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Old 22nd June 2024, 13:52   #1
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Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Ten years have passed, filled with countless trips and unforgettable memories, and throughout it all, The ‘Lazy-Turtle' has been our faithful companion, conquering every terrain and weather. I only began using Google Maps recently, but whenever I glance at my timeline, it's evident how deeply connected I am to the Himalayas. I always had the intention of writing user reviews for Lazy-Turtle (Mahindra Bolero SLX - Year 2013) after 3 years, 5 years, 100,000 km, and 150,000 km. However, the review blog never materialized, and suddenly, I realized what Lazy-Turtle was all about. I felt a sense of regret for not documenting my experiences with Lazy-Turtle through a blog, which inspired me to embark on a solo trip in tribute to its adventurous decade.


There was never any doubt that we would choose the Himalayas again to celebrate the freedom and endurance of the last 10 years. However, with a tight schedule, I was concerned about finding the perfect place where we could truly enjoy ourselves.

I constantly look for new places that can be explored over an extended weekend, often scrolling through my previous journeys, it struck me that retracing the first route where Lazy-Turtle embarked on a family trip to the Himalayas is not a bad idea, especially since it's one of my favourites, I decided to choose the Old Silk Route for my solo journey.


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Timeline from google map

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Lazy Turtle after 10 years


Before embarking on this journey, let's review some of the major trips where Lazy-Turtle has been my reliable companion, demonstrating its proven track record over the past decade. While I may not have an exact count of the smaller trips, the ones listed here should provide an overall picture of Lazy-Turtle's performance.


Dec 2023
Yuksom / Kaluk ( East Sikkim), Tinchuley / Panbu ( North Bengal )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-explorer.html (Peak Moments: A Year-End Himalayan Odyssey with My Little Explorer)

Nov 2023
Old Silk Route ( East Sikkim), Tinchuley / Darjeeling ( North Bengal )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...zy-turtle.html (Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle)

March 2023
Solo Drive South Sikkim ( Phamthang )
Blog Pending

Dec 2022 - Jan 2023
Winter Kashmir
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...r-kashmir.html (Chasing the Snow | Winter in Kashmir)

July 2022
Chisang / Munsong / Tukvar / Darjeeling (North Benga)l
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...een-hills.html (Tishan meets Chisang along with Munsong, Tukvar, and The Queen of Hills)

Dec 2019
Dzongu ( North Sikkim) & Borong ( South Sikkim )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...gu-borong.html (It was us against the world - Dzongu & Borong)

Aug 2019
Spiti
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...l-pradesh.html (On the road again! Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh)

April 2019
Tumling / Chatakpur ( North Bengal )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...chatakpur.html (Halfway to Paradise | Tumling & Chatakpur)

October 2018
Ladakh and South Kashmir
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...h-kashmir.html (Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir)

April 2018
Silk Route ( East Sikkim) / Salary Gaon and Darjeeling ( North Bengal)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...xperience.html (Gnathang, East Sikkim: An exhilarating driving experience)

Dec 2017
Narkanda, Kalpa, Chitkul, Sarahan (Himachal) / Chopta, Sari, Deoriatal, Kartik Swami, Kaushani, Munsyari, Mukteswar (Uttarakhand )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...tarakhand.html (Snow-laden Himachal and Heavenly Uttarakhand)

Nov 2017
Puri / Rambha
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ha-odisha.html (Preface to Puri and Rambha, Odisha)

Sept 2017
Yuksom, Tashiding, Borong ( West and South Sikkim)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...th-sikkim.html (Watching the sky from another sky - West & South Sikkim)

March 2017

Mustang Valley, Pokhara and others ( Nepal )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ing-trail.html (Nepal: Driving expedition through the trekking trail)

Dec 2016
Rinchenpong, Okhrey, Barsey, Pelling ( West Sikkim )
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ey-varsey.html (Another escape to Majestic Sikkim - Richenpong, Pelling, Okhrey & Varsey)

Aug 2016
Rishop, Lolegaon, Tinchule ( North Bengal)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...tinchuley.html (Monsoon drive to the art gallery of nature - Rishop, Loleygaon & Tinchuley)

April 2016
North Sikkim
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-my-diary.html (Kolkata to North Sikkim - Drive to relive the golden pages of my diary)

Dec 2015
Silk Route ( East Sikkim)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ilk-route.html (Sunrise to Sunset in the Lap of Himalayas - Old Silk Route)

Oct 2015
Western Arunachal
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...arunachal.html (The hidden paradise with splendid beauty and sparkling lakes Western Arunachal)

April 2015
Bhutan
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ss-bhutan.html (In a Mahindra Bolero to the Land of Happiness - Bhutan!)

Dec 2014
Yuksom ( West Sikkim) / Darjeeling
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ce-sikkim.html (Yuksom, West Sikkim - Drive to the birthplace of Sikkim)

May 2014
Silk Route (East Sikkim) / Ravangla ( South Sikkim) / Darjeeling ( Noth Bengal)
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-sunlight.html (Sikkim: Long winding road to serenity, the game of clouds & sunlight)

To be continued ...
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Old 22nd June 2024, 14:07   #2
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re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Continued ...

The journey was brief, and since the plan was straightforward, there wasn't much preparation required apart from packing a few warm clothes, charging the camera, and grabbing some chocolates to starve off hunger on the highway. Since winter had yet to arrive in Bengal, there wasn't much fog on the highway, and I arrived at Behrampur Pappu Dhaba before 10 AM. After enjoying a satisfying plate of chicken rice for breakfast-cum-lunch, I took a short break and then continued towards Siliguri. Another break in Dalkhola for a cup of tea, and I reached Siliguri by 7:00 PM, completing an hour's journey including breaks. I had an early dinner and found a budget-friendly and secure place to park and stay for the night.


The Silk Route Story:


Due to going to bed early the night before, my body clock malfunctioned, and I woke up a little earlier than usual. Instead of lazing around in the hotel, I decided to leave early and spend some time on the way. Since I didn't have precise information about the timing of the permission, which had changed multiple times during the COVID season, it seemed prudent to reach Rongli police station early and use the time to manage any uncertainties.

Before reaching Rongli, I came across a place where my family and I had taken an old picture on Lazy-Turtle's first trip. I took a break, compared the picture with a current one from 10 years later, and noticed that not much had changed except for the wider tar road. I reminisced about those times for a few moments before continuing towards Rongli.

The Sikkim police have now established a procedure for Private Agencies to obtain permits. I discovered that the current season is ideal for witnessing blooming flowers, adorning the hillsides along the roads, and finally, arguing a forest entry fee per passenger at the Padamchen checkpost, a regulation that started 2-3 years ago and was new to me. With the roads mostly empty and fewer visitors due to exam season, I relished every moment of my solo journey, taking countless breaks to savor Zuluk. I realized I had arrived without realizing it and continued towards Thambi. Thambi was its usual quiet self due to the off-season. I paused for a cup of tea and witnessed a mesmerizing live timelapse of clouds drifting across the sky. During this break, the most captivating sight was the playful game of hide and seek between the clouds and the sun. The snow-capped mountains, viewed from various angles, made each breath a reminder of freedom and simplicity.
With no plans for the rest of the day, I decided to spend more time in Thambi, a choice that proved to be a wise one as I continued towards Gnathang Valley. A few kilometres from Thambi, I noticed that the road had doubled in width, its dark, wide tar surface starkly contrasting with the peaceful surroundings. I could easily imagine that during the peak visitor season, this road would be used like a race track by rental cars. The scenery changed dramatically after Laxman Chowk; the landscape was covered with red, dying plants, seemingly awaiting for the arrival of winter and the first snowfall. Due to the off-season, I was able to find a homestay easily and at a minimal price. I didn't encounter any other tourists during my stay, which made me feel like a member of the family. Watching the sunset with a cup of tea on the homestay's porch was a delightful addition to my day. The homestay was situated in a picturesque location, slightly higher than other accommodations near the police station. While the uphill hike might pose a challenge for some, I found the location attractive, especially with the room offering a clear view of the Krishna Mandir in the valley. Dinner was simple yet delicious, and the hospitality was outstanding. The evening was spent chatting with the host and exchanging stories about our families and cultures.

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To be continued ...
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Old 22nd June 2024, 14:13   #3
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re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Continued .. Silk Route

On my 6th stay in Gnathang and 7th visit to the place, there was nothing new to explore. Instead, I decided to take a walk under the sun the next morning. It was the end of November, and the morning temperature was sub-zero. The chilling wind and low temperature made me feel lazy for the day, so I left the homestay after breakfast only. Despite the low temperature, the sunlight was intense.

Initially, I waited in the field area, hoping some kids might come for football or cricket, but I didn't find anyone. So, after wandering around for some time, I headed towards Kupup and Old Baba Mandir. The journey was slow, and due to the intense sunlight, I preferred to stay inside the car until the 11th mile. When the sunlight became less harsh, I had lunch at a well-located restaurant near the 11th mile.

I hadn't planned to stay in Gangtok, but I didn't have any further plans either. After passing Gangtok, I thought about a good place to stay so I could reach Darjeeling the next day for some good food and coffee. After calling around, I found out that the Gurung Guesthouse was offering a good deal as it was almost empty. I debated whether reaching Tinchuley at 8:00 PM was a good idea, but as I was travelling solo, I decided to go for it and reached Tinchuley at 8:00 PM.

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Rainy and Winter Colors


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Kupup

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Tsongmo

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Some snaps of next day while driving from Gnathang to Tinchuley

To be continued ...

Last edited by PointZero : 22nd June 2024 at 14:14.
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Old 22nd June 2024, 14:21   #4
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re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

The Tinchuley Story:

Tinchuley, as always, offered stunning scenery from various vantage points. After enjoying a cup of bed tea and a quick freshen-up, I began my day intending to spend a good amount of time in the tea garden. It was still early and even the roadside tea and Maggie(noodles) shop had not yet opened. So I savoured the serene atmosphere of the tea garden before ascending to the Peshok-Darjeeling road.

The season heralded the arrival of winter, with flowers blooming here and there. The weather was chilly, yet the sunlight was inviting. The grass and tea gardens remained lush green, anticipating the onset of winter. It was a blend of harshness and mildness, with a hint of mist, creating a magical Himalayan beauty.

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My next stop was Darjeeling, and I arrived around 11:00 AM, checking into my usual accommodation, Alice Villa.

To be continued ...
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Old 22nd June 2024, 14:26   #5
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re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

The Darjeeling Story:

The story of Darjeeling is somewhat common, with its offerings of good food, great coffee, and the joy of rediscovering the old with a renewed freshness. During this visit, I dedicated some time to shopping, as the place was less crowded due to the exam season. I have lost count of how many times I've visited Darjeeling, but to this day, I have never felt bored or unfulfilled. Instead, each visit has replenished my energy for the long journey ahead to Kolkata the next day


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Approaching Darjeeling



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Darjeeling Vibes


The Return Journey:

The return journey began early in the morning, knowing there was a long distance to cover to reach home, and I had gone to bed early the previous evening. Instead of taking the Simana & Mirik road to reach Siliguri. Along the way, I called a friend in Simana (the owner of a homestay) who insisted on stopping for a tea break at his place. After a brief break, I continued my journey, stopping near a tea garden after Mirik. The drive towards Kolkata continued, and around 6:00 PM, I reached Pappu Dhaba before Baharampur for a light early dinner. I completed the rest of the journey, reaching home safely on the same day.

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Mirik Road while returning



The Shorts (10 second) story

As I conclude my solo drive with my trusty car, Lazy Turtle, celebrating its 10th birthday amidst the stunning landscapes of the Himalayas, I am filled with awe and gratitude. The journey has been a tapestry of beautiful places, from enchanting pine forests to breathtaking views at 15,000 feet, where snow-capped mountains meet the sky. The ever-changing game of clouds, the winding zig-zag roads, and the ten-year journey filled with memories flashed before my eyes. I reminisced about how much has changed in the last decade, yet the charm of the tea gardens, the allure of the Queen of Hills, Darjeeling, and the essence of the Himalayas remain timeless and unforgettable.

Thank You
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Old 23rd June 2024, 13:27   #6
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Re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Great memory TL dada. The Bolero has been one heck of a reliable vehicle to you. I remember you pulling us out of mud too when we had got stuck with the white Jeep in Newtown, Kolkata. Have always enjoyed seeing your Bolero in action. I wish to see many more such trips in future.

Regards,
Subhra
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Old 23rd June 2024, 18:39   #7
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Re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Lovely thread. Coincidentally, I subscribed to a Bolero POV guy from Kodaikanal just a few days back (because I live at a super boring place with zero scenery or nice roads).
These are, in fact, some of the best pictures of Zuluk that I have ever seen! Hoping to take some of my own next year.

Brings back memories. I would want to visit Keventer's again. It has been 25 years.
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Old 23rd June 2024, 21:30   #8
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Re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle-img_20170427_1145570101.jpeg


This reminds me of my Boleros. I used to own Boleros on two occasions. Since my posting is now in an urban area, and the big size of the vehicle is not suitable for the very narrow and busy traffic, I sold them without much complaint. Whenever I see a new Bolero with minimal customizations, it always brings back memories of my happy days in the rural area, which I assume is the best for a budget-conscious person living in a rural area
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Old 24th June 2024, 20:22   #9
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Re: Driving through time: 10 years of memories in the Lazy Turtle

No signs of being this being a 10-year-old Bolero. Very neat and well maintained @pointzero. Wishing you many more miles
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