Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sarnath - The birth place of Buddhism

Sarnath is a holy city near Benaras or Varanasi (The oldest city of the world). Sarnath (also known as Mrigadava, Mrigadaya, Rishipattana, Ishipattana) is the land where Buddhism started its journey that is the concept of “Sangha” was founded.

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath
Sarnath or Ishipatana is one of the four holiest sites of Buddha Circuit mentioned by Prophet Goutama Buddha (Tathagata, Bodhisatwa) where his devout followers must visit for pilgrimage. Other three places are Lumbini (Where the Prophet was born as prince Siddhartha), Bodh Gaya (Where prince Siddhartha attained enlightment and became Tathagata) and Kushinagar (Where he passed away).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Uttarey – a dreamy village of Sikkim

Sikkim is regarded as a state (in north-eastern India) where Mother Nature eternally smiles. This state is blessed by the beauty of eastern Himalaya and popular for the view of snowcapped mountains like Mt. Kanchenjungha, Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru North, Mt. Kabru, South, Mt. Kabru South, Mt. Narsingh and many other glorious snow peaks, dense alpine forests, colorful flowers, waterfalls, picturesque villages and last but not the least warm nice villagers.

Though there are many popular and crowded tourist spots like Pelling, Gangtok, Rinchengpong, Ravangla etc., personally I love to go to the remote villages of Sikkim. This is because I am much more interested to enjoy the nature and the calmness of unknown places refreshes my mind. Invariably I have seen that the unknown places have some hidden natural treasure that common people usually do not know.

In this post I am going to say about a small village of Sikkim names Uttarey.

Panoramic view of Uttarey in a cloudy afternoon
Located in the northern slope of Singalila Range, the small settlement of Uttarey at West Sikkim is an ideal gateway for the tourists.

On the bank of Simphok Khola River, the hamlet is blessed by the beauty of green mountains enriched with the wilderness of Singalila National Park and dreamy atmosphere. The behavior and hospitality of the local villagers makes the trip more pleasant. Uttarey is famous for its tranquility and natural beauty. During winter the mountains around here are covered with snow allowing heavenly views. This place is ideal for taking small hikes or moderate treks to refresh your soul.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day out at Gangani (Gongoni) - The "Grand" Canyon of Bengal

Whenever we think or say about the word “Canyon”, first, the name of Arizona, USA comes in our mind. Even in the geography book, we read the name of Arizona as an example of canyon. Some wanderlust also knows the name of Mahabaleswar.

But as I always say that our state – West Bengal is so blessed by the nature, it has a lot of hidden treasure in its natural treasury. Gangani (or Gongoni) is one of them. Where the Shilabati River flowing through a 70ft-deep gorge and the adjoining places taking the form of different shapes and figures because of erosion.

Located at Garhbeda village of Medinipur district, Gangani can be reached by various ways:
  1. Train to Garhbeta followed by cycle rickshaw

  2. Kolkata – NH6 – Bagnan – Uluberia – Kolaghat – Karagpur – NH60 – Godapiasal – Salboni– Garhbeta

  3. Kolkata – NH2 – Tarakeswar – Arambagh – Chandrakona Road - Garhbeta
I took the option 3. One fine morning, my friend Sumanta drove us to Gangani. It was a hot and humid sunny day of August but the sky was a bit dusky and due to the blow of scorching sun, almost nobody was there.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dreamy weekend at Takdah

I had a dream from my young age about enjoying a week end by staying in a British bungalow that must be located in a hill station. Every morning I would open the window and Snowy Mountain would bless me. Right from my childhood days I have a bad reputation of over dreaming. I added more spices in that dream like that bungalow must have a lawn where I could sit with coffee on a deck chair and sunrays would make me warm in the cold morning. Since I am a reader of British literature, it was expected that the fire places would make my evening and night cozy.

When my friend Avra told me about going at Takdah in late December, prima facie, I nodded my head as hill station is my favorite most vacation place. But till that time I did not know much about Takdah. It is my habit to study a lot about any place before going there, same practice drove me to acquire knowledge about Takdah and I found there is a British bungalow - Saino Heritage Guest House. I requested Avra to book that bungalow. Avra smiled and said that he had already booked that one. I thanked him a lot.

Saino Guest House - Takdah
Located at Kalimpong sub division, Takdah can be reached by two ways – either from Hill Cart Road (Siliguri-Kurseong-Ghum) or from Teesta Bazar. We took the first option as we were coming from Dhotrey. One can go from Darjeeling also.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rajgir - The capital of Magadha

The word “Rajgir” has been derived from the phrase “Raj Griha” means the house of King. On 7th Century BC, Rajgir was the capital of Magadha. It became the capital of Magadha. It became a major Buddhist hub during the regime of King Bimbisara (543-491 BC) and his son Ajatashatru (491-459 BC) as prophet Tathagata (Gautama Buddha) spent a long time there.  Later the town’s popularity was waned when the capital was shifted to Pataliputra (Patna).

Vishwa shanti Stupa, Rajgir
Now a days, tourists from across the world came to visit the ruins, Vishwa Shanti Stupa and to enjoy the cable car ride. People of Buddhist religion come here for pilgrimage as it is a major town in Buddha Circuit.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nalanda - Ruins of world's oldest residential international university

“Nalan” means lotus (symbol of wisdom), “Da” means “to give”.  So the word “Nalanda” means wisdom giver. For wisdom, people from the whole world came to Nalanda University and it became the first residential university of the world. At its prime time the university consisted of 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers from across the world.

Temple 3, Nalanda University
History of Nalanda:

Let’s have a journey with the History.

Ancient Buddhist source says that Ashoka, the great Mouryan emperor built a temple at 3rd century BC. But according to Chinese traveller Hieu En Tsang and Prajnavarman, Nalanda University was founded on 5th Centrury AD during the Gupta emperor Kumargupta. Surprisingly Fa Hien who came in fifth century AD makes no mention of the massive establishment at Nalanda. But Hieu En Tsang (visited India on 637 AD) during Harshavardhana’s regime refers to the great university.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bodh Gaya - The place where prophet Buddha attained enlightenment

Bodh Gaya (Buddha Gaya) is one of the four major holiest places for the people who are the followers of the discipline of Buddhist religion. Here the quest of Prince Siddhartha was fulfilled after seeking of the truth and the saga of Buddha begun.
Bodh Gaya
The Buddha Circuit:

As mentioned earlier, there are four holiest places where a Buddhist must visit – Lumbini (where prophet was born), Bodh Gaya (where the prophet attained enlightenment), Sarnath (where prophet taught lessons to the immediate followers and the “Sangha” was founded) and Kushinagar (where the prophet passed away).

Some other places are also there where the soil is blessed by Buddha’s foot prints. They are Kaushambi, Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Sravasti, Sanchi and Sankashya.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Deoria Taal Trek

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Deoria Taal is a lake located in a picturesque alpine meadow inside Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary and can be reached by trekking from Sari village. Geopolitically it is located at Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand.
Deoria Taal with Mt. Kedarnath, Mt. Mandani and Mt. Chaukhamba
Legend behind the Taal:

According to Mahabharata, Deoria Taal is believed to be the lake where Yaksha asked Pandavas the question of life. Once when the Pandavas were in Banbasa feeling thirsty and tired. Yudhishthira asked Bhima to look for a place form where they could bring water. BHim got up on a tree and saw the lake. Yudhisthira asked the youngest brother Sahadeva to bring water. Sahadeva went and tried to drink water. At that very time Yaksha stopped him and asked his question which Sahadeva denied to answer and died immediately. Same thing happened for Nakula, Arjuna and Bhima.