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|30th December 2013, 10:59||#1|
Distinguished - BHPian
N.E.W.S. Nepal & East to West in a Safari
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:38.
|The following 26 BHPians Thank hemanth.anand for this useful post:|
|17th January 2014, 12:03||#2|
Distinguished - BHPian
After our Kashmir-Kanyakumari trip we had decided that we will someday do the East-West journey.
Collecting information of the 'West' for the East to West journey was not a big problem. The 'East' part would be the tougher part.
The first place that I searched was...no prizes for guessing...WWW.TEAM-BHP.COM
I found this 'different' kind of Travelogue by BHPian Roadinc.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-forever.html (The Road My Home Forever...)
Immediately I sent him a PM (Date 12th October 2012)
He replied to me two days later saying that coincidently he was in Bangalore and we can meet in the same week.
My PIC (Partner in Crime) a.k.a BHPian avinashsg and I met him at a Cafe
He had come with many maps of Arunachal pradesh and he gave us a lot of information about the East.
This was where we got a flavour of Arunachal Pradesh and it was the first spark.
THE SPARK CAUGHT WIND
Fast forward to August 9th 2013, 09:00 hours. I just settled down in my office desk. My Phone started ringing. It was avinashsg.
It was so normal a call; even my phone might have got bored displaying his name
I picked up the phone and we just started our routine chat.
It was 15 days since our travelogue "We Ran Out Of Road (We ran out of road!)" went public on TBHP
Congratulatory comments by fellow BHPians and my replies to all of them were more or less finished.
Avinash was actually surprised by the overwhelming response to the travelogue.
This response just inspired him to mention the then non-existent idea of the next mega drive, The East-West drive.
"We have got such a good response. The iron is hot, lets hit it and do the next mega drive this year itself" he said.
We both were aware of situations in both of our families and we both knew that it was next to impossible to take up such a drive again.
I just told Avinash that we'll think about this later and we hung up the call.
Over the weekend, I told this idea to one of my close friends and BHPian jagadeesh.nraj whose wedding was scheduled in September.
He was very much interested to come but how could he? All he could do was giving me some earful of the choicest of words!
Then, on Monday August 12th 2013, 09:00 hours, I got the customary daily-call from Avinash. He asked me what my thoughts were about the idea.
He was serious!!! Okay, now we had to do something!
This was the wind needed for the spark to ignite fire. It had started-the plan to drive to the remaining two corners of the country and complete my childhood dream of seeing N.E.W.S!
I started to dig for more information. The internet had very less information about Arunachal pradesh especially for the places that we wanted to visit.
I found a few photos from Our own distinguished BHPian HVK (wonder if there is any place in India where he has not been to)
I got this wonderful travelogue on word press website. This was exactly what I needed! In fact I had taken a printout of all the blogs for my reference.
I found out the mail id of the author of this blog-Malini, and sent her an email asking for more information.
This was my plan when I sent her the mail. If you go through it carefully, it is clear that the plan was really raw and not a very good one.
The first plan
In two days, I got a reply with all the information I requested. More importantly I got some phone numbers which really helped me during my drive. I can't thank her enough.
The time around October was a good time to Visit North East, so that meant that we had around 8 weeks in our hand.
I opened the leave calendar and started to look for holidays. 14th October, 1st November and 4th November were holidays.
That meant that if we apply 13 leaves from 15th to 31st October, we would get 22 days for our trip from 12th October to 4th November. We froze those dates.
So the next thing that we both did was to apply leaves for this period. Our bosses already knew that we were crazy. So we got the approvals.
Now for the BIG thing; convincing our families.
When I broke this news, my Mother immediately refused to permit and I got my share of "not being responsible" "think of other things in life" etc...kind of stuff.
My father didn't talk too much...My wife was initially opposed to this but since she knew that it was my dream, she let me go on the condition that she should be the part for the next trip whenever it happens.
As far as Avinash, is concerned, he tells that his family have given up on him...so he had it covered there
Next thing, we needed 2 more guys! Our mates from the last trip were the first choices.
Sushruth, was too busy at office to get leaves and Vishwa had joined a full time Masters Degree course along with going to office. It was just not possible for them.
By this time, there were many people in my office who were interested after seeing my last year's drive.
Enter Mohith, He is my team mate in office who sits in front of me. He had overheard my talks with Avinash and without second thoughts he agreed to come with us.
His only condition was that we should visit the Airtel Indian Grand Prix 2013. We agreed to include that and quickly he too got his leaves approved.
BHPian pumpy_raj (Rajesh) who was to come to our Last year's drive but had to cancel due to unavoidable reasons, jumped in. He didn't want to miss this time.
In his 15 years of career, he rarely takes leaves, and is generally known to work overtime.
When he placed this request, his boss couldn't refuse and his leaves were approved too but on the condition that he should be available on phone.
Apart from this there was a small problem. Rajesh had an important family event to attend on the 13th of October
So we decided that Rajesh would fly to Kolkata and join us on the 14th. The remaining 3 would drive to Kolkata by that time
By this time it was September 1st week and we had only 6 weeks left.
Although we had not yet finalized the route, we knew that the drive will be from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat.
So with so less time left, our immediate next step was to get the Inner Line permit.
The inner line permit (ILP) is a permit for all the people who want to enter the state even if he/she is an Indian
It is mandatory to enter Arunachal Pradesh (like some other north east states), but it should not hinder anybody from entering the state and it is easy to obtain.
Among many places from where we could have obtained the permit, getting it from the state office in Delhi was the easiest.
We contacted them over phone and we sent all the necessary documents along with a Demand Draft of ₹25 per person as the fees on 12th September 2013.
I wanted to visit East first so that we can see the famous Durga Pooja of Kolkata and since The Grand prix was a checkpoint for us, Travelling from East towards West was a better idea than going from West to East.
The time was so less for extensive planning and research on roads. I charted out a rough plan. Plan was to reach Kolkata in two days driving 1000Km a day along the East coast.
From there we planned to drive on "The Eastern most road of the country!" and then tracing our path back towards the west
I booked hotels in Kolkata and Agra where we expected huge rush because of Durga Pooja and F1 respectively.
We also booked 4 North Picnic stands race day tickets.
Then on 18th September, with just 3 weeks left before our trip, we received a whatsapp message from sgavinash (screenshot below)
He being the Safari owner, this message was like a bomb!
After a few hours, we came out of our shock and called him. He explained his inability but he insisted that we take his vehicle and continue as per our plans. But we were apprehensive about that idea.
For one week, we tried to convince him, but since it was a health related issue, we couldn't force him too much.
Finally it all ended in him convincing us to take the vehicle without him.
On 22nd September we got the ILP and on 27th September we received the F1 Tickets too.
Permitted to enter Arunachal
Tickets to speed!
With 2 weeks to go and one member less, we decided not to look for the 4th guy since it would be difficult for anybody to obtain leaves and also the ILP.
So it was decided that it will be 3 guys and the Airavatha. Mohith and I would have to drive to Kolkata from where Rajesh would join us.
We had an extra F1 ticket with us which one of my friends bought from us and he told he would land in BIC directly on the race day.
Shopping for items was not a huge task since I had the check-list from the North-South trip and all most of the items from that trip were already present.
One weekend we just went to the market and made sure that all the items were present. Some missing items and consumables were replenished
On 6th October, with 5 days to go, Airavatha was serviced at the A.S.S Prerana motors. It was ready for the expedition.
In the meantime, the Telangana issue in Andhra was at its peak. So we tweaked our plans to avoid the coastal route. This would mean that we would have to drive 300kms more to reach Kolkata.
We decided to drive via Raichur in Karnataka and then to Hyderabad and then continue northwards towards Nagpur and then from there move eastwards to Kolkata.
This would mean that driving to Kolkata would be really tough in 2 days as per our earlier plan. So we advanced our plan by half a day and decided to drive down to Raichur on Friday, 11th September starting directly from office.
This plan change decision was also taken because of another reason. Hurricane Phailin was to make landfall on 12th October on the eastern coast.
Everyone of our families were tensed looking at the news channels. Somehow we convinced them that since we are no longer taking the coastal route, we would be safe.
With all the things taken into account, our plan before departure looked like this
Not everything was going smooth...
But amidst all these, we had strong will to do something very few can do in their life time! The D-Day came a lot sooner than we expected.
On the evening of 10th October, after I came home from Office, I saw that all the items required were kept aside by my Mother and Wife. All the items in the check-list were ready!
I checked it once again and then took everything to the vehicle. I packed the boot of the truck in 30 minutes of time. The last year's trip did help in this packing.
Similar to what I had done last year, I wrote all my passwords and handed it over to my wife...This was just a preparation for the worst.
I hate doing this but we people buy life insurances don't we? Finally I went to sleep at the stroke of Midnight.
Can you believe it? I was on a mega trip once again! I couldn't at least.
As with my previous travelogue, I would want to give credits in the beginning itself. Here goes the list, in no order of importance.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:39.
|30th May 2014, 11:35||#3|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 1, 11-Oct-2013: Bengaluru(KA51) to Sindhanur(KA36)
I woke up with the alarm and got ready as usual and bid everyone goodbye. I prepared myself for the fact that I would only hear voices from them for the next 20 odd days!
At 07:45, sat in the Airavatha, fired the engine. As it was idling, I checked once again if I had missed something, sat in the driver's seat, put my seatbelts on and took a photo of the odometer. The reading was 22385!
Once I reached office, I had to complete many tasks and hand over some other tasks to designated team mates. I also took some necessary documents. We had everything except an emission certificate.
By lunch time, we went and packed Mohith's bags into the truck. Another colleague of mine who hails from Sindhanur, near Raichur was going home. We offered him a ride in our safari instead of a KSRTC bus.
Since he could reach home by nightfall instead of early morning, he agreed and cancelled his bus booking and agreed to come with us.
We left early from office at 15:00hrs. 5 of our team mates waved us off the office compound and thus IT BEGAN!
Here we go!
Starting ODO 2
First stop was a fuelling station where we had to tank up and also get the emission testing done.
Our mistake, we had to do this earlier. There was a long weekend and the fuel station had a huge queue.
It took us one full hour to fill up and get the emission certificate. It was a loss of precious time.
Nevertheless, were on the NICE road by 16:00hrs.
I drove for exactly 100 Kms and handed over to Mohith.
My new look for the trip!
Long drive coming up!
Mohith drove till Bellary (another 200 Kms) before I took over again.
Bellary has always been a special place for me for, I had pursued my Engineering here. We had a brief stop in front of my college, took a couple of snaps and headed out towards Sindhanur.
We were to drop our colleague to his home and also have dinner there itself.
It was a small and rough road but not that bad so as to worry the Airavatha.
I drove to Sindhanur in 50 minutes flat and we parked the vehicle in front of my colleagueís house by 22:30 hrs
We were treated with some sumptuous homemade food-the last such food for us in the next 20 days, by the time we finished, it was 23:00hrs.
My colleagueís parents asked us to stay in their house itself instead of driving another 90kms and then sleeping over.
Initially we decided that we will drive till Raichur so that we could reduce the driving distance by that much the next day.
But later I thought hard and felt that it would make more sense to sleep there itself and start early in the morning.
We accepted their offer and stayed there itself. We were in deep sleep by 23:30!
From office, we had driven a distance of 440Kms in 7 hours including the 1 hour fuelling stop. That was an impressive speed!
Day 1 Statistics:
To: Sindhanur (KA36)
Distance: 440Kms (22412-22852)
Time taken: 7 hours
Average Speed: 63Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Mohith (240Kms)
States: 1 (Karnataka)
Fuel filled at: Bangalore ODO 22412 at ₹57.04/ltr
Tolls paid: 5 tolls totalling to ₹274/-
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:39.
|30th May 2014, 11:36||#4|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 2, 12-Oct-2013 Sindhanur(KA36) to Raipur(CG04)
5AM, the alarm rang and I woke up. With an instant geyser in the house, hot water was readily available and it ensured we got ourselves ready very soon.
By 5:50, after a cup of tea, we were ready to go. With good and empty roads, we were at Raichur by 7:30AM.
We filled up the tank of the vehicle (Now in hindsight I feel we should have filled up in Andhra Pradesh, as it is around 1 re less per liter).
A journey of a different kind
Mohith's new style for the trip
In a couple of hours, after driving along some beautiful paddy fields, we were in Andhra Pradesh (or Telangana or Seemandhra-we exactly didn't know where we were)
As we entered Andhra pradesh, at a roadside shop in a small town; we ate some pooris and a glass of ginger tea. It was not that great but just enough to fill our stomachs.
Then, I continued at the wheel. By around 10AM, we joined the NH7 to some much needed relief -read 4-lane highway.
Delayed, but a Shubharambh nevertheless
An hour from there on and we had arrived at the outskirts of Hyderabad.
We asked for some directions to reach the ring road and took the entry toll ticket.
The entry is however not charged and you need to pay depending on the exit that you take.This is a good practice I felt to avoid long queues as compared to the NECE road in Bangalore. As soon as the vehicle climbed on the ramp, it was a sight to behold!
4 lanes each side
Super fast tarmac
This was by far the best tarmac in the country I had seen so far. 8 fast and empty lanes welcomed the Airavatha. I put pedal to metal and the white elephant was flying.
The speed limit was 120! No I was not dreaming, I was in India. We drove for some 60 Kms and all it took us was 30 minutes!
Pinch me, I'm dreaming...
...No, i'm not dreaming
After having driven for some 40 Kms, We started to think about toll prices. We, being Bangaloreans, were sure that we will be charged at least 150Rupees.
At the exit gate, Mohith asked the booth guy and he told "50 rupees sir", Mohith couldn't believe his ears, he enquired once again.
The toll booth guy repeated, "50Rs". Mohith gave him 50 rupees with a pleasantly surprised look on his face. By 11:45 we took the NH7 exit and we were at Medchal.
I stopped by for a breather and handed over Airavatha to Mohith. The roads looked really small, they were just 4 Lanes! Such was the effect of the Hyderabad ORR.
With Mohith's permission, I decided to take a nap. I got up after an hour or so. I checked the ODO and hey! we had covered 100+Kms!
That was some serious pace; I initially thought Mohith had gone bezerk! I didn’t even think of sleeping after that.
But in the next 1 hour I saw that he was just cruising in the 110-120 range and had made another 100Kms.
It was around 1:30PM and we saw that Adilabad was some 80Kms. We decided to have our lunch there.
Just then, I recollected that we had had a cup of tea in Karnataka and breakfast in Andhra Pradesh. I thought to myself "why don't we have our lunch in Maharashtra?”
I told this to Mohith and with the distance he was covering, he was only happy to drive on.
300Kms in 3hrs
After Mohith having driven 300 Kms in 3Hrs, and after having entered Maharashtra, we stopped at a Dhabha at a place called Bori.
We spent some 45mins on some below average food and we continued our journey.
With the planned dinner at our hotel in Raipur (Chattisgarh), we had pretty much accomplished my crazy idea of having tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner in 4 different states!
We started at 3:15PM and with 450Kms remaining, I took the vehicle keys and we continued our drive.
For my bad luck, the good roads were all finished in Andhra Pradesh and I had to drive on roads which were mostly under construction or just a 2 lane road.
Around 4PM, at a place called Wadki, We got the second fuel fill for the day.
Looking at the fuel station, I was not so sure about the fuel quality so we decided that we'll fill just enough diesel to reach Raipur.
It was just a hope that Raipur being a big city will have better fuel.
I asked the attendant for 2000Rs diesel only and got approximately half tank. With 350Kms more to go, that would suffice.
We called up the Hotel which we had booked and told him that we would reach by around 11PM. we confirmed if food would be available.
He asked us to call by 10PM and order the food-Which we did. The rest of the highway journey till Raipur was uneventful.
We had set the destination in our GPS. But the GPS started to give problems. Whenever the car went over rough roads, it used to hang and we used to get a blank white screen.
We had to reset everytime (luckily there was one "reset" hole). Also we discovered that it used to hang when we are clos to the destination.
Some weird bug it was. We had to make a couple of calls to the hotel reception desk to get directions and we reached the Hotel by 23:30.
The food came to our rooms after 15 minutes.
Dinner in Chattisgarh
With the alarms set to 6AM, we had hit bed by half past midnight.
We had driven a little over 1100 Kms in 18 hours and I had driven 800+ of those!
Day 2 Statistics
From: Sindhanur (KA36)
To: Raipur (CG04)
Distance: 1120Kms (22852-23972)
Time taken: 18 hours
Average Speed: 62Kmph
Driver to drive most: Hemanth (240Kms)
States: 4 (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra & Chattisgarh)
Fuel filled at: Raichur ODO 22952 at ₹57.04/ltr @ Nagpur ODO 23563 at ₹59.45/ltr
Tolls paid: 8 tolls totalling to ₹456/-
Kitna Deti hain?: 12.83Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 14th August 2014 at 10:44.
|30th May 2014, 11:43||#5|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 3, 14-OCT-2013: Raipur(CG04) to Kolkata(WB02)
This would be another long day with close to 900 Kms to go. We both were ready by 6:45AM and by 7:00AM, the car was also out of the parking lot.
The receptionist delayed the billing process and we wasted 30 minutes at the reception desk, However to make up for that, he arranged for an early complimentary breakfast. By the time we finished breakfast and actually drove out of the hotel it was 08:00.
Since this route was a last minute change (Initial plan was to drive along coastal Andhra), I did not have much information about the road conditions.
I enquired with the receptionist about the road conditions. He said "kya kahoon sir, poora NH hai. NH jaisa road hai bas". I assumed it to be decent.
We also had to fill diesel and that took another 30 minutes. So We finally bid goodbye to Raipur at 8:30 AM-At least 2 hours late than what we had planned.
It was raining the whole night and it was cloudy. We proceeded on AH46/NH6. As soon as we were out of Raipur, rains started and bad roads too.
Hurricane Phailin has made landfall on the Odisha coast and its effects were visible even in Chattisgarh. Much better news-we were headed towards Odisha!
Rainy day in the country
Mohith started the day and he took 4 hours to cover a distance of 165Kms. It was raining all this while and the roads were pretty bad.
We were feeling like we were driving in a boat. It was a boring drive to say the least. After 165 Kms Mohith had had enough and he handed over the vehicle to me.
I continued at the wheel and by 1:30 PM we had crossed the Mahanadi River and reached Sambhalpur in Odisha. We scouted for a good restaurant but didn't find any.
Just for the sake of it, we had lunch at a Dhabha. The dal was good but the roti was bad.
Worse was the cleanliness-with Pigeon poos all around. We somehow ate 3 rotis each while watching a Pigeon mating scene over the roof!
In exactly 30 minutes we were out on the road again. Neither the bad roads nor the rains seemed to come to an end.
Rain rain go away
By around 4:00pm, I had driven a total of 200 Kms and I needed rest badly. I handed over the car to Mohith.
Safari Vs Phailin
More Rains coming up
We are coming Phailin!
Mohith drove on till after dark. We were deep inside Odisha's forests with Phailin pounding heavily. Visibility was less even with the 90/100.
The top speed achieved was just 50kmph!
After driving in the rain for a couple of hours, we came to a small village but we saw that there were a lot of people and many cars. Surprised to see so many people we slowly moved forward.
What we saw was a flooding river flowing across a low level bridge. Nobody could cross and they were waiting. A couple of policemen were also present.
There was an Odisha registered Sumo in front us. He drove near the bridge until the policeman stopped him. He had a small chat with him and then, he drive on!
He slowly drove over the flooding river and he successfully crossed it. Wow, that was some good sign for us. We never wanted to be stranded in a remote village deep inside the forest.
We followed him and the police didn't stop us. Mohith drove in the first gear revving constantly and we had crossed it.
We were happy but the people waiting on either side mostly with hatchbacks were preparing for a bad night.
At this time I thanked my luck that we brought the Safari and not my Punto.
Continuing further, somewhere in the forest, for a minute when the rain reduced intensity, we quickly exchanged seats.
We didn't stop for more than these 30 seconds as we had only heard about these forests filled with naxalites.
Mohith was tired by now and without his knowledge, he dozed off as soon as I started driving.
Since I was driving with all attentiveness, I had not even realized it till I asked for a bottle of water.
In one ghat section, I was driving and I heard an ambulance. I was slow because of the pitch darkness around and heavy rain.
Within another couple of minutes, the ambulance was seen in my ORVM. I gave him way.
With the weather conditions around, he too couldn't drive too fast so we were together for around 5 minutes.
Even then he was a little faster and I slowly started losing him. Then it flashed to my mind that it would be better to follow him since the Siren and the flashing lights would give me better view of the road, I quickly caught up with him and drove behind him for as long as I could.
It was as though I was driving in a discotheque with those flashing blue red and white lights. I covered a decent distance with this help.
After the ghat section, he went inside a hospital in the next town. I continued.
By 8:00PM, We reached the Jharkhand-West Bengal border. At the check post I stopped for a minute to rehydrate my body. Only then did I realize that we had also driven inside Jharkhand for a small distance
What followed was nothing short of HELL. Seriously, this was NH6 and also designated as AH46. What were they even thinking!
Forget calling it a 'highway", itís not even worth calling a "road". There was no road at all.
It was as though I was driving on craters on an alien planet. Each crater had turned into Olympic size swimming pools.
Even the truck drivers were cursing these roads and ours was the only 'small' vehicle.
NH=Nothing but Hell
As if the bad roads were not enough, there was another scary experience for us. In one of the stretches with dense forest around, I came across 5 bikes with 10 people.
All of them had huge guns! They scared the hell out of us. Luckily for me, I saw them in the rare patch of around 1km long good road.
At the sight of them, I just stood on the pedal and drove as fast as I could. Don't know if my fear was warranted, but that experience was really scary.
They were riding in a criss-cross manner and didn't appear like forest guards or military officials. From there I never stopped till we reached Kharaghpur.
I filled up diesel. But again for 1500/- as the fuel station didn't appear good.
a small fill
The stretch of 60kms from the Odisha border till Kharaghpur took us 3 hours! This still rates as the worst "road" I've ever driven till date.
After Crossing Kharaghpur, I sighed a huge relief, 4-Lane roads! It was like finding water after walking in a desert for days. I stretched my legs and took the beast over 100kmph. After 10 minutes, I stopped on a lay-bye and gave the car to Mohith.
By this time it was 11:30PM and we were really hungry. But there were no restaurants around. So we ate some biscuits and continued our drive.
Although I can control hunger, Mohith just cannot. He must have cursed me a hundred times that day
With 100 Kms to go and good roads, Mohith drove fast and by 1 AM, we had reached the outskirts of the "City of Joy".
What we saw later was a real surprise, 100s of two wheelers and rickshaws were driving on the roads. It was like peak hour traffic.
None of them were bothered about the rain or the knee deep waters; they were Pandal Hopping and seeing all the colorful pandals of Goddess Durga.
We were too tired to stop and go to any of the pandals. My phone's GPS had the destination locked and we just drove towards the hotel.
We crossed the Vidyasagar Sethu and by 2AM, we reached our hotel in the Park street area.
The closed gate was flooded with 6inches of water. After some minutes of Honking and shouting, we were successful in waking up the security guard and the reception guy.
In another 20 minutes, we were given a room.
Mohith just made a casual enquiry with the room boy if we could get something to eat to which he laughed.
We drank a liter of mineral water and we just crashed on the beds.
I got up again and made a call to Rajesh in Bangalore-He had just woken up to get ready for his 6AM flight from Bangalore to Kolkata.
I strictly warned him not to disturb us till he reaches the hotel the next morning
This was the most strenuous day in the entire trip. Just cannot forget this day.
Day 3 Statistics:
To: Kolkata (WB02)
Distance: 868Kms (23972-24840)
Time taken: 18 hours
Average Speed: 48Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Mohith (250Kms)
States: 4 (Chattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand & West Bengal)
Fuel filled at: Kharaghpur ODO 24618 at ₹55.76/ltr
Tolls paid: 2 tolls totalling to ₹135/-
Kitna Deti hain?: 11.22Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:40.
|30th May 2014, 11:45||#6|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 4, 14-Oct-2013: Kolkata.
At 9:30 AM, the door bell rang and I got up reluctantly. As soon as I opened the door, it was Rajesh. He had come to the hotel in a Taxi after landing at the Kolkata Airport
Third member joining
He woke us up and urged us to get up. We slowly got up. We told him the stories of our drive.
Since we had brought most of his luggage also with us, He showed us some other items that he had got which we would need.
The room that was allotted for us was way too small. And with the extra bed for the third person it would be like violating the human rights for shelter.
The previous night we were not in a mood to even talk about this.
But in the morning we went to the reception and changed our rooms to a spacious one.
The complimentary buffet breakfast was not available at that time, So we decided to have an early lunch.
Mohith and I got ready while Rajesh couldn't control his excitement of being in Kolkata. So he quickly ordered one plate Rosogolla from the room service and quenched his desire.
This day was a leisurely day and we had planned to do some pandal hopping.
This was also the Last day (Dashami) of the Dasara Festival and we wanted to experience the Immersion festivity of Goddess Durga.
But before we could plan anything, our stomachs stopped us. Prior to our trip, I had taken some suggestions from some Bengali friends.
Out of them, one had suggested Hotel Kewpie's on Elgin Road. So we took our car and headed straight to Kewpie's
I had also seen this restaurant on a television program and I had liked it. It is one of the good places where we get Authentic Bengali Food.
The fact that it is an old house converted to a restaurant also gives it that Homely feel.
When we went there, we came to know that we had to make reservations but since we were there by noon, we were one of the first people and hence we got a table without any reservation.
When we saw the menu, we couldn't make out anything. To make it more complicated, the waiter spoke only Bengali. So he called the manager.
We told that we don't know anything about Bengali food and we asked him to give the best lunch.
Menu that we couldn't understand
Both the Vegetarian and the Non-Vegetarian spread were delicious. No wonder the restaurant is highly rated in Zomato, Burrp and alike
After this delicious and sumptuous meal, we headed back to our hotel. By this time we had realized that car parking is not easy in Kolkata unlike Bangalore.
So we hired the Hotel taxi from our hotel for Pandal Hopping. The receptionist told us that it would cost 200 Rupees per hour. That "sounded" reasonable.
From 2 to 6pm, the Taxi driver took us to many Pandals. Initially he took us to big Pandals but the queues were so long that we wasted most of our time in the queues.
The first Durga Pandal of my life
The first sight of Tram
Later we asked him to take us to small pandals. The reasons behind this request were
By 5 PM, many pandals were closing down and preparing for the Visarjan.
Finally we asked the taxi driver to drop us at the Babu ghat near the Eden garden railway station where the Visarjan would happen.
Heading to the ghat
This was a good decision we made because almost all the idols in the city have to come here. We saw different kinds of Pandals.
What was more attractive was the spirits of people. Young and old alike, Boys and girls alike, they immerse themselves in the celebrations.
They dance endlessly to the loud drum beats, smear red Kumkum on each other. Itís one wonderful experience.
We took some photos, Rajesh and Mohith also lent their shoulders to a couple of idols.
Basically this lending of shoulders was only to enter the place of immersion because the police were not allowing everyone inside
We spent our time till 9PM. we were tired but we had enjoyed the celebrations.
I'll let the photos do some talking now...
The water's a wee bit cleaner
I then quickly checked Zomato for a good hotel.
We went to a hotel called India restaurant in Kidderpore area. It was a small hotel and crowded as well. We had to wait for some 15minutes
I had read that this place gives the best Dum Biriyani in Kolkata. So we just ordered a Biriyani each. Both the Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Biriyanis were delicious.
We ended the meal with a delicious Rasmalai and Gulab Jamoon and Rosogolla.
After this we took a taxi and reached our hotel by 10 PM.
I started to look for details for the Kolkata-Siliguri's drive. I browsed Team-bhp for road conditions etc...
I soon realized that the route form Kolkata to Siliguri is not as easy and straight forward as Google suggests. Google suggests NH34.
As per the information online, NH34 was supposed to be the worst road in the country
My lack of detailed route planning started to show its loopholes (we had already experienced bad roads because of that on our way to Kolkata)
D-BHPians 1100D and Sutripta's posts were really helpful. I sent Sutripta a PM asking him for more details. I read more about the alternative routes and got a fair idea but it was still not clear.
Hoping that I would get a reply, I slept late. Rajesh and Mohith were already 2 hours into sleep by this time.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:40.
|30th May 2014, 11:47||#7|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 5, 14-Oct-2013: Kolkata.
We got up leisurely at 7:30 AM and had our breakfast which was complimentary at the hotel restaurant.
The plan for the day was to visit the Victoria memorial and the Howrah Bridge apart from eating out at the famous Haldiram's
By 9 we started out of our Hotel and went to the Victoria memorial which was just a 10mins drive.
When we went to the front gate there was no parking area, we circled the entire building and finally found a parallel parking slot near the planetarium which is adjacent to this.
Rajesh parked the car, pulled the handbrakes and then locked the car after taking the cameras out.
We walked along a wide and beautiful footpath which was covered with swooping down tree branches. In many places the footpath was covered with water because of the previous night's rain.
From the walkway
Hide and seek
After 10 minutes of walking we entered the Victoria memorial. This huge marble building which is now a museum takes us through the colonial years of India and in specific, the colonial Bengal
Almost all the British generals are statues here and we also can see some rare photographs showing the yesteryear's India. Photography wasn't allowed inside. So have a look at it from outside.
After spending a good 2 hours inside, we came out into the sweltering heat. As soon as we came out of the gate, we headed to one of the many small stalls outside selling cool drinks.
We purchased two bottles of cold mineral water and emptied them within seconds. Then Rajesh and Mohith felt like eating the ice candy made of crushed ice.
One of them took Kaala Khatta candy and another one opted for a mixed flavour candy.
After this, we slowly walked towards our vehicle. As soon as we got in and started the vehicle, the parking attendant came and collected ₹20 charge.
When we handed him ₹20, he started shouting at us. We didn't understand a word of him. Then he signalled something which looked like operating a handbrake.
We just left that place without talking with him. We drove a little further and Rajesh understood what he told, he showed us the scenes of parking.
All cars were parked parallel to the road and none had put handbrakes. The parking attendants pushed every vehicle until they bump into each other
When you want to remove, they push the cars which are in front and behind your car.
They take the word bumper a little too seriously! Only expensive cars like the Mercedes were spared.
We just couldn't believe what we saw. That moment we realized how good the parking is in Bangalore...Although itís difficult to find one, we need not worry of any damage
Luckily we had put the handbrakes on.
Heaving a big sigh of relief, we set our navigation devices to the next place we wanted to visit-Howrah Bridge.
As we were following the instructions of an iphone navigation, many places we were asked to take a turn into a one way street in the opposite direction.
We made fun of the iphone and took turns in the direction where we wanted to head. After this happened 3 to 4 times, we thought that something was wrong somewhere.
Somehow we reached the Howrah Bridge! I thought we could park our vehicle somewhere and take some nice snaps. I was proved wrong. It was such a congested, crowded place; forget parking, driving was a big task in itself.
Rajesh slowly made his way through the crowd and then we were stopped by a police constable! He came and told us that we had entered a bus lane and we had to give 2000/- fine.
Obviously seeing the KA plate he started to find thousands of reasons to extract money from us. He checked all the documents and everything was fine.
We showed him that the GPS was showing this road and we followed that. Being a policeman he wouldn't be convinced with that we knew. After 15 minutes of discussions in poor Hindi (both Rajesh and the policeman) , Rajesh won the battle and he let us go for nothing. Yaay!
We entered Howrah Bridge and took some quick snaps. We didn't get down to the river for more pictures which we had planned to do. The area is just not good enough to park our car and spend some time.
Yellow Amby on the Howrah-The image I see when I hear the word Kolkata
After this, we decided to have lunch and we started to ask for directions to Haldiram's. We were guided to a big Haldiram's outlet and there also we faced the same old parking problem.
We had had enough and so we headed straight into our hotel and parked the car there and then took the famous yellow Amby taxi to Haldiram's.
When he was driving we observed that the vehicles were driving in the opposite direction to what we had driven in the morning. Initially we thought that the road might be looking similar but no it was the same road!...same road but opposite direction!
Out of curiosity we asked the taxi driver and he told us that based on the time of the day, the direction of driving is changed!!!
How ridiculous and how confusing. For any visitor and for GPS devices itís such a headache!
Anyways, we entered Haldiram's to be greeted by a big array of sweets. The sight itself so beautiful. We first saw all the sweets available and headed to the lunch counter.
We had decided that we will have a lunch will be a very light main course and then heavy desserts menu
We took a mini lunch platter and then we tasted all possible sweets that we could. We managed to click a couple of photos only, obviously because we were busy hogging on the food
We spent a good time eating there and then we headed back to our hotel room.
Back in the hotel, while Rajesh and Mohith started their engines (snoring) I checked if I had received any reply from Sutripta for the PM I had sent him last night.
To my good luck, he had replied to my PM and given me a time and his number to call him.
Before calling him, I updated myself with the present road conditions, options and other important stuff from many people who had posted details in various forums.
I called Sutripta and got to know the terrain, the road conditions and other details. My initial plan was to go to Siliguri on NH 34.
On browsing I came to know that NH34 is not a good road from time immemorial and had no signs of being repaired. I still remember Sutripta's reaction on saying that my plan was to go on that road.
It was just two words that he spoke and it summed everything up...he just said "Oh God!"
He came to know that my planning was not detailed enough...so he gave me the complete directions till Siliguri.
He told me that he will keep in touch with me the next day when we drive. I just noted down all the places and thanked him.
If not for Team-BHP, I wouldn't have contacted Sutripta and my journey would have been hell! How much ever I thank TBHP, itís never enough.
By this time, Rajesh and Mohith got up and I told them the routes. They told that itís left to me and they'll just drive in whichever road I ask them to drive.
After this, Mohith wanted to take a ride in the famous tram. It was my wish too but seeing the city in this shabby, filthy state for the last two days, I had lost all my interest to even step out.
Moreover, since I was awake when they were snoring, I was feeling terribly sleepy. So I asked Rajesh and Mohith to go out, ride in tram and do whatever they want and come back for dinner after filling Diesel in the car.
They went out and I tried to sleep, but couldn't. So I called up the reception and told me that we would be leaving early the next morning and I told them to send a final bill.
He told me that he'll first send it in a white paper and once I confirm he'll give a complete bill.
Since we had paid for our booking on makemytrip for a double room initially and then shifted to a bigger room, he told me that he'll give a proper bill only for the double room.
He also wanted us to pay in cash. Although I do not prefer such things and I knew that he was trying to pocket some black money, I was not in a good mood to argue and I agreed.
In 15 minutes, he sent a "parchi". On seeing that I was shell shocked. He had charged ₹3000 for the taxi. For just 3 hours. I called him and demanded a clarification.
He told us that itís a given fact that taxi will be for a minimum of 15 hours. But I told that he had to inform this beforehand.
He was trying to make some quick money but since I was already not in a good mood, I gave him a piece of my mind. After an elaborate argument, he agreed to reduce it to 5 hours and charge ₹1000.
This done, he sent a revised "parchi" and I signed it. I also told him to send the bill after including that dinner which we would be ordering a bit later.
By this time Mohith and Rajesh came back. Mohith came to the room and told me that to his bad luck, tram services were halted...it seems that it was a holiday on the day after Bijoya.
The receptionist had asked Rajesh to stay there and they said that someone wanted to talk to us.
After sometime Rajesh called me to the reception. A guy had seen the KA 05 number car parked and had informed the receptionist that he wanted to meet us as soon as we arrive.
He introduced himself as a businessman from Bangalore who generally travels a lot for business reasons. He had a KA 05 registered Fortuner.
He was excited to see a KA vehicle and he spoke a lot with us. After Rajesh had told our plans to him, he wanted to give inputs on the route and that's why Rajesh called me.
He showed us his Driving licence which was from KA-05. Rajesh and Mohith returned to the rooms while he took me to his car.
He opened his map book and suggested routes which were pretty much along the same lines as Sutripta had told us but he told us to go via a place called Jamtara and break the Kolkata-Siliguri route into two days.
Not just the routes, he also switched on his two GPS devices and gave me a list of COCO fuel stations along the way.
He told me to break my Journey in Bhagalpur and he gave a visiting card of one of his friend's resort and told us to stay there.
He also gave us a list of restaurants to have meals...He had stored all of this in his GPS devices. He spent two complete hours with me giving all the details he had.
Never had I seen such an excited and helpful guy! With the inputs from Sutripta and this guy, the void in my less detailed planning started to fill up.
After 2 hours, I went back to our room and by that time, Mohith and Rajesh had ordered dinner and he got it very soon.
We also settled the entire bill and gave some tips to the room service guys.
While having dinner, Rajesh told me another bad news. The High beams of the car was not working!
We decided to take the route Sutripta had suggested but also took note of the fuelling stations and restaurants that was suggested by that guy.
We had to make use of the day light to the maximum. So decided to leave as early as 4:30 AM just before Sunrise which happens very early (05:30) in these parts of the country.
This way we could also avoid city traffic.
I saved the Google offline maps into my android phone as the mapmyindia GPS we had was as good as dead. We slept at 10PM as we had to get up by 3:30PM
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:41.
|30th May 2014, 11:48||#8|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 6, 16-Oct-2013: Kolkata(WB04) - Siliguri(WB74)
That irritating sound of an alarm woke me up at 3:30. I woke up hesitantly and in an hour all 3 of us were ready to head out.
We took our luggage and woke up the service boys and they opened the locked main gate for us.
We purchased five 2litre water bottles and poured it into our 25-litre water can. This was the first time we filled that.
Here too the attendants tried to make some quick bucks. They charged 60 Rupees per bottle!! We gave him only 40 rupees per bottle against the 30 Rupees printed rate. Over that he asked for more tips again. With all these small not-good experiences in the hotel we didn't give them any more and left.
With the help of my phone navigation and with the help of a Policeman doing his early morning rounds, we crossed the Vidyasagarsethu and were on the highway in 10 minutes.
There is a saying that we always realize the importance of any person/thing when they are away from us.
That was what happened to us with respect to the high beam. Even though we had light (low beam) it was not easy driving in the morning twilight.
Rajesh was in charge of the steering wheel and he drove carefully.
Finally by 6AM we had reached Burdwan where we had to leave the 4-Lane NH2 (Grand Trunk road). This is when we entered the small roads of rural Bengal and this is where we could turn off the headlights
One of the best sunrise photos I have clicked
Bye bye 4-lane roads
Mohith got up by now and he was hungry. We started searching for a decent restaurant but couldn't find any. So we decided to have an early lunch and we just had some chocolates.
We stopped by a road-side tea stall and drank 3 cups of Kulhad (earthen cup) tea.
We were expecting 5 Rupees per cup of tea but were shocked to hear that it was 2 Rupees per cup. On top of that we could take away the cup.
I didn't know if we people in cities (especially in Bangalore) were paying exorbitant prices for coffee/tea or these people are charging too less.
"Itís actually both", I thought and we moved forward.
Good roads continued
Moving ahead, we stopped by a pushcart vendor selling big and nice ripe bananas. We bought 10 huge bananas and here again it was only 10 Rupees!
By this time, BHPian Sutripta called me and asked me what time we left. When I told him the time, he told me that I should be somewhere near Bolpur which is where we were!
He then reminded us that we should go towards Siuri. Enroute, near Bolpur, the highway was closed for construction of a railway bridge. We had to take a detour.
I always love detours for they give me an opportunity to explore new things. This was one such detour, which gave us an opportunity to understand the dimensions of the HUGE vehicle we were driving.
We had to cross a railway underpass. There were two small side-by-side openings under the railway line for cars to pass.
Since it had rained heavily the previous day, the openings/tunnels were filled with water. We were doubtful of our vehicle crossing this bridge.
Mohith got down to check and he walked past the bridge and slowly guided us. As soon as we came under the bridge, I felt that we cannot pass.
I put my hand on the roof railing and the bridge hit my hand. With half the car under the bridge, it was evident that the roof will hit the bridge.
We reversed and started to wonder how we will pass this as the other opening was also the same size.
By then some villagers had gathered there with toothbrush and a water mug in their hands (the reason was obvious).
One person was telling something which we didn't understand, but we could understand his sign language that he was asking us to go under the other opening
I told Rajesh to drive slowly under the other opening. As we came close, the vehicle suddenly went down and we could pass without touching.
The ground in the other opening was dug up and this created more space under the bridge. Because of the water, we could not find this out.
Will it pass or not?
Finally we come out
After this exciting, 5 minutes, we again joined the main road and started driving towards Siuri. Apart from another river crossing on a metal bridge there was no drama
Some temple-We liked the tomb design
We cruised along and were enjoying the lush green fields on both sides of the road. Roads here are a median less two way road and mostly were good except for some small rough patches here and there
Good roads mostly
We crossed Siuri by 8AM and from there as per Sutripta's instructions drove towards Massanjore dam.
On the outskirts of Siuri, there were two routes to reach Massanjore. We had to turn right to go towards Soerkuri More.
We missed this and took another road which goes straight. We got confused and asked some villagers and they said that we will reach Massanjore on this route. So we continued.
This was a non Asphalted narrow village road and the rains had made it further worse.
Slowly but surely we did reach Massanjore but it took one hour. If we had gone Via Seorkuri More, we might have saved around 30mins I guess.
We joined the actual good road at Ranigram which is just at the WB-Jharkhand Border. The drive till Massanjore after this was nice and easy.
We stopped by the Massanjore Dam at 9AM. While enjoying the cool breeze by the reservoir, we called up our family and informed about our progress.
A good patch
We missed this road for quite some distance
Breather for the beast
After a 15 minute breather, we moved forward. We reached Dumka by around 10:30AM.
We took the Dumka-Handisa road and drove on until Bhagalpur. We reached Bhagalpur at noon. Midway between Dumka and Bhagalpur, we entered Bihar -The eighth state in our trip so far.
...were in patches
At the heart of Bhagalpur- a NH80 city, we found a nice restaurant. As we went inside, nobody was there since it was too early.
The India-Australia cricket match was just about to start and we ordered the food and got busy watching the match.
Service was really slow and after 15 minutes the starters finally came to our table. The main course also came along slowly and I finished my lunch by 1:30PM - close to 90 Minutes.
Mohith had ordered another starter which never came to the table. We told him to cancel but the waiter told us that itís being prepared. So we had to wait.
Meanwhile I went to the car and thought of changing the headlamps. I opened the bonnet and then opened the bulbs.
They looked perfectly fine. But anyways, I put another set of Bulbs.
Even after I put the new set, High beam was not working. Then I opened the fuse box and checked the fuse...it was fine too.
So we decided that we will get it checked in the next available TASS; and at 14:00hrs, we left the restaurant.
2 hours was a criminal waste of sunlight especially with no high beams.
Mohith was now in the driver's seat and Rajesh decided to watch a movie on his laptop in the rear seat. I continued with my navigator duty.
In 15 minutes, we crossed the city of Bhagalpur and were on the Vikramshila Sethu across the Ganges
After crossing the Vikramshila Sethu, we reached a town called Naugachia on NH31.
All the detours ended there and from there on all we had to do was follow NH31 till Siliguri.
As per the guy we had met in our Kolkata Hotel, Dalkhola had to be our fuelling stop where we would find the BP COCO fuel station.
So we drove non-stop till Dalkhola via Purnia. Purnia is an important milestone as from here it was all 4 lane roads and we could cover good distances.
Sutripta sent me a message at 16:00 hours asking our location and I updated him that we were close to Dalkhola- that's 12 hours and 500kms of driving (including that 90 minute lunch break).
20 minutes after Purnia we stopped at Dalkhola for a tank-up. We filled up the two 5 Litre fuel cans as well.
At Dalkhola we re-enter West Bengal.
Driving on NH31, we reached Siliguri in another 3 hours and checked in to Sarovar Portico hotel which we had booked.
As soon as we entered the hotel, Rajesh and Mohith wanted to go and dive into the pool.
Their plans were all shattered by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who made a record chase of 359 runs in just 44 Overs.
We watched the action end of the game and it was a wonderful refreshment to the otherwise long day of driving 665 Kms.
Kohli's butter-smooth drives made us forget the strain of our not-so-smooth drive. I called up the guy in our Kolkata hotel and thanked him for his suggestions.
After the match, it was a stomach full of buffet dinner at the restaurant. I also called up the receptionist to say that we would be leaving by 5:30AM the next morning so that they would finish the billing.
I downloaded some offline maps onto my phone for our next leg of journey and slept by 10PM. We could get a nice 7 hour sleep.
Day 6 Statistics
From: Kolkata (WB02)
To: Siliguri (WB74)
Distance: 665Kms (24860-25525)
Time taken: 15 hours
Average Speed: 44Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Rajesh (395Kms)
States: 3 (West Bengal, Jharkhand & Bihar)
Fuel filled at: Dalkhola ODO 25396 at ₹57.39/ltr
Tolls paid: 5 tolls totalling to ₹180/-
Kitna Deti hain?: 11.16Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:41.
|30th May 2014, 15:20||#9|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 7, 17-Oct-2013: Siliguri (WB74) to Guwahati (AS01)
Early next morning, we got up at 05:00AM and left the hotel by 5:50AM. Sutripta had asked me to call once we reach Shrirampur at the WB-Assam border.
Our new friend at Kolkata had told us to fill at Shrirampur in a COCO fuel station and also where itís cheaper compared to West Bengal.
He had also warned us that Policemen will stop us at the Assam border as we have a KA vehicle.
Mohith started the day as a driver and we followed Sutripta's Instructions that we should go on NH31C and not go on the Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar route.
The initial mountain road till Nagrakata was a pleasure to drive on.
Starting the day
Railway gate closed
Train train, come soon!
Koooooooo chook book chook book
The same bridge from above
By 8:00AM we stopped at a highway Dhabha for Breakfast. After a heavy breakfast, which took 40 minutes, Mohith continued to drive.
By 9:30AM we reached Shrirampur. As soon as we enter Assam, The road turns into a beautiful concrete four lane road.
4-lane superfast road
As expected, the Assam Police stopped us. They asked us to get down and asked for all the documents and details.
Driving Licenses (DL), Registration Certificate (RC), Emission Certificate, Inner Line Permit (ILP), No Sun film, IND number plate, Aadhar cards...we had everything that they could ask for.
But when Indian police decide to extract something, they will do it....by hook or crook.
When they saw the Inner line permit, there were 4 photos but we were only three. They asked us why. We just told that it was for a medical reason.
But then they saw the RC, they saw that the person absent was the one who owned the vehicle!
"Aha" they must have thought and asked us if we had a NOC from the owner!
"What?" we told. He showed some letter and told us that we have to carry a NOC if the owner is not driving.
We told that he was a brother of one of us and he couldn't come because he had to undergo a surgery.
Now that they had something to hold against us, they would not listen. One constable took Mohith away and asked him to give 1000 Rupees "bade saab ke kharche paani ke liye".
After some more bargaining, he finally reduced it to 500 Rupees (How kind of him!). We had to pay him that "Kharcha paani" and proceed further.
As if he had a homing device planted on us, Sutripta called me and asked me if we had crossed Shrirampur
I confirmed him with astonishment (he wouldn't have seen the astonishment). He then sent an SMS giving me the route to take further
Serfanguri was where we had to leave the 4-Lane highway and enter single village road.
Although we would have preferred more of 4-lane roads, we had already realized that Sutripta's suggestions are the best in this part of the country. We drove non-stop in the route given to us.
Time for some photos...
Assam for you
Black label and green label
Pumpy with Airavatha
Man Vs Wild
Live to Drive
Water lily is it?
Beautiful paddy fields again
Extraction of rubber
My initial plan was to drive till Tezpur which is 150Kms from Guwahati.
But Sutripta told us to break it down and take it easy. We obeyed his words and I cancelled my booking at Tezpur. It was easy to cancel as no payment was made.
I called up my sister in Bangalore and asked her to make a booking at Ginger Hotel, Guwahati.
The Ginger hotel idea is one which I picked up from BHPian J.Ravi. If I go to any city having a Ginger hotel, I book it with closed eyes.
By 4:00PM we reached Guwahati. Although I thought about continuing till Tezpur, after having a late lunch in Guwahati, just in the nick of time, I got a better idea.
I opened the Tata service book and found a TASS. We had to get the headlight repaired before we head further deep into North east.
I called them up and asked if they would be open. They told they'll be open till 6:00PM. We went straight to them. By this time, Sutripta called me and made sure we reached our destination of the day.
I told him that we were at the TASS for a headlight repair and he said "Oh these Tata cars!". I understood that loves Tata cars
The Service adviser attended to us immediately and a technician came to inspect the vehicle.
He did the same thing that I had done -Check the bulbs, fuses and relays and the problems still persisted.
He gave up and decided to call a senior executive but at that time, his screw driver fell inside the bonnet behind the headlamp. Voila! The high beams came on.
He took out the screw driver and the high beams switched off. So it was evident that it was just a loose connection somewhere
He then put his hand and shook all the wires - the lights came on.
This vehicle had a Hella wiring harness and a 90/100 lamps.
This wiring harness had an additional small fuse box. While installing this, this fuse box was kept just behind the headlamp.
The heat generated by this headlamp had melted the cheap plastic fuse box along with the fuse and the circuit was open.
Although we had the same rating fuse with us, the TASS guy fixed it with a new fuse and we were charged 40Rupees in total.
Old and new
With this issue sorted, we tanked up the vehicle in a fuel station just beside the TASS. I also purchased a Torch in the Fuel station store as that was one thing we had forgotten in our checklist.
After this, we saw a vehicle washing centre just beside this fuel station and we decided to give the vehicle a much needed wash.
While the Airavatha was taking a bath, I sat with the owner of this place for a discussion and I took inputs of the road ahead. There was nothing much to worry as per him.
After an hour, we took the clean vehicle to Ginger hotel Guwahati and checked in at around 6:30 PM. For four consecutive days now, I had not driven the vehicle.
We had dinner by 7 as we had skipped Lunch. It was a tiring drive too
Mohith went out to speak to his family member while Rajesh and I updated through an SMS and slept by 8:30PM.
Day 7 Statistics:
From: Siliguri (WB74)
To: Guwahati (AS01)
Distance: 552Kms (25525-26047)
Time taken: 10:40 hours
Average Speed: 52.2Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Mohith (331Kms)
States: 2 (West Bengal & Assam)
Fuel filled at: Guwahati ODO 26035 at ₹55.26/ltr
Tolls paid: None
Kitna Deti Hai?: 11.48Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:43.
|3rd June 2014, 13:43||#10|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 8, Oct-18-2013: Guwahati (AS01) - Tezu (AR11)
I got up at 5:00AM after a nice 9 hour sleep and we all checked out of the hotel by 6:00AM.
Given that we had slept early, we should have left much earlier but anyways we started the day with Mohith at the wheel.
He told us something that had happened after we slept...after he went out of the room to talk to his family members, the automatic door lock got locked from outside and he not taken the key card with him.
He had knocked on the door and rung the door bell but Both Rajesh and I were sleeping without any knowledge of all this.
Finally he had gone to the reception, taken a new key card and came inside to sleep
Our plan for today was to reach Kaziranga National park and stay there for the day.
I had read that the park typically will be open in the November-April period. October and May will be "Partially open".
This "Partially Opened" was what left me in a dilemma. I wanted to be flexible with my planning, spend time in Kaziranga if itís open or else drive ahead if it is closed.
We cruised along the NH37 which is a nice 4-lane road. The wide yet curvy ghat section just at the outskirts of Guwahati is a wonderful one to drive.
Poorab se soorya uga...
...Jaagi har disha disha...
...Jaaga Jag saara
Out he comes
With the good roads on offer, we reached Kaziranga National Park at 9:00AM.
Just as we reached the beginning of the Park, we got a sight of a Female Single horn Rhino and her calf cooling off in a lake close to the road.
We stopped and took out the 70-300 lens and took some snaps. I wish I had a lens that could go farther than 300mm.
Also in the same lake we saw a small herd of Elephants.
Pride of Kaziranga
Big guys together
As the crowd started building up, we headed to the Park gate hopeful of getting better pictures.
As we reached the park gate, all our hopes were gone when we were informed that the park will only open in the second week of November.
Dejected, we turned back. We had got a consolation prize in the Elephant and Rhino spotting we got a few minutes ago.
As we joined the main road, we came across some tamed elephants. This gave me a photo idea. We requested the mahouts and they charged 20 Rupees. 20 rupees is just nothing for the photo we took. Have a look...
Airavatha and two other Elephants
This was the best way to depict the power and size of the Safari I felt. After this, a couple more shots and we moved ahead.
Look in my eyes
A little further, we spotted a restaurant which looked good. We decided to stop there for our brunch. The restaurant's name was Maihung.
As we entered the restaurant we were greeted at the reception with this...
How can I help you?
This Old Padmini was neatly converted into a reception desk!!!
Travel back in time
We ordered some authentic Asamese food like Bamboo shoots curry etc...It was delicious to say the least
The waiter was a good guy who explained many things about Asamese cuisine.
He told us that the restaurant name Maihung means the metal plate in which we were served food.
Veg food on a Maihung-Delicious indeed
He also showed us a special Chilli called the Ghost chilly or King Chilly.
We were instructed not to touch our eyes after touching the chilly as it is supposed to be the hottest chilly in the world.
Ghost Chilli / King Chilli
I just took a bite-a micron sized bite form the end of the big chilly and my tongue had that burning sensation for the entire day
They had served this chilly cut into small portions just to fire up the dishes if we wanted.
The waiter gave us another piece of information.He told us that another KA vehicle had come to their restaurant the previous day. We were happy to hear this and hopeful of spotting them moving forward.
After finishing our food, at the adjacent stop, we shopped some Souvenirs of Kaziranga. The food and the experience were so good that we decided that this will be our meal stop on our way back.
One more reason for this decision was that the menu had Pigeon in it but it was out of stock and Mohith wanted to taste it once. He told the guys to keep it in stock when he returns.
I took over the driver duty from Mohith. The vehicle had run for close to 1600 Kilometres since I last drove 5 days ago!!
It was 11:00AM by then and now that we were not staying in Kaziranga, My next plan was to go to Namdapha National park. Unlike Kaziranga, there are no places to stay in Namdapha except the government IB and the Circuit house.
I had tried making reservations from Bangalore, but they said they will not make advanced reservations and I could call them up and stay there if it was available at the time of my journey.
It is the Biggest National park in India in terms of area and I felt they could make some better arrangements (Or may be the lack of it is one major reason that the national park is supposed to be so good).
We called up all the phone numbers that I had collected and few more that we got in the process of calling. But everything went in vain as we could not get an accommodation.
This left us with no choice but to drive to Tezu.
Tezu again is a very small town in Arunachal Pradesh with no good lodging facilities. Here too a Forest IB, another government circuit house is the best place to stay.
We called up 3-4 people with the phone number that I had collected and we were successful in getting an accommodation- Some good news for the day.
All these arrangements were done on phone from inside the car. We spent a good two hours on this. I was driving and Rajesh spoke to everyone.
I drove for 3 hours in total and somewhere after Jorhat on the NH37/AT road, I stopped by a tea garden to take some photographs and change the driver.
The tea gardens here are flat unlike the one I had seen earlier which usually is in the mountains.
A different kind of tea estate
A PB registered Enfield with a newly-wed couple (I saw the mehndi and many bangles in the femalesí hand) stopped by and asked for some directions and the road conditions.
After all Travellers come to the help of fellow travellers.
I liked their idea of a honeymoon ride. I always wanted to plan one such honeymoon ride but now I can't get married again for that
Our next stop was Dibrugarh
I saw some artisans working on some nice Bamboo artefacts. I stopped and said that I wanted to buy some nice things. Mohith and Rajesh told that we could buy this on our way back.
But I insisted that we buy it then itself as the time at which we would return was not known and I didn't want to miss it. We spent some good time shopping some nice Bamboo articles....From lamp shades to mirrors to Hats... We spent a good amount of money too and more importantly we consumed a lot of boot space!
After this I gave the keys to Rajesh and we continued to drive on the NH37. By 4 PM, we were at Tinsukia and we drove past the Tinsukia Railway junction which is supposed to be the last railway junction in the eastern India.
But after this too, I saw railway track laid. Before I could think of it, I saw a board that the trains going further will be one way i.e., if one train goes on that track, another train should wait until it returns back!
At 4:30 PM we reached a place called Rupai.
From here we had two different routes to Tezu...One which had a ferry crossing across the Lohit River and another that is 70 Kilometres long but completely on land. We enquired with locals and we were told that ferry would be closed at this time of the day. So we took a right turn here and drove along the longer route via Wakro.
At 5:10PM the sun had set and when we had beautiful moonlit road when we reached the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh Border.
Can you believe-its still 16:45
Airavatha entered the 10th state of the trip
The 10th state of the drive
I asked Rajesh to stop the vehicle as we had to get the Inner Line Permits checked. Rajesh asked why I would want to stop and go to the police and invite unwanted trouble.
I told him that itís not a trouble but a mandatory procedure. He told me that we can show the permits if we are stopped by police later and not go to them without they even asking us.
I asked him to stop and told him that we should do this or else we may get into trouble later. He still was reluctant and he told me that itís only mandatory for foreigners and not for Indians.
I tried hard to convince him but failed. I told him to ask anybody there. He went to a truck driver and he told him that it was mandatory.
Rajesh told him that we are Indians to which the truck driver told that we should show them the permit even if we are Indians. Rajesh finally came along.
We went to the police counter and showed them the DLs, RC, Identity cards and ILP. They noted down all the details. They also told that this is the second KA vehicle to cross the border that day. The other one had crossed in the morning and it was a Scorpio. It was the same one that the restaurant waiter told us.
Rajesh called the forest IB manager Manoj and told him that we were at the border 150Kms away and would reach by 8PM. He told that it is impossible and told that we will only reach after 10PM!
Rajesh was surprised to hear this because all this while we were driving at an average speed of 50-60kmph. We continued.
I sent a message to Avinash about his vehicle entering the eastern most state and we drove on. The road started to get worse and as the manager had told us, we were driving at an average speed of 30kmph.
The Safari slowly hiked along the mostly under-construction roads. Rajesh was started to get irritated and in a place called Chongkham, we found some shops and we stopped there for a small snack break.
With another 100 Kilometres to go, he handed over the keys to me. It was around 8PM there.
From there I drove for another 45 minutes and we reached Wakro. From there the mountain roads started. I would have loved to do this in the morning as we were following a road which would have been beautiful in the day.
Maybe if my plans of breaking at Tezpur or breaking at Kaziranga had realized, I would have been able to drive here during the day. Anyways, we moved along as I had planned to drive back in the same route during day time.
By 9PM, We crossed the Lohit River for the first time at Parusuram Kund. The light for photography was not enough but the sheer sound and size of Lohit River was a wonderful experience. We just stopped there for 5 minutes and drove on
The road was mostly asphalted but patchy. They were narrow too. There were no vehicles coming in the opposite direction so it was rather easy but yet a slow drive.
By 10PM we reached our Destination. We called Manoj one more time and he guided us to the Forest IB. This is located in a botanical garden
As expected there were no restaurants or food options available. Like any government accommodation it was not spic-n-span rooms but they were huge and no one else apart from us were staying there.
Since we hadn't had breakfast and only had a nice lunch, we were hungry. So we took out the MTR ready-to-cook packets and each one of us ate two packets of those.
Just when we went to bed, it started to rain heavily and Manoj gave us 2 candles for there could be a power cut.
Day 8 Statistics:
From: Guwahati (AS01)
To: Tezu (AR11)
Distance: 707Kms (26047-26754)
Time taken: 16:00 hours
Average Speed: 44.2Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Hemanth (231Kms)
States: 2 (Assam & Arunachal Pradesh)
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:42.
|11th June 2014, 17:27||#11|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 9, 19-Oct-2013: Tezu(AR11) - Walong(AR11)
I got up at 5:00AM but the sun had beat me to it. He was already up the horizon. It was raining a little and there was no power in the building.
tip tip barsa paani
It was cold and the water in the bathroom was colder! Only Rajesh and I were brave enough to take bath in that biting cold water.
By 5:45AM we were out of the IB and called Manoj.
The man with a blue umbrella
We told him that we would return two days later and paid him a 1000Rupee note. He told he didn't have change so we agreed to settle it after 2 days when we return back.
This town has an Indian oil fuel station which most probably is the eastern most fuel station in the country.
Manoj told us that this fuel station will only open at 6:30 AM and we needed fuel badly.
So we went to the local restaurant for our breakfast. We had 3 chapathis each and an omelette. We also took 3 chapathi rolls parcel just in case we don't get anything.
By 6:30AM, we had finished our breakfast and we headed to the fuel station and the Safari too had its belly full.
We headed towards Walong. For the first 30 Kilometres, we had to trace back the same road on which we had come. After that we have to take a different route to Walong.
Green green everywhere
Road to bliss
3828-That's how far we were from home
Live to drive
Always Adventurous-Road to Walong
We reached this junction at 8:00 AM. From here on, the roads get narrower and more beautiful. The number of hairpin turns increase too. We stopped at many places to take some snaps. A couple of places there were landslides too but were all cleared
Spare wheel seat
The other face of Nature that you would not want to face
Over and above
Centre of attraction
At 8:30 we reached a view point from where we can see the Lohit River in its full glory. It was a sight to behold.
The Majestic Lohit
How big is it?
The view of the Majestic Lohit will make you open your mouth in awe. We spent a good 20 minutes here enjoying the sight.
The camera also enjoyed the view
It was gusty
The wind was really strong here and we had to be careful not to be blown away. While Rajesh was taking care that he doesn't fly off, he forgot about his hat and he lost it!
Mohith stood there in awe and by seeing Lohit River; he started missing his brother Lohith .
Mohith missing Lohit
With this wonderful sight in our eyes, we moved further. Some parts of this road are covered with dense forests and mountains as high as 100 feet on both sides. Itís a wonderful drive.
The weather was romantic and the light drizzle made the weather that much more romantic.
We were in no hurry and this drive was what we had come for and we had only 200Kms to drive in one full day.
We stopped at another place from where we get a view of the Parusuram Kund (which we had not seen in the night).
We spent some more time taking pictures and enjoying the views.
Amazing view it was
Above the clouds
Do you see the rains?
TO BE CONTINUED...
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:43.
|12th June 2014, 13:32||#12|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 9 Continued...
After more photo stops, finally By 9:30 AM, we reached a place called Hawa camp.
Small things are beautiful
We saw some wine shops/bars cum restaurants and they were serving food.
We went and ordered Maggi for everyone.
Behind the scenes
There were a couple of Military Trucks with soldiers. We just had a small chat with them.
We requested them if we could have a photograph with them and they asked us to take permission from a Lieutenant.
The Lieutenant was a young and handsome guy from Kerala (his name was a let off). With a strict look he asked us who we were and why we had come there.
After hearing to us, he declined a photo saying that there was nothing worth taking a picture.
Then we just asked him the road conditions to Walong - He told us because of the previous night's rains there was a major landslide and as per his information, it was not yet cleared.
He expressed his doubts that we would even reach Hayuling which is the midpoint of our day's journey
With this they left and we came to the shop to have our Maggi.
There is something about Maggi and rains, that you just love the combination. We enjoyed it and ordered 1 more for ourselves and finished it.
Rains had stopped momentarily but it started again as we resumed our journey.
Rajesh had driven for 3 hours and we had just covered 60Kms! from here on, I took the driver duty.
With awesome mountain views all around and narrow winding roads, we took it very slowly with many photo-stops.
Wooden hanging bridge-Was a little scary
By 11:00AM we entered the last district of Arunachal-Anjaw. We saw this board and we felt a sense of achievement.
Exploring the Unexplored
At 11:30 AM we reached the landslide which the army officer had spoken about. It had completely closed the road but luckily the army had created an off road path. We had to climb up the mountain and get down.
I slotted the first gear and slowly but confidently Airavatha climbed up the rugged mountain. I just loved the way the vehicle dismissed the rough road condition
It was only because of the Safari that we could cross this path. It wouldn't have been possible on any other small car.
Mountain cut to make way
After this the road was not treacherous but really narrow. Just enough for a safari. From here on, the road mostly follows the river Lohit on the right side.
Ain't it beautiful
Following the Lohit
This area is maintained by the Udayak division and this has the maximum Bridge to road ratio. They have done a wonderful effort in maintaining the bridges.
There were many new bridges and many more under construction.
Off-late we see many #respect written all over social media for small things.
But the ones who really deserve that is the Army. Without them, my dream could never be achieved.
After an hour's drive we came across an Anjaw police check-post. We had to enter our details and pass. we were instructed to again enter when we move out
Later, we reached a military training area. Although I have seen so many military boards with inspirational lines, the one I saw here was the best.
We moved further and the roads were filled with something that we least expect on a road...Butterflies! An entire stretch of around 2 Kilometres were filled with butterflies that were disturbed only by the growl of our vehicle. We drove slowly making sure we don't run them over. I stopped the vehicle and Rajesh and Mohith took some snaps.
...ek aur titli...
...ek ek ek karke ho gayee ab...
Mohith was getting bored sitting in the rear seat and he was longing to drive. I stopped on a newly constructed bridge when the time was 2:30 and Mohith finally got to drive.
Another 70 Kilometres of driving remained which meant that we would need a little over 3 hours to reach our destination of the day.
By this time we had decided that the Maggi we had at 10AM was the last meal before dinner. So we only ate dry fruits and biscuits.
The beauty of the road was slowing down our speed but who cared! We had come all the way just for this and we were not complaining at all.
unending scenic beauty
With many more stoppages, we moved ahead. The water flowing down the mountains creating many water falls were especially mesmerizing
Real mineral water
After this, we saw Mithun, not the break dances Mithun Da, but a domesticated form of the Indian Bison breed called Mithun.
You can read more on that in Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaur
Dare to stare
The sun started to set by 4:30PM.
We finally reached Walong at 5:20PM which was pretty fast compared to the speed we had done throughout the day
Now, we had to make an arrangement for our stay. I had found out that tourists have only one option in this city which is the PWD circuit house.
I had the phone numbers but they were not working.
When starting from Tezu, I had informed my family back home that I'll not be reachable for another 3 days and I had also asked them to keep trying the circuit house number.
We entered the dark and small town. People told that there was no power for the last 3 days!!! We asked for directions and reached the Circuit house.
A young boy was in charge and he told that we had to take permission from the official before he could let us in. We asked if he could come with us to the official's house which was located below in the town.
He told that he could not leave the premises without anyone. So we asked Mohith to be there till we return. The boy came with us and we went to the official's house.
The boy went inside and called the officer. It was a lady. She was cooking dinner (we heard the cooker whistle) and came out with an emergency lamp. As she came out she spoke "Kaun hai itni raat mein..."
I thought to myself "Ma'm it is 5:30PM!!!Ē This is when I realized the importance of a different time zone.
The North eastern India is asking for a separate time zone since many years but the Indian Government has still not obliged
Coming back to our experience...we explained that we were tourists from Karnataka and wanted permission to stay in the circuit house for 2 nights.
She was really surprised to hear "tourists" as itís a very rare species there
She took us to a small room which looked like her office. On a big register, she took all the details about us and also verified it with our Inner Line Permit.
After this, she gave a letter addressed to the caretaker to permit us to stay there.
We thanked her and drove back to the circuit house...On our way back, we asked the boy about the road conditions to Kibithoo.
He told us that only 4WD vehicles can go and not any other. When we told that our vehicle was a 2WD, he told us that we should not attempt it and instead just visit other places around.
However we decided that we will go as far as the vehicle can go.
By this time, it was freezing cold outside and Rajesh and Mohith were shivering. Mohith's situation was worse since he was standing outside waiting for us to arrive. I had actually put on my thermals inside so I was better...Slightly better.
The caretaker boy told us that he would prepare dinner by 8:00PM. He showed us our two rooms; each with three cots. We told we will stay in one room and returned back one key.
It was too cold and without power, it was dark too. Rajesh went out to enquire about any possibility to call our homes. Me and Mohith just sat there chit chatting.
We saw the watch and it was 6:00PM. It was looking like the 9:00PM that we are used to.
When Rajesh came back I just asked him to tell the time without looking at any watch. He told that it might be 7:30PM. We both smiled and told him that it is 6:00PM.
He couldn't believe and confirmed it with his phone. It was a different experience for all of us.
Rajesh told us that we should go a little ahead of the town to a military area if we wanted to call someone. He was told that it was the only phone in town and there would be queue. It would be open to public only till 7PM.
Seeing the cold outside, I didn't have the energy to brave it and go there. Also since I had told my family members that I would not be reachable, I knew they would be a little less worried.
Mohith and Rajesh had to call their family members so they went out and I just slept in the candle light.
The next thing I remember is Mohith trying hard to wake me up. I got up reluctantly and told him that I would sleep.
But he told that I should get up for dinner since we also had not taken a full lunch. Just for the sake of it I got up. I put on my sandals and dragged myself over the 20-30 steps to the dining area.
It was very cold and the warm food was a nice one. Although it was only Roti and rice with some curry, it was a satisfying meal.
Rajesh also got the packed food that we had got from Tezu but it was cold and hard and we didn't eat it.
By 8:30PM we went back to the slightly warmer room and Mohith and Rajesh told me the stories from their experiences from the military PCO.
We remembered the days when we in Mysore were making a beeline at telephone booths after 11PM just to make a call to our relatives in Bangalore.
This was one day when we could sleep early and I didn't want to lose the opportunity. So we all slept by 9:00PM
Day 9 Statistics:
From: Tezu (AR11)
To: Walong (AR11)
Distance: 219Kms (26754-26973)
Time taken: 12:00 hours
Average Speed: 18.25Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Hemanth (85Kms)
States: 1 (Arunachal Pradesh)
Fuel filled at: Tezu ODO 26754 at ₹52.14/ltr
Tolls paid: None
Kitna Deti Hai?: 10.83Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:44.
|12th June 2014, 17:31||#13|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 10, 20-Oct-2013: Walong(AR11)-Tezu(AR11)
The alarm rang at 3:45 and after a couple of snoozes, I got up at 4AM. I went into the bath room and opened the tap to wash my face... There was no water coming from the tap.
But there was a huge bucket full of water. I took a mug and put it in the bucket!!! I screamed and threw the mug. It was as though I was hit by an electric shock.
But no, it was just the temperature of the water. That must have been the coldest natural water I have ever touched.
That was the end of it; it was declared as a No-bath day. Although I'm used to cold water baths...this was impossible. I gathered some courage and somehow finished the other necessary early morning activities.
Our plan for the day was to visit Kibithoo, come back and visit Helmet top and 2 more small war memorials before returning back to the same circuit house.
We didn't want to leave any luggage in the room so we took everything back to the vehicle. By 4:30AM we came out and packed the car and by 4:45 we cranked the Safari.
Being the wonderful vehicle that it had been, it started at the first crank. In 10 minutes we were out of the very small town. Rajesh was the driver.
We took one photo here. Look at the white cloud below the hills? It is actually a cloud cover all over the River Lohit. One beautiful sight it was
Our first stop came just after the town. At a Military check post we were stopped and they enquired who we were and why we had come there.
When we told tourists, he was surprised and told us to wait for a while. He went inside and called some higher officer and came back after 2 minutes.
He told us that he would allow us but our cameras wouldn't be allowed. This came as a shocker as we didn't know about this.
We didn't know if we could argue also...Disappointed, we just packed all our cameras and gave it to him. He enquired 2 to 3 times if we had no other cameras. The only cameras we had were in our mobile phones. He asked us that too but we said the batteries had discharged fully.
In fact only 2 of the 4 mobile phones were dead. The other two were just switched off. We didn't want to part with it as it was also our GPS devices
After 10 minutes, he let us go. The roads were so beautiful that words can't explain and over that we didn't have our cameras.
I wanted to drive here. So I asked Rajesh to stop and give the vehicle to me. He was grateful enough to let me drive.
I drove real slow not because the roads were really bad but to soak up the beauty around us.
The early morning dew, the green tall grass and the greener taller trees were all one of the most beautiful sight that my eyes have seen
After an hour's drive we reached a junction. A Junction for which we had driven so far. It was 4500+ kilometres away from home. Take a look.
YES, WE DID IT
We switched on the mobiles and took some pictures.
LIVE TO DRIVE
...he had Brought us where very few go
A panorama selfie covering all the four of us
We spent some 10 minutes and moved further.
From here, Kibithoo was just 6 Kilometres. In another 3 Kilometres, We reached a point where the asphalt roads finished and the mountains were dug up for construction/widening of roads.
Here, at a particular hair pin bend I turned the vehicle only to be greeted but a long and straight heavy gradient. The vehicle didn't have enough grunt to climb up. So I stopped and slowly went back the hair pin.
I then slotted into first gear and with full throttle climbed up the hair pin. The vehicle also moved up the gradient without any problems.
Just as I thought that everything was fine, the gradient kept on rising and the vehicle was not able to cope up. It started to struggle and then the tyres started to kick up a lot of dust but the vehicle didn't move forward
That was the end of it. The vehicle couldn't move ahead and we were stuck in a steep gradient (I guessed it must have been 40 degrees)
Can't move forward
what a place to get stuck
Shall we enjoy the beauty or worry that we were stuck
The vehicle is not moving ahead and we are in a narrow mountain road with a deep valley on the left side and a recently cut mountain on the right side
I put the handbrakes on and stopped. It was one of the scariest positions to be stuck in a vehicle.
How do we get out!
To add to this, a Military truck was about to come down from the top. Luckily for us, he saw that we were in trouble and stopped at the top. Now were started to think what to do.
I decided that I'll go back in reverse. But there was a small curve which complicated things.
I put it in reverse gear and moved backwards but got stuck in that curve. The wheels came too close to the mountain and we got stuck badly.
Then Rajesh told that we could there was a small area where the road was a little wide and we could take a U-turn.
I asked him if he was joking....But he was serious. He asked me to come back and he would guide me. I trusted him.
I moved a little forward and then started to perform this dangerous U-turn.
Because of the gradient, the narrow road and the deep valley, I couldn't see anything. I had to trust him fully. After a couple of reverses and forwards, I couldn't do it anymore.
Lets take a U
I stopped and asked Rajesh to finish the turn. Since he had seen the available space he could do it a little more easily than me. Mohit quickly took some pictures.
By this time the military truck started to come down, adding to the pressure. Mohith and Me guided Rajesh and in another 4 to 5 reverse moves, Rajesh succeeded in turning the vehicle back. The military truck came down and we all came down till we reached the Asphalted road. We stopped here for a breather. It was a relief.
The military truck also stopped and two happy faces greeted us and spoke to us in Kannada!! We were pleasantly surprised.
He then spoke to us and asked what had happened and we told that the vehicle refused to climb. A Little surprised he asked if it was a 4WD. When we said 2WD, he didn't find it surprising anymore.
We spoke for a few more minutes as he was really happy to find tourists from his home state conversing in his mother tongue. He then left us by telling us that the scenes were more beautiful above.
I said we will give it one more try to which Rajesh and Mohith disagreed. They told that some external energy brought us back safely with just a warning and we shouldn't push our luck too far.
I was really dejected but I had to respect my mates. We returned back. Once we reached the "eastern most road" board, we again took a few snaps and drove back. The circuit house care taker was unfortunately correct!
SO NOW WE WERE HEADED WEST!!!
On our way back, we came across a small house cum souvenir shop cum restaurant cum bar cum provision store cum car rental.
We stopped here and had Maggi for breakfast and hot Tea. The Maggi was as usual tasty but the tea was wonderful here
All this while, Rajesh had seen a special kind of Knife that people here were holding. It was a sharp, heavy and short knife in a wooden jacket. While going back, he wanted to take it as a souvenir.
He checked it here and it was available. But it was 3000Rupees!!! Rajesh didn't expect it to be so expensive. He left it there and thought that he might get it for cheaper when we move down to Tezu
The all in one house owner
Now Heading West
I loved this stone background
We then stopped for a brief moment at the Namti Plains. There is a small memorial for the 1962 Battle of Walong martyrs
Itís a plain area overlooking tall Cedar trees in the mountains all around. We clicked some pictures from the two mobiles.
Namti plains memorial
WALONG WILL NEVER FALL AGAIN
After around a kilometre, we found two men walking towards Walong. They were in jogging attire with bath towels on their shoulders. It was easy to identify them as army officers. They stopped our vehicle. They requested us If we can drop them to Walong! We would be happy if we could help army people and so we took them in.
They had seen the KA board so they immediately started the conversation that their family also stays in Bangalore. It seems they had gone to the sulfur springs area to take bath and were returning to Walong.
They were senior officers of the ASC-the division of the Army which is responsible for provisions and rationing of Army supplies.
They then told us about all the attractions and interesting points. When I asked them about Helmet top, one officer told that the small trek path to Helmet top was temporarily inaccessible because of a small landslide.
I was disappointed but he stopped the vehicle at a place and just showed us the direction where it was located.
They asked us if we took some good snaps near Kibithoo. When we told that the 2WD vehicle failed to climb they agreed. But when we told that our cameras were also taken at the Walong check post. They were surprised too.
One officer told that it was the first time that something like this was done there. But however he told that it must have been done keeping security in mind. The first time they take cameras and it has to be us. Why? Why?
They both invited us to their camp and have breakfast. When we told that we had finished our breakfast and also had decided to head back to Tezu, they didn't agree.
They told that when they feed the army, they can't let guests from Karnataka without feeding them. We had to oblige.
They took us inside their division. At the gate, the vehicle was stopped, but on seeing them we were let in with a salute.
It was as though they saluted Airavatha and us As we drove in their division they briefly explained what each building was.
Airavatha inside GREF
When we finally stopped the vehicle, they asked us if we wanted to see news as they knew we wouldn't have watched TV for at least 2 days.
We told that we enjoyed the isolation and we didn't want to see the Bakwaas news channels.
They took us to their big kitchen and there was a small table. They got three plates of fresh and hot aloo parathas with nice and thick curds
It was a VIP treatment which we thoroughly enjoyed!
Later during discussion, when we told that we were engineers, they were happier. Not because we do something great but they were fathers of girls studying in 12th. They asked us the options that are available, best options, best courses for girls, best colleges...everything you can expect out of a father whose daughter is studying 12th
They took our numbers and said they'll call us once they come to Bangalore. We would be ready to help but I don't expect them to call us.
Then we asked them about the news channels that showed trouble between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh border.
He told that media just exaggerate things and nothing serious is happening there. He told us that Indian and Chinese troops often move across borders for a few metres.
He also told that they exchange things. Chinese take cigarettes from Indian army (because Indian Cigarettes as good it seems) and in exchange they give some things that are good in China (Definitely not electronics I guess)
By this time we had finished our meal and he took us to their mandir which had photos of deities for all faiths.
He then explained about the 1962 war and how Indians won that even though Chinese were strong.
He later explained how Walong was being strengthened after that war so that it doesn't repeat again.
With this unplanned but a wonderful break and a nice breakfast, we bid them goodbye. But one of the officers told that he would come with us till a Mandir on the other side of the town. Airavatha rolled out of the camp.
A few minutes later the officer stopped our vehicle at a war memorial which had names of all the martyrs of war.
We spent some 15 minutes reading all the names and after taking some pictures (Still on our mobiles). Now that we had a military officer with us, we were not afraid of taking pictures
Entrance to the memorial
A memorial inside-Was closed
Battle of Walong in words
Our next stop was the military post to take back our cameras. The officer with us asked why they had taken the camera. The jawan took some higher officer's name and told that it was his instructions.
We confirmed receipt of all our equipment that was taken and we drove ahead. A little further, the officer took another Jawan along with him.
Our car was now on Army duty! . Finally after 10 minutes we reached their Mandir. We dropped them and started our drive.
The beautiful scenery again captured our hearts we kept on absorbing it.
BRO at work
From down under
A guard of honour
Bye Bye Walong
The turquoise Lohit, its gushing sound echoed by the tall mountains, the cool breeze, the sun and shade. All these are things that no human can refrain himself from praising.
To be continued...
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:45.
|26th June 2014, 16:45||#14|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 10 Continued...
For the first time, we saw a Military convoy come in the opposite direction. This was the only Military convoy we saw in our entire trip.
We gave them way and while passing beside, the look in their faces showed that they were all amazed at the sight of a KA registered civilian vehicle
After this, we stopped at a hanging bridge very close to the road. We had seen this during our onward journey and had decided to stop.
We got down and went to that bridge. Just the sight of the bridge brought goose bumps on my body.
It was just two steel cables and wooden planks. Some missing wooden planks in between and the roaring Lohit below made it that much more frightening.
I do not have Vertigo! But this one was just something else. We had a small competition as to who will go the farthest.
Who dares wins!
The first one to go was Rajesh...He took some 40 steps and called it quits. He turned around and posed for a photograph and returned back.
On his way back, I gently shook the bridge. He screamed and came running and reached the end.
Rajesh @ 40steps
Now it was my turn. I must have gone 40 steps too when my heart started pumping. I didn't want to lose the competition. So I braved myself and took another 5 steps.
After this, my mind said go ahead, my heart said "STOP". Heart always wins doesn't it ?
I slowly turned around and posed for a photo as though I was not frightened. While returning, Rajesh gave me a taste of my own medicine. Trust me, itís frightening
Dhak dhak karne laga
Then Mohith was the last to go. Being the youngest of us three he beat us hands down. He quickly went till the middle of the bridge which was easily 100+steps.
Coolly he turned around for many photographs, stood in the middle for 5 minutes and then he even started to walk further...with no fear.
He just returned back after walking 60% of the length- not because of fear but just because it would take more time for him to reach the other end and then return back.
As cool as it can get
After this hair rising experience, we returned back to the car. Mohith was now fully charged up and he wanted to drive. He snatched the keys from Rajesh and drove on. It was around 9:30AM here.
Mohith was at the driver's seat and I was navigating. We didn't stop as many times as we did during our onward journey but nevertheless took a few snaps.
Rajesh asked many people who were walking with the knife he was looking for, if they would sell it. No one agreed. Disappointed, he just sat in the rear seat and started watching a movie on the Laptop.
Just enough for one car
Can you see the road on the left?
We are identified by the paths we take
More of the mountains
At a place we came across a place where there was a landslide with mostly sand. The road was cleared but when we just passed beside, I could see small sand particles still coming down.
I asked Mohith to stop and I took a video of that. We took this chance for just 10 seconds maybe. After that we didn't want to try our luck with nature.
Then at 13:45hours we reached the Landslide location near Hayuling because of which we had to drive over a mountain the previous day.
There was no change...we had to take the same path again. A truck was moving ahead we were behind him.
From this direction the upward gradient is not that steep and is also long and straight. So Mohith followed the truck.
Half way through the gradient, the truck got stuck and stopped. We too stopped behind him.
A boy came out of the truck and kept a medium sized stone behind the truck's wheel and driver tried to move it.
Instead of going forward, the truck climbed that rock and started coming behind. The boy now kept two stones behind two wheels. But the truck came back more.
So I asked Mohith to go back down fully. We went back fully till we reached the flat asphalt surface. By this time, a military Gypsy came and stood behind us.
The truck driver was still struggling. Rajesh and Mohith got down and walked up to the truck to check if they can help him.
I sat in the driver's seat of our car. An Army Jawan got down and also walked past our car. Seeing Rajesh and Mohith helping him, he asked me if it was our truck.
I told no and he too walked till the truck. All four people went there and put a very big boulder this time behind one of the truck's wheel and asked the driver to move.
The truck came back and the boulder also slid. There was no other option left for the driver than to come back.
We all backed up till the truck could come back and stand by the road side with enough room for another vehicle to pass by.
Once it came back, it was my turn to drive up. The road was already slippery and the truck had further damaged it. To add to the complications, the boulder had reduced the width of the road too.
I put the vehicle in the first gear and drove up with continuous throttle input. It was a rough climb but I was successful in not only climbing it, but also driving through the small gap available.
Once I reached the top, Rajesh and Mohith hopped on.
Moving downwards was steeper, more stones and more slippery. I had to do it slowly in first gear. It took 10 minutes in total to cross this.
Once past this, it took us 15 more minutes to reach the Anjaw police check post where we again entered our details that we were moving out.
After 5 minutes we crossed the Anjaw district Border. We stopped for a breather here.
At the border of every medium sized village, where the land was comparatively flatter, the road was huge...almost 100 ft wide...for a kilometre or so.
This was such a location. I guessed that it might be for a Helicopter to land in case of an emergency.
By 3 PM, we reached the Hawa Camp area where we had breakfast the previous day. We had loved the spicy Maggi here. So we again ordered the same hot Maggi for Lunch.
Along the mountains
With two plates of Maggi, we had our stomach fill. And we moved on. In an hour, after some photo stops and after passing the Lohit View point, we finally reached the Wakro-Tezu Road
The mighty Himalayas
Green and black
Rising above the clouds
What flower is this?
It was sun set time and we spent some time there. Moreover, we got some Mobile signals here. We all called up our homes and relieved them of their worries.
It was more important for me since I had not called them the previous day. Again here we had some shops where we ate another plat of Maggi Noodles.
I don't know the reason but Maggi definitely tastes better on the mountains. I generally like Maggi but the other two hate it but here they too had started liking it.
As a snack, we also had omelettes which were tasty too. When we were standing here, a Tata Winger Vehicle stopped by and 15 people got down.
Most of them were conversing in Tamil. It was a tourist vehicle and the guide showed them the arch and told that 200Kms from here is the Chinese Border.
We spoke in Kannada about how they were packed in that vehicle how the guide was showing them just the road.
Suddenly one guy from them came towards us and spoke to in Kannada! Luckily we were not speaking in high volume.
It seems they were all teachers from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on a government sponsored educational tour.
Its 4PM for your information
Sunset at 4PM
The day has come to an end
It took two hours from there to drive and reach Tezu by 6PM.
We called up Manoj, the Forest department IB caretaker and he opened the gates of the Botanical garden where it is situated.
We had purchased some soft drinks and chips from a shop. The only restaurant in Tezu was not very good as we had seen from the previous morning.
Again this day, we cooked MTR ready to eat packets for dinner. This was the cheapest day in our trip with just ₹190 spent and mostly it was for Maggi
We had dinner at 7PM. It was a very satisfying dinner as we had driven on the Eastern most road in the country. We discussed about the experiences and the roads and the nature's beauty.
My dream of covering all the corners was 75% complete and it was a wonderful feeling.
After a slow dinner which took more than two hours, we slept by 9:00PM. It was the end of our Tenth day.
Day 10 Statistics:
From: Walong (AR11)
To: Tezu (AR11)
Distance: 258Kms (26973-27231)
Time taken: 15:00 hours
Average Speed: 17 Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Hemanth (106Kms)
States: 1 (Arunachal Pradesh)
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:45.
|26th June 2014, 16:51||#15|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 11, 21-Oct-2013: Tezu to Guwahati
When we filled fuel the previous time in Tezu we had asked the Pump attendant about the exact time of opening. He had told us that it is 6AM. So we had decided to start at 6AM
The alarms rang at 5AM and all three of us got up and were ready to leave at 5:45. We called up Manoj and he came running. We asked him the final amount and he told 100 Rupees!
Since we had already given 1000 Rupees two days ago, the combined charge was 1100 only. We gave him 150.
Rajesh asked Manoj about the two options to Guwahati. He told that one was through Wakro and Rupai (the one we had taken while coming) and the other one was through Assam Trunk road (which includes a ferry across Lohit)
I wanted to take the route through Wakro so that we could also go through Parusuram Kund. But When Manoj told that we can reduce the Distance by 70Kms if we go through AT road, Rajesh and Mohith told that we should go on AT road so that we can drive less and also experience a Ferry ride.
I still was not convinced but since I too wanted to experience the ferry, I agreed. I was disappointed that I couldn't drive through Parusuram Kund during day time.
So we reached the Fuel station at 6AM sharp and it was open, we filled the tank fully and left. We planned to have breakfast somewhere else as we had not liked the food at Tezu.
The road (NH 52) was a wonderful one. It took us through some thick green forests on a wide but without median road. We covered the first 20 Kms in as many minutes.
Then we came across the first deviation. We could either continue on NH52 up to Roing which was longer by 40Kms or take a left there and drive 30Kms which would rejoin NH 52 at a place called Chapakhowa.
As we left NH52
It was a small and patchy road. The first 10 Kms was good but later my fears came true. There was no road but a path full of stones. Our speed drastically reduced.
The previous night's rains didn't make it any easier. We drove slowly through desolated a road which had a mixture of forests and Rubber tree plantations on either side.
Some small villages also lie scattered. The road was a through exercise for the SUV's suspension and a pain for our backs.
Half way through this road, we finished Arunachal Pradesh and entered Assam at around 7AM.
Bye Bye Arunachal...
After a while, we found some 30 army personnel walking on the road. When we approached them from behind, one guy waved his hand signalling us to go ahead.
As soon as we came beside them, suddenly all of them started pointing their guns towards the forest as if they were expecting someone to fire.
We were frightened to the core! Rajesh increased the speed even though the road was very bad and quickly we went ahead.
Some distance further I saw an Army truck and an army ambulance parked in a distant place in a small village. There were army personnel all over the village.
I felt that they were either doing a drill or they were doing some combing operation. Whatever it was, we were terrified by that scene.
Finally we came long way forward and we finally joined the NH52. The NH52 didn't improve in the road condition but further worsened.
We finally reached the Lohit River at 9:00AM and it started to rain! We had taken 3 hours to cover a distance of 60 Kms and that too on a non-mountainous road.
As we reached the banks, there were many ferries. We enquired around and we came to know that the Government Ferry had gone to the other side and the next trip would be at 11:30AM.
We asked a couple of private ferries and each of them quoted ₹4000/- for our car!!! That was ridiculous we thought. The government ferry would charge ₹300/-. So we decided not to fall trap to the people waiting to extort you.
We decided to have breakfast in one of the small not so good shacks by the river. We had no other good option and our stomachs were hungry.
We ordered Pooris. Mohith also ordered fish but when he bought it to our bench, he didn't feel like eating them...it was that bad.
We soon finished eating our Pooris and came out. Rain had stopped and it was still 9:30AM. Waiting for the Government Ferry at 11:30AM would be a criminal waste of time. But ₹4000/- for the ferry was just not done. We rued our decision to take this route.
We decided to take it as a lesson and so move on. We went to the private ferry operator whom we had asked earlier. After 30 minutes of haggling, we had to agree for a sum of ₹2500/- for the ferry. I knew that it was expensive but we had no option.
Everything was prepared and in 15 minutes Rajesh drove the car on two big long wooden planks.
Ready to float
Elephant on a ferry
The ferry itself is made of wood which runs on a dead engine thatís somehow manages to run even with poor maintenance.
The engine refused to start. But another 10 minutes of some hammering and jugaad repairs, it finally started.
Finally it started
As soon as it started, 10-15 people came running and boarded the passenger compartment of the ferry.
The ferry finally removed anchor and set sail at 10:30 AM. It was a wonderful sight seeing Airavatha swimming.
It was a 20minute ferry ride. I took a GPS screenshot on my mobile when we reached the centre of the river.
Transporting the transporters
Airavatha is loving swimming...
Surprisingly enough we had mobile signals so posted it on Face book and tagged Avinash. After 3 hours he commented "My heart skipped a beat"
At 10:50 the ferry docked on the other side and two planks were laid for our vehicle to drive over.
We paid him his charge and I drove out. I just wanted to experience this so I stopped and gave back the vehicle to Rajesh.
Time to drive out...
Let's go out
On the banks, they had laid out long grass on the sand so that vehicles don't get stuck. We were happy to see this but our happiness didn't last long.
The grass path ended soon and we saw some 4 to 5 vehicles standing. When we went close we saw that an Etios was stuck in slush and other vehicles had to wait.
The driver somehow took it to the side where there was a patch of grass. We felt relieved. The vehicles in front of us were all sedans and hatchbacks and everyone were skeptical.
So we overtook them and continued as it was just a small patch of slush. But after this there was a curve. What we saw afterwards was nothing but a slush fest.
We stopped momentarily. I asked Rajesh to just take the path I tell him. I asked him only to make sure the vehicle doesn't slow down.
The next 15 minutes were the best 15 minutes of the day. I was telling "left, right, right, left, straight, through the slush, on the hard ground" whichever was the best I could think of.
Rajesh blindly drove as per the sounds I was making. Most of the times, the vehicle was sliding, swimming.
Luckily for us there was no other vehicle apart a couple of two wheelers which we easily avoided. After 15 minutes, we finally drove up this slush and onto the asphalted road.
Rajesh stopped the vehicle and we all came out. It was a much needed breather...both for the vehicle and for us.
The vehicle had turned from white to dark brown in a matter of 15 minutes. The foot-board had 2 inches of marsh on it.
I took snaps of the dirty car and then took a stick and cleared the slush from the foot board. One helluva drive it was.
Slush fest. See the foot-board
Rajesh had had enough and he gave the keys to Mohith. It was 11:30AM. Effectively we had taken 5 and half hours to cover a distance of 70kms! The slowest of the trip so far.
From here, Mohith took the wheel and started to drive. I sat in the rear seat. By 1PM, we reached Tinsukia. There was a huge jam in the city. Don't know the reason but we spent 1 hour to cover a distance of 10kms. Even an Ambulance was struggling to pass through the town.
I called up Ginger hotel in Guwahati and made a booking. With the same details from our previous booking, it took just 10 minutes to confirm our booking
The day was turning from bad to worse as far as driving time was concerned. Just when we had given up hopes, we heard a Siren.
We saw in the mirror that it was some political leader. His Scorpio with the red beacon and another Scorpio with Safari clad guards.
They were honking like crazy and the guards were waving their hands for public vehicles to give way.
Just then Rajesh told Mohith to keep on following this two-vehicle convoy. He also told Mohith to honk a lot more than usual.
Driver obeyed the navigator and we became the third vehicle of the convoy.
Two Scorpios and a Safari coming at you and one with a red beacon...no one will bother to mess around, will they?
This was the only time I saw some political leader coming to the help of a common man: D
Within no time we had crossed Tinsukia. Even after Tinsukia, the road had a lot of oncoming traffic.
In fact we had planned to stop for lunch in Tinsukia but we didn't want to lose momentum and we followed the politico.
He took a different route after some time and we continued straight. We decided to have our lunch at the next big town Dibrugarh.
We reached Dibrugarh at 3 PM. We stopped at a new restaurant which looked good.
The Hotel was just beside the Brahmaputra with good view and had good AC. After a stressful drive, the lunch break gave us that good rest we needed.
Because of the slow service at the restaurant we ended up spending 1 hour there. Nice food was offered and we could excuse him for the delay.
At 4PM, we left the restaurant preparing ourselves for a long drive ahead. Mohith continued to drive as he didn't want to lose the momentum he had. He drove non-stop for another 200kms.
As a common sight in Assam, we encountered a strike and a NH block at 3:20PM. We spent 40 minutes in the traffic jam but luckily that was the end of it, we moved ahead. It was a strike for the improvement of some school it seems.
A common sight in this part of the country
Unsure when it will clear
We reached Kaziranga at 7:30PM. Since we had decided to stop at the same good restaurant "Maihung" where we had got good tasty authentic Assamese food, we stopped there.
The food was awesome again but Mohith was disappointed again, for the Pigeon in the menu was not in stock.
It was 8:00PM by the time we finished dinner. Each one of us were tired. I was not feeling that good and was feeling tired.
But still I took the keys and we started with another 250 Kms remaining. In an hour I drove 40Kms, but the oncoming traffic and the lights really tired me. I started to lose concentration.
I stopped immediately and asked anyone else if they could drive or we could stop for a power nap.
Rajesh had slept for an hour when I was driving so he took the wheel. I slept at the rear. The next thing I remember is me getting up at 11:15PM.
I was refreshed with 2 hours of solid sleep. I asked Rajesh the remaining distance. I expected it to be around 100 Kms but I was pleasantly surprised when he told me it was another 40Kms.
The roads were splendid after I slept it seems so he had covered 170Kms in a little over two hours.
A nice board that we saw enroute...
I stopped for some water when I asked him to sleep and I would drive. So we exchanged seats.
At the stroke of Midnight, We gave rest to Airavatha at the Ginger hotel, Guwahatiís parking lot.
The check in took very less time as we didn't fill any data and everything was taken from our previous booking.
At 12:30 we all had gone into deep sleep.
Day 11 Statistics:
From: Tezu (AR11)
To: Guwahati (AS01)
Distance: 552Kms (27231-27844)
Time taken: 18:09 hours
Average Speed: 34.1Kmph
Longest single-driver drive: Mohith (293Kms)
States: 2 (Arunachal Pradesh & Assam)
Fuel filled at: Tezu ODO 27231 at ₹52.08/ltr
Tolls paid: None
Kitna Deti Hai?: 9.03Kmpl
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 15th August 2014 at 12:46.
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