Taking my Maruti Jimny on a 3000 km road trip: 9 day travel experience

There was also a Scorpio-N and a Thar, to accompany our 4×4 SUV.

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It’s been nearly three weeks since I drove back from this year’s Ladakh adventures. Since then, I’ve put in another trip to the mountains (this time work), wrestled with a bout of the seasonal flu, and generally debated with myself on penning down the Jimny experiences for all here. While plain laziness got me this far without scribbling a word, objectivity won out in the end, so here I am, trying to put together in words the journey of 3000 km over 9 days.

Some of you are already familiar with my occasional posts and know that I drive an MT Zeta in Bluish Black. But to set the context properly, it’s fair that I give a small rundown of the vehicle to start with:

I thought this kind of made the little Jimny as ready for the haul as it would ever be, and I wasn’t wrong.

Our adventure was to have 8 people in total. Three in the Jimny. Three in the ScorpioN and two in the Thar. The other two vehicles belonged to fellow TBHP-ians Roshun Povaiah and Suman Ghosh, and we’ve been friends and travel mates for over two decades now. The trip itinerary was something like this:

  • Day 1. Delhi to Udhampur
  • Day 2. Udhampur to Srinagar
  • Day 3. Srinagar to Leh
  • Day 4. Leh
  • Day 5. Leh to Hanle via Pangong
  • Day 6. Umling La and Hanle
  • Day 7. Hanle to Leh
  • Day 8. Leh to Manali
  • Day 9. Manali to Delhi

Day 1. The long highway runs to Udhampur

Truth be told, in the 1500-odd km that I had raked up in the Jimny, prior to this trip, I had made my peace with the fact that this was not the car to set land speed records in. I was never uncomfortable with that, since I generally find it easier to stick south of the speed limits than north. Still, jokes had to be made in the present company and the running one was that they (the Mahindras) would already know the meal orders for the Jimny occupants, and have our choices preordered and ready by the time we pulled up at each rest stop. Turns out, unnecessary. Although the other two remained largely invisible in my windscreen for most of the first day, we never pulled up too late either, keeping a steady 100 comfortably and gaining a stellar fuel efficiency to boot. The only bit of adventure that punctuated day 1, was a broken bridge just before Jammu, that required all vehicles to get down to the riverbed and cross/get hauled out with tractors-on-the-ready to make a quick buck. Being ahead of the pack at this time, I decided to cut away from behind the long queue of anxious sedans and hatches and lowered the Jimny from a steeper angle into less than knee-deep waters. In 2WH. Turns out I shouldn’t have. We stalled within seconds, the rear wheels just not finding traction among the loose, round river rocks below the water.

A quick glance out of the windows and I could only see eyeballs from the assorted buses, cars, motorcycles (yes, them too) and tractors, all staring at us. Glee writ large and a tractor was already making its way towards us. The shame.

Without a moment wasted, I jammed the shifter to 4H, waited only briefly for the green lamp to lock in and hit the gas. All eyeballs swivelled with the black streak that shot clean out of the river and didn’t stop until it had reached high ground, back on the highway. Hahahaha! So long suckers!

The Mahindras later reported that I may have caused some kind of a stampede with our derring-do and that resulted in a massive jam on the river and got them stuck behind a melee of stranded cars and super-busy tractors.

We reached our hotel just after daylight went out. Highlights from the day:

Continue reading BHPian SUVolens’s travelogue for more insights and information.

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