My journey to Kolkata began at 6:00 AM from Pune Airport and reached the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport at 8:00 AM. I only had 4 hrs. in Kolkata as my next train to New Jaipalguri from Kolkata was at 2:00 PM so I decided to make the most of it.
First, I went to the Victoria Memorial, beautiful creation (by the British) showing history of India. There were some truly amazing paintings by Thomas and Johann portraying beauty from north to south and west to east India. As a food lover I wanted to try the local delicacies so had the famous Bengali breakfast of Kachori Sabji. Kolkatians love their 'Mishti'. I tried their famous Kolkata rosogulla and Mishti Doi.
From there headed to park street to dine at the famous cafe Flurys (Thanks to My friend Richa who suggested me this awesome place). Then visited a famous bridge of Kolkata and finally bade adieu to the beautiful city of Kolkata as I headed to the station.
In all, Kolkata is a place worth visiting if u can ignore its humidity (well, not to forget I visited during summer)
"Ami tomake bhalo bashi Kolkata".
My journey towards NJP continued in Shatabdi express; Seating chairs and food, ah! Never ending food.
I was fortunate to get an awesome company of two army personnel Col.Kuldeep Mehara and Br. Narendar. I whiled away time by listening to their stories and in exchange sharing mine. It was battle field vs IT field. Just kidding, they had much more interesting stories to share than me.
The train journey also proved to be memorable, thanks to their company and me being a chatterbox.
And there ends my day one. Awaiting for new day with new excitement.
Day 2 from Kolkata to Darjeeling via NJP
Being alone can be daunting at first, but soon it will turn to the most comforting situation to be in. Oft times, it is noticed that we change as the people around us do. Travelling solo, will make you come to terms with who you truly are. With all your flaws, beauties and drawbacks, you are complete! When you come back, you will start realizing the comfort of just being yourself, no matter where you are. (These are not my words, copied from Internet☺)
Meeting new people is always fun, knowing them, chatting with them as if you know them for ages. People often say being solo is so boring, no one to talk to, no one to take photographs etc. But my second day of the trip was exactly the opposite. I met 10 new people, all coming from different cities, countries and culture. I might not meet them again in this lifetime but for that single day, they were my friends. They were my company to chat, to click my super pics. They were part of my joyful journey.
After 8 hours of journey from Kolkata, I exited at NJP at 11:30 PM and to my complete surprise, it was buzzing with activity even at that hour. There was good crowd on the station and on the streets. My hotel was just 15 mins by Auto from the station but I preferred to go by the Cycle Rickshaw just to experience that time of night in an unknown place.
My plan was to get up at 5:30AM so that I can start for Darjeeling at 6:00 or 6:30AM and reach there by 9:30AM but unfortunately I woke up at 6.30AM. When I reached station to catch a shared cab, unfortunately there was only one cab going to Darjeeling due to elections and it got full before I could reach. I asked around and found that the only way to reach Darjeeling was to take personal cab for 1200 INR.
Not wanting to spend so much, I looked around for other options and luckily met a lady, Vendy from Australia and a couple, Rohit and Pooja, who were also travelling to Darjeeling. We shared a cab for1600 (400 each) and started our journey at 8:00 am. I regretted wasting those 2 hours but later accepted it as an inevitable part of an unplanned trip.
Vendy, a lady in her late 50s was a solo traveler just like me. She told us her experiences in India, how much she loved the country and its culture. And frankly, her knowledge about India was more than mine. Rohit was a banker in his early 30's from Varanasi. He also shared his travel experiences. And of course I did my part of the sharing. I always have lot of stories to tell. (a person listens to those every day :P ). After a slightly tiring journey of 3 hours, we reached Darjeeling.
I am a big foodie and so the first thing I did in Darjeeling was to eat delicious Momos... and they were really yummy...