INDIA. Bagdogra, West Bengal: Bagdogra is part of the greater Siliguri Metropolitan area, the second-largest city of West Bengal. It in fact is the Airport city for Siliguri in North Bengal and is a defense airport commonly used for domestic and international traffic. It is operated as a civil enclave at AFS Bagdogra of the Indian Air Force. The India Air Force Jets taking off and landing at regular intervals keep the visitor involved.
Gateway to Major Tourism attraction in the region:
Bagdogra connects major tourist attractions like Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong, Peling, and others with the rest of the country. All these tourist attractions including Bhutan are accessible by road from the town.
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Thousands of tourists visit these attractions through Bagdogra every year. Even for foreign tourists, Bagdogra airport is a must-visit, as Permits for these tourists who want to visit Sikkim are issued at this airport. Regular helicopter flights to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim are also available from here for tourists not wanting to travel by Road.
Bagdogra – The Town:
Bagdogra is in Dist Darjeeling (Sub Div – Siliguri) and the official languages are Bengali, Hindi, and English. It is a Tea Tourism destination and most of Bagdogra’s economy is related to its adjoining tea gardens and tea factories.
The town has a low hilly terrain which provides it with a serene and scenic environment of its own and is situated just a few kilometers short of the Himalayan range. Lush green tea gardens, hilly terrain, verdant meadows, and a beautiful township provide a picturesque view to visitors here. The Teesta River flows near this town which adds to the beauty of the place.
Bagdogra is very quiet and peaceful, with no noise of the outside world, pollution-free, a place where one can come again and again to relax and breathe fresh air.
Bagdogra has limited tourist attractions; however, there are a few which are worth mentioning. The places to visit in Bagdogra are the Science City in Siliguri, Umrao Singh Boat club in Sukhna, Salugara Monastery, ISCON Temple, etc. This town is also famous for various festivals organized on the banks of the River Teesta. River rafting, trekking, mountaineering, and camping are some of the adventure activities a tourist can indulge in while visiting Bagdogra.
Bagdogra has many tourist lodges and hotels which provide comfortable rooms and modern facilities to visitors. All kinds of hotels and guest houses are available, ranging from luxurious to economical ones. Many hotels provide scenic views of the mountain peaks and guided tours of the place. Traditional food and various adventure sports are also included in hotel packages.
There is not much as far as Food and shopping go, but as you travel through the tiny city, you can see many malls on the way to Siliguri. There is nothing much to shop for here as most of the stuff is brought in from neighbouring Nepal. You get good Tibetan street food though. Must-try dishes are local Thupka and Momos.
Religion n Festivals:
Bagdogra is a hub of many religions, and you can call the town a small replica of secular India. There are many Temples, Mosques, Churches, Gurudwaras. But being a West Bengal town, Bengalis form the major chunk of the population and it surely is a Bengali hub. All the age-old rich Bengali culture and tradition is still preserved here. All the festivals namely Durga Pujo, Kenduli Mela, Vasanta Utsav, Jalpesh Mela, and Naba Barsho are celebrated here. Naba Barsho is one of the major celebrations, and is observed as per the Tibetan calendar and is celebrated with huge enthusiasm.
Summers in Bagdogra is not that hot as it is surrounded by snow-clad mountains. Winter is very cold and the best time to visit Bagdogra are February, March, October, November, December. Monsoons in Bagdogra are quite wet just as they are in most of the Eastern parts of India, and it is best to avoid planning a trip to any of the tourist places through Bagdogra in monsoons.
Bagdogra can be reached by all three modes of transportation – Rail, Road, and Air. By rail, the nearest station is Jalpaiguri which is connected with major cities in India. By road, there are regular bus services from major parts of North east India, and by air, it’s the fully functional Air Force based airport.