Feb 012015

Drive With SOUL: A herd of Wild Beasts Tamed By Passionate Owners

We were tribesmen first, bonding over a bonfire on starlit nights under open skies, dancing to the orchestra of wild brooks and collective laughter emerging from the deep bowels of Souls celebrating the bounties of mother earth.

 Then we evolved and things got complicated, nations, religions, caste, community, and language all played a role to divide while we thought we are evolving as a species. No more. The baser instincts to belong to a tribe are back and we long to belong to a tribe that disenfranchises us from our passions and forces to follow rules that make us deaf to the rhythm of the heart.

No more!! like Bob Dylan said “For the times they, they are a-changin”,  the tribesmen instinct are back and the urge to merge with a group that shares a common passion is so strong that men are forging bonds that are stronger than the ones that were ossified over millennium.

From photography groups to hiking in the Himalayas, a new breed of tribesmen (and women) is taking center stage and this 26th January weekend I met one such tribe. The S.O.U.L or the Safari Owners United League is a tribe of very passionate owners, drivers, and wide-eyed lovers of a beast that they are so proud to take everywhere. I met some very passionate S.O.U.L riders like the group leader Mr. Atulay Nehra a lawyer by profession,  who was leading the tribe from Delhi border all the way to Jim Corbett National Park. Incidentally, Mr. Nehra is now with his third Safari and still owns his Safari number two. His wife is also an equally passionate driver and loves to take Safari when she has some spare time from raising her three boys ( A husband and two sons )

Atulya Nehra Lawyer

Mr. Nehra ( in shades) explaining some finer aspects of driving in hills

But it was no ordinary convoy, every single Safari was given a numbered sticker and they moved in a sequence to avoid anybody taking a wrong route. But it had a big advantage as you need to drive in the discipline in your designated spot in the convoy there were no attempts to overtake, honk or unleash the dark side of the force. The #DriveWithSOUL sure knows how to tame the beast and use his muscle on the meandering roads.

Amit Tyagi Safari Owner

Passionate owners tending to the beasts before hitting the dirt tracks: Amit Tyagi and Puneet Chaumal 

The bonhomie of the group was visible at the breakfast stop when I actually got to interact with some of them for the first time. It was obvious that the only common bond in this tribe is their love for their Safari, otherwise what is the reason for a Lawyer, a Doctor, an Automobile Engineer, a code jockey, a tech support executive and other motley crew to come together and talk nothing but Safari. It is only in such a passionate group you see drivers cleaning their Safaris just before hitting a dirt track. Well as Mandy a young Owners said “ शौक भी कोई चीज़ होती है  (Shoq bhee koi cheez hotee hai) or there is something called passion” Mandy has done more than 135,000, in his Safari in less than 3 years and still feel he does not get enough time to drive.!

Mandy Chauhan

Mandy and his beast have done 135,000 KM in 3 years across India

Tata Safari 4 Wheel Drive

A Family that drives together 

But the #DriveWithSOUL was not just about riding the beast it was also about brotherhood and family time. As most of the S.O.U.L members who joined the drive are family men and it was nice to see moms, kids, and even granny’s coming on the drive. Contrary to the popular stereotype that the SUVs are driven by men I found enough women driving the beast around to make you wonder who makes all these stereotypes. On a lighter note the women who tamed their husband may have found the thoroughly bred beast The Safari, from the stud farm of Tatas as easy as Mary’s little lamb to take places.

Traffic on Indian Highways

One Automatically Feels Safe in  SUV like Tata Safari when you are in such traffic


Country Road Take Me Home : A Kafila of Safaris on NH 24 Regional Drive North

The evening was spent on the banks of Kosi in the resort reliving the old days singing and dancing around a bonfire. But I retired early as the next morning we had planned an early morning safari to the Core Zone of Jim Corbett National Park. But most animals were hiding in the biting cold and we came back with just a few pictures of Deer, Wild Boar, Pea Fowl and the mandatory pug-marks that every guide to a tiger park shows to visitors whenever they are unable to spot a tiger.

Drive With Soul Regional Drive North Tata Safari

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

Tata Safari in Hills

Flame of Forest is a state of mind and not a flower

The highlight of the day was our trip to the riverbed that all the S.O.U.L drivers were excited to reach as it tested the offloading ability of their Safari, whom they fondly refer to as “The Beast “This was not the first outing of the group, who have gathered in past also to take their Safaris to various places and trips together. From a journey to the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan to a Paratha trip to the Internationally World Famous Murthal Dhabas on NH1, they have indulged in some cool trips in past. But this drive to Jim Corbett is the first real long drive with 2 nights stay in a luxurious resort on the banks of river Kosi bordering Jim Corbett National Park, the home of Royal Bengal Tigers.

Tata Safari on river bed 4 wheel drive

#DriveWiithSOUL: A Herd of Wild Beast meets at river bank to quench their thirst

The riverfront looked like the playground herd of thirsty Wild Elephants of Corbett, who assemble on the banks of Ramganga River to quench their thirst. During this playtime, I realized why the beast needs to be tamed, while the Safari is a very powerful SUV you still cannot leave it on its own with all its muscle. It needs a skillful driver to get the best out of the machine.

Tata Safai Sarson Ke Khet Mustard Fields

Not every Car is destined to see these Sarson Ke Khet

Wait for my second post in this series when I will share some interesting anecdotes and more pictures follow our  #DriveWithSOUL to Jim Corbett National Park in a convoy of 24  Tata Safaris you can check more pictures and meantime on Twitter account of Tata Safari and on Facebook.

I want to thank Tata SafariBlogadda and S.O.U.L for inviting me for the same. Also, check Shrinidhi Hande’s post about the #driveWithSOUL to Doodh Sagar Falls


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  66 Responses to “A Drive With SOUL: Rediscovering Passions”

Comments (65) Pingbacks (1)
  1. S.O.U.L
    Loved the article.
    Every pic revels the passion of exploring the roads and TATA Safari

  2. I love traveling in a road trip kind of way. Always be careful. Great cars.

  3. I honestly haven’t heard of Tata Safari but looking at it now, looks like a very great vehicle. It does feels good to in a journey with family or friends especially if you guys have the same things; I can relate because my family owns Toyota Avanza (same models) so when we drive out together, everyone looks at us as if we are in a parade or motorcade. Haha.

    • Hi Louise: Tata Safari is an Indian SUV made by the same company – TATA Motors that own Jaguar and Landrover, they are one of the biggest car makers in India. A motorcade sure looks impressive and we had the same feeling 🙂

  4. Looks like an enjoyable and memorable journey for your Safari automobile group! Would have loved to experience the National Park and commune with nature.

  5. Very beautiful! I know it’s not right to think this way but yes, I never thought that India is also beautiful. I should really learn a lot about one country before judging. Thank you!

  6. What an interesting trip. Bet it’s enjoyable too.

  7. the view of the river bank is lovely! it definitely looked fun

  8. Really nice pics. The article is inspiring as well!! WIsh I could also undertake a road trip across India

  9. What a fantastic journey and a true brotherhood at work. I loved the way your shared the adventure with photos, and I thoroughly enjoyed explanations of the rules/philosophy behind the Safari convoy… Beautiful! 🙂

  10. Geez! I don’t know if I can take the risk of driving in the hills. Too scary! hahaha.

    Oh wait, I can’t even drive. :3

  11. S.O.U.L. is an interesting concept, a convoy of a group of people passionate about their cars, and travelling to beautiful locations with their families. I love how it promotes camaraderie along the way.

  12. Being in a circle of friends like yours while sharing the same passion for cars is really wonderful! Looking forward to you next post.

  13. The Tata Safari looks really safe and can go on rough roads. Definitely a great car to drive.

  14. If it was up to me, I would spend my whole life travelling like this. I like the saying “If travelling was free, you would never see me again”. However, I think that travelling with such beasts can be costly cause gas and petrol are expensive. That is my dream life, though.

  15. Amazing photographs….. I have already taken a virtual tour of Jim Corbett National Park by your article.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. It’s so cool to be in a convoy to enjoy the drive and the destination with people who are as passionate as yourself. The photo of the river bank is gorgeous!

  17. I love going on long road trips. It’s nice that you get to do that plus the park looks absolutely stunning

  18. What a very satisfying and exciting adventures you had in that riverbed national park with elephants and tigers. Who is Jim Corbett whom this park is named after?

  19. I like the name, S.O.U.L. I want to be a member one day! 🙂 Seems like a very much fun experience! AAaaah, I so love doing these kinds of activities.

  20. Whoa, this looks like you really went on a cool ride. It must have been amazing to head to the national parks and see all of the beauty up close. The cars look cool too!

  21. Wow, this looks like a very interesting experience! But what car do you usually drive and how does it differ from your daily experience? Afterall, you mentioned how it’s good for “safari” or trekking like drive, but does it make a difference in daily driving?

  22. SOUL sounds like a great group where like minded people get to come together to share their love for travel and their ride. I am sure these trips give beautiful unforgettable memories!

  23. Never been to a Safari experience. good thing you have found your company. Nice photos as well.

  24. Lovely pics!
    Awesome trip 🙂

  25. That seems like a wonderful and memorable drive.

  26. Super cool!!
    All kinds of drivers brought together by their love for a tough machine.

  27. Looks like you … no, all the participants enjoyed the journey. 🙂

  28. Very well written.1,35,000 km wow man thats a great achievement for him.Did you manage to see tigers?

  29. The idea of driving in a convoy was really interesting!

  30. Wonderful article and lovely pics. Just loved your writing skills which makes me visit your blog every day.

  31. Beautiful pictures. So this was the event. The last time I went to Corbett, I was disappointed at not seeing the tiger. I am scared of driving on mountain roads. The husband does a great job of it. Look forward to your other posts.

  32. Must have been fun!!

  33. Wonderful to read this! Thanks for being part of this wonderful drive. We enjoyed your company too!!

  34. Sounds like a great experience! When I saw your instagram pics, I was wondering what this SOUL drive was all about….

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