LOST in Sikkim
Day 4 | 22 Dec 2015 | Kushinagar to Siliguri
- Route: Kushinagar – Muzaffarpur – Forbesganj – Darbhanga – Forbesganj – Purnea – Islampur – Siliguri
- Distance: 650 Kms
- Road Condition: Bad roads at UP Bihar border crossing for 20 kms and excellent 4 lane highway throughout Bihar. Some flyover road construction work before Purnea. Moderately bad roads from Purnea to Islampur. Good roads from Islampur to Siliguri.
- Stay: Hotel Central Plaza, Siliguri
I have to admit the only thing I knew about Kushinagar before our visit is that it was a decent place to stop over however once we parked our bikes in the hotel last night the reception had a plethora of photos of Gautam Buddha which made me wonder are we in some sacred place worth exploring. Upon some enquiry we realised we have reached the most sacred Buddhist place in the world. It is said that Lord Buddha achieved salvation in Kushinagar and there is a temple named Mahaparinirvana which enshrines a 6 metres long Lord Buddha statue in Parinirvana (nirvana after death) posture. Unanimously we decided we have to see this temple before we start the journey towards Siliguri. Majority of the people we saw inside the premises of Mahaparinirvana temple were Asian people from different countries of Asia who were deeply engrossed in their prayers towards Lord Buddha. Kushinagar truly is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites for Buddhists and we were glad we were able to peek into the history of this place to what seemed otherwise an ordinary city.
Around 10 AM we were back to the hotel and ready to roll towards our next destination which was Siliguri. Since Kushinagar is close to the UP Bihar border we found ourselves battling the extremely bad border roads which welcomed us to Bihar. The roads were bad enough to split the group into two parts as the roads had oncoming traffic which made 5 of us stick together more difficult. Luckily for us it was only a matter of time before the exceptional 4 lane highway in Bihar began. The ride post border crossing is a breeze and the madness, poor driving culture we experienced in UP was luckily not seen in today’s ride. The National Highway 57 by passed all major cities of Bihar with ease and the highway was an absolute joy to ride. After lot of unsuccessful attempts to find a decent hotel for lunch, we settled in a roadside dhaba which had walls painted completely in Coca Cola theme but unfortunately no cold drinks were on offer. Damn! Facepalm Moment, Seriously. So guys, whoever cannot eat in roadside dhabas I would highly recommend marking your lunch spot before your visit because they are very rare on this route. The good roads and high speed run continued throughout the day till we made it Purnea by dawn. Purnea to Siliguri was a night ride with dreadful roads filled with pot holes. We were back to caution mode of riding and navigated the bad roads till Islampur was crossed. From Islampur onwards till Siliguri it was a good ride.
Impromptu Meet with Ride Life Siliguri: As our search for hotel began in Siliguri, we were noticed by two young chaps from Ride Life Siliguri biking group who followed us till the hotel and interacted with us. To our surprise, they knew LOST group and were followers of our rides through LOST FB page. Amit Dutta & Vishal Verma who ride Hero CD Deluxe and Yamaha Fazer respectively had immense passion for touring on 2 wheels and our interaction went on for quite some time followed by numbers being exchanged just in case we needed any help (more on this in the next post). We were ecstatic when they mentioned they have rode all the way to Nathula on their bikes and that definitely speaks volume about the rider. Yes, one can ride powerful bikes to high altitude passes but doing it on a 97 cc machine which cannot do more than 20 kmph on full throttle in such conditions is not a joke so big thumbs up for their courage and passion.
To sum it up, after 4 full riding days covering in excess of 2600 kms across MH, MP, RJ, UP, BR & WB we made it to Siliguri – The Gateway of North East India. From tomorrow our mountain ride begins towards Darjeeling Sikkim. Excited! Excited!! Excited!!!