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Old 2nd November 2019, 10:43   #1
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Default Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

Prelude:

Driving to the Himalayas has always been a dream. The dream has been further fuelled over the years by superb travelogues on this forum by distinguished TBHPians. It was June, and the itch to travel to the hills of Bengal was manifesting itself. So one evening, after returning from work i brought up the topic of travelling to Darjeeling by road to my wife and daughter. We had travelled to Puri and Konark last year after the Durga Puja and it was a 1000km round trip. This was going to be slightly more in terms of distance by around 300 kms. Wife took some time to give her nod, while my daughter took a lot of convincing but in the end they both agreed only on the condition that i take night halts at Raigunj or Malda on the way to and fro. Durga puja being on the 1st week of October, the travel plan was made only on the 2nd week of October, the day after Laxmi Puja ie. 13th Oct. So the itinerary was drawn up as below.

ITINERARY:

14.10.2019: Kolakata to Raigunj

15.10.2019: Raigunj to Darjeeling

16.10.2019 to 18.10.2019 : Darjeeling and nearby places

19.10.2019: Darjeeling to Malda

20.10.2019: Malda to Kolkata

Day 1: Kolkata to Raigunj

Woke up at 5 AM and after shower got ready for the day ahead. A cup of hot tea ensured that the mind was fresh and stimulated for the drive ahead of us. The car was tanked up the day before and all fluid levels and tyre pressure checked. Brought the car out from the garrage and loaded our baggage on by one.
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-loading.jpg

Just before departure at 6 AM
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-loaded.jpg

We started sharp at 6 AM as per plan. Soon crossed Kona expressway and joined NH2(now christened NH 19). Google map on the dash showed this
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-home-raigunj.png

Reached Shaktigarh at 7.45 AM and checked in at one of the Langcha shops for breakfast. Hot puri sabji and tea were served as ordered and by 8.30 AM we hit the road again. Soon entered Bardhaman and faced morning office traffic. Here, instead of taking the flyover over the station i went under it and soon realised my folly. Quickly pulled over and made a call to BHPian Sayak who was at Darjeeling that day. Under his guidance took a U turn and was soon happily cruising on SH-7 to Moregram. Reached Moregram around noon and halted to refuel the car as well as ourselves.

At Moregram COCO BPCL
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After lunch ,started at 1 PM from Moregram
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Soon Farakka came up around 2PM and fortunately we faced no traffic jams.
As we crossed the huge Farraka barrage we simply couldnt stop marvelling at this engineering feat with an astounding 108 lock gates stretching over 2kms. Took the Malda bypass as suggested by BHPian Samba, Sayak and Soumyajit Maitra. Some parts of the yet to be completed bypass was so dusty that visibilty became almost zero. Here a loose rock on the road hit the underbelly of the car (Ertiga has 180mm ground clearance) with a loud thud sound. I pulled over and checked the underbelly. Fortunately no damage was done. For the next few kms i drove cautiously trying to find any drop in performance of the car or any abnormal warning lights flashing on the dashboard screen. Thankfully nothing untoward happened and we soon reached the fringes of Raigunj and got stock in evening truck traffic. Finally at 5 Pm we checked in at Raigunj Tourist Lodge which is near the Kulik bird santuary. Being near a bird santuary and itself being a large property with lots of trees, we saw lots of birds perched on the tree tops.

Looked like an Adjutant Stork ( i am no ornithologist )
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-rtl-birds.jpg

With nothing left further to do, we made quick calls back home and inlaws to ensure that we were safe (many at home were worried sick ), had dinner by
9 PM and retired for the night with the alarm set at 6 AM next morning.

Day 2: Raigunj to Darjeeling

This was to be the day i was dreaming of, the day i get to drive on the curves and twistys of the hills. With breakfast packed, we left the tourist lodge at 7:15 AM. Soon crossed Raigunj and google map showed our route for the day

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-raigunj-darj20191102104000.png

As per guidance from senior BHPians i took the exit from NH-34 to Botolbari Dhantola route. Early morning drive through lush green bengal country side was very relaxing. At one point we pulled up the car under a banyan tree near a pond and took out our packed breakfast. With breakfast sorted, we started again winding down the curvy but smooth raods through bright sunshine and vast paddy fields on both sides. There were some occational bad patches here and there but just before rejoining NH-34 the road vanishes. There were huge craters enough to engulf any small hatch back. I got down and surveyed and noticed a small petrol bunk on the left . My wife navigated us out though a small passage by the pertol station and at last we rejoined the NH-34. From here on road was 4 laned again but road quality was poor with small medium and big potholes and craters cropping up every now and then. Drove carefully at around 70-80 kmph but still couldnt save a few crash landings. Pulled over just before Islampur for a pee and tea break. Finally reached the outskirts of Bagdogra around 11 AM. Tea gardens started to crop up on both sides of the road and i drummed up some exitement inside the cabin seeing that. Soon left Bagdogra airport entry on the left and reached Matigara intersection after crossing a few fly overs. Road quality improved drastically once we left NH-34. Google maps showed the Rohini route to Darjeeling, but i decided to take the Mirik route since, 1. its my maiden drive to the himalayas and this route is less steep and 2. this route i was told was more scenic. The only downside of this route was fog and the duration was more. Continued through lovely roads all the way till Dudhia and halted there for lunch. After a hearty lunch, we proceeded to Darjeeling. After Dudhia, the gradient slowly became steep and hairpin bends came up. To be honest the first half an hour i took to adjust to hill driving conditions and there after i relaxed a bit and tried to enjoy the views. At a few places the hairpins were quite sharp and with vehicles coming downhill from the opposite side, the drive became engaging.
Soon Simana View point came up and on the left we saw the Mighty Kanchenjunga basking in mid day sun. Simply had to pull up and take a break. What a view it was. Snow clad Kanchenjunga on the backdrop on clear blue sky.

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-simana-view-1.jpg
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Soon we reached Mirik and took the left towards Pashupati market. Crossed Lapcha Jagat and soon joined the hill cart road at Ghum. It was close to 3:30 PM and local schools were giving up for the day. Traffic was heavy and progress slowed down considerably. We had booked the Darjeeling Tourist Lodge as it had parking facilty which is very scarce in Darjeeling. It took us an hour to reach the hotel gates from Ghum station. The road near the hotel was two way, narrow and steep. With stop and go traffic and crowded streets, driving the last lap became a bit stressfull. Finally at 4.30 we checked in to our rooms. My dream of driving to the Himalayas had come true. We were alloted a double deluxe room on the 3 floor with a varandah cum seating area which provided unhindered views of the high and mighty Kanchanjunga.
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-morning-view1.jpg
We took rest for a while, freshned up and ordered coffee and snacks as evening set in. Soon we set out to explore the neighbourhood on foot.

My car parked at the hotel driveway
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-cat-parking.jpg

We walked to the Mall which was a 5 mins walk through an evening market. My wife and daughter livened up at the sight of myriad shops selling all sorts of things ranging from woollens to toys. Being the holiday season, the shopping area thronged with tourist from all over the country and even abroad. We shopped small gift items and slowly enterered the Mall. I noticed marked improvement of this area from what i had seen on my last visit in 2007. The entire Mall area was paved and well lit. Also noticed a fountain built at a corner. The entire place wore a festive and happy look. We took a few pictures and strolled around and enjoyed the evening as it progressed into night.

Some moments at the Mall

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-kaventers-11.jpg

Day 3: Darjeeling Sight seeing

On our last visit to Darjeeling in 2007, we had unfortunately missed the toy train ride. So this time, that topped the agenda. Train tickets were booked online in August from the irctc website. Today ie. 16.10.2019 was special, as it was my dear wifey's birthday. So i had a few plans up my sleave for her. We woke up to this view from our window. What could be a better way to start a day?

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-mall-4.jpg

The day began with breakfast at the hotel and then a cab drive to the Darjeeling station. We had the tickets for 9.45 AM Diesel Joy ride in 1st class. It was a sunny morning with a slight chill in the air. As we reached the station we were greeted by the whistling sound of steam engines. My daughter was thrilled. This is indeed a unique moment standing near engines dating back to 1881 when the Darjeeling Himalayan railway was built by the British.
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The train left after an hours delay and we kept ourselves busy clicking pictures of the world heritage site. The ride was from Darjeeling to Ghum and back with a 25 mins stop a Batasia loop.

View from Batasia Loop
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-batasia-view.jpg

At Ghoom there is a DHR museum which can be visited. The museum houses the history of the DHR with pictures and models of Engines used till now. We had a wonderful train ride and reached Darjeeling station at 12 noon. Next, the cab dropped us near the Mall where i had planned a birthday treat for my wife at Glenary's.

The Birthday pastries
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-birthday-pastries.jpg

The Birthday Girl
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-birthday1.jpg

The birthday lunch at Glenary's with the fabled Fish Augratin and roast pork with barbeque sauce

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-birthday-lunch.jpg

After a leisurely lunch we proceeded to visit the rock garden which also we had missed visiting on our last visit in 2007. I had decided to book a cab for the day as i wanted to take a break from driving after having driven for the last 2 days. I understood what a good decision it was not to bring my car to Rock Garden once we started the journey as the road was pathetic to say the least. It was steep as well as completely broken and gravely. The hired car, a Swift, rocked like a ship in a storm as it huffed and puffed forward. We got knocked from side to side and up and down almost every moment. The very fine lunch mood got totally shattered. After an ardous 45 mins or so on that horrible road, to our relief, we reached the gates of the Rock Garden. By that time every bone in the body had got rattled. However we liked the waterfall inside and overall had a nice time. I wonder why the local administration does not do anything about that road. I would caution all not to take their vehicles if they are travelling in Hatchbacks or sedans to rock garden. 4 WD owners can try out if they are ok with their car getting a beating.
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The cab driver dropped us at the hotel gates and left. I returned to the hotel and slept while wife and daughter went shopping in the Mall area. The bone breaking journey just after lunch caused me a headache. So i took some medicine and rested at the hotel. In the evening wife and daughter came back and reported that there was live music at the mall. I jumped out of the bed and headed for the mall, Wife and daughter in tow. We heard some soulful pop numbers from local youth and strolled in the mall till late evening.
No visit to darjeeling can be complete without paying a visit to Glenary's
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-gleanaries.jpg

Road in front of Glenary's leading to the Mall
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-road-th-mall.jpg

Last edited by Safedriver76 : 2nd November 2019 at 23:32.
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Old 2nd November 2019, 15:16   #2
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Day 4: Lamahatta, Tinchuley, Takdah

From the reception i enquired about the road condition to Takdah ,Tinchuley and Lamahatta. Whatever information i received from the manager did not convince me to self drive today too. Most roads leading to these local sightseeing points are in poor shape he said. I promptly called the same cab driver who drove us around yesterday and booked him for the day. True to the managers words, roads from Takdah to Tinchuley and then to Lamahatta were simply deplorable. Its a punishment for man and machine. There is no sense in bringing our own cars for battering. We all love our cars dont we.
In Takdah we visited an Orchid Garden which was nothing to write home about. If one visits in Feb to April there is a chance to see Rhododendron bloom. But we were not lucky.

Few orchids in Bloom in October
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-flowers.jpg
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Tinchuley is more of a view point. There are several homestays where one has the option to simply go and relax do trecking etc. From Tinchuley parts of Sikkim are visible namely Namchi . The road though has good scenic spots but is bumpy, dusty and through some closed tea plantations. Lamahatta park has been developed in 2013 for tourist attraction.

The Lamahatta Park
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It was lunch time by the time we came out of Lamahatta park and we settled in a way side eatery. Ordered maggie and momos for lunch. After lunch we began journey back to Darjeeling in our cab and reached our hotel 3:30 PM and retired to rest in our room. Evening was spent in the hotel relaxing, sipping on soft drinks and munching on snacks. After sundown the evening got chilly and warm woollens were slipped on. Daytime temperatures were between 20- 25 C while at night it was 8-10C. Tomorrow would be the last day at Darjeeling so we had no fixed plans set yet. Daughter wanted to see the zoo and i had a plan for breakfast at Kaventers.

DAY 5: Darjeeling final day

Woke up late and lazily got ready for our final day at Darjeeling. We walked down to the Mall and leisurely found our way to Kaventers for brunch around 10AM. Ordered the large pork platter along with hot chocolate. This too was in the bucket list for long. Pipping hot chocolate and yummy pork platter was served in the open air seating area. Today like other days was sunny too but Kanchenjunga was hidden from view by some cloud cover. We had a fair share of Kanchenjunga viewing in the last 4 days and so had no reason to complain about.

Brunch at Kaventer's
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Post brunch we walked to the taxi stand and booked a cab for a drop to the zoo which was about 3kms away. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological park has a charm of its own. Not only the wide variety of himalayan animals on display but also the natural surroundings and cleanliness and health of the animals is worth appreciating. One gets to see the Red Panda, the Mismi Taki ( a variety of himalayan goat), yaks, snow leopards, himalayan black panther, himalayan wolf, and black bear which one would seldom find in a city zoo in the plains. As we had no other places to visit that day, we took a detailed tour of the zoo which my daughter and i enjoyed a lot.

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The snow leopard
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From the zoo we went back to the Mall and spent the whole afternoon basking in the bright sunshine and enjoying live music played by youngsters playing english and hindi pop numbers. As evening set in we walked into Gleanary's for a quiet dinner listening to live music. This is what Darjeeling is all about i thought. The old world charm of the British era still lurks in its corners. One has to only look at the right places.

Day 6 : Darjeeling to Malda

Woke up at 7AM and again was greeted today by the majestic Kanchenjunga from the balcony. Made a cup of Darjeeling tea in the teacoffee maker and quietly sat with my wife in the varandah sofa and stared at the shimmering white snowy peaks of the range in front. Soaking the beauty one last time, heart yearning for more. Alas, the himalayan getaway has come to an end.
After breakfast i settled the hotel bill and luggage was loaded on the car. Finally pulled out of the hotel gate at 10 AM. Google map safely navigated us out of Darjeeling and soon we joined the hill cart road at Ghum. This time, i decided to stick to Rohini road via Sonada Kurseong Tung. This route undoubtedly had more hairpin bends. I stuck to 2nd and 1st gears mostly in managing the descent and using minimal braking not allowing the car to gain unwanted momentum. By 11:30 AM we had bid farewell to the hills and crossed the Rohini toll gate. The fun part of driving was over and the 500 plus kms of boring return drive was staring at us. Windows were rolled up, air-conditioning was turned on as warm winds of the pains hit us.
Return route was same. Stopped for lunch at a road side hotel just before entering Isampur. This was the worst food we had in the trip. We were hungry so had no other good option in sight.

We hit this mark somewhere past Islampur.
Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-10k.jpg

Post lunch there was just one stop for a tea break in the evening just before Malda. Being late October, it grew dark by 5.15PM and Malda was still about 40 mins away. We had booked Hotel Golden Park for the night, which was right on the NH-34. We checked in finally at 6PM. After staying in the lavish big rooms of the West Bengal Tourist Lodge, the golden park rooms looked small and cramped for space. Absence of balcony also was felt. We ordered chicken pakoras for the evening which turned out to be below par. Since we had a terrible lunch that day we wanted a good dinner to compensate that. Evening snacks was not very promising though. Having no energy left to try out eateries in Malda, sheepishly ordered our dinner. Thankfuly chinese dinner did not disappoint

Hotel Golden Park Malda

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-malda-.jpg

Day 7: Malda to Kolkata

Left Malda at 10 AM after our complementary breakfast. Crossed Farakka like a breeze but got stuck in a huge traffic jam before Moregram. Traffic was standstill. No wonder why people call this the most unpredictable route of all. Lost close to 40 mins in that traffic snarl. The air condition was kept on all the while to keep the midday heat at bay. Finally i saw local people get on the road to clear the logjam. Rest of the journey was uneventful and we stopped for lunch after entering SH-7 and a final break at Shaktigarh to have tea and pack some sweets (read Langcha, mihidana, sitabhog) for home. Reached home at 7:30. The car trip meter read 1308kms.

Before undertaking this trip i got valuable inputs from fellow BHPian Sayak_C, DHPian Samba and Soumyajit Maitra aka Gearhead_Mait. Thank you all from the core of my heart. Your inputs were priceless.
Darjeeling never fails to charm no matter how many trips one keeps making.

Yes we Love Darjeeling

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-love-darjeeling1.jpg

Signing off for now.

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Old 3rd November 2019, 19:39   #3
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th November 2019, 09:30   #4
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safedriver76 View Post
Prelude:

Driving to the Himalayas has always been a dream. The dream has been further fuelled over the years by superb travelogues on this forum by distinguished TBHPians.
Lovely post there Safedriver. Nice to see you take the Ertiga without any problems. The Himalayas are always on a BHPian's mind and thanks for sharing the pictures for us guys who are so far away

Looking forward to more such trips.
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Old 4th November 2019, 10:53   #5
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Congratulations on your maiden trip to the Himalayas! The first trip always remains very special even after years of driving to more exotic locations. We visited Tinchuley on a hurricane fifty hour trip in September and were absolutely amazed by the beauty and tranquility of the place. Soon you'll realize that our cars can actually take quite some beating and drive your steed to off-beat places without worries.


A glimpse of our trip to Tinchuley :


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Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-fb_img_1572844002096.jpg


Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-fb_img_1572844022280.jpg
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Old 4th November 2019, 12:48   #6
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

Quote:
Lovely post there Safedriver. Nice to see you take the Ertiga without any problems.
Thanks Blackwasp for finding time to read my post. Yes, i did have some apprehensions about taking the Ertiga to the hills and took suggestions from some TBHpians. With only 2 and 1/2 people on board and limited luggage the car pulled comfortable on the inclines and there were no stalling issues.

Quote:
Congratulations on your maiden trip to the Himalayas! The first trip always remains very special even after years of driving to more exotic locations. We visited Tinchuley on a hurricane fifty hour trip in September and were absolutely amazed by the beauty and tranquility of the place. Soon you'll realize that our cars can actually take quite some beating and drive your steed to off-beat places without worries.
Thanks for the words of encouragement mi2n. With no back up driver and car to support and two ladies on board, i was extra cautious on my trip. Didnt try to to get too adventourous and practised the "safety first" approach. The pictures of your steed in Tinchuley look stunning. I have read your travelogues in the past and do follow all of your posts.

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Old 4th November 2019, 17:09   #7
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

So finally you got bitten by the Himalayan bug too! Am sure, now you will have the itch to drive to the Himalaya's more often.

Nice travelogue with some great pics.
Ertiga is a very capable car. You can take it to much worse terrains without any worry.
It's actually good to have a slow and cautious start, understand your cars ability & then proceed further. With family, safety is always the first criteria. But am sure in the coming days you will explore more remote places with your Ertiga.

Darjeeling was my first self driven road trip to the Himalaya too. It was back in 2012. (My first travelogue in TeamBhp too.)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ota-etios.html (Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios)

Cant resist myself from sharing a pic of my Etios from a road trip to Darjeeling in 2015!

Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas-img_8429.jpg

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Old 4th November 2019, 17:33   #8
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

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So finally you got bitten by the Himalayan bug too! Am sure, now you will have the itch to drive to the Himalaya's more often.

Nice travelogue with some great pics.
Ertiga is a very capable car. You can take it to much worse terrains without any worry.
It's actually good to have a slow and cautious start, understand your cars ability & then proceed further. With family, safety is always the first criteria. But am sure in the coming days you will explore more remote places with your Ertiga.

Darjeeling was my first self driven road trip to the Himalaya too. It was back in 2012. (My first travelogue in TeamBhp too.)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ota-etios.html (Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios)

Cant resist myself from sharing a pic of my Etios from a road trip to Darjeeling in 2015!

Attachment 1930839
In 2012, i was not a TBHPian yet, but every day i used to visit this website and one name that stood out among the travelogues in terms on content or photography was Samba. Those days i used to own a WagonR LXI and started doing small weekend gataways to Digha, Mondarmoni etc. Watching yours and Blackpearl,s travelogues gave me goosebumps. I cant thank you enought for your support when you had my itinerary scrutinised and the number of question i asked you before my travel. Thank you for answering them patiently. Your support means a lot to me.

Supratim Da
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Old 5th November 2019, 15:31   #9
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Congratulations on completing a successful drive to the Himalayas! And kudos, for you have also undertaken the Kolkata to Siliguri stretch for the first time (my guess). This is probably one of the most unpredictable stretches among the highways of India, if not the most. Few days back, I had a chat with a colleague who narrated the story of Kolkata to Kalimpong overnight drive which took 26 hours.

Your narration is superb and pictures with Kanchenjunga background came out brilliantly. How about a Silk Route drive next time?

Rated 5* for the beautiful trip, deservedly!

Thanks!
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Old 5th November 2019, 16:25   #10
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

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Congratulations on completing a successful drive to the Himalayas! And kudos, for you have also undertaken the Kolkata to Siliguri stretch for the first time (my guess). This is probably one of the most unpredictable stretches among the highways of India, if not the most. Few days back, I had a chat with a colleague who narrated the story of Kolkata to Kalimpong overnight drive which took 26 hours.

Your narration is superb and pictures with Kanchenjunga background came out brilliantly. How about a Silk Route drive next time?

Rated 5* for the beautiful trip, deservedly!

Thanks!
Thanks Soumyajit for your kind words. Yes, this was indeed my 1st run in the Kolkata Siliguri section and i had, as you may say, a bit of "beginners luck"l as i did not face any jam, apart from a 40 mins jam before Islampur on my way back.


Quote:
How about a Silk Route drive next time?
Yes, sometime in the future for sure. I will need all the inputs from you on that trip too.

Last edited by Safedriver76 : 5th November 2019 at 16:28.
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Old 5th November 2019, 17:49   #11
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

Dada,

I have always felt that your travelogues breathe life and (I feel) that is due to the free flowing language. Your narration is very special and hope we can read more of it in the coming days

The first trip to the hills holds a special charm. And reading yours, I remembered mine - when we went to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok - but there were torrentials rains and we couldn't see Kanchenjunga.

Pujos are over but the Christmas break is coming up, so, newer plans any ???

Rated 5 stars.

Best Regards,
Sayak
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Old 5th November 2019, 18:02   #12
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Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
Dada,

I have always felt that your travelogues breathe life and (I feel) that is due to the free flowing language. Your narration is very special and hope we can read more of it in the coming days

The first trip to the hills holds a special charm. And reading yours, I remembered mine - when we went to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok - but there were torrentials rains and we couldn't see Kanchenjunga.

Pujos are over but the Christmas break is coming up, so, newer plans any ???

Rated 5 stars.

Best Regards,
Sayak
Sayak,

Thank you for your appreciation. Since the planning stages of this trip, you were involved with me in making my trip a success. I remember discussing all details with you and you have always given me confidence to go ahead. So i owe a lot to you. Your travleogues are more like poetry, woven by your superb photographs and explicit language, so i had had pretty big shoes to fill.
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Pujos are over but the Christmas break is coming up, so, newer plans any ???
No big travel plans yet. Yes, a small picnic to Mandarmani is in the offing.
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Old 6th November 2019, 21:07   #13
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Default Re: Self-proclaimed tenderfoot's first drive to the Himalayas

Loved the way you laid bare your emotions and apprehensions about driving your family up into the Himalayas. Your narration is so disarming that this will inspire a lot of folks who love driving but share the same kind of doubts about taking their loved ones on our unpredictable highways. I am sure this trip has banished a lot of misgivings and will serve as the stepping stone to many more. My personal discovery is that all modern vehicles are more than capable of anything that you throw at them, its a different thing that we doubt them or fall short ourselves!

Regarding your itinerary, I feel Raiganj serves as the ideal stopover on both legs of the trip, the WB Tourism guesthouse always has availability and while its not star quality, its more than adequate for an overnight stay. The food is also good and value for money. Once you become more conversant with this route, you may also look to start from Kolkata sometime in the evening, drive through the night and make it to Siliguri by afternoon, thus giving you more time to savour the hills. Malda also has a WB tourism property which may be a better VFM proposition than Golden Park.

Keep driving!
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Old 7th November 2019, 10:40   #14
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Your narration is so disarming that this will inspire a lot of folks who love driving but share the same kind of doubts about taking their loved ones on our unpredictable highways
Thanks hothatchaway for your appreciation. I try to be as candid as possible while writing a travelogue.

Quote:
Regarding your itinerary, I feel Raiganj serves as the ideal stopover on both legs of the trip, the WB Tourism guesthouse always has availability and while its not star quality, its more than adequate for an overnight stay.
Yes, with big rooms and good location i somewhat prefer West Bengal Tourist Lodges over other hotels.

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Once you become more conversant with this route, you may also look to start from Kolkata sometime in the evening, drive through the night and make it to Siliguri by afternoon, thus giving you more time to savour the hills.
Surely will try that some day now that i have become conversant with that route.

Last edited by Safedriver76 : 7th November 2019 at 10:45.
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