SOUL STIRRER

Tata SUV own­ers em­bark on a jour­ney to ex­plore the jun­gles of cen­tral In­dia and Kha­ju­raho

Evo India - - COMMUNITY - COM­MU­NITY WORDS by GANESH MURTHY

IT’S A COM­MU­NITY un­like any other for the Tata Mo­tors SUV own­ers, aptly called SOUL – short for SUV (orig­i­nally Sa­fari) Own­ers United League. While it all started with the now iconic Tata Sa­fari, SOUL has ex­panded its hori­zons to in­clude own­ers of any Tata Mo­tors SUV, in­clud­ing the award win­ning Hexa. This com­mu­nity of like-minded SUV own­ers how­ever isn’t will­ing to use the high ground clear­ance of their ve­hi­cles only over In­dia’s ur­ban jun­gle. They’d rather get out of the ‘hood and have some fun. That’s where the SUVs be­long, any­way.

SOUL kicked off 2017 with a grand five­day ex­pe­di­tion to Kha­ju­raho from Nag­pur, tak­ing the wild route to ex­plore the for­est of Kanha and Band­hav­garh. Own­ers from as far as Kochi had come to par­tic­i­pate in this iconic drive.

Tata SUV own­ers from around the country as­sem­bled at the Tata Mo­tors deal­er­ship in Nag­pur, from where the Jun­gle Trail was flagged off. On day one

of the drive a con­voy of ten SUVs drove the 250km to their first des­ti­na­tion – the Kanha Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary in Mad­hya Pradesh.

The set­ting of Ki­pling’s leg­endary ‘The Jun­gle Book’, Kanha is home to a va­ri­ety of flora and fauna, in­clud­ing the elu­sive Ben­gal tiger and the even more reclu­sive leop­ard. Even if you don’t get a glimpse of these fan­tas­tic beasts, you can still catch glimpses of an­i­mals like the In­dian sloth bear, the In­dian wild dog, nil­gai, spot­ted deer and bark­ing deer.

The group put up at the ex­otic Taj Ban­jaar Tola that over­looks the Ban­jaar river which pro­vided the perfect at­mos­phere for a night in the for­est. Adding drama to all the ex­cite­ment, the SOUL mem­bers even forded the river in their SUVs, in the dark. In fact, the night drive through the for­est was one of the most ad­ven­tur­ous ac­tiv­i­ties of the drive.

The 200km from Kanha to Band­hav­garh were done eas­ily with the Tata SUVs cruis­ing com­fort­ably on Mad­hya Pradesh’s high­ways. Like Kanha, the pri­mary rea­son to visit Band­hav­garh would be Shere Khan of course, and may be even leop­ards. While none were lucky enough to spot the mag­nif­i­cent cat, they did see pug­marks, which added to the ex­cite­ment.

Af­ter feel­ing at home in the forests, the Hexas and Sa­faris hit the road again. With their stout bon­nets pointed firmly in the di­rec­tion of Kha­ju­raho, the con­voy cov­ered the 225km with­out a hitch. At the UN­ESCO World Her­itage site, the par­tic­i­pants had a full day to ex­plore and mar­vel at the phe­nom­e­nally beau­ti­ful art and ar­chi­tec­ture of this an­cient city.

Many hun­dred self­ies, In­sta­grams, Face­book posts and hash­tags later, the five-day drive through the jun­gles of MP cul­mi­nated at one of the most won­drous his­tor­i­cal sites in the world. The trip was an op­por­tu­nity for the SOUL broth­er­hood to ex­pand its reach fur­ther.

SOUL was first es­tab­lished as an on­line plat­form in early 2014 for like-minded Sa­fari own­ers to come to­gether and share their com­mon passion. Since then own­ers have gath­ered for many drives to places like Lon­avala, Coorg, etc.

SOUL con­tin­ues to or­gan­ise fan­tas­tic trips. For a full cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties, log on to the Tata Mo­tors SOUL web­site. ⌧

SOUL mem­bers even forded the Ban­jaar river in

their SUVs

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5 1: Hexa joins the SOUL fam­ily. 2: The con­voy of Tata SUVs be­fore the flag-off from Nag­pur. 3: Been there, done that. 4: Tata Xenon sport­ing the Land Rover’s wild colours. 5: Eyes on the road, please. 6: Rum­ble in the jun­gle

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