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Old 3rd December 2009, 13:03   #31
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Originally Posted by navan49 View Post
The river beds are short distance between the plain run only. That also might have black topped in winter or this time they might have built bridges.

Go ahead of your rally. enjoy it.
Thanks. I am told that we will have to cross around 19 river beds. May be the same one at multiple places.

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
I got something similar which may be of interest to junta:
Thats interesting. Seems that motorsports is being heavily promoted in Bhutan.
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Old 14th December 2009, 10:33   #32
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Saurabh
Thanks for alerting me about this thread. I was blissfully unaware of its existence.
The names alone bring back memories galore - both happy and sad. I lived in a small village called Norbuling across the river Moukhola near Gaylegphug (this is the original spelling of 1989 when I was there but now spellings I understand have all changed in that country). It used to take us about 3 hours on foot from Gaylegphug to Norbuling. The river Moukhola itself used to take more than an hour to cross on foot.
I do not know what precise route this rally will take. But we used to go from Phunthsholling to Gaylegphug by bus through India, that is, West Bengal and Assam. On the road to Guwahati from West Bengal you turn left from a small junction called Samthaibari outside Bongaigaon. This road from Samthaibari to Gaylegphug goes through a dense forest that used to be infested with militants of all hues and elephants. I still remember the names of some of the small Bodo hamlets on this route - Runikhata, Gorubhasa etc.
This route I described does not touch Sarbang. If the rally route says it will go through Sarbang to Gaylegphug then it means the route will not be following a very straightforward highway and possibly go through Bhutan itself. Do expect to cross a lot of river beds here.
Gaylegphug to Thimphu would be one of the most off-beat routes to travel in in Bhutan. This is the part of Bhutan that tourists don't get to see. Consider yourself lucky. Really lucky.
You will be going through a town called Shemgang which is the land of the Khengpa speaking people of Bhutan. Terribly poor. However, one great thing about Bhutan is that you don't get to see any visible signs of poverty there.
You will also be seeing the beautiful Black Mountain of Bhutan in this route.
The normal bus route goes through Tongsa. Again a very picturesque town. I don't know if your route will touch Tongsa. Tongsa to Thimphu again is one of the most picturesque places on earth.
You will be able to see frozen rivers on the route.
Have fun. The prospect of just rallying through such beautiful country is sad. You will not be able to appreciate it all and instead just concentrate on the driving part. I hope you find the time to enjoy the beauty of the place and the people.
If possible, after the rally spend some time in that country - possibly in Punakha valley which is warm. You will not find such a unique culture so close to our home.
Between 1989 and 1992 I lived in Norbuling near Gaylegphug and then Mongar which is in eastern Bhutan and was the epicentre of the recent earthquake.
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Old 14th December 2009, 13:23   #33
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Thanks Sudipto-da for your inputs. From all those I spoke to about the route, the general consensus is that the entire rally route is very scenic. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take in the beauty.

From Phuntshoeling to Gelephu, I heard it we would have to criss cross the India/Bhutan border and the route will be through dense forests. Any idea how the surface would be? I am guessing that it would be dirt tracks throughout.

For Gelephu to Thimpu, the rally route will not take the usual highway, but an alternate route, used only by the military. Expecting the surface/tarmac to be better in this stretch.
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Old 14th December 2009, 15:34   #34
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I have no idea as to what sort of road you would get. I have never driven off the main road in Bhutan.
But yes that Phuntsholling to Gaylegphug section, if it goes off the highway, would be really dense forest. This stretch was once supposed to be declared an elephant corridor. But that did not happen. I am sure it will be dirt track where there is a semblence of road. Otherwise it will be rivers and jungles. It will be somewhat like driving through Chilepota forest or Jayanti forest. Wish you all the best.
Regarding Gaylegphug to Thimphu - are they planning it in one day? By main road the bus takes two days.
It's sad that you will not be able to appreciate the scenic beauty.
You could perhaps download this road map of Bhutan from their department of roads website. It is quite good. It will give you a general idea. You will find some roads are under construction.
Department of Roads Web Page

On second thoughts - I think your route will go through Chirang and perhaps not via Shemgang/Tongsa, which used to be the older route to Thimphu from Gaylegphug. What I am talking about is 20 years old. Lot of water has flown down the Moukhola since then.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 14th December 2009 at 15:41.
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Old 14th December 2009, 18:33   #35
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
But yes that Phuntsholling to Gaylegphug section, if it goes off the highway, would be really dense forest. This stretch was once supposed to be declared an elephant corridor. But that did not happen. I am sure it will be dirt track where there is a semblence of road. Otherwise it will be rivers and jungles. It will be somewhat like driving through Chilepota forest or Jayanti forest. Wish you all the best.

Regarding Gaylegphug to Thimphu - are they planning it in one day? By main road the bus takes two days.
Fantastic. Its thrilling with the thought itself. I heard that there would be some stretches as "No check zones" through the forests, where participants are required to speed past, as fast as possible, through some stretches of the forest. Lets hope that I am not eaten up by tigers or trampled by elephants

On hindsight, feeling bad that the screaming FFEs would do great damage to the serene surroundings of the forests.

I plan to take the return journey slowly from Thimpu and enjoy the scenery enroute.

The running time for Gelephu-Thimpu stretch is 7hrs. Looks like it would be a very fast rally.

The map is very detailed. Thanks a lot.
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Old 15th December 2009, 17:30   #36
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Gaylegphug to Thimphu in 7 hours !?!? Phew. Takes 2 days by bus but of course via regular route.
I see a fair chance that a lot of cars will get broken. I think the key to winning this rally will be in just being able to finish it in one piece. Getting trampled by elephants in the southern foothills is a real possibility. I am not joking.
The map is really authentic and perhaps the best available on the net. It is printable on an A3 sheet.
Could you please find out what is the tar road : dirt track : off road section ratio? Looks like 40 : 40 : 20
All the best. When is the rally?
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Old 15th December 2009, 18:13   #37
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Well Sudipto, you have to chime in when I'm in Assam, stuck because of bandhs, and with a lousy GRPS connection!

Must catch up in Cal. Memories to share!

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 15th December 2009, 19:56   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Gaylegphug to Thimphu in 7 hours !?!? Phew. Takes 2 days by bus but of course via regular route.
I see a fair chance that a lot of cars will get broken. I think the key to winning this rally will be in just being able to finish it in one piece. Getting trampled by elephants in the southern foothills is a real possibility. I am not joking.
The map is really authentic and perhaps the best available on the net. It is printable on an A3 sheet.
Could you please find out what is the tar road : dirt track : off road section ratio? Looks like 40 : 40 : 20
All the best. When is the rally?
Thats my game plan as well. I will take the difficult stretches with ease and will not go flat out irrespective of the surface. I will have to preserve the car, as this is a 3 Leg rally, over 3 days. There is no point being a DNF.

I will try to find out the ratios. As far as I know, day 2 will be entirely dirt track.

The ceremonial flagoff is on 31st Jan and the actual rally starts from Siliguri on 4th Feb, ending in Thimpu on 6th Feb. Hope to return to Kolkata in 1 piece
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Old 16th December 2009, 00:42   #39
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HI Sudipto,

If you were in Norbhuling in 1989 then I should have known you and I was called as Sadhu. Now a days no body travels through Keng and Trongsa from Galephug (new spelling) All are travelling through Sarpang (New),Tsirand,Wangdi, Dorchula Thimphu. It can be covered in 6 to seven hours. They too can enjoy the delicious oranges on the way during this season.
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Old 16th December 2009, 10:23   #40
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No Sir. I don't remember meeting anyone by that name. But I am delighted - absolutely delighted - to know that there is at least one person on earth who knows where Norbuling is. Half my heart still lives there. Unfortunately, the village doesn't exist any more in the form we have seen it prior to September 1990 when all hell broke loose in southern Bhutan. I am sure you would know because you seem to be in touch with the developments there.
Anyway, we are going way off topic here. You have a PM.
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Old 16th December 2009, 10:35   #41
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All the information I am getting here are priceless. Atleast getting familiar with the names and the maps is helping a lot.

Thanks to everybody for your inputs so far. Please continue posting your valuable inputs. Will need a lot of support from all of you.
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Old 16th December 2009, 10:49   #42
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The roads are better from Gelephug to Bhur 8kms. In Bhur you might cross one river bed with out water after that up to Leopani 5kms no problem Leopani you have to cross one river,thyen after leopani near sarpang you have to cross one river bed. After thatNo river bed travels. Gelephu Sarpang 30kms. Sarpang Tsirang 60 Tsirang to Wangdi might be 70 to 80kms and from there Thimphu is 65kms. From Sarpang Road will be good except one or two places with patholes. Enjoy the trip.
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:00   #43
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Saurabh
I used to know a guy in Bhur and he used to get elephants infront of his house virtually every night. Hordes and hordes of them. . Enjoy. Navan49 is extremely knowledgeable about the roads in Bhutan. But I must alert you that lot of things have changed in Bhutan after the recent Aila.
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Old 16th December 2009, 17:19   #44
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I am planning to stay back in Bhutan after the rally for another 6 days. So guys I am listening, keep those pointers coming as to what can be covered and what all can be given a go by. Absolute musts ofcourse get over all priority.
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Old 17th December 2009, 18:46   #45
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Wandering Nomad
Most definitely Punakha and Paro. And at least one day in Thimphu.
Sudipto
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