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Old 13th October 2009, 15:23   #61
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Day 5 - The climb continues...

Time passed as I stood helplessly by Black Hawk. I brought out the floor mat and placed it in front and tucked it under the front right wheel, in order to get some traction back. I restart the engine, slot in 1st gear, and try to get Black Hawk moving. Nothing happened. The car kept dragging along the ditch, spewing some more mud.

By this time, I realized that I had the phone number of the resort manager with me. I take out my cellphone. Yes it has got signal.

A couple of calls and the line is coming busy.

I give it a break and try after 5 mins. The phone rings:

Me: Hello, this is Saurabh and I have a booking at your resort today, for 1 night.
Manager: Ok..
Me: I have a problem. My car has skidded and landed in a ditch beside the road. Can you please send a couple of people from the resort to help me push the car out?
Manager: Sorry Sir, at this moment, no body is available here to help.
Me: Do you have a Sumo or any other SUV and a rope? Can you send it to pull the car out of the ditch?
Manager: Sorry, there is no car at the resort now. All have gone out.
Manager: Which car do you have with you?
Me: Esteem
Manager: Can you please ask your driver to try to take out the car? while you can walk up to the resort.
Me: I am the driver as well.
Manager: Oh, what to do now? There is no one around who can help.
Me: Ok, let me see what I can do.

I hang up. One more hope dashed.

A couple of minutes passed and I hear something coming up the road from down below. What do I do now? There is not enough space left for another car to pass. What if the other car cannot help. I have ended up blocking the path to the resort.

A Mahindra Commander appeared around the bend and stopped a few feet from my car. Apart from the driver, there is only one person in his mid-fifties sitting in the car. The luggage carrier on the top is full of bags. It seemed that the other passengers have been asked to get down except this person.

I walk up to the driver. He has got down from his jeep by this time.

Me: Can you pass through the gap?
Driver: No, its too narrow
Me: Can you help me?
Driver: What happened?
Me: The car has skidded and landed in the ditch. I am unable to bring it out.

The driver comes over and inspects the car. By this time, the other person has got down as well.

Person: What happened?
Me: The car has skidded off the road.
Person: You are from Kolkata?
Me: Yes
Person: You are coming all the way from Kolkata?
Me: YES (I was in no mood for a gossip)

By this time, the other passengers of the jeep have come up and gathered around the car. I told the driver that I am getting into the car, while some of you try to push the car.

I started Black Hawk. Slotted in 1st gear and the rest of the people started pushing. After about 2-3 mins, Black Hawk was finally on the road again.

The driver of the jeep comes up to me.

Driver: Saab, gari thik hai toh?
Me: Yes, looks to be alright. Let me see. Many thanks boss.

From here on, I decided that there is no other option but to reach the resort in one shot. The road has become steeper and if I lose revs, I will not be able to pull her up. Whatever damage had to happen, may have already happened. Lets see how far I can take her.

I thanked everybody and got back into the car. Started Black Hawk, revved her to the limit in 1st gear and let her go.

From here onwards, it was an extremely bouncy ride, the FFE screaming loud, the suspension being tested to the limits.



After about 10mins, I finally reached the resort. It was 11:30am by that time. I have spent more than 30 mins trying to cover about 1km up the hill.

Path leading to the resort
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The resort entrance
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Black Hawk resting at the resort, after going through all the ordeal
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On reaching, all the hardship that I had faced while coming up, vanished in a moment.

All I could say was WOW...
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Old 13th October 2009, 15:42   #62
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Saurabh Da,

. Beautifully written.

And yes i will be coming along for the Raid.
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Old 13th October 2009, 16:42   #63
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Nice little adventure. Can be quite unnerving even on proper asphalt road. Black Hawk is looking very smart after the adventure. Keep it going.
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Old 14th October 2009, 01:47   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Nice little adventure. Can be quite unnerving even on proper asphalt road. Black Hawk is looking very smart after the adventure. Keep it going.
Coming to think of it now, it was indeed an adventure. But, at that moment, standing helplessly beside Black Hawk, neither could I go ahead, nor did I have the option of going back.
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Old 14th October 2009, 02:16   #65
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I distinctly remember there was a turn (most probably before the last stretch of steep climb) which was quite sharp where good momentum was needed. Kudos to you for taking a FWD up that road.
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Old 14th October 2009, 07:30   #66
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Earlier it was the suspense, now you stop with a wow. Not fair.
Please update fast.
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Old 14th October 2009, 12:18   #67
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Day 5 - Mt Narsing Resort and view of Ravangla.

The journey to the top of the hill to reach the resort was worth every effort. The top of the hill is like a small plateau in which Mt Narsing resort is located. For me, it is impossible to decsribe the beauty of this resort. Setup with a rustic theme, the resort comprises of log cottagesset around the periphery of the plateau. The middle of the plateau is slightly elevated and the cottages are a level below the ground level of the plateau.

On one side is the office cum restaurant, housing the kitchen at the back. Every attention has been given to the minutest details when this resort was setup. Standing inside the restaurant, you will feel that you are standing inside an old Sikkimese museum. To me, the resort itself could be a destination. But more on that later.

Lets explore the outside.

On reaching, our luggages were transported to one of the cottages. The walls, the balcony, the roof, everything is made of logs. Even the lock inside the toilet door is a piece of wood. The cottages are very comfortable with bright red bed linens and carpets, in sharp contrast to the outside. Being at a lower height than the plateau, you will not be able to see the other cottages from your room. This gives you a sense of exclusivity.

The cottage balcony
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When we reached the resort, it was bright and sunny. I went out to capture the resort from various angles. The entrance to the resort has fascinated me very much and I tried to get as many nice shots as possible. I have only 1 day in hand here and did not want to waste time.

The main entrance
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The path leading from the gate
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View from the other side
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The mini prayer wheels
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However, as luck would have it, soon a patch of dark cloud appeared on top of the hill. While the hills around were sunny, it suddenly started raining on the resort. I had to come running inside. The rain continued for around 30mins, turned into a mild drizzzle and then stopped.

The rains added to the beauty
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Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0179-large.jpg

As it was already past 2:00pm, we decided to have a light lunch with momo and noodles.

After the rains, the surroundings have become even greener. The smell from the grass and the surroundings are enough to mesmerize you.

One of the cottages after the rains
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You can see the clouds floating around the hills. Soon a rainbow appeared, on the opposite hill, as if that was the only missing piece in the fairyland setting.

Gateway to the fairy land
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As I was roaming around the resort, I met an Austrian lady. She must be in her 50's and they are on a trekking tour in Sikkim and Bhutan. This was her first trip to India. The first one was 30 yrs ago, when she had visited Leh. She was walking around, enjoying the beautiful nature.

!ncredible !ndia
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I spotted a few bare-basic benches setup on the ground and was in search of a vantage point to witness the sunset. The cloud cover, now in several layers have moved north towards the peaks and have kept them hidden from us. With the cloud building up, the sunset promised to be stunning.

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It was around 4:30pm by this time. A cool breeze has started blowing and it was gradually getting dark. What followed next was absolutely divine.

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0209-large.jpg

The clouds have painted a very nice picture in grey, brown, golden and white across the mountains. Through the clouds, the sun rays were peeping through, creating a mindblowing spectacle.

Prayers go up, blessings come down..
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Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0214-large.jpg

I was repenting..why did I choose to stay only 1 day here? I can spend an entire week in this resort, doing absolutely nothing.

As it grew dark and a bit chilly, we decided to go into the restaurant, which is also a nice place to hang around...

Whats that?? An Armadillo!!??
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Old 14th October 2009, 12:24   #68
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Wonderful pictures, good to find that you came out triumph of that brief adventure.

Ravangla - any bird pictures? Ravangla is a must visit next time in Sikkim for me.
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Old 14th October 2009, 13:08   #69
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Excellent photographs and great trip so far. Especially the last photographs were fantastic. Good narration too. Keep the thread running. I have never visited North East or Kolkatta for that matter and your thread actually is opening a window for me.

I am thoroughly enjoying it.
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Old 14th October 2009, 15:14   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Wonderful pictures, good to find that you came out triumph of that brief adventure.
Ravangla - any bird pictures? Ravangla is a must visit next time in Sikkim for me.
I did not get much time for birding. The resort kept me engaged. Next morning, I kept running after a smaller variety though. On our way down, we did spot a Hoopie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
Excellent photographs and great trip so far. Especially the last photographs were fantastic. Good narration too. Keep the thread running. I have never visited North East or Kolkatta for that matter and your thread actually is opening a window for me.

I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Sikkim and the other NE states are really worth exploring to the limits. Thanks that you liked this thread, but these are relatively popular tourist places. There are other places which are extremely remote.
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Old 14th October 2009, 18:51   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
I distinctly remember there was a turn (most probably before the last stretch of steep climb) which was quite sharp where good momentum was needed. Kudos to you for taking a FWD up that road.
I do not know how I made it to the top. While going up, I took the turn in full throttlle and the rear stepped out and the car was around the hairpin.

While coming down, I could not take this turn in one go. I had to reverse and then complete it. I guess you are talking about the same hairpin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Earlier it was the suspense, now you stop with a wow. Not fair.
Please update fast.
More on the way

Last edited by Saurabh M : 14th October 2009 at 18:54.
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Old 15th October 2009, 00:43   #72
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Day 5 - Let the pictures speak

As the sun set, it was getting chilly outside. We decided to go inside the restaurant and spend some time there. We had already ordered dinner and planned to have it early at 7:30pm.

As I had mentioned earlier, the restaurant itself is a place to explore. Here again, the decor is a mix of bright hues of red and orange along with some very old artifacts, that have been exhibited at various places. The place did have a lot on display, but it never felt crowded.

Sitting places in the restaurant are along the walls, with a central pit for wood fire for the cold winter days. There is a sitting arrangement around the fire and the place looked really inviting.

An Armadillo skin I guess
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The reception desk
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A group of Austrians
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The table decor
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The serving table
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Old earthen pots
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Window seat
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The fireplace
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Musical instrument
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Artifacts
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Arms
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The room also had some interesting collection of masks. Here are a few of them:

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0339-large.jpg

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0340-large.jpg

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Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0348-large.jpg

A Skull and horns
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0346-large.jpg

We had a very nice dinner. It was 8:30pm by the time we left the restaurant. As we stepped out of the restaurant, a cold wind blew across my face. However, I was simply standing glued outside the restaurant.

The moon was shining bright and full and the whole plateau was being awashed in moonlight. Along the edges of the ground, the cottages gleamed against the moonlit sky. I was very tired, but there is no way that I am going to take rest now.

I got the tripod out and kept hopping around the ground, looking for the best shots.

Here you have some of them:

The lawns
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0245-large.jpg

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0250-large.jpg

The cottages
Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0246-large.jpg

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0253-large.jpg

Kolkata-Siliguri-Mangalbaria-Ravangla-Geyzing-Siliguri-Kolkata-dsc_0249-large.jpg

Good night !!
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Old 15th October 2009, 03:54   #73
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Amazing Resort Saurabh da, Nice to see that finally your adventure turned into a WOW. The kitchen ambience too is breathtaking. A must visit place for me now.

Abhi
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Old 15th October 2009, 10:24   #74
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Awesome Travelogue Saurabh. Beautiful pictures.

I hope Black Hawk received the mud bath ONLY, when it got stuck - i guess the under body protection (sump guard, tank guard) are ok??

Rated 5 stars
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Old 15th October 2009, 13:02   #75
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Great photography, particularly the night ones. What's that white light on top in the last photograph? Moon? But you would have been there before full moon !! Whatever it is, the photographs look really nice and captivating.
Tastes differ, but I would suggest break the 2/3 rule once in a while. It looks too obvious in the verandah shots.
Rated 5 star, by the way.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 15th October 2009 at 13:03.
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