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Kolkata to NJP/Siliguri & onward to Darjeeling
So you are planning a travel from Kolkata to NJP or Siliguri and perhaps onward to Darjeeling? How do you want to go? There are several options actually. If you are taking a train, then come up to New Jalpaiguri (couple of trains go via the twin city Siliguri as well) and then take a road transport like bus, taxi or shared jeep.
There are several overnight bus services available as well from Kolkata up to Siliguri. If you have a private car, you can drive down to Siliguri and then to Darjeeling. You can of course catch a flight up to Bagdogra airport and then take a taxi for Darjeeling. In the sections below, I'll discuss all these options separately in details:
Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri by train
There are several trains from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). Few of them pass through the nearby Siliguri Junction as well. Rail distance between Kolkata and NJP is about 570kms. The two railway stations of Kolkata are Howrah and Seldah.
The most popular train is Darjeeling Mail that leaves at 10:05pm from Sealdah station and reaches NJP at 8:00am next morning. This allows you to board the train after dinner at home and then have a comfortable overnight journey. As you wake up, you are in NJP. You will get taxis and shared jeeps from here for Darjeeling.
Another excellent option is to take Kanchankanya Express which leaves at 7:35pm from Sealdah. This train goes beyond NJP and via Siliguri Junction station. Get off at Siliguri (around 7:30am) and you will get all sorts of road transports right across the station. The Siliguri main bus terminal is also located here.
If you want to avoid the rush of Darjeeling Mail and Kanchankanya Express both of which have similar arrival time at NJP/Siliguri, then take Kamrup Express. This train leaves Howrah at 5:35pm and arrives at NJP at 6:15am. Once you reach NJP, this will give you ample time to freshen up, take breakfast and conveniently get a transport for Darjeeling before the passengers from the other trains start pouring in.
The following section will give you details about point to point transports:
1) Trains to Darjeeling: All the trains that you can take from Kolkata for Darjeeling along with their timings, days of running, available classes and other details.
2) New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling: Available transports from NJP to Darjeeling.
3) Siliguri to Darjeeling: Available transports from Siliguri Junction to Darjeeling.
Kolkata to Siliguri by bus
There are regular and daily bus services offered by NBSTC (North Bengal State Transport Corporation) between Kolkata and Siliguri. This is one of the oldest state operations in the country running the long distance bus services since 1945. They have both Rocket Bus Services as well as A/C bus services between Kolkata and Siliguri.
The buses leave in the evening and run overnight. Here is the current timing and route of the NBSTC Rocket bus service (non-a/c):
Kolkata (Starts at 8pm) - Krishno Nagar (11:20pm) - Baharampur (1:20am) - Malda (4:20am) - Raiganj (5:50am) - Islampur (8:30am) - Siliguri (10:00am)
The a/c buses usually leave one hour earlier. From Kolkata the buses leave from either Esplanade or Ultadanga main bus terminus. The buses terminate at the Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus located on Hill Cart Road at Siliguri and next to the Siliguri Junction Station. You will need to go over to a bus terminus and buy the tickets. Ticket fare by a non-a/c Rocket bus from Kolkata to Siliguri is Rs. 245/- (subject to change).
There are also Volvo buses "The Royal Cruisers" that operate between Kolkata and Siliguri. They are run by Gupta Travels.
They leave at 8pm from Kolkata and reach Siliguri at 9am. The fares are Rs. 745.00 for a/c and 325 for non-a/c (subject to change). Contact the following phone numbers for more information, current schedules and fares of the Volvo buses to Siliguri:
Phone: +91 (353) 251-3451; +91 (353) 251-3451
Check out Siliguri to Darjeeling for all transports between Siliguri to Darjeeling.
Kolkata to Bagdogra by flight
Bagdogra is the nearest airport of Darjeeling and there are several daily flights between Kolkata and Bagdogra. Even few years back, the plane fare in this sector was quite high as there was only an Indian Airlines and later a Jet Airways flight that flew this sector. Now with several low cost airlines having entered the sector, you can get great bargains (easily between Rs. 2,200 - 2,400) if you book the tickets in advance and avoid the rush season.
Check out Flights to Bagdogra to know about all the direct flights between Kolkata and Bagdogra including their timings and other details. Visit Bagdogra to Darjeeling to know about all transport options from Bagdogra airport and the road journey up the mountain road to Darjeeling.
Kolkata to Siliguri/Darjeeling by car
I have driven several times to Darjeeling from Kolkata. While there are several road routes, the best one is by NH-34 up to Dalkhola, then NH-31 from up to Siliguri, and from there the Hill Cart Road (NH-55) all the way up to Darjeeling.
By NH-34/31, the distance to Siliguri is approximately 610kms and Darjeeling is another 80kms from there. Remember that from Siliguri up to Darjeeling is an uphill mountain road rising to an average altitude of 7000ft. Although not practical, a continuous drive up to Siliguri will take about 12 hours by this route and another 3.5 hours from there to Darjeeling. I would recommend that you start in the morning and take a break for the night at Malda after about 8-hours drive. Start again next morning and drive all the way up to Darjeeling.
Here is the complete road route from Kolkata to Siliguri and then to Darjeeling:
1) Check out How to reach Darjeeling for complete information on reaching Darjeeling from various places in India and neighboring countries.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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