My Best Ever North Bengal Photography Trip

Well, I will be honest here. I had no expectations of going to a friends and family trip in a group of 20 people and return with some of the best landscapes, wildlife and astro photos I have ever shot. It still feels unreal seeing the Milky Way in the clearest form, Mt. Kanchenjungha and the Sleeping Buddha Range in its fullest, river Teesta leading us onto its own valley, the gorgeous ridges and mountains, stunning flycatchers and massive carnivores - all in a single trip! and guess what? I wasn't ready for most of it!

Sunrise over Teesta Valley, with peaks from Bhutan in distance

To start with, lets just give a one-liner about the trip members. 7 friends and their parents, making it 21 - this is our full group; one person was unable to join, thus making it 20 people for this trip. So now, lets begin the trip! Oh where are we going? Multiple places, but the most significant ones are Tinchuley (and Tukdah), Ahaldara, Latpanchar (and Milandhura) and Bengal Safari - all in one!

Day 1: Darjeeling Mail SF Special (02343) from Sealdah to New Jalpaiguri (NJP), 10:10 PM IST [October 22, 2021]

Nothing much for the first day, it was a journey that I have probably mastered and revised over twenty times now - its my fourth journey in 2021 itself (with another possible journey in December), and let me remind you, this is the year of Covid-19's second wave! So, lets begin from Day 1, where we start from NJP to Tinchuley and Tukdah forest.

Day 2: NJP to Tinchuley and Tukdah [October 23, 2021]

There has been a massive landslide in the main route from NJP to Tukdah forest and we had to take the alternate route via Kurseoung.

Peeping Peaks

Here began my first shots for the trip, obviously after I had some of the best momos ever. The first one came out to be a cloud-ridden frame uncovering some of the peaks of the green mountains on an extremely cloudy day!

I also got a minimalistic shot of a person approaching a small resting area amongst the massive rice fields of Rohini, and a small ladybug, on our way to Kurseoung.

However, the majority of photos from the first day included some random textures and patterns on the mountain ferns and pine leaves. I always do this when I go to the mountains. It gives me a different kind of feeling!

I had also clicked a couple of standard template shots of the mountain layers which we always see before reaching Ghoom.

It got very very dark when we had reached Tinchuley and that is when we realzed that we have actually crossed Tinchuley and would be staying in Tukdah cantonment area. We didn't get bookings in the same homestay, so we had to accommodate ourselves in two separate homestays, which are about a couple of kilometers apart. However, the best was about to come for the first day at the night when we got some classic shots of the night sky. I could take a tiny star trail with around 12 frames and another frame which is going to confuse the viewers, due to the light-play in it.