Sunday, January 27, 2008

Biking Expedition: Gurudongmar

Under the leadership of Bholada, from NESPON, Siliguri, a couple of dozens of adventurous guys planned for a pathbreaking adventure to the Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim, near the origin of river Teesta. The terrain around Gurudongmar remains snow clad throughout most of the year. We set out in our expedition in the month of August, for the simple reason that the region remains free of snow in that month. Strategically, August falls just after the heavy monsoon and before the onset of winter. We could only hope, but could never be sure, that the torrential rains will stop during our journey.

Most of our bikes were Royal Enfield Bullets. Ours and Somit's were Bazaz Calibers. Two more were from the Hero Honda stable. Only a lone make was a Suzuki Shogun. Our most valued member was Mr. Sahabuddin, ace bike mechanic. Because of his presence in our team, we were free from the tension of a mechanical failure. Spare parts required for every conceivable problem were kept at bay.

After weeks of planning, one fine August morning of 2003, we set out for our journey from the Kanchenjungha Stadium of Siliguri. We took the National highway No. 31. The branch NH 31A runs all the way to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gorubathan Dalimfort

Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) has a wonderful tourist bunglow named Parijat Guest House near Gorubathan. It is also known as the Dalimfort Bunglow after the historical fort of the Lepcha king. The Lepcha king, in his struggle against the British army, used this fort on hilltop as his stronghold.
We four friends, along with our families went on a small holiday trip to Gorubathan on 21st January. The Team consisted of myself, Moon, Manas, Arpita, Biswajit, Seema, Sagarda, Gopadi and four kids. We boarded the morning passenger train from Siliguri Town station at 8.30 am. This railroute passes almost wholly through the wilderness of the Terai & Dooars. It is populated with all sorts of wild animals, the elephant being the largest. You can spot an elephant quite frequently or can even collide with one. Its true! Every year quite a handful of elephants die on this railroute by colliding with passing trains.
Just after crossing the beautiful Gulma station we entered the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Crossed the pretty river Teesta at Sevoke. Then we brushed aside the Mongpong picnic spot at the bank of Teesta. Just after Mongpong, we passed through two very dark tunnels at Pilansat. Such are the marvels of this wonderful rail journey.

Alighted at Odlabari station. Called my friend Sujit. He arranged a Mahindra jeep for us to take us to Dalimfort bunglow.