Summer time is here and Delhi’s temperature is shooting up and over 40 degrees centigrade. This upsurge of heat demands only one thing – Mountain Therapy. If you have a place in mind, a fuel efficient car, best team to travel with, what can stop you for a long weekend drive? Absolutely nothing!
We took off from Delhi on this long awaited trip in the trusted Maruti Suzuki Celerio Diesel to a place where we can take a long break from our hectic city lives. This time we decided to hit Naldehra, a heavenly place located in the heart of Himachal Pradesh untouched from the outside world.
The starting of the journey is NH1 from Delhi which is one of the best made highways in India. Though driving on straight highways can be a boring state of affairs but not on this one as you have a marvellous view especially after crossing the stretch after Karnal, where both sides of the highway feels as if we are driving in between the heaven’s borderland. There are plentiful number of food stops where can you have nectarous highway food that will make you want to hit the NH1 again and again just to satisfy your taste buds. After driving for 2 hours straight we took our first stop at Zhilmil Punjabi Dhaba which is just 20 kilometers from Karnal towards Chandigarh. The best part about this Dhaba is the lip-smacking Dal Makhani and Kadhai Paneer which is simply luscious. After having toothsome food it was time to hit back to the highway in Celerio.
Driving the Celerio is undoubtedly fun and best part about driving it on a highway is that even after being a small size car is feels really stable and responsive at high speeds. It accommodates 4 passengers comfortably and still leaves adequate room for another wayfarer. Its twin-cylinder 793cc engine may sound mini but believe us, this little thing has enough torque that keeps the action going.
It took us roughly 5 hours to touch the Himalayan Expressway which connects Chandigarh city to Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh. This stretch is really well made up for about 30 kilometres or so and once you enter the mountain section the road gets rough and is also under construction at few sites. Once again we will have to mention about Celerio’s engine, as it kept us happy with its torque delivery all the time in mountains and altitude didn’t seem to have affected the power at any moment. Its 5-speed manual gearbox has been smartly designed to perfectly complement its power and hence this combo makes the Celerio a super easy and a fun car to drive, irrespective of the condition. Also it kept our fuel expenses down by delivering an appreciable 22kmpl of mileage.
As the altitude increases you start noticing the temperature drop and it gets chillier as you keep moving up the mountains. Also the elevation curves makes it difficult to keep up the pace and so driving in this situation can be tricky sometimes. And if you will be travelling in this zone for the first time, it is recommended that you pack some of your winter clothing as temperature drops to almost 7 degrees centigrade at night.
We stopped in Shimla for a small chai break and then continued on our route to Naldhera. It was almost 4 hours’ drive from Himalayan Expressway to Naldehra. After leaving from Delhi at around 6 in the morning we reached Naldehra before the sun went down, at near 6.30 pm. As expected its blissful aura fascinated us all and after relishing our first hour at Naldhera we forgot we travelled at all. Naldehra is even more gorgeous than we expected and its weather makes it among the nicest hill stations you must explore in Himachal Pradesh. Unlike other hill stations, Naldehra also has a Golf Course of its own, being located at an altitude of 2044 meters, this golf-course is among one of the most demanding courses present. After unwinding ourselves for 2 days in nature’s lap it was time to head back to Delhi.
Of course we hated the idea that we will be back in Delhi by the day end. After starting our return journey at 10 in the morning we got a little late hitting the Delhi border at 9 pm. Celerio’s headlamps brightens up the road view quite nicely at night and it is extremely important in our country where there are less illuminated highways and city roads. Also its seats ensured that we stay comfortable throughout the journey and fresh for our next day’s office.