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Old 30th October 2012, 23:05   #61
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
There is a BP COCO on Purnea Bypass. There are a couple of places inside Bolpur but then that would be a detour, requiring to take the congested Bolpur town. But between Bolpur and Purandharpur there is a Dhaba on the right (going towards Purandharpur) and they seem to serve fast.
It is best avoided. I would say it is the same for BP COCO outlet @ Dalkola (after the toll)

In case someone needs food, ask for roti - tadka at any line hotels* in this stretch. Stop where you see trucks parked.

I would be glad if I can be someone's host

In case someone relishes chicken, desi style, approx 6 kms from Kishangunj, comes a place called Panjipara. Cross it & after 2 kms you shall spot a Kali Mandir. There is a diversion, take a U turn and you shall spot Lambu Khan Hotel (chicken paintings & all ). The most fab chicken you can ask for. The ambiance isn't that great (too many youths drinking, but won't bother you as the owner is a strict teetotaler & doesn't tolerate nonsense, well he has written as a note as well) but they have a separate room if females are accompanying. Specialty ; Chicken Liver. LOL, I am getting hungry now.


*the dhabas are called that.
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Old 31st October 2012, 00:08   #62
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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It is best avoided. I would say it is the same for BP COCO outlet @ Dalkola (after the toll)
But they have absolutely clean washrooms, which is a definite attraction, besides that there's a nice kids play area, another attraction, and being a COCO pump, theres the added temptation of filling up!
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Old 31st October 2012, 09:04   #63
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
But they have absolutely clean washrooms, which is a definite attraction, besides that there's a nice kids play area, another attraction, and being a COCO pump, theres the added temptation of filling up!
I would bye-pass if food tops my list. Other points mentioned are worth.

Though on whim & fancy BP Dalkola sometimes churn out good aloo-parathas, one may try that out.
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Old 31st October 2012, 21:19   #64
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
I see in Google map that the main road referred by you is GT Road. It bifurcates on approaching Bhedia. So you mean to take this diversion. There is a second bifurcation after the first one. Left flank goes to Bhedia Rlwy station (Probably you alert about this one being too low to allow small cars only) any idea about the right flank, this appears to be a shorter connect back to GT Road.
My mistake , it is the right flank only and not left. It is not actually under the station as I realize now , the abundance of bicycle and pedestrian traffic around this passage led me to believe otherwise.

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Please give me an idea of time taken to reach Phuntshoeling from Siliguri, what are available facilities for staying at Phuntshoeling and some current details about obtaining the permit.
This will probably be offtopic in this thread, but here goes. Via the route I took (Chalsa/Mal), it will take around 4 hrs to reach Phuntshoeling from Siliguri, from there to Paro is 5 1/2 hours and from Phuntshoeling to Thimphu will be 6 hours. It is about an hour betweeen Paro and Thimphu.

You have plenty of hotels in both Phuntshoeling and Jaigon. If you plan entry permits to be done at Phuntshoeling , please plan to stay and spend the night there. The permits can be actually done before hand from Kolkata , I have done this as well. Here is the link

http://www.rbckolkata.bt/

The Download section also has the blank form which can be printed and filled up before hand. If you submit the filled up form at the consulate then you will need to come back again after a few days for the completed document , the officials will tell you when to be back. One permit is needed per touring party member irrespective of age. If you already have this with you, you will only need to spend about 1-2 hours at Phuntshoeling to get the Vehicle Permit done at the RSTA, the timings are between 9-11 and 4 -5 BST (not IST). Offcourse it would be best to have lunch/brunch at Phuntshoeling as well. This way you can reach Paro or Thimphu the same day you leave Siliguri.

I plan to put up a detailed travelogue within a few days.
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Old 1st November 2012, 08:04   #65
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

I'm off tomorrow early morning. Many many thanks to all here for providing me with loads of information, I'm looking forward to have a great time and a great drive!!!
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Old 2nd November 2012, 13:42   #66
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
I'm off tomorrow early morning. Many many thanks to all here for providing me with loads of information, I'm looking forward to have a great time and a great drive!!!
Have a good time. Please also let us know about the latest road conditions, as I am sure that many of us in this forum will be looking forward to visit places in north Bengal and beyond during the winter. After my last trip using NH-34 in June this year, when I was made to wait at Dalkhola for at least five hours due to a bad traffic jam and that even for apparently for no reason (while driving in daytime), I have already decided that I shall not use this road in future, even take the Panagarh-Moregram route. Please also upload photos so that we may enjoy the same with you.

Please drive safe and have a enjoyable journey.
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Old 5th November 2012, 07:33   #67
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

I am back from Darjeeling and heading back to Kolkata. This has been a worst trip so far, I took the Mirik route on the way up which is little better than the Hill Cart Road but not what I expected for a tourist destination like Darjeeling. On my way down the there was a jam near the Mirik turn and I was forced to take the Hill Cart Road by the CAB drivers as I cannot take a turn. The turns are so steep to fit the Safari turning radius. Also I met some of the most unfriendly people till date on the hills. I guess they are annoyed seeing the AP registered vehicle, no one blows horn while climbing or coming down. I regret making this trip given the road conditions in WB.

I plan to take the Baghalpur road on my way back as I took the regular root via NH60 and NH34 on my inward journey. I hope to make it in a single day without any Jams.

Last edited by Harry1983 : 5th November 2012 at 07:37. Reason: Adding the return journey
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Old 5th November 2012, 13:09   #68
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by Harry1983 View Post
The turns are so steep to fit the Safari turning radius. Also I met some of the most unfriendly people till date on the hills. I guess they are annoyed seeing the AP registered vehicle, no one blows horn while climbing or coming down. .
Thats a little strange, never heard such ever, probably am a little short on experience. But as far as I knew people on these parts are extremely helpful, especially to tourists (it could not be about your AP registration). About the horn thingy, people maintain lower gear and lower speed not neccessitating a honk and disturb the serenity/atmosphere. Having said that, the places are so calm that one can easily hear another vehicle approaching from the opposite side.
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Old 5th November 2012, 19:06   #69
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
Thanks for the update mate. I have come to believe that this route is a better option to reach Siliguri, in spite of clocking some more extra KMs, as NH 34 is both pothole ridden and is perennially prone to prolonged traffic jams.
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Originally Posted by DriveTrain View Post
Here is the latest update on the Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka & Bhagalpur , I am just back today from a wonderful road trip to Bhutan.

Route travelled from Kolkata to Siliguri for the Outward leg : VIP Road , Belgharia Expressway , Nivedita Setu , NH 2, Gushkara , Bolpur , Purandarpur , Siuri , Tilpara , Massanjore , Dumka , Bhagalpur , Purnea , Dhalkhola & finally Siliguri. (Inward leg was just the reverse)

Distance clocked on the route : From my home (Kolkata) to Darjeeling More (Siliguri) 640 kms.

Travel time : Outward Left home at 4 AM , reached Darjeeling More at 6:30 PM , with stops totaling 1 hr 30 mins plus a 1 hour meetup with Sheel at Purnea.

Inward : left Darjeeling More at 3 AM and reached home at 5 PM with stops totaling 2 hours 30 mins.
Your idea on driving this route by night? Any issues with security or any other thing if one thinks of driving by night from kolkata to siliguri via the above mentioned route?
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Old 5th November 2012, 19:46   #70
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by A.G.The Rambler View Post
Your idea on driving this route by night? Any issues with security or any other thing if one thinks of driving by night from kolkata to siliguri via the above mentioned route?
Security could be an issue when you are traveling through Jharkhand at night. But why do you want to do this in the night and miss the scenery? Also at night your car will take more hits in the rough sections. This route I feel is best suited for those who want to reach North Bengal starting in the morning and want to avoid spending precious moments of their lives on the notorious NH34. Very soon we will have people spending their entire vacations on NH34 .
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Old 5th November 2012, 20:02   #71
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Security could be an issue when you are traveling through Jharkhand at night. But why do you want to do this in the night and miss the scenery? Also at night your car will take more hits in the rough sections. This route I feel is best suited for those who want to reach North Bengal starting in the morning and want to avoid spending precious moments of their lives on the notorious NH34. Very soon we will have people spending their entire vacations on NH34 .
Very true. Last year after the monsoons when NH 34 was at its worst, literally it took lorries 3 days to reach Malda from Kolkata , buses stopped plying, volvo stopped its Kolkata-Siliguri services and what not. NH 34 again is going that way in a years time if they do not start rebuilding the road and basically we all are fed up talking about NH34 which i do not see improving in the near future due to all the political nonsense. I guess the government is waiting for us to start digging up the road.

Night driving to Siliguri from Kolkata always saves a day's time and as you know 'time' is something very precious to IT guys like us and we don't get leaves and a day or two here and there makes a lot of difference to the whole itinerary. . That is the reason i always drive by night in this section. Looking for such options only.
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Old 5th November 2012, 23:00   #72
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Thats a little strange, never heard such ever, probably am a little short on experience. But as far as I knew people on these parts are extremely helpful, especially to tourists (it could not be about your AP registration). About the horn thingy, people maintain lower gear and lower speed not neccessitating a honk and disturb the serenity/atmosphere. Having said that, the places are so calm that one can easily hear another vehicle approaching from the opposite side.

It is just so easy to drive in the hills & you don't *NEED* to honk. Not at all.

Stay in your lane and no one would be upon you. Yes, they might try to overtake another state registered Car, but then that is it.

Personally, have found folks of Gangtok, Sikkim to be more friendly than those @ Darjeeling.

Last edited by Sheel : 5th November 2012 at 23:01.
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Old 6th November 2012, 22:48   #73
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Originally Posted by A.G.The Rambler View Post
Your idea on driving this route by night? Any issues with security or any other thing if one thinks of driving by night from kolkata to siliguri via the above mentioned route?
Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Security could be an issue when you are traveling through Jharkhand at night. But why do you want to do this in the night and miss the scenery? Also at night your car will take more hits in the rough sections. This route I feel is best suited for those who want to reach North Bengal starting in the morning and want to avoid spending precious moments of their lives on the notorious NH34. Very soon we will have people spending their entire vacations on NH34 .
Completely agree with samarjitdhar and yes the scenery is great. I would not be competent enought to answer about night time security on this route as I have not done it personally. There are some pretty lonely stretches over the entire route , notably day time truck traffic on the entire route is sparse when compared to NH 34. Do check with Sheel , I recall that he mentioned one of his relatives doing the Purnea to Bhagalpur and Bhagalpur to Dumka leg at night, in a Scorpio .
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Old 7th November 2012, 14:03   #74
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

Not just relatives, we ourselves do it and Dumka - Bhagalpur - Purnea (and beyond) can be done at any time, day or night.

I am unsure of the stretch after Dumka (towards Seuri) and would advise to try not to travel between 11pm - 4am. In case you are caught in this time zone, please do in a convoy. Follow trucks or passenger vehicles.

My friend has a taxi business & for the past 2-3 months, his Safari goes to Calcutta at least twice and that too at night, though no incidents are reported, but still...to be on the safe side.
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Old 17th November 2012, 13:22   #75
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Thumbs up Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34

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Have a good time. Please also let us know about the latest road conditions, as I am sure that many of us in this forum will be looking forward to visit places in north Bengal and beyond during the winter.
Thanks Rahul Da and to everyone else for all the help... I had a good trip and will highlight my experiences here in brief.

Pleas let me know for any specific details.

Onward Journey..... Durgapur Exprss Way, Bolpur, Siuri, Dumka, Bhagalpur, Purnia, Dalkhola

Return Journey ...... NH34 all the way.

I had 4 pax, 1 3yr old and boot full of luggage! It took me 19hrs (including breaks) on both onward and return legs.

Onward Journey
================
Pattabari to Dumka no roads at all, I think I missed the bypass and lost a lot of time (at least 2 hours or may be more)... so be careful... since the roads are almost undrivable on small hatch backs. As far as I remember Bhagalpur to Purnia road conditions were nothing to write home about average speed will be really low, in all very tough condition to endure with family.
Bhagalpur is difficult to drive through I crossed it around 5:30 PM and was a bit tired by that time since last cruising road ended some 5 hours ago at Pattabari! Its difficult due to no traffic control, no signals and huge crowd with all sorts of vehicle and live animals.

Encountered numerous cattle herds charging at my Indica in the Pattabari Dumka section. It was scary since I was unable to turn my car sharply due to very bad roads.. read no roads. If you miss the bypass I think you will be in real trouble with a small car.
I realized that I missed it since upon entering Dumka.. still terrible roads...I took a left turn, going further roads improved (got my GPS signal back on Nokia ph), gps was showing me that I'm going back down on the google map via the Dumka bypass. It was then that I corrected my route and realized my mistake! But frankly I did not find any possible diversion while driving through that hell and since I had no signal on my phone GPS was not working, so its tricky! But even if one finds the diversion I think one has to drive a considerable distance on that no tarmac, cattle charging road for some time its not going to be a good experience!

Road condition excellent till Pattabari left turn from T junction.


Return Journey
=========
NH34... four laning is on full swing... but hell at the follwing places, Malda, Kaliachowk, Behrampur. It includes huge truck line and terrible road condition.
I faced huge snarls at Krishnanagar entrance, near the rail bridge!
Note: Till Malda I was averaging at 50 Kms an hour, so one can imaging how terrible it was to drive the last half.


After Krishnanagar I faced a lot of unruly trucks and tata ace drivers! They were killers! Be careful and at the top of your reflexes.

Sikkim roads are broken and being patched up currently. People travelling next year can expect better conditions in Sikkim. NH31A was good except for few patches which were terrible for small cars! But do able!

Very sadly I see there is no better way to drive to siliguri now with a small car. I'm frustrated on the authorities for the state of the roads. I'll still suggest NH34 if one has to drive since its shorter and there are more chances of covering the distance quicker incase the truck traffic is lesser. I saw many people suggesting to do this route at night but beware of the unruly truck drivers. They can cause huge damage since you might find your self seriously cramped for room, I mean on the single laned portions. These parts have huge craters and holes which are deceptive at night. Add to that some spots where visibility is seriously low due to smoke and fog accumulation on chilly nights!

The photos are here
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=0e365ee06d
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