Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery: Xylo Takes on the Heights of North Bengal Himalayas


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The plan was on for quite some time.

Wanted to do a proper home stay / village stay somewhere in the Himalayas. Due to time constraints zeroed in on North Bengal / Sikkim. Chose some less travelled paths of Reshi and Sillery Gaon. Plan was with wife and kid along with a friend's family. But somehow families backed out and it was just me and my friend Aalok waking up on a Wednesday morning to take on this route.

Destinations - Reshi and Sillery Gaon both in Noth Bengal Himalayas bordering Sikkim.

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And the one who made it a seamless travel despite some rough roads.

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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

From Kalimpong it was up to Algarah.. then on to Pedong.. and onwards to Rishi Bridge / Rishi Khola (Khola means river / Stream in Nepali). Next day we came back to Pedong and followed an almost trek route on the Xylo to Sillery Gaon via Silent Valley.

View attachment SIKKIM.xls

A picture of Sillery Gaon, the small village with an actual population of not more than 250 people. No Electricity, No industry, just plain and simple village and farming, pollution free air and great food at a height of 6500ft.

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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

And here is the drive log for anyone who might be interested. Done by my friend Aalok who did such things for the first time, but I beleive did a good job.
 

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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Pictures look great Chandranath. Do post more. North east India is a region I really want to visit and explore. Tell us a little more about your experience there [:)]
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

And here is the drive log for anyone who might be interested. Done by my friend Aalok who did such things for the first time, but I beleive did a good job.
Fantastic work Chandranath, put up some more pics if possible. Really liked your detailed drive log! Btw Im really curious about the 'rajdhani' photo stop- could you upload the pic pls, cause I'm kind of interested in trains too[;)]
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Thanks Prashanth, Yes I will pen down further details.

Thanks Jazzy, I too am a great fan of the Indian Railways. I will put in an additional couple of Rajdhani photos as and when I come to the second day
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Day 1 - 14th Mar

As always missed the scheduled time for departure of 5 am. But got out by 5.45, but the Xylo needed a cleaning and had to take care of it first. Could not leave Kolkata before 6.30 in the morning.

The Xylo takes a morning bath
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The morning sun over a lazily waking Kolkata
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The first feel of the Highway NH 34
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Stopped for breakfast at Bharat Petroleum Pump
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The Xylo was taking its first break ahead for the long day
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The food was refreshing
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Day 1 (Contd) - 14th Mar

The drive up to Berhampore (Not to be confused with the one in Orissa) was over narrow patch worked highway but pretty driveable. Traffic too was not that heavy.

But Berhampore town roads were very broken and was extremely congested with slow moving traffic. Though it was slightly early we decided to break for lunch as teh tourist lodge offers good homely meals.

Water body enroute to Krishnanagar
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The railway bridge just after crossing Krishnanagar
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The berhampore Tourist Lodge
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The tourist lodge is situated just by the side of the Ganga (River Hugli) and the road bridge crossing it starts from almost its gate. Even as we came out after a delicious lunch we could see huge traffic piling up on the bridge. We also qued up and found that a scorpio has had a flat tyre just in the middle of the narrow 2 lane bridge. Traffic got stuck on both sides and the scorpio had to drive on 3 wheels to the exit of the bridge to make way even as traffic police came in to clear the backlog. But it was a massive delay standing on the bridge.

The River Ganga (Hugli) flowing through the town of Berhampore
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The stuck up on its bridge
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The road from Behrampore to Malda was a mix of smooth surface with some very broken ones. However all along it was very driveable. But got huge stuck ups in Dhuliyan and Kaliachak just approaching Malda. The problem with the entire highway is it is just a narrow 2 laned one. The traffic has increased ten times in the last 5 years but roads have remained same. The heavy trailers coming form Assam and other North Eastern States like Nagaland was jostling for space with the bullock carts, horse carriages (in Kaliachak), the cycle rickshaws and of course the occasional broken down vehicle.

Filled up the Xylo at Malda and it returned a neat 12 k/ltr. The road from Malda to Raigunj was around 75 km but it was almost late evening and the sun having gone down traffic (the slow moving ones) were less. It allowed me to cover some lost ground and we reached Raigunj by late evening. We headed straight for the tourist lodge which was on the highway on the outskirts of Kulik bird sanctuary. I had stayed here more than once and found it to have been extended with new construction.

The day ended with a grand dinner of chicken and was too tired to stay awake after that.
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Nicely put up Chandranath and great pics. Must be a fun trip to do. waiting for more..
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Day 2 - 15th Mar

Raigunj tourist lodge is almost part of the Kulik Bird Sanctuary. There is a watch tower situated on its roof.
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Sunrise was blissfull over the forests
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Winter is a better time to find migratory birds here. Have been in December to this place in the past to find the trees stacked with feathered species
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The trees appear barren
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The Xylo is ready for the day ahead
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And so was I
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Aalok hurriedly finished his cigarette as hewas on self imposed rule of not smoking in the car, something which i also do not allow
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176 km to Siliguri
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Nice write up!

By the way the Xylo is taking her morning bath on the roadside? Is it normal in Kolkata? I can guess there is one more car behind the Xylo enjoying the shower on roadside.
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Nice write up!

By the way the Xylo is taking her morning bath on the roadside? Is it normal in Kolkata? I can guess there is one more car behind the Xylo enjoying the shower on roadside.
The car washer washes the car in the garage but he comes at around 8 in the morning, while I had to leave by 6.

So hauled it up to where the yellow taxis get a wash in the early mornings. They asked for Rs 50/. Negotiated down to Rs 40/.
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

The car washer washes the car in the garage but he comes at around 8 in the morning, while I had to leave by 6.

So hauled it up to where the yellow taxis get a wash in the early mornings. They asked for Rs 50/. Negotiated down to Rs 40/.
Rs 40/- for body wash for Xylo is like paying Rs 10/- and getting mahaprasad (full meal) at Shirdi Sai baba trust [;)]

Kolkata rocks!! I do not know any such facility available in Pune.

Punekar mitraho, yevadhya kami darat kuthe milat asel tar post kara.
(Request to my Pune friends to post details if there is such a facility around)
 
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Re: Kolkata Siliguri Reshi Sillery - Xylo takes on the heights of North Bengal Himala

Day 2 - 15th Mar (Contd)

Started from Raigunj at 8 in the morning a full one hour late from our planned departure (I am a late riser) time. The roads upto Dalkhola was supposed to be the same narrow and patchy. At Dalkhola NH 34 merges into NH 31 which is coming from Bahri in Bihar (beyond Hajari bagh) and going upto Guwahati.
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Road widening was going on in full swing and hope that the next time I am driving these routes will get to get a more cleaner drive
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Reached Dalkhola in 40 mins flat but was greeted with the expected traffic jam at the level crossing. Over the years while travelling here this crossing has been a nightmare and with increasing traffic and shrinking width of the highway (due to roadside stalls and parked 2 wheelers eating into the high way) the nightmare has become unbearable. But I knew we had to bear it and so be it.
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And that is so much for width of a highway linking entire NorthEast India to Kolkata and the rest of Western and Southern India
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Finally the traffic eases and we get to cross Dalkhola station.
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Then the congetsted road slowly takes us to the crossing of NH 34 & NH 31. It was crowded like anything at 9 in the morning with all types of vehicles and people.
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Then we went under the over bridge and took the right turn on NH 31 to Siliguri. And WOW... It was like entering heaven from hell. With one turn it seemed like we have been transformed to a new World.
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I had read that this section is already made 4 laned but never believed that it was complete.
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And the XYLO responded immediately
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Well not so fast. It was a big crate and I lowered it to 100 - 110 k/hr level
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