Nepal, a comforting tour.

View from Sarangkot

Nepal is a small bordering country of India where Indians don’t need passport or visa, even Aadhar Card works to go through land and Voter ID Card is enough to reach there by flight. Its a beautiful country with several spectacular travel and trekking destinations specially on Himalayas.

Mt Machapuchhare from Sarangkot

I went to Nepal last year in the month of May, but that tour did not give satisfaction to me. It was an incomplete feeling not to witness the magnificent peaks of Mt Annapurna, Mt Machapuchhare or Mt Everest going to Nepal.

Mt Annapurna from Sarangkot

I thought it would be better to keep Mt Everest for the next time while covering the tourist destinations centering Kathmandu but this time I planned to visit places centering Pokhara and view Mt Annapurna and Mt Machapuchhare. In my previous trip I could not visit local tourist spots of Pokhara as my companion was not interested just because she visited them before. I planned an itinerary for 13 days trip. It included Ghandruk, Dhampus and Begnas lake.

Phewa Lake from Shiva Temple

According to my plan I boarded Mithila Express from Howrah Station for Raxaul on 30th March. Elite Guest House owner Purna, in Pokhara, suggested me to come during the month of March but I could not manage earlier.

Gupteshwar Cave

I reached Pokhara taking a bus from Birgunj. I exchanged 5000 Indian currency at border. Hundred Indian rupees is equal to hundred and sixty Nepali Rupees. They take 2% commission which is an affordable rate. Indian currency works in Nepal but not in the interior villages and small shops.

Phewa Lake

There were quite a few buses and this time my tongawala tried to mislead me to take another bus that would leave at 11-30 or later but I went to the previous bus counter and the bus left at 10-40. I reached Pokhara in the evening at 8 oclock and I took a taxi from Prithwi Chawk at 400NC (Nepali Currency) to reach Hallan Chawk, Lake side.

Mahendra Cave

Purna welcomed me and this time he gave me a lake side room with balcony. I took dinner from Annapurna Bhanchha( Kitchen in Nepali). Annapurna Bhanchha at Hallan Chwak serves lunch and dinner at a quite reasonable rate. The food is good and fresh as well.

Phewa Lakeside

Next early morning I was very happy watching first sun rays on Himalayan Range from my hotel balcony. I went for local sight seeing package after breakfast by bus arranged by Purna at the cost of 750NC. I visited Gupteswar temple, Bindhabasini Temple, Shanti Stupa, Seti river gorge, Mahendra Gufa etc. I liked Gupteswar temple as it was situated in a unique natural cave. There was a natural water falls at the end of the cave which was Davis falls.

Davis falls within Gupteshwar Cave

Next day early morning I went to Sarangkot to witness Sunrise. I missed the bus for Annapurna cable car so I took a taxi and later realized that it was a better option for me to visit the view point otherwise I would have to walk longer way and might miss the sunrise. Wide range of Mt Dhaulagiri, Mt Annapurna ( there are few peaks of Mt Annapurna range), Mt Machapuchhare, Mt Manaslu etc. was spectacular with sun-rays.

Evening Aarati at Phewa Lake

After breakfast I went to Nepal Tourist office to make my permit. Though I did not trek but Ghandruk and Dhampus were restricted area and it was safer to make permit in case I faced any natural calamity. It is the responsibility of Nepal Government to rescue a person if the person is a registered traveler.

Vindhyavasini Temple

In the evening I roamed around Phewa Lake and watched evening Aarti at the west bank of the lake. It started drizzling. I came back and had dinner.

Shiva Temple

Next morning I went to the bus stand for Ghandruk bus at 7-30 in the morning. Bus started at 8AM. It reached Ghandruk bus stand at around 11 o’clock. The village was 2/3 kilometer distant from the bus stand. I started walking with my luggage. First one kilometer was a wide soiled road with gradient slope. It was 12 noon and sun was scorching. I walked in slow pace. I realized that I had to stay at the bus stand for a while and should have taken light lunch and go to toilet instead of start walking immediately getting down from the bus. On the way I met few shepherds who were taking their donkeys and sheep. I requested one of them to carry my luggage. He agreed instead of 500NC.

A view from hotel balcony, Pokhara

After that stone staircases started. When I reached the gate of the village I felt quite uneasy due to several reasons. I sat on a stone beside the path. Someone offered me water and I washed my face with it, drank too. I was sweating profusely and feeling dizzy. The porter boy waited patiently and informed that there was a home stay very near run by one of his acquaintances. I carried my body there and decided to stay there.

The owner woman and her daughter in law both were sympathetic and congenial but the homestay had very basic amenities. After reaching there I fell asleep immediately for a while. When I woke up I felt better. I had khichri as lunch. In the afternoon I went for a walk to find how distant was the main village.

On the way to Ghandruk

Next early morning I went to see sunrise walking a kilometer within the village. I requested a girl in a hotel named Royal View Inn to allow me to go to their roof top to take few photos. It was a good hotel at a very strategic point to witness Mt Annapurna range from a very close distance and Mt Machapuchhare too. Sunrise was extraordinarily spectacular.

Sunrise at Ghandruk

I came back buying 4 bananas at 120NC from a small departmental store for my next two breakfasts. In the interior parts of Nepal food is quite costly. I had to pay 2000NC for four very simple khichri meals( lentil, rice, potato, green chilly, salt and little butter) at the homestay. If I would stay in the main village, food would be costlier. From my previous experience I carried some sugar and roasted gram flour for breakfast.

Next day early morning Sangeeta, the daughter in law of the homestay owner carried my luggage to the bus stand at 1000NC. She was a hardworking girl.


I came across many foreigners’ group at the bus stand who came back from Annapurna base camp trek. I felt envious and sad watching them. I shall never be able to go for such trek. I am too crippled for such missions now. I had a cup of tea at the bus stand. The bus started at 8AM. I had my early lunch on the way back to Pokhara.

On the way to Australian camp, Dhampus

The bus dropped me at Hari- Chwak in Pokhara from where I could get bus for Dhampus. I got a shared jeep there and reached Dhampus at around 2 PM. I found a hotel nearby “Hotel Panorama”. I got a room there at 1000NC. The hotel was clean and decent with a nice view from the window. Mt Machapuchhare seemed very close from here. Dhampus seemed a little desolate to me. Later I came to know that mostly tourists stay at Australian camp now a days. The hotel owner was a nice person, gardening was his hobby. We talked about plants and flowers.

Rhododrendron at Dhampus

Next early morning after breakfast with roti sabji I went to Australian camp. It was about 3 kilometer walk from my hotel. It was two kilometer from where the motorable road ended. The path had stone staircases. There were chirping of different birds, rhododendron trees and innumerable butterflies all through.

Begnas Lake

I found quite a number of foreigners and met one Korean man who was going for Mardi Himal trek. We exchanged a few words. He gave me a Japanese milk toffee which was uniquely tasty. When I reached Australian camp, haze started spreading over the mountain due to heat. I could not get very clear photos. I came down to the village. I came across a French boy who was interested in visiting Muktinath. I shared my knowledge and experience of Muktinath trip.

Lady knitting Shawl, Dhampus

When I reached hotel, it was time for lunch. I enjoyed roaming around in the afternoon. There was a tasty tit-bit mixture shop, I felt tempted but could not take risk of tasting it for my weak stomach. Next day after breakfast I came back to Pokhara.

Birds of Dhampus, they are patient.

In Pokhara, I had a plan to visit Begnas Lake. I heard and read a lot about Begnas Lake and its fish. So after breakfast taking bus from lakeside bus stand I reached there. Unfortunately I did not like the smell of fish all over the area. A couple was having their pre-wedding photo shoot. I took few pictures, had a cup of tea and came back to Prithiwi Chawk where I bought a lungi at 800NC. Nepalese village women wear nice printed cotton lungi.

Mt Machchhapuchhare from Dhampus

I took a bus next day and came back to Birganj to catch train which I found later was a wrong decision taken by me. Birganj is just a transit town and has very dull atmosphere. I wish instead of visiting Begnas Lake and coming to Birganj one day earlier I would have visited Baglung or spent a day in Chitwan. But I consoled myself thinking I have kept a reason to comeback to Nepal again.

Ghadiyarwa Temple (Sun temple) Birgunj

A short trip to Pelling

Pelling is situated in South Sikkim at a strategic location on Himalayas that Kanchenjunga can be seen very close if the weather is good. It is easy but not so easy to go there by public transport. Only one bus leaves from Shiliguri SNT bus stand at 10:30 in the morning.

I felt a little stressed with my duties and responsibilities at home. So to release the stress I planned a 4/5 days short trip to Sikkim on December 2022 . When I bought tickets for 9th and 14th of December in Padatik Express and Darjiling Mail respectively, they were on waiting list that time. I thought if they would get confirmed only then I should start. At this age I can’t take much risk to go in unreserved compartment. Ultimately at the last moment the tickets were confirmed. So the journey began.

After reaching New Jalpaiguri I took a shared auto and reached Shiligulri bus stand. I was late so there was hardly any seat left. I had to sit at the end in the middle seat of the bus, but my co passengers were quite supportive and they accommodated me so that I can sit properly.

There was a person “know all” type who kept on misleading us. We had a good lunch in a road side restaurant. After that bus kept on going. After Gyalshing I got a window seat. I had no idea where to stay. So I got down at the SNT bus stand at Upper Pelling.

There was quite a number of hotels but mostly were full booked. I entered into a less crowded one, “Hotel Greenland”. It was almost empty, and workable for me. Geyser was active and the bed was clean. It was owned by a doctor couple. So I entered there. Their kitchen was not functional so I took my dinner from the restaurant just in front of the hotel.

The room had a balcony from where sunrise could be seen. So in the early morning I got up and followed through the window. As soon as the sun rays fell on the peaks I captured Kanchenjunga in my camera.

The hotel manager arranged a cab for a short local trip for me at Rs 2200. After breakfast I went to Sky-walk, Rimbik falls, Orange garden, Khechiperi Lake etc. I liked the Orange garden beside Rimbik river. It was a private enterprise. I liked Khechiperi lake too. It was full of fish. People call it wishing lake too, but I did not wish anything.

In the evening I had Bengali Chicken thali in a meal corner. Next day I wanted to spend time in a leisurely manner so I after breakfast I walked to the famous Pemayangtse Monestery and bird sanctuary, I could not find birds because it was full of tourists and their hustle bustle. When I came back it was quite late so I laid on bed for the rest of the day. In the evening I thought to have a good dinner so I entered in an apparently good looking restaurant and ordered food. Chicken curry was not good there and very spicy.

Next morning I went to Gangtok by a shared jeep arranged by the hotel. Morning was full of haze. There was overcast all day long. I boarded in a small hotel on Tibet Road with the hope to see Kanchenjunga in the morning. There I realized I forgot to take back my Adhar Card from the previous hotel. With the help of the manager of hotel Kabur Inn of Gangtok I was able to contact the owner and they later sent my Adhar Card to my address by speed post.

In the evening I strolled around the Mall and ate momo in a Tibetan Restaurant. Next morning I could not see sunrise and left Gangtok.

Pelling in December is quite cold but not unbearable cold, at least the way it seem to me. it does not snow in the winter. The place is nice for a couple of day’s stay. One can go to Yuksom, Ravangla etc with Pelling.

My First Abroad Tour.


USA Diary

My son went to USA for his higher studies in 2017. This year he invited me to visit his place as he is now capable of accommodating me for sometimes. Visa appointment is a difficult issue after Covid – 19. I got appointment in June 2022 for B1 type visa. As my son and my would be daughter in law sent official invitation to attend their marriage and they sponsored my trip, so I did not face much difficulty to get the visa. Then he bought tickets for me. As it was the beginning of August, there was a huge rush of students and their parents who were going to join in different universities. It was the time for the beginning of new session. So price of the ticket was quite high. I planned to come back after Durga puja because then the price of the ticket was comparatively low. If I would come before Durga Puja the price would be too high again as the emigrants visit India in this festive season.

Shenandoah National Park

I went by Emirates’ flight as my son thought it would be comfortable for me as its timing is convenient, though there are several other air services like Qatar Airlines or Air India etc. My flight was from Kolkata to Dubai and from Dubai to Washington. The duration of the journey was divided in 2 segments, 4.5 hours and 16 hours. There was a 2 hours break at Dubai Airport. From Washington airport my son took me to Charlottesville where he stays.

I shall divide this trip into four segments: Charlottesville, North Carolina Outer banks, New York and Shenandoah National park.

Charlottesville is a small university town and a very peaceful and scenic place, surrounded by Blue Ridge mountain, which is the extended part of Appalachian Mountain. After reaching there, for a few days I found myself very drowsy and lazy. Initially my son thought it was jet lag but as it persisted for 4/5 days he became a little worried and found that my blood pressure noticeably low. So I stopped my daily sedative and few other medicines for high blood pressure. Gradually when I got accustomed with their system of life, I started going out in the evening for a walk after early dinner. Evenings are very colorful and picturesque there. The area is sparsely populated with nice houses and lots of greenery. I tasted few new and tasty food like bagels ( kind of steamed bread with different stuffings), Mezza Mediterranean bowl ( combination of salad, rice, pita bread, sauce, meat etc), Japanese food in a restaurant, Sakura.

Moon rise behind Blue Ridge mountain at Charlottesville

One day we went to Ivy creek. There were several such creeks. It is nice to walk in a sunny autumn afternoon. One afternoon we went to down town and had Dönar Kebab from a Turkish restaurant, which is a kind of flat bread with various stuffings. That day we also visited the University of Virginia and saw the famous Rotunda Building which is a UNESCO world heritage site. I learnt to go to local market gradually to buy small household requirement and I felt a little pride while doing so.

North Carolina Outer Banks

Pelicans at Outer Banks

After their marriage, my son and daughter in law took leave on a week end and arranged a trip to North Carolina Outer Banks. We went there by car. We started after breakfast. We had our lunch on the way in an Italian Restaurant. My Daughter in law booked an accommodation for us through Airbnb. It was an apartment with one master bedroom with Jakuzzi bathtub in the attached bath and another bedroom with two single bed and an attached bath, a decent living room with modular kitchen and two balconies at Kill Devil Hills. It was very near to the beach. We bathed in the sea. Sunrise was spectacular in the Atlantic. There were lots of birds including sea gulls and pelicans.


We visited Wright brother’s memorial from where Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright flew their first aeroplane, Bodie Island light house, Jennette’s Pier etc. The unique thing I experienced there, was to watch baby turtles coming out from their eggs under the supervision of volunteers. Volunteers were there to protect the baby turtles. They would come at the time of sunset and would stay there till late night for the safety of baby turtles. I watched till it got absolutely dark. Any kind of light or electronic device was forbidden there, because that might distract the baby turtles and they could lose their track.

Wright Borthers’ Memorial

New York

Initially when my son planned for New York trip in a weekend before my return to India I was a little skeptic whether I could be able to enjoy the place as I am a nature lover and don’t like buildings, crowd, hustle bustle of the city. But after reaching New York my opinion changed. It is a huge city, perhaps I should say it is an ultimate city, after visiting it no city may seem more magnificent. Unfortunately during this time one of the deadliest hurricane Ian struck Florida. Due to it’s side effect it rained the whole week end in the Eastern coast of USA.

Time Square

We went New York by train from Charlottesville. We boarded the train in the evening at 6 o’clock as the train was late and reached New York at 11 PM. My daughter-in law Annie informed that New York city does not sleep. We got down at Pennsylvania Station. From there we took a cab, the name of the Uber driver was Gurpreet who talked to us in American English and did not seem to know Hindi or Punjabi. We stayed in a small Japanese run hotel named Hotel Madison. It had a very small room with two tokonoma double bed. Normally American double beds are too huge with lots pillows and thick mattress. But in New York city everything is costly so we had to compromise with the situation.

Polish day celebration

Next day we went out in the morning with a plan for breakfast and then to roam around Time Square. It started raining heavily as we came out. I was disappointed. After waiting for an hour, when rain subsided a little we went to the nearby metro station( they call it Subway) to reach Time Square. After reaching there, my daughter in law stood in the long queue to buy tickets for Broadway Theater and by that time my son and I roamed around the nearby areas. During lunch time we went to a restaurant at the Rockefeller building. We had New York’s famous and tasty pizza. In the afternoon, we went to the Central Park. Its a huge park with lots of amusement items. Though it was not raining heavily but it was cloudy and some times drizzling.

Statue of liberty from ferry

We had early dinner at a Korean Restaurant. Then we walked towards the Broadway theater. The name of the hall was New Amsterdam Theatre where Aladdin was being played . I went there willy-nilly only because my daughter in law insisted, but I must admit that I felt flabbergasted when the show started. It was an extraordinarily amazing experience to watch such a show which was a mixture of live song, dance, magic, acting and what not, a complete entertainment, I could dare to blink my eyes so that anything I might miss. I shall advise not to miss it if one can afford to visit New York.

Central Park

Next day I had branch with delicious blue berry cream cheese bagel. As my son was busy with his work, he stayed at hotel and my daughter in law escorted me to visit Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty. On our way to visit them we come to know that there was a road show on the occasion of Polish Day. We watched it for sometime at 5th Avenue. I came across an Indian boy Deepak in the sub way who was also going to take the ferry to watch Statue of Liberty. I came to know that he had come to visit New York alone as his visa was going to expire.

At Rockefeller building

My son was interested to eat Pecking duck so we went to an authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner. Probably it was not according to my Indian taste buds so, I did not like it. There were other few items too like shrimp fried rice,, shrimp curry, salad, meat etc. I filled my stomach with them because I was very hungry after the day’s long walk. Their tea was really good.

At Amsterdam Theatre Hall

As I was too tired I decided to take rest while my son and daughter in law went for a evening walk. Next morning after breakfast we went to the famous Brooklyn Bridge. As it was near our hotel, so we went by walking. It is a suspension bridge on East river and surroundings are beautiful. This long and high bridge was made in the beginning of 19th century. It connects New York and Brooklyn cities.

Brooklyn Bridge

After coming back we got ready to depart packing our bags. We reached Moynihan Hall Amtrack Lounge to catch the train for Charlottesville. My son got some food for lunch. Train was on time, we reached Charlottesville at 8 o’clock at night. An Uber Cab was called. It’s driver was Mr Muhammad Rafi, who was an Afghanistani and lives in our neighborhood at Charlottesville. He informed he could understand Hindi and speak to some extent, he learnt it watching Hindi movies.

Grand Central Station

Shenandoah National Park

Before my return home to Kolkata there was a full moon day, so I planned to go to Shenandoah National Park to take photographs of sunset, moon rise, fall colors etc. As per our plan my son and I went to the park in the afternoon. On the way we came across few deer that were standing beside the road fearlessly. People stopped their cars to take their photos, so did I. Then we went into the center of the forest.

Trees were looking beautiful with the yellow hue of afternoon sun rays. There was a restaurant where I wanted to have a blueberry ice cream but due to the long queue I abandoned the idea and went to the sunset point. The sun gradually went down behind the Blue Ridge Mountain keeping the sky crimson colored. Then we rushed to the moon rise point but moon rose by that time above the horizon. I hurriedly clicked few photographs of the full moon. Then we come back home through the moonlit forest.

After two days I left USA and come back home. This trip not only enriched my experience but also increased my confidence. Probably I should start planning another trip to abroad by my own, may be a solo one.

Baby Turtles coming out breaking their shells

My first Nepal trip.

Pokhara, from Sarangkot, early morning.

A bittersweet experience.

Phewa Lake

I had been planning to go to Nepal for a long time. My wish was to witness Mt. Everest and Mt. Machchhapuchhare (Mt. Fishtail ). After a long study and getting information from several sources, I made an itinerary. I wanted to start in the month of March. However, this year, due to Corona, the board exams started in late April and I had to delay my trip.

On the way to Muktinath

I planned it to start on 7th of May. It was a 16 days trip. I booked tickets from Howrah to Raxaul in Mithila express. I decided to return by flight from Kathmandu because I thought it would be a hassle to come back again by bus from Kathmandu to Raxaul. I also had a secret hope that the flight would go over the Himalayas, which it did not. May is the end season for Nepal tourism. After that monsoon starts. But unfortunately I found out at the last moment that there were predictions for rain and thunderstorms all over my trip. I felt a little disheartened.

Kagbeni, Apple orchards.

I included Muktinath in my itinerary, and according to the suggestion of my friend I also kept Manang in the plan. I had a plan to go to Nagarkot and Chandragiri from Kathmandu as Mt. Everest could be seen from those places. I hoped I could see a glimpse of Mt. Machapuchhare from Sarangkot. But man proposes God disposes.

The journey started on the schedule date. From Birganj bus stand few buses ply at regular intervals in the morning for Pokhara. Our bus was at 10:30AM. I eventually met a gold merchant in the bus who was full of negativity. He informed us that there was a traffic jam and we might have to spend the whole night on the road. Thankfully it was not such a serious situation and we reached Pokhara only 5 hours late, at 10 o’clock at night. I had previously booked the hotel.

Muktinath Temple.

Taking a taxi from Prithwi Chawk I reached the New Elite Guest House at Hallan Chawk,. It was beside Phewa Lake. The owner Purna was a very congenial person. Due to the upcoming election there were few restrictions in Pokhara. Restaurants, shops and pubs were to be closed by 10 o’clock at night. So Purna asked me to go to any restaurant to have dinner, as their establishment was already closed.

Kaligandaki river Jomsom

Next morning taking a taxi we went to Sarangkot view point, to witness the sunrise. The peaks could not be seen properly as it was partly cloudy. I took snaps of Pokhara. As I had a plan to go to Muktinath and Manang for which we had to get a permit from the Nepal Tourist Board. The first half of the day was spent in doing that. I wanted to go Manokamna temple, but it ended up into a fiasco. I was traveling with an acquaintance who was not interested in visiting Devis Falls, and other scenic places because she had already visited them. So we did not go anywhere except the lake at Pokhara. I consoled myself traveling Sarangkot by cable car arranged by our hotel owner.

Sunrise at Mt Nilgiri , Jomsom

Normally I travel alone. This time on request of an acquaintance, I took her with me. I had met her previously at Pathornachuni on my Rupkund trip. She also did a short Uttarakhand trip with another of my acquaintances in the month of February. She said that she traveled and trekked quite a few places in the Himalayas, and she was an ex-employee of Indian Railway, and she had got the job through sports quota. I thought she could be a good companion. I felt completely duped when I started traveling with her. She was neither a passionate traveler nor was she physically and mentally fit for taking the strain of traveling through a self organized tour. Realizing my mistake, I decided to keep patience and enjoy as much as possible in that situation.

Dumba Lake, Jomsom.

After spending two days at Pokhara we caught a bus at 7 in the morning for Jomsom. On the bus I was delighted to meet a French lady who had been staying in Nepal for 14 years and adopted Buddhism. She spoke Nepali fluently and knew every nook and corner of Nepal’s trekking destinations. I felt envious of her. We reached Jomsom in the afternoon. We met a German trekker who also wished to go to Muktinath that day. So he took initiative to arrange a jeep, which we shared. We reached Muktinath when the sun was setting behind Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Tukuche.

Gangapurna Peak, glacier and lake. Manang.

Muktinath was quite cold. The name of the hotel at Muktinath where we lodged was Norling. Food was tasty and good. It was near the bus stand. We slept early. Next day after 7 o’clock in the morning we started for Muktinath. My travel companion bathed in the twin kunds and 64 dharas and offered puja. It was actually her prime objective to come to Nepal with me. I offered puja and witnessed the holy deity. I felt blessed to visit there.


Next day was election day. No vehicles would be available. So after coming down from the temple I went to the bus stand to know the bus time to reach Jomsom. I wanted to spend one day at Jomsom and visit Dumba Lake there. But when I went there I came to know that no bus was plying on that day for Jomsom. I had to hire a taxi in a hurry, otherwise we could get stuck at Muktinath for the next day also. Going to Pokhara from Muktinath would take two/three hours longer than Jomsom. And also I was interested in spending one day at Jomsom.


We stayed in a hotel near Jomsom bus stand called the Muktinath Hotel. Jomsom is a scenic place with the view of Mt Nilgiri and Mt Dhaulagiri, Kaligandaki river and apple orchards. Next day being the election day most shops remained closed. Nepal armed forces were patrolling on the roads. We visited the serene Dumba lake after lunch. It was hardly 3/4 kilometer from the center of the small town. The lake is considered sacred by the Buddhists. I lost my camera lens cap while coming back from Dumba lake.

Pashpatinath temple. Kathmandu.

Next day we caught a bus in the morning and reached Pokhara in the afternoon. It started raining after we arrived. Our hotel owner Purna had booked our bus ticket for Besishahar. Spending one night in Pokhara we started for Besishahar at 7 o’clock in the morning and reached at 11 am. There we had our lunch and started for Manang.

Bagmati river, Pashupati nath Temple, Kathmandu.

Many treks start from Manang. It is a district of Nepal. There are small villages like Dharapani, Chame, Pisang, Braga, Tanki Manang, Khangsar, etc. Every village has its own beauty with snow peaks, Marsyangdi river, and innumerable water falls. Thorang La pass trek, Tilicho lake trek, Khangsar kang peak expedition etc. start from here. Mt. Gangapuna, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Tilicho, Mt. Khangsar Kang, Mt. Manaslu peaks can be seen from here.

Swayambhunath Temple Kathmandu.

We reached Manang at 10 o’clock at night. Here I want to mention that going to Manang needs a lot of physical and mental strength, and traveling to Manang is quite expensive. It is not a cup of tea for an amateur traveler who travels for comfort and leisure. My Manang traveling experience is another story. *****

Patan, Darbar Square, Lalitpur.

Spending two nights at Manang we came down to Besishahar. Here I realized that most Indian ATM cards do not work in Nepal and Bhutan. It was a disaster for me. Next day with the help of our driver and hotel owner we got two seats in the micro-bus for Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu we boarded in a hotel at Gangabu, where the bus dropped us. Gangabu is a convenient place and there are many budget hotels for locals, though not for tourists. Tourist area is Thamel.

Darbar Square, Bhaktapur.

Knowing my problem of lack of funds, the hotel owner helped me. My son sent him money through IME and he delivered me the cash. I shall remain ever grateful to him. I abandoned my plan for Chandragiri and Nagarkot due to my travel companion’s disinterest. We visited Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath temple, Patan (Darbar square), Bhaironath and Bhaktapur Darbar square in three days. We caught our flight for Kolkata from Kathmandu. My hopes to witness Mt. Everest and Mt. Machapuchhare remained unfulfilled this time. Maybe I shall visit Nepal again. But that will surely be a solo trip.



An Unachievable Achievement

Rudranath & Madmaheshwar

Buda Madmaheshwar

“Rudranath ki Chadhai jayse Germany ki Ladhai(The ascent of Rudranath is as difficult as the battle with Germany)” that is what said by the owner of Hariyali Resort of Saggar village when I came down from Rudranath extremely exhausted.

I came back from my Kumayun trip 15 days ago and was tired. But there was Durga Puja. I don’t like to stay at home alone in this festive season due to several reasons. So I again packed my rucksack and started for Uttrakhand.

Rudranath Temple

One of my Facebook friends with whom I traveled to Roopkund informed me that ponies are available on the way to Rudranath. My confidence level was high after visiting Roopkund, so I made up my mind to try it.

Once I wished to complete Panch Kedar (Five Kedars, Rudranath, Tungnath, Madmaheshwar, Kedarnath and Kalpeshwar). But when I resumed my travel after a long gap I discarded Rudranath from the list because of it’s difficulty level and my health issues.

Madmaheshwar Temple

When I heard that ponies were available on that path then my desire was rekindled and I decided to go there. I gathered information about the route. Madmaheshwar was always in my bucket list and I thought that if I get time I should also try go to Kedarnath again because I went there with my father long ago.

After reaching Haridwar I lodged in a hotel near the bus stand. Next morning I tried to go to Chamoli by shared jeep but due to lack of passengers it did not start and the driver asked me to go by bus. I boarded in a bus which was almost full at that time. As I did not want to sit in the rear side of the bus, the bus conductor arranged my seat in the cabin.

The bus started and we had brunch at Teendhara. After that, the bus kept on receiving passengers till it was packed. We reached Srinagar where some passengers got down and new passengers boarded. Then it started again. After crossing Dhrari Devi temple the car broke down at an odd point.

Somehow I Managed a shared jeep to reach Karan Prayag from there. From Karan Prayag I got another shared jeep to reach Chamoli. As I was tired with this journey I booked a full car from Chamoli to go to Saggar village. It dropped me in front of Hariyali Resort.

The resort was more decent than expected in that remote area. Next early morning they arranged my pony. We started at 7 in the morning. Initially the path seemed not too difficult till Poong Bugiyal but later it became very rough and steep. The stony staircases were uneven and high. After crossing Mauli Kharak my syce Nitin informed that I had to trek this path while coming down. It was about 3/4 km. But it was too late to withdraw.

The way to Rudranath through a stream.

The path was very dangerous, risky and breath taking. But when I reached Panar Bugiyal I forgot all my problems because one can witness 180 drgree view of Himalayan range from there with many peaks. Then came Pitradhar and PanchGanga Bugiyal. I had to get down from the pony twice as it was risky to cover those parts by pony. 22 kilometer of such dangerous path seemed too long to me. We at last reached Rudranath (11,811ft) at about 2 PM. From Rudranath also one can witness several peaks of Himalayas.

Food and accommodation at Rudranath was absolutely nominal. Being a single person I had to share room with other people. There was scarcity of water. One should carry Zeoline for purifying drinking water. In the evening we went to the temple for watching puja and evening aarti. Some people offered the deity whatever they carried to offer there.

I was extremely tired though I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that Rudranath brought me in such difficult and remote place. Night was decently cold but the room was cozy, although the quilt they provided was full of dust. I carried sleeping bag from Kolkata but my syce and my hotel owner at Sagar dissuaded me to carry it to Rudranath. I felt the need of it there at night.


Morning was beautiful. We started early after morning tea for Saggar. Going down seemed more difficult to me. It was an ordeal to sit on the back of the pony. Even for a singe moment I could not feel relaxed. We had Breakfast at Leuty Bugiyal at Kishen Singh Bist’s dhaba. He arranged my stay at Sagar and Nitin, my syce, was his son. Then came the most difficult part. I had to walk that very dangerous, difficult, uneven, stony and slippery path where every step should be taken cautiously. When I became completely exhausted I found my syce Nitin and my pony. He took me to Poong bugiyal where we had our lunch. Then we came back to Sagar in the afternoon.

As I drank less water in fear of stomach problem and the area was dry and arid due to lack of vegetation, my nose bled. My whole body was aching with terrible pain. After reaching Sagar I drank lots of water and bathed properly and took early dinner and slept. After a 12 hours sleep when I woke up next morning at 7 I felt that I could move for Madmaheshwar.

Rhododrendron trees at Rudranath.

After breakfast a car was arranged to drop me at Chamoli. As soon as I got down from the car I saw a bus of UK Roadways. I boarded on it which dropped me at Rudrapayag, from where I got a shared jeep for Ukhimath. From Ukhimath I sat on another jeep for Ransi. Those who travel in group or can afford a car they don’t need to take so much pain. They can go straight from Sagar to Ukhimath or Ransi. It is about 60/65 km from there.

Ransi is the starting point to trek for Madmaheshwar. I stayed at Komal tourist point. This hotel had only the very basic amenities. Its owner arranged a pony for me whose owner’s name was Narottam. I met a monk, and his two disciples in the jeep at Ukhimath who came to Ransi with me. They also stayed at Ransi. Next morning Narottam took me to Madmaheshwar on his pony.

Maharaj and his disciple

The road was though not as difficult as Rudranath, but it was quite difficult, as the road was steadily declining up to Gondar, then there was steady ascent. At some places it was quite steep though there was a proper paved path. We had breakfast at Bantoli. But I forgot to pay there. Narottam relieved me saying that I could pay while returning.

I reached Madmaheshwar at around 1Pm. I got accommodation with the same monk and his two disciples. My stay was a bliss at Madmaheshwar with them. The monk was from Tehri Garhwal, and one of his disciples was an entrepreneur of Shimla, and the other was a boy from Pangi( Himachal Pradesh). They could climb hill as easily as lizards. They did Panch Kedar at a stretch and all by foot.


In the evening I saw the deity and aarti. After that we had early dinner with roti and kadu(pumpkin) ki sabji. Next early morning was for Buda Madmaheshwar expedition. Mt. Chaukhamba seemed at a stone throw distance from there according to the opinion of Maharaj. After breakfast I started with Narottam. We had lunch at Bantoli. I did not forget to pay this time. There I came across a couple who were from AgastMuni. Hearing about my desire to go to Kedarnath they offered me lift up to Kund(where the road from Ransi met another road for Sonprayag) on their car. After reaching the end point of the trek I boarded their car and I got a bus immediately after reaching Kund.

Madhuganga and ramdana on the way to Madmaheshwar

When the bus crossed Guptakashi traffic jam started. The bus advanced very slowly. At one point the jam became stagnant. After an hour or two the bus conductor came to me and requested me to return as I was alone and aged. He said, I could face problem if the bus reached Sonprayag at night. I realized what he advised was true. He helped me to get my luggage and I came down from the bus and took another bus from the opposite side to reach Guptakashi. I spent the night in a hotel at the bus stand. I decided to go back to Rishikesh.

I got the news of extreme chaos in Kedarnath due to the rush of pilgrims next day. As there was a long holiday of Navratri, Dashera, Saturday, Sunday, many people from nearby places came in their car and there were many youngsters, who were inspired by the movie Kedarnath, came in groups. I thought it would be wise not to move upward anymore.

Mt Chaukhamba from Guptakashi

Next day I came down to Rishishikesh, but it took much longer time than usual as there was again a traffic jam after Tindhara. It started raining at night and red alert was declared by Uttarakhand government as heavy rainfall was predicted. It rained continuously next day. In the next morning I found that the greenish blue water of Ganga changed into mud colour and the water was rushing ferociously down with branches of trees and other things. I heard about many mishaps on the hills and felt blessed that I came down safely.

Next day morning after breakfast I came to Haridwar. I bought peda(sweets made by drying milk) for home and ate malai samosa and boarded on train at midnight.

Janki Jhula at Rishikesh

Traveling beyond dream


Mt. Chaukhamba, in the morning from Almora.

I neither planned nor thought even in my wildest dream to attempt for Rupkunda. I did not consider myself to fit to go there. Probably it was the desire of destiny that I visited that heavenly place or I should say it appeared in front of my eyes to oblige me.

View from Kausani

It thus happened that my scheduled plan to visit an interior part of Kumayun (Uttarakhand) was cancelled due to heavy rain and land slide. My local guide informed me that when my RT-PCR negative report was in my hand and my bags were packed. Just before three/four days of my departure one of my Facebook friends asked me if I was interested in going Roopkund. I declined her saying it was beyond my physical capacity and I had another plan too.

Mt. Trishul from Gowaldam

Suddenly I recalled her offer and called her immediately to tell that I would like to join them. My friend gave me the contact number of the travel guides who were going to arrange the trek. They were two/ three local young boys of 25/30 years ( Uttarakhand Tour Planner). I talked to them and they informed that they had no problem accommodating me if I could reach Wan village on 18th evening. Their package was from Wan to Wan village(19th to 23rd September,2021). They also guided me how to reach Wan through Kumayun.

My ticket was in Durgiana Express up to Bareily from Kolkata station on 14th September. So I visited Almora, Kausani and reached Gowaldam via Baijnath. I spent one day in each of these places.

Moonrise at Wan Village

From Gowaldam I went to Thalarali by bus. Then I took shared jeep to reach Dewal. From Dewal I went to Lohajung by another shared jeep. I had to wait about two hours at Lohajung to get a conveyance for Wan village. I reached Wan by someone’s car taking a lift instead of 150 rupees when the sun was about to set.

In the evening my friend and her two companions arrived from Dehradoon. We were very much excited. Next morning after breakfast we started our journey. Our first lap was up to Gairolipatal (10,000 ft app.)

Roopkund is a difficult trek. On the first day we covered about 5/6 kilometer steep path through beautiful forest, streams and we crossed Neel Ganga. Gairolipatal was a small place with two trekkers’ huts and one small shack of the local forester who served us tea also.

Our tent was pitched for that night. We got one trekkers’ hut to cook our food . It was a full moon night but we could hardly see the moonlit peaks due to cloud. It rained all night. In the morning Mt. Trishul peeped through the cloud for sometime though we missed the sunrise.

Mt Trishul at Gairolipatal

During the second day it was a long journey to cover 10/12 kilometers. After early breakfast we started. Our cook Mohan was an expert to cook tasty food with meager ingredients. We covered the forest and reached above tree lines. On the way we crossed eye alluring Bedini Bugiyal. There were many unknown plants that enhanced the beauty of the path. There were shepherds who brought there herds of sheep for grazing on the bugiyals(grassland).

We reached Pathornachuni( 12,700 ft) by 2 o’clock. Here we could not get trekkers’ hut. So a kitchen tent was pitched and hot lunch was served. It was drizzling. We took shelter in our tents. In the evening we enjoyed pakora and tea. Night was pretty cold. But our organizers provided us good tents and cosy sleeping bags that we slept very well.


Next morning the distance we had to cover was not quite long but very tough due to steep and difficult trail. When I reached Kalu Vinayak, Lal Singh, an enthusiastic boy, brother of one of our organizers, told me to ask whatever I want from Kalu Vinayak. I was already so much overwhelmed that I lost words. One of our team mates Mrs. Pratima Mandal( MP/ TMC party) broke into tears out of joy.

Kalu Vinayak

We reached our last Destination Bhaguabasa (14,000 ft). On the way we found lots of Brahmakamal with other high altitude plants. It was extremely cold and dark after sunset. Here we managed one trekkers’ hut with the initiative of Kartik, one of our team members. He reached early and occupied one. Being a Garhwali boy he could walk fast on the mountain and he was young too.

Next day was a vital day. We started before dawn. The organizers gave us an escort to each of our four members so that we could walk in the difficult way to Roopkund. The trail was not only steep but also in some places there was no path at all. One had to cover it balancing on the body. The beauty of pristine Himalayas was indescribable and mesmerizing.


My friend Rinku Basu and her uncle were the steadiest and experienced trekkers among us. I was the most crippled one and my escort Dikpal Singh Danu was a very patient one to give me encouragement on that difficult path. Pratima was the tenacious one who never gave up.

Roopkund is a small mountainous lake on 15,570 ft altitude. Due to cloudy weather no peak was visible from there. Only the historical skeletons, the small temple of Shiv-Parvati and the Kund was seeable. Coming down was also not an easy task. It started raining in the mean time. We came back at noon time and had our lunch and again started our down ward journey for Pathornachuni. We stayed there at night. Though it rained heavily, our crew members did not neglect in any way to serve us.

Early morning view, on the way to Rupkund

Our guide Heeraji was an expert in his field. He told us mythical stories of Pathornachuni and Roopkund. He guided us as a professional so that we did not get succumbed to Acute Mountain Sickness or other ailments. Sometimes he carried me like a trolley bag so that I did not fall on the slippery slope. Rain accompanied us till Wan village.

Roopkund ( )

Next day we left Wan village by a jeep arranged by our organizers. It dropped me at Tharali and went to Hrishikesh with Rinku, her uncle and Pratima. They dropped me at Tharali as my ticket was from Lalkuan. I came back via Goaldam and Nainital.

N.B. One who never traveled and spent night above 10,000 ft should not attempt this trek. It is not a pleasure trip in anyway. Only very basic requirements can be provided. One has to use toilet tent or manage in open air and use toilet paper to clean up oneself because of the scarcity of water. It is very cold. So those who can not endure cold also discouraged to go.


Darjiling Diary

Lepchajagat, Sandakfu, Falut, Tumling.

This year I could not go out for a long time and was feeling suffocated with the situation of Covid-19. Like a pleasant breeze I came across a post on Facebook where two retired Himalaya lovers were organizing a short trip to the above mentioned places with few enthusiastic but novice travelers. So I decided to join them. It was risky for me to arrange this trip solo as I was afraid to encounter strangers in public transport. Sandakfu is in West Bengal, and is the highest point of Singalila National Park and the whole Kanchenjunga range is visible from there. It was one of my dream destinations since childhood. I only became capable of making this trip a reality this December.

I reached Sealdah Station and met the two organizers for the first time. They were amiable. We started our journey on Padatik Express (a Covid special train). After reaching New Jalpaiguri they arranged vehicles for us with the help of their local representative. We had a pretty late breakfast at Rohini. There were traffic jam in multiple places. We reached Lepchajagat at 3:30 PM and had our lunch there. Food was good and everyone was hungry. Lepchajagat felt very cold to me. Later I came to know that during winter Lepchajagat gets very less sunlight as it is surrounded by huge pine forest. It is only few kilometers away from Darjiling town.

Next day after viewing sunrise and having breakfast we started for Sandakfu. After reaching Manebhanjan at around 10 AM we changed our vehicles and boarded four old land-rovers. It was quite difficult for us to sit properly due to the zigzag turns. We had breaks for tea and photography at Tonglu, Kalipokhari, Chitre and Gairibus. From Gairibus it was almost impossible to sit still even for a moment as the road was too uneven and made of stones, it was not a paved road. We reached Sandakfu in the afternoon and had our lunch. Few of our co-travelers got sick due to high altitude and cold weather. They had stomach problem, lack of appetite and headache. But the beauty of sunset and sunrise of Sandakfu was indescribable, only those who have witnessed it can understand, it was a heavenly experience for me. The whole range of Kanchanjunga, sleeping Buddha and other peaks like Everest, Makalu, Lhotse were clearly visible. Sky was very clear by the grace of God.

Next day after breakfast we started for Falut. We were late because there were some young guys in the group, and few of them kept on having excess alcohol every night. So every day they woke up late. It is one of the disadvantages of a group tour that one can not get every member to be like minded. We witnessed Himalayas from some view points on the road. After a particular point our organizers decided to return as we were getting late. The road was also very hazardous. This was the most hectic day of the trip. We came down to Tumling in the afternoon and had our lunch. After lunch I had to take a bath to clean myself as I felt very dirty and dusty. I changed my clothes too. Then I went to see sunset at Tumling. Tumling is a small beautiful hamlet. There were some trekkers and travelers came for Sandakfu summit. Next morning I witnessed my third sunrise of this trip. Then after breakfast we started for Manebhanjan. Kanchenjunga accompanied us till Manebhanjan. From Manebhanjan we changed our vehicles and went for Shiliguri.

A short trip to few mythical places of Birbhum.

Birbhum (a district of West Bengal) has many tourist spots , mythical as well as religious places related to ancient Bengali culture and it is also famous for Shantiniketan, place of two Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore and Amartya Sen, and also for its natural beauty, red soil etc. This year I went to spend my Durga puja holiday at Kachujor, Bakreswar Thermal Power Colony, with my aunt and cousin. From there we visited some mythical and religious places hiring a car.

Bakreshwar temple and the hot spring was very near so we started from there. We did not bathe as this place was visited by us previously. We went to the Shiva temple and the hot-springs. My cousin and I took two three photos of a local girl. Her face was very impressive. She was wearing few plastic bangles. She was proud of her bangles and showing them off but her two friends didn’t manage bangles from their mother. I heard their discussions and bought bangles for three of them.

Then we headed for the Temple near Gaurangapur, made by Ichhai Ghosh, a local feudal lord of 15th / 16th century, crossing Ajay river through a temporary bridge. It seems strange that how that so tall a temple was built in those days and how architecture and materials were of high quality in those days in such an interior part of Bengal.

Then we went to Garh Jangal, a natural fort and hide out of Ichhai Ghosh to save himself from foreign invadors. this place is also related with Hindu mythology. According to Markandeya Purana first Durga puja was held here, here Rishi Medhas told Chandi Mangal Kavya to Raja Surath, the Chandi temple here is considered as the first Chandi temple. We visited the natural fort wall within the forest and the temples.

Jayadev was a famous Vaishnava poet of medieval age. There were so many stories about him and his love for Lord Krishna. It was said that Lord Krishna himself came to complete a couplet when he went to bathe at Ajay river, for which he was confused and could not come to any conclusion. We visited his house at Kenduli. An annual fair, popularly known as fair of folk singers (Baul Mela), is organized at Kenduli, at Ajay river bank, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti( Mid January) in the name of Jaydev. After visiting his temple we came back home.

Chandpur, an off beat weekend trip.

One of my friends offered me a trip to Chandpur in a weekend in April 2019 when I had just come back from another long trip. I was tired but I accepted the offer because I don’t get much opportunity for short trips within West Bengal, and secondly they were going by car, so no hassle for transport problem. According to previous arrangement they picked me up from Rabindrasadan metro station. Chandpur and Tajpur are two sea beeches in the south of West Bengal, newly developed for tourism. One can also go there by bus which plies from Esplanade to Digha. In that case one has to get down at Balisai and hire Toto from there. The beaches are just one or two kilometers away from there.

We reached Chandpur in the evening. After viewing few hotels we found Chandpur Eco Hut as a suitable stay. They provided us sea side rooms. Though rooms were not large but they were clean and tidy. Food was good there. After tea and onion pakoda we walked along the road. The sun was already set. Probably due to breaking of bank the sea was barricaded by huge log fence. In some places there was no barricade.

Night was cool and breezy. We had a nice sleep with the sound of rhythmic waves . In the early morning we woke up to see sunrise but unfortunately the sky was partly cloudy. We enjoyed our morning tea and breakfast. After that we went to Tajpur beach. There we roamed for sometimes, had coconut water and kernel of green coconut. There were few sea side restaurants. Sea food was available there. They cook freshly in front of the customers as per their choice. In the evening we returned to Kolkata. It was a good place for serenity and peace of mind. I wished to stay a day more, but my friends were reluctant to come back.

Talasari(Odissa), a week end trip.

Talasari is in the Baleshwar district of Odissa, at West Bengal-Odissa border. It is not a so popular as Digha, though it is very near to Digha ( West Bengal). Talasari means series of palm trees. I planned this week end trip in the winter (2018) with a friend of mine. We got accommodation in OTDC Chadaneshwar. We went to Digha by Howrah- Digha train. From the station we took a toto for Talasari. After reaching there we had our lunch and then visited Chandaneshwar temple. It is a small Shiva temple.

In the evening we went to the sea beach. A branch of Subarnarekha river meets Bay of Bengal here. During low tide one can walk crossing the river to reach the beach, but during high tide, when the river is filled with water, there is boat service to carry the tourists to the sea side. We enjoyed sunset there and walked on the beach till the boat service was about to stop.

Chandaneshwar Temple Gate

Next early morning we went to the river side to watch sunrise and waded through the river as there was no boat and the water level was low. But due to haze we could not see proper sunrise. It was pretty cold, so very few people were seen on the beach. We walked along the beach till the end. There were many sea weeds and specially lots of red small crabs were seen. As soon as they felt the vibration of our footsteps they went inside the sand bed.

In the afternoon we started for Bichitrapur Mangrove Sanctuary which is at the river mouth of Subarnarekha river. We had our lunch there. Crab was pretty cheap, and they cook only on customers’ order. We had to wait for sometimes because it was low tide time and boat service to the mangrove island started when water filled the river bed. The boat jetty is at the end of a canal. It was dry then. Later water level increased with the tide and we started. We reached the sanctuary within 15/20 minutes. It was a vast shallow land full of red crabs. But we could not enjoy much roaming around there because of few intoxicated men. They were behaving in an unruly manner. We roamed near the boat jetty and took few snaps. In the evening we came back and again enjoyed walking on the beach.

Next morning after breakfast we came back to Digha and visited Mohana of Champa river. There was a big fish market. I bought some dried fish. After having lunch at old Digha we took a stroll along the old Digha beach. Then we went to the railway station, waited in the station waiting room to catch the train for Howrah.