Rangeet majuwa-a hidden beauty in hills(with darjiling and lepchajagat)

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#1 Jul 20th, 2014, 22:11
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#1
We love the rains.And since it was making such a delay in coming to Kolkata this year, we decided to catch up with it where we heard it had already arrived, The hills in north Bengal.Darjiling is a family favourite, and we all wanted to visit lepchajagat, hearing about its beauty from all IMers recently.

However, we wanted to go somewhere more hidden, unknown.Being in Lava and Jhandi the previous weekend only increased our apetite for such a secluded gem.While searching over the travel magazines and internet for such a place, we came across this,"Aranya Baas" a remote village stay near manebhanjan , with a tree house and ethnic wood bark cottage amidst forest and by a river in a village called Rangeet Majuwa.There were absolutely no traveller reviews available anywhere, but we wanted to give it a try.We had already decided that it would be a relaxed "do-as-you-like-no-sightseeing-pressure" type trip, and aranya baas fit the bill perfectly

After some consultation with friends and fellow Imers (Thanks ArupRatan Ghosh ), we decided on booking the WBTDC Annexe building for our stay in Darjeeling.In Lepchajagat WBFDC was the obvious choice, and on our travel date only the 4 bed dormitory was available and we booked that.We were later badly disappointed with the property but I will come to that later.For Majuwa, we booked through Mr.Mahendra Tamang,the proprietor, I'll post the contact details later.

We started for Darjeeling in a extremely hot and sunny June morning from Siliguri.We took the shared jeep from the Tenzing Norgay Jeep Stand.For the four of us, we booked 6 seats, 2 front seats and the middle seat for Rs.130/- each.It was comfortable enough, and absolutely economical.We reached Darjiling in 2.5 hours, with a brief traffic jam after Kurseong.

One thing I must mention that the toll-road via Rohini is amazing, smooth wide.The road condition after Kurseong is a bit broken till Sonada, but not very bad.I fact it was heaven compared to the roads to lava we faced last week.The weather was perfect Darjiling weather, misty and foggy, and we loved it.
we got down at the lower taxi stand near rail station and took another car (Maruti Omni) for Rs.150/- till the Tourist Lodge.

The tourist lodge is located at a very good location, around 5 mins leisurely walk from the mall, a bit uphill, adjacent to the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club.It has a nice lawn with great views,dedicated parking and big spacious rooms.The area is quiet.



Tourist Lodge Main Building



VIEW OF LEBONG RACE COURSE FROM THE LAWN

The annexe family room that we took for Rs.1440/-+ tax per day is a real good value for money.Breakfast is included in price.The tea they provide is really good quality Makaibari tea.At only Rs 25/- a cup,(bed tea free) it beats teas we had at Nathmulls and golden tips at Rs.120/- per cup.The restaurant food is not very good though and we ate outside.

The only disadvantage is that it has no view.However,in monsoon, there was no view from anywhere, so we had no problem.The biggest advantage is that there is hot water 24hrs which is a rarity in Darjeeling.

#2 Jul 20th, 2014, 22:37
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#2
Good start ! Short but informative
#3 Jul 20th, 2014, 22:38
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As we had been to darjeeling quite a no. of times, we didnt want to do the usual 5-point, 7 point routine.We just wanted to walk around the observatory hill, walk down to the zoo, go atop Jalapahar, eat as we please and just relax.and we did just that.The weather was good, sunny at times, foggy mostly, and a couple of showers now and them, to set the mood.

Some random photos of our haphazard roaming around the city(We mostly walked)

The sunny mall at midday



It started to rain just an hour later.



On our way to zoo and Himalayan mountaineering Institute.Just 25 mins of very slow walk from the Mall.



The leopard looked quite funny sitting like that.My mother thought he looked exactly like our soft toy version at home perched o top of the cupboard




The cremation spot on Tenzing Norgay at HMI



Our saviour on the way back from zoo.Right in the midway between zoo and mall. Good momos and coffee, nice views on a clear day.A word of caution though, the long haired owner Rumba, seemed a bit dicey to us, seemed to push sell some tours and stuff.



The peace Pagoda

#4 Jul 20th, 2014, 22:58
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#4
We managed by luck to secure tickets for the joyride on the famous Himalayan Toy train the next day and were overjoyed.





Batasia loop



The condition of the train coaches leaves a lot to be desired though.However, the entire journey was steeped in nostalgia.

The evenings were spent strolling across the town, avoiding the mall.The reason being the mall area has been completely destroyed for peace loving tourists by constructing the stage and holding loud musicals there with loudspeakers every evening.The two evenings that we were there, there was some local stars who were participating in some reality show on television performing there.The result was that it was crowded, filled with screams and bollywood music.We were thoroughly disgusted and went to mall only in daytimeEven the ambience of the sunset lounge was spoiled by the horrendous noise.

We strolled by the Nehru road, and shopped for a while.We mostly shopped for pictures and photographs at Das Studiowhich was pre-planned.They have excellent collection and highly recommended for gifts as well as personal collection

Nehru Road at Night

#5 Jul 20th, 2014, 23:23
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Allow me to post some pictures of the thing we did a lot in darjiling..EAT.
In fact we hogged like we were starved.The rains just added to our apetite of having steaming momos, hot broths,crunchy corn-on the cobs,hot and spicy pork and the ubiquitous tea.

Keventers



Glenary's





Kungas.Ahh...This was definitely better than glenary's (and cheaper too)




The honey lemon tea



Chilli pork




Mushroom soup




Fried Rice and chicken with veggies




Garlic Chicken (Tibetan homemade style, a vampire's nightmare, and my mother's too....she hates garlic)



the perfect way to beat the damp and chill....extra hot chilly paste



The best snacks ever.Just a tip for the budget conscious,a piece costs Rs.15/- on the mall, and Rs.10/- at the upper taxi stand
#6 Jul 20th, 2014, 23:27
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#6

Re: Rangeet majuwa-a hidden beauty in hills(with darjiling and lepchajagat)

Beautiful images and nice write up. Love the read.
Cheers
Somnath
#7 Jul 20th, 2014, 23:30
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#7
Thank you wearetourist and Iamsomnath.

@Somnathda..I am not even remotely close to your league in photography.Mine are just random snaps taken from my mobile.I just wanted to give a brief idea about what i saw and felt.I am so glad you liked them.
#8 Jul 21st, 2014, 00:40
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post Mine are just random snaps taken from my mobile.I just wanted to give a brief idea about what i saw and felt
Just read your reply and rechecked the photographs on my calibrated monitor and I must say that your photographs have again proved which everyone knows but many choose to ignore :-

1. Modern day mobiles are perfectly capable devices for images meant for web viewing and not too big prints. Most of your images will qualify for absolutely acceptable 6X4 or 5X7 prints.

2. For good landscapes you need to go to scenic places. A USD 10000 set up can't give you good images if you are stuck with them within your apartment. A cheap camera can give you fantastic images of a Leh Sunrise. Often we buy fancy cameras and lenses and run out of funds for a tour

I apologize for being off-topic but couldn't resist.

regards
Somnath
#9 Jul 21st, 2014, 00:42
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#9
Finished in one go...hungry for more!
#10 Jul 21st, 2014, 22:17
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[QUOTE=iamsomnath;1777569].

2. For good landscapes you need to go to scenic places. A USD 10000 set up can't give you good images if you are stuck with them within your apartment. A cheap camera can give you fantastic images of a Leh Sunrise. Often we buy fancy cameras and lenses and run out of funds for a tour
QUOTE]

So true.continuing on the off topic, my mom often says a thing when we go on a clicking spree "saradin camera die dekhbi to nijer chokhe dekhbi kokhon...chokhe dakh,mone rakh"(rough translation: "if you see through the lens all the time, when will yo see through your own eyes?see with your eye and keep in your mind")

I appreciate her thought,when I see that in places of natural beauty, especially in forests, people just go on click clicking without enjoying the beauty in the true sense
#11 Jul 21st, 2014, 22:19
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Thank you so much for your appreciation Ashishda
#12 Jul 21st, 2014, 23:05
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The next morning we started for Lepchajagat.We had booked a car(bolero) from the taxi stand for lepchajagat drop for Rs.1100/-. The price seemed quite steep for a mere 23-25 km.But none of the cars seemed to settle for less.The logic was that they would miss the full day sight seeing trip and hence we needed to compensate for that but paying a high price.

One can book seats in share jeeps headed for sukhiapokhri/mirik from darjeeling stand and get a drop at lepcha, but we didnt risk it, as it was raining that morning, and we were not sure how far we had to walk with the luggage.But upon reaching lepchajagat, we saw that this can be done easily and is a much cheaper option for budget travellers.The jeeps to sukhia are plenty and frequent.Sukhiapokhri is just 4 km from lepchajagat

We stopped at the ghum monastery enroute.










Ghoom was foggy and cloudy and windy as usual.We loved it.

We reached lepchajagat in about an hour.The WBTDC resort is about 2min downhill from the main road.though check in time is 12pm, since our room was ready , we checked in at around 11.

Our, room the non-attatched bath 4 bed dormitory or family room was at the ground floor.Frankly speaking, we were disappointed with the room.It was very big, huge in fact,had one double and two single beds, a big fireplace and carpeting, but it needed immediate maintenance, at least some cleaning.The light fittings were broken, window pane was broken and stuffed with paper, the carpet was moist, stained and smelly, the pillows dirty, blankets torn....I can go on.In fact one of the beds broke as soon as we sat on it.We called the caretakers but they couldnt care less.

The bathroom was just outside, but just below the stairs.It was again in state of utter disrepair and lacked privacy big time.The showerhead broken, basin dirty, knob of the water faucet broken..

The room




The dirty and smelly pillows




The broken windows staffed with paper



We thought that since we had the cheapest room, it was in this shape.But we met other guests from camellia and magnolia suites, and they complained that their rooms were as dirty and disrepaired as well.We stayed in non attatched family rooms in WBFDC rajabhatkhawa last year, and they were excellent.clean and fresh and great choice for budget travellers or families.

What hurt more was the uncaring and rude staff.They were the worst I have met in any WBFDC property, and I have stayed in more than 8 of their properties and can highly recommend each of them.

There was a kid of about 3 years in our next room.His parents informed the kitchen at lunch time that he would need a plate of rice in dinner as he couldn't chew rotis.The staff had agreed.At dinnertime, there was no rice.When pointed out, the staff rudely said that they have given 2 extra rotis, take it or leave it.the kid had to go without food.We were outraged by the attitude.When we protested, they just shrugged and said, we are govt employees, no point in complaining to us.When we wanted some vegetable dish, any, as one on us were vegetarian, they flatly refused,saying market is very far (sukhiapokhri is only 4km, moreover, we saw shops on main road selling every vegetable). There were many many such other instances, which really made us think we had made a wrong choice with this property.
#13 Jul 21st, 2014, 23:06
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#13
Great snaps mate...Glenary Ohhh!!!!! So many college days memory related to this place... thanks for sharing...
Rules r meant to be broken
But!!!!!!
Don't break rules in Himalaya
Please Keep Himalaya clean & plastic free
#14 Jul 21st, 2014, 23:11
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Thanks legend.Glenary's remains an institution in itself, but if i have to strictly rate by food, it has gone downhill
#15 Jul 21st, 2014, 23:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post Thanks legend.Glenary's remains an institution in itself, but if i have to strictly rate by food, it has gone downhill
Glenary's is like coffee house in kolkata....Food taste awful but the name itself big enough to fetch tourist...
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