I have been planning a short driving holiday for a long time but some thing or the other had cropped up ultimately postponing the trip. However when the good folks at Nissan India invited us to celebrate the first anniversary of the Terrano with a drive from Amritsar to Palampur, I did not need much convincing in packing my bags. The theme of the drive was the 'Son of the Soil' experience.
After narrowly missing my flight I landed in Amritsar where the drive would be flagged off. We would be driving from Radisson Blu Amritsar to Punjabiyat for a delicious lunch and to experience the village life i.e. have lunch on charpoys and drive a tractor. For the drive we had the standard Terrano and not the Anniversary Edition as the latter is limited to only 450 units.
Anyways at the flagoff I was handed over the keys to a black top-spec Terrano which fitted with the cool alloys looks rather good. There is no doubt that the Terrano has been the best design to come out of the Renault/Nissan stable with styling cues paying homage to the famous Pathfinder SUV. Our immediate agenda was to drive to Punjabiyat which is like an hours drive from Amritsar.
On the way we encountered narrow roads with chaotic traffic but the Terrano which unlike some of its rivals is easy to drive and navigating through those roads was a piece of cake. On reaching Punjabiyat it was time to experience the essence of Punjab. Punjabiyat is a farm-resort where it has been built entirely using locally made mud bricks and mud.
Away from the concrete jungle the vast green fields and fresh country air seemed heavenly but something better awaited us. Yes it was time to experience the famous cuisine of Punjab and that too while sitting on charpoys! If you are in Amritsar it is best to forget that you are on a diet as everything is made with desi ghee and as a result everything is rather delicious. After a heavy and rather delicious meal it was time to hit the road again.
Our destination this time was Taragarh Palace located in Palampur in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Out on the highway the Terrano cruised effortlessly and the 1.5 diesel was very much in its element. After entering Himachal Pradesh there was a sharp dip in the temperature with nightfall.
However the Terrano was making swift progress with its excellent ride meaning you do not have to slow down for bad roads but crucially there was not much body roll also. Tackling the hill roads, the Terrano is one of the more agile SUVs in its class and we liked the direct steering too.
After a few hours of driving we reached Taragarh Palace which is a heritage hotel with the property belonging to the royal family of the erstwhile Princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. I always love staying at these places as they combine the old- world charm with modern luxury.
After a good nights rest I decided to wake up early the following morning in a bid to capture some of the stunning views. This palace is located at the foot of the Dhauladhar Mountains and you just need to see and feel the presence of snow-capped peaks surrounding you.
Our final stop before departing to the airport was the Norbulingka Institute near Dharamshala. After breakfast at the Hummingbird Cafe it was time to take a tour of the institute and understanding Tibetan culture.
Named after Norbulingka, the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lamas, in Lhasa, Tibet, we got a tour of the art studios including Tibetan statue making, thangka painting, screen-printing, applique and tailoring, woodcarving, wood painting, papermaking, and wood and metal craft.
Taking pride of the place is the two-storeyed 'Seat of Happiness Temple' having 1,173 murals of Buddha, drwagings depicting the life of the 14th Dalai Lama and a 4 mt high gilded copper Buddha Sakyamuni statue.
Overall the Nissan Terrano First Anniversary drive was an enjoyable experience for me and the fact that this drive would only increase my fondness for this SUV.