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Old 27th March 2015, 14:07   #46
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Default Re: Arunachal Pradesh

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ARUNACHAL PRADESH

There are two ways to go to Ziro from Itanagar. One direct and one by coming down to Assam near Lakhimpur and then going up. I took six opinions locally. Three said I should go direct and that I would be crazy and foolish to go back to Assam. Three said the exact opposite. Either way I was going to be crazy. I chose the Assam option. Big mistake as it turned out.
I had been to Ziro in November 2013 and was in the same dilemma. I too opted for going via Assam which turned to be a nightmare. But hats off to you for braving out to go there in an Xcent. I had taken a Scorpio and it tossed, tilted, pitched, jumped and what not till i reached Ziro at around 11pm.
To my horror i found all shops closed and not a single soul was to be seen whom i could ask directions for Siiro Resort!My phone too lost its connectivity. Luckily i saw a pair of dull lights coming towards me in my rear view mirror. Then the lights became a bit brighter and i could visualize a pick up truck with some people standing in its deck.They were returning from a funeral and I was a bit skeptical to ask them for directions. Finally i asked them and much to my ease they turned out to be very friendly and helpful. But the irony of the situation was that none of them knew about Siiro Resort, one of them told that there is a resort some 4-5 kms down the road but he was not sure about its name. I followed them for around 2 kms after which they took a diversion and asked me to go further down the road.
Again confusion creeped into my mind (what if its not the same resort i had booked, can i find my way back, etc) and i continued down the road. But some time later i found someone waving his hands and asking me to stop. It was Obing (the guy in your pic), manager of the Resort. He was waiting for me on the road in pitch darkness. Finally i reached there with quite an excursion, had my dinner which was pre arranged and had a sound sleep.
I woke up to a view of green and serene landscape with pine trees and mountains in the background and was mesmerized with its beauty.
Did you visit the Shiv Ling at Ziro?
And thanks for bring back my memories, feeling nostalgic after seeing your pictures.
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Old 27th March 2015, 21:21   #47
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Thanks Josh. Worrier heart ?? No No. With wanderernomad in that region, nobody need worry. I really mean it. If you meant a warrior's heart, then ,while I am touched and flattered, I wish it were true !
Sorry for the typo , It was warrior not worrier and I mean it, not everybody dares to travel such places/Distance alone for Pleasure .

Keep it up.

Cheers

Josh
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Old 27th March 2015, 21:31   #48
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

Incredible. Both your spirit and the travelogue.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 28th March 2015, 08:33   #49
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Amazing travelogue.kept me glued to it. intricate details and descriptive photographs. 5 star.
Thank you very much. Glad that you liked it.

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Originally Posted by Arkesh View Post
I had been to Ziro in November 2013 and was in the same dilemma.
Did you visit the Shiv Ling at Ziro?
And thanks for bring back my memories, feeling nostalgic after seeing your pictures.
Delighted to send you back , in memories, to your 2013 trip. Thankfully, I reached Ziro when it was still light, and had to ask around too for directions to Siiro resort. As you rightly observed, people are very helpful - one two wheeler rider escorted me to the right road, gave me perfect directions and so I reached easily.

Yes, I went to the Shivling. I also went to that remote famer couple (who received an award for the best farmer), who live all alone in a place which can only be approached by a trek of many steps up and down a hill. Amazing place Ziro is.

Thanks so much for your kind comment.

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Incredible. Both your spirit and the travelogue.

Regards
Sutripta
Thanks Sutripta. Coming from an expert like you, it is high praise.
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Old 28th March 2015, 14:16   #50
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

Congratulations on your wonderful journey!! You have true wanderlust and a spirit to match it!!

You have shattered the myth that you need a SUV or 4WD to undertake such a journey. Hope to visit the Seven Sisters someday.

I had only heard in passing that a village in India was voted cleanest village in Asia, and now I know it is 'Mawlynnong'.
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Old 29th March 2015, 07:48   #51
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Congratulations on your wonderful journey!! You have true wanderlust and a spirit to match it!!

You have shattered the myth that you need a SUV or 4WD to undertake such a journey. Hope to visit the Seven Sisters someday.

I had only heard in passing that a village in India was voted cleanest village in Asia, and now I know it is 'Mawlynnong'.

Thanks tiger_stripes. You are very kind. Would encourage visiting one of the most beautiful parts of our country.

While Mawlynnong deserves credit for exploiting the tourism opportunity from cleanliness, there were many other villages which were as clean. The Ao Naga villages around Mokokchung are also impeccably clean. In general the cleanliness standards across many of these states is way way higher than in other states in India.
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Old 30th March 2015, 14:56   #52
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

Hats off for the review mate. This is one of the parts of India which is still unexplored in terms of geography, people and culture for the vast majority of people.

Hopefully your trusty steed came through fine, but how did you find accessibility to mechanics/workshops in the region?
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Old 31st March 2015, 09:56   #53
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Hats off for the review mate. This is one of the parts of India which is still unexplored in terms of geography, people and culture for the vast majority of people.

Hopefully your trusty steed came through fine, but how did you find accessibility to mechanics/workshops in the region?

Thanks very much. Yes, its not very well visited. It is also a fact that because of the poor infrastructure, it's for the more seasoned traveller, rather than the casual tourist.

The car performed brilliantly - well above expectations. No mechanical trouble and just one flat tyre. I was surprised to see the extent of Hyundai's service network in the North East. I knew each of the state capitals had a Service Centre, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a Hyundai authorised service centre in even the smaller towns I had a night halt in. I didn't need to use them, other than for the routine servicing that became due, but their presence gives confidence. I dare say Hyundai's network is starting to approach that of Maruti's. Tata is also well present, primarily due to the Sumo being the vehicle of choice for public transport here. Outside of these three, the network of other manufacturers is extremely sparse in the entire North East.

I have posted a more detailed review of the car's performance in the Xcent Official Review thread in case you are interested.
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Old 18th August 2015, 17:18   #54
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

Brilliant travelogue! 6 stars out of five!

I'm planning a similar trip (a bit longer) too. I'll probably go in Jan/Feb, next year.

But since you're in Bangalore, can we catch up over coffee? I have a route in mind and want to know what your take would be.

Thanks!!
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Old 18th August 2015, 21:33   #55
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Brilliant travelogue! 6 stars out of five!

I'm planning a similar trip (a bit longer) too. I'll probably go in Jan/Feb, next year.

But since you're in Bangalore, can we catch up over coffee? I have a route in mind and want to know what your take would be.

Thanks!!
Thanks for the kind words. Delighted to see another traveler to the region - it will be an absolutely wonderful trip for sure.

Happy to meet in Bangalore and exchange notes. Since I can't PM you as yet, mail me at damchuatgmaildotcom and we'll fix up to meet.
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Old 19th August 2015, 10:20   #56
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Happy to meet in Bangalore and exchange notes.
Sent you an email. Thanks again!
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Old 26th August 2015, 16:09   #57
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

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Originally Posted by wabbster View Post
But since you're in Bangalore, can we catch up over coffee? I have a route in mind and want to know what your take would be.

Thanks!!
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Sent you an email. Thanks again!
Can you guys include me when you are meeting..I am visiting NE in November.
I can share my route plan and some pointers on it.
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Old 1st March 2018, 21:09   #58
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Default Re: Mizoram

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MIZORAM

Mizoram is truly a outstanding state to visit - very beautiful, very peaceful now and the Mizos are a wonderful people. I timed it to coincide with Chapchar Kut, their most popular festival. Unfortunately this was the state I did least justice to. Read on

Day 29 : Imphal - Silchar (274 kms)

This was a drive I was dreading. Every report on the Net terms this as a torturous, horrible drive, best not undertaken. Years ago, the well known journeyer from western India reported only half jokingly, that at places he had to virtually get down and carry his car (It was a Matiz then I believe). So I feared for what lay in store.

Actually not bad at all. Except for a small stretch which was sheer hell, the rest of the road has been done up and it was a lovely hill drive. See roads section coming up for a detailed report on the road.

Day 30 & 31 : Laid low in Silchar feeling a bit unwell. Consequently, missed the Chapchar Kut in Mizoram.


Day 32 : Silchar To Aizawl : 239 kms


What should have been a good drive turned bad because I took a wrong turning and travelled 60 kms more than necessary and instead of good roads, faced awful ones. Sometimes you just aren't lucky.

Day 33 : An amazing town : Aizawl

What an amazing town Aizawl is. It is a steep steep city overgrown like crazy on a hill. All roads have a gradient of 30 deg, some 45 and more ! It must be one of the steepest towns in the land. And instead of the sleepy, laid back, town I had expected, I found a throbbing one. I came at the fag end of Chapchar Kut, but still the streets were full of people gaily dressed, music was throbbing in the air, there were tons of celebrations and it felt like the most happening place in the region. Unfortunately, I came too late to see the celebrations,. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous Cheraw (remember the bamboo dance with girls daintily stepping in and out of clashing bamboo poles). No luck, for I was too late.


Attachment 1352783
(A distant view of Aizawl)


Attachment 1352778
(Impossible gradients - the photo deceives but that was a 45 deg gradient)


Attachment 1352777
(Aizawl is a very clean city. Hardly anybody litters)


Attachment 1352776
(Street parking Aizawl style)


Attachment 1352774
(You go from one street to another like this)


Attachment 1352773
(They have their own NBA league !)


Attachment 1352775
(BMX on the roof top - and this is a laid back city ??)


Attachment 1352779
(Surely that must be the most picturesque football ground in the country)


Aizawl has its own Taj Mahal - called the KV Paradise Monument. Khawlhring and Varte were a happily married middle aged couple when suddenly, in a tragic road accident, Varte died. Khawlhring has since then spent his entire savings and time in constructing a memorial for his beloved wife. Its a moving tale of love.


Attachment 1352780
(The KV Paradise Monument)


Attachment 1352781
(Steps leading to the monument - everywhere it is a climb)


Attachment 1352782
(In memory of Varte)


Mizoram is a devoutly Christian state. Everything shuts down on a Sunday, and I mean literally everything. Even petrol pumps are closed and I had to hunt for the only one that was open.


Attachment 1352784
(Going to church wearing the Sunday finest)


My original plan was to go to Champhai, the most beautiful region of Mizoram bordering Myanmar. The Murlen National Park, the home of the hoolock gibbon is there as are the Blue Mountains. Zokhawtar is the border town here, as Moreh is in Manipur. Again you can cross the border and go freely into Myanmar up to the Rih Dil. This is a lake considered holy by all Mizos which they believe souls of ancestors visit. But when the national boundaries were drawn, this fell into Myanmar. The Mizos in India were cut off from their holy place for a while. With the easing of border restrictions now, all Indians can freely travel to the lake and come back on the same day. Champhai is also starting to become a wine growing region. Interesting, for Mizoram is a dry state ! Unfortunately I was still feeling down and cancelled going there. Please go there and report on your travelogue !

So I just touched Aizawl and returned back. What a pity.

Day 34 : Aizawl to Silchar (178 kms)

This time I took the right roads and it was a lovely smooth drive.
@Secretariat

Is it possible to do Aizawl - Imphal in a day on a Dominar? Or a break at Silchar is advisable. Since you've done such a wonderful and an unforgettable trip, I need your suggestions on my plan below:

0. Fly in to Guwahati. Visit Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple. The bike would already have been collected by a freind there from railway station.
1. Guwahati – Shillong (breakfast) – Cherrapunji – Mawlynglong (night stay): 250/10
2. Mawlynglong – Dawki (via Riwai-Dawki Rd.) – Dawki (boat ride) – Silchar (night Stay): 250/12
3. Silchar-Agartala (night stay): 300/13
4. Agartala-Aizawl (night stay): 350/15
5. Aizawl
6. Aizwal – Silchar (night stay): 200/8
7. Silchar – Imphal (night stay): 260/12

8. Imphal
9. Imphal - Moreh – Tamu – Imphal: 250/1 day
10. Imphal – Kohima (night stay): 150/8
11. Kohima
12. Kohima – Majuli (night stay): 250/10
13. Majuli – Ziro: 220/12
14. Ziro – Bhalukpong: 300/10
15. Bhalukpong – Tawang: 300/10
16. Tawang
17. Tawang – Bhalukpong: 300/10
18. Bhalukpong – Guwahati: 250/8
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Old 2nd March 2018, 07:46   #59
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Default Re: Solo drive to the North East - All Seven Sisters

Congratulations on planning an adventurous trip on a Dominar. As requested, a few suggestions on your itinerary

A key question is when are you planning the trip. If you had already left by now, it would have been ideal as you would get good weather. Rains may start in April and that will make the trip far less enjoyable - landslides are frequent and the poor roads turn slushy and make riding difficult.

On the itinerary

1. I don't think a direct drive from Agartala to Aizawl is possible. Although maps show a road, when I had gone three years ago, that road did not exist for a considerable distance and there was no way to cut through. There was no access from Manu / Panisagar to Aizawl. The only way was through Silchar. I am not sure if things have changed (unlikely given how slow things move on the infrastructure front there). Check if you have local sources, or ask Senior BHPian Wanderernomad who is an authority on the North East.

2. You can't combine Aizawl to Imphal if you are coming through Silchar, into one day. Its too long and tiring. You have to break it up into two days as you have done. There is a direct route through Churachandpur, but that was absolute hellish roads at that time and its also a disturbance prone area and hence not advisable.

3. Ziro to Bhalukpong is too long a ride and probably not doable. Again, I think the direct route exists only in name and you have to enter Assam and go back. Again Wanderernomad is the best person to confirm.

Overall the schedule is too packed and you won't have the time to really enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Each day's ride is hard and will leave you tired. If your idea is to just drive across all the states, then fine. But if you want to see a bit of the beauty, then I would suggesting loosening the itinerary a little. Assuming that you won't have more days to spare, I would suggest the following
  • Skip Agartala - you are not staying a day there and by the time you reach, probably everything would be closed.
  • Another possibility is to either skip Ziro or skip Tawang. That will save you some time and you'll still have touched Arunachal.
Hopefully you can keep some flexibility in your trip as landslides during the rains and spontaneous bandhs are a feature of life in the North East. An exact back to back schedule is very difficult to maintain.

This promises to be a wonderful journey. Good luck and write a travelogue when you come back !
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Old 2nd March 2018, 15:22   #60
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Default Re: Mizoram

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@Secretariat

Is it possible to do Aizawl - Imphal in a day on a Dominar? Or a break at Silchar is advisable. Since you've done such a wonderful and an unforgettable trip, I need your suggestions on my plan below:

0. Fly in to Guwahati. Visit Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple. The bike would already have been collected by a freind there from railway station.
1. Guwahati – Shillong (breakfast) – Cherrapunji – Mawlynglong (night stay): 250/10
2. Mawlynglong – Dawki (via Riwai-Dawki Rd.) – Dawki (boat ride) – Silchar (night Stay): 250/12
3. Silchar-Agartala (night stay): 300/13
4. Agartala-Aizawl (night stay): 350/15
5. Aizawl
6. Aizwal – Silchar (night stay): 200/8
7. Silchar – Imphal (night stay): 260/12

8. Imphal
9. Imphal - Moreh – Tamu – Imphal: 250/1 day
10. Imphal – Kohima (night stay): 150/8
11. Kohima
12. Kohima – Majuli (night stay): 250/10
13. Majuli – Ziro: 220/12
14. Ziro – Bhalukpong: 300/10
15. Bhalukpong – Tawang: 300/10
16. Tawang
17. Tawang – Bhalukpong: 300/10
18. Bhalukpong – Guwahati: 250/8

Hello bullet_chacha,

First of let me congratulate on planning such a wonderful journey.

If you are just planning to drive and not enjoy the region, then this plan looks doable. Even the ziro to bhalupkong is doable (we did Tenga to Ziro (XUV500: Drive to the abode of 3 of the 7 Sisters (North-East)) in 2015 which comes to 360+ kilometers).



But I would suggest otherwise to enjoy the nature/place.

To be practical, you need
1. 2 days in cherrapunji (1 day for root bridge), other for waterfall, Mawsmai Caves, Mawlynnong the cleanest village
2. 2 days in ziro
3. At least 2 days in tawang (3 would be better)
4. 1 day at bomdilla/tenga

As Secretrait mentioned be wary of land slides/rain and bandhs
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