Fly to Bagdogra
The Himalayan highlands surrounding the hill town of Bagdogra are dominated by vast Darjeeling tea plantations. The town is about a half-hour drive from the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the few places on the planet where you can see Bengal tigers and Indian elephants in the wild. Bagdogra is also close to the ISKCON temple, which is a spiritual home for followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the fork between the Teesta and Mahananda Rivers. The sanctuary was set up in 1959 to help preserve Indian bison and royal Bengal tigers, which were being hunted nearly to the point of extinction. Nearby, you ll find the Coronation Bridge across the Teesta, an engineering marvel that sits entirely on a single fixed arch.
Hints and tips
When you fly to Bagdogra, you ll land at Bagdogra Airport (IXB). After you deplane, the available transportation options are jeeps, cars and buses. Bagdogra temperatures in the spring months average around 90 degrees. June through September are the stormy months when rainfall can be heavy.
In early April, Bagdogra and the surrounding towns celebrate the distinctive Bengali New Year s celebration called Naba Barsho, or Poila Baishakh. During this celebration, the streets are decorated with mango leaves and marigolds and locals dress in regional costumes.
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