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Old 2nd September 2021, 23:51   #1
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Default 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Well from doing a road trip every 2-3 months to not doing a single trip in last 2 years and 8 months, our lives has severely made a drastic change. There’s nothing to complain on this though as we have our little bundle of joy to de-stress ourselves and adding much more meaning to our lives. But how do you console the adventure seeker inside you, I mean more than 2.5 years and no road trips, no sight of exploring the unexplored, things do get on to your nerves at times.

Even if you wish to do a trip, traveling alone with a toddler and that too the way we used to do earlier, traveling on the path less taken seemed a distant dream. But as it is said that when you wish for something from the bottom of your heart, things do fall in place.

It seemed destined that we got in touch and became good friends with couple of Thar owners from Ahmedabad a few months back. We have been to lot many off roading excursions in the weekends in last couple of months, with similar mindset,common interest and having the itching to explore the path less taken developing the bond gets easy.

While casually checking the holiday list for current FY, I came across that we have a holiday on Janmasthami which fortunately falls on Monday, so all I needed to do was take a leave on Saturday and we can have 3 full days at our disposal. Spoke to the partner in crimes and as expected all of them nodded affirmative.

Itenary:

After much deliberation, research and discussion following was the itinerary finalized:

Day-1: Ahmedabad to Navsari
Day-2: Navsari to Wilson Hills via Dharampur, Wilson Hills to Nashik via Gundiya, Haste
Day-3: A days trip to Igatpuri-Kasara Ghat and Bhandadara
Day-4: Nashik to Ahmedabad via Jawhar, Silvassa, Valsad, Surat

The Team:

In all as the title says we had three Thars doing this road trip,

Team Thar-1:

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Myself, Wife and daughter Ayona

Team Thar-2:

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Mr. Abhinav Sharma and his wife Dr. Dhara Sharma

Team Thar-3:

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Mr. Varun Lavtuka and his wife Mrs. Gayatri Lavtuka

Varun runs a YT channel named Thar Story which has got lot many informative videos about Thar and other recently launched products.

The Plan:

Since we had 3 full days at our disposal, we decided to plan a destination where we can have explore the path less taken. Our initial consideration was Jawai but then due to the extended weekend there were chances that the places will be overcrowded and we will get very little chance to explore anything.

Alternatively we then decided why not stay between Dang and Nashik so that we can have ample time to explore both sides of the Ghats. Accordingly, once the destination was finalized we looked on for suitable places to stay, after a bit of researching we couldn’t find much option nearby Dang and all the other good places were nearer to Nashik and atleast 500 kms from Ahmedabad. So we had 3 days but needed to travel a 1000 kms to and fro which meant 2 days will be spent in traveling only unless planned properly.

With lengthy discussions days after days we decided why not plan the journey in such a way that we get to explore places enroute and then reach to our destination at day end. This seemed quite logical as it would give us the required time to explore the places we visit and also optimize the journey time.

Hence, it was decided that we shall leave on Friday evening after office hours and take a halt at Navsari and Valsad depending upon the convenience of everyone. The next day was kept for Wilson Hills and from there onwards to Nashik the same evening. Sunday was supposed to be for roaming around nearby places and Monday we had to return back however, we decided to come back via Jawhar which fell enroute.

Place of Stay/Accommodation:

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Since this was going to be a Choose the path less taken type trip, we decided to ditch the usual hotel stay arrangement and decided to look for a good property through Airbnb. As usual finalizing s place of stay is the most confusing thing to do, the ones that you like are out of budget, the ones in budget don’t meet your expectations and so on. After spending a few days we finalized one property named Green Living Farm which was located about 20 kms out of Nashik city and met both the criteria, was in budget. The property was located in midst of a farm which had about 4 rooms in the Villa and 2 seating spaces. The place had a working kitchen as well as all the required utensils to cook or have food. However, they don’t have room service or housekeeping staff available, the caretaker was kind enough to direct us to a nearby restaurant who were providing delivery service to our place to stay.

Preparation:

This was our first long trip spanning 1000+ Kms with our respective Thars and hence required a few handy preps as listed below before we embarked on the Trip:

1) Coolant and Fluid top up.
2) Abhinav bhai got the Underbody protection kit installed from Mahindra ASC before the trip.
3) Food packets, water bottles and ready to eat stuff in case we dont find anything enroute.
4) Mill powder and Lactogen for the little one.
5) Dry corn,Organic food stuff which were prepared every day before leaving as an emergency feed for the little one.
6) Marking of fuel bunks enroute.
7) Other general preparatory stuff were same as can be seen in my other Tlogs on this forum.

The Vehicles:

1) 2019, Thar CRDe 700

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2) 2021, Thar Petrol AT, HT

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3) 2020, Thar Diesel Manual, HT

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Last edited by abhikb : 9th September 2021 at 01:34.
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Old 5th September 2021, 02:51   #2
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Day-1, Ahmedabad To Navsari

Distance: 320 Kms

Time Taken: 5.5 Hours

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Out of the 3 Thars, Varun and His wife (Team Thar-3) had some social engagement to attend in Surat, hence, they started their journey in the afternoon from Ahmedabad and were supposed to have their Night Halt in Surat, the next day they would join us at our starting point.

Since, Friday was a working day, the rest of us decided to start our journey from Ahmedabad in the evening time around 18:30 Hrs. I had planned to leave from Office at 17:00 Hrs so that can reach home on time and will get the required time to freshen up and start our journey as planned. However, it happens most of the time with me, I end up with last minute urgent tasks at the dead end resulting into delay in start of the journey and this time was no different. As soon as I was preparing to leave from Work, an urgent call came up due to which my departure from office got delayed by a hour. I quickly reached home, got freshen up and quickly loaded the luggage the at the back of the Thar.

We finally assembled at around 18:45 Hrs and were ready to kick start our journey in another 10 minutes. We took the Outer ring road (SP Ring road) to take on the NH48, ever since the toddler came into our lives we avoid travelling on NE-1 as Normal drivers turn into F1 racers on it and we dont find it safe to travel. It took us about a hour to reach the NH48 which otherwise is a 30 minutes drive, this was mainly due to the heavy traffic rush due to the upcoming extended weekend.

By 19:30 Hrs we were finally on the NH48 and took the route towards Vadodara, I was finally at peace driving on the highway, however, my peace of mind of shortlived when few minutes later my wife asked the magical questions as mentioned below:

Wife: Did you load the bag which contained Ayona's clothes and other stuff?
Me: Yes I loaded everything that was kept in the drawing room.

Wife: But I had kept that bag in the bed room and couldnt see the same at the rear, are you sure you had loaded it?
Me: Holy Shit!!, I think we forgot that bag at home.

The next few minutes we were like should we proceed and deal with it later or should we go back and fetch the bag, after a minutes do this or do that, we decided that we need to go back and get it because we would be traveling in the remote parts and its not worth taking the chance with the Toddler's stuff. I made a quick call to Abhinav bhai, explained the situation and asked them to proceed ahead and we will catch up with them later on. Made another call to my parents and asked them to get the back and drive to midway on the ring road so that we can save some time.

All of this wasted a good 1 hour of our journey time and we could finally hop back on the NH48 by 20:00 Hrs, got a call from Abhinav bhai and they communicated that they had touched Nadiad, which means they would be driving about 40-45 kms and about a hour ahead of us. We decided that none of us will stop and we shall keep driving till Navsari and then start looking for an accomodation.

By 12:00 AM, we crossed Surat and Navsari was another 20-25 minutes drive, at the same time our fellow travel mates had finalized 1 hotel (GD Hotel, Navsari) on the highway side and informed us the coordinates.We reached by 00:30 Hrs and checked into our rooms. The next day's journey was decided to be started by 09:00 Hrs.

Last edited by abhikb : 9th September 2021 at 09:30.
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Old 5th September 2021, 03:20   #3
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Day-2, Navsari to Nashik via Dharampur, Wilson Hills, Gundiya and Haste

Distance: 225 Kms

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As planned we woke up on time and met our fellow travelers at the Breakfast table and were ready to roll on time. I had about 60% of fuel left but still decided to refill at a nearby fuel bunk since we didn't want to take a chance, once you decide to take the path less taken you must have your preps ready before hand.

We set the GPS to Wilson Hills via Chikli and Dharampur route, the travel distance was about 90 Kms which we estimated could be covered in couple of hours. Packed some food for lunch enroute as there are less chances of finding anything to eat once we enter Dang.

Quote:
Wilson Hills stands in a densely forested region close to the Pangarbari Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the few hill stations in the world from which it is possible to glimpse the sea.

It has an average elevation of 750m (2500 feet). The Wilson Hills are popular during the summer months as it enjoys a cooler and less humid climate than the surrounding area.
Once we reached Wilson Hills, we got to know that the road to view point is closed down due to COVID restrictions, we inquired with a few locals and one of them suggested we can visit Shankar Waterfalls which is about 7 Kms from our location. Quick discussion over a cup of tea and we were ready to roll in our beauties.

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The road the Waterfalls view point was quite scenic as it went through narrow village roads surrounded with lush green surrounding, at many places we felt like rolling our Thars down the green field but then we had the clock ticking against it. We reached the view point and parked our Thars, the bottom of the falls was a 30 minutes trek downhill and was worth the time and efforts.

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We went downhill till halfway since it was getting narrow and steep and we didnt want to take any chance with Ayona around us. Hence, we stopped halfway citing safety of the little one but she was more excited to go further down which was though a encouraging sight but we refrained from doing so. We sat on the rocks on side of the trail for a while and then started our trek uphill to our Thar. About 20 minutes later we reached the top and also got the message that the others have reached the bottom of the falls.

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In about another 30 minutes the rest of the team members came back and we rolled in our Thars. Instead of looking for a place to eat, since we were already carrying food, we just rolled down from the tarmac and drove a little bit into the forest, parked our Thars and sat for lunch in the lap of nature. It was indeed one of a kind experience for all of us.

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We chit-chatted a little over food and were ready for the further drive, the clock by now was ticking at 14:00 Hrs and we had about 4 hours drive to our place of stay for the night.

We drove back onto the Tarmac and put our Place of stay in GPS, it should two routes on bang opposite direction. The first option required us to go downhill by another 20 kms from where we came and then drive to Nashik via Dharampur or to take left and take the less taken route via Gundiya and Haste. The Choice was quite obvious we had 3 4X4s and a bunch of enthusiasts, we took left towards Gundiya. After a while the mobile network died out as soon as we reached the border areas, the surroundings and vistas were damn beautiful, every other turn compelled us to pull over.

After driving for a while we drove downhill on a narrow bridge over a beautiful river flowing between the hills. We pulled over the bridge for some photographs and saw a rocky trail down to the river bank, guess what we took a U turn got off the bridge, slowly and carefully drove over the rocks to the river bank. Once the trail ended, we walked over the rocks carefully towards the flowing water. The water was crystal clear which is a rare sight to see these days plus there was not a single soul around we could hear the water gushing over the rocks. Ayona was loving the cold water touching her feet and wanted to go further in

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We continued with our journey towards Nashik, every time we entered a village with 3 Thars running back to back, the locals gave a astounded look something similar to the Jaykant Shikte entering Shivgad village scene in the movie Singham. After driving for about couple of hours we crossed over the rural landscapes and got onto a bigger highway. The clock was ticking at 17:00 Hrs by now and we had another 2 hours drive till our place of stay. Wasting no time we cruised ahead and reached our place of stay by 19:30 Hrs.

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We checked in and settled in the individual rooms, the dinner was ordered from a nearby restaurant who made the delivery in flat 30 minutes. We had a good chit chat session till 01:00 Hrs in the night and then finally retired to our rooms.

Last edited by abhikb : 9th September 2021 at 09:34.
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Old 7th September 2021, 00:51   #4
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Day-3, Nashik-Igatpuri-Kasara Ghat-Bhandadra-Nashik

Distance covered: 217 Kms

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We had planned to start our journey for the day at 9am, first leg of the drive was till Kansara Ghat via Trimbak, Wakapada, Koregaon. This was again not through the usual Mumbai Agra highway that goes via Kasara Ghat but the old village route that takes you through the rural scenic landscapes. As the alarm clock ticked, we woke up and got ready, while the breakfast was being prepared, I took Ayona for a walk around the property. It was located admist Organic farm all around the place which was first of a kind of experience for the little one.

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Once the breakfast was ready we quickly filled ourselves and packed some food for the little one in case we donít find anything to eat on the way. We discussed amongst ourselves on the route to take and the same finalized as per aforementioned route.

While I was loading the stuff in the back Ayona wanted to sit on the driver seat and do the usual steering round about that all kids do. While she continued with her game, I loaded and arranged the stuff that was required for the day. The keys were engaged in the ignition mode, since I have a after market central lock installed it has a tendency to lock itself back after a minutes of unlocking. I loaded the stuff, took Ayona out and closed the door to fetch the food bag. After a few moments I realized that the keys are still engaged in the ignition mode and the doors have auto locked itself .

We tried all bits to unlock it but couldnít do so, finally checked YouTube on how to unlock the door if the keys are inside, checked a couple of videos and tried the Indian thiefís technique by putting a rod from the co-driver side mirror and body gap and opened the lock. As easy it seems we wasted a good 1 hour of time after this. All said and done I was just happy that the incident didnít happen while the little one was playing inside. Gradually we settled and left for the day 10:45 Hrs.

The road till Kasara Ghat via Trimbak-Wakapada-Koregaon was indeed beautiful, there were so many waterfalls, beautiful hillocks, green landscapes for a joyful OTR and many more. We stopped at many places for Photography or just to soak in the beauty of the nature. This leg of the journey was over by 13:00 Hrs and we stopped at a small dhaba enroute Bhandadra for lunch.

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After spending a hour for lunch we started our journey towards Bhandara. The roads were pathetic most of the time with big sized craters and potholes, the Thars being body on frame and off roaders were completely oscillating side ways and jumping all through it. An estimated journey one 1-1.5 hours took almost 2.5 hours to reach Bhandadra. Once there, we parked our Thars and went for a boating session to a nearby island and back. It took us about couple of hours for the same, once done we continued our journey further into Bhandadra and roamed about a bit before starting the return journey of 75 Kms.

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At around 20:00 Hrs we reached our Place of stay, again followed the same routine of the previous night, freshened up, dinner, chit-chatting till late night and then finally crashing onto the bed.

Last edited by abhikb : 9th September 2021 at 00:50.
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Old 7th September 2021, 23:48   #5
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Day-4,Nashik to Ahmedabad via Jawhar, Silvasa

Distance traveled: 507 Kms

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The worst part of any trip is the day you are supposed to come back, itís as depressing as the excitement you have when you are about yo start a trip.

On our way back we had two options to reach Ahmedabad, either to go via Nashik-Dharampur route or go via Jawhar-Silvasa-Vapi route. Anyhow taking any of the routes would require a full day travel so why not utilize the time and visit a few places enroute. We decided to take the Jawhar-Silvasa route, Jawhar is a small hill Station,

Quote:
Jawhar is a city and a municipal council in Palghar district of Maharashtra state in Konkan division of India. Jawhar was a capital city of the erstwhile Koli[1][2] princely state of Jawhar. Situated in the ranges of the Western Ghats, Jawhar is known for its picturesque setting and a vibrant cultural heritage. It is one of the few remaining tribal regions of Maharashtra and is known for its vibrant Warli painting that are a characteristic landmark of this place. Established in 1918, Jawhar is one of the oldest municipal councils in the state of Maharashtra.
Itís about 70 Kms from Nashik and the drive takes around 1.5 Hours, the beauty of this drive is the roads that pass through the ghats admist the greenery and the typical mountain atmosphere. While coming from Nashik most of the drive is downhill and there are numerous waterfalls that you encounter while enroute. We stopped at 1 such places on the way, did a bit of micro scale rock climbing over the falls.

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From the locals we got to know about a place called Khadkhad Dam which was about 5 Kms from the entry point of Jawhar town. We followed GMaps which first took us through some narrow jungle road completely broken filled with slush, too many climbs up and down before merging on the main road. From the main road again you need to go via narrow rural roads but thatís the beauty of that place. At every turn the landscape looks so beautiful you donít feel like going further and rather just stay there and soak in the beauty.

The narrow broken roads took us to the foot of the dam, it is an old school dam where the excess water flows over the rocks located at the front giving a view of waterfall. Unfortunately for us the flow of water was less that day hence we missed the waterfall type view, however, we climbed on top of the dam from where thereís a complete birdís eye view of the water body located admist the mountains. Words canít explain the beauty of this place, would let the photographs do the talking.

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It was already 13:00 Hrs on the clock as we decided to start with our last leg of the journey. The navigation was set for home as we bid adieu to the beautiful place.

As the drive continued we came across a beautiful place alongside the road which gave a complete view of the valley, as nature lovers thereís no reason to not pull over to the this beautiful view. We could see a small trail to go downhill and then further upto the next hill. Abhinav bhai suggested we must try this trail and not leave without doing it. I was a little hesitant since it had been raining since the morning and the surface was slippery which would have been an issue while climbing back. However, Abhinav bhai still insisted we must not back out and certainly try this.

Lastly, it was decided that the red Thar will first go in and then complete the trail, while the other two would wait, we were already carrying tow straps and D shackles which would come handy in case of a recovery situation. We waited uphill as the red Thar went downhill and then it hoped onto the other hill as Abhinav did the spotters job for his better half Dr. Dhara who was at the wheels.

Seeing them the rest of us decided to gather the courage to take on the trail, did the downhill drive first in 2WD, then the next uphill was done in 4H. The Thar slipped for a while but gained momentum as it made its way up the hill. Seeing 3 Thars in action in the valley few passerby gathered to see what was happening. After a while we made our way back to the tarmac using the same track we came, all of this was done effortlessly by the Thars in 4H, we didnít need to slot in 4L at any point of time anywhere.

We enjoyed the short OTR stint and I was wondering had we been traveling in any other regular vehicle we wouldnít have dared to do such thing, but then thatís the beauty of owning a 4X4 vehicle you can explore places like never before and can do way more exciting stuff.

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Anyways we continued our journey back home, there werenít much options available for food till we entered Gujarat, once we cross the MH state border we stopped at a small restaurant for lunch as it was already 15:00 Hrs.

From here onwards the drive was quite uneventful, we reached home past midnight.

Few statistics about the trip:

1) Total Kms covered: 1345 Kms.
2) Total Fuel consumed: About 101 Ltrs.
3) Fuel efficiency: 13.5 Kmpl

Last edited by abhikb : 9th September 2021 at 01:23.
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Old 9th September 2021, 01:31   #6
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

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Old 9th September 2021, 09:43   #7
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Few Pointers while planning such as travel:

1) MH doesn’t have full tarred roads in the rural parts and mobile network everywhere, unlike GJ where even remotest villages have well laid roads and mobile network.
2) Considering point no. 1, it’s better to carry a BSNL sim and download offline maps or have offline navigation apps as GMaps won’t work everywhere.
3) Always follow the route shown in the navigation app when confused on a junction, we came across a junction at night while passing through a no life no soul patch, where the plastic Board showed opposite direction than GMaps yet we followed what was showing in the navigation, who knows someone might have tampered the physical board misleading you.
4) Keep food and other stuff handy, you may not find proper places to eat during lunch time.
5) Be content with whatever you are able to explore, we had to forego many places due to paucity of time.
6) While driving downhill do not accelerate or rely solely on brakes, downshift to 2nd or 3rd gear and use engine braking.
7) When it rains the ghats get slippery, need to drive little carefully.
8) Local kids will create a nuisance in dangs every other chap will be demanding either chocolates or Rs. 10, have patience and make your way out,no point in fighting with them.
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Old 10th September 2021, 04:59   #8
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Default re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th September 2021, 08:48   #9
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Default Re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Monsoons in India are always the best time for epic pics. Mother nature rolls out her velvet carpet where every imaginable shade of green is visible.

Lovely travelogue with awesome pics. Thanks for sharing.
If not for the three Thars together, I wouldn't have realised how the latest That is much wider.

Did you guys compare the vehicle performance? Which one was better in respect to mileage, road handling, comfort?
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Old 10th September 2021, 08:51   #10
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Default Re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Excellent T"log Abhi. Amazing location, this is going be next "to do" location. Rating Five Star.Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10th September 2021, 10:33   #11
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Default Re: 3 Thars and a Monsoon Drive to the Western Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
Monsoons in India are always the best time for epic pics. Mother nature rolls out her velvet carpet where every imaginable shade of green is visible.

Lovely travelogue with awesome pics. Thanks for sharing.
If not for the three Thars together, I wouldn't have realised how the latest That is much wider.

Did you guys compare the vehicle performance? Which one was better in respect to mileage, road handling, comfort?
Hi Mate,

Yes the new Thar is a bit wider than the older one maybe by couple of inches.

We did compare the performance of Thars during the trip and following is a short observation:

1) Mileage:
Thar 2020 Petrol AT- Around 10-10.5 Kmpl
Thar CRDe- 13-14 Kmpl
Thar 2020 Diesel MT- 13-14 Kmpl

2) Road handling: All of them have two common characteristics, Sticks to the highway and effortlessly cruises, Dances like Jackson over potholes and bad roads. CRDe having leafs at the rear it hops as well with dancing.

Comfort wise, CRDe is a ergonomic disaster while new one is marginally better in this, however since me and wifey have been used to with CRDe we donít find it uncomfortable.

3) Power and hauling in ghats:

Of all the three Petrol one had more punch while climbing steep hairpin bends at Ghats, in case of CRDe the peak torque range starts at 1800 rpm whereas Mhawk diesel it kicks in at 1600 rpm, though both needed downshift on steep climbs from 3rd to 2nd but the Mhawk was more quicker to catch up after a downshift due to turbo kicking in early. I had to keep the revs around 2000 rpm to ensure it stayed in peak torque range while going uphill.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SJM1214 View Post
Excellent T"log Abhi. Amazing location, this is going be next "to do" location. Rating Five Star.Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Shreyasbhai, this place is surely worth a visit.
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