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The Tranquilo Traveler

The Tranquilo Traveler is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world. Travel writer and award- winning Moon Handbooks author Joshua Berman created The Tranquilo Travel as a resource for world trippers and international volunteers, a window to the author’s travels in Nicaragua, Belize, and beyond, and an update of his books and articles.

Map: Birpara Town, Jalpaiguri District, North Bengal

Username By Joshua | October 4th, 2005 | Comments 14 Comments »


When I showed my map of Birpara to Tay, and asked her if I’d missed anything, I was startled when she immediately declared “Yes!” and went on to list everything that was omitted: trucks, cows, rickshaws, bicycles, people, honking, piles of shit…

“You make it look like it’s an easy, pleasant walk to the park!” she said, referring to the 15-minute walk we attempted only once: A death-defying trek along the highway’s edge which acts as both road shoulder, parking lot, and open-air workshop of welding, hammering, and trash-burning; traffic speeding by at full speed and skinny, shirtless truckers leering from all directions.

Maps are deceiving; it is their nature. They simplify and, when they’re well drawn, they appeal to the eye. One time when my coauthor, The Randymon, and I wanted to attract Moon Handbooks Nicaragua readers to a rather remote but beautiful village which was trying to make a go at tourism, he suggested adding a map of the place, even though it was a small, uncomplicated town which any traveler could have negotiated on their own.

“Maps make a place more real,” he said.

That’s why, dear readers, I want to show you Birpara as it exists through my eyes, which makes it an even smaller town than it already is, but somehow real-er than mere words can convey. There’s our apartment, Akhil Bhavan, there’s the main drag (which I only just learned is named Mahatma Gandhi Road, or “The MG”), there’s Mohan’s Internet shop, the market, and Lovely Sweets. That’s about it, as far as my life here is concerned. Oh, and there are the tea gardens, hemming us in on all sides. We can even hear the sirens each morning and afternoon marking the tea laborer’s workday.

That’s what’s on the map. For the exhaust, the rumbling trucks, the smell of urine, the blaring horns, the taste of gulab jamun, and the dampness of the afternoon, you’ll have to come to Birpara yourself.

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14 Responses to “Map: Birpara Town, Jalpaiguri District, North Bengal”

john | October 4th, 2005 at 2:13 pm | comment link
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I’ve been admiring the maps you’ve been posting, very beautiful and a wonderful way to tie us in with your travels. I had actually thought you had collected them before you left, I had no idea you’ve been making them yourself!

Lovely, and a wonderful idea for my next adventure…

Amy | October 6th, 2005 at 5:21 pm | comment link
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I love the maps too. Thanks for sharing!

Ashok Mandal | December 26th, 2006 at 5:53 pm | comment link
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I am a resident of Japaiguri District, went a couple of times to Birpara town. I must appreciate your observation and map drawing skills.

ashok mandal
New York, USA

debanjana | January 29th, 2007 at 3:44 am | comment link
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i m a resident of birpara. now i m far away from my house. i really miss my those days in birpara.
the map is really too good.but the only missing thing is my house there.anyway, good job!!!!!!!

PRASANTA MUKHERJI | February 15th, 2008 at 7:57 am | comment link
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As I had been working for eleven years at Birpara/Jalpaiguri,right from 1967 to 1978, I think the map is not so flawless. main thing of Birpara should be its Higher secondery schhol some way near power office as sketched in the map. no map site of its hospital and dalgaon club! no map point of rivulets, namely Bibitijhora and others which are Birpara’s one or two beautiful places.

PANKAJ SHARMA | October 2nd, 2008 at 7:46 pm | comment link
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myself from Birpara…subhas palli….3 no. gali….i’m away of this tiny town almost for a year…but of course during DURGA PUJA…i’m there to meet my family…n nearest and dearest one….if anyone knowing me can drop to my place…

Siddhartha Chakraborty | January 14th, 2009 at 11:19 pm | comment link
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thaks for the map , i am from birpara and i love this place

Mehboob | May 15th, 2009 at 11:00 am | comment link
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Hi eveybody, im a 17 year old boy from Assam, i and my Girlfriend are in deeply love since infinity and we had to suffer a lot of tragedy created by our family, the reason is our religions. Now after more than 1000 degree tourture also we are strong enough to say to our family that we wont leave each other hands. U know dear readers now at last in this May 2009 she has been taken to Siliguri but still she made up to call me, she said she is in BIRPARA and she said its not in SILIGURI so i guess its the BIRPARA we all are talking about. PLEASE HELP ME TELL ME ANY INFORMOTION ABOUT THIS PLACE COS NOR ME NEITHER SHE HAS BEEN THERE. SHE DOESNT KNOW WHERE EXACTLY SHE IS. I GOTTA FIND HER I BEG PLEASE HELP ME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL. MY EMAIL

Maya Roy | August 23rd, 2009 at 12:24 am | comment link
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Great I am from Birpara.
What is the volunteer work being done at Birpara and I am very interested in joining to work there?

SUMIT GARG | October 9th, 2009 at 7:02 am | comment link
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hi..thanks for making this small beautiful town available to all through ur pages.Me,a local lad,from one of the oldest families of this village am proud of its simplicity and peacefulness which the most hitech cities are deprived of.well many great brains spreaded all over the world have their past in the single parched M.G.Road,the only road which connects everyone,those who r there under the same birpara sky.come next time n we both will make this place a bit more nicer with best reasons.PROUD TO BE A BIRPARIAN.

kaiyum khan | December 10th, 2010 at 8:06 am | comment link
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I am one of the local residential person of birpara I think that in birpara lanka road\’s map many importence things missing viz new jeep stand,Tuition point coaching centre,gulf club,birpara sarda pally,new mosque etc.

sonu agarwal | March 20th, 2011 at 1:11 am | comment link
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really glad to see my hometown in google….feeling awesme….grt.thanks google

ANIKET GHOSH | April 12th, 2011 at 11:45 pm | comment link
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Ya… I think that\’s fine but lot of things are missing there in this map. As a resident i demand more accuracy in it. Some vital points and places hasn\’t been sketched up there. Our beloved school,subhashpally areas,birbitijhora,upar basti and some other awesome places i\’m missing here. I thought i would be nostalgic by seeing this map but i couldn\’t be.

Mimi | June 6th, 2011 at 5:17 am | comment link
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I never went to this place,i only know dat My best friend Dr Akash mukherjee lives here.He is working at Jalpaiguri Goverment hospital.recently i came to know from another friend dat he has been suffering from acute pancreas disease…i dnt know how to contact wd him????

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