I was planning for a Bike trip to Mukutmanipur on this Pohela Boishakh. 4 members, 2 bikes. But suddenly two members cancelled out due to some personal issues thus we planned not to go to Mukutmanipur. I was happy on cancelling the tour because something bigger was about to come up.
|"Made like a gun. Goes like a Bullet"|
For Video :
And all of a sudden my plans were changed and I started searching internet for rent bike availability in North Bengal as It was tough to take my bike to North Bengal for 3 day's trip. And after so many phone calls and time spending over internet managed to find 2 bikes (Bajaj Pulsor 150 cc old model and RE Classic 350 new model). And after the booking formalities we were ready for the trip. Had bought ropes to tie up luggage. But I would haven’t missed raincoat and plastics in luggage packing.
Started our journey on 12th April, HWH GHY Special Train, 9.55 PM from Howrah. Me aka Anirban, Sounak aka Pappu and Chiro were there to accompany each other.
Since last 7-10 days I was half asleep dreaming about a Royal Enfield ride on Sevok Road. And the day was just about to come. I was very excited about that. But our start was not good enough as suddenly when I woke up, it was 6 am and I had just crossed Malda. And the train reached NJP at 11.15 AM. Anyways better late than never. I was very happy to see Ganesh standing with a RE Classic 350 just outside the station. Rushed towards him and took charge of the Motorcycle. It was my first ride to any of the REs. And the experience I just can't express. The Dig Dig Dig Dig sound had spelled me down.It was amazingly tremendous. The second bike came after 5 mins. It was a Pulsar 150. One of the best powerful bikes in budget. The sound was extremely adventurous. Because of the silencer. That was modified. The only problem was the gear system. It was all down. And Chiro managed it very well, throughout the trip. BTW, our 3rd friend already left to meet his girlfriend somewhere in Siliguri. After our bikes were ready, we left for the trip. Found our 3rd friend in a resturent near Kanchenjunga Stadium. And then I understood the pain of having the RE. To reverse the bike. It is very good when in motion, otherwise you may have to keep a helper for this . It was very heavy comparing me. Had some spicy momo and a cup of coffee at the outset of our trip. We moved towards Sevok road. Me riding RE(Made like a gun), Pappu as a pillion and Chiro with his Pulsar 150(Definitely male).
Destination: Delo Hills
Start Time: 1.30 PM
Distance(Around): 100 kms
We started at 1.30. After lunch.Heading towards Sevoke Road. It was tough to handle the giant initially, in between so many Rickshaws, Vans and many other vehicles. I had an idea like every vehicle makes way for an Enfield, like I do. But I was wrong it depends on the rider, not the vehicle. After 15-20 mins of riding the roads situations were all right and my bike riding in kolkata traffic ultimately helped me to overtake all those non-sense vehicles.
I am riding an Enfield in Sevoke road. This was the moment I would cherish throughout my life I bet. Suddenly I opened up one button of my shirt trying to make me more rugged and stretched my hands and legs a bit to look like an enfielder. :):)
First stop was at Sevoke Kali Mandir. Had a tea break. We were very careful at turns because of not riding this kind of roads before. Our average speed was around 30-40/ hr. And many photos and tea breaks made us slower. After sometime we were at that point of division of roads towards Gangtok and Kalimpong. The road towards Kalimpong was exciting because of its steepness. At some time I felt like my front tire will go up and I will end up falling after an unintentional stunt. May be because of the luggage and pillion weight. After a few adjustments in riding style we reached Kalimpong. Here Kalimpong police stopped us to check papers of the bike and the authorization letter. After that headed towards Algarah and then got the turn towards Sillery Gaon. It was 6 PM then. We planned to go to Delo on the same night and stay there. We booked already Hotel Himadri. But the last 7-8 kms we could not find any roads at all. As per the localities there the roads should not be maintained well enough to give the feel of Eco tourism. Last few kms took 45 mins time. And we were very tired. So we decided not to go to Delo on the same evening and have a stay in Sillery Gaon. This was the third time I was visiting Sillery. It was very beautiful. A perfect destination for someone who loves to stay at the nourishment of the nature. Booked our room with Biru Tamang. Had couple cups of tea seating on the balcony of our room. It was a nice evening gazing numerous stars at the sky. No sound, No pollution at all. Total green lush paddy field looked amazing in dark. A small football ground in front of our room and a couple of children having fun out there. Finished our dinner with Roti and Chicken at 9 pm. Returned to our room and an hour more and I was in dreams again, Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig Dig.................
Discussing the route.
On the way to Sillery Gaon
Just reached Sillery Gaon
This is how our bikes stayed for the night
Destination: Delo Hills, Rongpo, Bagheykhola, Singtam, Temi Tea Garden, Damthang, Ravangla.
Start Time: 8 AM.
Distance: 120 kms (Around)
Before the tour, I had a discussion of this bike trip over chat with Chiro in Gtalk but Chiro wasn’t interested in it. As he had some other plans after a week back; but once I told him that we will be visiting Deolo. Within 10 mints he changed his mind and confirmed me back on Gtalk that he will accompany us for this trip. Later I asked him what makes you changing your mind in 10mints?? He just replied me back that "The name (Deolo) was enough for changing my mind...."
Now the auspicious day of visiting the much awaited place, Deolo has come. We missed to reach there on the last evening. We started at 8 am after a long chat with Biru ji regarding ghosts. He said we need to stay there for three days for the completion of all the stories. And those are supposed to be real. A good point to make profit.
We were on our way to Deolo. It was one of the nicest roads of this trip. A perfect surface for bending and sharp turns. Ups and downs. Delighting treat to ride there. It took around 1.5 hours to reach Deolo after so many photo breaks. We parked our bikes outside Hotel Himadri and spoke to them. We apologized for not coming on the previous date and that was because of the train delay and it was already evening when we reached Sillery Gaon. Ordered our breakfast. Poori, Sabji and Coffee. By the time we supposed to visit Deolo Govt Tourist Lodge and Park. It was a nice place to stay for couples. Romantic atmosphere. But I was totally out of this interest at that moment. The two of my friends went to corners to have phone calls. Don't know whom they called. :) And getting confused whom to call I decided to roam around without helmet and make other tourists jealous for coming by car, not in bikes. Dig dig dig dig dig dig dig..... Staying after sometime there we decided to get back to the hotel for breakfast. Took 10 mins to reach. On the way have seen a few banners for Paragliding. We would come over again to experience this but not on this trip. A simple twisted ankle would ruin the rest of our trip, and our budget was not enough to have that fun. So Someway Someday......
Left from Delo, and after 2-3 kms there was a left turn to reach Rangpo. Asked a cab driver. He said it will save a few kms but be very carefull about the downhill and turns. Seriously, it was a road where you can ride switching off your engine for almost 18 kms. No sound at all, the sound of the fluid in disk brake was the only one. You will love the silence of this valley but make sure your brake works well otherwise you may silently die. :)
After a few kms I found the most difficult part of this phase. It was complete off road. Loose rocks and mud. Almost 45 degree angle down and when I was braking my bike which was skidding. Couldn’t able to grip the road. Tough task. Requested my pillion to walk a bit and I could handle the situation and learn how to deal with this kind of surface. Altogether it was a trip which will help me a lot when I travel to Ladakh after a year may be.
We reached Rongpo after an hour. Had a tea break. And at the checkpost we informed the officials about our plan, our bike numbers and started towards Bagheykhola. It was a nice road. Teesta river was at our left hand side. We reached Singtam and turned left. From singtam our destination was to Pabong and to Damthang. We could have chosen the other route as well. Via Namchi. But when we were browsing google map saw zig-zag roads like Zuluk on the way to Temi Tea Garden and that was the reason we had chosen this route. It looked very adventurous in google maps. This route was amazing. We had taken several breaks for photo shooting. The best place was still yet to come. A govt cafeteria. 4-5 benches were there for tourists. We ordered Maggi and took break for around 1 hour. And the attendant told us to reach Ravangla ASAP as the weather wasn’t well and it was about to rain. We rushed towards our bikes parked and started for Ravangla. This was the first time in this trip I needed my jacket desperately It was a a bit cold outside. The roads from Damthang to Ravangla was amazingly beautiful. Almost evening, a threat of rain and clouds all over us had made the atmosphere more challenging. Reached Ravangla at around 6 pm. Checked in to a hotel. Took a cup of tea and after having some rest went for a walk. The temperature was very much enjoying. Took our dinner early at 8.30 from a restaurant. A beautiful lady serving and English rock music on the floor. We were bound to be excited on this, nice evening spent at Ravangla. The only thing we were missing there was "Amar Purono Guitar".
Looking on the way of Kanchenjunga from our balcony where we had spent beautiful evening on the last day, but could was all over there
Still in belief that we could make it to see the 3rd highest peak of the world.
I tried my best to frighten the little boy but he was strong enough to take it...
He was so cute...
First start for the second day
Biru Ji's family.
Biru Ji, all I wanted him to smile for this snap. And here is the outcome. :)
Ready for more
Tough roads, On the way from Sillery Gaon to Alagarah
Its posing time again, the reason for which our travel time increased everyday.
Posing time again.
Starting for Delo Park.
Chiro playing with his keys...
Three of us posing using the self timer for the first time.
On the way back to Hotel Himadri, where we ordered our breakfast.
Riding without helmet is not advisable but it was just a stretch of 100 mtrs for posing purpose. And maximum 10-15 kms/ per hour speed.
That stretch of 20 kms where we didn't have the requirement to switch on engine to travel. Complete downward roads. But it was a tricky one. Had to be careful using the brakes. A mistiming of using brakes and we could be out of this world.
On a tea break...A beautiful road ahead towards Rangpo...around 25 kms more..
It was a long waiting period for tea to come.
Made like a Gun.
On a bridge towards Ravangla
A smoke break near Temi Tea Garden
Bob and Che complementing each other.
Near Temi Tea Garden
Team Tea Garden
Getting ready for next destination Temi Tea Garden.
Temi Tea Garden.
Bob and Che again.
Chiro waiting for tea.
Tea Time @ Temi Tea Garden.
Nice place to hangout.
Bob and Che again.
Those who ask Chiro the reason behind him being in shape, this is it.
Just before Ravangla
"Made like a Gun, Goes like a Bullet"
Chiro waiting for dinner. It was a nice place to hangout with friends.
Destination: Namchi, NJP.
Start Time: 8 AM.
Distance: 140 kms (Around)
It was 1 am. Suddenly i woke up with massive lightning outside. It was raining heavily. Continuously for 1 hour and with thunderstorm. What I was thinking at that time, needed to buy three raincoats and plastics tomorrow before start to avoid missing train tomorrow. A mistake in our plan will put us in a bad situation as we were supposed to join office on the next day. Don't know when I slept again. 6 am in the morning woke up and looked outside. It was not raining outside but the surface was not in a good condition. We started at 8 am for Namchi. Several photo breaks made us reach Namchi babadham at 10.30. After breakfast there we started at 11. I have gone to hillstations for almost 20 times till then. And my experience told that rain should start. And I was not wrong. It started raining again. Took shelter somewhere around Namchi. It was still more than 100 kms to reach NJP. I was tensed about the situation. After waiting for around 1 hr we decided to start again in rain. It was damn bad situation. Raining, lightning, trees lying on roads, water passing like a small river, mud all over the place. Our speed did not cross 15 kms per hour. Bikes skidding a bit. The same sharp bends which I was enjoying riding yesterday had turned into a worst place to ride. A missus of brake and we would fall into a disaster. I really don't have words to explain the situation. After 20 kms of riding there we reached Kitam wildlife sanctuary and the most dangerous thing has arrived. "beware of leopards" signboard on the side of the roads. And these three words increased our speed by 10-15 kms per hr. Yes, I came here to taste adventure but not this. 20 kms in that sanctuary, every yellow shades inside of jungle looked like a leopard coming at us. My eyes were at my looking glass always finding chiro coming behind me. And after a nervous ride we reached Manpur. The only thing we saw was a scooter lying on the road without its rider and the rear wheel lying 3-4 feet far. Not a single car or human being on the way. We took a stop at Manpur when we had seen a few people waiting for car there. It was teribly cold. Totally wet because of the rain we had to find a tea shop to get charged and after 10 more kms we found one. Took break there. After 30 mins we started again and reached Manakamana temple just before sikkim- WB border. After riding 3 hours more in rain at last it stopped and we reached Sevoke kalimandir. Before that we had to stop for 1 hour because of a road block caused by landslide. Thanked maa kali for helping us being safe in this journey. After a few mins we started again and for the first time in that day we were comfortable riding. The beautiful sevoke road was awesome. And after 3 days of riding the classic 350 it became friendly with me. The turns were extremely good and the dig dig dig dig sound made everyone in a car looking at us. After 1 hour we reached Siliguri. It was around 6 pm. Our friend had left again to meet his friend. And we reached NJP at 7 pm in rain again.
And we all were relieved to be safe till then. Our long awaited trip had come to an end. And I was happy about that. Really had a tough time throughout the day. Handed over the bikes to the owners and checked for the ticket status. Alas, it was RAC and one more night without sound sleep and whole day office on our next day. We were always ready for this kind of situation being "total travelers".
Rain from last night has helped these bikes look better. Beside our hotel.
Waiting for Chiro before start for Namchi.
Pleasure to ride on this road.
My favorite photo.
Best roads on the tour so far.
I came to know that I can do my favorite banking in Enfield also.
Chiro's Pulsar waiting for its rider to take it on.
Bob coming in Pulsar.
Self Timer rocks..
Posing time again. Didn't have any idea this timekill will push us into an odd situation later on.
Its callory time with Dairy Milk.
Way to a village.
We had to be careful on these roads.
Namchi Babadham Had our breakfast there. You can see the shivmurti here.
A year back had taken a snap of this murti from Chota Mangwa, near teesta bazar. Below snap is for reference.
Namchi's shiv murti from Chota Mangwa, Teeta Bazar. Taken in october, 2012.
Chiro coming our way just before the hailstorm started.
Long waiting period waiting the rain to stop.
Our motorcycles having raindance.
11.30 am and look at the sky. The headlights needed to be switched on.
Before start of riding in rain.
On a stop at Manpur.
"Someone feels the rain, others just get wet"
Manakamana Mandir, South Sikkim
On a tea stop before Melli.
Neverending roadworks in progress.
Traffic because of the roadblock and once again this is the benefit of riding a bike. It was not tough enough to come infront of the traffic jam.
Finally reached Siliguri. Around 6 PM.
A discussion in the train on our next trip made us finalize our tour. Riding Through The Old Silk Route. Join us to unveil such an awesome journey throughout your life.
Tour Details for reference
1. Up train was Hwh-GWH express
2. Down train was Padatik Express
3. Bikes were taken from Adventure Unlimited Group and Krishna Da from Siliguri. They gave us bike in great conditions.
4. Routes were done with the help of https://maps.google.com/ with prior knowledge and experience.
5. Cost of this trip: 5445 Per Head.
6. Distance and Time spent:
NJP to Sillery Gaon: 90 kms, 4 hours.
Sillery Gaon to Delo: 20 kms, 1.5 hour.
Delo to Ravangla, Via Temi Tea garden: 100 kms, 6 hours
Ravangla to Namchi: 30 kms, 2 hours
Namchi to NJP, 100 kms, 6 hours
Any kind of queries will be appreciated in case anybody is interested to visit these places.
Call for any kind of guidance and help regarding traveling
Anirban Chatterjee Guide and Manager