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Old 23rd April 2013, 13:04   #31
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Amazing - is the word. Not only for taking up the challenge, but doing it full family and with elderly parents.

As many have said - great writeup and pictures especially liked the no road upfront pic - literally had my heart in my mouth looking at that pic. Having recently done a mountain drive - could empathise more.

Voting 5*!

P.S:- on the first tyre pic, how much did you deflate your tyres and did that not make the effort to climb that much harder?

Last edited by sach.sri : 23rd April 2013 at 13:06.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 13:51   #32
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Excellent write up and wonderful photographs do justice to the experience.

Finished the entire travelogue at one go that too during office hours! It was simply addictive.

Keep more such experiences coming up.

Cheers!
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Old 23rd April 2013, 13:51   #33
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Awesome travelogue and photos! I was just reading this travelogue again and again for the past 1 hour, but I can't seem to get enough of the stunning pictures! The roads and paths look a little narrow to me, and some of them look very risky (esp. the drive up in reverse pic)! Nice places as well, with lots of hidden natural beauty as well.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 14:16   #34
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Great trip, great write-up, I envy you!
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Old 23rd April 2013, 19:38   #35
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Amazing is the word. A well deserved 5-star write up. Excellent snaps. You had a lot of courage to travel such treacherous ranges in the Scorpio.
This travelogue has re-affirmed my plans of travelling the North East. Beautiful place.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 20:28   #36
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

I, on the other hand, am seriously impressed by the person who rode a RE to Sandakphu. Is he on any forum?

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Old 23rd April 2013, 21:05   #37
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Among the few travelogues I've managed to read through at one go. Very well written surely, but more for the element of adventure all through !

I've always craved for such journeys, but circumstances have never been conducive. Holidays like these rekindle the hope - someday !!
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Old 23rd April 2013, 23:37   #38
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altocumulus View Post
Awesome Anirban, I could relate to every word in your travelogue and the achievement specially since the memory of making it to Sandakphu with Blackpearl and Ritik is still very fresh in my mind.

I have always been pestering them as to what would be a capable and comfortable offroader. Today I got the answer to my question.
Add some more attributes. The capability of running whole day well over triple digit speeds effortlessly and the capability to satisfy the sudden urge of opening out on the expressway at 160kmph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wireless View Post
Enjoyed your travelogue & pictures. However I am not able understand Why did you avoid coronation bridge?
Was it your bit towards the conservation of bridge?
Ah! That Bridge I tell you. Its got this "holier than thou" attitude that even Gods dont exhibit these days. Had to bring it to the reality of today that no one or bridge is indispensable. Add to that, a recent dash of pink shade that some of its surfaces acquired, its so hazardous that one needs to take permission to post its pictures. From all other approaches to this bridge, one cannot avoid the eyes straying to those surfaces with that shade, it hurts the brain for the remainder of the day.

Anyway, we did not avoid this bridge deliberately. Wanted to maximise stay in the hills and move Eastward through the hills itself, rather than descend down to the plains, take this bridge and move east to the forests (though would have been much shorter and faster that way).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
Amazing - is the word. Not only for taking up the challenge, but doing it full family and with elderly parents.

As many have said - great writeup and pictures especially liked the no road upfront pic - literally had my heart in my mouth looking at that pic. Having recently done a mountain drive - could empathise more.

Voting 5*!

P.S:- on the first tyre pic, how much did you deflate your tyres and did that not make the effort to climb that much harder?
Boohoo! That tyre is not deflated! Instead its at full 32psi! Appears that way due to the sharp rock deforming the sidewall temporarily.

My father used to bat for their office league matches till about 2 yrs back! He also used to be a leg-spinner with a very well camouflaged googly in his forte. Age has actually caught up with them fast from then on, has big time eye trouble. But the attitude remains. Infact once the idea was floated, they kept moving the tempo.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dip27in View Post
Excellent write up and wonderful photographs do justice to the experience.

Finished the entire travelogue at one go that too during office hours! It was simply addictive.

Keep more such experiences coming up.

Cheers!
Thats a problem then! What say? Harmful for the career.


Quote:
Originally Posted by adilkhan5 View Post
Great trip, great write-up, I envy you!
Dont envy me Buddy! Have my fair share of problems as well, so be happy about it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Amazing is the word. A well deserved 5-star write up. Excellent snaps. You had a lot of courage to travel such treacherous ranges in the Scorpio.
This travelogue has re-affirmed my plans of travelling the North East. Beautiful place.
North-East is heaven, point me to the travelogue when you do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
I, on the other hand, am seriously impressed by the person who rode a RE to Sandakphu. Is he on any forum?

Regards
Sutripta
When one has seen it all, its really difficult to get impressed, but seemingly managed to keep something in it for you too!!

The name is Biswas, Sushovan Biswas.

Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory-img_1061.jpg

The rider and his bike kept on non-chalantly inspite of the bike having sacrificed its left mirror, the left footpeg and the rider, his back in the process of ascending the penultimate hairpin. His predecessor, a Hero, reached a few months earlier, with another RE intact, but kissed the ground on the descend. Was really worried on our descend about Sushovan, but he being a pro, did it as a cake walk, without a footpeg to fulcrum his gearshifts on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Awesome travelogue and photos! I was just reading this travelogue again and again for the past 1 hour, but I can't seem to get enough of the stunning pictures! The roads and paths look a little narrow to me, and some of them look very risky (esp. the drive up in reverse pic)! Nice places as well, with lots of hidden natural beauty as well.
Oh no! Dont read it again and again, can't even think about going back to the History and Geography days again!

Anyways Thanks! Like I said, intended to keep something for every one.

Here is a WDP4 for you WAG7! An wannabe amateurs attempt at panning (Shot at somewhere near Chhapramari National Park Dooars)
Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory-img_1370.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Among the few travelogues I've managed to read through at one go. Very well written surely, but more for the element of adventure all through !

I've always craved for such journeys, but circumstances have never been conducive. Holidays like these rekindle the hope - someday !!
Thanks the non-brother of Shuvd! All the best in breaking the shackles that develop around us.

Last edited by 1100D : 23rd April 2013 at 23:40.
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Old 24th April 2013, 12:31   #39
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Congrats on taking the Scorpio to Sandakphu and Phalut. The people there should no longer say that other vehicles cannot do this stretch after two Boleros and one Scorpio did it . Great narration and pictures. As you have mentioned, the ascents are quite easy compared to descents. This threads reminds me to put up the pictures from our last journey to Sandakphu in February this year.
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Old 24th April 2013, 13:10   #40
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Congrats on taking the Scorpio to Sandakphu and Phalut. The people there should no longer say that other vehicles cannot do this stretch after two Boleros and one Scorpio did it . Great narration and pictures. As you have mentioned, the ascents are quite easy compared to descents. This threads reminds me to put up the pictures from our last journey to Sandakphu in February this year.
Awesome, detailed and at times very scary travelogue. Little Anoushka looks super excited in every pic. She's surely well set to be a chip of the old block as well.
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Old 24th April 2013, 13:43   #41
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Well I would salute your Mom and Dad for accompanying you on this trip.
This is seldom seen, infact the mental determination in them seems unparalleled.

Rest of the trip is a beautiful route, never went up to Sandakphu or Phalut but as per my birding interest,
did go to Sangalila National Park a couple of times.

Guess what, I did this in my good old Tavera, a 2WD.
Was not a TBHP member in 2009,

Quote:
Kolakham..Then gave a very vague direction. Only thing I could make out was that I have to make a acute left turn at the Lava jeep stand and then drive down and look for a kuchcha road on left.
The one that leads to the right takes you to Neora Valley Base camp, from where the 3 day trek starts.
Do drive it sometime and I am sure you may exceed the adrenaline rush you had while climbing Sandakphu. I did that in my Tavera too.

How was Kolakham, did you get to see any birds?
My personal experience is horrible, I too went down there in 2012 but was not offered a room as I had not booked.
Did not see any signs of birding and felt guys were just trying to promote the place in the name of birding.
It took me almost an hour to reach from Lava but only 20 mins to climb up, again in my Tavera.

The stunning part of your trip is the timing of your photographs.
Steep inclines or declines, you have managed to stop and shoot.
An awesome set of photographs from a real traveller, superb to say the least.
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Old 24th April 2013, 19:13   #42
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Congrats on taking the Scorpio to Sandakphu and Phalut. The people there should no longer say that other vehicles cannot do this stretch after two Boleros and one Scorpio did it . Great narration and pictures. As you have mentioned, the ascents are quite easy compared to descents. This threads reminds me to put up the pictures from our last journey to Sandakphu in February this year.
Thanks. Do put up the pics, although I had seen Ritik's version of the pictures of a snow filled Sandakphu where your white Bolero merges into the scenery. Can't really imagine how cold could Sherpa Chalet have been that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by premjit View Post
Awesome, detailed and at times very scary travelogue. Little Anoushka looks super excited in every pic. She's surely well set to be a chip of the old block as well.
Thanks Premjit. Lets see what the future has in store!

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
Well I would salute your Mom and Dad for accompanying you on this trip.
This is seldom seen, infact the mental determination in them seems unparalleled.

Rest of the trip is a beautiful route, never went up to Sandakphu or Phalut but as per my birding interest,
did go to Sangalila National Park a couple of times.

Guess what, I did this in my good old Tavera, a 2WD.
Was not a TBHP member in 2009,
Thanks Himadri Mondal. Your passion for birding is applaudable, will post the picture of a bird that we snapped for help with identification. Kudos for being able to take up your 2wd Tavera upto Sangalila and Neora valley NP's. Am anticipating looking out for your exploits with a 2wd Tavera to Sandakphu in a big way.

I am not sure if it was your Tavera, but at the Sangalila National park entry, they did mention Tavera's, 2wd Sumo's having crossed the point.
Infact on our own drive itself, I was thinking to myself about how doable will this journey be on a 2wd. I also had the option of switching back to 2wd mode to find out, but did not, as even if 2wd takes us there, 4wd has other significant benefits.

4WD's like the Scorpio/Bolero/Safari/Fortuner have a low ratio/range gearbox. This is an additional reduction gear (say for example of a 2.38:1 ratio as in the Scorpio). This multiplies the torque likewise in each gear, at the same time reduces the idle rpm driving speed by the same ratio for the same gears (in comparison to the usual high ratio 1:1). What this allows is a very very slow but steady progress through the rocky surfaces without need to modulate either the accelerator or the clutch. The low speed allows you to drive slowly on the rocks rather than making the suspension work overtime and sacrifice the suspension components. The slow movement also does not require clutch usage hence clutch is also saved. Lastly no stress on the feet operating the pedals, because they are mostly off the pedals. Besides, on some of the hairpins after Gairibash, the steep turns are strewn with loose and sharp rocks, you cannot afford to go over them at even 10+ kmph (whereas a 2wd or a 4wd without Low ratio, will require substantial momentum/speed to make it through, like the local Landy's do). Thats where the low-ratio helps by moving at a snails pace allowing enough time for the suspension/tyres to play out and flex or even choosing the right path quite precisely without bouncing about.

Here is something I had written on another thread on going with a 2WD on this sort of terrain, with a few modifications

The only collaterals for going with a 2wd are

1> Higher momentum required, necessitating higher speeds and subjecting the suspension tyres (and in some cases the underbody - if there is bottom scraping) to higher speed on rocky terrain.

2> Tyre slipping - apart from 1 above you would require the only driven wheels to claw, slip against rocks to gain traction, subjecting the driveline, the suspension at the driven end and the driven tyres to stress. For a 4wd, that drivetrain, suspension and tyre stress is distributed front and back

3> Clutch slipping - to counter 1 and 2 above , you would need to keep the engine revved right up, to prevent stalling, speed control through clutch.

4> When the going gets very steep, a 2WD is less likely to make it, even if it does, it will need to speed up and take the hairpins at a significantly higher speed.

In comparison, on a 4WD, simply switch onto 4WD-Low and just stroll slowly a little off the idle rpm, as if nothing happened!! Just enjoy the scenery!



Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
The one that leads to the right takes you to Neora Valley Base camp, from where the 3 day trek starts.
Do drive it sometime and I am sure you may exceed the adrenaline rush you had while climbing Sandakphu. I did that in my Tavera too.
You mean driving up the 3-day trek route from Neora Valley BC? Where does it reach?

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
How was Kolakham, did you get to see any birds?
My personal experience is horrible, I too went down there in 2012 but was not offered a room as I had not booked.
Did not see any signs of birding and felt guys were just trying to promote the place in the name of birding.
It took me almost an hour to reach from Lava but only 20 mins to climb up, again in my Tavera.
For us the appeal for Kolakham was not related to its birding prospect. No one pitched in that aspect as well. We did see some real snaps taken by a family friend and they had been fortunate enough to be able to have multiple Red-Panda spottings that too on the main dirt road. Infact the Panda's even posed for photographs! (Note: we are not talking Puri here).

Kolakham to us, as I mentioned was an intermediate destination while we moved from the west to east (to the Dooars). We chose Kolakham as it was near Lava, a point we were proposing to drive by. The Panda spotting definitely played a part in its selection.

From a birding perspective, Kolakham itself will not be too good because of the settlement there. But a km or so on either side of it, one could spot birds, but whether you would have the proper setting to photograph them is a big question.



Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
The stunning part of your trip is the timing of your photographs.
Steep inclines or declines, you have managed to stop and shoot.
An awesome set of photographs from a real traveller, superb to say the least.
Most "road" snaps were taken by my father on his camera. Besides the going was so super slow, we had adequate time to take snaps even while moving!
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Old 24th April 2013, 20:21   #43
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
Guess what, I did this in my good old Tavera, a 2WD.
Once again I'm impressed. Twice in one thread!
To do it without low range, in a big heavy vehicle. (Though the ultimate test would be Kalpokhri - Sandakphu)
How tight is the Taveras turning circle? And ground clearance?

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Old 24th April 2013, 21:30   #44
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Wow. Among the best travelouges i have read here on TBHP. And to have done this trip with family and parents makes it all the more special. A real adventure, probably as tough as it can get on four wheels.

Beautiful narration, and lovely pics. Despite the slim probability of me ever heading to these places, through your t'log i feel i have almost seen the places myself.

Thanks for sharing, and wish you all the best for your future travels.
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Old 25th April 2013, 00:46   #45
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post

Here is something I had written on another thread on going with a 2WD on this sort of terrain, with a few modifications

The only collaterals for going with a 2wd are

1> Higher momentum required, necessitating higher speeds and subjecting the suspension tyres (and in some cases the underbody - if there is bottom scraping) to higher speed on rocky terrain.

2> Tyre slipping - apart from 1 above you would require the only driven wheels to claw, slip against rocks to gain traction, subjecting the driveline, the suspension at the driven end and the driven tyres to stress. For a 4wd, that drivetrain, suspension and tyre stress is distributed front and back

3> Clutch slipping - to counter 1 and 2 above , you would need to keep the engine revved right up, to prevent stalling, speed control through clutch.

4> When the going gets very steep, a 2WD is less likely to make it, even if it does, it will need to speed up and take the hairpins at a significantly higher speed.

In comparison, on a 4WD, simply switch onto 4WD-Low and just stroll slowly a little off the idle rpm, as if nothing happened!! Just enjoy the scenery!
Even if the vehicle goes up the inclines in 2wd, it is scary to go down in that mode in a hairpin bend. If you have to reverse, the rear will not have enough traction to go pull the vehicle backwards. So it is the descent that will be unnerving for a 2wd vehicle and not the ascent as one can easily slide the vehicle under momentum during ascents. Saying that, it will be difficult to go up in such an incline if the vehicle has to stop midway for some reason or another. Having done this route several times, I personally feel that any 4wd vehicle should be able to do it. I would love to see the Yeti doing it, though the ground clearance (and not the lack of a low ratio box) might be a problem post Sandakphu.
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