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Tue May 2, 2017, 08:09 AM

 

Sponsored feature: On Buddhas Trail

In the second edition of the Great India Drive, Autocar India drives from the home of Dalai Lama to the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, and to one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim.



This simple white building protects the exact spot where the Buddha was born 2500 years ago.

May 2, 2017

There is a rather nondescript stone marking the exact spot where Buddha was born in 623 BC. Surrounding the stone marking Buddha’s birth spot are mud brick structures in a cross wall system that date back to the 3rd century. These are remains of buildings that were built over the centuries to commemorate the place where Prince Siddhartha was born. Protecting this site is a simple white building that is known as the Maya Devi Temple.

We are in Lumbini, located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal. It’s been a long drive from Dharamshala where the Great India Drive was flagged off four days ago. This is the second edition of this initiative by Hyundai where motoring journalists from across the country are invited to drive to a destination of their choice. In the first edition of the Great India Drive, we drove the Creta from Leh to Mumbai through Orchha in 2015. This time our vehicle is the recently launched Hyundai Tucson. And the purpose of the drive is to promote Hyundai’s road safety initiative in India — Be The Better Guy. We would be handing out specially monogrammed Hyundai caps to people along the way in exchange for a pledge to follow driving rules.

Autocar India had decided to take a more ambitious route for the second edition of the Great India Drive with the Tucson. Since Dharamshala is home to His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, the face of Buddhism to the world, we decided to follow the Buddhist trail through India and Nepal. The route planned was not just to stitch together Buddhist landmarks but also to test the Tucson’s capabilities through various terrains and conditions. The journey would take us through the mountain roads of Shimla and Rishikesh, down to the plains of Nepal and back up to the mountains to Kathmandu, and then back to Siliguri in India before we reached our final destination, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.

The snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar range provided the perfect backdrop for the flag off from outside the gates of the Fortune Hotel in Dharamshala. As Y K Koo, MD and CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd., waved us off, we reset the tripmeter to zero, slotted the drive to D, and headed for Thekchen Choeling temple to seek the blessings before starting our journey. Thekchen Choeling is the home of the Dalai Lama. It’s a Buddhist temple with a residential complex where the Dalai Lama and his devotees live. After seeking the blessings of Shakyamuni Buddha, we set course for Shimla, our first destination on this drive.

http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-features/sponsored-feature-on-buddha8217s-trail-404820.aspx

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