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Old 22nd October 2019, 15:11   #1
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Default Sailed through the Northeast in hatchbacks & crossovers with BHPians

Himalaya keeps calling us & we always try our best to answer the call!
This time its Northeast.

We were 10 adults & 5 kids in 5 cars. Roughly this is our 15th road-trip together with the 'Car photography' family in last 5 years. The bonding gets stronger with the increase in odometer reading.

The special mention for this particular trip is, without our team support, this trip would have failed for few of us! The story will unfold as the travelogue progresses.

The group-

Team Duster AWD (Bhpian Samba with his wife)

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Team Tuv300 (Bhpian avrendu with his wife and daughter)

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Team Swift Vxi (Bhpian SouraC with his wife and daughter)

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Team Nexon Xz+ Diesel (Bhpian Arindamxeta with his wife, son & daughter)

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Team Fiat Avventura (Mr Rana Adhikari with his wife & son)

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The whole team-

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The cars together-

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The itinerary-

2nd October 2019 - 3rd October - Kolkata to Chalsa
4th October 2019 - Chalsa to Sikiajhora/ Bongaigaon
5th October 2019 - Sikiajhora/ Bongaigaon to Mangaldoi
6th October 2019 - Mangaldoi to Sangti valley & Dirang
7th October 2019 - Dirang to Tawang
8th October 2019 - Bum La, Sangetsar Lake
9th October 2019 - Zemithang
10th October 2019 - Tawang to Dirang
11th October 2019 - Dirang to Guwahati
12th October 2019 - Guwahati to Shillong
13th October 2019 - Shillong & Cherrapunji sightseeing
14th October 2019 - Shillong to Siliguri
15th October 2019 - Siliguri to Kolkata

What we carried as precaution for us and our cars-

For cars-

Tool kit
Em-seal
Black tape
Engine oil
Tow ropes
Torch
Airfilter
Tyre inflator
Puncture repair kit
Jump start cable
Extra fuse

For us-

Medicines as prescribed by the doctor for vomiting, diarrhea, acute mountain sickness, head ache, fever, oxygen cans & few other ointments for pain, cuts & bruises.

Few teaser pics to start with-

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And a teaser video -



INDEX

Sangti valley & Dirang

Bum La, Sangetsar & T-Gompa

Zemithang

Sela pass

Shillong & Cherrapunji

Last edited by Samba : 25th October 2019 at 03:59.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 16:10   #2
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Day 1 (Kolkata to Chalsa, 15 hours, 610 km)

Bhpian avrendu & his family left a day before us, as he wanted to spend a couple of extra days at Dooars. Me and Bhpian Arindamxeta planed to leave on 2nd October and spend a day at Sinclairs Chalsa, whereas Bhpian SouraC and Rana da decided to start a day after us and catch up at Sikiajhora.

Me & Arindam da decided to team up around 4 pm at Singur CCD. By 3 pm the packing was completed and our Duster was loaded.

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It was the starting of Durga Puja. Till date i have not missed a single Durga Puja, this is the first time i was leaving for a trip during Durga Puja. With a heavy heart visited the Puja pandal next to our house, my wife offered her prayer to goddess Durga, we bid adieu to my parents and started our journey.
I had a mixed feeling. Feeling sad to leave my parents back and leaving during Durga puja and feeling happy on the other hand, that a road trip to the Himalaya starts.

I was almost in the verge of cancelling this trip. Since May i was suffering from severe shoulder problem and it was painful. There were several restriction's prescribed by the doctors.
Bhpian avrendu assured me, let me go for the trip, if i need a backup driver, his wife will be there, plus at any moment i can park my car in a hotel and hop into his car. So i decided to keep the trip on.
A week before the trip my mom fell ill, i was nervous and was almost cancelling the trip but by god's grace & doctors intervention she was fine within 3-4 days. My parents assured me, everything is fine and i need not cancel the trip. So at last with 4 cans of painkiller sprays and few painkiller tablets we started our journey!

Met Arindam da at CCD Singur at 4pm.

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After having a coffee and packing some food we started around 4-30 pm. Crossed Burdwan, took SH7 and reached Moregram Bp petrolbunk at around 8 pm. Due to Durga puja faced some local traffic at Burdwan but sh7 was devoid of traffic and the progress was fast. At places there were potholes and rough patches, though its easily manageable.
Had a tea break at BP moregram and started by 9 pm from there. Nh34 from Moregram till Raiganj was full of surprises. The road was filled with small potholes to big craters.
The positive part is, crossing Farakka was a breeze.
We reached Raiganj around 2 am. Before the trip, i didn't had the required rest as several last moment work came up. I was feeling tired and exhausted and my shoulder was paining. I asked Arindam da to take the lead and i was following him while having RedBull and coffee to keep the sleep away. We were driving slow at around 60-70 km/hr.

So far so good.

It's 3 am and suddenly this came up!

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I instantly knew any one of the injector have failed!

Its day one and i have not even reached Siliguri! I was cursing myself, i should have taken the Etios!

Me and Arindam da were constantly talking among ourselves on what can be done to continue the trip.

Kept driving and called up the road side assistance. They confirmed, Siliguri Service center has closed down, so the option's i have are Malda, Purnea, Bongaigaon, Guwahati. If the car is not drive-able they will send me a towing service free of cost. I told them, its drive-able at low speed, so i do not need a towing service.
I kept driving below 70 km/hr for the next 4 hours and reached our hotel at Chalsa at 7am.

I called up my friend Reeturaj Yogi at Guwahati to ask if Renault Bongaigaon have injectors in stock or not. He had a chat with the service manager and the reply was in negative. He confirmed Guwahati Renault might have the stock.

At morning 7 am, i called up Renault Budgebudge service manager (Dibakar Da) where i get my Duster serviced in Kolkata. He assured me, he will do something.

Rana da & Souradeep da were in constant touch with me to know about the progress. At 9-30 am Dibakar da from Renault gave me a call and assures, he have an injector in stock. That day afternoon Rana da was scheduled to drive from Kolkata to Dooars and join us for the trip. I promptly called him and asked him to pick the injector from Renault Budgebudge and carry it with him, so the very next day morning i can collect it from him, drive another 240 km to Bongaigaon and get it changed.

In the meanwhile Dibakar da (workshop manager of Budgebudge Kolkata, Renault) had a talk with the Guwahati service center and inquired about injectors. Guwahati had one injector in stock. So he requested them to send that injector to Renault Bongaigaon. That way once i reach Renault Bongaigaon, two injectors will be ready.

So i was assured that two injectors will be ready in next 24 hours.

Finally some relief, after a heavy breakfast i took a nap from 11 am to 3-30 pm.
Got freshened up and six of us went out to the lawn to enjoy the exotic location of Chalsa, Sinclairs with some light snacks.
In the evening we had a short 10 km drive through the tea estates to enjoy the evening sunset.

Few pics from the afternoon.

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Had a yummy dinner in the evening and called it a day.

Day 2 (Chalsa to Bongaigaon, 240 km, 4 hours)

I was happy that two injectors were ready and will get it changed soon.
But got a call from Bhpian SouraC that yesterday night he and Rana da were having dinner at a Dhaba where a truck reversed carelessly and hit Rana da's car shattering the driver side glass, orvm and dented the A pillar. By the time they could get hold of the truck, it fled.

He drove the car like that till Chalsa. The glass was not available at Siliguri. He cant drive a car like that for the whole trip. I called up Dbhpian SSTraveller and asked him to contact Bhpian ChiranjitP from Guwahati who used to have a Punto. Chiranjit promptly contacted Fass Guwahati and asked them to check the stock. Thanks a lot Chiranjit, your help was immense. To our good luck in next one hour it was confirmed that the driver side door glass and orvm was available at Fass Guwahati. The dent in the A pillar was minor, so the front windshield got saved.

Team was scheduled to drive till Sikiajhora and spend a day but i had to cancel that plan and drive to Bongaigaon after collecting the injector from Rana Da.

I started at 10 am from Chalsa, after after having breakfast. On the way met our friend Mr. Priyatosh Ganguli who is an army officer. He was on his way to Siliguri to take delivery of his brand new Ecosport! He helped us in getting the permit for Bum La.
After meeting him, drove 240 km and reached Renault Bongaigaon at 2 pm. My friend Reeturaj gave me the contact of Mr. Sahid at Renault Bongaigaon. Mr. Dibakar from Kolkata explained him the whole situation. So once i reached, Mr.Sahid was standing outside and immediately started to check my car without any delay.

In next 1 hour they confirmed two injectors need to be replaced and luckily we had two injectors ready! Injector no 3 & 4 were malfunctioning. They worked from 2 pm to 8 pm. Their mechanics worked extra time just to make my car ready on that day itself. The work was completed by 8 pm. After 8 pm we took a 50 km test drive to ensure things were fine. Finally after taking the test drive, close to 9 pm, i paid them for the diesel filter and took my car out. The injectors were changed under warranty.

I cant thank enough, the way Dibakar da, Sahid and his team went the extra mile to make sure my car is ready on the same day.

The service provided by them were phenomenal.

At Renault Bongaigaon

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Just beside Renault Bongaigaon, i stayed at Hotel Himalaya. Both were right on the highway.

So after a couple of days with increased blood pressure things looked to settle down. Me and wife had a good dinner to celebrate, that the trip was on!

Day 3 (Bongaigaon to Mangaldoi, 200 km, 5 hours)

I waited for the team to catchup from Sikiajhora and Avrendu da from Dooars. They reached Bongaigaon around 12 pm.
Rana da drove straight to Guwahati Fass to get his car fixed. He started at morning 5-40 am. According to him Guwahati Fass did an excellent job and his car was released in 5-6 hours, though they had immense work pressure on that day.

Finally after getting the car fixed, Rana da joined us at Mangoldoi hotel around 7 pm in the evening. So all looks great and sorted now! No! There is more to come!

Mr. Mriganka the owner of hotel Madhuban, where we stayed at Mangaldoi owns this immaculately maintained RD 350.

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The next day it was Aadi's birthday (Rana da's son), so some birthday celebration at midnight with the kids!

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Last edited by Samba : 25th October 2019 at 02:24.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 00:08   #3
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Day 4 (Mangaldoi to Sangti Valley & Dirang, 248 km, 10 hours)

We started at 9 am from Mangaldoi. Google maps by default was showing the Bhalukpong route, but as we heard about the bad roads we wanted to avoid the Bhalukpong route. So we set our map via Rowta - Kalaktang - Shergaon- Rupa - Bomdila to Dirang. The road was majorly good barring few bad stretches in the earlier part after entering Arunachal and few around Bomdila.

On the way we had lunch at a road side eatery around 2 pm.

Few pics from the lunch break at Tenzingaon.

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Post lunch the road till Bomdila was superb. We pushed our cars a bit, so we can reach Sangti valley before sundown. Few kilometer before and after Bomdila was in bad shape.

By 4 pm we reached Dirang and we decided to visit Sangti valley first & then check in to our hotel. The 12 km stretch from Dirnag to Sangti valley was in bad shape. The road was broken and slushy. The surroundings were picturesque but sadly we had to concentrate more on the road rather than the gushing river flowing by our side!

At the end there is a village, but one must stay in a tent beside the river to enjoy the real essence of the place. Stayed there for half an hour and started our drive back to Dirang.

Few pics from the Sangti valley drive.

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As it was Aadi's birthday, we had yet another small celebration during the dinner time.

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Old 23rd October 2019, 00:28   #4
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Day 5 ( Dirang to Tawang, 140 km, 4.5 hours)

We just had two days in Tawang. So on this day, after reaching Tawang we had to get hold of our Bum La and Sangetsar lake permits.
Me and Bhpian SouraC decided to start a bit early, reach Tawang fast and do the arrangements for the permits. Our friend Mr. Priyatosh Ganguli, gave a name and contact number of an army person who guided us on the procedure.

We started from Dirang at 8-30 am.

The morning view of Dirang while having breakfast.

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In next 2 hours, we crossed Sela pass and stopped for a mandatory photo break. But as we were in hurry, the break we took was less than 5 mins.

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While coming down from Sela pass we heard a boom sound in our car. I was sure a small stone fell and it either dented my car or shattered a glass, but it was none of them! My next thought was, then it must be a stone which hit the underbelly of my car, which came off from the cars tyre. After stopping, i cant find anything like that too! At last, after 5 mins of inspection the myth busted! A Lays Chips packet was kept in our car and it bursted!

Due to some fast driving, both my Duster and Swift needed refueling. The nearest bunk we could find was at Jang. Both the cars were filled to the brim and we were again ready to roll. But due to some road maintenance work going on, we were stuck for 25 mins just after Jang.

Once the road was open there was no looking back, our next stop was at Tawang war memorial by 1 pm.

The procedure to obtain the permit -

Documents needed-

2 xerox copies of our ILP of Arunachal which we obtained online.
2 xerox copies of our driving license.
2 xerox copies of our car's RC book.
2 Xerox copies of an address proof for each of the person travelling in our car.

I updated the rest of the team about the documents needed, so they can arrange them and come to the DC office by 3 pm.

By 3 pm all the cars were at DC office Tawang and we submitted them the documents. From there we got the documents stamped and signed by 4-45 pm. We rushed to Tawang war memorial before 5-30 pm and submitted the documents at the booth dedicated for Bum La permits. They have a dedicated booth, where they collect documents only for issuing permits. We were asked to collect our permits, the very next day at morning 6-30 am. The permits will be valid only for that particular day.

Few pics from Tawang war memorial

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Then our team decided to see the light and sound show at Tawang war memorial, but i was feeling tired, so i decided to skip the show and come back to hotel.

Our hotel at Tawang

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Last edited by Samba : 25th October 2019 at 02:32.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 01:01   #5
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Day 6 (Bum La, Sangetsar lake, T-Gompa, 107 km, 10 hours)

This was supposed to be a long day. At morning 6-30 am, Rana da & Bhpian SouraC went to Tawang war memorial to collect the permits.

Rana Da looking super happy after obtaining the permits! So were we, but we do not have a pic of that!

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They were back to our hotel by 7-30 am. We had our breakfast and embarked our journey towards Bum La by 9 am.

We crossed the first check post by 20 mins and we were on the way to Y junction. A couple of video's on the way to Y junction.





Showed our permit & ILP and we were waiting for the Avventura and the Nexon to catch up. After waiting for nearly 20 mins, none of the cars came up. So i decided to go back and check. On the road an army gypsy stopped me and informed that the Nexon was having some starting trouble. I was driving down fast and saw the Avventura coming up. I had a talk with Rana da and an army officer over there and decided to park the Nexon there and take them in my Duster.
Once i reach till the Nexon, i was already 6 km down from the Y junction. The car was in limp mode and all the coolant has come out and the coolant chamber was empty. So as decided i told Bhpian Arindaxeta to park his car and come in my car. We did so and started our journey. Duster was carrying 4 adults and 2 kids. After crossing the y junction, we were already at around 12,000 feet altitude, Arindam da's daughter started feeling a bit dizzy. So without taking any chance we stopped at an army check post and got her checked by a doctor.

Luckily all were fine, they gave her oxygen for 15 mins and she was as jovial as before. Army men are super humans!

So by this time we were already late and the rest of our cars have gone ahead of us. From this point till Bum La it was full of slush & boulders on the inclines. I could feel some powerless due to high altitude, but the Duster took everything in its stride and it chug along like nobody's business.

Few pics on the way-

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By the time we reached Bum La the drizzles looked different and we promptly realized it was snowing! Photography at Bum La is prohibited, so with the permission from the army, we took these three snaps.

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The army men took us with them and showed the no man's land towards China. It was a wonderful experience to walk with the Indian Army at Indo-China border while it was snowing! No word can define that feeling. As photography is prohibited over there, we do not have any pic of that.

Bhpian SouraC's daughter was feeling a bit uneasy due to cold and high altitude, so again the local army doctor over there gave her oxygen for 15 minutes & she was fine. It was already 1-15 pm and the local army men told me, we need to cross the Y junction before 2 pm, if we want to go to Sangetsar lake.

So i hurriedly started from Bum La by 1-20 pm and reached the Y junction in 30 minutes and told the army men that rest of the 4 cars are on their way. They assured me it's not a problem, they can take their time and come down. It was such a relief. As we were ahead, we drove down to Sangetsar lake. Road do not exists. Its full of boulders! Local cabs were struggling at few places.

Few pics on the way to Sangetsar lake from Bum La.

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Old 23rd October 2019, 01:42   #6
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Continuation of day 6

The road was such bad, that the 12 km stretch took us an hour to reach Sangetsar lake. By the time we reached there, all local car's were coming back. The drizzle constantly followed us since morning. The weather was chilly & we were enjoying it. But at the back of our mind, we knew we have to reach till the Nexon before sundown, fix it and take it to the hotel. The only positive thought was, the road till hotel was down hill. Arindam da and his family was tensed but they never expressed their tension. I could feel how they were feeling. With his brand new Nexon, he was quite excited to drive it to Bum La. Hope Tata fix these small niggle on a car which is awesome in all other aspects.

After reaching the lake we had some hot coffee and maggi. The television over there was playing the Tanhai Tanhai song from the movie Koyla. This song sequence by Madhuri Dixit was so popular, that people started calling this lake as Madhuri lake! Thank god Pangong is not named as Idiot's lake!

Pics from Madhuri lake aka Sangetsar lake!

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Around 3-30 pm the rest of our cars have arrived and we started our return journey to recover the Nexon.

On the way back we touched Taktsang Gompa, though it was a few kilometer detour.

Pics from the drive to T-Gompa

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Around 5 pm we crossed the Y junction and reached till the Nexon in another 10 mins.

I had a 5L mineral water can with me. I poured that water in the coolant chamber and started the car, but it was still in limp mode. By the time me and Arindam da were inspecting the car, our other team members arrived. Bhpian SouraC detected that the water was coming out from the radiator hose. So it was basically a loose radiator hose from where the coolant came out, the car over heated and stopped. Bhpian SouraC took out a screwdriver and tightened the hose and we filled mineral water again in the coolant tank. The car started normally and it came off from the limp mode. It was easily drive-able.

A pic from the spot where the Nexon was stranded.

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In the evening Arindam da, contacted Tata regarding the issue. They replied back, as its a know issue in Nexon! They assured him to continue the rest of the trip by using water in the coolant chamber, there wont be any trouble. Once he reach Kolkata they will take care of it.
And yes, the Nexon completed the rest of the trip without any trouble.

Today it was Bijoy Dashami (Dussehra) the last day of Durga puja when the Idol is immersed. Hence some celebration among the wives. Commonly known as 'Sindoor khela' in Bengali.

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My take on the Bum La/ Sangetsar road is, any car can do this circuit. High ground clearance is any-day more preferable. 4wd is not required. Any high GC 2wd vehicle can do this circuit.
The Swift which did this circuit with us, suffered few underbelly hits. One can take a hatchback or sedan on this road but the probability of damaging the car or getting stuck will be much higher, though with careful driving one can make it! I was missing my Etios in this circuit! Didn't feel any thrill driving the Duster!

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Old 23rd October 2019, 15:29   #7
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Day 7 (Lumla, Gorsam Chorten, Zemithang, 170 km, 10.5 hours)

Before starting our journey, the view of Tawang Monastery from our hotel.

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There are two routes to reach Zemithang. One is the more scenic & shorter route. That goes through Sangetsar lake- T-Gompa- Zemithang and the other is the general upper route which goes via Lumla.

The route via T-Gompa is a bit unpredictable and sometimes it remains closed. While we were at Tawang this route was closed as some blasting work was going on. Plus this route requires permit.

If you go via the upper route via Lumla no permit is required till Gorsam Chorten. From there Zemithang village is just few kilometers. On request at the army check post, the army man allowed us to drive till Zemithang and come back.

This is a long route and starting early is recommended. Each way is 85 km and requires around 4-5 hours to cover with adequate stops.

We were late and started at around 10 am. Our first destination was Lumla. The monastery has a huge Tara Devi statue. The Lumla helipad can be seen from here too. It took us 2.5 hours to reach Lumla from Tawang. The distance is 43 km.

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Lumla is the last place, where one can get some food in this route. It's best to carry food on this day. Post Lumla there was no mobile network till Zemithang. Only my Bsnl postpaid worked at Zemithang. Lumla to Zemithand is another 42 km.

From Luma to Zemithang the road travels through interiors of Arunachal and is mostly covered by forest. Road condition is okay.

A video for reference-



Few kilometer before reaching Zemithang, we drove alongside a gushing river and some waterfalls.

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It was around 3-30 pm, we reached the check post before Zemithang. The army man told us, we need permit to proceed further. But seeing us with family and kids he allowed us to go ahead at his own risk and asked us to come back fast. We kept our promise and came back within 30 minutes.

Here the road ends, and the road opp to this goes to T-Gompa.

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The Gorsam Chorten and its surroundings.

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Nyamjang Chu

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Pics on the way back from Zemithang.

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On the return leg we were already late and by the time we started from Zemithang, it was already 4-30 pm and the sun was setting. The route was devoid of tourist vehicles and on the whole 85 km way back we could see less than 10 cars! We drove fast and covered the distance in 3 hours flat. By 7-30 pm we reached our hotel in Tawang.

A video from the drive back.


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Old 23rd October 2019, 16:04   #8
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Day 8 (Tawang to Dirang via Nuranang water falls, 143 km, 8 hours)

This was was more like a rest day, we took this day's drive lazily with too many photo-breaks.

Our first stop was at Nuranag falls, which is at Jang. The falls is beautiful. One can walk down to it's bottom to enjoy it even more. But we were too lazy to walk down. We went down till the hydroelectric plant, till where our cars could go.

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Few kilometer after Jang, the picturesque ascent to Sela pass starts.

We took innumerable breaks to enjoy beside the streams and the beauty of the place.

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This Endeavour was on a promotional drive from Ford. Mr.Roy was driving this car solo from Bangalore. Seeing my Duster parked beside the stream, even he got interested to click few pics of his suv on the same spot, so i took my Duster out and let him click some pics too. We had a small nice chat. 4 WD's get the privilege of getting clicked in more exotic location's! We had to cross a fairly big drain to take our cars here.

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Our team on the roll.

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A video on the go-


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Old 23rd October 2019, 16:24   #9
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Continuation of day 8

By the time we reached Sela pass it was nearly 3 pm and we were dam hungry.
The omelette maggi just tasted super yummy. It was chilling cold with heavy wind blast.

The beautiful Sela lake.

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We the mad lot decided to flaunt our customized Arunachal trip T-shirt in that cold! It was crazy but fun. We did the same at Pangong, Tashigang Spiti, so how can we spare Sala Pass from our madness!

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Our cars parked beside the Sela Lake

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A mandatory selfie in-front of the Sela pass board!

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The descent from Sela pass showed us some magnificent views of the hills playing hide and seek with the clouds. Few of the best views we witnessed from this trip.



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It was already early evening and it became dark, the entire road started to get engulfed by fog.



After the foggy drive, the last stretch till Dirang was clear. By 7 Pm we reached Dirang and checked in, to hotel Pemaling.

View of Dirang city from our room.

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Old 23rd October 2019, 16:43   #10
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Day 9 (Dirang to Guwahati, 308 km, 11 hours)

This was infact the last day with the team together.

Me & Bhpian Arindamxeta decided to visit Shillong for a couple of days.

Bhpian avrendu planned to drive till Guwahati, put his wife and daughter in flight & then start for the return journey towards Kolkata. He drove from Guwahati to Bagdogra the next day & Bagdogra to Kolkata on 13 th October.

Bhpian SouraC and Rana da decided to drive till Bongaigaon from Dirang and the next day till Malda and then to Kolkata on 13 th October.

So all 3 cars reached Kolkata on 13th October while me & Arindamxeta reached Kolkata on 15th October, after touching Shillong.

Started from Driang around 10-30 am, but we were feeling sad as it was the last day at Arunachal.

Few pics around Dirang in the morning.

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At Rupa.

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After driving for 3.5 hours, we had lunch at a roadside eatery named highway Inn at around 2 pm in Tenzingaon. Started at 3 pm and kept driving continuously and reached Mangaldoi around 6 pm. Had snacks at Khar Khua in Mangaldoi.

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Its a nice place for refreshment. By 7 pm we bid adieu to our whole team. We were feeling sad to get separated after staying together for the last one week. Specially the kids were sad, as they have developed a great bonding among themselves.

Finally we reached hotel Ginger in Guwahti around 9 pm, had dinner and called it a day.

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Old 23rd October 2019, 21:38   #11
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Day 10 (Guwahati to Shillong/Umiam lake, 74 km, 2 hours)

This was a short drive and more like a rest day. In the morning my friend Reeturaj Yogi and his his wife came to meet us and we had our breakfast together.

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Around 10 am we started for Shillong or Umiam lake to be specific, as our hotel where we booked was just beside the Umiam lake.

The road from Guwahati to Shillong looked like a race track! I was missing my old gen Figo on this road or at-least my petrol Etios! Did i forget to mention, i missed my bike too?

Few pics from this stretch.

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By 12-30 pm we checked in to our resort, La Nicholas Dei Da Kine Resort. The resort was located just beside the lake and from the balcony one can see the lake. Not a very clear view but a glimpse of it.

The view from our room-

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The lunch we had was really tasteful and right then we decided to have the rest of our meals at our resort itself!

Post lunch Arindam da wanted to get his car cleaned. I love to show off dirty cars, so i refrained from cleaning it! A quick search in Google led us to 'Tiptop' car wash, just 3 km from the hotel. The owner was a young and a friendly chap who used to work in Bangalore. A nice helpful guy.

In the evening we decided to have a stroll at Shillong market. We knew how messy the traffic can be, so we hired two local taxi's to venture the market. In two M800's we zipped through the traffic, though it took us 1.5 hours to go 16 km!

Pics from Police Bazar Shillong.

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We came back to our resort by 9-30 pm.

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The dinner was once again yummy.

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Post dinner we were having a chit chat session among us and it was all foggy outside.

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Old 24th October 2019, 00:06   #12
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Day 11 (Elephanta falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Seven sister falls, Cherrapunji, 160 km, 9 hours)

As we had just one day in hand, we were confused whether to do the Dwaki, Krang Suri circuit or the Cherrapunji circuit. From childhood we have read about Cherrapunji in our geography books, so this was our anonymous choice.

We were ready by 10 am. But the starting of the day was bad for me. As soon as i unlocked my car, i noticed the front windshield was stained by white cement marks which have fallen on my car's windshield overnight from the above wall.

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I was angry on the hotel staffs, that how could they be so careless. Complained at the reception and asked them to fix it ASAP. The manager came and apologized and called up their glass cleaning guys. They took an hour and cleaned the glass to 95% of my satisfaction. The rest 5% was taken care off at Automate Kolkata after the trip.

So by the time we started it was 11 am.

Our first stop was at the view point of Umiam lake.

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The Elephanta falls

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View point on Shillong - Cherrapunji road.

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A video on the way to Cherrapunji from Shillong



Nohkalikai Falls

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A video on the way back from Nohkalikai fall to Seven sister falls



Seven sister falls. Looked like the sisters were on heavy diet!

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It was already 2-30 pm and we were hungry. Decided to have our lunch at Polo Orchid resort in Cherrapunji.

Two AWD sisters parked in front of seven Sisters falls at Polo Orchid Cherrapunji!

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The property looked quite good for a relaxing getaway.

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Witnessed a surreal sunset on the way back from Cherrapunji. The view was mesmerizing.

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Finally after a whole day drive, we reached back to our resort around 8 pm.

We loved the surroundings of Shillong, but the city itself is a mess.

We were happy yet sad both. We covered all the places successfully as per our plan, but the trip was coming to it's end.

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Day 12 (Umiam/Shillong to Siliguri, 535 km, 11 hours)

We knew the last two days will be long, so we decided to take it slow and steady. After a sound sleep and heavy breakfast, we were fresh and started at around 10 am from our resort. Refueled at Guwahati and crossed the Bramhaputra bridge by 12 pm.

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Our first break was at hotel Himalaya, Bongaigaon. Post lunch we started at 3 pm and crossed the Assam/Bengal border by 5 pm. 20 km stretch around the border was in bad shape. Road was full of craters.

Seeing a sunset again in Bengal after 10 days!

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Our next break was at 7 pm at a cafe in Malbazar, named Tea Moments. Its attached with a petrol bunk.
The owner of the petrol bunk is a car enthusiast and has displayed his old cars and bike collection for public viewing.

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A cup of coffee refreshed us again and we were ready to take on the last leg of the journey on that day. Our rooms were booked at Hotel Mainak in Siliguri and we checked in by 9 pm. Bengali food tasted great after so many days!

Day 13 (Siliguri to Kolkata, 534 km, 13.5 hours)

It's the last day of our journey! We were too lazy to start our return journey. Left Mainak at 11-30 am to find Siliguri roads stuck with traffic. Reaching Bagdogra took us nearly an hour.

From there the progress was nice and smooth. We took the Dhantola, Botolbari road and reached Raiganj around 3 pm. Had our lunch and by the time we started it was already 4-30 pm. Reached Malda bypass around 6 pm and crossed Farakka by 7 pm. There was some traffic congestion in between due to bad roads. From Farakka to Shaktigar it was a smooth drive. The road condition of Nh34 on the way towards Kolkata is in far better shape, than it's towards Siliguri.

Had some late night sweets at Langcha Bhaban, Shaktigar at 11-30 pm. We were near to Dankuni toll by 12-30 am but were stuck with heavy truck traffic. By squeezing through the trucks and by going down off the road, we managed to come out of the mess in 30 minutes. Bid goodbye to Arindam da and his family and we were home by 1 am.

3500+ km of memories created!

The trip data -

Total Kilometer

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Total litre of fuel consumed

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Average fuel economy

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Average speed for the total trip

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Hotel reviews-

Chalsa - Sinclairs Retreat

Location- 4.5/5
Room- 4/5
Food- 4/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 6,000 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 4/5

Comment- Lack of maintenance was evident in few places. We had to call the room service guys to arrange for hot water in morning. Not expected from such a property.

Bongaigaon - Hotel Himalaya

Location- 4/5 Right on the highway
Room- 3.5/5
Food- 4/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 3,000 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 3.5/5

Comment- Had to pay them before checking in! Really?
Lift not working.

Mangaldoi - Hotel Madhuban

Location- 3.5/5 (100 m away from the highway)
Room- 3/5
Food- 4/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 2,700 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 3.3/5

Comment- Delayed us by an hour in the morning by taking more time to finalize the hotel bill.

Dirang - Hotel Pemaling

Location- 4.5/5
Room- 3.5/5
Food- 3.5/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 3,000 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 3.8/5

Comment- Staffs were cooperative and friendly.
On the check in day, the reception guys misplaced the ID proof's of 3 of our team members. Later they managed to find it out though.

Tawang - Hotel Shangri-La Serene

Location- 4/5
Room- 4/5
Food- 2.5/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 3,000-4,000 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 3.8/5

Comment- Rooms were nice and modern but in few rooms, smell from the washroom was intruding into the room, which were taken care off by spraying room fresheners. The staffs were cooperative.
The food option's were poor. Half of the time they didn't had the raw materials to cook!

Guwahati - Ginger Guwahati

Location- 3.5/5
Room- 3.5/5
Food- 3/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 2,500 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 3.5/5

Comment - Nothing to mention, all were fine.

Shillong - La Nicholas, Dei DA Kine Resort

Location- 4.5/5
Room- 4.5/5
Food- 4.5/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 6,700 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 4/5

Comment - Check in time was 12 pm. Their rooms were not ready even at 12-30 pm. There was a power cut and their generator was off. On asking at the reception the lady replied, that the generator is out of order and they can't do anything. I called up Make my trip customer care and put a complaint, in next 10 mins she send a person to apologies and confirms that, they will make sure that they will do something within an hour. Power supply was back in 30 minutes.
Next day while going out for sightseeing the lady insisted to submit the key at reception, else if i lose the key, i need to pay for it! I guess every customer have that basic sense!
My car windshield got stained by white cement at their overnight parking spot. Though they have taken care of it, but by delaying us by 1 hour. A great hotel getting spoilt by inefficient staffs!

Siliguri - Hotel Mainak

Location- 4/5
Room- 4/5
Food- 4/5
Parking- Yes
Room Tariff - 1800 INR for a double bed room per night with breakfast.
Overall- 4/5

Comment- Nothing to mention, all were fine.

Last edited by Samba : 25th October 2019 at 03:28.
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Old 25th October 2019, 17:51   #15
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Default re: Sailed through the Northeast in hatchbacks & crossovers with BHPians

Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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