forests it had its own Beauty, the mud road (game road ) inside the forest was little curvy, with vertical curves and dips ,passed through small streams and mini bridges.

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-at_gir.jpg


The movement of our vehicles kicking the dust up looked like an elephant heard marching in the forest ! We spotted some Cheetals( spotted deers) , Peacocks and Sambar Deer on the way before we reached Sasan and “the Taj Gateway hotel” by around 7

we all parked the vehicles nicely inside the hotel campus and unloaded the luggage and proceeded to the allotted rooms. The rooms were nice,cozy with all the amenities a good balcony which opens to the forest side( we felt full paisa vasool ). The next event was to assemble at the dinning area by 8:30 for dinner and campfire. We had a good time at the campfire area making new friends, discussing about vehicles ,photography ,wildlife etc the food was awesome ! After the dinner we all went to get a good night sleep as we had to start early the next day to go to the forest safari.

25th Jan

we woke up early and by around 6 30 am we were ready to go to the Gir safari in the forest department Gypsies . While waiting for the vehicles to be allotted we had a nice hot cup of tea and some cookies the weather was so cold that everyone was handed a blanket .

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-waiting_for_safari_at_taj.jpg

We entered the forest and all the gypsies took different routes, everyone in the gypsy were eager to see Lions but even after about an hour and half spent in the forest we couldn’t see a single lion . We saw a beautiful lake and the forest and sun in the back drop, spotted some nice birds , spoonbills, painted stork, Paradise flycatcher, peacocks and some crocodiles around the lake.


Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-earlymorning_lake_gir.jpg


Finally we got a news that there is a lion sleeping in the nearby range and we will have a chance to see it . We went to the spot and by that time we had some other tourists also coming to the same location , because of this every vehicle was given about a minute or two just to drive little close to a place from where we can get a glimpse of it.

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-sleepinglion.jpg



Luckily we saw the lion sleeping at a distance since we were not allowed to stop we did not have enough time to see its face! We then reached the hotel by around 9 30 and had breakfast .

It was little late by the time everyone was ready and we started around 11 to Somnath Jyothirling Temple and from there to Jamnagar via Porabandar – Dwarka. Reached Somnath temple by around 12 , the temple is beautifully located at the sea shore, it was around noon still there were a lot of cool breeze, there was a strict security checking at the temple premises, photography and mobiles were banned, we had the ”Darshan “ and left the place quickly since we need to reach dwarka . The lunch was probably planned at dwarka but since we started very late we were about 4-5 hrs away from it . This made us skip Porabandar .


Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-building_boat_porabandar.jpg


Though the drive was really enjoyable many of us were very hungry as it was already about 3 pm and we decided stop any hotel we see on the road. Some of us stopped at a small dhaba and rest of them proceeded. Note sure about the quality of food there, I advised my wife and daugheter to have cup noodles in the vehicle.We quickly had some rotis(the taste was good but not hygienic) and started again. After about an one and half hours of driving we saw all the other vehicles parked near the sea-shore . They were all enjoying the beach and we stopped and joined them.

Safari Dicor & Little Rann Of Kutch Experience (Tata Motors Full Throttle)-somefuntime.jpg



One tata xenon tried to drive on the sand and after covering some distance the vehicle got stuck ( I guess it was not in 4X4 mode and after getting stuck may be it could get into the 4X4) . So the rescue vehicle came and still it was difficult as the sand was very soft and not enough traction for the other vehicle to reach it even with the cable pulled out from the winch. Varioust techniques were made and many of the team members joined and pulled the vehicle out. This was one great moment . All the vehicles started to Dwarka and we reached the place by 7:30 and it was quite dark .we finished the darshan and halted at a small hotel for a quick snacks around 9:30 and reached the hotel Fortune at Jamnagar by 11:00 pm. The we had dinner by around 12 pm and decided to start late the next day as the destination was to reach Rann riders camp, Dasada which is about 5 hr drive .




(More To Come..)

Last edited by avanishphatak : 22nd June 2013 at 23:42.
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