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Old 11th April 2010, 08:35   #1
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Default NorthEast Summer Vacation

With sincere thanks to Mr.UBS, Mr.Ken and Mr.Kaushik saikia, I'm starting my tour live travelogue.

I'm on my 2nd day of 12days North East tour today. I got my accommodations and places to visit information with the help of the three humble personalities above in Kolkata, Darjeeling and Guwahati (Shillong, Kaziranga and Cheerapunji also included)

We started our journey on 9th April 2010 by howrah mail from Chennai Central, it was 28hours train journey with hottest temperature climate outside we had little touch time passing the travel during day. But we enjoyed it as a family when we travel we had lots of fun and discussion en-route.
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My kids had lovely time looking at the window side.
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The bitter experience in the train was that we have got cheated by a cheap marketing trick. There was a cashew vendor selling cashews in 500gm pack (neatly packed with a window to show the content inside) and we bought five of them, after the vendor left when I cut open the pack I was in shock. Expect the window area in the pack the rest of all the content in the pack is complete junk.
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Then the train passed Bhubaneswar in Orissa and reached Howrah station in this morning at 4:00am, you know what Mr.UBS was there to receive us in the station. I was honored to meeting with him again, right now at 8:30am I'm writing this blog from Hotel room where we are stating in Howrah very close to the Howrah bridge.

As we took this room just for passing few hours before taking train in the evening, it is ok kind of setup.

I have my holy trip to Jeep Mecca in a short while (may be after 3 hours), hmm it is dream come true visit after 3 years of my association as student with Mr.UBS. I will post the details of my visit to Jeep Station (Mr.UBS's house) tomorrow when I reach Darjeeling or today night when I'm in the train.

be right back...
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Old 11th April 2010, 12:11   #2
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Great start! Keep updating unabatedly. North East is definitely the latest fad in Team-Bhp.

Three cheers to that fad.

Do post atleast one snap of Howrah bridge, if it's visible from your hotel room.
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Old 11th April 2010, 14:20   #3
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Hey Trammway, thats a good start. Am hooked. Please do post pictures of Mr. UBS's collection as well.

Cheers
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Old 11th April 2010, 17:54   #4
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wonderful start, and Live.
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Old 11th April 2010, 18:49   #5
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Thread subscribed ,I have always wanted to tour the NorthEast. For now will be content to see it through your eye/camera.
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Old 11th April 2010, 23:01   #6
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Hey Siva, nice to see your travelog being started here. Hope you got my mail regarding the contact no's. I'll also be sending the phone no/s of my friends there. Have a great time and do call me anytime if you need any urgent help.
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Old 12th April 2010, 11:03   #7
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Great, Another BHP-IAN heading towards northeast. This weekend Proxmia too started to Sikkim.

Are you still on the way Siva?
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Old 12th April 2010, 13:09   #8
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Your avatar photo beats the one's you've posted till now! Why don't you report the cashew issue to some consumer forum?
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Old 13th April 2010, 08:57   #9
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Here is the view of Howrah bridge from our hotel
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Honestly speaking self of my family didn't liked the Howrah / Kolkata much for a simple reason, we all find it very hard to locate ATMs in the roads. As a chennaities visiting North/East we thought we can access the ATMs every where but really hard to find in Kolkata and much crowded than we every assumed.
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Ofcourse there were good things that changed our perception in the later hours of the day when we visited Mr.UBS house.

I must say the travel to Mr.UBS house was so good to see the street experiences of Howrah. The green colored autos, yellow colored taxis, pedaled rickshaws and people people and people every where.
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When we reached a gate opposite to Liluva station in Howrah, there was a rickshaw parked infront of the gate and the Jeep (UBS sir sent a jeep to pickup us from the Hotel) driver ask him to move away. The rickshaw walah opened the door to only show us the Mecca of Jeepers, The JEEP STATION.
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My hands couldn't resist clicking photos, my mother warned me I'm clicking pics without getting permission I only told her that the jeeps seen in this compound is what our passion and tonic for the growing interest so UBS will not say anything about it.
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After a little walk into the huge compound(my children were already hang on to the play area setup for the school children), we reached what is called the most beautiful house, a eye catching home for jeepers.
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If anyone asks us to describe the boundaries of our house, we normally say east with this west with that and... like that. I'm sure if anyone asked UBS to state his house boundary, that is what going to be the typical answer "East side Jeeps, West side Jeep, North side jeeps and South side with some Jeeps". So much of jeeps jeeps and jeeps.
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I went on looking at every vehicle parked in the compound while my family already went inside, I heard a voice calling me from outside only to show me the very familiar and warmth smile of Mr.UBS. I was honored and felt really good to be there in Jeep Station.
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We had a great lunch with Mr.UBS family and I must say everyone at his house is a replica of him in the hospitality which is a very rare thing to spot on.
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After the delicious lunch with special bengali items, Guru took us to show around the house the WWII focus light, his grand father's car with a tail, jeeps and most importantly the world's youngest CJ3B jeep.
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I also got an opportunity to look the PTO winch in function and yeah Mr.UBS's most favorite jeep, He also drove it on the ground. My entire family witnessed a great affection towards the jeep.
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It was all great movements we experienced in howrah, Mr.UBS sir's son took us to the Sealda station from the hotel room in the evening to drop us to board the train departing towards New Jalpaiguri. He is another great guy and exceeded Mr.UBS in hospitality. Out heartfelt thanks to everyone at Mr.UBS family.
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While writing this post, I'm already completed 1 day in Darjeeling, I will write about the details after I get some free time.

to be continued...
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Old 13th April 2010, 09:22   #10
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very nice trip and photographs , I am hooked to this thread I might sound weired but I am new here and who is Mr. UBS.
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Old 13th April 2010, 09:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akaushik View Post
very nice trip and photographs , I am hooked to this thread I might sound weired but I am new here and who is Mr. UBS.
Thanks.

If you only visit 4x4 section you wouldn't have asked who is Mr.UBS. He is the father of Indian Jeeps and most passionate person on Jeeps.
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Old 13th April 2010, 12:34   #12
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Hey man.. thanks for the Howrah bridge photo. I haven't seen it in decades.
This snap brings me much the same feeling as felt by 4xfourers by seeing the jeeps.
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Old 13th April 2010, 17:50   #13
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@Sen2009, Thank you for appreciating the picture. We did find some other beauties of Kolkata very interesting. The cool drinks served in terracotta pots, man pulled rickshaws, man carrying cargo and the beautiful Kali devi and Ganesha statues on the bazaar.

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After we started from Sealda station, the train journey was good as the climate had its stake in making us cool. We found the co-passengers very talkative and there was an incident at 2:30am in the mid-night as there was an attempt to do chain snatching from a passenger in next bay. The thief was trying to snatch the gold train that lady was wearing through the window when the train was stopped for signal, luckily she awake and screamed so everyone in the couch switched on the lights, with a wound in the neck she saved her chain. But none of us could locate the thief as the outside was pitch dark. I'm still wondering how did the thief climbed up and found the chain from sleeping lady.

We reached the New Jalpaiguri(NJP) station in the next morning with 1 and half hour delayed schedule. The taxi guys at NJP will follow you right from the couch till you sign a contract with one of them to go to Sikkim, Darjeeling or other tourist locations nearby. We stopped for a breakfast at the railway station food counter and booked a Sumo to Darjeeling (drop) for Rs.1250. Meanwhile I got my accommodation details from Mr.Bhimal of Ken's(TBHPian) friend.
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The co-passenger at the Kolkata to NJP train already told us to choose the coronation bridge road instead of rohini road to reach Darjeeling, so I insisted the taxi driver to take us through the coronation bridge road. Rohini road is the common road everyone travels with lots of traffic, the coronation bridge road is actually a road that goes Gangtok along side we were enjoy the beauty of Testa river and the road diverts to Darjeeling in some place.
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I must stay, this road was scenic to the eyes and very cold, our driver was little young aged (28yrs) and he claimed he never came in this route. His jaws went down after seeing the beautiful views and the temperature was sub 15degree with full fog outside the car.

I will leave the pictures to show you our fog filled mountain and complete lonely drive
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The toy train rails along the road showed the symptom of reaching Darjeeling, our main destination in this tour. The school going children reminded me of Japanese kids , at time I forgot that I'm in India as I completely mad to think all the people with Mongolian skull types are east Asians, but here in Darjeeling they are my nationalist. I could say they are the most beautiful Indians.
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We saw the toy train steam engine, that was a rare chance I should say.
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There are monasteries and mandirs on the way to our hotel. My eyes were keep on searching for that vehicle as many people told me that Darjeeling hosts the most number of Land Rovers.
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I found the first Land Rover aka work horse carrying tar mixture for road laying work, I pity this chap the most wanted offroader in the country is working like donkey. But I also have to admit I have only spotted three Land Rovers in this two days and most of them seems to gone out of Darjeeling to offroaders elsewhere in the country. (So, offroaders don't assume Darjeeling still have many leftover Land Rovers they were all sold off already)
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We spend our rest of the day in the streets of Darjeeling doing some shopping, the temperature went down to very minimal and all of us started shivering in the night.
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That was the end of yesterday, we continued to discover the Darjeeling from this morning and the details will be presented to you later today or tomorrow.

to be continued...
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Old 13th April 2010, 17:58   #14
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NJP to Darjeeling train is an amazing journey. The Ooty train now runs only up to Conoor. But this guys all the way 7 hours of pure bliss. Did you try it ?

Plus the famous Batasia loop (Ghoom) immortalized by Rajesh Khanna in "Mere Sapno ki Rani"
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Old 13th April 2010, 18:10   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
NJP to Darjeeling train is an amazing journey. The Ooty train now runs only up to Conoor. But this guys all the way 7 hours of pure bliss. Did you try it ?

Plus the famous Batasia loop (Ghoom) immortalized by Rajesh Khanna in "Mere Sapno ki Rani"
I agree with you, but I couldn't source the tickets for NJP to Darjeeling in Toy Train. Now the issue is that I have already booked my tickets from Darjeeling to NJP by Toy train and after reaching NJP I need to catch Kanjanjunka Express train and we have 2 hours of time gap between the arrival of toy train and departure of Kanjanjunka express. People in Darjeeling says that the Toy train is normally delayed by one hour to two hours, if my toy train journey is delayed for some reason I will have to miss my train to Guwahati

I don't know what to do and in complete dilemma.
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