Road trips in the north-eastern states of India are journeys that take you through some of the country’s most sublime out-of-the-world landscapes. Meghalaya is no different. The offbeat and budget-friendly state serves up a million-dollar scenery and outdoor action like no other. Winding through millennia-old forests and gigantic valleys, the serpentine road treats you to spectacular views and some seriously refreshing weather away from the smog-ridden cities of India.
Factor in a Maruti Suzuki Alto and it becomes the most memorable road trip of your life. Exploring this pristine state in your own car gives you the freedom to explore the place at your pace. You can take a detour chasing the waterfalls and caves or stop to gaze at the gorgeous lush valleys, or just pull over wherever the aroma of fresh food beckons. And that’s exactly what the Delhi based band, the Cosmic Truth and I, did on our ‘Wheels of Wander’ road trip to Meghalaya with Maruti Suzuki Alto and Outlook Traveller.
Let me tell you the secret that made our trip so extraordinary. It was the car that mirrored our spirit and lifestyle. It resonated freedom and a sense of liberation that all young travellers associate with.
Whenever I choose a car for a road trip – I pay attention to three key things - manoeuvrability, mileage, and safety. The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 scored well in all departments.
Easy manoeuvrability of a car is key to a comfortable drive, especially when you have to cover long distances in the hills. During our journey, whenever we would get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, the five-speed AMT (automated manual transmission) gearbox would bail us out. It made driving a lot easier and hassle-free by eliminating; efforts of changing gears manually. Whether we were cruising at a relatively fast speed or slowly on an incline of a hill, we never struggled with Maruti Suzuki Alto. Thanks to the car’s 160mm ground clearance, it was a jolt-free ride even on the bad patches of the road
One main reason why I am a big fan of Maruti Suzuki cars is their mileage. We clocked almost 700kms in four days with an astounding 19 km per litre mileage, which is great for the kind of terrain we traversed through. In a remote state like Meghalaya where you don’t find petrol stations easily, having a car with a good mileage is a boon.
The tricky thing about driving in India is whimsical drivers at every bend and the general lack of driving sense. At such times, your brakes are your lifeline. I was pleasantly surprised by the braking ability of the Maruti Suzuki Alto. The car would feel very stable and safe even if the brakes were hit suddenly. And, to make me feel even safer, it had an airbag and fog lamps. Fog lamps proved to be most critical to have in Meghalaya, as the weather is whimsical. The clouds float in and out of the valleys, often impairing visibility. One needs to be prepared at all times.
A good road trip is incomplete without good music. And it becomes even more important if you are traveling with a music band to the music capital of India, Shillong. The inbuilt music system of the Maruti Suzuki Alto with AUX and USB support ensured we were always in high spirits and never had a dull moment.
A self-driving trip in Meghalaya in a Maruti Suzuki Alto turned out to be comfortable and economical at the same time – perfect for the young travellers.