From day one, the spirit of motoring has been in our blood, daring us to venture beyond the ordinary and to embrace the thrill of the unknown. With a Hyundai Tucson at hand, now was as good a time as any to pack a few bags, leap into it and hit the road. We had discussed a few destinations and the desire to go somewhere we’d never been won out, so the magnificent Dhuandaar Falls in Madhya Pradesh became our Google Maps entry. The Tucson seemed to smile as well, as eager as us to head out as soon as possible. As the rain battered its windshield in Mumbai, we knew this adventure was destined for greatness. Without delay, we set out on a 750-kilometer journey from Mumbai to Nagpur via the new Samruddhi Mahamarg.
The Mumbai-Nashik highway soon greeted us with open potholes and worse, putting the Tucson’s ride quality to the test – it was exceptional, in case you’re wondering. No pothole could dampen our spirits, as its suspension kept us isolated from the horrors underneath us. We felt like astronauts floating over the lunar surface, to be honest, which tells you just how well the Tucson performed. Once on the Samruddhi Mahamarg, a controlled expressway stretching into the horizon, The Tucson really came into its element. Its adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist became our co-pilots, guiding us with finesse and ensuring a smooth journey, keeping us fatigue-free.
Almost before we knew it, we arrived in Nagpur, an interesting mix of the modern and the old, of chaos and serenity.
The next day, our destination was the Pench Tiger Reserve, with the original plan having been a brief visit. But fate had other ideas, because it was World Tiger Day. The universe was clearly conspiring to provide a more thrilling experience, and we really couldn’t resist the call of a jungle safari. Off we went into the Pench reserve, feeling like explorers in an uncharted realm. Although the elusive tiger remained a master of disguise, we encountered other memorable sights – spotted deer, a stealthy wolf and a rare bluebuck delighted us, while monkeys got up to no good, as usual. Even without a tiger spotting, the reserve left us with some wonderful memories. Through all this, the Tucson had quickly become a trusted companion, letting us enjoy the surroundings in absolute comfort.
At the crack of dawn, we woke up to the beauty of the Marble Rocks on the Narmada river, and we set out for the majestic Swarg Dwaar. We asked a local about the its legend, and their reply added an extra layer of excitement to our adventure. ‘Whichever boat crosses this point, the only news you will hear about it is going to be in the newspaper the next day’ they said. As we approached the Dhuandhaar Falls, the anticipation in the air was palpable. The name translates to smoke or mist in Hindi, and the falls had an air of mystique, heightening our curiosity. The cable car ride to the viewing point raised our pulses, and suspended in mid-air, we felt like we were about to unearth hidden treasure. When we reached the top, the view took our breath away.
The Dhuandhaar Falls cascaded from a height of nearly 15 meters, unleashing a spectacular torrent of water. The force of the falls created an all-encompassing mist, casting an ethereal aura around us, and as the fine spray settled on our cheeks, we knew were experiencing something truly special. The sun’s rays danced upon the mist, creating a mesmerising play of light and shadow that danced upon the rocks and the water’s surface. It was a true symphony of nature’s elements, and we were privileged spectators. The Tucson, parked nearby, also basked in the splendour of the falls, as if it was pleased to have brought us there. Reluctantly, we bid farewell to the falls, but its spell lingered in our memories long afterwards. As we descended from the viewing point, we promised ourselves that we’d return someday.
As we embarked on the journey back to Mumbai, the Samruddhi Mahamarg presented itself again. It’s a marvel of engineering, but monotony did creep in like an unwelcome guest. Playfully, we asked the Tucson ‘Hey, are we there yet?’, and the voice assistant responded, sparking laughter and lightening the mood. We indulged in some road trip games, making the Tucson an active participant with its sleek design as a clue in ‘I spy with my little eye.’
The Tucson reminded us not to skip refuelling as we covered the miles, adding that it couldn’t eat for us. It was then that we discovered the quirks of the Samruddhi Mahamarg – it has very few fuel stations, and there are no food joints over a 7-hour journey, making our adventure an altogether different experience. It was a brilliant mile-muncher, offering plush comfort for driver and passengers alike, and the refined and punchy petrol engine offered a superb mix of power and fuel economy. It really embodies the spirit of adventure that we’ve always had at Motoring – and it could well be our next road trip companion.