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Old 12th October 2009, 11:51   #46
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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post

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.
Hi, Just for adventure, you can do Matigara - Mirik - Ghoom - Darjiling - Singla - Naya Bazar - Jorethang - etc.

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Old 12th October 2009, 12:02   #47
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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.
Did you go to Yuksum? We did trek from Hotel Mount Pandim to Yuksum. From there views are really breathtaking.
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Old 12th October 2009, 16:07   #48
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Hi, Just for adventure, you can do Matigara - Mirik - Ghoom - Darjiling - Singla - Naya Bazar - Jorethang - etc.

Regards
Sutripta
I think I have done this route a couple of yrs back. Does it go via Dudhia?

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Did you go to Yuksum? We did trek from Hotel Mount Pandim to Yuksum. From there views are really breathtaking.
No, I havn't been to Yuksom, but plan to go some time in Dec - Jan.
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Old 12th October 2009, 19:50   #49
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I think I have done this route a couple of yrs back. Does it go via Dudhia?
Standard route to Mirik. The "adventure" part is Singla and the old bridges. In the monsoons!

OT.
Talking of bridges, I wish the old bridge at Tista bazar had been kept as pedestrian only. A bit of foresight, and it could have been made into a tourist attraction by itself. We are so good at wantonly destroying our heritage. In a similar vein, though Ive never been on it (stopped operation before my birth!) my minds eye sees the DHR Tista Bazar spur to be more exciting than the Darj one.

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Old 12th October 2009, 19:52   #50
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Time to report a micro T-BHP meet :

The first few pictures of Black Hawk posted in this thread rang a bell. Doesn't it look like the beast I have often seen parked in our office parking lot ? ,after all you have to be blind not to notice Black Hawk !!!

A couple of PM's followed and guess what ? , it turned out that we are colleagues seated only a couple of floors apart in the same block !!!

So today evening we had a coffee break in our office pantry - a micro meet between the two of us.
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Old 12th October 2009, 19:58   #51
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Where did you stay in Ravangla? I went there in 2006, but I was not able to take my car upto the resort as it was steep and there were boulders all around. But I cannot remember the name of the resort. It was on a hilltop where there were several wooden bunglows.
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Old 12th October 2009, 23:23   #52
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Time to report a micro T-BHP meet :

So today evening we had a coffee break in our office pantry - a micro meet between the two of us.
Thanks Angshuman for meeting up. The world is indeed getting "smarter" where we park and sit in the same building and meet through TBHP.

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Where did you stay in Ravangla? I went there in 2006, but I was not able to take my car upto the resort as it was steep and there were boulders all around. But I cannot remember the name of the resort. It was on a hilltop where there were several wooden bunglows.
Hehe, thats exactly where all the adventure begins on Day 5. Its called Mt. Narsing resort.
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Old 13th October 2009, 02:10   #53
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Day 5 - The most scary as well as rewarding day in the entire trip

Last night, we had packed our bags and planned to leave Mangalbaria early. I woke up at 5am to witness the sunrise on Kanchenjunga for the last time, before we head towards South Sikkim. The skies were clear and the sunrise was equally spectacular like previous days.

Today, our route would be : Kaluk - Legship - Kewzing - Ravangla. The total distance is around 45kms and should not take long. It would however depends on the number of stops we take for photoshoot. We were also running short on our stock of mineral water, so we planned to re-stock from Legship.

Completed our breakfast by 7:30am, paid up the food bill, loaded Black Hawk with all the luggage and were ready to leave. We left Bliss resort sharp at 8:00am.

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9290086-large.jpg

The downhill journey of 20kms from Mangalbaria to Legship took 1hr. At some portions, the road was bad, but overall, there is nothing to complain about.

Legship Morh
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9280072-large.jpg

Legship is a small town by the Teesta. The water is emerald green and is so refreshing. Legship has quite a few shops selling all kinds of things, starting from groceries to clothes to medicines and items for daily use. We bought 2 cartons of mineral water and loaded them in the boot. Spent around 20mins at Legship and then moved on towards South Sikkim. Beyond Legship, you have to cross the Gammon bridge over Teesta and enter South Sikkim.

Leaving West Sikkim for South Sikkim
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9280073-large.jpg

The road climbs rapidly after you cross the bridge and it was an absolute joy throwing Black Hawk round the hairpin bends.

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9290084-large.jpg

We reached Kewzing, a small hamlet, 17kms away from Legship, at 10:20am. From here, Ravangla is another 7kms. We have booked ourselves for 1 night, at Mt. Narsing resort, which is 3kms from the main town of Ravangla. On the right side of the main road, they have a small office and a couple of cottages where you have to check-in, or so did I think.

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9290076-large.jpg

There is a small pebbled road leading upto the resort office. I took Black Hawk up that road, parked her at a place and came out of the car with the booking receipt in hand. I looked at my watch. Its 11:00am. We have made it in good time, I told myself.

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9290081-large.jpg

I walk up to the resort office, with the booking slip in hand.

Me: I have a booking for 1 night at this resort. I handover the receipt.
Attendant: At what room rate have you booked Sir?
Me: Let me check...its 1600 for 1 night.
Attendant: (Looking at Black Hawk) Sir, this is not the exact place. Your cottage is high up this hill.
Me: where?
Attendant: Sir, you see the electric towers on the hill, thats where your cottages are.

I look up at almost 60deg trying hard to locate the resort. I see nothing, but a heavily forested hill.

Me: How do I go there? Is there a road?
Attendant: Err...yes Sir, there is a road. Just go back around 500mts towards the direction you came from, and on your left, you will find a rocky path that would take you to the resort.
Me: Thank you.

I come back to the car, feelng confident that I have found the direction of the road leading to the resort. However, to me, the hill looked pretty steep and is forested. There was no sign of the resort from down below. I drove back around 500mts, and just around the corner, there is a cobbled road, going up the hill from the main road.

Seeing the steepness of the road, I slot Black Hawk in 1st gear, revv up and start going up. A little up the road, there is a hairpin bend and Black Hawk easily makes it.

Let me describe the road a little bit here. The road, or better, the path, is just as wide for a car or jeep to pass through. The surface is full of boulders with jagged edges and to make things worse, is pretty wet. It looked like that the path does not receive enough sunlight. On one side, is the rock wall, covered with mosses and lichens and on the other side is a sheer drop to the valley below. The valley has sufficient forest cover, so it does not look quite scary.

Beyond the hairpin, the path becomes very steep. I realized that I am not getting enough traction. Along with the steep slope, the wet rocks are adding to the problem. On top of that, in order to climb, I have to stay at high revs in 1st gear and accelerate at the same time. Black Hawk started dancing on the boulders as it tried desperately to climb up the steep slope. Th stiff suspension setup keeping it on its toes.

Around 50mts from the hairpin, Black Hawk stalled. It was not being able to pull further. The car needs to be made lighter. I ask all my passengers to alight, but keep the luggage in the boot. Its impossible to carry all the luggage up the steep hill. I estimated that the total path would not be less than 1km. I got down from the car, put some stones behind the rear wheel and while asked the others to keep walking up, I kept standing beside Black Hawk, thinking how to take her to the top.

I was not only scared about the steepness, but to be able to climb, I will have to try to drive as fast as possible on the slope, so that the momentum would help in taking the car up. I was also scared about the boulders which might cut the side walls of the tyre. A puncture here would mean pure disaster. I was also not able to guage the damage that I would be doing to the shockers. A shocker failure would also mean, end of my trip and it would be a real problem to drive her back to Kolkata. Moreover, I was also scared of the fact that the grass patch in the middle of the path might have some large boulders which could hit the underbody and cause some damage, though I have a sump guard and gas tank guard fitted.

Path to Mt. Narsing resort
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-p9290087-large.jpg

The others have disappeared around the corner and I was standing there alone, with a few birds keeping me company. After thinking for a while, I picked up a few more stones in the car, just to ensure that I can use them if I stall again. I decided to back up upto the hairpin and then bring up Black Hawk in full blast. I was desparately wanting to be able to climb to the top. So, I back up to the hairpin, revv Black Hawk to around 5000rpm, slot her in 1st gear and off we go.

I passed the point where we stalled last time and further up by another 200mts. The road has become even more steeper by now and the boulders have become more jagged. I revv her more and she was almost redlining, as she pulled up. Since the road was all broken and rocky, Black Hawk was bouncing from one side of the road to the other. The rear was constantly fishtailing. Then the inevitable happened...

At one point, the road was very slippery. Black Hawk bounced towards the right, with the front directly pointing towards the valley. In a fraction, I corrected the steering, the rear fishtailed towards the valley and Black Hawk skidded on the other side and landed in the ditch along the rocky wall on the left. It was game over for me.

Both the left tyres were now in the ditch. I tried to bring her out, by both reversing and forwarding alternately, but it did not help. The front right tyre was barely touching the ground. I am not getting enough traction to pull the car out. The FFE kept screaming at the top of its voice, the front right wheel kept spinning, generating a lot of smoke and smell of burnt rubber, while the left front one kept spewing mud through the left window. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. There was not a single soul around.

I switched off the engine. There was pin drop silence around, except for a few birds which kept chirping occasionally on the trees above.
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Old 13th October 2009, 02:34   #54
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Yes, this was the place. However in 2006 it was even worse with bigger boulders. Even the Tata Sumos and Qualises had problems going up there. From the pics, it seems more than the boulders, the steepness caused problem for you.
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Old 13th October 2009, 11:09   #55
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Yes, this was the place. However in 2006 it was even worse with bigger boulders. Even the Tata Sumos and Qualises had problems going up there. From the pics, it seems more than the boulders, the steepness caused problem for you.
For me, the problems were the jagged edges of the path. Since I was hitting them with full thrust, I was scared that the side walls would get cut or result in a tyre burst. The other problem was that the path was wet, reducing traction. It was hard for me to keep Black Hawk along the path.
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Old 13th October 2009, 11:54   #56
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So what did you do next?? Please break the suspense .. lol
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Old 13th October 2009, 13:12   #57
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Beautiful, beautiful travelogue. And now with a bit of suspense thrown in.

Sorry to have stumbled upon it late. I've been to some parts of Sikkim (Yoksum, Pemyangtse, Lake Khechipedi - hope I got that name correct - Gangtok and thereabouts). This was in 1992 with hired vehicles. But most of the places you mentioned, I'm seeing for the first time. Carry on Saurabh M. This has all the makings of a classic.
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Old 13th October 2009, 13:31   #58
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The FFE kept screaming at the top of its voice, the front right wheel kept spinning, generating a lot of smoke and smell of burnt rubber, while the left front one kept spewing mud through the left window.
It wasn't burnt rubber, it was your clutch getting fried. I hope the damage wasn't serious and you have got it checked by Joydedba who modded your car.
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Old 13th October 2009, 14:49   #59
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Beautiful, beautiful travelogue. And now with a bit of suspense thrown in.
Thanks Predatorwheelz

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It wasn't burnt rubber, it was your clutch getting fried. I hope the damage wasn't serious and you have got it checked by Joydedba who modded your car.
Yes, thats what I thought as well but was hoping against hope that nothing happens to the clutch, as we were only midway in our tour. Later, on returning, got the car checked with Joydeb-da. The clutch is fine.
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Old 13th October 2009, 15:01   #60
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Great going Saurabh suspense is getting longer
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