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Old 11th January 2015, 10:31   #31
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

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Originally Posted by megazoid View Post
South Sikkim was the next on the list and we had managed to get accomodation at Mt Narsing, Ravangla thanks to Naresh from Nettle and Fern, Gangtok. Ravangla was extremely cold but the view of the mountains spectacular.
For last few days, I was yearning to read some travelogue specially from current holiday season and your travelogue made it a day for me. Simply superb! Further, given you have driven solo all the way from Bangalore makes it extra special! Overall, was it too cold in Sikkim given you went there from Bangalore?

Cheers and thanks,
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Old 12th January 2015, 19:49   #32
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

Great travelogue

Would like to read a bit about your return journey as well.

And yes, travelers like you are few and far in between. It was awesome meeting you

5 *****
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Old 12th January 2015, 22:04   #33
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

Great travelogue.What was your mileage on the highways?

If I remember correctly someone had done the exact same route in a FWD Duster on this forum. If a Duster can do it then I guess any modern 4wd can do it.
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Old 13th January 2015, 09:21   #34
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Default Yuksam - Darjeeling - Siliguri

The return journey from Yuksam in West Sikkim to Bangalore was a really long one and we didn't know where we would be on New years eve. Started back on the 30th of Dec for Bangalore decided to take the Yuksam-Tashiding-Legship-Jorethang-Darjeeling-Kurseong-Siliguri route. We were particularly interested in the section between Jorethang and Darjeeling that had great views but was a very steep climb. Got organic oranges enroute and kept devouring them in kilos through the drive and got to Jorethang. Jorethang was by the river Rangit and the road to Darjeeling from here was really bad and narrow. The climbs were quite steep and I had to engage 4WD at a few places to get out safely. At Darjeeling, we wanted to see the train chug along and stopped for few pics. Some surprises are just unimaginable. Here I was parked at Darjeeling and trying to catch the train chug along to kurseong and as I was waving to folks in the train, saw a friend of mine staring at me from inside the train. He was equally taken aback but was good fun. We chased the train around for a while and reached Ghoom. Took a break at the station and spent time having tea. It was evening and quite cold in Darjeeling. Thereafter it was a straight run to Siliguri via kurseong and we reached Hotel summit by dinner time.

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0450.jpg
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Old 13th January 2015, 10:19   #35
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Default Siliguri-Durgapur

Started early morning the next day from Siliguri and made a dash for Purnea. Wanted to touch base with Sheel on my way back as well. After Islapmpur, there was a huge traffic jam with a zillion people with bows and arrows on the road blocking traffic. Apparently, some strike was on and we had run straight into one. I took the opposite lane and got behind an army commando truck and followed it like we were one. The white coloured jeep really helped and most people thought we were part of the army unit gauging from expressions. Thereafter, it was a free run to Purnea. Called Sheel asking for some route information and a place to have lunch and Sheel decides on a place and we meet up. I see the brand new Scorpio again but this time a little bit dirty on the outside. Sheel told me that he had been on a drive himself and was very happy with the vehicle. Had a tasty meal at a road side dhaba and we discussed route options with him. We were thinking of going to Gaya and taking the Nagpur route back to Bangalore just so that we could avoid the Sethu. But Sheel called up someone he knew at Bhagalpur and got us some live feed. We decided to take the sethu and move to Durgapur after bidding the man goodbye.

Vikramshila sethu was a breeze and so was Bhagalpur. The Dumka section was bad as usual but this time I had company in the jeep and so it wasn't unbearable. We were both wearing masks to keep dust away and negotiated the bad section after twilight. At Dumka, had the siuri-bholpur-bardhaman option but had read on the forum about some bridge near bholpur being broken and traffic being diverted. This made us take the Dumka - Massalia- Asansol route to hit NH2 and that was an excellent road to drive on. It was pitch dark with not a soul in sight and excellent tarmac. Proceeded to Durgapur from Asansol and got a room for the night. New year celebrations were on in full swing everywhere and we had a good time at Durgapur on the 31st night.
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:29   #36
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Default Durgapur-Balasore-Bubaneshwar-Vizag-Vijayawada-Bangalore

Decided to not touch kolkata and kharagpur and instead decided on Bankura-simlapal-silda-gopiballabpur-baripada-balasore route. Roads were not good near baripada but were ok most of the way. The countryside and weather were extremely nice and we had light drizzle throughout our journey till Balasore. Since this route was through interiors, we saw almost no other vehicle on some parts of the stretch. Was not a very fast drive but was an enjoyable one. The drive was on the 1st of Jan and set the mood for this year's travel. Reached Balasore and had snacks at a hotel in town, took a small break before deciding to start for Bubaneshwar. It was 6.30pm by then and was raining continuously. Visibility was poor on the highway and my headlights were like candles in the dark, rainy night. Drove carefully and made it to cuttack and then to Bubaneshwar crossing the Mahanadi bridge.

Stayed at Bubaneshwar for the night at a roadside hotel. Had a tasty meal, discussed plans for the next day and slept like a log. The next day's target was Vizag and was a good distance away. Roads were brilliant and speeds increased, fatigue reduced and we were having fun discussing the trip. Decided to take a diversion for Chilka lake near Barkul and spent time there.

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0018.jpg
Chilka at Barkul

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0042.jpg
at chilka. Made a Thar key chain here.

It was a non stop run to Vizag from Chilka and we halted for the night at Palm Beach hotel. Lovely place with nice views. Took a walk along the shore, clicked a few pictures and bought a few provisions and took it easy at Vizag.

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0051.jpg
vizag beach

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0099.jpg
sunrise at vizag

Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-dsc_0123.jpg
Somewhere near rajamundry

The plan for the next day was a marathon run to Bangalore from Vizag. Reached Ongole at 6pm on the 3rd of Jan and decided to continue without a halt to Bangalore. This was the only day I pushed myself and it was easy as this was the home stretch. The night drive from Ongole to Bangalore was a little tiring and I was feeling sleepy. Took power naps at Chitoor and mulbagal and safely made it home by 5,30am on 4th Jan. The trip meter said 7000kms and we got back full of energy for 2015.
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Old 13th January 2015, 16:56   #37
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

megazoid,

What to say - Wonderful travelogue and some great pictures. Doing this kind of a long trip, that too alone needs something special. Wow ! I would like to try my luck one day with a long trip like this and to an equally exotic location like this or probably this one itself, but not alone, with some friends and like minded adventure seekers.

Congrats once again and your Thar looks fantastic in that terrain !

Swami
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Old 15th January 2015, 11:45   #38
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

I have one word for your TL - Mesmerizing. The photographs as well as the accompanying writing are profoundly engaging.

I was also traveling through Neora Valley and Darjeeling at that time. I returned on the 5th. Inspired by your TL, I have included a few photographs of my own. My apologies if this does not meet your approval.

While entering Kurseong City.
Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-20141231_133234.jpg

View from Neora Valley Jungle Camp.
Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-img_2117.jpg

Sunset from Keventer's balconey.
Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-img_2172.jpg

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-img_2242.jpg

Small ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom.
Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar-img_2310.jpg
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Old 17th January 2015, 01:34   #39
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

I have simply no words to congratulate you for the wonderful drive you had in the THAR. A capable vehicle surely can take you places. And i admire your endurance to drive all the way from Bangalore. I must say that people like you are an inspiration for many like me who would like to make such a drive to distant places.

An amazing travelogue with some very beautiful pics. Happy mile crunching on your Thar.
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Old 19th January 2015, 11:05   #40
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

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This is a customary visit for all sikkim travelers and was for me as well. We drove to Changu and the experience was a nice one. Broken roads, great views and biting cold. Tsongmo (aka changu lake) was not crowded at all and we had the place to ourselves. Had read so much about the place that when I got there, felt like a familiar place.


After spending time at Changu, headed to Baba Mandir which was a few km further. We had some spectacular views for company along the way.
Just one question, what about permits? How did you manage it?

The point where one goes to Hanuman mandir (at steep height) there only, officials check for papers/permits.

I am not much interested in the border or Baba ka mandir, but Chaangu can be done again in my own car (now)
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Old 22nd January 2015, 21:54   #41
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Default Re: Mesmerizing Sandakphu - In a Mahindra Thar

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Just one question, what about permits? How did you manage it?
The point where one goes to Hanuman mandir (at steep height) there only, officials check for papers/permits.
I am not much interested in the border or Baba ka mandir, but Chaangu can be done again in my own car (now)
Near Hanuman Mandir is where they check for permits. Permits can be procured from the permit desk near MG road, Gangtok. A letter, 2 photographs, ID proof and vehicle document proofs should get you the permit without difficulty provided they find the vehicle suitable. Difficulty arises only when crowds are large, weather is bad or when it is a large group.
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Old 13th March 2015, 19:00   #42
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Default Re: Durgapur-Balasore-Bubaneshwar-Vizag-Vijayawada-Bangalore

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The trip meter said 7000kms and we got back full of energy for 2015.
How did i miss this thread?! Excellent narrative and captures megazoid. Rating 5 star.

Never been to NE and hopefully the Thar would take me also there once, now that he is familiar with the terrain
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Old 13th March 2015, 19:37   #43
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Default Re: Durgapur-Balasore-Bubaneshwar-Vizag-Vijayawada-Bangalore

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How did i miss this thread?! Excellent narrative and captures megazoid. Rating 5 star.

Never been to NE and hopefully the Thar would take me also there once, now that he is familiar with the terrain
Am sure you will have a great time with the Thar Jaggu.
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Old 14th March 2015, 10:17   #44
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Default Re: Durgapur-Balasore-Bubaneshwar-Vizag-Vijayawada-Bangalore

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Never been to NE and hopefully the Thar would take me also there once, now that he is familiar with the terrain.
Dear Jaggu - hello! You bought a Thar? If yes, please post pictures.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 15th March 2015, 06:05   #45
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Default Re: Yuksam - Darjeeling - Siliguri

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Originally Posted by megazoid View Post
The return journey from Yuksam in West Sikkim to Bangalore was a really long one and we didn't know where we would be on New years eve. Started back on the 30th of Dec for Bangalore ......... it was a straight run to Siliguri via kurseong and we reached Hotel summit by dinner time.

Attachment 1327771
Hello megazoid, a fabulous write up and ballistic pictures ! This one of the steam locomotive is worth a prize any day. Did you finally get to meet your friend who was on the train? Such coincidences are rare and can almost be called a synchronicity!

I remember, way back in 1975, as a junior engineer on the SCI tanker "Rajendra Prasad", we had called at Aruba (Netherland Antilles) for bunkers and walking into one of the tourist trap shops (many owned by expat Sindhis!) and meeting a school friend who had come to join his uncle in the business. For me, that was the mother of synchronicities !

Thanks for a great travelogue.
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