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159 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - October- April
Often called as the "Queen of all Hill Stations", this is one of the most popular in the whole world. This place is wrap...
Darjeeling, the queen of the hills in West Bengal, India, is hitting the news for all the wrong reasons nowadays. Once peace prevails in the valley again, there can be no better quintessential place to relax than Darjeeling. Nature has been very kind on Darjeeling in terms of aesthetic beauty. But, unfortunately the history of Darjeeling and its people is disturbing. Darjeeling saw power struggles among various community groups. The British Raj ruled over the town for quite sometime and its influence is visible even today. The British frequented Darjeeling as a summer retreat and the tradition has been picked up by the Indians. Residents from West Bengal and other neighbouring states flock to Darjeeling in the summer months.If you are tight on time and wondering how to enjoy Darjeeling in one-day flat then you are in the right place.
Darjeeling, like its contemporary Indian hill-stations such as Shimla and Dehra Dun, is famed for its boarding schools. Brought up in strict discipline, pupils go onto graduating into well-developed alumni. The picture in focus, is set in the football field of St Joseph's School, North Point. The hallowed portals, ranked as the fifteenth best boarding school in the country, have seen members of the Bhutanese Royal Family, and former billiards champion Michael Ferreira in their prestigious alumni list.While walking along the hills of Darjeeling, this sight is very common. Jam-packed houses, with little flecks of green peeking out, and a Buddhist pagoda, that stands out. Buddhism is popular among the majority Gorkha population, though there is a significant base for Hinduism as well.
The hotel is located within a few minutes distance from the Gandhi Road. The property was actually a residential family property. The couple came up with the idea of constructing a hotel for the tourists. They constructed the upper floor for lodging and the ground floor was kept for the restaurant and café.
Things to do: Take a ride on the Himalayan Railway to the Ghum Monastery; have a candlelight dinner at the iconic Glenary's; take an hour-long walk from the main town to the picturesque Happy Valley Tea Estate; try your luck at spotting a red panda at the Singalila National Park.
DarjeelingThose who want to avoid the Darjeeling crowd can stay at Rangaroon and yet get all the taste of Darjeeling tour. You can easily make a day trip to Darjeeling and visit all the places of attraction. Visit the Darjeeling Zoo, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling Mall and other places of interest. You can also take a visit to the Ghoom Monastery and the railway Museum at Ghoom Station.Stay At:There is only one homestay at Rangaroon. – Khaling Cottage Homestay. It is a very beautiful homestay having 4 rooms in total. The hosts are really friendly and go all out to make your stay comfortable and memorable. Their motto is "Come as guests, Leave as family". And the will really become your family after your stay.
How wrong can I be?! The climate at Tiger Hill – the famous spot to see the mighty mountain, put the one at Pelling to shame. The huge crowd gathered on the hill sadly started walking back with disappointment.Like at Sikkim here also the tour was arranged by the hotel people. The morning tour included two more spots also for which I didn’t bother to get up from the seat at all in that rainy climate.Another cab came around 9.30 AM for the next round of sightseeing called the 5 point tour. The climate was villain again at many spots.
We got ready by 4:30 in the morning , as we were scheduled to watch the Sunrise from the Tiger Hill. But the driver got very angry. As per him , 3:30 would be the best time to depart. And while our journey to we realized why. There were hundreds of vehicles were going from there to the same destination. The roads were filled up with cars. As we were already late, the only way to got there before sunrise was fastening our seat-belts and allow the driver to drive as fast as possible. That exactly what we did. That was heck of a driving. Never forget that. But despite of the furious drive, we actually thanked the driver when we reached at Tiger Hill 5:25 am.
"You need to come out from your comfort zone, for your career, for you traveling as well" It was a lazy morning , I got up really late. We were about to go for sightseeing at about 2:00. So, I was just enjoying the fresh morning. And then we got the news. Dipu's friend , who was told to book the returned ticket, failed to do so. There were no train for return. We were about to return on the next day. Nobody's data network was working except mine. It might not been happened if we planned it and executed it ourselves. Regarding train, there was no other option except returning in unreserved coach. But there is no point of thinking on the matters you don't have your hand. There's nothing we could do until next day. So , we moved out for sightseeing. The roads were full of cars. Most of them are narrower than the city's one way road. We forced to skip few places for traffic. We should have started in the morning. Some places we missed - Singallila National Forrest ( Famous for rear Red Panda), Tenzing Rock (offers rock climbling).What we enjoyed -
199 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - September to December
Gangtok is the capital city of the north Indian state of Sikkim. Built up as a Buddhist journey site in the 1840s, the c...
Gangtok is a hub for exploring Sikkim. It is a beautiful hilly city with several options for tourists to enjoy and explore.Here are some things to do in and around Gangtok.
To promote winter tourism, the Sikkim Tourism Board organizes a winter carnival every year, in the months of December and January. Recently, the carnival has been renamed after the Red Panda, the state animal of Sikkim. The festival is organized in state capital Gangtok.
There is one major problem in Gangtok that no cab is allowed to move before 10 am. due to which we had to change some of our plans but it was also good to rest a little more in our rooms. We left for Lachung at around 11 am. On our way were some really amazing waterfalls, the sight seeing of which was also included in the package. We reached Lachung at around 6 pm after many stops at waterfalls. Keep in mind that Lachung & Lachen are two different places.The price to Lachung and back was around INR 1200-1500 per pax which included all the meals, stay & travel and excluded the charges to visit "Yumthang Valley & Zero Point" which costed INR 2500 for whole cab, which can accommodate around 10 people. We also wished to visit the "Katao Military Base Camp" which also costed another INR 2500 for the cab. Our companions in the cab were pretty good people and agreed for the same.
We reached Gangtok at around 11 am. , settled and had lunch at 'Chopsticks' (situated on main M.G. Road, had delicious chinese food). We started our 1st day of sight seeing from the Hanuman Tok which is considered the highest point in Gangtok and has a spectacular view of whole Gangtok.
India's domestic travelling population is slowly getting younger. The 20-something millenial travellers might often be broke but they have statistically the most amount of leisure time that can be spent travelling. It can be seen all over Instagram where everyday we see increasing number of millennials identifying themselves as wanderers and travellers.We have backpacker hostel chains like Zostel opening up at newer and offbeat Indian destinations now for these budget travellers. Following this new trend of travel hostel accommodation for backpackers, Tag Along Backpackers became Sikkim's first backpacker hostel in Gangtok and I had a chance to stay there on the way to North Sikkim.
Jaigaon to Gangtok (230 kilometers)This was the first day in the entire trip where we didn’t have an agenda or a plan to go anywhere because of which we took our time to wake up from sleep. While having breakfast we had a discussion where we decided not to waste our Christmas Eve in Jaigaon. Almost immediately we started browsing for places and accommodation near Jaigaon. We were anticipating sky high prices for accommodation on Christmas Eve but luck was on our side and we found a bed and breakfast right at the famous M.G Marg in Gangtok for an excellent bargain and we booked it without a second thought. We wasted no time and within half an hour found ourselves back on the saddle. Sikkim is our favorite state in the country and we have tons of memories with it. Even though we didn’t have any plans to visit Sikkim on this trip but destiny made us ride on the ever familiar roads from Sevoke to Gangtok. It was a nostalgic experience. The ever vibrant MG Marg was lit up due to Christmas! The best place to party in Gangtok is café live and loud and we invariably found ourselves sipping LIITs and enjoying live music at their tables. The rest of the night was a blur of loud music, dancing and a lot of alcohol. We somehow walked back to our hotel late at night wishing everyone on the road a merry Christmas.
How to reach Gangtok, SikkimBy Air: Siliguri or commonly know as Bagdogra is the nearest airport.From the airport prepaid taxi is available to Gangtok
Day 3:There are many places to spend time at, in and around Gangtok. You can easily get taxis arranged from one of the tourist offices in MG Marg, or simply walk into the taxi stand that is very close to MG Marg, and ask for one. There are standard one-day or half-day sightseeing tours to choose from. I took the one day tour and covered Bakthang waterfall, Tashi view point, Flower show, Botanical garden, Lingdum monastery, Ganesh Tok, Ropeway, Namgyal institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Chortan.
Make sure to get up early and if you are lucky you might see the Kanchenjunga peak from your balcony or rooftop. Enjoy your morning tea with a panaromic view of mountain ranges. On that day you can do a local tour from Gangtok. You got monasteries like Rumtek, Pemayangste which are located within 50kms. You got some view points like Honuman Tok, Ganesh tok to get a view of the landscape and the Gangtok city from a distance. You might also see a couple of waterfalls alongside the road.
267 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,October,November,December
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the wor...
You will have enough time to explore Paro (visit Tiger’s Nest perhaps!) and still reach Thimpu in time, because Paro to Thimpu is a short stretch of nearly 50km, and a smooth highway connecting two cities is moreover the best in the country, thus saving you enough time no matter when you leave.Since Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan, and Thimpu is the capital, the highway moreover stays good in shape throughout the year. It takes one and a half to two hours to travel between the two cities.
Day 3, Nov 3rd, 2017: Our hotel was right opposite to the clock tower which is supposed to be the most happening area of Thimphu. We strolled in the beautiful clean streets of Norzing Lam, which was surrounded by green mountains & pine trees everywhere. The mountains were running parallel to the road & the air was so fresh that you instantly will feel the happiness within you. We were amused to find that at 08:00 hrs no shop is open for breakfast or anything. They have this protocol of everything opening at 09:00, to which they strictly adhere to..Sharp at 09:00, we met Vishnu, our trip guide at the reception of the hotel. His attire, posture, body language everything was very formal & gentle.
The bus dropped us at the taxi stand in Thimphu by 7:30 pm. Our hotel was about 2 kms from the bus stop. While we were bargaining with the taxi driver, someone asked us if we wanted a lift to the hotel. My friend was a bit sceptical as we were new to the place and being from India, it is not easy to trust strangers; but later we agreed to take the lift. While driving us to the hotel, he introduced himself as the Chief Auditing Commissioner of Bhutan. Yes, that was when we realized how helpful Bhutanese people are to their guests. He not only dropped us to the hotel but also helped us plan places we should be visiting the next day.
The next destination was the Thimphu Dzong (Dzong means 'fort'), where entry costs Rs 300.
Later I visited a local museum to view the traditional living styles of Bhutanese people.
1. Thimphu - We landed at the Paro International Airport from Kolkata and headed to Thimphu for a 2N stay (due to some delay in airlines departure from kolkata we reached Paro later than expected). The evening was spent exploring Thimphu on foot. This capital city is unique in the way that there are no traffic lights at intersections! All traffic movements are on mutual consent and needless to say, they rarely have any road accidents.
Only a 2-hour drive from Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is the most happening town of the country. Here, you can give your honeymoon a touch of fun, frolic and party!Where To Stay:
251 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the l...
The journey to Paro to Phuentsholing takes nearly 4 hour if you’re driving, or 6 hours if you’re taking a public bus. The journey is rather impressive and enjoyable. From the sea level of Phuentsholing you only pretty much go uphill throughout the journey before you end up a much colder town of Paro located at 2100+ meter altitude above the sea level.The well maintained four way highway, built by Indian Border Road Organisation (BRO), moreover makes Phuentsholing to Paro & Thimpu a very sought after Himalayan Roads for motorbikers in India wanting to ride in Bhutan.Day 2: Paro To Thimpu
Paro to tiger’s nest (40 kilometers ride and 4-5 kilometers trek)The last time I had visited Takstang Monastery, also known as The Tiger’s Nest, I was mesmerized by it and I wanted Swatabdi to witness the same. We first rode to the Drugyel Dzong which is a monastery which was burnt in a fire and now lay in ruins. We then proceeded to the base of the trek to the Tiger’s nest. The difficulty level of the trek to Tiger’s nest is slightly higher because of the altitude and the steep trail. Huffing and puffing we kept walking one step at a time. Swatabdi felt like quitting the trek a couple of times but I etched her on. The sight of the monastery which kept getting bigger and bigger was also inspiring. After almost 4 hours we saw the awe-inspiring view of the monastery. I fail to fathom the effort taken to build this monastery so high in the mountain. The monastery seems as though it is almost hanging on a cliff and can fall down to the deep valley below any moment! The trek was worth the effort. The trek downhill was slightly easier and we reached the base late in the evening. The rest of the evening we spent riding around in Paro and watching the beautiful Paro Dzong and the national museum which were lit up with vibrant lights in the night. We had hired the motorcycle for 16 days which meant that this was the last day of our trip. We celebrated the last 15 days over my favorite beer, the Druk 11000; and a plate of delicious momos.
Jaigaon to Paro (180 kilometers)The embassy at Phuntsholing opens at 10 AM and we reached there at 9:45 hoping to be among the first people to get the permits. We were proven terribly wrong when we saw that there about a thousand people already waiting. The situation was similar to a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. There was utter chaos. No one knew what to do or whom to approach for the permits. What made it worse was that there were agents who were standing in the queue with dozens of applications in their hands. For hours we stood in various queues which didn’t move an inch. There was a lot of pushing, shoving and shouting happening which pissed off Swatabdi. She went inside the embassy and somehow caught hold of an influential female officer and explained to her our situation rather sternly. In no time a new counter was opened for female applicants who were not in large groups and we managed to get our permits from that counter. By this time it was late evening and we rushed to the RTO office to get the permit for our motorcycle. There was a queue of drivers waiting for us and the office hours were coming to a close. Swatabdi again used the feminine card and we got preferential treatment and our permit was among the last to get approved that evening. Thousands had applied to visit Bhutan that day; only a lucky few were allowed to enter. While coming back from the RTO office I cut my toenail with the sharp side stand of the motorcycle and started our ride to Paro with a shoe on one leg and a bandaged toe in a flipflop on the other. We started for Paro with dying sunlight and braced ourselves for a cold ride. There was a brief spell of rain which made it worse. An hour into the ride my foot went numb. I somehow shoved my bandaged foot inside my shoe and continued riding. Thankfully the roads in Bhutan are good which made it easier to ride in the night. The cold though was still unforgiving. We reached Paro at 8:30 in the night and found most hotels to be either closed or fully occupied. Shivering and shaking we moved from one hotel to the other in search of a room. At a certain hotel Paro, the owner of the hotel took pity on our shivering souls and offered us a place to stay in the roof attic where the employees sleep. We took it! With temperatures dipping below zero and the roof attic becoming really cold, we tugged ourselves in the quilt, hugged each other tight and slept. It was a truly long day!
Finally, it is time to bid goodbye to Bhutan, the last Shangri La. Wishing Tashi Delek to the cab driver and thanking for the experiences his country gifted me, I boarded flight back home. I wish every one who spent time reading this found it a little helpful. Happy travelling :).
The morning drive from Thimphu to Paro was exciting. Paro is a very small town compared to Thimphu. Thimphu has ATMs but I found few in Paro. Once reached, I set out for Chelela Pass. Clouds were floating by and freezing wind was blowing. In the midst, prayer flags were fluttering as if they were protectors of this remote and mythical land.
Then I filled a form to obtain the permit and proceeded towards the taxi stand. The airport taxis charge you double, but you have no other way. Except them, all taxi fares are nominal, around Rs 2500-3000 per day.The one hour ride takes you to Thimphu, the capital city. For visiting the village of Punakha, you have to apply for another permit at the Immigration office in Thimphu, which I did on arrival. Later I hired a taxi to visit Buddha Dordenma, a huge Budha statue on the top of a hill.
4. Paro - The drive from Haa to Paro was a memorable one through the Chelala Pass (the highest motorable road in Bhutan). Chelela Pass was full of snow and we had a lot of fun engaging in snowball fights and making a ridiculous looking snowman. It was sunny up there and the air free of any pollution made the sun literally burn our skin. We had to take off our jackets and then too we were sweating with snow all around us.
Paro Tshechue/Paro Festival which happens in the month of April at the Rinpung Dzong is a series of dance performances by the monks and laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks. It is said that one gains merit by attending these festivals. (WooHoo! Brownie points for being a part of this) We woke up at 3am (we surprise ourselves by doing things like these :p ) to witness the Thongdrel festival – which is an unfurling of a massive embroidered painting of Guru Rinpoche. It is considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrel unfurl is said to cleanse one’s sins!
Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang monastery in Paro is by far the most iconic symbol of Bhutan. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Hence the name – ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The trek takes about 6 hours which includes the tour of the monastery. The trail is uphill but not very steep, pretty doable we must say. It is tiring yes, gives you a serious fitness check (if you don’t believe in any form of exercise, like us!) but believe us, once you reach the top and inhale the pure and serene air, you will forget the aching bones and the gasping you experienced. The scenery over the valley is just mind blowing – completely lined with prayer flags and prayer wheels.
156 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of gran...
The city of Murshidabad in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal has seen a rich history right from the time of the Mughal Empire. Get a taste of a long gone era when you visit its historical places like the Hazarduari Palace, Nazamat Imambara, Katra and Madina mosques, Jafarganj cemetery and Khush Bagh cemetery which houses the graves of the Nawab Ali Vardi Khan and his mother Siraj ud Daulah. The place has a glorious past is a welcome change from city life.Distance from Kolkata : 239 KmsRead More About Murshidabad West Bengal Tourism Guide ...
The capital of Bengal during the Mughal period, Murshidabad stands at a distance of around 230 kilometers from the state's current capital. The best way to get to Murshidabad from Kolkata is by train, which takes around six hours. Murshidabad is best visited between October and March to avoid extreme heat. Finding accommodation is usually not a problem, but as always, make your bookings in advance to be safe rather than sorry!
291 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - January,October,November,December
Bankura has gradually gained attraction as a popular tourist destination. Located in West Bengal, Bankura is home to var...
The food was nothing we have here in Kolkata. Indian 'french' toasts, rice and dal, noodles-this place has everything to offer. But,don't really expect to be sitting at air-conditioned restaurants.. Sitting at a small hut-like food-shack and hearing stories from the locals is what you'll be missing out in the restaurants.
309 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - N/A
Once the capital of the Magadha Empire which later evolved to become the Mayryan Empire, Rajgir is a valley surrounded b...
For the dinner, I bought a marwari thali for Rs 100, which offered unlimited chapatis and multiple gravies. While the thali filled me to the brim, it also made me sleepy. The restaurant was in a guest house and I negotiated a room there for Rs 300 to spend the night.Since my priority had been Nalanda and I had also arrived late, I couldn’t visit any other place in Rajgir that day. Next day, I had to leave for Patna and catch my train in the evening at 6:00 pm. Since I also wanted to visit the famous Takht Harmandir Sahib ji in Patna, I would have to leave Rajgir early. Therefore, I decided to wake up early next day to visit Rajgir’s most famous spot, the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. I could finish that in the morning and then leave for Patna early. With all this planning going on in my head, I slipped into a slumber.Next day, I woke up early at 6:00 and walked to the bus stand by 6:45 pm. From there, I hired a tum tum for a return ride to Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Now, when it comes to these tum tum drivers, you will have to negotiate hard as they will try to overcharge. Nothing better if you are in a group, but if you are alone, wait for a tum tum that has some riders. Since I was too early and in a hurry, I could only bring him down to Rs 250.The shanti stupa is around 5 km away from Rajgir and there is big gateway to mark its location, which one see while coming from Gaya. You can either get down from the bus there or come back in a tum tum as I had done. There are many other historical and tourist spots on the way to stupa such as Bimbisara’s prison, Ajatashatru’s fort as well as a small lake called ‘ghora katora’. For travellers short of time, these can be given a miss.Built by the Buddha Sangha of Japan, Vishwa Shanti stupa is perched atop 400 meter tall Ratnagiri hill. Buddha is supposed to have frequented this hill for three months to preach many of his disciples.There is a trolley service available to take tourists up but I preferred hiking up to the top. The climb isn’t very difficult and took about 25 minutes.
Rajgir was the capital of the Magadh Empire before Patna. This place is also of huge religious significance for both Buddhist and Jain religions. The Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Ajatshatru Stupa, Ajatshatru Fort and Venu Vana are important Buddhist sites. Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Temples are a group of eight temples in the four hills surrounding Rajgir and are an important pilgrimage site for followers of Jainism.
History and culture excites you? Visit Nalanda :)
80 kilometers away from Gaya and an undisputed worth visit. History writes this place down as the capital of Magadhan empire and was also of Lord Buddha's favorites. His teaching were panned down here. A popular winter health resort is what this place has shaped itself as. All credits to the hot water springs and lush green forest. A great kickback location.
51 Kms from Raiganj
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July
The twin towns of Malda and English Bazaar make for an unusual holiday destination. Serving as a gateway to Bengal, one ...
When we reached at Malda it was already 12:30 am. We reached Souma's Aunt's place. Had some dinner , get some sleep for about 2:30 hrs. We had slept only 2-3 hrs in the last 24 hrs and traveled more than 300 km by road that was too in uncomfortable conditions.We boarded on the train from Malda at about 6 o'clock. Not that its the best place I have ever visited , but something was special about the Darjeeling trip. There are a lot of things I have learnt from this trip , most importantly -1. Never delay when you need a trip, no matter whatever it takes.2. Unplanned trips are better, but only for off seasons.3. If you want to go for unplanned trips always make sure of two things that you know about the place , and you are physically fit for any type of situation.4. It is hard to go for a unplanned trip that even in budget. But if you are physically fit enough to stay in any type of room, travel in uncomfortable conditions and not allergic to local foods , you can travel anywhere without planning and within budget too.5. Traveling makes you wiser, happier and more fearless - if you trust this you can travel anywhere no matter the hurdles comes in your way.