Darjeeling and Gangtok tour from Kerala including Kolkota
A travelogue by Shri. S Sisupalan and family.
Starting the journey
On 26 October 2018, six-member group from two families boarded the flight from Thiruvananthapuram to Kolkota enroute Chennai. We reached Kolkota by afternoon.
The cab was waiting for us and we drove to Hotel Dee Empresa, near to the National Museum. After fresh-up and lunch, we rushed to the Victoria Memorial Hall where we spent one and a half hours. The sun set by almost 4.45 p.m. By the time we departed from the Victoria Memorial at about 6.30 p.m, it appeared to be like 10 at night.
Then we went to the famous Kali Ghat temple; though the visit was not as pleasing as we had expected. We then returned and reached the hotel by 9 o’clock.
Kolkota and to Darjeeling
The next morning, after breakfast, we visited the famous Howrah Bridge and the National Museum. We checked out from the hotel and departed for the airport. Took lunch on the way to airport. By 5.30 p.m we landed at Bagdogra airport. Bagdogra is a small airport. We set of to Darjeeling, which is around 70 km away from the airport, in a Tata Sumo. The night view was nice when traveling through tropical areas, including hillsides and passages.
We checked into Hotel Yuma Darjeeling after a two and a half hours drive. The attraction of Darjeeling was its narrow-guage Railway which crisscross the roads and passes. As it was night, there was no train service. It was chill at approximately 14 degree Celsius. The accommodation was very good.
The next day, at 4 a.m, we went to the Tiger Hills to watch the sunrise. The sun rise with the Kanchenjunga mountains in the backdrop is very attractive. The cold winds were amusing. We walked for about 1.5 km from the vehicle-parking ground.
On his way back, we visited a monastery and the Gurkha War Memorial. After taking breakfast from hotel, we visited Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and Mountaineering Institute. Later, we saw a tea estate and Tenzing Gumpo Rock. In the evening, we managed to make small shopping in Mall Marg.
Second day in Darjeeling and then to Gangtok
The next day morning, we visited Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda in Darjeeling. We felt that these were the most beautiful places in Darjeeling.
Then, we started for Gangtok, 118 kilometers away. It was a lovely four-and-a-half-hour trip. The journey beside the Teesta River was exciting and at times scary. The fresh water in the river appeared to be so clear. The climatic conditions were ideal for travel. There was passenger-checking in the Bengal-Sikkim border. By evening, we arrived at Gantok Taxi station. From the taxi stand you traveled to the hotel in two taxis. Outstation cars are not allowed in Gangtok. The transport system in Gangtok is excellent. There was no overloading or over speeding of vehicles or unwanted horns.
After checking into the hotel, we visited the famous Sikkim MG Marg. Some concerts were going on at that time. The shops on either side of the beautiful pathways paved with tiles, ambient seating facilities and fountains. There is no vehicle in MG Marg. After spending some nice time, we returned to the hotel. Darjeeling was more chill.
Gangtok and Lake Tsongo
For visiting Lake Tsongo in the border with China permission from Indian Army was required. On the day before itself we had handed over two copies of identity cards and photos were given to the tour-representatives. He brought the vehicle and tourist permit in the morning itself. The Tsomgo Lake at the Indo-China border is at an altitude of 3600 m above sea level. Border Road Organization is visible all through the roads with boards of security instructions. It is a long way through the narrow roads and passes. The weather was pleasant in the morning. The travel was through the military camps. After the Lake Tsongo comes the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. A large idol of Lord Parameswara is placed on top of the hill. While walking inside the forest, the sight in front is spectacular. On a huge pillar, flies the national flag. There is a souvenir shop hosted by the soldiers. After spending about an hour and a half at Tsongo lake we approached a ropeway where one can ride at a cost of Rs 300 for one person. It was nice and pleasant. It started to rain as we reached the top. After 15 minutes, the dew became stronger. After enjoying the natural beauty and coolness, we came down. We saw yaks walking alone and in groups.
We then reached a shop attached to a house, less than five km down. We had the most enjoyable homely meals. By the time we took meals, snowfall subsided. After four o’clock in the evening, we returned to the hotel and checked out. The same car that dropped us came for picking us.
Night at Siliguri
We boarded the vehicle and went to Siliguri. As it was night, we could not enjoy the beauty of the travel. The condition of the road was very bad. We arrived at the hotel in Siliguri at eight o’clock.
Return to Thiruvananthapuram
The next day we checked out at 6 a.m and travelled to Bagdogra airport 11 km away. We started the return journey to Thiruvananthapuram at 9 a.m via Bangalore. The hotels, vehicles and the drivers were good. Everywhere we were assisted by tour operators.