North Bengal Travel Blog Post: A Daylong trip to Durpindara Monastery- Lamahata- Tinchuley- Mongpoo- Jogighat

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From Chhibo, we had started quite early.. our driver come guide warned us that it was to be a looong day.. & he kept his word in every way.. usually in the mountains drivers wind up their day latest by 3 or 4 in the evening, we stretched the day till 5. There was mostly rain especially where we eagerly wanted some clear weather, Even for a bit.. but No. However, it was a long, drizzly, water dripping from the umbrella, yet a good day.

So before I tell you where we halted for the night, let’s talk about this long day and so many places we covered… before that a spoiler alert, Rain God was missing me so much that day that he couldn’t let me go out of his sight.. so you understand what I mean right??

Durpindara Monestary:

Started our first stop with Durpindara Monastery. It’s very close to our Chhibo homestay, just about 5km from Chhibo. The Monastery isn’t very big rather it’s not like a big open area, and that worked kind of in our favour on that day as it was raining then, and because of the big wide shades, we could see the monastery thoroughly.

The place is under military surveillance, however, visitors are allowed inside the monastery, when we went, the humble Lamas were having their prayer session, hence we didn’t enter inside. If you like visiting monasteries, then don’t skip this place. On clear weather, you get a good view of the mountains from here.. but it was an ‘alas’ for us.

** No entrance required.

Golf Course:

Close to the Monastery, this place is also under military surveillance and if any program is going on inside organized by/ for one of the higher authorities, then visitors aren’t allowed inside. & the same happened to us. I couldn’t even get a glimpse of the place at all!!

You basically do not get to go on the golf course, you see it from the canteen area, buying some food there, taking a sip of chair or coffee.. However I didn’t get to experience it, hence I won’t talk any longer of this place (for now).

** No entrance required.

I could only manage this view of the Golf Course!!

Morgan House:

Somewhat right across the golf course, is the famous Morgan House. But hold on.. I don’t understand why this place is even part of sightseeing. This is actually an old British bungalow now converted into a heritage stay. It’s very popular as a ghost bungalow and you can only stay inside upon pre-booking. No walk-ins allowed, maybe manage a picture from the gate. I was unfortunate even there for the rain!!

Cactus Garden:

What is cactus garden? A garden full of cactus trees!! It’s actually kind of a nursery, sort of a greenhouse sort of place. You go, see various kinds of cactus plants, be very careful of them they look oo-so-cuuuteee and biiigg cactus plants.. they may look good but standing close to them gave my bones a tickling chill!!

The area is quite big, there is also a homestay inside, you have to pre-book to get your room here.

Entry fee: 20 RS per person/ it’s open from 10am-4pm.

Peshok View Point:

Also known as the ‘Lovers’ point’, don’t ask me why.. I am not aware of..  it’s a viewpoint of the mountain and the valley, river flowing in between from a top point. You get a good options for street foods, so enjoy the view (on a clear weather) with a cup of hot chai, some tangy chaat, crispy fries etc etc. it’s a good place to spend some time unless you are carrying an umbrella in one hand, camera at the other, running not to get wet from the drizzling or pouring rain.. ohh.. every time when we were in front of the viewpoint, the weather would laugh at me showing its back!!

**No Entry fee required.

Lamahata Park:

A pine forest park. There are a few towers built as viewpoints, again the place is very beautiful, picturesque and photogenic. So spend a good time taking loads of pictures. There is also a lake on top of the forest, you have to go up for that, it may take about 40 minutes for the entire trip. However, I had to come back after some time as the weather wasn’t favourable.

Entry fee: RS 15 per person.

Tinchuley/ Gumdara Viewpoint:

Ohhh.. this is the place to be.. the entire valley, the mountains, the clouds.. green, blue, white overlapping in layers, and seeing them from the highest point.. seemed like we were at the top above all, and we could see the heaven beneath.. it sounds little hubristic, but please don’t take any offence.. it actually feels like this. Like nothing more beautiful may exist in comparison to this beauty.. however, I was told the beauty is even more beautiful on a bright sunny day. You even get to see the Durpindara monastery from that height.. our driver made me feel blighted by saying, ‘wish you could have seen the real view of the place’, ‘if it wouldn’t have rained.. the weather is covering everything’, ‘you should have seen the real view from here’… I know.. even I felt that I was not getting the real view.. people… sympathizing with unlucky people isn’t easy!! L

One should actually stay at Tinchuley for a night or 2. This place has more intensity than just those few moments of viewpoint stop. You should consider staying at Tinchuley.

(***if you are thinking of the itinerary, wait for a few more days, I will share every tip to plan your itinerary to North Bengal)

Takdah Hanging Bridge:

Takdah is a small town, beautiful, simple and small town. You may find a few homestays here to stay a night or two. While crossing the town, we stopped near a bridge. It is a hanging bridge.. why? Because it is hanging over the river flowing deep down, and the hanging bridge isn’t in use anymore.. thank God!! But it’s beautiful, I mean the picture will be a rustic beauty, because the bridge has caught up all rust!! Such a rotten joke!!

Orchid Centre:

Huge botanical garden, with a collection of various orchids and various other plants. Botany students will be very interested in this place. A round of the entire garden will take about 20 minutes.

Entry fee: Rs. 15 per person.

Rangli Tea Garden:

There are quite a few tea gardens in this area.. stop wherever you want, take pictures at every sight, each time every sight will look spectacular, every time new and very green, concentrated green.

Orange Garden:

We saw green oranges hanging from the trees, it wasn’t the season for oranges.. that’s why.. so you may stop at the orange farms for a photo stop. We skipped, 1) for the weather obviously and 2) for the small green oranges hanging from the trees!!

Rabindra Bhavan:

One of the greatest Bengali poet Rabindra Thakur had a holiday home here.. the house still exists, and so does a lot of his manuscripts. Unfortunately, the house was under renovation, hence we were not allowed inside. It was supposed to be opened in another week’s time. The position of the house in the mid of the valley, in the mid of the green there stands a red-roofed bungalow!! The place is called Mongpoo.

Entry fee to be applied.

Jogighat Hanging bridge:

This is another hanging bridge at Jogighat. However, the main attraction of the place is the riverside. Just take a 2 minutes walk from the bridge and you see the river flowing from stream to the lower land and flowing to far of land..

You will get one or two homestays here as well.. as I said before you will get ample homestays all across North Bengal.. and doesn’t matter where you stay in such offbeat places, there are hardly any restaurants open after 4-5 in the evening except the main towns. You have to have dinner inside your homestay, enjoy quietude, nature’s bliss and enjoy this time..

This was an entire day’s itinerary, actually, it can be covered in two days (better to make it in 2 days).. after that we moved to our night halt.. I will tell you ‘where’ in the next post.. till then enjoy the festive season.. stay happy, stay healthy.. don’t forget to share your joy with your loved ones.. Happy New Year everyone.. Stay blessed…

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