A very short trip to Mongpong - Our experience

#1 May 28th, 2013, 20:50
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#1
We finally had the chance of visiting mongpong.It was a very small trip of 1 day (we were back to siliguri 29 hrs after we started from there). Thanks to the encouragement from Ashish uncle and Sutapadi, we indeed had a very relaxing time there.
We took a bus from P.C Mittal bus stand, Siliguri at around 10 in the morning. All the dooars bound private buses start from here, and it seemed they are quite frequent in number. The bus was going to Samsing, and was quite empty when we started. However it became crowded as it crossed the coronation bridge.We had no problem as we had no luggage, just a small backpack for the two of us.
The road condition from siliguri to mongpong is quite good.The bus dropped us at monpong check post, from where we had to walk for roughly five minutes to the right through a sal forest till we reached the WBFDC cottages which we had pre booked.The journey took us roughly 50 mins.
The first thing that strikes upon reaching mongpong is the silence.It is absolutely quiet, with the only sound being that of falling sal leaves and some monkeys jumping from the jamun tree on the roof of the cottages. (there are quite a few monkeys in the area, it seemed). You can be aware of the sound of your own breathing and talking out lous seems quite obscene there.
We were shown our cottgage, Tragopan, which is to the extreme right.(all four cottages are side by side, with the ac cottages on the extreme ends)
The cottage was fine with all possible amenities. A double bed, a study table and chair was the furniture of the room.The washroom was clean with western fittings. The cottage is hexagonal and the walls on the two side are entirely covered with large transparent glass windows. While this is great for views, it might pose a privacy problem.There is a verandah in front with plastic chairs and and a table for those who prefer their meals sitting there. Apart from that there is a common thatch roofed four side open structure as well overlooking the valley which serves as the common dining area
After freshening up,(we already had our breakfast at “diet restaurant”, bagdogra, which curiously served “egg dosa”!!!, so we were not hungry) we decided to visit the teesta bed which was visible from the cottage as a thin ribbon, quite far below. Basant Rai, the cook cum care taker (and the only soul present apart from us, as all other cottages were empty), showed us the shortcut to go to the river bed.It was a steep slope following a dry drain, and then a walk across the rail line (The line though which kanchan kanya express passes) and crisscrossing through a small busti with hen houses and paddy fields, we could reach the river bed in 20 mins. The walk was quite tiring as it was hot sunny may midday. However, there was a refreshing breeze, and we rested awhile in the cool shades of the sal forest by the river bed. Again the silence was haunting as there was not a soul in sight, even in the bustees. It was a great feeling, as if we were the king and queen of the place, running and singing at our free will. The river bed was dry with boulders, and we didn’t linger for more than 20 mins. The rain bridge across the river was visible, but we didn’t go there, The heat was getting to us and we decided to climb back to the ac comfort of our cottage.
The cool comfort did not last for long due to the frequent power cuts. The power cuts did not last for than 15 mins in each case, but were frequent enough to be irritating. This is the only flaw we found with the place. The caretaker casually informed us that since the power supply came from jaldhaka hydro electric power station, and “jungle me zor hawa chlnese electric off ho jata hain”(high winds in the forests causes disruption of power!!!)
Lunch was a simple and tasty affair with rice, dal, potato and cauliflower curry and chicken.the food was tasty and home like. We explored the area after lunch. The forest bungalow was just next door, and was built on a much bigger area. It looked quite luxurious and well kept from the outside. Basant informed us that booking could be made from DFO office Kalimpong, and the price of each room was Rs 2400/.We roamed about aimlessly in the forest as it had started to get cloudy and the landscape was just awesome, calm and serene.
In the evening we were greeted by three types of pakora, veg, onion and egg. Sitting on the verandah and munching on them, staring at the moonlit valley was an eerie experience. Not a soul was there in sight, and the caretaker informed us that he would serve dinner, roti and egg curry in the room by 8,30 and would go home. We could have anytime we wanted.the place is lit up by small white lights in front of each cottage, but the entire valley seemed to be steeped in silvery moonlight. It was perfect.
We woke up early next morning and had our tea in the cozy bench surrounded by creeper on the edge of the cliff on which the cottages are built. The corner was a perfect example of “lotakunjo” in Bengali.
We strolled around aimlessly for a while, playing “make a face’ and ‘hide and seek” with two baby monkeys who seemed to have taken a fancy on us. We had our breakfast of luchi and potato curry.We started for siliguri around 12. The policeman at the checkpost had informed us that we could get a bus every 5-10 mins if we waited there. Sure enough, we got a bus within seconds of reaching there, The bus was coming from Jaigaon(Bhutan Border), and was a bit crowded. We got seats only after crossing coronation bridge. But then again, we had no luggage, and who has not boarded crowded bus in Kolkata? The journey time was less, and seemed more like travelling from esplanade to shyamabazar (only with better views outside). We were amused to see Bhutanese currency being used at par with INR for buying tickets in the bus.
We reached Mittal Stand in 45 mins, had lunch at TAI WAH on Hill Cart road (Our staple for Chinese whenever in siliguri), and headed straight for Tenzing Norgay for a bus back home. 1.5 hrs of tiring journey later, we were lying on our beds, still dreaming of the silence, and lorries plying on NH31 honked past our home, endless in number as always.  
#2 May 28th, 2013, 20:57
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#2

our cottage

#3 May 28th, 2013, 21:03
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view from the cottage verandah
#4 May 28th, 2013, 21:11
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cottage compound



sitting area overlooking the river, perfect for adda
#5 May 29th, 2013, 00:02
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#5
Excellent story. I can feel and hear the sound of silence as experienced by two of you! Great outing as it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post ...we already had our breakfast at “diet restaurant”, bagdogra, which curiously served “egg dosa”!!!...
Do you mean to say the route bus allowed adequate time to have your Breakfast enroute at Bagdogra or you had it before you started off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post ....Not a soul was there in sight, and the caretaker informed us that he would serve dinner, roti and egg curry in the room by 8,30 and would go home....
That means there was nobody in the Resort during the night and you two were alone??!! Very thrilling indeed and may I say, very romantic in moonlit night!

I have enjoyed your TR thoroughly. In fact, this is sort of revelation .. in the sense that very few people (and that includes people from Siliguri also) are aware of this place as such a budget friendly, less time consuming weekend destination. I hope, after your TR, more people will flock to Mongpong during weekends, specially on full moon weekends. Great job.
#6 May 29th, 2013, 22:28
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#6
Thank you so much for liking our experience.It is encouraging to receive praise from a veteran like you.

We had started our journey from our home at Islampur(office quarters where we were temporarily staying for office work).islampur to siliguri is around 70 km, and the road is via Bagdogra. hence we had our breakfast there.Bagdogra is on the opposite direction from Mongpong from Siliguri.

It is indeed pocket friendly!

Here goes our expenses for the entire trip.
Rs 86/- for our bus trip to Mongpong (for two of us)
Rs. 1686/-(Rs.1500/- plus tax) for an ac room in wbfdc cottage mongpong
Rs.410/- for our lunch, snacks, dinner, and breakfast at Mongpong.(with 5-6 cups of tea in between)
Rs. 72/- for our trip back to Siliguri from mongpong
Rs.80/- for bus trip from siliguri to islampur.

Islampur to siliguri we went on our office jeep, so no cost involved there.
#7 May 29th, 2013, 23:15
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#7
I repeat I feel very happy for your effort. This kind of off beat week end trips are close to my heart. Keep on exploring...North Bengal is a hidden paradise. Please keep on sharing your experience with us.
#8 May 31st, 2013, 18:59
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Nice to see a trip report on Mongpong. Have crossed it so many times, but never have stayed there. Rabindranath Tagore had visited that place.
#9 May 31st, 2013, 20:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jito View Post Nice to see a trip report on Mongpong. Have crossed it so many times, but never have stayed there. Rabindranath Tagore had visited that place.
I think Rabindranath Tagore had visited mungpoo and not mongpong
#10 Jun 1st, 2013, 20:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post I think Rabindranath Tagore had visited mungpoo and not mongpong
You are 100% correct!
#11 Jun 2nd, 2013, 00:12
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#11

Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post I think Rabindranath Tagore had visited mungpoo and not mongpong
Yes ... you are right! Sorry for providing such misinformation, it was unintentional and thanks for correcting me ... both of you

where is the dislike button below my post

Mungpoo ..another place I am yet to visit, life is too short ... wish if I had a job as a traveler
#12 Jun 2nd, 2013, 15:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jito View Post Yes ... you are right! Sorry for providing such misinformation, it was unintentional and thanks for correcting me ... both of you

where is the dislike button below my post

Mungpoo ..another place I am yet to visit, life is too short ... wish if I had a job as a traveler
of course it was unintentional..we all know it...
not only you..even the cab drivers in siliguri often confuse between the two...

mungpoo is not very far from mongpong and each can be visited from the other as a day visit. There is a Tagore museum in the house of Maitreyee devi where Rabindranath had stayed, and also cinchona plantations can be seen.It is at a much higher altitude than monpong, hence the cool weather can also be enjoyed, I believe.I myself too havent been to mungpoo, these informations are from a colleague who takes it upon himself as a compulsion to travel every weekend from siliguri.

Oh yes, and the wife of the caretaker of mungpoo PWD bungalow is known to cook wonderful chicken curry
#13 Jun 2nd, 2013, 16:05
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#13
Very nice TR.My heart is already pounding with the rhythmic beats of the silence of mongpong.
#14 Jun 3rd, 2013, 12:49
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Nice write up abhinandab, great pictures and i'm repeating this .....

Quote:
...My heart is already pounding with the rhythmic beats of the silence of mongpong.
aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#15 Jun 4th, 2013, 17:41
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Nice trip report Abhinandab. Really enjoyed it.

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