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Old 27th May 2011, 22:41   #1
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Arrow Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

What started out to be a exploring drive to Garo hills turned into a long and longest drive of my life. I started from Guwahati at six in the morning and at around 12 decided to go for the hills further north as Tura was not what i thought to be.

So i turned left in Paikan crossed Narnarayan Setu rail cum road bridge near Goalpara; got confused about which route to take after talking to a truckker. But finally listened to my heart and started off towards notorious Srirampur border, crossing Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar all new territory for me.

The road after Bongaigaon was hell till crossing Hasimara Airforce base area with huge craters to swallow the whole car. But i had to push the speedo as it was getting dark and a long way to the Himalayas.

At the same time i was hungry like anything as had eaten nothing since 10 in the morning. So stopped at a small tea stall near a defence installation, but they were only preparing to fry samosas for the evening. Stopped once more and they said it will take time. Ultimately got three Brittania cakes and drove straight towards Siliguri, into the dark and unknown. Kalimpong has to wait i said as i crossed the road to Mal bazaar.

I had no idea what places i crossed after Hasimara till i reached Siliguri at around 8.30 pm. Looked for Sinclairs as it was in my memory from many trips to the hills earlier. Enquired about availability, checked the room and went out to see what was across the road. Didn't like what i saw and camped at a room in 2nd floor. Refreshing drinks and chicken arrived as i finished bathing.

Before i could finish these off the service guy called for dinner order. I said butter nan and chicken chow gravvy. He asked but sir what will you have the nan with, don't worry just send it was my answer.

The nan finished off quickly but the chow stayed till maybe 1'o clock. It took me a long time to finally sleep.

Last edited by aah78 : 28th May 2011 at 19:45. Reason: Edited on request.
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Old 28th May 2011, 09:43   #2
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Default Day II: Drive to the hills

25 May:
No chance of early start today as had slept late.

The day started with a drive left of Darjeeling More towards the town, find an ATM and get a Colgate. Came back, took the car
towards the hotels back as told by the guard & parked it in the dhobi ghat for a clean up.

Once upstairs, used the brush provided by the hotel, which was surprisingly soft and enjoyable. After self cleanup,
headed downstairs for breakfast to the hotels restaurent, just behind the reception.

Paratha sabji, idli sambar, pasta etc were there, but choose just corn flakes & two bananas.

Post pet puja a quick bath & packup later, it was time to hit the road towards Sevoke. Bought a hill area tourist road map from
the Sinclairs reception for Rs 50 and asked for directions. Again i was confused about whether to go for Darjeeling or
Kalimpong, finally decided on the later.

While driving out of town from Darjeeling more towards coronation bridge, saw a good hotel to the left just a little ahead, Orchid.
Few more were there to the right as well.

The road was nice & clean upto coronation point but a bit narrow in the hills section & full of curves. Was driving slow anyway, but even that came to an end at a landslide zone where the usual habit of most citizens of overtaking and making two lines blocked the road.

Was relieved when the road finally opened, after what seemed ages but only to face a similar situation a few miles ahead. This section was not too steep so the Wagon R took me upwards in third gear mostly.

Now while waiting in the jam, had called my uncle for the number of my cousin, Imon who is studying at Sikkim Manipal. So after crossing the Teesta where the turn to Jore Bunglow & Ghoom is there, i called him up to enquire what time he would be free. Imon had classes from 12 to 2pm so couldn't meet him as i crossed his institution around 12.15. Stopped nearby anyways to eat something. The lady inside a local eatery was preparing the momos & said just five minutes.

I took a jug of water, cleaned my face which was more like what you would feel when you wake up and feel your face on a train in Rajesthan. The road was dusty and it was unbelieveably hot for the hills. I had to open my t-shirt finally and still sweat. This was really dissapointing, the drive was more tiring than relaxing because of the severe heatwave.

The momo arrived as i was lazily relaxing on the restaurent bench with leg up. It was so tasty for a veg momo that i got one more plate consisting 10 pieces for the road.
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Old 28th May 2011, 10:10   #3
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Default Photographs: Paikan - Bajengdoba - Williamnagar crossing - Tura road

Breakfast for my Wagon near Paikan.
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-petrol-1-day-1-boko-area.jpg

Tura road
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-road-1.jpg

Tura road
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-road-2.jpg

Tura road
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-road-3.jpg

Tura road
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-road-4.jpg

Welcome to Tura
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-gate.jpg

Williamnagar crossing
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-williamnagar-crossing.jpg

Williamnagar crossing
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-williamnagar-crossing2.jpg

My breakfast
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-gate-breakfast.jpg

The hotel
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-my-breakfast-place.jpg
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Old 28th May 2011, 13:39   #4
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Flashback: Tura

The road after Kukurkata police out post in Assam Meghalaya border is in preety bad shape and seems to have remained the same since British age by the size and look of it. It is no wonder that like the people of Darjeeling, the Garos want a State of their own. Meghalaya's developmental funds and work seem to have difficulty reaching the Garo hills.

The condition of government schools are also in bad shape and people in general look poorer than those of Khasi & Jaintia hills or Shillong side. They are also simpler because not much outsiders or tourists visit this side.

Tura town in general looked clean and the traffic well organised with Bhutan like immaculate parking. Life seems to move slowly here, there is a relaxed atmosphere in the air.

Ther's a nice little river near the town with a public park and picnic spot. More scenic places are there nearby, but that i have left for the next trip.

As i was returning from Tura, i stopped at the city gate area which had a general store and chai shop, plus a rice hotel. I had rice with two plates of very tasty chicken here for breakfast at around 10.

Thereafter it was a non stop drive to Bongaigaon, other than filling up the tank after crossing Paikan towards Naranarayan setu and North Salmara - Agia. Found and used an ATM in Bongaigaon town and saw the next one inside Bengal near an Army Cant. area in Hasimara. Also got two 2ltrs water bottle here which were Rs 30 each, that's a 5 Rs more because of extra hidden costs of running business in these areas.
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Old 28th May 2011, 13:52   #5
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Tura, as I have read, the local dishes of Tura are most wonderful, simple non-veg dishes carry a different taste!

BTW, like your trips that you take, does show that the area that we say summarily as north-east -- each place has its own character and you bring that quite good in your trips.

Do bring more different places in north-east as you discover them.
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Old 28th May 2011, 14:50   #6
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

@San Phrangmung, It is a good travelogue.
BTW, You are my inspiration to tour North-East. Hope I would do it one day !!
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Old 28th May 2011, 17:07   #7
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post

So i turned left in Paikan crossed Bhumuraguri rail cum road bridge near Goalpara;
That is the Naranarayan Setu at Pancharatna.
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Old 28th May 2011, 17:45   #8
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Tura, as I have read, the local dishes of Tura are most wonderful, simple non-veg dishes carry a different taste!

BTW, like your trips that you take, does show that the area that we say summarily as north-east -- each place has its own character and you bring that quite good in your trips.

Do bring more different places in north-east as you discover them.
Thanks & right adc, the chicken was so good that i had to order a second time. The region has enough to explore till i get old i believe. It shall be Willamnagar next and going to eat once more at the same place in Tura gate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride_4_Fortune View Post
@San Phrangmung, It is a good travelogue.
BTW, You are my inspiration to tour North-East. Hope I would do it one day !!
R4F thanks and do come to this part of the country. Over here i miss the beach though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
That is the Naranarayan Setu at Pancharatna.
Thanks TnH, i have requested for the correction. And must let you know that your drive to Kalimpong in a single day was my inspiration.
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Old 28th May 2011, 18:06   #9
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Default Tura to Kukur-kata photos

Bridge before entering Tura town. On one side is a public park and the picnic spot on the other.
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-bridge.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-2.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-1.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-road.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-road-5.jpg

View from top.
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-road2.jpg

Pre Primary & high school, Kukurkata
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-road-school.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-road-school2.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-tura-paikan-road3.jpg

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 28th May 2011 at 18:32.
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Old 28th May 2011, 23:48   #10
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Default Re: Tura to Kukur-kata photos

Hi,
How did you pass through Kokrajhar? Which road did you take?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 30th May 2011, 17:13   #11
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Default Re: Tura to Kukur-kata photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
How did you pass through Kokrajhar? Which road did you take?

Regards
Sutripta
Did not cross the town but district. The only town area i had passed through was Bongaigaon, thereafter it was all rural area till i reached Siliguri through Hasimara & Madarihat.
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Old 30th May 2011, 19:42   #12
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Default Goalpara bypass point to Alipurduar junction photos

Roadsign at Goalpara bypass connector
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-road-sign.jpg

Goalpara bypass connecting point
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-goalpara-bypass.jpg

Naranarayan setu connecting Pancharatna in south to Jogighupa in north. The last time i crossed this place was in 1988 in a ferry, when dad was posted in Goalpara.
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-naranarayan-setu.jpg

Turn towards Dhubri Bongaigaon from Abhayapuri point
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-left-dhubri-right-guwahati-point.jpg

Dhubri Guwahati Srirampur turn point
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-left-dhubri-right-guwahati-point2.jpg

Turn to Bongaigaon town from Dhubri road
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-bongaigaon-town-turn-point-dhubri-road.jpg

Bongaigaon fly over
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-bongaigaon-fly-over.jpg

Alipurduar junction from NH 31-A
From Bongaigaon to this point and here to Hasimara, ther's no large settlement. No shops no restaurent no garage no nothing.
Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling-alipur-duar-left-hasimara-straight.jpg

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 30th May 2011 at 19:51.
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Old 30th May 2011, 21:01   #13
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Which route did you take from Guwahati to Tura? You did not visit the Caves?
And which route did you take to get back to NH37 at Paikan?
Is NH31 widening work happening after Bongaigaon?
Which is the airport that shows in the signboards 24 kms before Tura?
I always wanted to go to Tura, heard roads were always bad, especially after the monsoons - looks like they are fantastic!
Is there really a road to the Bangaldeshi border from Tura and loop around back to Guwahati?
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Old 30th May 2011, 21:36   #14
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Which route did you take from Guwahati to Tura? You did not visit the Caves?
And which route did you take to get back to NH37 at Paikan?
Is NH31 widening work happening after Bongaigaon?
Which is the airport that shows in the signboards 24 kms before Tura?
I always wanted to go to Tura, heard roads were always bad, especially after the monsoons - looks like they are fantastic!
Is there really a road to the Bangaldeshi border from Tura and loop around back to Guwahati?
^^^
We must do the (mythical) Williamnagar - Shillong route!
Roads do seem to have improved. The real carbreaker used to be the Tura - Williamnagar route.

From Baghmara, one can go to either Tura or Williamnagar. Previously, there also used to be a road via Agia.

The military might have built a border road. Don't know. Will check (by asking taxi drivers at Shillong and Krishnai).

The airport I think is Balek. New. Nonoperational.

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 30th May 2011 at 21:53.
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Old 1st June 2011, 17:16   #15
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Default Re: Guwahati getaways: Tura Siliguri Gangtok Kalimpong Darjeeling Phultshiling

Hi Sam,

Have you painted the WagonR Olive Green (OG)?? Looks kind of different! Nice T-Log-keep it rolling as its giving me an update on my impending drive to the NE in Nov this year.
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