I have travelled so many places around the India and abroad but for some reason or the other I have never managed to travel to Darjeeling. I still remember when I was around eight (1988) a big family vacation was planned for Darjeeling but it was cancelled the very day we were supposed to board the train as there was travel restriction imposed due to the ongoing Gorkhaland agitation. Reluctantly we had to change our plans to the sea beaches of Puri.
This time, however, I was sure not given Darjeeling a miss thus cut short my stay at Kolakham and proceeded to Darjeeling. We wanted to start early so that we can reach Darjeeling as early as possible and enjoy our stay. We started our journey from Kolakham at around 4 AM and after travelling through Lava – Rishop – Riksum – Lamahata – Kalingpong we finally reached Darjeeling.
It was a bright and sunny morning, a perfect time to enjoy the morning chill and with a cup of Darjeeling Tea in my hand, I was simply gazing at the ranges towards Sikkim. It was not yet tourist season thus the hotel owners were frantically doing the last minute patches to the newly constructed dining area. My daughter had managed to find a playing partner of her age and was busy building sand castles amongst the heaps of sand that were there for the construction. My wife, on the other hand, was relaxing back in the room.
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr oooooooo mmmmmmmm a thunderous sound erupted and the ground started shaking violently. Since all the houses have tin roofs thus the sound was amplified even further. All around hell broke loose the trees were violently shaking and then the locals started shouting “Bhoochal Ayooo”. Even though I don’t understand Nepali but by then I knew it was an Earthquake.
It was August 2013 and the Durga Puja vacations were soon approaching and we were still thinking where to go. We wanted to go to some offbeat destination since that would be something new with our three year old daughter. A lot of research were done online but we could not finalize any destination. Darjeeling is quite near to Kolkata but for some or the other reason I could never visit that place. Something or the other led to last minute cancellation. Since it was jinxed so I avoided it this time also. Finally after a quick discussion with my good old friend Amitabha Gupta I froze on Kolakham.
Kolakham is a small village in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, it comprises for 20 – 30 families residing on hill slopes. Until a few years back this place was unknown but with the recent development of offbeat tourism this destination also is in the limelight. This is more of a rustic village where few Nepali families live.