Trip report of Kolkata and Sikkim

#1 Nov 2nd, 2017, 11:01
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  • jnarayan is offline
#1
TRIP REPORT OF KOLKATA AND SIKKIM
Started our (Me and my wife) Journey from Chennai to Kolkata on 23rd September,2017 during the Durga Pooja Holidays and it is one of the worst night mare to travel during Pooja Holidays in a Sleeper class Compartment and I sincerely advise people not to book Sleeper Class train to Kolkata and kindly book Third or Second AC for a comfortable journey during pooja holidays.Total Compartment was jam packed and most of the people rushing to the Kolkata were with waitlisted tickets or travelling ticketless and with fully loaded luggages.Even TTE was threatened and he has to adjust his seat with the waitlisted passengers.Adding to the rush was Indian Railways decision to cancel many trains because of flood situation in Bihar and West Bengal areas.Atleast Railways should have made some alternate arrangement to clear the rush.Also why they are allowing waitlisted passengers to travel in the Reserved compartment and where this people will sit or sleep.

25th September2017Day3)

Anyway after our Night marish journey to Kolkata, we landed at Howrah Station.From Howrah Bus stand which is next to the Howrah Railway station,we reached Seladah Station by Bus and deposited our luggages in the cloak room,since our train to New Jalpaiguri is at Night. I booked on three Trains to New Jalpaiguri but in only one of them i got RAC confirmation and other tickets remained In Waiting list.This was all due to the Last minute cancellation of Trains by the Indian Railway.In Sealdah station we can take Shower in the Sleeper class waiting hall and after refershing ourselves,we started our journey to Dakshineswar temple.We took the Sealdah - Dankuni Local train and got down at Dakshineswar Station.From Dakshineswar station temple is some 1 KM away,you can take Share autos or go by walk.From my earlier visit to Dakshineswar in 2012 and now in 2017,i find lot of things has changed.Now in the temple everything is charged and even Pandit will give prasad only when we give money.Well in Dakshineswar we can take bath in the river and get refreshed.There is even an rescue team waiting near the river for the pilgrims safety.It will be better if some arrangement is made for women to change their dress in dignity since now it has to be done in the open area.
After Dhakshineshwar temple visit we took the Boat ride to cross the Ganges river to reach Belur math on the other side of the river.Belur math is closed around 12 PM,so kindly check the visit timings.The boat Journey is good and they charge only 10 Rupees for the ride.The city of Kolkata is comparatively cheap to other Metro cities in every way. After the Belur math,we took bus to reach the Ballyghat and they charge 6 Rupees/Person.From there we have to cross the road to get the bus to the Science city.There are other ways also to reach the Science city.One can reach Howrah by Bus,Train or Ferry.From Howrah bus stand,Science city is easily accessible.Check the timings of the Boat,Ferry or Train timings from Belur Math below.



Science city is quite good,lot of things to do and good educational demos for the young minds.Entrance ticket cost is 50 Rupees which has to be separately purchased .Show Tickets were reasonable priced.

Take the Combo ticket and enjoy the Panorma Show and Evolution of life,quite good..Some of the photos taken at Science city.









Lot of Science Demos which we can operate and understand.Really good for educational purpose.Students and Kids can benefit.Indvidual show tickets can be purchased at the counters at the show hall itself.
After the Science city visit it become quite diffcult to reach the Sealdah station,not much transporation was available due to Durga Pooja celebrations.Somehow we changed vehicles and reached Sealdah station.Opposite to Sealdah station is Big Baazar,so any items can be purchased from the Big Baazar,we bought some snacks and Cool drinks from the Big baazar.(Closing time is 9PM).IRCTC food counter inside the Sealdah is good with somewhat neat dining area.
Also During Durga Pooja time,the entire Kolkata ciy is in Celebration mode and it was fun to roam around.There were lot of drum beats and colourful pandals which mesmerizes us.We took the train to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and since we had only RAC ticket,we have to share the seat for the full night journey.

26th SeptemeberDay4)

When we reached New Jalpaiguri (NJP),people here refer to this place as NJP and they don't say it as New Jalpaiguri.A tourist agent offered us shared journey at a reasonable price to Gangtok and he took us to his office outside the Railway station.The tourist agent tried to divert us for the package tour to Sikkim,we told him point-blank that we are not interested.Then the agent told us that he cannot give shared taxi to us but only to whom who take his Package tour.So please do not trust this type of persons offering us shared rides and take us for a ride. There are lot of Tata Sumos and Taxis looking for shared passengers to Gangtok.We searched for one and took the front seat.Luggages were placed on the cars top,so you can sit and enjoy the not so comfortable ride.They charged us 300 Rupees/Person to Gangtok.If transporation is not available or for comfortable ride, kindly take the auto or bus to Siliguri (8 Km from Siliguri and Autos charge 80 Rupees) and board the Sikkim National Transport (SNT) bus to Gangtok.The timings are as below.





Since it rained on and off in Gangtok there where lot of land slides and at every point it took lot of time to negotiate the traffic.A journey which is normally for four hours took us nearly seven hours to reach Gangtok from NJP.We have seen close to 12 Landslides in our journey route.Photos of Landslides on the way.So kindly avoid rainy seasons and also try to plan the tour in Middle of October.





The taxi took us to the taxi stand,Gangtok.From the taxi stand MG marg is 2 Km away.I negotiated for two hundred rupees to reach my Hotel which is roughly 3 KM from the Taxi Stand.Normally Separate Taxis charge 100 Rupees/KM and they have monopoly and it is their way of earning money.If it is shared taxi then normally rate will be 10 Rupees/KM.Local people take Share taxis or Walk the distance or have their own vehicles.
We checked in at the Sidlon Residency Hotel near CM Bungalow.From here MG marg can be reached in 10 Minutes of walk.Excellent hotel with very good facilities,nice scenic views rom our alloted room.The hotel was resonably priced and it costed us around 1600 Rupees/Night through Goibibo website.Normally in Summer,this room charges will be around 4000 Rupees/Night.Hotel Manager told us that due to Doklam issue,Darjeeling agitation and Rains,this year Business is bleak and that is why they are offering rooms at Cheaper prices.Morning Breakfast was complimentary and the breakfast was extremely nice with varieties like Toasted Bread,Poori,Upma,Egg Omlete,Coffee,Tea,etc.Photos of the Hotel.

We relaxed and in the evening we walked to the MG marg area.It is one of the most visited and happening area of Gangtok.You an just sit,Enjoy the cool wind,Do Souvenior shopping,Eat hot snacks,Relax your mind,Enjoy the dinner,etc.At the end of MG marg road,Cable Car - The Gangtok Ropeway is there.Just walk through the MG marg,reach the Ropeway and Enjoy the Full Gangtok view during the day time.



After taking our Dinner at the MG marg,there is an Bengali restaurant near the Bata showroom and the prices were reasonable.
We searched to book the Shared package trip to Lachung and Yumthang valley.We found Galaxy tours and Travels (Some 200 Metres away from the MG marg) and met Mr.Tenzing (Mobile:9475012777/9832044536,www.tourhimalayas.com,www.nort hsikkimhotels.com),one of the most reasonable person i have met and he guided and clarified us regarding all the things during our stay at Gangtok.Most of the tourist spots were not reachable or closed due to Rainfall or Government restriction because of the Doklam issue.He charged us 1400 Rupees/Person (Including Food and Lodging) for the fully shared package to Yumthang tour of 1 Night/2 Days.Indvidual trip costs around 11000 to 12000 Rupees,so that is quite an saving but shared trips are only for 1 Night/2 Days,so places that we can see is also limited.He took two photos and ID card xerox for making the Lachung trip permit.
27th SeptemeberDay5)
Next morning we checked out from the Sidlon Hotel,Gangtok.We deposited our luggage in the Hotel Sidlon itself and reached the Vajra Taxi stand only with minimum luggage.Since it was shared trip we have to wait for an old Bengali couple to arrive and they reached very late at around 11 AM.In shared trip,the seats are congested and we have to manage with the limited space.Four people has to sit in the place meant or three.We stopped at three tourist points and took three other breaks enroute to the Lachung .


Good Lunch was provided by the Tour Operator.We stopped at two water falls on the way to Lachung and the water was very cold to even touch leave alone bathing.Since it was raining in Gangtok,we saw several small falls on the road to Lachung.It was beautiful sight all the way to Lachung.Beautiful nature all the way,very scenic and memorable.
After taking several breaks,we stopped at a place before Lachung for a tea break.In Lachung plastic bottles are banned,so do not carry any pet bottles and dispose them before reaching Lachung.We disposed all our plastic bottles at the tea stall.Finally we reached our hotel around 7.30,fully tired and settled down before our Dinner at 8.00 PM.The Hotel rooms were basic but clean.Only Vodafone signal was there and you cannot find Airtel,Jio,BSNL signals here.Lachung is around 9000 Feet above Sea Level and temperature is very cold during night time.Sunsets very early here and in the mornings you can find Sun light around 5 AM itself.Dinner was basic and but good considering the altitude at which we had our Dinner.Hot and Spicy Dinner filled our tummy.We retired for the day and settled under the heavy Razai Blanket.
Hotel Starlit at Lachung.

28th SeptemberDay6)
Morning view from Hotel Starlit at 5.30 AM



We started off from the Hotel aroung 6 AM for our Yumthang valley journey.We reached a point before Yumthang valley for Breakfast.Only Bread,Jam,Butter and Coffee was available but understandable.People rented Jerkins,Wollen caps,etc from this place.Since it was not snowing we did not rent any Gum Boots or Heavy Jerkins from this place.Everybody was interested to go to Zero point,so we negotiated for 300 Rupees/Person to Zero point.Zero point is at an altitude of 15,300 Feet with thin air.Never walk fast here,it is very windy and cold,unfortunately we missed the Snow.Another 15 to 20 Days,we would have been lucky to find snow.




Zero point is at the Indo China Border.We stayed in the Zero point for some 45 Minutes and returned back to Yumthang Valley.Since it started to rain in Yumthang valley,we planned our return journey to Lachung.We returned back to the Hotel Starlit,Lachung.Had our Basic Lunch and took 30 Minutes rest before starting our return Journey to Gangtok.We reached our Hotel Sidlon,Gangtok very late at 8 PM.Took our dinner and slept like log.We planned Tsongma Lake for the next day but dropped the plan.We replanned for the Gangtok local trip.

29th SeptemberDay7)

Started next day after having Breakfast at the Sidlon Hotel.We planned for the Himalayan Zoo and Ganesh Tok local tour.We took taxi to Himalayan Zoo and taxi charged 200 Rupees for the 3 KM ride.You can take ticket for taxi and travel inside the Zoo with Taxi also.But Taxi goes for 1 KM inside and terminates there,rest of the path you have to walk.We preferred to Walk the Zoo path of 2 KM.




Many of the Himalayan animals are seen in semi closed areas,so sometimes we may not find the animal at all.We waited for 30 minutes to have a glimpse of Red Panda.

There are places to sit and there is an small cafeteria to buy snacks and have lunch.We took Thupka (Soupy noodles with vegetables) and Veg Noodles.Thupka's quantity was huge and we were not able to finish it.The prices were resonable and the place was neat and clean.
The zoo was very scenic and the temperature was ideal for relaxed walk and enjoyment.We spent nearly five hours inside the Zoo.While return if you go by walk please come back by the same entrance path.By mistake we went straight and landed behind the Zoo and we were forced walk for 2 KM to reach Ganesh Tok.Actually Ganesh Tok is just opposite to the Himalayan Zoo.


Since we could not find any Shared or Indvidual Taxi,we walked 2 KM to reach Ganesh Tok from the Zoo backside.The view from the Ganesh Tok temple is breathtaking.We can have Bird's eye view of Gangtok City from Ganesh Tok.

Bird's Eye View




We took share taxi to MG marg from the Ganesh Tok and the charge is like 30 Rupees/Person.After the tiring journey we went to MG marg to do some shopping.We had our dinner at our Hotel itself.Actually in the Sidlon Hotel in your room they provide Coffee,Tea,Milk ready mix pockets with Kettle.So you can prepare your Tea or Coffee any time in your room.

30th SepetemberDay 8)

At the next day morning we wanted to go to the Tashi view point during sunrise at 5 AM but dropped the idea since it was very foggy in the morning.Since our train from NJP was in the late night,we thought of Gangtok local trip but dropped the idea since the Hotel manager advised us that it was Tilak ceremony day and most of the Taxis were not running.We did not risk our return trip,so packed and went to the SNT bus stand.Taxi people charge 200 Rupees for 2 KM distance.Took the SNT bus at 9.30 AM to reach Siliguri at 1.30 PM.
Reached Siliguri and took auto to reach NJP (80 Rupees).We deposited our luggage in the cloak room and had our Lunch at the Railway station itself.The quality of food was bad and it was overpriced.We went to the ISKCON temple in Siliguri and we took two break journeys with share autos to reach ISKCON temple.Some Pandits in the ISKCON temple were money minded may be due to habit of earning from the tourist people.They have got Laser show for 20 Rupees/Person and the Laser show was not upto the mark.There is a book stall, gift shop, cafeteria, restaurant,Children's play area. A nice concrete chariot with horses, which is placed in the tank is another attraction of this temple.ISKCON temple looks nice and the Lord Krishna looks wonderful and divine.


Just came out of the ISKCON and we had diffculty in reaching the NJP railway station since most of the routes were closed due to the Durga Idol immersion.We changed three vehicles and finally reached the NJP railway station.

1st October: (Day9)

Had a comfortable sleep in the train and reached Sealdah Railway station next morning.We took the bus and reached Howrah Railway station.We deposited our luggage at the Howrah railway station.We refreshed ourselves and had our breakfast .We reached the MG road from Howrah by Bus.From the MG road we went to the Maidan Station by metro.From maidan it is 5 minutes walk to the Victoria memorial.(Taj mahal of the East).We spent some two hours inside the beautiful place.Since it started to rain,we decided to call it a day.

We went back to the Howrah station by the same route and collected our luggage and bid adieu to the Kolkata city and wishing to return back soon for one more wonderful trip.Actually we missed many tourist spots in Gangtok due to bad weather and geo politial situation.Also our duration of stay in the Sikkim was short and we desired for a long trip in the future to enjoy the nature's beautiful child - The Sikkim and the cultural cradle - Kolkata.Since it was a budget trip and we managed the entire trip within 25 to 30 K after adding everything that we purchased for the trip and spent during the trip.
Attached Images
belur math boat timings.jpg evolution.jpg indus civil.jpg siliguri to other bus.jpg bus service Gangtok1.jpg landslide.jpg lachung hotel.jpg zero point.jpg zoo map.jpg ganesh tok view.jpg 
#2 Nov 2nd, 2017, 11:17
Join Date:
May 2014
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Pune
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  • snotty is offline
#2
Nice information collection. Thanks.

The skulls look scary though!
Sar Pass Trek , Rohtang, Munnar, Badrinath Kedarnath, Vaishnodevi, Goa
#3 Nov 2nd, 2017, 11:33
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  • arupratan ghosh is offline
#3
Wonderful TR jnarayan . Very informative, thanks for sharing

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