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Old 10th October 2009, 14:38   #31
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Hi Saurabh nice travelogue.I had driven from Hyderabad stayed 3days for Dushera in Kolkatta and the proceeded to Darjeling.While going from Kolkatta I took the Krishnanagar route really bad roads.After Faraka I thought should get back to Kolkatta as the roads were bad and was tiring.My son was upset that we should not go back and then I continued towards Darjeling.I got held up at the Bridge that was broken(Kaliachak) for about an hour was really cursing the government such an important highway and the bridge was not built.Upto Islampur the road was quite ok.I started from Kolkatta 3am reached Silguri 6pm.While coming back after visiting Gangtok I was apprehensive of the broken bridge so started from Silguri 9pm I could pass the bridge with ease.I took the Rampurhat Ilambazar route the road was excellent.After Durgapur took the Onda Bishnupur Kharagpur route roads were bad.Crossed Kharagpur and reached Cuttack 4pm.It was one of my longest drive with short power naps at Rampurahat.
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Old 10th October 2009, 22:24   #32
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I got held up at the Bridge that was broken(Kaliachak) for about an hour was really cursing the government such an important highway and the bridge was not built.
Nice to know that you did the trip. NH34 is deteriorating, but still in a better shape than previous years. Its really surprising that the government is delaying the widening of this road by so many years. Its the main connection to the North Eastern states from the rest of the country.
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:29   #33
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Day 3 - Good Morning !!

The cellphone alarm went off at 4:30am. Couple of snoozes later, I left the bed at 4:45.

Whats that??

Seemed like a pitter-patter on the tin roof.

Oh my god, its raining!!!

I quickly dash out to the balcony. Is it raining??

Thank god, its not. Large droplets of overnight dew that has accumulated, are falling on the tin roof over the porch, right below the balcony.

I look up in anticipation and yes!! the sky is crystal clear and lo and behold...I have the might Kanchanjunga peak standing right in front of me.

A superfast brushing act and I was ready on the balcony with my camera and accessories. The sky has started lighting up and the Kanchanjunga massif was still looking dull against a gradually brightening eastern sky. The first rays of the sun are yet to kiss the snow peaks. The lights in the villages along the slope facing the resort are still twinkling. I look at my watch. 5:15am.

Waiting for the first rays of the sun
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The clock ticked on as the sky started taking a reddish hue.

5:20am - the first rays of the sun hit the top of Kanchenjunga peak.

The first rays
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My real journey has just begun...

5:22 am - the reddish-pink hue started to spread across the snow-clad slopes. This part of the world was gradually waking up.

Spreading the warmth
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This is a moment to stand quietly, introspect and admire, in awe, the divine beauty of nature. I was feeling ashamed that I was the only one creating all the mechanical sound around, with endless noise from the shutter.

With every second, the hue was changing. Gradually, the sunrays touched the other peaks around. From reddish pink, to light golden, to dazzling golden, white and finally dazzling white. It all happened in a span of 6-7 mins.

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By this time, the surroundings are also taking a bath in the first rays of the morning sun. Standing tall and high proudly, overseeing the valley below, Kanchanjunga, wearing its silver crown, was dazzling in its own glory.

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After breakfast, I came down to check out the surroundings. The lawn in front was wet with dew. Checked out Black Hawk.

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Covered all over with dust and the overnight mist, she woke up from slumber and looked back at me with a smile. I smiled back.

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We are all safe and fine in this corner of India, at an altitude of 5576ft, because of her.

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Day 3 continued..

Last edited by Saurabh M : 10th October 2009 at 23:33.
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:42   #34
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Excellent photographs it is like watching from tiger hills
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:55   #35
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Excellent photographs it is like watching from tiger hills
Yes. In fact Pelling provides a much better view. Being at a higher altitude and slightly closer. They say that the arial distance from Pelling to Kanchanjunga is 12kms.
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Old 10th October 2009, 23:59   #36
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what can i say after seeing all these pics...... WOW !!!
amazing, wish i could also join you to see all these areas, actually i am very very interested in the magic of west drive, lets see when can i make it happen !!!
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Old 11th October 2009, 11:25   #37
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what can i say after seeing all these pics...... WOW !!!
amazing, wish i could also join you to see all these areas, actually i am very very interested in the magic of west drive, lets see when can i make it happen !!!
Thanks airwolf9211. I guess you meant "magic of east" drive. Sikkim and the rest of the NE states are a revelation in themselves.
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Old 11th October 2009, 17:46   #38
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Saurabh dada, Amazing pics of the sunrise through the Kanchanjunga. Which hotel is this?

Abhi
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Old 11th October 2009, 18:02   #39
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Saurabh dada, Amazing pics of the sunrise through the Kanchanjunga. Which hotel is this?

Abhi
This is Bliss resort, Mangalbaria. Its in Kaluk distrist, near Rinchenpong. I would say that the location and setting is truly bliss.
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Old 11th October 2009, 18:05   #40
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Really very clear pics ! I have been to both Darjeeling (Tiger Hill) and Gangtok, but never such clear shots of the Kanchenjunga. Also the coronation bridge looks a bit aged!

How do you approach to this resort? Is it a different route from Mirit? Is it closer to Gangtok or Darjeeling. Some how I did not fully understand the destination route as shown in the map.

Last edited by ampere : 11th October 2009 at 18:11.
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Old 11th October 2009, 18:38   #41
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Day 3 Continued...

Around 8:30am, we decided to checkout the nearby Mangalbaria village. Its a walk of about 1km further, along the main road. I did not notice this when coming to the resort, as I was busy negotiating the hairpins. There is a small chorten and a prayer room, just outside the resort. It has 6 prayer wheels inside, 3 on each side. The locals were huddling around the chorten, waiting in a shade, probably for the infrequent jeep service to take them somewhere down below.

The road on the right climbs to the resort.
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The small chorten outside the resort
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Prayer room
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Prayer wheels
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We started walking towards the village. It was pretty hot outside, though it was the end of September. Atleast the heat should have been much less by this time. Anyways, as we started waking towards the village, we could not help but appreciate all the good work that the Government of Sikkim has been doing, over the last decade or more. All basic needs of livelihood are available in the remotest villages in the hills. Most of them have electricity, a school, safe drinking water, good roads, employment for atleast 1 member of a household, who are not into farming. All these villages have telephone connections and even some of these remote villages have internet connection as well.

All in a day's work
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Mangalbaria is one such village and whats more, it has been named as a model village. We came across the "Nirmal Gram" board that has been put up at the roadside with the logo reading "Sampurna Swachchata Abhiyan" - "Complete cleanliness drive", if I may transfer in crude English. It felt very good that the state government is doing its best to help the locals to be self-dependent. Commendable act, I must admit.

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On our way, we came across these 3 young ladies, on their way to work or to the local market, probably. They happily oblidged for a snap and it feels so nice to see these young girls, always smiling, happily on their way to do something meaning.

Three smiling and intrigued young ladies
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The village itself is average in size, has around 100 houses/huts, a secondary school, a small market, a bank and other necessary establishments.

Feeling quite hot, we came back in an hour. I spent some time at the lawn.

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The food at the resort is excellent. They have been running this resort for the last 9yrs and I would say, they have maintained it extremely well. The service is prompt and always with a smile. After lunch, it was time for a nap. By the time I woke up, tea was ready. It was a little past 4pm.

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Today, the sky seemed to be less cloudly. Though the Kanchenjunga peak was behind clouds, some portions of it were peeping out, reaching out for the last rays of the sun.

Peeping through the clouds
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As darkness gradually started descending, the Mt. Pandim and Mt. Narsing peaks were standing out clear. We witnessed a wonderful sunset from the balcony.

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As a leisurely day drew to a close, the lights of the villages started twinkling again. The sky turned darker. The lights of the lawn have been switched on. While the stars in the sky started to merge with the twinkling villages down below, against the hazy, rugged horizon, it was time for us to retire for the day.

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Tomorrow, we plan to stay at Mangalbaria for one more day and laze around, before we move on to Ravangla on day 5.

Coming up..Day 4.
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Old 11th October 2009, 18:56   #42
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Saurabh Da,

Great going.

Must admit the pictures are doing justice to the stunning beauty captured by them.

Seems Black Hawk is ready for a Raid de Himalaya
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Old 11th October 2009, 19:18   #43
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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Really very clear pics ! I have been to both Darjeeling (Tiger Hill) and Gangtok, but never such clear shots of the Kanchenjunga. Also the coronation bridge looks a bit aged!

How do you approach to this resort? Is it a different route from Mirit? Is it closer to Gangtok or Darjeeling. Some how I did not fully understand the destination route as shown in the map.
We were fortunate to have seen the Kanchenjunga so clearly, specially when the monsoon is still lingering on. My sister who is visiting Darjeeling this week, have not been able to see Kanchanjunga yet, for the last 3 days.

As far as route to the resort is concerned, it is a different route than Mirik. It is neither close to Gngtok, nor Darjeeling. Gangtok is East Sikkim, while Darjeeling is more on the west from Mangalbaria. When you drive, the route to Teestabazar is same for Darjeeling, but then you will have to follow the route to Jorethang and Pelling. This resort lies close to Pelling, which is also in West Sikkim.

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Seems Black Hawk is ready for a Raid de Himalaya
Hehe, thats my dream and I will surely do it some day soon. Wanna come along?
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Old 12th October 2009, 00:19   #44
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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Thanks airwolf9211. I guess you meant "magic of east" drive. Sikkim and the rest of the NE states are a revelation in themselves.



i can understand what feelings you must have gone through, and these are the feelings which can never be out from your heart in whole of your life
they are just unforgetable memories ...keep it up
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Old 12th October 2009, 11:24   #45
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Day 4 - A lazy one

This was destined to be a lazy day. The whole purpose of the trip was to unwind from the daily rigours of city life.

Bliss resort awashed in the morning sun
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I spent some time at the lawn, clicking some of the flowers and got Black Hawk cleaned. In the evening, we watched the sun go down and the moon rise.

Black Hawk being cleaned
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I enquired about the next leg of our journey, Mangalbari to Ravangla. We will be travelling from West Sikkim to South Sikkim. Set at an altitude of 7000ft, Ravangla is slightly higher than Mangalbaria. The distance we will have to travel is around 50kms and should not take more than 2.5hrs.

The manager at Bliss resort passed on the above information. I was pretty relaxed.

Little did I knew that I will face the toughest challenge in my motoring career. At one point, I was feeling helpless. The car has landed in a ditch and not a single soul around to help me out in that terrain. Thanks to my rally tuner that I could complete the rest of my tour and bring back Black Hawk in one piece.

More of that on Day 5...
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