Showing posts with label Bhutan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhutan. Show all posts

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 9 - Trongsa Local

After the really long drive of previous night, we realized that probably we have bitten more than what we can chew. Last night we took more than 10 hours to drive to reach from Thimphu to Trongsa.
As per our original plan we were to drive till Trashigang as part of next segment. We realized that it would not be possible to do that segment in one day. The other problem we faced that between Trongsa and Mongar we could not find any reasonable place to stay. Also we only had two more days to complete the drive before we head back to Paro. We realized it doesn't make sense to drive up to Trashigang if we were not exiting Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar. An editing of the original program was in order so we decided that we stay in Trongsa and then drive up to Bumthang and then we will head back to Paro.
This day was just for sightseeing in Trongsa and rest. Since there is not really much to see in Trongsa apart from nature in its full glory.
Trongsa Dzong

Trongsa Szong


Trongsa Dzong
The Dzong is 10 minutes drive away from the Yangkhil Resort where we were staying. It was raining and cold. We paid a quick visit to the Dzong.
Painting in Dzong




Prayer wheel

Decorative roof

Main gate as you enter from parking

View to parking
Once night falls, the dzong is flood lit and the resort had great view of flood lit dzong.
Flood-lit Dzong

Flood Lit Dzong
Flood-lit Dzong covered with clouds
It was nice relaxing day, as per our modified plan, we were driving to Bumthang tomorrow and then we would start our journey back to Paro. Since we had saved one extra day because of curtailing our trip to Trashigang, we decided to do another stop-over in Thimphu. It was really a wise decision as we would realize later.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 5 - Arriving in Bhutan, Siliguri to Thimphu

Some key words
As you enter Bhutan, you start hearing some words which are unknown to you. It is a good idea to understand what they mean.
Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan. The word ‘Dzongkha’ means the language (kha) spoken in Dzong.
  • Lam - Road
  • Dzong - Fortress
  • Chorten - Stupa
  • Lhakhang - Monastery 
Not availability of navigation requires one to be prepared with directions beforehand. Have printouts of all the directions handy otherwise lots of time gets wasted in trying to find your way.
I had heard that a portion of the road is bad, but we took a combination of NH31/NH31D and did not find any bad road anywhere.
We had planned on reaching in 4 hours,
Metal piece responsible for puncture
we were all set to reach well before the targeted time of 8:30AM IST. Around 50 kilometers before Phuentsholing, a sharp metal piece went through the rear tyre and we had to stop for a puncture. The metal piece was broad but fortunately the repair held up and we were able to proceed.
There are many segments on the road between Siliguri and Phuentsholling where the bridges and culverts have metal pieces coming out. I think I was not careful at one of these places and ended up puncturing the tyre.
We entered Phuentsholing at 8:00 AM IST. When we enter Bhutan, we need to keep in mind that Bhutan is 30 minutes ahead of India. So even though offices open at 9:00 AM, for people coming from India that is effectively 8:30AM.
We had forms ready and filled before the offices opened. If you are carrying passports then the process is fairly simple. Just go to first floor of Immigration office, which is a yellow building on the right side as you enter from India. In the first floor, deposit the application form with a photograph and copy of passport. Interestingly they never even looked at the original passport.

 It is a good idea to carry few copies of all the important documents. Xeroxing in Bhutan a hassle that one can live without and it is extremely expensive as well. It costs INR 5/- or Nu. 5/- for each copy. It is also a good idea to withdraw cash from the last ATM at Jaigaon. Money withdrawal in Bhutan usually has a surcharge and all bank's ATMs don't dispense cash with Indian cards.
Entry gate to Phuentsholling
Decorative gates are common in Bhutan. At the entrance of every town/city you will find a fabulously decorated gate.
Building in market

Roads, Parking
Most public roads have paid parking in Bhutan. The rates are between Nu. 10 to Nu 20 per hour. In most places parking is free in night from 9 PM to 9 AM.

Tashi building, Tashi Cell outlet is here
You will see the photograph of king and queen everywhere.

The immigration process took less than half an hour for us. There is a Tashi Cell (one of the two cellular provider in Bhutan) office in the market just opposite the immigration office. If you are interested, you can buy a local pre-paid cellular SIM from them. Please keep in mind that Bhutan uses 3G in 850 MHz band and your phone should support that band for 3G if you wish to use 3G there. Of course 2G/GPRS would work just fine. Apple phones and ipads support that band and I used a SIM for my iPad. Even though google navigation is not available in Bhutan and maps are pretty sparse and inaccurate, still it was extremely useful during our trip. Please see the map below for location.
 Once immigration permit was in our hand, we got few copies made and then we were off to get permit for car. The maps above shows the location of RSTA office. Following video also shows driving directions for the office.

I must say car permit process is slightly dis-organized. I will try to explain it here as many travellers have done it before me. There is a detailed post for all the processes here.
  1. It is a good idea to have an application on plain paper addressed to RSTA requesting a permit for your car with the car registration number and name of driver mentioned in the application.
  2. Keep few empty pages, you may need then and it is difficult to get then there
  3. Carry a copy each of following documents
    1. RC book of car
    2. Drivers license
    3. Copy of emission check certificate
    4. Copy of car insurance
    5. Copy of the immigration entry that you got from immigration office. It is a good idea to get the immigration certificate xeroxed as soon as you get it because immigration office is just opposite a market and there are many xerox shops there. In any case if one forgets, one can get a copy from booth number 1 on ground floor in RSTA office where one gets  bus tickets
  4. Once you have all the documents ready, go in following order
    1. Visit room number 4 on second floor, as of now it is titled ARTO. Show him all the documents and he will make a remark on the documents.
    2. Once it is signed by ARTO, need to visit Room 7 on second floor and the officer there would make another remark
    3. Once both the officers have signed on the document, visit the fee counter, opposite room 4.
    4. Once the fee is paid and you have the receipt, you need to visit ground floor where an officer will prepare the permit. He will keep all your documents and give you permit and fee receipt.
    5. Once you have permit and receipt, you need to go to Room 4 on floor 2 and get it signed from ARTO. This completes the process.
  5. As you are driving towards Thimphu/Paro, keep an eye out for checkpoints. Sometime nobody may stop you and not having entered at the checkpoint is not a good idea. We found two checkpoints between Phuentsholling and Thimphu. The map above also marks the check-post location. Following video show the position of check-post. You will need to show both the immigration permit and vehicle permit at the check-post.
Project DANTAK of the Border Roads Organisation, a sub-division of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, has been operating in Bhutan since May 1961. Since then Project DANTAK has been responsible for the construction and maintenance of over 1,500 km of roads and bridges, Paro Airport and a disused airfield at Yangphula, heliports, and other infrastructure. While these serve India's strategic defence needs, they are also an obvious economic benefit for the people of Bhutan.
Once you are through the checkpost, you are free to continue driving. We all were hungry, but we decided to wait till the Dantak Canteen. In Bhutan you will see Dantak presence at many places.
As you enter Bhutan, don't rush. As a rule, don't rush anywhere in Bhutan. People are considerate. If you are faster and behind somebody, they will give you side and let you overtake. The road in Bhutan are all hilly roads and can be extremely dangerous if you are not used to. Also if you are carrying passengers, take care in driving, otherwise too many jerky movements and motion sickness would set in and spoil the trip.
The roads at places are too narrow and the right of way is of climbing vehicle. You will have to come to absolute standstill at many place to cross. It is not at all a bright idea to rush the driving particularly when you see big vehicles like buses and trucks approach. These people are used to these roads and at times drive almost rashly.

11:40 AM Was enroute to Thimphu
11:49 AM Crossed the first checkpost.

12:42 PM Crossed Gedu

1:23 PM Reached Dantak Canteen. There are clean toilets and decent food there.
Me at Dantak Canteen
Somehow it is always great to see fellow Indians in a foreign land, even if the foreign land is Bhutan. The job that is Dantak is doing is phenomenal.
2:10 PM Finished from the canteen and now we were all set for drive till the Thimphu.
2:25 PM We crossed Chhukha
3:26 PM Stopped at the second checkpost. Check the map for location
3:40 PM Crossed Chapcha

4:15 PM Reached the Chuzom from where you can either go to Thimphu or Paro. As you reach closer to Thimphu, the road quality gets better. Once you enter the Thimphu gate, it is a nice 2-laned marked road till Thimphu.

5:06 PM 7 kilometers before Thimphu city, you will see a signage welcoming you to capital city and the road turns a nice 4-laned road with divider from here.

5:22 PM We enter the Norzin Lam which seems like the main street of Thimphu city. Since google maps just becomes useless at this time, we decide to park the car in market and walk around to find our hotel. Luckily our hotel is on Chang Lam which is the road parallel to Norzin Lam. We stayed at Hotel Norbuling. Here is my review of the hotel.
As soon as I entered, I felt that Bhutan is a place to experience. You have to slow yourself down. Look around at things. There are subtle changes when you compare it to India. That's what makes it special.
We also felt that the weather was significantly chilly at this time of the year and we pretty much had to carry jacket if we are walking around town.
There was nothing special planned for the evening. We had a leisurely dinner and called it a night. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 4 of the drive, Asansol to Siliguri

The excitement was building as we were nearing the Bhutan border. We found out that one of the Jyotirling, Vaidyanath is in Deoghar. So we decided to take a small detour and visit the temple enroute to Siliguri.
4:50 AM Started from the hotel at Asansol. The road towards Dumka and Deoghar is narrow but the surface was good for most part.

6:33 AM Crossed Dumka town. The town entry and exit seems messy. We were there early in the morning so did not face any hassle but I can see how in day time it could be crowded.
7:30 AM Reached Deoghar. Found parking near temple, hassled with pandas. Unfortunately temple took too long. It was extremely crowded.
Deoghar, also known as Baidyanath Dham, is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. It is one of the twelve jyotirlingam and also one of the 51 shaktipeeths. It is, along with Shrisailam, one of the few places in India where the jyotirlinga and the shaktipeeth are together, lying sided beside each other. Baidyanatham chithabhoomau (वैद्यनाथम् चिताभूमि) [शिवमहापुराण कोटिरुद्रा संहिता 1/21-24] is the ancient verse that identifies location of vaidyanth jyotirlinga. According to which Baidyantham is in 'chidabhoomi', which is the ancient name of Deoghar. While, the same part of text has variation by which, verse is paralyam vaidyanatham (परल्यम् वैद्यनाथम्) , i.e., Vaidyanatham is in Parli, Maharashtra. Thus the three temples of, Baiydanath temple at Deoghar, Jharkhand, Vaijnath temple at Parli, Maharashtra and Baijnath temple at Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh are claiming their shrines as 'real' jyotirlinga of Vaidyanath.
In Dwadasa jyothirlinga sthothram(द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्त्रोत्रम), Adi Sankaracharya has praised Vaidyanath jyothirlinga in following verses,
पूर्वोत्तरे प्रज्वलिका निधाने
सदा वसंतम गिरिजा समेतम्
सुरासुराधिता पदपद्मम्
श्रीवैद्यनाथम् त्वमहम् नमामि
Poorvothare prajwalika nidhane
sada vasantham girija sametham
surasuraradhitha padapadmam
srivaidyanatham thamaham namami
This states that Vaidyanath jyotirlinga is located at Prajwalika nidhanam (meaning funeral place i.e., chithabhoomi) in the North-Eastern part of the country. This explaination suits more to Deoghar compared to Parali-Baijnath which is in Maharashtra.
11:00 AM Finally managed to come out of temple after darshan etc. Everybody was hungry because we did not even have breakfast till that time. So we decided to pay a visit to Hotel Amrapali Clarks Inn and have something to eat there.
By the time we reached there, the breakfast service was over and lunch service had not started. They told us that they can provide us with some sandwiches. After some negotiations, they agreed us to make some parathas for us and that was almost godsend. Here is my review of the place.
Now that we were done with immediate issues, we started back on our drive towards Siliguri. One of the locals suggested that we go through Banka. Although I don't know the alternate route, it seems the other route is better. We really did not face any problem through this route either.
12:15 PM Left the hotel towards Banka
1:30 PM Crossed Banka
2:25 PM Reached outskirts of Bhagalpur town. We continued on SH-25 to finally join the road that connects to the bridge. SH-25, just before it connects to SH-19 has been dug up and we were stuck there. Finally we retraced our steps back and got into the thick of the city that goes near the railway station. After this mess, we were stuck near a railway crossing. The gates took more than 15 minutes to open.
It was an hour long ordeal and we finally were out of the other side of the town.

3:40 PM Crossed Bhagalpur town and crossed the bridge over the Ganga.
Soon after the bridge, we saw a hotel and decided to halt for some tea and food. The name of the place is Hotel Vaibhav Highway Inn. Here is my review of the hotel.

4:50 PM Crossed Naugachia
6:00 PM Crossed Purnea
7:15 PM Crossed Kishanganj.
7:45 PM Crossed Islampur
9:00 PM Reached Siliguri. Checked into the hotel provided by CHD. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 3 of the drive, Kolkata to Asansol

My family was arriving to join me on the drive by 2 PM flight. The plan was to pick them up and continue towards Phuentsholling. After discussion with H V Kumar, we finalized to end the day at Asansol.
I spent morning just resting and then walked around the hotel. It was too hot. Fellow HVKian Sandipan Mallick dropped in to say hi and it was a great gesture which further underlines the value of a community like HVK Forum.
Spent the lunch with a college friend Debashish Roychowdhury. Nice time with friends and nice food to go along with it. I was ready to continue with my journey. By the time I finished up with lunch, it was the arrival time for Delhi flight and I was off to Airport.

 2:50 PM Started from Kolkata Airport towards Asansol.
3:30 PM Crossed Singur
4:15 PM Crossed Burdwan
5:20 PM Crossed Durgapur

5:10 PM Reached Asansol. Again the hotel was arranged by CHD and it was very close to the highway making entry and exit super easy.
We finished the day early with good dinner served by the hotel retired early in the light of another early departure the next day.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Druk Diaries: Day 1 of the drive, Bengaluru to Rajahmundry

Finally the day arrived. As per the original plan, my family had to meet me in Kolkata so till Kolkata, I was on my own. As per initial plan, I targeted to reach Vijaywada at the end of day 1 since I had already done this drive and I was comfortable doing it.
I chose to drive via Hyderabad even through it is slightly longer distance compared to NH-5 because of good 4-lane roads all the way.
I had planned to starting at 4 AM, but last minute work at the office made it kind of a late night for me and I decided not to sacrifice my sleep.
5:35 AM Left my home and was on outer ring road in no time. Sometimes one wonders, what happens to these cities in day time, they are so nice early morning.
6:45 AM Reached Kamath after Bengaluru Airport. Contacted HV Kumar and told him that I have started my journey. He suggested that I should try to reach Rajahmundry or Vizag by end of the day.
7:45 AM Crossed Penukonda
8:25 AM Crossed Ananthpur
9:00 AM Crossed Gooty
9:55 AM Crossed Kurnool
11:10 AM Crossed Mahbubnagar
11:49 AM Entered Hyderabad ring road. Made my first mistake of the day. Rather than going anti-clockwise, I entered the clockwise ring road. I should have quickly gotten out but the road was good and I did not know that the ring road is still not fully complete. I thought that I can just circle the complete road and reach the exit 11 for Vijaywada. This resulted in quite a bit of waste of time since the roadd is not fully done yet.
1:30 PM Finally exited on Vijaywada road.
2:50 PM Reached Seven food court near Suryapet. This is where I decided that I am going to go further than VIjaywada and most probably break for the day at Rajahmundry.

The interesting thing that one observes while driving in Andhra Pradesh is the statures of Hanuman  next to the road while driving. Some of these are large statues.
5:20 PM Crossed Vijaywada
6:30 PM Crossed Eluru
7:25 PM Crossed Tanuku
8:40 PM Reached Rajahmundhry
The rolling booking strategy of HVK Central Hotel Desk was helpful because I was able to mmake more progress during the day and end the day at Rajahmundhry rather than Vijaywada.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Druk Diaries - Process for a road trip for Indians

Here I am trying to capture the complete process that is required for an Indian to travel to Bhutan by road. I went through this process in April 2015 and these are my notes from these processes.
The very first things is to have all the documents ready. Ge tthe bhutan entry permit form as below.
Alongwith the form, keep one photograp ready and copy of passport or voter's identification card.
If you don't have the voter's id or passport, there is a process to use your PAN card and AADHAR card as well. For this process you need to go to Indian consulate in phuentsholling and get the ID attested by them. I did not go through this process so don't know much about it but it would definitely delay the process.
The office does not have any signages etc and it is very difficult to get any information related to the process. What one needs to do is to get to the first floor and get into the room immediately on the right after the stairs. The room has some seats and and curtain.
Don't wait for anybody to call, just take your forms alongwith the copies of ID proof and give it to counter behind the curtain. Then you wait and they would call your name. If you are part of a large group, they call group as a whole.
One by one, each member needs to be fingerprinted. Once finger printing is done, it should take less than 30 minutes to get your permits ready.
Please understand that these permits would only be valid for Thimphu and Paro. As soon as you get your permits get 3-4 copies made. You need these copies later.
Once one is ready with the immigration permit, immediately proceed to RSTA office. The map above shows the marker for both the immigration office and RSTA office. The RSTA process is completely undocumnted and complicated. Here I am trying to articulate what needs to be done for it.

  1. Have an application written on plain paper mentioning the vehicle number and the license number of driver. The application should request the permissiion for taking the vehicle into the Bhutan and driving it.
  2. The application should be addressed to RSTA. Following documents should be attached to the application.
    1. Copy of RC book/card
    2. Copy of PUC
    3. Copy of insurance
    4. Copy of driving license
    5. Copy of immigration permit
  3. Once the application is ready, go to the second floor, room number 4, titled ARTO. ARTO will look at the application and make some notings.
  4. Once the ARTO notings are done, go to room number 7 on the same floor. The officer there will also make some notings.
  5. Once these notings are done, go to the counter opposite room number 4 and pay the fees there. I had to pay Rs. 270/-.
  6. Once the fees are paid, go the ground floor to a small room titled Base Office. The officer there would create a permit form and keep some of the copies with himself. 
  7. Once you have the permit, you need to go to room 4 again to get it signed by ARTO.
When I went there, the base office officer went somewhere, and we had to wait for an hour. Be prepared for some delays because there are many officers involved and they all need to be present in their office for your work to get completed.
There is a potocopy counter in one of the ticket counters on ground floor. If I remember correctly it is counter 1.
Once you signed permit is ready make sure you show it at every checkpoint. You will see two types of checkpoints in Bhutan with barriers. Some are titled Forest Checkpoint, you don't need to stop there. Other checkpoints, you need to stop there. Many times nobody may stop you, still it is your responsiibility that your entry and exit are registered. You will encounter the first of such checkpoints immediately after you leave for Thimphu. Many of the attractions also ask for permits. It is better to have copies of all the documnets. Keep original in vehicle and keep a copy on your person.
Now that you have permit, you soon realize that this permit is only for Thimphu and Paro.
Permit Extension
The first morning you have in Thimphu, complete the permit extension process. In our case we had to go to the office three times, first they asked us to come after two hours, then after another hours and then after another houir. You want to make sure that this process gets completed as soon as possible. Atleast one person from the group needs to follow this up. Like in Phuentsholling, one needs to visit two offices to complete this work.
The immigration office is on Norzin Lam towards the end of the road. There is a route permit extension form available on Bhutan Government website but when we submitted that, they gave another form that we had to fill. The good news is that only one form needss to be filled per group. You can just say Mr. Leader + 14 for a 15 member group. Fill the form, attach copies of all the immigration permits received from Phuentsholling and then the lady would tell you to come back after an hour or two. You need to mention each municipal area in the list of places to visit, We listed following places in the form.

  1. Trongsa
  2. Bumthang
  3. Mongar
  4. Trashigang
  5. Haa
  6. Phobjika
  7. Lhuentse
We were told that permits to Lhuentse are not given, we requsted them to remove the name since we were anyway not having sufficient time to visit the place.
Hopefully you wiill have the permits ready in an hour or so, as soon as you get the permits, get few copies made. There is a shop just couple of shops adjacent to the immigration office where you can get photocopies. The photocopies in Bhutan cost Rs. 5/- per page.
Now armed with immiigration route extension, you need to visit RSTA office. Norzin Lam is oneway in wrong direction for the most part. So you can't just go back. You need to take a U turn on Norzin Lam and then take a left where the arts-craft shops end, Then take a right on Chang Lam. Continue on Chang Lam till the end. You will see two roads here, one going downwards and other upwards and then turns left onto a bridge. Cross the bridge and take a left immediately after the bridge. Just on the corner you have RSTA office. Park in the RSTA parking.
You need to find the Base office in RSTA. To go to Base office, find the stairs on the left of parking. There is a very rough access to the ground floor of the RSTA office which also serves as a bus station of intercity buses in Thimphu.
Once you reach the place where you see many ticket counters, the Base office is just on the entrance. You need to go the officer in base office, show him original RSTA permit, immigration permit and immigration permit extension. He will make a handwritten note on the back of RSTA permit allowing you to drive to all the place for which you have immugration permit. Depending on his wish, he may ask for a copy of immigration permit extension, so carry the copies.
All these processes depend on officers being available, so get these done on priority. Since all these are government officials, make sure that you have working days in Phuentsholling and Thimphu. For 2015, here is the list of holidays.
If you have accomplished the complete process, you are free to drive to places listed in the permit that  you have in your hand.
Strange Things abouut Bhutan Traffic

  • Many times the vehicle ahead of you will give turn indicator signal towards the curb, that means he want you to overtake.
  • Generallly drivers are very nice in Bhutan, if they realize that they are slower cars, they would ask you to overtake. You should do the same
  • The maximum speed limit that I saw in Bhutan is 50 with clear signage saying that speed detection cameras are in force
  • I was cautioned by a police officer in Bumthang because my car was parked facing the opposite traffic direction. He told me that even parked cars should face the direction of traffic otherwise he could fine me.
  • Be very careful of hill turns, these are very narrow roads and not in good condition many times. Also in Bhutan people don't honk on turns, so be slow as you are turning.
  • Don't honk
  • Buckle up.

Druk Diaries: Prologue

Finally, decided to take the plunge. The land of the thunder dragon was calling and we just couldn't say no to it. The plan was to visit the country during April, 2015.
This was probably the longest drive that we have done till date so lots of preparation needed to be done. On top of that driving to another country has its own challenges.
We learnt that everybody who is travelling needs to have following documents
  1. Passports
  2. Passport size photographs
We also carried PAN card and driving license for all adults and aadhar card for all the passengers that were travelling just in case.
Got the vehicle checked, couple of weeks back and everything seems to be in order. As I was making sure all the documents are intact, it hit me. The insurance in India doesn't work in Bhutan. So I needed to do something about it.
I found that most of the insurance companies in India allow extension of geographical area for insurance for Nepal/ Sri Lanka/ Maldives/ Bhutan/ Pakistan/Bangladesh.  Following information was gathered from New India Assurance website and armed with this, I approached my insurer.
 In consideration of the payment of an additional premium of Rs……….it is hereby understood and agreed that notwithstanding anything contained in this Policy to the contrary  the  Geographical  Area  in   this  Policy  shall  from  the  . . ./ . ./ . . . . to the
        . …/. . /. . . .(Both days inclusive) be deemed to include * 
It is further specifically understood and agreed that such geographical extension excludes cover for damage to the vehicle insured / injury to its occupants / third party liability in respect of the vehicle insured during sea voyage / air passage for the purpose of ferrying the vehicle insured to the extended geographical area.
Subject otherwise to the terms exceptions conditions and limitations of this Policy. 
 NOTE: - Insert   Nepal/ Sri Lanka/ Maldives/ Bhutan/ Pakistan/Bangladesh as the case may be.
In these times of call centre and centralised processing it is actually impossible to do anything that is not run of the mill work. Finally after threatening the insurance company that I am not going to renew my insurance with them if they don't respond and some good work by my broker (vehicle dealer), I finally received the insurance extension endorsement. and funnily enough it did not cover third party damages. In any case, there was very little time left to do anything about it.
Insurance Endorsement approval letter
With the insurance in place, Following is the list of the documents that need to be in the car alongwith few copies just to save the hassle in case they are needed.
  1. RC Book
  2. Insurance
  3. Pollution Check certificate
  4. Drivers License
It is better to carry photo copies of all the documents. The photocopy charges in Bhutan are Nu. (Rs.) 5/- per page and one has to xerox some stuff anyway but don't create a scenario where you are xeroxing your passport and vehicle documents.
The next step was to get all the emergency gear in place. Here is a list of items that I plan on carrying in my car.
  1. Jack, this is also a must, as I realized during the trip, many of the road side puncture shops only have jacks for trucks and they may be too high for cars.
  2. Small compressor, for people of long trips, this is a life saver. Alll sizes and shapes of tyres are not available everywhere.
  3. Tyre pressure gauge
  4. Tubeless puncture repair kit
  5. Torch
  6. Spanner set, this is a must, as I realized during the trip, most punctuure shops may not have all the spanners that are needed. 
  7. OBD  II Code Reader
  8. Towing Rope
  9. Jump Start Cable
Many of these items can be procured from HVK Store

When one is driving, make sure to carry headache and fever medicines. Use these in absolution emergency but it is a good idea to carry it.
We knew that food in Bhutan is not a problem but all of us being vegetarians, just as a backup plan we carried following items.
  1. Maggi Instant Cup Noodles
  2. Biscuits
  3. Tea Bags
  4. Few chocolates
  5. Juices
  6. Water
  7. Coke
  8. Amul Kool
  9. Few Ready to eat meals
We also carry a 12 V refrigerator and and 12 V kettle that can be used to boil water and works off the cigarette lighter socket of the car.
Earlier only Rs. 100/- notes were allowed in Bhutan but recently Reserve Bank of India has relaxed guidelines and even Rs. 1000/- and Rs. 500/- notes are allowed. We were told that establishments in Thimphu and Paro and accept credit cards but as we go further into the country and small towns, it is better to carry cash. So the decision to allow Rs. 1000/- and Rs. 500/- denomination notes were definitely a helpful one. One needs to be careful though, only maximum Rs. 25,000/- are allowed to be exported to Bhutan in cash.
Car Chargers
In these times of electronic gadgets, carry sufficient charging power in your car. Most cars have a single charging socket with a  10-20A fuse. Understand the rating of your car's fuse. You don't want to have a blown fiuse while on a long drive. Carry a car charger USB splitter, Also understand, if you are using mobile phones for navigation, most car chargers would't not be able to charge the phone with the same speed as the phone is consuming the battery. So over a period of a day, your phone still may discharge. Switch off navigation when you know for sure that you have to follow a road for next couple of hours. If don't want to switch off navigation, atleast switchoff the screen,
A long segment of our drive was to reach Bhutan. In most cases it is not known how much distance one can cover. That is where the good people at HVK Central Hotel Desk came to help. They can remain in touch with you and then provide you a hotel in a nearby city when you are ready to call it a night. I used there services in quite a few places and I would say it was comfortable knowing that they are there to provide backup.
Carry cash for your requirements. Many times hotels that claim they accept credit cards, may say their machine is down or network is down. Always have cash as the backup. Even though I had heard that Indian ATM cards work, in  most places my ATM cards from SBI, HDFC Bank, Citibank were rejected. I had to withdraw cash on my credit card. Of course that has higher financing charges.
Early to rise
One thing that I have realized driving across India is that the best solutiion to making good progress during the day is to start up early. Most cities in India are full of traffic blocks and it is best to get started before 5 AM. In many cases, particularly when one is driving with family consisting of kids, we go early to bed.
Don't wait for the fuel to get over. I always start looking for a petrol statiion as soon as my fuel tank starts going below halfway mark. Many towns run out of fuel and it is a better idea not to reach a state where one has to scramble for fuel.