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Old 29th April 2013, 19:01   #1
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Default Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Last year in March we went to Sandakphu for the first time but could not go to Phalut due to lack of time. It was a grueling 10 hours drive in a day from Darjeeling to Sandakphu and back. Next time we went in April with the legendary ADC da as co-driver and made it till Phalut. The weather was awesome the first time and horrible during the second. It was foggy and we could only get a glimpse of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Many people have been telling me that they would join if we go there a 3rd time. So when Ritik Kakoty from Jeep Thrills suggested about a quick trip, Altocumulous and I were all ears. A plan was made during a quick bike trip around Kolkata. Distinguished bhpian Sutripta da also agreed to be a passenger and it was a huge advantage which I came to understand later.
There is nothing much to write about Kolkata to Siliguri part of the journey. We took the Kolkata-Bolpur-Massanjore-Dumka-Bhagalpur-Purnea-Dalkhola route. The two Boleros (LX 4wd and Di 4wd) started together from Kolkata and parted ways at Siliguri. The Di went to Mirik and the LX went to Darjeeling via Kalimpong and Senchal. Met again the next day at Sukhia and thus started the arduous drive together till Sandakphu.
We planned to start very early in the morning so that we could get to Phalut before lunch time. Had been ready to get out of Planters club by 3:30 a.m. but disaster struck me. Gorging on pork last night had its toll on me and I started spending quality time in the bathroom. Took a dose of Norflox TZ and went out on our journey that got delayed by a significant amount of time. Ritik and his family along with Altocumolous and the Bolero Di were waiting near Sukhia when we reached there at around 5 a.m. Sukhia to Maneybhanjan and then till Lamey Dhura was uneventful. At the first army checkpost we came to know that the snow had cleared the day before and the route to Sandakphu had just opened. Only one Landy had gone the day before and it had not returned yet. They also informed that there were patches of snow here and there along the route. They seemed to be quite skeptical about the chance of the two Boleros making it till Sandakphu.

The two Bolero 4wds enroute to Sandakphu. The weather was crystal clear and quite cold.
Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0884.jpg

All was going fine till we entered the Singalila forest. Inside the forest, due to lack of sunlight, there were still stretches of ice on the road which did not melt. I have driven extensively in USA on snow, but this was different. The lack of traction made me think, but backing off was not an option. Under the able guidance of Sutripta da and Ritik, I started inching forward in 4 low 1st gear. Sutripta da became the spotter for the next 1 kilometer or so and we were able to overcome the hurdle. This same place became even more trickier while coming back as it was uphill and there was a a narrow bend. The lack of traction and higher speed needed for going uphill can easily push the vehicle over the cliff.

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1009.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1001.jpg

After several stops for taking pictures and coffee breaks, we reached Sandakphu. Encountered some more stretches of ice and slush en route.

The following shows the route on the map from Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu and back to Maneybhanjan. From Maneybhanjan we went to Rimbik.

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-maneybhanjansandakphumaneybhanjanrimbik_map.jpg

Bolero LX 4WD, take a bow

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0897.jpg

We were not able to go to Phalut as there was deep snow ahead. We decided to stay at Sherpa Chalet. The day was extremely clear, the best weather that we got till date. The view of Kanchenjunga was at its magnificent best.

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1018.jpg

The entire Himalayan range was visible.

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1037.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1040.jpg

Can you spot the Mount Everest below?

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1051.jpg

A few random pictures -

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0855.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0928.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1027.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1060.jpg

The Sherpa Chalet hotel -

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1048.jpg

Kanchenjunga during sunset

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1212.jpg

The people.. from the left Sutripta Da, BlackPearl, Altocumulous, Ritik Kakoty

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1084.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1058.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0887.jpg

The rare privilege of being in the same frame with a D-bhpian and The Kanchenjunga

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1071.jpg

Sugata aka Altocumulous

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0864.jpg

Sunrise the next day -

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1256.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1270.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1272.jpg

Another view of the Mount Everest

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1275.jpg

Some more random pictures -

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1307.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1332.jpg

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1348.jpg

The White Tusker with the Kanchenjunga in the backdrop

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_0944.jpg

The two heroes, Bolero 4 WDs

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1179.jpg

To end the travelogue, a few details about Sherpa Chalet and the Land Rover tariffs -

Sherpa Chalet Lodge, Sandakpur
Phone # 0091 9332599261, 9932592516

Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!-dsc_1290.jpg

We left Sandakphu for Rimbik via Maneybhanjan. Rimbik is a very nice and serene little place with plenty of options for hiking. Stayed at Rimbik for a day and the next day came back to Kolkata via the same route.

Last but not the least, thanks to 1100D for putting up a comprehensive travelogue on Sandakphu that urged me to write this one, though this one is not that detailed. The link to 1100Ds travelogue is http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...territory.html (Sandakphu Phalut Kolakham - Unleashing a Mahindra Scorpio on Land Rover territory)

Special thanks to Sutripta Da and Altocumulous for traveling with us.

Last edited by BlackPearl : 2nd May 2013 at 17:31.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 13:02   #2
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd May 2013, 13:15   #3
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Last year in March we went to Sandakphu for the first time but could not go to Phalut due to lack of time.

Next time we went in April with the legendary ADC da as co-driver and made it till Phalut.

Many people have been telling me that they would join if we go there a 3rd time.
BlackPearl, congrats yet again! 5*

Your Bolero and yourself seem to have found a second home. Great pictures to boot; absolutely pristine. However, you did not mention when you went? Or did I miss it in the pictures of the Great Himalaya?

Last edited by johy : 3rd May 2013 at 13:24.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 13:50   #4
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Amazing pictures! Amazing ride! Blackpearl, i have read your review about your Bolero LX 4WD atleast a dozen times before i finally bought my own bolero. Mine is a 2WD DI (the one with the chassis similar to the other Bolero in this trip you took). I have jotted down an Initial Ownership Thread on it incase you would like to take a look. Coming back to your trip- The pictures speak for themselves and the mighty Kanchenjunga looks like an incredible snow fortress!! I dont suppose a 2WD Bolero DI can go up there, can it?
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Old 3rd May 2013, 15:39   #5
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

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I dont suppose a 2WD Bolero DI can go up there, can it?
Rahul, no, as far as I know, it can't; you simply need a 4WD. But will wait to hear what BlackPearl has to say.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 15:48   #6
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Classic. Feeling should be like top of the world after the third time.
Did the LR association know you went up there again?
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Old 6th May 2013, 15:17   #7
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johy View Post
BlackPearl, congrats yet again! 5*

Your Bolero and yourself seem to have found a second home. Great pictures to boot; absolutely pristine. However, you did not mention when you went? Or did I miss it in the pictures of the Great Himalaya?
Thanks Johy. We were in Sandakphu on 1st March this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4321 View Post
Amazing pictures! Amazing ride! Blackpearl, i have read your review about your Bolero LX 4WD atleast a dozen times before i finally bought my own bolero. Mine is a 2WD DI (the one with the chassis similar to the other Bolero in this trip you took). I have jotted down an Initial Ownership Thread on it incase you would like to take a look. Coming back to your trip- The pictures speak for themselves and the mighty Kanchenjunga looks like an incredible snow fortress!! I dont suppose a 2WD Bolero DI can go up there, can it?
Thanks Rahul4321. Congrats on your Bolero. Will look up your your initial ownership thread. I do not think that 2wd Bolero can go up there. But there is a person who has taken his 2wd Tavera to Singalila forest as mentioned in 1100Ds thread. From Kalapokhri to Sandakphu the climb is very steep and personally I do not feel a 2WD can make it.

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Classic. Feeling should be like top of the world after the third time.Did the LR association know you went up there again?
Thanks himadrimondal. Yes, they must be knowing because the owner of Sherpa Chalet himself runs a LR
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Old 6th May 2013, 16:09   #8
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Thanks Rahul4321. Congrats on your Bolero. Will look up your your initial ownership thread. I do not think that 2wd Bolero can go up there. But there is a person who has taken his 2wd Tavera to Singalila forest as mentioned in 1100Ds thread. From Kalapokhri to Sandakphu the climb is very steep and personally I do not feel a 2WD can make it.
That 2WD Tavera was mine and the underneath got grazed a few times too.
Regarding the last leg, which I have never tried as my birding was limited to Singalia,
I too think it may be not possible as BlackPearl and 1100D has mentioned, I guess it should be better to leave it to the 4WD's.

For the sake of discussion, a 2WD may or may not go up but trying it is a risky
job not only to the driver driving it but to the other drivers using the same road.
Where as for a 4WD, its 100% sure everytime, well almost.
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Old 6th May 2013, 16:38   #9
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

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Where as for a 4WD, its 100% sure everytime, well almost.
Well, that too depends! Like for example

Whether the 4WD in question has a low-ratio gearbox or has the first gear low enough to make it.

Station Wagon length Landrovers (Long Wheel Base) though have the same 4x4 hardware as their shorter counterparts, the locals say, cannot make it. This was one of the reasons why I was being discouraged, for both the length as well as the width.
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Old 7th May 2013, 15:53   #10
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Absolutely lovely pictures and the travellogue is great too! Nice one Blackpearl. Nice seeing Bhpians embarking on such expeditions into places unknown to rest of the general populace. Inspiring.
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Old 7th May 2013, 16:10   #11
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Special thanks to Sutripta Da and Altocumulous for traveling with us.
Thanks to you and Ritik for taking us. Now the question is, when and where is the next one ?
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Old 10th May 2013, 10:12   #12
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

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That 2WD Tavera was mine and the underneath got grazed a few times too.
Regarding the last leg, which I have never tried as my birding was limited to Singalia
himadrimondal, can you please tell me till which place you had taken the Tavera? Is it beyond Tonglu? Anything beyond Chitrey is quite steep. How did you manage the vehicle while coming down.
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Thanks to you and Ritik for taking us. Now the question is, when and where is the next one ?
You are most welcome, but where are the pictures that you had taken? Please post them in this thread.

Last edited by BlackPearl : 10th May 2013 at 10:16.
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Old 12th May 2013, 00:28   #13
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himadrimondal, can you please tell me till which place you had taken the Tavera? Is it beyond Tonglu? Anything beyond Chitrey is quite steep. How did you manage the vehicle while coming down.
I did cross Tumling and went till the gate if Singalila NP.
As per my observation the concentration of rhododendron started reducing as we approached the gate and had the best concentration was between Meghma and Tonglu. And rhododendron means sunbirds and a lot of them.

Have you tried a well maintained Tavera?
Back in 2006, owned a Safari those days when I first experienced a brand new Tavera.
Was on a family trip from Darjeeling to Rock Garden when this new hired Taverea was fully packed with 8 adults. There are a few very steep incline as we approach Darjeeling from rock garden. Sitting in the co driver seat. I was imagining the gears I would drop to negotiate the inclines. 1st was my imaginable response but to my surprise this driver was doing 2nd and 3rd at ease. I was literally at awe with the capabilities of the car.

Bought a SS Neo in 2007 and I subjected the car to all kinds of bad roads.
3-4 trips a year and all from Kolkata and beyond Siliguri and all through NH34. The car has not yet developed a single niggle and is still soundless.

I have owned a Scorpio (sold), Safari old and the new 2.2 VTT(sold), Bolero (still there) but none matches the Tavera in terms of reliability, negotiating turns, U turns, hairpins and the MASSIVE pull in 1st gear. I guess the pinion driven DI engine has a very low first gear ratio.
Turbo lag, absolutely NIL.

While I have not tried and I know it can be very risky but I really have to fail to believe a Tavera will not be able to make it to Sandakphu. At no point was I tensed while climbing till Singalila NP but the coming down was literally slow and crawling, the engine guard plate kept scraping on rocks.

Instead I was actually tensed while climbing up Neora Valley NP which is a one car track. I still have no idea what would have happend if something came from the opposite direction. This road is from lava and branches out right, left takes you to Kolakham.
This Neora valley base camp road is all boulders and climbing up is a no no for any 2WD. Even I was warned the car won't go but managed it somehow.

Last edited by himadrimondal : 12th May 2013 at 00:42.
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Old 12th May 2013, 20:55   #14
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch-Angel View Post
Absolutely lovely pictures and the travellogue is great too! Nice one Blackpearl. Nice seeing Bhpians embarking on such expeditions into places unknown to rest of the general populace. Inspiring.
Thanks Arch-Angel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
I did cross Tumling and went till the gate if Singalila NP.
That is simply great and I am not sure if it is the capability of the vehicle or the driver

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
Have you tried a well maintained Tavera?
No, I haven't even taken a ride in one. It is an eye opener for me as I did not have any idea about the capabilities of the Tavera.
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Old 13th May 2013, 16:32   #15
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Default Re: Bolero 4WD takes us to Sandakphu. For the 3rd time!

thanks for sharing your third trip and we know you shall be itching for the fourth one too. some wonderful pictures of the himalayan range, specially the mount everest one,impressed us very much.
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