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Old 12th April 2010, 11:00   #271
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No words to say Raveendrra.
Awesome and fabulous trip log and pictures. In fact the pictures speak for itself how well everyone enjoyed this short vacation and recharge right into the new year.
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Old 12th April 2010, 12:14   #272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
@ Pulsar: Time to ring in the New Year?
aye aye, Sir.

St. Mary's Cathedral.


AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0097.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0095.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0089.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0085.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0083.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0078.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0069.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0066.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0064.jpg

Happy New Year 2010
AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0002.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0011.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0103.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_00210.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_02009.jpg

AP to AP: In search of a white X-mas and found a street party!-dsc_0005.jpg


Two roads diverged in a wood, and...
We took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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Old 12th April 2010, 12:23   #273
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Hi Ravveendrra

Though I had posted only once before, I am following this fantastic travelogue regularly.

Back in October 2006 even Altos and Omnis could easily reach Tawang. Some of the photographs on this thread has made me assume that the road condition has worsened significantly and I have postponed plans of driving to Tawang on my Palio indefinitely. Do you think there is any chance of the road to Tawang becoming hatchback friendly any time soon?
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Old 12th April 2010, 13:34   #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
Hi Ravveendrra

Though I had posted only once before, I am following this fantastic travelogue regularly.

Back in October 2006 even Altos and Omnis could easily reach Tawang. Some of the photographs on this thread has made me assume that the road condition has worsened significantly and I have postponed plans of driving to Tawang on my Palio indefinitely. Do you think there is any chance of the road to Tawang becoming hatchback friendly any time soon?
I think if Laura could make it to Tawang then your Palio also can do it easily. He had trouble only going to BumLa not to reach Tawang. But anyway, let Ravveendra confirm this as he is the one who is back from Ground Zero ;-)
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Old 12th April 2010, 13:44   #275
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Nice paintings on those glasses. What are they called? Frescos?
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Old 12th April 2010, 14:10   #276
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Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
Hi Ravveendrra

Back in October 2006 even Altos and Omnis could easily reach Tawang. Some of the photographs on this thread has made me assume that the road condition has worsened significantly and I have postponed plans of driving to Tawang on my Palio indefinitely. Do you think there is any chance of the road to Tawang becoming hatchback friendly any time soon?
The Laura did the road till Tawang with ease. Even the Taxis in Tawang which will take you to Bumla are 2 wheel drives only.

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Nice paintings on those glasses. What are they called? Frescos?
They are called Stained Glasses. Link
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Old 12th April 2010, 14:13   #277
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Not sure of the technical definition of Fresco, and how it is different to a mural. but I think that it is to be found on walls.

The glass work is (at least in English) referred to as "stained glass". Whilst some glass painting may be involved for fine detail, the basis of the art is not painting, but making up the window out of many, many separate pieces of coloured glass. The "skeleton" that hold it all together is made of lead. In a dark church, with the sun outside, it can certainly be pretty amazing!

Several hundred years ago, the stained-glass artist would have had to make his own coloured glass too. I believe that there is one such window (maybe somewhere in Paris? I'm not much good at church stuff) that has a rose colour that nobody knows how to make any longer.
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Old 12th April 2010, 14:14   #278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
Hi Ravveendrra

Though I had posted only once before, I am following this fantastic travelogue regularly.

Back in October 2006 even Altos and Omnis could easily reach Tawang. Some of the photographs on this thread has made me assume that the road condition has worsened significantly and I have postponed plans of driving to Tawang on my Palio indefinitely. Do you think there is any chance of the road to Tawang becoming hatchback friendly any time soon?
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
I think if Laura could make it to Tawang then your Palio also can do it easily. He had trouble only going to BumLa not to reach Tawang. But anyway, let Ravveendra confirm this as he is the one who is back from Ground Zero ;-)
The Palio should do it easily (perhaps easier than the 'Le Tank' as the Palio's wheelbase is much shorter). The road can be and is traversed by hatchbacks. Most locals own 800s and Altos. Yes, we made it to Tawang easily. We might have been able to make it to Bumla in our own car but we did not want to risk injury to the car from the stone and crater filled road to Bumla as we still had about 4000 km to go.

The authorities are in the process of widening the road to Tawang and soon enough it will be a breeze of a drive. Till then we will have to put up with bottlenecks due to 'work in progress'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Nice paintings on those glasses. What are they called? Frescos?
Frescoes are paintings on plaster (normally fresh plaster). These are stained glass windows. The glass is not painted but each piece is of a different colour. Glass pieces of different colours are put together to make a picture. The pieces are joined using copper and lead , it is a bit like mosaic.

Cheers,
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Old 13th April 2010, 18:37   #279
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Ravveendrra, Pulsar56, Kaushik

Thanks for the update on the road to Tawang. My Tawang trip has to wait. My next drive is to Agartala - starting at dawn, tomorrow.
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Old 16th April 2010, 13:38   #280
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Guys, what happened?? No recent updates?

ToirtoiseNhare, waiting for your travelogue.
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Old 16th April 2010, 14:02   #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Guys, what happened?? No recent updates?

ToirtoiseNhare, waiting for your travelogue.
Quote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and...
We took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Updates from my side on the photos is complete.
Have one Video at Bumla which I need to upload. Will search for any photographs I have missed too.

Ravvendrra has to do the final honours with the write-up!
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Old 24th April 2010, 16:27   #282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
Ravveendrra, Pulsar56, Kaushik

Thanks for the update on the road to Tawang. My Tawang trip has to wait. My next drive is to Agartala - starting at dawn, tomorrow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Guys, what happened?? No recent updates?

ToirtoiseNhare, waiting for your travelogue.
+1 to that. (Though I will log in only after my next vacation - starting tomorrow!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Updates from my side on the photos is complete.
Have one Video at Bumla which I need to upload. Will search for any photographs I have missed too.

Ravvendrra has to do the final honours with the write-up!
LOL, we are getting to sound like those commentators on TV - over to you Mike etc. .....

The real push for todays short instalment is that I am off tomorrow morning - . This time I become a beach bum. Pondicherry, Tranquebar and all places en-route, here I come!!

31st December was also the day we went hunting for the fabled archery competition. It took us quite a while to find the place and by the time we found the small gate leading to the small arena overlooking the stadium, the archers had finished shooting and they were counting the number of arrows that hit the target - the target is a log of wood about 12 feet high. Satisfied that the score keepers knew their arithmatic we headed back to the hotel for a nap. Arun and Nazim decided to slip out and do some shopping.

Nap and dinner done, we headed out into town to marvel at the sight of Shillong all lit up as in a fairy tale. Music wafted out from various bands. There was an air of revelry in the cold and slightly damp night in spite of the civic party being cancelled in view of a serious security threat. The security forces posted all over town proved a damp squib but bands of merrimakers on foot proved irreprissible. A bit disappointed over the lack of a proper civic celebration we headed back to our warm rooms and bed. The fact that we turned in early held in good stead over the next two days.

Cheers,
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Old 24th April 2010, 16:57   #283
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Damn! ... i didn't realize we haven't got back from the trip yet in this thread , lol .

Common guys , quick !..... i need to cut copy paste and get our coffe-table book out , .

PS : Phew ! .... i got away easy again ,lol .
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Old 27th April 2010, 00:17   #284
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Originally Posted by absynthguzzler View Post
Damn! ... i didn't realize we haven't got back from the trip yet in this thread , lol .

Common guys , quick !..... i need to cut copy paste and get our coffe-table book out , .

PS : Phew ! .... i got away easy again ,lol .
LOL! and all of us are travelling again now. Better do your cut, copy paste stuff soon, I sure can do with some royalty cheques coming in.

Considering that you have been shunted off to Korba [without bath tub(s)], I wouldn't say you got off easy!!

Cheers,

P.S. Just got back to Mayura, via Fortune Kences after a most wonderful darshan at Tirumala.
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Old 8th May 2010, 15:17   #285
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December 31st was the last day of sight-seeing or relaxation and effectively marked the end of the vacation in the North Eastern part of India. Since we were to head back home the following day, we followed the news on TV and the web for news of bandhs, rasta-rokos etc. along our route as they could severely hamper our plans and everyone had to be back in Hyderabad on schedule to rejoin work / school.

Our research revealed that leaving at 5.00 a.m. on New Years Day as planned would land us right into a Gorkhaland bandh which was due to extend till dusk. We therefore decided to leave after breakfast so as to hit the affected area after nightfall. Little did we know that this would be the first of many such "re-schedulings" on what was to become a mad rush to beat the various rasta-rokos, bandhs, hartals etc. scheduled by various groups along our route. What resulted was an incredible marathon of a drive braving adverse conditions to keep moving ahead while not compromising on safety. The fact that this travelogue has seen the light of day is proof that we were able to undertake the drive safely. The fact that we were at work as scheduled is proof that we were able to do so comfortably. That drive (as was the whole driving holiday itself) is testimony to the spirit of the traveller and more importantly shows that a determined traveller can with a little planning, beat the rabble rousers intent on disturbing the normal course of life of the peace loving populace.


We rang in the new year with a sumptuous and relaxed breakfast at the Alpine Continental, after this came the check out and loading of all our luggage back in the car. The woolens were all tucked away into the dickie. We piled into the car and set off in search of a decent looking bunk to fill in Diesel. It was about 9.00 a.m. by the time we left the bunk and said a very reluctant good-bye to Shillong. The road to Guwahati was pleasantly free of traffic and progress was fast. Arun called for a halt at some fruit-stands and we loaded the cabin with fruit (adding to the ones we had bought in Dirang). A little after we left the fruit stands, Arun got to work with the knife and started plying us with bits and pieces of pineapple, kiwis, etc. interspersed with dry fruits and cheese from the stock we carried from Hyderabad. We stopped to browse at a handicraft emporioum near Guwahati Airport. We calculated that we would still hit the Gorkhaland area before nightfall so we decided to have a relaxed lunch at a lovely garden restaurant just past the Guwahati airport. Done with lunch we headed off towards Goalpara on NH 37 and then onto Cooch Bihar before swinging right to the North to get onto the northern NH towards Siliguri.

We stopped for tea sometime around 5.00 and Arun took the wheel. The northern road is narrower than the Southern one and is more scenic, It also has less traffic. We tried to follow Mr. Sutripta's directions to the 'T' but I suspect we went astray once or twice. We stopped at Falakatta (College Stop) for dinner and used the opportunity to stretch ourselves. It was here that we learnt that there was to be a lower Bengal bandh in support of a 'united Bengal' the following day and that Malda would be
impassable. That flummoxed us, even if we did manage to get out of Siliguri and other Gorkhaland bandh effected areas early in the morning - how do we deal with Malda?

Done with dinnner, we got cracking and pressed on towards Siliguri having decided to put off further decisions till later. A little before Siliguri, the fog came rolling in. A thick pea-soup kind of a fog where oncoming headlights at 10m looked like feeble candles. This was nothing like the fog we had encountered on the way to Guwahati on our outward journey or the fog on the way to Tezpur from Tawang. This fog immediately showed up the Achilles heel of the Le Tank - its headlights. The HID low beam created a blinding glare and the high beam was just as ineffective even if the glare was less than the HIDs, so Arun was chugging along at a max speed of 40 (more like 20 - 30) using only his fog/auxillary lights. Soon we found a Jeep driver who was adept at driving in the fog and stuck to his tail. At one point he forced us to go ahead and followed us for a bit, then he overtook us and asked us to stop. Once we pulled up beside him, he told us not to drive using only the fog lamps as oncoming traffic might not see us and crash into us. We demostrated to him the effect of the headlamps and he nodded understandingly. Thereafter he led us into Siliguri at a decent clip of about 60. Once in Siliguri, we stopped and took stock. I had driven from 9.00 to 6.00 but had slept post dinner. Arun had driven from 6.00 to 12.00 but seemed fresh enough. Next morning there was a bandh starting at 8.00 in Siliguri and surrounding areas. There was also a bandh in Malda and other areas of lower Bengal, this meant that even if we managed to beat the Siliguri bandh, we would get stuck around 10.00. Stopping to check into a hotel around 1.00 only to leave at 5.00 made no sense at all. We therefore decided to push on through the fog.

We refuelled in Siliguri at the company owned bunk outside the fuel depot and moved off around 12.30. I drove, with Nazim keeping a watchful eye from the co-pilot's seat. I had learnt from Arun and soon found myself a Jeep to follow. The Jeep was some kind of a parcel service and would stop in every town leaving me to fend for myself. He managed to keep going at some 60 kmph, while I was able to manage only between 30 to 40 kmph on my own. Some might think that this was very slow, some other drivers thought so too and asked to overtake me - I let them and they struggled to maintain even 20 kmph. The Jeep driver had the major advantage of driving in such conditions every night and knew the road. I had the minor advantage of the Laura's great fog lamps. The poor Indica and Maruti guys had neither advantage and were hard pressed to even follow the two vehicle convoy of the Jeep and Le Tank.

Somewhere around 2.30, the toll of leaning forward and straining to see through the fog compounded the natural sleep cycle of my body and I found my eyes swimming. The next time the Jeep stopped, I followed suit and woke up Arun and asked him to drive for about an hour so that I could sleep and resume my tour of duty behind the wheel. I also told him about the Jeep. Last thing I know was me telling Arun - "There! that is the Jeep, stick to his tail or he will vanish into the fog".

I woke up after my "1 hour" only to find the sun streaming into the car. I jumped up and the first words were "What time is it? Where the hell are we?" Arun replied cooly that it was a quarter to six and that we were just short of Malda! Our exchange woke up Nazim. Nazim too had fallen asleep, the first time he had slept in the car during our whole trip. Arun was all set to drive further but we would have none of it. He had done yeomen service by driving all night right through the fog and had brought us out of the bandh zones. He must have been tired though he did not show it. We stopped a little after Malda for a cup of tea and I took over the wheel. The tea had whetted our appetite and we breakfasted on the fruit, dry fruit and other stuff we had in the car. We debated on going straight on the K. Bose Rd. to Kolkatta in order to avoid the crater marked road to Panagarh but decided that craters were better than cycles and carts and took the right to Panagarh. A pleasant surprise awaited us, the road was repaired! Not re-surfaced, but the craters and pot-holes were filled in and black-topped. We sped past Siuri and the Barkeshwar power plant that looked so prosaic in the daylight. Once onto the NH2 expressway at Panagarh we made good time as that road had barely any traffic at that hour. Nazim and I debated whether we should stop in Kolkatta for lunch or press on to Kharagpur where we had a reservation for the night. We did not see the sense of stopping in Kharagpur till the next morning,
neither did we see any sense in stopping in Kharagpur till the night and then driving through the night. We refuelled at a BPCL bunk near the logistics centre and stopped at Sonar Bangla for lunch. Arun, who fell asleep as soon as he got into the back seat in Malda woke up grumbling that we wanted to waste time over lunch. That sealed the argument - no Kharagpur, we wrote off the Rs.1000/- we had paid as an advance and after a decent lunch we hit the road.

Arun took the wheel and thanks to his law abiding nature we spent a few minutes at the WB-OR border watching some trucker take down his gear box for an overhaul while wating. Then Arun let the world know he was a Hyderabadi and took to the wrong side of the road and proceeded at full tilt with all lights on and horn blaring. Once past that infernal border, we swung back to the correct side of the road. I took over sometime in the late afternoon and drove through Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar. Our target was The Residency, Bhubaneshwar and we were there by around 7.00 in spite of the best efforts of the crazy two wheeler and car drivers between Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar. We pulled into the Residency and asked them if they had two room vacant - they did. We asked for the price and he handed over the tariff card, I gently pushed it back to him and asked him what price he was going to give the rooms to us. A decent discount ensued and we trooped in with relief. Once settled into the rooms which were just about ok for the price we paid and nowhere near worth the price on the tariff card, we soaked ourselves in the showers (yes, we did, just ran the showers over ourselves letting the past 34 hours seep out) before we settled in for a quick pow-wow over tall cold refreshing glasses of juice. We then trooped down to some kind of a special meal organised by the hotel in one of their halls. There was a guy playing the guitar quite well and we used the opportunity to catch our breath and unwind. We went to bed soon after dinner. Woke up and went down just as breakfast was being served and tucked into a hearty breakfast.

I think I drove that morning and handed over the wheel to Arun just after crossing into A.P. and went to sleep. I do remember falling asleep in the back seat only to be woken up by the car doing some crazy maneuvers, I opened my eyes to see what was happening and realised that the car the road was full of two wheelers who were intent setting course straight for the Le Tank and Arun was desperately trying to avoid those mad-caps who were so obviously afflicted with a death wish. We had reservations in River Bay for the night but decided to push on as friends called to warn us that several bandhs were being called for the next day so we decided yet again (this deciding to change plans due to irresponsible political types was getting a bit too much). Once past Rajahmundry it was smooth sailing again till we stopped just outside Vijayawada so that Nazim could meet the egg that was to be his nemesis.

We stopped just outside Vijayawada for dinner at a decent looking garden restaurant that calls itself a dhabha. By now our orders were standarised - dall, egg curry for Arun and Nazim and egg burji (scrambled eggs with Indian spices) for the little chap and me. Dinner done, I took the wheel and realised that I needed to use the loo or washroom or simply put a WC (rest rooms to my mind would be where one takes rest as in a bed room). A quick detour into town saw us in the lobby of one of the decent hotels in town where I used the facilities just off the lobby while the others hung around admiring the high ceiling.

The drive to Guntur was uneventful but we missed the turn off NH 5 and drove a few Km towards Chennai before turning back and getting on track. A little past Guntur and Nazim sheepishly asked for a stop so he could eject the one bad egg we came across in the whole journey. Poor chap, he did look out of sorts and took the advice to sleep and went to sleep in the left front seat for the second time.

We drove to Pidugralla and took a left turn there towards Macherla and Nagarjuna Sagar (thanks to directions from Arun from the back). The road between Pidugralla and Macherla was patchy with some parts being still 'kutcha'. (The road seems to have improved now when I drove on it last week). Once one crosses Macherla the road is a joy to drive and was blessed with a good surface and little traffic. I managed to drive till about 60 km short of Hyderabad. I found fatigue hitting me and the lack of traffic meant that there was nothing to keep me on my toes. Arun gladly took the wheel and we pulled into Arun's house somewhere around 2.30 which was about 18 hours after we left Bhubaneshwar and I reached home around 3.15 after dropping off Nazim.

We did Shillong to Hyderabad a distance of approximately 2700 km in about 66 hours. Of these 66 hours only 14 were spent in a hotel. We did not keep track of the time we spent in various eateries on the way. We spent a lot of time eating in the car and were adequately nourished by the fresh fruit, dry fruits, cheese, biscuits, juices, lassi and buttermilk that we carried in the cabin. What a hectic end to a truly eventful and memorable motoring holiday. Instead of being the boring return transport run, it turned out to be an adventure in itself sparked off by a desire to beat adversity.

All in all it was a wonderful trip, an adventure to remember and savour, a 'trip of a lifetime' as some will have put it. I enjoyed putting it down here just as much as I enjoyed the trip itself. The trip opened my eyes to the beauty of the North Eastern states and I hope to make several trips there in the future, hopefully at a more leisurely pace.

Cheers,

Last edited by Ravveendrra : 8th May 2010 at 15:20.
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