Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Backpacker’s Coastal India

1 Ride, 2 Travellers, 3 States, 10 Days, 2000 Km, 1 Motto – "Explore to the Core"

Two backpackers (Shouvik and Deepankar) are on their way to explore the serene coastal India in a time span of 10 days. They prepared their itinerary in such a way that they cover as much as possible in terms of local culture, tradition, cuisines, natural beauty and more, within the given span of time. The coastal India trip for the backpackers starts from Bangalore as they are based out of the Silicon Valley of India. From there, they will head towards the West coast of India via Sakleshpur to Udupi. From there onwards, they will be driving south till Kanyakumari, through the coastal town and cities of Mangalore, Kozhikode/Calicut, Kochi, Alleppey and Trivandrum. After visiting the southernmost tip of mainland India, they will be driving back to Bangalore exploring several towns and cities of Tamil Nadu.
The route that will be followed

Quite exciting! Isn’t it? Stay tuned for the upcoming stories, pictures and videos, where they would share their experiences and would provide important suggestions for the fellow backpackers!

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Monday, 25 January 2016

Beauty of North Bengal

Beauty of North Bengal (parts of Dooars and Old Silk Route)

New Jalpaiguri -> Sevoke -> Gorubathan -> Jhandi -> Lava -> Rishap -> Teesta Valley -> Ramdhura -> Sillery Gaon -> Hanuman tok -> Delo -> Kalimpong -> Silent valley -> Icchey Gaon -> Pedong -> Rishi Khola -> Malbazar

North Bengal is a term used for the northern parts of West Bengal, which is immensely blessed with the wildest beauty of Mother Nature and offers a unique combination of varied landscape ranging from the low lying agricultural fields, lush green dense jungles, varied range of wildlife, serene beauty of undulating tea gardens to the high alpine mountains. Tourism in North Bengal is highly popular and also one of the most important source of income for the locals. The region forms a gateway to Bhutan from India and so the area is also known as Dooars / Duars which means “doors” in several regional languages.

Darjeeling is one of the most famous hill stations in this region that attracts a huge number of tourists almost throughout the year. Under Darjeeling district there are several other small hill stations each of which is uniquely beautiful! Apart from that, some of the major Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks (Jaldapara National Park, Gorumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve and Chilapata Forest) in Dooars offer immense exploration opportunities to the nature lovers. Old Silk Route that forms a part of the ancient trade routes also hosts several small villages and hill stations all along its route that promote eco-tourism and gives you the opportunity to explore each and every corner of North Bengal.

With so many things to offer, it is impossible to explore the whole of North Bengal in a few days! Usually you need to shortlist places you want to visit based on your theme of travel and just head out. This travelogue is based on my last visit to North Bengal that I planned with my family members. It was a six days trip planned during end of December, 2015 and this time our travel partner was the team of Ebong Aranya Tours & Travels. As per our requirements, they tailor made our itineraries and made wonderful arrangements for our travel. Since there were mostly elderly members traveling this time, so we just planned to experience the best of eco-tourism and relax out in Nature. We chose to travel through the route as mentioned earlier in beginning and planned our night halts at certain places like Jhandi, Ramdhura and Pedong.
Our travel route

The journey starts with an early morning drive through Sevoke Road

Dried up Mahananda River!

Three generations of a family

Moving Ahead

Sevoke Bridge over Teesta River


Tributary of Teesta at Gorubathan

Towards Jhandi, a small village in the Himalayas

Our first night halt at Jhandi Eco Huts

Cottages of  Jhandi Eco Huts

Road from Jhandi towards Lava

A glance of Lava

Entry to Lava Monastery

Lava Monastery

The street dogs are so adorable that you can't resist playing with them!

The dense Pine forest

On our way to Rishap

Road through the dense forest

The small village of Rishap

"Light & Shade"

Local workers warming up themselves at camp fire after the day's hard work

"Star Gazing"

Mother Care

The Travelers this time - (From Left) My uncle, father, me, mother, grand mother, sister and aunty

Journey along the Old Silk Route

Teesta Valley

God is One

Towards Ramdhura

The village of Ramdhura

Our next stay at Ramdhura

The happy granny!

Moving forward toward Sillery Gaon

Cluster of a few cottages and home stays. That's Sillery Gaon.

Jalsa Bunglow

View of Teesta from Ramdhura

Towards Kalimpong

Hanuman Tok

Delo Valley

Delo Valley Resort

Teesta as seen from Delo Valley

Conserve or get Consumed!

Amazing pattern of the leaves

Kalimpong Market Area

The region is also known as Gorkhaland, which is a proposed state in India demanded by the people of Darjeeling hills and the people of Indian Gorkha ethnic origin in Dooars in North Bengal

Kalimpong Golf Course

Zangdok Palri Monastery, Kalimpong

Bird eye view of the town of Kalimpong

Almost road-less journey towards Icchey Gaon

The decent village of Icchey Gaon

Decent homestay accommodations at Icchey Gaon

Exploring the place!

The Gorkha people

The village consists of 16 families and their home-stays!

A very bad stretch of around 8 kms road that takes you to and out of Icchey Gaon

Cross Hill View Pont at Pedong

Step cultivation

Pedong Monastery

Pedong Monastery

Decoration on occasion of Christmas and New Year celebration

Pedong Church

Nothing to complain when you wake up and see this in front of you!

Into the Woods!

Morning Dew!

Border of Sikkim and West Bengal on the Old Silk Route

Reshi River

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter - Mark Twain

Happiness is when you accomplish a successful trip!

On our way back through the Tea gardens of Malbazar

Teesta Barrage

"It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream" - Bern Williams

Though people visit North Bengal almost throughout the year but, according to me, winter is one of the best time to visit North Bengal, when you get to see North Bengal at its best! During this time the weather remains soothing that makes your visit more exciting. Moreover, the varied beauty of Nature ranging from snowfall at places in higher altitudes and snow peaked mountain range visible from several places to flowers blossoming all around in the lower altitudes, activities like bird watching, trekking, camping, Jungle Safari and several other make your visit one of the most memorable one!

Different moods of Mt. Kanchenjunga :

Kanchenjunga from Lava

Kanchenjunga from Rishap

Kanchenjunga from Rishap

First rays of Sun on Mt. Kanchenjunga from Jhandi

From Jhandi

Watching the first rays of Sun on Mt. Kanchenjunga

Mt. Kanchenjunga from Ramdhura

Flowers of the season :

Though, I'm not a flower specialist but, it was a great pleasure watching them blooming all around!

Bird Watching!

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