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May 2012

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Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu

Located in the Singalila National Park, Sandakphu (3636 Mtrs) is the highest point of West Bengal. The Sanctuary is home to Himalayan red panda, barking deer, black bear and leopards. Apart from several varieties of trees there are rare orchids which embellish this sanctuary. From Sandakphu, you see a 360 degree view of Himalayan Range which includes four of five highest peaks in the world- Kanchendzonga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. The trek is ideal for a first timer as it has well defined trails and enough lodges with good food on the way. Best time for this trek is from October to January in winters and from March to June in summer. The Park is closed from June 16 to September 15 for the tourists.

The most conventional route to Sandakphu usually starts from Maneybhanjan through Chitrey and Meghma. However, we chose the rhododendron forest laden route of 6 km from Dhotre to Tumling (2970 Mtrs).

Vijaydurg Fort
Vijaydurg Fort

Vijaydurg looks very impressive at your first sight. Sitting on an elevated ground surrounded in three sides by water of the 40 km long Vaghotan creek, the fort looks formidable. The walls of the fort built with laterite stones are more or less intact. However they badly need repairs. Near the fort there is another dock, much bigger than the one which we saw at Devgarh. Thankfully there was no restriction in photography here.

History of Vijaydurg Fort

In 1653 Shivaji Maharaj had captured this fort from Adil Shah of Bijapur and renamed it as “VijayDurg”. The original name of the fort was “Gheria” and the first fortification appears to have been constructed in 1200 during the regime of Raja Bhoj II. Shivaji developed Vijaydurg as an important base for Maratha warships.

On the final day of our Konkan adventure we started as early as 08:00. Since Savli Resort would offer only tea in the morning, we had pre-arranged for our provisions for breakfast. Our Konkani gentleman with golden necklaces came with his auto rickshaw in the right time. The first destination was the Tara Mumbri beach. Situated south of Devgad, the beach was 4 km from Kunkeshwar. We reached the Tara Mumbri village at around 08:30 a.m

Tara Mumbri village
Tara Mumbri village

The fishermen’s village was on our left and on our right was a road lined with palm trees which led to the beach. There was a local boat-building yard in the village covered with a shade. in the foreground, there was the backwater with several fishing boats sailing on it towards the sea – a familiar scene which we have seen earlier in Nivati village.