Discovery is the root to all knowledge. We were in the western part of Rajasthan, and what better way to explore the scenery than in a selection of Honda cars. Into its 6th iteration now, Honda’s Drive to Discover takes us through the beautiful sand dunes and mesmerizing forts in and around Jaisalmer. Our companions for this drive were the Jazz, City and CR-V. Another novelty this time around was the Honda Connected mobile application, which feeds in information about your car and lets you track your fleet members on your trip.
The entire voyage was divided into three legs. First day takes us from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer which is more or less a combination of smooth tarmac roads and easy going traffic. We picked up the diesel and petrol CVT Jazz to slalom through camels sharing roads with us. The scenery here is a mix of slightly rocky terrain changing to sandy populated with shrubs and dwarf trees. You occasionally come across wheat, mustard and bajra plantation wherever water comes available. Roadside dhabas serve modest food, mainly subject to availability of vegetable and grain. But their bajra rotis and laal maas is a must try delicacy.
About the Jazz, we were absolutely happy with the Jazz CVT performing on the highways. Initial impressions were that it will not stand against the diesel powered Jazz, and we are happy to report that it did. Sure the diesel feels quicker but the convenience of the automatic makes it some much more fuss free on the highway letting you enjoy the scenery even more. And through the tight busy streets around the Jaisalmer fort the CVT Jazz was the choicest car. Another new practical addition this time around was the CONNECT mobile application for both iOS and Android systems. This application helps you keep track of the health and position of your car, very handy when you are travelling in a convoy. If a car in your group gets left behind, you will be able to locate it with this facility.
The twisting stuff
For this stint of the journey we equipped ourselves with the mighty CR-V. We knew that we’ll cruise some unpaved surfaces and some sandy patches till the border post of Longewala. Instead of directly going towards the post, first we drove towards the famous Shri Tanot Mata temple. This temple was the only structure that was not hit by a Pakistani shell all through the bombing in 1971. You get a sense of the difficulty, terror and misery felt by soldiers positioned here back then and now too.
The CR-V available to us here was a 2-wheel drive automatic version which kept us in comfort. The commanding driving position ensures good visibility around. Fatter tyres held grips when you faced occasional sand patches blown on the roads by winds. You drive through the sand covered scenery and large windmills adorning the landscape. Cool tip: park your car and stand close to these windmills, the sound they make is eerie and while looking at the large spinning blades you actually feel spooky.
Next stop is the Longewala border post which is a proud moment in Indian history. Army has setup a couple of captured enemy tanks and a few of their own guns here for display. You can also walk through tight gullies and stand inside tight bunkers to experience how hard it was for army troops, especially when you see a T-59 tank charging towards you. To know that epic tale, we recommend instead of just reading about it, take a drive out to this wonderful place and have a word with the troops positioned here. We return back to Jaisalmer now taking memories of this battle. The drive back is smooth and easy, and the CR-V is just the vehicle for the job. It glides over a variety of terrains, except really off-road stuff because it is just a 2-wheel drive. We even got a healthy 8.2kmpl on a soft throttle.
The long straights
After a memorable stay in the beautiful city of Jaisalmer it was time to return back to Jodhpur. The entire way, via Barmer, is a selection of fantastically smooth fast highways. Our choicest vehicle for this stint was the Honda City. Luckily we had to pick up both the manual and the CVT petrol engines. We knew the manual will be a faster and more involving car, but joy of joys the CVT was equally capable and more relaxing, if not involving.
The route has fast highways and single lane deserted roads. Another novelty is the military convoys carrying tanks and also windmill companies transporting massive wings for their mills. A few patches which are undergoing maintenance allowed us to feel the stable ride quality of the Honda City. On the way back stop at a roadside diner and try bajra rotis with region special ker sangri. It is an absolute treat enjoying signature dishes deep in the state of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is a delightful place to have a holiday and venture out for exploring culture and landscape. We are sure you’ve already travelled or are planning to visit this admirable state, but implore you to explore it in further detail. Before the journey started we knew our choice of vehicles are excellent, but trying and testing them back to back cements our thoughts in these brilliantly engineered Honda cars. The end of this edition of Honda Drive to Discover 6 leaves us with fantastic memories and crucial history lessons. We wish to be back on the road again soon, exploring is addictive...