Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan)

Tripoto
6th Oct 2018

Logo of the epic journey

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) by Siva Nanda

This is an epic travel journey, a once in a lifetime experience which we have created in our memories and would like to share the same experience with you all. In this story me & my biker group (brotherhood i.e we community call ourselves) are on an epic trail of starting from our hometown in Visakhapatnam a costal city in Andhra Pradesh and travelling all across to Bhutan by road and continue our journey towards Nepal and then coming back to our home location. We also did this trip for a social cause to create awareness on plantation and we ourselves did a lot of plantation activity (planted 600 seed balls) along our journey.All the brothers who took part in the journey and their respective ages, just to show you the contrast in our biking brotherhood.

Sudhakar(65), Sanjay (40), Manoj (27), Sasank (23), Varun (34), Siva (27)

The below logo of our trip is also themed on the map along the route which we have travelled during our journey an we have marked the countries which we have travelled by there respective flags as representation.

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) 1/2 by Siva Nanda
Logo of our trip
Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) 2/2 by Siva Nanda
Paro Town
Day 1

Destination Puri (Odisha)

Our epic journey begins with a much of media glaze after which we started our Day 1 adventure where we had to reach Puri (Temple town in Odisha 420 KM) as a part of our 1st hault. on our journey towards the destination we took the National Highway No 5which is part of the Golden Quadrilateral which connects Chennai & Kolkata , the road from Visakhapatnam to Srikakulam was pretty awful as there were a lot of repair works being carried out because of which we were pretty slow in completing the first 100 Kms but later, as the roads got better we picked up the pace and completed the next 100 kms in less than 90 mins and reached the border of Odisha by noon, to speak the journey till the border town the roads were not exciting and pretty plain and smooth highways throughout, below is the picture of us crossing the Odisha border, the highlights of the day were the splendid chilika lake which we drove by along the journey and the rural roads of Odisha which were beautiful.We reached Puri at around evening 8:30 PM checked into the hotel and had dinner an called it a day.

Photo of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Siva Nanda
Day 2

Destination Kharagpur (West Bengal)

We woke up early and geared up to start 2nd day of the journey, we hit roads at 7:00 in the morning and headed to Kharagpur a town in West Bengal which was our destination for the day, we headed our way to Bhubaneswar from Puri it was a beautiful drive from Puri to Bhubaneswar which is approximately 60 Kms, after reaching BBSR we took the Bypass road and headed towards Cuttack a city adjacent to Bhubaneswar , en-route we had a meet up with the XBHP community of Bhubaneswar where we spent the quality time with the team and had Breakfast together on the highway in a place called Manguli Chaka which seems to be a very famous place for commuters and travelers on the highway. Then we started our further journey towards Kharagpur and we could already see the diversification in the culture, food, weather and terrain already in the 2nd day, it started to become more pleasant even as the heat was scorching on us, as we were still on the NH -5 the roads were very good and smooth all along to Kharagpur, we reached the destination by 6:00 Pm and checked into our stays .

XBHP Meet-up on Cuttack Highway

Photo of Puri, Odisha, India by Siva Nanda
Day 3

Destination Bhagalpur(Bihar)

The next day which was the Day 3, we continued the journey towards Bhagalpur in Bihar, it was a very interesting journey as we travelled through three different states which were West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. We had two route options to reach Siliguri one was going from Kolkata via Malda to Siliguri and then Phuentsholing (Border Town in Royal Kingdom of Bhutan) and the other route which was going via Bhagalpur to Siliguri via Kishanganj as we expected less traffic on this route compared to its predecessor as that was an Industrial belt and there would be more traffic (Trucks) between Malda and Kolkata. This was the first time in the journey where we were riding through the state highways passing though smaller towns and villages where we had some amazing experiences, we also took a small detour and did not travel on the Asansol state highway rather we took the route towards Suri which leads to the Masanjore dam as suggested by couple of locals, below are couple of pics of the place. We travelled through a lot of Green belt zone is eastern Jharkhand. The roads in West Bengal were very poor in this stretch and the people living conditions are very pathetic in this region, whereas when you get into the Jharkhand border the roads become prettier and the lush green meadows are very inviting. Unfortunately because of the Beauty of Jharkhand we were behind the scheduled and made a decision to halt our journey for the day in Dumka a place in Jharkhand, as the locals suggested us not to travel in the region as it is affected by local Dacoit gangs and is unsafe. It was a very unexpected and nice experience and for the first time in the journey we were not in schedule as per our plan.

Lush Green Jharkhand

Photo of Masanjor Dam, Masanjor, Jharkhand by Siva Nanda

The Road which you would never want to end

Photo of Jharkhand, India by Siva Nanda

Masanjore Dam Sunset

Photo of Masanjor Dam, Masanjor, Jharkhand by Siva Nanda
Day 4

Destination Bagdogra (Siliguri : West Bengal)

Day 4 was one of the most interesting days in our travel expedition as we were unaware of the challenges we had to face until then, we started our onward journey towards Bhagalpur (85 Kms from where we were) early in the morning at 6 AM from Dumka town after some minor glitches with the bike we reached Bhagalpur town at 10 AM in the morning where we got to know that the bridge Vikramshila setu (Bridge over Ganga river Highway 333B) in Bhagalpur was closed because it was unsafe as there were few formation of cracks on the structure of the bridge, this was a huge blow to our journey as we were left with very few options moving forward, we had to regroup and analyse the two options which were either we have to undo the whole travel route yesterday and go to the Kolkata - Malda highway (excess 800 KM) and then to Siliguri which would create a major pushback in the plan as the booking of hotels for most of the places in the route itinerary were already done, so we chose the 2nd most tougher option which was crossing river Ganga on the boats (Not Ferry) with our heavy bikes and luggage's take a detour and touch the Highway after crossing the river. At 11 AM we started our journey towards a small village near Bhagalpur called Kahalgaon where we had to hire the boat to cross the river Ganga , the journey to the small village was pathetic there was no road, no water, people there are denied with basic needs below are some of the images en-route the village, we did an awareness campaign to the local villagers and did plantation of our seed balls it was a point of realisation where some in the world have access to so much and some so little.

Local Brick factory in Kahalgaon

Photo of Dumka, Jharkhand, India by Siva Nanda

A local house

Photo of Dumka, Jharkhand, India by Siva Nanda

Manoj creating awareness about trees and global warming

Photo of Dumka, Jharkhand, India by Siva Nanda

Boat Ride in Kahalgaon

Photo of Kahalgaon, Bihar, India by Siva Nanda

Islampur Highway towards Bagdogra

Photo of Islampur, West Bengal, India by Siva Nanda
Day 5

Destination Gedu (Bhutan)

It was an exciting Day 5 for us as we were near to our first International border, the day started a bit late as we started our journey towards the border town of India Jaigaon (last Indian town with the border with Bhutan) the scenic view were getting beautiful as we progress towards the Bhutanese border crossing multiple tea gardens the altitude was changing during our journey and things were getting quite pleasant, once we reached the border town the first thing you notice in the border is the clear difference in culture for places which are not far apart, the other major observation is the traffic rules being followed, Bhutan is very strict with the rules whereas India is liberal with the rules being followed. Bhutan can be mentioned with a country with a completely different contrast compared to India, it is a more subtle, quite and peaceful place right from the outset. The Visa procedure and the passes for permission (including bikes)needs to be taken care at Phuentsholing. What we would suggest that taking the permission a day before and then entering into Bhutan is a better approach as you could travel to either Thimphu or Paro on the next day, we reached to the border in the 2nd half of the day which is why we had to stay in a town on our way to Paro as it was getting cold and dark and because Bhutan is completely situated on the mountains it gets very very cold during nights. Here are some of the images below of all the experience of the day.

Bhutan Stamping

Photo of Phuentsholing, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

On our way from the border to Gedu town (Natural light)

Photo of Phuentsholing, Bhutan by Siva Nanda
Day 6

Destination Paro (Bhutan)

We already started liking the experience in the worlds only carbon negative country, the people, the food, the scenic view, the serene calmness and beauty all started to invoke the inner peace inside you, we started our journey from Gedu to Paro which was something below 100 kms but we were so immersed in the beautiful country it took us an entire day to complete the trip, there were waterfalls in every 10 kms some were so big that we could see them on the opposite mountain which could be as far as 15 KM. Some are the below pictures from that trip. Paro is a beautiful city in Bhutan which is the second biggest city it has Bhutan countries biggest and main airport, the best part in the country are the people who are traditional yet modern are very welcoming which is why it is ranked as 3rd in the World Happiness Index, the cities major trade is trading artefacts and other souvenir and agriculture, the countries is mostly export dependent country and has very good ties with all its neighbouring countries which include India & China. The city is having multiple cultural heritages and monasteries like Paro Taktsang or famously called Tiger Nest and Punakha Dzong. Paro has many modern Cafe & Clubs where you can chill with the locals in local Karaoke bars they are very accepting for people from other countries until the decorum of the place is maintained. The food is something you would love in Bhutan if you are a Non-Veg lover.

Waterfall during journey to Paro

Photo of Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Riding by a Waterfall en-route Paro

Photo of Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Paro Town

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Hotel in Paro

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Paro City Suburb

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Paro City street

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

Monastery in Paro

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Siva Nanda

By the time we reached to the Boat point we already lost half of the day as it was already 1 PM, and we had to still cover the boat ride and then cover approximately 320 Kms, we had a huge pain in loading the bikes on the boat and were praying for safe passage through the ride, while having a chat with locals on the boat they were terrorising us that the areas after crossing the rivers were full of goons and Dacoits and that we had to enter the National Highway as early as possible before dusk which was another 40 Kms. We reached on the other shore at 4:00 Pm and without wasting time we rushed towards the highway and reached there by 5:30 Pm, we took a small break to have some refreshments and charge ourselves as we had another 280 Kms to drive.

We had to drive our skin out in the night the road was very good which was an advantage but as it was dark we had our difficulties, by 9 Pm we reached Islampur where we halted for dinner and we reached our hotel in Bagdogra at around 12:30 AM in the night, it was an exhilarating and energy draining experience and also we were also excited as we were close to reaching our first International Border, we were optimistic about the tomorrow that had to come, here is one of the image of that night.

After a wonderful day in Paro and exploring the city we were waiting to see what more the country had to offer, i will not lie the country was a total bliss in whatever time we have spent till now. We explored some more local sites of importance and spent a well chilled day and went on a trip to Thimphu where we visited Dochula Pass did some local sight seeing in Thimphu such as Buddha Dordenma statue in Thimphu which was amazing, Bhutan truly an amazing experience, we had a hiccup with one of the Bike in our group where the oil was leaking from one of the thunderbird which we got fixed in the Royal Enfield centre in Thimphu city. One thing was common in the whole country was the architecture of any building irrespective of the purpose of the building could be the King Palace, Monastery, Hotels, Airports, Residence all have a similar profound architecture. It is rich culturally and a very happy nation which has a love for nature as its upmost tasks.

The next day we were planned to leave from the country and go on to the onward journey of Darjeeling and Nepal which will be shared in a continuation story.

Hotel in Gedu

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) by Siva Nanda

Valley in Bhutan

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) by Siva Nanda

En-route Thimphu

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) by Siva Nanda

Dochula Pass

Photo of Tri-Country Expedition (6000 Kms of soulful Biking & Travel) - Part 1 (Bhutan) by Siva Nanda

All in all Bhutan is a Postcard experience with all the scenic and beautiful views.

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