“Note : ” On the hunt for stories” is an innovative kind of journey that is first of its kind in West Bengal, where the writers from all around the world can meet up and travel together to explore the stories in its most chastened form. The journey was first published in the month of September, and now after the first journey, it has become an ongoing plan for the writers who couldn’t make it this time. So, for the second journey, the writers can start sending their profiles so that the dates can be scheduled that will be commonly convenient for all other writers from different parts of the world. For reading more about the journey please check the link that was published earlier named  ” Travel to Hunt for Stories”
Now please read about the first journey that started from 27th Feb 2015 – 9th March 2015 :
Finally, the day arrived after a long wait. As this was the first ever type of a journey especially focused on all creative souls like writers and story lovers, I was quite skeptical in the start whether I would find people who share my thoughts. Then I knew the world is big to seek your endless desires, but also too small when you find them. I found writers and photographers, film-makers and more sending me emails to know about this innovative journey exploring unheard stories and capturing the unveiling moments that were seldom explored. With few writers, the dates were scheduled and the first of its kind journey began to make it an ongoing journey in future for all the writers from all around the world. So here I elaborate the destinations that we explored on our hunt for Stories :
Bara Mangwa Orange Villa : The Magical Orange Orchard

After a long drive following the beautiful River Teesta upwards passing through whirling turns and also some disheartening sights of nature exploitation due to giant constructions of dams on the river, when we reached Bada Mangwa, the heralding smiles of Mr T.N Ghising and his family was all enough to perish our tiredness. Mr T.N Ghising is renowned for his most beautiful Orange Orchard in the whole District of Darjeeling. Spread in almost 7-8 acres of sloped terrains, the Orange Orchard has many other concealed natural beauty that has been enhanced by Mr T.N Ghising and his family’s laborious hands. The stay was arranged at his homestay named Orange -Villa and were accompanied not only by his family members but also his friendly pets Brutus, Bruno and more two cats and two dogs. The house is a dream home for those who love the solitary ambiance surrounded by beautiful orange trees forming a perfect farm house.

The Orange Story: 

The Northern Belt of West Bengal and the adjacent areas are mostly covered with Orange Orchards that significantly reveals the historical impact of Mandarin Oranges that perhaps came through the Ancient Silk Route. Today, due to lack of proper Government Support and reliable research institutions many of the Orange Orchards have been abandoned by the community. This is because of low productivity and diseases that have ruined the legendary story of prosperity that economically strengthened the tribes of foot hills of Himalayas. Fortunately, the charm can still be devoured in its shrunken state in this lovely home of Mr T.N Ghising who proudly calls himself  ” An Experienced Orange expert”. The stories about Oranges recited by him was fascinating, that strangely is unheard in the are that dominantly recites the stories of Tea, the fruits of which are seldom enjoyed by the people of hills. Directly or indirectly it measures the economy of huge companies and thus the GDP of Darjeeling District in its true face is isolated from the real economic measurement of Hills.

The Bat Cave: 

It was just for a fun experience where we even explored a nearby Bat Cave. Unfortunately we couldn’t just get completely through its Entry and exit, the experience was great.

The Local Blacksmith:

On the way we had a chance to meet a local Blacksmith who serves the people of the village with Khukuris ( A weapon of Gorkha Tribe ). The black smith still following his tradition makes the weapon manually without any introduction of modern machinery tools and implements.

The Ancient Monastery:

An old monastery was our best experience where we saw many antiquities that brought a glimpse of old times in our minds exploring the history of Silk Route and the civilizations  that too place on hills in form of today’s rural culture that is a random mixture of different Hilly tribes.

The antiquities of the old Monastery depicting the story:

The cloudy Takdah Cantonment : The History of East India troops

The hunt then took us to a beautiful town that was once the cantonment area for the early British Troops who entered India through South- Bengal conquering over the Nawab-of-Bengal Sirajuddullah. The lusciousness of old Tea gardens that still hold their glory, the ancient Bungalows that once stood as the residence for the British Officials and the remains of Military Barracks is all that has made this small town. The clouds rising from River Teesta, and slowly climbing the mountains of Sikkim, Kalimpong, and Darjeeling is an enchanting sight that exclusively is seen from Takdah. The areas now have few beautiful homestays especially providing accommodation to travelers who either love cloud Photography or just want to enjoy the beauty of Darjeeling staying away from the urban culture.

 The Mesmerizing Clouds From Takdah :

The Luscious Tea Gardens of Takdah :

The Old British Military Barrack:

With our writer Prof. Khin Naing Zaw – Feeling the Wind of Himalayas.

The Confluence of River Teesta and River Rangeet:

River Teesta influences the foothills of Himalayas in a divine way as the Mount Kanchenjunga does to the tribes of Himalayas. The name “Teesta” derived from the language of Lepcha Tribe is often mentioned as the deity goddess of Himalayas. The beautiful tribal story behind River Teesta is the confluence of River Teesta and River Rangeet often recited by many old people of the areas. It is a romantic story depicting the chastened love, patience, belief and the triumph of two lovers who are Teesta ( The lass ) and Rangeet ( The lad). The story tells how the two lovers prayed for years to Lord Shiva to get the blessing to become together forever, where Lord Shiva granted them this blessing that is still today seen in the form of the confluence of two rivers.

The Gardener and the Orange Grower’s art :

After spending and exploring the stories of Bada Mangwa it was the time to visit the garden and orchard, decorated by nature and a lit of artistic hands of Mr T.N Ghising. Mr Ghising proudly and also a bit sadly described the great works of a deceased social worker who was also an anthropologist named Dr Sunita Gurung whose Research works on Orange production blessed the farmers of whole areas of Darjeeling. Unfortunately, the saga could not go further as she left the world at the mere age of 42. Her works can still be seen and her family still follow the culture of Orange Growers. Her memorial still remains as a silent spectator of all the problems the orange growers are facing today in North Bengal. Mr Ghising now also invites agro-volunteers who can stay and work in his farm to provide some help to other farmers of North Bengal by their expertise and research works. The details about the Orange Orchard Volunteer Plans can be found at the link – Orange Orchard Volunteer Plan  . The garden is just a paradise for writers, isolated from the artificial world into the depth of nature’s own creations with few modifications like a writer’s house with a single room, tree house for meditation and many more.

The Story time with the elder Brother of Late Dr Sunita Gurung:

The story of Bada Mangwa ended with many pages to be filled by us but in the same time opening its way for other writers to explore the depth of its culture and many other concealed stories that we left buried in our hearts and minds.

Our Next Destination was Pedong, which again brought us many unknowing facts and stories about Silk Route that I will certainly write about in my next blog under the series of this unique travel plan ” On hunt for Stories”.  I will appreciate any comments and questions about the next schedule of this trip made for writers where interested writers can work together with me to fix a date that will again be convenient for all other writers.

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