Solo Road trip from Delhi to Northeast India

Solo road trip from Delhi to Northeast India, so called the seven sisters, started today (6th Feb 2024) on my bike (Harley Davidson Deluxe 2018).

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Day 1: Delhi/NCR to Lucknow:

First day of my solo road trip from Delhi to northeast India, I rode 554 Kms and reached Lucknow from Delhi/NCR. Taking an overnight stay here meeting with family and friends. Today things went well, not too cold, and not too hot. The fog was not there in the early morning, but it developed as soon as I left the city and entered Yamuna expressway. Dense fog for another hour. Due to which I had to take a break in the middle for breakfast. As the weather was pleasant, which made my ride likewise. A great day to ride and a great ride I had.

Day 2: 530 Kms Lucknow to Muzaffarpur:

I started at 7 am from Lucknow in the midst of thin fog which eventually became thick as soon as I left the city and entered the highway. Today’s destination was Muzaffarpur city in Bihar. I have been to Bihar earlier but never to this city, and for that matter to this route. Its straight NH-27, NH-28, NH-27. Crossed Ayodhya city and had my breakfast at the famous Kalika Restaurant on the way. Weather was cold, so got proper riding gears, Jackets, gloves, inners, all packed up. It took me almost 5 hours to reach Gorakhpur from Lucknow. It was a good day to ride so as my ride became.

Just in Bihar, google maps took me to a shortcut to bypass Motihari. Always remember, while driving in Bihar never get off the main highway until you are really intended to. The shortcut was a very narrow road with a lot of traffic along with several crowded markets and horrible speed breakers. It was a wrong decision to take the shortcut, but I found some nice people who suggested me to go on another shortcut (similar in condition) to reach back to the main highway without going back on the same road. It was a good advice and I got out of trouble in another 15 minutes.

Bihar highways are not too crowded, very few vehicles, both commercial and private. Therefore, there are few or for that matter, not at all good restaurants on NH-27. I did reach Muzaffarpur by 4:30 PM, while penetrating through the unimaginable city crowd. It’s always like that in Indian cities. But overall, it was a fun ride. Also, the hotel at Muzaffarpur was nice.

Day 3: Muzaffarpur to Darjeeling

I started at 6 AM from Muzaffarpur to Darjeeling. Google map was showing 10h 30m for 430 km long journey, given the traffic in West Bengal and hill climb to reach Darjeeling, I wanted to reach Darjeeling before the sunset, therefore I started early. Got onto NH 27 and moved towards east. Until Araria, the roads were good and from there I took left on NH 327. Another wrong decision while taking advice from google, as lot of construction was going-on on this route for around 30-40 kms. I could barely manage 20km/hour average speed on this route. As advised by some rider from Facebook group, I should have continued on NH27 only to reach WB. Again, google maps took me to the not so good path.

Darjeeling climb:

Although once the bad patch was over, the highway turned out to be one of the most modern highways of India, but only till West Bengal border. As soon as I entered West Bengal the whole geography changed, suddenly the brown and dry landscape turned green and crowded. A single road highway till Siliguri, from where I took left for Darjeeling, and the remaining 50 kms was a climb. Google map showed 2h30m to reach Darjeeling. I had my lunch just before starting the climb. The weather was cold again, with a lot of traffic. The road was narrow and there were a lot of habitations around it.

Power of my bike was sufficient enough to pierce through the traffic. Given you have a two-wheeler, there are less chances to get stuck in a traffic jam in comparison to four wheelers. After climbing some distance, the toy train railway line joined the road, and I have witnessed toy train twice on that line, with lot of fog. It was very cold, and my fingers were almost frozen. Still, I got a chance to record some toy train memories. As it was too foggy and cold, it was getting difficult to drive in that area, but somehow, I managed and reached Darjeeling before sunset, checked in at the hotel just next to the mall road. After taking a hot shower, I visited the famous mall road, and did some tea shopping. It was a genuinely nice experience.

Day 4. Darjeeling to Gangtok :

The morning was very cold in Darjeeling. That day my plan was to checkout from the hotel by 11 am, to start for Gangtok. I had a heavy and healthy breakfast at the hotel and started my journey at 11. I booked the hotel in Gangtok before leaving the hotel.

It was a slow start as the road was narrow and with so many curves. Darjeeling to Teesta town was around 25 kms, out of which around 20 kms was the decline, but a very dangerous one. I was able to ride only on the first gear throughout the descend. You try to speed up even a little and it’s like you are rolling down the hill. According to me it was an engineering disaster. I am unaware if some other person has described the same road as me. But I think I am doing justice by saying it an engineering disaster, at least for my experience.

To descend the mountain it took me around 1h30m, just 20 kms of it. After I reached Teesta town situated on the banks of river Teesta, which is a conjunction of 3 ways. One towards Darjeeling (from where I came), second towards Siliguri, and third towards Gangtok (Sikkim). From there I headed towards Gangtok. The road to Gangtok was not too crowded but West Bengal part of the highway was not well maintained, and Sikkim part was occasionally a little crowded in the town areas.

Gangtok City:

The roads in Sikkim were good, and I did reach Gangtok in time. Given the capital of the state Sikkim, Gangtok is a big city. Neat & clean, and organized, people were driving in proper lanes and too sensibly. As it was a short ride, almost 3h30m, and I had a heavy breakfast, therefore I skipped lunch. Checked into the hotel, did an hour’s rest, and left for the famous MG road at around 4 pm. I spent the next 3 hours shopping and enjoying delicacies at MG road. It was one of the best mall roads I have ever visited.

Day 5: Gangtok to Bongaigaon:

Today I was supposed to reach Guwahati from Gangtok. On google maps it was showing approx. 530 kms and 13h30m in time. But it is too much drive in a single day given you are driving in mountains. So, I didn’t book the hotel in advance, as I was not sure to reach Guwahati on the same day. I just started early morning around 7 am, had my breakfast on the way, and not to my surprise I got stuck in couple of big traffic jams, and from Teesta town to further down, the road was pathetic and under construction, with too much dust and traffic. It took me approx. 4 hours to descend 90 kms of mountains. Another bad descend.

After I got onto NH17 towards Guwahati, the roads became smooth, I was now in plains, and weather has become moderately hot. But still manageable for a bike ride. At around 2 PM I had my lunch somewhere in west Bengal, and sighting that it will be too much to ask to reach Guwahati the same day, I did book a hotel at Bongaigaon (Assam) approx. 180 kms before Guwahati. It was a good decision, the hotel was a little costly for a single night stay, but it was on the main highway. The hotel was quite descent. I reached the hotel in the evening and did some local shopping. It was in total around 370 kms and it took 10 hours to reach.

Day 6: Bongaigaon to Guwahati:

After breakfast at the hotel, I started at 9:30 am from Bongaigaon towards Guwahati. In the morning it was showing 3h30m to reach to my destination, on maps. But over the period of time this tentative ETA was increased by 1h+. I reached Rangia and there I realized why the ETA was increased. Some religious event was going on in this small town that day, and it did block the whole traffic for several kms. I was stuck, so everyone else was. The traffic was moving at the snail’s pace and the Sun was at its peak. Even in February the day became so hot, that I was sweating profusely under my riding jacket.

After an hour-long traffic jam, somehow, I got back my pace and reached Guwahati by 1:30 PM. I visited Guwahati city in the evening. And slept early to start for Kaziranga the very next morning.

Day 7: Guwahati to Kaziranga National Park:

I started at 5 am from Guwahati and reached Kaziranga National Park in another 4 hours. It was a slow ride, and once we entered into the National Park area, the allowed speed limit decreased to 20 km/hour mostly, as animals might be around the road or crossing it. The hotel in Kaziranga was a basic one, but still had all the amenities. It was kind of off season so; very little occupancy was there. I think it was just me as a guest in the entire hotel.

Post lunch time, I booked a safari to visit Kaziranga National Park, it was a 2.5-hour Safari, a memorable one. I have seen so many wild animals, the best were the Rhinoceros, they were everywhere in the forest. Elephants were also roaming in herds. Again, to my disappointment, I couldn’t see the tiger, now the checklist of National parks is 4, where I couldn’t see the tiger. In fact, I have never seen a tiger in any National Park I have visited. I saw them only in the Zoo.

An unfortunate turn of events:

During this solo road trip from Delhi to northeast India, my plan was to do all other Northeastern states as well. But due to some work urgency back at my place in Delhi, I had to start coming back. I tried multiple options to get my bike delivered to Delhi so that I can catch the flight from Guwahati. But couldn’t find a reasonable option. So, I decided to ride back as soon as possible. But again, without compromising my health. While coming back there is nothing much to tell but just a route plan, which can help others to follow.

Return journey (solo road trip from Delhi to northeast India):

Day 1: Kaziranga to Bongaigaon: I didn’t come this time from Guwahati, but again it was another wrong decision trusting Google Maps. Please use highway only via Guwahati for the same. Stayed overnight at Bongaigaon in the same hotel.

Day2: Bongaigaon to Kanki Dham, a small town on the border of Bihar and West Bengal.

Day3: Kanki Dham to Gorakhpur

Day4: Gorakhpur to Ayodhya: Ram temple darshan with a friend. Couldn’t resist Ram Lala darshan.

Day5: Ayodhya to Delhi, just in 8 hours via Agra-Lucknow and Yamuna expressways.

This solo road trip from Delhi to northeast India was of about 4,574 kms. And I took 12 days to complete it. I have Covered, UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam.

If you have any question or suggestion regarding solo road trip from Delhi to northeast India or any road trip do let me know at [email protected].

Checkout my blog on road trip from Delhi to Leh/Ladakh.

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