Ford Figo Bharat Yatra: Weekend in Paradise
Pink and salty are not usually words used to describe a cup of tea, but then, there is nothing usual about the valley of Kashmir! Set like a jeweled crown on the map of India, Kashmir with its cherry blossoms and saffron fields, serene lakes and stunning gardens, flowering meadows and snow-capped peaks, and sheer chai (a pink, salty tea) has captivated people since centuries. No wonder on visiting the valley, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir had remarked, “If there is paradise anywhere on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.” And, eons later, the Figo Bharat Yatra team is echoing these same words as they traverse the magnificent landscape of Kashmir.
For the team, travelling along a road lined with orchards of walnuts, almonds, apples, peaches, apricots and pears on one side and the swift-flowing Jhelum river on the other, was an experience that memories are made of! On September 25, the Yatra reached the town of Kisthwar, known as the land of saffron and sapphire. With the lofty Himalayas rising from all sides, Kisthwar is on route the trans-Himalayan trail to Ladakh, and for the Figo team driving through these spectacular mountain ranges, it was challenging as well as exhilarating experience. The final icing on the cake was the Figo display spot opposite a fragrant saffron field. As loads of Kisthwaris rushed up to the Ford stand and scores of them test-drove the car, for the team the setting was a perfect mix of business and pleasure.
Bhandara, popularly known as the rice bowl of Maharashtra and the district of lakes, was the Yatra’s destination in the western state. With more than 3,500 lakes, historic forts and religious shrines, Bhandara is a hot tourist spot. The Figo team was very well received in this holiday town and after 30 test-drives and one spot booking, there were no doubts in anyone’s mind about the Figo allure!
Next stop in Maharashtra was Bramhapuri, commonly known as Vidyanagari due to its numerous educational institutes. This student town was hopping with excitement as hundreds of youngsters visited the Ford exhibit. For the team members, the way the youngsters handled the Figo was a testament to their panache and skill behind the wheels.