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Old 14th May 2015, 16:58   #1
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Default Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

I have lost count the number of times I have been to Darjeeling and frankly speaking there is no need to. There are countless threads on Darjeeling and this one is not going to add any more value. But this was a special trip for me as it was the first time our Thar, christened The Sherpa, was going to the Himalayas. Apart from that it was special in another sense that my college friend was coming to Kolkata after a long time and we were making this trip together. We were a bit skeptical about how they would be able to cope up with the harsh ride quality of the Thar and that too on NH34. But thankfully the ride quality of the Thar when fully loaded was found to be quite good.
The agenda of the trip was quite clear - Good food, have fun with college friends and drive the Thar in the hills
With these in mind we started from Kolkata at around 7 p.m. and took NH34. We encountered dense fog en route and speed came down to 20 kmph with occasional bursts of 40 kmph. There was not a single truck or bus on the highway and even Dalkhola crossing was open!! In spite of the dense fog we made good progress due to lack of traffic and reached Siliguri the next morning at around 7:30 a.m. We had filled up diesel at the Dalkhola BP pump and did not need to stop at Siliguri. Continued to Kurseong which took us about an hour and half from Siliguri. I have been used to the Bolero so much in the hills that it took me sometime to get adjusted to the Thar. Initially I was comparing with the Bolero and was not liking the way the Thar behaved. After sometime I thought what the heck, this is my vehicle as well and why am I even comparing!! Concentrated on driving the Thar instead of comparing and everything started to fall into place. I realised that once you get used to it, the vehicle is immense fun to drive. The short wheelbase, the sharp handling, the powerful engine are designed to bring a smile on your face.
We stayed at Cochrane Place (http://www.imperialchai.com/) on the Pankhabari Road in Kurseong. It is a lovely place and and is highly recommended. They have got good rating on tripadvisor The food, service and behavior of the staff are par excellence. In the evening we went to Darjeeling for dinner. It takes about 2 hours to reach Darjeeling from Kurseong. Local taxi will take Rs 1500 for one way.

Parking space is adequate -
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2643.jpg

Inside Cochrane Place
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-2014_1225_120813_002.jpg

Sunset from the balcony -
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2631.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2635.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2632.jpg

Next day we left for Ghoom. We stayed at a place called Hotel Rhododendron in Ghoom and would not recommend it at all. We reached there to find out that in-spite of having paid the full amount in advance they had given our rooms to somebody else. We were almost on the brink of fighting with the manager. The guests had locked the rooms that were supposed to be ours and had left for sightseeing. The manager claimed that he did not have spare keys. After a lot of threatening the manager came to terms, found the spare keys and took out the luggage of the guests from those rooms. Next day there was no water in the rooms from the morning. Thankfully we were supposed to leave and did so in a hurry with a promise never to stay in that place again.

A few pics enroute to Ghoom -

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2672.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2659.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2670.jpg

The place where we stayed -

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2783.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2789.jpg

Before leaving for Siliguri we went to see the Rock Gardens. I had heard that the road to Rock Gardens was steep and had never been there. So there was an incentive to see how steep the road really was. I did not like the place much. I would not say it is worth a visit except if one has nothing else to do. The road to Rock Gardens is beautiful though. A two minute video of the route -


Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2698.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2702.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2704.jpg

While coming down from Darjeeling we took the customary Peshoke route as I have done on almost all occasions. The reason being we get to see the Kanchenjungha for quite sometime along this route and the road quality is good.

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2826.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2795.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2799.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-2014_1228_095247_001.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2822.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc_2831.jpg

We returned via the Bhagalpur Dumka route. Bhagalpur to Dumka was in a very bad shape. An i20 had joined us from Siliguri and the underbelly of the car scraped a lot of times. The rest of the journey was uneventful. Waiting for the next trip to the hills

Last edited by BlackPearl : 14th May 2015 at 20:10.
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Old 14th May 2015, 22:04   #2
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Default re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th May 2015, 22:10   #3
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Default re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Let me be the first one to congratulate you on this trip Sumitro Da. The travelogue was a great read. Thanks for the same. Beautiful pictures too. My memories of Darjeeling have been brushed up by this TL.

The Sherpa is such a poser with those mean black alloys that I cannot help drooling over her.

Cheers,
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Old 14th May 2015, 22:24   #4
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The second last frame is an absolute cracker. An awesome frame which almost tells the full story. The white thar looks so cool in the green. Lovely travelogue and wishing you many more happy miles in the future.
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Old 14th May 2015, 23:35   #5
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Default re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Darjeeling - The name is enough to draw readers attention!
Written by BlackPearl. Yet another icing on the cake!
The vehicle used- A white Mahindra Thar- A hot favorite among travel enthusiasts! This vehicle truly justify Mahindra's tag line- Live Young, Live Free. Plus Sherpa definitely deserves a 'Live to Drive' sticker!

These three awesome combinations backed up by some beautiful pictures made this crisp travelogue an enjoyable read.

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Old 14th May 2015, 23:39   #6
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Default re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

A short and sweet TL and very sexy Sherpa! Hope you take Sherpa to the hills more often now instead of the Bolero. It looks hot with the snow or greenery around.

The TL refreshed my memories of the many trips we have had to North Bengal/Sikkim. It was way back in 2004 that we had done a similar trip and stayed in Cochrane Place. Great hospitality and ambiance. Is there still the tea pot structure of the building visible from the parking lot? There used to be pet rabbits back then. I remember playing there as a kid.
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Old 15th May 2015, 00:23   #7
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Short and crisp.. The second last pic really sums it up- Sherpa gets to know his owner's second home and falls in love with the mountains. I am sure Sherpa will take you places and you will enjoy every mile he crunches.
The pictures are awesome as always and Sherpa does have character.
But i cant help but wonder about the track of your front wheels, is it because of the alloys that your wheel track seem to be too wide. Though i am a noob in these matters, but won't your wheel foul with the body on bad roads, unless you vertical travel is restricted. I am interested in suspension setups and would like to know more.
OT : will it be a good plan to visit Darjeeling or the hills in July, in a Figo. Rains or anything to worry about then?
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Old 15th May 2015, 00:33   #8
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Default re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Found a few more pics of the trip from amidst the chaotic volume of folders in my laptop . As I had said earlier, Cochrane Place is a must stay in Kurseong and I am not affiliated to them in any way

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7622.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7627.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7631.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7632.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7644.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7653.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7654.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7675.jpg

Any trip to Darjeeling cannot be complete without a visit to Kunga and Glenary's

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8022.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8030.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8055.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8044.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8082.jpg

It was quite cold in the morning and a few pics of frost on the Thar -

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8114.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8160.jpg

And then some random pics -

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_7704.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8010.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8221.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_8222.jpg

Last edited by BlackPearl : 15th May 2015 at 00:49.
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Old 15th May 2015, 00:37   #9
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Couldn't help but notice that your car is missing the fender extension on the front right. What happened?

Last edited by PreethamB : 15th May 2015 at 00:39.
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Old 15th May 2015, 01:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post

While coming down from Darjeeling we took the customary Peshoke route as I have done on almost all occasions. The reason being we get to see the Kanchenjungha for quite sometime along this route and the road quality is good.
Cant agree more to this statement.

I took this pic back in 2012.

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_3437.jpg

Another bonus point of taking this road can be to get the view of Rangeet meets Teesta.

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-img_3444.jpg

I should have attached these two pics in my previous post itself but unfortunately by the time i could find out these two pics the 30 minutes edit time was over. :(

Last edited by Samba : 15th May 2015 at 01:36.
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Old 15th May 2015, 12:33   #11
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Default Re: Weekend trip to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Found a few more pics...
In one word, superb (Pics, writing and the THAR)! I would love to stay at Morgan House in Kalimpong someday. Any feedback (heard some rumours on the spooky part)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Cant agree more to this statement.

I took this pic back in 2012.
Samba - I don't know how did I miss this junction between Rangeet and Teesta on my return through Jorethang-Melli route.
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Old 15th May 2015, 18:55   #12
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Default Re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

BlackPearl, I don't think I have seen a travelogue anywhere this short but yet so complete. You should definitely try your hands on writing other things than computer programs!

On one hand, it is true that there is not much to do in Rock Garden. On the other hand, there is a lot if you are in for a short but not so sweet trek or if you love momos. When I visited it was raining. We could hear the screeching of the wheels on the tarmac and the views all around were mystic and unworldly. Couple of pics that my dad clicked from his phone while returning from Rock Garden during our trip.

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-d24.jpg

Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-d27.jpg

Will definitely try staying in Cochrane Place next time when I head north. Thanks for the tip.

Lovely travelogue, loved reading it and loved the pics.
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Old 15th May 2015, 20:19   #13
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Default Re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Hey BlackPearl,

This was a much awaited Travelogue from your end; just to see the 'Sherpa' in action at Darj. A short and an impactful travelogue must say with some awesome clicks. The Thar seriously looks admiral with the mountains as the backdrop.

It seems that Darjeeling has been a home away from home for you just like me.

to say that !! Actually my brother was in St.Paul's School Jalapahar, Darjeeling for good 8 years and I myself have done countless trips to Darjeeling myself for this reason and to getaway for leisure as well.

Your visit to the Rock Gardens just refreshed my memory of my last visit to the Rock Gardens in 2011. It is totally worth it; just for the drive - the scenic beauty and some beautiful flowers at the Rock Gardens. However, at that time the road nearing the Rock Garden and the Rock Garden itself was partly in tatters. How is it now ?

Posting some more pictures taken at the Rock Gardens in 2011. Hope you would not mind.

The damaged Roads nearing the Rock Gardens :
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01959.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01958.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01892.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01934.jpg

The Darjeeling Rock Garden :
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01899.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01936.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01954.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01935.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01939.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01932.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01940.jpg

The Steep Road from the Rock Garden back to Darjeeling :
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01961.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01872.jpg
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc01878.jpg

How could I sum it all up without posting the picture of our Josh Machines which did the Road Trip :
Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar-dsc02079.jpg

The Rock Garden visit was very special to us as it was my daughter's 1st Holiday and her 1st Road Trip; she was just '3 months old' then. Thanks BlackPearl for making me relive those fond memories yet once again
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Old 26th May 2015, 12:14   #14
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Default Re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Sorry for the late replies guys. I was taking some time out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolhead_neel View Post
Let me be the first one to congratulate you on this trip Sumitro Da. The travelogue was a great read. Thanks for the same. Beautiful pictures too. My memories of Darjeeling have been brushed up by this TL.

The Sherpa is such a poser with those mean black alloys that I cannot help drooling over her.

Cheers,
petrolhead_neel
Thanks a lot Neel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
The second last frame is an absolute cracker. An awesome frame which almost tells the full story. The white thar looks so cool in the green. Lovely travelogue and wishing you many more happy miles in the future.
Thanks Himadri. Coming from a photographer like you the comment is confidence boosting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Darjeeling - The name is enough to draw readers attention!
Written by BlackPearl. Yet another icing on the cake!
The vehicle used- A white Mahindra Thar- A hot favorite among travel enthusiasts! This vehicle truly justify Mahindra's tag line- Live Young, Live Free. Plus Sherpa definitely deserves a 'Live to Drive' sticker!

These three awesome combinations backed up by some beautiful pictures made this crisp travelogue an enjoyable read.
Thanks Samba and thank you again for posting the pics of the Etios with the Kanchenjungha in the backdrop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by navsjab View Post
A short and sweet TL and very sexy Sherpa! Hope you take Sherpa to the hills more often now instead of the Bolero. It looks hot with the snow or greenery around.

The TL refreshed my memories of the many trips we have had to North Bengal/Sikkim. It was way back in 2004 that we had done a similar trip and stayed in Cochrane Place. Great hospitality and ambiance. Is there still the tea pot structure of the building visible from the parking lot? There used to be pet rabbits back then. I remember playing there as a kid.
Thanks a lot navsjab. The rabbits are not there but the teapot structure is still there I think. I am not too sure though

Quote:
Originally Posted by shantonob View Post
Short and crisp.. The second last pic really sums it up- Sherpa gets to know his owner's second home and falls in love with the mountains. I am sure Sherpa will take you places and you will enjoy every mile he crunches.
The pictures are awesome as always and Sherpa does have character.
But i cant help but wonder about the track of your front wheels, is it because of the alloys that your wheel track seem to be too wide. Though i am a noob in these matters, but won't your wheel foul with the body on bad roads, unless you vertical travel is restricted. I am interested in suspension setups and would like to know more.
OT : will it be a good plan to visit Darjeeling or the hills in July, in a Figo. Rains or anything to worry about then?
Thank Shantonob. These are negative offset alloys and hence the track looks wider. You are right that the wheels might foul with the fender and that is what happened. It cracked the right hand side plastic fender flare. The ride height has been adjusted now and it should not happen anymore unless I fly and land hard.

The hills are always tricky during the rains, but Darjeeling still should be fine I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PreethamB View Post
Couldn't help but notice that your car is missing the fender extension on the front right. What happened?
Yes PreethamB, the ride height was not correct and the wheel hit the fender flare and cracked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
In one word, superb (Pics, writing and the THAR)! I would love to stay at Morgan House in Kalimpong someday. Any feedback (heard some rumours on the spooky part)
Thanks gearhead_mait. Morgan house is a lovely place. We stayed there back in 2007 December. But there is a very sad incident associated with it. The day I landed up there I got the news that BHPian RTech had passed away in a bike accident. It was shocking and I still remember the day vividly. There is nothing spooky about the place though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psurelia View Post
BlackPearl, I don't think I have seen a travelogue anywhere this short but yet so complete. You should definitely try your hands on writing other things than computer programs!

On one hand, it is true that there is not much to do in Rock Garden. On the other hand, there is a lot if you are in for a short but not so sweet trek or if you love momos. When I visited it was raining. We could hear the screeching of the wheels on the tarmac and the views all around were mystic and unworldly. Couple of pics that my dad clicked from his phone while returning from Rock Garden during our trip.

Will definitely try staying in Cochrane Place next time when I head north. Thanks for the tip.

Lovely travelogue, loved reading it and loved the pics.
Thanks a lot Partha for the nice words and the pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
Hey BlackPearl,

This was a much awaited Travelogue from your end; just to see the 'Sherpa' in action at Darj. A short and an impactful travelogue must say with some awesome clicks. The Thar seriously looks admiral with the mountains as the backdrop.

It seems that Darjeeling has been a home away from home for you just like me.

to say that !! Actually my brother was in St.Paul's School Jalapahar, Darjeeling for good 8 years and I myself have done countless trips to Darjeeling myself for this reason and to getaway for leisure as well.

Your visit to the Rock Gardens just refreshed my memory of my last visit to the Rock Gardens in 2011. It is totally worth it; just for the drive - the scenic beauty and some beautiful flowers at the Rock Gardens. However, at that time the road nearing the Rock Garden and the Rock Garden itself was partly in tatters. How is it now ?

Posting some more pictures taken at the Rock Gardens in 2011. Hope you would not mind.

The Rock Garden visit was very special to us as it was my daughter's 1st Holiday and her 1st Road Trip; she was just '3 months old' then. Thanks BlackPearl for making me relive those fond memories yet once again
Thanks a lot Arav. The pictures are very nice
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Old 26th May 2015, 13:54   #15
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Default Re: Weekend drive to Kurseong and Darjeeling in a Mahindra Thar

Thanks BlackPearl. Excellent pictures and narrative as usual. You seem to belong to the place more than me!

I love the Peskhok road. Reminds me of the good old days when vehicles used to be fewer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
I have been used to the Bolero so much in the hills that it took me sometime to get adjusted to the Thar. Initially I was comparing with the Bolero and was not liking the way the Thar behaved.
Can you please elaborate what you did not like (initially) of the way the Thar was handling, compared to the Bolero?

Thanks once again.
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