From Dirang onwards the drive took on the avatar of a proper expedition.
The tarmacadam slowly disappeared. The roads too. All that was left was an uneven path ahead into clouds of dust. And winding uphill curves, which could be conquered easily with good driving.
Some drivers struggled to make the curves. They didn't accelerate in time, resulting in their cars stalling on the incline, holding up the cars behind, forcing them to suffer the same plight. We saw lots of tyres spin impotently in front of us ;)
The right technique had been explained to all by Mahindra Adventures' Raj Kapur at the beginning of the expedition: Look at the curve coming up ahead, change into a lower gear, keep the acceleration stable to prevent the engine from tiring and to save the clutch/brake pads from burning out.
The vanishing roads did feel like they were taking a toll on the suspension of the XUV500, but they are never-say-die, sturdy vehicles.
You felt bad every time the car lurched painfully into a hole. But no, she never gave up. These brawny roadies rule the highways. However offroading needs to be taken slowly by XUV500s, although we didn't have that luxury, being part of a convoy.
VIDEO: Road trip through the North-East : Sights and sounds from Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, to Tawang. Videos by Milind Kale/Mahindra Adventures
Our next halt was in 65 km. For those of us who make long commutes every day to work, what is 65 km? So I thought.
The first halt took awfully long to arrive. Two-and-a-half hours to make that uphill climb.
But what a beautiful drive! Deep blue sky; a shade we never see in our cities. Felt like the sky of some other planet. And the dust did not detract from the pretty landscape.