Road trip to Khardungla
You Mad? Leh Ladakh and that too in a Nano? Vijay, are you serious? Those were the familiar remarks when we announced our plan to take this little wonder to the highest accessible road in the World the "Khardungla Pass". People around us doubted that it won't survive till Manali itself. But we always believed that "Those who dare never doubt and those who doubt never dare." We always believed in Brand TATA and knew that we were having best wishes from the entire TATA family before starting this unthinkable feat.
And on 28th Aug the four of us started our journey to prove our physical and mental ability as well to test the Technical and Mechanical might of this smallest car. We reached Ratlam on the first day at steady pace. Next day we reached Shahpur cutting short on our planned destination, Gurgaon, due to a Traffic Jam at Chittorgarh and heavy rains at Jaipur. We cleared our backlog by taking GT Road on next day and managed to reach Bilaspur situated on the banks of Bhakra Nangal dam. So far we covered almost 1800 km on plains.
The actual test started on the 4th day, we reached Manali in the early morning, took all the necessary permits and started climbing Rohtang Pass. The road was really hard to find due to continuous landslides as well the muddy patches and roaring water coming on the roads. We climbed slowly and steadily and maneuvered the vehicle to reach the Rohtang Pass at 15000 ft. We were welcomed and sometimes given Royal treatment while climbing because people were not used to seeing such a small car taking on the unthinkable roads. We reached Keylong by day end and stopped for additional petrol, since the next Petrol Pump was 350 km away in Leh.
The 5th day was worst. We crossed Barlacha la and managed to reach Sarchu situated at 15000 ft. Due to low oxygen, high altitude and freezing temperature almost all the members suffered a lot but the best and inspiring part was that our little dynamite – The Nano, was in a top condition and was asking for more. On 2nd August we reached Leh 250 Km away from Sarchu. At places there were signs saying "No Road". The Pinnacle of the journey was when we reached Pang where people standing by roads actually clapped for this beauty - a moment we will cherish for our entire lives. While reaching Leh, we crossed Lachalang la 16000 ft and Tanglang la 17000 ft passes. By Leh the Nano had touched a remarkable 2500 Km without any problems.
After 2 days rest in Leh, we took permission for Khardungla. On next day we started climbing the much awaited 39km to reach the top. Nano took on the roads with ease not showing a single problem. And at points we overtook the heavy cars on those roads and at that height. When we reached 18000 ft, we were stuck in road clearance activity for 3 hours. We thought all our efforts will be undone because of the land slides. But thankfully BRO opened the road and yes the much awaited moment arrived.
The Little Dynamite, Worlds smallest and cheapest car climbed the Highest Road in the world with grace. Nano was standing in the league of so called mighty big cars. Everyone at the top was appreciating this miracle. Nano caught all the attention and appreciation not only from the Indian people but from foreigners too. They took pictures with Nano. We all were actually in tears. The joy, the pain, the journey and the satisfaction was visible in our eyes. We realized that those who doubted us never realized our will power; they only considered the Nano's horse power, which is quite awesome, contrary to what users think.
While returning we took the Leh Srinagar road where we faced the mighty Jojhilla pass which we believed was toughest to pass. Nano actually tested over here with very small roads with small turnings on the corners. We saw some astonishing looks on the faces when we came down from Jojhilla in Nano. The moment was unbelievable.
We reached Pune in next 4 days completing our epic journey of 6000 km, reaching the 18380 ft and with long lasting memory of the people's car Nano. The best part of the journey was driving Nano on almost all terrain in almost all weather condition. We tested our ability to survive with Nano in extreme condition. We come to know what we have done once we reached Pune. People were congratulating us like nothing. Then we realized that what we have done was unthinkable. We were experiencing a great sense of achievement.
We sincerely thank the TATA family and especially Ratan Tata who actually said at the launch of Nano that 'Promise is a Promise'. His words inspired us to complete this journey. Thanks again.
It's just the beginning of a long journey for our little beauty.
Following are the name of the member from the Left
1. Prathamesh Surve
2. Hrushikesh Palande
3. Niranjan Vaishampayan
4. Vijay Natekar