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Old 19th November 2019, 15:23   #1
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Default The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

No matter whether you are young or old, the Himalayan lover always ready to explore known and unknown places again and again under any circumstances. It was my 6th trip to Zuluk/Kupup and again I had no reason behind it. After visiting Chatakpur it was already 1 and a 1⁄2 months and I was looking for an extended weekend to enjoy the early monsoon in Himalaya. For some work me and Amit Sir (Prof. Amit Kumar Das) was traveling to Chandannagar. We were discussing about the monsoon to arrive in Bengal and then I told that I am planning for a trip to either North Bengal or Sikkim in the coming weekend. Amit Sir caught the word and asked me whether I have 2 empty seats or not in my car. Actually I had no concrete plan for the trip and without any 2nd thought I confirm that yes, it is empty till now. Amit Sir told me that he will be joining with another professor Manas Sir with us.

Arup (my school friend) bought an EcoSport 6 months ago and from then we did not get a chance to experiment with the EcoSport in hilly areas. As the trip was very small we decided to drive the EcoSport instead of taking the Lazy Turtle. Initially the plan was for three days only but we thought that there will be a big opportunity to learn many things from the generation we are traveling with and I don’t want to miss the opportunity. So we requested Amit Sir and Manas Sir that if they can arrange for another day then we can extend the trip to 4 days. Whatever it is a three day or four day trip we were ready for both and reach Amit Sir’s place at 9:00 PM after our friday office. Amit Sir and Manas Sir was ready along with all the backpacks and after a wonderful dinner with chicken curry and roti we left at 10:00 PM. All of us were excited as there were two completely different generations inside the car, packed with quantum of energy and each one was sharing experiences of different journey.


Day 00 & Day 01(Kolkata - Zuluk):

Now a day the Kolkata-Siliguri road has very less traffic surprises. Though it is still very slow compared to other NH still estimation of arrival can be done considering the shortcuts and many state highway to avoid jam and bad roads. 5 years ago at least I could not make any estimation sometime it took 13-14 hours and during my Arunachal trip it took 18 hours to reach Siliguri. After 12 and 1⁄2 hours of drive with 1 tea break and 1 breakfast halt we reached Sevoke by 10:30 AM. And till then we did not decide where to go. In Sevoke I used to have tea/coffee in a riverside restaurant from where wide view of Teesta and greenery looks awesome. We stopped there to have some food and decided where to go. Called many farmhouses at North Bengal but almost everything was booked or out of our Budget. Finally we decided to move towards Silk route and if we could reach Zuluk then it's good enough, otherwise we can stay somewhere in between.


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Teesta from Sevoke

Taking the Rongpo-Rongli route we reached rongli at 3:00 PM and put our application for ILP. It took some time as it was already late and the weather was not so good. So took some time to convince the police officer and get permission. Finally at 4:00 PM we got the permission It was not very late to reach Zuluk but because of heavy rain the drive became very slow and we were in doubt whether we could reach Zuluk before evening or not. I know that finding homestay in Zuluk will not be a problem and Palzor homestay is very well known to me and even if the Palzor home is full then they will arrange some stay. When we reached Zuluk it was already dark and luckily we did not have to spend any time to get any stay. The entire location was almost empty and almost all homestay were empty.


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Somewhere on the way to Zuluk


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Team (Left to Right -> Arup, Manas Sir & Amit Sir)

The owner of the Palzor Home offered us tea even before booking the home stay. Everyone was literally tired as we left Kolkata after full day office and other than Manas Sir no one had a sleep last night. In no time we got refreshed and spend our evening by playing cards with some wonderful pakora and tea.




Day 2 (Zuluk - Gnathang - Kupup - Tashi View Point):

I woke up a little late and discovered that I was the laziest person for the day, Amit Sir and Manas Sir both are almost my doubled aged and they already had a morning walk through out the area. Before me telling them about different things of Zuluk, they started telling me that what are the places they already discovered and many other things about the locals and locality. Not only that last day we (Me and Arup) already lost the card game. So Amit sir was continuously pulling our legs that we are neither very energetic to wake up early and see the sunrise and nor that much expert in card playing. All together I thought that sooner we start driving, I can place some words in front of the group otherwise it is turning out to be very embarrassing.

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Before Leaving Zuluk

After a quick breakfast we decided to start driving towards Gnathang and again we do not have any plans for the day. At Thambi view point we took a long break to see the zig-zag road. This time we were not very lucky. Because of heavy clouds we could hardly we see the complete road for 5-10 seconds and that was not enough to capture any picture. However, it was a completely different view and the experience was a little different than at other times.

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Amit Sir

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Our Ride


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Arup with his New Car


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Waiting for the clear view at Thambi


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Few Snaps of Silk Route


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Few Random Snaps @ Thambi


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Manas Sir


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Me


When we were driving towards Gnathang Village we stopped at an unknown place by seeing the game of clouds. Manas Sir almost jumped out of the car in rejoice and started walking towards a peak without having any word with any of us. And even before switching off the engine, Me and Amit Sir also started walking following Manas Sir footsteps. Though I know that both of them are a little crazy about nature and specially Himalaya but still I felt little tensed. Amit sir is 63+ and Manas Sir is a little younger than Amit Sir. We had no other choice, I kept the GoPro for a time-lapse on the roof of the car and followed them.


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Road To Gnathang ..


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We Walked a little to enjoy the beauty




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Random Snaps of Gnathang

To be continued ...

Last edited by GTO : 20th January 2020 at 06:24. Reason: Small typo :)
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Old 19th November 2019, 15:31   #2
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Default re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Day 2 continued ...


t was almost a couple of hours we enjoyed the lush greens, the floating clouds, the snow clad mountain, the flowers and the silence. After a couple of hours we realised that now we have to decide whether we will stay at Gnathang or move towards Gangtok. Initially we thought we would stay at Gnathang but Amit Sir suggested us not to stay as he is 60+ and it will not be a prudent decision for us. We spent some more time at Gnathang cricket ground and enjoyed a match played by local boys and then moved forward towards Kupup Lake.

The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar-img_0656.jpg
Gnathang Monastery


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Enjoying Cricket Match on 13,500 ft.




Not describing the circuit again as this circuit has now become very famous to all. The good thing is that it was Sunday and Baba Mandir prepare a special meal for all soldiers on Sunday. I am not sure whether they could serve food to all tourists during peak seasons, but as there were few tourists in complete zone, we were welcomed open heartedly by army to have our lunch there. In the morning I told everyone that I will arrange a good lunch for the day but I was thinking how that is possible in this area. That day Baba Mandir helped me to keep my words, otherwise the card story and late wake up story would have chased me for the whole day. Until and unless you taste yourself such a special lunch, you would simply not be able to make out the lip smacking taste of the food. Finally, after such wonderful day we proceed towards Gangtok.


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Elephant Lake (Kupup)

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Another Lake visible from New Baba Mandir

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Tsomgo Lake









Whatever could be the case we decided that we will not hit the crowd of Gangtok and we will stay somewhere a thinly crowded nearby area. Tashi view point is one of the few places where you will get a couple of accommodations.

Day 3 (Tashi View Point - Latpanchar):

In the last two days we got a habit of travelling without any plans. So from Tashi View Point we were moving towards Sevoke and Amit Sir was saying that there are many places in North Bengal he had travelled in his young age. So let’s move forward, then we can choose any place for night sojour if we decide to spend another good day. Otherwise we could drive to Kolkata also. Near Kalijhola, Amit Sir guided us to take a right turn and then told that Laptpanchar is a good place to see flowers which provides a vivid splash of mauve and chirping birds. Without any hesitation we took the turn and drove through the dense forest to a remote village. Luckily Latpanchar was also very empty because of off-season. There we got two rooftop rooms with a wide green view.


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Entering Latpanchar


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On the way to Latpanchar




In the afternoon we had walked a lot and tried to capture some pictures of the village. The entire village is doped with flowers. Don’t know how much I could learn them in an afternoon but one thing I had learnt that they are extremely passionate about flowers. Every home, every homestay, every balcony was decorated with 1000 of flowers and as a result you will also find many variant types of butterflies.


To be continued ...

Last edited by PointZero : 19th November 2019 at 15:44.
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Old 19th November 2019, 15:37   #3
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Few more moments in Latpanchar




Day 4 (Latpanchar - Kolkata):
This was a very small trip with full of experience and learning. Generally drive back home from any trip is very boring and generally I do not get much energy. This time it was a little different and actually I am looking forward to some more trips with different generations to learn some awesome things before I become too old.


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Returning from Latpanchar


My other travelogues on Old Silk Route :

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ilk-route.html (Sunrise to Sunset in the Lap of Himalayas - Old Silk Route)


https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...xperience.html (Gnathang, East Sikkim: An exhilarating driving experience)


https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-sunlight.html (Sikkim: Long winding road to serenity, the game of clouds & sunlight)



Thank You -
Point Zero

Last edited by PointZero : 19th November 2019 at 15:58.
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Old 19th November 2019, 16:52   #4
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Default re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Awesome pictures and write up.
Just felt like rejuvenating the route once more.

attaching one pic from my memory line.
The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar-zuluk-figo.jpg
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Old 20th November 2019, 17:25   #5
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Default Re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

How did Ecosport fared throughout the breathtaking as well as heart stopping journey, I beleive this is TDCI engine?
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Old 20th November 2019, 18:20   #6
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Default Re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Yes it is TDCI. And performed well with many wheel spin and blind spot which I never felt in my Bolero during hill drive. On highway ES is pretty smooth and stable. Again, all the compassion is based on my daily Bolero life .





Quote:
Originally Posted by TarCruiser View Post
How did Ecosport fared throughout the breathtaking as well as heart stopping journey, I beleive this is TDCI engine?

Thanks SVK Rider,


Quote:
Originally Posted by SVK Rider View Post
Awesome pictures and write up.
Just felt like rejuvenating the route once more.

attaching one pic from my memory line.
Attachment 1936482
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Old 21st November 2019, 09:36   #7
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Default Re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Great travelogue!!
Reminds me of my 2012 trip to zuluk, when there were only a few homestays. We had stayed at Namgyil Bhutiya's.

I have very fond memories of that circuit, including the spectacular view of the zigzag roads, and the panting for breath moments at gnathang.

Wish to visit again in the near future. I am only apprehensive of the change that might have been caused by indiscriminate tourism!!
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Old 21st November 2019, 20:32   #8
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Default Re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Posting some photos of my Zuluk tour of 2012-13. Seems an eternity ago!! If I ain't wrong, it was in the month of March!!
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Old 22nd November 2019, 12:37   #9
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Default Re: The Journey is the Destination - Zuluk, Kupup, Gnathang & Latpanchar

Quote:
Originally Posted by PointZero View Post
Arup (my school friend) bought an Ecosports 6 months ago and from then we did not get a chance to experiment with the Ecosports in hilly areas. As the trip was very small we decided to drive the Ecosports instead of taking the Lazy Turtle.
Its Ecosport and not Ecosports Even some accessory makers have released stuff with the wrong name !

Nicely written article like always. Rated 5 Stars !
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