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ONELIFE #37 – English

  • Text
  • Cars
  • Onelife
  • Landrover
  • Rover
  • Rovers
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  • Epic
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  • Donegal
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Land Rover’s Onelife magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond. For this issue of Onelife we visited Maneybhanjang in the Indian Himalaya, where Land Rover Series Is and IIs rule the roost, we followed the north star to the Land Rover Ice Academy in Arjeplog, Sweden, which offers thrilling ice driving action and bring you the story of outdoorsman Monty Halls and his family who are out with a Discovery for a scenic escape in Ireland.

HERITAGE AT A CROSSROADS

HERITAGE AT A CROSSROADS In 2004, the drivers formed the Singalila Land Rover Owners Association, and its head is Chandan Pradhan. I meet him in the family room behind his general-stores shop. The association’s main job, he informs me, is to look after the welfare of the drivers. If one member falls sick or needs medical treatment for example, every other member chips in to help with an interest-free loan. The association also gives all the drivers a fair chance to make money: if one driver makes a trip up, his next turn comes only after the other 41 have had theirs. Clearly, the co-operative system works: the drivers’ children all attend school, Chandan tells me; “and they can afford to buy gifts for their wives. These old Land Rovers make it all possible.” The local government has proposed to ban these old vehicles, which no longer meet modern emissions norms, from plying the roads as taxis. But there is hope, Chandan believes, as there is strong support “from high places”. Even the regional border police enlist these Land Rovers to supply their “IF THE LAND ROVERS outposts, because nothing else can do it so reliably. DISAPPEAR, A HUGE PART The government has also proposed plans to complete OF MANEYBHANJANG WILL work on the remaining sections GO WITH THEM” of the road so that lesser vehicles can also make it up to Sandakphu, but this is not a popular course of action, I learn. Dawa Tenzin is one of the youngest Land Rover drivers in Maneybhanjang. A well-spoken university graduate, he returned to his hometown to follow the tyre marks of his father. “Yes, most remote villages in India are fighting for better roads, but the road to Sandakphu should remain the challenge it is,” says Tenzin. “People come to this place for adventure, and this difficult road is a huge part of the adventure. If it gets fixed and becomes accessible to even hatchback cars, more tourists will arrive. More tourists will mean more money but also more pollution, noise and garbage. The town will lose its charm. This road must remain difficult to traverse because if it isn’t, the Land Rovers will disappear, and when that happens, a huge part of what makes Maneybhanjang what it is, will go with it.” I can’t help but agree with him. I’ve been here all of three days and I can clearly see how the Series I has helped shape the fortunes of what could have easily been just another anonymous Himalayan town. It is the Land Rovers here that make Maneybhanjang special. WATCH THE FILM To journey with Land Rover into the heart of the Himalaya, search for 'Land of Land Rovers' on YouTube Chandan (bottom) heads the drivers’ association, which has benefited the community. Tenzin (middle) wants the road to remain challenging, in order to preserve the character of the town 38

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