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Old 27th January 2014, 23:59   #1
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Default Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Hi All,

When it comes to long drives, I'm sure many on this forum love to do that. And there's only one destination which comes to mind to everyone which he/she wants to do in a lifetime and its none other than Ladakh, and like others its my wish as well to do it sometime and obviously before I die.

But, there are many such locations in India which are equally beautiful and the one I'm talking about here is, and there have been quite many travelogues for this place as well, the beautiful state called 'Sikkim', also the first state in India to transition its agriculture to entirely organic cultivation by 2015. Here is my smaller addition to describe the beauty of this very beautiful Sikkim.

Before I proceed further I feel there is one reason why I believe not many people travel to Sikkim is because of the myth 'Outside vehicles are not allowed in Sikkim'. I heard this many times when I was planning to visit Sikkim or after I reached Gangtok from my friends, fellow bhpians, tours n travels, all the taxi drivers in that area. But there's an old saying which always kept me motivated

'When there's a will, there's a way'

Duster at Zero Point:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteratzeropoint.jpg

Prologue

Motivation:

When one fine day almost a year and a half back when I heard that my friend is going to get married near Calcutta in Jan 2014, I called up my another friend Mudit(Introductions Below) and we decided that why not we plan a trip to Sikkim when we go for our friends marriage. We both kind of liked that idea and thought it would be real fun to visit Sikkim.

After an year was passed I decided its high time that I should change my car from Omni and buy a big car which will fit my future plans to roam around India in my car, and then we finally decided upon buying a Duster and booked it around 14 April, 2013 and also got the delivery by 30 April. Now, the aspiration to travel by my own car came into picture and me and my friend talked over phone and decided upon the budget and started comparing as what will be the difference if there are around 4 people traveling from Calcutta to Sikkim and then coming back. After all the calculations and my interest of driving my car to Calcutta, we decided that it will be cheaper only if we drive from Bangalore to Sikkim. So, the mode of transportation was fixed, now the big task was to finalize who all from our friends will be interested and will be able to take leaves for such long. After long discussion which continued till the very last moment there were five people who were finalized to travel to Sikkim.

So, here is a short introduction about all the five persons who were present in this journey.

Myself- Pallav Gurha: Works in Ariba, lives in Bangalore. It was me and Mudit who decided that we should plan a trip to Sikkim.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-pallav.jpg

Mudit Shukla: Works in an MNC in Pune. Played a big hand in planning this trip and convincing other members to join this trip.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-mudit.jpg

Shishir Choubey: Works in an MNC in Bangalore, was the only person to drive along with me from Bangalore to Bilaspur and then Durgapur to Bangalore.
Name:  Shishir.jpg
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Sajjan Tiwari: Works in Bank Of India, Abhanpur, Raipur, Chattisgarh
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-sajjan.jpg

Praveen Kr. Jha: Works in an MNC in Mumbai.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-praveen.jpg

And no points for guessing the savari for this trip
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-savaari.jpg

Please bear with me for the pace of this travelogue, I'll be trying my best to update this every night and complete it as soon as I can, until next time some random pictures taken during the trip.

Dahlia at my inlaws house
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dahlia.jpg

Another flower near Japanese temple, Gangtok
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-flower.jpg

Shaan-E-Sikkim, On the way to North Sikkim
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-shaanesikkim.jpg

One of the many frozen waterfalls, when we where there in the North
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-waterfall.jpg

On the way to Zero Point, one of the snow covered roads
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteronsnow.jpg

Last edited by gurha : 5th March 2014 at 00:17.
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Old 28th January 2014, 04:00   #2
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Wow lovely start to the travelogue!! the frozen waterfall is amazing. Waiting for the rest. I have planned many times to to do North Sikkim but it is difficult to get permit for a West Bengal registered vehicle. It is not impossible as ADC da and 1100D have gone there with WB registered vehicles.
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Old 28th January 2014, 18:18   #3
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Default Drive from Bangalore

The actual journey started around 3 months before from Bangalore. When I wanted to take my car to my in-laws house in Bilaspur, Chattisgarh.

Day 1:
Plan was to start from Bangalore on 4th Oct, 2013 in the evening and take the following route:

Bangalore - Hyderabad - Nagpur - Bilaspur.

Before starting called up my brother-in-law in Hyd and told him that I'll be coming, please buy biryani from Paradise as we will eat when we reach late night.

But, God had something else in his mind. Started well on time from my office with my friend Shishir around 4:30 PM and crossed Devanahalli in a jiffy. And were cruising easily and then suddenly as we entered A.P. around 7 PM we saw a traffic Jam. Soon we realized that because of Telangana all the roads are closed and we were not allowed entry into A.P.

Stayed there for around an hour and a half and after realizing that they will not let us through, we decided to go back to Bangalore and start some other time. So around 8:30 PM started back and while going back I thought, why not take some other route and go to Nagpur, the aim was to totally skip the seemandhra part and enter Telangana on NH-7 after Hyderabad.

After looking at the options through google map, this was the route which we finalized:
Penukonda - Sira - Chitradurga - Hospet - Bijapur - Solapur - Nanded - Nirmal - Adilabad - Nagpur

Distance increased from 950 km to 1300 Km for Nagpur and to get out of the beautiful NH-7 and travel on less traveled roads.

We reached Chitradurga around 12:30 am, which we had thought that by this time we will reach Hyderabad. Taken a hotel near the highway and slept by 1. Wanted to get up early next day as that would be the longest day of drive.

Distance Traveled: 400 Km
Time Taken: 8 hours

Name:  BangaloreChitradurga.png
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Day 2:
When I checked Google maps, I got to know that Nagpur was 1000 Km from there, instantly thought that if we reach Nagpur also, it will be a great achievement. So started from Chitradurga around 6 am and continued to drive all day and we reached Nagpur by midnight, me and my friend decided not to stop anywhere and continue driving and reach Bilaspur, as he had to catch the train back from Bilaspur at 10 AM. Called one of my other friend(Sajjan), so that there is one person awake with the driver in the night, from Raipur and asked him to get down at Bhandara road, picked him up from Bhandara road around 3 AM and continued driving towards Bilaspur.

Day 3:
Reached Bilaspur at 9:45 and went straight to Bilaspur railway station and dropped by friend Shishir and after reaching my in-laws house me and Sajjan slept the entire day.

So, the trip which was suppose to be quite relaxing ended up to be pretty tight and tiring. But was really happy with my Duster and it was only because of it we were able to safely reach Bilaspur.

Distance Traveled: 1470 Km
Time Taken: 30 hours

Name:  ChitradurgaBilaspur.png
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I had some plans to stay in Bilaspur for few days and I decided to leave the car there in Bilaspur and not come back to Bangalore with car and take it back again during Jan. So, after my holidays were over I came back to Bangalore leaving a few loved ones at my in-laws house with a big stone on my heart.

After coming back to Bangalore, I started booking the hotels in Gangtok, Lachen and Lachung. Since I'm a sterling member, Sterling had a decent hotel in Gangtok which I booked. Booked a very nice hotel in Lachung, but couldn't find a single hotel online in Lachen, so thought will book it after I reach there in Gangtok.

Hotels:
Sterling Deliso Abode, Gangtok
Tashi Yankhill, Lachung - (0)9475425813. I should say that one of the best hotel which I stayed while I was there and seriously recommended, had a very helpful staff which cooked anything which we wanted, except for Non-veg as that we have to carry from Mangan or Chungthang, as its not available over there.

Went through many travelogues on the forum and prepared a list of items required for the entire trip.

List of items which I took with the trip. I copied lot of things from the list motomaverick added in their t-log of Ladakh, so many thanks for that. I've attached my list here as an excel.
Trip.xls

Sorry, no pictures for this trip as either I was driving or I was sleeping for most of the time and there was nothing to show except for bad roads and rain which were in plenty . Will be posting a detailed post about road conditions I encountered all along at the end.
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Old 28th January 2014, 22:10   #4
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Default Drive from Bilaspur

The day had finally come when we all together start for this journey and didn't had any idea whats there in our life for the next 10 days. Will we be getting the passes for North Sikkim and Nathula or we will just be spectators in the journey to North Sikkim and Nathula, rather than having an aspiration to drive up there.

Plans for all the members:
I had already reached Bilaspur by train before Friday, 10 Feb
Mudit was to reach Bilaspur from Pune around 5 PM
Shishir will fly from Bangalore and reach Durg to attend some personal work and then take a train from Durg on Feb 10 to Ambikapur
Sajjan to also join Shishir and take the train from Raipur and reach Ambikapur
Praveen to take a flight from Mumbai and reach Bagdogra on Sunday, 12 Feb

Day 1, Friday 10 Jan, 2014:

Me and Mudit started from my in-laws house in the night around 7 PM after arranging all the stuff in the car, plan was to reach Ambikapur in night and sleep at our friends house. But as we had traveled 5 km, I remember that I've forgot the Pillows which I had carried all the way from Bangalore for the car journey, turned back to the house. Took the pillows and started again. Again as we traveled the same distance I remembered that we have forgot the gift which he had bought for our friends brothers newly born son. Turned back again and then waited for 10 min at the house to think if there is still anything which we are missing, after confirming with my wife and Mudit we started having a pact that if now we are missing anything we will not come back. So which was suppose to be 7 PM was now 8:30 PM.

Started slowly from Bilaspur and made a stop at Ratanpur to visit goddess Mahamaya, but probably she wasn't interested, because the temple was closed by the time we reached there. After a brief visit from outside started towards Ambikapur, and had plans to have dinner near Morga. Reached morga around 12, asked the shop owner to prepare Chicken and after having dinner me and Mudit decided to stay there and call it an end of our journey for Day 1.

Distance Traveled: 144 Km
Time taken: 4 hours
Name:  BilaspurMorga.png
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Day 2, Saturday 11 Jan, 2014:
Got up around 6 AM and started from Morga and started towards Ambikapur. Sunrise near Ambikapur
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterday2sunrise.jpg

Picked our other two friends Shishir and Sajjan from Ambikapur Railway Station and headed towards our mutual friends house to have authentic Punjabi Aloo Parathas with white butter and curd. After filling our tummies upto our throat, we stared from Ambikapur and had plans to reach Purnia by night which was around 700 Km. By the time we left it was 9:30 and started to cruise from Ambikapur.

Crossed Tropic of Cancer on the way. Duster standing on Tropic of Cancer.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterontropicofcancer.jpg

And we all standing near the tropic of cancer.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusternalltoc.jpg

As we started further we stopped for an awesome lunch at Ramanujganj, which was arranged by our friend, though it was quite early as it was just around 12 when we reached there, but since our friend told us that from here onwards you will not get good food anywhere on your route, we filled up our tummies yet again and started from there around 1:30 PM. Now, the plan was to stop only when we reach Purnia which was still 600 Km from there.

As we crossed Chattisgarh, roads started to deteriorate and were still driveable until we reached Aurangabad. Now in google maps when I had looked for the route we had decided to guy via Gaya, Newada and reach Purnia, but my MMI navigator had something else in his mind and took us in a different route which off course was smaller route according to it, but the roads were just pathetic. As we crossed Aurangabad, we stopped for a quick tea break and started for Purnia, the roads were so bad that you could hardly find a good patch of 1 Km which you can drive without applying any breaks. And as we enter any city the roads used to get worst, with the roads full of water as it was raining. We all thought how are those people living in those areas which are big towns where there are no roads.

As we reached Sahar, MMI wanted to take us through some internal roads and take us directly to Begusarai, when we checked with local police(which were really helpful) whether its safe to drive on those roads as it was already 7, they told us not to take that route and go to Patna and then go to Begusarai as that is more of a roads which is used by many and then we will get a good road as well. As it was already late many in the company were saying that we should stay in Patna and start next day early morning, but I had some other plan in my head, I always wanted to reach Purnia and then sleep there. Which after talking to people there told us that it will take 8 hours to reach Purnia from there.

We started for Patna and crossed Patna around 10 PM, and then continued on the Patna - Begusarai - Purnia highway, the road was better but very crowded, it was a hell of a time on that road until we stopped for a quick tea when we reached Baghtiyarpur around 11:30 PM. That is when we decided that we will continue our journey and will either stay in Purnia if we are feeling sleepy or we will go to Siliguri and then stay there. So, the plan was finalized and I took over the driving seat from Shishir who's an expert in night driving whereas I'm an expert in early morning driving, as we don't feel sleepy in night and early morning respectively. But, since he was driving from Aurangabad, we decided to give him a break and I took over the wheels.

With me and Sajjan in the front row, started from there and reached Begusarai around 1:30, and that's when everyone decided to have something for dinner, stopped at a roadside Dhaba who served hot rice and daal to us, I decided to not eat because I was not feeling hungry and also because I wanted to drive and cross Bihar before I hand over the wheels to Shishir. So after starting from Begusarai around 2, I continued driving and stopped only at Kishanganj around 5:30 for a morning tea and also to wake up the two sleeping in the back to take over the front. This was the best road which I had driven in a while as the traffic was very less and road was also very good, had to be careful at some places in between because of fog, but otherwise a good drive.

Then Shishir and Mudit moved to the front seat and we reached Siliguri around 7:30-8. We decided to take a hotel there and just roam around Siliguri and see what all is there, but after checking with people said there is nothing to see here, you should go to Darjeeling, so we decided not to rest and go straight to Darjeeling. The weather was crystal clear and sunny, we thanked God for that, as everyone told that today the weather is very clear unlike last week when it was full of fog.

We started for Darjeeling around 9 from Siliguri and told our friend who was suppose to reach today i.e. Sunday, 12 Feb to Bagdogra that please take a taxi for Darjeeling as we will meet you there only. As we started for Darjeeling we all saw one hell of a road to Darjeeling through Kurseong. The road was quite steep and also we were on the valley side and there was no boundary on this side, and the icing on the cake was the ditch just before the road ends on the valley side, so in case your tyre gets into the ditch there were chances that the car may topple and you are down somewhere in the valley. The taxi drivers were driving so fast we were thinking what if they just help you in getting your tyre into the ditch. But lucky enough for us, we safely reached Darjeeling by 12:30 PM which ended our long journey from Ambikapur.

Duster with Shishir Driving and Mudit in the front seat, near Ghum.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterentrydarjeelingx1024.jpg

Took a hotel near Gandhi Road and after having something for lunch we quickly went out after taking a guide with us to show few places in Darjeeling.

Places we saw:
1. Japanese Temple
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-pallavnshishirjapanesetemple.jpg

2. Ropeway: Though it was my first ropeway but I think this was the best I've seen and also the longest. Truly worth the cost of it which is 150 per head. You get an awesome view of Kanchenjunga from the ropeway as well as Tea gardens which are underneath. A must see I should say.

View of Kanchenjunga
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-kanchenjungaropeway.jpg

All at the ropeway
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatropeway.jpg

Main Hoon Na Movie college
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-mainhoonna.jpg

3. Sunset near Tea Gardens
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-sunsetkanchenjunga.jpg

After returning from there did some shopping in Darjeeling and then slept early in order to get up early next day and see sunrise at Tiger Hill.

Distance Traveled: 1000 Km
Time Taken: 27 hours + 4 hours sightseeing
Name:  AbkpDarjeeling.png
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Day 4, Monday 13 Jan, 2014:
As its often said, 'Indians are good at planning but not at execution'. That's exactly what happened the next day. As we had planned to go to see the sunrise from Tiger Hill, we couldn't get up, which was anyways expected as all of us were very tired as none of us had a decent sleep in the last 30 hrs. We got up around 7:30 and then very lazily we all started to get ready and after we all were ready, we searched for a good hotel which can give us some good food in the morning.

After having a good Masala Dosa at one of the restaurant(forgot the name), we started from Darjeeling and thought what if we couldn't go to see the sunrise, but we can atleast go to Tiger Hill and see the view of Kanchenjunga from there. So we started from Darjeeling around 10, after taking our car out of the parking from Big Bazar, we had to give 40 rs extra, total 240, as we didn't took it before 9 AM.

While going to Tiger Hill we also saw the train running through, Picture of the train.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-toytrain.jpg

About a km before the Tiger Hill top, we saw a very good place from where the view was very clear, we all decided to stop there and there was a small climb where we made our duster go and then took lot of pictures.

One of the picture from the lot, where we all are standing
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allattigerhill.jpg

Object in the mirror is really close.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-seeagainkanchenjunga.jpg

The place where we took the Duster:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-kanchenjunga2.jpg

After spending around an hour over there we started for Tiger Hill and view was also pretty good from there, but since we had already seen much of Kanchenjunga, we all started for Gangtok.

When we started our descend from Darjeeling to Gangtok, we remembered two very good advices which were given by our guide cum driver yesterday,
1. There will lot of water on the roads while you go down from Darjeeling so drive slowly.
2. The roads have very steep slopes, so go in second gear only and not put lot of pressure on the breaks, as there have been few incidents where people go fast down as the roads are of good quality, the brakes get quite burnt and they often fail and car falls down from the hill and ends up in the Teesta river.

As we started down from Darjeeling, the roads were really wet because of lot of movements of water tankers on that road, so we drove slowly only. After some time when the road quality improved and movement of water tankers also reduced we saw really steep slopes in bunches, I wonder how people drive up on those hills, when we were having quite a tough time descending. As we were getting down after around an hour or so, Mudit smelled that there is lot of smell coming out of the brake pads from front tyres, after finding a decent place to stop we stopped and confirmed that the brake pads were really hot and lot of smell was coming from them, so we all decided to stop there and have a break. After spending some 20-30 min we started again towards Teesta and reached Teesta around 3 PM. After spending some 15-20 minutes we all started for Gangtok.

We all standing near good bunch of trees somewhere between Darjeeling and Teesta:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-treesnearteesta.jpg

After spending 15-20 minutes as Teesta, we all started back:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatteesta.jpg

New product from Addidas,
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-addidas.jpg

While we were at the Teesta, we met a person who was fishing there and was from Kalimpong, when we told him that we are going to Gantok, he said it will take us around 3 hours from here so we should better start from there, and he also gave us a good advice, thought of mentioning it out here. Whenever you see yellow board SK cars, give them side else they will most probably help you getting down the hill quite fast by hitting you from back, as they drive really rashly, so its better to give them side and let them drive crazily. We reached Gangtok around 6 and after some searching we finally found our hotel, MMI navigator couldn't find our hotel which was obvious but Google maps took us somewhere else. But after some local help and constantly getting in touch with the hotel front desk we reached our hotel by 6:45 - 7. Quickly after putting all our stuff in the hotel we went out to make arrangements for the night .

All at MG Marg.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatmgmarg.jpg

After enquiring where we will get the passes from the local police, we went back to our hotel and slept after finishing our meal, and had made sure to get up tomorrow and reach the permit office by 7-7:30, so that we should get the pass for North Sikkim.

Distance Traveled: 100 Km
Time Taken: 8 hours
Name:  DarjeelingGantok.png
Views: 14283
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Last edited by gurha : 17th February 2014 at 17:53. Reason: Added more content
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Old 24th February 2014, 22:12   #5
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Default Drive from Gangtok uphill

Day 5, Tuesday 14 Jan, 2014:

The 'D' day has finally come which will decide whether we will be allowed to take our Duster up in the beautiful hills of Sikkim. I've been waiting for this day since last many days and had done lot of preparation by reading quite a few travelogues on the forum. My special thanks to adc, as only after reading his advice somewhere on the internet, I created my own profile, which was a simple one pager and had kept it ready to show it to the person at the permit desk.

We all got up around 7 as planned, quickly after getting ready we all headed towards the permit office. As we reached near the 'Sikkim Tourism' office which was on MG Marg, we found it closed. After checking with local people there they said it will open by 9. All of my friends started shouting at me that I haven't enquired properly and made us all get up early in the morning to get the permit. I checked with few people standing near the tourism office, about from where will I get the permit for North Sikkim, but no one answered properly. So, all of my friends started roaming on the MG Marg, so did I. Within some time I found that there is an office below MG Marg, not sure about the name of the road, and was written Sikkim Tourism outside. After I went inside the office I saw lot many people coming in and going out from the office with forms in hand. I called up my friends quickly that this is correct office and everyone just come here.

After we all reached there, we asked the local people from where will we get the forms? But no one answered, and my bad that I didn't collected the forms yesterday when we all reached there in the evening. But now, nothing could be done except to find a shop which can give us the forms. I also remembered adc mentioned that there is a PCO under the overbridge, but I couldn't find any PCO opened at that time. So all of us started searching for a shop on MG Marg which can give us the forms. After 10 min of searching everyone guided us to a shop called 'City News' which can give us the forms. We reached in front of that office around 7:25, and saw few people standing outside, and asked when will this shop open, they said at sharp 7:30. We all waited in front of the shop to open, later we found out that he was the shop owner who answered, but he opened the shop only after 7:30, even though he was standing there since last 10 min.

After taking the form from the shop, we asked him to do a photocopy of DL of two of my friends who didn't bring photocopies of their licenses, even though I have told everyone to get atleast 5 photocopies of their licenses. So, we left from there and reached the permit office, thinking will ask few people there as from where to get the photocopy done. When we reached there we saw the forms in the hands of many tour n travel fellows and filled our form accordingly. Now, after we filled up the forms and stapled out pictures on the forms, this is the conversation I had while standing in front of the window

One Taxi Fellow: Aise permit nahin milta hai yahan par, aapko travel waalon ke through aana padega
Me: hmmm, thik hai koi baat nahin. dekhte hain officer kya bolte hain
Permit officer1: yeh kya hai?
Me: Sir, permit chahiye North sikkim ka

He goes through the brief set of documents which I handed over to him which included:

1. Form filled up with pictures of all the persons traveling
2. A brief write up of my journeys done so far
3. DL copy of three of us out of five

Permit Officer1: yeh kya hai? (What is this)
Me: Sir, permit chahiye North sikkim ka.(Sir, we need a permit for North Sikkim)
Permit Officer1: passes on the form to another person, the other officer looks at me and asks
Permit officer2: kahan se aa rahe ho? (Where are you coming from)
Me: Sir, Bangalore
Permit officer2: Kaun si gaadi hai? (Which car)
Me: Sir, Duster
Permit officer2: North main kahan rukoge, hotel ki booking ki copy do and ek undertaking likh kar de do, ki tum apni risk par ja rahe ho. (Where will you stay in north, provide hotel reservation copy and give an undertaking that you are responsible if anything happens to you.)

We all left from the permit office after asking the people there, about the photocopy shop. We found one down the road on the same road where permit office is there, he also had internet. So, we took photocopies of the DL of the remaining two persons, took a photopcopy of the form which we have filled which had all the pictures of the persons travelling(Needed when you go to north, as you have to give them to the checkpost) and also took the print out of the hotel reservation done as Lachung, didn't had any hotel booked at Lachen by that time, we thought if the officer will ask about the hotel in Lachen, we will tell him that it is pending and we will get it done before leaving.

So, after taking all the documents we reached the permit office again, and gave the following documents to the permit officer

1. Form filled up with pictures of all the persons traveling
2. A brief write up of my journeys done so far
3. DL copy of all the members
4. Hotel reservation copy
5. Undertaking letter

After we presented all these documents the officer asked for the RC copy of the car and insurance paper photocopy. I had RC copy but not the copy of the insurance, again went to that shop and got the copy of the insurance done. Presented the complete list of documents to the officer, writing everything here again,

Quote:
1. Form filled up with pictures of all the persons traveling
2. A brief write up of my journeys done so far
3. DL copy of all the members
4. Hotel reservation copy
5. Undertaking letter
6. RC copy of the car
7. Insurance copy of the car.
8. Photocopy of the form filled for getting permit information (You have to keep this and not give it to officer, just writing it here as its important.)

Before leaving, we have to put stamp on the photocopy
of the form which has all the details of the persons traveling. Stamp is present on the table outside only, you just have to put stamp on the photocopy which has all the details, you have to keep it and is required when you enter North Sikkim.

Here is the picture of the permit office, putting it here so that people are not confused and easily able to locate it.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-permitoffice.jpg

Here is how the permit application form look like:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-permitformscan.jpg

Quote:
Things to know while filling the permit application form for North Sikkim:
Place to go: Gurudongmar Lake/Yumesamdong
Dates: 15/01/204 - 17/01/2014 (In my case)
Period: 3 days (In my case)

Name of Guests: Names of each individual who is traveling, except the driver whose detail has to be filled below.
Temporary Address: hotel name where you are staying, for one is enough, I wrote for everyone, not needed)
Permanent Address: Address of one of the applicant, I gave my address in the form
Vehicle No.: The car which you are driving
Driver name: Name of the driver who is driving the car
Also, see the stamp which I've put on the form, I took the photocopy of the form but I submitted to the permit office by mistake since I was not aware of it, but gave it to them only, so had to fill up the form again and put stamp on the form (some extra work for me which was not needed).

The officer signed the permit form and gave the permit to us.
I was extremely happy when I saw the permit in my hands and told all of my friends that yes, now we will take our Duster to North Sikkim.

Here is the scan of the permit which you get:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-nsikkimpermit.jpg

After getting the permit we all left from the permit office and reached one tour-n-travel to get a booking for us in Lachen. He was also very surprised when we told him that we have got the permit for North Sikkim. After checking with few hotels he confirmed us in one hotel in Lachen for all five of us for 3500. He told us to come in the evening when he will give us the voucher for the hotel.

We left from there to our hotel and I was very happy as I got the pass for North Sikkim, which so many people said that you will not get. I tried to contact many people even some contacts in Army, but couldn't get anything sorted out and eventually left everything to God and I got it. But one of my friend was really in panic as now we will be going in our car and we will be driving on our own, lot many people told him that the roads are very bad there in Sikkim and you should not take your car and all that myth. My friend previously was sure that we will not get the pass and then we will go by taking a taxi from Gangtok, but now when we have got the pass he was really disturbed.

When we reached hotel, he started telling that we should not go there alone and should take a guide cum driver, and I was totally against it there will be lot of discomfort in the back seat as there will be 4 seated for full 3 days and also because I wanted to drive on my own and wanted to learn. In the mean time I called up the chief(hvk) and told him that I've got the pass for North Sikkim and he was also pretty surprised after hearing that, I asked him about the roads in North Sikkim and whether it will be really difficult for me to drive up there, he gave me some confidence after he told that I can easily drive up there and only Sumos/Max/Bolero run on those roads, so a Duster would definitely be able to handle such situations. The road from Siliguri - Darjeeling through Kurseong had really given a scare in the minds of few about what if we encounter such roads again and if we are stuck we will be having no local help. So after lot of discussion we finally decided that we will take him and we will only drive and will give the car to him only when we feel that we can't do it.

Quote:
And it turned out to be actually worth of keeping an experienced North Sikkim driver cum guide with us for the entire North Sikkim Journey and I would highly recommend keeping a driver cum guide if you have space in your car.
I will point out the places where he was really helpful while I go along. We called up the same tour n travel guy and asked if we can get a driver with us, he said yes you can get, come in the evening and then we will talk.

After that we all left from the hotel after having something in breakfast for some site seeing in Gangtok. We went to only one place in Gangtok and that was Banjhakari Falls, which was OK kind of falls with not much water at that point of time. Sorry no pictures, as I left my camera in the car. We didn't go to any other place in Gangtok as I had to go and see one of my uncle. We all went there and had an awesome food after some 3-4 days, after filling up our tummies we reached our hotel and relaxed.

We left from our hotel in the evening to MG Marg which was at a walking distance and reached this Tour N Travel who has arranged for a hotel in Lachen and also had a driver waiting for us. The driver was a young guy his name was 'Wangdi' and was really nice, he was from Lachung, after all the negotiations we finalized on giving him 2500 for three days. He asked us to deposit 2200 with the tour n travel guy and give him only 300 when he comes with us.

While we were sitting there, one more guy came in late and was trying to scare us that it gets really cold up there and fuel freezes over there so we should not take our car and rather go with someone else car which was either a Tata Sumo Victa or Max, with few Boleros also around. He was a driver of a Max, but then the travel agent said that he is just not aware of new cars, and told us that you don't worry and take your car. First person who gave us some confidence that my car can go and nothing will happen.

After confirming the hotel with the tour n travel, we left from there informing Wangdi(Driver) that we will start tomorrow at 8:30 from Gangtok. When we were all relaxing in the hotel in the evening I got a call from the tour n travel person that there is a mistake in the permit which we have got from the office as there is no mention of Gurudongmar Lake and Yumesangdong(as while getting the permit I had only written North Sikkim, and not mentioned the actual place name which you have to write) , and we had also left the photocopy of the application form with the permit officer only, so we have to get it again. But he said that its not a problem, you just come here in the morning by 7:30 and bring 1 photo of each and he will fill up the form and he will send one of his employee with me to the permit office and he will get it done.

Distance Traveled: 30 Km
Time Taken: 5 hours(Including stops)

Day 6, Wednesday 15 Jan, 2014:
I got up early and left the hotel at 7 and reached the tour n travel office and he asked one of his employee to accompany me to the permit office we reached there and he got the new permit easily without much fuss, as he just had to make some corrections, took the stamp on the form and went back to the tour n travel office. Showed him the form and he ok'ed it, I left from there after buying few locks for the bags, as we had planned to leave all the extra stuff in the hotel cloak room as we didn't wanted to carry unnecessary stuff uphill. Reached the hotel and by that time Mudit had cleaned up the car pretty well, I locked all the bags and left in the hotel.

We left from the hotel by 9 am, reached MG Marg and went to the tour n travel guy, gave him the money for the hotel and the driver. After that we all went to have good breakfast before leaving Gangtok and had a nice dosa at one of the shop. After filling up our tummies we left Gangtok after taking Wangdi with us, who was waiting at the parking above MG Marg. We somehow adjusted and the person who insisted that we should take the driver was sitting in the front row because he was fatter than all of us, so he was enjoying and we all were suffering in the rear seat.

We stopped in between where on of the person was waiting for us to give vegetables for our stay in Lachen. Yes, you've to carry vegetables whatever you wish to eat for the three days from Gangtok to Lachen/Lachung in case your hotel guy doesn't get it, so you have to check with your hotel before leaving.

Things to carry when you go North from Gangtok
Quote:
  1. Stamped copy of the permit application form with pictures of all the members travelling.
  2. Original permit which should have Gurudongmar/Yumesangdong mentioned in case you want to go to those places.
  3. 7 photocopies of the permit, you have to submit one copy at each checkpost you cross.
  4. Copy of the hotel reservation voucher for each destination you are going (For your personal use)
  5. Vegtables/Meat what you wish to eat while you are there in case your hotel ask you to get it.
By the time we left from Gangtok it was already 10:30 and the other person was telling us that we have delayed it too much, but nothing much could be done now.

First stop which we made while going up:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-firststopnsikkim.jpg

One of the many bridges that we went through:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-firstbridgensikkim.jpg

While going North, there are few places to see, since it was late we went to only one of them which is called as 'Seven Sisters Fall'

Mudit at the Seven sisters fall:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditatsevensistersfall.jpg

Praveen at the falls:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-jhaatsevensistersfall.jpg

View of Teesta and a different road to Gangtok somewhere before Mangan:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-teestafromnsikkim.jpg

Duster ready for the uphill task:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusternsikkim.jpg

Sajjan, Wangdi and Shishir:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-sajjanwangdishishirnsikkim.jpg

We got the car fueled up at Mangan which is the last point where Fuel is available and took Chicken as well from there for our stay in Lachen. As we started, there was a nice gate which had all the places mentioned on this, since the visibility was less picture isn't that bright.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteratmangan.jpg

One of the many water falls which runs up on the road and you have get to pass through them, few even had a heavy current as well.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-wateronroadnsikkim.jpg

Shaan-E-Sikkim pillar on the way to N-Sikkim
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-shaanesikkim.jpg

And while we were hoping to reach Lachen early, nature had something else in his mind and we were stuck at a land slide.

Queue of the vehicles at the landslide, we were easily a KM away from the actual place, we went up to see what actually has happened.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-landslideuphill.jpg

BRO working up to fill up the patch of the road which has fallen down, Not clearly visible here but what actually happened was a good 100 meter road was demolished by the land slide, BRO after doing some blast in the area took some big stones and were creating the road to let everyone pass through.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-landslideuphill2.jpg

The road was opened after a good 1 hour of us waiting there. As we were waiting there we thought of why not utilizing the time, we quickly took out our handy gas and a pan and made coffee. After having coffee we saw that the road is opened, Wangdi said I'll drive from here and he took us out of the queue along the wrong side and reached just before the jam and to get into the actual queue, he just smiled at the driver of the other car and he let us get in (First advantage of having a local guy as our driver). It was already 5 by the time we left that land slide and Wangdi said he will drive, as he is aware of the roads so that he can drive fast and we let him drive. We stopped somewhere in between around 6 where I(driver) had to get down and sign in one of the register and show the application form copy to the army checkpost and give them one copy of the permit and they let us through.

We crossed Chungthang, last habitat place where there is some network for Airtel(Which none of us had) around 6:30-7, we didn't stopped there as it was already very late and Lachen was still 24 Km from there. When we started from the Landslide our travel agent was constantly calling us and Wangdi talked to him couple of times but since he was driving he couldn't pay much attention to probably what he was saying, but the travel agent told us that we should call him from Chungthang. When we crosses Chungthang we didn't called him as the travel agent told us that after Chungthang only BSNL works and I had taken BSNL post paid connection specifically for these circumstances, so we thought since its already late we'll call him from Lachen only.

We reached Lachen around 8-8:30, before you enter Lachen you have to again get down and show the copy of the permit application form to the army checkpost and give one copy of the permit. After we entered the town we started searching for the hotel but we couldn't find the hotel. So thought of calling the travel agent and to my surprise my phone wasn't working. There were no signals and we were like what to do now, as because of some festival coming up most of the people from the village had gone down to Gangtok to buy stuff for themselves. We searched for the hotel which the travel agent had booked for us but couldn't find the hotel. We were all stuck in that village which was much cooler at night with no hotel, we rang bells for almost every hotel in the village but there was no answer from anyone.

Then there was some ray of hope, there was one hotel which was open, well I shouldn't it was a hotel it was rather a house, but they were willing to give us a place to stay in the night and some food but there was no water in the rooms, so the owners told us that they will provide few buckets of water in which we have to manage. Now as there's a saying in hindi, 'Marta kya nahin karta', we said yes as there was nothing else where we could stay as it was really cold outside. (Second advantage of having a local guy who really tried hard to get us a place to stay in the night). We were really angry with the travel agent at that time, but since we couldn't do anything we decided will talk to him when we reach back to Gangtok.

We got into the house around 10 and the owner said that it will take an hour to prepare the dinner, though we were not hungry after what all had happened we said ok since we have bought the chicken from Mangan we didn't want it to get wasted. We all went to our rooms and were waiting for the dinner to get ready, we finally got the dinner by 11:30, where we had initially thought we should sleep by 9-10 PM since we have to leave by 4 AM. But we were all awake till midnight, anyways after we had our dinner by 12 we quickly came to our room and were getting ready to sleep.

Quote:
Then I remembered to cover the front grill of the car and also choke the silencer to stop whatever air can get it. So, I went down and took one of the 3D mat which I had from the front seat and stuffed it in between the front grill and bull guard, and also choked the silencer by putting a cloth inside.
When we were going to sleep we were all worried that we couldn't call our families that we have reached safely(though we have informed them early that there might not be any network for the next three days, but still wanted to inform then about our safety). We didn't called anyone from Chungthang because all had thought that my BSNL will work there. But now nothing could be done, when I went to sleep I got a call in my cell, I was really surprised as how its ringing and it was my wife and she started yelling at me that why haven't I called her. After telling her the whole story she calmed down and asked her to inform everyone's family that we have reached safely. Gave the phone to my friends also and told them to inform whoever they want to inform and I went to sleep, since we were sleeping too late and also because it was really cold outside, we decided to leave at 5 AM instead of 4 AM from Lachen towards Gurudongmar, as the driver told that there will snow/ice on the roads, we thought of leaving a bit late.

Distance Traveled: 106 Km
Time Taken: 10 hours
Name:  GangtokLachen.png
Views: 13726
Size:  63.0 KB

Day 7, Thursday 16 Jan, 2014

We all got up by 4 and were ready by 4:30, and woke up our driver and were ready to go. I went down and after removing the 3D mat from the front started the car and it started in the first crank and I was really happy. I was worried the entire night whether the car will start in the morning or not, I even thought of starting the car once when we finished our dinner but my friends told not to and to see what happens, but I was really happy that the car started in the first crank.

We left most of our luggage in the rooms and took only eating stuff with us along with the handy gas thinking we might need it. It was really cold outside and Wangdi said they he'll drive as it was very dark at that time, I actually wanted to drive but since all agreed I also said OK to him and he started driving. There was one more more family which was staying in the same hotel and were also going till Gurudongmar lake, so we were kind of relaxed that there is atleast one more car which is going up. Wangdi started to drive and within some time we started seeing something on the roads, since it was dark we couldn't make out what exactly it is and we all thought that it is probably dust which is there on the roads. When we saw some light coming out we asked Wangdi to stop the car and we'll take some pictures before we move ahead. When we came out of the car we saw that it was not dust which was there on the roads rather slight snow which might have fallen during night time.

Duster standing few kilometers away from Thangu, which is the last place where any living creature is found.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterlachenmorning.jpg

Mudit and Shishir standing at the same place
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditshishirlachenmorning.jpg

After we started from there, Shishir told Wangdi that he will drive and he got in the driver seat. He started from there and when were about to reach Thangu(13,000 ft) he slowed up a bit and we got stuck in the road which had some ice on it. Ice was because of water flowing on the road and that was frozen, we quickly got out to see what happened and when Shishir was giving full accelerator but only the front wheels were spinning and the car was not moving, Wangdi said he will take it out. He moved the car back few feet and gave some acceleration and car came out of that ice and we moved further.
Quote:
Lesson learnt: When driving in such roads where there can be ice on it, don't loose the momentum, if we had the momentum we would have easily passed through, and in case we've lost the momentum, back the car and gain some momentum and then cross.
We reached Thangu around 6:50 AM which is the halfway between Lachen and Gurudongmar lake. There was a small shop where one person gave us hot tea and few bread slices, we remembered that we are also carrying bread and cheese slices, we quickly got those from the car and filled up our tummies. After heating up our bodies inside that room which was very warm as he had lit up wood inside, we left from there.

Duster standing outside the small house in Thangu(13,000 ft).
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteratthangu.jpg

We all standing at Thangu.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatthangu.jpg

After we left from Thangu, within few kilometers we had to stop, we had only drove for 30 min but had to stop because of this:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-iceditchatthangu.jpg

While the duster was thinking whether she can cross or not, Sajjan thought of checking how deep can it be and went a little too close to the ditch and the ice broke from the side and his right foot got into the ice. We quickly took him out and removed his shoes and put few mufflers around his leg to give him warm and put a polybag around his feet so that his right feet doesn't get frozen.

Now, before we all started from Gangtok we all had decided that if we get stuck in such situation where we can get stuck and something bad can happen, we will decide together as what to do. Wangdi told us that we will not cross that ditch which was easily 10 inches deeper probably more at some point. So, we all decided not to cross it and go back to Lachen. The driver of the other car also decided to not cross it and go back.

But then came the Army truck which easily crossed that ditch which gave us some confidence, and then there were lot of army people around, we asked them whether we can get some help in case we get stuck there, they said don't worry, if you are stuck we will help you get out of the ditch. Now we all decided to get through that and I took the keys from Wangdi and started the car. As we had expected the car got stuck while getting out and there were lot of army people who pushed the car and the car came out. I stopped after taking the turn slightly uphill and stopped there.

Now it was the turn of the other driver to cross and it was a Sumo Victa which very easily crossed that ditch because of RWD, and I was cursing why is Duster FWD. By the way, when I took the car into the ditch, while coming out front bull guard got damaged and front number plate also broke and fell into the ditch, now no one had dare to find and take that out, so we left it there as a souvenir. When he(the other car) came, we decided to go further up and we saw that the entire road is full of ice and its impossible for us to go ahead, we all decided to go back and Wangdi told us he will drive. We gave him the key and when he started to reverse we had our first scare of death as the car skidded for sometime but he was able to handle it very easily. We all thanked God and left from there, this time to get out of the ditch all were sitting in the car and Wangdi took us out easily from there.

It was our slight mistake, we should have gone a bit up walking and should have seen how is the road uphill whether we can go or not, since there was no water source near the ditch the water should have come from top, if we had walked hardly 100 feet we could've seen so much ice on the road and should have not taken the risk of crossing the ditch and would've just returned from there. But anyways another lesson learned, after all, people learn from their mistakes.

When we were descending from that point I was really sad that we came so far and we couldn't go to Gurudongmar Lake, I should've bought Snow chains. If I had snow chains I wouldn't have to go back without going to our destination which was only 25 Kms away, having traveled 100 times more than the distance left, we were going back. I felt even having a 4WD wouldn't probably have solved my problem which could have been saved by spending a mere 6-7K on getting good snow chains.

When we all returned from there Wangdi told us that there is one place where we can go and we can see the Chopta valley, so as a consolation we went to see the Chopta valley and I should say it was also very beautiful.

All of us standing at the Chopta Valley:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatchoptavalley.jpg

A view of the Chopta Valley:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-choptavalley.jpg

While we were going back to Lachen, we saw many big-big waterfalls frozen, just managed to take picture of one of them,as it was terribly cold outside.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-waterfall.jpg

When we were some 7-8 Km away from Lachen, we decided to stop and take some pictures around as well as have something to eat. We got out and took the gas out and boiled some water and had some cup noodles.

We also saw that there was ice deposited under the car, a closeup of the ice below the bull guard:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterwithiceonbullguard.jpg

As soon as the first set of cup noodles were ready Mudit took it and went some 100 metres ahead and happily eating and didn't wanted to share .
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditeatingmaggie.jpg

After filling up our tummies we prepared coffee and left the place after cleaning what all we had spilled around.

Reached the hotel in Lachen around 11:30, and owner told us that food will be ready in half n hour and then we can leave for Lachung.

Kids playing at Lachen:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-kidsplayinglachen.jpg

After having lunch we left Lachen around 1 PM, we took picture at the Asias third highest cantilever bridge which is at a height of 8300 ft as claimed by BRO.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteratasia3highestbridge.jpg

While coming down, we saw few people probably taking wood illegally and we also helped them take it out fast as we had to cross the road
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditatwork.jpg

We also saw many landslides on the way, one of large ones:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-pallavatlandslidelachen.jpg

Continued to next post, exceeded the maximum number of pictures limit...

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Default Drive from Gangtok uphill

Continued from previous post...

We reached Chungthang around 2:30, after having a good tea we started for Lachung, and this was one of the most scary roads we encountered during our trip to Sikkim. Roads were quite narrow and with no signs of tar, probably the most affected area during Sikkim earthquake, though the work was in full swing to construct a new road, so probably it should be ready in few months.

Road to Lachung:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-roadtolachung.jpg

Before you enter Lachung, there is a fall in between and the name of the fall is very interesting as its called 'Amitabh Bachhan Falls' because of the fact that its very tall. A view of the fall with Shishir standing alongside the Duster.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-shishiratamitabhbachhanfall.jpg

We reached Lachung around 5 PM and the search for our hotel started again. In all the rush I have forgotten the name of the hotel which I had booked online in Lachung and also when I took print out of the hotel voucher which I have to sikkim tourism permit office I didn't took one copy of that voucher. Now since there was no network in Lachung again, I couldn't call anyone to check as well, we started searching all the hotels in Lachung about which all hotels do online booking, but couldn't find the hotel which I had booked. I was really annoyed my myself that why didn't I took print out of the hotel voucher, then there was some help by God, for a brief moment my BSNL had a network, called up my wife and asked her to open my gmail account and tell us the name of the hotel, After getting the name of the hotel we reached the hotel by 6. After we reached our hotel informed my wife that we have reached and tell everyone else, and after that there was no network again for the entire day, probably God didn't want us to die there in cold.

Later we found out, that the BTS of BSNL doesn't have power backup so there is no network when their is no electricity and there are no landlines as well. So, my advice would be to be rather prepared that there will not be any network for the period you are there in North or take a BSNL connection.

This hotel was very nice and when we reached there we asked whether we can get something to eat, he said he can prepare maggie if we want, but we were interested in eating hot Pakodis, so I asked them to cut some onion and potato and I'll come and prepare pakodis since they were not aware as what to do. After eating pakodis we relaxed in Lachung and had an awesome dinner and slept early by 10 PM.

Distance Traveled: 100 Km
Time Taken: 12 hours
Name:  LachenLachung.png
Views: 13339
Size:  93.0 KB

Day 8, Friday 17 Jan, 2014

We got up by 6 and were ready by 7 AM and were ready to start for Yumthang Valley and Zero Point. When I went near the car to start it I realized that we have forgot to cover the car in Lachung, which was supposedly at a higher altitude than Lachen. I cranked the engine and it started and then stopped, car didn't started. I tried again but this time also it didn't start and then I saw a new warning light, quickly took out the manual from the car and saw what does that light mean.

One indicated 'Diesel preheating' warning and the other was 'water in the diesel filter' warning. It went off in few seconds and on third crank the car started. I thanked god and left the car running for few minutes.

I wanted to drive today, so sat in the driver seat and left from the hotel, after we left the hotel for Yumthang we have to go to one of the tourist department office and get stamp on one of the photocopies of the permit, we have to give it in the army checkpost when we want to go to Yumthang valley.

We reached Yumthang valley around 8:30 AM and stopped for some pictures, couldn't see rhododendrons which is why Yumthang valley is famous for, but nevertheless we saw lot of ice covered mountains.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusteratyumthang.jpg

A group photo of all of us at Yumthang Valley
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatyumthang.jpg

As we crossed Yumthang valley, we took Rubber boots on rent from one of the shop and moved towards Zero Point.

We crossed many roads which fall on the shadow of the hill where sun doesn't get in and there is lot of snow on those roads, Mudit insisted that we should stop and take a picture of the road, so all of us got out except me and took some pictures:

Mudit initially standing:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditatsnowcoveredroad.jpg

Praveen n Mudit standing there:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-jhamuditatsnowcoveredroad.jpg

Now, after the photoshoot was over, we decided to move but the car was not moving, since there was lot of snow on the roads the tyres were skidding and not moving ahead. Applied the lesson learnt yesterday here, moved the car back a little and gave some momentum and crossed the snow covered road. Another lesson learnt, shouldn't stop in the middle of the road where there is lot of snow to take pictures n all, since the momentum is lost, its hard to get the car out.

Quote:
While I was driving, I followed one of the driver and I was following the same route which he was going through, very important as the ice/snow is removed by the car ahead, its best to take that route. What I also learnt was, when are roads are fill with little bit of ice/snow, its best to not drive in a straight line, rather move like a snake as you cross most of the things in a criss-cross way thus better to avoid getting stuck in the ice/snow.
Another place where Duster had problems crossing whereas Sumo/Bolero were happily crossing it. I was really missing the snow chains. The sumo crossed the ice filled road easily because of RWD whereas we struggled to cross it.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterstuckagain2.jpg

We finally reached Zero point(15, 748 ft) and were very happy that atleast we could reach of the destination we wanted to reach.

Wangdi standing with the Duster:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-wangdiatzeropoint.jpg

Me at Zero Point:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-pallavatzeropoint.jpg

After spending some 15-20 minutes there we all left as Praveen was not feeling well because of less Oxygen probably.

All of standing somewhere after coming down some distance, when Praveen started to feel better
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatzeropoint.jpg

One of the many beautiful mountains covered with snow:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-snowcoveredmountains.jpg

The road to zero point is really scenic, and we stopped while getting down:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-roadtozeropoint.jpg

Another frozen waterfall:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-frozenwaterfall3.jpg

Mudit enjoying the view:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditsitting.jpg

A beautiful view of the valley with Teesta flowing in between:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-snowvalley2.jpg

Another frozen waterfall:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-frozenwaterfall2.jpg

One more snow covered mountain pair:
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-snowmountains2.jpg

We all reached out hotel by 12:30, and the lunch was ready, quickly after having lunch we left Lachung.

One picture with the the hotel guys, they were really very helpful.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allatlachung.jpg

We left the hotel by 2 PM and started for Gangtok. We crossed Chungthang around 3:30 and wanted to reach Gangtok early so that we can go to Nathu-la next day. But again nature had something else in the mind, when we were reaching near Mangan, we saw a huge line of vehicles and quickly found out that its the same place where we had stuck while coming up, there has been an another land slide and roads are blocked.

A view of the landslide from quite some distance, as this was the best picture I could get for the landslide.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-landslidefrontview.jpg

If anyone can see, there were two cranes working, one from one side and another from the other side. What they were eventually doing was taking big stones and putting them over one another and trying to create a road.

Since we saw the huge pile up before the landslide, we stopped at a waterfall just before that.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-dusterwaitingbeforelandslide.jpg

Finally a waterfall which is not frozen.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-pallavatwaterfall.jpg

After spending some 15-20 min there, we started from there. When we reached the landslide we saw the same person who was the driver of the other car whom we met in lachen and also in Yumthang Valley. He told us that he was the first one to be stopped by the army because of the landslide and he was standing there since 1 PM and we reached that location around 4:30 PM. The army people were working very hard to fix the road but the chances that the road will be opened today were very bleak as the damage was very severe.

We waited there for 2 hours during which they did one more explosion to get big stones which are needed for support, the road was finally built by the BRO guys, and they test it first by taking their cranes over it and its very risky. We saw one of the crane started sliding down, during testing the strength of the road, as the stones underneath were not stable enough, but neither the army person driving the crane paniced nor did he jumped out of the crane to save his life. They quickly called up the other crane, which with the help of few chains pulled up the other crane. In this entire process one of the chain of the crane also came out and now that has to be somehow fixed so that both the cranes can work and make the road.

It was more or less decided that since it was dark, we probably have to stay all night here and because of that reason we didn't take out our gas and made coffee/maggie this time, as we wanted to save it for the night. But then the other crane somehow managed to cross the landslide area and was parked in one corner. Army people decided that light vehicles can be allowed to pass through and all the heavy vehicles have to stop there until the road is fixed. With that information the traffic started to cross the landslide area, In the name of God we crossed that landslide area and thanked God that nothing bad happened. Wangdi took the keys of the duster and took us out from there. We reached Mangan around 7:30 - 8, quickly after having tea we left from there and Wangdi took us to Gangtok through some different road which was much better as it was tarred, and we reached Gangtok around 10:30-11. We dropped Wangdi near his taxi and gave him extra 500 and said this is for all the hard work which he has done and thanked him to bring us back safely without much problems.

Reached our hotel safely and while we were waiting in Mangan we had decided to not go to Nathu-la as that will also be like this, where we might encounter snow/ice on the roads and rather go to Siliguri next day and get a general checkup of Duster, as I had to travel back to Bangalore. Because if we go to Nathula on Saturday we can reach siliguri only on Sunday when the ASC is closed, so after having a late night party at the hotel we all slept by 2 AM.

Distance Traveled: 210 Km
Time Taken: 15 hours
Name:  LachungGangtok.png
Views: 12925
Size:  82.0 KB

Last edited by gurha : 27th February 2014 at 17:55.
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Old 28th February 2014, 15:38   #7
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Default Drive from Gangtok downhill

Day 9, Saturday 18 Jan, 2014:

We got up late on Saturday around 8 AM and lazily got ready. Collected the stuff from the cloak room of the hotel and packed everything in the car. In the mean time Shishir and Praveen went to the travel agent to shout at him because we didn't get the hotel we have booked for. There was no water in the hotel, forget about geysers. Not even a single heater and we were all freezing there, luckily I've carried my blanket from Bangalore which helped us survive the cold in the hills.

The travel agent told us, thats the reason he was calling us again n again when we were stuck in the landslide while going up, and Wangdi, though was talking to him, couldn't understand the name of the hotel he was telling. He returned 500 rs to us and said sorry for all that happened. We could also understand this since the network is very intermittent in North, so its best to get the hotel reservation done well in advance, like we did in Lachung, and we didn't faced any problems there(except finding the hotel, since I had missed the name of the hotel).

Before we started from Gangtok we prepared maggie in the hotel and left Gangtok around 10 AM. Filled up diesel to the max limit in the tank and also filled up my jerry can and left for Siliguri. We reached Siliguri ASC around 1:30 PM and asked them to do a thorough checkup of the car. They said it will take us 2 hours to check the car thoroughly, we went to a nearby restaurant and had a decent lunch. While we were having lunch I got a call from ASC that the break pads have to replaced as they will run for only 1000 more km, I asked them to change them as I have to travel more than 2K Km. When we were about to finish our lunch, got a call again from the ASC that the car is ready, we reached there by 3:30 and took the car and started from there.

Since it was already late, we decided to do a halt in Purnia and drop Praveen there, who had to go to his native for some work and was not coming with us to the wedding of our friend to Durgapur. We reached Purnia around 9 PM and took a hotel and celebrated that we have come downhill safe.

A heart-full thanks to BRO for doing so much hard work so that people from the entire country can come up and see what the natural beauty is.
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-bro.jpg

Distance Traveled: 287 Km
Time Taken: 11 hours
Name:  GangtokPurnia.JPG
Views: 12812
Size:  12.8 KB

Day 10, Sunday 19 Jan, 2014:

Praveen left early morning at 5 and we got up lazily by 8, after having a couple of tea we got ready to leave Purnia. Before leaving we had a good 'Daal baati chokha' and left Purnia. We just had to drive 350 odd kilometers today, so gave car to Sajjan as he also wanted to free up his hands on the Duster.

Crossed Vikramshila setu(India's third longest bridge which is on River Ganges)
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-vikramshillasetu.jpg

Mudit with Vikramshila setu in the background
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditatvs.jpg

Shishir with Vikramshila setu in the background
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-shishiratvs.jpg

We also went down the bridge to pay a visit to Mother Ganga
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-sajjanshishirpallavganges.jpg

We also stopped in the middle couple of times, this time we took some pictures as well.

Shishir, Sajjan N Me
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-sajjanshishirpallavrelaxing.jpg

Mudit
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-muditsarsonkhet.jpg

After the relaxation, we stopped for an awesome lunch near Dhauni at a roadside dhaba, who gave us pure ghee to eat and we were all very happy after eating a good meal.

After we started from there, I saw a board which mentioned we are about 90 km away from Deoghar, Baba dham temple. I checked with all and they said yeah why not we go there and visit Baba dham temple. So, the plan was finalized we will first go to Deoghar and after the visit we will start for Durgapur which was another 150 Km from Deoghar.

We reached Deoghar around 4:30 and found out that the temple closes around 4 and then reopens at 6:30(don't remember exactly). We also realized that we could have taken Ganges water and could have touched the Shivaling and washed it with the water if we had planned it earlier. But, anyways after having a good darshan we left from Deoghar around 7:30 for Durgapur.

We took some internal roads and were lost in between for some time but reached Durgapur around 11:30, and the search again started for the hotel. As we had not booked any hotel we called up our friend he said the hotel is booked only from 20 i.e. tomorrow. After searching for almost 1 and a half hour we got a hotel and to our surprise no one was willing to give us a room in the middle of the night, luckily we found one person who provided us the rooms and we slept like horses that day.

Distance Traveled: 370 Km
Time Taken: 13 hours
Name:  PurniaDurgapur.JPG
Views: 12706
Size:  13.9 KB

Day 11, Monday 20 Jan, 2014:

Got up easily and called up our friend and asked about the hotel, we was suppose to come only in the evening from Murshidabad, so we all started roaming around in Durgapur. Got a new number plate for the front which was broken in Thangu.

After having awesom bengali food followed by lot of rosogullas, we all slept for some time and waited for Suman to reach Durgapur.

All with Suman
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-allwithsuman.jpg

After attending his marriage for a brief period we all left from there, as me n Shishir had to travel 2000+ Km in the next two days and needed a decent sleep. Sajjan n Mudit left from there to Asansol from where they had their train to Bilaspur.

I slept by 12 as I had planned to get up by 5 and leave. Shishir was awake and had to drop Sajjan and Mudit to Durgapur railway station around 1:30.

Day 12, Tuesday 21 Jan, 2014:

As planned I got up around 5 and woke up Shishir after arranging everything in the car. Asked him to sleep in the back seat as I'll drive in the morning. After checking with few people in Durgapur, everyone advised to go to Kolkata and then go to Kharagpur instead of taking the internal route. So, started from Durgapur around 5:30 and started cruising towards Kolkata.

Had to stop before I could reach Kolkata because I got first tyre puncture in the Duster. I heard some noise while I was driving and saw in the rear view mirror but couldn't see anything, so I continued at around 80-100 kmph speed. After a km or a two I started hearing some noise and stopped the car and then I saw the car was punctured.

I took out tyre inflator to fill up some air, so that I can pull out the nail from the tyre, but the tire inflator didn't work at all. So, I had to do a longer task, of taking the spare tyre and removing the old tire. Woke up Shishir, as to do this alone could have taken a bit longer. It took us around half n hour to fix the spare tyre and when I started after fixing the tyre, I saw a puncture shop hardy 50 feet away, I was like why didn't I saw it before, I would have saved some time of putting the puncture tyre in and then taking it out again to get it fixed.

I've taken the picture of the nail which the puncture shop person removed it, and was shocked to see how can this get into my tyre.

Here is how it looks:
Name:  Nail.jpg
Views: 12726
Size:  95.7 KB

After the puncture shop person fixed the puncture, I started from there with no plans to stop until I cross Kharagpur. We crossed Kharagpur around 11 and stopped for a quick refreshment. Took out cup noodles from the car and asked for hot water from the person there, after finishing that gave the car to Shishir to drive from here and my time to rest.

After that we stopped at some place for lunch around 3 PM, just had something eatable and left from there. When we were about to cross the Odisha-AP border, we saw a big line of trucks and then we saw few cars backing up, we also took a U-turn and get into one of the city and crossed the border.

We reached Vishakapatnam around 11 PM and took a hotel and had something to eat and slept. To our surprise hotels were open till 12 unlike bangalore where everything closes at 11.

Distance Traveled: 1058 Km
Time Taken: 18 hours
Name:  DurgapurVishakapatnam.JPG
Views: 12724
Size:  24.8 KB

Day 13, Wednesday 22 Jan, 2014:

Got up around 6 and quickly started from Vishakapatnam. Stopped near Vijaywada for a good breakfast, finally a good coconut chutney which we missed during the entire trip.

Crossed Tirupati around 6:30 pm and stopped for a quick tea.

Reached home around 11 PM.

I reset the meter of Duster after filling up diesel before leaving Gangtok and here the details:

Total Distance Traveled: 2786 Km
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-totaldistancetraveled.jpg

Total Diesel Spent: 193 L
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-totallitresburnt.jpg

Mileage: 14.4 KM/L
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-mileage.jpg

Average Speed: 56 Km/hr
Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-avgspeed.jpg

Distance Traveled: 1009 Km
Time Taken: 17 hours
Name:  VishakapatnamBangalore.JPG
Views: 12607
Size:  25.4 KB

Last edited by gurha : 28th February 2014 at 17:31.
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Old 4th March 2014, 11:35   #8
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Default Summary

Being an engineering student I always felt what if after reading a complete chapter of a book, there can be a quick recap of the important things which you need to remember before say giving an exam and not reading the chapter again or spoiling the book by marking the pages with pens/pensils.

Well I can't change what has happened till now, but thought of writing the important things which "obviously" I feel are important and when someone else is doing such a drive should just see it, instead of searching in the entire thread and keep time for something more important.

1. While driving in NE hills, you just always stick to your side of the road as the taxi drivers drive fast and rash and the people honk very less. There were few cases when even though you are honking on a turn, the other car driver wont honk and you may consider that no one is coming your way and get out of your way, and are surprised when you see other car in your front. So it's completely upto you to honk or not, but stick to your side of the road always, which I feel should be religiously followed all over country and not just in the hills.

2. If driving from Darjeeling to Gangtok through Teesta, drive slowly as the roads are good people tend to drive faster but they are very steap, so its advisable to go in second gear only thus putting less pressure on the brakes, and if you smell brake pads getting really hot, stop for some time and enjoy the scenery around.

3. Documents required to get a permit for North Sikkim:
a. Form filled up with pictures of all the persons traveling,
b. A brief write up of my journeys done so far(Not a requirement, but can be useful in getting the permit), attached mine for some kind of reference, you can create your own in any way you want.PALLAV GURHA.doc
c. DL copy of all the members
d. Hotel reservation copy
e. Undertaking letter
f. RC copy of the car
g. Insurance copy of the car.
h. Photocopy of the form filled for getting permit information (You have to keep this and not give it to officer, just writing it here as its important.)
4. Things to know while filling the permit application form for North Sikkim:
a. Place to go: Gurudongmar Lake/Yumesamdong
b. Dates: 15/01/204 - 17/01/2014 (In my case)
c. Period: 3 days (In my case)
d. Name of Guests: Names of each individual who is traveling, except the driver whose detail has to be filled below.
e. Temporary Address: hotel name where you are staying, for one is enough, I wrote for everyone, not needed)
f. Permanent Address: Address of one of the applicant, I gave my address in the form
g. Vehicle No.: The car which you are driving
h. Driver name: Name of the driver who is driving the car
5. You should get the permit application form, from the photocopy shops one day before and fill it up and keep all the documents ready before you go to the permit desk to make things easier and not spoiling the mood of the officer there.

6. If you are driving first time to North Sikkim and the conditions are little harsh and provided you have space in your car, I would recommend hiring a local driver who can be of real help in some tricky scenarios.

7. Things to carry when you travel from Gangtok towards North Sikkim
a. Stamped copy of the permit application form with pictures of all the members travelling.
b. Original permit which should have Gurudongmar/Yumesangdong mentioned in case you want to go to those places.
c. 7 photocopies of the permit, you have to submit one copy at each checkpost you cross.
d. Copy of the hotel reservation voucher for each destination you are going (For your personal use)
e. Vegtables/Meat what you wish to eat while you are there in case your hotel ask you to get it.
8. I will also recommend procuring snow chains, if you really want to see Gurudongmar lake in Winters, as the road above Thangu is just not drivable because of lot of ice on the roads. More details on procuring snow chains can be found here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-te...ins-india.html (How to get Snow Chains in India)

9. If you see ice on the roads, best way to overcome is driving in a zig-zag manner to cover as much areas as possible and not getting stuck in the middle of the road.

10. If there is snow on the roads and is heavy, its always better to follow the tracks which are created by other cars and not create your own, unless you have proper equipments.

11. Try not to loose momentum when driving uphill and avoid stopping in the middle of the road full with snow for a photo session, getting a momentum can be tricky under those situations.

12. Remember to cover your car front grill as well as the silencer when parking in night in Lachen/Lachung.

13. When you see lot of small/big stones on the road, there are chances that they have come up from the hill, so stop n look uphill whether any big stones are rolling down while you are going to cross that section, so that none of those stones hit your car and something bad can happen.

14. Only BSNL works above Chungthang and while in Chungthang only Airtel gets the signal. BSNL connectivity is also very intermittent since there is no power back up, thus the BTS is only ON when power is there which means the network will only be there when there is power in the village.

15. If you are having a bull guard in front, its better to get it removed before such a trip as that reduces the ground clearance by atleast 2-3 inches and that comes out as a life saver in few instances. Also the roads on highways can go real bad and there are more chances that you might break your bull guard, so its better to get it removed and save 8-10K. I broke mine so just wanted to share it.


Disclaimer: The points which I've mentioned here are mostly my views which I have learnt over a period of time with my own experience in the hills after my recent trip to North-East. I've no intentions to hurt feelings or beliefs of an individual.

Last edited by gurha : 4th March 2014 at 22:28.
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Old 4th March 2014, 23:18   #9
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Default Bangalore - Zero Point - Bangalore - Road Conditions

As mentioned in the starting of this thread, here is complete log about the roads which I traveled during my entire trip:

I started from Bangalore on 4th October for Bilaspur and wanted to follow this route BLR-HYD-NGP-BSP but ended up taking BLR-somewhere around Penukonda - Doddabellapur - Chitradurga - Hospet - Bijapur - Solapur - Nanded - Nirmal - Adilabad - NGP - BSP because of some agitation when I entered AP which has subsided now.

I took some internal route from Blr-Hyd highway to reach somewhere around Siryur where I entered NH-4, and the road conditions were not good as those were some internal roads, I don't remember the exact route as it was night.

Roads till Chitradurga were awesome thanks to GQ.

Chitradurga - Hospet was a decent highway, with roads between villages.

Hospet - Bijapur was an awesome highway with complete four lanes and divider in between.

Bijapur - Solapur was a decent highway without any by passes but roads were ok.

Solapur - Nanded, roads started deteriorating
and a patch of around 30-40 Kms towards the end was not good, had many potholes and couldn't maintain a speed of 50-60 kmph. After I reached Nanded there was a bypass which was in pathetic condition, I will not advice any one to take that by-pass rather travel inside the city. The roads were so bad that I scrapped the belly of my duster once.

Nanded - Nirmal - Adilabad, roads were good till I hit Nirmal, I was able to cross that entire stretch in an hour and a half or so. Roads were good enough until I hit NH-7.

Adilabad - NGP, two 20-30 km were very bad stretches of NH-7 except that roads were awesome. I got my second hit on the belly of my duster in one of the stretches.

NGP - Bilaspur, roads were good in patches. NGP - Bhandara road was still a two lane and work was going on for four lane. Bhandara - Raipur road was good four lane road. Raipur - Bilaspur roads were decent with some bad stretches after you cross raipur by pass for few kilometers.

After staying in Bilaspur for few days I did one short trip to Seoni.

Bilaspur - Seoni - Jabalpur - Seoni - Gondia - Bilaspur

Bilaspur - Kargi road Kota - Amarkantak - Dindori - Mandla - Seoni

Bilaspur to Kota was a decent highway with not many potholes.

Kota to Amarkantak was all through Achanak Marg jungle and the road was Ok with few bad stretches, but you anyways are not supposed to drive fast when passing through a jungle, so I would say the roads were good as compared to jungle roads in some other parts.

Amarkantak - Dindori - Mandla was an awesome road and very scenic though you have to slow down as you enter villages other than that I was easily able to maintain an average speed of around 80-100 kmph for the entire stretch.

Mandla - Seoni road was a bit narrower but the road was in good condition with slightly bad section near Mandla.

I started from Bilaspur around 9:45 am and reached Nainpur around 4:00 pm without taking any break, just had to get down 4 times while entering and exciting the jungle for entry between kota to Amarkantak.

Seoni - Lakhnadon - Narsinghpur - Jabalpur. Though Seoni to jabalpur is NH-7, but it's currently in very bad shape after Dhuma till Jabalpur hence I took this much longer route.

Seoni - Lakhnadon was good with two very bad stretches of smaller distances, one of around 3-5 km while ascending the hills and other of around 1 km while descending the hills.

Lakhnadon - Narsinghpur roads were awesome with complete for lane divided highway. Road was bad when you exit the highway near Narsinghpur for few hundred meters until you hit the other highway towards jabalpur.

Narsinghpur - Jabalpur was a decent NH, but through few towns which were densely populated near the highway.
Since I traveled to jabalpur on Dhanteras, that might be the reason for crowd on the roads.
Took the same route back and was able to cover this stretch of around 180 km in around 3 hours both time.

Seoni - Gondia, good roads and was able to reach Gondia in two hours.

Gondia - Bilaspur - Good until you reach Raipur, Decent from Raipur to Bilaspur.

I took the following route from Bilaspur - Gangtok:

Bilaspur - Ambikapur - Aurangabad - Patna - Begusarai - Purnia - Siliguri - Darjeeling - Teesta - Gangtok

Bilaspur - Ambikapur: Decent roads with some heavy traffic of trucks because of lot of coal mines around.

Ambikapur - Ramanujganj - Good roads and less traffic, don't miss the Tropic of cancer crossing between this stretch.

Ramanujganj - Daltenganj - Aurangabad: Bad roads, with lot of pot holes. Construction of road was underway and construction of road over channels was going on after every 200 metres at some point of time.

Aurangabad - Patna: Very bad roads and the roads used to get worse when we come near any village with water on the roads all the time and felt like gutters all the way.

Patna - Aurangabad - Purnia: Good roads, with some heavy traffic till Aurangabad, but roads were good, could easily drive upto 80-100 in the night time.

Purnia - Siliguri: Double lane road, after a long time but had lot of patch work done and was thus a bit on the bumpy side.

Siliguri - Kurseong - Darjeeling: Good roads but were very steep and riskier at some time, atleast till we crossed Kurseong, remember to drive in your lane during this stretch because of insane taxi drivers.

Darjeeling - Gangtok: Good roads but very steep, come down to second gear when you start seeing steep roads, as they go on for atleast 20-30 km.

Gangtok - Mangan: Bad roads with lot of potholes.

Mangan - Chungthang: Roads get worser only, with more potholes and landslides.

Chungthang - Lachen: Freshly laid road, good all the way up till Lachen town.

Lachen - Thangu: Good roads and enough wide, beware of the sections where water run through the roads.

Chungthang - Lachung: Bad road as of now, but under construction and could probably be done in few months.

Lachung - Yumthang - Yumesangdong: Good roads

Gangtok - Siliguri: Good roads

Purnia - Bhagalpur: Good roads

Bhagalpur - Deoghar: Ok Roads with few potholes, but the road gets better when you enter Jharkhand.

Deoghar - Sarath - Kulti: OK roads, but please check for the correct route for Kulti and not get lost in the inner roads, like we were for a brief moment.

Kulti - Durgapur - Kolkata: NH-2, nothing else to say. Maintained well and can drive easily on this double lane highway.

Kolkata - Kharagpur: Equally good highway, and can easily drive at 100-120.

Kharagpur - Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar: Some construction going on one side of the road, hence only one sided road is used at some time, lot of diversions with lot many flyovers coming up, eats up a lot of time to cross Cuttack/Bhubaneshwar as no proper by-passes

Bhubaneshwar - Vishakapatnam: Decent one, with lot of diversions in betweem, but the roads were better.

Vishapatnam - Vijaywada: Good roads, but still had some diversions

Vijaywada - Naidupeta: The best route traveled on NH-5, with no diversions and proper by-passes.

Naidupeta - Tirupati - Chittoor: Single lane highway with some heavy traffic, ok roads.

Chittoor-Bangalore: NH-4, awesome to drive.

I would like to conclude this awesome trip experience with my favorite lines from Robert Frost. I wish you all a very happy and a safe journey and would like to see more n more people travel to North Sikkim and share their experience.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT-thankyou.jpg

Last edited by gurha : 5th March 2014 at 00:14.
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Old 6th March 2014, 16:06   #10
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th March 2014, 16:29   #11
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Pallav: This is one of the best travelogues on Sikkim that could be available for anyone to see. Good to see you back, hale and happy. Glad to know that Duster behaved so well.
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Old 6th March 2014, 16:41   #12
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

This is an awesome travelogue. So much information too.
I have been told, that for self drive cars(outside state) permits are often refused and you have to take local taxi. Is it true? Did you face any hassles?
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Old 6th March 2014, 17:44   #13
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
This is an awesome travelogue. So much information too.
I have been told, that for self drive cars(outside state) permits are often refused and you have to take local taxi. Is it true? Did you face any hassles?
Tanveer,
I was asked only two questions by the permit officer, after giving the form which I've mentioned earlier. Apart from that, there was no question asked from anyone.

I haven't come across anyone who has tried to get the pass and not get it, people just assume that they will not get it and don't give it a try. I think if you have a belief then you will get it, even if you don't you can still hire a taxi and see the nature, which I agree not everyone would want, but there is no harm in trying.

Last edited by gurha : 6th March 2014 at 18:05.
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Old 6th March 2014, 21:45   #14
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Billions of blue blistering barnacles! As Captain Archibald Haddock always said, in the loveable TinTin comics.

Now, Now! This is something we don't see quite often.The North-East! Interesting, Might I say?

Now, which version of the Duster is this?The 85PS? If so, could you tell me about the issues (if any. Heh!Heh!) faced by the Duster. A very good car, might I add.

PS: Could you get rid of e'm bullbars at the front and rear? Methinks they look awful, spoil the aesthetics of the car, and most importantly, stop the crumple zones from functioning.

Cheers!
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Old 6th March 2014, 22:54   #15
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Default Re: Dusted: Zero Point, North Sikkim, 15748 FT

Quote:
Originally Posted by FINTAIL View Post
Now, which version of the Duster is this?The 85PS? If so, could you tell me about the issues (if any. Heh!Heh!) faced by the Duster. A very good car, might I add.

PS: Could you get rid of e'm bullbars at the front and rear? Methinks they look awful, spoil the aesthetics of the car, and most importantly, stop the crumple zones from functioning.

Cheers!
I've 110PS, and apart from those tires skidding in the ice, I didn't faced any issues at all. I thoroughly enjoyed my drive with her, and when I was driving her continuously when I was taking her to Bilaspur I really admired her, when the roads were horrible for hundreds of kilometers I started to feel that when will I be seeing good roads, she just not said a word.

Well the bullbars which I added are basically to save my car from some idiot taxi drivers and 2/3 wheelers which drive in bangalores bumper to bumper traffic crazily and not scratch my car. Will probably be removing the front one now, as that's broken and have no plans to put new one because of budget constraints, but no plans to remove the rear one for now.
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