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Old 23rd March 2017, 21:10   #1
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Default Ford Aspire : A Road-Trip to Himachal Pradesh

It was that time of the year again-WINTERS, which happens to be our most favorite season and as always we normally plan my annual vacation around this time and the first destination that comes to mind is some nice cold place up-north and reason is actual twin-pronged as we can spend time with family as well as take some time out to visit a few nice places in the mountains

Other than above, we love the winters in Delhi as overall aura and charm of Delhi during this season is indescribable. Hence, the idea took shape a month earlier and as usual Himachal Pradesh won our vote hands down which also happens to be my favorite state for a holiday and have been there quite a few times in the past

While deciding the vacation spot, we even briefly touched upon the north-east which I incidentally have never been (except to West Bengal) and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is on top of my North East destination but, the thought of coupling a family reunion and a vacation was too alluring to skip

Alas, NE will have to be shelved for some other time in near future....

We swapped between multiple ideas of how to travel to Himachal (having drove down to Delhi in the past, I was not in a mood to repeat that mistake again) and decided the mode of transport to Delhi should be by air and from thereon it was everyone suggestion to take a cab and relax and enjoy the drive to the various destinations planned in Himachal.

But, being a BHP'ian it's tough to give into such insipid suggestions and I decided to hire a car from Zoom/Myles and drive down to Himachal for our 8-day holiday from Delhi

And, how it panned out will get unfolded as we move on. Now time for some snapshots of places we visited during this trip

P.S : Been thinking from last 3 months to write this travelogue but, due to constant work travel and other comittments I could not. I will try to spend less time writing something laborious and will let most of the pictures do the talking

P.S 2 : All pictures were taken from an iPhone 6S+ and a few have been edited via. Snapseed !!

Delhi to Kangra

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Kangra-Dharamsala-McLeodgunj

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Kangra-Chintpurni-Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

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Kangra-Dalhousie

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Dalhousie to Palampur

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Palampur-Tirthan Valley

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Last edited by mobike008 : 24th March 2017 at 09:51.
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Old 23rd March 2017, 21:32   #2
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Default re: Myles rented-

17th December, 2016:

Excitement for this long holiday was a bit tough to handle and there is always a joy to travel to Delhi for reasons cited below. We flew via. Vistara and this was the first time through this airline and even though I'm not a big fan of air-travel (especially domestic), I was quite impressed with everything about this airline. Impeccable service, delicious food and pleasant hostesses

Delicious meal In-flight. The hostess were so nice that they gave an additional meal when we commented it was tasty

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We spent the weekend in Delhi at home, meeting relatives, cousins and enjoying the different hot food-spots of Delhi :-)

We visited Connaught Place, Jan path and enjoyed their popular offerings like

Depaul's Coffee, Mushroom Patties, Wenger's Kebabs etc.

All of above was using the Metro which was fun

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We also visited my Maasi (maternal aunt) and she had a fantastic lunch spread fit for a king prepared for us. It was my favorite continental meal. Steak with Mash Potatoes, Chicken Nuggets, Russian Salad and other lovely accompaniments

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We were planning to head out on Monday and by then we had not even decided the mode of transport for our trip to Himachal. Dilemma was to book a cab (most favored by in-laws), take the family car (got a growling look from FIL ) or get ourselves a self-drive rental car

While checking for the tariffs for self-drive cars, we found that Zoom was exorbitantly expensive compared to Myles and since it was just 4 of us, we decided to look for a sedan or a small SUV.

In that category, Myles threw up 2 options

1.) KUV 100
2.) Ford Aspire

There are no prizes for guessing which car I chose. Aspire was a blind choice (not just because I own it) as its spacious for 4 people, great handling in mountains and a powerful engine (realized this was a moot point to some extent later on) to enjoy the drive :-)

This was going to be our ride for next 8 days

Nicely maintained Ford Aspire TDCi

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37XXX kms on the odo when we picked up the car
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Last edited by Rehaan : 7th April 2017 at 13:25. Reason: As per RP.
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Old 23rd March 2017, 23:11   #3
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Default re: Ford Aspire : A Road-Trip to Himachal Pradesh

19th December, 2016: Delhi- Kangra

We had planned to pick up the Myles Aspire at 7am from Aerocity which is just 3 kms from Indira Gandhi airport. Waking up so early in the cold weather was dreadful. But we all managed to wake up on time and left home at 7am.

We reached there by 7.30am and took the car after hassle free and quick visual check of car and basic documentation.

I was not aware of this rule whilst booking and when we took the delivery of the Aspire for our trip, Myles representative outlined the rules and one of them was the max speed of 100kmph and if you cross that there are different fines (1st time : Rs, 500, 2nd Time : Rs. 1800 and 3rd Time : Rs. 2500) and this played a big spoilsport in the whole drive

I found it to be such a stupid and painful rule

The following is the route we followed:

Delhi-Ambala-Anandpur Sahib-Dehra Gopipur-Chintpurni-Kangra

It is very very hard to drive the Aspire at 100kmph on 4-lane highways and I was exhausted just looking at the speedo to ensure we dont cross the 100kmph mark.

After driving for first 200kms, I made a smart move and handed the car over to my B.I.L...LOL!

We had started from Aerocity around 8:00am and thankfully the route had less traffic but we were driving slow since we could not exceed the speed beyond 100kmph.And, the first stop which as you might have already guessed was at Murthal and we wanted to stop at Sukhdev the largest and most popular dhaba (now it's a plush place and does not look like a dhaba from any angle) and decided to stop at a different one (Gulshan Dhaba)

All of us enjoyed a hearty breakfast of wholesome and yummy paranthas with white butter and this ensured that we can skip the lunch. And, on the way we decided to eat some cheese sandwiches and fruits if hungry. We drove through the lovely NH1 which thankfully was easy to coast through due to sparse traffic.

When we entered Himachal, I took over the wheel as I wanted to enjoy the ghats and last 150kms was all twisties and Aspire as known to be was super fun to drive on the ghats with its tight steering and precise body control and 100kmph on ghat's is plenty of speed so the thrill aspect was retained.

We crossed Chintpurni which is popular for Durga Ma goddess and when we took a wide sweeping turn on the ghat, I spotted a large and rather attractive sign board in the middle of nowhere. It screamed out "Deejay One by Earth" and since we were in a momentum we crossed it and stopped some 300 meters ahead and then took a U-turn to double check if that was were we booked? Indeed, that was our hotel

It was a pretty hotel atop the corner of a hilltop and had a fabulous view. We checked into the hotel and enjoyed a nice walk on the grounds behind the hotel which had a spectacular view and settled down for an early dinner viewing the lights on the mountain side

During the entire Himachal trip, this place served some outstanding food and as most know generally the food isn't that tasty in the mountains but, here it was better than you get in the plains. Thanks to the manager and a chef (he personally was recommending some unique dishes and cooking it too)

Some pictures from our first day of the hotel and time spent that evening over dinner

Beautiful cold morning for a drive

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Being a biker myself, it was enjoyable to see this lady riding a bullet with a pillion and was wondering how she would be changing gears in her "Jhooti". Besides, she was riding the bull quite aggressively!

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Yummy Paranthas at Gulshan Dhaba

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We stopped for some delicious Kinu juice too

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Team-BHP Addiction

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Covered 456kms and reached just before sunset

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Beautiful ambience of hotel

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Glorious view from the open top dining area

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Chicken with some coating-One of the best starters I tasted

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Dinner
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Old 25th March 2017, 08:49   #4
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20th December, 2016 : Kangra, Dharamsala, McLeodGunj

After getting good rest, we woke up to a glorious view and decided to go for short walk in the ghats to get some invigorating exercise to the lungs. After huffing and puffing for 30 mins-45 mins we returned to the hotel to see that a delicious breakfast was waiting for us

Plan for the day was to explore the nearby spots which were Dharamsala and further up the popular hill station (McLeodGunj).

We left hotel at 11:00am and drove through Dharamsala. Dharamsala from our hotel was about 25kms. Roads were in beautiful condition. We saw many monks walking around and finally stopped at the temple.

There is actually not much to see in Dharamsala. We then proceeded to Mcleodgunj. Its a beautiful town. Spent lot of time on Mcleodgunj Mall Road. Late in the afternoon, we visited Dalai Lama's home which is the monastery and is on a steep hill. It was so calm and serene there that we spent lot of time soaking in the peaceful atmosphere

It was nice to know that Dalai Lama spends all his time here if not travelling around the world and teaches the monks from the chair that everyone seemed to be mesmerized with

It was about 4.30pm and we decided to check out Dal Lake. Which was around the corner of McLeodgunj, it has a nice view but, seemed little plain and boring place and could have given it a miss

After a nice day spent, we headed back towards our hotel before it gets dark and our hotel was good 60 kms away from Mcleodgunj. And, also checked out the famous Dharamsala Cricket Stadium (This stadium is at the highest altitude in the world-4780 Feet) and since it was around 6:00pm we couldn't go in and saw it from outside

Beautiful view from balcony of our hotel room
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Morning Walk in the ghats

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Enroute Dharamsala
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View from inside the Dharamsala Temple
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Hot Momo's on boot of Myle'd Car

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Dal Lake

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Your's truly posing at the Dal Lake

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Dharamsala Cricket Stadium from outside

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Yet another unique snack during dinner meal
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Old 25th March 2017, 09:28   #5
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21st December, 2016 : Chintpurni Temple, Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

We woke up late as yesterday was a bit tiring since we had driven nearly 160kms during the whole day which is not an easy task on ghat roads

After a leisurely and yummy breakfast of Poori and Subji we decided to take bath and visit Chintapurni Temple during the first half of the day.

Later part of the day was reserved to visit the iconic Dharamsala Cricket Stadium. It's a beautiful cricket stadium surrounded by mountains. Weather was pleasantly cold and with sun keeping us warm

We saw plenty of school going kids practicing cricket and can see the amount of seriousness in their session

After spending a couple of hours there we headed back to the hotel

Yummy Breakfast
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Chintpurni Temple
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Delicious Prasad (Halwa)
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Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

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Ford Aspire : A Road-Trip to Himachal Pradesh-fullsizerender-10.jpg

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Old 25th March 2017, 09:43   #6
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22nd December, 2016: Dalhousie, Khajjair

Got up early and had a lovely breakfast of toast and scrambled eggs and began our journey from Kangra to Dalhousie

We did not even think of the road conditions that we will face, it was the most engaging, thrilling and dangerous road of our entire trip as we took a route that was not suggested and enjoyed this route to the core

Some of the sections were no less than hard core off-roading spaces and Ford Aspire performed like a SUV with no issues in tackling any of this hard terrain (especially for a compact sedan)

There were some terrain when the family got little anxious as the road was too narrow and there were jagged mountains on one side and steep ravine on the other. They continuously asked me not to drive on the edge and focus on the road and not talk

We got used to this view now
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Crispy toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast with a view to kill

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Now that's a good scenary

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Stopped to enjoy the nice views around Kangra Fort

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Tarmac texture is interesting..LOL

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Kangra Fort

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Beautiful ghat section

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Magnificent landscape. Pretty unique

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Love this pic

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Entering Dalhousie

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P.S: People visiting Dalhousie, please note there is no "Fuel Station" in Dalhousie. We had to drive back the way we came almost 35kms both ways to tank up as we didn't realize the town would not have one. FYI !!!

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Old 25th March 2017, 11:11   #7
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This post are of a few videos of the route to Dalhousie ; It was an enjoyable yet scary drive

Kangra to Dalhousie (Bad Patch)



Kangra to Dalhousie-Yet another short video of the bad patches



Kangra to Dalhouse-This video captures some lovely sections of this route



Kangra to Dalhousie-This short video captures some nice roads coupled with bad roads


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Old 25th March 2017, 11:46   #8
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Dec 23rd, Dec 24th, 2016: Dalhousie and Khajjair

We reached Dalhousie late afternoon and was going to be our pit-stop for the next 2 days. We found our hotel after searching a bit as it was situated in a small lane that didn't seem even good for a 2-wheeler and had to do a steep climb to the parking lot and the hotel was situated at an even more elevated level

After huffing and puffing our way up, we were shown our room and we checked in and relaxed with some tea and then we decided to go for a walk around 6:00pm

This walk is something I will remember for rest of my life as it was as difficult as climbing up the Tirumala mountains. And, as we walked out and went up the mall road that was ridiculously steep and found a spot for viewing Dalhousie where we enjoyed a 360" degree view of entire hill station and made that painful walk totally worth it. I found Dalhousie really beautiful and thinking how come I have never visited this place earlier. This ranks on the top 5 hill stations that I visited till date !!

And, we got the shock of our life when we got to know from Hotel Manager that there was a route from backside of hotel which would have cut down our walk by nearly 80%

Evening was spent at the mall road enjoying the sights, views and sounds of the people out there with some light road side food for dinner

View of our Dalhousie hotel from outside

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Some pictures of our room in this hotel. This was by far the most comfortable and luxurious room of the trip


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View of the parking from the balcony

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Beautiful view from the other balcony

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Hotel Entrance

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Abstract

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After that grueling walk, we were blessed with these views. Worth it ; Right?

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Oh my God! Oh my God!

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This is a lone picture of "Khajjair" that we visited next day. It was not at all interesting and the route of 27kms one-way was extremely gruelling and perhaps the worst road conditions in entire trip
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We really enjoyed our Maggi from this stylish old gentleman, his stall in form of this colorful scooter was drawing a lot of attention not to mention some great business for him

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What's better than an ice-cream in cold weather
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Old 25th March 2017, 11:49   #9
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Dec 25th, 2016 : Dalhousie to Palampur, Neugal Cafe

We headed out early on Dec 25th towards Palampur and it was an uneventful drive until we reached Kangra as there was young kids/children all over the place standing in line on both sides of the road with a congress flag in hand

And, the atypical political parties supporters on the road on their 2-wheeler creating a ruckus. During one of the jam, we got to know that Rahul Gandhi was visiting the district and being the youth icon of the country entire youth of that district had assembled to greet upon his arrival

Due to above, our movement was slow and we could reach our hotel only by 1:00pm

We checked into our hotel which had beautiful views around. Palampur is not known for anything in particular but, is a nice scenic place where plenty of Bollywood movies were shot. And, there is nothing much to do here and we decided to go for a drive after getting freshened up

We were told to visit the Neugal Cafe which had fantastics views around of the mountains. We spent most part of the afternoon there having our lunch and enjoying the views and light sun on the cold afternoon

We returned late evening and then played an hour of table tennis in the hotel premises and then spent an hour sitting by the fireplace to get away from cold. Weather was in range of 5C-8C during most of the days

Our plan was just to spend the night there and leave early morning towards my favorite destination in Himachal "Tirthan Valley"

Somewhere enroute Dalhousie-Palampur

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Beautiful Beas River flowing through the Valley

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Our quaint little hotel in the mountain in Palampur

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Figo Twins- A weird coincidence in place you would never expect

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Hotel Grounds

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Neugal Cafe, Palampur

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An outstanding breakfast next day before we headed out towards Tirthan Valley

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I like driving through this section ( have done it a couple of times in past as well) when you near the tunnel that takes you to Manali. But, we had to divert from there towards Banjar




Well, I thought a bumper to bumper traffic is a feature of metropolitan cities

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Old 25th March 2017, 11:56   #10
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Dec 25th and Dec 26th, 2016 : Palampur to Tirthan Valley (Banjar area)

We started from Palampur towards Tirthan Valley and it was an enjoyable drive all through with extreme cold and nippy air greeting us as we neared the Tirthan Valley. I have visited Tirthan a couple of times in the past and this is the wild side of Himachal where you get to enjoy nothing but, unadulterated nature at it's best

1.5 days spent here was blissful with choppy mobile network which helped immensely in enjoying the only thing you can do in that area. Enjoy nature to the hilt!

We spent most of the time taking short treks, enjoying hot snacks, spend time at the river stream and read a book.....

This marks the end of our blissful holiday and like always going back to home destination is filled with gloominess which happened here as well

We covered ~1800+ kms in these 8 days and Ford Aspire performed flawlessly and we truly enjoyed the dynamics of the car on the ghats and on bad roads.

Entering Tirthan Valley

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There was a long traffic jam in the hills just before entering Tirthan. Took us almost 30 minutes to get out of this jam

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Mutton Biryani

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Our hotel parking at Tirthan Valley, No Kidding

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Attachment 1623283
Way down to our small hut at Tirthan Valley. Going down is easy but, walking up was really strenuous

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Our Log Hut

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Jibi, Tirthan Valley

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Hot Pakoras and Tea by the river stream

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Went for a trek in the evening and the uphill climb took our breathe away..LOL

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We really enjoyed the camp-fire at night. Started at 6:30pm and went on till 11:00pm singing songs and had another lone traveler for company

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At 10:00pm, this was the temperature

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At, 1:30am at night it was this ; We could not sleep at night due to this...Haha!

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Some pics of the Aspire while returning to Delhi

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A beautiful small river stream passing by our log hut


Last edited by mobike008 : 27th March 2017 at 08:52.
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:41   #11
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Note from Mod : Feels silly to say this to my own travelogue. But, I want to let you all know that my travelogue has been moved from the Assembly Line to Travelogue section

Sorry for delay in sharing it, hope you like reading it as much as I enjoyed the trip and writing about it

Cheers
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Old 28th March 2017, 00:35   #12
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I was not aware of this rule whilst booking and when we took the delivery of the Aspire for our trip, Myles representative outlined the rules and one of them was the max speed of 100kmph and if you cross that there are different fines (1st time : Rs, 500, 2nd Time : Rs. 1800 and 3rd Time : Rs. 2500) and this played a big spoilsport in the whole drive
Hi mobike008,

I can understand your frustration, I faced the same when I booked Ford Aspire from Zoomcar. I had to constantly remind myself not to cross speed limit (120), this was more important while overtaking.

However I feel this is needed for the larger audience, specially with so many people abusing self drive cars and getting into fatal accidents.

If you don't mind could you please share amount you paid for 8days/1800 kms. How much was the difference between Myles and Zoomcar?

Regards.

Last edited by antardaksh : 28th March 2017 at 00:37.
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Old 28th March 2017, 08:37   #13
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I can understand your frustration, I faced the same when I booked Ford Aspire from Zoomcar. I had to constantly remind myself not to cross speed limit (120), this was more important while overtaking.
Well, 120kmph is perfectly fine for highways but, 100kmph is NOT

Myles unlike Zoomcar have a 100kmph speed limit which was hard to maintain on 4-lane highways but, is more than enough for mountains

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However I feel this is needed for the larger audience, specially with so many people abusing self drive cars and getting into fatal accidents.
Completely agree. I fully attest and agree to this rule. However, I just feel it should have been 120kmph limit besides, a warning for the first time instead of slapping a fine

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If you don't mind could you please share amount you paid for 8days/1800 kms. How much was the difference between Myles and Zoomcar?
I paid INR 13,XXX for 8 day's rental and about INR 5,XXX for diesel for 1800+kms that we covered

Overall, the total cost for rental car worked out ~ INR 19,000/- which was wonderfully economical (If we hired a Innova with a driver at INR 11-12/km, it would have worked out more expensive)

Whereas, Zoom car rental itself was working out to about 27K

Last edited by mobike008 : 28th March 2017 at 08:40.
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Old 28th March 2017, 08:39   #14
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Man Avi! Thats one *BIG* Food-log that you put forth! I can already see the crowd from weight loss thread weighting to unleash their might upon you!

I had been to McLeodGanj almost 13 years back! The memory still remains.


Quote:
Dharamsala and Mcleodgunj was nice place to visit but, the place to visit is Dalhousie which was simply gorgeous
Agree. Dharmashala is more for quiet weekends.

During that visit 13 years back we visited Manali, Dharamshala and Dalhousie. And yes Dalhousie was the best.

Last edited by ampere : 28th March 2017 at 08:48.
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Old 28th March 2017, 08:45   #15
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Man Avi! Thats one *BIG* Food-log that you put forth! I can already see the crowd from weight loss thread weighting to unleash their might upon you!
Thanks Amp, as they say they can take the food out of me but, can't take the foodie out of me

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I had been to McLeodGanj almost 13 years back! The memory still remains.
Dharamsala and Mcleodgunj was nice place to visit but, the place to visit is Dalhousie which was simply gorgeous
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