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Old 18th February 2015, 11:47   #46
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
Excellent TL gearhead_mait !!

Very extensively written and amazing pictures must say. The pleasure of meeting up with you at the Kolkata Winter Meet 2014 just got better in going through your travelogue.

I really liked the way you have maintained your car. It looks nice, neat and cute. So, posting a Pic of your ride captured at the TEAM-BHP Kolkata Winter Meet :
Attachment 1341076

The initiative taken up by you in travelling with family to the hills in your own car (a hatch with full load on that terrain) was courageous must say. Actually it's all in the mind and that there has to be a first time. Good to see that the EON did very well and that you had a wonderful time and a memorable experience. Now that you have got a hang of driving on the hills, shall await more posts from you about your travel.
Thanks a lot for posting a picture of my car! Your car is well maintained too, specially the alloys are awesome.

Driving in the Hills has its own charm.
Someone asked me after the trip:
"I know you enjoyed the driving. But what's the difference with respect to the co-passengers. They could have enjoyed the same if they had traveled by train and took a rented car"

If the question was asked before the trip, I seriously wouldn't have the answer to this question. But now I ask them if they have ever enjoyed the drive in early morning into the Himalayas, even in rented cars. We started from Siliguri as early as 7 am whereas maximum trains would arrive at NJP at 9 am. The calmness, serenity with practically no tourist vehicles around, is just pure magic.

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There are a few things that I want to know from you about the road condition as you have recently traveled in that zone. Kindly brief up the road condition :
1.) From Jorethang to Melli on your way back, &
2.) From Kaluk to Pelling to Singshore Bridge when you went for sight seeing
3.) The entry into Alpine Cheese Factory was pre-planned or do they allow general visitors to hop in any time of the day ?

Have been planning and still am (& nothing materializing ) on a trip to Pelling; so thought your views might help.

Keep posting such beautiful travelogues !!
1) Jorethang to Melli is rough, but drivable. With AC on (because of the dust) and with sedate driving and with river Rangeet beside you, is pretty good. In fact, its more good considering the detour I made on my onward journey. Highly suggested.

2) Kaluk-Singshore-Pelling : Very good roads. In fact I was cursing myself to take a rented car for such a beautiful terrain, after driving though harsh roads all the way the previous day. But, after all, the decision of the family comes first.

3) It was not pre-planned. The guide cum driver of the rented car (for sightseeing) took us inside. It looked like the driver knew the chaps working inside the factory. We also bought cheese from the factory at cheap rate. The factory closes around 4-4:30 pm.

Don't only plan, execute once and see for yourself.
Cheers!
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Old 18th February 2015, 12:08   #47
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

I totally agree with you on your point of the morning drive uphill. It's always amazing !!

Thanks for the update on the Alpine Cheese Factory and the update on the Road Conditions in that part of West Sikkim.

I am looking forward to hit the hills soon; yet once again !! Thanks to travelogues like yours; the mountains do not stop calling me back..........
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Old 8th February 2016, 01:17   #48
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

gearhead_mait: Good overview about your travel. While car plays an important role in the roads that you want to take but here at Team-Bhp, we all run with a passion and the Tagline "impossible is Nothing" suits each one the best. You have just earned that with this feat. Its your passion that takes you places, not the resources.

I was just making my plans for the upcoming summer vacations and did not want to do the regular Tourist circuit (LEH/LADAKH). That is when, i started checking google maps for the distance it would take for me to reach Darjeeling and then to sikkim. While searching, i came across this thread and voila, my planning is done in less than 2hrs. Thanks to you for the great description. Now, i have a skeleton of what to do and i will have to just improvise to match my schedule. I might throw a lot of question to you as i continue my research.
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Old 8th February 2016, 11:59   #49
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
gearhead_mait: Good overview about your travel. While car plays an important role in the roads that you want to take but here at Team-Bhp, we all run with a passion and the Tagline "impossible is Nothing" suits each one the best. You have just earned that with this feat. Its your passion that takes you places, not the resources.
Thanks a lot joelchandra! I agree with your point, but there are some places where 4X4 and high ground clearance has its edge. But yes, 90 percent of the places are easily doable in small cars. Recently, in my East Sikkim trip, I have witnessed how a beautiful road just transforms into landslide affected trail just 2 kms before my destination, and it was tough negotiating the caved in portions of the trail in my EON, more so as I was on the descent.

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
I was just making my plans for the upcoming summer vacations and did not want to do the regular Tourist circuit (LEH/LADAKH). That is when, i started checking google maps for the distance it would take for me to reach Darjeeling and then to sikkim. While searching, i came across this thread and voila, my planning is done in less than 2hrs. Thanks to you for the great description. Now, i have a skeleton of what to do and i will have to just improvise to match my schedule. I might throw a lot of question to you as i continue my research.
North Bengal and Sikkim belt have some beautiful places tucked in.

You may also want to look at this travelogue of my recent trip to East Sikkim and North Bengal:

East Sikkim, Rishikhola and Iccheygaon (From Snarl to Old Silk Route : Rishi Khola, Gnathang, Kupup (East Sikkim) & Icchey Gaon)
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Old 8th February 2016, 16:05   #50
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Thanks a lot joelchandra! I agree with your point, but there are some places where 4X4 and high ground clearance has its edge. But yes, 90 percent of the places are easily doable in small cars. Recently, in my East Sikkim trip, I have witnessed how a beautiful road just transforms into landslide affected trail just 2 kms before my destination, and it was tough negotiating the caved in portions of the trail in my EON, more so as I was on the descent.


East Sikkim, Rishikhola and Iccheygaon (From Snarl to Old Silk Route : Rishi Khola, Gnathang, Kupup (East Sikkim) & Icchey Gaon)
Agree! I was talking about the spirit and passion. Totally accept that there will always be limitation beyond one's control. Also, thanks for sharing the other travelogue. Just started off with that...
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Old 8th February 2016, 19:06   #51
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

Another lovely travelogue with beautiful clicks ! People like you are living proof of the fact that its the man and not the machine which counts. One doesn't need a big "SUV" to go long distance road trips or to take on rough and broken stretches of the hills. This TL will definitely help me when i go for Sikkim drive in coming months
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Old 9th February 2016, 11:50   #52
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

gearhead_mait: I have a query. I am travelling from Hyderabad and my tentative plan is as follow

Day 1:- Hyderabad to Vizag (Retire for the day)
Day 2:- Vizag - Cuttak(Visit Puri on the way and stay at Cuttak)

Now my query is for Day 3, I want to start from Cuttak and drive for about 600 - 700kms before taking a halt. Since Kolkata is just 400kms from cuttak, i would want to travel another 200-250Kms and stay there for the night. That way, i will have to travel less before i reach either Darjelling or Shillong on Day 4.

Can you please suggest a good city or town between Kolkata and Siliguri/Darjeeling where there is a decent hotel to stay(In the range of 200Kms - 250kms).
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Old 9th February 2016, 12:17   #53
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Can you please suggest a good city or town between Kolkata and Siliguri/Darjeeling where there is a decent hotel to stay(In the range of 200Kms - 250kms).
I would suggest you to stay either at Santiniketan (~170 kms from Kolkata) or Siuri ( about 35 kms from Santininetan).

Santiniketan, being a prime tourist spot in Bengal, has a wide choice of hotels.

If you plan to stay at Santiniketan, you can consider staying at Park Guest House:
http://www.parkguesthouse.in/

I stayed here during my visit to Santiniketan in October and its very good. Also, the property is located adjacent to Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary about 5 minutes drive from Santiniketan-Siuri highway.

I would personally suggest you to stay at Siuri as this would be helpful for your next day travel to Siliguri (which is painful, no matter which route you take). Moreover, if you stay at Siuri, you can take either Dumka-Bhagalpur route or Rampurhat-Morgram-NH34 route depending on the situation.

You can get more information on the route to be followed and also post your queries here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ding-nh34.html (Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34)

We have a very active group of informative travelers here in Kolkata who are subscribed to this thread.
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Old 9th February 2016, 12:54   #54
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

I have shown this thread to my colleagues to make them understand what a EON can do if driven properly. Amazing travelogue.
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Old 9th February 2016, 13:37   #55
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
I would suggest you to stay either at Santiniketan (~170 kms from Kolkata) or Siuri ( about 35 kms from Santininetan).

Santiniketan, being a prime tourist spot in Bengal, has a wide choice of hotels.

If you plan to stay at Santiniketan, you can consider staying at Park Guest House:
http://www.parkguesthouse.in/

I stayed here during my visit to Santiniketan in October and its very good. Also, the property is located adjacent to Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary about 5 minutes drive from Santiniketan-Siuri highway.

I would personally suggest you to stay at Siuri as this would be helpful for your next day travel to Siliguri (which is painful, no matter which route you take). Moreover, if you stay at Siuri, you can take either Dumka-Bhagalpur route or Rampurhat-Morgram-NH34 route depending on the situation.

You can get more information on the route to be followed and also post your queries here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ding-nh34.html (Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34)

We have a very active group of informative travelers here in Kolkata who are subscribed to this thread.
Brilliant. This is just what i wanted. I tried checking Santiniketan and seems like a good option. The hotel also seem to be affordable and at the same time well maintained. I am now looking at Siuri and it seem to have fewer options. I will surely plan to stay in one of these towns and During my return journey, i will go through Kolkata
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Old 1st July 2017, 15:43   #56
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

Hello Soumyajit,

I have been reading this fantastic travelogue of yours! It carries a wealth of information.

I would like to know which route is to be preferred - via Singtam-Ravangla or directly through Jorethang?

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Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Siliguri to Kaluk
Kaluk to Siliguri
Many thanks!
Sayak
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Old 3rd July 2017, 13:05   #57
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

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Hello Soumyajit,

I have been reading this fantastic travelogue of yours! It carries a wealth of information.

I would like to know which route is to be preferred - via Singtam-Ravangla or directly through Jorethang?



Many thanks!
Sayak
Sayak, The Melli Jorethang route is in shambles currently. If you can take that pain, the road otherwise is okay. Singtam, Ravangla route would be longer but you will get better roads throughout.

Some picture from this thread may help.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...bode-gods.html (Sikkim - The Abode of Gods)


Regards,

Pawan

Last edited by PapaBravo : 3rd July 2017 at 13:06. Reason: Adding link
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Old 3rd July 2017, 14:08   #58
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Sayak, The Melli Jorethang route is in shambles currently. If you can take that pain, the road otherwise is okay. Singtam, Ravangla route would be longer but you will get better roads throughout.

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Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
Hello Soumyajit,

I have been reading this fantastic travelogue of yours! It carries a wealth of information.

I would like to know which route is to be preferred - via Singtam-Ravangla or directly through Jorethang
The road widening work from Melli - Jorethang is still in progress. During my Dooars trip, I enquired from a fellow traveller who came via that route from Pelling. As per him, the road condition was very bad.
Having said that, that route is way shorter than the Singtam-Ravangla-Legship route, and that's why the cab drivers take the pain of Jorethang route for going towards areas of West Sikkim. If you are short on time, you could take the Jorethang route (manageable with careful riding/driving) but if you have some time in hand, the Ravangla route is way more scenic.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 14:10   #59
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Default Re: Where the road leads to the Himalayas! Kaluk, West Sikkim

Hi Pawan & Soumyajit,

A million dollar question for you . Can it be done in a hatchback? (I think got the answer I was looking for )

I had a word with Ghonday Village resort, and they said its doable.

Regards,
Sayak

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Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Sayak, The Melli Jorethang route is in shambles currently. If you can take that pain, the road otherwise is okay. Singtam, Ravangla route would be longer but you will get better roads throughout.


Regards,

Pawan

Last edited by sayakc : 3rd July 2017 at 14:19. Reason: I think I already got the answer
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Old 3rd July 2017, 14:22   #60
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Hi Pawan & Soumyajit,

A million dollar question for you . Can it be done in a hatchback? (Got the answer I was looking for )

I had a word with Ghonday Village resort, and they said its doable.

Regards,
Sayak
Absolutely! No problem on the Jorethang broken stretch with the hatchback (if the monsoon doesn't add to the slush).
Difficulty, if any, would be on the Nayabazar - Zoom steep climb. There is one alternative for that in the form of Nayabazar-Reshi bazaar and take left from there. It goes via Rinchenpong to Kaluk. The road continues to other parts of West Sikkim i.e. Uttarey via Singshore and Pelling via Dentam.
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