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Old 3rd June 2009, 09:20   #106
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Sudipto, you had no right to finish the travelogue without posting these beautiful pics of Jainti and Pokhari. That's one kind of landscape I love most - dense forests on the lower slopes of hills.

And felt quite at home seeing the abundance of teak and siam weed (a medicinal weed known by the name 'communist pacha' in Kerala, or simply 'appa' in my native village). I could have mistaken these landscapes to be from anywhere in the south western ghats.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 10:13   #107
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pjay
Thanks for your "kind" words. I wish I had known the names of these trees and plants. I am totally illeterate. But yes, in terms of landscape this is very similar to the lower parts of western ghats.
I think you must pay Dooars a visit. Incidentally, in the tourist lodge of Madarihat/Jaldapara we were the only Bengali tourists. All others were either from the south or Mumbai or Gujarat !!! I was quite amazed.
I am sorry that my DSLR camera's memory card had almost finished by the time we reached Jainti. These are taken in a very small compact camera.
I am afraid some of you might find a few photographs a bit too repeatitive. I am aware of it and I am most sorry. People do strange things on "public demand".
Regarding why I stopped - I thought I was posting too many photographs and was perhaps running the risk of boring people.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 11:51   #108
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No question of getting bored, the pics were just delightful.

I've almost become an armchair traveller of late.. so travelogues like yours are great getaways for me.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 11:58   #109
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I was trying to coax you for some of the Jainti pics. It is one of my favourite places in Dooars. Instead of going to Pokhari, you should have gone to Kal Bhairavi cave. In order to reach there, you have to drive for around 2kms along the Jainti riverbed and then hike for around 1km. It could have been a little difficult for your daughter.

Also, instead of staying at Madarihat, its better to stay at the WBFDC lodge at Rajabhatkhawa. After all, you dont always get the chance to see wild elephants passing just outside the lodge.

There is also a nice trek to Buxa fort, but not possible with a kid in tow. Its around 12kms return trip and is a whole day affair.

Here are 2 pics from my side.
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-entry-buxa-tiger-reserve-large.jpg

Jainti bridge in December.
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-jainti-bridge-large.jpg

Remember, the river bed used to be much below the bridge when it was originally built. Over the last 50yrs, the bed has risen to almost touch the bridge.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:06   #110
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Saurabh, the tone (colour) of your pics is just terrific. The second one (of the bridge) is a fantastic shot. The trees lining up against the back drop of the blue hills have a lot of character. The road gives a nice perspective feel of depth and the dry grass is just the touch of orange the picture needed.

What cam?
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:13   #111
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Saurabh
I agree that we should have gone to the other side of the river, which we did not. There is always a next time, when we will probably stay in Jayanti itself and devote a whole lot of time to the surroundings. I knew about the Buxa fort but not about the cave. Will enquire next time.
We actually did a day trip to Jayanti from Malangi lodge of WBFDC where we spent the night.
After the Pokhari trip and lunch we spent some time loitering around the river bed and then went to the forest so that we could have some time inside the forest around sunset. We were most unlucky not to find anything.
Another group we met managed to see a group of eight elephants just half an hour before.
But no regrets. Because spotting elephants was not the top most or the only priority for us, as it seems to be the case with a lot of tourists. We wanted to "experience" the forest, which we did to our heart's content.
Of course I quite wanted to see the hornbill but that was not to be. We just heard its call once.
I think the view of Torsa from the Chilapota jungle was simply awesome. I will try to post some more pics this evening.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 12:23   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
Saurabh, the tone (colour) of your pics is just terrific. The second one (of the bridge) is a fantastic shot. The trees lining up against the back drop of the blue hills have a lot of character. The road gives a nice perspective feel of depth and the dry grass is just the touch of orange the picture needed.

What cam?
Thanks. It was taken with my good old Nikon F60.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
But no regrets. Because spotting elephants was not the top most or the only priority for us, as it seems to be the case with a lot of tourists. We wanted to "experience" the forest, which we did to our heart's content.
Of course I quite wanted to see the hornbill but that was not to be. We just heard its call once.
I think the view of Torsa from the Chilapota jungle was simply awesome. I will try to post some more pics this evening.
Agree with you completely. Jayanti needs to be experienced. I have never seen a forest so dense. I have heard that WBFDC is building a lodge at Jayanti, along the river. Would be a fantastic place to stay. We stayed for 4 days at Rajabhatkhawa and entered the forest quite a few times, once at 11pm with our guide and managed to spend a couple of hours in one of the remote watch towers (dont want to mention here how it was made possible). It was a full moon night and was a lifetime experience.

Chilapota is also very nice. Its very easy in Chilapota to lose your way. Hope you did not miss Nal Rajar garh.
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Old 3rd June 2009, 19:29   #113
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A red wattled lapwing. I think we saw it on the way to Jainti
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-lapwing.jpg

If I am not mistaken this is a spangled drongo
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-drongo.jpg

A view of the Jainti river and bridge with the complete perspective
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-bridge.jpg

The mysterious Dooars forest. The sun was about to set in
Wet Bhutan and Green Dooars-forest1.jpg
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Old 3rd June 2009, 20:06   #114
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Wonderful pics, Sudipto-da - keep 'em coming! 700 shots, and why are you not being generous in sharing at least 50% of them with us?
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Old 3rd June 2009, 20:42   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
700 shots, and why are you not being generous in sharing at least 50% of them with us?
Because many shots are just silly personal shots of my family and myself and have no relevance for others, least of all members of a public forum like here. Many more are just repetitive - like I have five six shots of that lapwing alone. Yet more are downright bad photographs that are not worth posting.
But thanks nevertheless for egging me on.
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Old 4th June 2009, 00:00   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
But thanks nevertheless for egging me on.
Yes, and here's hoping the egging will soon be producing more birding... err... bird-watching photographs. I recently started photographing birds, but my ability at identification of their species doesn't extend beyond crows and hens, so here's one I shot at Mt. Abu - looks like the lapwing you shot. Perhaps you can confirm the identification.
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Last edited by SS-Traveller : 4th June 2009 at 00:02.
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Old 4th June 2009, 06:47   #117
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Yes SS. This indeed is a red wattled lapwing or titir, althought its wattle infront of the eye is almost invisible in the photograph due to the harsh sunlight directly above but it has all the other characteristics available for easy identification. Nice composition I must say showing its habitat.
I have sent you a personal e-mail on how to take forward your birding hobby. Wish you all the best. It's a very noble hobby to get involved with.
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Old 4th June 2009, 07:36   #118
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Absolutely great coverage Sudipto. Lovely photographs. Though I have a strong feeling that you've done something to most of your shots. They look a bit hard to me.

If I may ask as what's the total cost for this trip from Kolkata and back?
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Old 4th June 2009, 08:18   #119
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Rudrada
Thanks for your comments. A bit of unsharp masking was done to most photographs, which perhaps led to some amount of hardening effect.
Regarding cost - I think we spent a total of about 30k for the 13-day journey - including petrol and some very basic memento buying.
Bhutan is cheaper than Dooars, by all means.
The Thimphu hotel cost us Rs 500 (had carpet and room heater in room, hot running water in bathroom and bang on the main road). Phuntsholling was Rs 1300. Punakha was Rs 500 and Paro was 1300.
In contrast WB Tourism in Jaldapara was 1470 with food and Malangi lodge was Rs 1260 plus food !! I think this is expensive and these hotels are not that remotely located.
Siliguri was Rs 650 and Kulik (Raiganj) was Rs 600. All AC rooms, except Jaldapara.
Looking back - we should have stayed in a better hotel in Punakha and spent Rs 1500 but we chose the first available hotel as it was getting dark and I didn't look around. There is a wonderful resort by the river called Dechen at Rs 1500 which we regret we overlooked.
The beauty of Bhutan is if you want to spend they have Rs 15,000 hotels. They also have Rs 500 hotels which may not be luxury but are quite "chalega" type - no paan stain on walls, like they used to have once upon a time.
The middle ones at around Rs 1500 per night are best.
While in Bhutan don't forget to negotiate with hotel rates a bit.
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Old 4th June 2009, 09:06   #120
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Here is the log book of my recent Bombay-Sikkim-Bhutan-Arunachal Pradesh-East/West Drive.

H V Kumar - Driving Log Books - KUMAR'S DRIVING LOG BOOKSNorth East India, Bhutan & East-West Drive Apr 2009
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