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Sponsored feature: To the kingdom of happiness

4th Jul 2017 4:51 pm

The Gang of Dusters embarked on their first international drive from Agra to Bhutan. This is the story of the 2,300km journey to the Land of Gross National Happiness.

We are on an expedition behind the wheel of the trusty Duster. We joined the Gang of Dusters in Agra to follow 19 other Dusters that had gathered from across India to embark on Renault’s first international driving expedition to Bhutan. Day one of such long expeditions is the most chaotic one, especially when it comes to organising the bags into the boot. It’s surprising how the Duster’s boot swallowed four big bags and yet had more room left for smaller bags. Once the bags and passengers had settled into their respective places, the gang of 27 Dusters, along with the official convoy cars, were flagged off. The  drive through the Indian section was a mixed bag, ranging from a super-smooth six-lane expressway to absolutely non-existent village roads. Thanks to its sturdy suspension, even with a fully loaded boot and four passengers on board, there was never a point where it bottomed out. It wasn’t only the bad sections where the Duster proved its mettle but even on the wide, smooth highways, its stable nature made for some relaxed highway driving.

The Duster is no stranger to us as it has been a part of many other international drives through the length and breadth of the world. Having driven over all sorts of terrain and weather, we have come to appreciate its finer qualities like reliability, sturdiness, fuel efficiency and comfort, to name a few. When it comes to a long expedition like this, it is definitely the vehicle’s reliability that is the most important and that is exactly where the Duster really impresses, scheduled service is all it has needed to keep going. Through our drive to Bhutan and back we did not experience any hiccup, not even a puncture! As expected, the Duster emerged as just the right car for the task and a comfortable one at that.

If you own a Duster, its time to join the gang and explore some of the most iconic and adventurous destinations.

May 13 Day 1
Agra to Lucknow 337km (4h 5min) Straight run on a butter-smooth, newly opened expressway all the way to Lucknow.

May 14 Day 2
Lucknow to Varanasi 320km (5h 54min) A mix of state highways and four lanes through NH19.

May 15 Day 3
Varanasi to Patna 252km (7h 39min)
One of the most adventurous sectors, driving through the village roads of Bihar.

May 16 DAY 4
Patna to Siliguri 457km (9h 32min)

Very chaotic getting out of Patna city; crossed one of the longest bridges on the drive over the Ganges.

May 17 Day 5
Siliguri to Phuntsholing 174.5km  (3h 51min)

Twisty roads through the mountains, lots of railway crossings and tea estates. Crossed border into Bhutan.

May 18 Day 6
Phuntsholing to Thimphu 182.5km (4h 31min) Narrow and twisty roads through mountains en route to Thimphu.

May 19 Day 7
Thimphu to Punakha, to Thimphu 192.5km (5h 10min) Drive through Dochula pass; river rafting at Punakha and a visit to the Punakha Dzong.

May 20 Day 8
Thimphu city tour and a visit to the Buddha point.

May 21 Day 9
Thimphu to Paro 67.7km (1h 12min)
Short drive to Paro and a two-and-half-hour trek to the Tiger’s Nest.

May 22 Day 10
Paro to Siliguri 316km (7h 58min)

 

Home run through twisty roads and tea estates.

 

  • 27 Number of dusters
  • 2 Number of women drivers
  • 2300 Number of kilometres covered
  • 47 Number of participants
  • 30 Number of participants who made it to the Tiger’s Nest
  • 12 Number of fuel stops
  • 19 Number of railway crossings

 

 

Payal Lal (Gurgaon), Duster Owner

 

 

I’ve been part of the gang for quite a while and this is my third trip. The highlight of the Duster for me is the power of the motor, and I would say the endurance as well. It feels great to be a member of G.O.D. as it is more like a big family. Most of the members on this trip are the ones with whom I’ve done some of the previous expeditions to Leh-Ladakh, etc. It’s just like meeting friends for a get-together and visiting great destinations and coming back with great memories.

Duster Report
After spending 10 days and 2,300km with the Duster, here’s the report card.

Puneet Chaudhary Duster Owner

 

I have been a part of G.O.D. for a long time and this is my seventh trip. It’s very exciting for me because I have never driven into another country by road. It feels great to be a part of the convoy as everything is organised and carried out in a very secure manner. This expedition gave me an opportunity to drive on different terrains and explore my SUV better. It was hugely satisfying to see the Duster handle all without any trouble.

Shankar, Coimbatore, Duster Owner

This is the first time I have participated in G.O.D. This drive to Bhutan was very well-organised and I am looking forward to more international drives. I feel that I am part of a family where everybody feels the same way. I met new people from all across India. Though we come from different parts of the country, we all have the same understanding. That’s why I believe that we are one family, Gang of Dusters.

Gang of Dusters 100,000

The need for adventure among Renault Duster owners has been ever growing since the inception of G.O.D – Gang Of Dusters. Since it started in 2014, the Gang Of Dusters is now a community of over one lakh-plus registered members. In the past, Renault has organised a number of drives across the length and breadth of the country, engaging its customers through various cities. The trip to Bhutan was the 30th drive of G.O.D. The format for the drives have been designed keeping in mind different needs of the members. From one-day drive, it goes up to a 12-day-long expedition. The fact that the whole expedition is managed and run in the safest possible way by a team of experts makes being part of G.O.D. really worth it. Joining the gang is as simple as buying a Renault Duster and enrolling for the membership. There are a lot of additional benefits that come as part of the membership like service discount coupons and, of course, invitations to the various adventure initiatives.

Amol Joshi Pune, Duster Owner 
I have driven all the way from Pune to Agra. I am quite impressed with the Duster, especially the way it covers long distances comfortably. On the way to Agra, we covered a stretch of 1,000km on the first day, and 500km odd on the next day to reach Agra to join this expedition for Bhutan. It is an amazing experience to cross an international border by road. Bhutan’s traffic discipline is something India could adopt as well.

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