Bharat Drive: Roads of progress

The Automotive Journalists Association of India (AJAI) in partnership with Mahindra, under the Bharat Drive, embarked on a journey to showcase the improved road network and the freedom associated with road travel in India. This expedition, featuring a convoy of Mahindra Scorpio Ns, started from Mumbai and various teams joined along the way. One such team, from Auto Today, joined the convoy in Srinagar and traveled towards Leh.

Starting their journey from Delhi during a heat wave, the team arrived in Srinagar and met the Scorpio-Ns convoy. Equipped with the latest infotainment system and Android Auto, they began their journey on well-paved highways. The picturesque landscape of Kashmir, characterized by Chinar trees and river glimpses, accompanied them on their route to Sonamarg. They also enjoyed fresh cherries from local orchards.

Upon reaching Sonamarg, the team climbed towards Zoji la, a mountain pass at approximately 12,000 feet. The road to the top featured a combination of tarmac and concrete blocks, offering good grip and reduced water risks for motorists. Despite the steep climb, the roads were largely intact, making it possible for various vehicles to travel comfortably. At the top, they found tourists enjoying the snow and ice, while local vendors offered snowmobile rides.

Next on the itinerary was the Kargil War Memorial, a tribute to the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Kargil War. The memorial offered a humbling reminder of the hardships endured by our armed forces. Afterward, they moved towards Leh, stopping briefly at Fotu la, another high pass over 13,000 feet. The road conditions up there were impressive, providing a joyful driving experience despite the SUV’s size.

However, the journey did not end in Leh, as the team aimed to reach Zanskar Valley. However, adverse weather conditions, including landslides, forced them to abandon their plans. The landslide caused significant damage to the road, leaving a large amount of mud and rock covering the pristine tarmac. Despite their best efforts, nature demonstrated its dominance over human progress.

This journey through the ‘Roads of Progress’ offered an insight into the incredible advancements made in India’s road infrastructure, making it possible for people to travel long distances with confidence. Despite the occasional setbacks from nature, the freedom and enjoyment associated with road travel remained unmatched.

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