The Himalayan Expedition 2010 by Sanjay Madan & Pankaj Chanana

  • Apr 13th 2011

Sanjay Madan & Pankaj Chanana drove a Tata Nano to the Top Of The World!

It didn’t took too long for Sanjay Madan a keen adventurer to take a decision and finally add this little car to his fleet of possessions which includes a Land Cruiser.

This much talked about “Little Toddler”, a common man’s car meant to be mostly driven on the city roads did its way to the rooftop of the world and proved itself. I have since rightly named as “Tough Toddler”.

29 May - We began our journey to Leh – Ladakh from Delhi and stretch the day to reach Nalagarh Fort, about 285 kms towards north. Fuel average for 1st day was 20.4 Kmpl with the A/C switched on.

30 May - The next day began relaxed, reached Manali (290 kms from Nalagarh).It was already late evening by then. We were on an up hill drive

31 May – Headed to ‘Rohtang Pass’ at the height of 3980 meters! While this Little car was scaling heights head turners weren’t stopping. Everyone was amazed, as they asked, is this a Tata Nano?
We haulted at Tandi Petrol Station (2573 meters above sea level) and affirmation from them was that this was the first one to climb this high. They hadn’t seen it before. We reached Hotel Ibex, Jispa late afternoon and heard that the roads further were closed.It was a painful wait for the route to open and we waited for next 6 days.

6 June - Met an Army Colonel, K.S Kajal enroute to Ladakh. He assured us that if route opened, we would be able to make our way further along with their Convoy.
Late noon, we headed forward towards ‘Barlacha La Pass’ at the height of 4892 meters. It was a tough patch with 6 to 10feet of snow walls on both sides. This 20 Kms stretch with snow clad hills was crossed with the help of army personnel.
We reached Sarchu (4253 meters above sea level) late evening and stayed at an Army transit camp thanks to Colonel Kajal.

7 June – We packed our bags and headed further. We had scary experience just after Ghata Loops where the car skid on black ice and went out of control for a second. We needed to deflate the cars tyres to get more traction on road and set out again. We crossed ‘Lachalang La Pass’ at 5065 meters & then ‘Tanglang La Pass’ at a whopping 5360 meters before finally reaching Leh in the evening.

The journey was however far from over, our aim was to drive this little wonder to the top of ‘Khardungla’ the highest motor able road in the world at 18380 feet above sea level. Even at such high altitudes the fuel economy of the Nano was an amazing 14.8 kmpl.

8 June – We got a permit from the Leh DC Office and headed for top of Khardungla. The dream came true our Tata Nano had scaled heights and proudly made its mark as it stood on the highest mountain pass in the world. The Nano had proved its capabilities.

9 June – The mighty Nano crossed ‘Fotu La Pass’ at 4108 meters and reached Kargil at 0400 hrs. We went to bed immediately and began the journey to Srinagar at 0800 hrs. The highlight of this route was ‘Zozil La Pass’ at 3529 meters, famous for it’s difficult passage which can be tough to pass for regular commuters as well. As though this wasn’t enough, the rains only made things worst.


However after a difficult drive we finally reached Srinagar by 1800 hrs and next day headed back home. We drove 26 hours covering 900 Kms from Srinagar to Delhi (another performance test) for the proven Nano and reached Delhi by evening. To top the champagne with ice, this time the Nano returned an impressive 24 Kmpl!

Sanjay MADAN


Pankaj CHANANA

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