First Drive to Discover was conducted in 2010. At that time, it was City sedan which traversed through India, from Jammu to Kanyakumari. The rally lasted for 1 month. The second edition, conducted in 2011, saw Brio and City travel through the twisty NH17 route of Mumbai to Goa. For Drive to Discover 3, it was Brio, which travelled from Jammu to Trivandrum in about 20 days. We were part of that event, and drove during the last leg, Kochi – Munnar – Trivandrum.
Drive to Discover 4 was organized from 21st – 31st Aug 2013, covering the following cities- Trivandrum – Kanyakumari – Puducherry – Chennai – Nellore – Vijaywada – Vizag – Puri – Bhubaneshwar – Kolkata. Spanning over a period of about 10 days, D2D2 saw participation of a total of 18 auto media personnel from various publications. Divided into three legs, first leg spanned from Trivandrum to Chennai, second leg participants had to cover Chennai to Vizag (earlier Vishakhapatnam) and the last leg saw the Amaze diesel rally from Vizag to Kolkata.
From the route, you must have figured that the attempt was to traverse through the south eastern coast of India. We were invited to join the drive for the second leg. Our leg was flagged off from Honda Chennai dealership. Our destination, for the first day, Nellore. With an entire day ahead of us, and just 250 odd kms to travel, we decided to skip the national highway and start discovering rural roads.
Original idea was to visit Penchalakona Waterfalls, before we called it a day. Starting from Chennai, we took an exit after Kavaraipettai, onto state highway 52, towards Tirupathi road. With every passing kilometer, the number of vehicles on the road started decreasing. We kept on going through SH52. Near Suruttapalli, we took a right towards an even narrower road. this one led us to Nagalapuram, what you see in the image below.
After spending a good time at the place, we decided to continue our discovery further, and penetrate further into rural India. From here, we headed towards Srikalahasti. The entire route was scenic, hardly any bad roads. On the sides, you could see lush green fields, people farming, kids playing cricket in lungi, rickshaws filled with people, and still stopping to carry more.
All this while, the Amaze was showing us that it is a car which is made for India, easily traversing through the different terrains we were throwing towards the car. By the time we reached Srikalahasti, it was 4:30 pm, and we still were yet to have lunch. So we decided to stop here (Madeena Hotel, image below) and have lunch. Once we were done with lunch, we realized that we also had eaten daylight time, which we needed in order to see Penchalakona Waterfalls.
It is at this point that we decided, no point visiting the waterfalls as by the time we reach there, the light would be no more. So we headed to Nellore, which was still a good 100 kms away. By 7:30 we had reached our hotel, named Leo. There we were greeted by loud music, as the hotel was hosting two different events, sangeet and engagement for two different couples. But it didn’t bother us much, thanks to the wonderful day we had spent. At dinner, we decided to start the next day early, so that we have a chance to discover more.
As per plan, we were up early, and out of the hotel by 9:30. Our POA today was to visit nearby beaches before we head for our destination for the day, Vijaywada. We started towards Mypadu. It was about 23.5 kms away from Nellore. Roads were narrow and the view was scenic. After reaching Mypadu, we saw a resort, and it was next to the beach. The first thing that came to my mind was why did we spend the night at a hotel when this resort was here.
We spend some time at the place, and decided to carry on along the coast-line towards Koduru Khandrika and Eduru. It is on this road that we saw fish hatcheries, along the road. We were lucky enough to see one in action. A certain hatchery was getting ready to transport their product to the waiting vans. You can watch the entire episode in the videos below.
We left the hatchery and continued towards Eduru. Our idea was to get the fleet of Amaze diesel sedans close to the beach, so that we could click some decent images. The road towards Eduru beach was, well not a road. Just a way towards the beach. It was more like a no-road. This gave us a chance to off-road with the Amaze diesel, and to everyone’s surprise, the car performed exceptionally well. On reaching the second beach of the day, we saw that even here we will not be able to take the car near the beach. The title image on first page is clicked at this place. With the sea near us, we decided to walk towards the virgin beach.
With 1 PM on the clock, from here, we decided to head towards civilization. As soon as we reached AH45, we pitted for lunch. As we were roaming around Nellore all this while, we were still 260 kms away from Vijaywada. After lunch, we decided to stay on the highway and head straight to our day’s pitstop.
The final day of the drive was here, and just like the previous day, we were in our respective car’s and moving towards Vizag by 10 AM. The route for the day, was to travel through the highways till Rajahmundry, and after that take a left towards Gokavaram and enter the deep forests, travel to Rajavommangi – Koyyuru – Golugonda – Narsipatnam – Anakapalle – Vishakhapatnam.
Just before Rajahmundry, we crossed the famous 2.7 kms long Godavari bridge (see image above). It is the second longest road-cum-rail bridge. We reached Rajahmundry by 2 PM. By the time we finished lunch, and got out of the city, it was about 4 PM. This delay asked for a little improvisation. Instead of entering the forest from Gokavaram, we decided to continue on the highway till Somavaram, and enter the forest from here to Rajavommangi. During this stretch, there were a lot of statues of god Hanuman, the largest of them you can see below, which was located at the exit we took from the highway to enter the forest region (Honda Amaze is parked right next to the idol).
The terrain was fantastic, and Honda Amaze had no problems at all. As soon as we entered the forest, it was like entering an all new world. The roads were narrow, but what it offered, was more than any of us ever expected.
Soon daylight was gone and we were in pitch dark. Not a single vehicle to be seen, we decided to stop our fleet and enjoy the darkness. This is when we started seeing fireflies. As we had the entire road to ourselves, we got to click many images. More images in the photo gallery at the end of post.
We reached our hotel later than any other day. Second leg of Drive to Discover 4 with Honda Amaze had ended. But with my return flight in the afternoon the next day, I had a couple of hours to explore Vizag or Vishakhapatnam.
Vishakhapatnam is home to the only natural harbor in the country on the east coast. It also houses the oldest shipyard along with a steel plant and many state-owned heavy industries. Our hotel was located on the scenic beach road. Just across the hotel was the famous submarine museum, which you can see in the image above. As I did not have much time, my colleagues decided to stay on the Beach road itself, and not to wander much. Honda Amaze diesel continued along the beach road as there were many scenic locations for photo-shoot. At one such location, we found this friend (below) who joined us on our Drive to Discovery. The drive ended with amaz’ing memories. Waiting for the next edition, hopefully in the new Jazz!