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Old 20th March 2014, 07:10   #1
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Default Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

During the first week of March 2014 my friend Raja Ghosh, his parents, and I drove from Delhi to a few places in Himachal Pradesh in Raja’s Renault Duster (diesel, 110 PS). Our itinerary was as follows :

Day-1 : Drove from Delhi to Palampur and put up in the Nagri Resort. Took the route Delhi-Karnal-Ambala-Ropar-Anandpur Sahib-Una-Hamirpur-Palampur (Nagri).

Day-2 : Drove from Palampur to Dharamsala, McLeodganj and back.

Day-3 : Drove from Palampur to Dalhousie and put up in HPTDC’s hotel Manimahesh. Took the route Palampur-Kangra Fort-Nurpur-Dalhousie.

Day-4 : Drove from Dalhousie to Khajjiar and back. Since the direct road (about 25 km) from Dalhousie to Khajjiar was closed due to snow accumulation, we had to take the circuitous (about 90 km) route through Banikhet and Chamba.

Day-5 : Drove from Dalhousie to Delhi via Pathankot.



Check out some pictures from our trip below:



On the way to Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal.jpg



The ventilation system knob (which controls whether the air flow is directed towards one’s face, feet, windshield, etc.) stopped working on Day-1 when we were driving towards Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. It was drizzling continuously, the windshield was getting fogged up and so it was necessary to direct the air flow towards the windshield. But though the knob was rotating (control of the ventilation flaps as well as recirculation / fresh air flaps in the Duster is totally mechanical, like in the Maruti-800) it had no effect on the air flow because the cable linkage between the knob and flap control mechanism was broken. We approached a Maruti dealer workshop in a village in Hamirpur Distt. and they were able to rectify the defect temporarily.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal001.jpg



The staff at MASS (Competent Automobile Co.) were very helpful and refused to charge any money for their work.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal002.jpg



Near Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal003.jpg



We stayed at the well-appointed Nagri Resort near Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal003a.jpg



The Nagri Resort used to have a great view of the Dhauladhar range but now the view is totally ruined by large greenhouses which have come up adjacent to the property.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal005.jpg



Near Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal006.jpg



Road to Dharamsala.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal007.jpg



View of Dharamsala.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal008.jpg



An old cemetery near Dharamsala.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal009.jpg



The four of us posing in front of the Church of St. John in the Wilderness.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal010.jpg



Church of St. John in the Wilderness.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal011.jpg



A gardener warming himself next to the Church.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal012.jpg



Memorial to Lord Elgin inside the Church premises.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal013.jpg



These Royal Enfield Bullets brought back old memories (I owned one for 11 years).
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal014.jpg



At McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal015.jpg



At McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal016.jpg



At McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal017.jpg



It happened to be Tibetan New Year’s day and everyone was dressed in traditional finery at McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal018.jpg


Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal019.jpg



At McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal020.jpg



At McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal021.jpg



Momo seller at McLeodganj.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal022.jpg



Bridegroom at Dharamsala.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal023.jpg



View of McLeodganj from Dharamsala.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal024.jpg



View of Dhauladhar range from Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal025.jpg



Raja posing with his Duster.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal026.jpg

Last edited by debuda : 20th March 2014 at 07:30.
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Old 20th March 2014, 07:26   #2
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Default re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

We got the best views from Nagri in Palampur.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal027.jpg


Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal028.jpg



Kangra Fort.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal029.jpg



Kangra Fort.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal030.jpg



Kangra Fort.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal031.jpg



View from Kangra Fort.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal032.jpg



At Dalhousie. We were not lucky with good weather (clear skies) at Dalhousie.

Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal033.jpg



Near Chamba.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal034.jpg



Near Chamba.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal035.jpg



Near Chamba.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal036.jpg



Near Chamba.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal037.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal038.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal039.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal040.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal041.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal042.jpg



At Khajjiar.
Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal-himachal043.jpg




Total distance covered during the trip was about 1,500 km. Though Raja did most of the driving, I too drove a few hundred kilometers, both in the plains as well as in the hills.

I own a XUV-W6 and this was an opportunity for me to personally compare my XUV with the Duster (top end diesel variant, 110 PS). Since many comparative studies between these two cars have already been carried out and published on TBHP and other fora / magazines, I consider it somewhat superfluous on my part to write another detailed comparison. But a brief comparison from a userís perspective could be in order :


Suspension : I had heard that the Dusterís suspension could absorb jerks from bad roads much better than XUV. From my personal experience, I found that to be a myth.


Peppiness : I had been told that the 108.5 HP Duster has a marginally better power-to-weight ratio than XUV and so I expected the Duster to be peppier. But here again the Duster failed to impress. Though the pick-up seemed similar to XUV till about 120 kmph, at higher speeds the Dusterís pick-up was relatively less.


Ride, handling, driveability : Suffice it to say that I find driving the XUV a much more enjoyable experience overall. However, the Duster has less body roll.


Fit & finish, bells & whistles : XUV-W6 is far, far ahead. XUV-W8 even more so, obviously.


Space : Duster feels cramped as compared to XUV, both in the first and second rows.



Note for Mods : This picture-travelogue is complete and I do not intend adding any more posts to it.
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Old 20th March 2014, 10:46   #3
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Default re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Excellent summary as usual sir.
Loved the pictures, especially the street photography.
Regards.
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Old 20th March 2014, 11:11   #4
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Wonderful pictures & captions, as always. Thanks for sharing!

Couldn't help but comment on this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by debuda View Post
We approached a Maruti dealer workshop in a village in Hamirpur Distt. and they were able to rectify the defect temporarily.

The staff at MASS (Competent Automobile Co.) were very helpful and refused to charge any money for their work.
Maruti's after-sales is the best not only for their own cars, but even for other brands

On a serious note, their temporarily fixing a Duster for no charge just shows the customer centric nature....rare in most after-sales outlets.

Last edited by GTO : 21st March 2014 at 10:03. Reason: Adding a line
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Old 20th March 2014, 11:49   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debuda View Post
The staff at MASS (Competent Automobile Co.) were very helpful and refused to charge any money for their work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Couldn't help but comment on this: Maruti's after-sales is the best not only for their own cars, but even for other brands
True. I was once caught with a punctured tyre, very late at night on an isolated part of NH 209 highway, and to make matters worse- it was raining cats and dogs that night.

With almost no light and the rain to fight against- decided to try my luck driving forward, and came across one Maruti workshop after about a kilometer. Although it was closed, the guys inside were watching cricket match.

They promptly replaced the punctured tyre with the spare and refused to take any money (Finally gave them as a treat for India winning the Match). Quick and efficient service, even when they were officially closed for the day, and all this for my FIAT Punto.
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Old 20th March 2014, 13:16   #6
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

That's my village Palampur and Dharamsala. The best thing about these hill stations is that you get a commanding view of the Punjab plains. Trust me maruti is the best. M800 is a legend in hills. Every owner swears by its reliability and low cost of ownership. Overtaking is a breeze. It just does not stop, be it slush , snow or bad roads. Only yesterday my friend who owns a thar was complaining about broken axles of Thar on bad roads of Rohru. His maruti had never given him such problems.
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Old 20th March 2014, 14:46   #7
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Debuda, thanks a lot the beautiful and vivid pictures.

Quote:
Suspension : I had heard that the Dusterís suspension could absorb jerks from bad roads much better than XUV. From my personal experience, I found that to be a myth.
This is supposed to be the strong point of the Duster. The comments, coming from you, settles the matter.
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Old 21st March 2014, 07:12   #8
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Debuda, excellent pictures, thanks for sharing. Just out of curiosity, in one of the pics, the distance to Switzerland is marked. Any idea who has installed this board and what could be the motivation? Do people undertake trips to Switzerland from here on road? I mean on a frequent basis?
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Old 21st March 2014, 08:01   #9
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

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Originally Posted by Anand3553 View Post
Debuda, excellent pictures, thanks for sharing. Just out of curiosity, in one of the pics, the distance to Switzerland is marked. Any idea who has installed this board and what could be the motivation
If I am not wrong:
Dalhousie is referred to as Switzerland. And hence the milestone is put up there as a token for this reference.

EDIT : Thanks to J Ravi. Yes it's Khajjiar which is refered as Swtizerland.

Last edited by ampere : 21st March 2014 at 08:12.
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Old 21st March 2014, 08:03   #10
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

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Originally Posted by Anand3553 View Post
Do people undertake trips to Switzerland from here on road? I mean on a frequent basis?
Khajjiar is known as 'Mini Switzerland of India' and hence, the board showing the distance from the mini Switzerland to the real Switzerland.
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Old 21st March 2014, 08:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Khajjiar is known as 'Mini Switzerland of India' and hence, the board showing the distance from the mini Switzerland to the real Switzerland.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
If I am not wrong:
Dalhousie is referred to as Switzerland. And hence the milestone is put up there as a token for this reference.

EDIT : Thanks to J Ravi. Yes it's Khajjiar which is refered as Swtizerland.
Thank you Ravi and ampere. Nice gesture by the Switzerland Counselor .

Quote from Wikipedia below pointed out by Ravi.

Mini Switzerland[4]
On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India
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Old 21st March 2014, 14:21   #12
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Great pictures and a wonderful travelogue.
Did'nt know Maruti guys were so supportive, Kudos to them
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Old 22nd March 2014, 08:26   #13
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Debuda, loved your snaps. Your travelogue rekindled a lot of memories for us. We took almost the trip a year ago in Feb'13 (Jaipur - Dharmshala - Mcleodganj - Dalhousie - Jaipur)
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Old 22nd March 2014, 22:34   #14
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Awesome Pictures. Reminded me of my trip to Dharamsala/McLeod and Manali in 2012.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 12:37   #15
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Default Re: Renault Duster: 5-day roadtrip from Delhi to Himachal

Quote:
Originally Posted by
[B
Total distance covered during the trip was about 1,500 km.[/b] Though Raja did most of the driving, I too drove a few hundred kilometers, both in the plains as well as in the hills.

I own a XUV-W6 and this was an opportunity for me to personally compare my XUV with the Duster (top end diesel variant, 110 PS). Since many comparative studies between these two cars have already been carried out and published on TBHP and other fora / magazines, I consider it somewhat superfluous on my part to write another detailed comparison. But a brief comparison from a userís perspective could be in order :


Suspension : I had heard that the Dusterís suspension could absorb jerks from bad roads much better than XUV. From my personal experience, I found that to be a myth.


Peppiness : I had been told that the 108.5 HP Duster has a marginally better power-to-weight ratio than XUV and so I expected the Duster to be peppier. But here again the Duster failed to impress. Though the pick-up seemed similar to XUV till about 120 kmph, at higher speeds the Dusterís pick-up was relatively less.


Ride, handling, driveability : Suffice it to say that I find driving the XUV a much more enjoyable experience overall. However, the Duster has less body roll.


Fit & finish, bells & whistles : XUV-W6 is far, far ahead. XUV-W8 even more so, obviously.


Space : Duster feels cramped as compared to XUV, both in the first and second rows.
Great pictures ! - Reminds me of our home from home, Uttaranchal, that we travel to every now and then.

Re. the above, one thing that intrigues me is whether it makes sense to buy the AWD XUV over the FWD versions. As I've mentioned elsewhere in this forum, I've been using a 2WD Scorpio over the past several years (all over the country) with happy satisfaction, and now the XUV is in the radar since it's approaching time for a change. I'll confess that I am an admirer of M&M and their in-house R & D capabilities, so I don't plan to go in for another make. Also my budget wont stretch much beyond the AWD XUV.

Look forward to your comments.
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