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Old 6th December 2020, 17:44   #1096
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by indrasis_gun View Post
How bad was the Bengal to Bengal road? Did you face any issue with ground clearance of your car?
First 35 or so kms from Botolbari is quite bad. I think the road gets better after Rudel village. I had to go real slow over those bad sections. It was actually on the Farakka to Raiganj section that my car underbelly received a few hits.
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Old 7th December 2020, 02:21   #1097
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

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Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
We drove to Malda today along NH-12 (old NH-34) via Krishnanagar. The widening work has now resumed for Barajaguli - Krishnanagar section of NH-12.
Thanks Golam for your insights on NH34 and your informative videos on you tube . I was planning to take SH7 but last few days I am receiving reports that in night there’s been huge traffic and also got informed by fellow BHPian that fog might be a problem . If I want to take any other route from Kolkata to Siliguri what is the best option ? If I start at 8 PM from South Kolkata, would you suggest to take NH12 through South Kolkata-Dumdum-Kalyani Expressway-Barajaguli-Ranaghat bypass (avoiding Phulia and Shantipur) - Morgram - Siliguri ? Please let me know ? At which part of 2 laned highway I can expect heavy traffic congestion ? Is this route fine https://goo.gl/maps/L7b9JKvjGeiHSQUJ7 ?
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Old 7th December 2020, 08:35   #1098
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

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Originally Posted by nisfish View Post
It was actually on the Farakka to Raiganj section that my car underbelly received a few hits.
Which car are you driving?

Just trying to figure out if I would face the same... I will be going with my Ford EcoSport..!
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Old 7th December 2020, 08:47   #1099
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
Morgram to Raigunj is now more or less good with occasional bad surface, specially in the areas where the four lanes merge into a single lane.
This would be such a relief. Moregram to Malda is around 100 Kms and a better-surfaced road would be a life-saver.

I still don't understand why roadway still put unmarked speed-breaks all of a sudden, where you would expect them the least!

Regards,
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Old 7th December 2020, 10:38   #1100
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

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Originally Posted by nisfish View Post
We got stuck for almost an hour at Farakka
I am bit curious to know: was there an accident or something similar? After the comprehensive road repair, nowadays an hour-long jam on the Farraka barrage has become very rare (Although it used to be a routine affair earlier).

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownianmotion View Post
If I start at 8 PM from South Kolkata, would you suggest to take NH12 through South Kolkata-Dumdum-Kalyani Expressway-Barajaguli-Ranaghat bypass (avoiding Phulia and Shantipur) - Morgram - Siliguri ?
The fog could strike even along this route. The surface of 2-laned section of NH-12 is decent now with occasional uneven stretches. So you can surely take it, specially if you are planning to drive in the night. Currently, there is no need to avoid Phulia - Santipur stretch as it won't save you any time. Apart from heavier traffic, at present there are no major bottlenecks along K.E./NH-12 until Baharampur. Of course there are quite few railway level crossings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownianmotion View Post
Thanks Golam for your insights on NH34 and your informative videos on you tube.
Thanks. To beat the lock down blues, I also made a video on the Kolkata - Siliguri route. This video will give any newbie on this route a 10 minute summary of the important wisdom that are scattered around in this invaluable thread and which are needed to navigate through a bizarre jigsaw puzzle, also known as the Kolkata - Siliguri route.


Last edited by gmhossain : 7th December 2020 at 10:49.
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Old 7th December 2020, 12:15   #1101
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by basuk View Post
This would be such a relief. Moregram to Malda is around 100 Kms and a better-surfaced road would be a life-saver.
Your Ecosport will have no issues at all driving all the way if you drive carefully and with a clear view of the road. There are occasional potholes and undulations which, if negotiated carefully, wouldn’t hurt you much. SH7 has been repaired substantially as I have already mentioned before, so the entire route is now more or less good.

In fact, the Botolbaari route is only bad surface wise for around 15-20 kms or so, rest of the road is just as good. It’s the fog which becomes an issue in the winters, more so if the drive is through the night and early morning but nothing major if driven carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
To beat the lock down blues, I also made a video on the Kolkata - Siliguri route. This video will give any newbie on this route a 10 minute summary of the important wisdom that are scattered around in this invaluable thread and which are needed to navigate through a bizarre jigsaw puzzle, also known as the Kolkata - Siliguri route.
I have never thought that Calcutta- Siliguri route is so cumbersome until I watched your video

That a road can be a zig-saw puzzle is astounding even to this day and age. The video will help many in making an informed decision. Thanks.

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 7th December 2020 at 12:40.
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Old 7th December 2020, 14:12   #1102
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Hey GMHOSSAIN, that is a very good video and really helpful. The route is truly a Jigsaw Puzzle. A strange state of affairs in this day and age.
Manmohan.
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Old 7th December 2020, 15:58   #1103
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Hi @GMHOSSAIN,
excellent video on the Kolkata-Siliguri route. It would surely be helpful to many travellers!

Regards,
~/kb
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Old 8th December 2020, 13:44   #1104
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
I am bit curious to know: was there an accident or something similar? After the comprehensive road repair, nowadays an hour-long jam on the Farraka barrage has become very rare (Although it used to be a routine affair earlier.
I travelled Siliguri-Baharampur on 5th December. The Siliguri bound lane had approximately 5 km long traffic jam from Ballalpur and small cars were being diverted via opposite lane. The old practice is back again. According to locals this jam is occurring only in evening and night nowadays and mostly due to Police, if you understand what I mean.

Also nowadays Dalkhola is having standstill traffic from Karandighi i.e. approximately 25 km long jam almost any time of the day.

Last edited by indrasis_gun : 8th December 2020 at 13:46.
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Old 8th December 2020, 23:09   #1105
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

I see a lot of recommendations for the Bhagalpur Dumka Route to Siliguri. Planning for a trip to Darjeeling last week of Dec. Is it advisable to give this route a try?
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Old 8th December 2020, 23:58   #1106
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Useful tips. Appreciate your efforts in making things simple.
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Old 13th December 2020, 19:13   #1107
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

I completed my first Kolkata - Siliguri - Kolkata drive on 30/31st October and 7-8th November. Knowing how fast the road condition changes from good to worse and vice versa on this route, I would say the best bet is to check this thread and online group discussions regularly for the most up to date road condition from last 1-2 week at best to define the route.

For the onward journey we took the Dumka - Bhagalpur route.

We started around 9-15 pm from Kolkata and roads until Asansol were as usual good via Nh-2. Taking the right from Asansol
we received some average roads with frequent broken tarmacs but still drive able.

After we entered Jharkhand somewhere around 1-30 am crossing Roshna, we received excellent roads except that we were alone on a completely dark highway with no locality around.

Apart from a ambulance (most likely carrying a corpse) and an escorting Scorpio there were no other vehicles in vicinity, not even a passing truck or car from the opposite side. To boost our sense of security I chose to keep company with them instead of going past them and it continued up until the diversion route to Barapalasi. At least we saw for the first time some trucks and carriers here for a change.

Due to ongoing road closure owing to repairs at Katania, the maps routed us to this diversion and everything was fine other than the super dark roads except the Barapalasi Road diversion as shown in the map. This stretch welcomed us with a B-I-G Crater midway on the road. It was completely unpaved making us doubt the existence of anything ahead but seeing a matador coming out we advanced.

It was past 3 am when we entered through the bumpy road near Khilkanali which became from wide to narrow in a few minutes going via a village with just enough gap between house rows on both side to let a 4 wheeler pass. Suddenly we found a truck blocking the way of the entire road ahead. While we were wondering middle of the night whom to go and ask noticed two locals chatting beside the truck. After standing for a minute with head lights on, they started approaching us, scratching their crotch (yes) as if involuntarily. It was not a very assuring moment when we were alone with family, nevertheless they came beside our car and indicated me to get into a narrow alley on my left for them to back our the truck. I could manage to slide into it after alot of back and forth with my Crysta and while they kept their end of the bargain in reversing the truck to let me pass.

I thought the worst was over when suddenly in a little distance met a road obstructing pile of earth around 3-4 feet tall such that in the dark I could not see the other side of the road. My colleague who had returned in a hired Innova 1 week back had told me of this but I never realized it would be this big. Thinking what else can go wrong in 2020, I took the plunge and was able to cross it without grazing anywhere under the car. Met another smaller mound a little ahead and after that it was fine until we came and met the Deoghar- Dumka highway.

Soon after we took a right from the Barapalasi - Jama Road crossing where one road goes towards Deoghar, surprisingly at 3 am we found all the Pera shops open. Thereafter roads were very good except frequent triple hump bumpers citing animal crossing and difficult to spot from a distance, we crossed this stretch around 3-30 am.

Near Hansdiha large queue of trucks were waiting for entry into Bihar from Jharkhand and we were stranded from 4 am all the way till 5-30 am with very slow moving traffic thereafter until 6-30 am. I think to avoid this traffic its best to cover this stretch by 2-30 am at the most which would mean starting from Kolkata by 7 am at the latest.

When we went past Fulwaria, past Purnea there were occasional broken tarmacs but not craters which are best crossed in higher speeds of 80-90 + to avoid falling into them.

Rest of the road was excellent, toll tax was way lesser in Bihar than other states. We reached Siliguri Sevoke road around 4 pm. Halts and delays amounting to total 4-5 hours could have been avoided if we could have started earlier like I said above.

So effective drive time is 14 hours but one must account practical halts and plan accordingly. We observed very few descent hotels in this route while passing through Bihar and this made our breakfast and lunch halts untimed, problem if you have kids travelling along like we had. We had home cooked food for dinner which we had sitting inside the car but the Dhabas and Highway hotels on the NH-2 remain open way past midnight in case someone wants to dine on the highways. The stretch through Jharkhand was the most deserted of all.

Some of the stretches through Bihar was through congested places and since we were passing through them around 7-8 am we were slowed down a little. So its better I think, after comparing return times by this route in the night by another colleague, that if one plans return journey through this road then the Bihar stretch would be crossed in night and early morning it would be through jharkhand which may be more convenient.

The 180 Km extra adds 3+ hours to the journey time so its better to keep that in mind while planning the travel via this route.

Here is a Map of the entire route we followed for the 790 Km from Kolkata to Murti Banani WBFDC Resort in Dooars. Also a video footage from the dashcam of the most part of the journey except the night stretch.

Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)-kolkata-dooars.png

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Old 18th December 2020, 23:09   #1108
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by basuk View Post
This would be such a relief. Moregram to Malda is around 100 Kms and a better-surfaced road would be a life-saver.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nisfish View Post
First 35 or so kms from Botolbari is quite bad. I think the road gets better after Rudel village.
I was trying to assess the Bengal to Bengal road conditions, the roads between Morgram to Malda was expected to be repaired as referred above ( Is there any progress?). Similarly, there are bad roads between Botolbari to Rudel(hope google maps works efficiently in all these stretches). Kindly provide update on the following road conditions :-
  • Burdwan to Moregram
  • Moregram to Raiganj
Also suggest the route to be taken to by pass Kolkata ( while coming from Bhubaneswar) & reach Burdwan to continue the journey until Siliguri. Thanks for your inputs. Regards
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Old 20th December 2020, 11:16   #1109
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Default re: Kolkata - Siliguri route via Dumka, Bhagalpur or NH-12 (old NH-34)

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Originally Posted by Redeemer8 View Post
Kindly provide update on the following road conditions :-
  • Burdwan to Moregram
  • Moregram to Raiganj
On my return journey Siliguri to Kolkata last week, I found the Raiganj-Farakka stretch to be better than the other way round. No problems on Farakka to Moregram. I decided to take the SH-7 from Moregram. The stretch after leaving the national highway till the point where I entered SH-7 was horrible. After that SH-7 till Burdwan in is alright with occasional rough patches around Kuli.

Moregram to Farakka is fine but brace yourself for a jam at the barrage. Stay alert on the Farakka-Raiganj route as you will come across sudden craters.
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Old 20th December 2020, 20:08   #1110
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Default Re: Kolkata - Siliguri route updates

Returned to Kolkata from from Darjeeling yesterday, 19/12/2020, evening and thought of updating the road conditions, in case it proves to be of help to anyone planning to travel shortly.

Kolkata - Burdwan:
No issues. Good road conditions throughout from Kolkata to Burdwan(Ulhas junction turn-off).
Tip: At Dankuni & Palsit Toll plazas, suggest that you stick to the toll lanes which has trucks queued up (obviously choose the shortest queue). Refrain from choosing the extreme left (car only lane), because in this lane you will find many passenger cars WITHOUT FasTag paying in cash, collecting change, blacklisted FasTag's, inane arguments et al. Contrarily, most trucks have FasTag's now and all of them trundle through without hassle. Tested this theory out at all toll plazas I crossed and it held good.

Inside Burdwan town:
No issues again. The new flyover near Burdwan station has been commissioned and there are no bottlenecks now. Be careful however of the umpteen number of E-Rickshaws who all seem hell bent on a suicidal spree, especially when they spot an automobile.

Burdwan Town to Norja "Y-junction" (SH-7)
Broken tarmac with occasional deep craters. Exercise caution.

Norja to Futishanko (SH-7)
Wide, fast with occasional potholes which you can spot early on to take evasive manouvre. Couple of culverts with dips which can cause your vehicle's suspension to bottom out, (depending on vehicle make) on its bump stops if you are doing over 70'-ish kmph.

Futishanko to Kuli
Broken tarmac peppered with potholes and craters of different sizes, shapes and depths. Depending on your vehicle, its suspension capability and axle articulation, your average speed can vary between 35kmph to 60/65 kmph. Exercise caution. Be aware of "rim bending" sized potholes. The Mayurakshi river bridge, (not Lochandas Setu), has two nasty iron spikes jutting out from one of the bridge's expansion joints in the middle. Be careful.

Kuli to Nakpur (where SH-7 joins the SH-14)
No issues.

Nakpur to Moregram junction (that is SH-14 and NH-12 [nee NH-34] junction):
No tarmac for 3.5 kms. Pure off road. This stretch is also facing multiple traffic snarls as inevitably multiple trucks are having axle and suspension failures and blocking access to the "what is called the highway"
Tip: Stick to left most side. Drop two wheels on the gravel shoulder and weave your way through.

Moregram to Farakka
No issues. Some occasional potholes which you can spot from afar. Stick to left lane and you should be fine. The Farakka Feeder Canal bridge has been fully refurbished and is smooth sailing. Also the narrow single lane bridge before Farakka Barrage has been replaced with two new bridges, so no hold-up's on that front as well.
After you cross the main Farakka Barrage, its off roading again for around a kilometre. The Barrage itself is in good shape. Of course, you have to adhere to the speed restrictions as always.

Kaliachak junction
I crossed Kaliachak at around 1pm. The junction now boasts a new set of traffic lights set at 1-minute interval. This seems to have eased the bottleneck as the tailback from the traffic lights are now not stretching beyond 300 metres. Roads and potholes have been repaired

Sujapur junction
Roads are ok. Pure man-made traffic snarls. With generous contribution from the cops who for some reasons which defies all logic, "push" rickety and rusty traffic barriers in the path of oncoming trucks thereby slowing them down. They also create "chicanes" with these movable barriers through which it is extremely difficult for trucks to wiggle through.
Be prepared for a 15 mins slowdown in this area.

Malda Bypass
Smooth sailing

Malda to Raigunj town junction
Largely ok. Occasional diversions with broken tarmac. Manageable. Raigunj city traffic is congested as ever.

Raigunj - Botolbari turnoff
Recently four-laned. So be careful in spotting the Botolbari turn as it is now on the "other side" of the highway. Tip: After you cross the Kulik Bird Sanctuary bridge, after 13-14kms slow down to spot the Botolbari turn - off

Botolbari - Rudel - Goagaon stretch
Pure off roading once again. The road is completely broken with deep craters, potholes , ditches and road imperfections of every conceivable nature that you can think of. The edges drop off a good 8-inches as well. Habitual North Bengal travellers of these roads would need to be very careful. I would not recommend this road to newbies to owners planning to drive down in low ground clearance cars with long overhangs.
I saw one Bihar registered Honda City with its front bumper knocked off and coolant leaking and one D'zire (new shape) with its left front wheel contorted and poking out of the bodywork (I'm sure it was a bent lower arm or a driveshaft that had popped out).
From Goagaon junction, (where it meets the "head of the curve" at the Dhantola Rasakhowa road), to Dhantola crossing, the road is absolutely fine.

Alternative to Botolbari entry
Try to get in through Domohana turn - off. This road is excellently surfaced. It is around 20 kilometres ahead of Botolbari turnoff if you are coming from Raigunj.
The problem with the Domohona approach is the "tailback effect" from Dalkhola junction. Nowadays, Dalkhola is witnessing 20-25kms long truck pile-up's. No one knows the reason why! There are no crashes, political "road roko's" etc but traffic just does not see to move!
And it is some of this traffic that you have to negotiate to reach the Domohana turn-off.

Dhantola - Islampur - Bagdogra

Between Islampur and Bagdogra some nasty potholes have cropped up. Be careful.

Bagdogra - Khaprail Junction - Simulbari - Rohini - Kurseong
No issues.

Alternative: Pankhabari Road to Kurseong
Ok. No issues. I did it at night, so there was no traffic as well. Suggest newbies to take the more gentle Rohini route as Pankhabari with its steep gradients and hairpins may not be comfortable for all.

Kurseong to Darjeeling
Extensive road repair work is going on at Hill Cart Road. Hence, very often traffic is being halted to facilitate roadworks and also free up movement of "up and down" hill traffic. This is causing quite some delay between the Kurseong to Darjeeling stretch. You just have to be patient and wait it out; as the entire process is very well controlled by the cops posted at regular intervals along the stretches where repairs are taking place.

Hope this update helps.
Safe travels and wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas!

Drive safe!
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