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Old 25th April 2013, 09:39   #46
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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
but as per my birding interest,
did go to Sangalila National Park a couple of times.
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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Thanks Himadri Mondal. Your passion for birding is applaudable, will post the picture of a bird that we snapped for help with identification.
Here goes! Is this something special?

Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory-dsc00724.jpg

Some may even be interested as to what would be the best preparation for it!

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Once again I'm impressed. Twice in one thread!
Some say, Truth is stranger than fiction!

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Originally Posted by nvldvr View Post
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.

Thanks for the wishes nvldvr.

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
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?

Regards
Sutripta
Bikheybhanjan to Sandakphu,to be precise. Somehow, I feel, it can be done. The wear will be high but the vehicle will both get there as well as come back.

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
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.
Difficult, but, not impossible. Besides Yeti is quite a capable platform for civilian usage. The Yeti that you know of, ask the owner about the first steep climb his car did, ask him about the expressions on the people who witnessed it, including the owner himself!
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Old 25th April 2013, 11:44   #47
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post

Bikheybhanjan to Sandakphu,to be precise. Somehow, I feel, it can be done. The wear will be high but the vehicle will both get there as well as come back.
Cannot agree to this one, for a 2WD drive vehicle to make it the condition has to be perfect. A bit of rainfall or snowfall will doom any chance. Plus it will be extremely risky as there is very little margin for error. Taking a 2WD vehicle there will be suicidal as well as might prove dangerous for other vehicles.
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:19   #48
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Here goes! Is this something special?

[
Thats the Eurasian Golden Oriole. Never heard that it was edible. It is a very shy bird. you have a good picture of it.

Thanks for the T-Louge, its great to see you take the Scorpio to such off beat locations
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Old 25th April 2013, 15:11   #49
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Am anticipating looking out for your exploits with a 2wd Tavera to Sandakphu in a big way.
I doubt it will ever happen, can give it a try only when Morcha's calls a bandh.
Otherwise stopping on the steep slopes of the last leg would be risky.
Moreover I don't drive the Tav anymore after I got the Duster.
Might give the Duster a try sometime, till Singalia.

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
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.

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!
Exactly the idea, very well said. The panic caused while taking a 2WD ceases to exit with a 4WD.

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
You mean driving up the 3-day trek route from Neora Valley BC? Where does it reach?
No, the 3 day trek route starts after you reach the Neora Valley Base camp.
The drive up is compulsory till base and is usually done by those 4WDs.
Neora Valley National park is the actual place to see the red pandas, trekking further ahead will take you to a place called Jaributi, land of plants with medicinal values.

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
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?
Tavera turning radius is 5.6m with a GC of 185.
Turning was never a problem, even on hair pins.
Infact its so precise, I have developed the habit of turning with one hand, the other on the gear knob.
Maneuverability was at its best and the Tavera was willing to take on the worst of paths. Zero turbo lag was a huge plus.
The GC was a serious concern. Driving downhill on rocky path may have the underneath scraped if not careful.

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Here goes! Is this something special?
The bird in the pic is a Black hooded Oriole.
Its commonly seen in Kolkata too, try Chintamani Kar Bird Santuary, Narendrapur.

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Cannot agree to this one, for a 2WD drive vehicle to make it the condition has to be perfect. A bit of rainfall or snowfall will doom any chance. Plus it will be extremely risky as there is very little margin for error. Taking a 2WD vehicle there will be suicidal as well as might prove dangerous for other vehicles.
That's true, stopping on a steep slope increases the risk exponentially.
Timing the climb is very essential, every pass should be made on a lesser steep incline.
I have no idea if I have encountered such steep before, need to see the last leg to comment.

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Originally Posted by rulerofsun View Post
Thats the Eurasian Golden Oriole.
Its a Black hooded Oriole, the Eurasian does not have the black hood, only the wings are black.
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Old 25th April 2013, 15:53   #50
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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 goes! Is this something special?

Some may even be interested as to what would be the best preparation for it!

Difficult, but, not impossible. Besides Yeti is quite a capable platform for civilian usage. The Yeti that you know of, ask the owner about the first steep climb his car did, ask him about the expressions on the people who witnessed it, including the owner himself!
Its a black hooded oriole (in Bengali: Benebou Projati) - abundant in our state

Congrats man!!! A very commendable job and nicely written travelogue.

I am not sure if the Yeti is going, but I am taking "Red Rackham" there very soon after being back from Gangotri.
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Old 25th April 2013, 16:38   #51
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by debarshim View Post
I am not sure if the Yeti is going, but I am taking "Red Rackham" there very soon after being back from Gangotri.
Thats the spirit Debarshi da . Red Rackam will make it till Phalut without dropping a sweat and breaking the passengers backs. The Land Rover Association there is going to hunt me down for intruding in their territory.

Last edited by BlackPearl : 25th April 2013 at 16:39.
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:15   #52
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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
The Land Rover Association there is going to hunt me down for intruding in their territory.
That is a very real possibility!

Actually highly possible that they will start to physically prevent nonassociation vehicles from plying beyond Manebhanjan, If too many vehicles start going to Sandakphu.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:44   #53
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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

The bird in the pic is a Black hooded Oriole.
Its commonly seen in Kolkata too, try Chintamani Kar Bird Santuary,
Not too interested in birds. But if I do visit this Chintamani Kar Bird Sactuary, will definitely ask for this. Whats the best way it is offerred? Tandoori? (Just kidding)


Quote:
Originally Posted by debarshim View Post
Its a black hooded oriole (in Bengali: Benebou Projati) - abundant in our state

Congrats man!!! A very commendable job and nicely written travelogue.

I am not sure if the Yeti is going, but I am taking "Red Rackham" there very soon after being back from Gangotri.
Wow Debarshi, am Impressed! Moreso because Bird watching while in our college (especially our batch) hardly involved taking a look at the winged variety.

Anyway, about taking your lovely Red-Rackham there,personally I would say, dont treat this as a must-do item. If you note in my posts, if the peak did not show up coincidentally on the last day, I was very near to considering this whole initiative as a waste. So use discretion.

Anyway, adding a pic of the view from the loo at Sherpa Chalet. Extends the phrase "room with a view" to the bathroom as well.

Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory-img_1073.jpg

Last edited by 1100D : 25th April 2013 at 22:50.
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Old 26th April 2013, 10:21   #54
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post

Wow Debarshi, am Impressed! Moreso because Bird watching while in our college (especially our batch) hardly involved taking a look at the winged variety.
======================
Anyway, adding a pic of the view from the loo at Sherpa Chalet. Extends the phrase "room with a view" to the bathroom as well.
Well, if you were not aware, I have taken up bird watching pretty seriously now. You can see some pictures of the winged variety on my FB album from this year's trip to Gujarat. The pictures of the other variety is not for you to see.

Well, seeing the magnificent Kanchenjunga and the Everest together is anytime going to be luck factor. I had the privilege to see the entire Kanchenjunga range from very close this May during the Silk Route trip. Another unforgetable in-room view in the morning was from HPTDC Kalpa of the Kinnar Kailash peak.
As usual, I am bad at posting pictures and travelogues and the pics are still in my archive. The morning light on the Kanchenjunga peak when just the peak is glowing red, is a sight to behold and you want time to freeze out there. And my bone marrow froze when I was out for more than an hour in that cold trying to see nature unfold its beauty and take bird photographs (winged variety).

So a trip to Sandakphu - Phalut and Bhutan is always on the cards in near future (probably this winter).
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Old 26th April 2013, 22:51   #55
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

All the best for your plans


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Originally Posted by debarshim View Post
I had the privilege to see the entire Kanchenjunga range from very close this May during the Silk Route trip.
Infact this pic attached with post #4 is shot at Thambi View point (12k ft) on the old silk route.

Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory-img_3727.jpg

And somehow over the last few years we have gone to North Bengal/Sikkim, Kanchenjungha does show itself to us!
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Old 28th April 2013, 08:39   #56
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

I have new-found respect for the Scorpio, 1100D. You really rock!

I have been on the route a few times and looking at the rocks on the road, especially between Sandakphu and Phalut, I wonder how your Scorp made it. Highly commendable.

Excellent pictures and narrative to boot. I am probably heading that way next weekend (on foot, of course).

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th April 2013, 09:51   #57
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

Awesome, awesome travelogue! Spent a good part of the morning gulping it down, and the excellent narration made me feel a part of the actual trip. Superb photos too. A few thoughts:

1. Humour always enriches a travelogue. "I've never stopped a vehicle cross-legged before" and "the locals bow down to Marengo" take the cake.

2. I'm surprised that Marengo made it. Actually, not that it made the route, but that it came back without any significant damage to cosmetic parts. You and Blackpearl have indeed busted the myth that Sandakhphu is LR territory. Any one owning a modern 4wd with the right hardware and ground clearance should think of giving this one a shot. I am, certainly (once I get a 4wd )

3. We had been to Gorumara in 1998. At that time there was just a rickety forest rest house inside the park. No safaris, no vehicles, (and consequently) no noisy crowds. The legendary Jatra Prasad was very much alive. The only way to do a jungle safari was to get on JP (or his colleagues') backs and head out. At night we climbed up on a tree-machan near the river (which also had a salt lick). My best untamed jungle experiences - including watching 2 rhinos fighting each other and a leopard stalking prey in moonlight - have been from that machan.
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Old 28th April 2013, 15:16   #58
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Attachment 1073976

But before we get back to this story, there is another awe inspiring large object that has fascinated people from our part of the world since generations. The chance or the opportunity to be able to see it with one's own eyes is equally elusive, given that for most part of the year, cloud, fog, rain could come in between it and the point of observation and remain there for days. Am speaking of Kanchenjungha, the name itself draws reference to it being very large.
Excellent write up and an informative thread Anirban. The world beyond Siliguri and Darjeeling is known to me only on books (except a Bagdogra - Phuntsholing - Bhutan trip).

By the way are you associated with Budh F1. Then I think we have met

Best Regards & Drive/Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 28th April 2013, 19:46   #59
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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I have new-found respect for the Scorpio, 1100D. You really rock!
Thanks Johy, but as much as I would probably be happy about the appreciation, now in hindsight, it does not really seem much other than a test of patience and also allowing oneself to become a little less sensitive towards the vehicle. Apart from these two, other aspects turned out easy given the capabilities of the hardware. Moreover the real challenge was only prior to setting out, in the mind, once done, it wasn't half as scary.



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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
Awesome, awesome travelogue! Spent a good part of the morning gulping it down, and the excellent narration made me feel a part of the actual trip. Superb photos too. A few thoughts:

1. Humour always enriches a travelogue. "I've never stopped a vehicle cross-legged before" and "the locals bow down to Marengo" take the cake.

2. I'm surprised that Marengo made it. Actually, not that it made the route, but that it came back without any significant damage to cosmetic parts. You and Blackpearl have indeed busted the myth that Sandakhphu is LR territory. Any one owning a modern 4wd with the right hardware and ground clearance should think of giving this one a shot. I am, certainly (once I get a 4wd )

3. We had been to Gorumara in 1998. At that time there was just a rickety forest rest house inside the park. No safaris, no vehicles, (and consequently) no noisy crowds. The legendary Jatra Prasad was very much alive. The only way to do a jungle safari was to get on JP (or his colleagues') backs and head out. At night we climbed up on a tree-machan near the river (which also had a salt lick). My best untamed jungle experiences - including watching 2 rhinos fighting each other and a leopard stalking prey in moonlight - have been from that machan.

Thanks Aniket. I thought I was attempting to be serious!

Anyway, must appreciate your ability to be able to spot a stalking leopard at night, even if its moonlight. Given that those were not the days of nightvision cameras. Your ability to be able to identify the leopard as a leopard from the distance involved is also commendable.

The accessibility of these forests to the general population, though good, has really made animal spotting at the designated spots difficult. Even the animals know where they get disturbance from.

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Originally Posted by r_nairtvm View Post
Excellent write up and an informative thread Anirban. The world beyond Siliguri and Darjeeling is known to me only on books (except a Bagdogra - Phuntsholing - Bhutan trip).

By the way are you associated with Budh F1. Then I think we have met

Best Regards & Drive/Ride Safe

Ram
Thanks Ram. Will PM you.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 07:27   #60
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Default Re: Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory

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Anyway, must appreciate your ability to be able to spot a stalking leopard at night, even if its moonlight. Given that those were not the days of nightvision cameras. Your ability to be able to identify the leopard as a leopard from the distance involved is also commendable.
A full-moon night in the forest is quite different from a full-moon night in the city. In the absence of any external lighting, visibility is extremely good, and objects upto a considerable distance (read, a clearing near a watering hole) can be quite well sighted.

As for the leopard, what we saw for a long time were bright green eyes peeping through the bush. Only for a very short while did the animal come out (like a flash) into the open and disappear. Difficult to comprehend unless you see it.
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