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Old 1st December 2021, 16:32   #1
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Default Across the Country in my Polo GT

I have been meaning to write a travelogue for every road trip I have done in my car, but somehow the stars never aligned to them. But today I feel it coming. So I have decided to write a pictologue for 3 road trips I have done with my car. I chose to share about these 3 particular trips as they were not only my good times with the car, which by the way is beyond words (more on that later), but also each of them were part of my own evolution, my maturity and spiritual growth.

Driving has always been a very meditative experience for me. It is one activity that takes me away from all the worldly problems and keeps me in the moment. Combine that with my other favourite activity – travelling, my happy place begins in road trips. So when a few friends who run a driving / travel group called Wanderers Adventure asked me if I wanted to join in for their trip from Delhi to Rajasthan to Rann of Kutch and back, I hopped on it without a second thought. It would also have been the losing of virginity of my car for a proper road trip.

Trip 1: Delhi – Rajasthan – Kutch – Delhi: December 2019

This was meant to be a 10 day trip and from the very beginning I knew this was going to be a very long drive almost every day. Add to that, my friends are off road junkies. So there would be times I would be exploring the limits of hatchback. As this picture below suggests, I was the odd one out in terms of the choice of cars.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-img_20191217_100203.jpg

Lo and behold. This German hatchback was going to beat all odds. Not only was it going to through all the terrains we did across this trip, barring the dune bashing bit, but it was also going to come out at par on the whole experience.

As we munched up the miles, crossed toll after toll, I was the only one at the time without a working FastTag. So at every toll I would rush to get to the cash lane, stand in the line, get through and speed up to catch up to the rest of the pack. Barring the minor inconvenience of the cash lanes, this actually made the drive more fun. And helped me acquaint even better with this combination of engine and gearbox, that I could only describe as ‘surreal’. There wasn’t a moment through the journey where I felt any lack of performance or that I needed something more to catch up or to stay in touch with the 3 litre equipped beasts. If I do have to pick out something that was a sore point, it would be the brakes. They are there. They are present. They are available. But that’s it. They, in my opinion, cannot be counted upon to deliver emergency braking at high speeds, even with ABS. Part of the blame could go to those stock MRF tyres.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-20191217_173144.jpg

While the car was amazing, the roads of Rajasthan were just a treat. Our overnight stops in Rajasthan were in Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. And how much do I love this state. From its sparsely populated areas to its amazing historical stories and forts to the absolutely amazing roads to the empty yet breathtaking views or scenery. This state is a must visit for all road trip lovers.

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We also made our mandatory stop at the temple which unites petrolheads, mystics and other kinds of devotees alike. The Temple of Bullet Baba.

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Leaving Jaisalmer after a very starry night somewhere in the midst of Thar Desert for dinner, was a mixed feeling for me. I didn’t want to leave Rajasthan as I felt so much at peace there, but I was also excited to see Gujarat, a state I have driven little of.
And boy was it beautiful.

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Our stops in Gujarat were in Dhola Vira and Kutch. Seeing the Harrapan civilization sites were a special experience for me as I had always wondered about them from the time we read about them in school.

And the white sand of Kutch was an entirely new site. Digging hands in the ground and holding up salt reminded me of the kind of salt we used to get in early 90’s, which would form up into a ball if not consumed quickly.
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Old 1st December 2021, 16:42   #2
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Across the Country in my Polo GT-20191224_073503.jpg

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While I am an avid animal lover, I have never described a donkey, as beautiful. Until now.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-20191224_081817.jpg

The Indian Wild Asses, found in the little Rann of Kutch and its surround areas, were looking majestic in their huge herd with the rising sun reflecting their golden and off-white fur.

This whole journey added about 3200 kms to my car and they were the best 3200 kms I had driven for a very long time. As it would turn out, they were also, in my mind, the last of the road trips for a long time to come as soon after the world was struck by COVID-19 and India came to a standstill with the nationwide lockdown.

Or so I thought.

Trip 2: Delhi – Goa – Delhi: September 2020

During the lockdown while we were lost about our professional goals, I felt a calling to go inwards. And began my journey of inner work. That journey eventually took me to Goa, on the suggestion of my therapist. When I decided on this thought, I knew immediately that my preferred way was going to be to drive down there. And that’s what I did.

For the route, I downloaded some audiobooks like The Game of Life and how to play it, Reclaiming your inner power, Body keeps the score and a couple more self learning books. This was going to be a solo trip.

On my way to Goa from Delhi, I made 2 stops. First in Udaipur, second in Thane. Since this was just the easing period of the first lockdown, the roads were pretty much deserted in Rajasthan. And what an amazing drive it was once again through that state. Gujarat though was a totally different ordeal. It felt as if there never was any lockdown here. Even the 8 lane highway wasn’t enough to hold all the traffic. Every person in the cities was off to someplace, it felt.

But once I entered the ghats in Maharashtra, all was well again. The skies were beautiful, the weather was enjoying short splashes of rain in short bits and the car simply came alive on the twisty, winding roads. Or lets say, I came alive with it.

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I had planned on staying in Goa for 2-3 weeks. I ended up staying there for 2 months. Since I reached there in September, it was still raining heavily due to the after effects of a passing cyclone. But as the weather cleared, the effect of the pandemic became apparent. The advent of the peak tourist season was greeted by a handful of souls like me. Never have I reached from Vagator to Calangute in 20 mins, that too in a car. But I made most of this emptiness and saw Goa in a way I had never seen it before.

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During my two months in Goa I stayed in both North and South Goa. But the most memorable time were the 2 weeks in Arambol. The peace, the serenity, the views, the people, everything felt like the fitting of a quality custom made suit.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-20201109_130701.jpg

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It was though in South Goa on a secluded beach that I had a freak incident at the time, funny now.

I somehow managed to lock my car with the keys inside it while dressed only in a towel. And when I say only in a towel, I mean only the towel. After a very long deliberation I finally decided to break the quarter glass to go inside. And with a very heavy rock on my heart, I broke the window with a stone.

Fortunately 2 days later I was able to send the car to VW Goa who took a day and fixed a new glass panel and sent the car back.

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Once again, the car had proved itself. And at no moment did I feel anything lacking in the car department on this whole trip. My earlier sore point of the brakes though do remain. It was especially apparent this time as cattle and animals seemed to have forgotten about the existence of vehicles using the road during this lockdown, and they would pop up on an entirely empty road out of nowhere.

Finally in November when I decided to start back to Delhi, I decided to take the other route, going through Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. So my stops this time were Nashik and near Jaipur. I missed the roads of Rajasthan on this route, but the traffic was relatively light. The roads of Chhattisgarh and MP do need re-paving in various areas.

This whole trip added about 3600 kms to my car.

After this trip I thought I would make more frequent road trips, but the 2nd wave of covid had other plans for our lives. After a very eventful year (read hard), which changes my life in various aspects, I enrolled myself for a course at Deer Park in Bir to learn the Samkhya Karika, one of India’s oldest philosophies.
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Old 1st December 2021, 16:48   #3
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Trip 3: Delhi – Bir – Barot – Delhi: August 2021

This was very needed break for me. And the drive from Delhi to Bir was once again a meditative experience for me.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-20210819_160104.jpg

The roads were great, so was the weather and the car. It took me about 12 hours from home to Bir, Deer Park. This was the first time I had taken this car to a proper drive through the hills. And I loved it! The car moved as if it was enjoying the roads of Himachal, encouraging me to push further whenever I felt like. I though do know that I will go for 10mm wider profile tyres on my next change to enhance the availability of grip, which seems to run out before the car runs out of power to give.

The place, Deer Park itself, was exactly what I needed after the year I had so far. It was serene, peaceful, quiet, beautiful. The view from my room every morning depended on the mood of the clouds. And every single day was a different view. Each more enchanting than the one day before.

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The course itself was life changing to me. This wouldn’t be the forum to describe it, but if you have a spiritual calling, I would highly recommend it. Same for this place as well.

After the course I took 2 days to visit Barot as well. That too was a beautiful experience. The roads were far more tricky for a 2wd hatchback. With rains, mud, landslides, broken roads, trees all through the way. But the car never seemed to complain. I, in fact was enjoying the drive as the car seemed all conquering now.

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On the way back to Delhi from Barot, I had to make a stop in Chandigarh as I was too tired to carry on after 13 hours of driving, most of it were in the hills. Thanks to Google maps which took me on a detour that ended up in me getting stuck for a couple of hours.

This whole trip was the shortest of the 3 at about 1400 kms.

This trip brought a lot of clarity within me about my sense of self. And since then I have also gone for a follow up course to study the Yog Sutras philosophy as well. The knowledge in our scriptures is grossly underrated in this modern world. Yet I feel it is more relevant than any other form of knowledge I have received so far.

Across the Country in my Polo GT-20210829_135636.jpg

And now begins the hunt for the next viable road trip with this car.
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Old 2nd December 2021, 21:19   #4
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Default Re: Across the Country in my Polo GT

Wonderful writeup of the travel my friend.

I somehow envy you as I wanted these solo trips at some point in life. I was busy with other life incidents and hence was not able to devote time to such sort of travelling.

I just did one from Blr-> Delhi this year.

Looking for more travelogues from you.
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Old 3rd December 2021, 10:34   #5
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Nice account of the travels. GJ & RJ roads are heavenly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prashant316 View Post

So at every toll I would rush to get to the cash lane, stand in the line, get through and speed up to catch up to the rest of the pack. Barring the minor inconvenience of the cash lanes, this actually made the drive more fun. And helped me acquaint even better with this combination of engine and gearbox, that I could only describe as ‘surreal’. There wasn’t a moment through the journey where I felt any lack of performance or that I needed something more to catch up or to stay in touch with the 3 litre equipped beasts.
The GT TSI is one heck of a car. It can catch up with most and can take a lot of battering with ease, too. 'Service with a Smile' is its motto, kinda like Jeeves. Always there in the background, silently working to match up to our crazy demands.

Couple of pics of my GT from various trips to RJ and countless trips in GJ. Sorry for crashing in on your thread!

Between Udaipur & Beawar
Across the Country in my Polo GT-20190831_110949.jpg

Village roads, Barmer - Jaisalmer
Across the Country in my Polo GT-20191222_135359.jpg
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Old 3rd December 2021, 16:38   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ankitsharma View Post
Wonderful writeup of the travel my friend.

I just did one from Blr-> Delhi this year.

Looking for more travelogues from you.
Thank you. Blore to Delhi must have been a fun drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpabhijit View Post
Nice account of the travels. GJ & RJ roads are heavenly.

Couple of pics of my GT from various trips to RJ and countless trips in GJ. Sorry for crashing in on your thread!
Oh i am glad you did. Its good to see more people using their Polo GT to its higher potential.
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Old 6th December 2021, 02:08   #7
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Default Re: Across the Country in my Polo GT

Great write up Prashant, I too am going through some not so great times, so was planning a solo trip by road in the third week of December from Delhi.

Do you have any suggestions on a nice, calm and serene place , which has fewer tourists yet not completely disconnected ?

I’ve done most of the famous hill stations already, so wanted to skip them and go for something more picturesque, albeit not more than 400km from Delhi.

Looking forward to more of your travel write ups.

Armaan
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Old 6th December 2021, 13:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armaan_singh View Post
Do you have any suggestions on a nice, calm and serene place , which has fewer tourists yet not completely disconnected ?

Looking forward to more of your travel write ups.

Armaan
Thanks man.

I suppose your mentioned requirements can be met by different kind of places.
Mountains - Kasar Devi, Binsar, and few more around the region in Uttarakhand.
Desert - The whole of Rajasthan. You could go to Churu.
Low lying areas - There are a lot of places to explore in MP and UP. Depending on the kind of travelling you prefer, you could go to the outskirts of places like Vrindavan, Rishikesh, Haridwar or to Rewa and adjoining areas up to Khajurao.

I hope this helps you finalizing a place to go.
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Old 9th December 2021, 15:40   #9
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Thank you for sharing your experience Prashant, after reading your thread I feel hopeful that my Polo TSI will be able to make some awesome trips in the coming days.

I just want to ask what average were you getting on the mountains? I am yet to take the Polo to the mountains, so that's why asking to get some idea.
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Old 9th December 2021, 16:15   #10
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Originally Posted by Sahil00090 View Post
Thank you for sharing your experience Prashant, after reading your thread I feel hopeful that my Polo TSI will be able to make some awesome trips in the coming days.

I just want to ask what average were you getting on the mountains? I am yet to take the Polo to the mountains, so that's why asking to get some idea.
I hope you do too!
In the mountains i was getting 11-12ish. Do bear in mind it was raining in parts.
For perspective, i got about 18ish on highway and get 14-16 in the city, depending on my driving pattern.
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