Dhupguri is a quaint small municipal town at the foot of Sub-Himalayas in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, a State in India. The railway distance is 2533 KM from my working place, Chidambaram in Taminadu. A long time ago, I looked forward for every summer vacations, when we would travel by train for 49 hours or about 2 days and 3 nights – and take 29 stations in five states to cover 2533 KM distance from Chidambaram.
The long train journey even with open windows was a joyful experience. In absence of low cost flight, train journey within India was the only option available those days. After a gap of more than 2.5 years, We went to native home in West Bengal during May/June 2014. On 24 April 2014, I booked our direct return ( Chennai- Bagdogra) flight tickets for reasonable airfare by searching in the cleartrip. I now valued time and comfort over everything else, and so mostly choose flights over trains. On 14th of May, 2014, Wednesday, early morning we were in indigo airlines flight in Chennai and off to Bagdogra Airport.
To our surprise our indigo flight landed Bagdogra airport about 20 minutes ahead of scheduled time. A driver (Shankar) came to receive us at the airport. After one and half hours of drive my wife, my daughter and I reached Jalpaiguri. It passed through some important places viz. North Bengal University, North Bengal medical college and Uttarkannya (Secretariat). Although road was not smooth, it resembled a black ribbon in an endless sea of trees.
After New Jalpaiguri (abbreviated as NJP) railway station entrance, we drove Siliguri- Jalpaiguri highway and in some time reached Fulbari. Fulbari is famous for its popular Bengali sweets pantuas, otherwise known as jamuns and we stopped at one of the original two sweet shops for a taste. From Fulbari we followed the highway to Jalpaiguri. The sky was clear shade of blue and we found green everywhere in both sides of road.
Wonderful world at the lap of Sub-Himalayas: Dooars
Derived from the word ‘doors’ (gateway to Bhutan from India), this region located in 3 Sub-Himalayan districts of West Bengal also forms a gateway to the hill stations of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan ( source : Web). The Dooars has the richest biodiversity in this planet, a mix of seven different types of forest (from green to moist deciduous) covered with numerous species of grasses, trees and hosting a large variety of flora and fauna. It consists of number of wildlife sanctuaries (viz. Jaldapara, Gorumara, Buxa), many rivers and more than 200 tea gardens at about 150 KM foothills of Himalayas.
Dhupguri – My Home
Dhupguri, deep inside the Dooars, is a small but growing municipal town in West Bengal – 40 KM from district headquarter, Jalpaiguri situated on national highway 31. It is a rich agricultural centre and a large source of rice, jute, potato, vegetables, tobacco and betel nuts for neighbouring places through one of the largest regulated markets in Bengal. From Jalpaiguri as we passed towards Dhupguri via NH31, we were welcomed by gorgeous Teesta river coming down straight from Sikkim and flowing to Bangladesh. The 1 KM-wide bridge connects the entire north east India from rest of India on road. The landscapes and greens en route Dhupguri are bound to draw everyone’s attention.
Dhupguri is a place where I spent my early (almost 18 years) childhood life before moving to Jadavpur, Kolkata. Living in the midst of nature up to 1970’s with trees, greens, and jungles all around with abundance of nearby forests, I remember as a kid (6 or 7 years old) would spot deer, rabbits and even once a tiger cub in the nearby bushes. There is a forest named Sonakhali, 4 to 5 KM away from our home. Everything has changed and all the bushes, trees and agriculture lands around my home have been replaced with buildings and houses.
It is nice feeling to be at home, where I spent my entire childhood without a break. It is impossible to forget those beautiful years from our lives. The joys in me were many:- revisit and cherish some old memories ; the thought of calm and serene life; the taste of many popular Bengali sweets- Rosogolla, Malaikari, Chum Chum; gastronomic delights – Hilsa, Barali, Pabda fishes; and the smell of fresh oxygen.
A life is enriched by memories we live and remember. A vacation spent at native home do exactly this.