The Land of the Thunder Dragon (BHUTAN) – Day 4

21.12.2010 (Tuesday)
Bhadrak (Orissa) to Malda (West Bengal) = 713 kms

Starting Place: Bhadrak, Orissa
Starting Km Reading: 4247 km @ Bhadrak
Starting Time: 7 A.M. Morning
Closing Km Reading: 4960 km @ Malda (West Bengal State)
Closing Time: 00.49 A.M.Mid Night @ Malda

By 5.40 A.M, the 2 kids & we were already up taking hot water bath, I had been down at the parking and gave my LINEA a clean neat wash. The temperature outside was very cold & water was very chill, some how I did not feel it all that bad. The watchman was looking as if I had lost my mind considering that he was wearing a sweater and gloves feeling very cold outside. The car was now fully washed & cleaned for another sortie. Jamuna also lent me a helping hand later and in the process cursing me for delaying the start. Some how I find it difficult to keep the car dirty. I like my cars to be neat & clean always.

Took some nice picture of the rising sun at 6.35 A.M. morning against a background of a Transmission Tower.



Early morning HVK called us to know the status & was thrilled to know Shri Meenakshi & Uthamkumar had got up very early morning by 5.45 A.M. & had their bath and fresh. We discussed the day’s schedule & plan and he laid it on me that I had to touch Malda at any cost and I had to do some fast paced driving to cover almost 700 kms today.

The route direction was Bhadrak, Baleshwar, Jaleshwar, Sonakonia, Orissa West Bengal Border, Dantam By-Pass, Belda By-Pass, Kharagpur By-Pass, Debra, Kolaghat Bridge, Ulberia, Dhulagori, Kolkatta By-Pass, Dankuni, Tarakeshari, Baradhaman By-Pass, Panagarh, Darjeeling More, Illam Bazar, Dubrajpur, NTPC Bakkeshwar, Siuri By-Pass, Rampurhat, Nalhati, Moregram, Umarpur, Farakka Barrage, MALDA.

Gosh look at all these names & try to remember impossible!!!

After coming out of the Dixit Motel in Bhadrak, at 7 A.M. we drove on. At around 8.15 A.M. we found a decent road side Hotel Gajanana Dhaba. We all were very hungry and wanted to have breakfast. We went in & found it to be clean and we decided to sit outside and asked them to put chairs & table & were basking in the early morning sun.

We ordered stuffed Paratha, plain Roti & Dal Fry. All I can say is that the food was served hot & it was freshly made & tasted yummy. The rotis & parathas just vanished and we were asking Dil Mange More. Got hot milk for kids, some hot chai for me. We left the Dhaba at 8.30 A.M. without wasting any more time as I had to cover almost 700 kms in this day.

At 9.40 A.M. we were 43 kms away from Jaleshwar & 287 kms from Raniganj. I had to put more miles behind quickly. At 10.15 A.M. we were 8 kms from Jaleshwar & 252 kms from Raniganj. At 10.53 A.M. we were 44 kms short of Kharagpur & 216 kms short of Raniganj & 174 kms to Kolkata.

Tanked up Diesel at IBP Auto Services Kharisa on NH6 Mednipur Dist 33.22 Liters @ Rs.39.74 per liter for Rs.1320/-

At 12.45 P.M. we were at Kolkata By-Pass (near Kharisa) and halted at Shere Punjab hotel which was recommended by HVK. It was a good hotel & we had our lunch.

We are in Bamboo country.

HVK had clearly informed me that I should take the road that was pointing towards Delhi & not the one showing towards Kolkata which would take me into Kolkata City. I continued on this NH-6 further on leaving Kolkata City behind. We all recognize this yellow Ambassador Taxi which is so unique to Kolkata. Kolkata so near yet so far.

I have some very good friends from my Palio Users Group in Kolkata – Amit Mazumdar, Subhasis Kundu, Saurabh Mitra, Cecil Philips and many whom I could not meet as I was by-passing Kolkata.

Now we are getting into NH-2. At 4.45 P.M. we saw a beautiful scene of sun about to set and in the background of a factory my son Uthamkumar took these beautiful photos.

At 9.45 PM we were still 49 kms away from Farakka Barrage. Farakka Barrage is built on the mighty river Ganges and Gallons of Ganges water flows under this Barrage & this water goes from India into Bangladesh. HVK had told us not to miss to see this Barrage. Unfortunately it was pitch dark when we passed and even though the barrage was well-lit with many sodium vapour lamps but we could not stop to see as there was very heavy Lorry & Truck traffic and it was pitch dark too.

This Barrage has 123 sluice gates and is the longest barrage in the world and has entered the guiness book of world records. The construction of this huge barrage started in 1960 and was completed in 1974. This barrage was built to divert Ganges river water into Hooghly River. The water is used to feed the Farakka Thermal Power Station. Driving on this Barrage is an experience & scary too. The roads on the barrage are very bad full of pot holes and you can hear the huge sound of the water flowing.

We passed this barrage after 10 P.M. and there was heavy lorry traffic & it can be a nerve rattling experience to have these huge lorries just coming so close to you and you have to drive very slow and most of the drivers switch off their head lights as head lights can be very bright at close range when we are passing so slow. I was just wondering how long the barrage will last with all the abuse it is going through now.

The barrage is well guarded on both sides. Some times the traffic is regulated when there is huge rush. This barrage bridge is the link & life line to MALDA & Guwahati, Bhutan etc. We updated our status to HVK and he advised us that at MALDA there are few choices & recommended us Golden Park Hotel and said it is the best.

We were again helped by HVK who called us & gave us the phone number of Golden Park. I called them up & booked a room. I really wondered when HVK would sleep & take rest. I had to keep calling the hotel and tell them I was on my way and it is slightly out side the town and you really wonder where it is as you have to drive out of city.

Picture below taken on 22nd Dec morning at 9.26 AM closing kilometer reading 4960. I was damn tired. I had got up at 4.45 AM in the morning on 21st December and from 7 A.M. I was driving till mid night 00.49.

We had ordered for dinner much earlier itself before reaching the hotel as room service would be closed. We had very late night dinner by 1 A.M. mid night and slept. I had done 700 kms on 21st December 2010.

Total Toll Gate Fees paid on 21.12.2010 from Bhadrak to MALDA Rs.205/-

The hotel details are

Hotel Golden Park & Resort
NH-34, Narayanpur, Malda
West Bengal
Tel: 03512 – 262251 / 52 / 9647700204
Email: mail@hotelgreenpark.com

I was only hoping that I will not miss it as it was too late at night. By the time I reached the hotel it was 00.49 hours mid night. I was very tired as on Day – 3 I had driven Vishakhapatnam to Bhadrak covering 600 kms and had got up at 05.00 AM morning & had reached Bhadrak mid night 11.55 PM. Having got up again at early morning 5 AM on Day -4 I had driven till mid night 12.55 AM.

This is what the trip is all about – endurance & will power not to give up. Constant encouragement from HVK and my life partner sitting next to me kept me going.

5 Comments

  • Nandan says:

    Yes, it is.

    To do it not once, not twice and that too when you drove all night on Day0. Great going Mahesh.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Mahesh,

    its a pretty neat and detailed description and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey.
    Keep going..

    Auro.

  • Vibha says:

    Uthamkumar is turning out to be a great photographer at such a young age. Great journey so far Mahesh. More than 700 kms in a day and that too when you are the only driver? It is an incredible feat…

  • MN says:

    Hi Nandan, Vishal Rathod, Aurojit & Vibha, Thanks a lot for the comments & for your time and going through the blog and enjoying it.

    There is a saying “When you share yourself with others, life begins to find its meaning..the time you touch the hearts of others is the moment you truely start living”

    I am very happy that all of you who are visiting & reading the blog are enjoying reading it. Vibha – there was no option but to drive & cover the distance else I never would have made it to Bhutan & back in the time frame I have mentioned 16 days – 7400 kms up & down. That averages driving 462 kms of driving every day (very close to 500 kms) !!!!

    I realised my son Uthamkumar (UK) had a flair for photography when he was just 5 years and during or 1st trip in 2008-2009 and he had an eye for detail. In fact at home he is considered a better photographer and is very finicky about the background, people standing either bunched up are too away etc. Tnx for your comment, I will encourage UK to take up photography as a hobby now.

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