Traversing through Punjab in the Nissan Terrano
It’s been exactly a year since the fourth-generation Terrano was launched in India to mark Nissan’s foray into the growing compact SUV segment. To celebrate its anniversary, Nissan has introduced a special ‘Anniversary Edition’ of the Terrano, limited to just 450 units and will be available only as an extension of XVD THP and XVD THP Premium variants. They also invited select media for an Anniversary Drive which took us from Amritsar in Punjab to Palampur and Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh, albeit in the regular Terrano.
Nissan Terrano Anniversary Drive Route
On an autumnal October morning, I left my Calcutta residence sleepy eyed at 4am to take an early morning flight, first to the national capital and then a connecting flight to finally arrive at Amritsar around 10.30 am. Soon after coming out of Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport (named after the fourth Sikh Guru and the founder of Amritsar city), I was driven to Hotel Radisson Blu where the briefing and flag off was to take place. At around 1pm later that day, a fleet of seven Terranos were flagged off to kick start the first leg of the Nissan Terrano Anniversary Drive.
The Nissan Terrano navigates through the farm lands of Punjab
Decent roads dotted with lush green fields on both sides, gust of wind blowing into your face and the reliable Nissan Terrano for company ensured that the first leg of the drive was a pleasurable one. We drove past Abdal and Batala en route to reach Gurudaspur located nearly 70 kilometres away from Amritsar. A short drive from there brought us to our first pit stop point - Punjabiyat, located in Saidowal-Gunopur village, close to Ghalughara Saheb Gurudwara.
The lush green premise of Punjabiyat
Punjabiyat is beautiful eco-resort built entirely using locally made mud bricks and mud. The property encompasses a massive premise complete with residential earthy cottages, dining facilities and a farm like feel. The people of Punjab love to eat; and this is reflected in their delicious, hearty regional cuisine.
An authentic Punjabi lunch at Punjabiyat
At Punjabiyat, Nissan offered me a completely new experience when I was served an authentic palate of Punjabi cuisine for lunch on a charpoy under a tree. With the smell of fresh earth mixed with oxygen-laden air, the feel of cool country breeze on my face, the sight of lush green field and the best Punjabi cuisine I had ever tasted, life seemed like a bliss.
The Nissan Terrano poses for a click
Post-lunch I started for the second leg of the journey towards Palampur. The Nissan Terrano was a joy to drive on the beautiful highway of Punjab and remained poised as I cruised past Sahowal, Dinanagar and Pathankot to leave Punjab behind me and enter into Himachal Pradesh.
The Nisaan Terrano takes a break outside the Ghalughara Saheb Gurudwara in Gurudaspur
I could feel the nip in the air as the temperature started to drop sharply after sundown. The roads in Himachal Pradesh are excellent for most part and an absolute pleasure to drive on. The Nissan Terrano proved to be a very capable SUV and effortlessly marched on the hilly terrain delivering linear power at the push of the paddle. I drove past several small towns en route to Palampur before arriving at the Taragarh Palace at 8.30 pm where I was to spend my night.
The picturesque Taragarh Palace in Palampur
Taragarh Palace is a picturesque residential estate nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. The property belongs to the royal family of the erstwhile Princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. The hotel features beautiful decor that exudes a classy ambience. The rooms are decorated with old colonial furniture; wide facades and teak paneled dining halls. Located at an altitude of 3,400 feet above sea level, the palace is at the foot of the Dhauladhar Mountains, offering a splendid view of the surrounding peaks.
En route to Dharmashala with the Nissan Terrano
The next morning, I started on the final leg of my journey heading towards Hummingbird Cafe (inside Norbulingka Institute) in Dharmashala for breakfast. It took an hour and half to reach the venue and the road leading up to it was breathtakingly beautiful surrounded by pine trees and mountains. There was a chill in the air which was thoroughly enjoyable for a Calcutta-bred soul like me.
Norbulingka Monastery in Dharmashala
Norbulingka Institute was set up by The Dalai Lama and is believed to be an exact replica of the original Norbulingka Monastery in Tibet which was invaded by the Chinese. Norbulingka is dedicated to handing down tradition and restoring standards by providing training, education and employment for Tibetans. It supports an environment in which Tibetan community and family values can flourish. It reconciles the traditional creatively and respectfully with the modern, and seeks to create an international awareness of Tibetan values and their expression in art and literature.
Inside the Norbulingka Monastery
The institute is a picture of old rural Tibet with all its shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams and tiny water falls, along with wooden carvings, Tibetan Thangka paintings, Tibetan handicrafts and arts. The aim behind building Norbulingka was to keep the coming generation of Tibetan refugees, living in exile, in touch with their culture. The name 'Norbulingka' means 'Jewel Garden' and it has been derived from the Summer Residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, situated at Mcleodganj.
The Nissan Terrano Anniversary Drive proved to be an enriching cultural, culinary and motoring experience. Whether cruising on the highway, navigating though village roads or climbing up the hilly terrain, the Nissan Terrano proved its mettle and felt at home on all surfaces.
Nissan Car Features
It been exactly a year since the fourth-generation Terrano was launched in India to mark Nissan foray into the growing compact SUV segment. To celebrate its anniversary, Nissan invited select media for an Anniversary Drive which took us from Amritsar in Punjab to Palampur and Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh, albeit in the regular Terrano.
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