Fenced by tea gardens, in the district of Darjeeling in West Bengal, lies the small town Bagdogra. It is a perfect example of secular India as people of different beliefs live here in peace and harmony. Bagdogra is a part of the greater Siliguri metropolitan area that opens a gateway to the northeast and connects to Tilaiya, Nawada, Koderma, Jhumri, Bihar Sharif, Bakhtiarpur, Harnaut, Begusarai, Mokameh, Purnea, Kishanganj, Dalkhola, Siliguri, etc. The town is divided into upper and lower Bagdogra. The upper part is mostly residential while the lower part comprises commercial establishments, schools, colleges, rail station etc. Initially, the doorway to the Airport was also through this area but has now been moved to a new entry point about 2 km ahead of Bihar More.
Air Connectivity to Bagdogra:
Bagdogra has great connectivity by air to and from major cities of India - Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Guwahati. Bagdogra Airport is the only airfield in North Bengal and is now a Customs Airport, functional as a civil area at AFS Bagdogra of the Indian Air Force. The airport is located about 16 km west of the city of Siliguri and is the main hub with flights connecting to major cities in the country. The airport also operates daily helicopter flights to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Major domestic airlines
like Air India
, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Vistara
and Indigo provide daily flights from Mumbai to Bagdogra. Most flights have one or two stopovers and you can reach Bagdogra in under 5 hours via Guwahati. For cheap air tickets
between Mumbai and Bagdogra, log on to yatra.com
Railway Link to Bagdogra:
New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are the closest railway stations to Bagdogra. The Railway Station in NFR (Northeast Frontier) Siliguri - Katihar railway zone links many towns such as Siliguri, Naxalbari, Aluabari (Islampur), Kishanganj and Katihar among others. However, there is no direct train route between Mumbai and Bagdogra. The cheapest way to travel to Bagdogra from Mumbai is to take the Ltt-Kyq (Lokmanyatilak-Kamakhya) AC Express from Mumbai to New Jalpaiguri
and then take a cab to Bagdogra. You can also opt for the Guwahati Express or the Karmabhoomi Express – both ply between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and New Jalpaiguri. The average travel time varies between 40 and 45 hours.
Places to Stay in Bagdogra:
From 3-star hotels
to budget lodges, Bagdogra offers convenient accommodation options. Enjoy a comfortable stay at Orbit Bagdogra which is positioned close to the Bagdogra Airport. Travelers who are in transit or just want to freshen up or relax before getting on the next flight can also choose to stay here. Marina's Motel is a popular option for people getting off at Bagdogra Airport and going for the hills. This peaceful motel is a colonial-style building located 12 km from Savin Kingdom and 13 km from the Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary. Hotel Hiya is located roughly 8 km away from Bagdogra Airport. They offer chargeable pick up and drop services for their customers; you can take a prior appointment for the service. Prices of these hotels range between Rs. 1000 and Rs. 3000 per night. However, you can also choose to stay in a lodge such as at the Phoenix Lodge for just Rs. 560 per night.
Eating Out in the town:
Sikkimese cuisine shadows mostly the same pattern of its flavour components, styles and basics from Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India together. It derives inspiration from all that's around and the several cultures that foster to give you a cuisine that is original and characterizes the area. While primary items of the cuisine are Thukpas, Momos and rice, you cannot miss out on the splendid and authentic soups, pickles and handful of vegetable and meat delicacies. The Bagdogra Airport Restaurant is popular for a nice view of the runway and their chicken cutlets. Do not forget to try the Dansberg beer, a brand owned by former Bollywood bad man Danny Denzongpa.
Shopping in Bagdogra:
It is quite natural to coddle in a little bit of shopping after a day of some fine sightseeing. Buy souvenirs and gifts for yourself, your family and friends – after all, shopping in Bagdogra
would give you the opportunity to roam around town too. Bagdogra market is not far from the airport and has a few shops. You can also explore Matigara (this is the place to leave the highway and take a left turn if you are heading for Darjeeling). Both Matigara and Bagdogra are primarily local markets or bazaars. For fancy options, you have to go down the highway to the City Centre shopping mall. Here, you will get various stores including the retail store of Shoppers Stop.
How to Get Around in Bagdogra:
Conveyance in Bagdogra is very easy to avail. Local rails and roads are the best bets. Local buses are easily accessible. You can also hire a cab or taxi for a fixed period of time from the local service providers.
Places of sightseeing:
The popular places to visit in Bagdogra
are The Science City, Coronation Bridge (also known as Sevoke Coronation Bridge), Surya Sen Park and Madhuban Park (initiated by the Indian Army), North Bengal Science Centre, Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary, Dreamland Fun World, Social Forestry, Dreamland Amusement Park, and Batasia loop among others. You can also take a short trip to Mirik, a beautiful hill station surrounded by serenity. Mirik is about 1 hour 30 minutes by road from Bagdogra.
When to Visit Bagdogra:
Bagdogra experiences warm and temperate weather for the better part of the year. The average yearly temperature hovers around 24oC. The months from March to May are the busiest in terms of tourist traffic. However, to experience the city in its true spirit, visit between July and October – the place looks fresh and beautiful during monsoon. You can also opt for a few days between November and February – the temperature could go down to 5oC. The mist in the air during this time is quite charming.