Adventure escape: Off-roading in Goa| Last Updated: January 15, 2013 at 2:51 PM
If your idea of a perfect getaway is to leisurely travel through unspoiled landscapes and exotic locales, Goa is the place to head to. And what better way to explore India’s finest travel destination than in some of the most capable off-roaders you could lay your hands on.
The three-day Authentic Goa Escape presented a new side of Goa; often synonymous with sun, surf and sand.
As the dawn broke on day one, all the participants were up and out to embark on the first leg of the trip. Driving in a convoy of 20-odd vehicles, our first pit stop was Ancestral Goa museum. It seemed the Portuguese had left behind a lot of rich heritage for us to relive. The whole museum is divided into many locales with each portraying the local culture of a typical Goan village. History lesson over, we took off for a drive along the beautiful coastline to the Cabo de Rama fort.
Day 2 marked the start of some serious TSD rallying scheduled for first half of the day. After an energizing pre-drive briefing, it was time to head over to the vehicles. Oh yes, there were smiles and squeals of enthusiasm all round as nearly all of the teams had been introduced to the concept of TSD rallying for the very first time.
After getting to grips with the route map and the rule book, we positioned the Thar to the flag off point. Blindly confident, we took off and made our way through the countryside and some monsoon drenched forests. As it turned out, the first 10-odd km run was covered with the precision of a Swiss timepiece as we chalked out the exact average speed and dos & don’ts of the route. Having made a good start, the numbers went for a toss when halfway through the rally we unwillingly lost track of the route (not once, but twice!) and had to go way over the average speed to make up for the lost time – TSD rally is a matter of precision and time, after all. A few diversions and average speeds far off the ideal pace meant we ended the day with a disappointing finish.
Day 3 had all of us fuming with enthusiasm as it was time to take the Mahindras for an off-road exercise and to their home turf. After a short drive through the city, the convoy came across the playground and almost immediately, the enthusiasm doubled. Such were the roars coming from the crowd that we (somewhere in the middle of the pack) could listen to the cheer coming from the leading vehicles.
With the jeeps lined up and raring to go, we wound up for the real adventure that lay ahead.
Much to the surprise of us and the Mahindra Adventure team, all of the participants put on quite a good show, taming challenges including crossing deep slush beds, wading through a shallow stream and tackling steep inclines. Shortly after snaking through the opening stages of the course, we all lined up for a photo op near what appeared to be a disused playground. And with that done, nearly every team went all out, throwing their SUVs round the soft playground to make a few mud-filled donuts.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, as up ahead on the course we all were about to face some serious terrain to conquer. While the Thar we were driving triumphed against all the odds that nature had to throw at us, the RWD-only Stinger and a couple of Scorpios took their own sweet time clearing the hurdles. As we drove further along the route, the flat land gave way for hills so vast that the other side of the landscape remained hidden. It was then I took a little walk down memory lane and realized that this trip couldn’t have come at a better time.
Though it wasn’t as much of a sun, surf and sand trip often associated with Goa, the idea of leisurely driving to exotic locales is undeniably appealing and is far beyond what our everyday routine can offer.
Watch more videos of the event:
The article was first published in www.oncars.in
First Published: January 15, 2013 at 1:13 PM