Home / Features / Maruti Suzuki Trails & Tales Part Two – Flying into 2024

 

The Maruti Suzuki Jimny explores urban jungles, quiet beaches, narrow trails, and open blue skies.

Following our adventures on the Rann salt flats and the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, we decided to change the course. We were fully convinced that there is not much the Maruti Suzuki Jimny could not do on land, so we decided to introduce it to the most demanding trial every car has to go through: the unrelenting urban jungle. While we were at it, why not experience some new thrills? So, we also picked one activity each for the sea and the air.

Goa was our venue for the challenge. It offered a good mix of congested roads, narrow lanes, and a variety of sea-related activities. Furthermore, there are many lovely beaches and an endless choice of cuisine. It was not too difficult to arrive at a decision. Despite being among the best off-roaders in the country, the Jimny handled itself remarkably well in town. We drove around the crowded lanes of Anjuna and through Panaji when traffic was at its peak without much discomfort. To make things more challenging, we went looking for narrower streets and found them in the postcard-worthy neighbourhood of Fontainhas.

It is a quiet residential area in Panaji known for its beautiful (and colourful) houses and incredibly narrow streets. They are so narrow that traffic is only allowed to move in one direction. To make things tougher, there is street parking in some places. Even then, it was well within the Jimny’s abilities and I was able to navigate through the streets easily without having to reverse or re-align the car at any point. It also helped that the Jimny’s dimensions are compact as compared to most SUVs. Not only did it help when navigating through the streets of Fontainhas but it was also useful in a number of off-road situations.

Having verified the Jimny’s abilities in town to our satisfaction, the next item on the agenda was to try driving it on the beach. A recent spate of irresponsible tourists getting their cars stuck on the beach had made the local people rather hostile towards others with similar ideas (and rightly so). Finding a quiet beach was a challenge but we did. When the sandy region began, I stopped and selected four-wheel-drive low and it was smooth sailing. On the sand dunes in Jaisalmer, the gradient and lack of traction had forced me to keep the momentum going but on the flat and sandy terrain of the beach, the Jimny purred along easily without once getting stuck or getting bogged down. It was tempting to dip a wheel in the waves, too, but I resisted it. Didn’t seem worth the risk of getting lynched. In the past, I have driven cars on to the beach for a nice sunrise/sunset shot but in the Jimny, it was effortless and never once did it make me anxious about getting stuck.

Having had our fill of the SUV’s capabilities on the beach, we parked it for some well-deserved rest and headed out into the sea on a speedboat to try something new. Flying has always been one of man’s fascinations and that is what I had zeroed in on. Parasailing in Goa has evolved to such an extent that it is easy, simple, and fun. I was expecting to have to change into swimming clothes for this one but they assured me that there was no chance of me coming into contact with the water unless I wanted to. After sailing for a few kilometres away from the shore, the boat turned around and headed back at full speed. The canopy was already in the air and yours truly was strapped into it securely. Then the winch was let loose and I was sent hurtling into the air. It was the first time I saw Goa from that angle and it was a peaceful experience. The boat continued on its way, leaving a fresh wake, and I trailed behind it, just soaking in the new perspective. A few minutes later, they reeled me back on to the boat all dry and safe. Not bad at all.

Parasailing is enjoyable if one is fond of flying but has no prior experience of such activities. There is not much to do because it is purely a passenger experience. In that moment, I decided that I wanted to fly some more but with a bit more control over the flying bit. That is where paragliding came in.

We heard the flying season was still open around Pune, so we took off in the Jimny for one more adventure. Unlike parasailing, paragliding relies solely on thermal lifts with no means of external propulsion. One of the most popular sites for paragliding near Pune is a hilltop with a cliff near Kamshet. A small and narrow trail leads up to that spot but it is so unruly that most would hesitate to take their SUVs all the way up there, fearing scratches on the paint caused by overhanging branches and shrubbery. Old 4x4s do taxi runs up and down the hill. Interestingly, those SUVs are slightly wider than the Jimny and their constant runs along the route have worn off the foliage around those dimensions. That is where the beauty of the Jimny became apparent. I never had a doubt about the SUV’s ability to go up the hill but I was anxious about getting scratches on the bodywork. A bit of careful manoeuvring was needed but the car made it to the top of the hill without any serious damage. That is the benefit of having a Jimny at one’s disposal: it takes one places where one may hesitate to take other SUVs. The Jimny had brought me 95 per cent of the way and I only had to do a short hike to the cliff but, compared to the ease with which I had come uphill, that last bit of exercise seemed endless.

Once strapped in, we had to wait for optimal wind speed before taking off the cliff. I had opted for an instructional programme, so the instructor flew until we gained a few hundred feet in altitude and then handed the controls over to me. The next few minutes were spent pulling on the control ropes to understand how they affected the movement of the canopy and, consequently, my progress. I got a hang of the whole thing shortly and soon was arcing through the air. Just before landing, I got a good look at the cliff. From the air, it was easier to appreciate exactly what the Jimny had done. Most SUVs would have made it up the hill but the Jimny made it a properly fun drive.

That brings us to the end of our adventures with the Jimny in this Tales & Trails series. In the first part, this SUV tackled all the challenging terrain we introduced it to and in this one, it overcame similar challenges but also backed us up on our adventures that did not include an SUV. After exploring four different regions with the Jimny, we have amassed a lot of memories. That is what makes this SUV so lovable; tales will never be in short supply behind the wheel of a Jimny. It is always ready for adventure.

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Trails & Tales Part One

Watch the full video here:

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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