Kheerganga – A Family Trek

You must be wondering why I am calling Kheerganga, a Family Trek. Read along, you will know.

First things first.


Kheerganga trek has two routes from it’s base, the dam near Barshaini village. One route goes through the forest area, which is approximately 13km long. This route starts from the right side of river Parvati. Another one is slightly longer one, which goes 400m towards village Tosh and then you take diversion to start the actual trek. This route starts from left side of River Parvati. Both of these routes merge at a cafe.

Kheerganga Trek
Starting View


Barshaini is the base village for Kheerganga trek. The actual trek starts from the dam. Which is approximately 1 km from the village. The real battle is to reach the dam.

First, reach Kasol, from Kasol you have many options
1) Take direct bus to Barshaini, or
2) Take bus till Manikaran, from there take either bus or cab. Bus will drop you at Barshaini village, from there you’ll have to start walking, or
3) Take direct cab from Kasol to Barshaini. It will drop you at the dam, the Kheerganga trek starts from here itself.

Direct cab(small one, Alto) from Kasol charges 900/cab, 4 people are allowed in it.

Bus from Kasol to Manikaran charges 20/person.

In Kasol, there is a cab committee, which gives numbers to cab drivers and only the driver with turn can take passengers. So you have to first take a slip from the office, they will assign you a cab driver and then only you can travel. However some cab drivers accept passengers without their turn, outside of the committee. But they too charge almost the same.

In my opinion, 3rd option is the best, because it is the fastest and most convenient. Sometimes bus conductor will put board of Barshaini but will drop you at Manikaran from there you’ll have to search for cabs (which is very difficult) or wait for another bus.

Now, to reach Kasol, you first have to reach Delhi. From Delhi you have frequent buses and not so frequent flights too.

So here is the path:

Anywhere in world –> Delhi –> Kasol –> Barshaini village –> Dam and start the Kheerganga trek.


Kheerganga is one of the most famous treks in India. People from different parts of India come here with friends and family to enjoy their vacations.

It is a 13 km long trek(one way). Along the way you’ll have many beautiful views which includes waterfall, mountain tops, valleys and forest route. These views would not let you get bored throughout your journey.

Kheerganga - A Family Trek

This is one of those few treks which has lots of refreshment points throughout the route. You can stop at regular intervals, have something and then continue again.

For those who have already done many other treks, this one would be a walk in the park. If you are a newbie to trekking then this could be a challenge for you. But don’t worry, with all the views and cafes along the way, you’ll do it easily.

One of the many cafes

Maximum portion of the route has a clearly visible and walk-able trail. Occasionally you will find some rocks. Near the water falls, you will have slippery area, be very careful at those places. Along with this, there are very few steep uphills and downhill. You can take your time and cross them with caution. At some places you will have to cross the waterfall area using the small bridge, which looks really cool.

Kheerganga - A Family Trek

At the top, you have a hot water kund. You can take bath there and remove all the tiredness of trek.

Apart from it, there is a famous Karthikeyan cave. You can visit there, but ladies are not allowed there.

Kheerganga - A Family Trek
Karthikeyan Cave


At the top, you will be surprised to see a whole village of tents. Each tent area is a Cafe and a hotel in itself.
The most attractive feature of Kheerganga trek is this tent facility, which allows you to spend the night at the top, surrounded by beautiful mountains. As the sun goes down, the colour of mountain top changes and it looks very beautiful.

As the night approaches, you can enjoy the bonfire and the music. Doesn’t it sound a perfect getaway from your daily life?

On top of it, there would be no mobile signals at the top, so you have no choice but to sit with your friends and family, no one would disturb you with call or message.
However if you want to make an emergency call, you can use the landline phones of your camp owner.


You can search on google and contact any agent you find. You will hear the biggest lie of your life: “The tents are filling up fast, we are not sure if you’ll get any at the top if you don’t book in advance”. They will charge you in between 950-1200 per person. This will include welcome tea(some might give you biscuits or something with it, some might not), dinner and breakfast.

The truth is, you will always get the tents at the top and you can bargain with the owners. You can get the tent as low as 600 per person with same facilities. One tent can accommodate 3 persons.

Dinner includes Chapati, rice, dal and sabji,  and breakfast includes one aalu Paratha and tea.

If you buy anything out of this package, you will have to pay for it. Charges are double or sometimes triple the actual price. Which, in my opinion, are justified. As they have to carry all the stuff 13 km up and arrange everything else too.

By now, you must have understood, why I called it a Family Trek?
First, there is no hurry of reaching at the top. You can start at 9 AM in the morning, take as much time as you want with as many breaks as you want and reach the top just before it gets dark.
Second, you do not have to worry about going back on the same day. Enjoy your stay at the top, relax, have a good sleep and start early in the morning.
This is one of the most chill-out treks.


Cleanliness is the biggest issue here. You can not expect a luxurious stay at the top. With all the tourists and animals, the area outside your camp would not be as clean as one might expect it to be.
Food too, is not great either. Specially the one that you get in your package. If you are ordering something out of your package, you can expect good taste.

But I must say, toilets are considerably cleaner, given the facilities. In my opinion it is in our own hands too, to keep it clean.

Kheerganga - A Family Trek


Choose your gears wisely. It is highly recommended to equip yourself with all the mandatory gear. You must make sure you have these things ready with you
* Trekking shoes or atleast good sports shoes.
* Full length lower or leggings as it prevents you with unwanted insects. Same goes with t-shirts or tops. Atleast half sleeves should be wore.
* Water bottle, no matter how many cafes you have on the way, you must always have some water in spare.
* Something to eat. Energy bar, dryfruits and biscuits would make your trek a bit easier.
* Warm clothes: no matter the season, always carry warm clothes with you as it gets really cold in the night. Although they provide you blankets , but you’ll still need them.

This was all about the Kheerganga trek. I hope you would have liked it. Do not forget to take a dip in the hot kund, it feels like heaven.

Want to experience the beauty of this trek? Here is the link of my YouTube video. Help yourself

If you love to travel with your family, I am sure you will love to plan a trip to Gangtok too. Click here to read everything you need to know, right from planning to places.

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Yash Kumar Raj

Travel and Run

Fatehgarh Sahib Gurudwara

Fatehgarh Sahib Gurudwara commemorates the sacrifice of two youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. Fateh Singh Ji and Zorawar Singh Ji, who were just 7 and 9 years old respectively. It was named after the youngest son, Fateh Singh Ji. Wazir Khan, the governor of the Mughals, gave them two options. Either to accept Islam or be buried alive. Both brothers accepted death with a smile on their faces. Upon hearing this news, their grand mother also died.

Upon their demise, the Sikhs avenged their death by killing Wazir Khan and capturing the City. Later, in the year 1843, this Gurudwara was built to commemorate the sacrifice of brave kids.

This was a brief history about this historic place. Now lets go inside the campus and find out what lies inside.

The main complex

The Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara complex has two main buildings. One, the Gurudwara and second the Thanda Burj. Along with these two, there is a Langar Hall, Pavitr Sarovar and a newly built Garden.

The Gurudwara

Upon entering the complex, you are welcomed by a huge gate and the pathway after that guides you straight to the main Gurudwara hall. 

Main gate of Fatehgarh Sahib Gurudwara
Main Gate
Main Gurudwara Campus
Main Gurudwara Campus

Cover your head either by handkerchief or the bundanas available there. Do not forget to take off your footwears and submit them. Just before you enter the Gurudwara hall, you will find a small place to wash your feet. Wash them properly, climb few stairs and enter in the hall. The verses of Holy Gurubani will fill your heart with devotion. The whole atmosphere will be very blissful. Take a round of the hall where Holy Gurubani is kept in the centre and come out of the hall from the other side.

Gurbani Hall
Gurbani Hall

Beside that hall there will be a staircase which will lead you to the basement. It is here, the actual remains of the wall, where the two boys were bricked alive, are kept. 

Once you come out of it, the carpet will take you straight to the Thunda Burj.

Thanda Burj

Thunda means Cold, Burj means
Tower. As the name implies it was a cold tower, where the mother and the sons
of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj were kept. It was a punishment that they received only because they refused to accept Islam. They were kept there in extreme conditions without any blankets and proper food. 

Thunda Burj
Thunda Burj

When you come out of it you will see a newly built garden where you can spend leisure time with you family.

While returning from the Garden, visit the Pavitr Sarover. Take a dip if you can or at least stand in there and feel the cold water.

Pavitr Sarover
Pavitr Sarover

Come out of the Sarovar complex and have langar. Langar will be available 24*7 in the Gurudwara. Make sure you take only as much which you can finish.

It would be a short visit but you will remember it for lifetime, because it is not just a place of worship, but also a place which personifies sacrifice.

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Besant Nagar Beach-Chennai

You are in Chennai for a day, you want to utilize this time by visiting some nice place. Where you can find something to eat, someplace to hang-out. You hesitantly ask some random person, “Anna, any good place in Chennai to visit…..?”. He will tell you a number of places and there are 90% chances that he will suggest Elliot’s Beach or Besant Nagar Beach. But you get confused in so many choices. You take your phone, ask Google to tell you some good places to visit in Chennai. There are 100% chances that you will see the name Elliot’s Beach aka Besant Nagar Beach in top 5 places. Such is the beauty of this place.

Besant Nagar Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Chennai. There is a 700-meter-long road, that runs alongside the beach, and the Sea is around 200 m from the road. The place offers you great views, especially during sunrise, and fresh air in the morning and in the evening, it completely transforms itself into a mela.

Besant Nagar Beach 1
Besant Nagar Beach with many colors

Let’s first visit it in the morning:

People start coming to this beach from 5 AM itself. Few of them would be from the outskirts of Chennai who would have come to watch the beautiful sunrise. Others would be the regular people, who come there and enjoy the cold breeze while they walk or run beside the beach.

Besant Nagar Beach 2
Sun's rays kissing the Sea

It is a popular destination among fitness enthusiasts. As it offers a huge open area, where they can train in many different ways. You will surely enjoy the game of Frisbee. Which sometimes becomes so interesting that you would not be able to take your eyes off, even for a second. While you are there, do not forget to try the open gym facility.

Apart from all this, you will find a number of healthy food options. Try Ragi malt, buttermilk, herbal tea, and of-course the coconut water. I particularly liked the pudina buttermilk.

Evening at the Besant Nagar Beach:

As I said before, the place completely transforms itself into a mela during the evening time. The same place that looks so calm in the morning now looks like a food bazaar.

You will have big food giants waiting for you to fill your mouth with tasty food. Along with international brands like KFC, Mc Donald’s, and Domino’s, you will see many local shops as well. They give tough competition to these giants by offering you a huge variety of edible items. Actually, if you want to see the creativity of people, then you must eat in the local restaurants. You will be amazed. But if you are not a big fan of eating in big restaurants and you are more of a street food person. Then you have to cross the road and go to the other side of the road towards the beach.

Right from the road till the sea, you will have many roadside vendors selling myriad types of food items.

From sugar cane juice to lemon water, from ice creams to hot bhajjis and from spring potatoes to mouth-watering pani puris.

Sugarcane juice at the beach
Fresh Sugarcane juice
Bhajji at Besant Nagar Beach
Paani Poori
Paani Poori

The beach offers you all that you can think of. Hot corn (bhutta) with lemon and spices will surely grab your attention. Go on and try one, you will remember it for a long time.

How to reach:

Nearest railway station to Besant Nagar beach is Guindy, which is just 8.4 km. Although buses are frequent, but there is no direct bus available. So, you will have to change at least once.

Apart from buses, local autos are also available, they will charge you around 200 bucks.

If you have your own vehicle, then just put Edward Elliot’s Beach or Besant Nagar Beach in maps and you will be good to go.

Parking might be an issue, as it is a popular place. So, you will have to keep that in mind as well.

Runner’s View:

The place is very good option to do the interval training. Try beach running as well, it helps in enhancing the strength in legs.

Picture courtesy : Hey.Month.Photography

Check out his profile for more such amazing clicks.

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A Visit to Gwalior fort

Ever since I had learnt about Rani Lakshmi Bai, fondly known as Jhansi Ki Rani, I wanted to visit Jhansi and Gwalior. She fought her last battle and was later cremated here. I wanted to visit the famous Gwalior fort and Phool Bagh. Although, when I did get a chance to visit the city, I could visit only the fort because of the tight schedule.

According to the legends, Gwalior Fort was built by Prince Suraj Sen and later a whole city grew around it. The fort sits on a hill and thus had a strategic importance during the ancient time.

What to expect:

Archaeological Museum/Gujari Mahal: This Mahal was built by Raja Man Singh for his wife Mrignayani. She made a demand to her King that there must be a continuous water supply from the nearby river, Rai. Which the king fulfilled and the water was made available by deploying a pipe line for around 2.5 km. Before entering the main building of Gwalior Fort, you will have an  entry to this Mahal.

Gujari Mahal main gate
Entry gate of Gujari Mahal

This Mahal was later converted into a museum by the government of India. Many artifacts, idols and coins, from different parts of the country are being put in this museum.

Idol in Gujari Mahal
Idol in Gujari Mahal

You will get to see beautifully decorated stone carved pillars, portraits of Kings along with many idols of Lord Shiva, Natraj, Mahavir Tirthankar and many other Gods and Goddesses of all shapes and sizes. I particularly liked an idol in which Lord Shiva is doing Tandav. There is a whole section which stores the old coins of Naag Vansh, Alamgir’s and Khilji’s time as well. Then there is a room with portraits of Hindu and Mughal kings depicting their daily life.

You will also get to see a big sculpture of Goddess Mahishasur Mardini and a rare idol of Lord Brahma and Sugreev, who helped Lord Ram in finding Mata Sita. (I found it a little misfit among other idols though).

Top view of Gujari Mahal
View of Gujari Mahal from Gwalior Fort

The museum also has a board that shows how ancient brahmi characters were evolved into modern devnagiri characters.

Different Lipis
Different Lipi

The Gwalior Fort:

As mentioned above, Gwalior fort sits on a hill. so you will have to walk on an elevated path for around 700m to reach the actual fort area.

Path way to Gwalior Fort

There is a temple of Wrishi Sidh Baba in first 200m followed by Lakshman Darwaza. Enter that and within few meters you will get to see a big wall decorated by Indian love birds, who think that their love is incomplete until they write their names somewhere. What could be a better place than a tourist place where thousands of people come only to see some random names written on a wall. 

Lakshman Darwaza before the Gwalior fort main building
Lakshman Darwaza

Move past that wall and you will see another huge Darwaza which is the main entrance of the fort. On the right side, you will see the wall of Raja Man Singh Tomar’s Palace, decorated with beautiful colour combination of Blue and Yellow. During night time a light show is presented, where the whole history of the fort is played, first in Hindi followed by in English language.

Take a right, there are separate entry doors for Raja Man Singh Palace and Karan and Vikram Mahal.

The Karan and Vikram Mahal, does not only have two huge Mahals, but also a very big open space with many other buildings, including horse stables, conference halls along with watch towers on the boundary walls of the Gwalior Fort.

From the boundaries you can have an aerial view of the whole city. Which looks spectacular and the beauty would increase during the night time. You will be amazed to see rooms in the rooms and many secret paths and tunnels. In between both the Mahals, there is a big kund which was used as a Johar Kund during ancient times.

City of Gwalior
View of city from the Fort
Johar Kund inside Gwalior Fort
Johar Kund
Karan Mahal
Inside Karan's Mahal

While all these things would look amazing to you, the other side of all this is not so beautiful. With that, I mean, there is no maintenance of the area, specially near the boundaries. You will see bushes spreading all over the place with no one to control them. You will find couples almost in every corner of the palace which makes the situation a little awkward for the visitors, especially those who come with their families. Not only the open area but the actual premises of both the mahals are not well maintained.

Badly maintained buildings

Once you come out from this area, go to Raja Man Singh Palace, it is the place where the King used to spend his leisure time. There is a veranda in the middle, surrounded by beautifully sculptured walls with a nice use of colors. The king used to sit in the balcony and watch the dancers performing different forms of dancing.

Raja Maan Singh Palace
Inside Raja Maan Singh's Palace

Runner’s View: In total, you will cover close to 4 km with a total elevation gain of 300m, which serves as a good workout.

How to reach Gwalior Fort:

It is around 4 km from Railway station, you can take an auto or book a cab, which will cost you around Rs 50 – Rs 70 and drop you at the main gate of the fort. Surprisingly, it is only around 2 km if you chose to go by walking.

The distance is 12 km from the airport and again you will have to either book a cab or take an auto.

The public transport is not that good in Gwalior so you will have to rely mostly on the private buses or autos which operate on the fixed routes. I found the rates of these private transports fairly reasonable as compared to other major cities I have visited.

Entry Fee:

Gujari Mahal:

                For Indians: Rs 20

                For Foreigners: Rs 200

Karan and Vikram Mahal:

                For Indians: Rs 40 (payment via card) / Rs 50 if you give cash

                For Foreigners: Rs 400 / Rs 500

Raja Man Singh Palace:

                For Indians: Rs 20

                For Foreigners: Rs 200

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Kalavantin Durg – Prabalgad – Kalaburj

Our friend Yogi, who had come from Chennai for one week to cover as many trekking areas as possible, wanted to do 2 treks in one day. We extended it to 3, and planned to visit 3 forts, Kalavantin Durg Prabalgad and Kalaburj.


It has one of the riskiest climbs. Although the actual climb is not long, but it has very steep stairs, with few steps’ heights reaching almost to your knee. These stairs are cut through the mountain itself.
The Durg sits on a broad base and goes straight up. Once you reach the top, it offers you a beautiful panoramic view of the valley which looks very beautiful.

View from Kalavantin Durg
Beautiful view from Durg
Kalavantin Durg view from bottom
Kalavantin Durg's Steep Climb


If you are planning to go by public transport then you will first have to reach the nearest railway station, Panvel, from there you will get regular autos to Durg’s parking. From parking, you walk up for 3kms to the base village and start the actual trek. Along the way, you’ll have places to eat and stay.

If you are going by your own vehicle then put “Kalavantin Durg Parking” in Google maps or click here.

All of these three share the common starting point.

Entry fee: ₹50/person and you have to make an entry in the register while going up and coming back. This fee will work for Prabalgad and Kalaburjas well.
Best time to go: Any season except monsoon


It has one of the toughest climbs. The actual climb starts after walking for around 1km from the base village. The incline is tough because it has no flat path in between. There are rocks all over the ascent which will take a toll on your legs. Have an ample amount of water with you and some chocolates. Once you reach the top, you need to walk for around 500m to reach the actual spot with the flag and idol of Shivaji Maharaj. From the point, you can have a very good view of Kalavantin Durg along with the valley and be amazed by the beauty of it. A very big advantage is, the guides there have marked the whole way superbly, so you won’t miss the route. You can enjoy the bonfire and camp at the top.

Kalavantin Durg View from Prabalgad
Prabalgad Top

HOW TO REACH: Same as Kalavantin Durg as both of these share the common parking place.

Entry fee: ₹50/person and you have to make an entry in the register while going up and coming back.
Best time to go: Any season, but prefer the winter season


It shares the climbing route with Prabalgad. Once you reach the top, you’ll see a board with instructions. Path to the right will lead you to the Kalaburj and it’s around 2.5 km from the board. The route is well marked, just follow the trail, red ribbons, and white marks. If you’ll go just after the monsoon season, you can enjoy a dip in the open water. It wouldn’t be as clean as one might expect but will surely be refreshing after the tough climb. Reach to the saffron flag and enjoy the view of the dam and valley.

Kalaburj Water Pool
Water Pool near Kalaburj
Dam from Kalaburj
Dam from Kalaburj

How to reach: Same as above 2.
Entry fee: Same ₹50

Runner’s View: A complete loop of Kalavantin Durg Prabalgad and Kalaburj will be approximately 16 km with a total elevation gain of 780 m.

If you liked this post then you will definitely love to visit Harihar Fort. Read about it here.

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Harihar Fort Trek: How to reach and what to expect

Harihar Fort Trek: How to reach and what to expect

Harihar Fort, famous for its staircase which is carved out of the mountain, is in Nashik, Maharashtra. Before you reach the top, you will experience many beautiful and scary moments, including the steep stairs and narrow paths.

Starting of Trek

The trek starts from the base village, Harshewadi. You’ll have to walk or rather climb for approx 2.8 km to reach to the top. To enjoy the sunrise, you will have to start early in the morning, i.e. around 4:30-5 am from the base village. Since it will be dark, so it is advisable to carry a torch.

After climbing for around 1.5km you will reach the base of 90 steps staircase. During night time it will be difficult to climb and you’ll have to be extra careful. To make the climb easy small holes have been chiseled in the stairs so that we can hold them with our hands.

Harihar fort stairs
Starting of the Climb

From the top you’ll experience two kinds of views. One would scare you a bit when you will look down towards the stairs. Another one will give you calmness when you will shift your gaze to the vastly spread mountains.

Harihar fort stairs top view
Stairs view from the top

Post this, a narrow path with a moat on one side will take you to the top. Here you will see a kund(small water body) along with Shivaji Maharaj’s effigy sitting right next to it. During the rainy season, you can have a dip as the water will be clean but in the offseason, diving into the pool will not be a great idea.

Harihar Fort Narrow path
Harihar fort pond

A few meters away from this place, there is yet another small hill with the signature saffron color flag. Which marks the end of the trek. Climb the hill, sit for some time and enjoy the cold breeze. If you have started early to see the sunrise as we did, wait for the sun to rise, make the time-lapse video if you want. It’s worth spending time on this hill.

Sunrise from Harihar Fort Top
Sunrise from the Top

Post sunrise, climb down the hill, walk few meters to the left and you’ll have another spectacular view with many other famous forts in view. Be careful while opening your food, as monkeys will appear out of nowhere and force you to either leave the place or give away all your food items.

Harihar Fort View

While going back from the trek, do not forget to visit an old temple. Once you come down the stairs after walking for 300m you’ll have to take a right from your usual route, which will take you to the temple. Here also you’ll have a small kund which you can utilize in your own way.

It is advisable to carry enough water and snacks, as you will not find many shops there.

A ₹10 fee is charged by the forest department for this trek and you’ll get a receipt for that.

How to reach:

If you use public transport, then you’ll first have to reach Nashik from wherever you are on Earth. Take a bus from Nashik to Trimbakeshwar (famous for its Jyotirlinga temple). From here there is no public transport to the trekking area, you will have to book an auto for the base village, Harshewadi, which is around 12 km from Trimbakeshwar.

If you are going on your own, then put Harshewadi Village in Google maps and you are good to go.

If you are from Pune, then contact ONACHEAPTRIP. As the name suggests, this guy organizes regular treks in a very reasonable price.

Best time to go: 

Try to go right after the rainy season as you’ll find fresh water in all the small water pools and there will be greenery all around.

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GANGTOK: Guide to planning your travel

India is a country of innumerable beautiful places and Sikkim is one of those places. The state has both natural and man-made places that will take your breath away. However, this post will not describe the obvious beauty of those places, rather it is focused more on how to plan your journey and what to expect from Sikkim.

There are many popular tourist places in Sikkim, like Gangtok and nearby spots, Lachen, Lachung, Namchi, etc along with few less explored ones.

My wife and I planned our first vacation post marriage to Gangtok and Darjeeling. Initially, we tried to book a package through popular sites but later we realized that everything can be done on our own and there will be no need to give extra charges to these sites or to any travel agent.

The first step was to book hotels and flight. While exploring hotels we came across the concept of “Home Stay” (Many would be aware of it but for us, it was a new thing). We checked a few of them on Airbnb and the facilities provided by them along with the reviews of other guests looked promising. So instead of hotels, we booked Home Stays in Gangtok and Darjeeling and booked our flights accordingly. 

I wanted to book one cab for my whole journey in advance but even after trying for many days I couldn’t find any, which proved to be a good thing in the long run.


Delhi to Bagdogra: Both direct and connected flights are available and can be booked in quite reasonable rates if booked well in advance
Beautiful View

Bagdogra to Gangtok: 

 Distance: 125km

Travel time: 4hrs 30min to 5 hrs

Since it is a hilly area so the time taken for this journey would be more than you would expect. Both SUVs and hatchbacks are available at the airport.

SUV will charge you around ₹3500.

Hatchback will charge you in between ₹2500-₹3000.

Arrival in Gangtok and visit to local Market:

No matter how early flight you book, you will not be able to visit local tourist spots in Gangtok on your arrival day, as everything closes around 5pm except the main market. We reached our homestay around 5:30pm, after taking some rest we went to the MG Market, the main market of Gangtok. You can try local food (especially Thukpa), buy local products, drink or simply roam around the place and spend some quality time. 

The best way of commute there is a cab. Both shared and reserved ones are available.

The minimum fare for a shared cab is ₹20/person.

Reserved cabs will charge based on the distance, but the minimum is ₹80.

MG Market Gangtok

Day 2- Local sightseeing: 

 There are 10-15 places that you can visit in a day in Gangtok, most famous being Ban Jhakri Falls, Tashi Viewpoint and ropeway.

Package charge is in between ₹1500-₹1800 for hatchback and you can ask any cab driver for the same. No need to go to any travel agent. 

Our driver’s name was Mangal Dhoj, contact no: 8436403736. He is a genuine person and gave us correct information regarding everything, that is why I am mentioning his name and contact number.

 Below is the list of places we visited and what you can expect there:

1) Banjhakri falls: 

    Entry fee: ₹50/person

    Parking: ₹20 

    One of the main tourist attractions in Gangtok and a must visit place. You can enjoy few adventure sports as well. Better to go early in the morning, as it will get crowded during the day time.

Banjakhri Fall Gangtok

2)  Handicraft market: 

     The place offers you a wide variety of hand made products, like floor mats, purses, bamboo cups, wall hangings, hand made papers, organic pickle etc. Quality of the products is very good. You will definitely step out of the shop with one or two products.

Entry fee: 0

Parking fee: 0

Handicraft Market Gangtok

There is one craft museum right in front of the handicraft building. You can see traditional old utensils, Buddhist ritual instruments, old beehive, stone aata chakki etc. In nearby rooms, you can see people preparing different products to be sold in the handicraft market.

Entry fee: ₹15/person.

3) Bakthang falls: 

     Although cab drivers will add it in the list of “to watch” places, it is just a roadside fall, you can easily skip it. 

No entry and no parking fee as it is on the road.

Bakhthang Falls Gangtok

4) Gonjang monastery: 

     Just like any other monastery, the place is calm with beautiful idols and paintings on the walls. One added advantage is, it has a beautiful view and you can have a few good clicks here.

Entry fee: 0

Parking fee: ₹20

Gonjang Monastry View Gangtok
Gonjang Monastry Gangtok
Gonjang Monastry View Gangtok

5) Tashi Viewpoint: 

     The place is famous because you can see the mighty Kanchenjunga mountain from here. Unfortunately, when we visited this place(April end), it was cloudy and all we could see here were the nearby shops.

Entry fee: 0

Parking fee: ₹20

 6) Ganesh Tok:

     Ganesh Tok or Ganesh Temple offers you beautiful views along with the blessings of Lord Ganesh.

Entry fee: 0

Parking fee: ₹20

Ganesh Tok Gangtpok
Ganesh Tok View Gangtok

7) Flower Exhibition Centre:

     A small closed exhibition of different kinds of flowers. Even if you are not very fond of flowers you can visit this place and see some rare species of flowers. I expected a much bigger place though. 

Entry fee: ₹20

Parking fee: ₹20

Flower Exhibition Gangtok

8) Namgyal Institute of Technology: 

    It is a Tibet museum. We could visit only one part of it as few places were already closed.

The Ropeway was closed for maintenance during that time.

Namgyal Institute Gangtok
Namgyal Institute Gangtok

Day 3: Nathu La Pass, Baba Mandir, and Tsongmo Lake

 Our plan for the next day was to visit the famous Nathula Pass, Tsongmo lake and Baba Mandir. To visit these places you need to get a permit.

If you are planning to go there with your own vehicle then you’ll need to apply for the permit, which can be done online. If you are booking a cab then the travel agency will take care of that. You will need to give two passport size photographs and one ID proof.

Although there are many travel agencies, the best one is Sikkim Tourism, reason being, it is the government agency and will cost you lesser with better and more secure service than the others.

Reserved hatchback will cost you ₹2800 and SUV will cost you ₹3500.

Shared cabs are also available, where you’ll share the car with 9 other people. Charges will be ₹400/person.(Other agencies will cost you ₹500/600).

Baba Mandir Route Gangtok
Entoure Baba Mandir
Baba Mandir Route Gangtok

Baba Mandir: 

The temple is built in the memory of a brave Indian Soldier, Harbhajan Singh after his tragic demise. There is a huge Shiva Idol near to this place and a small waterfall makes the place even more beautiful, Don’t forget to buy a souvenir from here.

Baba Mandir Gangtok
Baba Mandir

Nathu La: It is the border area between India and China. During our visit, it was closed. 

In between Baba Mandir and Tsongmo Lake, there are two popular places. One is the Tibetan Market, where you can buy all kinds of Chinese Products at a very cheap price. The other is the mountain covered with snow, where you can stop and bring your child out and enjoy the snow. But be very careful, as the oxygen is not in abundance there and you might feel dizziness. As a precaution, you must keep a piece of “Kapur” with you.

Snow Gall View Gangtok

Tsongmo Lake: 

Tsongmo Lake or Jhangu lake is yet another beautiful place where you can spend a lot of time and without getting bored. The mountains which surround it from one side, add on to its beauty.

Tsongmo Lake Gangtok
Tsongmo Lake
Tsongmo Lake Gangtok
Tsongmo Lake Gangtok

Day 4: Gangtok to Darjeeling via Namchi:

Namchi is a beautiful small place, 80km from Gangtok, famous for the Char Dham Temple. Although there are other small places as well that are worth visiting namely Sai Mandir, Samdruptse Hill and ropeway, Ngadak Monastery, etc. We planned to visit three places only.

Samdruptse Hill.:

The place has a giant statue of Lord Budha, sitting in Dhyan mudra, which looks very beautiful. The statue sits on the top of the temple, you can see monks doing regular pooja inside of it The whole ambiance looks very calm and peaceful.

Samdrupts Hill

Char Dham: 

This place is famous for its architecture. Once you enter the compound, the gigantic Shiva statue located at the very end will grabs your attention. As you’ll explore the place, you’ll see 12 Jyotirlingas surrounding the Shiva Statue, long with temples of Char Dhams namely Badrinath Dham, Dwaraka Dham, Rameshwar Dham, and Jagannath Dham. The Shiva statue sits on a huge Shiva temple. Inside this temple, you can see the beautiful wall murals depicting Shiva’s marriage to Parvati Ji and many other historic events like Shiva drinking venom. The detailing in these murals is amazing. The place is so beautiful that we decided to skip the next place and spend some extra time there.

Char Dham Namchi
Char Dham Namchi
Char Dham Namchi

Cab rates:

Hatchback: ₹5k. Gangtok to Darjeeling via Namchi (From Sikkim tourism, others were charging above ₹6k).

Direct cab from Gangtok to Darjeeling will cost you ₹2800 (other agencies were charging ₹3500)

Journey from Namchi to Darjeeling:

From Gangtok to Namchi is mostly downhill. You’ll see the river Teesta flowing on one side and mighty mountains on the other side. You’ll cross this river several times throughout your journey because of the criss-cross path. 

To enter West Bengal you will again need a permit, which you’ll get in Melli, the last town before you enter WB. Make sure you reach here before 4pm, else it would be little difficult to get the permit. From here the path of steep climbs will start, the journey will become little more dangerous.

Along the way you will have a view point called the “Lovers meet point”: From this point you can see river Teesta coming from East(Baba Mandir and jhangu lake side) and river Rangeet, coming from north(Gurudunga, lachen and lachung side), meet each other and flow with the name Teesta. You can stop here for a few minutes, have some snacks and continue your journey.
Lover's Meet Point

This climbing part is time-consuming as you can’t go fast and roads will be covered with fog. So it’s better to start early, to reach early and safe.

Day 5: One day in Darjeeling

Darjeeling is home to many small and beautiful tourist places, like Rock Garden, Happy valley tea estate, ropeway, peace Pagoda, war memorial, Mountaineering institute, mall road, monasteries, and last but not the least, the Toy Train which is also a part of the world heritage site.

Since we had only one day to visit Darjeeling, so we chose few places including a ride on the toy train. 

Toy train offers many rides with varying distances and places, we opted for a round trip from Darjeeling railway station to Batasia loop and back, which is a 2-hour journey covering a total distance of 14km. This train stops at the Batasia eco Garden for half an hour, takes a U turn and go back to Darjeeling station. During its half an hour stop, you can visit the park and the War Memorial, build in the honor of great Gurkha Soldiers. From this place you can see the Mt Kanchenjunga mountain as well.

Entry fee for this eco-park is included in the train fare. Which is ₹20/person.

Toy train fare:

Steam engine: ₹1405

Diesel engine: ₹805

Our train got cancelled one day before the journey, we wanted to book ticket from the station window but our host advised us to book a cab instead and visit all places.

Places in Darjeeling are near by, we visited two places, Dali Monastery and Batasia Eco Park by walking and booked a cab for Rock Garden, Happy valley tea estate and mall road. The driver charged us ₹1600 for this.

Below are the details of these places:

Dali Monastery:

Entry fee: 0

Dali Monastery Darjeeling

Batasia Eco Park:

It is the place where the toy train takes a U-turn. A war memorial is also built here in the honour of Gurkha Soldiers, you can enjoy the beautiful view from here.

Entry fee: ₹20/person

Batasia eco garden

Rock Garden:

It is basically a waterfall and the garden is built through it. It is a nice amalgamation of nature and man-made beauty. The pathway will lead you to the top with beautiful flowers throughout the route. There is a small hut at the top, you can sit there for some time and enjoy the view and the cold breeze. It is a must visit place in Darjeeling.

Entry fee: 0

Rock Garden Darjeeling
Rock Garden Darjeeling

Happy Valley Tea Estate:

You will get to see the whole end to end processing of the tea. You can visit the beautiful farms of tea which look very beautiful and offer you a beautiful background for your pics.

Entry fee: ₹100/person, if you want to see the processing.

0 if you only want to visit the estate.

Happy Valley Tea Estate Darjeeling

Mall road:

The biggest market area of Darjeeling where you can find anything you want. From branded items of clothing to local hand made stuff. Local food, hot tea, and mouthwatering momos. A very lively place to spend the evening.

Mall Road Square Darjeeling

After this we returned to our homestay and meanwhile our host helped us book cab for next day, from Darjeeling to Bagdogra airport. It charged us ₹2200 + ₹60 for parking at airport.

Throughout our visit, we booked all our cabs just one day before, there was no need to have a travel agent for this trip. People there including the cab drivers gave us the right suggestion and didn’t charge anything extra.

In hilly areas, you will spend more time in travelling than visiting places, but the good thing is, you will get to see beautiful sceneries during your travel. While we were going to Baba Mandir, the Army camps along with valleys and mountains were treat for the eyes.

I hope this blog will help you plan your trip to Gangtok in future.

Thanks for reading.

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