Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 21, 2017)

Kunal Kapoor recently took the most adventurous road trip of his life, driving 1000 km in 11 days, from Dharamshala to the Spiti Valley and back to Chandigarh, travelling some of the most dangerous roads. “Practically half the roads have caved in due to periodic landslides in some parts of the region,” he shudders at the memory.

The 39-year-old actor who is co-hosting a travel series, Great Escape, with Cyrus Sahukar, was enchanted by Kye Gompa, a Tibetan-Buddhist monastery located atop a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River. “The monastery is over a thousand years old. We had dinner on the roof and it was a surreal moment, surrounded by mountains and 200 chanting monks, like a page out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book,” he narrates, recalling visiting the highest post-office in the world in Hikkim and working with potters in the village of Andretta. “I tried to mould a plate with clay but it ended up looking like a UFO!”

During the course of shooting for the TV show, Kunal indulged in adventure sports like cliff-diving and paragliding and riding all-terrain bikes in the mountains. He also got a chance to race with Suresh Rana, who is a driving legend in the rally circuit. “We need some adventures to push our limits and I loved freefalling from the mountains,” the actor beams. The unit also camped for a night in the Tirthan Valley, located in Himachal’s Kullu district, where they met a bunch of local musicians and ended up jamming late into the night, sitting around a bonfire. “Driving through the country makes you realise how beautiful and diverse India is. It’s like visiting a new place every morning. Every time you cross 100 km, the terrain, culture and cuisine changes with the landscape, like a splendid motion picture. I’ve decided that I’m going to hit the road a lot more now,” Kunal drives off with that promise.