After waking up to a downpour, our crews braced themselves for the final day on the road of the Maharajah Marathon. There was a full-on day ahead, kicking off with around 60kms of rough roads through remote villages. Broken tarmac, sand and gravel added to the challenge of narrow lanes, cattle and mopeds for the competitors to contend with.
We crossed the Chambal River, a 600km long stretch of water that partly flows through Rajasthan joining the Ganges. The bridge lead us through small villages where the locals were very excited to see us as we drove into the Chambal Ravines, once notorious for the ‘highway men’ that made it a no go area for many years until they were driven out.
Our coffee halt was in the town of Karauli at the Bhanwar Vilas Palace, a hotel but also the home of the local royal family. Crews were given a tour of the palace and the host’s horsepower – a collection of classic cars and Palomino horses, which they breed.
Then it was a 100kms to our lunch halt in Bharatpur before the drive into the city of Agra and the ITC Mughal Hotel. Situated on the banks of the Yamuna river, Agra is in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With over 2,500kms rallied over the past 13 days, the crews celebrated reaching the finish line with a gala dinner at the Sky Deck, a rooftop restaurant that gave the perfect view of the Taj Mahal and the city lights. Reflecting on their time spent in India, the crews shared their stories from the road during a champagne reception as images from the rally played.
The driving may be over but there was still one more day to go and a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal.