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Kolkata to Siliguri was the worst journey of our drive. And after our Renault Kwid soldiered past the terror of the highway between Kolkata and Siliguri (bad roads, scant traffic sense and mindless pedestrians), things went back to being smooth again. Siliguri onwards nature’s prowess overpowered everything else. Lush green forests, animal sanctuaries, vast riverbeds and mountains had again graced the India Diamond Trail.
Kanyakumari to Kibithoo is a colossal 4500km drive through the diagonal length of India. We’ve already covered more than 3500km of this leg tracing the Renault Diamond using the trusty Kwid on India’s map and now were nearing the third ‘K’. Driving out of Siliguri, we went past the Coronation Bridge which was built across the Teesta river in 1941. Soon after that the Kwid went past some vast tea estates of North Bengal. Thousands of hectares of tea gardens are spread out around Darjeeling, Siliguri, Kishanganj and Jalpaiguri and the hence the roads are naturally scenic.
After 18 days of driving in unforgiving heat, there was finally some good weather. However, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the evening slowed our progress. The Renault Kwid though stayed as calm as a toad in the sun. Its well-insulated cabin doesn’t let much wind or road noise seep through and its comfortable ride doesn’t induce fatigue even after long hours spent in the cabin. The CEAT Milaze tyres too provided excellent grip on slippery surfaces. Even after about 8000km since the last tyre change, there’s no wear and the tyre’s overall health seems just fine.
The next few days are going to be exciting as we move away from civilization into the depths of North East India. Stay Tuned.