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Old 16th January 2022, 09:46   #1
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Default A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT

“Focus on the journey, not the destination.” – Greg Anderson

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dsc09451_1.jpg
Picture credit: Mrs. Megazoid

Completed a 24-day road trip to the Northeast (Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal and Meghalaya) starting on 21st December 2021 and ending on 13th January 2022, covering about 9400 kilometers through 12 states, in the BMW 330i GT. This road trip was not about the places I visited (though I thoroughly enjoyed them as well), but about the life I lived these 4 weeks – the company I spent time with, the people I met, the roads we traveled, the food we ate, the adventures we undertook, and the conversations made.

The easier part is writing about the destinations which can be done with facts and pictures. The difficult part is expressing the experience of the journey. I will try to cover both in this travelogue.

Before starting, I would like to first thank everyone who made this road-trip possible.
  • My wife for letting me go on a road trip for such a long duration. She managed everything at home while I was away and told me every day not to worry about anything back home and to enjoy the trip. Without her support, it would not have been possible to do such a long road trip.
  • Dr.AD, RobiMahanta, Megazoid and Mrs. Megazoid for the wonderful company they provided during the trip.
  • Mrs. Megazoid for the fantastic planning of the Meghalaya part of the trip – more about this later
  • My friend and TBHPian quicksilver who arranged a full size spare wheel and also gave me several inputs on the maintenance of the car
  • All TBHPians who provided their inputs on route planning in the thread https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route...tes-halts.html (Kolkata to Arunachal Pradesh - Routes & halts)
  • Friend and TBHPian 500CountryCruiser who gave first hand inputs on what to expect and best practices to follow based on his drive to Arunachal
  • DBHPian Sheel who provided his inputs on route planning

Table of Content:

As this is going to be a very long travelogue, I have split it into posts with links below. Please skip to the topic of interest.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 23:01.
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Old 16th January 2022, 09:56   #2
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Default The Plan

The plan:

It all started with a talk about taking part in the Gumball Challenge that TBHPians Robimahanta and Megazoid were planning to do. This challenge involves driving 4000 kilometers from Koteshwar in Gujarat to Kaho in Arunachal Pradesh within a time frame of 90 hours.

I and Dr.AD wanted to do this challenge. But after opposition from my family for the continuous drive with lack of sleep I and Dr.AD decided to do a relaxed drive from Bangalore and meet the Gumball challengers near their destination and explore Pasighat and Kaziranga. As Dr.AD and Robi did not have enough leaves, they decided to fly back from Guwahati while Mrs. Megazoid joined us in Guwahati for the next leg where we toured Meghalaya for a week and Mrs. Megazoid flew out of Siliguri. I and Megazoid then drove from Nagpur to Bangalore and then I proceeded to Coimbatore. So this road trip can be split into four parts.

Part-1: graaja and Dr.AD driving to Namsai to meet robimahanta and Megazoid.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-part1-map.jpg

This part is the trucker's life that AD has mentioned in his travelogue. Most of the days we were driving from morning to evening and halting for the night. We usually started the day early morning anywhere between 5AM to 7AM and targeted to complete the drive before 7PM. There were some exceptions where some days we had miscalculated the road conditions and ended up driving till late in the night or started as early as 3AM as we had to cover a lot of distance that day. Below is the itinerary for this part.

Day #1: I drove from Coimbatore to Bangalore and AD joined me in the evening
Day #2: Drive from Bangalore to Nagpur
Day #3: Drive from Nagpur to Mirzapur
Day #4: Drive from Mirzapur to Darbhanga and visit Bodh Gaya en route.
Day #5: Drive from Darbhanga to Kalimpong
Day #6: Spend a day in Kalimpong
Day #7: Drive from Kalimpong and Dooars and some sight seeing
Day #8: Drive from Dooars to Tezpur
Day #9: Drive from Tezpur to Namsai and meet Robi and Megazoid.

Part-2: graaja, Dr.AD, robimahanta and Megazoid in Pasighat and Kaziranga

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-part2-map.jpg

In this part, I, Dr.AD, Robi and Megazoid spent time in Pasighat and Kaziranga and drove to Guwahati where Robi and AD took a flight to Bangalore.

Day #1: Drive from Namsai to Pasighat (This day overlaps with Day #9 of Part - 1)
Day #2: Sight seeing in Pasighat
Day #3: Drive from Pasighat to Kaziranga
Day #4: Safari at Kaziranga in the morning. Drive to Guwahati in the afternoon.

Part-3: graaja, Megazoid and Mrs. Megazoid in Meghalaya

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-part3-map.jpg

In this part Mrs. Megazoid flew in from Bangalore to Guwahati and joined us. We travelled in Meghalaya and visited many places. We stayed mostly in homestays, experienced Meghalaya hospitality, culture and food. Most of our activities were also adventurous like treks to waterfalls, rock formations and caves.

Day #1: Drive from Guwahati to Tura. On the way, met a guide who showed us pitcher plants, a waterfall, huge rock formations and Siju caves. Reached Tura late in the evening and checked into a homestay called Dongrama.
Day #2: Moved to another homestay called Huro A Song in the morning. Visited Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary, fish sanctuary and orange orchards. Spent the evening around camp fire.
Day #3: Drive to Cherrapunji (also known as Sohra). On the way we took a detour and visited the Mawphanlur lake and spent the evening watching sunset and taking lots of pictures of our cars. We checked into Jiva resorts in the evening.
Day #4: Local sightseeing in Cherrapunji. We visited the Weisawdong falls, NohKalikai falls, and Arwah caves
Day #5: Drive to a village called Nohwet. On the way we took a detour and did the Mawryngkhang trek and in the evening reached the Na I Mei homestay
Day #6: Sightseeing. Went to Dawki village from where we saw the Bangladesh plains, drove along Bangladesh border, went boating, kayaking and swimming in the Umngot river known for its crystal clear water, and visited the Phe Phe waterfalls which required some offroad driving.
Day #7: Drove from Nohwet to Umiam lake. Took a speed boat to reach the Barapani Eco resort and spent the rest of the day resting in the island.
Day #8: Drove from Umiam lake to Siliguri and checked into Sinclairs retreat in the evening. The next day Mrs. Megazoid took a flight from Siliguri to Bangalore.

Part-4: graaja and Megazoid driving back to Bangalore and Coimbatore

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-part4-map.jpg

In this part, I and Megazoid drove from Siliguri to Bangalore and I then proceeded to Coimbatore.

Day #1: Drive from Siliguri to Mirzapur. This was one of the toughest drives. We had to drive through 120km of broken roads and roads under construction. We started our drive at 7:30 in the morning and reached Mirzapur after 11 in the night.
Day #2: Drive from Mirzapur to Nagpur. This drive was a fast drive all through 4 lane roads
Day #3: Drive from Nagpur to Bangalore. This drive was also a fast drive through 4 lane roads. The second part of the drive after Hyderabad was a little slow due to lot of truck traffic. I and Megazoid said our goodbyes in a tea shop in the evening about 100km from Bangalore
Day #4: I drove from Bangalore to Coimbatore and reached home by noon.

Dr.AD has beautifully written about Part-1 and Part-2 of this journey in his travelogue at the below link in his own unique style.

Bangalore to Arunachal in a BMW 330i GT

Robi has given a detailed update on his Gumball experience in the below post.

Gumball Challenge Update

Below table summarizes the complete trip.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-drive-plan.png

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:16.
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Old 16th January 2022, 10:09   #3
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Default The Company

The Company:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together - An African proverb

I got to spend 24 days with some amazing people who are a bundle of energy and joy. I derived lot of energy from them to power through those long days behind the wheel and the adventures.

Dr. AD: Though Dr.AD has been a very close friend the past few years, this is the first time we got to spend so much time together. He is a man who is brimming with energy and is passionate about anything he does in life – driving, cars, photography, artificial intelligence, chess to name a few. As he mentioned, the first few days, we were like truckers: drive from 5AM (we even started at 3AM one day) to 7 or 8PM, eat at dhabas and enjoy tea at small tea shops. After a tiring day’s drive, it would be dinner and conversation – cars, food, health and fitness, artificial intelligence, photography and many more. AD is also a great photographer who easily identifies framing opportunities for car and landscape photography. He tells you to park the car in certain angle in a certain location and gets some fabulous pictures (you can see these in his travelogue).

Robimahanta: Robi is another close friend who is a fantastic driver and photographer. From the energy levels he showed during the sightseeing in Pasighat and Kaziranga, no one would believe that he had completed a 4000km drive in 90 hours just the previous day. He is a fantastic photographer and I learn lots of new things in photography from him. As Assam is his home turf, he took us to awesome places and got us local delicacies like thukpa, momos and pork. Though I had his company only for three days in this trip, we had lots of fun and made lots of memories in those three days.

Megazoid: I had met Megazoid only a year back in a couple of WDM (windows down motoring) drives he used to organize. After spending more than 2 weeks with him in this drive, it feels like he is a friend of many years. He is another bundle of energy. When I used to be tired after those long treks and activities in Meghalaya and doze off in the car, he would be driving the car through bad roads for hours. We share a lot of interests like travel, health and fitness, cars and farming. Loved the conversations we had ranging from cars, driving techniques, farming, health and fitness and life in general. Through this road trip, I have gained a good friend for life.

Mrs. Megazoid: Mrs. Megazoid is an avid traveler, and she planned our complete Meghalaya itinerary. She took us to off-beat locations away from regular crowded tourist spots, booked our stays in homely homestays in villages which helped us explore more of Meghalaya’s interiors and culture. She is also an excellent photographer and captures lots of great images of nature and the cars. I would like to thank her once again for the wonderful time in Meghalaya.

A few pictures with this wonderful company.

With Dr.AD.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dr.ad.jpg
Picture Credit: Dr.AD

With Dr.AD, Robi and Megazoid
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dr.ad-robi-megazoid.jpg

With Megazoid
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-megazoid.jpg

Windows down motoring with Megazoid. In Meghalaya, we did most of the drive with windows down and sunroof open, inhaling the pure air.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-windows-down-motoring.jpg

With Mr. and Mrs. Megazoid
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-mr.-mrs.-megazoid.jpg

A selfie with happy faces
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-selfie.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 21:19.
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Old 16th January 2022, 11:12   #4
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Default The People

The people:

An important part of this road trip for me is the beautiful people I met. Dhaba and tea stall owners, homestay owners, cops, petrol pump attendants, and strangers, everyone we met in this journey were polite and nice. Before I began this journey, there were some negative inputs about this not being a safe journey, especially in the states of Bihar and North east. But Megazoid put all this negativity to rest by saying, "One must experience the road to know the goodness in people. There may be bad apples and the chances of meeting these bad apples will be the same as we would meet them in our own cities."

And how right this proved to be. Below are a few experiences.

Strangers from Guwahati:
We stopped in a dhaba on the way to Chirapunji where three gentlemen from Guwahati stopped for lunch. We got into a conversation, and they were impressed about us driving all the way from Bangalore. One of the gentlemen even told the others to stop going behind making money all the time and take some time off and travel and experience the world. In the end, the gentleman gifted us a bottle of locally made non-alcoholic fruit wine.

I and Megazoid discussed a lot about this incident as we drove on. When someone tries to strike a conversation, the immediate response we tend to have these days is suspicion. However, there are more good people than bad in the world. One must be cautious and be on the lookout for signs that can lead to danger. But being paranoid will stop us from enjoying the good that is out there in the world. In Megazoid’s words, "a true explorer should expose himself to all the uncertainties, both good and bad, that can happen on the road."

Mr. and Mrs. Oswin:
In Tura, we stayed in a homestay named Dongrama. The owner John Oswin and his wife were very friendly. We had a nice conversation with Mr. Oswin during dinner and he told us about Meghalaya’s culture, how girls are given priority in Meghalaya, how a man after marriage has to go to the girl’s place to live and how the girls get right to their parents’ property. His wife also made us very tasty local delicacies like fried rice made of sticky rice, jakkep and pitta. This was a wonderful experience to me compared to staying in a resort.

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Lunch in a village:
On the way to Tura, we took the help of a guide and visited some interesting places. The guide had arranged for lunch at a home in a village. The lady in the house cooked us some delicious food and we also got to know about their life. When we talked about how healthy and fit they were, she mentioned that they have only two meals a day and work in their farms. Her father who should be in his 70’s had a fall in December and had injured his hip. They were treating him at home. He looked quite healthy and fit and we all believed he would be up and working in no time. Later, when we asked the guide how much we should pay for the food, he did not even know how much to ask for. I was amazed how these people are still not touched by the greed for money. A couple of pictures with this family.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-lunch-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-lunch-2.jpg

Mr. Hali:
Another interesting person we met was Hali who was the caretaker of the homestay in the village of Nohwet in Meghalaya. He was 42, had a sinewy body and was a bundle of energy. He was an all-rounder who prepared our food and was also our local guide. He took us to lots of local places some of which involved lots of hiking and after we returned late in the evening, he prepared our dinner and ate dinner after us. And not a sign of tiredness. I asked him about their lifestyle and he mentioned he eats only two meals a day, the first at 2PM and the 2nd meal in the night between 8PM and 10PM and nothing in between. We thoroughly enjoyed his hospitality. Below is a picture of I, Mr. and Mrs. Megazoid with Hali.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-hali.jpg

Going a little OT from this travelogue: Many of you may know my health and fitness activities from my “Fat to Fit” (Fat to Fit - A journal of my fitness journey) thread. I have been recommending and following the intermittent fasting lifestyle the past few years and have only 2 meals a day within a 6 or 8 hour window. Knowing that most people in Meghalaya in the villages follow this 2 meal a day lifestyle and how they remain healthy and fit confirms my belief that this is the lifestyle we need to follow to get rid of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart conditions and lead a healthy and fit life.

A pleasant meet with a fellow TBHPian:
When we were having our dinner in the Sohra resort (this was the only resort we stayed of the 8 days in Meghalaya), a gentleman came and asked if I was graaja. He introduced himself to be a TBHPian and that he recognized the blue GT in the parking lot and came looking for me. He was from Pune and had come to Meghalaya with his wife and had come to the resort for dinner. What a small world. Due to the sever hearing loss I have, I could not get and remember his TBHP handle and name for which my sincere apologies. In the excitement I also missed taking a picture with him. Thank you so much for the meet. It was a pleasure and honor meeting another TBHP member in a such a faraway place. In hindsight I feel we should have spent more time together. I hope he reads this travelogue and responds.

A few animal friends:
It was not just people, made friends with a few dogs as well.

Met this dog when we went for an early morning walk in Tura. It would invite me to chase it by crouching and dodging and would take off when I start chasing it. Then it would come back and wag its tail. This continued for about 10 minutes and it was fun.

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In the Barapani island eco camp, there were these three dogs that would follow us everywhere we went and were very playful too. When I was walking around the island at 4AM doing some night landscape, one of the dogs was following me everywhere.

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These are just a few experiences. There are innumerable such instances of interacting with people on the way.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:31.
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Old 16th January 2022, 11:15   #5
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Default The Food

The Food

Though I follow the intermittent fasting and fitness lifestyle, I am also a foodie by nature. An important experience for me during road trips is food: having tea on roadside tea shops watching the traffic, having food from simple dhabas and tasting local cuisine of the places I visit. As this drive is a once in a lifetime experience, I did not want to be very strict with my diet and miss these experiences. I still stuck to two meals a day on most of the days but made the most of those two meals. A few pictures of various food that I got to taste during this trip.

Starting with South Indian - Sambhar rice and curd rice at A2B on the way from Coimbatore to Bangalore.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sambar-rice.jpg

Moving on to Italian – garlic bread, pizza and tiramisu on the day before we started from Bangalore.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pizza-tiramisu.jpg

Steaming hot idlis watching the beautiful sunrise.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-idlis.jpg

Hot aloo parathas in a Dhaba after Darbhanga
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-aloo-parathas.jpg

Bhelmuri and pani puris in Siliguri.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pani-puri.jpg

Rosgullas in WB in a small shop as well in the resort buffet.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rosgullas.jpg

Tari poha in Nagpur, a local delicacy. This is poha served with a curry like missal. The restaurant did not have this in their menu. Dr.AD asked if we could get this dish and the owner of the restaurant made this for us.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tari-poha.jpg

Samosas and kachoris in Bodh Gaya
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-samosa-kachori.jpg

Tea from a small tea shop. As the cups used to be very small, I and AD started ordering 4 teas straightaway.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea.jpg

Tea in earthen cups near Mirzapur. This was bliss in the cold foggy morning.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-matka-chai.jpg

Fish curry meals in a small home in WB
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-fish-curry-meals.jpg

Thukpa and momos near Namsai
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-momos-thukpa.jpg

Black tea in a shop in Assam on the way to Kaziranga.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-black-tea.jpg

Tea, the traditional way at Kaziranga.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-traditional-tea.jpg

Rice, dal, pork, and vegetables in a village somewhere near Tura
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rice-dal-pork.jpg

Jakkep (made of sticky rice powder and sesame), pitta (a sweet made of rice flour) and sticky rice fried rice that Mrs. Oswin made for us at Dongrama homestay in Tura. These were super delicious.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-jakkep.jpg

Experienced some fine dining too. Smoked pork and sizzling brownie at Jiva resort, Sohra
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-smoked-pork-brownie.jpg

Sandwiches and omelet at Na I Me homestay at Nohwet in Meghalaya
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sandwich-omlete.jpg

Food from innumerable dhabas throughout the journey. Every one of them was tasty.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dhabas.jpg

Roti, paneer and dal from one such dhaba. This is one serving of half paneer and half dal. Megazoid had a similar plate. Check out the bill. This became our staple food during the return drive from Siliguri to Bangalore – tasty and at the same time light on the stomach.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-roti-dal-bill.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 16th January 2022 at 16:09.
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Old 16th January 2022, 11:18   #6
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Default Places of Stay

Places of Stay

During the trucker’s life parts of the trip, we stayed in standard hotels and resorts.

In Pasighat, Kaziranga, and Meghalaya most of our stays were in homestays. These homestays do not provide the luxury of the resorts, but allow us to experience the local culture, food, hospitality, and lifestyle. These homestays were an important part of experience for me in this road trip.

Donyi Hango Homestay, Pasighat:
In Pasighat we stayed at Donyi Hango homestay in tents which was a unique experience.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-donyi-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-donyi-2.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-donyi-3.jpg

Wildgrass Resort, Kaziranga:
In Kaziranga, we stayed in a place called wild grass resort. Though this is a resort, the settings were more like a homestay with cozy rooms and yummy food.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-wild-grass-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-wild-grass-2.jpg

Dongrama homestay, Tura:
In Tura, we stayed in a homestay called Dongrama with simple yet clean rooms. The highlight of this homestay was the hospitality offered by the hosts Mr. and Mrs. Oswin and the tasty food Mrs. Oswin made for us for breakfast.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dongrama-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dongrama-2.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-dongrama-3.jpg

Huro A Song homestay, Tura:
The next day we stayed in another homestay called Huro A Song. The highlight of this homestay was the cottage made of bamboo and the tent. A few pictures of this homestay.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-huro-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-huro-2.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-huro-3.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-huro-4.jpg

Na I Me homestay, Nohwet:
We stayed in another homestay called Na I Me in Nohwet village. This home is constructed of wood with cozy rooms, a living room and a kitchen where we had our meals. The highlights of this homestay was that this was situated in a village and Hali our host showed us great hospitality and made us delicious meals.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-na-i-mei-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-na-i-mei-2.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-na-i-mei-3.jpg

Barapani island Eco resort, Umiam lake:
The last day in Meghalaya we stayed at Barapani Island Eco Resort. We had a wooden cottage that was floating on the lake on barrels and a tent overlooking the lake. Having tea with the view of the lake and dinner under kerosene lights (they also had solar powered lights) on the floating cottage was a unique experience.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-barapani-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-barapani-2.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-barapani-3.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:35.
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Old 16th January 2022, 11:22   #7
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Default The Car

The Car

This travelogue will not be complete without a mention about the car – the BMW 330i GT.

Many friends raised doubts about the capability of a low-slung sedan making this long a road trip into areas where there are no BMW workshops. However, from the past 4 years of owning this car, I know it to be a reliable car and was confident that it would do well. And do well, it did! It took the bad roads the same way as it took the butter smooth highways.

A Gran Tourismo is meant to be driven on long tours and this car served us very well in this trip and proved to be worthy of the GT badge. Dr.AD called us “The Gran Tourismos” and even got a couple of custom T-Shirts made. Below is a picture of I and AD in these T-Shirts with the GT.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gran-tourismos.jpg

A very important advantage of the GT is the huge boot space. Though we had the full size spare wheel and the 10 liter jerry can, it still could take three duffel bags, 2 laptop bags and a camera bag along other small bags in the boot. We placed two other duffel bags below the rear seats.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-luggage-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-luggage-2.jpg

There are some disadvantages with a low slung sedan as well. In Meghalaya, we used to park the car at the place of stay and use the Fortuner for visiting local places of interest. There were a few places where the 3GT would have struggled (but would have managed) and one place which was out of its reach. These are the places where having the Fortuner with us was a boon. If I had to make the same trip again with only the 3GT, then I would probably hire a local cab to visit these places.

A few pictures of the car through this journey.

Through broken roads.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-broken-roads.jpg

The GT basking in beautiful sunrise on the highway
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sunrise-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sunrise-2.jpg

In the tea gardens at Dooars.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-3.jpg

In front of the Monastery in Kalimpong. Picture Credit: Dr. AD
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-monastery.jpg

With the mighty Fortuner enjoying sunset
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-fortuner-moon.jpg

GT, sunset, and the moon
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-moon.jpg

Waterhole
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-waterhole.jpg

Amidst tall trees. Picture Credit: Mrs. Megazoid
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tall-trees-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tall-trees-2.jpg

On a cold foggy morning with the fortuner. Picture Credit: Mrs. Megazoid
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-foggy-morning-fortuner.jpg

Another one with the Fortuner
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-fortuner.jpg

With the mountains in the background. Picture credit: Dr.AD
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-mountains-background.jpg

With snow capped mountains in the background.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-snow-cap-background.jpg

The car also attracted a lot of attention. There were many instances where people would approach me and ask if it was ok to take a few pictures with the car. There were many friends who had discouraged me from taking the BMW on such a long drive and the dangers it may attract. However, there was not a single instance where we felt threatened. Everyone we met on the road was friendly and displayed innocent curiosity to the BMW being there. A few pictures of the attention the car received. Dr.AD captured these pictures.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-4.jpg

With this post, I conclude the experience part of the travelogue. Will cover details of preparations made and places visited from the next post.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:48.
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Default Preparations for the Trip

Preparations for the Trip

I just did some basic preparations before embarking on the journey.

Oil Service for the Car:

The car is under BSI, and the oil change requirement came just before the journey. Got the oil change service done at KUN Motors in Coimbatore.

Brake pads:

During service I had asked the service manager to check the life of the rear brake pads which had a life of 14000 kilometers per the iDrive. Once before, I have had the experience of this going from 12000 kilometers to 2000 kilometers in a day. I did not want the brake pads to give me a replacement notification when in the north east with no BMW showroom within reach. The service manager inspected the pads and assured me that the pads have even wear and have enough life left to cover the 10000 kilometer journey. And thankfully the pads made it through. I was a little conscious of the pads and was using the gear box in sports mode for engine braking in the hills and on highways with lots of traffic. There were times when I completely stopped worrying about the pads and drove the car as it should be in the twisty mountain roads in Meghalaya.

The spare wheel:

The car comes with a space saver which has a speed limit of 80kph. In the event of a puncture, the space saver would be a restriction. So, we decided to take a full-size spare wheel in the boot. My friend and TBHPian quicksilver helped with a full-size spare wheel. Thankfully we did not have to use this.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-spare-wheel.jpg

Jerry Can for Fuel:

At the beginning of journey, we were worried about availability of fuel stations in the interiors of Northeast. So, we carried a 10-liter jerry can in the boot planning to keep it filled once we hit Northeast. But we never faced any shortage of fuel pumps and did not use the jerry can. I filled normal petrol in all fuel stations including small stations in the rural Meghalaya and the car did not skip a beat.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-jerry-can.jpeg

Other equipment:

I also carried a jump starter cable, puncture kit, tire inflator and seat belt cutter / glass breaker in the car. I considered carrying a tow cable. But after discussing with Dr.AD and Robi decided not to carry one as the BMW anyway can't be towed and needs a flat bed.

ILP for Arunachal:

To drive in Arunachal Pradesh, it is necessary to get the ILP. I have read in some travelogues how it takes a few hours to get this permit at the borders. These days ILP has been made online and it is a straightforward process to apply online for ILP by uploading some documents like Aadhar and DL with details of places to visit, and dates of visit. The permit was issued within a day. We kept a printout of the permit. At the check post while crossing into Arunachal, they asked us if we have the permit, but did not check.

COVID Restrictions:

We were constantly checking for latest COVID protocols by states. Thankfully, none of the states needed an RTPCR certificate. They all just asked for double vaccination certificate. So we carried a few printouts of the vaccination certificate. The only place where they asked if we had vaccination certificate was at Assam border. When we said we have the certificate they just waved us through without looking at it. There was no checking in any other state border.

I also prepared the below checklist for the journey.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-checklist.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:46.
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Default Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya

The first two days was just driving from morning to evening. We did Bangalore to Nagpur on first day and Nagpur to Mirzapur on the second day. We decided to take a break from this routine and visit some place. From Mirzapur, we decided to visit Bodh Gaya, spend a few hours exploring the Mahabodhi temple and the Buddha statue and then proceed to Darbhanga to halt for the night.

We left Mirzapur hotel early in the morning and were greeted by this dense fog as soon as we left the town. We tried to drive at a very low speed following some trucks but decided to take a small break and wait for the fog to clear.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-fog.jpg

We found a small tea shop serving tea in earthen cups and stopped for tea.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-matka-chai-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-matka-chai-2.jpg

Soon the fog cleared up and we resumed driving. The drive to Bodh Gaya was good with 4 lane highway till Sherghati. After this we had to drive through narrow village roads and reached Bodh Gaya.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-driving-through-village-roads.jpg

Entering Bodh Gaya
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-entering-bodh-gaya.jpg

The Mahabodhi temple, which literally means “Great Awakening Temple”. This temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the year 250BC, 200 years after Buddha attained enlightenment. This temple has been declared as a UNESCO heritage site. The Mahabodhi tree in the temple is a descendent of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. I was expecting a very calm and peaceful temple. But it turned out to be a commercial place with lots of commercial activities and chaos. I couldn’t experience the peace that I had expected but enjoyed the architecture of the temple. A few pictures of the Mahabodhi temple.

The entrance to the temple.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-entrance.jpg

A few views of the main tower
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tower-view-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tower-view-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tower-view-3.jpg

The tower is covered with a cap made of gold.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tower-gold-top.jpg

The original Asoka pillar broken during Ghazni invasion.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-asoka-pillar.jpg

Symbol of feet decorated with flowers.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-feet-decorated-flowers.jpg

Flower decoration along the walls.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-flower-decoration.jpg

A big bell.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-bell.jpg

The descendant of the Mahabodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-mahabodhi-tree.jpg

Sculptured walls.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sculptured-walls-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sculptured-walls-2.jpg

A few pictures of the architecture.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-architecture-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-architecture-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-architecture-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-architecture-4.jpg

The statue of Buddha in the sanctum.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-buddha-statue.jpg

A pond with another Buddha statue.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pond.jpg

After the temple, we went to have a look at the 80 feet Buddha statue that was consecrated in the year 1989.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-80-feet-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-80-feet-2.jpg

We left Bodh Gaya at 3:00PM and proceeded to Darbhanga where we had booked our stay. This was one of the toughest drives we experienced with 100km of narrow roads running through countless villages with heavy traffic and frequent speed breakers. After we crossed this section, we got stuck at the outskirts of Patna in a heavy traffic jam. It took us 5 hours to travel 120km. The remaining 120km was covered in 2 hours and we reached the hotel at around 10PM.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 19:56.
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Default Kalimpong and Dooars

Kalimpong and Dooars

We had planned to spend a day in Kalimpong that would give us some rest and also do some drive around enjoying some scenery. We decided to first visit the Buddhist monastery, and Google put us through some non-existent roads. I tried to negotiate through these bad roads expecting to see the road getting better, but it only got worse. At some point we decided to beat a retreat back to hotel and retry in another longer route.

The road that Google put us through.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-broken-roads.jpg

We then used BMW's navigation which which took us through proper roads and finally we reached the monastery.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-bmw-navigation-rescue.jpg

But we found that the monastery was closed due to COVID.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-monastery-closed.jpg

So we spent some time taking pictures of the GT in front of the monastery. Dr.AD clicked this beautiful picture of the GT and the monastery.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-monastery.jpg

After the monastery, we drove to some nearby viewpoints.

A golf course used by officers in the army.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-golf-course-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-golf-course-2.jpg

Some beautiful views of the valley with the Teesta river.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-valley-view.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-teesta-river.jpg

Men in blue.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-men-blue.jpg

We then went in search of some local food. To our surprise, all the hotels were closed as it was Sunday. We found a small hotel that was open and had Thukpa and noodles.

The hotel had this funny sign at the entrance.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-no-stupid-people.jpg

Thukpa and noodles.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-thukpa-noodles.jpg

After this we called it a day returned back to the hotel and rested well.

The next day's drive was a very short drive to Dooars which was less than 100km from Kalimpong. This drive took us through some scenic routes and tea gardens. We spent lot of time taking pictures of the scenery and the car.

The winding road running along Teesta river.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-teesta-river-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-teesta-river-2.jpg

We crossed the Coronation bridge which is an arched bridge built over the Teesta river.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-coronation-bridge.jpg

We drove through such beautiful roads to Dooars.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-road-dooars.jpg

Beautiful tea gardens.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-1.jpg
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-2.jpg

The GT in the tea gardens
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-tea-garden.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-tea-garden-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gt-tea-garden-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-tea-garden-3.jpg

We then checked into Sinclairs Retreat and had a sumptuous lunch and rested for the rest of the day.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-lunch.jpg

The next day we drove to Tezpur and halted at Greenwood hotel. The next day we started very early in the morning at 3:00AM and drove to Namsai to meet Robi and Megazoid. From Namsai, we drove through some scenic routes to reach Pasighat.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 20:01.
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Default Pasighat – Pongging Hanging Bridge and Sirki Waterfall

Pasighat – Pongging Hanging Bridge and Sirki Waterfall

We spent a full day in Pasighat. Robi talked to the homestay owner and got her inputs on places to visit. She recommended to visit the Pongging hanging bridge, Sirki waterfalls and some view points nearby.

As we drove to Pongging hanging bridge, we stopped at various view points with beautiful views of river Brahmaputra.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-brahmaputra-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-brahmaputra-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-brahmaputra-3.jpg

The view of Yamne river from one of the viewpoints.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-yamne-river.jpg

Pongging Hanging Bridge

The Pongging hanging bridge is built over the Yamne river which merges with the river Brahmaputra (also known as Siang river). This bridge is the only way of connectivity to the village of Pongging. The bridge is made of steel cables and bamboos to create a hanging structure. We had to trek down several hundreds of feet to reach the bridge. Though the swaying bridge was scary, I and Megazoid decided to cross the bridge and reach the other side. We got some wonderful views of the river Brahmaputra on the other side of the bridge and we spent some time enjoying the view and taking some pictures. A few pictures of the bridge.

Trekking down to the bridge.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-trekking-down.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-trekking-down-2.jpg

View of the bridge as we trekked down.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-view-bridge.jpg

The bridge.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-hanging-bridge.jpg

Yamne river flowing below the bridge.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-yamne-river-below-bridge.jpg

Yamne river merging with Brahmaputra
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-yamne-joining-brahmputra.jpg

Details of the date the bridge was commissioned.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-bridge-details.jpg

View of the Brahmaputra on the other side of the bridge.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-view-brahmputra-other-side.jpg

Selfie time.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-selfie-other-side.jpg

Sirki waterfalls

After this we went to the Sirki waterfalls and spent some time enjoying the falls and the stream. A few pictures from this spot.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sirki-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sirki-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sirki-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-sirki-4.jpg

Sirki photography in progress. Picture Credit: Dr.AD
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-photoshoot.jpg

After this we visited the Pasighat town market to do some shopping and then returned back to the homestay. A few pictures of the Pasighat market.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-market-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-market-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-market-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-shopping.jpg

Last edited by graaja : 16th January 2022 at 20:04.
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Default Kaziranga Safari

Kaziranga Safari

On 1st January, we did the Kaziranga safari. At the Wild Grass resort, they had arranged for a Gypsy to take us to the Safari. We left the resort at 6:30AM and reached the Kaziranga National Park at 7:00AM. There was a long line of vehicles waiting to start the safari. After our driver got the permit, we started the safari at around 7:30AM.

We spotted lots of one horned Rhinos, water buffalos, deer and large variety of water birds. I had carried my Canon EOS-R mirrorless camera with a 70-300 telephoto lens and was able to get some good pictures of the animals and birds. Following are some pictures taken in the Safari.

Our ride for the day.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-our-ride.jpg

Long queue of vehicles at the gate
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-jeeps-waiting.jpg

We spotted this mother and calf at the entrance. These were tamed ones and should be part of the elephant safari.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-elephants.jpg

The vehicles in safari. Most of these were Gypsies.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-jeep-safari.jpg

The elephant safari. The elephants got closer to the rhinos as they could get off the road.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-elephant-safari.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-11.jpg

A few rhino pictures
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-12.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-4.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-rhino-5.jpg

Next to the rhinos, the largest sightings we had was of the water buffalos.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-water-buffalo-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-water-buffalo-2.jpg

We spotted a few deer too.

Swamp deer.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-deer-1.jpg

Hog deer.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-deer-2.jpg

As there were lots of water bodies in the sanctuary, we spotted many species of wetland birds. Thanks a lot to @robimahanta in helping with the bird IDs.

Spot billed Pelicans.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pelicans.jpg

Black Ibis fishing.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-ibis-1.jpg

And one of them catches a fish.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-ibis-2.jpg

Egret in flight.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-egret.jpg

A Blue Jay in flight
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-blue-jay.jpg

Bar headed geese.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-duck-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-duck-2.jpg

Northern lapwing
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-bird-1.jpg

Redshank
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-bird-2.jpg

Pheasant tailed Jacana
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-jacana.jpg

Wooly neck Stork
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-stork.jpg

And a few landscapes.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-landscape-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-landscape-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-landscape-3.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-landscape-4.jpg

After the safari, we returned back to the hotel, had lunch and checked out. We then drove to Guwahati and checked into Greenwood resort in the evening. Mrs. Megazoid also arrived from Bangalore and Robi and Megazoid went and picked her from the airport. The next day Robi and AD left for Bangalore and I, Mr. and Mrs. Megazoid left for Meghalaya.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 20:10.
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Default Tura – Pitcher plant, Waterfalls, Rock formations and Siju caves

Tura – Pitcher plant, Waterfalls, Rock formations and Siju caves

On 2nd January, we started very early in the morning and started our drive towards Tura. We drove through beutiful winding roads which had almost zero traffic. We stopped at many places to take some pictures of our rides.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-stop-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-stop-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-stop-3.jpg

A brief snack break.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-stop-4.jpg

We then met with a guide that Mrs. Megazoid had arranged. The guide took us to some interesting places. First he took us to a place where there were many pitcher plants growing by the road side. Pitcher plants are endemic to Meghalaya and are carnivorous plants. They have a tube with a lid. When some insects enter the tube, the lid closes and the plant then digests the insects. A few pictures of this pitcher plant.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pitcher-1.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pitcher-2.jpg

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-pitcher-3.jpg

Mrs. Megazoid photographing the pitcher plant
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-photographing-pitcher.jpg

The guide then took us to a home located inside a plantation where he had arranged for lunch. We tasted some delicious local food - sticky rice wrapped in a leaf (I did not get the name of the leaf right), pork and steamed vegetables. I have covered about meeting this family and about this lunch in previous sections.
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The guide then took us to a small water fall in the area (did not get the name). We trekked a little distance in the forest to reach the falls.

A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-waterfall-1.jpg

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Megazoid enjoying the serene beauty.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-megazoid-enjoying-waterfall.jpg

After this, the guide took us to another place where there were gigantic rock formations with gigantic trees growing on these rocks with roots as thick as a pillar.

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We had to squeeze through narrow cracks in some places.
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Monkeying around.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-monkeying-around.jpg

Spent some time walking through the maze of rocks and then we left for Siju caves.

Siju caves which means bat caves is a cave system formed of limestones that is 4 kilometers long with a stream flowing inside the caves. We waded through this stream for some distance. We then came to a section where there were thousands of bats on the ceiling and there were bat droppings falling down continuously. The guide was quite used to this. But for us this was a little uncomfortable. So we decided to return back after looking at the bats for some time. If ever there was a regret for me in this road trip, it was that we did not have the courage to go deeper into the caves. I hope I get to return back to Meghalaya and finish this trek into deeper sections of the caves. A few pictures from this cave.

Entrance to cave.
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Stalactites inside the cave.
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Light at the end of the tunnel. Picture Credit: Mrs. Megazoid.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-end-tunnel.jpg

We then bid goodbye to the guide and drove to Tura and checked into Dongrama homestay for the evening. I have explained about our experience with the owner of this homestay and the delicious food we tasted here in previous sections.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 10:28.
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Default Tura – Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary, Fish sanctuary and Daribogkre

Tura – Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary, Fish sanctuary and Daribogkre

On 3rd January, we checked out from Dongrama homestay and checked into another home stay called Huro A Song about 25km from Tura. After checking in, we went out for some sight seeing. We had another guide accompanying use for the day.

We first went to the Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary. Hoolock Gibbons are the only apes found in India. And the number of these apes are on the decline and these are endangered species. At the sanctuary, they rescue Gibbons from home captivity and after holding them for some time, release them into the wild. Though all the Gibbons we saw were inside cages, we also found one Gibbon in the wild and clicked some pictures of this Gibbon in its naturaly habitat - tall trees. When we were there, the caretakers produced some type of sound which triggers all the gibbons to make loud noises (called gibbon song). It was ear shattering even to my hearing impaired ears. The others almost got a headache!

The poster about Gibbons.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-gibbon-details.jpg

Gibbons under captivity.
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The wild Gibbon - a female.
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After this we went to a fish sanctuary. This is not a sanctuary per se, but a river body where there are lots of fish and the locals and tourists come to feed the fish with puffed rice balls. It was fun seeing the fish playing football with the rice balls and the rice balls getting consumed in no time.

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After the fish sanctuary, we visited the orange orchards and a view point called Daribogkre. We watched how they plucked oranges from trees and also bought some fresh oranges which were quite sweet.

In the orange orchard.
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Oranges being plucked.
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The Fortuner in the orchard.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-orange-3.jpg

Some nice views at Daribogkre.
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We then returned back to the homestay, had our dinner and spent some time around a camp fire.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-evening-around-campfire.jpg

The next day, the cold morning started with tea by the fire.
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And then this delicious breakfast.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-breakfast.jpg

After this we checked out and started our drive to Sohra (Cherrapunji).

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 11:47.
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Default Mawphanlur Natural Lake

Mawphanlur Natural Lake

On the 4th of January, we checked out from Huro A Song homestay and started our drive to Cherrapunji. The first 200km, we drove through some scenic roads with almost no traffic.

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Before Cherrapunji, we took a small detour and visited Mawphanlur natural lake. There was a small hillock near this lake which offered some great views of the lake. As we reached the place just around sunset, every other vehicle on the hillock had left and we had the hillock for ourselves. We spent some time in the dark evening photographing the cars and the views.

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And Megazoid clicked this awesome silhouette of me with the Fortuner.
A Road Trip to Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya in a BMW 330i GT-explorer.jpg

After having our fill of photographing the cars, we left the place and drove to Cherrapunji. As we neared Cherrapunji, the traffic became worse and the progress slowed down. We checked into Jiva resorts at 8:30 in the evening.

Last edited by graaja : 17th January 2022 at 20:16.
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