We started our journey from the hustle and bustle of Bengaluru and after a very comfortable drive of about 6 hours, reached Coorg, where the landscape changed to lush green with dense forests and misty hilly roads. The organizers took us to one of the coffee plantations where we were given a crash course on the two types of coffee plants, the process of planting and harvesting and other important details that one does not consider while making the morning brew. The day ended with a hearty live grill followed by a bonfire followed by a delicious meal indoors. Throughout the journey, Land Rover ensured that our accommodation and food arrangements were superb, no matter the location and Coorg was no different. We got a chance to stay in a very charming heritage bungalow inside one of the coffee plantations and overall the experience was perfect. The second morning we left for Bekal in Karnataka and on the way Land Rover organized a tour and tasting session at a local plantation. December to February is peak harvesting season, we watched as migrant workers harvest the coffee fruit before pulping and processing the green beans. Green coffee beans get their brown color only after they are dried in the sun and develop their distinctive aroma during the roasting stage. Along with a masterclass in coffee making, we had a coffee-tasting session where we got a chance to taste the final product in its various stages.
Immediately after lunch, we started our drive from Coorg to Bekal and this part of the journey was breathtaking, we crossed the beautiful valleys of the Western Ghats and crossed the border into Kerala, before ending the journey on the banks of Bekal. The beaches here were pristine and before the day ended, the group was treated to a session of moonlight rafting, where we got a chance to look up at the stars in the tranquil backwaters of Bekal. On the third day, we had to drive along the coast from Kerala back to Karnataka, where our next destination was the small pilgrimage town of Gokarna. In Gokarna, Land Rover arranged our stay at a wellness resort where guests were invited to participate in yoga sessions, beachside dinners and temple tours.
Murdeshwar Temple in Gokarna Marg
While the Wellness Resort was certainly comfortable, our experience inside the Defender 110 was just as elevated as it felt like an ideal roadtrip machine. The cabin of the Defender is spacious front and rear, the interior feels high-tech and robust. Although we were driving the very frugal 2.0 liter turbocharged petrol version, the SUV didn't feel underpowered at any point and picked up speed eagerly for single lane overtakes, also the Defender's wider presence on the roads helps. In terms of numbers the engine produces 296 bhp and 400 Nm of torque and comes with an 8-speed gearbox which is seamless. Special mention should be made of the air-suspension in the Defender which provides high comfort to the passengers as well as good feedback to the driver. The Defender 110 is definitely a mile-muncher and is very capable off-road too, as we experienced later in our trip.
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On the fifth day, the convoy of four Defenders started the journey to South Goa and we did not expect to see the special side of this popular tourist destination that the organizers had prepared for us. From private sessions at the century-old Feni Distillery to an exclusive 'Farm to Fork' lunch with a celebrity chef, the Konkan experience could have ended on a high note but Land Rover had planned something extra. It was this off-road trail experience where we got the chance to test the capabilities of the Defender 110 in its full glory. From increased ride height through air suspension to a 360-degree camera with multiple terrain modes and off-road mode. The Defender is an SUV that you can take to the jungle without any hesitation. It feels like a super luxurious chariot. Driving a car as tough and strong as the Defender 110 never feels so luxurious and easy. After our off-roading session, the adventure was over but the relationships and memories made among the guests were everlasting.
Overall, if you love road trips and want to experience the Defender 110 in its full glory, then taking part in one of the luxury adventures curated by Land Rover is perfect for you. The routes, accommodation, experiences and dining, everything has been designed to provide an experience of a lifetime that the car enthusiast inside you will love.