New Delhi [India], March 17 (ANI/Mediawire): India is a land of diversity. The variation is not just limited to people, ethnicities, language and culture, but also span across vast differences in its picturesque landscapes, symbolising millions of years of evolution. Every region in the country is known for a typical rich topography, compelling the locals to adapt to different ways of living and thus resulting in birth of different cultures and traditions. These different terrains also pose connectivity challenges for all and sundry, making it difficult even for the regular daily essentials to reach during certain months of the year.
The sixth edition of Hyundai Great India Drive 2023 was flagged off from Srinagar for Kargil district in Ladakh region, giving us a taste of what it means to be living at high mountain peaks in the company of rocks and snow, under life-threatening climatic conditions. In the confines of a comfortable and warm Tucson, the journey was much bearable though.
Being in company of a mighty SUV like the Hyundai Tuscon, which is as inviting to the driver as it is intimidating for a rough mountainous terrain, one cannot avoid but feel truly being on top of the world. The high altitude passes laden with fresh snow and slippery roads overlooking deep gorges, act as a testament to the fact that very few cars can take on these paths with such poise and dexterity as the Hyundai Tucson can. The all-wheel drive function coupled with advanced snow mode feature ensured the vehicle does not fall short of its grip on the road surface layered with mud, snow and loose gravel encountered frequently while passing through the famed Zoji-La pass. Having driven it across a high mountain pass, its time to check how suitable is this SUV for driving across other parts of the country.
The second leg of this amazing journey passing through Maharashtra state, exposed us to a completely different kind of mountains - the great Western Ghats which run along almost the entire western coastline of the Indian Subcontinent. Made of hard, black volcanic rock, this range is more than twice as old in geological age as the Himalayas. As we head into the interiors of Maharashtra along highways, the luxurious Tucson was really in its own zone. With that massive engine and the very refined auto-box, it was a breeze to drive despite its size. Latest safety features like Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control together with a host of other safety features collectively known as ADAS level two features, proved the versatility of Tucson and how it can comfortably adapt to any sort of driving condition.
The Hyundai Great India Drive also gave us an opportunity to explore stories of valour. Our search took us to a small and unknown village in Maharashtra, which has the word 'Military' appended to its name due to a unique contribution to the nation, from a time even before our Independence.
Apshinge Military is a small village located at a distance of 40km from Satara, Maharashtra. This village has the history of participating in every single war fought by India. A memorial right at the centre of the village marks this unique way of life.
Every family in the village sends their youth to serve the Indian army, and this has been the tradition since generations. Retired veteran Anand Suryavanshi, has his chest swell with pride while sharing that his son is currently serving the Indian Navy. Another ex-army man Vikram Gadge decided to transform his family farm land into a training academy for grooming young aspirant achieve their dream of joining the Indian National Army. Witnessing a professionally conducted early morning drill at the training camp and conversations around village history with the cadets made us realise the importance of military-like discipline, strict fitness regime and constant rigour that the youth of this village grow up with. And these weren't some one-offs for us, a visit to the village meant that every person we came across on the streets had interesting stories to tell.
A slight detour around Chalkewadi Windmill Project and Kaas Plateau in the vicinity proved Hyundai Tucson as a worthy cross-country travel partner and carrier for us, making the different journeys of exploration ever easier and fruitful. From snowy peaks to rocky mountains, from high passes to high plateaus, to the valleys and plains, it has seen many of the amazing terrains that our country has to offer to travellers. But more importantly, it has provided the sturdiness and gumption one would expect from a drive that is simply 'on top of the world'.
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