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Old 11th February 2016, 12:35   #31
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by vivekkr_99 View Post
Thanks a lot Vikram. Yes, planning to backtrack your return leg itself for our onward journey. The only difference might be that we will bypass Kolkatta while going - instead planning to take the Puri - Farakkha - Gangtok route. We are 3 families with kids traveling together (in separate vehicles, though) - so a little bit of advance planning will be required - primarily to stay in the same hotel itself. I will PM you for any details once we finalize the plans... Thanks again for that wonderful write-up !!

-Vivek
Great! Just be careful..Farakka is a terrible road for traffic. also, these is a cool Pizza Hut in malda which could be a good pit stop. Please reach out to me any time for any help..Cheers
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Old 12th February 2016, 16:31   #32
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by vikram31 View Post
Hi Gearhead, pls accept my sincere apologies on not thanking you in my write up. I did go through your blogs and they were inspiring as you did the trip in a hatchback with your family.

Again your pictures were truly inspiring as well. Thank you for the motivation. Lets hope we meet together on a sojourn in future!
Vikram:- Nice travelogue there. I have my plans to do this in the month of May 2016 and i have been doing my research. I have also read the travelogue of Gearhead. I have few queries that i need you folks to answer to enable me prepare better.

1) Are the roads so bad that it gives one shivers? In the log written by Gearhead, the road condition does not seem as bad as your travelogue.Am i missing something here?
2) Is there a specific road Gearhead has avoided and that you have taken?
3) I am planning to do this on my SX4 primarily because it is petrol and high GC, but reading your travelogue, i now intend to take my Innova. What vehicle would you suggests for this.
4) Did you face any issue with the morning cold starts. Again, from the post of Gearhead, he saw some mahindra's having a tough time starting early in the morning.
5) Is there a reason why you went to Gangtok first and took the Silk Road from the other side.
6) In the trip by Gearhead, he did not mention anything about the permit only for Sikkim Registered Cars. I would be travelling from Hyderabad(AP) registered vehicle and have no contacts in Sikkim who can help me in this. How can i go about this?
It would be great if you and gearhead can throw some light on these queries.
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Old 12th February 2016, 16:41   #33
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by AveekKumar View Post
Hi Vikram, thanks for the detailed and excellent travelogue. It will take me a while to do such an extensive trip. hats off to you mate. Since you covered the distance to Nagpur on Day 1 in a single day from Mumbai, i thought of getting some inputs from you on the drive. I have a wedding planned around March for which i intend to drive down from Pune in my i20. Needed your inputs on the road condition, pit stops, suggestions etc. My car is ~5 months old, but the front tyre has suffered some extreme end punctures(between sidewall and road grip) due to a single drive with less tyre pressure. From then on i have investigated my tyres daily to ensure i don't repeat the mistake again. While many have suggested i take the overnite bus, i want a drive. Hoping fellow BHPians can come to my aid
Hi Aveek, What you should do is to replace your punctured tyre with the spare tyre before you take this journey. It is better not to run on a trye which you dont trust completly (Though, there should not be an issue with the current tyre). in future, if you see air leak from this tyre(the punctured one), what you can do it to insert a tube and just use it as a spare one until the time comes to replace all the tyres with a new one. Hope this helps.

Coming to the point of your travel, why dont you look at going through Hyderabad. The roads are relatively much better. Pune - Solapur is 4 lane(TOLL) and from Solapur to Hyd is rough(will take 6hours). Take a break in Hyd for the night and then continue to Nagpur. I have heard that the road from Hyd to Nagpur is 4 lane and there is a small patch of bad road in between which can be managed. Your choice.
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Old 12th February 2016, 17:29   #34
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
Coming to the point of your travel, why dont you look at going through Hyderabad. The roads are relatively much better. Pune - Solapur is 4 lane(TOLL) and from Solapur to Hyd is rough(will take 6hours). Take a break in Hyd for the night and then continue to Nagpur. I have heard that the road from Hyd to Nagpur is 4 lane and there is a small patch of bad road in between which can be managed. Your choice.
I have to keep it a one day one side trip due to time constraints. Besides will it be practical enough to take a 7 hour detour? I doubt it. Anyway, appreciate your inputs.
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Old 15th February 2016, 10:26   #35
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Question Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by vikram31 View Post
Arrival at Vizag..
Feedback on the XUV500 during the journey
Great piece! I too have an XUV500 W8. Is yours the 2WD or the AWD variant? If AWD, did having it make a difference on the rough roads?

Last edited by ampere : 15th February 2016 at 10:34. Reason: Reduced quoted content
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Old 15th February 2016, 13:51   #36
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

Thanks Vikram for the excellent travelogue.

Could you please share some more details regarding the road stretch between Arang and Saraipalli?
Information regarding 4 laning of this stretch and the approximate time to cover this section would be helpful.
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Old 15th February 2016, 14:55   #37
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by Joy View Post
Welcome to the East.... Had done a great adventure.

Kudos to you for fulfilling one of of bucket dreams.

Nice Travelogue and Nice Photography.

Waiting for the next.
Thanks Joy

It was indeed a wonderful trip. I am sure there is going to be another one in this calendar..until then....
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Old 15th February 2016, 15:06   #38
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
Vikram:- Nice travelogue there. I have my plans to do this in the month of May 2016 and i have been doing my research. I have also read the travelogue of Gearhead. I have few queries that i need you folks to answer to enable me prepare better.

1) Are the roads so bad that it gives one shivers? In the log written by Gearhead, the road condition does not seem as bad as your travelogue.Am i missing something here?
- I followed google maps/XUV's mapmyindia for most of my trip. Gearhead may have access to local information that could have helped. However can confirm that the standard highways are as bad as I have mentioned
2) Is there a specific road Gearhead has avoided and that you have taken?
- its possible. I took the main roads (NH and largish SHs)
3) I am planning to do this on my SX4 primarily because it is petrol and high GC, but reading your travelogue, i now intend to take my Innova. What vehicle would you suggests for this.
- I am a huge fan of the SX4 (my last car). Both Innova and SX4 have similar ground clearances and tyre sizes so you should be ok with any of them. However, I feel a diesel is well suited to the terrain. If you are comfortable with your petrol SX4 on steep hairpins then go for it. Otherwise stick to Innova
4) Did you face any issue with the morning cold starts. Again, from the post of Gearhead, he saw some mahindra's having a tough time starting early in the morning.
5) Is there a reason why you went to Gangtok first and took the Silk Road from the other side.
6) In the trip by Gearhead, he did not mention anything about the permit only for Sikkim Registered Cars. I would be travelling from Hyderabad(AP) registered vehicle and have no contacts in Sikkim who can help me in this. How can i go about this?
- Well, its tricky. The tourist centres are all in cahoots with the taxi operators so dont expect any help from them. In the end it comes down to trying your luck at the Nathula office just below the tourist centre. I know people who have got the permits easily and those who have struggled. Unfortunately you need to try it out there.

Pls keep the following handy (original and copies):
* RC Book
* Authorisation letter for use of vehicle incase it is not registered in your name
* PUC from your local state
* Insurance papers
* Driving License

* ID proofs for co passengers

It would be great if you and gearhead can throw some light on these queries.
Pls see my responses above
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Old 15th February 2016, 15:08   #39
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
Hi Aveek, What you should do is to replace your punctured tyre with the spare tyre before you take this journey. It is better not to run on a trye which you dont trust completly (Though, there should not be an issue with the current tyre). in future, if you see air leak from this tyre(the punctured one), what you can do it to insert a tube and just use it as a spare one until the time comes to replace all the tyres with a new one. Hope this helps.

Coming to the point of your travel, why dont you look at going through Hyderabad. The roads are relatively much better. Pune - Solapur is 4 lane(TOLL) and from Solapur to Hyd is rough(will take 6hours). Take a break in Hyd for the night and then continue to Nagpur. I have heard that the road from Hyd to Nagpur is 4 lane and there is a small patch of bad road in between which can be managed. Your choice.
Hi joelchandra, I broadly agree with you. But I think the pain of the Solapur stretch and then Hyd Nagpur not to mention the extra time is not worth it. I would recommend the regular Pune-Shani Shignapur-Aurangabad-Nagpur road.
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Old 15th February 2016, 15:10   #40
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by Detritus View Post
Great piece! I too have an XUV500 W8. Is yours the 2WD or the AWD variant? If AWD, did having it make a difference on the rough roads?
Hi Detritus I have a 2wd and honestly I did not find a need for AWD anywhere on my journey. The slips and slides I experienced were all thanks to the useless Apollo Apterras (have ranted enough about them now)
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Old 15th February 2016, 15:17   #41
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

Interesting, mine came with Bridgestone tyres, I've only driven on smooth highways so far. I often wonder if I should've gone for the AWD (I didn't because they only offered it in limited colors).
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Old 16th February 2016, 10:57   #42
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by Detritus View Post
Interesting, mine came with Bridgestone tyres, I've only driven on smooth highways so far. I often wonder if I should've gone for the AWD (I didn't because they only offered it in limited colors).
I think you made the right choice. There are seriously very limited places in India that need a genuine 4x4. During this trip there were many places with signboards saying please switch on 4x4, but my 2wd pulled effortlessly.
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Old 16th February 2016, 11:16   #43
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by Samfromindia View Post
MH02 comes to the land of WB78 ! Kudos to you for coming all the way from Mumbai to one of the most beautiful places in eastern india. it's a very detailed travelogue and i see you already know our very own Sikkim expert aka Himadri Keep up all the good work !
..sorry replied by mistake in duplicate...

Last edited by vikram31 : 16th February 2016 at 11:17. Reason: duplicate
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Old 17th February 2016, 14:00   #44
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Pls see my responses above
Thanks Vikram. I am trying to get hold of an Air Force officer who is in the family. I spoke to him and he mentioned that he can get me an express entry to Nathula Pass. During my discussion on phone, i missed asking him if he can get me a permit for entering Sikkim too.

He's a busy man and i dont want to disturb him now. I thought, i will call him in another couple of weeks when i have a much more solid plan so that i can ask him about the ILP(In-Line Permit). I am also attaching the below travel schedule. Do you think, this makes sense?
Attached Images
 

Last edited by joelchandra : 17th February 2016 at 14:02.
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Old 17th February 2016, 14:56   #45
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Default Re: Bucket List Item! Cross Country Drive - Mumbai to North & East Sikkim

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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
Thanks Vikram. I am trying to get hold of an Air Force officer who is in the family. I spoke to him and he mentioned that he can get me an express entry to Nathula Pass. During my discussion on phone, i missed asking him if he can get me a permit for entering Sikkim too.

He's a busy man and i dont want to disturb him now. I thought, i will call him in another couple of weeks when i have a much more solid plan so that i can ask him about the ILP(In-Line Permit). I am also attaching the below travel schedule. Do you think, this makes sense?
Hi Joel

You need total 3 permits

1. Entry to Nathula
2. Return via Rangpo (specifically written on the Nathula permit)
3. Another permit for Yumthang/Gurudongmar/Lachen (If you want to do North Sikkim)

If you want to cover Zuluk and the Old silk route you need the 2nd permit for sure.

coming to your planned itinerary here are my thoughts:

Hyd-Bhubaneshwar - 1100 kms is just too much in a day. Even if these are 4 laners, you wont be able to average very high speeds. I would strongly recommend a pitstop at Vizag and then proceed to Bhubaneswar the next day

Bhubaneswar - shantiniketan - Perfectly doable

Shantiniketan - Darjeeling - Very tough. I think Shantiniketan - Siliguri itself will take you 14-16 hours. Not sure if you are ready for 4-5 more hours of hill driving that too at night. I think you should halt at Siliguri

Darjeeling - Zuluk - This is essentially the NAthula climb. Any particular reason to stay in Darjeeling? The reason I ask is that permits etc need to be taken by mid-day. And permits can be taken from Gangtok and not Darjeeling.

My suggestion would be to start early morning from siliguri and try to reach Gangtok by 10-30 or so. Head straightaway for your permits and stay the night in Gangtok.

The next day leave for NAthula. If you leave by 6.30-7, you will be in NAthula by 10-11. Stay for an hour and start your descent via Old Silk Route to terminate at Gangtok again. If you want to save a day, you can drive straight to Siliguri after covering Nathula and reach late night

Gangtok-Kolkata - Cannot be done in a day. Hence my recommendation to come to Siliguri the night before

Again - Kolkata Vizag is a tough ask in a day

Vizag - Hyderabad is child's play after you have covered the above

Here is my proposal on your route plan

Day 1 - Hyderabad - Vizag
Day 2 - Vizag - Bhubaneswar
Day 3 - Bhubaneswar - shantiniketan
Day 4 - Shantiniketan - Siliguri
Day 5 - Siliguri - Gangtok - (Permits - etc)
Day 6 - Gangtok - Nathula - Zuluk - Siliguri
Day 7 - Siliguri - Kolkata
Day 8 - Kolkata - Puri (incase you want to visit the temples)
Day 9 - Puri - vizag
Day 10 - Vizag - Hyderabad

A couple of suggestions from me on this trip

* If you are going all the way to Sikkim, try to cover North Sikkim for its pristine beauty unless time doesnt permit (I secretly feel bad about not covering Yumthang and West Sikkim due to paucity of time)
* Dont expect Hyderabad like speeds on the 4 laners. You will get fast stretches but will have to slow down for construction work/tolls/city exits that will bring your average speed down
* My proposed itinerary presumes you are not looking to drive through the night
* Please keep in mind that the sun will set earlier than Hyderabad as you keep driving to the east. Expect you headlights to be on by 5-5.30 pm at most

PM me for specific hotel options so that you dont have to go much off the highway.
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