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Old 3rd May 2022, 16:32   #1
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Lansdowne in an MG Hector

"So, you are a BHPian and haven't gone on a trip for more than a year - I think you should be banned from Team-BHP", I had said to a friend of mine once.

Well, I hadn't gone on a trip since March 2021, and I am still active on Team-BHP. The last trip was to the Ranthambore National Park:

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-img20210404wa0029.jpg

It was not that I did not want to go, just that few important things kept coming up - a job switch resulting in an itch to upgrade my car and the never-ending chip shortage delaying the new car delivery. I finally got the delivery of my MG Hector in February 22 (initial ownership experience here (My MG Hector Shine CVT), and the only task remaining was to go on an outstation trip. A recent job switch meant that the trip couldn't be more than a weekend getaway. We love travelling in a group of families and have a few usual suspects who have been with us on numerous trips. A couple of families agreed for the trip and the earliest we could go was post the Holi festival in March.

With an early summer, the only options we were left with were either Uttarakhand or Himanchal. We were looking for a relaxed outing and did not want to spend more than 6-7 hours on the road. So, Himanchal was discarded, and we started looking for places in Uttarakhand. Now, the problem was we had already been to all tourist places in Uttarakhand. One of my friends suggested Lansdowne as we had not been there, and it suited our requirement of being a less crowded place with perfect settings for a relaxed getaway. Having decided the place, we started planning things out and my wife was given the responsibility of finding out and booking a nice accommodation. She finalized The Bluepine Resort and just when she was about to book it, the rest of the 2 families had to back out due to medical emergencies in their respective families. That left us all alone, but we still decided to go ahead. Now we also had the flexibility of dates as it was only us who were going to be travelling and instead of travelling during the Good Friday long weekend, we decided to go on the 2nd weekend of April to avoid long weekend rush. My wife did the booking having negotiated a sweet deal because of the change in dates.

We usually do a lot of planning for our trips, but this was going to be a short weekend outing, so not a lot was needed in terms of planning. We packed cloths and some snacks and were all set. More than anything else, I was excited about taking the Hector out on our first outstation trip. Another thing we ensure is to start our journey early in the morning - I love early morning drives.

So here was our short itinerary:

April 9 - Start early from Noida and reach Lansdowne by afternoon, spend rest of the day exploring The Bluepine Resort.
April 10 - Relax - local sightseeing - relax again.
Aril 11 - Back to home.

And, here is the day wise account of the trip:

Day 1 - Noida to Lansdowne - 250 KM | 7 hours

We started around 6AM from Noida and soon began cruising on the newly laid Meerut Expressway. Although I knew majority of the route, a quick look at Google maps never hurts:

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-route.jpg

We reached Khatauli in a couple of hours from where we needed to exit the expressway. Since it was going to be narrow state roads for rest of the journey, I knew there won't be many places to eat at except small shops few and far between. So, we took a breakfast break at Cheetal Grand which is located exactly at the point where you exit the expressway.

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-cheetal.jpg

We spent good part of an hour there and took the exit from Khatauli towards Bijnor. The road now became narrow and crowded with state buses, e-rickshaws and autos which slowed us down significantly. Rest of the roads till Najibabad were mainly single lane narrow roads, the good thing was that there was not a lot of traffic and there were green fields on both sides which gave a nice view.

Bit of a rant

Things were not smooth once we crossed Najibabad and proceeded towards Kotdwar. It appeared that the road was never repaired in last 20 years. There were big potholes all along and one could not drive in a straight line at more than 15km/hr. The 20km stretch took more than 1.5 hours to cross and I must admit that Hector's ride quality kept us in comfort absorbing most of the bumps.
If you have travelled from Delhi-NCR to Uttarakhand, you would have noticed that almost all major connecting roads are severely damaged when approaching Uttarakhand from UP - when you travel to Nainital, there is a similar stretch from Bilaspur towards Rudrapur, when travelling towards Haridwar there is a stretch when approaching Roorkee and then there is this portion from Najibabad to Kotdwar. It appears that there are still old grudges because of the state bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh into UP and Uttarakhand – and so much for having same party government in both the states.

Back on track

As soon as you reach Kotdwar, you find the road again and the ascend towards Lansdowne begins. The crowd disappears and you drive along curvy mountain road with a small stream running in parallel. This sudden change in the surrounding makes you forget the hardships of past couple of hours. The road is narrow but mostly smooth with army vehicles running in their own rhythm towards the Lansdowne Cantt.

We reached the Bluepine resort at about 1:30PM. The resort is located just a couple of kms from the Lansdowne town.

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-resort0.jpg

The check-in process was smooth, and we were appointed a super deluxe room as per our booking. The resort has an entire hillside as its own and has loads of open spaces to roam around. They have a lift which is helpful, still you would need to climb few stairs to reach the rooms and viewpoints at the top. The room was spacious with a huge private balcony. After a little rest we decided to explore the resort - I'll let the pictures do the talking:

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-resort2.jpg


Huge private balcony
Lansdowne in an MG Hector-balcony.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-balcony2.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-chemelion.jpg

A nice private nature walk to a clifftop.
Lansdowne in an MG Hector-cliff.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-cottage.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-flower1.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-flower2.jpg


By the evening, the weather turned really pleasant, and it was lovely to spend time on the private balcony. After a wholesome dinner buffet, we called it a day and retreated to our room.

Day 2: Resort-Lansdowne-Resort

We woke up to a beautiful morning with birds chirping all around. The Garhwal Rifles jawans were doing their routine drills which included a long run down the hill along the main road and then trekking back up via an old track.

We had our breakfast early and decided to hit the pool which is at a great location

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-pool.jpg

They also have arrangements for a few adventure activities if you are interested

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-burma.jpg


Lansdowne town

As soon as you enter the Lansdowne town, you are welcomed by "Garhwal Rifles"

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-rifles1.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-rifles2.jpg

Lansdowne is a quiet and sleepy town. There were not a lot of tourists even on a Sunday. There is a small market and a couple of places where you can spend some time. We spent some time at the Bhulla lake and also visited the Garhwal Rifles Museum established by the British

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-gun.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-tank.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-top.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-musium.jpg

"No Parking! because I am parked here"

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-parking.jpg

Lansdowne in an MG Hector-lake.jpg

If you are looking for a buzzing tourist place, I guess Lansdowne is not where you should go. We came back to the resort and spent some more time in and around the resort. After a relaxed evening we had our dinner and went to sleep.

Day3: Bye Lansdowne and back to Noida

We took it slow in the morning and checked out around 10:30AM and began descending on narrow curvy roads, then endured the painful stretch between Kotdwar and Najibabad again. After that my wife and daughter fell asleep giving me perfect chance to enjoy the drive which I did and tried testing the Hector (details in next section). We reached home around 4:30PM as we did not take a break on the way back.

How did the Hector perform

As expected, the thing that stood out was the sheer comfort in which the Hector carried us. Be it a straight-line stability at 100km/hr or navigating the narrow and twisty mountain roads, we did not feel any stress, rather enjoyed it. We did not take a break on our way back from Lansdowne as we were not feeling hungry and the 6hour drive was effortless. Even on the worst of road patches between Najibabad and Kotdwar, the Hector kept its shape and absorbed almost everything that came in its way.

The hill-assist and auto-hold functions are great features to have. Press the auto-hold button and let your right foot rest when you need to keep the car stopped for a while. The hill assist feature gives you ample time when switching from B to A pedal without worrying about the car being dragged downhill. Not that you can't live without these features, but these are of great convenience and perform well even on steep climbs.

On our way back, when my wife and kid fell asleep, I thought of having some fun and put the Hector in sports mode and started pushing it a bit. Well, it did not need a lot of push and kept the engine in the power band. There is a significant improvement in power delivery, and it also masks the initial lag a bit that is present in the D mode. The narrow single lane road also provided an opportunity to test the handling of the car and it did not disappoint. It is by no means a hot handler like a low sedan and don't push it around a corner, but it keeps you engaged in a true SUV way.

Overall, the effortlessness with which you can drive this car is what makes you keep going. This is a car made for long road trips and I plan to go for longer trips whenever I get a chance.

cheers!

Last edited by TheVegabond : 3rd May 2022 at 16:35.
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Old 5th May 2022, 15:52   #2
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Have planned a similar outing for the 20th this month; shall keeo your tips in mind.
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Old 5th May 2022, 17:32   #3
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

So that is where the airframe for IN602 ended up. Thank you so much for sharing. I grew up with these birds in my backyard, as my father was a "White Tiger" himself. I shared a screenshot of this, and he became really nostalgic. He says that this was one of the the first Harriers delivered to the Indian Navy, and he and all others cut their teeth so as to speak on this.

What a trip down memory lane. Thank you!
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Old 6th May 2022, 15:28   #4
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

I visited same resorts, couple of years back and they have allocated us very small room (though I have booked highest category of room that time) and lot of smell around the room, only saving grace is their swimming pool (for which they charging a bomb in room rates).

There is a small cafe around 50km ahead, that we very pleasant drive and managed by local villagers (owned by Delhiite person), highly recommended to visit that café. Thanks.
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Old 7th May 2022, 17:22   #5
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

I too went on the same route and trip from Apr 14 to Apr 16.

Lansdowne is just a landmark, the real places are all around if you plan to explore a bit and can easily have a 5-6 days vacation. This is what we did -

Apr 14 - Kotdwar to Karnvashram (on the way before landing in Lansdowne)
Karvashram is a good place where King Bharat was born (remember Dushyant and Shakuntala), there is a bridge, river, a fall, small temple surrounded by mountain and jungle. Good in winters and rains else the falls and river are dry, though the water was crystal clear.

Apr 15 - You can do Jim Corbett safari and be back by 11 am and the next half in evening you can do Lansdowne local visits like museum, bhullar lake, market, tip top etc.

Apr 16 - Went to Tarakeshwar mahadeve temple, this was the best part and not to be missed.

Apr 17 - Back to Delhi via the same route you took i.e. Meerut expressway.

There are other places also like Pauri, Chilla, Khirsu. Again all these journeys and hill ways with streams jungles are more beautiful than the destination itself.
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Old 9th May 2022, 18:30   #6
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Quote:
Originally Posted by shady_lawyer View Post
So that is where the airframe for IN602 ended up. Thank you so much for sharing. I grew up with these birds in my backyard, as my father was a "White Tiger" himself. I shared a screenshot of this, and he became really nostalgic. He says that this was one of the the first Harriers delivered to the Indian Navy, and he and all others cut their teeth so as to speak on this.

What a trip down memory lane. Thank you!
Wow! really happy that this thread reminded you of the good old days

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sach_511 View Post
I visited same resorts, couple of years back and they have allocated us very small room (though I have booked highest category of room that time) and lot of smell around the room, only saving grace is their swimming pool (for which they charging a bomb in room rates).

Thanks.
Luckily, we were allocated a room on the higher floor and it was spacious. One of the staff members informed that they have been renovating and expanding the resort (they still have space to do it) for some time now and I guess we got one of the new rooms.

Agreed, the swimming pool is as good as it gets.
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Old 11th May 2022, 10:57   #7
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVegabond View Post
[i]"How did the Hector perform

As expected, the thing that stood out was the sheer comfort in which the Hector carried us. Be it a straight-line stability at 100km/hr or navigating the narrow and twisty mountain roads, we did not feel any stress, rather enjoyed it. We did not take a break on our way back from Lansdowne as we were not feeling hungry and the 6hour drive was effortless. Even on the worst of road patches between Najibabad and Kotdwar, the Hector kept its shape and absorbed almost everything that came in its way.

The hill-assist and auto-hold functions are great features to have. Press the auto-hold button and let your right foot rest when you need to keep the car stopped for a while. The hill assist feature gives you ample time when switching from B to A pedal without worrying about the car being dragged downhill. Not that you can't live without these features, but these are of great convenience and perform well even on steep climbs.

On our way back, when my wife and kid fell asleep, I thought of having some fun and put the Hector in sports mode and started pushing it a bit. Well, it did not need a lot of push and kept the engine in the power band. There is a significant improvement in power delivery, and it also masks the initial lag a bit that is present in the D mode. The narrow single lane road also provided an opportunity to test the handling of the car and it did not disappoint. It is by no means a hot handler like a low sedan and don't push it around a corner, but it keeps you engaged in a true SUV way.

cheers!
Great to hear good things about the ride. I particularly wanted to check on 2 aspects that I could not during my test ride a few days back.

1. How is the in-gear acceleration say while accelerating from say 80 to 120kmph for any quick getgoes on the highway? Does it respond immediately or is there any boomy noise (rubberband effect)

2. At high speeds, how it the ride on the highway - does it ride flat or is there any bumpiness making you slow down and adjust your speed to the road surface?

Thanks
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Old 11th May 2022, 15:56   #8
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Quote:
Originally Posted by kedar_GT View Post
Great to hear good things about the ride. I particularly wanted to check on 2 aspects that I could not during my test ride a few days back.

1. How is the in-gear acceleration say while accelerating from say 80 to 120kmph for any quick getgoes on the highway? Does it respond immediately or is there any boomy noise (rubberband effect)
Initial lag aside, there is enough grunt beyond 1500RPMs. In the D mode, you can do most of the overtaking on the highways. If you need more power, there is the S and the Manual mode. One, thing to keep in mind is that this car will disappoint you if you are used to flooring the A pedal - you are never going to experience a sudden surge of power. I did not experience the rubber band effect or the boomy noise as I mostly drive with a light foot.

Quote:
2. At high speeds, how it the ride on the highway - does it ride flat or is there any bumpiness making you slow down and adjust your speed to the road surface?

Thanks
High speed ride is really sorted and I feel comfortable doing 100Km/Hr. I also noticed that this car likes weight - more the people in the car, more sorted the ride. Low speed ride is really soft and there is definite bumpiness over the speed-breakers.
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Old 13th May 2022, 15:46   #9
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVegabond View Post
High speed ride is really sorted and I feel comfortable doing 100Km/Hr. I also noticed that this car likes weight - more the people in the car, more sorted the ride. Low speed ride is really soft and there is definite bumpiness over the speed-breakers.
I felt this as well. In my last trip to yercaud, the car was fully loaded with all seats occupied and packed with luggage. The suspension of the car which usually has a vertical movement on bad roads, became more compliant, no unnecessary movement.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 21:08   #10
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Re: Lansdowne in an MG Hector

Short and Quick breaks help get the best of both worlds...our itch to drive and keeps family happy :-)

Assuming you have Hector - petrol. glad to hear its performance in the hills.

Happy & safer driving....
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