Travelogue on Sandkphu Adventure

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 1

We did a Darjeeling and Sikkim road trip in the month of March 2021, this travelogue is part of it. Another travelogue will be shared on that complete trip, for now I will focus this travelogue on Sandkphu adventure.

It all started on Valentine’s day. Normal way of celebrating valentines day -> take your spouse/gf/bf for a candle light dinner or gift, etc. JEEPers way of celebrating -> take your JEEP on a offroad trail with 50+ JEEPers and form a heart with your JEEP. Here is a video of that trail:

Couple of JEEPers were discussing about their plan of going to Sandakphu in March and we got interested and wanted to join them. As usual next step is joining a whatsapp group  which had some 20 people in it. Frankly spoken Sandakphu was never in my mind, glad that it happened, one of our most memorable drives. Everything was getting planned and next usual step started. People dropping out, due to issues with leaves and pandemic, fair enough. Finally 4 JEEPers were confirmed and we were one of them.

After driving through 9 states and clocking 2800kms on the odo, we reached Siliguri, the first point for all 4 JEEPs to gather. Had our first lunch together at this amazing place called as Timboor which had recently opened up.

After filling our tummies to chicken and veg thalis, we started our ride towards Manebhanjyang. Manebhanjyang is full of dorms and homestays, typically for trekkers who start from here for trekking Sandakphu. Checked into a decent hotel, and everyone started getting frozen (-5 degC, a Bangalore those days was around 25 deg C, a drastic temperature difference!). We decided to start at 8am sharp and went to bed. Morning everyone was super exited and quickly had our breakfast.

Jeep Sandakphu
The Team! From left, Chethan, Narendra(BJC Member), Basavaraj, Pawani, Amritha (Most of us know her 😉), Akshata, ME, Pradeep and Prasad (BJC Member)

Sandakphu; which means “height of poison plant´´, got its name due to vastly grown poisonous aconite plants in the region. Apart from being home to one of the most poisonous plants on earth, Sandakphu is well known to offer mistic view of 4 of the 5 highest peaks in the world – Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu.

Jeep Sandakphu
Early morning vibes @ Manebhanjyang

First thing we had to do was organise passes for our JEEPs, got to know that they don’t allow 4X2. So 2 JEEPs were not permitted and rest 2 could go. The other JEEP didn’t want to do it, so it was finally my JEEP that was going to Sandakphu. Rest 6 members in the group booked a Land Rover and we 3 (me, brother and wife) would take our JEEP. Local Land Rovers don’t allow anyone else to go, since it reduces their income, in our case since we booked a Land Rover, they allowed us. Paid 1000 for the entry pass and started out journey!

It was a 31km drive which will take roughly 3-4 hrs for our cars, Land Rover guys can do this in around 2 hrs depending on traffic. Yes, there is hell lot of traffic on the way to Sandakphu, lot of vehicles and to make things worse, at most of the places there is just enough space for 1 vehicle to pass. Please be advised, this terrain is not for regular 4X2, even for soft offroaders like JEEP Compass it is difficult if you don’t have people around you to help navigate and support. This 31km drive taught me things about my car which I didn’t know even after driving it for 20000kms! 

While we bought passes to Sandakphu, lot of Land Rover guys came to us and tried discouraging us from doing it, told us scary stories of cars getting stuck, breaking down on the way and what not! We JEEPers were determined to do it and believed in our machine and decided to take it. Our Land Rover driver was very helpful, he said he will support us in scaling it but he was apprehensive of this vehicle crossing Gairibas.

So we started the journey, the first few kms was full of steep climb and crazy curves. Good thing was it was paved and also the tar had good grip.

Jeep Sandakphu
Misty, Jeep Gang and Upper Chitrey!

Didn’t spend lot of time here, basically our Land Rover driver Sanjay had stopped at Chitrey to ask if I am still comfortable driving the vehicle or if I have changed the mind. After getting my feedback, we started moving on. Our next stop was supposed to be at Meghma Monastery, the road from Chitrey to Meghma is full of cement road and is well laid.

Jeep Sandakphu
Me @ Meghma Monastery with my Jeep in the background 😊

After taking some pictures at Meghma Monastery, we started again towards Gairibas. Meghma Monastery to Gairibas is again cement road but is quite steep. I think this is where we climb majority of the ascent. The roads are narrow and steep, we were praying all the time that we don’t get any vehicle on the opposite side. Stopping here would be a nightmare, at some places I felt the hill ascent was around 45 deg! Finally 3 after we started from Manebhajyang, we reached Gairibas. The real fun would start from here, post Gairibas there is absolutely no roads at all. Its full of boulders, sand, mud, slush, everything that posts a challenge for a soft offroader. Just about a km away from Gairibas, I started getting stuck. The road was full of boulders and my car was getting stuck. Frankly spoken, I am an amateur at off-roading, have done couple of trails with BJC (Bangalore JEEP Club) but nothing that can challenge me and the machine. Just when I was stuck, 3-4 Land Rovers gathered and started shouting at me, lost all my confidence here. Started burning clutch, this is when a Co-JEEPer Prasad came to my rescue. He took the driver seat and everything started moving again! After lot of pushing, navigating around boulders and huge rocks, we reached Kalipokhari.

Jeep Sandakphu
@Kalipohari, was already starting to get dark here.

Reaching Kalipokhari is one hell of milestone, but from Kalipokhari to Sandakphu is next level. Since it had already started to get dark and freeze, the slush on the road was starting to get frozen. This makes things way worse, mix of frozen ice, slush and boulders is what you never want to experience, especially when you are on highway tyres! After driving for 45mins to an hour, we used to stop for 15mins for clutch and engine to cool down. We noticed that the engine power was getting derated at higher temperatures, so cooling the engine for 15mins helped a lot. Furthermore, natural Air Con (was around 10 deg C outside) around us helped to cool the clutch faster.

Jeep Sandakphu
The crew, halted for engine to cool down.

The last 2 kms before Sandakphu is completely steep, and full of loose sand and mud. There is hardly any grip here, to make things worse, the road is narrowest here.

Jeep Sandakphu
This is the start of the last 2kms before Sandakphu. Notice the ascent and the width of the road.

Our Land Rover broke down, the clutch apparently had some issues. Some other LR helped our co-travellers reach Sandakphu. Sanjay arranged for some tools and got his machine ready in an hour, its so amazing how much these guys know about their machine. They lack proper technical education but can repair the vehicle on top of a mountain with minimum tools and spares! They are literally born with LR’s around them, Sanjay had started driving LR when he was 16.

Jeep Sandakphu
Picture of our Jeep clicked by fellow traveller from top of the mountain!

At 5pm, we reached Sandakphu, had started snowing at Sandakphu. Things would have gotten worse if we had reached half an hour late, fresh snow turns black ice in the evening. All other LR’s which had reached few hours ago were shocked seeing our vehicle make it to the top.

Jeep Sandakphu
Jeep with the gang @ Sandakphu

This is the first Jeep Compass that has scaled Sandakphu. A TrailHawk has done it in the past, but that has higher GC and low-end torque than Jeep Compass

Jeep Sandakphu
Missus was super happy about reaching Sandakphu..!! This is her first time in Himalayas 😊

We were super hungry, since we had not eaten anything after our breakfast, all the stress during the journey had drained our energy levels. Had some hot thukpa and chai. Went to bed after dinner and some rum to warm our body.

Jeep Sandakphu
Snow from the previous night had covered our Jeep completely!

Woke up at 4am to watch sunrise and sleeping Buddha. Weather was nice to us, very less fog but was quite freezing. It was still snowing, all the efforts of reaching Sandakphu and bearing the cold weather paid off. We had an amazing sight of Sleeping Buddha.

Jeep Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha. Left most pic is head of buddha, then middle part (Kanchenjunga) is stomach and then knees and toe. Hard to describe it here, you need to imagine it.
Jeep Sandakphu
Jeep and Sleeping Buddha in the background. The image doesn’t do the justice, in reality it was quite clear.
Jeep Sandakphu
It was nice to see Solar Panels on top of every building. I work in Solar sector, sight of PV Panels always makes me feel happy.

After having a sumptuous breakfast, we started driving back to Manebhanjyang. Sun was shining, which means all the snow from previous day had already melted. But the bad news is the road was slushy at few places, which thankfully wasn’t much.

Jeep Sandakphu
Three of us (Mr, Missus and Brother) before starting!

It took us around 30mins to reach Kalipokhari.

Jeep Sandakphu
The must have picture when you scale Sandakphu!
Jeep Sandakphu
LR and Jeep Compass at sunny Kalipokhari

After having second round of chai (its amazing how much chai one can have when the weather is cold!), we started to Garibas. I am normally a filter coffee person, but given the fact that the only coffee that is offered in the hills is awfull instant nescafe, I prefer black tea. On the way back, at least 4-5 LR’s stopped us and asked if we had actually made it to Sandakphu. The sense of happiness in responding YES to them cant be described in mere words.

At around 11am (had started at 9am) we reached Manebhanjyang. Apart from few scratches on bumper and door panels, our Jeep returned clean. We had new set of Yokohoma Earth1 tyres on our Jeep, these performed really well. At few places when sharp rocks hit the side wall of the tyre, we were scared that we had damaged the tyre, but nothing had happened apart from rubber getting scratched. These are highway tyres, but they performed like AT tyres, taking on black ice, snow, slush, rocks and boulders, sand, etc. One of the difficulties we faced was, long wheelbase and turning radius of compass. At places where there was a sharp turn and steep ascent, it was difficult to take a turn and gain momentum right after that.

This image shows how the ascent started right after the turn, the long turning radius makes things worse in such cases. LR on the other hand, had quite small turning radius, this helped them manouver much easily. So long turning radius vehicles which want to scale Sandakphu need to keep this point in mind.


– Veeresh Anehosur

Bangalore Jeep Club!



posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 1
jeep girl rani

SOMEONE who was fond of cars & changing cars every third year from past 18 years. A couple of years when I was contemplating on which car to buy, there comes this magic machine which took my attention…

Ya you guessed it right…

Truly Magic…

Picked it on 9th October and special thanks to my hubby who took the delivery of my Jeep, not driving it straight home instead he gets it to my office as I could not make it to take delivery from showroom.  I jumped like a small girl without saying “NO”, trust me the moment when I held the steering & drove up the ramp of my office building it was ‘AWESOME FEELING’ – never before, never after. Felt proud when this MAGIC MACHINE made the heads turn when I drive it.

his bestie had given a lifetime experience of getting selected for the “Times Women’s Drive 2018” & definitely a PRIDE for being the first car to be flagged off.

This Magic Machine has taken my life to the next level with amazing people of Jeep Community. Made some good friends for life, especially the core team of BJC who are ever-ready to support / help all the fellow Jeepers. They are just a call away making us feel so special.

Wondering when I will be back on those lovely tracks especially made for my Jeep whether it’s on highway, off-road or just a drive to my work – I love being as much glued to my Magic Machine.


Jeep Girl – Rani


posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 6

After getting my Jeep Compass in August last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Jeep Trails event in November. Read all about my experience of participating in Jeep Trails White Sands, in the Rann of Kutch here.

But the ownership experience is always enhanced by sharing our passion with other like-minded enthusiasts. With this is mind, I was lucky enough to come in contact with Devendra Deshmukh (lovingly called DD) of Jeep Western Wanderers club. He got me hooked up with the group and I was onboard with JeepAG (Jeep Activity Group).

Pic Edited
Splash courtesy.. DD 🙂

Jeep Western Wanderers is one of the nine clubs under JeepAG, which brings together various Jeep clubs across India and their enthusiastic members under one roof.


The beginning of 2020 brought fresh enthusiasm to the group and a plan for a 1 day trail drive was made. Me with my impulsive behaviour, decided to attend the event. The drive was planned by Jeep Western Wanderers (JWW) to Morbe Dam, Khopoli which is located about 2 hours away from Mumbai, mid-way to Pune.

The event kick-started with all the participants from Mumbai meeting at a common place. To my happy surprise, many members came with their families, which was a great relief for my wife and son. The youngest enthusiast in the line-up was 9 months old. Kudos to his parents for getting her started early 🙂

The Mumbai gang

The total participants included 25 Jeeps and 72 participants (Participants from Mumbai, Pune and me from Nasik). We started in convoy for our first destination; Hotel Purva in Khopoli. This was our breakfast stop and also the converging point for the participants coming from Pune (Yes.. that’s how enthusiastic we are. Coming from Nasik & Pune for a 1 day trail drive).


After a sumptuous breakfast, we lined up and moved towards our trail. We left the highway and moved onto a small narrow road, crossed Chouk railway station and moved ahead. The long line-up of Jeeps was a sight to behold and enjoy.

Pic courtesy: Ajay Kadam

The organisers had promised us some off-road fun, and boy, did they deliver!! The paved road ended immediately after the village, and we moved onto a dirt track (Let’s not call it a road). I immediately had my doubts; would my 4X2 Jeep be able to handle such rough tracks? Would it get stuck in the loose sand? Would it be able to tackles steep inclines?

But the 2 dozen Jeeps moving ahead gave me confidence and I started enjoying the drive. 

The drive was rough, but we enjoyed ourselves. The going was slow and we had to periodically stop for others to catch up and the convoy would move ahead again.

After about an hour of off-roading, we reached our first stop Pirkatwadi in Arkas Wadi area. This is a small hamlet with 20 houses. There is no electricity or running water. But there is a small Government run school with 16 students. It’s amazing to see the commitment of the villagers to educate their children.

I was astounded to see the school. It had a single classroom but the efforts being taken by the staff to educate the children was extraordinary. Having limited resources definitely wasn’t holding them back. Many unique and out of the box ideas were implemented for making the learning fun and educational.


As social impact is an objective of JWW, we carried as many things as we could for the children including stationary, books, food, blankets and much more. It was amazing to see the joyous reaction of the children. Their parents joined them too and we had a great time chatting with them.


Soon it was time to move on and DD once again sprung a surprise on us. He told us that he will lead us to a remote location, where we will be in touching distance of the water. So we moved ahead. We had to cross a dry riverbed on the way there.

We started driving back the same way but soon took a diversion. It looked like DD was leading us straight into the jungle. I couldn’t even see a walking trail. But we proceeded ahead nonetheless.

After about 15 mins. drive, we got to the catchment area of Morbe dam. It was a wonderful place. Right by the water, the weather was mild and we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere. Piping hot tea and poha was served by the same villagers who has met us earlier. The favourite timepass for the children seemed to be throwing stones into the water.

Pic Courtesy: Jatin K
Panoramic shot of the area
Celebrate every occasion.. cause you get cake 🙂

Too soon it seemed, it was time to head back to civilisation. We drove back the same way and after another hour, we reached the Chouk village. 

A dusty Jeep but a very enthusiastic boy

It was a pleasure to drive on paved roads again. We assembled at a nearby restaurant and after a well-deserved lunch, it was time for goodbyes as everyone headed in their own direction, with promises to meet soon at similar trails.

I must specifically mention the performance of the Jeep Compass. My Compass is a 4X2 variant, but it conquered the rough terrain with ease. Not only mine, but all the Compass made it through without getting stuck. It shows the capability of the vehicle. The build quality is top notch as well, as my Compass took all the bumps, scrapes and underbody hits and still came out with flying colours. I am impressed and mighty pleased with my decision of purchasing the Jeep Compass.

Special thanks also to JWW organisers who took out time to visit the location beforehand and made the great arrangements. It was a great family drive, and I am looking forward to many more drives in the future with this great community of Jeepers and road trippers.

Legendary Jeep Trails 2019 – Rajasthan

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 1

This was a dream destination for many of our Jeepers from BJC, GOJ, WW & DJ, and when it was announced as a Legendary Trails by FCA – that added glitter to the beam that we were projecting to from long time. The planning for the trails started backend once the registered participants from our clubs confirmed their participation. A couple of more destinations were included on our route to the reporting location at Jaipur for LJT 2019.

For the BJC Jeepers the day started with drive from Bangalore on 19th early morning, while a Jeeper from Kerala had started off a day earlier to join us at Bangalore start point. The drive was smooth till the scheduled breakfast point and we were able to reach the break point ahead of schedule to have a local delicacy – Benne Dose of Davangere. There was an unassigned pit stop at Hubli to meet a fellow Legend Jeeper and as we were ahead of schedule the lunch point was dragged to few 100 kms further. After yet another local savory near to Kolhapur the convoy of 5 Jeeps headed towards Pune with an evening tea break to beat the upcoming traffic. In spite of the heavy traffic we reached our stay point by scheduled time. A quick dinner and retire to bed early was welcome by all to start off early next morning.

The day two drive started off on dot and reached the breakfast point on time, beating the Thane / Mumbai traffic. An appetizing Maharastrian breakfast at a prominent joint boosted the endurance of all Jeepers for rest of the day’s drive to the world famous Statue of Unity.
With yet another lunch break for the famous Gujarati dishes at Navasari, the convoy of 6 Jeeps headed to the day’s sight seeing place.
The view of the world’s tallest statue welcomed us from kms away, with the size of the statue increasing every meter we were nearing to it. Jeepers spent ample time at this famous location with a view of the biggest Dam and a late evening laser show over the statue of unity. Everyone retired at a nearest hotel for the day after the memorable visit to the status of Unity.

The day three all 6 Jeeps started rolling out 6:00 AM to the next destination Ajmer with a first breakfast stopover at Godhra after a flat tyre for one of the Jeep. The lip smacking local delicacy with a tea gave a boost to drive ahead. All Jeepers had a quick stopover at Jeep Centre in Udaipur for a tyre change and munching some snacks during lunch time. We had a late stopover for lunch on the highway towards Ajmer, thus proceeding the day’s final destination near to the Ajmer Dargah.

The day four started off with in-house breakfast at our place of stay and skipping both the tourists places en route citing to the security reasons and warnings by localities. Headed directly to the LJT reporting place at Jaipur. The streets to the hotel at Jaipur were blocked with no internet connectivity for entire day, but FCA / Trails team guided us through exclusive paths to reach the hotel. After registration and check-in, all Jeepers hopped into a nearby food court in a Mall for quick lunch / snacks. Meeting and greeting fellow Jeepers across the country – a few of them took off for shopping at local market. Everyone assembled for the briefing on the lawns and welcomed each other once again along with the trails team and FCA officials. All of us retired after dinner by the lawns as the next day was scheduled to be hectic with lot of activities / places to visit.

The day five (actual day 2 of LJT Trails) kicked off as early as 4 AM with every one reporting and rolling out towards the first break point for a hot air balloon ride. The flight took off in batches and was a most thrilling experience chasing the balloons to board the flight. It was amazing experience and the pilot was very cautious to give us a smooth ride and landing.

After the ride we headed back to the exclusive breakfast at the Samode Palace.

Later headed to the Sambar Lake for a lunch at a nearby heritage resort which was exclusively opened for our lunch. We had a quick drives to the lake bed for Flamingo sightings in batches along the railway tracks. The thrill for the day was awaiting for us at the Salt bed where every Jeeper had a stunning experience driving over the sandy salt bed. The convoy in three batches proceeded further over the Salt pan crossing to reach our halt at Khimsar. The stay at Khimsar Fort was yet and heritage cum luxury experience with the dinner at old ruins followed by folk performance by local artists which encouraged fellow Jeepers to tap their feet for a while.

The day six with a little relaxed start post breakfast towards Jodhpur for a visit to the famous Umaid Bhawan. Here we were welcomed by a local mentor who took us around the palace and also the Mehrangarh Fort along with Blue City walk towards end of the day. Yet another exclusive lunch for Jeepers was organized by the foot hills of the fort at Chokelav Bagh – perhaps we had our best food over here with the tunes by Rajasthani artists.

Couple of hours walk by shopping and food street munching typical Rajasthani country side snacks, everyone headed back to the hotel for night halt. The stay at heritage Jhalamand Garh meeting the king of the palace for Christmas eve cocktail dinner on the palace gardens.

The next day had a leisure drive after breakfast at Jhalamand Garh towards Osiyan. Every Jeeper had a track to drive on dunes with an amazing experience as how their beasts can perform on such terrain. A stopover at top the sand dunes to meet the local children and camel rides added glamor to the drives. Apart from FCA donations to the needy school children the Jeepers also accumulated a whooping amount to provide the blankets to the families of those children. The lunch on the dunes at a camp was unique and heading back to the camp site for the stay. A quick check-in and everyone headed for sunset point along with dune bashing. We had our hands on experience taming the wranglers over the sand dunes and bushes. Back again to camp refreshed swiftly – all Jeepers were taken to the Gala Dinner place on the dunes. The deserted desert was jacked up by the trails team for an unprecedented elegance. The Christmas evening went on till late midnight with live music and various drinks to beat the chilling night on desert.

This day was most fascinating drive to the jungle path for lunch with privileged permission inside the jungle. A few Jeepers were welcomed by the stunning Leopard on the jungle path – a true off-roading experience. As we descended everyone were reasoning how do we go back on this path! But the Jeeps cruised through this with ease and without any additional effort. A hearty thanks to the team who arranged for the lunch in mid of jungle. Few of us had a quick foot trek to the dry water falls and headed back to next adventure.

All Jeeps climbed the rocky mountain in dark, this was a very thrilling element of our drives. Between Uphill and Lake front a shack was setup for high tea – to be welcomed by the Princess of Deogarh. The Princess unfolded the greatness of the place and also we gained knowledge about stars from her. We headed back to the Deogarh Palace for our night stay with a royal dinner hosted by the Princess.

The last day of convoy drive started off after a yummy breakfast at the palace, heading towards our lunch stop near to Tonk. The lunch was hosted at a Royal Family’s property which was jacked up and opened solely for our group after 10 years of shutdown. A garlanded royal welcome to cherish and relish the royal life with the delicious food prepared under the supervision of the great daughter of the royal family. A warm thanks to the family, we headed to our final destination Ranthambore. After checking in to our suites, we were back to dining area for the dinner together with the entire team. Later we drove to the Ranthambore festival at Nahargarh Palace to meet and greet the top officials from FCA. Later we were greeted by the Prince Alsisar himself and later spent the night with couple of music performances over the festival city. Whilst most of us returned back from the festival city due to sub zero chillness, a few of the Jeepers spent more hours at the Den for after hours party night which went till early morning.

Our day ten (LJT’s last day of trails) was almost leisure day as the Safari got postponed due to some entry issues. We spent most of the day planning for our next trails and get togethers, cherishing the moments spent for the past 5 days. Post lunch everyone headed toward the festival location and tapped feet for those various musical performances.

Out of the blue – FCA arranged for another gala evening along with awards ceremony. Everyone were excited to receive their badge of honor for the completed Legendary Trails and few more were awarded additionally for the contests or outstanding performances.

A good bye for all other fellow Jeepers and warm hugs ended the night for us.

The day eleven for us was scheduled to head back towards south, whilst other Jeepers enjoyed the ride to Safari. We had a foggy drive for being started early morning on a bad stretch for almost an hour and later to be veered off to a better roads. The 8 Jeeps from South India followed each other in convoy to reach the breakfast point by the river side restaurant. A couple of breaks we reached our scheduled lunch point in Sagar for some delicious MP food. Beyond this point was what the nightmare drive for most of us, as the roads were in very bad shape before we could hit the normal highway to Nagpur. A quick vehicle checks was organized by FCA late night at Nagpur and later everyone retired for the day.

The day twelve kicked of as scheduled and reached the fixed breakfast point on time even though we had some hinderances on the way. A couple of tyre fixes were completed by the time the food was served. The scheduled lunch break point was replaced by a lunch at a fellow Jeeper’s farm house. Everyone cherished the homely food after so many days and thanked the family for the hospitality. Saying bye to DJ team, a late evening start off towards Bangalore delayed our destination time by many hours due to multiple breaks. A couple of them reached Bangalore few hours earlier than the rest who happened to reach by early morning. Almost 20 hours on the road was tiresome but none were exhausted to the core. The Jeeper from GOJ had another 9 hours drive back to his location and reached safely late morning.

Amidst the ongoing agitations at some places from our start point to the end point – we had a safe drive without any hurdles and at many a places the public gave way for the convoy with respect. So when’s the next trails is what in everyone’s mind…. Jeepy New Year 2020


Scarlett comes home – My Jeep Compass Limited(O) 4×4 – Arun Josie

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 1

Five years and close to two lakh kms of ownership experience is a perfect window for a change/upgrade. My humble steed, the Linea MJD had served us well in the past 5 years and I had no plans to upgrade it. But, a chance test drive and some deep discounts going on for the Jeep Compass pushed me over the edge to upgrade from the Linea. The temptation to bring the Jeep home was too much and resistance was futile.

Right from the launch of Jeep Compass in June 2017, I’ve had an eye on it. Not just for the looks, but the ride handling as well. I was thoroughly impressed when I took a test drive, way back in 2017. However, Linea was doing its job perfectly and we didn’t feel the need for an upgrade then. But things changed in March 2019. Oh! we never know on what life has in store for us!

I did think about retaining the Linea as a spare car. But it was not a viable option for us due to budget constraints. Also, the Linea will be driven sparingly with the Jeep in the garage and it’s bad to leave such a great car unused. So, after a lot of thought, we decided to let go of the Linea for a Jeep Compass.

A quick summary based on my experience so far:


  • Power! 173bhp on tap and it is very nicely distributed. (Of course, it’s a big upgrade for me from Linea MJD)
  • Excellent performance and handling on the highway. Its rock-solid at good speeds.
  • Tight suspension. At moderate speeds and above, the potholes and uneven surfaces are absorbed well. (Basically, the ride quality is stiffer than plush)
  • ‘Drivability’ inside the city is good too.
  • Smooth gear shifts and I like the gear knob, cool metallic finish, and nice grip to hold too.
  • Clutch is light (not in the Harrier league though), has a long travel like Linea. Initial batch had clutch issues which is fixed now.
  • Braking is excellent with all 4 disc brakes.
  • A meaty steering. It has a nice grip and it is handily wrapped in leather.
  • Quickly got adjusted to the driving position and no ergonomic issues as well.
  • Nice and comfortable leather seats with good under-thigh support. (Like in linea, it is a bit on the harder side)
  • Excellent NVH levels either while idling or at speeds.
  • Excellent build quality
  • Interior quality is good. Be it the buttons or plastics or the finish.
  • Equipped with side/curtain airbags along with front airbags
  • Good fuel efficiency for a 2L / 173BPH engine
  • Bi-Xenon Head Lamps
  • Reverse camera clarity is good and it directs you based on steering input.
  • Dual zone AC. You have an option to set a different temperature for either side. (Driver/Passenger side)
  • It’s a head-turner from any angle 
  • Liked the dual-tone exterior.
  • Of course, with plans for Sikkim, Leh-Ladakh in the future, it’s good to have a 4×4 car
  • The service interval duration is every 15K Kms, just like the Linea MJD.


  • White interiors. With two naughty kids, it’s a pain to maintain the interior.
  • Something which I miss big-time is the “Rain-sensing” wipers. I was so used to it in the Linea. It comes in Limited Plus though.
  • Engine guard is not metal. They should have provided a metal engine guard like in Trailhawk.
  • Cruise Control. Not a deal-breaker but a good feature to have these days
  • Blank buttons in the steering wheel, this was supposed to be for cruise control
  • Reclining option for the rear seat would have been nice.
  • Bumper lip is low. I have seen many owners who have replaced the bumper lip from the Limited Plus model which is a little shorter than this and helps with better ground clearance
  • Exide battery. I am seeing many complaints from other owners with the battery dying in 1-2 year’s time frame.


  • Space, it is adequate and nothing to complain about. Rear seat leg-room is more than Linea’s and no complaints from any rear-seat passengers so far. Space is not in the leagues of Harrier/XUV 500 though.
  • Boot Space, again it is just adequate. The Linea has more boot space than the Compass. During long drives with the family, we have to arrange the luggage strategically to accommodate more things. There is some space available in the spare wheel compartment as well. Removing the parcel tray helps to increase the boot space, but we have not tried this so far. Removing the parcel tray also means that the luggage will be visible via the windscreen.
  • Rear seat is for 2 adults + Kid. It will be difficult for 3 adults to fit in comfortably.
  • Thick A-pillar, especially the one on the left side is a hindrance while taking sharp left turns. With the left ORVM kind of an extension from A-pillar, it makes things difficult.
  • I feel the steering heaviness while taking U-turns and the turning radius is not that great as well.
  • Auto-head lamps is a miss too which was there in Linea
  • The display unit could have been bigger. (Limited Plus gets a bigger one)
  • Tinted glass windows. This is another miss from Linea.
  • Service Network. It’s not a Maruti or Hyundai or Tata or Mahindra with wide network.

– Arun Josie

Jeep Abilities Vs Expectations – By Ponz

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 4
Bangalore Jeep Group Kolar Trip 10

My short take on jeep compass on its abilities against owner’s expectations – Ponz


Let’s start with challenges


Head lights, rattling, approach angle & missing a few (not so important) features

Headlights: Aftermarket fix available, so not much to worry.

Approach angle: I hope Trailhawk bumper fit these, sources say yes! …. but can live without one.

Missing features: I would rather talk about the 40-odd other safety features jeep compass has in it but is missing on cars in the segment and beyond the segment!

Expectation vs Reality on a few issues:


  • By now if not all, most should have understood that this is not a naked off-roader, but capable to be made one if someone has the money to convert a 26l 4×4…..I am sure if done so, it will be one of the best across segments….what needs to be done to get there…( A separate write up can be done on this) .

With the current stock state and for most who feel that they have paid a bomb and hence expects it to go places where none other in the segment or below this segment can’t go….that’s not true….even a Nano survived north east peaks! But yes, it handles places with no roads elegantly with comfort and ease. A 4×4 owner can best feel how effortless it is to get over some deep slush and flip side is yes it can get stuck! & so does a 70l Wrangler!

Rattling : ( delicate topic)

Not a big fan of this topic largely because I think it depends on how the owners handle and take care of the vehicle. The only rattling I heard was from the dash speaker location until the last Wester Trails. Post that meet, I have been hearing a lot more noises and I narrow the reason to have rattling is only “US” who drive and how we handle it in bad roads! The day 2 road to Bhandardara during the trail was pathetic and now when I think about it , the way the convoy drew in high speeds( including me, under pressure of keeping up) either to keep up with the lead wrangler or assuming it’s built to be driven in a messy road without repercussions is not true! I have noticed more rattling in my JC post that drive. Let me clarify off-roading is rolling the wheels in a roadless space and not driving like maniacs on a broken tarmac road!!! Let me assure none of the cars existing on earth can survive without rattling if driven that way!! Something we will ensure to take care in the upcoming drives!!

My take or rather most of ours:

In simple few words – power packed, strong, able and safe. Best in segment and does beat a few cars in the next segment too. Clearly no comparison to Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra etc. Takes the Fiat Linea’s slogan to the next level “admiration guaranteed”. The Jeep community and like mindedness makes this stronger than any other brands in the country and in the world!

By- proud owner of a 4×4 JC with no regrets!


Leh Ladakh – Do’s & don’ts – By Mohit, Ayush & Kannav

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 4

Planning the ultimate road trip to Leh Ladakh


  • If you are taking your vehicle, MUST to have under body anti-rust coating.
  • recommend to remove front bumper nose lip. this will increase the ground clearance.
  • DO make sure you’re a good driver and comfortable off-roading
  • DO carry medicines and supplies
  • Do carry tablets for altitude sickness
  • DO Try to choose hotels or camps that have oxygen supplies
  • Try to acclimatise to high altitude gradually.
  • DO carry toilet paper – public toilets are a rarity (and grubby!)
  • DO make lots of unsolicited stops along the way
  • DO make sure your paperwork is in order
  • Always carry drinking water and dry food.
  • Before you plan to visit Ladakh do collect all information about the weather and road conditions.
  • Take complete rest at least for a day after arrival to Ladakh.
  • Ladakh is located at a high altitude; thus the level of oxygen in Ladakh is very low. So, it is advisable to move slowly and breathe deeper till your body becomes used to the high altitude and low level of oxygen.
  • Take plenty of fluids and drink boiled or bottled mineral water.
  • Always carry ample drinking water and dry eatables, dry fruits etc.
  • It is suggested that you must start taking 2 Diamox Tablets per day 2-3 days prior to your Departure for Leh by Air and continue it within Ladakh till your Departure from Leh. This is to overcome the effect of High Altitude. It is highly advised that you MUST consult your Doctor and confirm if you can take diuretic medicines like Diamox.
  • For all your tours within Ladakh, go for a local Taxi/Cab as outside Cabs are not allowed to move within Ladakh.
  • In your initial days of arrival in Ladakh, avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol.
  • Do remember to carry First-aid box along with all necessary medicines.
  • In Summers (May – September), do carry Cotton wear, light woolens, strong walking shoes, rain proofs and in Winters (October – April), kindly carry heavy woolens, thermal wear, feather jackets, strong walking shoes.
  • Before your leave for a tour in Ladakh, do remember to carry fully charged extra batteries/Power Banks for digital products like camera, mobile phones, etc because there is a lot of electricity problem in Ladakh.
  • If you have a prepaid Sim Card of any provider, you would not be getting any Signals anywhere in Ladakh. In Ladakh, either only local J&K BSNL Prepaid/Postpaid Sim Cards work or Airtel/Vodafone/BSNL Postpaids from other states work.
  • Ladakhi people are known to be very friendly and they love to interact with tourists. So interact with them to know more about their life and culture.
  • All the bikers visiting Ladakh should go in a group of at least two or more. There are areas where you would not get help for kms, a group is always better than going solo.
  • People can ask their Cab Drivers to carry oxygen Cylinders while travelling to high Altitude Location around Leh. They may charge a nominal amount for it. However, it can help you to breathe properly in areas where you have problems breathing.
  • Make sure your have the Innerline Permit if you are planning to Visit areas like Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. As of September 2017, they would charge your Rs.400 per person + Rs.20 per day per person for the permit. So, for a 3 Day trip, permit for 1 person will cost you Rs.460. You can also get the permit sitting at your Hotel, by paying about Rs.100 per permit. Note : Do carry your Address Proof document like Aadhaar Card, Driving License etc. because the photostat copies of your Address Proof documents will be needed for permit.
  • Car Inverter (220v, 200W)
  • Carry 100-150W immersion rod to boil water or carry 12V DC car cup to warm water


  • Do NOT follow your GPS blindly
  • DO NOT depend on Mobile Connectivity or expect good internet
  • DO NOT forget your sunscreen
  • DO NOT refer to Google Maps for time frames
  • If you reach Leh by air, stay that day and do not plan to go anywhere for that day, as you will need a day or two to acclimatize yourself. Drink plenty of fluids (that does not include alcohol), do not move much for the first two to three days.
  • DO NOT use Polythene bags. Ladakh is a “no polythene” zone. Kindly respect this and please carry back all the plastic you take with you.
  • Refill your water bottles instead of buying new ones. Mountain water is good. If you have doubt, boil it and refill.
  • Wear nice clothes covering your body while on roads, especially while visiting a Buddhist Gompas.
  • Do not click photographs inside any monasteries without taking permission from the monk or the person in –charge.
  • Do not use or carry plastic/polythene bags in Ladakh as plastic is banned in Ladakh.
  • Do not carry short clothes like skirts/sleeveless blouses tops while you are travelling on roads, especially in Buddhist Gompa.
  • Do not try and disturb the wild life.
  • Do not exert yourself a lot by running or climbing quickly.

Note :

Take Disprin with you if you want to go to Khardung La, as it is very high altitude of 5359m.
If you are not able to go further from a particular spot in day, do not move stay there, as road condition is very bad in some places and it would be very difficult to travel in night.
Temperature in Ladakh is too low and if you will throw any biodegradable item, it will remain in the same state for very long time, especially in snow, people defecate and the shit remains in the same form for years, so please try the Ladakhi winter toilets.
Use vehicles, which have good-ground clearance and are in good condition. SUVs like Tata Sumo Grande, Toyota Qualis and Highlander, Mitsubishi Pajero work best over there.
Make a first-aid box and carry proper medicines for headache, fever, and vomiting also in it.
There is electricity problem in Leh, so it is better to take extra batteries for digital products like camera, mobiles phones, etc. Charge them fully before leaving for the tour. You may not get electricity at some remote places and also because of the cold, the battery gets discharged soon.
If you are planning to visit Leh-Ladakh on your bike, please make a group of 2 or more. Please do not go alone on bikes, especially Royal Enfield Electra or Bullet as it is very dangerous.
People there are very friendly and hospitable. Respect them.

Checklist Prepared by us for this trip

(credits Mohit Gupta)

Maps + ininerary in mobile Towel Kids sunscreen
Itinirary Printout socks Shampoo pouches
Travel guide Tissues (instead of hanky) Tooth Brush
Map Slipper Tooth paste
Photographs Light Jacket Toilet soap
Passport copy Warm head cover hand sanitizer (handy+ big)
Aadhar copy ear cover Paper soap
Recognisable photo id forehead cover Tissue papers
Driving Licence Hats/caps Hand towels
DL Copy Heavy Jacket Face wash
All soft copy in mobile Woolen socks Deodorant
Car Papers Woolen gloves odomos fabric roll on
car papers copy Thermal pairs Moisturizing cream
Confirmation Print Rain coat + windcheater talc
Mobile Phone (airtel postpaid) Jeans + Track Sunscreen
DSLR Extra battery T shirt Lip guard
Digital extra battery UG’s Hair Brush
battery chargers Disposable glass Shaving kit
battery bank Disposable Plates Cold cream
Data cables (1+, moto, android) Spoons 50% clothes
SD Cards Knife Playing cards
Tripod Lemon Hair oil
Torch + charger Ready Food Packs Perfume Spray
Pens Sauce Pouches Neck Pillows
Notepads Milk Cartons Belt Pouch
Bag locks Bread Games
Spectacle + Case (Mohit + Eedha) Butter Sunscreen
Sunglasses + Case (all) Snacks Becosules
car invertor Chewing gum Motion Sickness medicine
Multi plug Orange toffees Walking Shoes
Car Kettle Police Card Slippers
Water Bottles (own) Green tea bags Umbrellas
 + Big Water bottle Salt & Sugar Sea band
Plastic bags (Small) Mouth Freshener Band aid
Plastic bags (Big) Dry fruits crepe bandage
Newspapers chocolates Sorbitrat
Plastic Zip Lock bags Garlic Cloves Vomitab
Twist Ties Cough Syrup Electral Packets
Safety Pins Saridon Juices
Match box Paracetamol Diamox
Candle Paracetamol Syrup LED Buld attachment
Pen Drive + songs Combiflam Spare tube
Laptop + Syrup 10# spanner
Cash Combiflam ointment diesel jerrycan
Cr Card Insect repellent spare bulbs
Chain mopar certificate roadside assisstance number
warranty certificate Swiss knife + Window breaker Puncture kit
Car Spare keyfob check tool kit air pump
check stepny glass cleaning chemical


** please note that the above checklist & do's/ don'ts are just recommendations/ suggestions, following or not following them is entirely your decision. We do not take any responsibility and we are not liable for any damage caused during your trip.

Leh Ladakh Expedition 2018 – by Kannav, Ayush & Mohit

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 4

Mountains are calling and We must go!

Now is the time to get Leh’d!

Leh – One of the most ecstatic and beautiful places to visit in India, especially if you have Jeep and adventure running in your blood.

Leh- One of the places with most wonderful highways running along the LOC and the LAC, with gigantic valleys, majestic mountains, the highest mountains passes of the world. You feel as if you are cruising in your jeeps along the Mighty Indus, Zanksar and Nubra Rivers, on top of the world.

It obvisously had been in our bucket lists since years and we believe, now is the time.

One casual evening during our North Indian Jeepers meet, the thought triggered and we were ready to explore this amazing terrain. Some initial hiccups, suitability of time frames, dates etc. definitely came through our way. A Small family get together comprising of all aspirants (Ayush, Kannav, Mohit, Parnavi, Pooja, Juhi and Lakshay) and the final go ahead was okayed.


What’s more?

With experience of few of our traveller friends and veterans, the plan, itinerary and booking were freezed upon. The research and analysis on the route was just perfect to set the program on.

Final touches on the program were carried on by all three of us.

We could have understood that planning for Ladakh is also as challenging as going there. You also need courage to accept the forecoming risks, do and don’ts, driving tips, refuelling issues, rough terrains, low oxygen, AMS and all.

With all the the things now running on track with our families and with supports of Jeepag and travel veterans like Dheeraj Bambroo, we finally managed to bang on and our dream trip is just a couple of days away.

The best part is that our Jeeps will flaunt the uber cool *North Indian Jeeper*s logo right on the hood.

The Jeep is ready, the bags are packed. Can’t wait to hop on the driver’s seat and begin the adventure of a lifetime. Fingers crossed…!!

We have also tried to create Do’s & Don’ts and a comprehensive checklist : Leh Ladakh : Do’s & Don’ts

Happy Jeeping!

Ayush, Kannav & Mohit




(June 10th to June 22nd)