After exploring the entirety of the Narmada river with the Toyota Yaris, being pampered by the Innova Crysta along the course of the Kaveri and more recently discovering the life and livelihood along the course of the lower Ganga with Toyota’s premium sedan, the Corolla Altis, we’re back for the fourth edition of the Toyota River Drive. This time we started off from where we left the last time, the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad. It’s the meeting point of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati. And we will be charting the route of the mighty upper Ganga, as we like to call it, with none other than Toyota’s big and stylish SUV, the Fortuner.
We reached Prayagraj just a week before the Kumbh Mela was officially set to begin. As the once-in-twelve-year holy event is expecting a footfall of over 15 crore people, we were worried about the traffic conditions in the city. No one knew if we would make it to our hotel on time. But thankfully, the traffic authorities in Prayagraj have done a good job of containing the vehicular flow. The roads weren’t choked as we were expecting them to be. Even though it got chaotic a few times, the Fortuner’s calmness inducing cabin kept us very comfortable. Also the SUV just towers over other cars on the road, throwing a vibe of sheer dominance.
Meanwhile, the local government has set-up the largest temporary tent city in the world for the Ardh Kumbh. Multiple temporary bridges too are built across the span of the Ganga and the Yamuna to reduce the congestion on the main bridges. Our Fortuner though had no problems whatsoever to reach the banks of the Triveni. The grippy 18-inch tyres from Yokohama were enough to get us in and out of the sandbanks. That too in just the front wheel drive mode! Can’t wait to take the SUV on the no-roads. On the banks of the Sangam is another historical marvel, the Allahabad Fort, built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583. It is open for visitors only during the Kumbh and river facing wall of the Fort is gigantic in length, and a delight to look at. It is also the largest fort built by Emperor Akbar.