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Onelife 26

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Share the passion of a Land Rover-loving community in a remote corner of India | Experience the thrills of driving on ice in the Range Rover Velar | Explore stunning Donegal with seafarer Monty Halls and his family | Relive the child-like sense of wonder captured at the Above & Beyond Tour | See why the Range Rover PHEV impressed mountaineer Jimmy Chin | Encounter the most powerful Defender: the Classic Works V8 special

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-store 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 Rover vehicles to supply their outposts because nothing else can do it so reliably. The government has “IF THE LAND ROVER VEHICLES also proposed plans to complete work on the DISAPPEAR, A HUGE PART remaining sections of the road so that lesser vehicles OF MANEYBHANJANG WILL can also make it up to GO WITH THEM” 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 tire 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 Rover vehicles 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 Rover vehicles here that make Maneybhanjang special. WATCH THE FILM To ride 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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Land Rover’s Onelife magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go above and beyond.

Land Rover vehicles go above and beyond, to help you make the most of your world. The latest issue of Onelife delivers this philosophy to your living room with evocative narrative and stunning photography. Experience a rich variety of perspectives from around the globe: from eco-innovators in China to road-testing in Greece and modernist architecture in Germany

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