Ad Hoc Delhi Trip from Kolkata

We had to visit Delhi in 4 days notice.. My brother had to attend his M.Sc. entrance exam in Delhi University on 15th June,2015 (Monday). We started booking tickets on 11th June (Thursday). Chances of getting confirmed tickets were almost zero.

Let the research begin.

# Kolkata to Delhi

## Ticket Booking

We decided to reach Delhi by 14th June( Sunday) night. We can start our journey on 13th June ( Saturday). Tatkal booking for on-going journey will start on one day before on Friday, 12th June. But from my prior experience of Tatkal Booking i did not wanted to take chances. So decided to book some break journey tickets.

Source Stations :
Howrah (HWH)
Sealdah (SDAH)
Kolkata (KOAA)
Santragachi
Shalimar
kharagpur (KGP) – wanted to increase probability by including trains going to Bhubaneswar as well.

Possible Break Journey Halts:
Dhanbad
Gaya
Mughal Sarai
Varanasi
Allahabad
Kanpur
Firozabad
Agra

Destination Stations:
New Delhi (NDLS)
Delhi (DLI)
Anand Vihar Terminal (ANVT)
Nijamuddin

Tried all possible combinations with above mentioned options. My aim was to book maximum available distance from Kolkata to Delhi. The best possible confirmed tickets i got Sealdah – Allahabad (800 km) around 60% of total distance ( Kolkata ~ Delhi = 1400 km). Booked two tickets on ANVT Tatkal.. This was a special train which runs may be to cater increased tickets demands due to summer vacations. Now the remaining portion of journey tickets has to be booked.. But there were no tickets available after Allahabad. So we were left with following options.

Book a tatkal ticket from Allahabad to Delhi
Book a tatkal ticket from Kolkata to Delhi
Book waiting List tickets physically from Railway Station Passenger Reservation System.
Reach Allahabad to Kanpur by local train and Book a tatkal ticket from Kanpur to Delhi
Book Bus tickets from Allahabad to Delhi

So on next day 12th June at 10 am i was ready for Tatkal Booking. Initially i thought i will try simultaneously from Laptop + Irctc Website & IRCTC Connect Android App.. But Irctc Connect App allows booking tatkal tickets after 12 pm only. I had a single option left. I was using MTS 3G and also had a backup of Airtel 3G on my phone. I have prepared the list of trains i will try first.

Train List targeted for Tatkal.
ANVT Tatkal ( Same Train we were travelling till allahabad)

## Journey from Kolkata to Delhi

# Roaming Around in Delhi

Excessive Charge by IRCTC from Railway Booking

IRCTC is charging a lot for online booking of any railway ticket.. I was booking a 2S ticket Howrah – Balasore.. I checked fare.. Its with following break up..

Base fare = 85
Superfast Charge = 15
Reservation Charge = 15
———————————-
Total = 115 inr

irctc-actual

But after completing online payment via Netbanking i realized i end up paying 149.20 inr which is 34.20 inr more than actual fare.. Almost 30% of actual fare..

Ticket Fare : Rs. 115.00
Service Charge : Rs. 22.80
HDFC Bank Charge Rs. 11.40
—————————————–
Total = Rs. 149.20

irctc

I used to think BookMyShow is the one who is charging almost 25 inr extra per ticket.. Now irctc is even worse than that.. If i would have booked this ticket from a booking counter in any railway station it could have costed 30-45 inr less..

Garh Panchakot – Maithon Trip

********29th August, 2014*********

We started for Howrah from our office at around 8:15 pm on Friday..

Luckily we got direct bus to Howrah from New Town..

Started our Journey from New Town Bus Stand

Due to Ganesh Chaturthi most of the probable cialis price traffic http://matenwaclc.org/diflucan-overdose/ jam prone areas were almost empty..

We could reach Howrah station by 9:30 pm..

We had our dinner at Monginis Outlet inside Howrah station.. Food quality was good, better than our earlier experience at Howrah station..

IMG_20140830_052026 IMG_20140830_052141 IMG_20140830_085233 IMG_20140830_090013 IMG_20140830_110936 IMG_20140830_133035 IMG_20140830_133338 IMG_20140830_134017 IMG_20140830_140520 IMG_20140830_140538 IMG_20140830_140549 IMG_20140830_140608 IMG_20140830_140641

Train was supposed to start at 11:05 pm.. But it was 30 min late.. We boarded train, chatted for 1 hour and then went to bed..

********30th August, 2014*********
Although train was late from Howrah, we reached Adra station on time by 5:15..

********31st August, 2014*********

We started for sight seeing at 10:30 after checking out from Garpanchakot lodge.. We went to Jaichandi hills, Garh of Panchakot kings, Murardai Lake ( Baranti village ).. Then had lunch ( butter nun, butter chicken Marsala, egg tarka ) at road side dhaba.. Then dropped two of our colleagues at Barakar station and came to Maithon.. At Maithon we checked in at Hotel Shanti Nivas.. After dropping our bags at hotel we went to Maithon dam for boating.. We took a country boat for 7 people.. Boatman took us to the big island.. It was around 30 min boat ride amidst beautiful Damodar river .. After that we sat down on the dam bridge and enjoyed the evening gentle breeze ..

********1st September, 2014********
We woke up at around 6:30 am.. Chatted among ourselves for an hour and got ready by 9 am..

Trek to Sandakfu – Chintakfu

23rd May

We started for our Sandakfu – Chintakfu trek from Sealdah station at 10:15 pm..

Gour express started on Time.. Its neat and clean.. Weather also quite nice..

24th May

I had a good sleep.. Woke up near farakka station..

Our train was running 30 min late.. We reached Maldah at around 7 am..

We rested a while at the waiting room… Then went for breakfast… Boiled egg , bread, chick peas, chatu mix made nice breakfast… Purchased dates, muri, chira, chanachur for trekking.. Again back to waiting room… Our train to NJP Jhajha-Dibrughar was scheduled to come at 8:45 am.. But its 30 min late.. So charging my mobile in waiting room and blogging…

Train came at 9:45 am… We reached NJP at 2:20 pm.. Train was late.. We tried to book reserved car… But they are asking 4000 INR which seemed overpriced to us… We came to Darjeeling more by auto 20 INR by head.. Then we booked a reserved jeep to Manebhanjan for 1900 INR.. This jeep was heading to sukhiapokhri.. so his pricing was reasonable… We had lunch at nearby restaurant and started at 4 pm towards Manebhanjan…

Reached mirik at 5:30 pm.. From mirik we started sitting on roof top of the jeep.. It was awesome view and experience…

Reached sukhiapokhri at 6:45 pm.. We had snacks , tea here..

Then started for Manebhanjan at 7 pm… 6 kms to go..

Reached Manebhanjan… Met our guide Raju bhaiyaa.. Bought plastic to fight rain and started for chitrey at 7:45 pm…

We walked 2.5 km and reached chitrey at 8:50 pm… Our trek from Manebhanjan to chitrey seemed tougher as it was the beginning and we were tired after almost 24 hours journey… We took a nine bed dormatory for 7 ppl… Freshened up… Ordered dinner egg curry, potato veg fry, daal….

We had nice dinner… Planning to go bed at 22:30 pm.. We chatted for a while and dived into deep sleep…

25th May

We woke up and had tea.. Roamed around the chitray home stay… We pre-ordered breakfast roti sabji, bread omlet , bread butter… They served breakfast hot and we enjoyed it.. We freshened up, packed our bags.. We kept our bag at the home stay and went to visit monstry.. We spent some time and came back to home stay… We took a porter (Daowa ji) who carried 15 kg bag pack. Daowa ji is a very nice guy.. Our guide Raju was not very experienced in Nepal trail. So he asked for Daowa ji who went to chintapur from Ilam once. We packed our bag to be less than 10 kg..

We started from chitray at 10 am.. We headed towards Lameydhurai.. We took around 1.5 hrs to cover around 3 km.. There are two hotels… We had dry fruits, tea and biscuit at one of them in lameydhurai..

We trekked for another 1.5 hours to cover 3 km to reach Meghma… We entered the hotel next to the road to Tonglu.. We had wai wai, biscuit, tea.. Then we rested for 15-20 min..

We started for tonglu.. It was pretty steep.. Rain started while trekking .. We used the plastic covers to avoid rain drops.. Suddenly sky became clear and we saw nice view of the hills.. We took around one hour to trek 1.5 km to reach Tonglu home stay.. Home stay is quite nice rooms.. We are going for lunch at 4 pm…

We had rice , egg curry, Gobi sabji, daal , papad, salad in lunch… Then we roamed around tonglu.. We went to the pokhri and saw nearby trekker hat. The condition of trekker hut did not seem very good.. Few of the window glasses were broken and patched with plastics.. Raju Bhaiya warned us earlier not to book the trekker hut.. So we realized that we did the right thing by staying at the home stay.. Then i saw few farming area where farmers were working hard.. We saw potato, corn plantation.. I noticed a way to uphill and I started hiking to the top of the hill.. I got better view of surrounding area.. There is a single rock almost at the corner.. It was a perfect place to sit down.. I felt like Samba of Lion King movie.. After some time I went to the another peak where few tombs were there.. I wanted to see the route we took to reach Tonglu.. But it was foggy. So I could not see the view.. I climbed down.. We saw a banner and gate of botanical garden..We went down to find out the botanical garden. But could not find any. We came back to Now its almost dark.. Its time to gossip… We chatted about lots of things.. We are 6 colleagues, my brother and the guide… We picked a topic for discussion – (love life – how do you proposed ur partner ).. It was fun filled evening…
They called us for dinner… We asked for chicken.. But they did not get chicken.. They prepared onion pakora, potato-beans-cabbage veg , daal, papas, rice. We finished dinner by 10 pm. We decided to wake up early.. But we were trying to scare other team members who were staying upstairs.. Then a cat came to scare us.. We slept at 11:30 pm..

26th May

We woke up at 6 am.. But it was raining and weather was foggy.. So we did not get out.. At around 6:30 am I got out from bed, freshened up and went to the kitchen.. Had a hot tea.. Talked with home stay owner.. Tonglu does not have water source.. They carry drinking water from 1.5 km downhill everyday.. They manage with rain water and small pond water ( Pokhari).. I was talking to their daughter .. She studies in class five.. She is a smart girl.. She completed all her homework with in 30 min and she helped her mom in house hold work.. We had another round of tea and had breakfast with oats-milk and wai wai noodles.. Then we packed our bags again and got ready for trek to Kalapokhri.. I went to Tonglu uphill near graveyard to get the final view of our last two days route from Meghma.. It was a magnificent view.. Almost 270 degree view.. I could see our route to Tumling as well… We started our trek at around 10 am..

We trekked for 35 min to cover 1.5 km downhill trek to Tumling.. Tumling has a nice view of Sandakfu and rimbick side hills.. Tumling has water supply and few good home stays…

We trekked for another 17 min to cover 1.12 km to reach Jaubari Fatak Singalila park entrance.. We could see road construction is going on.. We had to book tickets 100 per person as entry fee to Singalila national park.. We got Vodafone and reliance network at Jaibari fatak.. So we called up our near And dear ones.. It was raining … We covered ourselves with plastic..

We started for our next target Jaubari village.. We took 50 min to trek 2.75 km.. We entered a restaurant for tea.. We exchanged Indian rupees with Nepali rupees.. We are going to enter Nepal from Sandakfu. In Nepal they accept up to 100 rupees note.. 500 & 1000 notes may not work in Nepal. So we exchanged the Indian rupees here just to be safe.. We got 12200 nepali money in exchange of 7600 INR.. We wrapped our bags with plastic and prepared for the rain..

From jaubari the road became muddy, steep … We took 45 min to cover 2.33 km.. Roadside view was awesome.. We could see clear view sometimes .. We saw several nepali villages while trekking.. We reached Gauribas at 1:15 am.. We ordered lunch here.. We had hot water and freshened up.. They prepared lunch in front of us.. Potato fry , daal, papad, omlet.. Food was really good and prepared with care.. Omlet was really good and we ordered for more..

We started from gauribas at 2:50 pm.. Its pretty steep till kaikhatta.. We covered 2:18 km in one hour.. reached khaikhatta around 4 pm.. We could see our “trek route from joubari to gauribas” on the way to khaikhatta…

We started for Kalapokhri … We could see good view… Rododrendon flowers are visible somewhere… We could see tonglu hill .. Trek is almost straight.. Not much uphill. Roadside view was awesome.. Sky was almost clear. Rain was not much. We enjoyed the trek. We reached kalapokhri at 5:30 pm.. We trekked 4.5 km in 1:30 hours..

We are staying at Pandim lodge.. Its nice.. We took a dormatory for five guys and a room for 2 girls.. Its raining.. Its pretty warm inside the room… Last time we were staying at another lodge which was not very good.. So we made sure that we get the best lodge.. Pandim lodge was really upto the expectations..

We did not like the tea we had in meghma, so we asked for strong tea and brandy..They served us hot tea with biscuits.. Tea was better in taste but less in quantity.. Then we were served with honey bee brandy.. It was different in taste but good enough to give us warmth we needed.. We started playing arm wrestling and shadow fights.. Then we started gossiping.. We ordered chicken curry for 5 people, egg curry for 1 and 1 veg meal.. Dinner was served at around 8 pm.. Dinner room was in the opposite side of the road.. We had to dodge rain drops to reach dinner room… Dinner room was filled with people.. They had fire litted up in a big bowl.. We were sitting around the fire for a while.. They asked us not to make noise as a little baby was sleeping. The baby was really cute and his aunt was dressed up very nicely who was taking care of him.. The baby woke up.. We played with him.. Dinner was served … Almost the desired menu.. Food was really good.. We selected our breakfast for tomorrow – oats with milk and roti sabji.. We had a very sound sleep.. Bed were cozy.. Room was warm enough..

27th May

We woke up and were little bit disappointed to notice that its raining continuously.. Our chances to get good view from Sandakfu was dooming.. We had breakfast at the dining hall and tried to dry up our socks and jackets in the fire.. It was almost 10 am and the rain seemed like not going to stop.. So we packed up, wrapped ourselves in plastic cover and started towards Sandakfu.. Road was muddy and rain was moderate.. So we were walking slowly towards bikaybhanjan.. We took almost 50 min to reach bikaybhanjan by walking 2.15 km.. Road was not that steep.. So trek was almost easy except the nagging rain.. Could not see much of view.. Sometimes we could see various peak amidst fog wrapped with mystery… We went inside a tea shop.. We met another trekking group who happens to be my brother’s college junior.. They came for photography and was very disappointed due to bad weather.. We also met few Indian army personnel – SSB.. They were traveling to Falut in a land rover.. We had tea there and few of us sat near to the fire to warm up their hands.. Our guide mentioned next 4-5 km until we reach Sandakfu going to be very steep.. So we geared up mentally and started for Sandakfu..
Bikaybhanjan to Sandakfu was pretty steep and it was raining continuously so the road was muddy and slippery… We could not see much view also as the weather was foggy and cloudy..

There were another concern.. I made a blunder.. I was supposed to book the trekker hut at Sandakfu for 27th – 28th May.. But i booked it for 26th-27th May.. I realised it after coming to Kalapokhri.. So There were a chance of not getting room in Sandakfu and weather was so bad that we needed to take rest.. Good part was we started early and did not see much Land rovers passing us.. We covered 2.5 km in 1.5 hours.. We took lots of shortcuts to reach early.. Most of shortcuts were like staircase built with rocks.. It was bit more convenient for us to climb rocky staircases than walking by the muddy road.. Some of friends reached Trekker Hut B.. I was waiting for 10 min to last two love birds to reach Sandakfu.. Our guide talked with the Trekker Hut Caretaker for rooms.. He came to me with a unhappy face which made bit of nervous.. Our Guide was unhappy that we had to pay extra for rooms, but i was very happy that we atleast got the rooms.. I talked with the caretaker and settled that we will pay for 7 persons again.. We went inside the trekkers hut and changed with warm clothes.. I was feeling very cold as i waited almost 15 min with the rinsed clothes.. My fingers were almost numb.. Raju Bhaiya served us hot tea and we were relaxed again.. But the sad thing is we could not see any view in sandakfu.. This was my third visit to sandakfu.. i have seen view from sandakfu earlier, but there are 4 guys who went to Sandakfu for first time.. It was very disappointing for them as they could not see anything.. Trekkers Hut B has 20 beds.. There was 9 occupants already including us.. I saw a note in Trekkers Hut Kitchen that 13 people are going to come.. There might be shortage of beds..

We ordered for Kichuri with Omelet.. We had biscuits and dry fruits which we carried all the way.. Raju Bhaiya said that we need to entry our names in SSB camp.. I collected xerox of our ID cards from all 7 of us ( one of us did not have xerox, she gave the original).. Me and Raju Bhaiya went to SSB camp and saw Jawans were sleeping in their hut.. I met the jawans again whom were coming from bikaybhanjan.. The person in charge said The guy responsible for registering names is not available now.. he contacted him over walky-talky.. He asked us to come after 5 min.. So me and raju bhaiya started walking towards Falut.. The weather was becoming clear.. So we had a ray of hope that we are going to enjoy nice view from sandakfu tomorrow morning..We went almost 2 km and met few others guides/porter.. Then suddenly rain came.. We were running back to SSB camp.. My dry clothes were wet again.. I saw SSB Jawans already entered our names from xerox.. i signed my name and also entered the last member of our group from her original copy.. SSB jawans asked to us come with the remaining team members to sign their names in the Register whenever rain stops..

We went back to Trekkers Hut and got rid of wet jackets , hats.. Then i gave my jacket to raju bhaiya to dry it up..

Lunch were served.. Its kichuri with omelets , potato fries, salad , pickle and papads. It was awesome food.. One of our team member had breathing problems.. So she took rest , we finished our lunch in the dining hall.. She recovered quickly and had her lunch.. We started chatting..

Finally a big group came to Trekkers hut.. They had booking for 13 people.. So we had to leave our beds from the hall room and occupy beds in the smaller room.. The smaller room had 5 beds and we were 7 people.. We allotted 2 beds for 2 girls and merged remaining 3 beds to make room for 5 guys.. Good thing is Smaller room is more warmer and less scattered so we could chat more conveniently.. Suspense is over.. We got our rooms booked permanently..

We sat in our beds and started gossiping.. Raju Bhaiya served hot tea and biscuits again.. Tea was really good here.. It became dark and our discussion continued till dinner time.. We were praying for rain to stop and give us a chance to view the serene beauty of Sandakfu. Dinner were served at 8 pm.. Rice, Daal , Sabji and omlete.. It was good.. We chatted for couple of hours and went to bed with a hope of Sunny morning..

28th May

We woke up at around 6am and realized rain is continued to haunt us.. We spent more time on bed , freshened up and had breakfast with Oats-milk , boiled egg , Wai-wai.. There were 3 groups in the Hut..The big trek group cancelled their trip and returning to plane land as they had children and kid with them.. The two person group were staying back in Sandakfu for one more day hoping that weather may change.. We decided to move ahead.. We packed up and wrapped ourselves with Plastic covers and ropes.. Raju bhaiya said road will be muddy in Nepal.. So we prepared for the worst..

We started for chintakfu.. We walked towards Falut for 2 km and took the diversion to left for chintakfu.. And the muddy road started … Road condition was getting worse step by step.. The rain continued to pinch us.. We are almost rinsed completely.. We walked along the muddy road for 3 km.. We took few shortcuts to avoid muddy road.. Even our guides were confused with route as they are not a very frequent travelers in this route.. Our porter Dawaji suggested to take the jungle route as its becoming impossible to walk in the mud along with wind and continuous rain.. We walked inside the jungle for 3 km and we reached a grassy land from where we could see chintakfu top.. In the mean time I slipped for the time in this trek and Landed on my butt gracefully.. I was not wearing trekking shoes as I don’t prefer them because they are heavy.. I was wearing my Nike running shoes.. Some of my friends were blaming my shoes for my epic fall.. Almost all of us slipped more than once except Dawaji.. Weather was not very cold but due to rain and windchill my face and right hand was almost freezing.. I started singing songs to move my facial muscles as well as get some encouragements..
We continued to enter deep jungle with 2 feet wide walking road.. The route was pretty challenging as left side was open for at least 50 meter fall and rocky surface on the right side.. Rain made the road slippery and we had to cross 2-3 falls intercepting our way.. One of them was pretty dangerous as one of our team member’s feet was stuck within the rocks while crossing the falls.. The jungle route was a dangerously beautiful one.. I am sure all of us liked it as well as scared of it.. After walking almost 1 hour we reached a point where we could see our destination Chintakfu peaks clearly in front of us and on the left side we saw range of hills ending in plane land with rivers.. Our guides said that’s Ilam bazaar area and Jhapa district area.. We realized that rain has stopped and sky became clear.. We could see magnifient views.. We were so happy that we started photo session and spent almost 30 min there.. We had the fear of rain coming again.. So started walking .. We walked almost 15-20 min and reached the land rover road again.. We had biscuits and water.. Our guides could not tell us how much more we have to walk to reach Goruwali Bhanjan.. While walking we suddenly noticed a glimpse of snow white mountains and we were deluged with happiness.. Few of us saw dreams of seeing mountains last night.. It’s a dream come true experience .. We walked half an hour more to reach Goruwali bhanjan.. Its a place sorounded by hills from 3 side and a view of range of hills from another side..

Andaman: The land of Diversity

 

The blister-packs are very convenient for taking along with you. !

All the medications one can see in our product lists are generic.

Great product!!! Best I have found in several years taking medicines. ?

Many rogue pharmacies are happy to bypass a doctor’s prescription in order to win your business.

 

viagr a pfizer

 

In Andaman in a small area you can find sea(even that is with variety of colors at different islands and beaches), mountain, forests of different types, a variety of flora and fauna and a population of diversified language group.

andamans_map

 

There are total 572 islands(325 in Andaman and rest in Nicobar) in the group among which only 38 are inhabited.
The total area is 8249 sq Km of which Andaman has 6408 Sq KM and Nicobar has only 1841 Sq KM. 92% of this land is covered by forest.

The biggest island of Andaman group is Middle Andaman(1536 sq Km) and the smallest is Ross Island(0.8 Sq KM). North Island, Middle Island and South Andaman are the major islands of Andaman. Port Blair is in the South Andaman island.

The maximum breadth of Andaman islands is 52 Km with Bay of Bengal in West and Andaman Sea in East. It is 58 Km is case of Nicobar. This means no place in Andaman islands is more than 26 Km away from the sea.

The Andaman & Nicobar islands are spread between 6° to 14° North latitude and
92° to 94° East longitude with 10° channel running in between Andaman & Nicobar.

The climate is hot & humid throughout the year. The highest and lowest recorded temperature is 36° C and 25° C(written in the Samudrika Museum, I am not 100% sure that I have memorized the lowest one correctly, it may be +/- 1°C).

Andaman has 2 rainy season. One is from End April/ May – Mid September. The 2nd one is from Nov-Mid Dec.

The altitude of Andaman Islands is 0-732 m. The highest point is Saddle peak in North Andaman near Diglipur.
Kalpong, the only river of Andaman flows from Saddle peak.

The main vegetation of Andaman varies from wet evergreen forest of North to deciduous forest of Middle and South. In all the islands the coastal area is covered by Mangroves.

The Andaman Islands have been inhabited for many thousand years. The indigenous Andamanese people appear to have lived on the islands in substantial isolation from that time until the 18th century.

In 1789 British Govt of Bengal established a naval base and a penal colony on Chatham Island after Archibald Blair’s survey on 1788-89. But as a result of much death and disease the British Govt ceased the operation of this colony on May 1796.

Annoyed by killing of crews of wrecked ships by the natives British Govt proposed another settlement at Andaman islands on 1855. But the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857 forced a delay.At the same time the huge number of political prisoners after 1857 made the penal settlement at Andaman a necessity.

The construction begun at 1857 and the penal settlement was started on March 1858. At the beginning there was no jail in Andaman.

On 8th February 1872 at around 7PM, the then Viceroy of India Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo(known as Lord Mayo) was killed by a prisoner from Wahabi Movement Sher Ali when returning to the ship at Hutbay after watching the sunset from Mt Harriet. Later Sher Ali was hanged at Viper Island on 11th March of the same year.
He was the only viceroy killed in India. We have read about so many British officials killed by Indians, but only few knows about the killing of the top most official of British Govt. Surprising, isn’t it?

After this incident the British Govt decided to built a jail in the island. The construction of Cellular Jail started on 1896 and completed on 1906 and the cost was around Rs 0.7 million at that time.

919153_10200463437182037_1566817156_o

The jail has 7 wings with such an architecture so that every wing can view the back of the wing at its left.
The cellular jail has 698 cells each measured 15ft by 9ft with a single ventilator at around 10ft above the floor.

The prisoners from India as well as Burma was sent to Cellular Jail. It witnessed most cruel tortures of the British India.

Andaman was under Japanese control during World War II from March, 1942 to Oct, 1945.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose visited Cellular Jail on 30th Dec 1943 and he renamed the Andaman and Nicobar as Shahid and Swaraj Islands.

After world war II Andaman returned to British Govt who then announced to abolish the penal settlement.

After independence a number of Bengali refugees from East Pakistan got settlement in Andaman islands. So most of the people in Andaman are Bengalis.
People from other provinces of India like Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra are mostly found around Port Blair.
The population of Baratang Island is mostly of tribe Ranchi from Ranchi area.
Mayabundar area has a good percentage of Burmese (Crane) population.

The total population of Andaman as per 2011 census is 379,944.

The major languages spoken in the Andamans in numerical order are Bengali (32.6%), Tamil (27.61%), Hindi (22.95%), and Telugu (14.84%). Source: Wiki

Native People of Andaman:

Great Andamanese: Once the group with highest population, but has only around 50 members at present. They are settled at Strait Island in between Long Island and Havelock and given ration by Govt. They started marrying non-tribal people and getting mixed with the non-tribal population. A few of them can be seen posted at the Chatham Jetty as crew.
(The 10 tribes of Great Andamanese: Aka-Kari,Aka-Kora,Aka-Bo,Aka-Jeru of Norther sub-group and Aka-Kede,Aka-Kol,Oko-Juwoi,A-Pucikwar,Akar-Bale,Aka-Bea of Southern Sub-Group).

Jarwa: Presently they are around 425 in number, we have seen a number of children. SO, there number should be increasing.
They live in 3 areas: Tiru(restricted for Tourists), Middle Strait and Kadamtala(by the side of the Great Andaman Trunk Road).
Prior to 1997 they maintained a hostile relationship with settled population. These settled people were afraid of getting out after the sunset.
Presently they are given medical aids, clothes and some fruits by Indian Govt, but no formal ration is given.
One group of Jarawas, named Patang Jarawas still avoid any contact with the non-tribals.

Old people in Jarawa communitee still avoid contact with the settled population.

I was surprised to hear the story of Kaham an 125 years old Jarawa who live in Tiru area with his 95 years old partner and 17 dogs and avoid any contact with Indian Govt team employed to serve Jarawas.

There is a interesting story behind Jarawas started contacting settled people.

Jarawas used to go into the settlers villages and collect fruits from the farms after sunset. One day one Jarawa child of around 10 years were fallen from a tree and left behind.
The next morning he was found laying with a broken leg by the villagers and were handed over to the police. Govt arranged for his treatment. He was shifted to a hospital in Port Blair and then moved to Delhi.
Once completely cured he was dropped to the forest.
The boy who never lived a day outside the forest was witnessed the city life for a while,and got good care. He was so impressed by all these that he kept insisting others in the group to contact the non-tribal settlers and the Govt.

After that started a phase of disturbances. Jarawas used to come to the road and stop the vehicles, asking for food, snatching any red dress etc.

Now Govt has regular contact and a good control over them. They no more attack people with arrows but contact police for any problem with the local settlers.

Onge: Their present population is around 170. They are settled in Dungong Creek in Little Andaman and are given ration by the Govt.

Sentineli: They are the only tribe who still live in isolation in North Sentinel Island and avoid any contact with the outer world. Not much is known about them.

They all are negrito people and all are (or were before rehabilitation) in the food gather stage.

The trip to Andaman:

The think of a trip to Andaman Islands was in my mind for last couple of years. It was my dream destination for our honeymoon. But the budget constraint was on the way.

In the last week of Feb I heard of a discount in air fare and instantly booked the tickets to and from Port Blair without wasting time. I had a rough estimate on no. of required days for a trip including North Andaman. Considering that and the flight fares I had two options for the no of days: 9 days or 10 days and I had chosen the 1st one. Later on a hundred times I regretted why I did not opt for a 10 days (or even better a 11 days) trip.

After the tickets are booked I started going through various sites in internet and contacting different tour operators for a good plan. After lots of research the finalized plan was:

Day1: Reach Port Blair at 7:30. Complete the city tour including Cellular Jail, Fisheries Museum, Anthropological Museum, Samudrika Museum, Corbyn’s Cove Beach and in the evening light and sound show at Cellular Jail

Day2: Ross Island and Mt Harriet

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Day 3: Wandoor beach, Jolly Buoy and watch sunset at Chidiya Tapu. En-route visit horticulture farm and Rubber Plantation.

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Day 4: Start early at 4 AM to Mayabundar. On the way visit Baratang Lime stone cave, mud volcanoes(nothing to see), Amrakunj beach, Mirchy Dera, Dhani Nala at Rangat

 

Day 5: Start early from Mayabundar. Visit Ramnagar and Karmatang beach at Mayabundar head towards Diglipur Aerial Bay. Take speed boat from Aerial Bay to Ross & Smith Island. In the afternoon visit Kalipur beach and stay at Diglipur

Day 6: It was a Friday. On Friday there is a boat from Rangat to PortBlair via Havlock at 1PM. It takes 3 hours. So, reach Havlock by 4, check in to the hotel and visit Kalapatthar beach.

Day 7: Full day at Havlock. Visit Elephant Beach in the morning and Radhanagar beach(famous for sunset) in the afternoon.

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Day 8: Take morning boat to Neil(1hr 15 min) at 9. Full day at Neil. Visit Bharatpur Beach, Laxmanpur 2(natural bridge), Sitapur beach and experience sunset from Laxmanpur 1 beach.

Day 9: Return to Port Blair and leisurely roam around. As this was a Monday and only 2 boats from Neil is available at 8:30AM and 3:30PM, planned to take the morning boat.

Day10: Morning flight from Port Blair and back to routine life.

Now few points related to the plan and places I visited:

1. Take some time to visit the cellular jail. No need to take a guide. We took one thinking that it would be good to know the details of the historic place, but he did not tell a single word that was somewhere written in the gallery or told in the light and sound show.

2. The light and sound show has good content, but it is better to call it only a sound show and that too of poor quality, one of the boxes was not working at all. I was able to understand it as I had read a lot about Andaman and Cellular Jail before going.

3. The fisheries and Samudrika museum is good and it’s better to visit these before going for a snorkeling or diving. It will help in identifying corals and other sea-animals.

4. One may like the Anthropological Museum if some home work on tribals is done.

5. The only bitter experience in the whole trip was during the visit of Ross Island.
Most of the tourists visit 3 islands: Ross,North Bay and Viper in a package. We had chosen not to visit the last 2 as Jolly Buoy and Havlock has better coral than North Bay and Viper has nothing special.
We were told that every hour a boat goes to Ross Island. But the truth is there are many companies operating the boat service in the route and most of the boats are used for the 3 island tours.
We booked a ticket of B.P Tours and later found it has lesser no of boats than the other company. Even the boat of this company did not allow us to board as they were carrying passengers of 3 island package.

Later we were told that we faced the problem because it was Bengali Nababarsa and most of the boats of BP Tours were not working as the Bengali workers were on leave and there was huge rush as Cellular jail, jolly buoy, Baratang everything is closed on Monday.

But I am not sure if that was true as they told a lots of lies.

6. I had the plan of visiting the Mt Harriet during sun set since I read that viceroy Lord Mayo was killed when returning to boat after watching sunset from Mt Harriet. You still can see the plaque at the place where he was killed.

Mt Harriet has a forest guest house with a very good compound. A 16 KM trek to another peak (trying to remember the name  ) starts from here.
You can skip this spot if you have time constraint.

7. Jolly Buoy is a must see. Jolly Buoy has the highest variety of species of aquatic creatures. You should not miss the snorkeling here.
A permit from forest department is needed to visit this place and it is closed on Monday.

8. I heard Mahua Dera near wandoor beach has great coral reef. But at present no one is allowed to go there(earlier it was open). Please check if it is opened again.

9. Sun set from Chidiya Tapu is good. Chidiya Tapu also has a forest guest house.

10. To go to Baratang and Middle and North Andaman you need to cross the jarwa reserve area between Jeerartang and Middle Strait.
In this area the cars pass only in convoys. Convoys from Jeerar Tang(at Port Blair side) starts at 6AM, 9AM, 12noon and 2:30 PM and the convoys from Middle Strait (at Baratang side) starts at 6:30AM,9:30AM,12:30PM and 3:00 PM. One need to present the permit to the check post before the convoy starts. So if you reach the check post at 6:10 you need to wait till 9.

Use of camera is not allowed in this area.

11. At Middle Strait the car crosses the strait in a ferry. The car will cross another strait in a ferry between Kadamtala(Gandhi Ghat) and Rangat (Uttara Jetty).

12. The speed boat to Baratang Lime stone cave is available at Baratang Jetty. The journey through the mangroves is a memorable one. A permit from forest department is needed.
It is closed on Monday.

You should skip the mud volcanoes, nothing is there. It only wastes time.

13. Beaches in Rangat are good, the walk through mangroves in Dhani Nala is very good. It also has a Turtle Nesting centre.

14. One need to cross another check post for the Jarwa area at Kadamtala. But no convoy is required.

15. Sunset from Austin bridge between Mayabundar and Kalighat in Diglipur island in winter is a must see.

16. No ferry service is available to Ross & Smith island. one need to reserve a speed boat(Rs 2000). It takes less than 10 minutes in speed boat.
Ross & Smith island is the best place I have visited.

17. We chose to go to Havlock from Rangat as it saved time. But the ferry from Rangat to Havlock is not available everyday.
At present it is available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday(6 AM) and Friday(1PM). But it may change. So enquire before planning.
Tickets can be booked 3 days in advance.

18. Boats between Havlock and Neil and Neil and Port Blair is available every day. No advance booking of Tickets is permitted.

Festivals in Desert

 

You won’t find any better combination of quality and value.

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment can be viagra usa effective.

WHAT                               WHERE                         WHEN in 2013

Hati Festival………………….Joypur…………………….26 March

Kailadevi Festival…………..Karauli……………………07 th April

Gangur Festival……………Joypur……………………..13-14th April

Mewar Festival………………Udaypur…………………….13-15th April

Mahabirji Festival………….Mahabirji…………………….20-25th April

Summer Festival…………..Mt Abu……………………….20-23rd May

Gopalpur on Sea

It was a sudden tour. After a lot of confusions around date of journey, tickets and accommodations we finally started in the morning of 5th Dec by Falaknama Express. We were a bit disappointed to miss a whole day in journey but we took it positively.

We had seen the first sun beam at Howrah with the background of the Ganga & the bridge.

Our train left in time. The sound of the train passing over a bridge interrupted our drowsiness; we peeped out of the window and had full view of the beautiful Rupnarayan. We started enjoying the journey, a joyful naughty kid accompanying us in the compartment made the journey more enjoyable.

We saw 3-4 other rivers including Subarnarekha, Mahanadi and Brahmoni, a major tributary to it, just before and after Cuttack. In these days when the mighty rivers of India are becoming things of the past Mahanadi and Brahmoni are still really wide and beautiful. When the train was leaving Cuttack, the water from the pipeline entered through the open windows and drenched us.

Just before Balugaon station we saw for the first time a water land and then for the few Kms there was only water at our left. We guessed it was Chilka and its backwater and that was confirmed when we saw the Rambha station. The day was heading to its end, and the daylight was waning. In the soft light of the dying day we saw the lake, small rocky islands, fishing boats at a long distance and the bluish water extended till the horizon. We were in confusion whether we should cover Chilka in the 1.5 days we had in our hand as many told us that there is nothing much to see there But we were in love with the lake at the very first sight and the decision was taken to visit it.
The train was running late by 30 mins and we get down at Brahmapur at 5PM. The thought of reaching Gopalpur after dark was making us worried, but as we got down we forgot everything else. A bunch of green coloured birds (May be Parrots) welcomed us at the station. They should be more than 50 in number, flying around the station in a circle. The light was not sufficient to capture the colour of the flying birds; so we missed a very beautiful frame.

When we came out of the station a group of auto and taxi drivers came to us and demanded Rs 200 by auto and 250 by taxi for Gopalpur. After some bargain we got the rate of Rs 200 from a taxi driver and Rs 180 from an auto. It was complete dark before we left Brahmapur town.

We had our booking at Hotel Kalinga at Gopalpur. We reached the hotel at around 6:30PM. The booking agent charged us Rs 800+tax @10% per night. Location-wise the hotel is very good. But the amenities are very very elementary and the building is an old one. Later we came to know from a local taxi driver that the building was once the godown of the old Gopalpur port. We were allotted a view room at the direction of the light house. The view from the balcony was excellent. But the room was not at all decorated, we had even seen cockroach at the toilet. Power cut is very common in the area, and the hotel does not provide a generator backup during the day and you will get the toilet completely dark even during the day. The food was horrible.
After a few minutes of our check-in the power went off. The hotel staff said that the power would not come in an hour and as most of the guests were not in the hotel they were not ready to start the generator. We were provided with a small chargeable lantern. We had a quick fresh up and went outside to the open terrace. The beach was looking out of the world in the soft moonlight. The silhouettes of a few tourists sitting in the beach made it look mystic. The light house was sending signals to the boats in the deep sea and its piercing beam was creating a magic circle. We enjoyed the ambience and the sound of the roaring sea with a cup of tea. Then we walked for a while in the deserted beach. Our emotions were coming out in our songs and we were singing full throated.
We were listening to the mysterious sound of the sea from our bed and that is the specialty of this hotel. Sometimes it was sounding like a blast.

When the alarm rang at 5:30 it was still dark. I jumped out of the bed and went to the balcony to see the weather condition. The weather god was not in our favour in any of our previous trips and we could never get a chance to view a sun rise from a sea beach. We rushed to the beach to see the first ray of the sun. The fishing boats were coming back to the shore with their catches. We started walking towards the point where a number of boats were being seen. Fishermen were busy bringing the fishes to that place and arranging them in a rectangular area. We understood that a fish auction was going to start. We moved around the place and noticed various activities of buyers, middle men and the sellers. Mainly women from the fishing groups were carrying basket- full of fish bought by the traders while some sly people – children, urchins, even old men and women- were pilfering fish one by one the place of auction. Lives here move around the sea and the fishes.

The place was originally a habitat of tribal people who were evicted from their hearth and home for hotels and guest houses and are now being made to serve tourists. This is evident from the fact that most of the staff of the hotel as well as the people working around us were all tribals.

After breakfast we again went to the beach. The blue water was glistening in sun light. The boats with colourful sails looked like small paper boats made by children. Last night I had written the name of the hotel on the sand just in front of the hotel gate. But now we found half of the letters were washed away. We had gone towards left from our hotel in the morning where the fish auction was taking place. So this time we chose the right hand side and started walking.

There is only one hotel ‘Song of the Sea’ to the right of Hotel Kalinga, just in front of the light house. A broken wall is visible in front of that hotel. We are not sure if that is a remnant of the old port. The light house compound has a casuarina plantation which looks like a jungle. Beyond it there is a huge compound with incomplete but old stone buildings. Later we came to know from a local driver that it was being built by a Marwari businessman who came here from Kolkata, but could not complete them as the permission to construct a huge building so near the beach was not granted. We had seen a pair of goats walking on the stone wall of this premise, at some 25-30 ft height from the beach.

A number of kites, Brahminy kites, and other unknown birds were flying in circles above us. We tried capturing photos of them, but the batteries were already drained out after the photo session in the morning. So we concentrated in collecting shells. There were varieties of them and we were surprised to see the geometric patterns on them. Why they are made with so many colours and patterns?. Is it of any use to them in their struggle for existence? Why has nature created them with such beautiful designs?

We saw local fishermen crossing us from both the directions. We noticed they were vanishing or coming into sight from a point where a number of boats could be seen. We concluded that a village must be there behind the sand dunes and decided to go to the village after lunch.

We came to the beach again, this time without camera. We were ready to take bath. I am usually afraid of bathing in the sea, but at the same time feel very much attracted to it. The result is in any beach I spend a lot of time in knee deep water, but do not dare to go further. This time I became a bit more courageous and went to waist deep water. But the waves were touching my shoulders. Eventually I started playing ‘come catch me’ with the waves; running towards the beach when a big wave was coming, then again following the returning wave. The undercurrent of the sea was really dangerous. Twice the waves knocked me down and I drank a few glasses of saline water. A few who started bathing with us went back, 2-3 new groups came and they too retired.

After an enchanting fight with waves we came back to hotel around 12:30 pm. We were tired and needed food and a sweet power nap. But lunch was not ready. So we spent some time at the open terrace watching the sea, boats and kites.

After lunch we got ready to explore the fishermen’s village. Everything was seen like B&W as we were watching everything with the very bright sun at the background. Again we started walking towards right from the hotel. This part is a desolated place. The crabs were moving quickly as they felt us approaching. They were very colourful with green and red spots on yellow body. We had seen a red crab also. But it hid itself so quickly that we could not take a snap.

Finally we reached near the spot where the boats were being seen. A group of fishermen was catching fishes. They were taking the net a few metres into the sea with the help of a boat. Then they were dragging the net manually. There were 7-8 of them actually working and 4 women were waiting on the sand. They were Telegu speaking tribal people. The women had a different look for wearing the saree high above the ankles and coving their upper trunks with it fastened at the back of their neck without any blouse. They had brass ornaments like bangles, multiple earrings and nose rings. The men too had coarse and short dhotis. All of them had a weather beaten look; their skins chapped by the saline water and the rough sea wind.

We waited for sometime there, and watched their catches. From our idea of market price we had gathered from the auction in the morning we were sure that the catches from 2-3 drives would bring them not more than Rs 300-400. And from the number of the people we found at the beach we knew that at least 5-6 families have to go by this earning.

Here we saw the Brahminy kite from a vantage point very near us; it was flying so close to us that I got afraid to see its claws. Then I found two Brahminy kites sitting at the edge of a boat. They were looking like ‘byangoma-byangomi’ in our fairy tales.

We turned right, away from the sea following the foot marks on the beach. We had to climb up the wavy sands. After few steps we found 3 men making a net. They were sitting between two sand waves and were completely invisible from the sea. We approached them for a photo. Surprisingly after the photo they asked (just asked in light mood, not pressing) for money, and moaned ‘machh uthena’ (we do not get much fishes nowadays) and there body language was asking ‘how would we survive??’ The boundless sea is the only hope in their battle of life, but the sea itself has now become poorer and disappointing them. These people reminded me of the famous play ‘Riders to the Sea’ by J.M.Synge and also the novel ‘Padma Nadir Majhi’ by Manik Bandhyopadhyay. We saw progenies of ‘Kuber’ and ‘Ganesh’ in the wrinkled faces of the wizened men sitting there.

We moved again; following footsteps we climbed the sand dunes. It was full of cactuses and small Keya like bushes. After reaching the top we were able to see the locality at the other side. What we saw in front of us was not like a village. We saw a few huts far away. May be there is a village at that side. But there was nobody to ask. We could not ask the fishermen we met as they could not understand our language. They only showed the direction with hands when I mentioned the one word ‘gaon??’(Village). We found speaking only relevant words than trying to make a sentence is more powerful in communicating with people who do not understand our language.

We had to come back as the timing to climb the light house was 3:30-5:30 and it was already 4 o’clock. The Light House compound is well maintained. We were surprised when we were asked to put off our shoes before going inside the light house as we do in temples. We had to climb more than 120 steps to go to the top. We had a nice bird’s eye view of Gopalpur from there. The sun was setting making the sky and part of the beach tinged with crimson colour. But we could not capture many photos as the camera was again switched off. The battery was not sufficiently charged due to power cuts and the hotel did not provide generator facility during the day.

We came down before 5:30 as it was getting dark. We had to book a car for the next day’s trip to Rambha(Chilka). We found a travel agent Sagar Tours and Travels at the corner of the road, just beside Hotel Holiday Home. We asked for a car to Rambha. The person at the counter asked for Rs1000 for Gopalpur – Rambha – Gopalpur journey. After some bargain (we are not good at this art) the charge was fixed to Rs 1100 for Gopalpur-Rambha-Bramhapur. We asked the car to pick us up from hotel at 9:30Am.

For the next morning we had a plan to walk up to the back water we had seen from the light house. The alarm rang at 5:30. We went to the beach before sun rise and started walking towards the point where fishermen were gathering their catches. Last day we had seen a very busy auction at that place. Catches were in plenty and the auction was almost over by 7 o’clock. We don’t know the reason, but that day we did not find that enthusiasm and that hurried business. Number of fishermen was less, catches were less and those small catches were being sold before displaying it on the sand. We, as outsiders, found lack of energy on this day’s activity. But there were plenty of objects for photography and that stopped us from proceeding towards the back-water.

The car came on time and we started for Rambha at 9:45 am.
After a KM or so the car took a right turn from the road to Bramhapur. We saw a water land at both the sides of the road and we recognized it at once as the backwater we had seen from the light house which was still visible. We stopped the car as we had seen a number of birds at the back water. There were cranes, different types of Kingfishers, ‘Pankouri’ and a few unknown birds.
The car took a road which runs parallel to the beach and the road sides were full of wet lands and mangrove type trees, ‘Keya’, at first and then sand and cactus type trees and trees of cashew nuts.
Our next stop was at new Gopalpur port which is still incomplete after a couple decades. The work has gained some momentum presently after it has been handed over to some private company.
Our next and final destination was Rambha on Chilka. It took around 1.5 hrs to reach there from Gopalpur. The entrance is in a well maintained OTDC Panthanivas compound. When we reached the only motor boat had left with tourists, so the options were to take the OTDC speed boat or hire boats from locals. The charge of motor boat was Rs 550, the speed boat was Rs 850 and local boats depended on bargain. We booked one local boat for Rs 450 for visiting 3 points: breakfast point, cave, and Birds Island. It was like the fisher men’s boat. The motor was not assembled with the boat but placed separately at the edge.
‘Breakfast point’ is a small bright yellow temple like structure, which was looking beautiful on the blue water. When the boat stopped at this point we were astonished to hear the sound of water which was being subdued by the sound of motor. If one has enough time in hand rowing boat must be the best option here as the birds fly away due to the sound of the motor boats.
The lake here is surrounded by hills on both sides. Our next destination, the cave, was on the hill at our right hand side. From a distance we saw monkeys sitting on big boulders. This part looks like an island and we were surprised to think how the monkeys survive on the rocky island. The water was covered with reddish moss at this part and hundreds of small rusty coloured birds were on it. We had to climb big boulders to reach the cave.
The next destination was birds’ island on which OTDC has built a statue of a stupid Dinosaur and the boat man mentioned it as Dinosaur Island. We did not find any interest in getting down at the island. The main attractions were the birds around the island. We tried hard to balance multiple motions of the moving boat dancing on the wave and the flying or floating birds to get good snaps of the birds.
The main attraction of Rambha is watching various birds in the silent ambience. The OTDC Panthanivas is also worth for a night’s stay.
We had to conclude our short trip. The car dropped us at Bramhapur. Chennai- Howrah mail arrived at scheduled time 5:35 pm to take us back to our routine life.
We have visited a few other beaches on the eastern coast. But Gopalpur attracted us more than most of the other beaches because of its tranquil surroundings and ideal atmosphere. There were local people and their daily activities to enjoy, but, there were no crowd of tourists. We could peacefully enjoy the beauty of golden sand of the beach, the wide expanse of the blue water, could listen to the songs of birds for hours and watch the sun rise in its full glory. We would like to visit Gopalpur sometime in future again.

Sillery – The Unknown Beauty

অচিন গ্রাম সিলারী

Very impresive with fast order process and delivery. ? Generic drugs that do so should have the same therapeutic effect and therefore the same benefits as their brand-name counterparts, but at less cost.

সময়টা ১৯৭০ এর আশেপাশে।

So far so good. . Each of these medications are Indian FDA approved and are internationally certified, so you know our products are safe.

পেডং থেকে মাইল সাতেক দূরে, পাহাড়ের ঢাল বরাবর বিশাল এলাকা জুরে সিঙ্কোনা plantation এর  কাজ চলছে।  এই জনমানব হীন জঙ্গলে কাজ করতে এল ভবঘুরে চারটি পরিবার।বন দপ্তরের জমিতে দপ্তরেরই উদ্যগে পাহাড়ের উপরে এদের থাকার ব্যাবস্থা হল। শ্বাপদ সঙ্কুল গভীর জঙ্গল আর পর্বত প্রমান প্রতিকূলতা হল এদের সঙ্গী।

ধীরে ধীরে চারটি পরিবার থেকে  ৩০টি পরিবার হয়ে সেই বসতি বর্তমানে আত্মপ্রকাশ করেছে একটা গ্রাম হিসাবে।নাম ‘সিলারী গাঁও’।আমাদের এবারের গন্তব্য।

নিউ জলপাইগুড়ি  থেকে কালিঙপং।সেখান থেকে পেডং এর দিকে চলতে চলতে ২৫ কিমি.

দূরে,  পাহাড়ের উপরে এবড়োখেবড়ো পাথুরে রাস্তা দিয়ে আবার ৫ কিমি. গিয়ে যখন সিলারি পৌঁছলাম তখন বেলা প্রায় শেষ।বিকেলের আধো আলোতে সিলারী র পথের শোভা মনে দাগ কেটে যায়। মন ভরে দেখতে লাগলাম ঝাঁকে ঝাঁকে পাখিদের ঘরে ফেরা,কাছে দূরে সবজে সবজে পাহাড় গুলোর হাত ধরাধরি করে দাঁড়িয়ে থাকা।চারিদিকে সবুজ আর সবুজ। বিশাল বিশাল পাইনের অতন্দ্র পাহারায় এই গ্রামে প্রবেশ করতে হয়।শেষ ৫ কিমি গাড়ির ঝাঁকুনিতে প্রান ওষ্ঠাগত হবার যোগাড়।যাইহোক গাড়ি থেকে নেমেই গরম গরম চা পেয়ে গেলাম। চা নিয়ে দাড়িয়ে আছে মান্যতা ভাবি মানে দিলিপ তামাং এর স্ত্রী। দিলিপজি র home stay তেই আমাদের দিন দুয়েকের থাকার ব্যাবস্থা। মন চাঙ্গা হয়ে গেল।

পড়ন্ত বেলায় আমরা সবাই মিলে একটু হাঁটতে বেরলাম।হাঁটতে হাঁটতে আমরা দেখলাম বিশাল বিশাল পাইনের জঙ্গলে এক চিলতে সবুজ তৃণভূমি। অসম্ভব শান্ত আর চুপচাপ।পাইনের গোড়ায় গোড়ায় জমাট বাঁধা মেঘ। এই জায়গাটার পোশাকি নাম নাকি ‘ valley of silence’। বেশ লাগলো জায়গাটা।

চারদিকে সবুজে সবুজ। অনর্গল কিচিরমিচির, পাখিদের ঘরে ফেরার ব্যস্ততা। আর ছেঁড়া ছেঁড়া মেঘের ভেসে বেড়ানো। প্রথম দেখাতেই সিলারীকে ভালবেসে ফেললাম।

সন্ধ্যায় খোলা বারান্দায় বসে গল্প জুড়লাম দিলিপজির সাথে। জানা গেল সিলারী নামে একপ্রকার বিরুৎ আশেপাশের জঙ্গলে প্রচুর পাওয়া যেত।এখানকার লোকজন সবজি হিসাবে খেত।এই শাক থেকেই এই গ্রামের নাম। গ্রামে কিছু বছর আগেও নাকি মাঝে মাঝেই চিতার আবির্ভাব হোতো। শুনলাম তাঁর নিজের চিতা দর্শনের ঘটনা। এরপর এল গান গাওয়ার পালা।দিলিপজি,ভাবি,ডোমা রাই,আঞ্জু ভাবি মানে রান্নায় যোগ দিতে আসা পাশেরবাড়ির ভদ্রমহিলা সবাই রান্না করতে করতে আসরে যোগ দিল। home stay তে আর কোন guest ছিলনা।তাই এই সন্ধ্যায় এই পাহাড়ি মানুষগুলো কে একেবারে তাদের মত করে পাওয়া গেল ।নেপালি আর বাংলা গানে আসর জমে উঠলো।কিছু গান আমরা বুঝলাম না আর কিছু গান ওরা বুঝল না। কিন্তু সবাই আনন্দ পেলাম।রাতে দেশী মুরগির ঝোল আর রুটি আর পরিপাটি করে  জম্পেশ ঘুম।                                                                                                               ভোরবেলা উঠে ছুটলাম ১ কিমি দূরে রামিতে view point কাঞ্চনজঙ্ঘায় সূর্যোদয় দেখতে।অসম্ভব মেঘলা আবহাওয়া।সেই সাথে ঘন কুয়াশা। সূর্যদেব দেখা দিলেন না। কিন্তু প্রভাতের নরম আলোয় রুপোলি ফিতের মতো তিস্তা আমাদের রোমাঞ্চিত করে তুললো।পাহাড়ের ঢাল বরাবর লালচে সিঙ্কোনার চাষ  হচ্ছে।  চারদিকে সবুজ আর সবুজ। সে এক অদ্ভুত রঙের মেলা।

একটু বেলায় আমরা ফিরে এলাম। ফেরার পথে দেখে এলাম গ্রামের একেবারে সোজাসুজি পাহাড়ের উপর  জঙ্গলের মধ্যে প্রকাণ্ড এক পাথর।নাম ‘ভালে ডোঙ্গা’।বাংলায় যার অর্থ হয় ‘মোরগ পাথর’। কেন এই নাম তা বোধহয় ঈশ্বরই জানেন।                                                                                    লুচি তরকারি দিয়ে break fast সেরে দিলিপজীর সাথে আবার চললাম ৩০০ বছরের পুরান লেপচা রাজার ড্যামস্যাং দূর্গ দেখতে।গ্রাম থেকে ২কিমি দূরে পাহাড়ের পিছন দিকে এই দূর্গ ঘিরে লেপচা আর ভুটিয়া রাজা দের বহু দিনের লড়াইের বহু গল্প শোনা যায়। তার দুয়েকটি পাওয়া গেল দিলিপজীর মুখ থেকে।ভুটিয়া রাজা লেপচা রাজাকে দুর্গের ভিতরেই নাকি কৌশলে হত্যা করেছিল। দূর্গের গোটা কতক পাঁচিল ছাড়া অবশ্য আর কিছুই পেলাম না। যেটা পেলাম তা হলো জঙ্গল কে অনুভব করার আনন্দ। বিশাল বিশাল মহীরুহ।উতিস,চাপ,সাহু কত রকমের স্থানীয় নাম তাদের। সাথে পাইন, রোডডেন্দ্রন আর প্রচুর জানা অজানা অর্কিড । আছে অসংখ্য ভেষজ গুল্ম যেগুলো গ্রামবাসীদের কাছে ঈশ্বরের আশীর্বাদের মতো। আর তারই মধ্যে নানান চেনা অচেনা পাখিদের অবিরাম কোলাহল। সত্যিই এক দারুন ভালোলাগা তৈরি হয়ে যায়। দূর্গের একটা বিশেষ জায়গায় স্থানীয় এই বৌদ্ধ অধিবাসীরা প্রার্থনা করেন। দেখলাম বেদির উপরে প্রদীপ আর ধূপ রাখা।বেশ কিছু রঙ বেরঙ এর ফ্ল্যাগও রয়েছে। সামনের দিকে পাহাড়ের  খোলাপ্রান্ত থেকে পাখির চোখে দেখা যায় সবুজ উপত্যকার শোভা, পেদং এর সর্পিল পিচরাস্তা আর বিশমাইল জনপদ।

এরপর চললাম তিনচুলের দিকে।  ড্যামস্যাং দূর্গ থেকে একঘন্টার রাস্তা।শেষ দিকে রাস্তা খুব চড়াই।৩৬০ ডিগ্রী view point.পরিষ্কার আবহাওয়ায় তিনচুলে থেকে যে View পাওয়া যায় এক কথায় তাকে অসাধারণ বলা চলে।কিন্তু আজ আকাশের মুখ ভার।আশেপাশে ভিজে ভিজে মেঘ।আমরা ফিরে এলাম।            দুপুরে খাওদাওয়ার সময় হুড়মুড় করে বৃষ্টি নামলো। পাহাড়ে সবুজের মধ্যে বৃষ্টির মজাটাই অন্যরকম। বিকেলের দিকে বৃষ্টি থেমে গেল।সবুজ এখন যেন আরো সবুজ। মেঘে মেঘে ছেয়ে আছে চারপাশ। সামনে মেঘ পেছনে মেঘ হাত বাড়ালেই মেঘ।আমরা দিলিপজীর সাথে গ্রাম দেখতে বেরোলাম।

সিলারী তে বর্তমানে ৩০ টি পরিবারের বাস।বেশীরভাগই  তামাং পরিবার।তবে থাপা,মুখিয়া,রাই প্রভৃতি সম্প্রদায়ও আছে। প্রত্যেকটা বাড়িতেই উঠোনে নানান রঙের ফুল গাছ। মূলত চাষবাস যেমন এলাচ,আদা, রাই ইত্যাদি আর পশুপালনের উপরই সিলারী নির্ভর করত।২০০৯ নাগাদ  দিলিপ তামাং এর হাত ধরে এখানে পর্যটকদের আসাযাওয়া শুরু হয়।গ্রামের চার পাঁচটি পরিবার এখন  তাদের স্বাভাবিক জীবিকার পাশাপাশি home stay চালায়। কিন্তু গ্রামবাসীদের মানসিকতা এখনো নির্মলই রয়ে গেছে। উপরি পয়সার আনাগোনা তাদের মানবিকতাকে ছুঁতে পারেনি। পঞ্চাশের কোটার দিলিপ তামাং থেকে শুরু করে সদ্য সেনাবাহিনীতে যোগ দিতে চলা তরুণ সোরেন থাপাও তাই একসাথে বলে ফেলে ‘বেশি ট্যুরিষ্ট আমরা চাই না,তাতে আমাদের পরিবেশের বিপদ। আমাদের পারস্পরিক সম্পর্কের বিপদ।আমাদের গ্রামের বিপদ।‘

হয়ত সত্যি।

গ্রামে একজনের ঘর বানাতে এগিয়ে আসে আর এক জন। কারো বাড়িতে অতিথি এলে রান্নায় হাত লাগায় আশেপাশের অন্যান্য মহিলারা।তিন বছরের নিরজ তামাং দৌড়ে বেড়ায় গ্রামের এপ্রান্ত থেকে ওপ্রান্ত এবাড়ি থেকে ওবাড়ি কোনও গণ্ডি ছাড়াই। সবাই সবার বন্ধু, সবাই সবার আত্মীয়। নিজেদের মধ্যে এই মানবিক বাঁধনই সিলারির প্রতিটি মানুষের কাছে সঞ্জীবনী।                                                  গ্রামের ঠিক মাঝখানে  পাহাড়ের বুক ফুঁড়ে উঠে আসে ক্ষীণ জলধারা। এখানে বসবাসকারী সমস্ত প্রানের একমাত্র জলের উৎস। যেটা কোনও একসময় এলাকার জন্য যথেষ্ট ছিল কিন্তু এখন একালে ‘Tourist’ দের দৌলতে আর প্রয়োজন মেটে না।

পেদং এর দিক থেকে বিদ্যুতের লাইন হবার কথা ছিল। Electric pole বসেছে, তা নাকি প্রায় বছর দেড়েক। কিন্তু আলো আর জ্বলেনি।দিলিপজীর কাছে শুনলাম সিকিমের নাকি ১০০% গ্রামে বিদ্যুৎ পৌঁছে গেছে। অথচ পাশের পশ্চিম বাংলার এই গ্রামটিতে গ্রামীণ বৈদ্যুতিকরণের এই ভরা বাজারেও করুণ  অবস্থা কেন ভেবে পেলাম না।                                                                              গ্রামের পশ্চিমপ্রান্তে রয়েছে ড্যামস্যাং শিশুশিক্ষকেন্দ্র। যেখানে আছে একমাত্র শিক্ষক হাসিখুসি যুবক সৌরভ রাই আর ১২-১৩ টি ক্ষুদে পড়ুয়া। Class-IV এর পর ছেলেমেয়েদের যেতে হয় প্রায় ৯কিমি দূরে আলগড়া তে। যাতায়াত মূলত হেঁটেই।

ইস্কুলের মাঠে বসে গল্প করতে করতে দিলিপজী বলে উঠলেন “কাল ভোরে উঠলে কাঞ্চজঙ্ঘা দেখে পাওয়া যাবে”।আমি অবাক হলাম। মনে হোল  আগামী কাল সকালে মেঘ থাকবে কিনা আজ বিকেলে বোঝা বোধহয় এঁদের পক্ষেই সম্ভব। এঁদের  যে আত্মীয়তা প্রকৃতির সাথে।

সন্ধ্যা হয়ে এলো। আমরা ফিরে এলাম।

পরদিন সূর্য ওঠার আগে ঘরের চৌকাঠ পেরিয়ে চোখ মেলে তাকাতেই আবছা আলোয় দেখতে পেলাম পূর্ব থেকে পশ্চিমদিক অবধি দিগন্তজোরা কাঞ্চনজঙ্ঘা তার সমস্ত পারিষদদের নিয়ে দাঁড়িয়ে। সিলারী থেকে কাব্রু সাউথ, কাব্রু নরথ,পানডিম,কুম্ভকর্ণ,ধবলগিরি এবং আর অনেক নাম না জানা তুষারাবৃত শৃঙ্গের সাথে কাঞ্চনজঙ্ঘার এই অসাধারন দৃশ্য দেখতেই তো আমাদের ছুটে আসা।

একটু পরেই যখন এক বিশেষ দৈবক্ষণে সূর্যদেবের আলতো ছোঁয়া লাগলো গিরিকাঞ্চনে,রুপলি চূড়া তখন সিদুরে মাখামাখি। দুচোখ ভরে দেখলাম উপরে নীল আকাশ আর নিচে ঘন সবুজের মধ্যে গিরিরাজের সেই অপরূপ রংমিলন্তি। আবার আমরা রামিতে view point ছুটলাম। পাখির চোখে দেখলাম মোহোময়ী তিস্তা আর সামনে দিগন্তব্যাপী গিরিশৃঙ্গ। প্রকৃতির এই আশ্চর্য রূপ হয়তো কোনও দিন ভুলতে পারব না।

মনটা কেমন করে উঠলো।

ছুটি র ছুটি।এবার বাড়ি ফেরার পালা।

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শিয়ালদা,হাওড়া থেকে ট্রেনে নিউ জলপাইগুড়ি।তারপর পানি ট্যাঙ্কির মোড় থেকে কালিংপং এর শেয়ার জীপ। সেখান থেকে গাড়ি  ভাড়া করে নেওয়াই ভাল। নইলে শেয়ার জীপে পেডং এর কিছুটা আগে থেকে 4 কিমি মতো হাঁটতে হবে। যোগাযোগ করুণ দিলিপ তামাং এর সাথে

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সিলারী তে বিদ্যুৎ নেই তবে সন্ধ্যায়  জেনারেটর এর আলো পাওয়া যায়।জলের সংকট তবুও এখানকার মানুষ ‘tourist’ দের কোন অসুবিধা হতে দেয় না,তাইবলে অপচয় করা ঠিক নয়। প্রয়োজন অনুযায়ী ওষুধপত্র সঙ্গে রাখা ভাল। কোনকারনেই পাহাড়ে নোংরা করা উচিৎ নয়।