You may be puzzled at the title of this blog so let me explain. Yesterday we were in Lolegaon where the temperature was a cool 13 Celsius when we started on the journey home. 9 hours later we were in Calcutta, via Siliguri & Bagdogra and the temperature was a sizzling 39 Celsius. That was indeed a very steep gradient indeed.
Actually we had a very nice vacation in the hills. We took off last Saturday on the Uttar Banga Express, arrived at New Jalpaiguri next morning and took a Maruti van to Lava. Next we changed into a 4WD Jeep and climbed all the way up to Rishap. This is a rather primitive place but the service that we received at Pal-babu's Tourist Centre was fabulous. So was the room with the view (a rather cloudy view, though) and the overall ambience of the place. Best of course was the huge variety of exotic flowers that grow naturally there.
After two nights in the quiet tranquility of Rishap we travelled to Gumbadara, a tiny village between Lava and Lolegaon with a good hotel ( Salakha Guest house ) but atrocious service. Weather was cool and fine and the walk through the pine woods heavenly. We saw a massive golden Buddha statue at the local gumpha. Next day we travelled to Kalimpong (rather crowded, to be sure) and bought a wonderful Bhutanese carpet.
After Gumbadara we moved on to Lolegaon. Extremely beautiful place but terrible hotels and even worse service. What to do ? Kuch Paya Kuch Khoya. The lovely thing about Lolegaon ( in addition to the standard and heavenly pine woods ) is the heritage forest and the hanging bridge. Some anonymous PWD engineer has created a wonderful experience out of a simple forest. Creativity at its best. Lolegaon was also the place where we shot some beautiful 'chitrahaar' style videos.
And then of course all good things come to an end ... 13 to 39 in 9 hours. How miserable.
Couple of facts for the future :
New Jalpaiguri to Lava : 3 hours / Rs 1200
Lava to Rishap : 1 hour / Rs 400
Lava to Gumbadara : 20 mins / Rs 200
Gumbadara to Kalimpong and Back : half a day Rs 1200
Gumbadara to Lolegaon : 1 hour / Rs 500
Lolegaon to Bagdogra : 4.5 hours / Rs 1900