93 months ago

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- Route

Siliguri to Gangtok

Distance: 101.2 Km / 63.1 Mi Duration: 04:35:21


Yesterday I had decided to turn in early as I wanted to start early. As fate decree I met an amazing person in the hotel restaurant Kaushik of the Indian Army who is nook pilot. What an amazing evening to sit with a man who takes pride in protecting our borders and all because thats what he enjoys doing the most. While I was sitting in the lobby I saw a bunch of them enter the lobby & thought they were air force pilots. He did not correct me instead gave me a humble acknowledgement with a grin and said hello. During dinner he too was at the restaurant and we started speaking and its much later I realized my faux pas. He is an Army and flies choppers. I just can sum up the whole evening as a memorable one that I shall forever cherish. When we finally had dinner and wound up it was 11:30 in the night. There was no way I would get up at 4:00am and hit the roads.

So finally I got up at 6:00am and hit the road a hour later. It was chilly but clear view. (No fog). As my riding progressed it went chillier, had to stop the bike and put a warmer underneath the jacket. Its only 98 kilometers to Gangtok, but its steep hilly terrain that one has to ride through. This road also has a lot of avalanches & thus the condition of the road can be imagined. At parts the roads are brilliant and at some parts its a nightmare to cross. Right after I left the hotel the army's Sevok base started & so did the dense forest. The setting was picturesque and I kept wondering why I have not done this before in my life. The roads went uphill as the mountain ranges started and it would have hairpin bends that required one to ride alert. Post the Sevok-base the sense forest begins and lasts for around 30 kms. Its very quite, dense and eerie one would not want to stop here for anything. There are signages that keep reminding wild elephants might cross the road and we are not to interfere with them, I for sure am not going to. Then at Samardanga the River Teesta makes her majestic appearance along the road. The road then snakes along the Teesta river right untill Gangtok.

These roads are part of the BRO : Border Road Organization and army presence is frequent, reassuring and one that makes me proud every-time I see them. They are helpful lot, if you are in trouble you can count them in to help you out, if you are stuck or lost then expect assistance basically the mere presence helps us feel safe. These roads during the rains see a lot of avalanches and hence many part of the road is either non existent or in bad shape. The other side of the road is the sheer drop to the rocky riverbed. One must be cautious while driving here and maintain minimum speed. I crossed Kalimpong on my way and must say the city is set in an amazing place but the road in & out of the city is very narrow. This causes a bottle neck before & after the city. Just before Gangtok saw the efficient Gangtok police trying to herd the traffic as only one lane was working. I was so impressed that I took some pictures of them in action. I later realized they were helping the traffic because their police bus was stuck & the moment they extracted their bus they disappeared like ghosts. So my inference is that police have the same mannerisms pan India.

I stopped twice today, my first stop was a coffee break couple of miles after the river made her majestic appearance. I crossed a bad stretch an avalanche prone area and came to this picturesque point where I could have sat the whole day happily. The river below was a raging madness but looked serene as it flowed. One could see the multiple eddies in the water that proved it had a strong under current. The other time was at small restaurant in Bordang in east Sikkim. I had Alu Paratha with a huge dollops of butter on it & steaming coffee served in a mug that had Chinese lid to go with it. It was good enough for someone on an empty stomach. I reached Mayfair resorts & Casino in Gangtok around 11:15am and found it to be an amazing property. I had local cuisine for lunch and it comprised of 'Thupak' a soupy noodles with chicken & vegetables followed by steamed momos. It was brilliant!!!! This hotel has a casino and seems like I am headed to an exciting evening. So Adios for today, I head for Cooch Behar and then Guwahati in Assam so a long ride tomorrow.

Total distance covered today 96 kms Total Distance from Bombay 4807 kms

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