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Old 15th January 2013, 09:23   #31
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Awesome pics and details Debuda. We had gone to Sikkim on our Honeymoon in 2006. Your travelogue made me and wife go back and have a look at our pics of that trip and memories came flooding back.

Thanks for giving us a reminder of those lovely days!
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:08   #32
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Wonderful pictures and narration Debuda. Sikkim is a place which is very close to my heart. I went there 6 times last year :-D
How did you get permits for Nathu La?
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:51   #33
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

A great Getaway and lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing your log. Hope to visit these places some day.
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Old 15th January 2013, 14:09   #34
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Wonderful Travelogue, to be honest this thread brings in some freshness after the multiple Leh-Ladakh sojourns. The photos are truly outstanding and must appreciate your skills in that. How many days did you travel? Also would the ILP be issued to all mango citizens (understand that you were from defense services and it was very easy for you to get these passes). Appears that the trails are much more treacherous than the 'civilized' Leh we can encounter.

Can you please share the finer details else I shall PM you requesting for details. This must be done

Rating this thread a well deserved 5 star

Felt proud reading about Randhir Prasad Verma & googling about Captain Harbhajan Singh.

Last edited by ku69rd : 15th January 2013 at 14:17.
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Old 16th January 2013, 05:35   #35
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
How did you get permits for Nathu La?
I did the entire legwork for getting the two permits (for Nathu La and North Sikkim) myself. I did not use the services of any agent (there are plenty in Gangtok). Nathu La needs permits from the Army as well as Police. North Sikkim permit is issued by Police authorities only. I met both Army and Police officials personally at Gangtok and convinced them that I am an experienced 'hill driver' driving a SUV. My being a retired Defence officer certainly helped.

The total time spent by me at Gangtok for getting the 2 permits was about 2 hours. Total cost was Rs 30 (the official fees).

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Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Wonderful Travelogue, to be honest this thread brings in some freshness after the multiple Leh-Ladakh sojourns.

How many days did you travel? Also would the ILP be issued to all mango citizens (understand that you were from defense services and it was very easy for you to get these passes). Appears that the trails are much more treacherous than the 'civilized' Leh we can encounter.
Thanks. I have never gone to Ladakh but from the pictures I have seen it appears to me that Ladakh roads are not more treacherous than North Sikkim roads. I intend driving to Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Ladakh-Manali-Delhi during summer this year. Will be able to compare the experience first hand then.

My entire trip was of 10 days duration out of which 6 days were spent in Sikkim.

As far as the ILP is concerned, I think if one sets his mind to it (and has a suitable 4-wheeler) it would not be too difficult.
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Old 16th January 2013, 11:43   #36
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Thanks Debuda for wonderful pics. I am from JSR (currently in Bangalore) and will surely plan to meet you when i come there. Long time back (1998), I went in the same road till Deogarh and then Bhagalpur which you took, for my Bihar Combined. It was not the best of roads. The buses were stopped every 4-5 hrs and toll tax were collected. When I asked the bus driver about it, he said its RangDaari boss ( you will understand this word ). Has things changed or its same.
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Old 16th January 2013, 12:15   #37
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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Originally Posted by yogesh.janghel View Post
Thanks Debuda for wonderful pics. I am from JSR (currently in Bangalore) and will surely plan to meet you when i come there. Long time back (1998), I went in the same road till Deogarh and then Bhagalpur which you took, for my Bihar Combined. It was not the best of roads. The buses were stopped every 4-5 hrs and toll tax were collected. When I asked the bus driver about it, he said its RangDaari boss ( you will understand this word ). Has things changed or its same.
Thanks. I look forward to meeting you whenever you visit Jampot next. Bihar has changed very much for the better and the roads between Deoghar, Bhagalpur and Purnea are quite good.

It is Jharkhand that is lagging behind, mainly owing to the insatiable greed of its rulers.
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Old 19th January 2013, 20:54   #38
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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I beg to differ. Last summer had gone to Lansdowne with friends and was using the Map My India navigator, it was useless and frustrating. The maps were fine till we were on the highway but when we entered any town, instead of navigating us through the main arterial roads, it took us in to the heart of the city and I had to drive through crowded markets and narrow by lanes.

On our way back I kept on driving on a particular stretch of road-- suggested by the navigator obviously-- for 2 and a half hours before suddenly teh road disappeared and i was left in the lurch.
Well I cannot deny your point but many times I have found MMI more accurate than Google Maps. However Google Maps trumped MMI in most cases during my recent road trip to Vizag through Satapada in Odisha. The primary issue I have had with MMI is it just loses the satellite lock often. I guess this is all OT for this thread. I generally do not fully rely on any of these navigators but local information before setting up my route.
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Old 20th January 2013, 17:45   #39
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Beautiful pics and nice narration. Did you have time to get the "blessed water" from the Baba Harbhajan Mandir?

Thanks for reliving my memories of 2009 when I had on a three week tour to north east and Gangtok- Nathula was a part of that.

The unit at Nathu La also gives a certificate and a badge (of course on payment) as a souvenir.
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Old 21st January 2013, 20:52   #40
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Debuda, that was a wonderful set of snaps. And have to admit that I have become a fan of you considering the terrain you drove the car in. Hats off to you man, all the way from my heart. And to your old girl who gave you all the support and encouragement to take such trips.

In the first road clearing snap, how did you manage to come over this side of the earth mover. I mean in the photo it looked a little dangerous crossing to the other side. Was there some other way?

And in the snap titled Descending from Lachung - The road you descended appears too narrow for a XUV. It should have been a really dangerous drive?

Regards
FundaG
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Old 21st January 2013, 22:56   #41
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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Originally Posted by fundagenie View Post
In the first road clearing snap, how did you manage to come over this side of the earth mover. I mean in the photo it looked a little dangerous crossing to the other side. Was there some other way?

And in the snap titled Descending from Lachung - The road you descended appears too narrow for a XUV. It should have been a really dangerous drive?
In my first road clearing picture, the entire width of the road is taken up by the pile of earth and boulders being pushed by the bulldozer and it appears that it was a tricky task to cross over to the other side. But a few minutes before this the bulldozer was pushing some boulders at a point where the road was much wider and that is when I easily crossed over (after parking my car and taking permission from the bulldozer driver through visual gestures). Needless to say, I had to walk over to the other side to get my beautiful XUV in the frame! The pics below will give you a better idea.


Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500-xuv-0.jpg


Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500-xuv-1.jpg



In the snap 'Descending from Lachung' the road was indeed narrow but just sufficient to allow Army trucks to travel. It is in treacherous roads like these that you fully realize how narrow a strip your car really requires to move ahead!
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Old 4th September 2013, 00:11   #42
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

Amazing travelogue Debuda. I was also pretty scared when I saw the pic where you've mentioned 'Descending from Lachung' but good to hear that roads are wide enough so that a military truck can pass

Debuda, I'm planning to go to Gangtok in the second week of January next year from Bilaspur and then to Kolkata and finally return to Bangalore in my Duster. I just have few queries

1. After reading your travelogue, I found that it didn't snow much while you were traveling and normally it doesn't snow much during January, but do you think there is any problem visiting that part of India during that time? And do you advice to buy snow chains and if yes, then where in India can one procure those?

2. I have sufficient experience on hills where I have traveled quite a few times to Ooty, once to Kodaikanal, once to Yercaud, does anyone needs any special expertise while driving in Sikkim, if I plan to take my car to Nathu-La/Gurudongmar lake?

3. Do you have any tips on how to get the pass for Nathu-La? As I really want to take my car to Nathu-La.

Thanks,
-Pallav
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Old 4th September 2013, 01:06   #43
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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Originally Posted by gurha View Post
Do you have any tips on how to get the pass for Nathu-La? As I really want to take my car to Nathu-La.
I inquired about it, when I drove to Gangtok (from Calcutta) in May this year. Unfortunately no one ever encourages you in Gangtok to drive your own car. I was only told that the permits are issued from DC office located at Dr. B R Ambedkar Road. You have to reach there in person, in between 7 AM and 11 AM, for a permit to north district (including Lachen, Lachung and Gurdongmer lake). But permits for Nathula may be difficult to obtain as it is under army control.
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Old 4th September 2013, 07:10   #44
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

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Originally Posted by gurha View Post
Amazing travelogue Debuda. I was also pretty scared when I saw the pic where you've mentioned 'Descending from Lachung' but good to hear that roads are wide enough so that a military truck can pass

Debuda, I'm planning to go to Gangtok in the second week of January next year from Bilaspur and then to Kolkata and finally return to Bangalore in my Duster. I just have few queries

1. After reading your travelogue, I found that it didn't snow much while you were traveling and normally it doesn't snow much during January, but do you think there is any problem visiting that part of India during that time? And do you advice to buy snow chains and if yes, then where in India can one procure those?

2. I have sufficient experience on hills where I have traveled quite a few times to Ooty, once to Kodaikanal, once to Yercaud, does anyone needs any special expertise while driving in Sikkim, if I plan to take my car to Nathu-La/Gurudongmar lake?

3. Do you have any tips on how to get the pass for Nathu-La? As I really want to take my car to Nathu-La.

Thanks,
-Pallav
Thanks. January should be a good time for your planned trip. I don't think you will need snow chains. Snow chains are required where there is a thick layer of snow on the road. The roads which you will take will normally have regular tourist vehicle traffic which creates tyre tracks even during moderate to heavy snowfall. In all likelihood you will not encounter much snowfall. But if you do, just make sure you are following a group of local vehicles.

I don't own snow chains and have never used them. So I won't be able to guide you about procuring them.

The mountain roads in Sikkim will be a bit more treacherous than the ones you have driven on in the South. But with your experience you should have no difficulty in taking your Duster anywhere in Sikkim. Just make it a point to drive slowly and cautiously on treacherous stretches and if in doubt follow a local vehicle.

Regarding passes you can see my post no. 35 above and also Rahul4640's comments. You should keep one day for getting the permits in Gangtok. It should be a working day and you can very well use that day for sightseeing in and around Gangtok as well. I did all the legwork for the permits myself but there are many agents who can get them for you. You must have passport photos and copies of your driving licence and registration papers.
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Old 4th September 2013, 09:28   #45
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Default Re: Drive to Gangtok, Nathu La, Lachung & Yumthang in my XUV500

debuda: It is awesome and your pictures are some of the best I have seen on any travelogue. This thread is simply awesome. Hope you have many more wonderful journeys in your Cheetah and get a chance to share them with us. Thanks for sharing your experience. . Rating this thread all*
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