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Old 24th September 2010, 15:52   #31
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Hey guys,

A quick update. We are in West Bengal. Currently in barasat. Detailed day 1, day 2 and day 3 (today) will be posted.

just as a teaser, we are almost mugged, almost bumped into naxals...so everything is happening right now.

cheers,
ac
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Old 24th September 2010, 16:56   #32
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Hey guys,

A quick update. We are in West Bengal. Currently in barasat. Detailed day 1, day 2 and day 3 (today) will be posted.

just as a teaser, we are almost mugged, almost bumped into naxals...so everything is happening right now.

cheers,
ac
ac, nice to know about your progress. Pl inform, your experiences about passing through Sambalpur area, whenever you get time. We might be visiting that area next month for official purpose. Will not be driving though, will be taking local hired vehicle. Your teaser 'almost bumped into naxals' already made us curious. Waiting for more.

Wish you good luck for this courageous trip .
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Old 25th September 2010, 11:34   #33
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Did North Sikkim in 2003. Amazing place. Visited Lachen, Gurudongmar, various bunkers of the army, Lachung, Valley of Flowers and some other place to the East of Lachung, near the China border. We were staying with the army, so got to visit breathtaking locations (around the places I mentioned) that are closed to the normal public.

Definitely one of the least visited, but most beautiful regions in our country.
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Old 26th September 2010, 00:40   #34
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Default Day 1 - 22nd Sept - Mumbai - Nagpur

Day 1: Mumbai to Nagpur.
Approx: 900 km.
The start to my road trip was that of a typical bollywood film, my dad found out a ‘shubh mahurath’ and recommended that i start on that time itself, problem was the shubh mahurath was of 3.30 a.m. None the less I packed all the necessities in the car in the night itself.
My whole family, (me, mom and dad) were up by 3.00 a.m, dad did the pooja of the Mhawk, (the shining white mhawk with red tika looks HOT), and the nariyal was also broken, and as requested (read: ordered) by my dad i started @ 3.30 a.m. I drove to 7 bungalows to pick up my friend, reached there by 4, and a similar scene was there too, his wife was crying and was not letting him go, but after a few persuasive words she was fine. Next destination was andheri east to pick up my 3rd partner for the trip. He was ready with his bags, his father came up and wanted to see who this motley crew is. After checking the route map, after the instructions, again after checking the map and again after getting more instructions finally we could hit the road.
We started our serious drive @ 5.30 a.m, our 1st Destination was Shirdi, we wanted to reach shirdi as soon as possible, so we hammered down on the highway, few sections of the roads still under construction, but over all Mumbai – shirdi is a pleasant drive.
We reached shirdi @ 7.40 a.m and took our first break for ‘breakfast’ after having our fill we started again @ 8.20 to go towards dhule. Guys the drive from Shirdi to Dhule is like a dream, the roads are 2 laned, even after rains the roads were in perfect condition.
But after Dhule it was all downhill, the section from Dhule to Jalgaon and subsequent small villages is horrible. Whatever time we made we lost on these sections. We reached Akola in the evening @ around 6. After akola we had to reach Amravati and then Nagpur, the roads were bad and we were getting tired, but since tomorrow we are planning to drive through chattisgarh, orrisa and finally west Bengal we decided that we have to put in that extra effort and reach our target.
Thankfully the road from Amravati to Nagpur was a excellent highway with lane dividers and smooth surface, we put the hammer down on the mhawk and made the ‘turbo’ work hard 
Finally we reach, Nagpur currently we are in Hotel Gujarat in Nagpur (yes even i am confused). Am writing this note and planning for tommorows drive, which is going to be around 1000 Km. So that is it from me right now will update as and when we have net connections there.

Our First stop at a Dhaba
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The Scorpio Resting
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A different angle
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Even more different
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LIp smacking lunch
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Lord hanuman looking over us.
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3 Cutting chai
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Gandhijis 3 bundars
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Leaving the world behind in my mhawk
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Cheers
ac
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Old 26th September 2010, 00:46   #35
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You mention the roads were bad after Dhulia? Pot holes? Any specific sections?
Why the detour to Shirdi? For darshan?
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Old 26th September 2010, 00:53   #36
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Default Day 2 - 23rd Sept Nagpur - Deogarh

Day 2
682 km Nagpur to deogarh. Hard 12 hours of driving.
We bid adieu to ‘Hotel Gujarat’ in Nagpur. And settled in for a expected long days drive, our plan was to reach Kharakpur. It is approximately 950 km from Nagpur to Kharakpur.
We started sharp @ 5.30 a.m and left for Raipur. The road from Nagpur to Raipur / Dhule was amazing. 4 lanes and absolute fun to drive. We were making good progress we covered 300 km in approx 3 hours and by 9.00 a.m, and had reached Raipur by that time. From Raipur we proceed to sambalpur, roads were not great but were not bad either. From sambalpur to deogarh, which is approx 60 km we took 3 hours to complete that section. The worse road of the trip so far. We started driving for Deogarh @ around 4 and reached Deogarh at 7.30 odd, we proceeded ahead, only to be blocked by local village men, asking us not to go ahead as just half a k.m ahead there were supposed naxal encounters.
We decided for once to hold back, our plans of driving late in the night and reaching Kharagpur went out of the window and the 3 day drive to Sikkim looked impossible.
We headed back and stayed @ this place called Mamta palace, the owner being a nice but supremely talkative guy, he gave us a ac room for Rs 1000/-. And really good dinner too in his own hotel.
After driving through that absolutely bad phase of roads, my respect for the scorpio has gone up tremendously. While driving we went through a big pot hole, which our rear seat completely dislodged, but the machine kept on going.
The day was hard and filled with disappointments. Also we heard news about roads / weather worsening up north east. At that moment we just did not want to listen to any bad news. We put the ac on full blast, set our alarms for 4.00 a.m and dozed off.

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Looks like this young boy is having a good time
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Lord Ganesh, but dressed as Maa Durga
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A local Contraction, seen a lot in these areas
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Approx average of 12, the scorpio being filled up
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Cheers,
ac
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Old 26th September 2010, 01:11   #37
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Default Day 3 - Deogarh - Farakka

Day 3 Deogarh – Farakka
806 km
Deogarh @ 6.00 Stopeed @ jashipur breakfast 9.15, refulled @ jalujogari, reached farakka @ 9.16
Started our day @ 6.00 as opposed to 4.00 a.m, but we were tired and told to ourselves that we deserve a decent sleep.
The road from Deogarh to Jashipur was nice and the distance was covered in 3 hours. Our aim today was to bypass kolkotta, as once if one gets stuck in kolkotta, it will take a min of 3 hours to get out of the city.
We took the road that leads to barasat, we had lunch @ a Bengali restaurant in Airport city, the Chinese was amazing, but the Indian was passable.
Post that we started driving towards farakka, which was our target.
The drive was a boring and a mundane one, expect for the fact that we almost got saved. As soon as once enters west Bengal, there is this huge truck queue, to avoid the same we took a parallel road, much to our shock we were stopped by locals, to be interrogated about what we were carrying, why the route and so on so forth. We only got though because 2 of us 3 look a bit rough, we spoke back and they figured we were not going to give in, and they let us go. But only we knew that we were shitting bricks at that time
But anyways, we continued by passed kolkotta and headed towards farakka. Guys one thing that one needs to be careful about the cyclists. West Bengal is a place I think which moves on cycles. And cyclists are still okay, but west Bengal has this ‘three wheeler’ cycles, which are notoriously dangerous. While driving on the highway, they are driving perpetually on one side of the road, any amount of honking will not make them budge. They actually are a big reason why there are traffic jams at many places.
Coming back to my log, we reached ‘Farakka’ and our quest for accommodation begun, we were asked to visit the NTPC guest house, on reaching the guest house we figured that only ‘NTPC’ employees were allowed. Post that we went to 2 other hotels, only to find that even their super deluxe room stank, and were un-hygienic.
One gentle man also recommended we stay in ‘Bharat Seva Asharam’, on reaching the asharam we found the same a bit too ‘asharam’like, we turned around and finally halted in ‘Sonar Bangla’. Best of the worst is how I would put it as.

We crashed.

A beautifully painted bus
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Tried to be 'photographic' here
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Rain gods not being too kind on us
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My new best friend in west bengal
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The work horse
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Hot cuting chai, kept us going
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Spiderman on Truck
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Cheers,
ac
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Old 26th September 2010, 01:32   #38
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Good to know that the roads in Orissa on NH6 are in good condition, except for the Sambalpur-Deogarh section.

Looks like this Naxal problem beyond Deograh is a new one, so far most Naxal problems have been only before Kharagpur.

Am surprised that you did not go via Siuri (via Durgapur expressway to Morgarm) which is
much more faster by day compared with NH34 that you took. Farakka has poor choices for accomodation, I also checked out the Sonar Bangla hotel that you mentioned, I found it so substandard and disproportionately expensive that I decided to drive on. You could have stayed in Malda which has good hotels.

BTW, how did you bypass Calcutta to get onto NH34?
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Old 26th September 2010, 06:36   #39
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post

Am surprised that you did not go via Siuri (via Durgapur expressway to Morgarm) which is
much more faster by day compared with NH34 that you took.

BTW, how did you bypass Calcutta to get onto NH34?
I agree, NH2 is much faster than NH34.

If you take the bypass from NH6 to NH2, at the junction, instead of joining NH2, if you turn to the other side (Belgharia), it is a 4-lane expressway that leads to Barasat.
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Old 26th September 2010, 09:50   #40
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You should have taken, Shirdi, Aurangabad, Jalna, Mehkar,Pulgaon, Warha, Nagpur all the way to Nagpur the road is in good condition, may be while returning you should take this route.

-Pramod
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Old 26th September 2010, 10:48   #41
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Originally Posted by ac 427 View Post
Day 2
From sambalpur to deogarh, which is approx 60 km we took 3 hours to complete that section. The worse road of the trip so far. We started driving for Deogarh @ around 4 and reached Deogarh at 7.30 odd, we proceeded ahead, only to be blocked by local village men, asking us not to go ahead as just half a k.m ahead there were supposed naxal encounters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Looks like this Naxal problem beyond Deograh is a new one, so far most Naxal problems have been only before Kharagpur.
Simlipal and surrounding areas under Naxal control. Joshipur to Lodhasuli is their territory, and given the lack of law enforcement in that area, common criminals (highway robbers) have a field day in that area.

Once again, may I suggest NH42 via Angul.

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Originally Posted by ac 427 View Post
Day 3 Deogarh – Farakka
806 km

Coming back to my log, we reached ‘Farakka’ and our quest for accommodation begun, we were asked to visit the NTPC guest house, on reaching the guest house we figured that only ‘NTPC’ employees were allowed. Post that we went to 2 other hotels, only to find that even their super deluxe room stank, and were un-hygienic.
One gentle man also recommended we stay in ‘Bharat Seva Asharam’, on reaching the asharam we found the same a bit too ‘asharam’like, we turned around and finally halted in ‘Sonar Bangla’. Best of the worst is how I would put it as.
Strange no one suggested you drive on 35 Km to Malda. In any case, your planning could have been better. But then what is touring without these surprises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
I agree, NH2 is much faster than NH34.

If you take the bypass from NH6 to NH2, at the junction, instead of joining NH2, if you turn to the other side (Belgharia), it is a 4-lane expressway that leads to Barasat.
NH34 at night, NH2 during the day. And there are too many chokepoints on NH34.

You land at DumDum in minutes, but from there to Jaguli is like driving through a city.

Regards
Sutripta

PS Going to N Bengal tomorrow. Not driving down!
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Old 26th September 2010, 23:48   #42
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I also checked out the Sonar Bangla hotel that you mentioned, I found it so substandard and disproportionately expensive that I decided to drive on. You could have stayed in Malda which has good hotels.

BTW, how did you bypass Calcutta to get onto NH34?
From Kharagpur, continue on all the way Bally, from bally via the airport city (not through it) but by bypassing it, you can completely by pass kolkota.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You mention the roads were bad after Dhulia? Pot holes? Any specific sections?
Why the detour to Shirdi? For darshan?
Shirdi was on the route we took

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramods View Post
You should have taken, Shirdi, Aurangabad, Jalna, Mehkar,Pulgaon, Warha, Nagpur all the way to Nagpur the road is in good condition, may be while returning you should take this route.

-Pramod
Hi, the roads upto nagpur were perfect on the route we have taken, it is after that things start getting a bit here and there

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Simlipal and surrounding areas under Naxal control. Joshipur to Lodhasuli is their territory, and given the lack of law enforcement in that area, common criminals (highway robbers) have a field day in that area.

Once again, may I suggest NH42 via Angul.



Strange no one suggested you drive on 35 Km to Malda. In any case, your planning could have been better. But then what is touring without these surprises.

Our original plan was to stop @ kharagpur day 2, and day 3 end of day reach sikkim our plan got completely dirupted becuase of the bad roads in the deogarh area.

cheers,
ac
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Old 27th September 2010, 00:00   #43
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Default Day 4 - Farakka to gangtok

Day 4 – Farakka – Gangtok
Opening and closing kilometres to be added.
Day 4 started late again, we planned to get up @ 4.00 a.m but since the drive the night before was very long, we got up @ 5.00 a.m.
From Farakka, we had a light drive lined up, we had to do around 600 k.m today, from Farakka to Sikkim (Gangtok)
En route we went to bagdogara airport to pick up a friend who is joining us for this trip.
The road from bagdogaara till Sivok are horrendous, weather condition: it is still raining out here, also light conditions deteriorated quickly, @ 6.00 p.m it was pitch dark, may be it was the rain or something else.
We reached gangtok @ 9.00 p.m but even @ that time the town is dead sleepy. Apparently shops open at 8.00 a.m and close by 9.00 p.m even restaurants !!!

Wait for updates,
cheers,
ac
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Old 27th September 2010, 00:55   #44
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Originally Posted by ac 427 View Post
Day 4 – Farakka – Gangtok
Opening and closing kilometres to be added.
Day 4 started late again, we planned to get up @ 4.00 a.m but since the drive the night before was very long, we got up @ 5.00 a.m.
From Farakka, we had a light drive lined up, we had to do around 600 k.m today, from Farakka to Sikkim (Gangtok)
En route we went to bagdogara airport to pick up a friend who is joining us for this trip.
The road from bagdogaara till Sivok are horrendous, weather condition: it is still raining out here, also light conditions deteriorated quickly, @ 6.00 p.m it was pitch dark, may be it was the rain or something else.
We reached gangtok @ 9.00 p.m but even @ that time the town is dead sleepy. Apparently shops open at 8.00 a.m and close by 9.00 p.m even restaurants !!!

Wait for updates,
cheers,
ac
Hi!
Glad to see you have almost reached,

In case you need any help between Siliguri-Maldah, let me know.
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Old 27th September 2010, 06:37   #45
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Hey all,
Yesterday we spent the whole day in Gantok trying to arrange for permits. A quick update on that.
As expected a MH registered number is not possible to get a permit, this is the answer that we got from the tourism office, from the window on the permit counter too.
a. Nathula is now next to impossible for atleast a month. The main road that connects to nathu la is washed away in rains, there is an alternate road through zuluk. But the problem is there is a manned police check post which does not allow vehicles to pass to and fro after 1.30 p.m, and the drive on this new road via zuluk will take approx 6 hours for an experienced driver in Sikkim, also the lack of staying in and around nathu la makes it almost impossible.

b. today i am planning to visit the inspector general in the 'development' area for permits upto gurdongmar...

c. If you are staying in Gangtok, check for all hotel rules in advance, our hotel has the rule, 'You need to be in the hotel before 10.30 or stay out' rule. Btw that was not told to us in advance, so yesterday when we wanted to visit a pub, our hotel manager said we can't because they have to shut down the hotel. This ensued a quarrel almost leading to fist fight between us and the hotel staff. It was only after the owner of the hotel came down, things cooled down.

But one thing must be said about gantok / sikkim, people are not very warm here, they are pretty up tight, and at some times down right rude. My last trip at himachal, I found the people very welcoming and warm, the warmth is missing here...totally. Maybe I am reading too much in to it, maybe not.

Anyways lets hope for the best. And lets get that permit

cheers,
ac

Last edited by ac 427 : 27th September 2010 at 06:47. Reason: Additional information
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