Sikkim to Bodhgaya: best rail & road routes?

#1 Jul 4th, 2007, 13:51
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#1
We’re aiming to travel from Gangtok in Sikkim to Bodhgaya in Bihar. On the map it looks as if this could be done in a relatively direct route via Siliguri, by a mix of road & rail. But how simple is it really? What are the best options and how long would these take?
#2 Jul 4th, 2007, 16:31
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#2
Hello SilverMaple and welcome to indiamike .com

I'm going to suggest you plan your trip the other way round, Calcutta - Bodhgaya-Sikkim, I understand your concerns about the weather situation, but I don't think a few days will make too much of a difference, so I'll explain my concerns about the train situation.


Calcutta-Sikkim-Bodhgaya-Calcutta

Train 2343 departs Sealdah (Calcutta) daily at 22:05 and gets to New Jalpaiguri at 08:00 (great train)

Then whatever transport you choose to/from Sikkim. (is the helicopter service still operating from Bagdogra Airport?)

Train 2505 departs New Jalpaiguri daily at 16:50 and gets to Patna at 03:25
Train 4055 departs New Jalpaiguri daily at 22:30 and gets to Patna at 12:55
Train 5632 (Th, Sa.) and train 5636 (M.) departs New Jalpaiguri at 18:30 and gets to Patna at 04:50

Trains very often (some would say always) run a couple of hours late on this route, so train 4055 may cost you most of the day, train 2505 could be OK if it does run late, but not if it runs on time, so train 5632 or 5636 would seem like the best train, however, these only cover 3 days of the week.

Buses are probably the best way to get from Patna to Bodhgaya.


Train 3010 departs Gaya daily at 21:50 and gets to Howrah (Calcutta) at 07:00
Train 2312 departs Gaya daily at 23:42 and gets to Howrah at 07:10

However, both these trains start their journey north of Delhi and could run late. (though the Delhi-Gaya section is normally reliable)

There are other shorter distance trains, but they're either poorly timed or only have Sleeper Class (not air con), and Sleeper Class in Bihar is maybe not the best way to travel.


Calcutta-Bodhgaya-Sikkim-Calcutta

Train 2321 departs Howrah daily at 22:00 and gets to Gaya at 05:25
Train 2307 departs Howrah daily at 23:30 and gets to Gaya at 06:15

Both these trains start their journey at Howrah.

Train 2506 departs Patna daily at 22:10 and gets to New Jalpaiguri at 08:20
Train 3248 (M, Tu, W, Su.) and train 3246 (Th, F, Sa.) depart Patna at 22:45 and get to New Jalpaiguri at 11:45

Train 2506 starts it's journey in Delhi, though I think I'd still choose this train, Train 3248 and 3246 start their journey in Danapur, just 10 Kms west of Patna.

Then to Sikkim and back...

Train 2344 departs New Jalpaiguri at 20:00 and gets to Sealdah at 06:00 (great train)


All the above trains have 2-tier air con, 3-tier air con and Sleeper Class (not air con), the following trains also have Air Con First Class - 2312, 2321, 2343 & 2344.
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#3 Jul 4th, 2007, 18:33
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#3

Thanks very much . Some related questions.

Thanks very much for that very helpful reply.

Some extra Qs:

In general, how available are seats in the trains you mention? Would we need to book far ahead? How far ahead at a guess?

Were we still to go from Patna to Bodhgaya, could we be sure of getting to Bodhgaya the same day that we arrived in Patna? 2005 Rough Guide says 2 buses a day and a 5 hour journey. Does that sound right still?

We’ve also been toying with the idea of starting and finishing at Bagdogra airport, not Kolkata (coming from UK). Are there any not-obvious issues you’re aware of regarding this idea? Like reliability of internal flights? Like listed economy fares never available etc?
#4 Jul 4th, 2007, 18:43
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#4
Quick question

Have you seen the Taj Mahal? (do you want to?)

There's no reason to use Bagdogra twice, if coming from the UK a return to Delhi would be cheap, then a single Delhi-Bagdora (or Bagdogra-Delhi) flight would allow a visit to Agra (or Varanasi) on the way to/from Bodhgaya.
#5 Jul 4th, 2007, 19:23
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#5
Indian Airlines and Air Deccan both fly the Delhi - Bagdogra route, I've used Indian Arlines once and thought they were very good, Air Deccan seem to have had some problems in the past, I've noticed quite a few complaints about them, but I've not used them so can't comment, I think Air Deccan are much cheaper than Indian Airlines.
Last edited by steven_ber; Jul 4th, 2007 at 21:12..
#6 Jul 4th, 2007, 21:03
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#6

has Gaya airport developed recently?

Thanks very much for that. I had wondered about going via Delhi, not Kolkata. We've seen the Taj Mahal - truly wonderful - but either Varanasi or some time in New Delhi could be an idea.

I've been looking for info about Gaya airport, which could be ideal for us, but I can't find anything on internal flights there - I can only find a few external flights from Buddhist countries. Do you know if that is still the case?
#7 Jul 4th, 2007, 21:29
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#7
Airport code: GAY. I find little or nothing on it no, so I wouldn't place your bets, maybe Steve knows. You could try Patna instead.
#8 Jul 4th, 2007, 21:34
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#8

(I've fixed the links in my last post)

Gaya

Indian Airlines flight IC 733 leaves Calcutta at 10:00 and gets to Gaya at 10:55, however, this flight only operates on a Friday and not till the 5th October.

There will also be a flight to Guwahati one day a week (no use to you).

I can't find any other domestic flights to/from Gaya.


Patna

Air Sahara. have flights between Patna and Varanasi, Calcutta and Delhi, Air Deccan have flights to/from Delhi and Calcutta, Jet Airways and Indian Airlines also connect Patna and Delhi.
#9 Jul 5th, 2007, 00:07
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#9

This is an excellent new option

That is brilliant. We could actually base our trip round the Friday Kolkata - Gaya flight and the Monday one back and spend time in Bodhgaya at both beginning and end of the trip. We're not going till mid-Oct. Both flights are at convenient times. Now all we'd need to find is UK-Kolkata flights which fit these. Your link to the Indian Airlines schedules spreadsheet is excellent. Try as I might, I never found a clue via Google that this Kolkata - Gaya service is scheduled. Thanks ever so much.
#10 Jul 5th, 2007, 02:29
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#10

i just talked with my best fiedn from Bodhgaya a week ago

on the phone and asked him too if the Gaya airport operates but it doesn`t
#11 Jul 5th, 2007, 03:08
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#11
You could try and contact them directly and ask them what's up: http://www.airportsindia.org.in/allAirports/gaya.jsp (site open during business hours only).
#12 Jul 5th, 2007, 05:14
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#12

It starts in October

The Indian Airlines link, which Steven gave in his reply, leads to a spreadsheet of exact times for all their internal flights. It lists Kolkata - Gaya flights as beginning in October 2007, one flight per week in each direction. So it isn't running right now. But will be running when we wish to visit.
#13 Nov 20th, 2010, 18:28
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#13
Steve-Ber
Hi!I need to find the best way from Calcuta to BothGaya. This info do yu think is still usufull or need to be updated? Coming from Kodaikanal I will have only two days to get there.
Thnks
#14 Nov 20th, 2010, 18:53
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#14
If you mean by train, have a look at http://erail.in?T=HWH::GAYA:.
#15 Nov 26th, 2010, 17:45
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#15

We travelled to Bodhgaya in 2007

In October 2007 we flew from Kolkatta airport to Gaya airport, then took a taxi to Bodhgaya. Quite straightforward, though I don't know if this then new service still operates.

I booked the flight in UK via an Indian London travel agency.

NB It was a pilgrim flight coming from Myanmar, so departed from Kolkatta's international airport not the domestic terminal - nearly a slip-up there.

We left Bodhgaya for Darjeeling, travelling first by taxi to Patna (daylight only re Bihar bandits), then train to Siliguri & then taxi to Darjeeling.

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