Nearly a year back, I remember a young russian couple contacted me to know about some places, where foreign travelers would have hardly reached. I had no idea of such places so I named only few of them. Those were the ones that I loved to travel, more than any of the renowned destinations shown in the Tourism Map of West Bengal. As a host and a travel expert I’ve had many experiences giving assistance to the solo travelers from abroad. Candidly, in my opinion,there is truly no need of any assistance for such travelers because they always have more information than even the local people. You can truly know each street, shop and sometimes even the names of the people you would find there.
The job of exploring becomes quite like a job of identifying. You do not feel special as nothing seems so special for you. Again, there are obviously certain travel warnings you shouldn’t avoid while getting off-road. So, this post will help you to just know the basics of such off-road destinations of North Bengal.
When Alex & Ann – The russian Couple, landed in Dalgaon…
Now getting back to that Russian couple, the places they visited were more unplanned and unveiled for them. They couldn’t even get it in their route map. That part was more fun, both for them and even for me. It was fun for me because I could see the curiosity in their eyes about everything they’d never heard of North Bengal. But the most interesting part was yet to come for them.
After they departed as usual exchanging numbers I got a call the very next morning. In a nearly shocking tone they said “Oh God! We’re in the newspapers, I don’t know what it reads but both of our’s picture is there. I ran to find the news paper and read it. It was a just a warm welcome for the lovely couple for their visit to the rural place because they were the first foreigners to visit the village. The local people had collectively requested the newspaper agency to print it as a promotional news for their village.
Ain’t you too be feeling great if this would have happened with you? Certainly it would be a real experience to get local exposure in a totally foreign country for all the solo travelers.
What solo travelers always skip about North Bengal?
If traveling means following the recited stories for you than this may not excite you. In contrary you are the one who want to build stories by traveling, then certainly you have landed in the right place. So if you talk about North Bengal, your stories will never end. Here are the reason why it will not end:
- Check out the map of Northern part of West Bengal in India. Do you find any difference? Yes, of course, to be more definitive, this part of India is often named as “Chicken Neck”. Now, you can imagine the diverse cultural influence of not one, but 4 countries. So, if you love exploring the culture, drown deeper seeking the unexplored destinations of North Bengal. Besides, you can always visit the renowned destinations anytime while you are in North Bengal.
- Whether you Love cold and high hills or always a bright sun ? Almost everything a Solo traveler would look out for from Jungle & Wildlife adventure to River Adventure, you can get all just within the distance of not more than 100 kms.
- As most of the areas of North Bengal fall under rural areas or plantations, the people still are far from the lifestyle of a modernised urban life. The word safety is something that you can blindly mark as checked because most of the accommodations are rural home-stay. So no question of commercial environment, but you will be staying with a family following their daily life , culture and tradition. Now, that was the travel warning.
The Destinations some of you have never landed..
As already mentioned earlier, there’ll be no fun if all the curtains are opened. So, here let’s only discuss the circuits of North Bengal that has seldom been explored by solo travelers. The rest is all left for all the curious travelers to seek the destinations that comes within the circuits. Let’s not talk about Darjeeling, Kalimpong or even Mirik. You all may even win over me for the travel guide information. So, I am giving the names you would certainly not like to miss once you step on the doorway to North-East – Siliguri. Siliguri can be called as a transit destination of North Bengal, because your milestone of Zero will start from here. You can just enter to any part of North Bengal and that too of your choice from Siliguri.
1. Defining “Dooars” – A complete circuit of destination for solo travelers
This circuit has all that North Bengal beholds apart from the legacy of Darjeeling. It stretches from the foothills of District Darjeeling to the national and international boundaries of Assam, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The region has many rich bio-diversities, tea plantations and even the one and only Cinchona Plantation, that are renowned for some of the most extinct wildlife animals like One-horned Rhinoceros, Chinese Pangolin, Royal Bengal Tiger. The historical influence of culture and tradition of several international borders has made this circuit a rainbow of culture.
The most strange part of this region is that within a distance of mere 5-10 kms the travelers can enter into a totally different world of culture and tradition. Some of the unique tribes of this circuit are Tamangs, Totos, Sautals, Urao, Rabha, Koch, Mechiya, Dukhpas, Lepchas etc. Few destinations for examples that come under this circuit are Samsing-Suntalekhola, Rajabhatkhawa, Lepchakha, Sisamara etc.
2. The Teesta Circuit
This circuit follows the trail of Teesta River right from the Border of Sikkim till Bangladesh. The landscape of this region is mostly covered with beautiful Tea gardens, Orange orchards, and even Cinchona Plantation areas. The adventure lovers and solo travelers mostly lover this place because of all the activities this region offers. Some of such activities are Paragliding in Delo, Mahseer-fishing ( Angling) in River Teesta, and Trekking. There are many small rural destination under this circuit that has some of the best views of North Bengal . The region also offers volunteering options of many categories to different kinds of travelers. Apart from such opportunity the region is also best for many scholars who like to research many activities like agriculture, medicinal plants, teaching etc. Some of the example of such destinations are Doon Valley, Bara Mangwa, Soreng, Chuikhim, Yelbong, Takdah Cantonment etc.
3. The Neora Valley Circuit
Have you ever heard about Neora Valley National Park?. If you have ever been to North Bengal and have missed this part then you may not have got the real taste of Foohills of Himalayas. Neora Valley National Park is one of the renowned heritage forests of India. The forest is so dense that unlike other national park this region is hardly explored. It covers the patch between Sikkim, West Bengal and Bhutan and also hold the forgotten trails of legendary Silk-route of Asia. The settlement of villages that are adjacent to this National park have their own history that often leads to the story of silk route trading. The forest is still unexplored because of its rough and inaccessible terrains. It is also abode to some of the most rare species of wild orchids and it’s often believed that species have even not been discovered.
Similarly, the forest is abode to many unique and extinct species of wild animals like Chinese Pangolin, Red Panda, Clouded Leopard, Snow Leopard, Yellow-throated Martin, birds and butterflies. The solo travelers, Botanists, Wildlife lovers, Medicine plant researchers can consider this circuit as a paradise. The trekking options through the forest is the most adventurous part for all the travelers. Some of the of rural destinations that fall under this circuit are Lava, Kolakham, Samsing -Suntalekhola, Kumai, Gorubathan, Saakham etc.
Now it’s a test of your traveling soul to find your own destination among all the above mentioned circuits. Whether you are a solo traveler, or a group of travelers exploring Eastern- India, these circuits will certainly give you the real taste of adventure that you have seldom read in any of the travel Guides. Above all finding your own path is the real motto of any traveler.