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Come September and here we are making plans to make use of this particular month. September marks the end of monsoons and the outset of autumn and a perfect timing for the off-season touring. In eastern India especially in Bengal the month of October marks the Durga Puja period which is considered the highest paying season here for the tourism business. A month prior to that is thus the perfect timing for the budget itinerants. Here enlisted five such itineraries which would not only go by our pockets but also by our cameras. A little rain for a short duration and voila, the landscape is ablaze with the colours of autumn.

[Note: Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are on high alerts of flood now due to heavy rainfall over the Tsang-Po River in China, which could flood river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. It is thus recommended to visit these places in the month end and after checking the news.]

Sikkim (Rinchenpong- Kaluk- Hee- Bermiok- Uttarey)

Rinchenpong and Kaluk are two villages set amidst the greeneries of the mountains, lesser known, though lately is appended to the list of budding tourist attraction. Both the villages being closer to the range physically, offer magnificent and unruffled views of Mt. Kanchendzonga. This panoramic view continues in Hee, Bermiok, Dentam and Uttarey.

Places to Visit: Rinchenpong Monasteries, a park in tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, Poison Lake. Hee- Patal holds a bronze statue of Mahatma Sirijuna which gets reflected by the Chayataal Lake. Also the Sirijuna holy cave and the Sirijuna Falls at Martam is a must visit.  Noteworthy are the two waterfalls which is situated somewhere between Hee Khola and Bhalukhop. Towards Uttarey one would cross the Singshore Bridge and can visit the Tenzing Hillary Park and the Trout farm at Maneybong.

A viewpoint on the way to Uttarey amidst the prayer flags.
Activities: Mountain biking through Hee-Bermiok; Boating at Yuma Samyo Mangheem at Hee- Kyangbari; Nature walk.
Routemap: Siliguri- Jorethang- Soreng/Reshi- Kaluk –Rinchenpong- Kaluk- Hee- Bermiok- Dentam- Uttarey-Siliguri
Days Required: 5D/4N
Approximate Cost:  INR 20000/- (All total in small vehicle)

Meghalaya (Shillong- Mawlynnong- Cherapunjee- Mawsyram)

Literally meaning the abode of the clouds, Meghalaya is one of the beautiful attraction among the seven sisters of the incredible North-Eastern India. Meghalaya boasts of Mawsynram as the wettest place on Earth and Mawlynnong as the cleanest village in India and the crystal clear Umngot river at Dawki.

Places to Visit: Kamakhya temple at Guwahati can be visited before starting for Shillong. Local sightseeing in Shillong includes the Cathedral church of Mary Help, Lady Hyadri Park and the Shillong golf course. Shillong- Cherrapunjee thoroughfare has viewpoints of Shillong peak (literally the highest peak of the place) and Elephant Falls (the water columns are delights to the eyes). The main attractions are however in Cherrapunjee; notable mentions are the Nohkalikai Falls, the Mawsmai Seven Sisters falls, Mawsmai caves, Khoh Ramaiah, Nongriat Village and Lumshynna Cave in Arwah and the double decker living root bridge. Mawlynnong has the noteworthy attraction of the living root bridge. The Dawki river is a must visit for its unearthly pellucid beauty.

Boating through the pellucid waters of Umngot river, Dawki


Double Decker Bridge, Mawlynnong

Activities: Caving at Mawsmai and Lumshynna Cave. Boating in the jewelled Umngot river.
Routemap: Guwahati- Shillong- Cherrapunjee- Mawlynnong-Dawki-Tamabil- Guwahati
Days Required: 5D/4N
Approximate Cost:  INR 16000/- (All total in small vehicle)

Arunachal Pradesh (Itanagar- Ziro- Hapoli- Daporijo- Along- Pasighat)

One of the most diversified state of India is this most eastern state of the mainland. Literally meaning the land of the first dawn, Arunachal hosts 26 ethnic tribes and is an anthropologically rich land with serenity personified.

Places to Visit: Ita fort, ‘ the fort of bricks’, Ganga Lake or Geykar Sinyik, the Jawaharlal Nehru museum displaying the rich heritage of Arunachal by depiction of the tribal culture, the Buddha Vihar. Ziro is considered as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful valley of India. Hapoli is rather the twin sister town of Ziro. One day stay in Ziro is must to relish the place fully. It is home to Apatani and Nishi Tribe, their villages offer an ethnic tour with the houses made with Bamboo and Cane. Ziro Putu hillock offers an birds eye view of the valley. One can opt foe an evening stroll around the market. Daporijo is another tribal attraction with the Tagins, Galo, Hillmiri and Nah tribes. Aalong is situated on the banks of River Siang hosts Kane wildlife sanctuary; the hanging bridge over the river made with bamboo and cane is one of the tourist spot here. Pasighat, known as the gateway to the Arunachal is the oldest town of the state and is also located on the banks of river Siang. It is also home to the Pasi and Minniyong tribes.

Ziro Valley. [Credits: Arunachal tourism]

Activities: Trek to Kile Pakho in Ziro and bird watching here. Rafting is done in river Siang however it depends on the seasons. [Tsang Po of China is known as Siang in India, so it is advised to check the weather reports before opting this itinerary]
Routemap: Dibrugarh- Itanagar- Ziro- Hapoli- Daporijo- Aalong- Pasighat- Dibrugarh
Days Required: 8D/7N
Approximate Cost:  INR 32000/- (All total in small vehicle)

West Bengal (Lolegaon- Icche Gaon- Sillery Gaon- Lava- Rishop)

North Bengal, Bengalis’ mountain paradise is more than just Darjeeling. This itinerary is more of an offbeat one and thus more close to Nature’s drill.

Places to Visit: Changey falls and the canopy walk lo are the main attractions in Lolegaon dropping you in the pristine lap of Nature. Amidst the hanging bridges or the clear waterfall, one would find solace to the otherwise blues of their life. The other viewpoints include Jhandi dara and tiffin dara, wherefrom the majestic view of the Kanchendzonga range is viewable. One day stay in Icche gaon and Sillery gaon is recommended for the nature lovers. Icchegaon entry is known for the looping roads and natural beauty. Sillery gaon is located in the valley surrounded by mountains on three sides and right opposite to Icche gaon. Tinchuley is a known name here. From there, during the day, Kanchendzonga steals the fame, while in the nights the twinkling lights of Ravangla and Namchi on the opposite hills provides the nightshow. On clear days the meandering Teesta is an appreciated view. Another notable place is the Damsang fort. However for best view of the range, post November is the best time. Rishop and Lava offers similar getaways and also is the postern to Neora Valley National Park. While in Lava, a visit to the Lava Monastery is must.

On the way to Rishop from Lava.

Activities: Trek through Neora Valley, and bird watching here. Nature walk at Icche gaon and Sillery gaon. [Trekking through the forest starts from the mid-September]
Routemap: Siliguri- Lolegaon- Icchegaon- Bhalu Marg- Sillery Gaon- Rishop- Lava- Siliguri
Days Required: 6D/5N
Approximate Cost:  INR 16000/- (All total in small vehicle)

West Bengal (Kurseong- Chatakpur- Lepchajagat- Mane Bhanjang- Singalila)

Another offbeat of West Bengal and perfect for the nature lovers.

Places to Visit: The roads connecting the places are by itself beautiful offering picturesque views. The Darjeeling Himalayan railway and the Eagle’s Crag in Kurseong are great attractions here. The others offer high altitude forests trails to visitors. Chatakpur is famous for biking and trekking and if you are lucky enough you might get a glimpse of Mt. Everest from here. The Chatakpur forest homes the Great Himalayan Black Bear, Leopards, Barking Deer and Antelopes. Lepchajagat is another such place to get engaged with Nature’s aura, during the day you trek while in the night get yourself placed by a fireplace, cuddle in with a cup of hot beverage (Darjeeling tea mostly) and lose yourself to the sounds of the crickets, you might find the jungle reverberating too. Singalila too offers a forest trek through the national park. Maney Bhanjan is famous for the land rovers of the village. Hire one and set off for Sandakphu.

A viewpoint in Chatakpur


A sunny day in Maney Bhanjang

Activites: This particular itinerary has many activities if you choose to do it. Nature walk, trek or even bike through the forests. One might trek to Sandakphu even but that would be job of a minimum of 5 days.
Routemap: Siliguri- Kurseong- Chattakpur- Lepcha Jagat- Maney Bhanjang- Singalila- Siliguri
Days Required: 7D/6N (Spent 2 days in Chatakpur)
Approximate Cost:  INR 20000/- (All total in small vehicle)

8 comments:

  1. I liked these detailed itineraries, costs/ places to visits/ things to do etc. And your photos are veryyy cool! Thanks for the information!

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  2. Wow! It makes me wish I was in India for longer so I could explore a bit more! Definitely going to have to come back and try out your itineraries.

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  3. You really have some great ideas there. I love the look of the double decker bridge! I love hikes and walking around in nature so many appeal to me

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  4. India is one of those places with just so much to see and do. I prefer to travel to lesser known areas of a country, so all of these really appeal to me

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  5. These itineraries look fantastic and you have some brilliant nature shots. I love the agriculture terraces in Ziro Valley, it reminds me a lot of Sapa in Vietnam. And Umngot river looks beautiful!

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  6. That's some great inspiration - I wish I lived a bit closer so I could try some of these trips!

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  7. So many great ideas! Hopefully one day I can visit.

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