Although this is the tenth time, I felt the same lub-dub inside me like the first time when the train reached New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station. As most of you know that NJP is the last EMU station before Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and entire Sikkim, so to me and my team members NJP is the gateway of heaven.
This time our team consisted of 3 members – Mr. Jyotirmoy Chraborty, Mr. Sourav Kamal Guha and myself. All of us are in service industry. We three are like minded people. North Bengal and Sikkim are our favorite places for holiday.
This trip was a long week end trip where three of us were interested to enjoy win a relax mode. Though we all are hard core trekkers but this time we decided to travel less but to stay surrounded by natural beauty. We chose Lamahatta so that we can see Kanchenjunga Range from the balcony with a coffee mug and there is some greenery, even we can trek a bit also, if we find interest.
We took a shared car from New Jalpaiguri for Tista Bazar. Tista Bazar is a junction where the road is bifurcated for Kalimpong and Sikkim. We had breakfast at Tista Bazar and asked our hotel to send a car for us.
After 20minutes a car picked us up from Tista Bazar and e started our journey towards Lamahatta. We crossed Chhota Mangwa Bridge, Peshok Tea Garden starts from here. The journey was very romantic due to the scenic beauty. We reached at Sunset point. Sunset point is a couples’ park from where the confluence of Tista and Rangit rivers is visible. After a short break we started for Lamahatta and it took 15 minutes to reach Lamahatta. We had booking in Lamahatta Tourist Lodge.
Lamahatta Tourist Lodge is a well maintained tourist lodge and consists of well mannered staffs. This lodge is owned by an ex. Service man Captain. He is a nice gentleman and possesses a strong personality. He has a huge experience in battle field and loves to tell the stories by enriching them with humor. Listening to him with a cup of coffee is a great experience.
We freshened up and had a delicious diner. It was a gloomy day. Since there was no hope to see Kanchenjunga family, so we decided to go to Mamata Park which is located just the opposite of tourist lodge and named after honorable chief minister Ms. Mamata Bandyopadhyay who inaugurated the park. The park is nothing but an amusement park with full of orchids and flowers. There is a short hike of one kilo meter that leads the tourists to the holy lake. We took the trail and reached to the lake. The lake is small but the scenic beauty of the place impressed us. The lake is clean and surrounded by lush greenery. Suddenly I found a full bloomed rhododendron which was most unlikely because that was not the season of Rhododendron. The season is March-April and it was the end of January. We were lucky enough to see bloomed rhododendron in January.
This place was so calm and quiet that we spared two hours by sitting beside to the lake. It was the time of sunset, we wanted to stay there more but suddenly a villager came and asked us not to stay anymore as the forest is very near to the place and any time beer or leopard can come.
As the Samaritan asked us, we came back to our hotel by the same trail via Mamata Park and planned to visit the lake and forest next day.
In the evening we met the army captain with coffee. He shared some of his experiences. It was really a great experience.
Even the next morning was a cloudy one. We understood that there is no chance to see snow peaks. We had early breakfast and trekked to the lake. We took a break of 30 minutes and started walking towards the forest. The greenery and cold air refreshed our mind. After trekking a bit more we found a small meadow. The meadow is so romantic that we spent some time. The cacophony of migratory birds like yellow pane wood pecker, hill mayna, finches made our ears sacred. My team mate Sourav has the hobby of birding. He helped us to identify the birds. Suddenly we found a new type of bird. Later Sourav said that it was Yuhina. So Lamahatta is a place for birding. It is a paradise for bird photographers.
Walking through the trail we saw a deer. Next we saw a bifurcation of the trail. One is going towards forest and another one towards main road. We took the second one and reached at 10miles. From there we walked to our hotel. We were very hungry so we had lunch even before getting freshens up.
After lunch, we spared some time with local villagers and then visited to Lamahatta monastery. It is not a big monastery only one Lama is there who is in search of enlightment by keeping mum for five years. It was the second year. Though we could not meet him but there was some spiritual feeling in the monastery. We were feeling like blessed when we were inside the monastery.
After coming from Lamahatta monastery Jyotirmoy proposed to visit the forest again but by taking the short cut from 85 miles. We called a car from hotel and went to 10miles. We went to the bifurcation that we saw in the morning and took the way for the forest.
It was about to sunset, we were walking towards the forest. After sunset we decided to feel the silence and darkness. We switched off our mobile phones and stopped making noise. It seemed like we three were out of the civilized world. We were inside an unreserved forest and surrounded by pine, rhododendron trees. It was pitch black and there was no noise except the sound of fresh air.
Suddenly we felt a wave of cold air and some abnormal sound of walking. We got alert and enlighted lighter. There was nothing. Again we started enjoying the silence. But after sometime we were feeling uncanny. Jyotirmoy said it was better to go back to hotel. He was absolutely right. It was dark and we were inside an unreserved forest. We came back.
Next morning, the weather was a bit clear. The trip was great but still I could not see Mt. Kanchenjunga and its family. This is the first time I could not see Kanchenjunga from North Bengal or Sikkim. This was the last day of our tour. We were trying to get some candid of local people.
After checking out from hotel, when we were waiting for car for NJP suddenly Sourav asked as to look back. I followed his direction and found Mt. Kanchenjunga and the entire family. So even this time Kanchenjunga showed me its face.