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Old 14th April 2009, 12:03   #1
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Default Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur

Safari Dicor LX 2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5-year Grand Ownership Travel [Sikkim - Gangtok & Extreme-Exclusive North Sikkim - Mandarmoni sea beach/Tajpur-on-sea]

Kolkata[20ft]-Gangtok[4715ft]-Lachen[8980ft]-Gurudongmar[18000-17800ft]-Chopta Valley[14000ft]-Lachung[8738ft]-Zekuphyak/Katao[14500ft]-Yumthang/Zero Point[13000ft]-Gangtok[4715ft]-Kolkata[20ft]-Mandarmoni/Tajpur-on-sea[0ft]-Kolkata[20ft].

A Himalaya to Bay of Bengal journey - the last part was not planned - my younger brother, wife and their child came to Kolkata from Chennai, getting some holidays due to office break, and with us off to Sikkim, he was bored just sitting in the house, and as we came back the very next day we travelled along with his family for the 1-day sea beach travel.

Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_1319e.jpg

Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_2371e.jpg

It was on October 15, 2007 when the Tata Safari 2.2 VTT LX was bought, within days of its release, and thus became the first VTT on Team-bhp. And we celebrated the 1-year onwership with the Lahaul-Spiti tour. (Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul])

With the Leh tour absolutely ruled out due to lack of funds and everything, the closest that gives that remote Ladakh feel was in N Sikkim itself and still economical, but of course if one gets the elusive rare permits for the private car.

North Sikkim was always in my mind but things are totally different here. One cannot travel by their own car and the very few those who have, has had connections to avail the permit - bike permits are somewhat easier to avail though still elusive. It was an extreme thin chance for me to get the permits for N Sikkim [Gurudongmar, Chopta Valley, Katao, Yumthang, and Yumesamdong] as private vehicles are not given due to taxi drivers union and their exclusive right to drive. This also applies for travel to Tsongmo Lake and Nathula from Gangtok. But as luck would have it, after standing in front of the Sikkim Police counter for 2 days, by luck Sikkim Police got convinced, that we were more of an adventure seeking people and that I was the sole driver.

Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_0851.jpg

In these 2 days, standing among all the taxi drivers and tour operators at the permit counter, made friends with quite a few, they also used to listen to the my travel stories - in one word, some of the friendliest people in this country are in Sikkim - ever polite and helpful.

Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_1604e.jpg

And contrary to all the premonitions from the false prophets of doom, the 2.2 VTT has and continues to keep the cynics at bay!! In a matter of around 10 days, the VTT travels from Kolkata at 20feet to 17000+feet and then back to 0 feet for a sea beach journey. Will never forget the sinister looking Chopta Valley - that picture is still etched in our minds, a snow hail chasing us and you can literally feel it on the rear view mirror and the dark ice mountains getting blurred fast. It is a cold and absolute desolate place - imagine seeing a waterfall frozen halfway down - it has turned to ice in the middle.

Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT - Aint Nothing to Mess With!!!
Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_1755e.jpg

In all this 1.5-year, the VTT has seen some fantastic journeys, from the very next day North Bengal Forest and Hill tour, to the unknown interior Orissa jungles [Kuldiha & Satkosia], to the rural badlands and wastelands of Purulia and West Midnapur districts of West Bengal, to the 1-year ownership fantastic travel to Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul and going to some places were few tourists venture to, and then the amazing overnight journey across the absolute desolate NH6 towards one of most remote and part Maoist affected forest of Orissa [Sunabeda] and the unbriddled joy of finding a hidden waterfall with blue waters and a white sandy beach in the middle of the forest, and lastly till this tour to the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in Jharkhand for some 2 days of zero population and absolute tranquility.

N Sikkim places [[Gurudongmar, Chopta Valley, Katao, Yumthang, and Yumesamdong] range from 14000 feet to 18000 feet. By itself these are energy sapping and test both the people and the machine to it extreme. Each place makes one climb from 8500 feet around to 14000-18000 feet in a matter of 5-6 hours. The vistas - absolutely breathtaking, few tourists - particularly from other states - venture to some of these parts. Whatever I write and how many photos I post, the words and images will never do justice to the landscapes that one encounters. And I wish big time that I had a DSLR rather than the 6 MP S3 IS camera.

Sikkim, as the rest of the country, had one of the driest winters but then suddenly like the Himalayan region it started having a lot of rain and snowfall for the last 1 month. As a result we travelled through some of the worst weathers, desolate places, and blocked and diversion filled roads. And again through all these the Safari 2.2 rode out these places without a hitch, issue, or whatever - It came brought the three of us[wife, 4-year child, and me] back safely from those fanstastic but dangerous [if you get stuck] lands each and every day. The ground clearance and the factory fitted tough engine guard of the Safari again proves to be a boon in this wildnerss.

Safari Dicor2.2 VTT-TMT 1.5year Grand OT[Extreme-Exclusive N Sikkim&Mandarmoni/Tajpur-img_1364e.jpg

A few maps of Sikkim and particularly of N Sikkim were downloaded from the internet. Websites and articles on the net [though few] were consulted. No pre-booking of hotels were done, as we were going during the bad weather season and also just around the ending of the off season time. We just had a rough plan of being where on what day and modify our travel plan as per the situation - with spending 2-3 days in Gangtok to pursue the permit papers - or otherwise the plan was to go towards West Sikkim [Borong, Geyzing, Uttarey, Varsey etc.]

Again, with a child we were not taking any chances. The Safari was loaded at its back to the roof. Other than 3 bags full of clothes, we had a trunk full of blankets, a gas stove, a 5 kg cylinder, a sack full of utensils and food, and a 20-litre Kinley jar. Safari has a 65-L tank and so did not take any fuel cans - though as we later found a extra diesel was needed as we travelled extra kms in some of the places i.e. beyong what normally what tourists go.

So thats it for the introduction with some highlight pictures - some already uploaded VTT pics at the Safari thread -->> and

Lets roll now with the travelogue as I wriggle out some time...

Last edited by adc : 14th April 2009 at 12:22.
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:07   #2
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wow adc. your introduction pictures of the safari are good enough to be featured in the next safari advertisement.
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:18   #3
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@adc: Safari & You simply rule! Hats off!

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Old 14th April 2009, 12:21   #4
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. with adc around you can expect some great surprises.

Great start to the travelogue sir, keep them coming.

You and your Safari rock. keep rocking
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:27   #5
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Another STUNNING performance from the VTT & another stellar travelogue in the making. Keep 'em coming Anirban!

Originally Posted by adc View Post
And contrary to all the premonitions from the false prophets of doom, the 2.2 VTT has and continues to keep the cynics at bay!!
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:27   #6
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Anirban, Guru fatafati start !! If this is what a teaser looks, the travelogue will attract lots of expectations.
Was it Sikkim na Swijjarland?

Will keep on waiting for more.
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:31   #7
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Aha, so finally adc and his camera thawed out! Was looking forward to this travelogue for quite a few days. Seems you'd been having too good a time thawing out on the beach to even log in here...
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:39   #8
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No words to say but silently sit and read his travelogue and enjoy it

Comeon post some pictures
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:47   #9
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Any chance of GPS tracks of where you went?
I would recommend all travelers that even if you do not want to have a full fledged GPS consider investing (couple of thousand) in a GPS logger. This is a great way of sharing routes and other information and geotagging pictures.
Waiting to see more pictures...amazing journey's adc.
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Old 14th April 2009, 13:05   #10
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Simply amazing. I am already stuck to this thread.
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Old 14th April 2009, 13:12   #11
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One more great journey. After Sunabeda its time for Sikkim Story.
Did Hail Storm able to catch the safari?
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Old 14th April 2009, 13:19   #12
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thats the way Safari should be used guys,i just love your travelogues and this one is simply mind blowing.

awesome @ADC.

waiting for more.
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Old 14th April 2009, 13:26   #13
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Another great one from ADC!

Eagerly awaited travelogue, ADC. Glued to this one!
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Old 14th April 2009, 13:33   #14
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I too dream of doing this trip But dont know when I will be able to make this up. Tsongmo Lake is the amazing place to visit. I had visited this place in 1995 in some Commander Jeep with my friend. And now I feel like to drive on my own.
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Old 14th April 2009, 16:34   #15
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@adc: Your enthu to go to places less travelled and your travel posts have me hooked. Awesome pics. Did you take any pictures of the hail storm chasing you? If yes please post. This can then be featured by the TM for their next Safari Ad with he tag line "Life Reclaimed: Building Up its Own Storm"
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