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Old 25th June 2022, 20:35   #1
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Default Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

As this is my first travelogue in team bhp about my first self drive to the hills, please feel free to correct me or provide me any kind of advice that you have.
It was during the month of January this year. I was planning to have a road trip to Darjeeling, which would be my first time self drive to the hills. But nothing was planned ahead, and just couple of days before the planned start date I started to look for the places of stay! No leave was planned for me & my wife was having leave, So I decided to do work from the mountains! As opposed to our normal plans, this time we didn’t opt for off beat places, as the network & wifi connectivity was of high priority due to the plan of work from mountain. And we finalised to stay in the town of Darjeeling itself. Anyway, Darjeeling is be the place where I had my first trip together with my wife more than 30 years back( when both of us were toddlers!)

Below are two photoes of my wife & myself in Darjeeling, snapped with a gap of 30 years!


Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-f006aea23cc64639a74e60384b541d72.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-4c5689372ca14fd6b63d4a851d856273.jpeg

On Saturday my wife & me started from our hometown in Krishnanagar by our Ecosport . We started a bit late(by 2:30 pm) due to some pending work & did not book any place to stay in the night yet for that day. We availed the NH12(previously called as NH34) throughout the journey till Dalkhola. The road was quite good & four laned apart from some stretches near Beldanga. And in Baharampur, we availed the Swami Akhandananda Sarani (also called as Sargachhi bypass, the road is the left side bifurcation just after the Maruti Arena after Sargachhi) to avoid the traffic congestion of Baharampur. But while crossing the Bhagirathi river bridge at Baharampur, there was traffic jam which took some time. After that again the road was pretty good. But one major problem was the suddenly kept barriers which were placed to keep the speed in check. We avoided Malda town by taking the Malda bypass route. As we started quite late, called it a day to stay for the night at Raiganj. We took little more than 6 hours to reach Raiganj. By checking from internet we decided to book Hotel Vinayak near Raiganj station. It was clean & in a safe location with parking lot.


Next day we left early in the morning. We did not take the Bengal to Bengal road, rather went by the NH 12 via Dalkhola. It took around 1 hour to reach Dalkhola. In Dalkhola as usual the dreaded jam was there in single lane road, but as per the advice from the lorry drivers, we took the opposite direction of the road and were able to proceed forward.
After Dalkhola we continued by NH27 till Siliguri. This road is also in really good shape. After Dalkhola within next 1.5 hours we reached Siliguri.


From Siliguri we decided to go via Mirik. This road was superbly scenic. While playing hide & seek with the clouds & the coniferous trees we were gradually proceeding. As this was my first drive to the hills, initially I was a bit nervous, but after driving for some time I started really enjoying it! Just before Mirik we took the bypass to Darjeeling. But after that as per google map, instead of the regular road, we drove for some time through some earthen roads with very steep bends. After somehow after managing the same when we were closer to Darjeeling, then the weather became full of mist, we were hardly able to see beyond 10 feet. Very slowly & cautiously we proceeded and reached to Ghum. There we refilled the car for the only time in the entire trip. And then continued towards Darjeeling and at last reached in our resort.

Below are some photos towards the way to Mirik & Darjeeling.

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-4ac229044f7643d8ab86d91c9ad34c59.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-f0776958497a4e90b55f13eb57ac4f34.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-0a015e57678e46c6bc68bb64663f3918.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-1af2c4793194407e80f1f713806d9027.jpeg

The resort was by the Lal kothi road, a bit away from the Mall. But the view from the resort was nice. It was a century year old colonial bungalow turned into a resort.

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-710d5cc241204f48a779c661aa6d7939.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-55ff6a2c748d43a59064e053ca372ba1.jpeg

Relishing the warmth of fireplace on those chilly evenings after the office hours.
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-9bad5bdf251c47fcba52b48a1d11b305.jpeg

For the next two days we did not get chance to go out, after the office hours we just sat by the fireplace with a cup of coffee and cherished the silent chilled evenings. On Wednesday it was a holiday on the occasion of Republic Day. We had booked the tickets for the steam engine driven Darjeeling Himalayan rail for a joy ride. It was just a single coach carried by a steam locomotive. apart from one foreigner gentleman, we were the only passengers in the coach! That journey with chugging steam locomotive, flying coal particles with that typical coal smoke was simply superb & can pull you back to those bygone era!

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-1ef061e8d966483fad50748e71a2fde1.jpeg

It goes to the Ghum station(highest railway station in India) and then it again returns to Darjeeling. After coming back we had our lunch & then started to drive towards Lamahatta. On the way it started to rain, soon the rain got modified to mild snowfall. But there was not much snow accumulation, so the drive was not tough. The road condition was good. Lamahatta eco park was closed, so we proceeded towards Tinchuley from there. Near Tinchuley some we came across some beautiful tea gardens, but from Tinchuley the usual view of Kanchenjungha was not visible due to fog & clouds. After returning to the resort again the next two days we did not venture out due to office.

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-bd3651096e594389be4d4f66cfe4077b.jpeg

The famous glass noodles of Kunga restaurant, forgot to take the photo after the food was served, so giving only a photo of the menu card instead!
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-fc3343460aac4672b1ab4afb530cd3e7.jpeg


In front of the Lamahatta eco park
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-53f9c57d94394d379ee455580bf1999f.jpeg

In front of the Peace pagoda

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-948e4ec0e15b409aafdc62337e296d4f.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-0ed1c0389c014e39a9f67fde4eadda7f.jpeg

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-a0dce0429c734cbd836184726694b7a9.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-f190fc3145f6429e8fbb4220b5839894.jpeg

Thin layer of frost on the car

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-9f7230c0004a496eac74750020999b5a.jpeg

The beautiful tea gardens & the curvy road near Tinchuley

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-1c8f0eefed314c528bfc3cbaa3c81bc6.jpeg

On Friday, we thought of going to Siliguri after visiting Sittong. As per the google maps we continued our journey via Karseong. Till Karseong the route was along the Darjeeling Himalayan narrow gauge railway track(hill cart toad). The road condition was very good. After Karseong we took a narrow road & thereafter the ordeal started. We do not know which route we followed, but it was never ending & quite steep at places with no other people or vehicles around. In some place the road condition was pathetic! After a long journey through some tough terrain, we reached Namthing Pokhri in Sittong. Lesson learnt: Without discussing with local people or people with earlier experience, it is better to not venture into less known narrow roads as per google maps, especially more in the hilly areas. As opposed to our expectations, we did not see orange orchards full of oranges! But the dried up Namthing Pokhri was a splendid place to soothe our journey so far. There we had a chat with a local cab driver and took a different route via Latpanchar & Sevoke to Siliguri. After the long day, we went to a pub in the evening & then stayed at Siliguri in the night.

Kanchenjunga from our resort

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-808d10d59cd741feb56eaee9c1db445a.jpeg

Hill cart road

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-9bb1888b21314eb18c7d81bba2ac9f85.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-12c7c958ea634a65a4aa9f812d5d60ad.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-faa9cc841fb94384ae93114176157571.jpeg
Start of the unknown road.

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-d9f09537da38495d94d5a575cd4feda0.jpeg
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-449842da16074bd28bb2178c41e495fd.jpeg

Dried up Namthing Pokhri

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-427005a1647540bf9c9dcaacdd42d067.jpeg

The dense jungles of Dooars

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-4c31d33463744467ba11a15bec4c1867.jpeg

Alongside an unknown stream

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-0920e854ed1945f69c003886da1f1940.jpeg

Next day we left the hotel by 8 am. It was a long journey of almost 500 kilometres towards our home in Krishnanagar. In the morning after some time it became immensely foggy, but somehow we managed through that. This time also we took the Dalkhola route & again got stuck in the jam for some time. And this time on Farakka Barrage also we were stuck because of breakdown of a lorry. We had our lunch in roadside dhaba after crossing Farakka barrage. Most of the journey was uneventful & we reached our home by the evening.


I really loved my first hill driving experience. The Ecosport performed greatly both in the highways & in the serpentine hilly roads. I just loved the handling in the hills! The average mileage I got was around 15.5 km per litre including low gear driving in the hills & some spirited highway driving in the plains. The entire experience was absolutely awesome! And I would surely go for further drives in the hilly areas in the future.

Finishing the trip report with couple of parting shots. Please let me know if you have liked the travelogue.
Attached Thumbnails
Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-3c940c838b804590ae6e49cc181175c7.jpeg  

Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport-3145aed4899f477ba2afc6b5b9456719.jpeg  


Last edited by H0RSEPOWER : 27th June 2022 at 01:06. Reason: Changes done as per comments from moderator regarding the captions
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Old 27th June 2022, 06:43   #2
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Default re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th June 2022, 10:07   #3
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Wow, nice one. I thought the childhood love stories were only in movies. Your's is one living example!
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Old 27th June 2022, 10:22   #4
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Fantastic travelogue! Brought back a lot of memories, supplemented more so by the awesome B&W photographs.
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Old 27th June 2022, 11:25   #5
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Beautiful travelogue. The photos you've taken are gorgeous (I love the one with your ES on a winding road and the tracks on the left) and your car is even more handsome I hope to visit Darjeeling one day, possibly by road, time hasn't afforded me that luxury yet unfortunately

One unrelated question, did you decide to not change the wipers to the newer frameless type for some reason? I think frameless ones would really look good on the ES, especially that colour.
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Old 27th June 2022, 18:08   #6
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Very nice pictures and a great TL! Looks like you had loads of fun. Darjeeling is one of my favorite hill stations for the views it offers.

I have a few questions on your Ecosport. As it looks like a BS6 version, did you have any trouble with low pickup on the ghat roads? Or any DPF issues?

This apart, how much did you pay for the rear spoiler and the stepney cover?
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Old 27th June 2022, 19:28   #7
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Amazing travelogue! Loved the write up and the photos, especially the one of the Kanchenjunga and the one of your car next to the tracks. Your car looks handsome, I love the subtle touches like the spoiler and the spare wheel cover. Here's to many more trips, that I hope you share with all of us!
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Old 27th June 2022, 21:28   #8
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
Wow, nice one. I thought the childhood love stories were only in movies. Your's is one living example!
Thanks a lot for your really kind words! Yeah, after so many years still we are best friends & deeply in love with each other

Quote:
Originally Posted by car-go View Post
Fantastic travelogue! Brought back a lot of memories, supplemented more so by the awesome B&W photographs.
Thank you so much for your appreciation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiSW View Post
Beautiful travelogue. The photos you've taken are gorgeous (I love the one with your ES on a winding road and the tracks on the left) and your car is even more handsome I hope to visit Darjeeling one day, possibly by road, time hasn't afforded me that luxury yet unfortunately

One unrelated question, did you decide to not change the wipers to the newer frameless type for some reason? I think frameless ones would really look good on the ES, especially that colour.
Thank you so much for all your appreciation! Regarding the frameless wipers, actually I did not think about it earlier, but you have given a really nice suggestion. I might try it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Very nice pictures and a great TL! Looks like you had loads of fun. Darjeeling is one of my favorite hill stations for the views it offers.

I have a few questions on your Ecosport. As it looks like a BS6 version, did you have any trouble with low pickup on the ghat roads? Or any DPF issues?

This apart, how much did you pay for the rear spoiler and the stepney cover?
Thanks for your appreciation! Mine is a BS4 model, so did not face any issues with the DPF. The stepney cover & the rear spoiler did cost around 8000 rupees in total(if I remember correctly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Porcupine View Post
Amazing travelogue! Loved the write up and the photos, especially the one of the Kanchenjunga and the one of your car next to the tracks. Your car looks handsome, I love the subtle touches like the spoiler and the spare wheel cover. Here's to many more trips, that I hope you share with all of us!
Thank you so much for the appreciation! Glad to know that you liked my car.
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Old 29th June 2022, 18:14   #9
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Default Re: Workcation in the hills of Bengal | Road-trip in a Ford EcoSport

Nice travelogue! Brought back memories of our backpacking trip back in 2012 and the piercing and biting cold in the end of December. We visited Tiger Hills for sunrise bracing the sharp cold of 3am and another day had to queue up for a Tatkal ticket at the station again at 5am. The good old days I would say!
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