S 3 | Sohra, Sandakphu & Sikkim

Gaurav Chopra

zestbiker-if there is a SPIRIT,I ride it
Gr8 going n clicks Sajal ji!
N to think i was planning for a Thunderbird, n this sprocket bolt thing has again put off my mind-during my Spiti ride too-all the road side stricken bikes were Enfield's-How they make them and how it sells remains a mystery:bear:-n to think as a young boy i used to own one.............................. :mrgreen:


Still Learning ©
5. Day 3 = 28th Sept 2015

Raiganj to Alipurduar.

Total km traveled 325. Ride time 6.30AM to 7.00 PM.
We rode from Raiganj to Alipurduar, crossing Dalkhola, Kishanganj, Islampur, Bagdora, Siliguri, Fulbari Border, Jalpaiguri, Maynaguri, Dhupguri & Falakata.

Initially our plan was to ride to Sandakphu first. But after talking with Neel Da last night, we came to know that, since last two days, it had rained in Siliguri and nearing mountain areas. So we decided to complete Sohra (Cherrapunjee) first and then Sandakphu.

Secondly, Neel Dey can join us in first week of October for Sandakphu due to office leave adjustment. So riding with him was also materializing if we do this adjustment.
This is the Hotel Imperial of Raiganj, where we stayed last night.

At 6.30 am we were ready to ride towards Siliguri.

We were advised by hotel staff that there is one Bengal to Bengal route towards Islampur. This will make our ride shorter by 30km. But due to our last two day’s experience of bad roads, we decided to take National Highways only.
We also learned that there is a railway crossing before Dalkhola and there will be big traffic jam due to long queue of trucks. But somehow we crossed that railway crossing early.

At 7.45 am, I reached Dalkhola. Siliguri was only 129km from here. I waited for Harsh there. He arrived 10 minutes after. His bike needed oil on chain, as it was dry. He went to a local bike repair shop to lubricate chain.

Now the road was 4 lane road and we could ride speedily.

I found a good hotel to have breakfast. I was waiting in front of that hotel. Me & my Pulsar were getting too much attention from locals. Harsh could not mark me there and went ahead, in spite of me shouting and calling him on NH. Good 4 lane road was making him ride too fast.

I had breakfast of Alu Paratha, Curd and a glass of milk on a hotel of NH.

But then I met Harsh at Kishanganj. We reached Islampur at 9.40 am. Looking at google map, it looked that from here Nepal and Bangladesh are very near. If you go to left, you reach Nepal Border and if you go right, you reach Bangladesh Border.

As Harsh did not eat breakfast yet, we stopped there and he had some breakfast.

There are some bad patches of road between Dalkhola and Bagdora. But basically it is a good road.
Scenery around was different with tea gardens on both sides of NH, after crossing Bhagabati. This was our first view of tea garden there. We stopped there and took some pictures at 10.30am.

Harsh was trying a different angle.

Then we crossed Bagdora, I rang up Neel Da and told us about our whereabouts. We decided to meet at Shiv Mandir area on NH.

At around 11.15 am, we met him personally for the first time. We became friends at bcmtouring site. Neel da and I had chatted on that site. Soon we found that we had similar passion of biking.
Neel Da was found of my Ladakh ride and I was found of his Gurudongmor and Zuluk ride.


I and Harsh were targeting to reach Bongaigaon by the end of day. We were supposed to ride via Sevoke, Malbazar, Birpara route. But Neel Da suggested us to take Jalpaiguri bypass, Dhupguri, Falakata, Alipurduar route. As he had traveled in that road in past and new it is good road.

He also came to see us off up to Fulbari and told us about Bangladesh Border. I gave him my empty jerry can as it was needed only after Sandakphu ride.
But while riding, I could not see the sign board of Fulbari Border. But Harsh was smart enough to notice that and we went to see the India-Bangladesh Border riding 2 km from Fulbari road.

At 12.15pm we were at Fulbari Border. We entered our name in the register of Border Security Force.
This is the gate crossing which one can enter Bangladesh.

One can see Bangladeshi public on the other side.

That’s me at Last gate of Border.

Wire fences are built along the border to stop unwanted border crossing.

Our Arm Forces guarding the border. They look relaxed as after Nepal, India is now having good relationship with Bangladesh.

Our proud tri-color flag at the Border.

I searched for available mobile network there. I found this.

That’s me with our Flag, Border gate at background.

Here our Border Security Forces are stationed.

This is the first check post, where we had entered our name in register.

My Pulsar is posing at Fulbari Border.

It was too much hot and lunch time was nearing. Posed with the sign board and started for Jalpaiguri.

At 1.00 pm stopped at a roadside dhaba before Jalpaiguri for lunch. I had tasty chana masala, roti and cold drink there.

Road was not 4 lane, but very good road. Crossed Dhupguri and after 4 km, I saw Harsh standing road side and waiving to me to stop. I was 80-90 km speed. Stopped and turned back towards him.

It was around 3.00 pm. He told me that chain sprocket nut were all broken. Royal Enfield Thunder Bird as stranded on road.

I told him to wait there. I rode 2 km ahead. There was a mechanic garage. I bought him to Harsh’s bike. He inspected and found that all the 6 nuts were missing.

On our first day, where RE Thunderbird was lubricated in afternoon, that mechanic had pointed that 3 nuts were missing. But ignoring him that day, was giving us trouble now.

The mechanic I bought went back to his garage and brought some nuts so that RE can be repaired. This was the sprocket and see the missing nut bolt.

He tried to fit the nuts brought by him.

But they did not fit. So he went to Dhupguri in search of specific nut bolts riding 4 km. Harsh was disheartened and was waiting for him to come back with needed spares.

I also had no option but to wait and enjoy greenery around.

After lots of wait, he came but not with needed nuts. He tried to fit them.

But they were big in size. He could not fit them properly. Time was passing on.

Now we decided to ride 2 km ahead to his garage so that we can fit the bolt. At around 4 pm we reached to his garage riding slowly after fitting one nut only.

The name of that garage was written in Bengali.

After lots of trouble that nut was not fitted in sprocket. So he sent one person to Falakata. It was 18 km far. But there also proper nut bolts were not found.
Finally at 5.30 pm, after wasting 2.5 hours, we told him to fit at least 3-4 nut bolts so that we can reach Guwahati at least.
At Guwahati there will be availability of RE’s authorized spares. We can get RE Thunder Bird repaired there.

Nearest big city was Alipurduar and it was around 55 km away. Last 40 km road of NH 31D was much damaged. It was full moon night and even in dark we could see the road.
At around 7.00 pm we reached Alipurduar. In stead of Bongaigaon, we could reach up to Alipurduar only. Any trouble on anybody’s bike could damage the plan.

We found Hotel Ridhi Sidhi nearby. We took an A/c room for Rs.700/=.

I and Harsh were tired. Harsh skipped the dinner and went to sleep. I had noodle soup, baby corn for dinner.

I walked around hotel area and had Amul Taaza milk.
We went to sleep early so that we can start early to reach Guwahati and get RE TB repaired.

This was our ride map for the day.

Click HERE for next update.

Coming up….next…. Alipurduar to Guwahati ride…KamakhyaTemple..& night view of Guwahati.
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Who Am I
Shakespeare should take a rebirth so that some new adjectives can be invented to describe your tour. But till then, a feeble attempt on my part :

incredible, awesome, marvelous, splendid..... and definitely enviable..... and why not - amazing, speechless (actually, wordless).........


Still Learning ©
Thank you @tojo ji

Thank you @Parveen_Choudhary ji

Waiting for More...
@Sunny Khanduja ji... will update soon

Gr8 going n clicks Sajal ji!
N to think i was planning for a Thunderbird, n this sprocket bolt thing has again put off my mind-during my Spiti ride too-all the road side stricken bikes were Enfield's-How they make them and how it sells remains a mystery:bear:-n to think as a young boy i used to own one.............................. :mrgreen:
Thank you @Gaurav Chopra ji....
There is separate section of people who love REs. I think the pricing & image factor works for REs.
But one thing is sure that all Royal Enfield Bikes need too much attention, specially regarding maintenance.

Let them ride the bike they love.


Go ahead Sajal ji..
Amul Taaza Milk.. the only reason for your health issue during the Sandakphu ride. :p
Yes, I also think so. But my Doctor at Cuttack does not agree to this milk factor.

Shakespeare should take a rebirth so that some new adjectives can be invented to describe your tour. But till then, a feeble attempt on my part :

incredible, awesome, marvelous, splendid..... and definitely enviable..... and why not - amazing, speechless (actually, wordless).........
Thank you very much @mousourik ji..... for the appreciation...I am overwhelmed.


Still Learning ©
6. Day 4 = 29th Sept 2015

Alipurduar to Guwahati.

Total km traveled 330. Main ride time 6.30AM to 2.00 PM.

We rode from Alipurduar to Guwahati, crossing Gossaigaon, Bongaigaon, Barpeta Road, Howly, Pathsala, Barama, Nalbari, Rangia, Kamalpur, Changsari & Kamakhya.

We had two goals in mind for the day. First to reach Guwahati by noon and get Harsh’s RE Thunder Bird repaired at Authorized Service Station.

I used to wash & clean my bike everyday after check in at hotel/lodge. This way I could notice any unusual breakage or problem in my bike and clean bike makes me happy and confident for ride also.
I had Viaterra Claw bag for my luggage along with a back pack. This back pack was tied with Clow and then a waterproof cover was kept on both with bungee ropes. This way balance of bike was maintained.

Harsh has taken one bag, a small back pack for camera and a sleeping bag. All this tied with bungee ropes. But this setup was giving him trouble as it was sleeping on left or sometimes right side.
At 7.45 am he stopped as all luggages slipped left side of bike, making bike misbalanced.

And for this his colorful ride was becoming Black n white!

At 8.10 am we stopped at a dhaba for breakfast. Sitting arrangement was very comfortable there.

I had Paratha Subji for breakfast.

Oil smell was too much at Bongaigaon due to Indian Oil’s Assam Oil Refinery there. But due to plantation of many trees, it is not visible clearly. There was new road construction going on there.
At 10.25 am we passed by sign board and diversion of Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. But it was not open yet.

At 12.10 am saw this diversion road to Bhutan at Rangia. But we are not heading to Bhutan in this trip.

We crossed mighty BrahmaputraBridge and rode towards Kamakhya area searching hotel / lodge. But parking bike safely was problem in all the hotels we searched. And some were in not in our budget. Ultimately we found a Hotel Broadway at M.G.Road, opposite Shankardev Udyan. It had very good river Brahmaputra view. But it was very old hotel. We checked in here for Rs.380/- a day.

Bike was parked outside, but manager promised to keep it inside in night.

After freshening up Harsh went searching for RE AuthorizedServiceCenter to get his RE Thunder Bird repaired. My plan was to get my broken watch belt repaired and get helmet visor replaced after visiting KamakhyaTemple and to see sunset on Kamakhya Mountain / Nilachal Hill.

I had soup, fried rice and coke for lunch.

At 4.30 pm I was riding on Kamakhya Mandir Road. It was a mountain road. This hill is called Nilachal Hill. I saw an aged man of around 60. He was walking uphill. I offered him lift on my bike.
Whenever I get opportunity, I always offer lift to locals in all my rides. This helps me to get better idea about the place around from him and he can click my pictures also!

There was a view point, which was giving full aerial view of Kamakhya area. We stopped there and took some pictures. That green looking place is railway stadium.

Sun was also setting down giving good view.

It was only 4.40 pm and sun was setting down. In Eastern India Sun will set early compare to other places.

Another view of city from that crowded view point.

I asked that gentleman, whom I gave lift to click a picture of mine.
But whenever he clicked picture of mine, some public used to come inside my frame.

But when I gave him camera, there were no public around me.
He had to visit Bhubaneswari Mandir, which it after Kamakhya temple on Nilachal hill. We rode up to Jarasandha Mandir on top to get better view of sunset.

We got this view with BrahmaputraRiver and IIT Guwahati.

That’s my bike with some view of Sun.

That gentleman took this picture of mine without any public around. Time was 4.50 pm and sun had set.

While riding down at one corner, I get this view of UmanandaTemple. This is on an island of river brahmaputra.

View of Guwahati City from there.

Another view

That gentleman was walking to visit Bhubaneswari Mandir. So we went inside that temple first. There was queue to visit main temple. There was a Shiv temple also.

At 5.30 pm we reached Kamakhya temple. That gentleman was local, so he arranged to keep my helmet and shoes inside a shop.

Kamakhya is temple dedicated to mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas.
This is first view of temple.

Took a picture from mobile and sent to my family also.

I asked that gentleman to click on picture of mine also.

Suddenly many people came and they were inside the photo frame. I don’t know when my picture was taken, someone or other used to enter the photo.

That gentleman was surprised and told me that whenever he visited temple there was a big queue, but today we could visit main temple without any queue.

This was good view of temple with no people around. So I asked him to take a picture of mine there.

And yet again you see many people suddenly came around me and inside photo frame.
Ye kya ho raha hai…. ?

This temple is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and especially for Tantric worshipers.
The current structure of temple after many renovations between 8th to 17 th century, became a hybrid indigenous style called Nilachal type temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base.

A view of main temple dome.

The Panchalohamayi Ghantas, which welcomes God and depart devil.

My visit to this temple was a different one with no queue inside temple also. Same was for that gentleman also. In his lifetime, he never got chance to visit main temple without queue. We had Darshan peacefully.
At 6 pm we started riding back. View from that sunset n city view point was different now.

Did some adjustment in my DSLR and got this outcome.

Another view of City….which to me looked like an airport runway.

Another view of City

As my watch strap was broken and helmet visor was full of scratch, I get both replaced at shops near Kamakhya Railway Station. That gentleman went to his destination in a bus after bidding goodbye.

I had butter naan and paneer butter masala in my dinner at 7.30 PM.

While having dinner I rang up Harsh and asked about his bike’s repair position. To my surprise he told me that his bike was NOT repaired and he could not get needed spares at Guwahati Service Center also !!!
This was a serious thing now. I called up xBhp:Bhubaneswar ‘s
Anupam Behera and told him about the problem. At 8 pm he contacted xBhp: Guwahati chapter’s bikers and asked for help.

Mr.Siddharthh Roy was connected to me via FB messenger. But we could not connect Harsh. After finishing dinner, went to hotel and then could connect with Harsh at 8.25pm. Our spares problem was discussed. Chain sprocket HUB was not available there.

Mr. Amlan Jyoti from Guwahati rides a RE TB. He was also connected. But since it was already 9.00 pm, nothing could happen. All shops were closed for the day.

But the action by all the bikers was commendable. This is called biking brotherhood at unknown place.

Finally at 11 pm, after discussion with my family members and other riders, it was decided that I will leave for Sohra tomorrow and Harsh will get his bike repaired and he will join me at Sohra, by next day afternoon or at Guwahati, if the issue get further delayed.

Harsh was upset, but as the ride was getting delayed and I had limited time, this decision was taken.
Now I have to ride solo towards Sohra.

This was our ride map for the day.

Click HERE for next update.

Coming up….next…. Guwahati to Sohra (Cherrapunjee ) solo ride… Shillong, Elephant Waterfall, Umiam Barpani Lake, Air Force Museum, Lum Majneh (highest point of Meghalaya), Wah Kaba & Dainthlen Waterfall……And a BIG surprise from Harsh !
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Point Zero

Well-Known Member
I saw recently that people are very casual in highway from Alipurduar to Guwhati .. They used to take wrong lane every time... What is your experience ???