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Old 8th June 2015, 20:37   #16
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

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Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
Sevoke to Mongpong:

At Sevoke, we thought of having ............... rather rapidly in the darkness!

The place where the elephant stood!
Attachment 1378419
Hello Golam,
A great travelogue and introduction to the Dooars for me. Till now it was an another exotic name, filed away for a future trip.... But your travelogue certainly gave it flesh and bone!

For us the best photo certainly was "Reeha's tryst with the Lajjawati" - it brought back memories of our own childhood fascination with this little plant!

And the best narrative bit was your experience of the Mal Bazar lunch! Small experiences like these during one's travels form long-lasting memories.

The Dooars are certainly and definitely on our radar now!
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Old 8th June 2015, 22:57   #17
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

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Awesome Sir! Excellent travelogue and pictures to match. Kudos to Estilo on successfully completing the first Himalayan trail.
... The wooden toys in Lataguri/Gorumara are not locally built. I was in Gorumara in March this year. There I found the same toy as it was selling in Nainital when we traveled in Oct 2014.
Thank you Soumyajit! I guess, you are absolutely right about the toys

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Originally Posted by shashanka View Post
Hello Golam,
A great travelogue and introduction to the Dooars for me. ...
And the best narrative bit was your experience of the Mal Bazar lunch! Small experiences like these during one's travels form long-lasting memories.

The Dooars are certainly and definitely on our radar now!
Thank you Shashanka! Truly, these little experiences are quite enriching. This was our first trip to Dooars and we are already contemplating about our next Dooars trip!

Regards,
Golam
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Old 9th June 2015, 12:11   #18
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

Wonderful trip there Hossain da!
Thank you for the very detailed and informative travelogue. The pictures are amazing and urges me to rush back to North Bengal. Is winter a good time to visit the Dooars region? Not too keen on animal sightings, but from your pictures, the resorts in itself seems worth spending a weekend.
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Old 9th June 2015, 14:10   #19
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

Beautifully written and photographed travelogue. 5-stars!!

North Bengal holds a very special place in my heart and every time i visit my hometown, Kolkata, i make it a point to take a vacation, however short it may be, amongst the verdant hills of North Bengal.
Your travelogue brought back fond memories. I guess, a trip beckons soon!

Good to see the road conditions. Its pretty good. Now one can seriously consider taking the "traditional" route from Kolkata to Siliguri via NH-34/31 rather than the longer Rampurhat - Moregram road.

Take care, drive safe and happy motoring !
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Old 10th June 2015, 00:54   #20
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

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Originally Posted by mi2n View Post
Wonderful trip there Hossain da!
Thank you for the very detailed and informative travelogue. The pictures are amazing and urges me to rush back to North Bengal. Is winter a good time to visit the Dooars region? Not too keen on animal sightings, but from your pictures, the resorts in itself seems worth spending a weekend.
Thanks mi2n! I can guess your feeling for the North as you have just returned from your Sikkim trip. The whole region is simply amazing and addictive. I guess, winter would be bit cold! Otherwise, Dooars is evergreen!

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Originally Posted by arjab View Post
Beautifully written and photographed travelogue. 5-stars!!

North Bengal holds a very special place in my heart and every time i visit my hometown, Kolkata, i make it a point to take a vacation, however short it may be, amongst the verdant hills of North Bengal.
Your travelogue brought back fond memories. I guess, a trip beckons soon!
!
Thanks arjab. I must agree with you wholeheartedly that North Bengal is definitely a special destination.

Best,
Golam
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Old 11th June 2015, 09:21   #21
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

When we started our return drive from Lataguri, it was ten minutes to seven in the evening. Barring few tea-shops, most of the other shops had closed down by then. The traffic on the road had become very sparse. Although, our resort at Murti was only 18 km away, more than half of the route was through the jungle of Gorumara National Park. During our onward journey, we had an eerie feeling even in day time on this stretch. So I was wondering how would it feel to drive through the same jungle stretch in the night! Specially, after having a sighting of elephant along the same stretch just a while ago during the safari. However, it turned out to be a smooth drive at the end.

Imagine a drive here after sunset
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_4883.jpg

... specially after the warning
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_4882.jpg


Day 9: Murti to Malda:
Murti resort to Malda home distance: 350 km through NH-31, NH-34

By 5:30 am, we were ready after packing up our stuffs and had started having our morning tea. It was raining outside. Given there were known bottlenecks on our way, we decided not to wait for too long. So we began our drive amidst the rain just before 6 am.

Rain drops
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_4926.jpg

Drive amidst the rain
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-20150527060211_26.83570_88.82048_1000009.jpg

The road was near empty in the morning. We made steady progress and reached Mongpong at around 6:50 am. We thought of having a small tea-break there. We also filled up our thermo-flask with tea for the journey ahead. During our stay at Mongpong, we loved flavoured tea from the same shop.

Waiting for tea at Mongpong
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_4939.jpg

Journey ahead
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_4935.jpg

We began our descent toward Siliguri shortly after having tea at Mongpong. We stopped at Sevoke for having a few parting shots. A primate family was curious yet calm to see the actions of three homo sapiens!

Three of us bade farewell to three of them...
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_49481.jpg

We had very long hold-ups at Dalkhola, Karandighi and Malda on our way back. We reached home at around 6 pm. Other than hold-ups, it was mostly an uneventful drive.


Day 10-13: Kaliachak-Ahmedpur-Kalyani:
Distance: 320 km

Due to a small change of plan, we spent even next day at our Malda home. We drove to Ahmedpur from there using NH-34, NH-60 (Moregram-Mallarpur) and NH-2B ext. (Mallarpur-Sainthia-Ahmedpur). Except for 6-7 km stretch of NH-60 between Nalhati and Rampurhat, the road was mostly good. Our final drive to Kalyani was through the regular route of NH-2B and NH-2 via Bolpur, Burdwan. We took Gurap exit of Durgrapur Expressway to head towards Kalyani. On our way back, we did our grocery shopping and bought some vegetables from a roadside market.

It was around 10:20 am when we reached our campus and parked our Estilo in the lot. And a memorable road-trip of ours came to an end!

Last edited by gmhossain : 11th June 2015 at 09:50.
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Old 11th June 2015, 13:12   #22
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

A very 'green' Travelogue. Loved it

Of late lot of travelogues from this part of the country - feels very tempting
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Old 14th June 2015, 15:39   #23
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

In the travelogue, so far I have described mostly the aesthetic side of our road-trip. This post on the other hand, is going to be more about the motoring side of it i.e. about vehicle, efficiency, routes, road conditions, expenditure and analysis of GPS logs!


The vehicle:

We drove our 2011 Maruti Estilo VXi with 998 cc K10B petrol engine. The odometer had reading of 19130 km before the trip. Most of these drives were done on highways as my daily commute is rather low at 1.5 km one way. Earlier it was little higher, 2.5 km one way! It went through its annual service at a MASS little more than a week before the trip. Overall, Estilo performed beautifully. Nevertheless, it got two minor sidebar under-scrapping during the trip. The first one was near our Malda home where concrete road was being made and I was forced to do a bit off-roading. The second one happened during the return journey at a gigantic crater just before Dalkhola railway crossing. Both happened at a dead-slow speed.

Under the hood after full-service on May 9, 2015:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-20150518_093237.jpg


Fuel and Mileage:

Distance driven: 1385 km as per as odometer
Petrol consumed: 72.94 litre (full tank to full tank)
Fuel Efficiency: 18.99 km/litre

The AC was on for 90% of the time during the entire cruise. Even during the long holed-ups (totaling around 4 hours), the engine and AC were kept on for 50% of the time to keep the cabin comfortable. It was scorching summer outside.

Trip-meter at the end of trip:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-img_5012.jpg


Expenditures:

Transportation: Total: Rs. 6670 (Petrol: 5380, Toll Taxes: Rs. 425, Jungle Safari: Rs. 865 (shared half))
Accommodation: Rs. 6924 (with taxes for 3 nights at Mongpong, Murti; at family home, in-laws: free!)
Food and Souvenir: around Rs. 5000 (during 3 days @Dooars; rest are priceless!)


Navigation Tools:

We used Nokia HERE offline navigation app loaded in my Sumsung Duos 2 android phone for GPS navigation. Nevertheless, I used to review the route suggested by it before every drive. In few cases where I didn't like the suggested routes, I chose appropriate way-points to ensure it went through the route I wanted. It performed rather well. The phone was also used as car DVR both for still and video photography. Basically it acted as a triple-play device.

A beautiful drive near Sevoke:


The Driven Route:

For any road-trip in our country, the chosen route to the destination plays a very important role. Specially, if one is planning to drive along Kolkata - Siliguri stretch, then a good planning is actually very crucial. However, thanks to this excellent and very active thread (Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur. Avoiding NH34) on Team-BHP, one can get almost all possible information regarding different possible routes along the stretch. In our case, the route options were in fact quite constrained as we planned to visit Malda and Birbhum during the trip.

During onward journey, we drove mainly through NH-34 and NH-31. We took Sargachhi bypass to avoid going through Baharampur town and took the route via Mothabari between Kaliachak and Malda. During return journey, we took a longer route via NH-31, NH-34, NH-60, NH2B ext., NH-2B, NH-2 and Kalyani Expressway.


GPS track of the drive between Kalyani More and Kaliachak:
Name:  KalyaniMoreKaliachakgmaps.png
Views: 1041
Size:  304.6 KB

Analysis of GPS log for the above stretch:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-kalyanimoretokaliachak_speed.png


GPS track of the drive between Kaliachak and Mongpong:
Name:  KaliachaktoMongponggmaps.png
Views: 997
Size:  332.6 KB

Analysis of GPS log for the above stretch:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-kaliachaktomongpong_speed.png


GPS track of the drive between Murti and Kaliachak:
Name:  MurtitoKaliachakgmaps.png
Views: 1003
Size:  345.3 KB

Analysis of GPS log for the above stretch:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-murtitokaliachak_speed.png


GPS track of the drive between Kaliachak and Ahmedpur:
Name:  KaliachaktoAhmedpurgmaps.png
Views: 1021
Size:  192.4 KB

Analysis of GPS log for the above stretch:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-kaliachaktoahmedupur_speed.png

GPS track of the drive between Ahmedpur and Kalyani:
Name:  AhmedpurtoKalyanigmaps.png
Views: 1113
Size:  290.8 KB

Analysis of GPS log for the above stretch:
Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature-ahmedpurtokalyani_speed.png

Overall, the road conditions were mostly good barring few isolated stretches. In the part of Dooars region where we drove, the road were in excellent shape. This aspect in fact made our road-trip much more enjoyable! Regarding condition of NH-34, I should say that overall surface has improved significantly. However, main bottlenecks of Kaliachak/Malda and Dalkhola are still in old state. The GPS log analysis as given above, makes it quite quantitative. We had total of around 4 hours of holed-ups in the entire round-trip journey which was more or less within our planned buffer time.

It's time to say good bye now! I must thank all members of Team-BHP for having such a wonderful forum. It has actually made road-trip much more enjoyable by providing input before the trip, during the trip and even after the trip!

Last edited by gmhossain : 14th June 2015 at 15:45.
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Old 30th June 2015, 09:13   #24
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Default Re: Dooars - A blissful drive to the lap of nature

Wonderful travelogue. Very tasteful pictures. Kudos to you. The machine has also held up beautifully. Here is to more such travels
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