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Old 29th May 2008, 13:23   #1
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Default Planning a trip from Pune to Kalimpong (Darjeeling)

Hi guys,

Joined the forum yesterday and thanks all for such a warm welcome.

This is my first post and am starting off with a travel query.

I'm planning to drive down from Pune to my in-laws' place at Kalimpong (Darjeeling Distt.) to drop my dog with them as I have to fly overseas (Germany) for a company project for a duration of 3 months. I'm planning this trip in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

I decided on the above option after exploring the below:

By Air - NO WAY - Reason: Too traumatic for the dog as there is no direct flight from pune to bagdogra and also only one odd flight from pune to Kolkata that too via chennai or delhi and then can't catch a flight same day to bagdogra as last flight is around 1 or 2 p.m. Also cost component - exorbitant as 2 flights are involved.

By Train - Possible BUT tiresome (too much effort) - Reason: No direct train from pune to New Jalpaiguri. One train (Azad Hind express) to kolkata - doesn't have AC 1st Class. One train from Mumbai to NJP (Dadar-Guwahati Exp) - but again no AC 1st class. So have to take train from mumbai to kolkata and then kolkata to njp. but takes 4 days and then again I have to buy all 4 tickets on the AC 1st class cabin and as u all know what r the chances of getting individual coupes on two consecutive trains - next to impossible.

That's the reason I decided to drive down or rather drive up to Kalimpong. I've done some homework on the same which is as below:

Day 1 - Start early from Pune and reach Hyderabad by nightfall. (Approx 550 Kms)

Day 2 - Hyderabad to Vizag (Approx 650 Kms) (Take NH 5 on the GQ right upto kolkata)

Day 3 - Vizag to Kolkata (Approx 850 Kms)

Day 4 - Kolkata to Kalimpong (Approx 650 Kms)

Now my queries would be -

(a) Is the above plan OK, I mean whether it is realistic, especially the one on Day 3 (can i do 850 Kms?) (I normally do 80 kmph on highways. Not worth the risk to stretch it as I'm lugging my family along which includes my dog)

(b) My main concern is whether I'll get hotels which allow pets on these three stops (hyd, vizag & kol). Do the Reliance A1 plazas have rooms where we can stay overnight and do they allow pets? (I'm prepared to grease their hands if required)

(c) I just got my car serviced a month ago. So is another service required or I just get a general checkup done before I embark.

(d) Keeping the hot weather on the coastline in mind, how far can I stretch my car at a single go with the AC on? (in terms of kms). Anyways I'll be stopping every 2 to 3 hours to give my dog a break.


Kindly put in your valuable advise / suggestions / tips so that I can complete this journey successfully and hopefully we'll have a travelogue worth reading at the end of the trip.

Thanks in advance guys. I'll be grateful for any inputs..

p.s - I'll be the only one driving and accompanied by my wife and my dog.

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th May 2008 at 13:47. Reason: Please read the rules only two smilies per post allowed
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Old 29th May 2008, 13:50   #2
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Welcome to TBhp andy_dog_lover.

I am sure member will help you out with your query in the mean while I suggest you check out the Announcements section thoroughly & get acquainted with our Board rules.

Have a pleasant stay
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Old 29th May 2008, 14:12   #3
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Instead of going via he Coast, ou could go direct via Nashik, Dhulia, Jalgaon, Khamgaon, Akola, Amaravati, Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Kharagpur. This is the NH3/NH6 route. Some bad sectiosn bettween Amaravathi and Nagpur, and also some in Orissa. Alternaively, you can reach Nagpur via Ahmedanagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Yeotmal and Wardha, which are better roads but poor on facilities.

Distance via the coast is longer, may be fast ins the NH5 stretches, but you will lose time in transiting Hyderabad, driving to Vijayawada/Rajahmundry and also have to tackle some bad roads in Orissa.

From Kharagpur, you can go via Kolkata or take the route to Bardhaman, Durgapur (before) and reach NH34 via Siuri at Moregaon More. These routes are discussed in this forum before, lots of info.

You could otherwise go via Kolkata as you propose.

If you go on NH3/NH6 route, your plan could be as follows:

Day 1: Pune-Nagpur

Day 2: Nagpur-Sambalpur/Keonjhar

Day 3: Sambalpur/Keonjhar-Kolkata/Durgapur

Day 4: Kalimpong


I have driven from Bombay tto Kalimpong and those parts and I am attaching the links for you. I also used the Coastal route once.

H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS Bombay to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Sikkhim, Bhutan by bike, Apr 1994
Log Book of my drive to Kalimpong, please trace tthe return route from Siliguri, which will be your route

H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKS North East India, Dec 2001
Log book of my drive through the East Coast (exactly on the route you propose) to Siliguri and North East India

In your plan, Day 3 and Day 4 could be difficult. I would see the trip spilling over to Day 5.

Most Relaince Plazas are closed now. In any case, they have very rudimentary stay facilities. Hotels can be managed, especially ones outside towns.

No problem for the car. Rains will be here in next few days and you can expect heavy rains in North Bengal area.
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Old 29th May 2008, 14:48   #4
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Some links which may be of your help:
1) http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-kolkata.html (Travelogue: Bangalore to Kolkata)

2) http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...oute-help.html (Mumbai to Siliguri : Route Help)

Abhi
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Old 25th June 2008, 15:22   #5
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Considering the monsoon dislocation on NH5 - East Coast route - why don't you take the direct route via Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Kharagpur?
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Old 25th June 2008, 16:40   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Considering the monsoon dislocation on NH5 - East Coast route - why don't you take the direct route via Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Kharagpur?

Definitely this route for now.

There are good private hotels at Sambalpur and some at Keonjhar, and also a OTDC Panthasala at Bangriposi on the highway just before the forest check post and where the ghat road ends [between Keonjhar and Kharagpur].

OTDC hotels are also there at Sambalpur and Keonjhar

OTDC


PS:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I am not sure how well it would have survived the heavy rains in Midanpore region.

In any case, you can stop over at Kolkata on Day 3 and reach Kalimpong by Day 4.

Went till Midnapore just before monsoon, it was bad even at that time also - it must have deteriorated. Safari/Scorpio will be okay but for other cars it will be very careful driving.

Better to go through Kolkata with a break and then onward through Panagarh - Moregram -Malda- Siliguri.

Siliguri to Kalimpong is around 70 km. but again the question will you be able to enter Kalimpong if there is an indefinite strike??

Last edited by adc : 25th June 2008 at 16:55.
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Old 25th June 2008, 16:44   #7
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....adding to what adc said , you can take Day 1 stop at Nagpur, Day 2 at Sambalpur/Keonjhar. From Kharagpur, there is a route to go to Durgapur (to connect with the Kolkata-Malda road, NH34) - Abhi has the details - but I am not sure how well it would have survived the heavy rains in Midanpore region.

In any case, you can stop over at Kolkata on Day 3 and reach Kalimpong by Day 4.
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Old 25th June 2008, 17:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
....adding to what adc said , you can take Day 1 stop at Nagpur, Day 2 at Sambalpur/Keonjhar. From Kharagpur, there is a route to go to Durgapur (to connect with the Kolkata-Malda road, NH34) - Abhi has the details - but I am not sure how well it would have survived the heavy rains in Midanpore region.

In any case, you can stop over at Kolkata on Day 3 and reach Kalimpong by Day 4.
Thanks for the timely tips & suggestions guys (hvkumar, Abhi, adc). Just one query - Is the above suggested (Pune - Nagpur - Sambalpur - Kolkata) route kind of four laned (toll roads) or are they normal erstwhile highways (roads on which you have to look out for oncoming traffic). The main reason why I had opted for the East Coast route was the good roads of the GQ and also the good speeds which one can attain on these roads. Thanks again guys
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Old 25th June 2008, 21:46   #9
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I am afraid the Nagpur-Sambalpur route is conventional 2-lane State highway/NH6, unlike NH5 which is 4-laned but unfortunately in a mess thanks to the flooding in Orissa.
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Old 26th June 2008, 08:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I am afraid the Nagpur-Sambalpur route is conventional 2-lane State highway/NH6, unlike NH5 which is 4-laned but unfortunately in a mess thanks to the flooding in Orissa.
I too suggest you to carry on the original Bombay highway NH6. It will save you on time for sure otherwise you might run into trouble in Orissa.

In any case, I dont like the idea of driving all theway from Mumbai to NH5 via Hyd. Distance wise it will be too high and hence you will in any case take more time even if GQ is in fantastic condition.

After that from Kharagpur to Moregram will be a dream drive.

Abhi
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Old 26th June 2008, 11:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Instead of going via he Coast, ou could go direct via Nashik, Dhulia, Jalgaon, Khamgaon, Akola, Amaravati, Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Kharagpur. This is the NH3/NH6 route. Some bad sectiosn bettween Amaravathi and Nagpur, and also some in Orissa. Alternaively, you can reach Nagpur via Ahmedanagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Yeotmal and Wardha, which are better roads but poor on facilities.
I agree, the Ahmedanagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Yeotmal and Wardha route is poor on facilities. You wont find a decent place to eat or get fresh, but this is a shorter route and the roads are in better condittion but its a normal 2 lane state highway and the good thing is traffic is really low Jalna onwards.

@hvkumar The Amravati-Nagpur bad stretch you are talking bout is better now, around 100 KMs of good 4 lane highway is done, for the balance (after kondhali, around 40kms) the work is going on.. But you can also take an alternative route from Amravati via Varud and reach nagpur, again its a normal two lane state highway with low traffic and decent roads..
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Old 28th June 2008, 06:30   #12
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The roads through Chattisgarh are very good and mostly 4 lanes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I am afraid the Nagpur-Sambalpur route is conventional 2-lane State highway/NH6, unlike NH5 which is 4-laned but unfortunately in a mess thanks to the flooding in Orissa.
+1 for old highway due to the rustic route and beautiful scenery through Orissa, Jharkhand & then in WB.

I am adding the map of Orissa for any assistance you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
I too suggest you to carry on the original Bombay highway NH6. It will save you on time for sure otherwise you might run into trouble in Orissa.

In any case, I dont like the idea of driving all theway from Mumbai to NH5 via Hyd. Distance wise it will be too high and hence you will in any case take more time even if GQ is in fantastic condition.

After that from Kharagpur to Moregram will be a dream drive.

Abhi

Last I went by this route, it was in an okay state. After the showers, you never know but still should be in a good state as it is the backbone of middle MH. They are upgrading the roads till Ahmednagar so a bit of mad traffic. Aurangabad onwards it is good road especially after Amravati which is a four lane road for most of the part.Yeotmal/Wardha route is definitely shorter, i have heard from people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclops View Post
I agree, the Ahmedanagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Yeotmal and Wardha route is poor on facilities. You wont find a decent place to eat or get fresh, but this is a shorter route and the roads are in better condittion but its a normal 2 lane state highway and the good thing is traffic is really low Jalna onwards.

@hvkumar The Amravati-Nagpur bad stretch you are talking bout is better now, around 100 KMs of good 4 lane highway is done, for the balance (after kondhali, around 40kms) the work is going on.. But you can also take an alternative route from Amravati via Varud and reach nagpur, again its a normal two lane state highway with low traffic and decent roads..
Attached Thumbnails
Planning a trip from Pune to Kalimpong (Darjeeling)-orissaroadmap.jpg  

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Old 3rd July 2008, 12:11   #13
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Hi Guys,

I'm starting out on 5th morning to Kalimpong as scheduled. My plan as follows:

PUNE - HYDERABAD - VIJAYAWADA - VISHAKAPATNAM - BHUBANESHWAR - KOLKATA - SILIGURI - KALIMPONG (Total - Approx 2500 Kms)

Hoping to cover it in 3 legs namely:

Day 1 - Pune - Vijayawada (814 Kms)
Day 2 - Vijayawada - Bhubaneshwar (820 Kms)
Day 3 - Bhubaneshwar - Kalimpong (1034 Kms)

I'm confident of Day 1 & Day 2 but for Day 3 I may split it into two legs breaking at Kolkata depending on the field situations.

@hvkumar - Any last moment updates on the broken stretch between Balasore and Kharagpur on NH5 would help.

Hopefully at the end of it, we can have a travelogue worth its name. Thanks again guys for all the help
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Old 7th July 2008, 18:14   #14
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Update from Andy Dog Lover on way o Kalimpong:

- Very bad roads on NH5 after Ichchapuram after crossing into Orissa
- Traffic diverted via NH5 at Balasore via Baripaa to Kharagpur, since bridge is broken on NH60.
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