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.
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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.
NOTE: Train timings are indicative and subject to change.
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.
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
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 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:
From Kolkata take NH-34 from Dumdum airport area
Pass via Barasat and Chakdaha
Move towards Ranaghat and then Shantipur
In about three hours you will reach Krishnanagar. This place is famous for a Bengali sweet known as Swar Bhaja prepared from fried milk products.
You will cross Dhubalia and then pass by Palashi. This is were the historic battle (known as battle of Palashi) was fought between Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula and lord Clive of East India Company in 1757.
You will then pass by Rejinagar before you reach Baharampur. From Krishnanagar, it takes about 2 hours to reach Baharampur. Murshidabad, which was the last independent Capital of Bengal and a famous historical site is located here. It became the capital in 1717 and is still famous for silk.
You will then pass by places like Jangipur, Dhulian, Sultangunj and Kaliachak along NH-34 before you reach Malda in about three hours from Baharampur. This is where you should take a break for the night unless you are hard pressed on time and want to drive at night. There are a number of hotels and tourist lodges in Malda. It's a fairly large township.
You will then drive by places like Gajol, Stalkuri and reach Raiganj in about 1.5 hours from Malda.
After a while you will reach Dalkhola. Shortly after Dalkhola you will need to veer into the national highway NH-31. This road goes through places like Kanki, Kishanganj, Dhantola and then to Islampur. From Raiganj, Islampur takes little less than 3 hours by road.
NH-31 continues via Ramganj, Chopra, Sonapur, Bidhan Nagar, Ghosh Pukur, up to Bagdogra. It should take about an hour to reach Bagdogra from Islampur.
From here, Siliguri is about 14kms on NH-31
Now for Siligiri up to Darjeeling, check out Roads to Darjeeling for all the road routes. The main route is the Hill Cart Road.
1) Check out How to reach Darjeeling
for complete information on reaching Darjeeling from various places in India and neighboring countries.
Suvobroto Ray Chaudhuri (November 2018)
Hi, I am interested in doing a road trip from Kolkata to Darjeeling in my own vehicle. If you can kindly help what permits I have to take for driving beyond Siliguri.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2018
There are no permits required.
Riddhi Panelia (November 2017)
Hello Raj, We are traveling to north Sikkim in March 2017. We will be reaching to NJP by 9:00 pm. One of the tour operator in Gangtok suggested to transfer to Gangtok at the same night so that we can save time Is it possible and safe to transfer to Gangtok during night ? Please give your valuable suggestions. Thanks.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2017
I won't recommend that. Rather stay overnight at a hotel in Siliguri and travel next morning. One of the best experiences here is to enjoy the views & vistas along the way. That won't be possible at night, leave aside the safety factor.
Rajasekhar (April 2016)
I'm traveling with family and will be reaching NJP from Kolkata @10:30 pm in the night (traveling by Shatabdi express) and wish to stay in a hotel that night and head to Darjeeling the next morning. Do we get prepaid taxis to the hotels late in the night? How safe is NJP to travel with family late night?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2016
There are no prepaid taxis at nights. Some stray vehicles would be available. Better to ask your hotel to arrange for a pick up from NJP station.
Deb Kumar Maitra (March 2016)
I plan to leave Kolkata this Saturday - 12th. Mar 2016. Train tickets are obviously not available. I & my family would like to travel by Volvo. A few questions:
1. Are the roads to Siliguri reasonably good ?
2. Do they give enough latrine stops (2/3) ?
3. Is there a decent Pay & Use Facility at Siliguri or should we check into a hotel for freshening up before embarking to Darjeeling ? Thanks a TON
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2016
Hi, Road is okay except for patches. The bus usually stops 2-3 times along the way. Better to take a hotel at Siliguri for freshening up, alternatively go down to a decent restaurant for breakfast where you can use the toilet.
Roma Biswas (March 2013)
Hi, I am from Mumbai. We will be visiting Darjeeling-Gangtok on 15th April,2014 for 7 days. We are reaching Howrah on 14th April,2014 by Gyaneshwari. We are all sr.citizens. Weintend to leave for Darjeeling the same evening i.e.14th evening.All train tickets are not available due to vacation. Hence bus is the only way out. Kindly suggest from where to book the bus tickets, which bus is comfortable. Can we book the bus tickets online for I fear that they may also be full due to heavy rush.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2014
The rocket buses operated by North Bengal State Transport Corp leave from Esplanade or Ultadanga terminus in Kolkata. You will need to book the seats from the terminus. There are also Volvo buses (that are more comfortable) which you can book online through makemytrip.com.