Adventure junkies, get your safety gear out.
We’re about to bring you experiences that can last a day up to a week, giving you options to race the adrenaline, pump up your blood and reach out for all of your off-road aspirations. Adventures on wheels that are snappier than a Guy Ritchie heist movie, making them perfect for some time-pressed individuals, but linger on in memories and get that adrenaline high and racing every time you think about it. We’re taking you beyond tarmac – here’s a list of dry and slushy adventures on ice, rocks, gravel and sand... and anything else that the elements may have to offer are your terrain to claim!
Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Training Academy
The best alternative to a Netflix binge on a rainy day is a four-wheeled, off-road experience at the Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Training Academy. A three-hour-long drive from Mumbai and you’re in Igatpuri, comfortably outside city limits, ready to get on all fours. The only organised off-road academy running in the country, this five-hour-long (the basic level) adventure is a first-time enthusiast’s Disneyland.
Though the Academy is functional throughout the year, the rains are this off-roading monster’s (the Thar CRDe 4x4 Trainer Vehicle) functional muse. The obstacles are best dealt with when the course is slushy, brake pads all wet and the theory skills you learnt before the start of the session are put to test once you’re out there. And let’s admit it, a creature like the Thar looks best when it’s played with in mud. A shiny Thar parked in a garage is like Usain Bolt taking an appointment for spray tanning.
This powerful beast of a machine generates so much torque, it virtually drives itself from standstill in any gear. During training, you’re constantly told not to drive the vehicle, the vehicle drives you. You just have to roughly guide it into places and the vehicle does the job, and a good job it did, indeed! Meddle with this mandate and it could bite back. Most of the times, instinct will tell you to gas it, but restrain will pay dividends here.
The trick to driving the Thar in an off-road situation is feathering that throttle since the turbo-diesel powerplant builds up power only beyond 2000RPM, beyond which, it wants to lunge forward like a shark on a bait hook. Use 4L to concentrate all the available engine torque on a lower gear and simply point and shoot. As a party trick, one of the Mahindra instructors also jumps out of the Thar and walks it like a big hulking 4WD Great Dane, proving that Thars are capable of autonomous driving, albeit manually!
Even with the risks involved – the biggest one being the vehicle tipping over on its side – we’d say anything is better than taking carfies in traffic.
Duration – Basic level 5 hours
Cost – ₹7500 for the Basic Level
Pro tip – It’s best to always walk an obstacle before driving into it. What may look like a steep uphill climb or a deep pit may not be anticipated well if seen directly through the cockpit. Identifying the challenges ahead will help one take mental notes on how to overcome them from the driving seat.