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Old 23rd May 2010, 08:09   #1
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Default Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik: Fond memories of the first long trip on my Palio

The AC of my Palio had stopped working because of a leaking hose pipe some ten days ago. Yesterday I felt the impact of the infamous after sales service of Tata-Fiat. I had to drive the car without a functional AC in dense city traffic for a long time, drenched in Sweat. The TASS, as of yesterday, failed even to get the part number of the hose pipe, let alone place an order.

My idea of cooling off was to think of something cool. Looking back at the not too distant past, I felt that the coolest thing I had done was to embark on a drive to Gangtok on my 5 days old baby, the Palio Multijet. The gleaming red beauty became mine on 23 December 2008. The raison d'etre of a diesel car was my pent up wanderlust. Even before the car was delivered I had chalked out a plan to drive to Gangtok with my wife, her two sisters, brother-in-law and the nephew starting early in the morning of the 28th of December. The problems: (i) registration papers were not ready till 27th and the car would enter two outside states, and (ii) I was myopic and my spectacles had broken in the evening.

By 9.30 pm my spectacles were repaired, the Palio was tanked up, the decision of driving out with temporary registration, pasted on the windshields, was made and we all crowded our in-laws' home (at Mirza 25 KMs off Guwahati along NH37) to spend the night.

28th morning was very cold and foggy. When we began our journey from in-
laws' house at Mirza at about 5 am, it was dark too. The tid-bids about the trip was not noted down. There are these photographs that serve as reminders.

Our first stop: a fuel pump adjacent to a dhaba

Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik: Fond memories of the first long trip on my Palio-p1010653.jpg

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In a beautiful tea estate in Dooars district

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River Teesta and the historic Coronation Bridge at Sevoke

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The Deolo Tourist lodge at Kalimpong where we stayed

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Views of Kalimpong

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Old 23rd May 2010, 08:29   #2
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Back again at the Deolo

Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik: Fond memories of the first long trip on my Palio-p1010699.jpg

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Off to Gangtok and the Rhumtek Monastery on the way

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Rain and excessive snowfall meant the road to Nathu-La was closed. In fact many tourists got stranded at Nathu-La and were being rescued by the Army. We cut short our stay at Gangtok and drove to Darjeeling early next morning.


On the way, the breathtaking views of Teesta, and on the bank of the river, the Sikkim Manipal University.

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We hired a guide to show us the places of attraction in Darjeeling. That meant driving the six-days old, not yet run-in Palio, with six adults and one kid, in the ups and downs of the hill station. The baby didn't complain.

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Old 23rd May 2010, 08:39   #3
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Stunning car. Amazing pics. Nice signature.

Best scenic locations in Karnataka is only Coorg.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 08:49   #4
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We didn't get tickets for the joyride in the toy train. The guard was nice enough to take the kid in our team in, for free. We followed the toy wonder in the Palio.

Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik: Fond memories of the first long trip on my Palio-p1010764.jpg

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After lunch we drove down to Mirik, a beautiful small town. On the way, was it fog or cloud?

Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik: Fond memories of the first long trip on my Palio-p1010772.jpg


Got for ourselves this dormitory just at 600 rupees for the night.

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We hired a maruti van for a quick tour of the town. The main attraction, apart from the Mirik lake, was an orange orchard.

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Views from the Mirik Helipad

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The monastery at Mirik and view of the tourist cottages from there.

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The battery charge of the camera got exhausted and had to miss out a lot of photo opportunities. Back in our place stay I charged the battery for about a half hour.


At 11 am it was time to start our long drive back home. We were greeted by these awesome views on the way.

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We took a different route (via Siliguri) on the way back to Guwahati and reached our in-laws' place at the stroke of the new year's day, 0.00 hours 1-1-2009. Next day my Palio would be taken to the TASS for the first free service.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 09:02   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arun1100 View Post
Stunning car. Amazing pics. Nice signature.

Best scenic locations in Karnataka is only Coorg.
Thanks a lot Arun. I must visit coastal Karnataka and Kerala sooner than later. I'll keep Coorg in the itinerary.
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Old 14th August 2010, 16:40   #6
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Would you please share the route you took during the trip.
And did you make it to Darjeeling / Kalimpong in a single day journey from Guwahati?
How old was your boy then. You see i have a 1 & a half year old and not sure if he's ready for such long journeys.
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Old 19th August 2010, 14:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
Would you please share the route you took during the trip.
And did you make it to Darjeeling / Kalimpong in a single day journey from Guwahati?
How old was your boy then. You see i have a 1 & a half year old and not sure if he's ready for such long journeys.
We made it to Kalimpong by 6.30 pm and halted there for the night. We had started from Mirza (my in-laws home) at about 5.30 in the morning and took the Boko-Pancharatna-Bongaigaon-Serampore-Birpara-CoronationBridge route. The road condition was mostly good but in North Bengal there was a lack of signboards to indicate which road led to where.

The boy (my wife's nephew) was 3 years and 8 months at that time. But then I had undertaken a more arduous Gurgaon-Jammu-Srinagar-Amritsar-Gurgaon drive with my nephew without much trouble last year when he was just 13 months old. (See my thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ng-season.html (To Kashmir in the Wrong Season))
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Old 20th August 2010, 10:25   #8
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TnH i have only driven upto Paikan on this route. So if possible kindly give more details on the route from here upto Siliguri/Coronation bridge. It seems that there are two ways out of Assam to reach Siliguri is it.

I am specially concerned about the Assam West Bengal border as Sreerampur gate is always in the news for wrong reasons.
Do the officials demand money from civilians and private vehicles as well. How are the cops on way helpful or chanda mode.
Plus which part of the road is dominated by Bodos, Muslims, Koch Rajbongshis, Adivasis and Nepalis. Given NDFB, Kamatapur, Gorkhaland trouble in the region.
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Old 20th August 2010, 10:35   #9
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Hey how come I missed this travelogue. Nice pics. Been to Sikkim long time back, things have surely changed there.
@San, I think you don;t need to worry much, if you read the other travelogues no one has posted any bribery issue at the the SreeRampur gate for private vehicles if I my memory serves right.
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Old 20th August 2010, 10:36   #10
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Very nice. Oranges just need to be plucked!
Snap of the water body is a beauty.

Also one never gets tired of Teesta!
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Old 20th August 2010, 11:34   #11
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@San
When we crossed Serampore gate in Dec 2008, my car only had a temporary reg. number pasted on the windscreen. Even then I was not even asked a question while crossing over. Those were the days of the bird flue virus. Our car was generously sprayed with some disinfectant by policemen from Bengal side.

As far as troubled areas are concerned you need only be careful about bandhs called by outfits having bases in those areas. Even the so called disturbed areas seem to be very peaceful until there is a bandh call.

@ampere
Thanks buddy.

@Kaushik
Yes. We didn't face any case of extortion, bribery etc. We did pay 5 rupees to some kids preparing for Jhulan Yatra (some ritual before Janmashtami I suppose).
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Old 20th August 2010, 11:55   #12
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Awesome pics Tortoise,
Really good to see the north eastern beauty of India.
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Old 20th August 2010, 12:09   #13
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Hi,

I missed the pics of the Orange Orchard and the tea plantations. Awesome is the word. Toy train was cool too.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 01:11   #14
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@tortoiseNhare, nice report and photographs. Do you have a better photo of Mirik lake with the bridge over it?

Basically, I'm from north Bengal, looking at Sevok bridge, tea gardens of Doors (is that near Odlabari or Damdim?). Even I can see some picnic parties in the river bed of Teesta (may be in Sevok or Kalijhora) all this made me bit nostalgic. Thanks.

Last edited by gaddiwale : 3rd September 2010 at 01:14.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 10:04   #15
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AT Gauripur, a cop whistled after me on seeing my MH number plate, but I simply ignored him and drove on.

At Boxirhat checkpost, the road was so bad that I doubt any cop could see what was coming.

I have never had any problem in the WB-Sikkhim border.

The only occasion I have been stopped by a WB cop is near Baharogara-Jamshola on NH6 (coming from Sambalpur side) but that was just to check who we were since there was a Naxal issue in that route. Maybe the fact that we had a lady and 2 kids in the car also meant that he did not want to fool around with us.
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