After two long years of the pandemic, we were looking for a long excursion. Long in terms of the number of days and distance from Mumbai; but short in terms of degrees in Celcius. We shortlisted North-East, neither explored by us nor by our family members before. The plan was simple – plain black box type, book two-way tickets, and everything in-between as we approach the dates. Few hotels we booked in advance and few on the spot; realized one thing – there is always space for last-minute check-ins for travelers like us!
Day 1 – Mumbai to Bagdogra airport, a car ride to Darjeeling. There are three routes to take this journey, the best in my opinion is from Mirik which touches the Nepal border. Although we took the Kurseong way, reached a little early and strolled around the Chowrasta at Darjeeling.
Day 2 – After taking the English breakfast at the hotel, we went for local sightseeing which includes – Peace Pagoda, Zoo, HMI, Tibetan Help/Refugee Center, Dali Monastery, Rock Garden, and Tea Gardens – one thing to make a note of – please don’t buy tea from the outlets just outside the tea garden. The market is comparatively a better place for shopping.
Day 3 – We had a morning Toy Train Ride and then the scenic ride to Kalimpong, Lamahatta, and Teesta River Rafting.
Day 4 – Kalimpong Sightseeing – Cactus Garden, Monastery, Army Golf Course, Dr. Graham’s Homes School, we tried our luck for paragliding but the weather had other plans.
Day 5 – Night at Gangtok and then off to North Sikkim (Lachen), it’s a beautiful but scary roadway to Lachen. Only locals can drive to the ghats on one-way roads with a lot of waterfalls in between.
Day 6 – Lachen, the climax of our journey when we experienced snowfall, rainfall, and snow. Oh, not to forget the Army Canteen serving Dosa at 14000 feet high, thick snow at Kala Patthar, and the Gurudongmar lake (anomalous behavior of water) at 17800 feet.
Day 7 – Lachung, heavy rains didn’t take us to Zero Point, none the less we went to Yumthang Valley and local sight-seeing at Gangtok.
Day 8 – From Gangtok to NJP (New Jalpaiguri Junction) and then to Kolkata
Day 9 – Victoria Memorial (on the occasion of International Museum Day – 18th May), shopping at New Market, and experiencing local transport of Kolkata right from hand rickshaw, Tam-Tam, Tram, Train, Metro, and the yellow Ambassador Taxis.
Day 10 – Fun time with Family and back to Mumbai via Duranto