The Jungle Look

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Sikkim and West Bengal - 04 to 11 December 2004

The postings and the discussions on india-nature-pixs was in full swing when Sumit Sen proposed a trip for the members of the group. There were different options to consider - Bharatpur, Corbett, Thattekad and the North East. A few of us signed up for the North East and Sumit started working on the travel plan through Help Tourism. Well, that was in the month of June. Finally December arrived and we were all set for the trip. We were 4 photographers shooting for 7 days, at anything that moved.


Vijay, Giri, Ramki, Swarna, Murali and I joined Sumit at Bagdogra in West Bengal along with Raj Basu from Help Tourism, who was the backbone for the logistics of the trip. We had a glimpse of Mt. Everest while landing at Bagdogra. There were 2 Tata Sumos for our use on all the days. We immediately set off to Pelling in West Sikkim.

On the 4th evening, We were at Hotel Mount Pandim overlooking Mt.Khangchendzonga. On 5th morning, we birded and photographed at Sanga Chelling Monastery. Almost all the birds we saw were new to us and we sought Sumit’s help in id’ng them. We spent the rest of the day photographing near the hotel. Pelling was a fantastic place for birding/photography as we found out. Vijay was shooting slides and the rest of us digital. The best part of digital was, after the day’s shoot we used to plug the camera to the TV and enjoy the day’s images.


The next day(6th), after some photography in the morning, we traveled to Biksthang and shot all along the way. By afternoon we reached Bliss Resort and photographed for some time around the resort. All through the trip, we normally had overcast afternoons. We spent time around the resort on 7th morning, before proceeding to Kalimpong. It was an overnight stop at this place with some shopping, before heading to Lava, the birder’s paradise.

Lava was an amazing place with birds all around us, throughout the day. They were mostly hunting parties moving from one bush to the other. We saw many of the birds which we had often seen only in those last pages of Inskipp. The Minlas, Yuhinas, accentors, thrushs, bulbuls, robins.....they all were there. It was a great day of birding. By 8th evening, we reached the Rishyap tourist center. This was the highest point in our trip, at an altitude of 8200 ft. And also the coldest of all places.


We spent the day at Rishyap on 9th and proceeded to Gorumara Jungle camp in the afternoon. We came down from 8200 ft to 600 ft in about 2 and 1/2 hours covering just about 55 kms. That’s what makes West Bengal one of the best birding places in India with such a vast biodiversity. We visited the Gorumara National Park on the 10th where I had my first sighting of the Rhino. That evening we were entertained by some local folk dance. We did some photography on 11th morning and returned to Bangalore by night.

Overall, a superb trip, very well organized by Help Tourism. And the food was great at all the places. For trip reports from Vijay and Sumit, please do visit India Birds and Kolkata Birds.

In case you plan to visit the North East, please do contact Asit Biswas of

I will update this trip report with link to the photographs soon..