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Old 25th November 2008, 13:45   #16
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Very nice, very nice....eagerly waiting for more pics!
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Old 25th November 2008, 14:12   #17
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9-days, a crystal clear Kanchenjungha, mountan roads, forest, tuskers and the black beauty...this is going to be a travelogue to watch out for. Waiting for more...
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Old 25th November 2008, 14:12   #18
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Fantastic Anirban. Love the pics and the travelogue. I didn't know you were also going. I thought you were planning for your dad's vacation.
Meanwhile, did you get that Red Panda in the wild or in the Darjeeling zoo? If in the wild you are extremely lucky and observant. They are reputedly one of the shiest animals in the universe and sighting them is extremely rare.
The elephant picture is really scary. Was this on the way to Jalpaiguri? What did you do when you saw this sight (apart from taking out the camera). Can't wait to read about the experience. The animal looks like is ready to charge. I wish you didn't have the shake. It would have been an award winning quality photo.
By the way, you are pardoned for your absence at the meet last Sunday. . Now I know the reason.
Sudipto

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Old 25th November 2008, 21:03   #19
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Fantastic start Anirban. Great pics. Cant wait for more to come. You are tempting me to go to Dooars once more, after I return. Will be the 4th time for me. Will stay glued to this travelogue.

Its sad that the Moregram highway is in shambles. It used to be one of the best roads to Siliguri from Kolkata. It was a bold decision to take the car with the hard clutch and was wise not to change the suspension before the trip.

Did you encounter the elephant on the Chalsa - Lataguri road or on Murti - Khunia More road? The latter seems more likely. Thats the most common area to find elephants on the road and passes close to some of the common elephant corridors around Gorumara/Chapramari. We have had similar experiences twice.

You must have enjoyed your stay at Bonani. It is undoubtedly the best forest bungalow in NB. If you had a full moon that time, its absolutely magical to sit beside the Murti river on a full moon night and listen to the flowing water and the sounds of the forest as it wakes up at night. The Black Beauty against the bridge seems to be taken at Murti, if I am not wrong. Very nice shot.

This is by far the best time to do a N Bengal trip. Expecting some nice pics of Kanchenjunga and also from the forests.
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Old 25th November 2008, 22:16   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Its sad that the Moregram highway is in shambles. It used to be one of the best roads to Siliguri from Kolkata.
Everytime we have gone on this route, though relatively prehistoric times, we have seen that stretch as bad. Infact its roads in and around Behrampore (Berhampore for some) that have always been harsh. Or we have been unlucky all the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
You must have enjoyed your stay at Bonani.
Yes, your memory is fantastic. But more than the Bunglow, it was Mr Chakraborty who was a revelation.

However all of this coming later on.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement lets see how much progress I can make today. But for folks already been there, this travelogue is hardly going to throw any surprises!

DAY 2 - SUNDAY 16TH November

Next day our early morning happenned at 10am, topped up at the Indianoil pump just ahead of the Darjeeling Morh identified by the statue of Tenzing Norgay.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture1.jpg

The car drank 21 litres for the 236kms since the last refill. (The AC being on the full blast and the bad roads and the heavy loading taking its toll)

Very soon we were hurtling up the Hill cart road, with the Darjeeling toy train line accompanying us on the right side.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture2.jpg

The usual folklore is that if you follow the line, you will reach Darjeeling, but still, we were watchful at Sukna (10kms from Tenzing statue) of not taking the left turn into the infamously steep Pankhabari route (this left turn also takes one to Mirik). However the slope that we took later on in Darjeeling would put Pankhabari route to shame.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture3.jpg

None of us kept tab of time as we stopped many times enroute, the Music System was asked to shut-up, as we enjoyed the sights sounds and smell of the mountain.

Very soon we were hearing a call, little different from before but unmistakably that of the "toy-train". The difference was that it was being Diesel engine pulled, but yet amazing. However, being Diesel it wasn't any different from the hill railway to Shimla.

A white beast king tails the queen.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture4.jpg

Diesel power for trains leaving NJP
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture5.jpg

My Sis and car sees the train off

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture6.jpg

Apart from this, we were also not very happy to find that the hill-cart road had narrowed from what it was before. In places it was just enough for one vehicle and at somepoints there was just about space for a Maruti Van to pass on the other side. Having said this, I live in a very congested area and I have a fair idea of the left extremes of the vehicles I drive regularly. I was being cm's away from the guard stones or the edge at times, yet there was just about space for those Omni's to pass. (Nope the tail wasn't sticking out either, because when I am giving way, I make sure that the tail of the car is also tucked in well and good, unlike many people who dive the nose to the left at the last moment with the tail remaining on the right). But later we learnt, that the return from Kurseong to Siliguri, actually happens through the Pankhabari route. So ideally there shouldn't be any downhill traffic, apart from a few local vehicles.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture7.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture8.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture9.jpg

The road surface was the worst I have seen, jutting out rocks, stones. At once point the road just vanished down below, through, almost, steps of rocks. But then, we were not in the mood to spoil it.

Soon it was time for the woolens to come out

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture12.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture11.jpg

We watched the train line as it guided us through the Ghum, that held the previlege of having the highest railroad junction in the world, into Darjeeling.

During the journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling, the speedo needle just touched 60 once, and when it did, the car and tyres warned me well about the weight setback both in finding cornering grip and also braking power.

A little steep climb to the Taxi stand taken at nothing else other than First, not because of want of pulling power on second, but not being able to build a momentum due to the horrible road surface and a projecting rod from the road out of nowhere. I learnt there that Dad had made bookings at the WBTDC lodging called the Darjeeling Tourist Lodge.

Externally the place is beginning to show its age, even the furniture is showing its age, the interiors were good though, but, from the Balcony of our Rooms we could see the grandeur that Darjeeling is famous for.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture14.jpg

IN DARJEELING

We decided to laze down that evening at Darjeeling, although the bigger issue was adjusting to the temperature difference. A little walk to the Nightingale park and we came to know that all the DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) folks were on strike and all the facilities being maintained or managed by them are closed till 22nd November. A new thought to be applied to whatever we plan next. As most facilities in the area are run by them,

Had dinner at Glenary's. Glenary's is one of two renowned joints in Darjeeing the other one being Shangrila which serves Momo's. Both of these places have a very reasonable menu card and the taste is excelent.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture17.jpg

Both of these places are frequented by foreigners and Glenary's having a bar at the basement has a good ambience. But being frequented by foreigners both these places (the Glenary's being more so) exude a certain smoky smell which can be a certain turnoff, especially in the BAR, but not limited to it.

For many foreigners, the ability to smoke/drink contraband freely at a public place like a restaurant is the allure to visit India, besides taking pictures that portray poverty that actually serve the purpose of generating funds for themselves on pretext of running social organisations. The unfortunate thing now is that, we see a certain shift in the local cabbies, tour guides, waiters etc mentality owing to the money magnification factor that they foresee if they focus on the phirangi's rather than Indians.

The next few minutes were spent thinking on lines of how to use the three nights we have at Darjeeling. Usually the things to do at Darjeeling range from walking up and down the Mall shopping woolens. Apart from that there are some local sights that can be seen as a package from Local cabbies. The sights include the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, featuring the elusive Red Panda, the Lebong Race course, that used to be the highest racecourse in the world, till it was taken over by the Army, then there are a couple of Tea Gardens that could be driven down to. A bit away from Darjeeling, towards Ghum, there is the famous Tiger Hill, which provides an amazing view of the Sunrise and that reflecting on the Kanchenjungha, turning from white to red to golden yellow. Earlier this used to be a 4x4 only destination as 2-Wheel drive cars, people thought, could not tame those slopes (Although our Old Fiat has done it before). There is also a recent additional point of interest, the Rock Garden, a 6 km steep downhill and another recent addition being the Ganga Maya park another 3 kms below.

My father was against taking our own car for local sightseeing, his logic was parking being an issue, as well as sightseeing being the livelihood of some locals. He was also against taking our car to rock gardens, owing to the weak clutch and numerous facts the people say that only 4x4's can get there. But as we also knew that even Maruti 800's can be seen there on a dry day.

It was fixed thus, that we will spend the next day doing local sightseeing with the local taxi guy having a Maruti Versa. The next early morning we will go to Tiger hill to watch the Sunrise. Seeing its steephill climbing prowess of the loaded ailing car and my own confidence, we will take on rock gardens later. In the meantime, the next day we would send the Tourist lodge guy for fetching the Joy ride train tickets.

So as we went to sleep that night in the shivering cold, we had a lot to look forward to for the next 2 days, and a lot of questions in the mind.

But the biggest charm was shivering in the cold and retiring under the blankets (locally known as "Lape" which is a comforter kind of thingy stuffed with cotton).

We have been to colder foreign locations but the climate controlled interiors of the hotels in every developed country does not really let you "feel" the place.

The night was spent in looking at the room-heater reassuring ourselves that since the filament is red, it must be heating the room!!

CNTD..(We have a certain situation at home today, lets see if I can take this further today.)
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Old 25th November 2008, 23:38   #21
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Great going. The Darjeeling Tourist Lodge provides one of the best views. However, my personal favourite is Mall Guest House, just beside the Governor's residence and below the Tourist Lodge.

Would like to know how you liked the Rock Garden and Ganga Maiya Park. For me, it was boring and a waste of time. Its only worth the steep drive down and back up to the town. We did it in a local Omni.

May be I am playing spoilsport by mentioning the local spots. Will leave it upto you to reveal the same. I actually become over-enthusiastic when it comes to N Bengal and specially Dooars. Along with the manager at Bonani, the Forest Dept guides are also very good and very informative about the local wildlife.

Last edited by Saurabh M : 25th November 2008 at 23:42.
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Old 25th November 2008, 23:53   #22
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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Great going. The Darjeeling Tourist Lodge provides one of the best views. However, my personal favourite is Mall Guest House, .
My personal favourite being the "Planters" which offers the majestic view of the range right from the Mall overlooking the Keventers. Moreover Planters exudes the magical old world charm. If possible I will try to fetch and scan some of our old snaps.
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Old 26th November 2008, 00:37   #23
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Unfortunately I am not in DJ right now. hey man thanks for the images.
Glenary has a heritage. It was built by a british dude, Who donated it to his cook before leaving India, now the cook is a millionare. It even have live bands at night during season time. But we are not allowed to eat there, as they also serve Pork, which is prohibited for us, buddhist.
Sangrila is great. Others being Amigos, hasty tasty etc.
The hill cart road has been that small only. The road can never be widen until we try to preserve the 120years old railway line. I hate pankhabari road. there is nothing to write home about. Other new road, the Rohini is bit scenic.

Next time bring a 4x4 and try the Sandakphu trek. You will thank me for that. Its awesome.

this is what it looks like from top. Good thing is you can drive till top but ofcourse if you have 4x4 it helps, because some S turns are very extreme.
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Last edited by SirAlec : 26th November 2008 at 00:40.
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Old 26th November 2008, 09:58   #24
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But we are not allowed to eat there, as they also serve Pork, which is prohibited for us, buddhist.
A bit off topic but I find this strange. I have lived with and known thousands of Buddhists and never heard this before!! I thought only Jews and Muslims have this thing against pork. Could you please explain this to me?
Incidentally, the Tibetan dish pork momo is incredibly famous here.
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Old 26th November 2008, 20:13   #25
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Others being Amigos, hasty tasty etc.
The hill cart road has been that small only.
Amigos being right on the Mall beside the Chalet Hotel. Hasty Tasty being Veg was strict no-no for a pure non-veg like me.

However, I distinctly remember a the stretch between Sukna and Kurseong being wider, as I have mental images of two Swaraj Mazda's passing side by side at an area it would be impossible for a Ford Ikon and an OMNI to pass side by side, now. Maybe the frequent landslides have ensured a gradual narrowing. Even today you will see the stretch between Kurseong to Darjeeling being similarly wide. I think it was consistent throughout from Sukna to DJ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
A bit off topic but I find this strange. I have lived with and known thousands of Buddhists and never heard this before!! I thought only Jews and Muslims have this thing against pork. Could you please explain this to me?
Incidentally, the Tibetan dish pork momo is incredibly famous here.
Same here. On both grounds, 1> Pork Momo being fabulous 2> Buddhist -Pork equation.

Anyway continuing with the story

Day 3 - Monday 17th November

Some pics taken in the morning from the tourist lodge
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture1.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture2.jpg


The beauty of being in India is to sit around in a balcony like this and someone serves you an excellent brew, "chaaye saab", Priceless. (No going to the vending machine looking for the right kind of sugar, creamer etc and then a completely ordinary taste.)

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture21.jpg

Lazing around in the morning, getting the car washed by the attendant, I noticed that the rear right tyre was flat. Lot of speculations later we decided to carry the ailing wheel in the Maruti Versa as we see the sights. We will get the tyre repaired at a convenient time. The Tyre rode the Versa roof-top carrier with most individuals asking the driver about the fat tyre on top of a car that has puny slim wheels!
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture22.jpg
Needless to say he was floored with a copy of this snap!

We got the puncture fixed first, there were two nails in it. Although to my untrained eye, I could not notice the second one. So although I had a tube-less repair kit and a foot-pump handy, those wouldn't have helped at all.

One can be seen right in this snap
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture31.jpg
A few pics of the Darjeeling Bazar Bus stand area. I guess not many take pictures here!
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture3.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture4.jpg

That taken care of, we hit the Padmaja Naidu Zoological park. Which also has in the same enclosure the Himalayan Mountaineering institute.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture13.jpg


This zoo has in its exhibits this amazingly cute creature
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture8.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture9.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture10.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture12.jpg

Thats how to sleep, dreaming the sky.
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture6.jpg

And a few more like these guys
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture7.jpg
And these
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture14.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture16.jpg

From there we went to a nearby Tea Garden. The tea they serve there is an excellent lure for one to buy the packs in bulk, which later turn out to be disappointing. But even with that knowledge, some people end up buying, as we did.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture19.jpg

A drive to the Lebong race course, that was once the highest race course in the world, was purely academic, as it is mainly a field now, taken over by the Army.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture17.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture18.jpg

The Evening was spent lazing around again, enjoying the chilly Mall that was mostly deserted.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture23.jpg

That deserted!

The next day would see us waking at 3:30, so that we can start early to catch the Sunrise at Tiger Hill, a steep 4-5 km climb from Ghum (8kms from Darjeeling). So we hit the bed early.

However Daughter continued to refuse to eat/drink anything and was not at all her own self.

cntd

Last edited by 1100D : 26th November 2008 at 20:18.
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Old 26th November 2008, 20:27   #26
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However Daughter continued to refuse to eat/drink anything and was not at all her own self.
Something to do with the heights?
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Old 26th November 2008, 21:23   #27
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Something to do with the heights?
May be. We consulted a doctor in Darjeeling, who laughed us off. As the only problem from his perspective was that she was refusing to eat or drink anything, apart from that she was generally fine. He said, if she feels like eating feed her, otherwise dont bother. How could she survive those days beats me. She even refused chocolates! However, She only did that on the mountains. Slowly returning to normal in the plains.

Day 4 - Tuesday 18th November

This would turn out to be a big big day with variation that surprised us.
First up, woke up at 3:45 am and by 4:15am we were fighting the cold to place ourselves in a very cold and misty car. Having turned on the AC with the temperature being set to hot, it took 5 mins to clear up and be comfortable.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture1.jpg

Getting acquainted with hill decent in the dark morning was special but did not take much time. What was irritating was the road surface. There were many other Mahindra Jeeps going there in the morning as usual. As we reached Ghum in the dark, I caught sight of a Yellow Innova, it was an unusual colour for the vehicle, and it also guided me into the narrow steep climb (that ould otherwise be easy to miss) that takes one to tiger hill from Ghum. After a couple of steep and tight turns the Innova and our car was pulling away from the spacio's, Marshalls and Bolero's. After a few more, the Innova was indicating me to overtake!! Well as with the Wagon-R blipped the headlights to Indicate that I was happy tailing him (as he was showing me the clean path devoid of potholes, which I would not be able to spot being ahead and will drive slower). Soon our Convoy was ahead by 3 cars, but at the top of Tiger hill we found vehicles lined up with nowhere to go. There was a very tight parking space, which to my knowledge was impossible case, and given the steep slope the car was already in. How I managed to turn the car around and then diagonal park in that space is a mistry to me to this day!!

See the picture below, my car was just behind the First Sumo which did not move an inch forward. My car was ahead of the second Sumo which did not ove an inch backward and yet the car managed to turn around and park itself given the slope!! Impossible - I did not do it!!

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture2.jpg

Anyway the reason to Visit Tiger hill was to see the Sunrise, but contrary to what people do (is that concentrate on the rising Sun) the real story is unfolds at the tp of Kanchenjungha, as it turns red from the tip downwards. See the pictures in the rder.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture3.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture4.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture6.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture5.jpg


On the way down we did a couple of photo shoots.
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture7.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture8.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture9.jpg

Was back to Darjeeling Tourist Lodge to pick my Mother and Daughter who did not accompany us to the chilly hill top. Having taken Tiger Hill with aplomb, Rock Garden was not going to be a problem.

But as we entered this 6km steep hill descent later in the day, it was certain this was steeper than anything I have driven on. The switchbacks are tighter. The road is narrow in parts where there are settlements. The car was happily going upto 6000 rpm in first gear without hitting the brakes and the acelerator. The first 5 kms was still fine but the last km being absolutely unpaved (meaning was paved at some point of time in the past).

Someone was taking the orthodox scenery, someone was busy taking the scenery with the signature.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture10.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture13.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture12.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture11.jpg


Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture14.jpg
Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture15.jpg

But Rock Garden was not the lowest point we were visiting that time, there is another new park called "Ganga Maya" park another 3 kms downhill. The road was trechorous. But we still reached downhill with the brakes being very hot. I was fearing brake fade problems. Thankfully that did not happen.

The park is setup along a stream and is quite nice.

day 4 cntd
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Old 26th November 2008, 21:38   #28
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However someone was mighty disappointed.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture16.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture17.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture18.jpg


On the way up the reality of the task at hand actually dawned on us. The steep climb was least of our problems, it was the road condition which was not conducive to maintaining a momentum. At a certain switchback with an upgradient, I was forced to slowdown because of the protruding rocks. But the momentum was not enough for us to continue. With the weak clutch I was in no mood to slip it so the car stalled mid corner. Put the handbrake on, but the car was still sliding back on the slippery wet ground, till it rested on small brick arresting the backward slide. Mother suggested that they all get down, but I insisted they dont, if the challenge is not taken, its no point coming there with the car. However there wasn't any danger as the sliding car would have hit a small embankment if it slid backwards.

The frontwheel drive car with full-load was not getting adequate traction to move it forward.so turned the wheel to the right sharp to give it some motion and in the process hit a patch of dry tarmac left out, it worked and the car extracted itself within 3 seconds. However even with this experience, I wasn't able to keep momentum on the steep climbs due to the bad road surface. Thankfully the last 5 kms of the climb which was the steepes had reasonable surface topping.


However the up gradient on the way back (the last 5 kms) was so steep that the short first Gear of the Ikon was humbled. Even pulling upto 6000 rpm on first (say 40kmph) if you upshifted to 2nd the momentum would fall within seconds. So it was a 3500 rpm 25kmph constant speed climb. All downhill vehicles were moving away giving me a wide birth not to shred my momentum. However even if I stopped I would have torque to pull me through. But the rear heavy car with front claws would find the front wheels struggling for traction on that slope. So with a front wheel driver, that slope is a no-no, if the weather is anything else than dry, unless the road conditions improve substantially or you are hauling lighter load.

Some glimpses of what I am speaking about.
This was shot on the way down, what was worrysme was finding grip on the way up. Infact having gotten down to photograph the car, my shoes were slipping on the pedals.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture19.jpg

remember the old Bolero ad, "on roads like these if you teeth chatter...the twist in this case would be ....be scared"

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture20.jpg

Well we were up to Darjeeling by 12:30pm. But we had no time to waste, as we took the Versa waiting for us at the Tourist lodge to take us back to the Darjeeling railway station for a joy-ride on the DHR (Darjeeling Hill Railway). This train is a tourist train that goes from Darjeeling to Ghum and back, stopping at the famous Batasia Loop and giving us a glimpse of the DHR heritage at Ghum.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture21.jpg
One man was at the brake, the other was at the steam pressure. On uphill, the steam man contrls the train, on downhill its the brake man. There is another brake man in the passenger compartment, who mimics with the bogie brake whatever the engine brake man does. Matter of co-ordination.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture22.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture23.jpg

Its culprits like these that has robbed the DHR of its former glory. But I am nt complaining, they are a lot more convenient.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture26.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture27.jpg

We were back to the Lodge by 3pm and was greeted by the sight of a Tibetian wedding being celebrated there. Weddings and my Mother comes to her elements. Initially one does not feel like being anywhere close within her vicinity. The feeling is such that, one even feels like pretending not to be even knowing her!! Let me clarify what I mean. She adores weddings and finds a way in, to watch it, whenever she has the opportunity to see something she has not.

It usually begins with chatting up some young chaps. Then sensing the enthusiasm, I heardher say "I want to see the bride and groom", that moment a gesture is made to whoever (Dad or Me) is near her, we have to give her our wallet. Usually an envelope is ready. Bingo we are in. From that point, we are humble children of our Mother. This time it was my Father who got himself a beer bottle, something he doesn't get to experience before his teetotaller children.

But what was amazing was the hospitality. The reception. We were complete strangers and yet they explained every little detail to the parents. May them live happily ever after. They dont have a problem with these picture being posted.

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture24.jpg

Ikon 1.6 with weak clutch takes us to Darjeeling and a few forests of North Bengal.-picture25.jpg

A late but fabulous lunch on their insistence later we were free again to visit the nearby Mahakal temple, the steep climb (walking) took our breath away. But my father who had the benefit of having had the magic potion, took his Grand-daughter to the top in one single stretch (that too after having a hecttic day like what I have just mentioned)

cntd

Last edited by 1100D : 26th November 2008 at 21:42.
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Old 27th November 2008, 07:54   #29
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Anirban, amazing description, the sun rise pic was the best I have seen so far. Excellent capture.
I had a nice darjeeling trip (I have not been there yet). We were glued to this travelogue for the last one hour. Looking at the pics, my wife too remembered her trip there 6 years back.

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Old 27th November 2008, 09:05   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
A bit off topic but I find this strange. I have lived with and known thousands of Buddhists and never heard this before!! I thought only Jews and Muslims have this thing against pork. Could you please explain this to me?
Incidentally, the Tibetan dish pork momo is incredibly famous here.
Its bit complicated. Its between sects. Tamang, Yolmoo, who are pure budhist don't, however beef is allowed, strange isn't it!! As now people make momo out of anything, chicken, onion, cauliflower. etc.

Ofcourse some stretch is made wider. Thats how two vehicle (read buses) passes. I mean consistently its not wider.

Have you people checked the GL (Gorkhaland) number plates. Its DJietes way of protesting against the corrupt CPM government. Where else in the world can you see such unity among people.

and about the locomotive shown.
The No.786 was built on 1904. Its boiler number is 16/L/NG 1914 built by North British Loco Company, Glasgow. Nickname of 786 is Ajax.

Last edited by SirAlec : 27th November 2008 at 09:11.
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