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Old 18th October 2009, 22:35   #1
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Default Alipurduar - guidance needed

Planning to visit Siliguri followed by the Alipurduar area in end-December 2009 for about 4 days (25th - 28th December). Driving from Delhi, will subsequently go to Calcutta (29th December to 2nd January 2010), followed by return to Delhi. Would be obliged if best route options, road conditions, and information on what to see and do can be provided by knowledgeable members.
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Old 19th October 2009, 11:00   #2
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***BUMP*** No response? Uncharted territory there?
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Old 19th October 2009, 12:48   #3
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Would you take the NH2 route till Darjeeling More and go via Suiri-Rampurhat-Moregram-Dalkola-Siliguri or prefer some other way through Bihar?

Delhi-Kolkata NH2 is good all through.
In the Kolkata -Delhi stretch , from Dehri to 50 km after Varanasi was a little bad, but that is negligible. Repair works should be over by December.

Try out the Allahabad Bypass this time, it is very fast.

In WB, NH 34 has been resurfaced and is in good shape.
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Old 19th October 2009, 13:05   #4
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Kolkata > Panagarh > Turn right at Darjeeling Morh towards Moregram > Go past Ilambazaar, Suri, Rampurhat etc > Hit NH 34 at Moregram, 10 km beyond Nalhati > Turn left towards Omarpur, Maldah, Raigunj, Dalkhola > Turn right on 4 lane highway immediately after level crossing > Go past Kishanganj, Islampur to reach Siliguri. If possible book WBFDC's Mongpong tourist bungalow instead of staying in Siliguri.

Turn left just after Darjeeling Morh of Siliguri to go towards Sevoke. Keep going straight upto Coronation bridge. Turn right to cross Teesta. Mongpong is on your right hand side on the other side of the river.
Keep going crossing Malbazaar, Binnaguri, Telipara. Turn left towards Birpara. Keep going. Madarihat (Jaldapara is on the way). Keep going upto Hasimara. Turn right (straight road goes to Phuntsholling - 10 km). Reach Alipurduwar - the most boring town in north Bengal but gateway to some great forests like Buxa, Jayanti etc.

I have the log in an XL sheet. Let me know if you need it. Send a PM to sutripto. He is an authority on north-east. Possibly he has missed your post.

Happy vacation. But be prepared to meet millions of loud picnicers (spelling?).
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Old 19th October 2009, 15:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black_panther View Post
Would you take the NH2 route till Darjeeling More and go via Suiri-Rampurhat-Moregram-Dalkola-Siliguri or prefer some other way through Bihar?
That's exactly what I want to find out. Turning off NH2 at Barhi, and going via Gaya -- Barauni -- Purnea -- Siliguri (NH31) is a possible option - I have no idea how the roads are in Bihar presently, but have been told that under the current government they are in good shape. I would like some feedback if possible, on this. Or even NH57 routing through Patna - Muzaffarpur.
Quote:
Originally Posted by black_panther View Post
Delhi-Kolkata NH2 is good all through.
In the Kolkata -Delhi stretch , from Dehri to 50 km after Varanasi was a little bad, but that is negligible. Repair works should be over by December.
Try out the Allahabad Bypass this time, it is very fast.
Old hand on that route, looking forward to the Allahabad BP though.
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Originally Posted by black_panther View Post
In WB, NH 34 has been resurfaced and is in good shape.
That's good to know - I plan to take that route back from Siliguri to CCU...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Kolkata > Panagarh > Turn right at Darjeeling Morh towards Moregram > Go past Ilambazaar, Suri, Rampurhat etc > Hit NH 34 at Moregram, 10 km beyond Nalhati > Turn left towards Omarpur, Maldah, Raigunj, Dalkhola > Turn right on 4 lane highway immediately after level crossing > Go past Kishanganj, Islampur to reach Siliguri. Turn left just after Darjeeling Morh of Siliguri to go towards Sevoke. Keep going straight upto Coronation bridge. Turn right to cross Teesta. Mongpong is on your right hand side on the other side of the river. Keep going crossing Malbazaar, Binnaguri, Telipara. Turn left towards Birpara. Keep going. Madarihat (Jaldapara is on the way). Keep going upto Hasimara. Turn right (straight road goes to Phuntsholling - 10 km). Reach Alipurduwar - the most boring town in north Bengal
... or would you suggest this route to come back from Siliguri to CCU? Which is a better road - NH34 or this?
Quote:
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If possible book WBFDC's Mongpong tourist bungalow instead of staying in Siliguri.
...but gateway to some great forests like Buxa, Jayanti etc.
Tell me more about that - just what I want to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I have the log in an XL sheet. Let me know if you need it. Send a PM to sutripto. He is an authority on north-east. Possibly he has missed your post.
Happy vacation. But be prepared to meet millions of loud picnicers (spelling?).
Would love to have that Excel sheet. You have my email ID anyway. Hoping my vehicle will allow me to go where picnickers' vehicles don't take them - that's the info I also need.
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Old 19th October 2009, 15:42   #6
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SS
I am attaching the XL of my 07 trip to P'ling and D'ling. We went up via NH 34 and came back via Moregram-Panagarh. So you can do the comparison. I would say that if you were travelling during the day time avoid going via Ranaghat, Krishnanagar etc. Because that route goes through the heart of these small towns like Shantipur, Ranaghat, Krishnanagar, Baharampur etc. They are extremely crowded during the day time with rickshaws and cycles etc, not to speak of several level crossings on the way.
If you were going in the night then NH 34 is fine, though you will have to be an expert at driving with headlight in your eyes.
During the day I think via Panagarh would be faster. There is no level crossing on this route.
I would avoid driving through north Bihar. HV Kumar had some terrible experience recently.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Kol-Siliguri-P'ling-D'ling-May07.xls (46.5 KB, 254 views)

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 19th October 2009 at 15:44.
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Old 19th October 2009, 15:59   #7
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You can try this for Hotel Booking at WB.

W.B.T.D.C

Regarding the Bihar roads,
while returning back via NH2, I took a night halt at BodhGaya , roads in that section were good. But that falls under Buddhist Tourism cirle.
Under the current government, roads in Bihar have improved, upto Patna it should not be a problem I guess. Patna-Muzaffarpur should be motorable as well.

My Uncle's place is at Muzaffarpur. I have been going there since childhood, and roads have been pathetic ever since.

If you wish to take the EW corridoor, through Muzaffarpur , please go through hvkumar's logs. But the road conditions should be worse.

My cousin at Muzaffarpur informed me that some sub contractors are creating problem in that section.

Regarding NH34, at present, it's got a nice surface, but you would like to follow the Dalkola-Moregram-Suiri-DarjeelingMore(NH2) route to avoid the chaotic traffic on the NH34.

If you are planning to drive in the night, take the NH34 through Krishnanagar (Don't forget to take 'Sarpuria') .
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Old 19th October 2009, 16:10   #8
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Another possible route could be Varanasi - Muzaffarpur.

Few years back, roads were good in this section, but I don't know about them at present.

But the distance will be much shorter.
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Old 19th October 2009, 16:39   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
If you were going in the night then NH 34 is fine, though you will have to be an expert at driving with headlight in your eyes.
During the day I think via Panagarh would be faster. There is no level crossing on this route.
The plan is to leave Delhi in the afternoon (2pm) on the 24th December, and reach Siliguri/Alipurduar by 5pm on 25th. Leave that area 28th late morning and get into CCU midnight or beyond. Via Panagarh looks better on your Excel - I think I'll stick to that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by black_panther View Post
Another possible route could be Varanasi - Muzaffarpur.
Few years back, roads were good in this section, but I don't know about them at present.
But the distance will be much shorter.
The shortest route I can figure out is to turn left off NH2 onto NH97 upto Ghazipur, then NH19 to Hajipur, NH77 to Muzaffarpur, then NH57, SH63 and NH31C to Siliguri.

But then, as Sudipto-da said
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I would avoid driving through north Bihar. HV Kumar had some terrible experience recently.
Would like to know more about this. Kumar-saab, your inputs please.
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Old 19th October 2009, 17:18   #10
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post

The shortest route I can figure out is to turn left off NH2 onto NH97 upto Ghazipur, then NH19 to Hajipur, NH77 to Muzaffarpur, then NH57, SH63 and NH31C to Siliguri.

But then, as Sudipto-da said

Would like to know more about this. Kumar-saab, your inputs please.
I thought, a seasoned driver like you would like to experiment a bit, rather than sticking to NH2, which can get boring at times.

If you are travelling during daytime through Bihar, safety should not be an issue. Let's see the inputs from hvkumar.
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Old 19th October 2009, 21:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black_panther View Post
I thought, a seasoned driver like you would like to experiment a bit, rather than sticking to NH2, which can get boring at times.

If you are travelling during daytime through Bihar, safety should not be an issue. Let's see the inputs from hvkumar.
HVK had reasoned that the criminals would be sleeping at night and so he drove through the night. Criminals were indeed sleeping but police patrol was on. They stopped him at various places to seize his vehicle for election duty (in complete violation of Supreme Court orders to the contrary) and released him only after small bribes.
I think north-Bihar is an avoidable nuisance, but I seriously doubt that you can make it to Siliguri from Delhi in two days by going via Calcutta.
One other thing to remember - the evening sets in much earlier in this part, especially in winter. However, I don't think that's an issue for you.
In that Jalpaiguri-Coochbehar region there are far too many places to select. If you have to choose just one place, go to Holong, near Madarihat/ Jaldapara. Advance booking is a must. It's 6 km deep inside the forest. Simply out of this world. There is a small rivulet in front of the bungalow and a salt lick just on the other side where animals come even in the afternoon. I haven't stayed there but gone there.
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Old 19th October 2009, 22:09   #12
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To be abundantly cautious, I would take the Siuri route.

Distance comparisons:

Safer route!
Barhi-Darjeeling More, 247 kms
Darjeeling More-Siuri-Dalkola, 384 kms
totalling 629 kms

BIhar route!
Option 1
Dobhi Thana-Patna, 100 kms
Patna-Begusarai, 115 kms
Begusarai-Dalkola, 237 kms
totalling 452 kms

Option 1 would mean turning off at Dhobi Thana on Nh2 (65 kms from Aurangabad) and going via Gaya to Patna, then switching to the road to Begusarai.

Option 2
Dhobi Thana-Barhi,70 kms
Barhi-Begusarai, 286 kms
Begusarai-Dalkola, 237 kms
totalling 492 kms

Option 2 would mean turning off NH2 at Barhi. After turning off at Barhi, you go via KOdarma and Bihar Sharif to Begusarai, and then via Kagariya and Purnea to Dalkola. No need to touch Patna at all.

AS you can see, you don't have to touch Samastipur and Muzaffarpur at all, the shortest route is via Begusarai on Nh31 to Dalkola. The road via Muzaffurpur, Darbhanga to Purnea is the East-West Corridor but incomplete road and totally avoidable.

Very obviously, the distance via Siuri is more, but that road is outstanding from Barhi till Darjeeling More, patchy via Siuri till Morgram, but great from thereon.

The BIhar route - roads are terrible in sections between Begusarai and Khagariya, and also in and around Purnea, but is 4-laned from Purnea to Dalkola. You lose on time what you gain in distance.

Pros & Cons:
Bihar Route
+ Short distance
- longer time
- unsafe
- no bypasses
+ high-density truck route
+ "exciting" and "different"

Siuri route
+ Great roads
+ Almost same time or less despite longer distance
+ No safety issues
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Old 19th October 2009, 22:19   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
HVK had reasoned that the criminals would be sleeping at night and so he drove through the night. Criminals were indeed sleeping but police patrol was on. They stopped him at various places to seize his vehicle for election duty (in complete violation of Supreme Court orders to the contrary) and released him only after small bribes.
I think north-Bihar is an avoidable nuisance, but I seriously doubt that you can make it to Siliguri from Delhi in two days by going via Calcutta.
Entirely agree with Sudipto. This is one of the worst parts of Bihar - Begusarai, Kagariya, Purnea, etc. and it is not worth testing our courage. I have been told to avoid these roads by night because of anti-social elements, but when I drove by in Apr 09, I decided to take it by night simply because of the same reasoning Sudipto has used above. In fact, Sudipto and I had a long chat on options that night just before I plunged into North Bihar that night - thanks, Sudipto, for the moral support at a critical moment.

The cops are terrible, they can be worse than criminals, and they love SUVs in Bihar. I would not think it safe to park overnight anywhere in this part of Bihar, that is what I heard in Bihar!

Roads are bad to worse in sections. Facilities very poor. The 4-laning is complete only from Purnea.

On scheduling, if you make it to Varanasi on Day 1, I think a fast driver can push it to Siliguri on Day 2 via Siuri.

To further dissuade you on the North Bihar route, let me give you some time comparisons on both routes:

Dalkola-Purnea-Begusarai, 227 kms, 4 hours, 12 midnight to 4 am
Darjeeling More-Siuri-Malda-Dalkola, 384 kms, 6.30 hrs
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Old 20th October 2009, 09:55   #14
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Thanks a ton, Kumar-saab and Sudipto-da. The analysis is just what I needed. I am aware of the despicable law and order situation in Bihar, but was hoping the situation on the ground as well as road conditions would have improved - which obviously they've not, except for NH2. One eye-opener was the comment
Quote:
...they love SUVs in Bihar
and that is a little terrifying.

Regarding scheduling of the drive, I would like to time my departure at 4 PM ex-Delhi, to arrive at the UP-Bihar border at @4 AM the next morning - leaving me about 14 hours of daylight to get to Siliguri from there - no night drives in Bihar!

As of now, based on the W.B.T.D.C website, no rooms are available in either Jaldapara or Hollong Tourist Lodges for my preferred dates (25-28 December), so let's see if I can organize something on priority basis - otherwise I'm sure we'll be sleeping in the car...

One more thing that bugs me is the fog. Time and again we've driven this route in winter, and more often than not we have been slowed down/held up by the fog. This year should be no different; as a matter of fact, last year's (December 2008 -January 2009) drive got us more fog in the eastern parts than I've ever seen. Global warming?
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Old 20th October 2009, 10:17   #15
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The period between Christmas and New Year is the worst time to go to any forest. They are generally chock-a-block full with loads of people, spoiling the mood of serenity and calm that you expect to find in the forest. But there are loads of options in that region too. Check out WBFDC website. They have nice guest houses in Hasimara (Malangi) and Raja Bhatkhawa in Buxa. Plus a few more in Murti, Rasikbill etc. Jayanti has a couple of small basic private hotels. By the way, mobile does not work in Jayanti.
In a worst case scenario you can go to Phuntshoelling for the night halt and enjoy the Jaldapara forest by coming early morning to the forest. It's close by.
You can pick up a forest guide from the Jaldapara tourist lodge who will take you to various parts of the forest and sit in your backseat. You can also stay in Chapramari, near Chalsa and there are lots of private resorts there.
Remember worst case scenario is having to spend the night in Phuntsholling/Jaigaon. There are umpteen hotels in these two towns. You will never be stranded.
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