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Honda’s whole sedan line-up in India transported us from Bengaluru to Kochi on the 11th Drive to Discover, where we got a close look at a diverse range of southern cultures

Story: Kurt Morris

One of the most significant events hosted by an automaker in India has been the Honda Drive to Discover (D2D) series since it started approximately a decade ago. Honda Cars India planned a stunning route for the 11th edition of D2D. This year, it was a 700-kilometre-long drive over three days from Bengaluru to Kochi via Madikeri and the lovely village of Sulthan Bathery, via the coffee regions of Madikeri and Kodagu (formerly Coorg), and through the picturesque woods of Wayanad.


Since the premium sedan line-up from Honda Cars India includes the Honda City e: HEV, Honda City, and Honda Amaze, the theme for this year’s “Drive to Discover” was “Sedan & Stunning”. Each of the premium sedans taking part in the trip has the worldwide technical DNA of Honda and provides a cutting-edge driving experience. These vehicles have been built for maximum safety and comfort, making every trip enjoyable on any surface.

On the morning of our first day, we flew into Bengaluru. We were immediately driven to a local hotel for a quick breakfast and orientation before being given the keys of a Honda City. After the flag-off, we immediately departed for our first stop, the steep town of Madikeri in the Kodagu area. There were 281 kilometres between Coorg and us, which seemed like a small distance to travel but ended up being quite a distance as we passed through the city. And yet it had some beautiful roads. The traffic while leaving Bengaluru was a nightmare and increased our travel time by at least two hours.

We had a smooth ride to Channarayapatna, where we stopped for lunch. With the City in sixth gear and the cruise control turned on, the trip was mostly uneventful. After leaving the crowded streets, we travelled on the wide highways. After we had eaten, we recommenced our journey to Madikeri. We passed through Hassan on the way to Madikeri, where we saw the Gorur Hemavathi Reservoir, one of India’s biggest reservoirs.

After dusk, the City’s high-beam assistance was helpful on the winding roads of Madikeri. When it detects another vehicle travelling from the opposite direction, the auto high-beam immediately switches to low-beam. The last dirt road we had to travel through before arriving at our destination for the night was lit up more than we had anticipated by the full-LED set-up, but we have no complaints about that. Our stay for the night at Madikeri was at the Windflower Resort & Spa. This breathtaking place is situated 15 kilometres from the Bylekuppe Tibetan Monastery and 10 kilometres from Dubare Elephant Camp. You’ll adore the peaceful atmosphere of the building and the cosy studios with huge windows, personal lockers, and contemporary conveniences that overlook lush greenery.

Day two involved a 125-km trip from Madikeri to Wayanad, although the road is largely through ghat terrain. We planned to look for tigers at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. We found the early morning drive through coffee fields to be quite calming and once we arrived at the waterfalls, we stopped, breathed in the fragrant, fresh air, and simply took in the views and sounds of the natural world all around us. The quick descent to the cascade allowed one a lovely initial view of the Abbey Falls. A charming elephant with long tusks did come into view for us as the road wound through the bush, only a few metres away.


We arrived at our lunch destination to sample some of the greatest seafood dishes served locally. We arrived at the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and began our forest adventure. Expect nothing, our guide warned us, as sighting animals in the evening when the crowds are at their highest is unlikely. Only those that get up early have a better chance of spotting any animal, particularly the tiger. However, we thoroughly loved the quiet roads that encircled the sanctuary before continuing on to our overnight stop, which was just a few kilometres away. After finishing our daily schedule, we swiftly made our way to the Saptha Resort & Spa which was our halt for the night. Located in Wayanad, Kerala, often known as the Land of Paddy Fields, in a gorgeous plateau that is ringed by mountains, waterfalls, dense woods, and a great variety of flora and fauna.

Now, finally coming to the star of the Honda Drive to Discover for me had to be the City eHEV in the stunning shade of Radiant Red Metallic colour. We were fortunate to get to spend day three of the drive with the Hybrid variant of the City, also being the longest leg of this journey from Wayanad to Kochi, approximately 400 km, that would take us around seven hours due to the bad roads in Kerala. Just to catch a sight of the Arabian Sea, we drove down the shore. We did get that and it was rather late when we eventually arrived. We moved towards the hotel where we would spend the night as dusk fell. The entire day’s driving involved maintaining a constant speed while dodging constantly stationary traffic, occasionally from the wrong side. We arrived at our hotel in Kochi, our final stop for this incredible journey.

The 11th iteration of Honda Drive to Discover was a huge success and the vehicles we got to experience performed admirably. Last but not least, a sincere thank you to the entire Honda Cars India staff for hosting and planning such a beautiful road trip for us.

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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