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Old 16th January 2011, 23:50   #16
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Default Re: Chapter1

Originally Posted by Rahulk76 View Post
Phew, we leave by 5AM from home.
The roads are virtually empty, and we cross aurangabad by 7am or so..Amazing is the word.
Rahul is that a typo, your starting time? I do not think one can cover the distance from Pune to Aurangabad in 2 hours. Waiting for the rest of the story to unfold.
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Old 16th January 2011, 23:55   #17
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Default Re: Chapter1

Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
Rahul is that a typo, your starting time? I do not think one can cover the distance from Pune to Aurangabad in 2 hours. Waiting for the rest of the story to unfold.
No sir, its not a typo mistake. Very easy when you do 2-3 am starts.

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 17th January 2011 at 00:00.
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Old 16th January 2011, 23:57   #18
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Default Re: Chapter1

Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
Rahul is that a typo, your starting time? I do not think one can cover the distance from Pune to Aurangabad in 2 hours. Waiting for the rest of the story to unfold.
You surely can early in the morning, considering the superb 4-laned roads with hardly any traffic at that time. I have myself done it in almost that much time, in the late afternoon.
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Old 18th January 2011, 15:08   #19
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Default Re: Chapter1

Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You surely can early in the morning, considering the superb 4-laned roads with hardly any traffic at that time. I have myself done it in almost that much time, in the late afternoon.
This is unbeleivable! Nagar - Aurangabad can be done in 1 hour - but I never thought Pune Nagar can be done in 1 hour (130 kms)!
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Old 18th January 2011, 19:12   #20
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Default Re: Chapter1

Originally Posted by naren_gs1 View Post
This is unbeleivable! Nagar - Aurangabad can be done in 1 hour - but I never thought Pune Nagar can be done in 1 hour (130 kms)!
Sorry guys/gals.. nothing against anyone; i dont intend to contest my claims here in anyways. But for information sake, HV Kumar has already said that these distances are doable.

I was on google lattitude and HV, Kingshukt knows for sure what I write here ; as they is/was aware of movement on the maps. Eg. Kishanganj 10.30-10.50pm to Binagudi 1.20-30AM also seems unrealistic but then when you have less traffic and empty roads you can make it at sane speeds. I passed Nagpur around 4 ish pm on 19 dec ..so all depends on the road traffic density and way you drive your drive.
PS: I live near Wagholi so..minus the distance of pune city.

Anyways, coming up Chapter 2...

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 18th January 2011 at 19:22.
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Old 18th January 2011, 21:24   #21
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Default Re: Escape to Nathula

bring it on sir.

I guess i saw a MH registered Safari somewhere in the hills. I was in the hills between 26th december and 3rd january. I even told wifey that see people travel from such long distances and you guys go nuts when i say anything about a long drive. I was in Mirik, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Reshi, Pedong etc. during the same time. See it is such a small world. I passed by a fellow T-bhpian and did not even know. Bring it on waiting for your Nathula story.
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Old 18th January 2011, 22:12   #22
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Default Chapter 2 Part1

Chapter 2 Part1
D2(a): Bhilai-Sambalpur-Keonjhar-Jashipur-Kharagpur-Kolaghat- Kolkotta (Dec20)

19 Dec 2010
Originally Posted by Rahulk76 View Post
We are inside the hotel room, relaxing having nice cup of tea(s). I think i had 4-5 of em.

Finally, the kids after having a light dinner packoff for a restful sleep.
We decide to leave by 5AM and request tea.
(Since we are leaving early, I decide to settle the entire bill, then and thereitself)

Excited, I fall asleep only to find myself awake around 3AM. gruffy and weary eyed.I nudge her to get ready and then fall asleep.
Hey....wakeup its 6AM.. WAKE UP...........
Huh, what, where......., i am half awake scratching my head, but the number 6 rings a dong in my head and suddenly my heart sinks, but then adrenalin rush comes and in a blink of an eye, i am fully awake.
What 6 common nooo, throwing aside the quilt i rush to get ready to depart. As I rush i sweep a glance at the watch which say 4am, and i stop dead in the track. Was that a joke ? i exclaim loudly !! she didn't respond verbally.Instead she merely nodded her head to indicate she’d heard. In truth the sudden change early that morning had irked me for sure.

The assuring hot tea soothed my nerves and we were all set now.

By 4:30AM that morning, we had settled into the vehicle, and started the heater as it was really dark and cold. The children made themselves comfortable at the back and soon dozed off as soon as we got on NH6 towards Raipur our next destination. In between ,got the diesel filled to brim from some good pump enroute to Kolkotta.

Day 2 Route
Escape to Nathula-day-2-drive.jpg

The roads are good with a bad patch here and there but then the speed was slowed due to some locations having 2 laned traffic.
Soon dawn came and we witnessesed massive road work on the NH6 nearing to Raipur, extremely dusty road conditions as we bypassed Raipur, hurtling towards Sambalpur some few hunderds kms away.

Ooopsss,, i break genlty and then hard.....what the..I murmur to myself. Slowly i negotiate a half feet pothole. I excitedly tell her that this is where now the real test begins. The road is pocker faced and you have to be extremely carefull with the dust the road and unwatched rough edged stones which can damage tires. This slows down the avg speed to 40kmph until Pithora. After this the road conditions improve am doing over 80 kmph carefully until Sohela.
Are we passing some kind of jungle or what, she says. I nod to her as am fully engrossed in navigating the vehicle on this 2 laned highyway to ....As i complete the curve, lo and behold what a site.. I witness a beeline of trucks waiting for something. Then it comes back quickly to my mind that this sure must be the dreaded CG-OR border.
Some of the truckers wave us to take the RHS service lane and I comply (i remember that HV had also sugggested that). With some permutation and combinations, navigating slowly in and out of the dense jam of approx 8 kms, i make it to OR ye ye ye (Thank you HV)

The pockerfaced road continue and since its OR anything better is considered heaven and this road is OK as I am able to sustain 60kmph avg till Sambalpur.

Finally, as we are crossing the bridge over Mahanadi around 11AM and lo what a sight. Mahanadi is vast and calm and am sure very deep as well

Ever heard a diesel locomotive talking to a diesel truck over Mahanadi ? No.. then take a look at this small video

Soon we break for lunch near hotel konark on main NH6 and refill diesel and leave sambalpur around 1230.

But need to reach Kolkatta tonite right ? she mumbles & its already 1PM now.
I also realise at this point of time that my prepaid vodaphone needs a refill as well coz their aint free GPRS on roaming and quickly stop by a paan shop citing vodafone and other competition.

A quick chat with the shop confirms the worst fears. As the daylight receeds, I am getting nervous and so is she. But the jovial kids wash that nervousness away.

Ah common, we have to cross Deogarh, Keonjhar..!, Jashipur...!!, Baharagora....!!!, Kharagpur.........Kolaghat..........Kolkotta and I suddenly feel little dissapointed at this point of time. HV says that there will be very less private vehicles seen on this route, so true so true..

Her eyebrows rose slightly, reflecting as much surprise as confusion "What exactly is the issue ?"
"I know the area now we would be entering is the home turf ground but..." my voice trails off.
After a long deep breath, I say to her, no matter what, lets do it. Believe me the steed made me even more confident.

Somewhere in the middle of no where, i decide that enough is enough, I want to click some pics. So I get down and click these.

Sound of silence
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Our deal breaker smile

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Happy at the condition of the roads, i sing along

I've gotta a feeling, today's gonna be a good drive, a good nite drive

The road ahead is still better and am comfortable cruising along..but the conditions are getting worse, there is road is thinning out to the gravel and moon cratered and pounding the vehicle, i cant go beyond 20 kmph, this continues for further 20 kms and I am really shaken and stirred and so is everyone.

We are passing some Elephant sanctuary a few of them and there is not a single soul in sight. Thats scary.. what if some part breaks down, what if..all these thoughts are flashing across my face and she can see it in the receeding daylight, but doesnt say anything

We are approaching some dhabas around 3 ish at the base of a hill and there are lots of truckkers and we are THE point of interest coz there is no other private SUV, leave alone a car.

I stop by a dhaba and refill the water in the windshield water container and check tires for any cuts, bruises.

"Did you find anything unusual":she asks !
No nothing all izz well, i reply back shutting the bonnet down.

After some KMs of futher exploring NH6 moon crated to the hilt, the uphill climb approach road is something i will not forget.

I repeatedly asked her, are we in heaven and what lies back hell, the end of the all the road miseries.........

Everyone is giggling. Opening up the windows, i can hear the faint sound of 2.2 liter diesel happily revving away on the climbs, the roads are narrow and occasionally i can see some WB truckers passing by in speed.. Little do they realize what lies at the base or do they already

The calmness of the forest is surreal, it very unreal and unique for city dwellers like us. Sort of unnerved me.

I was thinking all this while I revved and drove fast and happily but then a few bad patches came up again truckers in line to takeover each other etc and then we descended towards Keonjhar.
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Oh, its 4PM already or was it not. I need to talk to HV to update and get some updates.

We cross the city and stop by at a Petrol pump to have chai. I decide to tank up again as dont want to take any chances of running out of diesel. Good Decision

The sunlight is fading and the updates from HV is to make a run for it. The roads are inviting with open arms. Good tarred heavenly road.

I need to cross the Maoist infested area, the road ahead until i am in safe reaches of Kharaghpur ASAP. I mean it asap.

But will we be able to reach Kolkotta tonight ?
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Old 19th January 2011, 00:25   #23
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Wink D2(b): Bhilai-Sambalpur-Keonjhar-Jashipur-Kharagpur-Kolaghat- Kolkotta (Dec20)

D2(b): Bhilai-Sambalpur-Keonjhar-Jashipur-Kharagpur-Kolaghat- Kolkotta (Dec20)
But will we be able to reach Kolkotta tonite ?

"The tripmeter is showing some 500+ kms since we started early this morning and its 4pm already and I best guess is we need to cover approx 350-400 kms more" but she interuptted

that means approx 8 hrs more: i continued to ramble "and that means avg of 50 kmph oh noooo"

"but listen my dear, the roads are good and if we can pull a little faster then i guess we can be there by approx 9 or 10 right ?"

"I guess we will travel tonite with all lights blazing", i said to her removing the caps of the Hellas and focussing them to lightup the roadsides, so that i have a full clear view of what i am driving on and into

I cranked up the steed and we started off into the darkness of Keonjhar -
Jashipur - Kharagpur road. Beyond a certain time like 8pm onwards, they allow the vehicles to move in convoys only.

The receding skyline, reminded me of fast approaching dusk.

The road ahead is little terrible for a few KMS before getting better.

I can see lots of private cars near some dhabaas lined up, as i continue through the strectch after which the civilization is least known.
"I guess these guys will go in groups" she said. I nodded my head that i had heard her.

Now the best part..
The roads are almost straight, and i just floored it.

The fear of unknown is scary and that too at odd hours when unknowing cattles or the cyclewalas are treading along or that dreaded bus coming around the corner at breakneck speed.. It teaches you to be very active and alert on the road ahead.

"Thank God" i have these hellas, they have literally lit up the road ahead and i am able to sustain a sane speed of 90KMPH and doses of 140kmph through some arrow straight sections.

I cant forget those roads, completely deserted. At one point of time, we were all alone on the road and this cattle grazer had all his goats all over the road. I was really panicky about that situation and what if's ..damn thank god; the goats as quickly they had appeared had dissappeared :o lolz

I do remember passing Jashipur, but the time of crossing escapes my memory now. This was around 6PM

Again after Jashipur the roads are pretty good and straight and I was able to maintain 90+ speed.

The roads were deserted and it was whipping up nervousness in me.

In the meantime, HV helped with the no of hotels at Kharagpur with a ETA of 8 pm, but then we had thoughts otherwise

We had enquired if we could go to Jamshedpur, directly from Baharagora, which is now coming up in some time around 30-45mins. but due to the naxalism issue it was ruled out and we floored the vehicle towards Kharagpur.

I remember around 8 i am standing near a big circle near Kharagpur bypass in complete darkness and afte talking to HV regarding directions to KOL a sudden a ruffle under the dried leaves scares the death out of me and i jump onto the foot board screaming.. Was it a snake or rat or what...I dontknow

Everyone was scared at first but then giggled away to glory...

In fury of that i quickly step inside and stomp the accelerator screeching away into the darkness of the beautiful kharagapur-kokotta bypass. I step on the accelerator, which takes us up to max doable with traffic of around 80kmph. Not bad eh!

As time and distance escapes us, we are getting hungry, i can for sure hear the rumble in my stomach asking for some chicken ...slurppp..waters my mouth still.

HV in the meantime passes on the phone no of Hotel Midday near Kolaghat right after the toll naka on NH6, for which we make the bookings in advance.
Excellent choice of hotel for sure. While talking to them, they suggest have dinner on the way as by the time we reach, they wont be able to serve us dinner. ETA 10-11pm

Again a SMS from HV, suggests a good hotel Sher-e-punjab on the way to Kolaghat. To add to the confusion, i end up taking some wrong diversion to the left from flyover near Haldia turnover instead of going straight and land up few kms inside some kind of weird village.

I quickly reverse and shoot off back to the main highway, have a chat with HV and then got straight to the hotel.

It was damn cold outside around 9pm when we stopped by the sherepunjab. So decided to get the food parcel packed. We will have it inside the vehicle with the heater on. We ate like lions.. the food was awesome. The chilly chicken was..slurrrrpppp feeling like heaven.. it was too good. Highly recommended place for sure.

Finally after having dinner, and some paan we head towards Hotel Midday.

Thereafter soon after crossing the toll naka, we spot it on the RHS of the road and then take a U turn a KM ahead and proceed to the parking.
I look at her and say "Thanks". We nod together happily. The kids are tired and clueless, but then no choice. But kids, they are happy to be ground again and are running around
Yes we made it to Kolkotta....

The staff is courteous & provided Tea and hot water. After freshening up, we retired for the day.

I am like thinking, 600-700 km tommorow eh no proble 8hrs max LOL if the roads are real good..

"We start at 5am tommorow, get some rest, your eyes are getting red now" she says before retiring for the day.
Ya sure, let me just spend some few mins more in this hot water.. i mean my legs .

Soon thereafter, relieved, I snore away to sleep Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...............

Trinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg gggggggggg Trinnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg gggggggggggggggg

Oh god, i hate this noise, who is it ?
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Old 21st January 2011, 13:32   #24
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Default Re: Escape to Nathula

Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You forgot to mention the bad experience in searching for hotels inside Bhandara town! I am surprised a district GHQ town doe snot have good hotels!

That was one hell of a long drive, from Pune to Durg!! How many kms was it?

That night in Durg, I was seeing you all over the place trying to find the hotel! Good find, this Hotel Kusum - free wi-fi too and car parking, wasn't it?
What you say about Bhandara is correct. Rahul did not have many days to plan else, it is always better to shortlist hotel / book them for long distance travels.
Even Rajnandgaon does seem to have a good hotel
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Old 21st January 2011, 15:56   #25
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Default Re: D2(b): Bhilai-Sambalpur-Keonjhar-Jashipur-Kharagpur-Kolaghat- Kolkotta (Dec20)

Originally Posted by Rahulk76 View Post

Again a SMS from HV, suggests a good hotel Sher-e-punjab on the way to Kolaghat. To add to the confusion, i end up taking some wrong diversion to the left from flyover near Haldia turnover instead of going straight and land up few kms inside some kind of weird village.
Sher-e-Punjab is a good place to eat. Just Outside Kolkata and food is great. We eat there twice - when we we were en-route to Digha on our last trip.

MODS: Please excuse the back to back post

Last edited by kingshukt : 21st January 2011 at 15:57.
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Old 21st January 2011, 19:44   #26
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Wink D3: Kolkotta - Darjeeling more - Farakka - Malda - Kishanganj - Silliguri - Binagudi

D3: Kolkotta - Darjeeling more - Siuri- Farakka - Malda - Kishanganj - Silliguri - Binagudi
Chatper 3

"Who is it ?" exclaimed my wife
"Room Service Madam, Tea as requested" cameback the answer.

I was like.......is it 5 am already ? A quick look at the watch confirms this. Its cold outside and I want to snuggle away to sleep, in the warmth of the quilt mmmmmmmmmmmmm...

But as they say sweet sleeps are short lived and so was this one.

After Tea and warm milk for the kids, we get ready to The Final Destination of the Day somewhere approx 750 odd kms.

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Its a little misty/foggy outside and cold for sure. The steed cranks up in single crank..thank god. A quick vehicle check confirms everything in order. Last but not the least, its decided that we will tank up somewhere before or after Bardhaman enroute.

But one thing has changed. We are in the civlization and yes we can see private cars in equal no to them.

Everyone is excited that we are nearing the destination and off we set across NH6 towards NH2. I am really happy to say that the roads are wonderfull across.
But like Pune traffic the WB truckers resemble the same lot.(pun intended).

Soon we merge into the NH2. One word for it, it wonderfull. Since its cold, slightly foggy the traffic is less and we are able to make a fast pace. Thanks the Raybans i have, the visibility is much improved. (something related to polarizers).

After paying a toll for Durgapur Expressway (WOW is one word), I step up the speed to approx 110kmph and in a hr or 2 so we are nearing somewhere Darjeeling more (around 10 ish am).

But for sure the joys are shortlived as they say, there is a HUGE line of trucks lined up and moving extremely slow in the 2 laned road. ( Now in a retrospective, i am sure i missed some turn somewhere due to which i landed there).

Painfully slow movement robs us of approx 45 mins before we make a RH turn towards Illambazaar. There are lots of Amby taxis and Xylo and Boleros driving at even insaner speed than me.(lolz) But then after Illambazaar, the wonderful roads end and give way to the pockerfaced roads.

Now due to this issue, every darn thing which moves on the road 2/4 wheelers are driving all over the road, zig zag x y and what not. At one moment there was a dumper driving all over the road from opposite direction which came directly towards me and I was frozen. I just stopped on the LHS side of the road and saw him coming and just 20 feets ahead he moved back to his own lane. Good god, that was insanely dangerous. A couple of more incidents like this happened which reduced the pace drastically we had built :(

The roads are horrible and the traffic even double horrible. You should see the way these guys drive.!!!

The pockerfaced road continues until Dubrajpur and gets a wee bit better where in i can sustain 60kmph and occasional blasts of 80kmph.

For sure i can sense that the suspensions are taking a toll on themselves and they do need a thourough checkup/replacement when i am back home.

The roads continue like this till Nalhati. The traffic is getting denser and I am down to 40kmph and its sure is tiring.
We decide to take a break of 30mins or so to rest, freshenup and then restart the journey.

& finally as soon as we cross Nalhati towards moregram, the roads get better the NH34 section is still better. We pick up pace & soon pass Dhulian. Somewhere near or after Dhulian, there is clunk sound when I change to 5th my worst of worst nightmare comes alive. The clutch pedal wont come back..

"The cluctch is broken" in a excited voice i tell my wife and she is also taken aback :( There goes the day into the drain. Both of us except the kids still playing with games are nervous and a bit hackled by this new development.

But wait, I can still change gears can I ? Yes i can for sure Yes its changing gear and there is no funny noise coming from anywhere.

The new development slows down our pace and I decide not to stop the running vehicle at any cost. My mind has stopped working completely due to this new development and i am not able to think out of the box.

We quickly look up the nearest TASS workshop and come to know that their is Lexicon motors, in Malda.

I call up TASS Pune, and aprise them of the new development. They suggest me to check the clutch fluid level and clutch slippage if any.

"Hello, Pandit...I am near xyz place and the clutch pedal has completely gone inside and wont comeup automatically." I shout into the phone.
"Ok ok no problem, let me hand over to the technician who would advise you" Pandit guys say.
"What, no problem re..common dont joke" i rasp into the phone.
"Saar, any clutch clippage ? excitedly the guy asks
"No" curtly i reply back.
"ummmm, are u able to change the gears ?"
"with very little difficulty..Yes"
"saar, open the bonnet and check the clutch fluid level ?"

I open up the bonnet and check the clutch fluid level.

"its on the max level, no drop in the level...."

"ok ok, good. Please try to show to the nearest TASS and check up the booklet for the number" & thats no issue saar, please continue driving as you do, but dont go beyond 60-70"

a little reassured, I calm down and continue onwards towards Malda. After crossing Farakka barrage, i stop the vehicle and bug HVK and aprise him of the latest development.

I come to know that he is in middle of some tbhp meet and understanding the situation, gives the phone to Jay and the rest of the details (i am lazy to write) are below. A big thanks Jay..

So after talking to Jay, the most likely cultprit is the Slave cylinder.

I decide to call the toll free number of TML 1800 wala and guess what.. it doesnt get connected either from Vodafone or BSNL. "Aha" Citing bad luck, i leaf through the service booklet and come across the numbers of Lexicon Motors.
another 5 mins are spent frantically to call every possible lexcion malda numbers, but to no avail.. The numbers are old. Shucks..

An incoming SMS from HVK lists a different number, but unfortunately that doesnt work either :(.

As they say every cloud has a silver lining, with help from HVK, I come to know the coordinates of TASS in Malda.
As soon as i had finished talking to him and was about start off to Malda, i curiously looked to the inside of the brake/clutch area to see if any lnikages had broken. But saw none. Instinctively, i started to fiddle with the clutch pedal and pulled it upwards and VOILA, it came up.

Excitedly, i start the vehicle and push the pedal back and release it and it comes back normally..Phew..the sweats on my forehead had started to disappear now.

Now when on the move, the clutch is behaving normally and we slowly somehow reach outskirts of Malda Town. We are scouting for any sign of TASS.


"Ah there it is" we locate the TASS on the RHS of road and pull up to the workshop.
Excitedly i hurry inside to the TASS but am dissapointed soon. The workshop is of commercial vehicles.

Somehow from the reception, i get hold of the Lexicon Motors PCB Tass, located somewhat 10-15 kms further up.

I speak to the pleasant workshop manager, a pleasant gentleman and explain him the situation.

3:50 Lexicon Motors Malda

Vehicle is taken in ramped up and checked. The slave cylinder piston shaft is conked off.

1.5 hrs later, with 100rs (cost of DOT4 fluid), testdrive and warranty claimed.


Now until this time, i had driven very slowly and my best guesstimate is that we had lost approx 2 golden hours.
& then finally we drive off towards destination. We are all smiles now, forgotten that we didnt had have lunch and kids were getting hungry. During the time vehicle was on ramp, they could really stretch their legs and the the TASS Lexicon Malda was a neat and clean place.

After updates to friends, relatives & HVK that all izz well, we get a incoming SMS for Golden Park hotel at Malda which is few clicks from the TASS. We reach their around 5:15pm and have a scrumpcious lunch cum dinner. A indeed wonderful place.
After dinner we enquire about the tariff which i feel is little on a higher side and ennumber of discussions with wife, we decide that we will leave.
It was good talking to you Mahesh that day
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Maybe I can fill in some of the details, and the team-bhp at work!

Rahul's drive:
D1: Pune-Nagpur-Bhilai
D2: Bhilai-Sambalpur-Calcutta
D3: Calcutta-Malda-Sliguri-somewhere near the Bhutan border

That was some zesty driving, starting off at 5 every day and ending at 11!

Rahul had dinner at Sher-e-Punjab at Kolaghat, my friend Mahesh had his lunch there the next day.
Rahul had dinner at Golden Park at Malda, Mahesh ended up staying there!

Thanks, Rahul, for helping book the hotel room at Golden Park.

Thanks, jaysmokesleaves, for diagnosing the problem in Rahul's car, and helping him fix it at Malda in the quickest possible time (replaced slave cylinder).

KALINGA, I believe Rahul's clutch started slipping and that was a problem with the slave cylinder, which was replaced at TASC Malda with minimal loss of time.
Slight mist and fog had started to settle now, and it is going to be a long drive, so we decided to tankup still so just in case.

The NH is full of trucks and notorious WB rocket buses, and one has to be really carefull. I decide that we will put a white small led blinker on the tied to the RHS OVRM just in case ( those who do night driving know what i mean..maybe they can fill in to elaborate further.)

So via Gajol, Raiganj we end up reach the DREADED Dalkola around 9:15 behind a truck. Luckily, with little experience gained, and truckers advise.. take to the RHS of the road and navigate all the way until the Railway Phatak crossing barrier (approx 4KM).

The things are ugly on the other side as well, where both the sides are blocked. After 15-20 mins, the train passes and the barrier opens and we take the lead to cross it and find ourselves occasionally stuck from the opposite direction.
Somehow, we manage to cross those hurdles peacefully and take a much awaited RHS towards Kishanganj. The time is ticking around 10PM.

Soon thereafter the road gets wider and better and we pickup speed and then stop only to find ourselves in BIG BIG Jam. The RHS side of the road is empty and their is a 1 feet divider which is not worth the risk crossing over. Had I anticipated it a little earlier, i would have loved to take a U turn there and then itself, but alas the traffic had built up behind as well. This is bang opposite Kishanganj Railiway Station.
Frustated with the developing situation and the time, I bug HVK and he assuring tells that it will start moving dont worry.(thanks for that HVK. He also suggested that it might be due to a broken down vehicle near the kishanganj border). The kids and wife are dozing off and I say to them to do that no other choice. Its warm inside, but outside its cold. The only source of light is coming from the Railway Station.

Those 50 mins were spent sulking. I know that Mahesh would have settled cozily at Golden Park@Malda and poor me.. sh** the power of sulking

Around 1040-45 i see a commotion and some smoke from up ahead on the road, the opposite side lane is filled with sporadic cars and vehicles.

That situation lighted me up and soon thereafter, out side also started to crawl.

It wasnt until few KMs that we came across the beautiful road all the way to until few kms before Naxalbari,(the name of the road escapes me ..NH31c ?) where I could easily rampup the speeds to three digits. Its beautiful road.
It was fun. Since all the lights were ON on highbeam due to the road conditions, i didnt had to wait much to get side from the buses, truckers or cars.
There were police all over the place, shining their LED lights on the each passing vehicle or potential $ extraction prey (read truckers).

All was happy and gay until we were short of Naxalbari, the road suddenly disappeared from site and it felt that we were on Moon. huge dips and craters through the Jungle until few kms before Bagdodra, when conditions became much better.
Since i was doing some zestful driving, i had forgotten about time.

Since the road was all empty, we could gather momentum and speed and ended up hitting silky smooth Sevoke Road around 11:30PM.

Incoming SMS from the destination, confirmed that after crossing railway phatak, take a RHS on the Sevoke road and then you will be home in no time. No time ...good hehehe i laughed on reading it and excitedly told my wife. Since she was half awake she could only see "Ya Ya...blablah.. lets see"

The road from Matigara towards sevoke is wonderfull and i could maintain 90/100kmph due to lack or non-existant traffic at time.

For the records "Sevoke Road - binagudi s now fully built up"

00:20 hrs

After the railway goods train crossed near sevoke police fari, we started towards reaching Tigerbridge over river teesta.
I stopped at the end of the bridge and took few shots when a incoming SMS from destination says that "Dude read that 7kms as 70kms" and my wife was giggling all over.


Tiger Bridge
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Towards Gangtok
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The road now gets twisty and climbs up, all the way until Forest Checkpost. One needs to be careful here.

Then suddenly we are seeing milestones of Gauwahati saying some 6/700kms away and I am like wow, where are we headed to actually.

Soon we arrive at a forest check post, who stop us and ask where are we headed etc. With a advise be careful on the roads, they remove the barriers and off we go

During the 70 kms, there are so many bridges, that at one time i called up my destination to see the google lattitude to check whether i was going around in circles. LOLZ.

The road is extremely good and empty all the way to destination and it take me exactly 1.15hrs to reach my final destination. Max speed achieved 140KMPH.

Initially the road is good and then a little pokeredface then good again until Binagudi.

stopped bang in the middle of the forest n took a 15 sec exposure shot.

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Something moved in the back of some shrubs making noise, my wife is little scared.. "Elephants.."
"What Elephants..." i exclaim..
"no no, there is something moving behind the trees..
"Get off from here GETOFFFF"

A cold sweat develops on my forehead and it all comes rushing to my memory " Be carefull of the wild animals and especially Wild Elephants"
She was somewhat scared and since i hadnt seen what moved and only heard I quickly screech away from this location.. phew

Since the night was Full Moon, i could sense that we somewhere deep in the jungle and couldt make out any dam thing...where what how we were proceeding.. All i could see was the road ahead.. well tarred and empty

Udlabaari, Malbazaar.. were crossed in jiffy and then the golden moment came, when I entered into the house compound, my final destination. 1:45AM PHEW !!!

SMSed all that i was at destination in one piece.

My sister was surprised as to how we could make it so little time to reach from Sevoke to Binagudi ?
I told her thats a secret recipe

One thing is for sure, next time a good GPS device is needed. Though not needed when HVK is around, but yes then....

After meet and greet and some lavish food, off i dozed..Zzzzz only to be woken to rumble of a Warbird doing sortie.

Somehow managed to snap one of it.. Damn that thing is fast.

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End of Leg1 of Journey

Last edited by Mpower : 21st January 2011 at 23:32.
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Old 21st January 2011, 20:55   #27
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Default Photologue Jaldapara

One of the days, we decided to test the raw 320NM of torque and 4x2 limited capabilities and off went to riverbed near jaldapara.

Not before paying visit to the famous Tea Estates en route

The best four shot panorama i have ever taken
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Leaving Tea Estate en-route to offroading
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Kiddos enjoying the river scene

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Some light mudsplunging.. managed to get stuck at one point where it wont climb, and the wheelspin would happen. Reversed few 50 meters and built momentum and then climbed

I WISH I HAD A 4X4 Safari..sigh

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Waterwading. thats where the under plates protected from the unsuspecting stones

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Then went all the way onto the river bund

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Then we returned home..

Tommorow we go on a drive to have lunch at Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing is a border town in southern Bhutan, opposite the Indian town of Jaigaon, situated in Chukha Dzongkang. Cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy; the town serves as headquarters for the Bank of Bhutan. Population 20,537 (2005 census).[
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Old 21st January 2011, 21:42   #28
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Default Photologue Bhutan


26° 51' 54.3816" N, 89° 23' 8.0448" E

Phuentsoling is popularly known as the 'Gateway to Bhutan', Visitors arriving by road from Sikkim or Darjeeling, or arriving by flight from Bagdogra in West Bengal will have to enter Bhutan via this border town of Bhutan. The town is a bustling commercial centre providing a glimse of Indian merchants and Bhutanese dressed in traditional khos and kiras. The climate of Phuentsholing contrasts greatly with the higher land of Bhutan. It is tropical, hot and humid during the summer, and warm and pleasant in the winter. It is located 180 km from Thimphu and is about a six hours drive. It is the only other entry/exit point to Bhutan other than the airport at Paro. From here heading northwards by the winding roads of the Himalayan foothills through tropical forests and isolated villages leads finally to an altitude of 8000 feet to the valleys of Thimphu and Paro.

Offering a magnificient view from its garden of the plains of Phuentsoling and India all the way to the horizon stands Kharbandi Gompa monastery five kilometres from Phuentsoling. It was founded in 1967 by the Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedron and stands high above the Bengal plains.
The drive
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The drive from Binagudi to Jaigaon is decent and the roads aren't in a good shape. But then few KMS before jaigaon its wonderful.

Ye Ye.. Diesel is superb and I got diesel filled to the brim up @ 34rs.

We went a short drive into the city around a hill, then had lunch, to the crocodile park and then finally shopping..Got excellent feather felt jackets for peanuts (500-1000/-) only

Ill let the picture speak for themselves

Cheap Diesel
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Phuentsholing in the backdrop
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Prado's, Pajero's, Hilux and what now wheeeeeee wow . We had lunch here.
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Foreign Return
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Foreign Return

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Now lets visit the Croc's..

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Well, there I am
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Now lets get started to Gangtok and Nathula and the saga of getting civil permits.

The Ride
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Last edited by Rahulk76 : 21st January 2011 at 21:57.
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Old 22nd January 2011, 00:02   #29
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Default Re: Escape to Nathula

In case you failed to realise it, Rahul has just done his drive this way:
Day 1: Pune-Bhilai, 950 kms approx
Day 2: Bhilai-Kolkata, 850 kms approx
Day 3: Kolkata-Binnaguri, 700 kms approx,

That means the Rahul family has done a 2,500 kms run in 3 days across some good and bad roads across central India! Awesome, Rahul, that calls for tremendous determination, tenacity and applause for you and your family!

I especially liked that video of the truck and the rail locomotive talking to each other - definitely one of the lighter moments in what is otherwise a grim drive across the dusty undulating lands of CG.

Thank you for all the praise and acknowledgement, but let me tell you what a team-bhp comradeship Rahul's drive has been:

- During my GQ Drive with 4 other tbhp-ers, thanks to planet_rocker, we discovered the MOtel Midway at Dhulagori on the Kolkata bypass,a pleasant stay on NH6 without getting into Kolkata city.

- the suggestion for dining at Sher-e-Punjab came from my own previous trips and a quick confirmatory call to our own Tirthankar Basu, who detailed the location to help Rahul get his delicious chicken dinner!

- Rahul not only dined at the Golden Park Hotel in Malda, but also helped book rooms for the night for Mahesh, who was following 6 hours behind on his drive from Coimbatore to Bhutan in his Fiat Linea. The Maheshs got a nice hotel room that night thanks to Rahul, and also hourly updates on road conditions by the advance party that was Rahul! Thanks, Rahul, for that.

- When Rahul reported his clutch problem before Malda, a mini-tbhp meet was underway in my office, with me, BolBolero and jaysmokesleaves in attendance, and Jay, the Safari owner and veteran traveller himself, immediately pinpointed the problem to be a failed slave cylinder and the diagnosis was useful in getting the Safari repaired ASAP.

And now we are all gaining immensely from this comprehensive TL that Rahul has written!

Rahul, the Sambalpur-Kharagpur route leaves everyone jittery no doubt. I can imagine your feelings in that lonely desolate road populated only by truckers. I just can't imagine why the roads in OR are so bereft of cars and other personal vehicles.

Is the convoy system from Baharogara to Jashpur there through the night? Did you hear of any untoward happenings thanks to Naxal attacks or episodes involving private vehicles? Is there police patrolling?

BTW, only a Pune guy who stays near Kalyani Nagar/Airport area could have got the photo of that jet fighter in the air!!!!
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Old 22nd January 2011, 01:28   #30
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Default Re: Escape to Nathula

Awesome journey, buddy! I am enjoying the pics and the description of roads. Having experienced a clutch master failure in the middle of the road myself, I can understand how scary that feeling is, when the clutch pedal refuses to come up!!!

I pulled up the clutch pedal with my toe and somehow reached home that day! Good that you were able to locate the TASS with the help of TBHP members!

Awaiting the rest of the journey details and pics...

Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
BTW, only a Pune guy who stays near Kalyani Nagar/Airport area could have got the photo of that jet fighter in the air!!!!
Kumar Ji, I helped my wife capture these pics of the Sukhoi 30mki fighter jet, when we were on our way back to Pune from Jalgaon. The time was close to 7pm and I was speeding in my car @ 80 kmph. Still, her expertise in action photography helped her in capturing these flawless shots. No zoom lens used!

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And talking about supersonic fighter planes, this one was the fastest!!! As fast as the speed of thought!!!

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Sorry for the OT, Rahul!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 22nd January 2011 at 01:47.
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