Wednesday, 4 April 2018

PAGSAMKHA PATH TREKKING


There is an old English saying – “Lesser known are more interesting.” There are boundless treasures of nature hidden from our view in the inaccessible frontiers of the Country. These beautiful gifts, the abundances of Nature, are indeed intoxicating.
To the die-hard lovers of nature, nowadays, trekking is becoming more and more popular. It is such route, where Civilisation’s paw is not yet felt. The animals, the birds, the green, the mountain and the sky are waiting for those who feel delighted to make one’s acquaintance with wild Cascades, the unknown mountain ranges and the unfamiliar blossoms.
To unwind for an extended weekend of three days from the humdrum of day-to-day life, we chose to go trekking to Buxa and further north to Lapchakha, to feel the pulse of nature! With endless green against a blue azure sky, the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Dooars at the foot of the Himalayas in West Bengal is a land of surreal dreams.
From Kolkata, we come to Alipurduar by train. We get along with our tour on Day 1; from Alipurduar Court area taking an early lunch.
The journey along the Buxa Feeder road is mesmerizing. In the horizon we see the smoky mountain ranges. As we move on contemplating, all of a sudden we’re to believe that we’ve come far beyond the lush green tea-gardens. We’re so much engrossed with our thoughts that without any notice, the deep enthralling forests of Dooars engulf us. Dense Sal forests surrounded us. The silent nerve-wrecking shadowy road moves on and on. The drowning of Crickets is the only other sound felt.
In this Tour we’re joined and guided by Mr. Tamal Goswami, who we learn as we proceed is an archaeologist, a friend of nature and also of the forest dwellers, in the true sense of the term. A halt at the Rajabhatkhawa Nature Interpretation Centre is an experience. It helps us to reveal the detailed study of nature, with its flora and fauna. After getting our permits to enter the Core forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve, we arrive at Santrabari, from where onwards we’re to trek.
Carrying our haversacks on back, along with our food materials, we start trekking. According to the local people, the journey is of forty-five minutes. For the people of plains, it takes two and a half hours. The route is along the lap of the range, like a Python, turning this way and that. An ascent followed by a descent, again an ascent….. We trek through the virgin forests and listen to the magical music of nature.


Hsshh!! Just a word for you secretly. Mr. Goswami is slowly revealing to us the magic spell of wilderness! – his acquainting us with the unknown blossoms, rare orchids, wild smells, hilly cascades and glimpses of beautiful birds with their signature tunes is a melody forever.
After an hour’s wild trekking we reach the first village – Sadar Bazar. For those who cannot take the journey at a starch on want to enjoy the wild, wildlife – they can stay at Rover’s Inn. But we opt to move on. Several Drukpa (tribal) children in red, green, yellow greet us along the way and join us.
As we continue over journey, it is nearly late afternoon. All of a sudden, much to our surprise he points us – the beams of sunlight glimmer over the top of the Buxa fort! ‘Megher Gaye Jailkhana’ (মেঘের গায়ে জেলখানা) – the detune camp amidst smoky clouds. We emerge onto a valley.
(Hey look! Is this the place where we’re going to stay? A wooden house!)
The forest villagers join their hands to play hosts for the tourists. In other words the nature lovers or trekkers are accommodated in the homes of ethnic villagers and entertain them with local cuisine & flavor. The setting sun in the backdrop of the Buxa fort seems to step forward to establish this strong bondage between man and nature.
As complete darkness engulfs us, we come back to the Dukpas Hut. From the bedroom’s windows it’s the round silvery moon in eastward ho! The early dinner in solar long consists of hot rice, Dukpa chicken curry with salad. The full moon lulls us to sleep.
Next morning we come out early, to be a companion of the tender, un-smelt dawn. The tempting Buxa fort calls us. The foothills of the Bhutan hills – Buxaduar has a history of its own. From a territorial fort to a Detention  camp, the walls still bear the whisperings. Later on we visited the Heritage Museum.
Our next destination is further east to Lapchakha. The hilly route through big and small crevices moves along prattling with the mountains and the forests. Moving amidst the forests, smearing our bodies with the smell of greenery, enveloping in the mystery of chiaroscuro – has a joy in itself. As we enter the village, we pass through a Buddhist (stupa) Chorten.
After an hour, amazement awaits us. It’s a valley!! – The touch of the magic wand of the wizard has revealed to us a wonder world! On entering Lapchakha, dense fog surrounds us. As we stand mesmerized, all of a sudden, everything changes to a golden hue, again by the trick of the invisible magician.
Our resting place in Lapchakha is ‘Da chhin’ – one of the few houses of the Dukpas, providing strong ethnic flavor. As lunch we’re served with their inimitable cuisine. I personally find ‘Ima taachi’ mouthe watering.
Night came in steady steps here. Slowly the different ranges, dense forests, distant rivers, vanish out of our sight as dense clouds and fog engulf us. The solitary cry of the ‘Ha-titi’ wishes us goodnight!


On day 3, its time to descend ‘Phodgem’ (the elder brother) owner of the Da chin) and his family bid us farewell. We bid adieu to the endless shades of green, music of supreme silence to innumerable faces to Lapchakha and to Buxa. We return by the same route. Winds blowing through rustling leaves, the non-stop music of mountain streams, rays of golden sunlight trickling through the surroundings accompany us till Santrabari where our carriage is waiting for us – and we think it’s from here that we start to real journey.


How to go: One has to reach New Alipurduar or Alipurduar Junction by train from Kolkata/ Bombay/ Delhi. One can go from Alipurduar to Santrabari by any conveyance and then trek onwards to Buxa.
Bus Servise: Weekly (on Sun day) NBSTC Bus service available from Alipurduar for Buxaduar on on 7 am & 1 pm. Daily on 7 am & 1 pm NBSTC Bus service available from Alipurduar to Jainti Via 28-19 busty Beat Office for Buxaduar.

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