26th February 2016, Friday…Day (7) Muzaffarpur-Siliguri-Oodlabari, 507 km
Didn’t have sound sleep inside the car parked near a dhaba at Muzaffarpur that night.
Kept pacing on the road till late hours, luckily the dhaba kept opened too which allowed me to enjoy hot tea while chatting with the truck drivers who were to sleep inside their respective trucks as well. For me this was exciting and a one time affair but for them it was daily and mundane routine.
Muzaffarpur is the 4th largest city of Bihar and is famous for its shahi lychee. However this was not the season for lychees, so after 2-3 hours of sleep, not sure about the destination, was on the road again.
Sky was little overcast that morning but landscape was still quite good. The road was wide and neat but had very little traffic. After about one hour’s drive, bye passed Darbhanga and was headed towards forbesganj.
Received a phone call from a family friend who was posted as a senior officer at railways in Patna asking me to visit them. I apologised and promised to visit on my way back. It felt good to know that someone close was around.
Next town on the route was Forbesganj, a small town named after British ruler Forbes. It is famous for Indigo farming and an interesting story of Sultan Pokhar.
I was now driving very close to Nepal border.
The landscape was quite different to the one I am used to. The road passed through vast swamplands, water streams and rivers. There were patches of green farms, houses built with wood, mud, straw and dry leaves.
Vast vistas along National Highway 27
The road continued to be smooth and beautiful. The landscape around continued to be good too. This highway, NH 27, is the 2nd largest national highway in India. I thought how wonderful it would be to drive all the way from Porbandar in the West to Silchar in the East covering 3507 kilometers on this highway.
Sure will do it one day.
Blue sky with vast yellow green wheat fields in the foreground presented a very colorful scenery along the road.
Camera battery was draining fast, so didn’t click many pictures nor made too many stops which I would have done otherwise, instead continued driving steadily through Forbesganj and then Purnea bye pass. At Dalkhola entered WB and after driving for some time in West Bengal again entered Bihar near Kishanganj.
At Kishanganj, found a wayside dhaba which, among others, had bathing facilities for truckers. I broke journey for over two hours and had nice time bathing and washing my lalpari.
After refreshing and a nice lunch I was on the road again. Soon entered WB and drove through tea gardens on both sides of the road. It was so beautiful. For the first time in life, I was driving through such large beautiful tea estates.
Interestingly, Kishanganj is the only tea producing area in Bihar and is sandwiched between two neighbouring countries Nepal and Bangladesh.
In contrast to Bihar and UP, WB seemed to be a better organised state. At least I felt so while driving on highway.
After Kishanganj, drive became even more pleasant. Landscape continued improving as I was drove more into WB towards Siliguri. Barring a small patch in Bihar, the entire road was good, even though I felt, it has too many tolls.
Well marked and metalled road near Siliguri.
Soon I reached crowded Siliguri, gateway to North East and met two young bikers Rohit Dey and his friend Sayan Ghosh. We had a nice chat over a cup of tea. Rohit gave me lot of information about the area and helped me plan out itinerary for my further travelling. We tried finding charger for my camera through crowded Siliguri bazar but unfortunately we could not.
It was almost 8pm evening when I decided to drive further towards Guwahati and stay wherever I felt like. Soon after leaving Siliguri the road became quite lonely and devoid of any traffic. It made me suspicious whether I was on right road. I wanted to confirm but there was no one around. After a wait of 5-10 minutes I spotted a vehicle coming from opposite side.
After getting confirmation from the occupants of the car I resumed driving and soon reached a nice well lit place with number of hotels and dhabas on both sides of the road.
It was Oodlabari, a small town in Dooars, situated on a stretch of two kilometers of land in between two rivers. Kind of liked the place and decided to stay for the night there. After nice dinner and walk, parked the car in front of a dhaba, slipped inside, pulled the covers over and slept inside the car.
Sleeping inside the car parked on roadside, at an unknown place and amongst complete strangers, it felt like a fairy tail, another dream come true…….!!!
Map of the route followed for the day