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Old 23rd September 2021, 00:24   #1
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Default DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Prologue

On 24th April this year, the unthinkable happened ! I finally tied the knot

DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-nbp04706.jpg

Unfortunately just after this special date we witnessed weeks of lockdowns & restrictions due to which we had to forego plans for exotic vacations which most people undertake at this point of time. Finally things started opening up by end of June and we made plans to travel again. The hotels in many tourist spots started accepting visitors after temperature checks and following necessary safety protocols. Meanwhile its been 6 months we didn't go for any tours, so we decided to start our travels again by selecting destinations nearby. And what better way to start our travels than visiting the ever so popular DiPuDa !

For people in this part of country (West Bengal) and Bengali's in general, DiPuDa is not just a place, its an emotion. Its the most popular destination for people out here. I have seen people taking pride for visiting any of these locations for as much as 30+ times ! Now what is DiPuDa one may ask ? Its the short form of :

Digha (West Bengal)

Puri (Orissa)

Darjeeling (West Bengal)


While I had written posts and travelogue of my visits to these locations before:

Digha: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ml#post3949623 (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists)
Puri: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ml#post3878349 (The Call of Lord Jagannath: Weekend Getaway to Puri from Kolkata)
Darjeeling: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...g-dummies.html (Darjeeling for Dummies)


This time I covered all 3 destinations within a span of 7 weeks only. So let the story begin !

Last edited by Samfromindia : 23rd September 2021 at 01:46.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 02:04   #2
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Digha [10-12 July]

Located at a distance of only 180 Km from Kolkata, this coastal town is perhaps the most popular & frequently travelled tourist destination for people staying in Kolkata. Its similar to what Alibag means for the people in Mumbai. We decided to go for a weekend tour this time and spend a night at Mandarmani (25Km from Digha) and one in Digha.

Due to the current situation we decided not to book any hotels for our trip in advance and save the hassle of cancellation in case restrictions are implemented again. However this proved to be a bad decision. We reached Mandarmani pretty early at 1PM. However all the good hotels were full due to sudden influx of tourists after the relaxation Finally after searching the town twice for over for 3.5Hrs, got a okish place to stay for the night.

Mandarmani Beach
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Didn't want to make the same mistake twice, so promptly began searching for hotels in Digha. I was surprised to find a suite available at Digha Tourist Lodge which happens to be the official West Bengal tourism property at that place. It turned out to be a great decision as the property was awesome especially for the price !

Dighali Tourism Property 2 (Larica Holiday Inn)
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Lunch @Hotel
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Went to the beach and noticed the iconic "Jhau Bon" is cut to make way for new development, especially in New Digha beach. The charm of the beach is lost due to the deforestation in my opinion.

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New Digha Beach
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Old Digha Beach
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After spending 1 night in Digha, we left for our home in Kolkata with a handful of memories and in anticipation for our next journey.

Last edited by Samfromindia : 23rd September 2021 at 03:09.
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Old 23rd September 2021, 03:13   #3
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Puri [07-11 August]

Over 3 weeks had passed since we did our last trip. Meanwhile government have made 2 dose vaccination or RT-PCR test mandatory for travels. We finally got our final dose of Sputnik-V Without wasting much time, we left for our next destination: Puri

Distance to Puri is around 500KM by road. Left home at 8:30PM and reached destination at 5:00 AM. This time also there was no pre-booked hotel however given the double vaccination / covid test requirement and us reaching the place very early in the morning, was able to get a room in the iconic Victoria Club !

Soon after we came to know that a new rule is implemented by the authorities which prohibits visitors from going to the beach or any tourist attractions on weekends. This came as a blow to us as we planned to stay here for the weekend and a day more. The next two days were spent relaxing at the hotel and strolling down the footpath by the beach.

Victoria Club Hotel
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On the next day we happened to cross Puri lighthouse and came to the far end of beach. Was surprised to find no police patrol present over there which allowed some people to enter beach from that side. We joined them and finally we were able to soak our feet in sand and the sea !

Puri Beach
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As we could do pretty much nothing on Sat & Sun, Mon was kept for sight-seeing. Left hotel early and reached our first spot Chandrabhaga Sea Beach at 7:30 AM

Chandrabhaga Sea Beach
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The next spot is the iconic Konark Sun Temple. Tickets are now available only online and you need to show the same on mobile.

Konark Sun Temple
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After spending some time in Konarak, we left for the next destinations near Bhubaneshwar.

Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa
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The Lingaraj Temple was closed. However we managed to get a glimpse from a vantage point outside.

Lingaraj Temple
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KedarGouri, Mukteswar & Siddheshwar Temples
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Khandagiri, Udayagiri Caves
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Nandankanan Zoo normally remains closed on Monday. However I think given the closure on weekends they kept it open. However tiger safari which is the most popular activity of this place was closed, so was the electric cab ride which gives a tour of this park.

Nandankanan Zoo
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I really liked the OTDC restaurant within the zoo.
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Due to rains we couldn't explore much. Finally after dusk we left for our hotel. Next day we rushed to buy the most popular thing people want from Puri : Khaja And what better place to buy Khaja other than the iconic Kakatua Mistanna Bhandar

Kakatua Sweet Shop
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The drive back from Puri to Kolkata was uneventful. Puri is always bustling with large crowds of visitors, however this time we saw an entire different side of the town which was a totally different experience.

Last edited by Samfromindia : 8th October 2021 at 00:36.
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Old 8th October 2021, 01:04   #4
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Darjeeling [28 August-03 September]

Day 1-3 : Kalimpong

The mountains were calling for a long long time ! We made a plan to have a relaxing holiday covering two iconic towns in North Bengal : Kalimpong & Darjeeling. The bad road condition from Kolkata - Siliguri has been documented multiple times in the forum. After discussing with Bhpian Samba, decided to go for the following route:

Kolkata - Burdwan - Morgram - Siliguri - Kalimpong

The road was somewhat ok, with multiple bad stretches on SH7 connecting Burdwan - Morgram. And then there was the infamous traffic in Dalkhola. We followed some car to take a diversion and finally after driving through a lot of interior roads connected back to the highway. Finally reached Siliguri after driving 13.5 Hrs. We headed towards Kalimpong passing Sevoke. Its the first time I was driving on these roads during monsoons.



Just few KM after passing Sevoke, came across a huge traffic due to road block caused by landslides. Wasted multiple hours due to this.

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Finally reached Morgan House, our stay for next two days.

Morgan House
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Gorging on chicken roast recommended by Bhpian PapaBravo

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Army Golf Course just opposite to Morgan House

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Next day we went to Durpin Monastery and Deolo Park. Sadly all monasteries were closed, so we could not go inside.

Durpin Monastery
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Deolo Park
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After spending 2 nights in Kalimpong, left for Darjeeling. Came across this view point on the way overlooking the confluence of river Rangeet and Teesta.

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Finally reached West Bengal Tourist Lodge in Darjeeling, our place to stay for next 4 days. This property has ample parking and located right next to the mall.

DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-20210830_144752.jpg

DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-20210830_143248.jpg

Last edited by Samfromindia : 8th October 2021 at 03:41.
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Old 8th October 2021, 03:53   #5
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Day 3-4 : Darjeeling

DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-20210902_163633.jpg


The first day in Darjeeling was mostly spent relaxing at Mall & having a feast at the iconic Glenary's and Keventers.

Glenary's
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St. Andrews Church
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Next morning we were greeted by a narrow glimpse of the majestic Kanchenjunga from our hotel. That came as a surprise given the weather remains foggy during monsoons and view of the peaks are hard to come by.

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Meanwhile toy train facilities resumed a week earlier which includes both Siliguri - Darjeeling route and Darjeeling - Ghum joyride. We planned to go for the latter that day. There are two types of engine options: Steam and Diesel and two coach options : Normal and Vista Dome. We wanted to go for the best option which is Steam engine Vista Dome coach. As per schedules mentioned in official website, we went to book tickets for the 11:30 AM slot. However we found that the Vista Dome option was only available from 1:50PM. We booked the tickets and had 3 hrs to spare.

Here is the official website of DHR railways:
http://dhr.in.net/fare-details.php

Wanted to make good use of the 3hrs, so instead of going back to hotel or roaming around, hired a cab and went for some local sight seeing at Rock Garden & Gangamaya Park.

Gangamaya Park
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Rock Garden
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Tea Estate on the way
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Now we planned to have a 30 mins buffer between our sight seeing and toy train joyride. However we got stuck badly while entering Darjeeling from Rock Garden due to some army vehicle movement. And we missed the train ! We were so disheartened as we booked the special compartment and the train tickets were so expensive to begin with. Suddenly we saw the train passing our car which was stuck in jam ! The cab driver was good and he turned around and followed the train. Finally was able to catch up with the train sometime before Dali monastery and we finally made it inside !

DHR Joyride Schedule and Off-Season Fare
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Vista Dome Coach
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Batasia Loop
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Ghum Museum
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The toy train ride was short and sweet and should be experienced at least once. Here is a short video of the ride:




Next we went to Mahakal temple which is located right next to the Mall.

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We ended that day with Hot Chocolate and Chicken Platter at Keventers

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Last edited by Samfromindia : 9th October 2021 at 15:50.
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Old 9th October 2021, 15:55   #6
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Day 5 : Darjeeling

The next day was all about visiting the popular tourist spots near Darjeeling. Left hotel early morning and headed straight for Peace Pagoda. Although the monasteries like Dali was closed, this one was open. Ample space was there to park car at this spot.

Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda
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Darjeeling Zoo was closed due to pandemic. So we crossed that and went to Tenzing Rock and then Rangeet Valley Tea Estate.

Tenzing Rock
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Rangeet Valley Tea Estate
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Over here we got info from some tourists that Darjeeling Ropeway have resumed its operations after a gap of 2 yrs as it was down for maintenance ! We were thrilled and rushed to that place. Whenever I visited Darjeeling in the past this Ropeway was either out of order or having very long Qs with hours of wait time. We were surprised to find almost no visitors to be present as most people were not even aware that its opened ! We walked inside without any Q and got our very own compartment that is meant for 6 people although we were 2. And what an amazing experience it was ! This was the best thing I have done so far in Darjeeling and my best ropeway experience in India by far !

Darjeeling Ropeway : Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car
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A small video of the ride



After this ride we went to have snacks at this restaurant right next to the ropeway

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Ended the day having some Thupka at Mall

DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-20210901_210216.jpg

Last edited by Samfromindia : 9th October 2021 at 17:13.
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Old 9th October 2021, 16:28   #7
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Day 6-7 : Darjeeling

Planned to visit Mirik & Lepchajagat on the final day of our stay. The drive to Mirik was picturesque through hill cart road.

Mirik
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After Mirik came across to Gopal Dhara tea estate and Nepal Border on way to Lepchajagat. Pashupati market across Nepal was closed for visitors.

Gopal Dhara Tea Estate
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Nepal Border
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Enroute Lepchajagat
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Lepchajagat
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West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Bunglow
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Reached Darjeeling before evening and strolled by the viewpoints around Mall.

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Went to Glenary's for some snacks and called it a day.

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View from hotel balcony at night
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Next day it was time to bid adieu to the mountains. Our 6 nights long trip finally comes to an end. We left Darjeeling with a heavy heart and with countless memories to cherish in future

Until next time !
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Reaching Foothills via Rohini Road
DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-20210903_140948.jpg

This time we followed a different route towards Kolkata from Siliguri as suggested by Bhpian ABHI_1512 & Travelmania via Krishnanagar and Delhi Road which turned out to be a lot smoother if not shorter than the earlier route.

This concludes our DiPuDa adventure. We are glad that we pulled this off within a short time with several restrictions in place before returning back to Pune. I hope future travelers may find some information useful. Until next time !

Last edited by Samfromindia : 9th October 2021 at 17:23.
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Old 11th October 2021, 08:32   #8
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Old 11th October 2021, 11:02   #9
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Firstly, many many congratulations for the mega event of your life, Samrat.

Coming to the travelogue, you have really captured the small yet beautiful essence of DiPuDa right from the quaint landscapes to the amazing food. Thanks for this great Monday morning read !

Darjeeling looks beautiful in the monsoons. It has been a long while since I went to Darjeeling. Although it has become considerably crowded now, but there is a certain charm about Darjeeling which is unmatched by the other places in the vicinity. Hope to visit this corner soon.
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Old 11th October 2021, 15:59   #10
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Congratulations Samrat! Wishing you both a very happy married life!

Do you mind putting in your experience of your stay at Victoria? Planning to travel with my family sometime in mid-November.
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Old 11th October 2021, 16:22   #11
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Hi Samrat, congratulations on you crossing a new milestone of your life. Wish both of you thousands of happy miles both on and off the road.

Best,
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Old 11th October 2021, 17:55   #12
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Congrats for starting a new way of life. Excellent drive with really wonderful snaps. The write up is a real guide with must visit points at such good locations. The coverage includes sea , woods and mountains . Old classic hotels to modern hotels. Old/new temples, church and pagoda. Rope way, train and your Car. Loved viewing and reading couple of times. Keep contributing this way please.
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Old 11th October 2021, 18:08   #13
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Congratulations for starting the new innings in your life. You've covered sea, mountains and long drives with the love of your life and I can only sense the love growing. Wishing you many happy miles or should I say years ahead.
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Old 12th October 2021, 02:49   #14
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Congratulations once again on your wedding, Sam. Looks like your honeymoon revenge trips are many, short and sweet, rather than a single long and elaborate one. What about a trip to the other Pu, as in Purulia?
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Old 12th October 2021, 02:58   #15
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Default Re: DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days

Congrats & wish both of you a very happy married life.

This travelogue will pull the right cord in a Bengali's heart!

Loved the narration, pics and off-course the thread title stands out!
Rated 5*.

In the last one month, I have been to 'DiPu'! Seems like I and Dipu are of same age, so I conveniently gave 'Da' a miss! (Da in Bengali means elder brother).

At Di
DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-img_9484.jpg

& Pu!
DiPuDa (Digha-Puri-Darjeeling) in 50 Days-img_8075.jpg
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