Kolakham-Bara Mangwa....A very short trip
Anusree
India > States in India > India Travel > West Bengal
#1
| Senior Member

Kolakham-Bara Mangwa....A very short trip

We - A group of seven....Two couples...and three lonely souls met @Sealdah Station late evening of 13th November to catch Darjeeling Mail.

The Itinerary :
Day 1 : Reach NJP and travel to Kolakham...night at Kolakham
Day 2 : Sight Seeing – Lava Monastery , Neora Valley Nature Interpretation Centre....Drop to Bara Mangwa...Night Stay at Bara Mangwa
Day 3 : Sight Seeing – Orange Orchard/Nirmals Farm....Drop To NJP....board Darjeeling mail in the evening(8 pm to be precise)

If you ask me, this is too short for me....I don’t like going to North Bengal/Sikkim and not spending at least 3 nights.....but given the industry we work in, its very difficult to manage leaves given that 6 out of 7 in our group work in the same organization and in the same project.

Coming back to the report...I will divide this report into 2 parts....One having the description and the other will deal with the logistics.
So we boarded Darjeeling Mail which started right on time as it normally does....We had delicious home cooked dinner....Roti,Aloor dum,Chicken Curry and after a little chit chat and leg pulling we went to sleep(in my case just a futile attempt as I normally can’t sleep in train).

The next morning we woke up and found that our train was running late...45 minutes behind by the time it reached Kishangunj....However this couldn’t dampen my spirits.....Reaching Kishangunj means we are in touching distance of NJP....NJP means the checkpost to heaven...!!

Finally the train reached NJP, forty minutes late. We came out of the station and the Tata Spacio that we had booked in advance was waiting. Robin,our driver was a local lad and unlike those we met in our previous trips was no-nonsense serious fellow and didn’t talk for the most part.But we didn’t complain.The ride through Sevok was awesome as always.We had our breakfast at Teesta Bazaar and continued our journey towards Kalimpong.

Apart from the 40 minutes delay we already had owing to the train being late, everything was fine until we reached Kalimpong.Just as we were about to enter the town there were at least a hundred vehicles in front of us...stand still...and it didn’t move at all.....When we finally managed to get out of Kalimpong we had spent an more than an hour in there....we knew right there that this delay would hurt us...!!

We reached Algarah and proceeded further towards Lava.....it was unusually foggy during this time of the year.....however Fog and mountain roads creates a surreal and mysterious feeling all around.The pine trees,the nip in the air and frangrance of unknown wild flowers rejuvenated us.As we drove around one curve after another we were getting lost in the mystic solitude.

But getting back to reality couldn’t have been more painfull....a huge tree had fallen and blocked the road....it was already 3 o’çlock and we haven’t yet made it to Lava. Thankfully local people had already started cutting the tree trunk and then would move it to the side of the road so that vehicles could pass. This entire activity took another 45 minutes. Now we were getting seriously late.

After crossing Lava,we reached the checkpost of the Neora Valley National Park....There was no one there at the check-post...and we entered Neora Valley Forest.The road condition was terrible to say the least and our car moved slower than even bullock carts. Still the journey was an out of the world experience...it was getting dark and there was absolute pin drop silence inside the forest.Giant size trees covered the sky....the silence....the haunting tranquillity would engulf you....there were no sign of any human beings nor any homes.....We felt like travelling in a world unknown.....the distance was 11 Kms....But it seemed to be forever.....and then it got completely dark.....and we couldn’t see any sign of any resort/homestay.....The scary proposition was that our driver was coming to Kolakham for the first time.....Could it be that we have come in the wrong path...Hope we didn’t.....If we have then we have come too far in the wrong direction....it was pitch dark inside the dense forest with terrible road conditions....seven hungry souls(didn’t have lunch) inside a Spacio....with no sign of human habitat.....After travelling a long way we could see a few lights at a distance......We came close and hoped that it would be our Homestay – Silent Valley but it was not......We kept moving and after many a mile finally reached Silent Valley...!!

Tired, hungry and cold.....we quickly freshened up and believe it or not had our lunch @6 in the evening....Food was simple but to us it felt like the best cuisine in the whole world......the chill in the air had increased.......we found that they have the provision to arrange a fire in the small opening that was there...They did that for extra charge but it really felt warm and nice....created the perfect setting for the evening.....

Dinner was served @ 9.30 after which we went to sleep.
Next Morning I woke up like I always do in North Bengal/Sikkim @5 a.m.There are depressing moments in our lives...none more so than coming to this part of the world and waking up to find Fog all around and which means ‘no sign of the beautiful lady’.....Even as I am writing this report now,the pain of not seeing her this time still hurts me bad...not fair...!!

But still I dragged myself out of the resort with my camera.....the freshness of the air, the chirping of birds , the fragrance of wild flowers , the darkest of green all around....the impression of hills overlapping one another.....this is what keeps me alive...this is where I want to be always....this is why I respond to the call of the mountains.....to be free....mind and soul refreshed......in love with nature...in love with myself again...!!

After clicking many a snaps and the gentle,effortless walk through the forest I came back....Most of the other members in our group had woke up and were having tea...I had mine....got ready, had breakfast and set off again for Bara Mangwa....Yesterday we couldn’t fully enjoy the forest as it had got dark. So this time while coming back we got off our car and spend some quality time in the forest....roamed aimlessly in the forest but it was so very enthralling.....Neora Valley is really different from forests I have visited till now.....Though the Fauna part might be lesser the Flora part more than makes up....!!..After sending some wonderful moments inside the forest started our journey again....We came back to Teesta Bazaar and took the road to Darjeeling....but soon turned left and started climbing up...!!

18 Replies

#2
| Maha Guru Member
Rejuvenating - should I say? Nice, as usual. But where are pics?
#3
| Senior Member
#4
| Maha Guru Member
Hi anushri,
I was in Pedong at that time you were in Kolakham...:) and yes it was unusually depressive fog all around at any time of a day (thicker in early morning) [cry]. Which was very unusual at that time of year and that was only why I selected November for North Bengal [cry] trip.

Nice smart TR... waiting for the photos.. :)
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

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#5
| Maha Guru Member
Good write-up.....
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Garhwal | Dooars | Dhabaleswar | Dabu | PURI | Gujarat | Kamarpukur-Jairambati
#6
| Senior Member
Thanks Everyone..!!!:):):)

Here goes some snaps...!!



















#7
| Maha Guru Member
Good TR and some nice clicks!
#8
| Love for the rain, again ..
Nice clicks ! :)
#9
| Senior Member

Originally posted by: Anusree View Post


the freshness of the air, the chirping of birds , the fragrance of wild flowers , the darkest of green all around....the impression of hills overlapping one another.....this is what keeps me alive...this is where I want to be always....this is why I respond to the call of the mountains.....to be free....mind and soul refreshed......in love with nature...in love with myself again...!!


Just the right sentiments for the ones hit by the travel bug (mountains especially) :)...
Really liked your TR....please do continue..
#10
| Senior Member
Nice pics Anusree... :ThumbsUp very refreshing... :)
It would have been better if you could have given captions to the pics. It helps readers to relate themselves with the places all the more.
Still waiting for the next installment and more pics :)
#11
| Senior Member

Continued

After climbing up just 5 kms we were stopped by a smiling local guy and he asked us if we are going to Bara Mangwa Farm House:).Having got the response in affirmative,he introduced himself and asked us to alight at that point because we need to walk from there as there are no option for the car to go inside the farmhouse.
So we got down and a guy who had come along with him pickled up our luggages and asked us to follow him.We started walking uphill through narrow paths and within a few minutes reached the bunglow inside the farmhouse where we were supposed to stay.That moment left us speechless:rolleyes:. The Bunglow was in the form of a duplex and had a terrace attached to it. The end of the terrace overlooked a gentle slope. Down below we could see the might teesta flowing and opposite to us stood the hills of Kalimpong:).

The Manager came and introduced himself and informed that our lunch is ready.We were indeed very hungry at that point of time and soon went to the dining area to have lunch. Without even a bit of exaggeration,I would like to say this was the best lunch I have had while touring any part of North Bengal/Sikkim.The number of recipes served,the taste,the way it was presented,the behaviour of the guy who served that,the entire setting was simply outstanding.We ate like there was no tomorrow:cool:.

Having completed our heavy and incredibly sumptuous lunch we came and sat in the terrace attached to our rooms.It was indeed heavenly.As the light faded away and darkness engulfed the hills,the lights below and opposite to us lit up.This was a sight to behold,mesmerising indeed:rolleyes:.
We spent the evening chit chatting accompanied by steaming hot chicken momos and coffee.Dinner was served in the room and this time too it exceeded expectations. After dinner we spent some wonderful time in the terrace and then went sleep.

On a clear day,one can see the mountains of Nathula from the Terrace and Kanchenjungha from different parts of the farm.But that luck had eluded us in this trip and so again a cloudy morning.However we soon found out that when you are in Bara Mangwa Farmhouse there are many more things to do to lighten up your mood.One of those would be to go around the farm. We moved around inside the farm and were simply amazed.We came to know that whatever food we had yesterday are all made from ingredients that they grow in the farm.
The farm was breathtakingly beautiful. Soon we had our breakfast and as pre-decided went to visit the Orange Orchard.

OMG :rolleyes:....when we reached there and entered the orchard, it felt like we were in Orange country....Everything was Orange.A guided tour inside the orchard was arranged for us.Apart from oranges, there were many other fruit trees and medicinal plants inside the orchard.There was a small shop attached to the orchard where one can buy Orange and Lemon squash, different varieties of pickles etc.We even plucked Oranges but that was chargeable though.Having spent a thoroughly enjoyable time at the orchard, we came back to the Farmhouse.

We had another sumptuous lunch and then started off for NJP with memories of serene Kolakham,the eerie silence of Neora Valley Forest and the delightful lifetime experience of the beautiful Bara Mangwa Farm House:cool:.

As we raced along in the same direction as the Teesta beside us,deep in our heart we knew that we will be back again soon....very soon....might not be to Kolakham or Bara Mangwa....but to some other hamlet equally captivating and enchanting as these two have been....Adieu...:)!!

So this is all about this short trip we had(more pics coming shortly).....The next part will deal with the logistics.....transportation costs, accommodation charges , booking contacts etc.
#12
| Maha Guru Member
Anusree...very well presented, enjoyed this short trip report....awaiting your clicks!!!
Thanks for sharing.
#13
| Member
mesmerising composition
we were in illusive mood all through your descriptions......
#14
| Maha Guru Member
Excellent...

Waiting for more pictures..:)
#15
| Senior Member