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Old 22nd June 2015, 04:57   #526
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-img_2184.png
Entering JHarkhand, Jamtara District.
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The Fork After Jamtara from where the Left Fork takes you towards Karmatar-Sarath section.
Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-img_2223.png
Beautiful Jharkhand, a small break somewhere in the Jamtara-Sarath section and before Deogarh.
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Beautiful Jharkhand
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Roads are silk smooth, so is the beauty around you.
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Jharkhand
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Driving through Jharkhand, along this route is sheer pleasure.
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Some green hillocks too
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Next morning at Baisi after leaving Purnea, see that stranded truck?
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Somewhere after Islampur
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This concrete road starts after Bagdogra possibly, can't remember exactly.
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Approaching Sevoke
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Old 22nd June 2015, 07:12   #527
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Thank you, Nilanjan, for posting such a detailed review.

Like you , I would also like to highlight the fact that from Dalkhola onwards the roads have a great surface except that there are such huge potholes which come along suddenly that they are a risk to vehicle and passengers. I damaged my front passenger side steel rims in one such mega pothole.

Sayan, do be careful on that stretch.

You could also consider travelling the conventional NH 34 way. Since you will have a kid (quite a small one at that) it will be extremely convenient to stop at Malda overnight. It is just 8 hours from Kolkata. Roads are a little iffy, but they are not as bad as all that if you go along SH7.

Cheers
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Old 22nd June 2015, 13:41   #528
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Quote:
You could also consider travelling the conventional NH 34 way.
The only issue with the apparently shorter NH34 straight or the SH7+NH34 route, both that I travelled in last December was not just broken roads which as per you, gmhossain and mi2n are better now, was the unpredictability, it took me almost 10 hours instead of 8 in December, one reason of course was I started late back then, because I was driving till Malda, but the main reason was unpredictable traffic, road narrowing due to repair work and ost importantly endless queue of trucks, while returning along SH7, I had to almost get down to the fields from the turmac and drive half inclined down from the road for a long distance, slowly and cautiously to avoid damage to the shockers and wheels, to get ahead of the long queue of trucks. But SH7 was otherwise pretty smooth and the time taken to return was much lesser than the straight NH34 route. But these are minor troubles, the major one to face is Farakka, that is one damn headache most of the times, leaving very early morning.

Along the Jharkhand Bihar route the major advantage is the absence of major truck routes leaving some coal loaded trucks along the coal belt in Jharkhand, and to be honest much friendlier villagers than I ( sadly ) find in my own Bengal any more.

The absence of major eateries along this sparsely trafficked and very less populated route is that you can stop anywhere along the endless fields to take a small break, and move on, and you get to eat in Bhagalpur, Deoga

The one point I missed is the return journey, on the return trip I drove upto Deogarh and halted there, but on a second trip I'd prefer staying at Bhagalpur and drive a little longer the next morning. The reason being Deogarh is super congested town in the evening, and there is only one decent hotel ( that serves non-veg food, a must for me , Amrapali Clarkes Inn and that is damn bad hotel, all looks and prices are close to a 4 star hotel but rooms are match box sized, and to reach it and park your car there is a major fight.

Where as Baibhav Inn at Naugacchia ( a few kilometers before Bhagalpur ) where we had our lunch looked a much better option for a night halt.

The last major point is "not missing" the right turn after the Vikramshila Setu while returning, if you take the left turn, then you are keen on visiting hell, "do not ever, ever take the BhagalpurRoad to Deogarh", its shorter but a living hell, pot holes are no more pot holes along that route, SH84 and then NH80 through Ghogga, Sinhola,Punjwara,Kurma,Ghoria,Godda Panjwara,Rikshatola,Pagwara up till Deogarh Pirpainti Road(after which the road improves a bit) is technically shorter but is a shortcut to hell. There are pot holes every 50m that are so deep and wide that they can be easily classified as craters, and to negotiate them you are bound to scrape your base at least 2-3 times and also have to slowly descent into each such crater then find the best possible angle to ride the upward slope and then at the top again think of finding the best possible route to negotiate the other pot holes in that pot holed section, I remember at one such pothole, so deep that if I didn't screech to a halt, I'd have had to be stranded there with a broken car, the hole was around 1 foot deep right at the end of a culvert, a local woman walking along the road, turned back and broke into a smile seeing both of our faces, and when asked how far Deogarh was, first gave us a light estimate of a "chatak ghanta" that is 1 and a quarter of an hour, but then looking at the seriousness on our faces reconsidered her estimate and revised her estimate to 2 hours at least

So after Vikramsila if not sure ask someone, ask even earlier at Vaibhab Inn if required, and ask experts here like Sheel to be sure not to miss the turn towards the Amarpur - Banka section of the route.

cheers,
Neelanjan.
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Old 22nd June 2015, 14:55   #529
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Its very unfortunate that even after paying tolls the Dalkola 4 lane road condition is deteriorating day by day.

After this rainy season if its not repaired, then this route will be in shatters and a new thread will start about bypassing Dalkola 4 lane and then we will strech our route from Purnea to Forbesgunj to Thakurganj to Panitanki to Bagdogra and then Siliguri.

While typing this I realised that I have revealed a new route . Siliguri to Kolkata 800kms on the cards.
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Old 22nd June 2015, 17:53   #530
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by scorpio25 View Post
Yes that route is shorter. But is the road condition, particularly in the siuri-dumka-deoghar section good enough vis-a-vis the chittaranjan route? That's my only concern.
The road is in good shape, though the Bhedia underpass may be waterlogged in case of a heavy shower. In such a case you have to drive through Bhedia town. Only it is just after crossing Sriniketan More (near Bolpur) the road is slightly uneven and you may have few potholes. But it improves shortly thereafter before Purandarpur.

Again just after Sheorakuri More the road is slightly bad with may be few speed breakers. There are few culverts before Messanjore which are possibly still under construction and you have to take few diversions there. But shortly thereafter the road improves again to be really nice. Dumka-Deoghar is a superb road. But keep watch for cattle and two-wheelers. Deoghar-Katoria is also good.
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Old 22nd June 2015, 19:47   #531
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by themagicclicks View Post
I'd prefer staying at Bhagalpur and drive a little longer the next morning. The reason being Deogarh is super congested town in the evening, and there is only one decent hotel ( that serves non-veg food, a must for me , Amrapali Clarkes Inn and that is damn bad hotel, all looks and prices are close to a 4 star hotel but rooms are match box sized, and to reach it and park your car there is a major fight.

Where as Baibhav Inn at Naugacchia ( a few kilometers before Bhagalpur ) where we had our lunch looked a much better option for a night halt.
.
25.237267, 86.974529

Latitude Longitude address where you have to take a right turn [if coming via the overbridge called as ulta pool] or keep driving straight [if coming from kacheri chowk via railway underpass] Purnia to Calcutta or on your way back

And Deoghar is as congested as Bhagalpur. I can't pick a lesser devil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul_kej View Post
Its very unfortunate that even after paying tolls the Dalkola 4 lane road condition is deteriorating day by day.

After this rainy season if its not repaired, then this route will be in shatters and a new thread will start about bypassing Dalkola 4 lane and then we will strech our route from Purnea to Forbesgunj to Thakurganj to Panitanki to Bagdogra and then Siliguri.

While typing this I realised that I have revealed a new route . Siliguri to Kolkata 800kms on the cards.
Yup, its pretty bad. Have complained as well, but to no avail.

From Forbesgunj, a route is about to be constructed. It should be joining at Bahadurgunj>Thakurgunj>Nazalbari>Siliguri.

A route exists from Araia but its broken as well.

Dalkola to Kishangunj is patched, you have to drive at either of the extreme side of the road and have to wait/search for a decent patch when the need arrives to overtake. Kishangunj to Islampur is better, but just. Islampur onwards, there is good road.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 00:10   #532
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Thanks a ton Neelanjan for the beautiful travelogue, specially because you managed time to upload it before my journey!
Also thanks to rahul4640 as well as noidea, for further insights!
Now I am really in a dilemma as whether to go via chittaranjan-jamtara or via bolpur-siuri-dumka! Neelanjan's composed narrative along with informative visuals have taken a deep toll on my emotional preference, whereas that practical part of psyche is nudging me to consider the other shorter route option especially since well versed members here are vouching for the decent physical condition of the other route as well!
I think I might try both routes during my onward and return journeys!

I will halt at Deoghar where my relative stays. So it will be Kolkata-Deoghar on day one and Deoghar-Gorumara on day two!

Thanks to everyone here!
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Old 23rd June 2015, 13:30   #533
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Quote:
I will halt at Deoghar where my relative stays. So it will be Kolkata-Deoghar on day one and Deoghar-Gorumara on day two!
That would, if taking the Chittaranjan route, will split the journey into

Leg 1: 4 hours to Chittaranjan + 3.5 hours to Deoghar = 7.5 hours with .5 hours break

Leg 2: 3 hours to Bhagalpur + 2 hours to Purnea + about 4.5 hours to Dooars Gateway = 9.5 hours so with proper breaks for the baby around 11 hours.

So in your case first day you can start as you wish. On the return trip we started from Deoghar at 7 AM and were home for lunch at around 2:30 PM

Second day would be a bit longer, so start pretty early so that the slightly hilly roads are negotiated in daylight. Start pretty early because with the daylight Deoghar starts filling with pilgrims too, bur that depends on where your relatives are.

I avoided the route through Bolpur back then because there were sporadic incidents of political violence along that route at the time, you can try and post that route's travelogue for us now I guess.

Bon Voyage,
Neelanjan.
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Old 26th June 2015, 16:21   #534
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Any BHPians on Bhagalpur route tomorrow? Was supposed to travel on Sunday, but because of Moto GP, have rescheduled it.

I will be at Deoghar & Dumka & return from there.
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Old 27th June 2015, 22:47   #535
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Back from doing Purnia - Bhagalpur - Amarpur - Banka - Katoria - Deoghar - Basukinath - Nunihat [this is where I joined Dumka - Hansdiha road] - Hansdiha - Bhagalpur - Purnea

Distance ~ 450

My observations : Crossing Bhagalpur when no entry is about to end or start, is a nightmare. Was royally stuck for 1+ hours and my schedule went for a toss.

8 AM, No Entry starts and the frenzy to cross starts from 6 - 6:30 onwards.

I am going to take the Tetri route from now onwards, always.

Its the same story when the No Entry will stop, 8 PM.

Amarpur Route - I took a RH turn from here 25.237336, 86.974501

Till Amarpur, there are patches, but still decent surface. But I am worried about Amarpur itself. Too narrow a road and unsure as to how the local market's traffic is.

Post Amarpur, the views and route do make up and its a smooth sailing till Deoghar via Katoria. I personally, post Amarpur won't do this route at night. Very less traffic & it might be naxal infested.

Deoghar to Basukinath is bliss & I believe the road is very good till Dumka.

From Basukinath, I took an interior route, where I joined Nunihat 24.482030, 87.129670

Till Hansdiah, I was wondering as to what is wrong with the road, but post Hansdiah, all hell breaks loose. It is a SUV territory throughout. In rains, make sure you have a 4X4. The craters are deep enough to scrape the bus's rear overhang and a truck's under-run bars/tail lamp covers. I put my Scorpio in 4H, put one wheel on tarmac and one on dirt road and drove on. This lasts till Jagdishpur 25.143106, 86.983586

Not a very happy picture. Sultangunj route too would be congested with the start of shrawan [2nd August perhaps till ~15th Sep thereabouts, please cross-check]

I am unsure as to what route I am going to take next time around, but if the ditches are filled with some material, then this will be the preferred route. The ditches are too deep as of now and water camouflages it so well that in a cross-over [forget sedan/hatch] you might break its chamber/hit the gearbox. Within 30 secs I lost a sedan without trying and an entry level MPV within a minute. And the driver of that MPV was trying hard enough, but couldn't keep up because I wasn't driving on the road. I counted 17 broken trucks on this road. Speaks volumes.

Don't take Sultangunj route in August.

Good news. Found Bhagalpur's bye-pass. Take a right from here 25.237225, 86.974465 Keep going on this route and keep asking for airport [hawai-adda would be apt, in Hindi] This will take you [almost] to the Vikramsila Setu.

Please do not take the bypass if you have luggage on your roof in a SUV. And this route is narrow as well, you won't come across HCV's.

When coming from Purnia side, when you take a right and enter Bhagalpur town, keep a watch on your left, within 200 meters, you shall come across a BPCL fuel outlet. A road runs parallel to it. That is the bypass road
25.253351, 87.018534 Google Maps mentions it as an HPCL outlet, but there is a BPCL outlet.

The Kacheri chowk railway underpass is non-functional as of now.

So, this is it Rained throughout [Naugachia to Amarour, it was intermittent] & made for a good monsoon drive.
Attached Thumbnails
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Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-img_0056.jpg  

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Old 28th June 2015, 12:43   #536
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Till Hansdiah, I was wondering as to what is wrong with the road, but post Hansdiah, all hell breaks loose. It is a SUV territory throughout. In rains, make sure you have a 4X4. The craters are deep enough to scrape the bus's rear overhang and a truck's under-run bars/tail lamp covers. I put my Scorpio in 4H, put one wheel on tarmac and one on dirt road and drove on. This lasts till Jagdishpur 25.143106, 86.983586
From the description and the photo, I am wondering if this is the route I took by mistake after Vikramshila till Deogarh!?! The potholes were crater deep and for a sedan absolutely dangerous, even SUVs were finding them difficult to negotiate.
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Old 28th June 2015, 13:03   #537
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by themagicclicks View Post
From the description and the photo, I am wondering if this is the route I took by mistake after Vikramshila till Deogarh!?! The potholes were crater deep and for a sedan absolutely dangerous, even SUVs were finding them difficult to negotiate.
Appears so, as other routes have decent surface.

Goodness, how did you manage & thank God it wasn't raining. Else the craters wouldn't be noticeable.
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Old 28th June 2015, 13:16   #538
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Appears so, as other routes have decent surface.

Goodness, how did you manage & thank God it wasn't raining. Else the craters wouldn't be noticeable.
True, couldn't even take a single photo of that section, since me and my wife were pretty nervous whether we'd make through that 34km stretch or not, one or more culvert had the ends so eroded that the concrete slab was exposed by about 8-10 inches and I had to climb down half wheel and a little thrust at a time to avoid being bumped hard, the crates were not just deep, they were like mud biking tracks, each one at least 2 meters across too! I am thankful to the Swift dZire for its not-so-comfortable shockers for the City, and its light but strong body, I Thought I'd be hearing rattling all my life after this ride, but the car is absolutely in tip top shape back at home!

Thankfully it only rained when we have reached about 30km from Deoghar, else I surely wouldn't have made it.
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Old 30th June 2015, 13:00   #539
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Well Just came back from Sikkim on 28th June. The routes taken were following :

1. Kol-Siliguri

Kolkata-Burdwan-Bolpur-Siuri-Massanjore-Dumka-Deoghar-Banka-Bhagalpur-Islampur-Siliguri.

Total Drive time : 15 hrs

Kolkata to Burdwan is the splendid NH2. No problems here. From Burdwan to Bolpur roads are okay but be careful of the bad patches that start just before any culvert & end just after it. Also, where the culverts have good roads, they are usually shaped like a ramp to make you car fly high. So slow down on as soon as you see a culvert. The Railway underpass at Bhedia was Blocked, so had to go thru Bhedia town to get to the other side. Thanks to 1100D for the video of the same.

Bolpur to Siuri may be a contender of most frequent speed breakers in a highway. There is one every 100m. But the stretch is over in 15 min so not much of a pain.
Once you enter Jharkhand roads are Silky smooth. No issues to report.

On my way, I had decided to refuel at Deoghar, but somehow slipped my mind and I entered Bihar. Worst mistake. I could not find a petrol pump till I reached Banka, that is good 55-60kms. So if you running low on fuel, please tank up before entering Bihar from Deoghar.

Bhagalpur was very coongested even at 3 pm. The railway overbridge was blocked by heavy traffic. Therefore took the byepass(?) & came out at Panchwati. The railway under bridge on this route is a nightmare. With heavy Rickshaw & two wheeler traffic passing the under bridge its quite a squeeze. It took me approx 50 mins to cross Bhagalpur & Vikramshila.

NH31 post that is a mixed bag.

2. Siliguri-Kolkata (Actually Kalimpong-Malda & Malda-Kolkata)

Siliguri-Malda : NH 31 as mentioned is a mixed bag. Road condition deteriorates after Dalkhola. Total time from Siliguri to Malda 5.5 hrs.

Malda-Kolkata : Took NH34 till Morgram & SH7 onwards to Burdwan & NH@ from Burdwan. NH34 is a mess to say the least. Potholes everywhere. Faced a 6 km Jam just after Farrakka Barrage that ate up 2 hrs. Roads after that till Morgram is good 4 laned with few bad patches.

SH7 from Morgram to Burdwan is a nightmare right now. Crater sized potholes will gulp in you whole hatch back inside. Lost my Sumpguard in one of the craters. Bad roads is a understatement. I had to literally crawl all the way till Nabagram. Road conditions improve after Nabagram. Alightly ahead of Nabagram there was an under construction culvert with only one way working & a truck decided to flip right on that spot. Had to take a diversion thru a village to go to Balgana & Bhatur the stay on SH14 & rejoin SH7 in sometime. SH14 was partially submerged under water due to the flood like conditions.

Look at the roadcondition & flipped truck on SH7

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34-img_5691.jpg


SH7 post that & NH2 onwards was not an issue. Total time from Malda to Kolkata was 12.5 hrs.

Thanks to Sheel, gmhossain & gearhead_mait for constant feedback about the roads.

Regards

Pawan

PS : Missed meeting fellow bhpian Sheel twice. Shall meet next time I am in North.

Last edited by PapaBravo : 30th June 2015 at 13:04.
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Old 30th June 2015, 13:12   #540
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Bolpur to Siuri may be a contender of most frequent speed breakers in a highway. There is one every 100m. But the stretch is over in 15 min so not much of a pain.

15 mins for Bolpur to Siuri!! I know the Brio is quite a fast hatch, but. Jokes apart, I know you only meant that the Speedbreakers last for 15 mins of the drive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post


Road condition deteriorates after Dalkhola.

NH34 is a mess to say the least. Potholes everywhere. Faced a 6 km Jam just after Farrakka Barrage that ate up 2 hrs. Roads after that till Morgram is good 4 laned with few bad patches.

SH7 from Morgram to Burdwan is a nightmare right now. Crater sized potholes will gulp in you whole hatch back inside. Lost my Sumpguard in one of the craters. Bad roads is a understatement. I had to literally crawl all the way till Nabagram. Road conditions improve after Nabagram. Alightly ahead of Nabagram there was an under construction culvert with only one way working & a truck decided to flip right on that spot. Had to take a diversion thru a village to go to Balgana & Bhatur the stay on SH14 & rejoin SH7 in sometime. SH14 was partially submerged under water due to the flood like conditions.
That was quite an ordeal isn't it. Pretty much echoes my own sentiments on this route. However, we do have some who prefer this route.
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