Thursday, November 8, 2012

Barmek - Off Beat North Bengal tour

View from barmek North Bengal
View from Barmek - By Surajit Ray

Barmek is a small village near West Bengal - Sikkim border famous for Cinchona plantation. Tourism as a business started there just a few days back (22nd October, 2012) and options available there are two home-stays.
It is a nice travel destination near Siliguri - hardly 2:30 Hrs drive. If you want to follow a path less traveled, opt for Barmek. The best part of Barmek - it is not a well known travel destination.

nO One ... nObOdy - View my 'Barmek' set on Flickriver
It seems like an infinite loop ... North Bengal - Sikkim area became an integral part of my travel itinerary. When Subhash asked me to arrange a trip a month ago I was not sure we will be able to make it. Shelly, my wife, had broken her leg and with that big plaster over her left leg that plan seemed to be an distant dream at that time. Time passed so quickly and our departure date arrived in no time. We did a "tatkal" booking in Darjeeling mail and with the end of Bengal's biggest fest, "Durga Puja", our journey started. It was 24th of October, 2012, just two days before my birthday.
A traveler's loop: Night halt at Sillery Gaon:
The main road - Sillery Gaon, Darjeeling district
The main road - Sillery Gaon, New Darjeeling
Man! It is difficult to plan a trip during Holidays. Rates of hotels and rented cars increases beyond imagination and even after paying you are not certain to get good service. You can't just avoid rush during the holidays and it is so difficult to get a place completely serene and far away from the madding crowd. That defies the main purpose of my travel.

After reaching Siliguri, I didn’t want to waste any time resting. We went to meet Sudipta as per our earlier plan. After having breakfast there, we (me and Sudipta) went out to get a car for us.

Sillery Gaon homestay, accomodation
This is where we had stayed in Sillery Gaon
We tried earlier but failed to get booking at any of the know places in Dooars. So we had to put Dooars in the canceled list. My budget was stiff, and I was not after any luxurious resort. I was searching for a decent place where I could spend a few days with my childhood friends without getting robbed. And even google failed to help me regarding this. Again I had to call Dilip Tamang for the solution. Dilipji assured me that he can arrange two rooms for that night in Sillery Gaon and the next day he will send us to an unexplored place where tourism just started a few days back. We opted for Sillery Gaon, as I was not mentally prepared to waste a day in Siliguri.
Barmek -  The main road
Sudipta’s 2 years old son and 6 of us, that team started from Siliguri in a Toyota Innova. The driver took INR 3700, that is a bit expensive, almost 1000 bucks extra. But that was during festive season. We started late as it took long time to get that vehicle. Travelling along the same old route, I was not expecting any drama, but I was wrong. The road to Sillery from Algarah gets deteriorated after my previous visit. Almost everyone suffered due to that. Pritha, Sudipta’s wife, suffered the most. It was late when we reached Sillery Gaon. I was surprised to see so many tourists. It was difficult to find localites among them. Dilipji arranged our stay in his brother’s house. Kazi Tamang, his brother, I remember him from my last visit. He is as good a person as his brother. Having 7 children makes life difficult and that is why Kazi also started following his brother Dilip to make some money out of tourism.
The food of Sillery Gaon is one of the main reasons behind my intense love for that place. I believe, my friends also enjoyed the food there. After having Roti and chicken that night, we were out there in the courtyard to have a walk in the memory lane together. Old days are gold days!
Barmek, North Brngal -Found a place to hide from madding crowd
Barmek - Our Shelter
The day started on a negative note. Sudipta's wife, Pritha, was not feeling well, neither Piku, their son. Taking that into consideration, we decided to go back to Siliguri. Halfheartedly we tried to arrange a cab for Siliguri, but due to the rush at that time, no vehicle was available in Sillery Gaon. Realizing that nothing we can do now, we had our breakfast and went out for a walk. Meanwhile Dilipji arranged a vehicle for us. With Dilipji himself guiding us, we left Lava for Barmek in a Bolero. It was a 40 mins drive.
All of a sudden, the situation started favouring us. Piku was as agile as before, Pritha - much stable. We had three rooms side by side and a BIIIIG balcony - that was the best part. It was clowdy. But we were able to see Teesta from our balcony. We had reached Barmek early, so the whole day was there to explore that place. Barmek is not as remote as Sillery Gaon, our resort was just beside the main road, a road between pine trees. Mini stores are there in case you need some snacks, bottled mineral water etc. But there is no ATM nearby.There are several mountain trails you can follow. After a while we followed such a route. After a walk of an hour we came back to had our lunch.

Leaving Barmek, Lava, Dooars on the way


  1. This is nice blog post,many attraction places and holiday packages in india, thanks for sharing information.....
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  2. Thanks Aashi, I have seen your website. That one is really well managed. Good work :)

  3. dropped in from your IM thread... some nice captures... and offcourse thanks for introducing this new name Barmek to our wishlist :-)

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  4. Thanks to share nice information about Bengal tour.Because i went to go there with my family.

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  5. Your blog is awe-inspiring. Information about Bengal is useful to readers. Keep it up.

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  6. Mr Surajit Ray, I Show your comment in My blog i.e Lingsey Eco Tourism. For forther inquiry Please call 9679700428
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    1. Thank you very much ... once my tickets are confirmed I shall call.

  7. Very Good Post.
    Decent gen nowadays.
    Cheers for sharing with us.
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    Very Good information.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
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  9. Hello Surajit, I will come back on near day!!

  10. Thanks for this detailed writeup.
    Great pics.

    1. :) Thanks ... actually many of those pictures are work of my wife

  11. The place looks amazing! Looks somewhat similar to Dzongu in North Sikkim that I visited in Jan. Guess a visit to Barmek in the winter should be a great idea.

    1. Thanks Alen ... Yes, actually all the nearby villages in that area are equally beautiful. It is a bit different than Dzongu though. The altitude is much lower and that is why the terrain is different.

  12. Lovely post...i went to Doaars last year nov. Shall put a post soon.its very v beautiful.


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