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Old 24th April 2015, 16:27   #106
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

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Originally Posted by anurag_p80 View Post
@Sheel, please advise on the current state of the stretch between Dumka-Bhagalpur. Is the Deoghar-Banka-Amarpur route still preferable? And in case one takes the Banka-Amarpur route, do we follow Thumping Soul's recommended route through Bhagalpur (through DN Singh road)? Any impact around bhagalpur from the recent thunderstorms?
Dumka-Deogarh-Sultanganj-Bhagapur is the best road for the time being.
Bhagalpur is something you have to live with, but be wary that since trucks are not allowed to pass through Bhagalpur town by day, there are huge pile ups of parked trucks on the roads approaching Bhagalpur.
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Old 30th April 2015, 12:09   #107
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Starting tomorrow early morning. Please post any last minute updates if possible. Wish me luck!!
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Old 3rd May 2015, 10:23   #108
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by anurag_p80 View Post
@Sheel, please advise on the current state of the stretch between Dumka-Bhagalpur. Is the Deoghar-Banka-Amarpur route still preferable? And in case one takes the Banka-Amarpur route, do we follow Thumping Soul's recommended route through Bhagalpur (through DN Singh road)? Any impact around bhagalpur from the recent thunderstorms?
Due to some issues or the other, didn't log in for past 10 days, HVK has covered things in detail.

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Originally Posted by anurag_p80 View Post
Starting tomorrow early morning. Please post any last minute updates if possible. Wish me luck!!
Expect response if something is amiss between Bhagalpur to Siliguri.
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Old 5th May 2015, 14:20   #109
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

We are also planning a trip to North east, starting from Mumbai or Delhi in November this year

What is the best route if we start from Mumbai and what about Delhi.

Is there a way to do this trip via Nepal.

@hvkumar look forward to your expert advice
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Old 24th May 2015, 12:13   #110
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

We completed our trip to Bhutan from 1st May to 17th of May 2015 without a problem. Road conditions were decent almost throughout the trip on the suggested routes and we did not have any major problems. Again, almost throughout the route there are no/ poor facilities for bio breaks, lunch breaks or any breaks. Little more detail on each of the segments provided below:

1. Hyderabad- Vijaywada: Excellent divided road throughout and the 7 Food Court provides a decent break option near the Suryapet turn-off. Lots of clones have sprung up and some looked quite decent (we did not try any). I did not take the bypass while going and on Friday morning faced a lot of trafffic and poor, potholed roads when approaching the temple and for some distance beyond. Maybe Friday and start of a long weekend contributed to this. Lost one hour in crawling traffic. On the way back, used the bypass and did not get stuck anywhere. Passed through Vijaywada in 30 mins, although the bypass is also quite narrow at places and seems like it can quite easily get jammed. Surface is good (better than near the temple). Vijaywada tll Hanuman Junction is slow going and seems one continuous populated stretch. Eases out post Hanuman Junction on the way to Vijaywada.

2. Vijaywada- Vizag: Good divided road, a bit patchy between Vijaywada to Rajahmundry, but nothing to worry about, it won't lose you much time. Facilities are zilch. Great surface between RJH to Vizag. Steady speed is advised though, since there is quite a bit of truck traffic, and also lots of town crossings. I will never understand our penchant for joining roads at a 90-degree angle, worst way to merge traffic and an invitation to disaster IMO. All the junctions on this route are 90-degree ones. Crossing Vizag is also simpler than crossing Vijaywada. We went through the town in both directions and apart from the usual AP/TS unruly traffic which I face everyday in Hyderabad, nothing unusual. About 40-45 minutes to get through the city. Maybe the bypass is quicker. Note that while we crossed through town, it was 6pm on a friday (holiday) evening, and at 10:30 am on a Saturday (holiday) morning. Saw relaying activities in progress and some relaid patches of road both right before and after Vizag on way back. One lane was closed down for this work which was happening full tilt.

3. Vizag- Kharagpur: Great roads from Vizag all the way till Balasore (both ways) with truck traffic to be negotiated. The stretch is largely populated though and small settlements will keep passing by. People plucking flowers from the highway median and then jumping on to the road is another thing to watch out for apart from suicidal cows and goats. Surface is good, though some undulations might be uncomfortable for those in the back of a softly sprung sedan. Easy to get through the towns of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack as well, although work is on for some flyovers and there are diversions. It will not cost you much time. Balasore to Kharagpur is the usual story, full of diversions. Diversions are well marked but frequent, and while the surface of the open lane is good, culverts and the actual diversion patch are unpaved and horrible. The broken-up culverts get lesser in frequency towards balasore. Again this is an inconvenience more than anything which will drastically slow you down.

4. Kharagpur- Durgapur: Took the Kharagpur-Kolkata-DGP Expressway route while going. WB plate traffic is quite like KL plate traffic in aggressiveness and complete lack of road manners. Roads are quite decent till the entry to DGP expressway, apart from a few places where flyover work is ongoing. Lots of unmarked speedbreakers here. Lots of traffic on this route to be negotiated. NH2 is superb till somewhere before Panagarh, after which it is a mess of diversions and broekn roads with a lot of town traffic. I could see why Panagarh is a bottleneck, although when we passed through the traffic was moving slowly but steadily. Horrible and narrow roads, a traffic signal and lots of trucks, buses, cars, taxis and town traffic. Recipe for jams. Coming back we took the Durgapur-Raniganj-Bankura-Kharagpur route and found it shorter and surprise- faster. It is a good option for people who prefer driving at a steady sensible speed, rather than those who aim for the highest possible speed in a sector. Raniganj market is a mess, and there is no marking for the flyover you have to take and gmaps is confusing. So keep asking. After this short torture (20 mins at max) you get onto a patchy road towards Bankura for some distance (about 10 kms of so). After that the road is excellent though undivided. Not much traffic though you will pass through many villages and small towns. Road is patchy in parts, specially around the level crossings (of which there are about 4 or 5). All but one were open when we passed through and the one which was closed also opened in 5 mins or so. The exit from this road onto NH5 is non-descript and patchy but gmaps can guide you through. I would recommend this route to anyone going from Kharagpur towards Durgapur.
Hat tip: Ramesh (aka Secretariat) for this particular advise.

5. Durgapur-Bhagalpur: We tool Durgapur- Jubilee Pump- Masalia- Dumka route both ways. Initially the road is bad for 5-10 kms, but then again undivided smooth roads with minimal traffic. Lots of villages on the route, and some unmarked speedbumps. Lots of stupid goats who have a tendency to leave their food and wander onto the road for god-knows-what. And some cycle trafic with big bags of freshly mined coal. The roads in and around Dumka are bad for a short while as well, but nothing alarming. After Dumka, we planned on taking Deoghar-Katoria- Banka-Amarpur route, but got lost somewhere thanks to gmaps. We were on track till Chopa More (I think), from where instead of proceeding straight toward Deoghar, I took a acute right and went towards Bhagalpur. This route took me to Hansdiha, and some extremely horrible roads with absolute gorges on the roads and lots of traffic. These craters were huge, very frequent, and had defeated some trucks which were motionless right in the middle of the craters, leading to even more chaos. Left leg got really tortured for the 30 kms or so till Dhaka More, from where I turned left for Banka and Amarpur. Lost about an hour here and took 1.5 hrs to do these 30 odd kms. The road is decent from here on, but really narrow, and totally chaotic within the towns (this on a Sunday afternoon!!). The main market squares are populated and the width of the road makes passing a bus/ truck a very close affair. When not in the middle of towns, you can make good time. Coming back, we took Bhagalpur-Sutanganj-Deoghar-Dumka route. Till sultanganj, you will feel as if you are still in Bhagalpur( we did this early morning, so not much local traffic). The road continues to be patchy, albeit wider, for another 25-30 kms or so after sultanganj, and then becomes an excellent surface, with patches at the most inopportune times. More than the surface though, what loses you time is the almost constant population around the highway with numerous villages and towns passing by with people, livestock, trolleys, children and everything else on the road. It is a straightforward route without any problems or potential to get lost though quite a bit longer. From Dumka we took the same route to Durgapur, but somehow ended up in the Domohani market and lost some time. Not a big issue though.

6. Bhagalpur- Siliguri: We passed through Bhagalpur in relative comfort both times (Sunday afternoon and Friday early morning). We asked locals for directions within the city and did not lose way. Traffic was messy and road narrow and uneven, but no jams were faced. While going, the road to Vikramshila Setu and the setu itself were empty. While coming back (4:30 am in the morning), we lost about 20 mins due to a broken down truck in the middle of the setu. Apart from this, slow going for about 5 kms or so due to a lot of stationary or slowly moving trucks within BGP. After the setu till joining NH31 is a bit of an uneven road, but no potholes and you can make good time. From here till the Purnia bypass is undivided highway but surface is good, although locals were using the highway to dry their corn, reducing the width. Lots of filthy towns on the way with vegetable markets abutting the highway, and autos, bikes, buses stopping and starting. After Purnia, divided highway starts and surface is largely good, although a bit patchy Islampur to Siliguri. You will have to pass through Islampur both ways, and narrow roads plus city traffic does not help. Once near Bagdogra, the highway becomes undivided again, although the surface continues to be good. Also becomes more scenic with flat tea estates accompanying you. Through and after Bagdogra, lots of traffic and road deteriorates a little. Nothing too bad though.

7. Siliguri- Jaigaon/ Phunsholing: Excellent scenic road with minimum traffic. The last few kilometers through Hasimara, and then through Jaigaon are broken up. Apart from that excellent and relaxed drive.

8. Within Bhutan: Roads are mostly great, with some broken up patches. Lobesa (from where you turn off for Punakha) till before Pele La, road is being widened and lots of road closures apart from generally bad roads (mostly stone chips only). After Pele La route is great. We exited from Gelephu, and the road from Trongsa till Gelephu is also very good with few bad patches. It is a landslide prone area though and we saw lots of random stones on the roads, so a little care is advised (not from falling stones we did not see any fall, but to avoid this largish stones on the road). The drive within Bhutan was very scenic with greenery, lots of wild flowers (jacarandas, rhododendrons, primulas, mimosas and what not).

9. Gelephu/ Samtabari- Siliguri/ Ghoshpukur: Was a bit anxious about the road from Samtabari till we hit NH31 again. Unfounded anxiety as it turned out. Dusty road with some bad patches and lots of villages, but largely decent roads till we hit the EW corridor. EW corridor is full of unmarked diversions, great concrete surface, and unbuilt culverts and bridges with horrible surface. Traffic is low, and width of the operational lane is good, so we made good time till we hit a diversion/ horrible bridge. This time, we took the Dhupguri-Maynaguri-Jalpaiguri-Siliguri Bypass route. Comparable road conditions to the Dooars route. The bypass was another anxiety causing patch which did not live upto the feedback. Initial 2-3 kms work was going on and it was mud and stonechips only. After that, apart from ocassional potholes, and very occassional patches with some craters, it was smooth sailing. IIRC, two more areas where work was ongoing and roads were horrible for a km or so each time. No other hassles, and we avoided Siliguri/ Bagdogra and associated delays. Well worth it I would say.

Some pictures of the road ( excuse the quality from cellphone and taken by the front passenger on the move).
Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-towards-vijaywada.jpg
Going towards Vijaywada

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-towards-vizag.jpg
Going towards Vizag

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-towards-bhubaneswar.jpg
Roads in Orissa

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-jharkhand.jpg
Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-jharkhand2.jpg
Jharkhand Roads towards Dumka

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-near-dumka.jpg
Bad Roads near Dumka

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-doaars.jpg
Roads through the Dooars

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-dantak.jpg
Bhutan roads near the Dantak Canteen

Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-samtabari.jpg
Samtabari to NH31
Attached Thumbnails
Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query-landlisde.jpg  

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Old 24th May 2015, 12:18   #111
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Big vote of thanks to TeamBHP in general and Sheel, Secretariat (Ramesh), Redeemer8 (Pramod), Sutripta, Sudipto-S-Team, rahul4640, babuda and HVK in particular. Tremendous help and detailed information so that I could adequately prepare and plan. Made for a great trip. Thanks folks!!
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Old 20th November 2015, 22:44   #112
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Guys.. my cousin is visiting us on the 25th Dec evening and a crazy idea just popped up (literally like from nowhere) Do you think a drive from Hyd to Gangtok is possible in in around 9.5 days? My cousin must fly back on 3rd night. Do you think it is doable? Please note it is going to be single driver trip (my home minister may share upto 100-150 kms a day. Although not an expert driver on highways she is safe)

If not, any suggestions where we can experience the cold winter of India that can be driven to from Hyderabad?
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Old 13th December 2015, 13:39   #113
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

hi all,

thanks anurag for the latest on this thread. i am planning a similar trip for myself and have a question:

Google maps shows another route than the one mentioned. This one is hyd-nagpur-jabalpur-rewa-varanasi-balia-darbanga-siliguri-bhutan

considering the road and traffic issues in your route and this one is ~200km shorter, is this one worth exploring?

thanks for al help!
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Old 13th December 2015, 19:47   #114
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Default Re: Hyderabad -> Sikkim -> Bhutan Query

Anurag, wanted to know about fuel on the latter half of the route . Siliguri onwards, is Euro 4 fuel available . Is Euro 4 fuel available in Bhutan?
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