16 Parsis take part in the Himalayan Challenge Drive 2023


October 9, 2023

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Naheed Divecha writes in to inform us that there were 16 Parsis amongst the over 100 participants who took part in the 2023 version of the Himalayan Challenge Drive.

There were 64 self driven cars, over 100 participants who did a Himalayan Challenge drive, over 9 days of driving. Starting from Chandigarh, to Jammu, Sonmarg, Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Hanle and Um Lingla (which is the highest motorable pass at 19000 feet, 3000 feet higher than base camp!), and then to Manali and back to Chandigarh.

9 days of driving, 63 hours, over 2500 kilometres, from sea level to 19024 feet altitudes, from 38 degrees to -7 degrees.

The group experienced the worlds Highest tunnel, Highest salt water lake, and the world’s Highest mountain passes.

They also developed the highest respect for India’s magnificence and nature , for our Army and their dedication and sacrifice to protect us,  for all the workers who work at high altitudes, and in freezing weather clearing roads and passes, for those who built world class tunnels and bridges in treacherous zones.

There were approximately 16 Parsis from all over India and one from Dubai who were present here and we had to take an All Parsis picture on the last evening in Manali together .

Dear friend of Parsi Khabar and legendary Automobile journalist Adil Jal Darukhanawala ( @adiljal )was part of this trip and he posted on Instagram:

Mind over matter with machine to match man’s quest to conquer mountains! Something of this sort best illustrates the craziness of what we did over 4 decades ago with the brilliant but short lived Air India Himalayan Rally (11 editions run annually from 1980 to 1990). But we are here 40 years later & crazier yet with age but with better wheels to tackle this year’s Himalayan Challenge Drive to the Roof of the World. [ video link ]

Bawas and motorsport or rather bawas and cars & bikes is a time honoured ongoing legacy cum love affair and so it was no different in this year’s Himalayan Challenge Drive to the Roof of the World!

There were sixteen of us Zoros out on the loose in the Himalayas and for sure they must have scared the Chinese appreciably to know not to mess with our land and people given that we were out in force! Well sixteen is a huge number given our immense spread across the world but hey we did enough and more to prove a point!

Here in this pic (clicked by ace shutter big Vivek Pandit) we are only missing the irrepressible Karl Bhote who drove the VW Bus with aplomb to all the highest motorable roads in the world, sampled the coffee at the highest cafetarias enroute and generally let us others to play the fool all along the way.

Couldn’t have asked for more.

Of the 16 this year Farokh Commissariat and wife, Poras Kabir & team from Navsari and yours truly plus better half were the only trio to have taken in all three editions of the Himalayan Drive in the last three years.

Of course Farokh also was present with Farad Bhathena in the original Air India Himalayan Rally for a couple of years in the 1980s while I was connected with each and everyone of the 11 Air India Himalayan Rallys from 1980 to 1990. And to me it seemed just like yesterday!

On to 2024, if there should be be another event.