2017 Independence quattro drive: Day 2 and 3 - Manali to Leh
The 2017 Independence quattro drive convoy has reached Leh, and the past couple of days have been pretty exciting. We began from the beautiful Casa Bella Vista (famous for its delicious wood-fired pizzas) at 08:30am and proceeded towards Jispa, our halt for the night. All the participants were energetic and looking forward to cross the mighty Rohtang Pass, a destination that's on many tourists' list.
Driving up the narrow roads to Rohtang, the Audis made easy work of driving up the steep inclines. The Q3 was particularly fun as its small size and sure-footed handling made it a joy to chuck it around the many corners that lead up to the famous pass. Upon reaching the top, we stopped for a few photos before descending to Koksar, our designated stop for lunch.
A few sections were broken along with deep ruts, but the Audis coped well. After an hour, we made it to Koksar where we indulged in delicious mutton rice along with some lip-smacking rajma at the Sharma Dhaba, our favourite pit stop.
After a hearty meal, the drive up to Jispa was relaxed and we made it to our hotel in the evening. The next day we set off for Leh, and it was the longest journey, both in terms of hours and kilometres.
We started off at 5:15am and made quick progress to Baralach La. The participants were mesmerised by the stunning visuals that mother nature has created.
After a short breakfast halt in Sarchu, we headed to Pang. This was, by far, the most challenging section as the roads were in a very bad shape. The Audis, nevertheless, soldiered on and we knew we'd face no issues as the Michelin tyres on our cars would cope with all the punishment. One participant was surprised with the ride quality that the Q7 offered. "It's like floating on a cloud," he said.
After a quick lunch halt at the Sonam Dabha in Pang, where we gorged on Maggi, dal ride and thupka, and then we set off for our destination, Leh. The roads from then on were superb, and we finally got a chance to exploit the performance of our Audis at the More plains.
The drive up to Tanglang La was thrilling as well, and the freshly laid tarmac was inviting. It must be said that the authorities do a terrific job on maintaining the roads, given the weather conditions. A few hours later, we rolled into Leh, our convoy snaking past the bustling town area.
We've decided to rest for a day and acclimatise before heading to Chushul, where we're set to celebrate our country's Independence Day.
Stay tuned for more.