Exploring the beautiful Nilgiris in Toyota Glanza
The best thing about being an automobile journalist is that you get to drive and experience some of the best roads and scenery that the world has to offer. Just as I was unpacking from a trip in Bangalore, my friend Gibran called to know about my long weekend plans. He proposed a weekend getaway to the beautiful Nilgiris, which would mean driving through the luscious green forests of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Mudumalai National Park, and witnessing some of the most picturesque locations of South India. Now, who would say no to that? But...
Since I came back from a long road trip, the car had to be sent for a periodic check which was supposed to happen on this very day. Normally, any dealership would take almost the whole day to receive, check, replace parts if needed and then return the car.
This meant that I either cancel my road trip or postpone it, both of which I was not in favour of. However, the hatch in question here is the Glanza and the dealership that we are talking about is Toyota. What makes this hatchback different from its competition is the fact that Toyota offers an express maintenance service called EM60 wherein things like wheel balancing, checking of brake pads, rotors, replacement of wiper blades, air-conditioner cooling, replacement of fuel filter and much more are done in 60 minutes flat! Yes, that's the time Toyota's three technicians took to complete close to 24 tasks on my Glanza, while all I had to focus on was getting the right playlist for this trip!
After having stuffed the Glanza with all the essentials for this trip, I was on my way to the Nilgiris. The intention was to leave Bangalore city at the earliest to escape the busy traffic. And it wasn't difficult as the Glanza's refined 1.2-litre petrol engine, paired with the smooth shifts of the 5-speed manual transmission, did its job right.
Additionally, zipping through traffic is best done in a hatchback, thanks to its compact dimensions. The highway that exits Bangalore towards Mysore has one of the most picturesque locations with luscious greenery spread on both sides of the road.
However, I was more excited about the drive through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, and then at the Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu, that is home to the leopard, Asian elephant, gaur (Indian bison), sloth bear, hyena and wild boar. It is places like these where you become one with nature, provided you respect the fact that this is the natural habitat of many animals. Interestingly, we witnessed sloth bears, deer, gray langurs, elephants and more crossing the road. The stay for the day was at a nature retreat called the Jungle Hut at Masinagudi.
The next day, after catching an early sunrise at the resort, we were on our way to our next highlight of the trip, the Shivanasamudra falls. The fact that I have never been to this side of the country did make me skeptical about the hatchback, but then Toyota's roadside assistance had me backed up. Importantly, the Glanza comes with three years of complimentary RSA support. The scenic locations of this region appeared even more beautiful with mild showers during the day. The road, however, was not as good with potholes and undulations, all of which were taken care of by the comfortable suspension set-up of the Glanza.
The Shivanasamudra falls, an extremely popular tourist attraction in Karnataka, is essentially the combination of Gaganachukki and Barachukki falls. Located on the Kaveri river, the Shivanasamudra falls are close to 320 feet tall. It was the home to Asia's first hydroelectric power plant that was set up in 1905, powering the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) back then. Reading about places like these is one thing but then witnessing them in real life is a totally different experience.
The beauty of such unplanned road trips is that you might not be prepared for it but the amazing scenery and grandeur of nature makes it worthwhile. All of this started with one phone call from a friend, and here I was, witnessing one of nature's marvellous creations. The Toyota Glanza was more of a partner than a transport medium. What makes the ownership a peaceful experience is that Toyota offers a maximum warranty of five years or 2.2 lakh kilometres, six months of warranty on spares and a widespread network of sales and service.
Starts Rs 7.22 Lakhs