Road trip to Sikkim – Part 3

As we go about the mandatory return leg of our road trip to Sikkim, we travel through and visit places that we missed out during the onward journey. Whatever possible with the given days at hand before we are to reach Bengaluru as per schedule by Sunday, 14 May 2017.

Siliguri – Suri

Day 17 : 07 May 2017

Up by 6am and ready by 7:30am. Good roads all the way. Took the same road off the highway at Dhantola and through Lodhan, Khanta to connect back to Makdampur. At Raiganj, just before the circle, filled fuel (only one that accepts card around these parts). Just passed the small town of Malda and we were but a kilometer from the border of Bangladesh. Stopped at Itahar for lunch at ‘Eureka hotel cum & restaurant’.

Next stop was at Suri at Hotel Sagar where I reached by 8pm and booked the room for the 3 of us. An hour later, Deepak and Vageesh turned up. We had dinner and slept early. A near non-stop ride with nothing of interest.

Distance : 412km

Suri – Bhadrak

Day 18 : 08 May 2017

Wake up by 5am and we start by 6am and refueled my bike for Rs.500/- and we headed out. Reach Durgapur by 8:45am and stop at Sher-e-Bengal restaurant for breakfast. Probably the only good place for food here. Rode on and much later stopped at Medinipur by 12:50pm, just before Kharagpur for lunch at restaurant – The Recipe, that which served good food. After a good rest, we started by about 4pm. Passed Dantan in West Bengal and to Jaleswar to enter Odisha.

At one toll booth, was stopped by a policeman to check vehicle documents. On him confirming with me that my vehicle and I are from Karnataka, he said “People from Karnataka will have all documents pertaining to the vehicle, it’s ok, go ahead.”. I was glad to hear that, smiled back at the policeman and continued on.

Reached Bhadrak by 6:38pm and had to wait. Found a hotel by the highway for the night. Good and decent family hotel considering the small town. Good food and helpful staff too. Otherwise just another hot day on a clear tarred highway.

Distance : 420km

Bhadrak – Bramhapur

Day 19 : 09 May 2017

Easy day this was to as we were supposed to go to the Turtle beach but got info that it was closed. So had to crap the idea and head on. Deepak had an issue with his Xylo and needed to get it checked. We stopped at Bhubaneshwar and got to Mahindra service center just off the highway. Had lunch next door at Pal Heights Mantra. Kinda posh/expensive but food wasn’t worth the price.

Reached the meetup point just before Bramhapur at 6:50pm and waited for my friends to show up. Looked for a hotel and stay put for the night. Nothing of interest or exciting this day.

Distance : 300km

Bramhapur – Borra Caves – Rushikonda

Day 20 : 10 May 2017

Withdrew about 3k next to the hotel and we started out by 8:30am. Stopped on the way after Palasa for fuel of 690/- at Rs.75/- per litre. Passed Girisola in Orissa and then next Ichchapuram to enter Andra Pradesh. Stopped near Nandigam at 9:50am to regroup (from here it’s 190km to Borra caves). At 11:50am, we stopped at Srikakulam for lunch at SVD Cafe. Tasty vegetarian meals here.

Next stop Borra caves (128km from Srikakulam), a 200mtr cave network discovered in 1807. Situates in the Ananthagiri Mountain range, north-west of Vizianagaram. Reached Kopperla at 2pm, where we need to take right at Nathavalasa junction and from here its another 78km. (2hrs). At Bowdara junction (landmark hanuman statue) take a right. Got to Borra caves by 4:10pm. No network coverage here but for BSNL network only. Was incredible and lovely.

Left there by about 5:30pm. At Bowdara junction (landmark of Lord Hanuman statue) go straight till you get to Gurrampalem then a right at Juttada and take the road to reach Rushikonda beach by 9pm. Checked into sea facing room at Hotel Haritha. Good property but poorly maintained rooms. Ordered dinner to the room and it wasn’t any better.

Distance : 270km

Rushikonda – Rajamundry

Day 21 : 11 May 2017

Woke up by 7am. Vageesh and Deepak had woken up by 5 and walked down to the beach. Here Vodafone network data coverage is low. Had the complimentary limited breakfast by 9am while Vageesh chose to sleep a while longer. Start by 11:15am, we head south-west along the coastline to RK Beach (Rama Krishna beach) where the well acclaimed INS Kurbara submarine museum is situated. The place opens from 2pm onwards so we took pictures outside and continued on towards Guntur.

Got out of town via the Port Road and took the NH16. Filled fuel for 600/- and continued on. Stopped at around 1pm just after Vempadu toll booth to have tender coconut water and continued. At about 2:30pm, reached Annavaram and stopped at One Food Courts for lunch. Nice place by the highway to stop for a break, to freshen up and/or to have lunch, dinner or snacks.

Reached Rajamundry by 6:20pm and wait while they get to the hotel and check in. Freshen up and take an auto to Shyamala theatre to watch Bahubali 2. Back by 10pm and to bed.

Distance : 220km

Rajamundry – Nellore

Day 22 : 12 May 2017

Started by about 8am or so. I reached the same restaurant (that we had stopped during the onward journey) at Burepalli (just before Ongole) by 1:20pm. Deepak was still at Guntur and Vageesh was at Vijayawada. I leisurely had my lunch by which time Deepak reached at 2:50pm. Vageesh reached by 3:10pm. They had lunch. We had a nap, then tea and got started by 4:30pm. Reached Nellore by 7:10pm. After some searching, we found a hotel in the city to stay put for the night and checked in by 8:30pm.

Distance : 437km

Nellore – Bengaluru

Day 23 : 13 May 2017

Get set and ready by 8:30am onwards to Bengaluru after having breakfast at a food joint in the city. About 4.5km before entering the city of Tirupati, stopped to have coconut water at 11:45am. Got to Mahindra showroom on the highway where Deepak he had to pick up his vehicle tyre that was left behind during our journey upto Sikkim. Headed little for forward and stopped at a small place to hydrate. Continued on to stop at Bheemas restaurant at 2:15pm for lunch Rs.157/- per person. Good but expensive for a vegetarian meal.

Nearing Bengaluru and just ahead was a beautiful sunset by the horizon as a welcome back into the city. Had to stop to take a picture. Continued on and reached Whitefield by 7:40pm to meet up friend Kiran, who had reached Bengaluru by flight several days earlier. Lokesh turned up too. Deepak and Vageesh reached here by 8:30pm. Finally, got to have good strong tea at ‘Chai Point’.

Spent time here so we didn’t have to waste it in Saturday evening peak hour traffic. Had dinner at a restaurant close-by and then we got back to our respective homes with delightful memories of Sikkim.

Distance : 380km

For those paranoid and/or addicted to using the vehicle horn, I didn’t use the horn in Sikkim and during my return leg back to Bengaluru, on my motorcycle. My point being that its actually possible and without any mishap whatsoever. This is no luck, fate or destiny. Use the RVMs (rear view mirrors) and indicators. Be attentive and patient. That’s all there is to it.

Special thanks to friends in Beaux Adventures for helping us do this trip and friends at OrgTree for the healthy & tasty KIRU (millet based snacks) energy bars & biscuits that got us through those stretches on the road where no food was available at that time of day.

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