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Old 6th November 2010, 21:04   #61
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First many congratulations for completing the sunderban trip. Those pics over the river are more than just beautiful. I caught hold of this travelogue just today and seems the real story is still untold, so I am still on time. Keep going, want to know more about the trip, the wonderful experiences.


OT : I am a regular follower of all travelogues of yours, HVK sir, SS Traveller, tsk1979, Drivoblog man (tirthankar), etc...and after going through the wonderful experiences, to be honest, I am very envious of you all. You really live life to the fullest. I am just a city biker now, but wish to be able to travel and then post the dream travelogues of my own inspired by you all asap.

But till then I am seeing the beauty that is India through the eyes of great travelers like you all. So waiting for more!
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Old 7th November 2010, 01:38   #62
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Default Kolkata to Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge-I

Wednesday morning, we woke up at 4 to get ready and catch the first bus to Basanti from Babu Ghat Bus Stand. We reached the Bus Stand by 6 am and came to know that the bus we were looking for doesn't arrive till 8 AM and even then chances are pretty slim. Not wanting to waste any time at all, we started asking around for other options and came to know that CSTC buses to Dhamakhali via Malancha will take us almost 75% of the route to Sarberia which is about 35 Kms from Basanti. We boarded the bus at about 6.30 but by the time it finished its Kolkata darshan and entered the Malancha Road, it was 7.30.

Over here in the forum we talk about how good or bad a particular Volvo service is, but believe me this was a different type of out of the world experience. The driver would use his pressure horn and all the horse power of the engine to accelerate slowly to about 60KMPH by which time traffic from the opposite side would force it to slow down. This cat and mouse game continued till Malancha Bazaar which is a prominent landmark in these parts. We were travelling on the SH3 and the road thereafter became quite devoid of traffic. A piece of trivia, this part of SH3 is not marked on any of the online maps; may be because of its proximity to Bangladesh border. At certain places during our trip, we did come as close as under 10 Kms to the Bangladesh border and the change in demographics is for all to see. While travelling on this road, one also gets to see vast tracts of land converted into ponds for prawn farming. As it was raining for the past few days, the green blanket was also very soothing.
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We finally reached Sarberia at 9 am and not knowing how to reach Sajnekhali, called up the mobile number given in the Tourist Lodge contact details. As it turns out, the number is of the Manager’s and he tells us to reach Gosaba Ghat by 10 as a chartered boat was waiting to ferry a group of 5 tourists directly to Sajnekhali. We thought it to be a good idea as it would reduce the number of transfers but the only catch was we were 40 kms away from Gosaba Ghat with 1 hour in hand and no suitable mode of transport. The only mode available apart from the irregular taxi (old Amby’s) or trucks was the Vikram. The Auto Union guys realised our predicament and would shoo off any taxi’s so that we are forced to take them. So we finally hire an auto (old KAL Auto’s with a diesel engine) who promises to make us reach in time even though I had given up all hope. We start at 9.10 and our fella immediately starts ripping. Even though on my GPS enabled phone the top speed was varying between 42-45kmph, the single cylinder is groaning at full throttle and was giving me jitters of sudden engine failure. But our Hero Hiralal just wouldn’t let go inspite of the rain, no wiper on windscreen, bad roads and traffic. Me and Bidisha were getting tossed around the auto like anybody’s business but it was nevertheless a very exciting ride. Few pictures taken of our Hero Hiralal and the greenery around.

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We finally reach Gosaba Ghat at 10.15, fast by our mode of transportation but late enough to miss the chartered boat. We wait for the regular ferry and to cross the river and when it comes take our place in it.

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Last edited by MileCruncher : 7th November 2010 at 01:42.
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Old 7th November 2010, 02:10   #63
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Default Kolkata to Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge-II

The boat takes 10 minutes to make us reach the Gosaba Bazaar with a stoppage enroute as we get off and are coming out of the ghat, we need to pay the Ferry Association’s claim for the trip’s fare. I give them an Rs.50 note and shocked to see the amount of change returned.

Now we need to make our way to Pakhirala and ask around,only to be told to go the “Van Stand” for transport. We reach the van stand and hire a full van for ourselves for the 8 km trip. Now please note that Gosaba is an island and pretty much self sufficient in itself except that it doesn’t any automobiles on the island. It also had electricity for half the island through biomass plants in the island.
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And this “Van” is nothing but a flat bed cycle rickshaw all doubles up both as a load and passenger carrier. After an interesting 45 minutes ride on the van which included high speed transfer of goods across opposite direction going vans, we reach Pakhirala.

Here we meet with this guy “Mangal” the wily businessman. He tells us that yes he was expecting us as he had transported groceries in the morning for arriving guest. We board his boat to cross the stream and reach Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge and step our foot into the Sunderbans National Park at 12 Noon.

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Last edited by MileCruncher : 7th November 2010 at 02:16.
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Old 7th November 2010, 09:45   #64
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Quite a multi-modal journey! I was fortunate to be tracking MileCruncher live on GL and the terrain is fantastic, pieces of land interspersed in the vast swathes of water of the Sunderbans.

Countryside looks picturesque, typical Bengal landscapes and Calcutta is far far away for these folks.
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Old 7th November 2010, 10:15   #65
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Default Some Trivia!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Quite a multi-modal journey!
Yes Sir it was!
List of modes along with their fares

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Old 7th November 2010, 11:53   #66
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>>>

MileCruncher,

Great travelogue.
The landscape is a dead giveaway - you are in the riverine Indo-Gangetic Plains. How did you manage to obtain steady images when your 'KAL auto' autowallah was barrelling his way?

By the way, how far is Kharagpur from Midnapore, as your table does not mention the journey between these two points?

Regards, drive safe
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Old 7th November 2010, 12:36   #67
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Great pics and a very different travelogue. I missed out on it earlier.

I saw the pics of Indian museum and there are some Egyptian artifacts. Just curious to know how they landed there? IMO they are real and not the copies. Can you throw some light on that if you know? I even saw a mummy!
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Old 7th November 2010, 14:44   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issigonis View Post
>>>

MileCruncher,

Great travelogue.
The landscape is a dead giveaway - you are in the riverine Indo-Gangetic Plains. How did you manage to obtain steady images when your 'KAL auto' autowallah was barrelling his way?
. Mixture of high shutter speed and steady hands.
Quote:
Originally Posted by issigonis View Post
By the way, how far is Kharagpur from Midnapore, as your table does not mention the journey between these two points?

Regards, drive safe
Midnapore is about 10 Kms or so from KGP station. We stayed one night at a relative's place and hence got down at KGP but took the next train from MDN.

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I saw the pics of Indian museum and there are some Egyptian artifacts. Just curious to know how they landed there? IMO they are real and not the copies. Can you throw some light on that if you know? I even saw a mummy!
Indian Museum is one of the oldest museums of the world and all the artifacts are original and not fake . Some more info for you History of the Indian Museum Calcutta.
Indian Museum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cheers
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Old 7th November 2010, 15:56   #69
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Default Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge

We had booked our stay at the Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge run by WBTDC and is located inside the sanctuary perimeter. It has about 20 double bedded rooms and the tariff is Rs1000 +5% Luxury Tax which includes breakfast and dinner. As the lodge is next to the Forest Department office, there are 2 watch towers as well which one can use to sit through in the night. The lodge is pretty basic but clean with electricity available between 6PM-6AM. Gives a good feel of being in the jungle. Few pictures
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Last edited by MileCruncher : 7th November 2010 at 15:58.
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Old 8th November 2010, 14:17   #70
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whoa! Ani, I am overwhelmed by the different landscapes as well as the different modes of transport you used! Thanks for the detailed report and i am completly hooked on for more.

BTW, we got you moving on the TL, didnt we?
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Old 8th November 2010, 16:03   #71
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Excellent pictures there Ani. Do i same the same picture with different color balance of the wooden cottage?

Btw, that boat looks dangerously rickety and looks like it may capsize any moment.

Was it in same river the a boat capsized and many people died in Sunderbans around the same time you were visiting?
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Old 8th November 2010, 17:09   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
whoa! Ani, I am overwhelmed by the different landscapes as well as the different modes of transport you used! Thanks for the detailed report and i am completly hooked on for more.

BTW, we got you moving on the TL, didnt we?
Thanks. Will try to pen down the next phase tonight.

Quote:
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Excellent pictures there Ani. Do i same the same picture with different color balance of the wooden cottage?
Thanks. Nope its not the same picture. Both of them were taken at different time and with different colour composition at the background.
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Btw, that boat looks dangerously rickety and looks like it may capsize any moment.

Was it in same river the a boat capsized and many people died in Sunderbans around the same time you were visiting?
I had also felt so, but then I stopped worrying. The boat capsize accident happened quite far away from where we were staying and even though it was in the outer periphery of Sundarbans, it was no where closer to the Sundarbans National Park. And the boat or rather launch, as its called locally, that capsized was something similar to what we would now use for the next 1 and 1/2 day for visiting the inner parts of the riverine delta
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Old 9th November 2010, 11:55   #73
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Very very exciting read. The 'Van' travel was very interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed reading

I'd stayed at Sunderbans Tiger Camp some 7 years back, but that was located outside the reserve. My cousin who stayed at Sajnakhali gave glowing reports about it.

It must have been a wonderful experience for you, since I think staying there gives a better feel of really staying inside the mangroves with the stilted houses and all. Apart from the reserve, watching the life of the people of the delta itself is worth a visit - as HVK said, so far removed from Calcutta and a world of its own.

Thanks for bringing those memories back. Looking forward for the rest
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Old 9th December 2010, 21:38   #74
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MileCruncher - I am off to the Sundarbans at the end of this month and would love to see how your story ended!

Cheers,
V
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Old 9th December 2010, 23:50   #75
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Default Re: Headed to Sundarbans in search of the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger

Great trip log Ani, have always wanted to visit the Sunderbans. Now I know whom to trouble in case i need any help

Bring it on..cant wait to see the tigers(m sure u saw them dint ya )
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