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Old 20th October 2008, 22:57   #1
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Default Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]

It was on October 15, 2007 when the Tata Safari 2.2 VTT LX was bought, within days of its release, and thus became the first VTT on Team-bhp. Contrary to all perception, this 2.2 has had a flawless performance, no issues whatsoever, and as the year went by the confidence in it grew by leaps and bounds. More ownership experience comes up later on the long term ownership thread.

In all this one year the VTT has seen some fantastic journeys, from the very next day North Bengal Forest and Hill tour to the interior Orissa jungles to the rural badlands and wastelands of Purulia and West Midnapur districts of West Bengal. This 2wd vehicle [though wanted a 4wd
one] has been thrown at challenges sometimes far beyond its 2wd capacity but then luck has been on my side in quite a few occasions.

Just a collage of some of the trips done this past year
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-collageeee.jpg

The confidence in the Safari VTT made me plan up this trip, a fitting journey to celebrate this wonderful vehicle, a beautifully designed SUV that got a new lease of life with this fantastic torquey 140 bhp 2.2 engine.

And what a trip we had!!!. Whatever I write and how many photos I post, the words and images will never do justice to the landscapes that one encounters. But then let me make this feeble attempt to keep this in record and also as for journalling my journey on my website as and when it comes up online.

The route and halts
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-tri3a9ee.jpg

We [me, wife and our 3.5-year-old son] was what it was planned but then one of my friend asked me if he could come also as he wanted to experience definitely the destination we were going to but also the road journey, a night journey in car. However, he does not know driving at all but still made a very good companion in the night journeys, always awake and chatting with us as we ploughed through highways in the night.

Also while coming from Kaza to Manali via Kunzum and Rhotang, we had one more passenger, a backpacker who fell from a truck while travelling on top and had his hand immobilised on a wooden plank. We dropped him off at Manali as there was inadequte x-ray facility in Kaza.

A few maps were downloaded from the internet and also a detailed road map of Himachal was bought. Websites and articles on the net were consulted and came up with the quite encompassing route.

No pre-booking of hotels were done, as we were going just before the Durga Puja holiday season started. We just had a rough plan of being where on what day and modify our travel plan as per the situation.

Himachal witnessed some of the worst weathers in 45 years just 10 days before our journey, with 48 hours of non-stop rain and snow. People had to be evacuated by helicopters and blankets were air dropped.

But luck was on our side, we got some of the best weather as it cleared up in the subsequent days. But with a child we were not taking any chances. The Safari was loaded at its back to the roof. Will post a picture of what we all had but that comes up later. Other than 4 bags full of clothes, we had a trunk full of blankets, a gas stove, a 5 kg cylinder, a sack full of utensils and food, and a 20-litre Kinley jar. Safari has a 65-L tank and so did not take any fuel cans.

Safari is fitted with one tough engine guard underneath and that is pure VFM out here in this wildnerss. Also, since night journeys were involved, changed over to Philips Xtreme Power headlights and fitted the 2.2 LX with fog laps. Changed also the air filter to a new one.

So thats it for the introduction. Will post the journeys as per the days from tomorrow.

Last edited by adc : 20th October 2008 at 23:12.
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Old 20th October 2008, 23:06   #2
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Wow, a differnet way of putting the travelogue. Great.
I love to see those 1st picture in the second row. That is how this bull is suppose to look like.
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Old 20th October 2008, 23:24   #3
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That is one hell of a journey and one hell of a packed safari over there.

Waiting for the next leg of the report!
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Old 20th October 2008, 23:30   #4
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what spirit!!! Just carry all you need and set out inspite of a small child and bad weather. Hats off to you and your wife!!
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Old 20th October 2008, 23:30   #5
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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
I love to see those 1st picture in the second row. That is how this bull is suppose to look like.
That sure is a great SUV pic, of course it is there in the garages snaps and also here

That Orissa forest tour travelogue

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Old 20th October 2008, 23:32   #6
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Hey adc, great to hear that you completed the journey successfully. Now waiting for the travelogue and the pics.
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Old 21st October 2008, 05:46   #7
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Fantastic start ADC. You have a good presentation skill. Waiting for more of what I can sense is going to be an entertaining journey.
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Old 21st October 2008, 06:00   #8
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Great Trip ! could we have some more photos please .

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Old 21st October 2008, 10:26   #9
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Excellent start adc, I was eagerly waiting for this travelogue and pics. Keep them coming fast !!

OT: dada, why is your profile doesnt mention about 2.2 even after owning it for more than a year? It still mentions M800.


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Old 21st October 2008, 10:38   #10
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Waiting for more. Safari looks mean with all the mud on it.
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Old 21st October 2008, 11:53   #11
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Speechless. I hope to have a similar post in an year, but for the laal rattler
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Old 21st October 2008, 12:07   #12
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Congratulations on completing one year with the Safari 2.2 Dicor - King of the Indian roads and no-roads!

How many kms have you done till date ?

Look forward to the Anniversary Trip report.

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Old 21st October 2008, 12:12   #13
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Thats a great way to celebrate the anniversary,i must say.

And its a huge huge trip and i'm sure Safari must have made it very comfortable.

i'm glued to this thread and waiting for pics.
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:02   #14
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Default Kolkata-Asansol-Mathura RT

As per the plan it was decided that we move out to Asansol on Friday evening, Sept 26, to my cousin sister's house, thus thereby not only meeting up with her but also going forward some 250 km up on the Kolkata-Delhi GQ road.

As it has to happen, Friday I am swamped with work and it was only around 8 pm that I was able to get up from the desk. But then everything was arranged and taken care of by my wife and after a early dinner by 9:15 pm we start the journey towards Asansol. I then pick up my friend
[from EM Bypass] at around 9:30 pm. As said, though he does not know driving he was accompanying us on this journey via road as he wanted to feel and experience a long distance road journey and he enjoyed it to the max, he was awake the whole time and kept engaged us in conversation time to time. He later separated from us in Manali when he took the train back from Kalka while we continued the road journey via Jalori Pass to Delhi and then to Kolkata.

We hit the GQ in another 40 mts. The Kolkata - Asansol trip took around 4 hours with a break in between and the slow stretch at Panagarh till Darjeeling more where the roads condition has deteriorated considerably.

So by around 2 am on Saturday, Sept 27, we were off to a sound sleep at my cousin sister's house in Asansol. I got up late with a good night's sleep, around 8 am. We all had one good hearty breakfast and started from Asansol at around 9 am and on the GQ to Delhi within 10 mts. The plan was to drive as long it was possible for me and to drive fast with minimum breaks and then take a halt for night as necessary.

Progress was smooth, VTT was going fast and then slowed down [as much as an SUV should in a bad stretch] as we passed the dusty unabuilt GQ portion in Jharkhand [Parasnath stretch]. Lost also some time at the rail gate.

Scenic roads in Jharkhand

Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2171ee.jpg

Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2176ee.jpg

Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2180ee.jpg

But then back to highway reality, GQ, NH2
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2191ee.jpg

And sun sets down somehwere in Eastern UP
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2199ee.jpg

Have to say that Bihar portion of the GQ is fantastic and we had average speed of around 90 kph.

By around 4 pm we crossed Varanasi by the bypass and the progress was good and Allahabad was the next city to be crossed. Just around 30-40 km from Allahabad the GQ vanishes and it becomes a single road. And the pain starts. It was a evening rush traffic typical of a unplanned city.
Tiredness came up on me fast, all the good thoughts of GQ vanished. I was in the midst of all kinds of vehicles, from cycle rickshaws to the innumerable bikes to suicidal car drivers and it already dusk has set in. Things were not good, just followed the general direction all the
vehicles were going and soon was bang in middle of Allahabad and the traffic became denser. We kept on asking for directions for Kanpur as there were no traces of highway, we are in the city with the traffic that you would expect at around 630 pm.

As we weaved through the city, suddenly on the rear mirror saw two people on a bike waving frantically and asking me to stop. I stopped and one of them introduced me as a policeman. He started ranting about how this black looking Safari with tinted windows, all windows up, and going through a one-way road at full speed created impression of terrorists on move. Of course, Delhi and UP was in maximum security due to the bombings.

Well, I looked around and saw that not a single car had a tint and for the one-way I do remember driving through a small portion of a road that did look unusually less traffic. After a talk and after being satisfied that it was a family, he called back to his superior over at the station confirming so and saying to delete the vehicle number from the computer.

Asked him about directions for Kanpur and he then himself volunteered to take me through the city roads for some 3-4 km through Allahabad. The drama starts as he says he will get down and told me to take the straight road to Kanpur. Now he wants around Rs 1500, as the number was taken out of the traffic computer and as no fine was being imposed on me. We get into a big argument, tempers were rising, and I was tired. He then told me to come to the police station to give the fine which came around Rs 3000 and to have all formalities completed. Said ok and how much time it will take and he says around 4-5 hours. I say I dont have time, going to Delhi, max I can waste another hour but then he knew our weak point and I had a feeling that whatever he was doing had the blessing of the superior with whom he had a talk with. Must have said, "ok leave them but do take out some money". Well many words were exchanged and we were both arguing.

Cutting short, it was settled at Rs 1000 and even now I do feel very bad about it writing. This was the first time I had to pay like this, really wanted to create a scene and go through the whole process, but he very well knew our weakness - time and hours wasted in Allahabad.

So that settled and with a bad, bad mood we headed off towards Kanpur. Around 40 km on either side of Allahabad GQ is not complete and never take it during the evening hours or even in the mornign hours. Trucks are allowed to enter only after 10 pm. I decided after that episode to take Allahabad at dead of the night while going back.

From then it was again a fast journey to Kanpur and everytime I see a police van at a distance I put down the windows. There was not a single car, big or small, with tinted windows. Anyway crossed Kanpur fast over the flyover that totally goes on top of the city. Fantastic roads now, just some occasional diversions that do come up suddenly on you has drive fast.

As you cross UP in the night, you feel darkness both literally and figuratively. The power situation is dismal. Whatever pumps or shops are open, they are running on generator. And then around 2 am looking for a small break at some roadside shop or dhaba, I had to stop at Auraiya and that too as said at 2 am. In fact since ignorance was bliss and did not know about Auraiya's past reputation, I in fact thought this was a more secure place!!! There were two private guards with guns on guard and that what made me stop. Well later on I learn about Auraiya from friends at Mathura Refinery Township. Anyway after a good stop of around 30 mts we took to the GQ again with intention of halting this leg of the drive at Mathura. Mathura Refinery Township[RT] is at some distance from Mathura and on the GQ itself.

My friend who accompanied me used to work at Haldia Petrochemicals and thus he had some good friends at Mathura RT. We decided to halt over there for the night and our host [friend's friend] welcomed us warmly at around 4 am at Mathura.

We all promptly went to sleep and next day for me just lazing out and meeting some of my friend friends and all coming up to see me, almost everyone had a question like why I am doing this by road and not by the Kalka mail. My friend was also very happy that we stopped over here, giving him the oppurtunity to meet all this old friends which otherwise he may not have met for a long long time.

Mathura RT full of domesticated peacocks!!!
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2205ee.jpg

Enjoyed the hospitality to the max, in fact we had lunch invitation at another of the friends house and then had good afternoon sleep with the intention of starting around 6-7 pm, entering Delhi around 9-10 pm and then driving all night towards Shimla, making a halt either at Chail or Narkanda as per the situation.

Asansol to Mathura around 18 hours of journey [including break time of around 3.5 hours and precious time lost in Allahabad]

Last edited by adc : 21st October 2008 at 18:09.
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:45   #15
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Default Mathura RT-Delhi-Chail-Narkanda

So around 730 pm on Sept 28, Sunday, we started from Mathura RT and distances were covered fast. In around 3 hours were at Delhi border and crossed Delhi taking the right turn towards Ring Road from Ashram. Ring Road travel was fast, Sunday traffic at around 10 was at a minimum
and the flyovers had clear signages about which way to go.

As we passed Delhi, of course with our tinted windows down, we were now on NH1 and smooth one-way roads. Windows were up soon as we passed Delhi city. Long and monotonous NH1 you can say but then I am enjoying this night drive. Soon you come up to Murthal, with all the No 1 parantha shops lined up. Heard about Ahuja No.1 being the better one and stopped over there. Had aloo parantha but then it was so-so for me, in fact I expected some non-veg items. With a 40-minute break we were soon on towards Sonipat and Panipat. The Panipat flyover is done and the town goes by in a jiffy.

All along we are paying tolls like anything, the purse size remains the same, in fact gets fatter as rupees as replaced by all kinds of coloured toll papers. Total around Rs 600 toll was payed from Kolkata to Narkanda, with the last toll being at Solan, HP.

Anyway we moved fast and other than all cars being checked from outside with a torch by Punjab Police, nothing much happened. Crossed Zirakpur [flyover still under construction] without any traffic and now the Safari was truly pointg towards the Shimla.

As we enter Himachal round 430 am, my wife remember's that 29 Sept, Monday, was Mahalaya and those immortal chants [as Mahishasur Mardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra] flow out from the AM channel as we enter Shimla.

That was an experience, as my friend said, "Ja ta byapar" - he had this habit of saying when something wonderful is happening or "ektu chap hoye gelo" when there is some tension coming due to diffcult hill roads with sheer drops.

As we enter HP at around 4-430 am
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-014ee.jpg

We cross Barog and we then take the Chail route, thus not going towards Shimla. It need not be repeated that Chail route is very scenic. It like our N Bengal forests, big pine trees and as early morning Sun filtered through the trees we took a break to soak in the atmphosphere. Since
it was so early morning, the Chail route was totally empty, encountered only car on route, do remember that Chail route is quite narrow and with a HP transport bus on the other side you would have to backup till you get a wider portion.

A random stop at Chail, enchanting
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-020ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2238ee.jpg

Also came up to this hotel cum tea shop, just opening up for the day, on the Chail route and had our morning tea. Fantastic and enchanting - tiredness wasn't felt after all felt elated that we have crossed the first stage [entering HP] successfully. After a small break of 30 mts, we then
moved on, with the aim of going till Narkanda.

Morning tea break while in Chail
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-029ee.jpg

Narkanda is soon reached by around 930 and we fill up diesel to the max at the only petrol pump available. Went up to the PWD circuit house for rooms but then had some govt officials coming up.

Circuit house, Narkanda
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2254ee.jpg

View from Circuit House, Narkanda
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-033ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2249ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_5365ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_2256ee.jpg

The view up from there was very beautiful so just posed for some photos and came down to have a hotel for the night. Got some off season rates. After having a very refreshing bath and a hearty meal, went for a walk along the road and then went off to sleep soon late afternoon. Got up in the evening, again went for a stroll and of course excited in anticipation as we enter
Kinnaur from tomorrow.

Mathura RT to Narkanda was around 14 hours of driving [including break of around 2.5 hours].
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