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Old 7th January 2021, 01:17   #1
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Default Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

Prologue:

I'll be honest, 2020 hasn't been so bad for me; on the contrary, I'm quite glad to be back home with my family and spend time with my near and dear ones. Albeit, movement was severely restricted for a few months (April, May, June), but it was not much of a dampener since I could still manage a few day-trips to places in and around WB and a couple of outstation trips in the last year. But then, the most amazing thing happened: Come December, the unexpected news of an annual week-long (25th Dec-3rd Jan) shutdown popped up in my office mailbox and it made me go helter-skelter to plan out that year-end vacation to blow off some steam!

My girlfriend and I have been living in different cities ever since we started dating 4 years ago, with barely a couple of annual visits to each other's places. While visiting, we always make it a point to satiate our traveling desires as a way of celebrating our get-togethers. Well, 2020 proved to be lucky for us as we both moved back to Kolkata (WFH) before the lockdown and were immensely happy to be near each other after a long time. So this time around, we decided to do a road trip together and end 2020 on a high. And lastly, I decided to take the Baleno along instead of the Duster AWD (swapped for a Jeep Compass 4x2 Limited Plus Diesel recently) and therefore didn't want to venture out on broken roads. The Baleno has largely been a city car (~23k kms in 5 years) after we'd stopped taking it out on the highway due to the usual trepidations with MS's build quality. Shortcomings notwithstanding, I'm really fond of the Baleno and reckoned that she deserved a good road trip before turning 5 in February '21.

Before delving in, a few photographs to start with:


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0686.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0853.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0618.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0610.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0816.jpg


Planning:

My expectations from the trip were pretty basic: Good roads, Good food, and a Good place to stay - Sounds simple but easier said than done! Year-end inevitably meant the maddening rush of tourists thronging to the usual vacation spots, so we had to be cautious in choosing our destination. Second, we needed to avoid the regular boisterous crowds at any cost and therefore had to be unconventional in our selection (of hotels to stay, restaurants to eat at, and tourist spots to visit).

So, we tried looking for destinations within WB initially. As expected, the usual locations in WB seemed to be overbooked and did not look safe to us. So, next up, we tried to look at places in neighboring Odisha and Jharkhand. Since I've driven perfunctorily on the same route to Odisha on multiple occasions, we decided to give it a miss and focus instead on Jharkhand where we could explore something new. A little bit of Googling returned us with the following places - Ghatshila, Netarhat, Patratu Valley, Dassam Falls, Jonha Falls, Hundru Falls, Chandil Dam/Lake, Hazaribagh, Betla, McCluskieganj, and a couple more. Some research on TeamBHP Travelogues led me to a few refreshing posts by fellow BHPians about Patratu Valley, Netarhat, McCluskieganj:

1. BHPian gmhossain: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...d-kolkata.html (Patratu Valley & Mccluskieganj : On a weekend drive to Jharkhand (from Kolkata))
2. BHPian SourabH007: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...jharkhand.html (Drive to Patratu Valley and Netarhat - Beautiful places of Jharkhand)
3. DBHPian //M: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...jharkhand.html (The scintillating Patratu Valley in Jharkhand)

A big thank you to the above BHPians for documenting their respective threads so well - the marvelous photos and the hassle-free road conditions seemed spectacular for the occasion. For us who wanted to have this vacation to laze around for a few days days, this seemed like the perfect option!

Pretty impressed, we decided to finalize the places we wanted to visited. Although I had a week-long holiday at the office, my girlfriend had a Christmas break on 25th and managed to get a leave from her office on the 28th. So essentially, we had 4 days - 2 days for the onward and return journeys and 2 full days at Jharkhand. We realized that except for a few places like Betla National Park and Netarhat which were a bit distant in a particular direction, most of the other places were closer to each other and could be visited in buckets of 2/3 places per day from a central point (akin to a hub and spoke arrangement). Therefore, we decided to confer our base at Ranchi and do day-drives to 2 places per day and retire to the hotel by evening. Our final plan looked like this:

Day 1: 25th December - Drive from Kolkata to Ranchi
Day 2: 26th December - Drive to Patratu Valley and Patratu Lake
Day 3: 27th December - Drive to Dassam Falls and Chandil Dam and Lake
Day 4: 28th December - Drive from Ranchi to Kolkata

And we were off!

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Old 14th January 2021, 15:20   #2
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Default Re: Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

Day 1:

I decided to start early from home by 5 AM, pick up my girlfriend and then hit the highway by 6 AM latest. After firing up and watching the revs settle, it was time to go!

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0554.jpg

The route that we decided to take was via Kharagpur and Jamshedpur and onwards to Ranchi:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-capture.png

We expected some congestion just after exiting Vidyasagar Setu on our way out of Kolkata given that it was 25th December and the onset of a long weekend. But we were lucky to find that traffic was sparse and we could smoothly sail past Howrah, Uluberia on NH 16 and before we knew it, the enormous thermal power station at Kolaghat was in sight. I didn't want to stop for breakfast so soon as the early morning drive felt quite refreshing. However, a quick mental calculation revealed that an early breakfast now would mean that we needn't stop for lunch anytime before Jamshedpur. So we made a stop at Sher-e-Punjab to catch up on our customary Cheese Onion Dosa breakfast followed by a dose of caffeine.

Just as we were exiting, I spotted a brand new 10th Gen Lunar Silver Honda Civic parked just outside the dhaba and couldn't help being drawn towards its smoking hot proportions and wicked-looking alloys. The Civic sure got all the charms to tickle our boyish fantasies of sleek fast cars that none of the similarly priced CSUVs can even dream of!! What a shame Honda had to take away this gem of a car from India.

Note to self: In a world full of Creta-s and Seltos-es, be a Civic (No offense to owners). Nevertheless, I stole a last glance at the beast and resumed our journey. Rejuvenated, we cruised along comfortably with some nice Kodaline tracks playing on the stereo and crossed into JH smoothly.

Introducing driver and passenger:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0557.jpg

After nearly 4 hours of driving, we encountered the first patch of broken roads around 50 kms before entering Jamshedpur. There was road construction and widening activities being carried out intermittently throughout the corridor which caused some traffic snarls. At one such point, the dust carried up into the air seemed so thick that you could barely see 20 meters ahead. We navigated at a steady pace and reached our designated place '10th Mile Stone Resort and Restaurant' for having lunch just on the outskirts of Jamshedpur. The establishment was a pretty resort right on the highway and had a good view of the hillocks just behind it. On the occasion of 25th Dec and New Year, the place was all decked up with pretty flowers and confetti. We freshened up and feasted on delicious Butter Naan and Chicken sides. Would highly recommend this place to anyone passing by this route for a tasty lunch.

A few photos from our lunch scenes:

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Afterward, we started on our way towards Ranchi. The next hour on the road while exiting Jamshedpur was again being patched up intermittently - quite similar to how it was while approaching Jamshedpur. We chugged along these stretches in 1st/2nd gear and allowed other vehicles to pass by (which were seemingly in a lot of hurry for no reason) with no regard whatsoever to their vehicles.

A few videos shot en-route post lunch:







We sailed smoothly post-lunch for another 3 hours before reaching our hotel.

After parking at the hotel:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0586.jpg

For a total of 431 kms which we covered in 10 hours, the Baleno managed to return an average of ~21 kmpl despite some broken stretches around Jamshedpur. Felt good taking our city car on the highway after a good hiatus of ~3 years (the last trip was to Bhubaneswar in 2018) and it never felt stressed once. Safe to say, we cruised lazily at an average speed of 80-100 kph throughout and never pushed the car beyond this.

After settling in our room (which was huuuuge!) and freshening up, we relished on some black coffee and homemade plum cake on the occasion of Christmas which was really delicious!

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0588.jpg

As the evening progressed, the chill in the air started being apparent and had a very pleasant feel to it - felt wonderful soaking into the cozy atmosphere after a day of long drive. The icing on the cake was a warm fireplace that the estate manager was kind enough to light up for the both of us. The warmth of the fire in the December winter was surely addictive!

Some pics from our first evening at the resort:


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Old 15th January 2021, 21:47   #3
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Default Re: Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

The Stay:

This section deserves a separate post simply because the property was one of the reasons I was looking forward to this trip. My girlfriend and I wherever we travel, always emphasize a good stay-experience as one of our top priorities. Naturally, we take a lot of time scouring the internet before making a pick, and this time was no different.

When we were shortlisting hotels to stay keeping our constraints of avoiding crowded places and staying close to nature, we were lucky to have chanced upon this place on Airbnb. While scouting for hotels, the usual places - Radisson Blu Ranchi, Capitol Hill, Chanakya BNR, and Le Lac Portico surfaced as the popular choices which had occupancies on our dates. Before finalizing on one of these, I happened to casually browse through Airbnb and chanced upon a very unconventional property by the name of Tikratoli Estate, hosted by Mr. Sanjiv T Lall. After going through the limited photos, I managed to Google around, and lo and behold! I was sold by the picturesque ambiance and dropped a booking query instantly. Within a couple of hours, our booking was accepted and I wired the requisite funds to the estate manager.

Tikratoli Estate is around 13 odd kms from Ranchi and a first-timer would definitely find it difficult to navigate to this place. The hotel-part-of-the-estate is newly built in 2020, whilst sharing space with sprawling acres of farmland. Besides housing the guest cottages, the estate also houses the owner's residence - an English-styled villa that is exquisitely maintained amidst lush greenery having an abundance of tall teak trees and a plethora of flora shrouding it. The owner, Mr. Lall is a renovator of old villas by profession and interestingly, a vintage Jeep restorer by passion. What makes it more interesting for petrolheads is the fact that the property is adorned with a well-maintained collection of Mr. Lall's acquired vintage Jeeps dating back to as early as the 1940s! Apart from the Jeeps, you'd find a 1966 Classic Bullet and a 1958 Mark I Petrol Ambassador also complementing the garage.

Before sharing the photos of the estate, ourselves, and the delicious food, the petrolhead in me would sulk if I don't share the pictures of the beauties from the garage first, so here goes Special thanks to Mr. Lall for supplying me with the detailed specs of his vehicles!

1944 Ford GPW 4 x 4, left-hand drive (Petrol) -

Manufactured by Ford Motor Company, USA. Delivered to the USA Army on 29th February 1994. Ford GPW Jeeps were discontinued by Ford Motor Company, USA, after the end of World War II in August 1945.

Specifications:

Length : 132.25 inches
Width : 62 inches
Height, top up : 69.75 inches
Height, top down : 52 inches
Engine : Ford 4 cyl L-head, 134.2 ci, 6.48:1 compression
Horsepower (net) : 54 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission : Warner T-84J 3 speed synchromesh
Transfer case : Dana Spicer 18 2 speed
Gear Shift : Floor mounted
Axles : Spicer Dana 4.88:1 23-2 rear, Dana 25 front
Electrical System : 6v, neg ground
Wheelbase : 80 inches
Ground Clearance : 8.75 inches
Approach Angle : 45°
Departure Angle : 35°
Weight w/o gas and water : 2,337 lbs
Fording Depth : 21 inches max
Tires : 6.00×16 non-directional


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Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0788.jpg



1942 Ford-Willys MB, Military Jeep 4 x 4, left-hand drive (Petrol):


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0743.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0744.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0745.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0746.jpg



1956 Willy CJ3B 4 x 4, left-hand drive (Petrol):

Specifications:

G.V.W. 3500 lbs. (1587.5 kg)
Kerb weight: 2243 lbs (1017.4 kg) (2418 lbs. on M606).
Overall length: 129-29/32 in. (3.30 m)
Overall width: 68-7/8 in. (175 cm)
Overall height (top of windshield): 66-1/4 in. (169 cm.)
Tread front and rear: 48-7/16 in. (123 cm)
Wheelbase: 80 in. (203 cm.)
Front / Rear Overhang: 20.59 in. / 22.31 in.
Tailgate: 36 in. Wide x 19.25 in. High
Ground Clearance: 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Load Space: 32 in. x 52.315 in. x 14.125 in.
Engine: “Hurricane” F-head, 134 cu.in. (2.2 liter), 4 cylinders
Cooling system capacity 11 qt. (10.4 ltr.) (12 qt. with heater)
Electrical System 6 Volts, neg ground
Front axle: Dana/Spicer 25, 27 or 27A, Full-floating hypoid, Ratio: 4.27:1 (5.38:1 optional)
Rear axle: Dana/Spicer 44, Semi-floating hypoid, Ratio: 4.27:1 (5.38:1 optional)
Brakes: Hydraulic, 9 in. drum diameter x 1.75 in., 117.8 sq. in. braking area.
Clutch: 8.5 in. Auborn or Rockford single dry plate with torsional damping, 72 sq. in. area. (Optional Auborn single dry plate, 9.25 in. dia. )
Transfer case: Spicer 18, 2 speeds, 1.00:1 and 2.46:1 (26 tooth input gear and 1-1/8 in. intermediate shaft up to serial number 54-12506; 29 tooth input gear and 1-1/4 in. intermediate shaft after serial number 54-12506)
Transmission: Warner T-90 3-speed syncromesh, Ratios: 1st-3.339:1 (or 2.798:1), 2nd-1.551:1, 3rd- 1.00:1, Reverse-3.798:1


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0762.jpg

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Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0811.jpg



1958 Willy CJ3B 4 x 4, left-hand drive (Petrol):

Specifications:

G.V.W. 3500 lbs. (1587.5 kg)
Kerb weight: 2243 lbs (1017.4 kg) (2418 lbs. on M606).
Overall length: 129-29/32 in. (3.30 m)
Overall width: 68-7/8 in. (175 cm)
Overall height (top of windshield): 66-1/4 in. (169 cm.)
Tread front and rear: 48-7/16 in. (123 cm)
Wheelbase: 80 in. (203 cm.)
Front / Rear Overhang: 20.59 in. / 22.31 in.
Tailgate: 36 in. Wide x 19.25 in. High
Ground Clearance: 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Load Space: 32 in. x 52.315 in. x 14.125 in.
Engine: “Hurricane” F-head, 134 cu.in. (2.2 liter), 4 cylinders
Cooling system capacity 11 qt. (10.4 ltr.) (12 qt. with heater)
Electrical System 6 Volts, neg ground
Front axle: Dana/Spicer 25, 27 or 27A, Full-floating hypoid, Ratio: 4.27:1 (5.38:1 optional)
Rear axle: Dana/Spicer 44, Semi-floating hypoid, Ratio: 4.27:1 (5.38:1 optional)
Brakes: Hydraulic, 9 in. drum diameter x 1.75 in., 117.8 sq. in. braking area.
Clutch: 8.5 in. Auborn or Rockford single dry plate with torsional damping, 72 sq. in. area. (Optional Auborn single dry plate, 9.25 in. dia. )
Transfer case: Spicer 18, 2 speeds, 1.00:1 and 2.46:1 (26 tooth input gear and 1-1/8 in. intermediate shaft up to serial number 54-12506; 29 tooth input gear and 1-1/4 in. intermediate shaft after serial number 54-12506)
Transmission: Warner T-90 3-speed syncromesh, Ratios: 1st-3.339:1 (or 2.798:1), 2nd-1.551:1, 3rd- 1.00:1, Reverse-3.798:1


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0816.jpg

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Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0819.jpg

Here's a short video:




1960 Willys CJ3B – Extended Chassis 2 x 2, right-hand drive (Petrol):


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0737.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0739.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0740.jpg



1963 Jonga Nissan P60, 3956 CC, 4 x 4, right-hand drive (Petrol): An original Indian Army issue (hardtop)


Specifications:

Manufacturer : Vehicle Factory, Jabalpur.
Engine : 6 Cylinder, 3956cc in-line, petrol engine developing 110 HP @ 3200 RPM.
Max Torque : 26.9 mkg @ 1200 RPM.
Air Cleaner : Oil Bath with cyclonic pre-cleaner.
Clutch : Single plate dry friction type, diameter 280mm
Gear Box : Synchromesh with 3F + 1R.
Transfer Case : Two speed.
Front Axle : Fully floating, driven with birfield joints.
Rear Axle : Semi-floating, tubular with banjo housing differential.
Steering : Worm and Roller.
Brakes : Hydraulic.
Parking Brake : Contracting type on transmission.
Tyre Size : 7.00 x 16 x 6 Ply MRF NDMS
Gradeability : 30°
Min Turning Circle : 10.6 meter
Ground Clearance : 222mm
Payload Capacity : 250 kg


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Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0780.jpg

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Old 21st February 2021, 01:47   #4
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Default Re: Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

1958 Ambassador Mark 1 (Petrol):

The first model of 'Ambassador'; introduced after the Landmaster production was stopped.

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0741.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0742.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0747.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0748.jpg
Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0909.jpg



1966 Royal Enfield:

The last model/year of Royal Enfield that was manufactured in England before production was shifted to Madras (Chennai) India in 1967.


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0768.jpg

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0769.jpg

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Last but not the least, a humble Escorts Rajdoot from the garage:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0801.jpg
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Day 2:

We were so busy clicking that we had almost become oblivious to the time - well past our scheduled time for departure for the day, we now needed a quick plan change to accommodate this 'unplanned delay' After a rejig, we decided that we could only make it to only Patratu Valley as a part of Day 1 itinerary. Although there was time to include another destination, we thought it was better to return by 4 PM since the estate was located in a rather unconventional location and we didn't know the area well courtesy of being tourists.

A few pics from the morning stroll around the property followed by breakfast:


Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0617.jpg

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Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0759.jpg

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Old 1st March 2021, 01:01   #5
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Default Re: Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

Day 2 (Cont'd):

After a delayed start (11:30-ish), we got on the road, the destination being Patratu Valley and Lake. Oh, what a joy it was to drive on the Ranchi Ring Road with some good music on! Here are a few videos en-route:







I was quite dismayed by the way a few cars were driving on the route. There was a car that repeatedly overtook other vehicles at blind corners while for some cabbies, it was business as usual to overloaded their vehicles and randomly halt in the middle of the road - causing huge inconvenience to others on the road. Had a fleeting thought that Indians always lament the lack of proper road infrastructure, but once we get something decent, we don't know how to use it. The holiday season made it worse, but this isn't my first experience, it was quite a similar story during our road trips to Ooty and Coorg from Bangalore.

Enough with the rant, time for some pics from the destination:

Patratu Valley:

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Patratu Lake:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0710.jpg

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As it was nearly 3 PM by the time we left Patratu, we drove to Ranchi to catch up on a quick lunch at Dominos since we had decided to return to the resort by 5 PM tops.

While we were driving back to the Estate, it was still a bit sunny and the last rays of the sun were clinging onto the treetops. We felt pensive at closing our first day a bit early and wished that we could have done with a couple of hours' short drive to enjoy a nice view. However, since the popular spots were located at least a hundred kilometers away, the wish couldn't materialize. Back at the Estate, we caught up with some evening coffee and loitered around as the chill descended in the air. Soon after, the caretaker came knocking and took us to the pleasant fireplace and laid out our delicious dinner spread - delicious would actually be an understatement for the wonderful meal we were served!



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As a voracious reader, I had a strong urge of snuggling up in this cozy literary retreat with a Dan Brown or a John Grisham and immerse myself into the multiverse of a good suspense thriller. Maybe next time!

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Amidst that lingering bibliosoma and a cold night, we retired to our room and called it a day.

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Old 10th April 2021, 16:05   #6
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Day 3:

The plan for the next day was to visit Dassam Falls followed by Chandil Lake and Chandil Dam. Although we knew that Dassam Falls wouldn't don her elegance in a non-monsoon season, we were really looking forward to a pleasant and soothing boat ride in Chandil Lake.

Got up early and had a good sumptuous breakfast and planned to leave by 9 AM. Feasted on some toast, cheese omelets, poha, fruits, and a glass of green tea:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-img_0760.jpg

On this particular day, there was a group of friends who had arrived the previous night and saw a nice breakfast setting being prepped for them in the shade of a big banyan tree:

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Post breakfast, we started off from Tikratoli Estate en route to Dassam Falls. A couple of videos on the way:








Once we reached the place, it was jam-packed with tourists - mostly locals, who were having a gala time picnicking in the open spaces. Although there was no concept of social distancing, for a moment it looked like there was no Corona and we were back to our old ways of having fun and frolic! As expected, the stream of water was a quarter of its volume compared to the time around monsoon, so we decided to roam around for a while, click some photos before heading out.

Dassam Falls:


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Without further ado, we started on our way to Chandil Dam and Lake.





The diversion from the main highway was a delight to drive on, but as we approached the entry, it was dust all around; at some places, it was so dense that you could hardly see 5 feet away. We masked up and parked the car right before the entry point of the dam; the paid parking was located on the approach road and all the cars were parked in a straight line along the reservoir. After parking, one would have to walk for a while before climbing a few flights of stairs to get to the top of the dam, which was a good exercise in itself! Unfortunately, we found out that due to Covid, boating services were halted. We were a bit disappointed, but the view from the top of the dam somehow cajoled us into believing that there should always be a next time.

Chandil Dam & Lake:


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After soaking in the scenery and some unwinding, it was time to head back to the resort since it was getting dark quickly. We refueled on the way and stopped at a small highway joint to catch up quickly on a cup of coffee with some cookies that we had brought along - after all we had skipped lunch for the day. After an uneventful drive for an hour and a half, we returned to our resort and had an early dinner as we were supposed to return to Kolkata the next day.



Day 4:

We woke up the next morning, a little pensive for our taste as we had to check out and bid adieu to this beautiful resort, and the hospitable staff who hosted us for the past 3 days. This time, we decided to take a different route than the one through which we came:

Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!-capture.png

After completing breakfast and settling our accounts payables, we started by 9 AM and were cruising on the Ranchi Ring Road in under 10 mins:



Soon after, we diverged from the wide highways and we were directed towards NH-320 (Dumri - Bermo - Jaina Road). The road was a 2-lane highway, albeit a bit traffic-laden that had greenery all around which was a pleasure to drive on. Wide highways tend to get boring after a certain point, but such roads are quite refreshing as the scenery keeps on changing from time to time. For example, take the following 3 video excerpts shot on the same stretch:








As we crossed into WB, that is where my regret descended for choosing this route for our return journey. The roads started narrowing and transformed into those typical rustic roads running through villages with numerous speed-breakers to restrict vehicular speeds. It reduced our average pace and it became difficult for us to cruise comfortably, contrary to what you would expect from a road trip. At bigger junctions like Raghunathpur, Purulia, and Raniganj, we encountered multiple railway crossings and densely populated market areas which made us wait for nearly 30 - 40 mins in its entirety. The herds of tuk-tuks, motorcycles, and lane-cutting auto-rickshaws weren't helping either. With a truckload of patience and some good instrumentals, we chugged along until we merged with the Durgapur Expressway at 3:30 PM.

Once we hit the Expressway, I let out a big sigh of relief at seeing the 4-lane highways after an exasperating drive of ~150 odd kms through some really difficult patches. From there on, it was more of a perfunctory drive of having driven on this route for more than a dozen times at least. As we were driving non-stop since morning, expectedly, our stomachs started to growl in protest, acquiescing us to take a gastro-refueling break. We succumbed to the demand and decided to make a pit stop at Bachan Da Dhaba, Panagarh to satiate our afternoon hunger pangs. Our late luncheon menu comprised of butter naans with some paneer and chicken sides; although the food was decent and nothing out-of-the-world, I gulped it down in a jiffy thanks to my driving fatigue. I also ordered a cup of black coffee and in an effort to get myself ready for facing the next ordeal of navigating through the soon-to-be congested Expressway with humongous queues of truckers lining up to enter Kolkata. We started again at 4:30ish and picked up the pace to cover as much ground as possible while the daylight started fading off and dusk was setting in - but soon enough, we found ourselves in the middle of scores of slow-moving lorries and gargantuan traffic snarls. After numerous negotiations (more like battles!) for space with generous use of dipper and indicators, we crossed Vidyasagar Setu and finally entered Kolkata. Needless to mention, our ETA was delayed by an hour at least and we reached home quite exhausted after a drive of ~452 kms for the day.

Total Distance covered in 4 days: 1248.1 kms
Onward journey: 431 kms
Onward FE: 20.6 kmpl
Return journey: 451.8 kms
Return FE: 16.8 kmpl (thanks to some pathetic road conditions!)

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If I could discount a portion of the return journey, the whole trip served as a much-needed opportunity to rewind and spend a lazy holiday with my fiancée. Given the imminent second wave of Covid, and India reporting an astronomical increase in infections each day, our travel plans are yet again shelved for an indefinite time. Here's hoping all of us move past the uncertainty and get back revvin' on the road soon!

Last edited by bongSENse : 21st April 2021 at 14:05.
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Old 22nd April 2021, 05:45   #7
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd April 2021, 13:28   #8
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Default Re: Of Long Drives and Jingle Bells at Jharkhand!

The Christmas time in India is a great time to visit the places in India - be it the hill stations of North India or the deserts of Rajasthan or the villages of Bengal. You have captured the Yuletide spirit in your pictures only too well and the pictures of food are drool worthy!

We usually take a vacation during the Christmas break, but 2020 came with the unfortunate travel moratorium for us

This year ,though, we made some visits nearby - and Asanboni (Weekend Trip to Asanboni & Ghatshila) was one of them. We stayed at Tenth Milestone. The food is outstanding, especially, the tandoori dishes.

Best Regards,
Sayak

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Old 23rd April 2021, 12:00   #9
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The Christmas time in India is a great time to visit the places in India - be it the hill stations of North India or the deserts of Rajasthan or the villages of Bengal. You have captured the Yuletide spirit in your pictures only too well and the pictures of food are drool worthy!
Thanks Sayak Da. Last year was quite tricky from the rest of the vacations that we normally have had over the years - pretty sure that it would have been the exact conundrum for all of us. Rather than deciding on the places, the qualifying criterions involved a totally different set of parameters, much to our chagrin. About the food, the lady cook at the Estate is one of the best when it comes to preparing delectable continental dishes that I've ever tasted - simply lip smacking!

Quote:
This year ,though, we made some visits nearby - and Asanboni (Weekend Trip to Asanboni & Ghatshila) was one of them. We stayed at Tenth Milestone. The food is outstanding, especially, the tandoori dishes.
Some really great photos there! Looks like Chandil boating is still closed and you had the same reaction that I had while climbing the small hillock at Chandil Dam! Tenth Milestone was a good experience, but the ambience outside the resort was a let down. Since it was right beside the highway and due to ongoing road maintenance. Had it not been so dusty, I would have really loved to relish a nice lunch under a tree shade in the December sun!
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Old 23rd April 2021, 19:16   #10
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What a paradise! Looks like Jharkhand is the cleanest state of India. I have traveled a lot through most of India but I don't lie when I say that I haven't seen cleaner and better maintained parking lots. The state may want to breakaway from the rest of India lest we litter it like we do!
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Old 26th April 2021, 10:37   #11
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Brilliantly put-together thread. Williy's pictures are drool-worthy.
Jharkhand is a place very close to my heart and one of the cleanest places as well.
Thanks for sharing all the details of your trip in great detail. Keep travelling and sharing such wonderful threads.
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Old 28th April 2021, 14:53   #12
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What a paradise! Looks like Jharkhand is the cleanest state of India. I have traveled a lot through most of India but I don't lie when I say that I haven't seen cleaner and better maintained parking lots. The state may want to breakaway from the rest of India lest we litter it like we do!
Sure bordeaux. When you mention clean and maintained parking lot, I'm assuming it is due to a couple of photos where you see the Baleno parked in the estate. Well, it was indeed a great property and is immaculately maintained by its staff all round the clock; also since it is not exactly in the heartland of Ranchi, it sees less of tourists and more of wedding parties. Since it is a newly inaugurated property, given the ensuing pandemic situation, the estate might not have yet experienced an exodus of tourists, mostly observed during the onset of monsoon and winter seasons. But nevertheless, the upkeep of the property is the main reason behind the cleanliness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
Brilliantly put-together thread. Williy's pictures are drool-worthy.
Jharkhand is a place very close to my heart and one of the cleanest places as well.
Thanks for sharing all the details of your trip in great detail. Keep travelling and sharing such wonderful threads.
Thank you ARAY! I absolutely concur with the spic 'n span quotient of JH.

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