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Old 30th January 2012, 21:59   #1
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Default A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur

A close analysis of all holidays this year shows the holidays create ample opportunities for a number of long weekends . Hence it was decided that the first opportunity would be utilized to go visit one of the various tourist spots nestled around Kolkata. It was Jan 23rd, the birthday of Subhash Chandra Bose which was somehow deemed to be a holiday in the office calendar. Being a Monday meant 3 nice days of relaxation away from home. Moreover the cook decided to take this weekend off so all the more reason to get away from home. A quick survey of destination candidates zeroed in on two spots, Deoghar and Tajpur. What clicked in favor of Tajpur was an opportunity to do some para-sailing being offered by one of the resorts.

About Tajpur
Tajpur, a village by the sea, lies in between more famous tourist spots like Mandarmani and Shankarpur on the way to Digha. The delta of the river Suvarnarekha lies in between Mandarmani and Tajpur. The location is less visited due to lack of proper roads hence the beaches are clean and the location is not crowded. Reservations were made at the Tajpur Retreat, the best thing this property has is it's web site (more on that later). There are other hotels in Tajpur if one searches but this is apparently the only one which has a tie up to provide access to para-sailing and kayaking.

How to reach Tajpur
There are essentially two ways to reach Tajpur. Remember, the location doesnt show up in Google Maps or MMI correctly. Google Maps though shows Tajpur Road which is the right option to take. MMI is hopeless in this case and shows Tajpur in the middle of nowhere once you reach the location.

1. NH6 till Kolaghat-Mecheda -> NH41 till Nandakumar -> local roads to Contai -> Digha Contai Road and then a totally broken road to Tajpur
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-route1.jpg

2. NH6 till Kharagpur -> NH60 till Jaleshwar -> SH57 to Digha -> Digha Contai Road and then the same totally broken road to Tajpur (somehow Google Maps thinks NH60 is one way or something and doesnt show the directions correctly hence had to reverse the directions to get the right view.
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-route2.jpg

Route 1 is naturally the more obvious option given its shorter distance. However I had a harrowing experience 5/6 years back when I was going to Mandarmani. The entire stretch of NH41 and then the local road till Contai was broken and filled with craters. So much so that my poor Zen developed a terrible snag and the silencer pipe burst. I had somehow managed to reach Contai back then, got it fixed at a local repair shop and managed to reach Mandarmani only in the evening. So it was Route 2 I was more interested in even though folks told me that roads were in a much better shape now in Route 1 barring a small stretch. I also wanted to try a newer option and hence went with Route 2.

About the ride
My 6 month old VW Vento HL TDI. Since I have owned it have been falling in love with the way it drives. However was not getting enough opportunity due to work pressure to take it on the highway often. Hence Route 2 appealed more having heard of the good condition of NH60 and the option of driving the car on open highways with low traffic.

Note of thanks to HVK sir, Rahul, Sutripta da and a lot more on giving pointers on the route specially on how to avoid the truck pileup at the WB-OR border at Jaleshwar.

Some highway driving trips
1. Speed intelligently - You are off to a destination to reach there in one piece and in healthy mind. Its not about racing abilities nor is it an audition for formula one racing. Driving at sedate speeds on moderate to heavy traffic dramatically reduces the chances of harm. I was shocked to see some unmentionable speeds made by some cars and then having some really close calls. Use speed to cover time you have lost when highway conditions permit.

2. Respect lane rules - A very good thing to practice. If your car cannot do more than a certain slow speed don't hog the right lane just because you can. I found private vehicles and smaller goods vehicles very troublesome. Truck drivers barring a few exceptions abide by most lane driving rules.

3. Alertness is important - Given that these highways have been created on land acquired from villages, villagers still find these as extensions to their villages. Hence there will be traffic mostly local ones coming from the opposite direction or local traffic making local traffic stops on the highway and vehicles suddenly swerving to avoid these unscheduled stops.

4. Respect local traffic - Specially on state highways. These roads are meant for the various small towns and villages located on them hence serve the daily needs of the local residents. You on the other hand are a tourist. No need to flex your muscles because you have a larger vehicle. Ensure local folks using smaller vehicles can pass properly and are not inconvenienced because you want to maintain a speed of 120 regardless of road condition or whether your speed would mean other folks have to get off the road and go down into the adjoining fields. Respecting local traffic helps a lot, if you have to pass, they will let you and you dont need to continuously blow the trumpet er your horn.

Some tips on MMI Navigation
I gathered some insight into some of the nuances of how to use it. Specially when you are doing local roads and your route is not straightforward.

1. Its a good idea to create this route upfront in the device using viapoints. Studying the route online using Google Earth and/or online MMI helps to get a good idea. Gathering as much data about routes/roads and then creating the trip upfront in the device will save you a lot of trouble specially when local roads/highways are involved.

2. While using via points for local villages/towns, the device tries to get you into a central point for that via point which can be very problematic. A good idea is to skip that via point on that device as you approach the via point. The device recalculates the shortest route to the next via point bypassing the upcoming one making sure you can continue to your destination using the shortest route. Remember this is applicable when your route is a bit complex one through lesser known and smaller roads going through small towns/villages.

3. Validate your route by taking directions from local folks whenever possible. The device can give you a route with only a high degree of accuracy but not completely accurate. Also the device has no clue about totally broken roads

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 13th February 2012 at 12:14.
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Old 6th February 2012, 22:56   #2
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Default Re: A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur

So back to the travelogue .....

The Onward Route
The start as usual got delayed due to various reasons. So only could start by around 8:30 AM in the morning. Hit the Saturday office crowd. That and getting on to NH6 through NH117 took two full hours. NH117 popularly known as Kona Expressway is filled with local traffic with people who need to take a left turn staying on the right lane and the right turn ones on the left lane, you get the picture. Its best that this stretch is crossed as early as possible. A few months back this was in shambles till a hue and cry along with a few unfortunate highway deaths made the CM sit up and take notice. It has been now repaired end to end and is a breeze to drive when traffic is light. By the time we hit NH 6 it was almost 10:30 AM.

Crossing the 2nd Hooghly bridge
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3224.jpg

Bus on National Integration theme, note "Khan's Hare Krishna"
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3226.jpg

"Indian Volvo" What's that?
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3228.jpg

As mentioned above, wanted to check out NH60, so took the little bit longer NH6-NH60 route through Jaleswar. NH6 is one busy highway. Trucks, trucks and more trucks. To add to that lots of local traffic and then traffic stops at almost every little town/village in the outskirts of Kolkata. This stays till Kolaghat until you reach that famous bridge.

The broken bridge @ Kolaghat over river Roopnarayan
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3229.jpg

What a bridge. Over the river Roopnarayan this is one unique bridge which has gone well past its expiry date. The replacement is not even 50m complete, has been in progress say more than 20 years now? Some progress that. In fact even the machinery associated with the construction has turned to rust and is on its way to dust . This bridge has I guess supported the livelihoods of some countless building contractors here. I am not sure who is to blame the NHAI or the PWD it brings untold suffering to folks traveling on NH6 about to reach or get out of Kolkata. Generally in my past experience what takes 5 minutes used to take 15 minutes since they used to make the bridge one way alternately every 15 minutes. But this time around there was some moron who was only controlling traffic from one side of the bridge. Hence traffic going towards the west is stuck while traffic coming towards Kolkata flows smoothly . Wasted one hour due to those morons . Already had a pretty late start and then due to this was late for breakfast at the Sher E Punjab dhaba just after crossing the bridge. After reaching Sher E Punjab at around 11:30 we find it as usual chock a block filled with Saturday crowd. Somehow managed to grab a couple of dosas and we are on our way towards Kharagpur by noon.

Some spirited driving from Kolaghat to Kharagpur helped gain some time and was near the Kharagpur NH6-NH60 junction by 12:30 PM. As happens to all first timers, missed the exit for NH60 at Kharagpur, went till the next roundabout and then joined back NH60. Somehow they have not chosen to mark it clearly and MMI kinda gets iffy when the exits are very subtle. Need to be careful henceforth. But not much damage done here and got on to NH60 nice and easy.

NH60 is another nice highway except that most of it is concrete till Jaleswar (didnt go beyond that). Except for some rough patches on the bridges NH60 is smooth and one can easily maintain speeds of 100-120 in most of it till one reaches Jaleswar. This stretch again helped me make up for the lost time and made it to Jalsewar by around 1:30 PM. This place is famous rather infamous for some fierce jams caused by the trucks paying tolls and taxes at the WB-OR border. For the love of God, I do not understand why is there no proper terminus created by NHAI to make the process smoother. It was one of those better days when we managed to get through in 15 minutes but still there were trucks loaded standing stationery in every possible part of the highway barring one thin lane through which private vehicles could pass. If there is better infrastructure for collecting tolls/taxes from commercial vehicles, movement of goods would be way faster reducing such wastage. A lamentable state of infrastructure in India but thats a different story altogether.

An interesting thing is most of NH6 till Kharagpur has no toll till now (though one toll booth is coming up, I forget the location where), but paid toll twice on NH60. Once before reaching Jaleswar and the other at Jaleswar. Right after the toll @ Jaleswar to get to Digha/Tajpur one has to exit NH60 and get on SH57 which goes till Digha. Most of SH57 lies in Orissa. Its only just before getting to Digha it enters West Bengal. The intention of taking this route was to minimize some of the very bad roads I had encountered after Mecheda till Contai during my last trip. This road turned out of above average quality. Around 2 kms of non-existent tarmac, another 6-7 kms of semi broken roads and the rest all very good. Except for the numerous humps on the way, I was able to maintain an average of 60 on this stretch. The total distance of this stretch is about 59 kms till Tajpur.

SH57 after Jaleswar
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3231.jpg

Broken stretches start
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3241.jpg

Spot the tarmac
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3242.jpg

Once you cross Digha and get on the Digha-Contai stretch, the speeds can go higher though we had to take a turn towards Tapur after crossing Shankarpur. The turn comes after you cross a village called Balisai. The road itself is very non-descript and the landmark for this turn is a government owned Sales Emporium owned by the state fisheries department. The road to Tajpur is right opposite to this building.

This road is completely broken filled with potholes but still manageable. It goes cutting right across shrimp farms to the beach. To reach the hotels, one has to take a left turn into a smaller road which is yet to get a tarmac but still it is manageable. This entire stretch of 4 km is called Tajpur Road and this is how it shows up on Google Maps. All the hotels are on the fag end of this unfinished road and if one follows this, one can drive right up to the beach. By the time we made it to our hotel it was 3 PM. Thanks to at least two hours lost due to unnecessary traffic jams.

Just after crossing Digha on the Digha bypass
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3247.jpg

Tajpur road is right opposite to this building
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3495.jpg

The final stretch to Tajpur
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3260.jpg

Coming up, the stay @ Tajpur

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 13th February 2012 at 14:53.
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Old 12th February 2012, 23:24   #3
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The Stay At Tajpur

I guess it was okay. It could have been better. I probably should have done some research on the resorts and could have had some more comfort for the same price. The supposed attraction of this place was that they offered access to para-sailing activities and kayaking so opted for it. The room was just about okay, pretty dimly lit and the bathroom average. What was terrible about this property was there some huge colony of pigeons living in the roof of the resort and it seemed they had their watering hole right above our room. Since it was weekend, all the pigeons were having a gala time throughout the night running around above our roof and kept us mostly awake throughout the night. The resort did have a lot of puppies to play with though *grins* and they kept interesting company. Since its still winter and nights were cold, their snuggling together was a sight to see.

My ride resting after the drive
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-01222012482.jpg

Puppies cuddling to keep warm in a cold night
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3318.jpg

Playtime ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3371.jpg

.. Continued
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3394.jpg

Tajpur Beach

A very serene beach with very few tourists ensured that the beach was clean. An interesting fact about places like Tajpur, Shankarpur and Mandarmani is the continental shelf of India is almost flat in these areas. Hence the sea stretches out from the beach to a huge distance with waist deep water. The waves are almost non-existent as a result and its mostly calm. Its nice place to relax and just let your hair loose. With the para-sailing and kayaking thrown in it makes a nice mix. The beach itself is expansive and one can spend time either sauntering lazily across the stretch or just sitting around in the sun lapping in the waves. One thing this and the beach of Mandarmani is famous for are a lot of red crabs. They have their nests more towards the delta of the Suvarnarekha and is a sight to see when all of them are crawling around for food.

There are few beach side shacks where one could ask for custom made fish based dishes which I guess would be yum but we didnt try any . The most unfortunate part was the para-sailing team found the wind not conducive for para-sailing on any of the days *bangs head*. Its basically the wind speed. If its too high they don't go for it. But then the idyllic location and surroundings make up for most of it and ensure that you can relax without a worry in the world. This place is strongly recommended for a weekend getaway if you like beaches. You can even drive up to the beach though the road is a earthen one. If one wants, one can even drive on the beach though this is strongly not advisable because it disturbs the fauna on the beach specially the various nesting holes of the crabs. The beach I guess is best enjoyed with a lazy walk.

Yup those are red crabs ..
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-01222012485.jpg

My ride parked on the beach
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-01222012486.jpg

Cacti on the shore ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3274.jpg

Cows walking into the sunset ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3284.jpg

Getting closer the red crabs ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3335.jpg

Finally a portrait of the crab ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3339.jpg

Deadwood by the sea ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3340.jpg

The Tajpur shoreline, notice very few shacks, even fewer tourists ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3343.jpg

Another shot of my ride ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3351.jpg

Trying to catch the sunrise ....
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3432.jpg

Turtle skeleton washed ashore ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3434.jpg

Shell on the beach ....
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3454.jpg

After a leisurely three days it was time to head back to the hustle-bustle of the city. Next up the return route.


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Last edited by suhaas307 : 18th February 2012 at 22:47.
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Old 12th February 2012, 23:54   #4
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The Return Route

So when it was time to head back, decided to check out the traditional route. Got some local feedback that most of the roads have been repaired or are undergoing repairs so most of the trip back should be smooth. So started at around 10:30 AM in the morning on Monday went through the broken road to hit the Digha-Contai highway and we were on our way. The highway is super smooth to drive and I was soon doing an average of 80. Crossed Contai taking the Contai bypass which helps you avoid any traffic in Contai. From Contai onwards the roads were a pleasant surprise as they have become butter smooth for the most part. Extensive repairs have been done in light of a beach festival held recently where the CM was the key attraction . Except for around 10 kms of semi-broken roads most of this road is very good and even very few bumps on the way.

Once you reach a place called Nandakumar you get on NH60 which became another revelation for me. I remember a few years back, this was utterly broken too. This entire stretch is being converted to 4 lanes now with some diversions. However most of this stretch can be crossed very quickly with average speeds between 100-120 and Mecheda-Kolaghat will come up in no time . So it was time for an early lunch at Sher E Punjab this time at around 12:30 PM. Lunch by 1:30 PM and then back home by 3:30 with some spirited driving along NH6 averaging at around 100.

Getting back on the Digha-Contai highway from Tajpur road
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3494.jpg

Super smooth NH60, a very pleasant surprise ....
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3497.jpg

The Verna CRDi on NH60
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3504.jpg

Villagers @ work by NH6
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3507.jpg

Back to the 2nd Hooghly bridge ...
A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur-dscn3509.jpg

So thats it folks. A short travelogue and experience @ Tajpur for those in and around Kolkata and want a quick weekend getaway. So long folks, till I write about that horrid experience of driving to my hometown, Jamshedpur.

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Old 14th February 2012, 15:28   #5
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Default Re: A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur

Mods Note: Thread moved to Travelogue Section.
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Old 14th February 2012, 17:05   #6
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Default Re: A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur

Very nicely written and helpful too since I plan to visit Mandarmoni or Tajpur soon.

Were you travelling alone or was the Verna with you ?

Can you please elaborate more on the resort that you stayed in Tajpur ? Cost , food quality, security, location, etc. Also other lodging options at Tajpur.
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Old 14th February 2012, 19:55   #7
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Very nicely written and helpful too since I plan to visit Mandarmoni or Tajpur soon.
Thank you. I am sure you will like it. Very serene and calm. A good place to let your hair down and relax.

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Were you travelling alone or was the Verna with you ?
No I was traveling with my family. The Verna was spotted on NH60 and I was checking out whether 20 BHP less on my car made any difference. Apparently not .

Quote:
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Can you please elaborate more on the resort that you stayed in Tajpur ? Cost , food quality, security, location, etc. Also other lodging options at Tajpur.
The resort I chose at random was Tajpur Retreat (link provided in the first post). Its an average kind of a resort. The only thing is that they have some tie up with a group conducting para-sailing and kayaking. The food quality was also average too. In case you want to choose a better staying option, there are other hotels in the same location which at least looked better from the outside. The only one I can recall as of now is called Hotel Sonar Bangla. There are quite a few others. I guess a Google search should help. The hotel I had stayed also had this "pigeon colony" issue so that could interfere with sleep. From a security perspective, its pretty good. There are not a lot of tourists visiting here nor is there a lot of commercial activity. Most parts of the beach would be inaccessible after dark as its not lighted up. Otherwise there are no issues with security at all.
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Old 14th February 2012, 21:00   #8
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Default Re: A Quiet Getaway @ Tajpur

Quote:
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Once you reach a place called Nandakumar you get on NH60 which became another revelation for me.
Hi,
NH41, not NH60. Under NHAI, as part of port (Haldia) connectivity to GQ.

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Old 14th February 2012, 21:04   #9
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Hi,
NH41, not NH60. Under NHAI, as part of port (Haldia) connectivity to GQ.

Regards
Sutripta
Whoops. My bad . Yes Sutripta da. NH41 and not NH60. I took NH 60 on the way to Tajpur. Just an evidence of how hard pressed I am for time nowadays. For the record NH41 is super smooth for the entire stretch except for diversions for four-laning work.
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Old 15th February 2012, 21:38   #10
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Some tips on MMI Navigation
Hi,
Since you use a MMI navigator, did you log your route? (Esp the Jamshedpur one).

Regards
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Old 15th February 2012, 21:45   #11
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Hi,
Since you use a MMI navigator, did you log your route? (Esp the Jamshedpur one).

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta da, I am very new to the MMI device as of now. I havent yet checked out the logging options. Dont think I logged it. Will check and update before I put up the travelogue to Jamshdepur.
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Old 17th February 2012, 11:08   #12
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Hi,
Since you use a MMI navigator, did you log your route? (Esp the Jamshedpur one).

Regards
Sutripta
On checking my device, I did find a log saved for the trip from Kolkata to Jamshedpur which I will put up when I do that travelogue. I was hunting for how does one set the device to log all trips by default. Can some expert help on this though I know its
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Old 17th February 2012, 11:25   #13
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Nice travelogue Samarjit and lovely photos. I especially like the "Khan's Hare Krishna" bus shot.

To add to it - it is the "Khan's Hare Krishna bus, and office in Lenin Sarani".

India is indeed one amazing of a cultural -political melting pot, and is indeed really great.
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Old 17th February 2012, 19:12   #14
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Nice travelogue Samarjit and lovely photos. I especially like the "Khan's Hare Krishna" bus shot.

To add to it - it is the "Khan's Hare Krishna bus, and office in Lenin Sarani".

India is indeed one amazing of a cultural -political melting pot, and is indeed really great.
Thanks. Actually my first attempt at a travelogue . Not so good at penning down words. Also not a lot there to write about the location but you are right, its a wonderful thing to observe and enjoy how India actually comes together away from the hustle bustle of our cities. The highways kind of come up with a lot to write about.
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Old 17th February 2012, 23:10   #15
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Quote:
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I was hunting for how does one set the device to log all trips by default. Can some expert help on this though I know its
Hi,
If the navigation engine is Mireo, I think logs are off by default. After every poweron, you have to choose to start logging?

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