Roadtrip to Ravangla, Sikkim from Kolkata

Author – Anirban Chatterjee, Photographer – Sounak Chatterjee, Kolkata 

Reproduced and edited by Parimita Chakravorty

bike

I planned a bike trip with my friends Sounak and Chiro to Ravangla, in North Bengal. The plan was made impromptu and we made the hotel and bike bookings. I bought ropes to tie the luggage and packed other essentials. And off we went to New Jalpaiguri, in a Guwahati – Howarh overnight train. The rented bikes, Royal Enfield Classic 350 and Pulsar 150, were handed over to us at the station. We started towards Deolo Hills, near Kalimpong via Siliguri. On our way, we gorged on spicy momos and hot coffee. The weather was pleasant and the ride was pleasing.

Day 1: Destination: Deolo Hill, Start Time: 1.30 pm, Distance: 100 kms approx.

Trip mates Sounak, Anirban and Chiro

Trip mates Sounak, Anirban and Chiro

Riding a Royal Enfield bike on Sevoke road, in Siliguri has been my dream since long. The picturesque scenery and the smooth ride made it an experience of a lifetime. Moreover, the sound of the Royal Enfield’s dig-dig-dig-dig hummed through the valley. Our first stop was at Sevoke Kali Mandir. We had a tea break before starting towards Kalimpong, as the road ahead was steep and exhausting. By 6 pm, we had crossed Algarah and had started proceeding towards Sillery Gaon. We intended to reach Deola Hill the same evening but the last stretch of 7-8 kms was intimidating. There was no road and riding the stretch in the dark seemed a little daunting. We decided to stay back at Sillery in a little shack managed by Biru Tamang and family. He entertained us with his ghost stories, which he insisted were real. The evening spent at his shack was memorable as we gazed at the stars. There was no sound and no pollution in Sillery.

Biru Tamang

Biru Tamang

Biru's family

Biru’s family

Day 2: Destination: Deolo Hills, Rongpo, Bagheykhola, Singtam, Temi Tea Garden, Damthang, Ravangla. Start Time: 8 am, Distance: 120 kms approx.

We reached Deolo Hill at 9.30 am. The journey was pleasant with smooth winding roads. We lodged at Hotel Himadri where we were supposed to reach the previous evening. Later, during the day we visited Deolo Govt. Tourist Lodge and Park and started towards Rongpo. We took a short cut to save time. The road less taken turned out to be quite a task because of lose rocks, sand and steep downhill. It was difficult to control the vehicle. From Rongpo we rode towards Bagheykhola; a nice road as Teesta river flows next to it. We reached Singtam and turned left. From Singtam we proceeded towards Pabong and to Damthang. We could have chosen the other route via Namchi but when we browsed google map, we saw zig-zag roads on the way to Temi Tea Garden and that tempted us to choose this route.

Temi tea garden

Temi tea garden

We took a break at the Govt. cafeteria atop a hill surrounded by dreamlike fog. The attendant told us to reach Ravangla ASAP as it was about to rain. We started for Ravangla immediately. This was the first time in this trip that I needed my jacket desperately.  It was cold outside. The road from Damthang to Ravangla was amazingly beautiful. Almost evening, a threat of rain and clouds all over us had made the atmosphere more challenging. We reached Ravangla at around 6 pm and checked into our hotel. We could see Kanchanjunga, the third highest peak in the world from our balcony. We were stunned by its beauty!

View of Kanchenjunga left us spellbound

View of Kanchenjunga left us spellbound

Day 3: Destination: Namchi, Start Time: 8 am, Distance: 140 kms approx.

It rained with heavy thunderstorms at night. And that’s when we realised that we forgot to pack raincoats and plastics for this trip. When we started the next morning, it wasn’t raining but the surface was all slippery. We reached Namchi Babadham by 10.30 am. But it started raining heavily. We were still 100 kms away from New Jalpaiguri station from where our return train was scheduled late in the evening.

Namchi Babadham

Namchi Babadham

After waiting for an hour, we decided to proceed towards New Jalpaiguri in the rain. It was a bad situation as the roads were full of rain water, muck and broken branches of the trees. The bikes were skidding but we couldn’t wait as we had to reach office the next day.

On our way, we also crossed Kitam Wildlife Sanctuary where signboards read ‘Beware of Leopards’.  This was spine chilling as every spec of yellow seemed like a charging leopard. We took a tea break in Manpur as we were all wet and cold. We lost an hour caused by a roadblock due to landslide. We reached New Jalpaiguri by 7pm, all safe and sound and well in time for our return train. We returned the rented bikes and boarded the train with RAC tickets. We didn’t get rest during the overnight train journey, but took home memories which will be alive for the rest of our lives.

Biker on the roll

Biker on the roll

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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