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Old 1st January 2021, 00:16   #286
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

In Kolkata, Park street is all decked up for Christmas & New years celebration.

Few pics from Park street & Maa flyover.

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Old 6th January 2021, 12:23   #287
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by Samba View Post
In Kolkata, Park street is all decked up for Christmas & New years celebration.
Nice pics! I am usually in Kolkata during the last week of each year taking my annual vacation from my workplace in Bangalore, especially during Christmas, and always make it a point to visit Park Street to check out the famed Christmas and New Year lighting. This time was no different, and after coming back from a quick trip to Shantiniketan, we went for a midnight drive on Christmas eve through Park Street though did not get down from the car.

Just drove through Park Street at a leisurely pace, the place was teeming with people at midnight (though much lesser than regular years) and then came back home in South Kolkata through St Pauls Cathedral, Camac Street and Theater Road. Park Street and the Christmas spirit in Kolkata never gets old, it is indeed one of the best places in India to enjoy and soak in the Christmas spirit.

As a side note, I get pleasantly amazed each time at the good surface quality of most Kolkata roads (at least in south Kolkata where my house is) as compared to the terrible roads throughout Bangalore. When I was growing up in Kolkata, we used to complain about bad and crowded roads. In the last decade, the road infrastructure of Kolkata has improved in leaps and bounds, whereas Bangalore roads have gone exactly in the opposite direction!

Last edited by arindambasu13 : 6th January 2021 at 12:28.
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Old 7th January 2021, 17:15   #288
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

I am planning a trip to Ghoom from Siliguri via Mirik. Is there any opportunity to do a short visit to Chitrey / Meghma viewpoints from Manebhanjan en-route? From different travel groups, I've heard that the road till Chitrey is now concreted. Any latest information on the road conditions of this route?

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Old 7th January 2021, 19:28   #289
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by ankan.m.blr View Post
I am planning a trip to Ghoom from Siliguri via Mirik. Is there any opportunity to do a short visit to Chitrey / Meghma viewpoints from Manebhanjan en-route? From different travel groups, I've heard that the road till Chitrey is now concreted. Any latest information on the road conditions of this route?
It's possible, but for this you need to take permission from the LR association. They might charge you some amount to let your car go, though this practice is illegal from their end. But as no government officials have taken any steps, this has become a norm now.

You can easily drive a 2wd car till Megma or Tumling. Road is steep, but its in very good shape. It's a full concrete road from Chitre to Tumling and beyond till Gairibas. Till Chirte the road has perfect black top from Manebhanjan.

Do watch this video till the 1 min 40 sec mark where we reached Tumling. The video starts from Manebhanjan.



For more details, please check out my Sandakphu travelogue-

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...sandakphu.html (A weekend road-trip from Kolkata to Sandakphu)

Last edited by Samba : 7th January 2021 at 19:34.
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Old 8th January 2021, 17:50   #290
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by Samba View Post
It's possible, but for this you need to take permission from the LR association. They might charge you some amount to let your car go, though this practice is illegal from their end. But as no government officials have taken any steps, this has become a norm now.

You can easily drive a 2wd car till Megma or Tumling. Road is steep, but its in very good shape. It's a full concrete road from Chitre to Tumling and beyond till Gairibas. Till Chirte the road has perfect black top from Manebhanjan.

Do watch this video till the 1 min 40 sec mark where we reached Tumling. The video starts from Manebhanjan.

https://www.Youtube.com/watch?v=gTTC3D3OCDU

For more details, please check out my Sandakphu travelogue-

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...sandakphu.html (A weekend road-trip from Kolkata to Sandakphu)
Thanks a lot for the info and youtube link! The road looks beautiful. How do I take permission from the LR association? Is there any booking counter or association office at ManeBhanjan? The road is very scenic and tempting and I don't want to miss an opportunity to drive on it.
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Old 8th January 2021, 18:20   #291
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Originally Posted by ankan.m.blr View Post
Thanks a lot for the info and Youtube link! The road looks beautiful. How do I take permission from the LR association? Is there any booking counter or association office at ManeBhanjan? The road is very scenic and tempting and I don't want to miss an opportunity to drive on it.
There is a booth at Sukhia from where you need to get the permission. You will not miss it. It is on the right hand side of the road as you go towards Sukhia from Mirik/Darjeeling. The road is beautiful and on a clear day you can see the Kancehnjungha range from Tumling. So if you get the permission please go till Tumling at least.
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Old 8th January 2021, 18:35   #292
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Wow...This is stupendous. I am so intrigued by all your picures and descriptions. Just like another NRB (Non Resident Bengali), there's so little I know of these areas. I have created the ambience to read these travelogues by listening to Bengali music by Warfaze
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Old 8th January 2021, 23:24   #293
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
There is a booth at Sukhia from where you need to get the permission. You will not miss it. It is on the right hand side of the road as you go towards Sukhia from Mirik/Darjeeling. The road is beautiful and on a clear day you can see the Kancehnjungha range from Tumling. So if you get the permission please go till Tumling at least.
Please please can you please help with an approximate gmap location of this booth. Otherwise, I know I am going to miss it.
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Old 9th January 2021, 02:08   #294
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

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Please please can you please help with an approximate gmap location of this booth. Otherwise, I know I am going to miss it.
Even if you miss it, there wont be a problem. From this gate at Manebhanjan, you have to buy an entry ticket to get in. They will connect you with the Land-Rover guys.

The office is just opposite to where my car is parked. The shade can be seen at extreme right. (This is not the Land-Rover association office, from here you will get the entry tickets for Singalila national park, they will connect you with the Land-Rover guys, in case you fail to locate them.)

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Old 12th January 2021, 14:10   #295
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

A short drive to Ajodhya Hill and surroundings


It was a fine morning on 3rd January 2021, at 5 am, we met at Dunlop crossing. We are four families with four cars, Swift Dzire, Santro Zing, I-10, and Wagon R. Our destination was Ajodhya Hill and surroundings. As because of traffic jam, we did not take the Nibedita bridge, passed through the Bally bridge, and gave a short tea break after crossing 10 km from Dankuni toll gate. From here we continue our drive till Raniganj. Out breakfast was scheduled at Rang-De-Basanti Dhaba at Raniganj, but on reaching there we found the dhaba is closed. Now everyone is hungry, it was almost 9 am, and we did not find any decent family restaurant nearby, so we decided to drive towards Asansol. Just before Asansol we found a Dhaba, and took our breakfast. After breakfast we started our drive around 10 am towards Purulia, but at Niyamatpur encountered a long jam, but somehow we managed to overtake the trucks, and a non-stop 2 hrs drive took us to Purulia town. Here we refilled our cars and again we started towards Ajodhya Hill, we took the Tamna Sirkabad route, and after Sirkabad we found the glimpses of Ajodhya Hill. We spent some time by capturing the beauty of the place. We reached the hill top around 2:30 pm. Our stay was booked at West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation lodge Malabika.



We got refreshed within 20 minutes, and took the late lunch at their restaurant. After lunch we decided to visit the Marble Lake. Accordingly we took the help of GPS and after many left and right turn we discovered ourselves inside a dense forest, and there are no roads ahead. There were no tourists, and it was getting dark. We decided to park the cars and go on walking, but a local guy advised us not to go inside the forest during dark. We agreed with him, and returned back. From the main road we took the route towards Upper dam, but on reaching there we found a huge rush of local picnic parties, they are blocking the roads, playing DJ box loudly and dancing on the roads like machines. We somehow did not like the ambience and it was already 6:30 pm, so we decided to back to our hotel.
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Old 12th January 2021, 14:22   #296
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Next day we got up early morning and started to roam around on walking. We visited the back side of our hotel where the forest range is visible. Around 9:30 am we again started our journey for a full day side seeing. We hired a local guy for the direction of the roads. He sat in my car, and other three cars started following me.



First we decided to visit Murguma Dam, it is 22/23 km from hilltop, we started to getting down from the hill, road is very narrow. At the entry point there are several local villagers blocked the road on demand of money. Murguma Lake is awesome, surrounded by hills, but there is a haze all around, so we did not get good photographs. After visiting we again returned through the same route, road is again very narrow with 4/5 dangerous hair-pin bend, with high incline. Our next point was Marbel Lake, it is a good point, we found some less crowd here and the view was awesome, we spent some good time here. New we decided to visit Bamni Falls, but on reaching there we found a huge rush, may be more than the rush of our Alipur Zoo on 25th December. Anyway we searched the parking space and decided to get down through the stairs. But we got astonished to see that the stairs are full of tourists and all are stranded on the stair. Moreover nobody has the mask, immediately we decided to return back, and proceeded towards out next target Turga Lake. It is again a fine lake, surrounded by hills; moreover there are no sound of DJ box, and picnic parties. We spent some time here till we felt hungry. Our next stop was Baghmundi village for lunch. Post lunch we proceeded towards Chorida village, but due to some reason all the shops were closed. We missed the main art work of Purulia. Next destination was Khairabera Lake. It is really a nice place, 360 degree surrounded by hills, very calm and quiet scenic place. We spend rest of the time here till it gets dark. We started our return journey around 6 pm, at one place we found the lights below the hill just like Darjeeling. Everyone enjoyed the return journey very much.
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Old 12th January 2021, 14:28   #297
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Next day we checked out at 9:30 am, and decided to visit Mayur Pahar and Pakhi Pahar before we proceed towards Burudi Lake. But as usual we missed the entrance of Mayur pahar. Then we visited Upper Dam. Got some good photographs as the weather was clear. Then we reached Matha Forest, here we decided to skip Pakhi Pahar as we are already late. Burudi is 110 km from here and Gmap shows us the time taken is around 4 hours. We laughed initially and continue smooth drive up to Balarampur. Now we found a huge long traffic jam as that was a “Haat” day at Balarampur. A long 2 km stretch took us almost 1 hour to cross. After that another surprise was waiting for us, hundreds of cow are walking through the road. Those were for sale in Haat, but we found a endless queue of cows. Almost 20 km till Barabazar the cows accompanied us, and after crossing Banduan we found a clear road. We follow the Banduan – Duarsini route, and met at Galudih. From there Burudih was 30 minute drive. We checked in our Resort Aranyok around 4 pm. There were no plan today except some campfire and bar-b-que.
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Old 12th January 2021, 14:39   #298
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

We checked out from resort at 11:30 am. First visited Burudi Lake. Then we started our return journey. Took lunch near Kharagpur, and visited Khirai Flower garden. Reached home around 9 pm.
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Old 31st January 2021, 00:30   #299
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Purbasthali

Drive duration and distance- 130 km from Dankuni. Takes around 2.5 to 3 hours.

Route- Dankuni-Memary- Satgachia- Kusumgram- Purbasthali. Set Purbasthali Thana on GPS. Where GPS ends, drive another 3-4 km straight to reach the ferry ghat. Last 200 meter road is narrow. Proper parking is available.

Road condition is excellent to good. Till Memary, Durgapur expressway is silk smooth, after that its all single lane road. Road surface is good. But town traffic at places delay the pace.

Hotels- Few homestays are available.

Things to look for- Birds birds & birds.

Time to visit - December to February.

To see the migratory birds, one need to hire a boat. Boat price is fixed. It's charged in hourly basis or in contract.
To cover a good portion, it takes atleast 6 hours of boat ride.

This can be a day trip. Plan to reach Purbasthali by 8-9 am and take the boat ride. So one can return back by afternoon. If possible, it's best to reach by 6 or 7 am.

Special thanks to Bhpian Aray for motivating me to visit Purbasthali & Bhpian Turbonath for proving some very useful details.

Am not a bird photographer, still sharing some pics which I could manage with my humble Canon 70-300 mm lens.

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Old 31st January 2021, 00:39   #300
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Amazing pictures Samba ! You have hit gold with the brilliant picture of the Painted Snipe. It’s extremely difficult to get it out in the open at Purbasthali. The Osprey action shots are great as well ! Thanks for sharing !
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