Mahindra Thar drive to Arunachal: Off-roading to discover beauty at its be(a)st

Road trips are the go-to travel resort in the Covid-19 world, and here was a drive to remember! Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, backed by Mahindra Adventure and JK Tyres, flagged off a first-of-its-kind 15-day drive covering 2,500km of the state's eye-soothing sights explored by a convoy of newly-launched, rough and tough Mahindra Thar Jeeps and Scorpios, fitted with all-terrain JK Tyres

arunachal pradesh  thars in a line

Bird's Eye-View

The fleet of beasts at the picturesque Geku, a tiny village located on the Siang River in the upper Siang district. The mighty Brahmaputra  river is called Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. This quaint village, one of the many night halts during the Trans-Arunachal drive, is replete with lush green, misty mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, making it an ideal getaway to satiate adventure junkies with activities ranging from trekking and hiking to angling and camping, in their raw form.

Also read: Guinness Book of Records: Into the deepest, darkest and most hostile places on earth

arunachal pradesh drive

Where The Sun Rises

A gentle reminder that when the the sun rays strike in India, they shine in Arunachal Pradesh — the Land of the Rising Sun — first. This is a signboard at Namsai, a foothill district and a popular tourist destination in east Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Assam.  In the local language, Nam means water and Sai means sand, signifying the elements that are key to the place, which is also home to the state's Tai Khamti and Singpho tribes

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Off-Roading, literally!

Hari Singh, popular among rally circles as 'Gypsy King', is a five-time national rally champion and Asia Zone Rally Championship. He proudly displays the capabilities of the Thar jeep as he negotiates the sand banks of Lohit River, one of the tributaries of Brahmaputra , in a sand-raising moment

arunachal pradesh  bad roads

Treacherous Terrains

Always be ready to expect the unexpected on a road trip, especially when you're navigating through a rough and undulating hilly terrain. A convoy of rally vehicles await a landslide to be cleared near Parshuram Kund, Hindu pilgrimage site on the banks of Lohit river, surrounded by the hills of Kamlang Reserve Forest. Legend has it that washing of hands and taking a holy dip in the 'kund' can wash away one's sins

Also read: The sun, the sand and the deep blue sea

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Time for a Test

Tiding over obstacles is as much a part of a rally as it is about life itself, isn't it? As lunch was being prepared in Walong, a small cantonment area which is seeped in history, the Mahindra Thar jeeps were put through a skill test, which they passed with flying colours. The Thars climbed the boulders like it was a cakewalk. Its natural prowess apart, Walong holds significance as it was witness to the battle of 1962, when Indian soldiers fought against the invasion of Chinese forces. A war memorial acknowledges the sacrifices and stand the test of time

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Don't give this a pass

Thars and Scorpios lined up at Pangsau Pass, which lies on the crest of Patkai hills on the India-Myanmar border. The imposing huts once bustled with the weekly border market for traders, but the Covid-19 pandemic has played spoilsport. Look closer, and you will see the infamous 'Lake of No Return', a water body 12 km from Pangsau Pass inside Myanmar. The epithet is a result of multiple legends, including how a number of aircrafts perished into the lake during World War II. It has also come to be called the ‘Indian’ Bermuda Triangle

Also read: Photo feature: Don't miss this former Marine Commando's pictures of polo players

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A Local Taste

Culturally rich and diverse, Arunachal Pradesh can spring a surprise in every corner. School children dressed in the native attire perform a dance as a sweet goodbye gesture for the camping convoy, in Hayuliang, a village on the banks of Lohit river. In the local language, Hayuliang is said to mean a 'place of respite', and that it truly is owing to its scenic beauty

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Life... in a rally

The wilderness of the mountains, the calm of the water and the cool of the sky — the backdrop paints a picture of an evening of rejuvenation. The beasts line up for a night halt on the banks of Lohit river, at Hayuliang which offers splendid views. The tents tell a story of how nomadic life can be in a rally

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Rock On!

The convoy passes through a road lined-up by sturdy rocks on both sides. It's like a natural gateway near Pasighat, one of the oldest towns of situated in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh

Also read: Photo feature: The best destination is the next destination

Unfiltered

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Nature has its special ways. A stream of water flowing from a bamboo stem makes a perfect natural car wash for the beasts on the way to Kaho Village, India's first village on the India-China border

arunachal pradesh  gaurav gill exercising

Race car driver Gaurav Gill, who was leading the convoy, stretches it out during a break

arunachal pradesh  thar in jungle

A lone beast stands still while camping for a night halt on the silt-heavy banks of Lohit river

arunachal pradesh  thar breakdown

Leaving no stone unturned... That's how it's done! Not even big stones could stop the Mahindra Thar jeeps on their way. The convoy drivers take a closer look and inspect the size of a rock in the way

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