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Old 27th July 2021, 01:23   #1
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Default 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Yes you read it right, as the title of this Tlog says a pack of 4 Thars made a day’s trip to Mandan near Rajpipla, Gujarat.

Here’s a teaser pic depicting the beauties in a single frame before we start the Tlog:

4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan-94f5b373ad7d42938014588481516149.jpeg

The Thar community has grown many folds after the launch of the new Thar and so has the enthusiasm of the people after owning the Thar who would otherwise be buckled up in their routine life. The Thar owners in Gujarat have come together and formed a close knit group named TCOG (Thar club of Gujarat), right from posting the ownership experiences to every other thing that relates to the word Thar is discussed there and is one the busiest Whatsapp group these days.

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In the mid of the week, I posted a message into the group about driving to the place called Mandan which is about 200 kms from Ahmedabad. Happily, I had the company of 3 Thar owners for the Sunday drive.

About the place:

4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan-4f36477fd05540cfba0230cf63126b88.jpeg
(Photo only for reference, original credits: Vikas Dayal/Explore the unseen)

Mandan is a small village in Narmada district of Gujarat which houses the reservoir of Kanjari dam. The place has a huge water body in midst of a plateau and surrounded by hills all around. It is about 200 kms from Ahmedabad, 90 kms from Vadodara and about 120 kms from Surat. During the monsoon season the area is completely submerged in lush green cover and the area looks quite similar to Khajiar barring the pine trees.

Route:

The route to Mandan from Ahmedabad is pretty simple, one needs to drive to Vadodara, then turn towards Rajpipla and keep driving upto SOU (Statue of Unity). Once the junction towards SOU is arrived, need to continue towards a small village named Gadit.

Hence, below are the routes to be followed from Ahmedabad as well as Surat:

1) Ahmedabad-Vadodara-Dabhoi-Rajpipla-Gadit
2) Surat- Kamrej-Palod-Kosamba-Netrang-Gadit

The Team:

In all we were 4 Thar owners who made onto this 1 day trip.

Team-1:

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I was accompanied by my wife, daughter Ayona, my childhood friend Mohit, bhpian and a good friend Khalil_Khan in my Thar 700 CRDe .

Team-2:

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Bhpians Sports medicine (Dr. Kushal Parikh) and AdityaGupta drove down from Surat in doc’s black Thar D AT.

Team-3:

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Our Thar group member Mr. and Mrs. Varun Lavtuka in their Rocky beige Thar D MT. Varun runs a YT channel named Thar Story which has got lot many informative videos about Thar and other recently launched products.

Team-4:

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Another Thar group member Mr. Samarth Jani drove with his family including their 5 month old son in their Black Thar D AT.

In all Three thars were to be driven from Ahmedabad and 1 Thar to be driven from Surat. Since this place is located at a convenient distance from both the cities, scheduling the timing was not an issue.

The Plan:

Based on the feedback received from people who have driven to Mandan, the drive from Ahmedabad was easily a good 4-5 hours haul especially when you are traveling with a big group. Hence, we decided to leave as early as possible so that by lunch time we reach there and the return journey can be started at 4 or 5pm so that everyone can be home on time for dinner.

The bhpians driving from Surat were to start a little late as the driving distance is 3 hours and we decided to meet at Gadit from where a non-existent road takes you to the Mandan lake. There are no food joints, shops or restaurants once you cross Vadodara hence we had decided to do a potluck type arrangement there for lunch.

The Drive:

Total Distance covered: 515 Kms
Start Time: 7:30am
End Time: 12:00am

The Thars:

1) 2019 Thar 700 CRDe
2) 2020 Thar D MT HT
3) 2020 Thar D AT HT
4) 2020 Thar D AT HT

The plan was made to gather at 6:30 AM at SG Highway and then take the NE-1 by 7 AM till Vadodara. We set the alarm at 5 AM and decided to doze off early that night however as many of us would have experienced whenever there’s a drive coming up the next morning you tend to become insomniac. The same thing happened with us that night as we couldn’t sleep till 1pm for some or the other reason and had to wake up by 5 AM. As soon as the alarm clock ticked, we got up and started doing the preparations for the trip, wifey got busy preparing food for the little one to last till the entire while I did the packing of stuff for the day. Ayona was still sleeping and everything was done in stealth mode to avoid disturbing her sleep. Once we got ready, I dropped a quick message into the group and thankfully within 5 minutes got response from everyone. Our little one loves to roam around, so while waking her up all we required to do was tell her we are going for a drive and she immediately woke from her sleep and sat up like a panda.

We left from home around 6:30 am and reached the meeting point near shalby hospital, SG highway in another 15-20 minutes. By 7am all of the team members had assembled and we started our drive. We decided to take the National Expressway-1 (NE-1) till Vadodara, at around 7:45am we hit the toll booth and quickly hoped onto it. By this time Ayona was asleep in The Thar making up for the few hours of sleep she couldn’t get in the morning. Since we had started early we decided to stop near Reliance pit stop right before the exit toll booth at Vadodara. It takes around 1hr 15 minutes to cross the expressway while driving at sedate speed. Post breakfast by 9:30am we were ready to move for the next leg of the journey. After crossing Vadodara it rained like cats and dogs continuously, after exiting Vadodara you need to drive straight for another 5-7 kms and then need to turn left towards Dabhoi onto the state highway. The rain continued like hell on this stretch and there was barely any visibility however, all 3 Thars pushed through the journey steadily.

The other team from Surat had by this time started off their journey, they had the advantage of being closer as well as the road was more scenic than ours. The clock ticked 12pm as neared SOU, being a tourist attraction spot there are lot many boards and milestone guiding you till SOU. Just before Rajpipla there’s a junction from where SOU falls on the left and we need to continue straight towards Gadit. There aren’t any food joints on this stretch however there are many fuel bunks available at regular intervals. From the SOU junction we had about 1 hour drive left, by this time the landscape had started to change a lot, there were hills, ghat roads, green surrounding and rains off course to give us company.

We crossed the Mandan village and reached Gadit at around 2pm after a couple of Photography halts as we couldn’t resist the beauty of the natural surroundings during the rain. The 4th Thar team from Surat had also arrived at the same time, after initial greeting and meeting we found an old bus stop on the road side which proved to be the perfect spot to have our lunch. From that place there’s a small patch of kaccha road of about 500 mtrs taking into the Mandan lake view area. The place is completely surrounded by green landscape around the water body, there are vehicular tracks from where you can go into the area as much as you like provided you don’t get stuck.

Photographs of the Journey enroute:

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4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan-751d5bfde710433182a88dafcd2f2e49.jpeg
Bhpians Sports medicine and Khalil_Khan


Since it was Sunday plus it was raining, there were lot vehicles trying to get into the area, all 4 Thars of ours entered through the rough patch back to back, people were just amazed at the sight of such thing.

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The narrow patch taking us in


Once the rough patch was over we took the vehicular track that was least crowded which meant normal 2WD cars don’t ply on that route much. Due to continuous rainfall the tracks had become completely slippery and took some efforts to cross at few places, noticing the front wheels slipping on slush and mud I quickly slotted into 4H which provided the much needed traction support to the Thar, at few places even 4L was required to avoid drifting sideways too much. After about half and hour we reach to the land’s end and parked our Thars on the water bank.

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Once we got down, seeing the tracks and the Thars lined up Ayona started saying offo (off-road) and Heep (Jeep) in her own language. Needless to say she enjoyed the most amongst all of us, these days staying in an urban city the kids hardly get such surreal natural views around them and the open space to roam around and do anything. Thankfully the rains had also stopped by then providing the much needed respite. At the start of the evening, it had again started to rain a little as we decided to make our way out since there were lot many cars that day which would have proved to be bottleneck had we waited more. We took the same muddy track to move out, this time I didn’t require 4L and happily cruised out in 4H.

The rough patch was again jammed due to several vehicles trying to get in and out, it took us about half and hour to get back on the state highway. It was 4:30pm when he again assembled at the old bus stop. After chit chatting for sometime, bhpian Sports medicine insisted to go via other way round and catch the national highway at Ankleshwar as the route is more scenic than what we came through. This meant that at least another 80 kms drive will be added while coming back home however, the area was so beautiful that we couldn’t resist disagreeing to it. By 5pm we started our journey and followed each other while making our way out, our little one or rather I should say Tired Tot was again asleep in the back seat for a good couple of hours. The surrounding on this part of the drive was indeed beautiful as we cruised our way out to the national highway at Ankleshwar, by that time my Thar’s fuel level had dropped and we did a quick refill at a highway outlet.

The Parting Shot:

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The return journey was completely through the rains as it continued to pour in very heavily, Thar CRDe has the worst visibility while driving in rains since almost all the mirrors and glasses get messed up, somehow I noticed the same issue in new Thar as well. For someone who is not regular to driving Thar will find it very much difficult to navigate in rains.

It was around 12am when we reached home, once we had crossed the expressway we bid goodbye to each other. So the complete outing took us about 17 hours and a distance of close to 500 kms covered in the beauties that we were driving in.

Last edited by abhikb : 30th July 2021 at 00:49.
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Old 29th July 2021, 00:23   #2
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Default re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Few tips while traveling with a Toddler for such long hours:

1) Make sure you are carrying meals for the baby including dinner stuff as during monsoon or any other reasons you may not find a proper place to get food.
2) Carry Atleast 2-3 pairs of clothes for the day because kids love to run around in the outfield and in all probability spoil their clothes.
3) Itís okay for them to have a cheat day(within limits) while traveling.
4) Keep a tab of their regular nap times since they will fall asleep around that time, while traveling in a car is the best place for them to take a nap.
5) Adequate set of diapers, extra pair of footwear, few toys which they play with regularly.
6) Try to engage them into enjoying outside views, as a kid my parents would ask me to read the names of the places that I see from the window, for smaller kids showing them places, animals keeps them engaged.
7) On the outfield just let them run loose and enjoy being outside.
8) Try to get them into learning the words that you do, for example my daughter knows that we drive in a Jeep and we go off road or roaming around.

We have been traveling with Ayona right when she was 2 months old, earlier she had traveled 12 hours in a day but this time she did it for 16-17 hours without a fuss. Since we both love to travel and explore new places, certain things might have been imbibed into her.

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Our Tired Tot


4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan-c5c4a0573e8340b0aa1c8239f20c2851.jpeg
That Smile says it all

Last edited by abhikb : 30th July 2021 at 00:35.
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Old 30th July 2021, 05:29   #3
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Default re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th July 2021, 06:28   #4
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Default re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Nice little tlog there. With capable 4*4 as a Thar, exploring such hinterlands would be a cake walk. The famous 4*4 adage comes to mind "The fun begins where the road ends". I'm sure those pictures are going to make few other 4*4 's of Bhpians elsewhere bracing up for similar excursion.

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Great to see your little one having a fun and frolic day too. Wish you many more such trips.

Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 30th July 2021 at 06:35.
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Old 30th July 2021, 09:07   #5
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Thank you for sharing such a lovely thread.
What variant of the Thar would you choose for a fun-filled excursion like this one based on your experience? The new 2020 Thar D AT (HT) strikes the ideal combination of comfort and adventure, in my opinion. Is that correct?
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Old 30th July 2021, 11:55   #6
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Lovely travel log and beautiful pictures!
The place is so green! Monsoons really bring out the beauty of India's flora.
Envious of you guys for making the trip.
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Old 30th July 2021, 11:57   #7
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Nice little Tlog. Thanks for sharing it. The new Thar has grown massive in size compared to the previous gen Thar.
I am looking forward to do a trip next weekend to Virajpet in Coorg. Hope I am lucky with the rain gods.

Last edited by Pkumarblore : 30th July 2021 at 12:01.
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Old 30th July 2021, 18:30   #8
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Beautiful travelogue and excellent pictures.
Look forward to seeing more such travelogue from your end.
My cousin got delivery of his New Thar 2.0 (P) AT last month and he is very happy with the car.
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Old 30th July 2021, 23:58   #9
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibendum90949 View Post
Nice little tlog there. With capable 4*4 as a Thar, exploring such hinterlands would be a cake walk. The famous 4*4 adage comes to mind "The fun begins where the road ends". I'm sure those pictures are going to make few other 4*4 's of Bhpians elsewhere bracing up for similar excursion.

Attachment 2185664

Great to see your little one having a fun and frolic day too. Wish you many more such trips.
I totally agree with you, these days we look for places to explore where our 4X4ís can go. Our little one has been doing road trips with us from the time she was 2 months old, we have done multiple 1 day trips with her and she enjoys it as much as we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fateh Salim View Post
Thank you for sharing such a lovely thread.
What variant of the Thar would you choose for a fun-filled excursion like this one based on your experience? The new 2020 Thar D AT (HT) strikes the ideal combination of comfort and adventure, in my opinion. Is that correct?
If you want ease of driving in Traffic and Highway cruising the Diesel AT is the Best Buy, however, in my opinion I would pick the Diesel MT since on tricky off road conditions or the steep mountains I would prefer to have the gear shift under my control. If I were to buy the Thar 2020 in place of my 700 CRDe, I would have picked up the Diesel MT CT variant. A Jeep is best enjoyed topless (see GTOís classic ownership thread) and it is fun to drive, after 6-8 months or a year of so would pick a HT from aftermarket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanjivvohra View Post
Lovely travel log and beautiful pictures!
The place is so green! Monsoons really bring out the beauty of India's flora.
Envious of you guys for making the trip.
Very true, this is the best time to explore the country side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pkumarblore View Post
Nice little Tlog. Thanks for sharing it. The new Thar has grown massive in size compared to the previous gen Thar.
I am looking forward to do a trip next weekend to Virajpet in Coorg. Hope I am lucky with the rain gods.
All the best for the trip with your beauty, I pretty sure you will enjoy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftvxi06 View Post
Beautiful travelogue and excellent pictures.
Look forward to seeing more such travelogue from your end.
My cousin got delivery of his New Thar 2.0 (P) AT last month and he is very happy with the car.
Once the COVID thing subsides will surely bring up more stuff, These days we hardly do 40% of what we used to in pre covid times.
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Old 31st July 2021, 00:54   #10
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Default Re: 4 Thars & a Monsoon drive to Mandan

Certainly an awesome thread!
Madan truly looks like paradise for offroaders
Cellphone communication between convoy vehicles could be a problem at such locations at times, how did y'all manage? CB radios?
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Old 31st July 2021, 08:40   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainkevin View Post
Certainly an awesome thread!
Madan truly looks like paradise for offroaders
Cellphone communication between convoy vehicles could be a problem at such locations at times, how did y'all manage? CB radios?
Yes indeed as I had mentioned itís a mini Khajjiar minus the pine trees.

Unfortunately we didnít had CB radios and even mobile phone network was not available there. Since I had been to this area before, I led the convoy and we had pre decided speeds to do on highway, then once we entered the greenfield the track to follow was decided and all Thars followed suit ensuring that all of them are in clear visibility of each other. CB radio or walk-in talkie is certainly required though.
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