Sunday, March 30, 2008

Planning for Travel to North East of India

A part of the Long service award given my company was a 2 day stay anywhere in India. I took almost a month to look at the packages offered by the designated Tour operator of our org.

I am currently located in the south and I have covered almost 80 % of Karnataka and Kerala while Tamilnadu and Andhrapradesh is on my compass too. I have travelled a bit in UP and Gujarat but mostly for work. The North East however was still an unexplored area for me.

Uncle MJ always told me travel through South India first because once you visit the Himalayas every other place will be paled in comparison. Uncle is quite right, he has been a trekker for more that 25 years. He goes to the Himalayas every year and has travelled to every nook and corner of India. He is more of an explorer while I like a bit of luxury once in a while.

North East was on my wish list after seeing the Hindi movie Paap so the route was freezed on Kolkata, Siliguri, Mirik, Darjeeling, Gangtok and Tsomgo Lake. I requested for a quote for the package and booked to and fro travel tickets on my own. It took me a fortnight to freeze all arrangements. While I did comparisons in the tour operators quote and my costing, I knew he had a margin of 25% but I didn't mind because he was a trusted one in our company and I didn't have the time and patience to book the stays and vehicles for each destination. One has to remember that it is the North east that was to be covered a completely hilly region so the choice of vehicle was key to a successful journey hence I left it to the Tour operator.

Finally 4 days before I started off my Itinerary was clear

15th March 2008 : Fly to Kolkata at 6.30 am, explore city and night stay.

16th March 2008 : Visit Belur Math, Dakhineshswar, Food city, Science city etc., night stay

17th March 2008 : Take the early morning Kachanganga express to New Jalpaiguri, proceed to Siliguri and night stay.

18th March 2008 : Proceed after breakfast to Darjeeling via Mirik, night stay at Darjeeling.

19th March 2008 : Early morning sunrise at Tiger Hills, sightseeing in Darjeeling and night stay.

20th March 2008 : Leave for Gangtok after breakfast, night stay.

21st March 2008 : Excursion at Tsmongo Lake, night stay at Gangtok.

22nd March 2008 : Start for New Jalpaiguri Railway station. Board Guwahati Yaswantpur express at 2.00 pm

23rd March 2008 : On board the train cutting across 5 states of India.

24th March 2008 : Reach Blr at 11.30 am.

I knew there were a couple of things on my agenda that did not feature in the itinerary and I need to tweak a bit but that always happens when one sets out on a journey.

Planning is the key to success.

Friday, March 28, 2008


This is my travel dairy, Swachchanda, it represents the free spirit that I stand for. Travel is my calling, it makes me spiritual. I have experienced the meaning of being formless, nothingness, levitation. These are just words. All I can say I experienced the divine.

To begin with I will be publishing every weekend with pictures from my recent trip to the North East. I wrote everyday after returning to the hotel and during travel, on the train and in the waiting rooms at railway stations I have detailed my adventures for they are my treasure trove.

I plan to move here the travel related post from my food blog Anna Parabrahma too, but slowly.