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Old 23rd April 2013, 02:04   #1
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Default Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Firstly i want to make an honest confession that am not a good writer. So i will try to keep things short and simple.

I always love to drive in hilly roads, but for the last 8 years i lived in Bangalore. So from there i did Ooty, coorg, Yercaud, Munnar, Nandi hills uncountable times. But finally i decided to come back to my native Kolkata permanently. Once i landed at Kolkata the first thing which came to my mind was a drive to the Himalayas. So it had to be North Bengal as its the nearest way to hit the Himalaya's from Kolkata! We are a family of three. Me, my mom and my dad. We decided to go for a trip to Pelling and Holong just after the Durga Puja. We planned our trip booked the hotels accordingly in advance and was ready to set our journey on 9th November 2012.
Let me share a teaser picture from the journey.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3437.jpg

Day 1
Finally "THE DAY" arrived! I was so excited that i could not sleep the last night! As per our plan we started our journey at 9am from our house and our plan was to do a night halt at Malda. As i was traveling with my parents we planned the trip in a very relaxed way avoiding hectic journeys in a single day. I was the only driver and decided to drive in a safe and sedate way. We took the Delhi road headed till Mogra from there took the Assam road which finally joined Nh34 at Krishnanagar. The reason for taking this route were to avoid the traffic till Krishnanagar in Nh34. It took us a tad more than two hours to cover 122kms to make up till Krishnagar. From there we were maintaining a steady 80-90km/hr in the two way Nh34 till Berhampore. Its 209 kms and we made it in 4.15 hours. I was happy. But little did we knew what was waiting for us ahead! From Berhampore to Malda was hardly 140 kms and i thought i can cover it in a maximum of 3 hours and by 4pm we should be in our hotel room!

As soon as i thought i was stuck behind a long que of trucks in a long traffic congestion. Both sides of the road were stuck with traffic so there was no way i could overtake them from the right side. I was in the line following the trucks. After 30 minutes once we cross the level crossing i got open stretch of road again. But noting to cheer about as it was Nh34 a highway full of pot holes! So some how i was driving around 50-60km/hr saving my car from the pot holes as much as i could. We continued like that and reached Farakkha around 4pm. It took 3 hours to cover 90kms after Berhampore. As soon as we crossed Farakkha we entered the infamous Kaliachowck and were stuck for flat 2 hours! Reason was the break down of a trailer. So its already 6pm and Malda was another 30kms from there. As we got out of the traffic congestion the rest 30kms were covered in 1 hour due to bad roads. We checked in at Hotel Golden Park Malda at 7pm. So it was 340km in 11 hours. Not a very good start i must say. But we were happy to get a good hotel, we became fresh ordered our food and retired for the day.

Day 2
Woke up at 6am. Opened the window and what a sight! It was foggy out side with paddy fields all around. It definitely gave me a fresh feel which i never get in the cities.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3350.jpg

Our plan for day 2 was to go till Siliguri and halt for the day. Its hardly a 250 kms drive. So in the most lazy way we took our time had our break fast and started at 8-30am. We were continuing on Nh34. Road was rough and with sudden pot holes. I was not driving beyond 80km/hr. Giving way to all others who wanted to go fast. I was in no hurry. Reached Dalkhola around 11-30Am.
From there i knew Nh31 till Siliguri will be a breezy drive in good one way road. Standing at Dalkhola level crossing my dad suddenly told how about going to Darjeeling today with out stopping at Siliguri! My mom was a bit skeptical at first but as she saw even i wanted to go till Darjeeling once my dad raised the topic she reluctantly agreed to us! So its confirmed we were heading to Darjeeling. By then its almost 12 pm and we were at Dalkhola. Once i hit Nh31 i started doing 120km/hr with occasional 140 to make up till siliguri as fast as possible. Finally reached Siliguri by 1-15pm. So in an hour and 15 minutes i did around 130kms! Not bad! Had our lunch at Siliguri and headed towards Darjeeling by 2pm. We decided to take the panka bari road but once we reached its base a traffic police stopped us and told, after 2pm its not allowed to go up by this route so we should take the alternate route which is 2kms behind. That road is called Rohini road. We thanked the police man and headed towards Rohini road. Its a new build road, the road condition is simply superb but the road is a bit narrow and steep. As the road was new the side guarders were not placed. So we were climbing up a narrow road with no side protection walls! But i was enjoying every bit of the drive. The steep hairpin bends brought a grin in my face. I must say Etios was climbing up easily in 3 rd gear with occasional second in the hairpin bends. Thanks to its 132nm torque and 90ps 1500cc engine in such a light weight car! Approximately 25 kms on Rohini road and we reached Kurseong. It was congested as usual. From there road surface became a bit rough with occasional pot holes, the toy train line crossing the road making the drive uneven and bumpy. From road we called our travel agent and booked our hotel at Jalapahar. Which is around 1,000 feet higher from the Darjeeling city. We reached Darjeeling by 5-15 and it was almost dark there as it was November. From there i inquired how to reach Jalapahar from the local Taxi driver. They were helpful and told us the route but told us to be careful on that road. Once i reached Jalapahar road it was 5-30 and completely dark out side so the head lamps were on. The road is narrow and very steep with frequent hairpin bends at a distance of every 400 meters approximately. The hairpin bends were so narrow and in such a short area that Etios was not able to do it in one go. I had to reverse and again go up. So had to keep the car in 1st gear. Never felt any loss of power though the heater was on. After negotiating around 6-7 bends we finally reached Jalapahar. Asked the locals for the direction of our hotel and they directed us, it was near by. We checked in by 6pm. The hotel name was Hotel Summit Grace. Its a reasonably comfortable hotel. The time we got out from our car to check in into the hotel it was chilling cold out side, the car heater kept us comfortable inside. We some how hurried to our room to put on the room heater and made ourselves comfortable. As soon as i got acclimatized with the weather i went to the hotel balcony to check out the night view of the Darjeeling city and it looked really beautiful. It really looked as the queen of hills.

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While taking the pictures i was shivering in the balcony. Some how managed to take a couple of pictures and came back to our room. Had our dinner and slept for the day.

So the distance till now we covered were 755kms. Kolkata to Siliguri was 585kms and Siliguri to Darjeeling was 70kms.

Day 3
I was sleeping suddenly my cell phone rang. I looked at the phone and it was Dad calling and time is 5-30 am! I was like from where is he calling so early! I received the call and he told come to the balcony fast with your mom. As the first morning glimpse of kanchenjunga can be seen. I woke my mom up and rushed with my camera. And wow what a sight! Let the pictures do the talking!

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3370.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3380.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3404.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3407-2.jpg

We were more than happy to get this magnificent view of kanchenjunga. So the extra effort taken by us the last day to make up till Darjeeling was worth it!

Since we had our hotel booked at Pelling we had to leave Darjeeling with a heavy heart and head towards Pelling by 9am in the morning after having our complimentary breakfast at our hotel. I was driving with the mighty kanchenjunga in the rear view mirror of my car! What can be a better thing than this, a rear view mirror can ever show! For Pelling we decided to go via Melli so we took left turn after Ghoom and was driving through the scenic tea estates. Our first stop was at a view point where the Rangit meets Teesta.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3444.jpg

It was just 11am and we had ample of time to reach Pelling. So i was enjoying the drive. We crossed Melli bazar then crossed the bridge and entered Sikkim. The roads were good and scenic with the Rangit flowing beside us. By 12 Jorethang welcomed us. We stopped there for a small tea break and continued once again. But the road from Jorethang till Legship was a nightmare. You will not find any sign of tar on the road. Its rough, muddy and filled with pebbles. At few places roads doesn't even exist and our Etios bottomed out twice. I kept on driving in a calm way and crossed a newly build tunnel. Soon after crossing the tunnel i stopped the car just to click a few pictures. As soon as i clicked a picture or two guy in bike came and told us not to stop there as its a stone falling area. That was so nice of him, we thanked him and moved on. One of the picture i clicked from there.

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After another 30 minutes we crossed Legship and from there road to Pelling was okay with few too bad patches where i had to struggle with my Etios. As in the steep hair pin bend there were few huge pot holes which scrapped the underbelly of the car and if i slow down front tyre was not getting much grip and wheel was freely spinning. So some how i managed to steer out those patches and reached Pelling by 2pm. We checked in at hotel NorbhuGhang. It was a nice hotel with a good view. The day was cloudy. We didn't had much to do so just went out for a lazy walk in the afternoon. As soon as evening came up the weather became chilly and we came back to our hotel room. We asked the manager about the sight seeing points but to our horror he told us the road condition was too bad. We didn't want to damage our car further on those road, so we hired a Scorpio for the next days sightseeing. Soon after that we had our dinner and retired for the day.
It was a 106kms drive in 6 hours time.

Day 4
This time i set my mobile phone alarm at 5-30 am so we could have the first glimpse of the kanchenjunga. The alarm rang and i immediately woke up and looked through the window. What a sight! Its all clear and we can view the kanchenjunga with the first ray of the sun falling on it!

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3495-2.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3517.jpg

We were lucky to have this view as when we arrived to Pelling it was all foggy and cloudy. So with a happy note we had our break fast soon and were ready to leave for the sightseeing by 9am in a white Scorpio.

By 9am we leaved our hotel and first we headed towards Rimbi falls.

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Once we were done we headed towards kanchenjunga falls. To get full view of the falls we had to climb up few steep stairs and it was worth it. Its a big and beautiful falls.

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From there as per the sight seeing schedule we were supposed to visit yuksom the earlier capital of Sikkim. On the way to Yuksom we stopped at DudhKhola. Its named as Dudh khola because this stream is whitish in color.

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We moved on and reached Yuksom. Its a small town. Very scenic. Its a place which can be called as trekkers paradise as from this place most of the west Sikkims trekking point starts.

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We spent around half an our over here and headed for khecheopalri lake. Which is also known as the wish lake. Its a common believe over there that if you wish something in front of the lake your wish will come true. Plus locals tell that though the lake is been surrounded by so many tree's no leaves ever fall on the lake! And yes they are correct! I failed to notice a single leaf on the lake.

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It was already 12 pm by the time we covered all these four points. So for lunch we headed back to our hotel and our plan was to visit Sinshore bridge post lunch. Had our lunch and headed for Sinshore bridge by 2pm. Its a one hour journey. The road towards Shinshore bridge was good so at least the ride was comfortable unlike the morning ride which was very uncomfortable due to some real bad roads.

By 3pm we reached Sinshore bridge. Its Asia's second highest bridge.

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Just at the other end of the bridge there is a restaurant where they make yummy momo's. We had some momo's as our driver suggested us to have it and it was really good. We left Sinshore bridge around 5pm and started our return journey to our hotel. On the way back we witnessed this beautiful stream.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3680.jpg

By 6-15pm we were back to our hotel. Over all a day to be remembered.

But we had in our mind next day i have to drive till Holong from Pelling. It will be a moderately long drive and we were also not sure about the road condition. But till Jorethang i have to drive again on that bad stretch that was sure. So we decided to leave by 7am the next day. We had our dinner by 9pm and hit the bed.

Day5
This was supposed to be the last day in the Himalaya's in our trip so none of us wanted to miss the first glimpse of the mighty kanchenjunga once again so we again set our alarm at 5-30am last night. Its 5-30am the alarm rang we got up! Wow what a luck, we could again see the reddish kanchenjunga from our window! So consecutively for three days we could view this awesome sight. Indeed we were lucky. By 6-30 we were almost ready and were having our break fast. While having the break fast i decided to click few random shots.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3691.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3712.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3720.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3735.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3620.jpg

By 7am we were ready. The luggage's were put back in our car boot. Checked the engine oil level, coolant, brake oil, every thing was perfect. But to my bad luck just noticed the left rear wheel was punctured. Oh god we again need to unload all the luggage to take out the spare tyre. 15 minutes and the tyre was changed every things were put back. But before we start our journey i wanted to fix the tyre first as it will be risky to travel with a punctured spare tyre. Asked the hotel cab driver he directed us to a local puncture repairing shop. We went there got it repaired and by the time we start from there it was 8am. We were 1 hour late. But we didn't mind as this is the fun of road trip. You cant do everything as per plan! So left Pelling by 8am was driving through the bad stretch till Jorethang. Once i cross jorethang i was a bit relieved that i will get good roads ahead. So after crossing Jorethang we stopped at a place were the scenery was just mind blowing. Had a 10 minutes break over here but its already 11am.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3744.jpg

So we start from there crossed Melli bazar and i stopped at a local shop for a tea break and asked them the way to Holong. They were not aware of Holong so we asked them Jaldapara. Soon they guided us how to reach. They told to go straight and take left from Baghpool! Now Baghpool was something new to us. Once we reached there we realized that locals call the Coronation bridge as Bagh pool! That's because at the starting of the bridge there are two statues of tigers! We crossed the bagh pool/coronation bridge and then after 5-6kms the Himalayan road ended and we were in plain land. I felt bad to leave the Himalaya's behind but there's always a next time! The road was superb. We were doing around 90-100km/hr. The scenic beauty was awesome. The road was going through tea estates with occasional jungle stretches. I slowed down at the jungle stretches as wild animals may cross the road. In no time we crossed Gorumara reserve forest and were heading towards Jaldapara. It was just 2pm and Holong was 15kms away from us. We were happy we made it before time. The last 5kms before reaching Holong is in pathetic condition. Its full of dust and practically no roads exist. You cant go above 2nd gear. With the air conditioner on we covered those 5kms in approximately 40 minutes and we reached the entry gate of Holong. There we showed our booking papers and they let us in through the forest road. Its dense forest in both the sides and we were driving through an uneven muddy road inside the forest. The beauty of the surroundings were so enchanting that we didn't mind the bad roads. Driving 6kms inside the forest, we finally reached Holong Bungalow. Its 3pm. We did 216kms in 7 hours. Not bad considering the roads we encountered. We checked in and became fresh. There was a salt lick point in front of the bungalow where animal come to have salt. Soon we spotted a bison over there. Oh man it was really big and with in 100 meters from us! Now that's scary as well as thrilling!

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The bungalow is completely made of wood with car parking at its base. The rooms were really nice and comfortable.

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Inside the bungalow there were few big lizards, which looked beautiful but on further inquiry we were told those are not lizards they are called Thak-khak.

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By then it was evening and we had our dinner. Soon after dinner our hotel manager came to our room and told us to come with him immediately as a rhino as visited our hotel compound! Wow it was really thrilling. I rushed with my camera to find this big animal just around 100 meters away from us!

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So we were lucky enough to spot them with in 6 hours of our visit to the bungalow! All excited about the next day we hit the bed by 10 pm. Our next day schedule was an elephant ride at morning 6am, come back and visit Phuentsholing which is just 30kms away from there. We decided to go their by a hired Bolero as the roads were bad and as its a different country we were not sure about the permits required. Though later i came to know to visit Phuentsholing private cars do not require a permit. After coming back our afternoon plan was to go for a jungle safari on a open hood Maruti Gypsy! So it should be a happening day which will need a lot of energy in store. Keeping that in mind we hit the bed by 10pm with the alarm set at 5am for the next day morning.

Last edited by Samba : 25th April 2013 at 00:59. Reason: To add more content and pictures.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 17:59   #2
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Day 6
After a deep sleep the alarm rang at 5am. Was feeling lazy to leave the bed but as soon as i thought of the awaiting elephant safari at 6am i got up by 5-10. We got ready and went down by 5-50. Yes the elephants were ready for the safari. We got up and it was a weird feel which i felt at first, as i was shifting from horse power to elephant power for the first time in the trip! But with in 5 minutes i was comfortable. The jungle was dense and the thorns kept on scratching us. So a full shirt, full pant and shoes are mandatory to protect yourself from the thorns. Luckily we followed the managers advice and got saved. Its better to put up the pictures to show what we saw during the safari. As i strongly believe in the sayings ' a picture is worth a thousands words'! So let the pictures say the rest!

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3906.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3915.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3925.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3965.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3973-2.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_3978.jpgDarjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_4023.jpg

It was a one hour safari and it was worth every bit. Its entirely a different experience. The elephant crossed such a terrain that it can put any 4x4 suv into shame. So in this terrain elephant power turned out to be a better option than horse power! We were back to our Bungalow by 7-30am. Had our break fast. Was all set to leave for Phuentsholing by 9am.

The silver Bolero came and picked up by 9-10. We were soon into the highway and thank god we hired the Bolero. Practically there was no road. It would have a torture on our beloved Etios if we took it over that kind of surface. A mere stretch of 30kms took us 2 hours to reach Phuentsholing via Hasimara. Its a super clean city. With most foreign cars plying over the city. I was busy checking out the car's where as my mom was busy shopping. Its a nice place for shopping as you get things really at a cheaper rate.

Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios-img_4067.jpg

We stayed there till 1pm as by 4pm we were scheduled for the afternoon jungle safari. While coming back i took pictures of couple of tea estates and river Torsha from a bridge.

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Finally we were back by 3pm. Had our late lunch and was waiting for the safari Gypsy to arrive. But while having lunch our manager told when we were out for Phuentsholing, 27 elephants came in front of the bungalow which we missed out! Now that's a bad miss. So with a heavy heart i was standing out side and in the mean time i spotted this beautiful bird.

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Well its 4pm sharp and the Gypsy arrived to our campus. But to our disappointment we failed to spot any elephant and leopard though our guide tried his best to show us. But yes we did spot a big bison while coming back.

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By 5-30 we were back to our bungalow. Had snacks and it was evening. Suddenly a Sambar deer came to our bungalow campus. It took its own sweet time, stayed there for 15 minutes before vanishing into the jungle.

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Soon after that suddenly the lights went off and it was pitch dark. I looked up at the sky and wow what a sight! I could see the milky way which i never saw before in my life and which is never possible from the cities. I thought of giving a try to capture a star trail but soon the current came back , so this is all i could manage.

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What we can say is a day well spent with its own pros and cons. As we were lucky to spot few animals and unlucky to miss the elephants. You get some you lose some! Over all a day worth remembering.

The next day plan was to head back to Siliguri and meet one of our family friend in the evening and start the return journey to Kolkata the next day. As the trip was coming to an end we were feeling bad but we did got few awesome memories to bring back with us.

Day7
This is the day we didn't had much to do except a mere 140kms drive to Siliguri and meet our family friend in the evening. We lazily woke up at 8am. Got ready had our breakfast and were ready to move by 10am. Took a picture of our car inside the Holong forest just 1 or 2 kms before the entry gate of the forest.

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Soon we were on the highway. The first 5 kms took around 30 minutes as the road was too bad. Once we crossed the bad roads we knew we had silk smooth road till Siliguri. We had ample of time in hand so was driving slowly around 60-70 km/hr enjoying the scenic drive. Stopping at few places to take pictures and we moved on.

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Soon we crossed Gorumara national forest after that we went through the Coronation bridge and were into Sevoke Road. Reached Siliguri by 1pm. So it took 3 hours to cover 140 kms. We checked in at Hotel Mainak had our lunch. Post lunch we drove to City center a happening shopping mall at Siliguri. Came back by 6pm meet our family friend at our hotel. We had dinner together and retired for the day.

Our plan for the next day was to drive till Bhagalpur, take halt and next day while returning we will visit Dumka, Massenjore and Santiniketan on our way back. So we decided for a break journey. We choose this route specially to avoid the bad roads on NH34.

Day8
It was the worst day of our drive. We Left hotel Mainak by 9am and we were cruising through NH31 at good speed. Soon we crossed Purnea and by the next couple of hour we were just 15 kms away from Bhagalpur. But to our sheer bad luck that was the day for Ganga snan and we were stranded behind a huge traffic congestion. Police didn't allow any vehicle to overtake from the right side. So every vehicle was stranded on the line. We were stranded from 1pm till 5pm flat before entering Bhagalpur town. So a 4 hours drive took 9 hours time! We reached hotel by 6pm. Inquired the locals for a good hotel and they recommended us Hotel Rajhans international. I must say its way expensive than the kind of rooms they offer. Its not at all a value for money stay. But we didn't had any other options so we checked in for the night. The good thing was we had some awesome sweets at Bhagalpur which is one of the reasons the city is famous for!

Day9
As we planned to stop at Dumka, Massengore and Santiniketan in our way back we left Bhagalpur by 7Am. I must say the roads at Bihar are top class. Once we crossed the Jharkhand border road condition detoriated but was okay till Dumka. Had a small 15 minutes break at Dumka but could not find much to see, so we planned to stop at Messanjore. Once we crossed Dumka the road condition turned out to be a nightmare till Pattabari, which is a 20kms stretch. Some how managed to make up the 20kms in 1 hour time and we reached Massenjore by 12pm.

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The Messanjore dam looked serene and beautiful. We enjoyed there for around half an hour and set our journey towards Santiniketan. The roads were awesome till we hit Moregram - Panagarh highway. The road was full of pot holes, speciall the bridge over the Tilpara Dam was in worst condition. We took left from Suri and reached Santiniketan by 2pm. We did visit Kankalipith, the sonajhuri stretch and the house of Rabindranath Tagore. Sorry i have no pictures of these as my memory card was already full. Had our lunch at Tourist Lodge around 3pm. By 4 we started our return journey towards Kolkata. It was a smooth journey with a little congestion at Panagarh (It hardly 10 minutes to cross Panagarh). Had the yummy langcha at Shaktigar and reached home by 7pm. It was a 411kms drive for the day which took 12 hours. Considering the places we visited and time spent for sightseeing's the time taken was justified.

So a 9 days and 1816kms of drive comes to an ends with a happy note that we covered all the places successfully. A trip to be remembered.

Last edited by Samba : 25th April 2013 at 00:14. Reason: To add more contents.
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Old 25th April 2013, 18:14   #3
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:03   #4
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Firstly i want to make an honest confession that am not a good writer. So i will try to keep things short and simple.

.
Au contraire!!, came up fantastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post

' a picture is worth a thousands words'!
Your pics turn out to be a worth much more than that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post

The elephant crossed such a terrain that it can put any 4x4 suv into shame.
Aren't Elephants 5x5?

Anyway's jokes apart, Holong is something that remains in our list too since long. Will probably make it this year towards the end. Not sure if I can say that you were extremely lucky to spot the mighty peak on each day, because during Oct-Nov timeframe its usually like that, as we too experienced. But, given the uncertainties we have seen since then, any view of the peak at any time of the year should be considered lucky.

Super Travelogue.
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:15   #5
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Well-described travelogue, with good photos.

You did start off by telling two blatant lies though...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Firstly i want to make an honest confession that am not a good writer. So i will try to keep things short and simple.
It would be nice if you could share the details of the hotels you stayed in - tariffs, how to book, etc.

Also, what camera?
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:17   #6
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Thumbs up Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Fantastic travelogue, @samba
And the pictures are too good. No words. Some of the pictures are right there among the best pics ever on a bhp travelogue.
And glad to see that your Etios met your requirements to handle tough terrains. 132 Nm torque at mid rpm range should really help as you said. I still miss the peppy Etios Petrol so badly since I changed my decision to Diesel. None of my friends have it as well. So, there is no way to take it for a long drive. :(

What's the status of the front suspension replacement ? ( the new design under warranty to solve the famous thud sound )
The kind of terrain you take your car to, I would highly recommend the suspension upgrade ( similar to the one used on etios 2013 facelift model ) even for your rear suspensions so that you don't bottom out / scrap under belly that easy.
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:27   #7
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post

Aren't Elephants 5x5?

Anyway's jokes apart, Holong is something that remains in our list too since long. Will probably make it this year towards the end. Not sure if I can say that you were extremely lucky to spot the mighty peak on each day, because during Oct-Nov timeframe its usually like that, as we too experienced. But, given the uncertainties we have seen since then, any view of the peak at any time of the year should be considered lucky.

Super Travelogue.
First of all i want to thank you as you liked it.
As you want to visit Holong, let me tell you one thing, get the Holong Bungalow booked atleast 3-4 months prior you plan your tip. As its very difficult to get accommodation there as they have very less number of rooms. For a trip in November i got mine booked in the month of July.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Well-described travelogue, with good photos.

You did start off by telling two blatant lies though...

It would be nice if you could share the details of the hotels you stayed in - tariffs, how to book, etc.

Also, what camera?
First of all i will thank you as you liked it.
My friend owns her own travel agency she did all the booking from her agency. Now the hotels and there costs (3 of us shared a room) during November 2012.
Hotel Golden Park Malda- Rs 2,500 per night.
Hotel Summit Grace Darjeeling- Rs 4,700 per night.
Hotel Norbhughang Pelling- Rs 5,500 per night.
Holong Bungalow- Rs 2,500 per night
Hotel Mainak Siliguri - Rs 2,500 per night.
Hotel Rajhans International Bhagalpur- Rs 3,000 per night.

Between i used a Canon Eos 50D.

Last edited by Samba : 25th April 2013 at 19:30.
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:56   #8
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Beautifully crafted photographs. And well written too! Waiting for more!

The story has a perfect combination of all the essential elements.

Last edited by ampere : 25th April 2013 at 19:58.
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Old 26th April 2013, 00:29   #9
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

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Originally Posted by amalji View Post
Fantastic travelogue, @samba
And the pictures are too good. No words. Some of the pictures are right there among the best pics ever on a bhp travelogue.
And glad to see that your Etios met your requirements to handle tough terrains. 132 Nm torque at mid rpm range should really help as you said. I still miss the peppy Etios Petrol so badly since I changed my decision to Diesel. None of my friends have it as well. So, there is no way to take it for a long drive. :(


What's the status of the front suspension replacement ? ( the new design under warranty to solve the famous thud sound )
The kind of terrain you take your car to, I would highly recommend the suspension upgrade ( similar to the one used on etios 2013 facelift model ) even for your rear suspensions so that you don't bottom out / scrap under belly that easy.
Amalji thanks a lot for your appreciation.
My dealer is yet to give me a call, i called them last week but they told me the parts have not yet arrived. Once they get the parts they will call me. Regarding the rear suspension am kind of happy with it so i don't want to go for a stiffer one. Plus most of the time i drive my car with maximum 4 persons on board. So i do not have much problem of sagging down due to over load.

Between if you visit Kolkata any time, you can definitely take my Etios for a long drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautifully crafted photographs. And well written too! Waiting for more!

The story has a perfect combination of all the essential elements.
Thank you Ampere. As of now i have completed writing this travelogue, so if you have any queries on it, i will be glad to answer you.

Last edited by Samba : 26th April 2013 at 00:41.
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:34   #10
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Loved it, terrific set of photographs. Lovely star trail and landscapes.
The beautiful bird is a Scaly breasted Munia.
The Etios looked so cool in all the greenery.
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Old 26th April 2013, 13:41   #11
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
let me tell you one thing, get the Holong Bungalow booked atleast 3-4 months prior you plan your tip. As its very difficult to get accommodation there as they have very less number of rooms. For a trip in November i got mine booked in the month of July.
.
Yes Samba, am aware of this. The demand for a stay at this famous Bungalow is rightfully pretty high. Even when the bookings open, they are exhausted within the first one or two days. Probably some VIP connections help beyond that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Hotel Summit Grace Darjeeling- Rs 4,700 per night.
Hotel Norbhughang Pelling- Rs 5,500 per night.

Between i used a Canon Eos 50D.
Just a little curious, the rates do look a bit on the higher side. Not sure you got booked into the food+transportation package.

By the Way, what did you use the EOS 50D between?! Anyway, what lens?
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Old 26th April 2013, 14:42   #12
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post

Just a little curious, the rates do look a bit on the higher side. Not sure you got booked into the food+transportation package.

By the Way, what did you use the EOS 50D between?! Anyway, what lens?
Actually three of us shared the room, so the cost of extra bed was included. The rates i gave are the final rates including taxes. Plus it was peak season so the rates may be on the higher side.
Only complimentary breakfast was included.

The lenses i used -
Tokina 11-16 f2.8
Canon 17-40 f4L
Canon 24-105 f4L
Canon 70-300 IS usm
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
Loved it, terrific set of photographs. Lovely star trail and landscapes.
The beautiful bird is a Scaly breasted Munia.
The Etios looked so cool in all the greenery.
Am glad to know you liked it and thanks for identifying the bird.

Last edited by Samba : 26th April 2013 at 14:49.
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Old 26th April 2013, 20:38   #13
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Very happy to sees some of the places we had visited a couple of years back such as Pelling and other places in East Sikkim. Beautiful set of pictures there of the terrain and the wildlife.

The pictures of Kanchanjunga range especially is mesmerising from Pelling town with the highlight being the sunrise. It just feels so near to you as if you can touch it with your hands! Please post some more pics if you have stowed in your card that is worth drooling and also look forward to hear a lot more from you
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Old 26th April 2013, 21:46   #14
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

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Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Very happy to sees some of the places we had visited a couple of years back such as Pelling and other places in East Sikkim. Beautiful set of pictures there of the terrain and the wildlife.

The pictures of Kanchanjunga range especially is mesmerising from Pelling town with the highlight being the sunrise. It just feels so near to you as if you can touch it with your hands! Please post some more pics if you have stowed in your card that is worth drooling and also look forward to hear a lot more from you
Thanks! Glad to know you liked the pictures.
I do have few more pictures of Kanchanjungha, but more or less those clicks are similar to what i have posted. So that's why i have not posted more same kind of pictures. If i can can get something different from what i have posted then i will definitely share it over here.

Last edited by Samba : 26th April 2013 at 21:48.
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Old 26th April 2013, 22:09   #15
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Default Re: Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios

Wonderful log and pictures.
Rhinos, birdies, greens looks so nice through your lens.

Thanks for sharing
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