Exploring Sustainability on a Continental Route... The Venue N line takes us to explore the AH1 at Imphal

Special Feature Updated: November 24, 2022, 04:19 PM IST

The distant Northeast of India has always served to be mystical, and has always intrigued travellers and explorers to delve into the beauty and diversity this, most special part of India offers. We are on an exploration towards a celebration of sustainability holding hands with Hyundai who have proved time and again of their immensely innovative approach towards a better future. This couldn't have been better, green mountains, clear skies and that white Venue N line killing those curves, perfect recipe for those epic looking shots.

Venue N-Line

The latest instalment from the N line segment of Hyundai is the Venue N line. N is the performance oriented vehicle segment of the brand and this immediately puts me into a mental role play of me being a pro racer. We drove safe I promise, the sheer sportiness of the SUV makes you want to play naughty at times, although the ABS, ESC and Hill Hold Assist and 6 airbags keep your psyche at peace. We are covering a 100Km stretch of the Asian Highway 1 (AH1) from Imphal to Mao which might seem small in terms of digits but its importance is quite the opposite. Better known to us as NH2, the road crosses Manipur all the way to Dimapur in Nagaland before foraying further into the rest of Asia.

Hyundai Venue N Line

The Asian Highway Network was one of the most iconic steps taken by United Nations in the year 1959 which through the years have now come down to cover over 29 countries across Asia and Europe. The AH1 is the longest, beginning from Tokyo in Japan to Istanbul in Turkey before foraying into Europe. The project sanctioned way back in 1959 has developed through the years to become an integral roadway connect across continents. The integration of the AH through India and especially the Northeast has had significant effects on the socio economic growth of the Northeast. Even though construction over at these hilly regions were a challenge, the government has successfully managed to build a constructive pathway through the remote sections despite of the constant hindrances caused by severe landslides and other natural disasters and also immense political turmoil. Yes there are tough stretches but construction is currently being carried out to make this highway broader and better with a four lane prospect.

The N line has got this racing DNA going on entirely and that's exactly why it was the best partner for the Northeast which is pretty unpredictable in itself just like the races. The best part about the N line we liked is how subtly sporty it is all throughout keeping the look sporty yet classy. The red accents in the interior and exterior and the N line badges are pretty cool and gives that exclusive vibe to the driver. The performance version of any vehicle is supposed to look sporty, sound sporty and drive sporty and the Venue N line checks all boxes with the enhanced ride and handling, and that roar of the 1.0 l turbo engine keeps the heads turning as we climb up the mountains. The decent torque output on the Turbo GDI engine keeps us on the edge, while the stiffer suspension keeps it balanced on the sudden twists and turns.

Imphal is exceptionally bright and sunny this time of the year, and living in the West the sun clock gets pretty shaken up as you are in the opposite extreme, so we had to plan our drives and shoots pretty early. Well there probably isn't anything more beautiful than watching the sun come up on the Manipur skyline which looks like out of a greeting card. As we explore Imphal with the Venue N line we feel at ease, the roads through the city are well maintained and gliding through the traffic seemed like a cakewalk.

Hyundai Venue N Line

Day one took us to the largest freshwater lake in South Asia, the Loktak Lake. There were certain rough patches to be covered and we weren't shy of getting the shiny white Venue N line a little bit dirty. Loktak Lake is a natural marvel and the drone captures makes it look like a scene from Avatar. Beautiful is an understatement, but this one is not just beauty, the Loktak Lake holds the only floating national park in the world and is the home to endless indigenous species of organisms and is the home to the endangered Sangai as well. Imphal also hosts the most unique market in the entire world, the Ima Keithel Market is run entirely by women alone and men are prohibited from doing business inside the market. This was a revelation and at the same time gave such a strong message to the world and to anyone who still questions the girl. Another important place we visited was the INA war memorial, the first place where the fabled INA hoisted the tricolour under Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Hyundai Venue N Line

Day two began earlier than usual as we started by 4 am on to the highway from Imphal to Mao and as there wasn't any specific destination in mind, we went explorer mode on. Lucky or not that is subjective but we did go through three types of weather conditions in a matter of few hours. This meant testing time for the Venue N line and it passed all with flying colours as the dense fog which randomly hit us on a rough patch didn't slow the SUV down, the practical fog lamps and bright LED projector headlamps were quite effective. The cornering lamps deserve a special mention here as they proved to be quite essential on our way back in the evening. The road to Mao is not pristine but the views are, you just cannot stop gaping at the beauty of simplicity which is prevalent in the entire Northeast.

The fog and a difficult broken and dusty stretch gave us some time to catch a good tea break in the chilly outdoors, which we weren't aware of till we got off the comfortable cabin of the Venue N line and that gave us quite a shock.

SUV's are for exploration and the Venue N line is a great partner for it, our inside joke went on about the N in N line as it has "N" number of features to have fun with. Silly jokes aside, the Venue N line took us to one of the most magical places I have ever come across. It was a little detour from our straight stretch, a mere 5 to 6 kilometres and it revealed to us something truly baffling in beauty, moreover the name itself binds itself around the term ECO, and this made it a must explore.

Hyundai Venue N Line

Our exploration led us to this place called Namai Zho Eco Tourism Park, known as second Dzukou by the people, it is around 5Km away from the AH1. The place is exactly what fairy tales are made of, mountains surrounding a beautiful valley filled with ripe crops being harvested, a core memory made for me. The beautiful Barak River which origins from Livai village runs through this beautiful valley, all across to Tamenglong District and ultimately reaches Bangladesh where the Barak is known as Meghna. The Namai Zho Eco Tourism Park is popular among tourists and travellers for its exceptional beauty and beautiful flowers which grow across the valley.

Such sights make the explorers in us thank our stars for being so lucky to be able to witness something so pure and beautiful. To be able to achieve this feat comfortably while having so much fun was only possible due to the Hyundai Venue N line, and this is where we celebrate the sustainable future. We celebrate Hyundai's constant exploration of newer paths towards sustainability, be it environment, culture, art, or even trade. Sustainability is applicable to all and holding hands with Hyundai we aim to put forward this journey of a meagre 100km stretch of the unique and majestic AH1 in the magnitude of something much much larger than life.

Photography Anirban Banerjee