Our Top 5 Coorg Places To Visit

With close proximity to Bangalore, Coorg is a district in Karnataka. It is renowned for being a perfect vacation destination for tourists of all ages. Coorg, sometimes referred to as the ‘Scotland of India’ is also home to the largest number of Buddhists in India.

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Popularly known for its coffee plantations covered with breathtaking greenry, Coorg is one of the best destinations in the world to find an incredible collection of flora and fauna, amazing waterfalls and stunning landscape that would captivate anyone. Take a look below for a list of some the best places worth visiting whenever you’re planning your next trip to Coorg.

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Coorg places to visit
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Coorg places to visit
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Book a Tour of Coorg

Coorg Places To Visit 1 – Tadiandamol Trek

Well-known for being the second highest peak in the world, Tadiandamol is an incredible place to visit especially for trekkers.

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Located in the Western Ghats, this incredible attraction offers a lot of remarkable delights.

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There are lots of places to visit here including the Nalaknad Palace which is mostly used by hikers as a base camp.

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Another interesting place to see is the bee-keeping centre where a large number of bees is maintained.

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More Information

Coorg Places To Visit 2 – Mallalli Falls

Situated at the base of Pushpagiri Hill Ranges, Mallalli Falls draw a large number of tourists annually. With a depth of over 200 feet, the Mallalli Falls is a beautiful place to see waters flowing down and battering against rocks and stones. The best time of the year to visit, to see the impressive swell of water is during the monsoon season (June-September). The sound and views of the thrashing water is exhilarating.

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Coorg Places To Visit 3 – Barapole River

Regarded as the perfect placing for rafting activities, the Barapole River offers one of the country’s finest white water rafting experiences.

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Scenic delights, breathtaking views, relaxed environment and serenity all makes Barapole River a top destination among locals and tourists alike.

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It is also an ideal place to enjoy a wide variety of water sports including sailing and swimming.

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Coorg Places To Visit 4 – Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp

Regarded as one of the most visited attractions for tourists all over the world, Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp is home to a massive number of well-trained elephants.

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If you’d like to learn more about the lifestyle and psychology of Elephants, then a visit to this incredible attraction is a must.

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Coorg plces to visit
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Coorg plces to visit
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It is also a popular destination for bird watching

Coorg Places To Visit 5 – Nagarhole National Park

Of all the tourist places in Coorg, Nagarhole National Park is one of the most popular.

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For those interested in wildlife, it is highly recommended to visit this place.

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Coorg places to visit
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Coorg places to visit
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Coorg places to visit
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There are various species of birds and animals here. The best time of the year to visit is from April to May or November to February.

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Our Top 5 Coorg Places To Visit – by David John
Featured image via – All Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Some Basic Facts About New Delhi

New Delhi, the capital of India, is part of the larger territory of Delhi and is sometimes referred to as Lutyen’s Delhi to signify one of the primary architects of the new city – Sir Edwin Lutyen. It is the seat of the Indian parliament, the administrative houses, the residence of the President of India with it’s adjoining buildings that form a part of the entire structure of governance in the capital. It is also the seat of the local government of Delhi which is headed by the Chief Minister.

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New Delhi and the larger area of Delhi has always occupied a place of importance in the history of the nation. Delhi was designated as the new capital of the Mughal Empire when Emperor Shah Jahan moved his seat here.

Kolkata, for a brief period, served as the capital of the undivided nation before it was pronounced at the Delhi Durbar that the capital was once again being shifted to Delhi.
But even before all that, Delhi was around under different names and always assumed a place of importance in the history of the nation. Like the legendary city of Troy, evidence has been found of no less than seven old settlements below the current city.

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Delhi has been occupied, lost, reoccupied and bitterly fought over for hundreds of years, till the independence of the country in 1947. Delhi is sometimes referred to as the National Capital Region which extends over to a much larger area and transgresses even some nearby towns. Today Delhi NCT (National Capital Territory) accommodates over 25 million people, making it the second most populous city in the country.

How To Reach New Delhi

Delhi, being the national capital, is well connected with the rest of the world. The Indira Gandhi International Airport is one of the busiest in the world with more than 10 million passengers travelling through. It is well connected by direct flights from major national capitals elsewhere in the globe. If you are flying in to any other airports in the country, simply take a domestic transfer. There is a popular saying in India, “All roads lead to Delhi.”

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Places To Stay In New Delhi

Delhi has a wide variety of accommodations available. The best places to stay would be close to the major business districts such as Connaught Place or Carol Bagh.

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The latter is ideal for street shopping and the first one is for branded items. There are choices galore. Typically a good bed & breakfast accommodation in one of the above locations will cost $100 to $125 a night. For something more decent try the Hyatt Regency costing around $200 a night. For luxury accommodations try the ITC Grand Bharat at Gurgaon around $450 a night or the Jaypee Vasant Continental at a little less than $1000 a night.

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There is plenty of cheap accommodation available in Delhi, but choose wisely.  For example Pahar Ganj is backpacker central but check out the accommodation available in the quieter side streets off the beaten track. It might be much the same price as on the main drag, but usually of much better quality.

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New Delhi – Places To See

Delhi, though is widely considered as a junction sitting right between the golden triangle (Agra-Delhi-Jaipur), the majestic Himalayas to the North (Uttaranchal-Ladakh-Himachal), the destinations towards central India (Khajuraho-Kanha-Varanasi) and numerous other destinations across the central lands of the country, it itself is steeped in history and architecture and warrants a stay of at least two nights.

Bahai Temple

Or the Lotus Temple as it has become known was completed in 1986 in the shape of a Lotus flower,  specifically chosen as it is a common symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Islam.  

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The temple is set in lush gardens and looks stunning floodlit in the evening.  It is made from pure white marble.

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It’s interior is also spectacular.  For more info

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Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun was the second in a long line of Mughal emperors that ruled the sub-continent for several centuries. Humayun was the father of Akbar the Great. His rule was cut short when he lost his throne to Sher Shah Suri.

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He however regained control of the dominion 15 years later. The tomb was commissioned by Bega Begum and designed by the Persian architect Mirza Ghiyas. It is an imposing construction that used liberal quantities of red sandstone, Persian style gardens and embellishments.

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The Qutub Minar

Delhi has been continually occupied for more than a millennia. Evidence has been found that dates back to the 6th century BC. It even has a presence in Indian mythology as to be the site of the fabled city of Indraprastha from the Mahabharata. Thus there are innumerable places strewn all across the NCT that are steeped in history. The Qutub Minar is one such place.

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Built-in honor of a Sufi saint, by the then sultan of Delhi Qutb-ud-din Aibak, this magnificent red minar is the second highest in the country standing at 74 meters. Made out of red sandstone and white marble, the minar took three generations to complete.

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The complex also housed the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque which probably means that the minar was used for prayers. The foundation of an old fort has been found under the structure and it is believed that this is the legendary Lal Kot (or Red Citadel) which formed the capital of the Chauhan dynasty.

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The Red Fort

How can you miss this if you are in Delhi? Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as the center of his vast empire, the magnificent 17th century construction in red sandstone was what gave his capital of Shahajanabad the necessary muscle.

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A UNESCO world heritage site the fort has two distinct areas, one accessible to the general public and the other that is under the control of the army.

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It is from the ramparts of this fort that the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on the 15th of August (Independence Day).

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New Delhi
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Jama Masjid

Built during the tenure of Emperor Shah Jahan the majestic Jama Masjid is a sight to see.

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A magnificent design constructed out of red sandstone and white marble it was designed so that more than 25,000 devotees could sit and offer prayers. It is one of the largest mosques in the country.

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Khari Baoli

The largest and one of the oldest spice markets in Asia, Khari Baoli is slightly off the main tourist circuit. However, if you are going to be walking through the Old Delhi region this is one place you shouldn’t miss.

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The sight, the sounds, the intoxicating smell and the overall experience can be overwhelming, that is if you have the appetite for something off-beat.

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The market was established well over 500 years ago and though much of the older construction has been destroyed over the course of history, the traditions remain.

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Our Golden Triangle – New Delhi – by Rajib Mukherjee
Cover Image ‘Jama Masjid by Rajarshi MITRA and all Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Agra, the city of love, the home of the Taj Mahal, and part of our Golden Triangle Tour Agra India is not to be missed. Everything that has ever been conceived has probably been said or written about the Taj Mahal. The epitome of love, the passion of a grief-stricken emperor, the legacy of a nation to the whole world. It is said that experienced travelers, those who have already seen the Taj before, envy those who see it for the first time, because it is a feeling that they cannot savor again. The initial moments of your first encounter with this magnificent 17th century specimen of Muslim architecture in India will be more of disbelief and awe than anything else.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

Agra forms a part of the legendary golden triangle of India which also includes Jaipur and New Delhi. But Agra is not only about the Taj. It is also about the whole experience of being there in the moment and savoring every bit of it. In this second part of the three part series on India’s golden triangle, we come to visit Agra.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Some basic facts

Agra was once the capital of the mighty Mughal Empire and remained so for several decades before Shahjanabad (modern Delhi) assumed that position briefly and then finally with the control of the nation passing to the British, New Delhi became the capital of the sub-continent. It was from Agra that Mughals controlled their vast empire which at the height of their power, stretched from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, had control over 1/4th of humanity and 1.2 million square miles of territory.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The city of Agra, today, is part of the Agra constituency and is in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Agra experiences a semi-arid climate, it can be very humid in the summers and enjoys a mild winter. Rainfall is less than the national average. The best time to visit Agra, if you are not a photographer, is in the winter – from December to February. If you are a photographer try coming a little later so that you can enjoy clearer views of the Taj.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Places to see

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The 17th century mausoleum of Shah Jahan’s favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal apart, there are a number other archeological places of interest. Having played an integral part during the Mughal period, the city bears witness to a number of architectural exploits some of which still awes visitors.

The Agra Fort

As the empire’s capital you would expect the presence of a highly fortified and intimidating defensive structure and the Agra Fort is just what you would be looking for. Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, because of the Red Sandstone used to build it, it was built on an older fortified structure. Agra is commonly associated with the Lodi dynasty that preceded the Mughals in North India, and of course the Mughals after them. But the fact is that it has a much older presence. The city was known for more than a 1000 years and flourished even before the arrival of the Mughals.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The present fort was built by Emperor Akbar under whose patronage Agra became the seat of power. The red sandstone used was classic to the building style of Akbar while the later additions in white marble were in line to Shah Jahan’s love affair with that rock. It is this fort which housed the legendary peacock throne of Emperor Shah Jahan. It used to be adorned with precious jewels, chief among them being a certain Koh-I-Noor diamond. His seat of power and administration was also his final place of incarceration as the aging emperor was imprisoned for eight years by his own son, before finally breathing his last. An entire afternoon spent walking the alleyways, steps and courtyards of the fort is like taking a step back in time. Don’t forget to see the Taj Mahal from the parapets of the fort in late afternoon light.

Sikandra

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The mortal remains of Akbar the great, widely considered the greatest of all Mughal rulers, rests at Sikandra. It is a pity, not too many visitors actually come here. But the ones who do experience a stunning example of Mughal architecture. Commissioned by Akbar himself during his lifetime, in keeping with the traditions, the structure is surrounded by acres of parks, a paved walkthrough leading up to the main mausoleum. The south gate is the largest and most ornamental and the usual point of entry to the complex. This gate is adorned with four minarets in white marble which are reminiscent of the minarets at the Taj Mahal. As a matter of fact local guides vouch that the idea for the Taj’s minarets had been taken from Akbar’s tomb.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – How to reach

Agra is well connected with the rest of the nation. Though the only problem is direct flights to and from connecting major cities. The newly constructed Yamuna Expressway is a six-lane access-controlled highway that connects New Delhi with Agra (a distance of 200Km) in just under 2.5 hours. If you prefer the relative comfort of train travel then the Bhopal Shatabdi leaves NDLS at 06:00 hrs and reaches Agra Cant (a distance of 195 KM) in 2 hrs. It gives you enough time to see the Taj Mahal the same day and also explore the Agra Fort later in the afternoon, before retiring for the night at Agra. A minimum of one night stay in Agra is recommended.

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Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Places to stay

Resplendent with such magnificent architectural examples from the Mughal period, it is no wonder that Agra is the most visited tourist destination in India both by local and foreign visitors. As such the city offers accommodation for all budgets. Right from the Oberoi Amarvilas (US$450 a night) to a homestay which you can book for less than US$30 a night.

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For a more intimate look at day to day life in Agra, check out the video below.

The Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – By Rajib Mukherjee

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India
You are sure to run into a few of these little guys along the way – via

This concludes our Golden Triangle Tour Agra India. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India
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Explore the Golden Triangle – Jaipur

The first time I heard about Jaipur was when I was like 7 or 8. I was watching Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray’s the ‘Golden Fort’ and in it, one of the main protagonists referred to a Fort in Jaipur – the Nahargarh Fort. It’s that moment I came to be familiar with the name Jaipur and of course about its magnificent Rajput Forts. Three decades later I am still wide-eyed about the city’s many architectural specimens and the fantastic stories of her kings and queens.

Some basic facts of Jaipur

Jaipur
Amber Fort

But Jaipur, part of the famed golden triangle of India, isn’t some isolated beacon in the middle of a vast desert. The erstwhile princely states of Udaipur, Mewar, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur are all littered with powerful examples of architecture, finest collection of art and a legacy that still fills the hearts and minds of the people who live there. These were the lands of some of the mightiest kings and queens of India. The land brims with stories of their valiant struggle against a then emerging power, the Mughals and their ultimate surrender to the colonial rule in the sub-continent.

Jaipur, however, deserves a special mention. Widely recognized as the Pink city, Jaipur is the home of the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs. King Sawai Jai Singh II was deeply intrigued with mathematics and the science of structural designing. His ambition to build a stronger and more defendable city / capital led to a design that resulted in the construction of the first planned city of India. Jaipur is a remarkable city in its own rights.

Jaipur places to see

Jaipur, today, is a congregation of the old and the modern. Increasing population and the growing demands of urbanization has meant that the new city has outgrew the old design. Thus the original planned city housing the royal residence, the old market in Jaipur and some of the popular architectural attractions now form the core of the city. The modern city encircles that core area and extends beyond.

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Within the massive fortified walls of the old city lies such tourist attractions as the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and the City Palace (residence of the erstwhile ruling family of Jaipur), which has an excellent museum. The Hawa Mahal is an intricate design that served as a looking balcony for the queens and womenfolk of the palace. They peeped through one of the 953 honeycomb styled windows and observed the commoners, the festivities and processions that went past. The Hawa Mahal, designed out of red and pink sandstone is situated at the farthest corner of the royal palace and had connections leading to the women’s chambers.

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Another notable attraction of the city is the magnificent Jal Mahal, a marvel of 18th century structural design and a brainchild of the then king of Jaipur Sawai Madho Singh I. The palace served as a royal retreat for the ruling family, though the original idea of the water reservoir was to hold water for the dry months during which it served the purpose of irrigation.

Jaipur

The Amber fort is probably the best known of all the structural attractions of the city. The Amber Fort (the first picture above) or popularly known as Amer Fort in local dialect is an imposing structure sitting high on a hill that overlooks the old city and an adjacent Lake (the Maota Lake). The Amber Fort is dominated by the Jaigarh Fort which towers above and is built on the Aravalli hills. The two forts served as a formidable defense for the city and had underground passages that connected the two. The best way to reach the amber fort is on an elephant in typical Jaipur tradition.

How to reach Jaipur

Jaipur is well connected with major cities in Rajasthan as well as the Indian capital which is 260 KM away via an excellent road network. It takes about 6-7 hours depending on the traffic to reach Jaipur by road from New Delhi. By air it is a short hop from New Delhi and there are a large number of flights from the national capital as well as from other major metros of the country. By far the flight route is more comfortable, but if you want to see rural Rajasthan then you’ve got to take the cab. For less than $200 you can get a cab from New Delhi, which will take you through all the sights in Jaipur and then drop you back to New Delhi as a part of the Delhi Jaipur golden triangle tour. Trains can get a bit noisy and jam-packed, especially if you are traveling during the season, which is November to February.

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Places to stay in Jaipur

Jaipur has a good mix of luxury, family and budget bread & breakfast type accommodations. For as low as $20 a night to more than $1500+ a night the choices are simply vast. If you want a more authentic Rajput style of accommodation, then look for a higher budget. For a homely accommodation look for one of the many homestay accommodations around Bani Park.

The golden triangle – Jaipur – By Rajib Mukherjee

Thus concludes our Golden Triangle – Jaipur. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

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If you’ve come here looking for riches, you might not find what you were initially searching for, but abundant riches of another kind you will surely find.   Let me take you deeper into my Sikkim.

The Dhungay Homestays

Somehow, I have a penchant for homestays wherever I go.  This post is about one such particular home stay lodge in Sikkim, a state that is particularly close to my heart.

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The Dhungay Homestay

The Dhungay Estate of western Sikkim isn’t the most exotic of places you would come across. I doubt if you have ever heard of it at all. I doubt that even if you are an Indian. It certainly misses the charm of old Delhi’s bustling by-lanes filled with mouthwatering goodies, it doesn’t have the nostalgic feeling that is associated with every city of the erstwhile Rajputana, and it certainly isn’t as breathtaking as the turquoise blue waters of the Andaman. As a matter of fact everyone travelling to the western fringes of the state passes through this place, without stopping or enquiring about it. Some of the best trekking experiences the country has to offer all start at the western fringes of Sikkim. So, why stop at a small hamlet in the middle of nowhere? But wait, isn’t that actually why we travel? To get away from everything once in a while? In that sense, Dhungay is the ideal place to spend a few days before you carry on with your adventure holidays in my Sikkim.

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Scenes such as this will keep you occupied the whole day

There are many reasons why the Dhungay Homestays make it to this blog. What makes the Dhungay Estate special is its people and the ambience that oozes peace in every breath of air around this place.

The estate with its main living quarters, guest accommodations, kitchen and the adjoining farm, is looked after by the Chettri family that lives here. Built back in the 1970’s the estate had an extensive refit in 2004.

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The faces behind the estate

Today, it has three operational rooms for guests (one was under repairs when I last visited my Sikkim). The ground floor is built of concrete masonry and the top floor is made of wood and bamboo. Every room has a breathtaking view of the rolling hills, that undulate towards the border with Nepal. The accommodations are basic but the hospitality is warm.

Mornings at the Dhungay Homestays

Waking up in the wee hours of the morning in my Sikkim, you will be greeted with soft clouds that seem to rise from the valley below, gathering around the estate and the rhododendron sanctuary that’s all around the estate, before slowly making their way towards east. If you are lucky, you will even get a quick glance from the majestic Kanchenjunga from the north-western corner of the horizon.

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One the many trails around the estate

The best thing about the mornings are definitely the long walks in the woods. When you are about a km or so into the mountain trail, you will realise how isolated my Sikkim is. You will be completely separated from the hustle and bustle of the world that’s beyond these woods. Schedules, meetings, deadlines, targets and reports everything will seem like a bad dream. Your mood will probably only be broken by a ‘namastay’ from a passing villager.

my Sikkim
Hydrangea in Bloom

The woods around Dhungay are teeming with rhododendrons. My Sikkim has about 30 species of rhododendrons. When standing beneath one of the tall rhododendrons, which seem to create almost a canopy around you, you will feel truly one with nature. Orchids are an integral part of Sikkim flora and fauna. There are over 600 species of orchids to be found in this tiny state. In the woods around Dhungay Homestays you can spot several of those.

Best time to visit my Sikkim and the Dhungay Homestay

Monsoon and the mountains of West Sikkim don’t mix. Every Sikkim road guide will testify this. Resultantly, if you are planning to make a road trip expect the unexpected. Road conditions can turn from reasonable to horrible just in half an hour of downpour. When it starts pouring it can stay that way for days. I remember getting stuck in a torrential downpour for nearly an hour, watching helplessly as the gushing waters swept away the soil from the road in front of us. So, starting early and keeping several hours in hand as a buffer are both great ideas.

my Sikkim
Early morning Dew

Monsoons, on the other hand can be an excellent time if you love photographing forests and forest life. The jungle walks around the estate are refreshing as long as you can keep the leeches away! Oh, yes. There are plenty of leeches around my Sikkim. I had my first brush with them here in the estate. Lucky for me, it was just a solitary rider and not a pack. It sucked and then fell off, leaving, as they say, a trail of blood. Thankfully, the local help / guide / porter, Michael used the juice of a medicine plant and the blood flow stopped within minutes.

Mid June to September  – Monsoon Season, so it’s the cheapest time to go, but you take your chances with the weather.

October to Mid November – is the best time to go for clear skies and views, but is also high season so the most expensive

April to May – Is Spring so the blossoms and warmer temperature can help make up for often cloudy skies.

How to reach the Dhungay Homestay

The estate can be reached only by road. The nearest railway station is about 125 Km away. The best way to go is by hiring a 4 x 4 jeep or SUV from the nearest major town Siliguri and reach the estate in about 4 – 5 hours.

Accommodation

The bamboo and wooden accommodation is basic but you get home cooked traditional Nepali and Bhutia food, nearby views to die for, and a warm hospitality that’s priceless.

Book now

My Sikkim & the Dhungay Homestays – by Rajib Mukherjee

All Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

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