Well 2017 was a remarkable year in terms of travelling. Though as you all know, I’m in love with Hills, however due to political issues in North Bengal, I came across various offbeat and scenic destinations in South Bengal instead. Although I know that I’m bit late, however same as like last year, I thought of drafting and collating all the places I have been to this year as we have stepped in to another one.
Sundarban, February 2017:
Well, technically this was my first trip to the wild and I fell in love with this place. We stayed at a eco village, being a part of responsible and conservable tourism. Had organic foods, which were way more tastier than what we get here in our hometown. Used electricity more wisely, as the village is on Solar. Went for a wild night walk on a full moon night, which was way beyond our expectations. We realized, Sundarbans has a lot to offer other than Tiger (which is anyway hard to spot). One needs to take spotting a tiger out of their mind and instead enjoy the other dimensions that this world’s largest mangrove tiger reserve has to offer. All thanks to my friend-philosopher-(mis)guide Dipankar Da and our Naturalist Anirban Da.
Salboni Retreat – Jhargram, March 2017:
Trip to Salboni Retreat at Jhargram was a whole different kind of trip altogether than those we generally go for. It’s mostly a relaxing destination with touch of old golden days. If your idea is to spend the whole day sitting under the shed of a Sal tree, enjoying the cool breeze, with a Sarat Chandra / Bibhutibhushan / Bankimchandra Samagree in your hand accompanied by Rabindra Sangeet on a mind volume, then you must be at Salboni Retreat.
Charkhole & Iccheygaon, May 2017:
Yay!! I can’t stay away from the hills for a long time. But unfortunately this was our last visit to North Bengal on 2017. Due to various political issues kicking in after this of our visit, we had no way other than to bury our wishes in our heart. I had this urge of visiting Charkhole for a long time, so I took upon this oppurtunity to explore this hidden gem of North Bengal. Along with that we added up a night stay at Iccheygaon. Initially I was very confused between Ramdhura and Iccheygaon, but as both of them were close to each other, I just went ahead with one of them.
Bankiput, June 2017:
Bankiput is like a private virgin beach destination a bit tucked away from common touristy Digha, Mandarmani etc. Although in the beginning we tried for Junput, however the accommodation at Junput being on renovation, they suggested us to take a look at their Bankiput accommodation. The place immidiately catched our attention. There’s only one accommodation available at Bankiput and we were damn lucky, as while visiting we found Junput, not to be that attractive. We enjoyed a lot at our private beach and experienced fishing!! Although Sea was far off from the beach throughout the day, however next day before leaving that wish of ours was totally fulfilled!!
Baranti & Garpanchkot, July 2017:
Glad that we could enjoy the true beauty of Baranti, as now Baranti has become a place for picnics which is killing the charm of this beautiful destination gradually. Although our initial idea was to halt one night at Baranti and Garpanchkot each, but due to short number of days of availability of leaves, we had to cover Garpanchkot as a day trip. However I’d suggest to halt at both for one night each for anyone visiting there with time in hand. Our stay at Lakehill Resort at Baranti was an awesome experience, specially because of the view it offers. Being the closest possible hotel to the lake, it offers the whole view of the lake with mountains in the back. However for best experience, opt for the 1st floor rooms!!
Meghalaya, September – October 2017:
No doubt, this was the best trip of 2017. We enjoyed each and every moment spent in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Instead of only being stuck to touristy Shillong and Cherrapunji, we covered up a lot of offbeat tucked in places which helped us to see and feel the beauty that this state has to offer in a different paradigm. It was a long 12 days trip through the state covering Mawphlang, Mawlyngbna, Mawphanlur, Sohra/Cherrapunji, Dawki, Shnongpdeng, Amlarem, Jowai, Nartiang and Shillong. Although we missed out few which I plan to cover on our next trip!! All thanks to my friend Karikor, without whom this trip wouldn’t have been possible. I just can’t thank him enough for being so helpful and patient with my queries 🙂 We also fitted in few hikes and treks which I feel is the best way to see any place. Notable ones are Iew Luri Lura, David Scott and Double Decker Root Bridge & Rainbow Falls. Although I’m not a trekker, but hiking and trekking to these places gave me enough motivation to take up more such treks or short hikes in future.
Manipur, October 2017:
Known was Jewel of India, Manipur has a lot to offer for those who starve for scenic beauty. Although when we visited, it was piping hot out there, but the beauty of Loktak Lake made us forget the temperatures. We also crossed to Myanmar (Burma) through Moreh for a day trip. But more than Myanmar, the way to Moreh was more enjoyable.
Joypur Forest, December 2017:
Well technically our trip to Joypur Forest was the last trip we took up this year. I’d say Joypur Forest was the most scenic destination we had been to in South Bengal. The beauty of Gangani was simply outstanding and can’t be explained in words. Gangani is also known as Grand Canyon of Bengal. Although Joypur Forest is not considered as wild one, however one of the scenic forest that you can’t afford to miss. Along with that, we added up the historical and terracota town of Bishnupur. The service at Hotel Banalata is worth the mention.
Bhutan, December 2017 – January 2018:
I got a chance of being associated with Travel Trikon and leading a group of 15 amazing participants to Bhutan. This was a whole new kind of experience for me. With a lead like Mumpy with me, I got to learn a lot from her. So Backpacking to Bhutan was more of like managing logistics and people management for me which I must state that I enjoyed a lot doing the same. Also I got to see how Bhutan has changed a lot since I last visited during my Familymoon to Bhutan on 2016. But it’s worth mentioning, that I could cover up few new spots which I had to left out last time 🙂
I wish to travel more and keep you all uptodate with my travel stories so that you get bitten by the same travel bug too 🙂