Blogs from West Bengal, India, Asia

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Asia » India » West Bengal » Darjeeling March 16th 2014

A short flight from Calcutta took us north to Bagdogra where our new guide and driver were waiting to drive us up into the mountains, starting from a height of 500ft and ending at 7000ft in Darjeeling. The road was steep with multiple hairpin bends and some fairly rough potholed stretches. Darjeeling is situated in a pine-clad valley, with the town clinging to the steep mountainsides, consisting of small houses, shops and taller concrete townhouses linked by numerous small narrow streets, alleys and steps. We walked up the hillside, slightly out of breath, due to a combination of the steepness and also the altitude, to the Mall. The Mall, which sits high up on the mountain should have spectacular views but we were thwarted by low cloud and mist, is a square surrounded by small shops ... read more
Yiga Choeling Old Monastry
Tea Plantations at Darjeeling
The road to Darjeeling

Asia » India » West Bengal » Bolpur March 16th 2014

About Holi This year Holi Utsab held at Shantinikatan on 16thMarch 2014. I and my family with my friend attend this festival. This is the traditional festival so I am trying to give some synopsis . ... read more
Shantiniketan Holi Utsab
Shantiniketan Holi Utsab
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Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata March 14th 2014

Kolkata, or more widely known as and still used by most of the local population, Calcutta, is situated in the north east of India in the state of West Bengal. The former capital of the British Raj of India has a somewhat split personality - the old British developed and organised colonial heartland and the surrounding chaotic Indian areas which merge together to form a wonderful city. Our first afternoon, which passed in somewhat of a blur due to tiredness and jet lag, consisted of a tour around the colonial buildings - Victoria Memorial, St John's Church, St Paul's Cathedral and Government buildings. Next day our tour of Calcutta continued with a very varied program. We visited the Sheetalnathji Jain Temple which was painted in brightly coloured pastel shades with pink towers looking somewhat reminiscent of ... read more
Flower Market
Jain Temple
The Black Hole of Calcutta Monument

Asia » India » West Bengal » Darjeeling February 28th 2014

Molested In A Jeep! We arrived sleepy and clueless in New Jaiglupuri. We hadn't booked a driver to pick us up but we had heard that it was easy to find a share jeep to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a windy uphill 3.5 hr drive away. The first guy to approach us offered 200rp per person. A complete bargain compared to the 2500rp wanted by the hotel for the same trip with a private driver. We accepted and he led us to the back of the car park to a waiting jeep. We threw our bags on and decided to go to the toilet. The jeep doesn't leave until its full and the guy promised us we would wait only "10 minutes". Taylor was a little nervous about leaving our bags there but I reassured her they'd ... read more
Darjeeling
All rugged up and ready to explore
Darjeeling

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata February 26th 2014

Food Glorious Food Our last day in Kolkata was a full day of sightseeing and eating. I woke at 6.30am and was wide awake. I must still be in Australia time which is about 5 hours ahead. At about 7.20am the man outside our door started playing his music. I heard Taylor stir and started giggling. 5 seconds later, she was awake and not amused, which made me laugh even harder! Lol We decide to try Raj's Spanish cafe for breakfast but on the way there, we got distracted by a small mobile phone shop and decided to try get sim cards for our phones. It took ages to do and he had to photocopy our passports several times as well as us having to provide a passport photo. It cost about 1300rp all up including ... read more
Milk drink?
Sharpening knives
Let sleeping dogs lie..

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Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata February 25th 2014

Welcome to the City of Joy I was up bright and early on my first official day in Kolkata.. City of joy.. I went to jump in the shower and was rudely awakened by the face I had no hot water... I almost gave up on hot water until I had a last minute lightbulb moment that it was India and therefore I should expect the unexpected... I turned the hot water tap off and a minute later low and behold, the hot water ran... Of course hot means cold and cold means hot! I then went to find Taylor who was staying in a nearby room. She had shared a room with an extremely interesting character from Israel. A 25yo hippie called Leron. Lovely girl but completely crazy! The three of us headed off to ... read more
Chai
City life
Reading the Sunday newspaper

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata February 21st 2014

Well it's here... My long awaited trip of a lifetime off to the land of the unexpected, the one country said to test even the most experienced traveller... India! It's a country I've wanted to travel to for a long time yet the timing has never been right... I knew to go, I needed more an a fleeting moment there, so 12 months ago I took a pay cut at work to purchase extra leave and booked 7 weeks in India... As most of you know, I'd planned to do it with a friend which fell through so after a brief panic of "I can't do this", I picked myself up and got on with the plans.. I've met some other travellers online and have plans to meet up so I won't be solo too long! ... read more
The Hovel.... I mean Hostel
Hostel entrance, slightly seedy, slightly retro
Cloudy start to the trip

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata February 16th 2014

And now I'm in India. Kolkata to be precise (if you haven't heard of Kolkata it is because it used to be called Calcutta). There was a little drama when I was trying to check in at the airport in Bangkok and for a while I thought I wasn't going to make it. New Zealanders and a few other nationalities can get a one month visa on arrival for India which does away with the need to get one in advance like most people have to. When I was checking in at the Air Asia counter the man there starts flicking through my passport and then says “do you have an Indian visa?”. I say no because New Zealanders get a visa on arrival, and he says no I need a visa in my passport. I ... read more

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata » Kalighat January 14th 2014

2014 India Well it started well with my suitcase booked through to Mumbai – on the tag it said Kolkata but I knew I had to pick it up in Mumbai. I got my boarding cards for Cape Town and Johannesburg and was all set. The flight was marvelous – as I am usually a cattle class client to be in business was awesome. Of course I did have a few glasses of Tattinger and why not I had nowhere to go and it was only lunch time I could sleep it off. You get a meal before landing but noooo more drinky poohs for me then as I knew I had to keep my wits about me for India. On leaving the plane I struck up a friendship with a girl called Nikki who was ... read more
Puppies at play
Ladies chatting
Mother Teresa tomb

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata July 26th 2013

I am a little bit “on the spectrum” as they say. Technically (DSM-V) called “high functioning autistic”. But then again, maybe many of us are on the spectrum. And so, making the transition from my structured life in down town coastal Australia, with my routines around my daily ocean swims, meditation and yoga, pedantic meal preparations, and self- talk alone in my house, to the chaos of India requires some re-structuring of mind and space. I had an arduous journey over 36 hours via three legs from Hobart (having spent 3 weeks in Tasmania) to Kolkata. Mind you, i'd had put together the very cheapest flight itinerary as is my bent. I now needed a bit of readjustment to again get into my 'just so' pedantic stride. Arriving in Kolkata by plane was amazing – last ... read more
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