I was panting desperately as I boarded the train at the last minute. I didn’t expect to put myself into such situation in my first ever solo trip as I almost missed the train. I kept my luggage under my seat and sat down. My heart beats were still faster than any normal person like a sprinter runner. As I started remembering the incidents, I smiled and laughed. Okay let me tell you a funny story. I booked a ticket to Siliguri (NJP) in Kanchankanya Express and completely forgot about it. Later again I booked another ticket for NJP in the same travel date in Darjeeling Mail. Both of the tickets were initially in Waiting List quota and I was getting two messages from IRCTC which is quite fine for two bookings. Finally my reservation in Kanchankanya Exp. got confirmed but the booking in Darjeeling Mail was RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation). I realised this very late. Kanchankanya Exp leaves Sealdah two hours before Darjeeling mail and I had one more bag to pack. I put all the things in the bag in a hurry as I could remember and left for the station. I reached the station seven minutes prior to the departure time of the train. After boarding the train I told myself that this solo trip is going to be exciting.
As I mentioned it was my first ever solo trip, I was excited about it. The year was going to end and I was searching for a place to travel. A place where I could separate myself from the hustle and bustle of the city, free from the daily chaos of life, to refuel my body with fresh energy and to rejuvenate my mind with pure thoughts. Mountains and hills always have lured me and this time also it was no exception. As I found my friends were busy with their schedule I decided to go solo. I would say everybody should try this at least once. I decided to visit Ichhegaon for two days and then to spend the Christmas in Darjeeling. This blog post is all about my experience in Ichhegaon.
Ichhegaon is a very small village near Kalimpong. If you are wondering how to reach there let me tell you this small and quite place is not yet commercialised. From Siliguri you can go to Kalimpong and from there you can book a car to Ichhegaon. There are no shared cab or public transport available to visit Ichhegaon directly. Ichhegaon is a place where you can stay for a few days without spending much. There are no hotels available there. All of them are home stays which is another very nice experience. I booked a room in Khawas Home Stay from Kolkata. The hospitality I received there was amazing. I reached Siliguri in the morning on 22nd December. As I was travelling solo, I tried to minimize my cost by availing public transport where I could. From Siliguri station I went to Panihati More in a shared auto-rickshaw. From there I took another shared cab to go to Kalimpong. It took nearly two and half hours to reach Kalimpong. I was hungry by then. I found a restaurant and had chicken momos. It was delicious. After food, I continued on the road to algarah. After I reached Algarah I called the owner of my home stay, Mr. DK Khawas. He is such a nice person. They were kind enough to pick me up from there to their home stay. I reached Ichhegaon at around 3 PM. The sun was about to set. The temperature had already fallen to 10 degree. I could feel the cold in my naked hands.
I decided to take rest for the day. In the afternoon they served me hot tea with crispy pakora. Gradually the Sun set and the valley lit up. It seemed like a thousand candles were lit in the valley. It was so amazing to experience it with my own eyes. I took few photographs. I couldn’t stay no longer outside as the temperature kept falling. I went back to my room. There was only single charging point in the room and I needed to charge both my Camera and Phone. I would advise you should carry a multipoint socket in such situation which I completely forgot this time. Coming to the available phone network, I had one Airtel, one Jio and one Vodafone sim with me. Jio was not working at all. Airtel was working but somehow I couldn’t access the internet from the Airtel. The Vodafone signal was fluctuating constantly. Later I came to know from the locals that MTS works here the best. I prepared myself to spend two days without internet and trust me it is a very good feeling. You get time to know yourself, to come close to nature, to feel the ambience and to explore the place. I had my dinner with hand made roti and chicken curry. I was tired and soon fell asleep while listening to the silence of the mountains and valleys.
Next Day Experience: http://koustavghosh.com/ichhegaon-short-trek-and-pine-forest/
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