The road less travelled – Kolkata to Kaluk

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At about 1 p.m. Tara took his first halt at Teesta Valley. Very near to this place is the point of White Water River Rafting on Teesta. The area is dotted with a few small eateries run by the local villagers. Tara took us to one named Tashi Restaurant. All the eateries here, as this one, are very basic. I am a bit apprehensive about eating at small joints as the hygiene factor is low, but had no other alternative here. However, the good food coupled with the beautiful Teesta flowing beside the eatery made me set all thoughts aside for a few moments. Had it been some other place, such a beautiful locale would surely have been commercialized and turned into a Mc Donald’s or KFC with the wealth again going to the rich hands.

Our car moved on towards Jorethang. Tara was true. The stretch from Malli to Jorethang was in really poor condition. Although it was for wider and better roads in coming days, the ride was extremely stressful for us. Clouds of dust engulfed us at short intervals. We are much more impatient than our counterparts residing at higher altitudes.

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Along the old silk route – East Sikkim

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The entire zigzag road was blocked with snow. We were the only souls from far off plain lands stuck in the midst of old silk route, completely disconnected from the outside world and covered in a thick blanket of snow. Our journey to Gnathang Valley was cancelled. But what we witnessed was much more than what we had wanted and could ask for no more.

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Visiting Kaluk in West Sikkim

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If you are an aficionado of history, then Rabdentse is a place not to be missed if you are on a trip to West Sikkim. Located on a ridge near Upper Pelling, Rabdentse was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. It was destroyed by the Gurkha invasion and now only the ruins of the palace remain. The remains of the palace have been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. The ruins offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchendzonga.

Vikram dropped us at the point from where we were to trek about 1.5 km through forest to reach the ruins. A huge decorated gate leads to the trekking path. We started our journey through a stone-cobbled path through the forest. The path was narrow and dark. The forest was deep. There was not a person to be seen anywhere. It was super-thrilling!!

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Santiniketan-Trip to Tagore’s Abode

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As I saw little children studying beneath the trees I kept comparing it with the classes held in our city schools with air-conditioners and state-of-the-art technology. How claustrophobic the city children must be feeling, I wondered. For once, I imagined myself to be a child, sitting with those little kids beneath the shadowy mango trees reading Tagore’s verses or perhaps solving sums even. We also visited the various schools inside the campus like ‘Patha Bhavan, China Bhavan, Hindi Bhavan’ where various subjects are taught in foreign languages as well. With alumni list including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray, nothing more is required to be said about this world class university. On our way back to hotel we took a glimpse of the prayer house.

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Santiniketan-Roadway and Lodging Review

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The place was named Amrakunj as Tagore had planted by himself 108 mango trees in this garden. As I saw little children studying beneath the trees I kept comparing it with the classes held in our city schools with air-conditioners and state-of-the-art technology. How claustrophobic the city children must be feeling, I wondered. For once, I imagined myself to be a child, sitting with those little kids beneath the shadowy mango trees reading Tagore’s verses or perhaps solving sums even. We also visited the various schools inside the campus like ‘Patha Bhavan, China Bhavan, Hindi Bhavan’ where various subjects are taught in foreign languages as well. With alumni list including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Satyajit Ray, nothing more is required to be said about this world class university. On our way back to hotel we took a glimpse of the prayer house.

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Bakkhali-Henry Island-Frazergunj (Weekend hideout from Kolkata)

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But there is no connecting bridge. What we experienced here was something amazing and unique. A huge barge operates between the banks to transport vehicles. We drove our car to the barge, sat inside it and the barge took us to the opposite bank. Huge size lorries and buses are also transported in the same manner. It was a memorable experience sitting inside the car and floating on the river.

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A Rainy Day in Raichak

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The balcony leads you to the lounge or resting area. This lounge will amaze you. Four-poster bed, easy chair, gramophone, tables, chairs, sofa – decades old decorates this lounge. One can also notice the typical Bengali red cemented floors here. The only touch of modernization in this room perhaps is the air conditioning. The best part was the view through the large glass window panes which got frosted because of the rain outside. It rather added to the rustic beauty.

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Murti Kolakham (A treat for your five senses)

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One advise to anybody booking WBFDC Murti Resort. Please make sure while booking that they are booking the rooms in the First floor of the resort and not the ones on ground floor, which are horrible. There are four large AC rooms on the first floor named Tista, Torsa, Murti and Jaldhaka. The rooms are well furnished with a big attached balcony where you can sit and enjoy the calmness of the environment around with only the gurgling sound of the ever busy river Murti.

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North Bengal Trip

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The Darjeeling Mail which leaves Sealdah Station at 10.05pm reached us New Jalpaiguri Station(NJP) the next morning. I was quite pleased to see the easy availability of cab at the station. After a quick bite we took a cab and set off for Darjeeling. Narrow meandering roads reached us Darjeeling at noon that day. We just could not take our eyes off the picturesque view through the window panes of our hotel room. We could not wait to visit the famous Mall at Darjeeling. We had a pre-concieved notion(from people around us) that The Mall is a very congested, dirty and such other things.

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