R.O.A.D - East India's largest convoy - 40 car, 2 bikes and 90 people

Thursday, August 04, 2016




We had a massive gathering during our last Team-bhp Monsson meet (Kolkata Monsoon Meet - 24th July, 2016). It was the largest Team-bhp meet East India or for the matter of fact any part of India has every seen. Last winter few bhpians have arranged for a overnight meet at Gadiara (New Year Winter Meet, Kolkata (January 2016)) which turned out to be a successful overnight road trip. But the count was less than the day meets we have. Well why am I talking so much about head counts ? Because it is not easy to manage 40 cars and 90 people in a convoy and have a wonderful weekend trip. We did it.



There are lot of people are who aren't registered as bhpians. They are regular visitor of Team-bhp and follow each and every threads. I know many of them are still trying hard to get in while others have lost hope. Nevertheless there are still a large number of auto enthusiast who are connected to us.

Few of them went ahead and started planning for a weekend trip. We usually meet for tea or sometimes over lunch but there was no meet arranged for everyone unlike Team-bhp meets. So it was a good idea to have a monsoon road trip where we can meet and greet everybody. But there would be a lot of people and managing them was not going to be a cake walk.

I would like to mention few names who started planning even before I knew them. The place decided was Dalma pahar, 300 km from Kolkata. But to decide and finalize the place Samaresh da, Chandra da, Arony da, Arunangshu da, Pushan da and others traveled to Dalma few times. Lets call them "Admin", it will be easy for me to refer them. First criteria was the place - we must go somewhere with high chances of rain otherwise cant really call it a monsoon drive. Dalma looked like a perfect place for that. Additionally the narrow road from the city to Dalma top was full of slush and rocks for the cars to have fun. Secondly we would need a large hotel/resort for a lot people to stay together. There are many good places around Kolkata but many of them got rejected only because they didnt have a proper hotel which can hold 90 people at a time. Asanbani has few large large resort - The Wave international which was large enough for all of us. So these guys went to Asanbani/Dalma multiple times to manage hotels and bookings. They also did check the off road to Dalma top and posted pictures so that everyone gets excited.

A whatsapp group was set up and everyone started adding people who might be interested. Many came and many went and finally there were more than 60 people and their families who seems to be interested. few guys from Odisha also joined. 60+ family in 40 cars was the final count. Planning for the roadtrip started almost a month back. While the admins were doing lot of hard work in background, we were simply excited.

To travel with 40 cars a lot of planning was required. The admins decided to do a convoy drive. Because the driving style and manner of so many people wouldn't match at all and it would be impossible to track everyone. Also not to mention it was risky as well. Convoy drive was the best idea so that an average speed can be maintained and all cars are tracked. A convoy has a lead, a Marshall and a tail. Leads responsibility was to maintain speed, if the lead car goes too fast the convoy would break, but if the lead car goes slow we wouldn't reach Dalma in time. The marshal was there in the middle of the convoy. We decided to give numbers to every car. There was radio available for the lead, marshal and the tail to communicate with each other. Then comes the bikers. We had two bikers and it was decided that they will be the sweeper. Their responsibility was to keep the cars going and stop in case of emergency. In case anyone stops for a reason the sweepers would stop with them and when he/she is ready to drive again it would the sweepers responsibility to take him back to his position. Well, there was a list of rules we have created so that the convoy drive can be a successful one. New tee shirts and car stickers were also printed for everyone.



Day 1- Timings for the road trip was set and circulated few weeks before 30th. And when 30th came we met everyone at Highway Rainbow dhaba which is 22kms after Dhulagar. Initially we planned to meet at Rajarhat but as there are lot of people coming from almost all over Kolkata we shifted the meeting destination to Highway Rainbow. This dhaba was large enough to park all the cars and still have huge space left. At 7am when I reached there I was the last person to come. We met with as many as we could and had a delicious break fast. Tee Shirts and car stickers were distributed at that time. Also the car numbering stickers were handed over. After breakfast Samaresh da came and briefed everyone about convoy rules. Lot of people were new to convoy driving including myself. We started our convoy at 8:15 am.



Till kharagpur it was 6 lane golden quadrilateral. We stopped for few minutes after a toll booth before Kharagpur. Once everyone crossed the toll booth and gathered we started once again. We were maintaining speed around 60-90 so that everyone is close to each other. From Kharagpur we took right on NH6. The road condition of NH6 has improved a lot from my last trip 5 years back.




The first place to see was Galudih barrage. Its a dam on Subarnarekha river in Jharkhand. We stopped there for a photo session.



The weather seemed to spoil the essence of Rain drive. It was very hot without any sign of clouds anywhere till we entered Jharkhand. Just before Jamshedpur it started raining heavily. Thus making the rain drive a successful one. The rains was quite heavy to make us slow. So instead of driving faster we enjoyed the rain. The admins were already in contact with the hotel so that they know when we would reach.



At 2pm we reached Hotel Wave international. The hotel at first didnt look large from outside. But once we entered the campus it was huge. After entering we were showed the way to the parking. The parking was large enough to park 100 cars. The parking also had space for other fun activities. The hotel staffs were ready with our room keys. They and the admins already had a printed paper with room number and names written on it. After we parked our hotel we took the keys to our room. There is a large pool on the way to the rooms. The pool was super clean and so was the resort. The rooms were very good and large.



It was already 2 pm and everyone was super hungry. So instead of taking some rest everyone went for lunch. Food was already served once we reached the hotel. At lunch we got to talk to few new people. All those Hi-Hello stuffs happened over food. The hotel made quite a good arrangement and gave us a separate auditorium for lunch.



Lunch was completed by 3pm. There was no definite plan of what we would be doing after lunch. Most of the people were interested to jump in the pool. The hotel had Go carting and atv as well. Few showed interest in them. Whereas we thought to going to Dalma top instead of staying at the hotel.

The initial plan was to go to Dalma top next day morning. But we couldnt wait and started right after lunch. It was drizzling the entire day in Asanbani and we were expecting quite amount of slush. I didnt know if the slush was too much for the EcoSport. The other cars were AWD or 4WD. So we decided if I get stuck somewhere I would go no further. And also there was the risk of elephant. Dalma wildlife sanctuary is very famous for elephants. At that time Dalma range was covered with clouds which made it looks like evening at 3pm. So 7 cars started from the hotel towards Dalma and the rest were enjoying the pool.

There is a small entry fee to enter the forest.



At Dalma top - The route is about 29 kms, mostly dense forest. The continuous rain made it more perfect.



My car got stuck at one point of time, not due to slush or traction, but due to low initial torque as the climb was very steep and I had to stop in the middle. I then had to apply hand brake and acceleration to take the Ecosport further. The effort was worth it once we reached the top most area. More photos-



Around 5:30 we started coming down. It took another hour to go back to the hotel.



In the evening the admins arranged for a magic show for the kids. And DJ for the rest of the night for us. I dont have any photos after evening, guess I was busy enjoying the pool and the DJ. But I remember everyone dancing and enjoying after a massive 300km convoy drive. The convoy drive was a successful one and every one enjoyed every bit of it. There were all kind of hatchbacks, crossovers, sedans and suvs in the convoy, but everyone maintained all the rules and drove sedately. Cheers to everyone !!!

In the evening the admins arranged for a magic show for the kids. And DJ for the rest of the night for us. I dont have any photos after evening, guess I was busy enjoying the pool and the DJ. But I remember everyone dancing and enjoying after a massive 300km convoy drive. The convoy drive was a successful one and every one enjoyed every bit of it. There were all kind of hatchbacks, crossovers, sedans and suvs in the convoy, but everyone maintained all the rules and drove sedately. Cheers to everyone !!!

Day 2- The rest of the cars were suppose to go to Dalma top today morning so they woke up early, had their breakfast and went ahead. Where as we woke up late at 9am. Yesterday's Dalma forest drive in the rain made our car dirty. And by dirty I mean literally mud all over. So we thought of cleaning our car before going home. After having our breakfast we found a place within the hotel where we can wash the car and water was available. We washed our car and then went straight to the pool once again.

Once everyone came back from Dalma top we got up from pool to get ready and check out from Hotel. Our last lunch at the hotel was also served by that time.

Once everyone was ready to leave I took one last group photo.



Where as rest of the team decided to head towards Kolkata, 6 of us decided to visit the nearest Dimna lake. Dimna was only 13 kms from Wave International hotel. Once we reached Dimna we took our car to the shore.



Dimna was the last thing we visited that day. It was time to go back home. The return journey wasnt a convoy drive as there were few people who returned early and few had other plans. But we mostly drove together throughout the route. Nothing much to write about the return journey. We spotted rest of the team on the way and everyone stopped at Kolaghat for some snacks in the evening. 



When we started from Kolaghat it was raining heavily. I reached home at 9pm after facing a massive jam at Nivedita Setu toll.


 Trip logs -
Total distance covered - 680km
Wave international location - here



Convoy speed from Highway Rainbow dhaba to hotel.
While returning, Dimna lake to Kolaghat
Last lines - There was a lot of effort spent for this monsoon drive. It may looks like only a weekend drive but to bring 40 cars and 90 people together was not a matter of joke. Few people (The admins) worked very hard to make this happen. Not only route, hotel bookings, food and managing tee shirt & stickers they literally had to speak to almost everyone and work out a mutual plan where most of the people could be happy and spend a wonderful time together. This also speaks the volume of the auto enthusiast in eastern region and their capability of driving together and helping each other. Three cheers to everyone !!! Well I always believe driving in a group is always better than driving alone.

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