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Old 27th April 2010, 22:42   #1
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Default To Tripura : A driving experience to remember

April 14th to 18th were the Bihu holidays and from much before that I had been having a great urge to go for a long driving trip. And I wanted to drive to some place where none of my acquaintances had driven to. So, Tripura it had to be. Agartala it is roughly 600 kms from my residence. I had done more than that within one day easily, more than once. Therefore, when our usual companions BIL (Brother-in-law), SIL (Sister-in-law) and their Kid were noncommittal about taking part in the expedition, I rather brashly told wifey that we two alone would do it. Finally, on 12th April SIL & co. offered to join us on condition of returning on 17th.

Meanwhile I had to be content with whatever information I could gather about Tripura from the internet. The website of Tripura Tourism (http://www.tripuratourism.in/) was of some help. In TBHP I could only find mitchontheroad to have traveled into Tripura by road (on a bike) but there was no detailed account in his travelogue (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/54919-guwahati-meghalaya-mizoram-tripura-3.html#post1210122) (Guwahati, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura). I thought it would be better to either have a night halt at Karimganj (in Assam) or at Dharmanagar (Tripura) on 14th. I had PMed HVK for more info and he too told me that a halt at Karimganj might be a good idea.

I had got my Palio serviced just a couple of weeks back and we planned to start very early in the morning on 14th to avoid the notorious truck traffic on the highway to Shillong. So we did and thank God that Bil and co. accompanied us on the trip. For just me and wifey alone it could have proven to be too much of a task, rather than a pleasure trip.

Here are some random pics from the trip.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp01.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp02.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp03.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp04.jpg

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To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp08.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp09.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp10.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-trp11.jpg
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Old 27th April 2010, 23:52   #2
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Good Start! I know very less of Tripura, will be checking your thread for more data.
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Old 28th April 2010, 00:23   #3
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Nice, a Travelogue from the north-east !!! Do share all route and accomodation details for those planning to venture out to the noth-east sometime later.
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Old 28th April 2010, 06:51   #4
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Great ! Folks do we have any links/sources which provide a collective information on North east? Places looks so good through the eyes of people who have traveled. Question is how to plan one to any of these states.
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Old 28th April 2010, 07:28   #5
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@TSEA, happy.tripathy, ampere : thanks.

The drive to Agartala started from my home alongside NH37 at 5.30 am on 14 April. From Jorabat to Shillong we would take NH40 and from Shillong almost the whole length of NH44 would be covered during the trip. There was about three quarters of a tankful of fuel in the car and since fuel was cheaper in Meghalaya I opted to tank up in Shillong. The weather was perfect; partly cloudy and cool (remember that sun rises in our part of the country very early). The odometer read 24512 at the start of the trip.

The roadside scenery and the road itself to Shillong is very beautiful but as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. So my wife, the camera incharge on the back seat, didn't feel any urge to shoot. BIL was at the front passenger seat and it could have been easier to take shots from a running car from there. But it never occurred to me to ask if he would be interested to use my digicam (a Lumix FZ8 compact).

When we entered Shillong it was already 8 am (odo reading 24,621 km) and the town seemed to be sleeping still. Breakfast had to wait. Since BIL knows Shillong inside out and we didn't have to waste time asking for directions. The Palio was tanked up at a HP fuel pump and then we entered NH44. I had traversed this stretch only once in my lifetime, some 17 years back. That too on a night bus. But BIL knew this stretch very well as it is under his area of operation as a Senior Manager of IOC. Two important towns of Meghalaya on this highway are Jowai and Khliehreat. Both are abuzz with business activity: for coal mining and cement production. Hence, the road sees a very high movement of trucks.

We all felt an urge to relieve ourselves and we found no better option but to use deserted road side greens. There is a left turn from NH44 to Shillong peak. We took that turn and entered about half a kilometers and did the needful on the roadside. A strong but nice breeze was blowing and the place offered some pleasant sights. Out came the camera for the first time.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040475.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040476.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040477.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040480.jpg

We were back quickly on to NH44. Wifey tried her best to capture the beautiful scenery from the back seat of the moving car, with great difficulty.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040481.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040484.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040485.jpg

Soon we were into Jaintia Hills district.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040497.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040498.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040500.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040501.jpg
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Old 28th April 2010, 07:57   #6
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Good to see some new parts of India; I'll keep watching for this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
I had got my Palio serviced just a couple of weeks back
Just one suggestion, its good to have the car serviced, up & running for a long trip; but ensure that you do some city drives for few hundred Kms before you hit the highway. Even a small lose nut is sufficient to hamper the whole journey & these city trips will help to detect these issue well in advance.

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Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
For just me and wifey alone it could have proven to be too much of a task, rather than a pleasure trip.
And why was that? Due to bad roads?
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Old 28th April 2010, 09:00   #7
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How do you rate the traffic in the Jorabat-Shillong road early in the morning? You have taken 2.30 hours, does it get worse during the day? No pictures of the lovely Umiam Lake?
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Old 28th April 2010, 09:57   #8
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Nice start TortoiseNhare. For me this looks unique from most of the other travelouges, not seen many towards these destinations. Keep coming with more and more snaps and details of pitstops, toll charges, special permissions etc.

HVK sir, its time for you to publish a travel guide .
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Old 28th April 2010, 10:05   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
How do you rate the traffic in the Jorabat-Shillong road early in the morning? You have taken 2.30 hours, does it get worse during the day? No pictures of the lovely Umiam Lake?
The number of trucks on the Ghy-Shillong highway were more than I had expected considering that we started very early in the morning. I am generally a rather sedate driver. Though there was no road block in the morning prefered to crawl behind a truck rather than making a tight overtaking manoeuvre at times. Hence the 2.30 hours. As the day progresses traffic becomes much worse.

As I have mentioned before, the road to Shillong is so familiar that no one felt the urge to take snaps. I will soon upload a few shots of the Umiam lake taken in a previous trip.
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Old 28th April 2010, 10:22   #10
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very very nice. bring it on.

btw, u only had to ask around or google
My Big Escapade - Destination Unknown...: Day 39 - April 16 - Kailashaher to Melaghar
he'd included tripura in his around india mega trip
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Old 28th April 2010, 11:42   #11
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@TortoiseNhare, Nice beginning of a travelogue to a less traveled place.

It brings back my memories of a trip from Ghy.to Agartala via Silchar back in Dec. 2004. We were 5 people on an official tour to different places of NE. Traveled in hired Sumo and Indica from Ghy to Dhubri, Golpara, Jorhat, Tezpur, Bhalukpong, Tinsukhia, Dibrugarh, Itanagar, Zero, and off course, Silchar & Agartala. Our boss was originally from Assam.

Crossing Ghat sections of Meghalaya was beautiful. Even more thrilling was that 100 km journey in hills and forests after Silchar to Agartala (on Bangladesh border), where traffic moves on fixed times in convoy guarded by CRPF armed open jeeps! Really, was quite an experience. We called it in Hindi like 'Sangeen ke saye mein jeevan'. Return journey from Agartala to Ghy took us 20 hrs including breaks!

Looking forward to more details and pics from you. Those places deserve more and more tourism and travelogues. There is so much of undisturbed natural beauty. Keep it up.

Last edited by LongDrive lover : 28th April 2010 at 11:44.
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Old 28th April 2010, 12:12   #12
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Hey that's awesome. So you had to take the Shillong Silchar road, right? How is the condition? From your photos it seems that the roads are in good shape. Please do post some more photos of the road.
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Old 28th April 2010, 13:48   #13
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@argee, jacs, phamilyman, LongDriveLover : thanks a lot.

Quote:
btw, u only had to ask around or google
Maybe in the back of my mind I had, 'if it ain't in TBHP then it's nowhere'.

Quote:
There is a left turn from NH44 to Shillong peak. We took that turn and entered about half a kilometers and did the needful on the roadside.
Sorry about an inadvertent mistake in my post. It is in fact a right turn. You can get Shillong peak taking a left from the Shillong-Cherrapunjee road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Hey that's awesome. So you had to take the Shillong Silchar road, right? How is the condition? From your photos it seems that the roads are in good shape. Please do post some more photos of the road.
Kaushik, bahut dhanyabad. Yes we took the Shillong-Silchar road upto Badarpur. You have not seen any photograph from the stretch between Meghalaya border to Badarpur. The most moderate word to describe the condition is AWFUL.
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Old 28th April 2010, 19:53   #14
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BIL knew about a restaurant beside a tourist resort situated at a scenic location just before entering Jowai. We reached that place at 10 am. NH44 from Shillong upto that place (60 odd km) was superb. The road was mainly downhill with lots of sharp corners. Our progress was slow because of the omnipresent coal carrying trucks and also because I didn't have much confidence on the 165x80 Goodyears in the corners. We would be halting at Karimganj or Dharmanagar anyway, so we never thought of economizing on the time spent on the road.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040503.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040504.jpg

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The Orchid restaurant is actually a part of tourist resort that has lake with boating facility just across the road. Good accommodation is available too and the facilities in the restaurant looked clean. We had parathas and coffee, relaxed for some time and resumed the journey at 10.30 am.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040514.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040515.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040519.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040520.jpg

After Jowai the landscape began to change. The change was brought about not by nature but with rampant and indiscriminate mining for coal and limestone by greedy people. The excellent road also gradually detoriorated to pathetic unpaved stretches with just large stones jutting out, especially within the town Ladrymbai.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040522.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040526.jpg

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040528.jpg

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To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040536.jpg

By the time we passed Khliehreat it was past noon. Karimganj was about 120 km away. We thought of postponing our stop for lunch till we reached that town. The plan was to travel only on daylight hours. After a late lunch and some rest at Karimganj we hoped to start again to reach Dharmanagar by 6 pm or so. The margin of error in our calculation turned out to be unacceptably HUGE!
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Old 28th April 2010, 21:14   #15
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Beautiful place and beautiful pics. A few questions;
How safe is it for motorists from out of state ?
Are all the roads governed by timings ?
Is tourist accomodation easily available ?
When is the best time(weather wise) to drive to Tripura ?
Are any permits required for Indian tourists to visit specific places ?

Thanks,

Jay
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