Kalimpong Diaries - Serpentile Streets

Tripoto
9th Jun 2019

Kalmpong and Beyond

Photo of Kalimpong Diaries - Serpentile Streets by Aritra Sardar
Day 1

9th June'19 0430 hrs (Sunday), we started from our home at DumDum for a road trip to Kalimpong. As decided earlier, we were supposed to have a night halt at Siliguri, and on 10th we were supposed to reach Kalimpong.

Here "We" means my wife Sudipta, my cousins Saheb and Shouvik and my 2.5 year old daughter Samriddhi.

At 10:30 am we reached Morgram and halted for our morning breakfast. We had taken the much talked about and rather ill-famed NH-31 through Ranaghat-Krishnanagar- Baharampur. However to my surprise (and luck ofcourse) we didn't find much chaos at that time. Moreover the road surface was much better than what I had encountered last year.

**Please note that though G-Map was showing us to take the Ranaghat by-pass, we avoided it and remained on the main highway. I'll request people who are on that stretch, to avoid it too, since the by-pass may shorten the distance but it goes through small towns and villages were the local population and ricksaws may slow you down. Also that by-pass passes through 4 railway level-crossings :0 and ultimately meets NH31 just before Krishnanagar.

Morgram onwards the road was fantastic and anyone can go upto 100kmph or more. Crossing Farakka was a breeze.

We had our lunch at 1.30 pm at Mayabon just before the Malda by-pass.

The entry to and exit from the Malda by-pass was a real bad surface, otherwise the road was fantastic.

We reached Siliguri at 8:30pm through Botolbari route and rested for the night in a hotel on Sevoke Road.

Day 2

10/06/19 - This was the day for a real test for me. As I'd mentioned in an earlier post on Indian Rodies about driving on the mighty Himalay's serpentine roads. But a big thanks to all the people in this group who had encouraged and adviced me. I did not dishearten anyone!

We had our breakfast at a road side joint in Teesta Bazar and then crossed the Teesta River. As I gradually started ascending the mountain, I actually started enjoying the beautiful curves.

We checked in to Morgan House after 3 hours from departure from Siliguri. Thanks to the posts from Mr. Debdeep Sen that I came to know about the beautifully located magestic Morgan House. We unpacked and headed straight to the Army Golf Course just opoosite to the Morgan House. Having a wife from the army background came handy! We had our lunch at the Golf club and then we went to see the Durpin Monastery. We came back to the hotel, played with my daughter at the lawn, have a few drinks and called the day off.

Day 3

11/06/19 - We had our breakfast and went to see Delo. The great Kolkata summer didn't want to be left behind as I was SWEATING in Delo! Also in Kalimpong the weather wasn't that sweet and pleasant at all. The late afternoon and evening went for shopping, the perils of having one's wife for a trip! :(

Day 4

12/06/19 - After breakfast we checked out from the hotel to travel further to Lava. There we had booked the WB Forest Dept. Resort. The road was mostly okay-ish though some portions of the surface was a real torture and needed some basic skills. After checking in to the resort, we had our lunch and headed straight towards Lolegaon. Here, I went wrong!

The taxi syndicate at the Lava market place told me that FWD cars can go to Lolegaon though the road is in very bad shape. Also, I have an over-dependence for G-Map. As I proceeded along the road I could feel that one needs really great driving skill on that kind of a surface. The surface started becoming worse after each kilometers. Sudden upward and sudden downward slope added to the misery. The chassis was brushed more than a couple of times. But when we finally reached Lolegaon, I felt that I've conquered half of the world. I understood that I'm not that a bad driver at all. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

But I was wrong. The Mission was half-accomplished. I had to return back to Lava and I didn't anticipate that darkness would come down so fast. By 6:00 pm head-lights were on! But without much worry, I came back to Lava by 8:00pm. That night we had a gala time at the resort with a bonfire on and the night became cold to about 12-14 degree centigrade.

Day 5

13/06/19 - With confidence comes a belief to take a step further and I decided to drive upwards to Rishop. Practically no roads! Only boulders and pebbles had carved the way to Rishop from Lava. Also the road was much narrower in comparison to the Lolegaon Road. As I crawled upwards, I had to come back in reverse sometimes, only to give way to the oncoming cars. But eventually I reached Rishop. On reaching Rishop, a taxi-driver came to my car, checked the car and said "Dada, aapne bahut badiya driving kya. Log darr te hain aisa gari yaha le aane ke liye!" I take this compliment as a certificate, coming from a person who has been driving in this region for 23 years. His name was Umesh.

From Rishop we eventually decided to go to some plain leveled road. So Umesh told us to visit Nordara Jheel. Nothing special about that jheel, just an artificial water-body and a park, where in my daughter had a great time.

Day 6

14/06/19 - We had our breakfast, checked out by 9 am and started driving towards Maldah. We decided to have a night-halt at my cousins place in Maldah Town, just to avoid night driving.

Lava to Maldah Route - Lava - Gorubathan - Damdim - Gajoldoba - Ghoshpukur - Dalkhola - Raigange - Maldah.

Day 7

15/06/19 - We left Maldah at 9:30 am and came back to Kolkata via Morgram - SH7 - Burdwan - Kolkata

This was the 1st time I've travelled through SH7, and I should admit that this road happens to be much better in comparison to NH31.

On entering Kolkata, the mind went back to the nice days in the hills, as i drove through the crowded busy lanes to my home.

redefining_wanderlust

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
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