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Old 10th June 2009, 18:10   #16
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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
YOU LUCKY FELLOW... why? Check the starting & ending pic, you know why!

What else i can say.
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Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Wow, Another wonderful teaser, cant wait to see more and read more as well.

As Mahesh aptly said, "YOU LUCKY FELLOW"

Abhi
He he, it sure looks like that other than the fact that as a freelancer, I am without pay everytime I travel, but then when there's such a route you just gotta go out and travel on that road!


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Originally Posted by biswajit View Post
Good start, Waiting for full!!
Are you planning for Leh trip in this sept?
Yes Leh is supposed to happen at end Sept with JSL accompanying me on his 4wd Safari, but with this travel taking place the funds have stilll become in doubt. And definitely I need 2 people to be travelling with us to share costs.

BTW, you too for Leh in Sept this year - you do travel long distance once a year with Safari! Do try N Sikkim once or you could even club this East Sikkim route with that of N Sikkim. https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ni-tajpur.html


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Originally Posted by arin_12 View Post
Oh God !!! What a road Looks like snake and ladder game
Thats the road after Zuluk and its all 1st/2nd gear. The road is otherwise empty other than the road construction trucks and army trucks, but you gotta honk at each and every of those blind corners - though the whole route we encountered just about nothing coming downhill.


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Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
Thats one beautiful pic. And Silk Route; remember about it from my history lessons during school days.
That sure is a fantastic pic, though I would say only around may be 20-30% of the surrounding scenery has come through. Gotta travel on this road again in November time when the skies are crystal clear or in March-April for the snow and the rhododendrons.


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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
ADC, great route. Had I known about this route, would have spent an extra 2 days in Sikkim too! Quite a discovery!

Very informative map, but I don't see Rishi marked there.

And did they insist on the permits when you returned on the Changu route?
Mr Kumar, Rishi is the very small village of 10-15 houses on the Rishi Khola [River]. Rishi Khola forms the boundary between West Bengal, Pedong side, and East Sikkim. On the map, the blue dot showing the Rishi Eco tourist is the acutal village of Rishi, again a very small village just having some few scattered houses alongside the hills and forests.

Any permits required to go from Rangpo to Zuluk?

Yes permits are required as this is a completely army route whereby entry is very restricted. The route is very senstive too as on the upper reaches of the route you can spot even the Chinese bunker looking down on the road.

The permit for this route can be done at both Gangtok and at Rongli. Of course since I was at the starting position near Rongli, had the permit done from SDPO Rongli.

Of course papers were seen and the old permit xerox of N Sikkim also helped. Also I was greatly helped by the owner of Rishi Ecotourist house, Mr Sebastian Pradhan, an absolutely enterprising gentleman who has and continues to single handedly develop these unknown places.

At the final check post of Changu, the first check post if you go from Gangtok side, the original papers are taken back.



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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Can this route be done in an Esteem?
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Probably two Esteems could do it Saurabh?
Yes Esteem can do this, just that a few stretch of the road you would have to be careful not to scrape. Also the road beyond Rongli is good as this is an exclusive Army route but then the corresponding roads like to Ramitey or Silent Valley from Pedong the roads are fit for a SUV only. Again roads beyond Tsongmo [Changu] Lake are quite worse.

So, in summary, if you stick on to the main road, the green portion marked on the map, esteem will be enough for the tour.

Whatever, surely do this route definitely around November or early December before the snowfall, the best views of Kachenzondga is from Thambi view point beyond Zuluk. We got a slight glimpse of it due to clouds [whatelse in monsoon time] but that sure was very entralling too.


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Originally Posted by kpzen View Post
incredible pics to start with.
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Originally Posted by shabahmad View Post
Certainly this travelogue will again be amazing.
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Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Breathtaking teaser pictures. Now it's hard to wait for the real content!
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Originally Posted by null View Post
Waiting for the detailed report! Pl. put up the entire travelogue with loads of pictures.
Thanks again.

The only regret that I have is that you need a DSLR with a wide angle and to have a Canon 6 MP camera with 35 mm at its widest is absolutely not doing justice to the vistas encountered.

Last edited by adc : 10th June 2009 at 18:21.
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Old 11th June 2009, 11:01   #17
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Yes Esteem can do this, just that a few stretch of the road you would have to be careful not to scrape. Also the road beyond Rongli is good as this is an exclusive Army route but then the corresponding roads like to Ramitey or Silent Valley from Pedong the roads are fit for a SUV only. Again roads beyond Tsongmo [Changu] Lake are quite worse.
Thanks for those encouraging words. I am definitely game for late November-early December. I was also of the impression that this road is mostly used by the Army and should be in a good state.
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Old 11th June 2009, 12:47   #18
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The teaser snaps have got me craving. The part of the country seems so unbelievable.You truly are fortunate to be in proximity of such natural splendour. India truly is so rich in its geography. I envy you folks, getting to do such drives. Thank you for sharing such travelogues. India has so much left to be explored by road. When will I?

Cant wait for more photos....The photo of the safari with the mountain ranges and cloud kissed peaks are just breathtaking.
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Old 11th June 2009, 15:04   #19
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Default Outstanding!!

Excellent teasers ADC!!!

I have been to Sikkim 3 times and once to Pelling & Ravangla.It is one place you can go over and over again and always find new things on the way

Presently planning for a trip to Arunachal but not before I shell out my entire savings for a DSLR.The Sony 6mp is good but a far cry from a SLR
:(

Keep it coming.
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Old 11th June 2009, 15:26   #20
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Dude,

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... you really are an inspiration, I feel ashamed for having a Safari and not doing an iota of what you're doing...

Anyways waiting with bated breath for your pics and travelogue, so I can put those places on mu to do list ....

I did Nathu La and Baba Mandir last year .... but via the tourist route and in a taxi .... so I'm looking forward to check out the alternative route.

Cheers,

Plugugly

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team : Please take the time to use proper punctuation as per Team-BHP rules. Avoid...typing...like...this. Thanks.

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Old 11th June 2009, 16:13   #21
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Originally Posted by adc View Post
BTW, you too for Leh in Sept this year - you do travel long distance once a year with Safari! Do try N Sikkim once or you could even club this East Sikkim route with that of N Sikkim. https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ni-tajpur.html
I won't able to travel this September to Leh but next year mostly I'll. Because of you now we came to know about all these little known places, adding these for my future trips. Thanks for sharing it in this forum. Please post detail travelogue, anxiously waiting
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Old 12th June 2009, 12:39   #22
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Default First stop on the Silk Route - Rishi, East Sikkim,

Day 1 - Calcutta - Rishi [overnight journey - 770 km approx, 16 hours with 3 breaks.]

The planning for the route was discussed with Mr Sebastian Pradhan, owner of Rishi eco-tourist huts just by the river side [Rishi river - it forms the border of West Bengal Kalimpong-Pedong side and East Sikkim]. For accurate location do refer to the map at page 1 and the resort is mentioned by Rishi Khola.

Mr Pradhan has been a pioneer in putting forth tourist places like Pedong and now his full energy is on making Rishi a good relaxing tourist spot for nature lovers. With the days and iteranary discussed with him and the map printed out, it was all go now on our Friday night for the overnight journey to Rishi via Siliguri [approx 750 km].

As usual on the NH34, a night journey is the faster journey and we started from Calcutta around 830 pm. The journey was again [like April N Sikkim tour] done all through NH34 as the road is now absolutely a pleasure to drive on, other than the fact that all big vehicles [trucks and buses] ply at nighttime as this road become frighteningly congested during day time. This time we did encounter much higher night traffic but still was in Siliguri by 630 am with a 2 stops at Krishanagar and Dalkhola.

Though the original silk route was through Kalimpong, Alagarh and then Pedong and then to Rishi for the Sikkim side, we went through Rangpo side as I was feeling tired and did not want to go through the morning traffic of Kalimpong town. Just as one crosses Rangpo gate, the signboard comes up showing Gangtok towards the left side but nothing it says about the winding narrow road that goes to the right side. This is the absolutely lesser known road which is in very bad condition for the first 4 km and then it becomes okay till we reach Rishi, the place by Rishi Khola [river].

The narrow road that goes right of Rangpo, desolate and very less travelled
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2754ee.jpg

Rishi eco tourist camp located down from the main road to the river bank
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2856ee.jpg

The trail goes down to the river bank but full of loose pointed rocks and boulders. The road down to the river bank again is quite steep and with bare rocks a careful drive has to be done
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2866ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2871ee.jpg

Thats the parking point as the trail has been washed away by flash floods due to heavy rains of Aila just few days ago. Safari VTT is parked on the Sikkim side.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2885ee.jpg

Its then a short trek along the river and crossing the newly made very temporary short bamboo bridge.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2757ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2760ee.jpg

The eco tourist camp on West Bengal side
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2890ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3095ee.jpg

After a 16-hour no-sleep journey, connect to the internet via Airtel modem to find some work is there, tired to the bone but then the remaining daylight hours goes off working - only free by evening. Wife and kid of course explore the place corner by corner. So, for me, the first day is just goes like that and full tired I go to sleep by 830 pm.


Last evening snap for the day by side of Rishi Khola
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2803.jpg
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Old 12th June 2009, 12:53   #23
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Great post and pictures. I home town is Siliguri and it is a shame that have not explored these wonderful off roads.

Will definitely try to include one of them in my next travel. Any contact for Mr. Pradhan.

-regards
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Old 12th June 2009, 13:14   #24
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Originally Posted by pranava999 View Post
The photo of the safari with the mountain ranges and cloud kissed peaks are just breathtaking.
That too is one of my most favourite pics till date!

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Originally Posted by aqualeo2040 View Post
Presently planning for a trip to Arunachal but not before I shell out my entire savings for a DSLR.The Sony 6mp is good but a far cry from a SLR
Thats a good decision. Whether it be the Lahaul-Spiti loop or the N Sikkim tour or this E Sikkim tour, I do absolutely feel the lack of a DSLR. A 6 MP 35 mm wide angle like yours, for me Canon, is absolutely out of depth in these places. I did think of also buying a DSLR but had to retrace back as that price would cover at least 3 future places of travel for me. Still hoping to buy at least some compact wide angle camera.


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Originally Posted by biswajit View Post
Please post detail travelogue, anxiously waiting
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Originally Posted by plugugly View Post
I did Nathu La and Baba Mandir last year but via the tourist route and in a taxi, so I'm looking forward to check out the alternative route.
As mentioned, anyone coming to Sikkim must do this route around November-early December time or around late Feb to April time for absolute clear skies and amazing views of the places and Kanchenzonga

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Originally Posted by Tsixty1 View Post
Will definitely try to include one of them in my next travel. Any contact for Mr. Pradhan.
Good to hear that you are from Siliguri. Will be posting all the details at the end of travelogue so that all the info is there at one place.

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Old 12th June 2009, 13:26   #25
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Default great adventure...shots!

you have piqued my desire for a return there in november or at the latest, march.
if you had difficulties with the permits, how could i as a foreigner hope to get onto those beautiful roads?!
could your mr pradhan help me out you think?
i am now in bangkok on foot as i have returned the bullet to my friend and look forward to coming back to india on the bike.
re that 'very temporary bamboo bridge', i assume you did not need to cross that river by that bridge! was there any part that you think a bullet would not be able to make it?
thanx brother
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Old 12th June 2009, 15:46   #26
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Default At Rishi for 2 days

Rishi Ecocamp had been till recently the only place to stay at Rishi, a very small village by side of Rishi river. This ecocamp is run by Mr Pradhan and really the "eco" tag is for both ecology and economy for this staying place. The backdrop is the dense forests that come down to the river side and with a tariff of Rs 350 per head per day [lodging +fooding] it is of course quite economical and plus of course the refreshments budget goes up and no one's complaining.

However there is a much better staying place [in terms of proper rooms, not made of bamboo or having thatched roof] just somewhat ahead on the river side also that costs around Rs 1000 for staying and fooding extra.

But then we liked this place much better as it had a natural surrounding plus it is biggest USP was that machan. From evening till late night, just relax over there, listening to the gurgling of water and refreshments served over there - it is relaxing beyond imagination.

Rishi Eco tourist camp - by the river and against the backdrop of the thick forest
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2890ee.jpg

The always "very temporary" bamboo bridge. Do remember the Rishi ecotourist is at West Bengal side, though the place and village proper is of Sikkim. Safari was parked at Sikkim and we resided at West Bengal.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2817ee.jpg


Living rooms or lets say quarters - night time for sleep you hear the creaking insects inside the bamboo but then who cares!
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3007ee.jpg

The absolute enchanting machan by side of the river, from evening to late nights that was our adda & thek
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3000ee.jpg

Dining room!
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3004ee.jpg

View from the machan, the tin roof houses seen at a distance is the only other resort. Much more spacious rooms as opposed to this one where we stayed - this was more rudimentary and rustic
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3006ee.jpg

The second day's activity started with very early morning rise and we trek to the jungle where we spot quite a few birds - absolutely refreshing.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2813ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2814ee.jpg
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Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3118ee.jpg

Last edited by adc : 12th June 2009 at 15:48.
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Old 12th June 2009, 15:54   #27
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ADC, sorry to bother you with a Q on the permits again, but....
- Did the permit that was issued at Rongli cover the entire circuit, including return via Changu Lake?
- Surprised that for all the tamasha you had to put up with to get your Apr permits, this one seems to have been obtained easily - or was some stringing and pulling required?
- Any idea how the route via Kalimpong is?

Photos becoming better and better!
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Old 12th June 2009, 17:17   #28
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Default Rishi, East Sikkim, Day 2 contd.

Rishi, East Sikkim, Day 2 contd.

After that invigorating jungle trek to feel the forest and along that watching those colourful birds, it was now time to accompany Mr Sebastian Pradhan to Rongli via Rhenock for getting the permits - issuing authority is SDPO Rongli.

Ontowards Rongli for getting permits done through SDPO Rongli - this road is along the original silk route that goes to Zuluk and Kupup.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2853ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2836ee.jpg

At SDPO office at Rongli
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2844ee.jpg

Small town of Rhenock, where the xerox copies were done of the permit
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3249ee.jpg

As i return see my son waiting anxiously - for a bath in the clear crystal waters of Rishi river
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2891ee.jpg

And then it just relaxing among the clear waters
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2912ee.jpg

Found myself a good spot and we are in the waters for a good 3 hours with refreshments brought to the spot by eco camp boys.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2974ee.jpg

And in the end get up for late lunch but not before I took a zero-pack pose
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_2975ee.jpg

The evening we again trek to the forests and spot a few birds returning for the day. Night time was as usual by that fantastic machan, and gossiping among ourselves.
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3021ee.jpg
Along the Forgotten Trail- Silk Route-East Sikkim [Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk-Jelepla]-img_3025ee.jpg


Thereby ends day 2 at Rishi and next day we leave early for Pedong, i.e. backtrack from where the silk road goes used to go through, with the plan of seeing some sights of Pedong and then off to Aritar following the original sik route. Mr Pradhan, again the gentleman that he is, accompanied us to show Pedong and went uptill Aritar, just to accompany us. He is very well known in these parts due to single handedly managing the fledgleing tourism of these regions.

Last edited by adc : 12th June 2009 at 17:19.
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Old 12th June 2009, 17:30   #29
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Originally Posted by mitchontheroad View Post
you have piqued my desire for a return there in november or at the latest, march.
if you had difficulties with the permits, how could i as a foreigner hope to get onto those beautiful roads?!
could your mr pradhan help me out you think?
i am now in bangkok on foot as i have returned the bullet to my friend and look forward to coming back to india on the bike.
re that 'very temporary bamboo bridge', i assume you did not need to cross that river by that bridge! was there any part that you think a bullet would not be able to make it?
thanx brother
Ok mitch this may be off limits to the foreigners as the further areas are just right beside the China border - in fact you can spot the chinese bunkers from the road. So if foreigners are not allowed to go to Gurudongmar, it is highly unlikely that they will be allowed on this road. However this is all just speculation until it is confirmed - do let me know when you would travel - will ask for details regarding this issue.

Oh during the March or late nov-december, the river is at a trickle and in fact you can cross over. Even if you keep the bullet that side, no problem as it is just on the opposite side of the river.



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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Did the permit that was issued at Rongli cover the entire circuit, including return via Changu Lake?

this one seems to have been obtained easily - or was some stringing and pulling required?

- Any idea how the route via Kalimpong is?
->Yes the permits were of the complete loop, ie including return via Changu Lake. Around 6 xerox copies are required as it has to be submitted at 6 different places along the way.

->This was because SDPO Rongli himself and along with Mr Pradhan has taken a huge interest in developing this route and thus it is more of a one-to-one approach. My earlier permit xerox of N Sikkim and my biodata of travel also helped to convice easily. Plus I had an interesting session with the SDPO on how to run a VCD in his new acquired laptop!!

->The Kalimpong road is good, but I avoided since we were not staying at Kalimpong and also since morning time it will be good traffic as the road goes right through the town and after an overnight drive it would be quite tiring for me. The silk route in the hills does start from Kalimpong and then Alagarh-Pedong-Rishi-Rhenock-Rongli.

A minimum 2 days of stay is a must at Kalimpong - in fact many people prefer Kalimpong to Darjeeling.

Last edited by adc : 12th June 2009 at 17:45.
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Old 12th June 2009, 17:42   #30
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Default WooooW!

Dada,
I am so absolutely jealous of you and so very hating my job now

Would definitely like to meet you in person next time I come home.

I guess once I have my DSLR, I can be the official photographer of the trip
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