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Old 14th November 2011, 19:24   #1
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Thumbs up Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

Hi all,
This thread is a call out to all TBHP members interested in a road trip from Kolkata around Jan 2012. The time, venue everything is uncertain and is to be determined on this thread.
Step 1. Decide on a timing/ date when most people are able to join
Step 2. Decide on a venue/ route which most people agree on
Step 3. Freeze on dates and routes and places, including road conditions and other details
Step 4. Freeze on number of members in the team
Step 4. Collect all required information for lodging.
Step 5. Collaborate between members before finalizing booking
Step 6. Complete booking the places for the members
Step 7. Collaborate between members just before the final day
Step 8. Get set go.....
Step 9. Upload all the travel details on TBHP

These are more or less the steps we can take to organize such a trip and no better place than TBHP to do that.
Well, I know its quite difficult to organize this, but I've seen some threads where members did manage to get together on beautiful trips. So lets get started and get together to share a road trip to cherish for a long time.

Awaiting replies from the likes of Sutripta, Sudipto-S-Team, predatorwheelz, mitrajdeep, rahul4640 and all you guys from Kolkata and everyone else willing to join.
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Old 15th November 2011, 22:38   #2
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

Hi Arindam, I will back to Calcutta by November end and plan to travel extensively in December. So I am not sure if I will be able to travel again in January, but I am always interested in travelling :-D
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Old 15th November 2011, 23:01   #3
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

I appreciate your enthusiasm. If we were a group of old school mates then this plan would work. But it is very difficult to organise such a thing among acquaintances on a forum within a short notice.

The Calcutta members of team-bhp do meet once in a while and go for short day drives together. Even organising that takes a lot of effort and communication skill. Planet and others take the initiative and call up individual members to ensure attendance.

If this has to be given a concrete shape someone has to decide all the details like where to go, when to go and where to stay etc and then announce it and then let willing members join. Whoever comes along fine. Otherwise one has to go on his own.

Just a warning - mid-January virtually everything in South and North Bengal is booked. You will be hard pressed to find any decent accommodation anywhere even if you start planning right now.
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Old 16th November 2011, 00:40   #4
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

Sudipto
Hi.
Here in bombay the schools/colleges open by the first week of Jan.
Your comment about accomodation in Bengal:is it booked upto mid Jan or from mid Jan?
could you please reply.
Thanks and regards
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Old 16th November 2011, 19:47   #5
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I mean up to mid-January. And it is a slightly hyperbolic statement. There might be a few properties that might still have a few rooms but generally speaking there is hardly any room anywhere. People are booking Jaldapara four months in advance and are yet being denied rooms.
There is a tremendous shortage of rooms in Bengal because many of the touristy parts of Bengal are out of bounds for general tourists due to insurgency and other such factors like earthquake, bad roads etc. Also the tourism infrastructure as a whole is very poor and suffers from gross under capacity in our state.
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Old 16th November 2011, 20:07   #6
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
Hi all,
This thread is a call out to all TBHP members interested in a road trip from Kolkata around Jan 2012. The time, venue everything is uncertain and is to be determined on this thread.

Well, I know its quite difficult to organize this, but I've seen some threads where members did manage to get together on beautiful trips. So lets get started and get together to share a road trip to cherish for a long time.

Awaiting replies from the likes of Sutripta, Sudipto-S-Team, predatorwheelz, mitrajdeep, rahul4640 and all you guys from Kolkata and everyone else willing to join.
Please select the destination(s) first, so that the approximate budget as well as the duration of the trip may be calculated. I think it will then be easier for everyone to decide and give a confirmation.
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Old 18th November 2011, 20:04   #7
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I mean up to mid-January. And it is a slightly hyperbolic statement. There might be a few properties that might still have a few rooms but generally speaking there is hardly any room anywhere. People are booking Jaldapara four months in advance and are yet being denied rooms.
There is a tremendous shortage of rooms in Bengal because many of the touristy parts of Bengal are out of bounds for general tourists due to insurgency and other such factors like earthquake, bad roads etc. Also the tourism infrastructure as a whole is very poor and suffers from gross under capacity in our state.
Very true indeed Sudipto Da, though I'm inclined to visit North Bengal again, because of the sheer adventurous rides and the mountains, but the involved overheads are making me think. Lodging is certainly one of them and the other one is road condition. The online booking system of West Bengal Tourism website was helpful during my last visit to North Bengal to find shelters at the main halts. But the infrastructure demand is surely not met. Road condition is always at the back of my mind, I'm really thinking about seeing Bhutan, but recent updates on TBHP, tells me it might be too much for my petrol Indica @ 30,000 KMS about to complete 5 glorious years on 2012 March. Seeing pictures of some of roads in certain parts of Bhutan I fear my Indica might just get floored.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
Please select the destination(s) first, so that the approximate budget as well as the duration of the trip may be calculated. I think it will then be easier for everyone to decide and give a confirmation.
Yes Rahul, regarding destination I'm in a fix. I've been to North Bengal in May '09. The trip included Doars - Chalsa, Gorumara, Chapramari, Jaldapara (we missed the safari), Suntalekhowa, Bindu, Jayanti, Rajabhatkhawa and ended it with a night stay in a gloomy wet Darjeeling, but it was really exciting since it was my first darjeeling visit. I've also frequented Puri, Konark a few times and once had a long shot till Vizag last year. I think I'm ready to do North Bengal again but yet to make up my mind.

So any suggestions on destination to choose is welcome. I'll try to come up with the tentative dates as soon as possible, so that some of us may plan to join in.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 09:25   #8
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

North Bengal is always my first choice for a road trip, however, given the present road conditions, I doubt it will improve by Jan 2012. It was like super smooth during my road trip in 2010 but this year when I went to sikkim (May 2011, apologize for not uploading the travelogue) by Volvo from Kolkata, Roads were like hell, even the Volvo suspension couldn't take on the beating and the jerks were felt by us in the cabin. We had a bad morning next day while embarking at Siliguri bus stand with a stiff back.

Even I was planning for a Bhutan trip with my family during early next year but kinda backed out due to the road conditions.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 10:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantanu Sarkar View Post
North Bengal is always my first choice for a road trip, however, given the present road conditions, I doubt it will improve by Jan 2012. Roads were like hell.
I have read in this forum that at present there is a better option to go to Siliguri, going via Messanjore, Dumka and Purnea. But this means adding up a considerable more distance and although I have visited Messanjore once five years earlier, I do not even have the slightest idea about this route. Is it possible to reach Siliguri from Calcutta in 12 hours by this route, for a single driver and with reasonable breaks, when travelling with my family?
I request anyone who has traveled by this road in recent times to please share his views about the direction, approximate time required to reach Siliguri and the condition of this road.
Thanks in anticipation.
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Old 24th November 2011, 13:55   #10
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Default Re: Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??

NH34 is perpetually in a bad state. It is still reasonable to presume that most people will be able to reach Siliguri in 12 hours from Kolkata directly.
About the detour from Messanjore, Dumka and Purnea I have NOIDEA. From what I can see in Google maps the distance is over 650 kms and so it will be safe to assume that it will not be possible even presuming that the roads are excellent.
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Old 24th November 2011, 22:38   #11
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Quote:
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NH34 is perpetually in a bad state. It is still reasonable to presume that most people will be able to reach Siliguri in 12 hours from Kolkata directly. From what I can see in Google maps the distance is over 650 kms and so it will be safe to assume that it will not be possible even presuming that the roads are excellent.
It is absolutely correct. I was just thinking that if this route does not have traffic as dense as NH34 and the time consumed is not significantly much higher, this road may be a good option to reach Siliguri, provided it has a good road surface.
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Old 25th November 2011, 08:43   #12
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To avoid the crowds on NH 34 most people take NH2, to a crossing just beyond Panagarh, which is called Darjeeling more I think. From there a road goes to Bolpur. Just before reaching Bolpur there is a bifurcation at Iliumbazar, the road on the left goes through Dubrajpur and Siuri and finally joins NH34 at Moregram which is about half-way to Siliguri. The distance is not significantly more but the roads are good beyond NH2 and excellent on NH2. The total time comes down by about 45 minutes. and Of course the drive is a pleasure.

I do not know about the road condition right now but that route is usually good.

Last edited by noidea : 25th November 2011 at 08:53. Reason: Spelling and grammer
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Old 25th November 2011, 09:02   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noidea View Post
To avoid the crowds on NH 34 most people take NH2, to a crossing just beyond Panagarh, which is called Darjeeling more I think. The distance is not significantly more but the roads are good beyond NH2 and excellent on NH2. The total time comes down by about 45 minutes. and Of course the drive is a pleasure
I have used this road twice. The only problem in this stretch is the traffic jam at Panagarh. But what makes this road more suitable is that it is wider than NH34 and traffic is significantly less.
But again, once you reach Moregram, you have to start on overtaking innumerable number of trucks, buses, tractors, slow moving ambassador taxis, etc, etc. I feel it may sometime get really tiresome for a single driver.
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Old 30th November 2011, 21:54   #14
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Hi Gents,
Jan 2012 is the time to start, I'll be able to lock on the dates soon. North Bengal is getting more votes, so let me assume that's where we are headed.

Currently NH34 is not in good state at least until Ranaghat I presume (Updates from my Mom and Dad since my house is almost on NH34, its totally broken now)! Beyond that until Malda I'm not sure. So the alternate route suggested by Rahul is certainly in contention if that improves our route, any more specific updates will certainly help.

My last venture towards North Bengal was in 2009 NH34 was better that time, roads were good until at least Siliguri. Approach to Siliguri was hell, it took me at least 13 hours with breaks at Ranaghat (I love sweets) and Malda for lunch.

From Siliguri till Rajabhatkhawa was also very good with occasional very rough patches. I remember that the approach to the Coronation Bridge (infront of Sevok Kalibari) was almost hell to drive.

Let me upload some of the pictures here (from 2009), I'm not able to save enough time to build that Travelouge


En-route Siliguri before Falta the road has been almost like this all though out with occasianal NH34 surprises ofcourse (very deep dents on tarmac and unpainted hidden bumps w/o road signs).

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03285.jpg

Enroute - Gorumara from Chalsa

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03341.jpg

Enroute Rajabhatkhawa from Chalsa

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03422.jpg

Enroute Suntalekhowa from Chalsa

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03494.jpg

From Darjeeling towards Mirick

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03635.jpg

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc00474.jpg

Those were the highlights, now a lowlight, there were a few like these occasionally, the picture shows after I've driven through that debris on the other side. The sumo is a hired local car, we were 12 members excluding my 8 months old

Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc03390.jpg

Finally the whole team, me on the extreme left in white T, I was drving from Kolkata all the way while my 2 mamas took the train to siliguri and hired a Sumo for the entire trip, as far as I remeber a total of 10 days from Kolkata and back
Anyone interested for a road trip from Kolkata ??-dsc00451.jpg

Last edited by arindam_xeta : 30th November 2011 at 22:17.
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Old 3rd December 2011, 17:40   #15
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Quote:
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Hi Gents,
My last venture towards North Bengal was in 2009 NH34 was better that time, roads were good until at least Siliguri. Approach to Siliguri was hell, it took me at least 13 hours with breaks at Ranaghat (I love sweets) and Malda for lunch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
Let me upload some of the pictures here (from 2009), I'm not able to save enough time to build that Travelouge
Sorry , the year was actually 2010 and not 2009, Its around the same time almost that Santanu did his trip, in Jan 2010 and I did mine in April '10.
I was tremendously helped by Santanu's travelogue!

I did break at Hotel Golden Park for lunch at Malda! the restaurant was very good.
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