The name, Dooars, is sometimes only associated with jungle and wildlife although the greeneries of foothills of the eastern Himalayas in northeast India has a peaceful connection with Bhutan through a shy river named Jaldhaka. A deep dive within the route uncovers a less explored side of touring India.
The Jaldhaka Rivers flows at a tremendous speed along the Bhutan-India border. A lovely route towards the barrage holds memorable spots like Samsing, Jhalong, Suntale Khola and many more. The origin of the trip, Gorumara Jungle Resort, itself is only 13 kms away from Gorumara National Park.
The assistant manager of the resort, Mihir Roy, told UNB that the famed location is mainly visited by film crew.
“Within the next few days, the spot will be used as filming location for an upcoming movie. But the beauty and the serenity of Dooars never loses the charm,” he said.
A jeep took us to Samsing, the first stoppage of the trip, on the second day after arriving at the resort.
The small hamlet, Samsing, had cozy people and a gorgeous view of surrounding tea estates and hills. It is located 3000 ft in the foothills in between Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts. It is known for its beautiful landscape with green tea estates, hills and forests that attract a lot of tourists.
It is the home to more than 4,000 people and its climate is noted for fog and cool breezes. Lali Guras and Suntaley Khola are the two key spots that I visited in Samsing.
Lali Guras offers a wide view of the Murti River as it lies near Suntaley Khola and the river viewpoint about 3 kms from Samsing. Flanked by the river and a serene, green landscape, the spot offers the perfect relief to weary city dwellers looking to escape from the drudgery of their daily mundane routines.
Suntaley Khola, part of Samsing at 4 km trekking distance, had a mountaineering stream that passes under the hanging bridge. An interesting fact is that the Suntaley Khola lodge is accessible via that bridge only.
Following the crisscrossing and meandering roads in-line with the Murti River, the jeep took us to Gairibas viewpoint at Jhalong where we first glanced at the lovely Jaldhaka River separating India and Bhutan.
A short stoppage there introduced the landscape of Bhutan Mountains and settlements on both sides of the river.
The Bindu barrage was the final stoppage of the trip and at the heart of Bhutan-India border where three streams of Bhutan named Dudh Khola, Bindu Khola and Jaldhaka connect and reemerge as Jaldhaka after crossing the dam.
The dam is part of a hydroelectricity plant at Bindu. Visitors are not permitted to visit the dam but photographing the dam was allowed. A Bhutia settlement was visible on the other side of the plant.
The Jaldhaka waterway is a mix of said three streams originating from the same glacier in Himalayans. The Jaldhaka streams over Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar before going to Bangladesh near Mathabhanga through the Cooch Behar region.
In Cooch Behar area, the stream takes the name of Singimari. In its course to Bangladesh, the Jaldhaka River again changes the name to Dharla and streams into Brahmaputra in Kurigram.
The population near the border is scarce but welcoming as a small number of shops selling various foods and souvenirs were operated by the locals. They generally had a positive impression about the peaceful and jolly environment of the Indo-Bhutan border.
The importance of the trip lies in an alternative route of tour-hungry Bangladeshis to visit not only the ever-enchanting forestry of Dooars, but also to get to see the amazing views of spots like Samsing, Jhalong and Bindu all in cooperation with the always welcoming locals.
The easiest route to Dooars and surrounding areas is to enter through Banglabandh land port and visit Siliguri, India. From there, the passage towards the Gorumara National Park has a variety of resorts for holidaymakers and rest is fairly simple through tour packages.
Radwan Mujib Siddiq, a grandson of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and trustee of Centre for Research and Information (CRI), made a surprise visit to Dhaka Art Summit at Bangladesh Shilpakal Academy on Sunday.
Radwan witnessed the exhibition titled 'Lighting the fire of freedom - Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman' on the ground floor of the National Art Gallery, said a CRI press release.
The exhibition was organised by the policy research organisation in association with Information and Communications Technology Division and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
CRI Executive Director Sabbir Bin Sams said organisers of the art summit expressed their desire to keep one exhibition solely dedicated to the celebrations of the ‘Mujib Borsho’. “Then CRI extended all the assistance regarding design, picture and others. Another trustee of CRI Nasrul Hamid offered his consultancy on design and content.”
Like every year since 2012, Dhaka Art Summit, the biggest exhibition of artworks and paintings in South Asia, was also organised this year.
Oversized bows, exaggerated puffed sleeves and luxe jewel tones. Everything sparkled with sequins at Badgley Mischka's show Saturday which played up the glamour of "Downton Abbey," with the Beatles' bohemian Abbey Road era.
In an interview backstage, Mark Badgley said the label is designing for the woman who "still wants to take time and make herself feel special and indulge and buy a beautiful piece of clothing."
"She can wear them over and over again or let her daughters have them," he said.
Mother and daughter Hilaria Baldwin sat in the front row next to husband Alec Baldwin. On his lap, he held their young daughter Carmen, who wore a black bow headband. The family said they were delighted to cheer on the fashion duo.
"These two men are such titans of the fashion world and it's really — we're happy to come and help celebrate them and what they're doing," Alec Baldwin told The Associated Press.
Rapper Jeezy, who wore a burgundy suit and sat next girlfriend and TV host Jeannie Mae, said he loves playing with fashion and reusing pieces in different ways.
"The whole experience ... just getting the vibe, love it. Fashion week is dope," he said.
The gowns had more minimal silhouettes but every piece had a special touch, an oversized bell sleeve, ruffled collar, giant bow or a plunging beaded neckline.
The dowager would certainly raise an eyebrow if Lady Mary and Lady Edith came dressed to dinner in a showstopping gown with a pale gold, beaded bodice that dipped straight to the belly button into a full skirt pleated skirt with whimsical puffs of feathers and leaf like appliques.
A ho-hum everyday grey tweed suit skirt was glamorized with subtle sparkles, exaggerated puff sleeves and belted waist. Bold florals featured heavily in the collection, including a modern take on a coat dress with a plunging neckline and asymmetrical skirt.
Everything shimmered, from everyday coats to strapless, evening gowns to a stunning pantsuit tied effortlessly at the waist. The models wore a bold ruby lip and were heavy on accessories including ornately beaded almost backward headbands that turned into ear cuffs.
Velvets and jewel tons, including rich emerald greens and burgundies inspired by the painter John Singer Sargent who was known for his Edwardian-era luxury, featured prominently, along with shimmering black, gold and silver evening looks.
Even the designer took a cue from the collection. Badgley embellished his broken arm with a black sequin sling.
James Mischka noted the collection will hit the stores this fall during a pivotal election year and what may be a "very fraught time in this country." The focus was to armor women with clothes to make her feel "empowered and beautiful and safe."
"When an airplane flies above the clouds instead of through the storm, that's what we're dressing her for," he said.
Kaia Gerber walked the runway and brand ambassador Kendall Jenner sat front row at Longchamp's celebrity filled show Saturday, that included model Coco Rocha and actresses Ashley Benson and Storm Reid.
It was all about the boots and bags for the Paris fashion house where creative director Sophie Delafontaine sent models down the runway in uber shiny, patent leather knee-high boots in eye-catching red, green, yellow, silver and black, all adorned with silver balls and chains across the toe.
"I wanted to push a little bit more the Parisian vibe. I was happy to bring the femininity, but with a lot of character," Delafontaine said during a backstage interview.
The show featured bomber jackets with pronounced shearling collars and chunky knits over flowing, gauzy printed dresses.
Kaia Gerber, daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, walked the show in an olive green suede military style suit and cropped jacket with silver boots.
"It's amazing. It's so pretty," Gerber said of the collection during an interview backstage with The Associated Press.
Jenner, who didn't walk in the show, but sat front row dressed in black leather gaucho style shorts and tall black boots, said "I always have a (Longchamp) bag with me."
The brand revived the Roseau bag this year, updating it with larger, more modern portions, while keeping the bamboo hardware. Longchamp is known for its iconic nylon Le Pliage bag, which also featured heavily in the show, in various sizes from teeny tiny to oversized.
Delafontaine said she uses the arm candy "to finish the silhouette and give the attitude of strongness."
The collection also gave a nod to the athleisure trend with the sneaker boot, a cool black and white sneaker base with a sock-like texture that came to the knee.
"It's the shoes of our century, I think. I really wanted to have high boots in the collection because I wanted it to feel warm and confident, so the sneaker became a sneaker boot."
enner said being the face of Longchamp and several other major labels is "definitely a dream come true. These are designers and creatives that I've been seeing since I was born pretty much so to be a part of it, to see their creative process behind the scenes is really cool."
The model said she's fueled by the energy surrounding fashion week and especially enjoys travelling with her pals.
"It's like a little world tour I get to do with my friends because we all have similar jobs. We get to just hang out in different cities," Jenner said.
Longtime fashion model Carolyn Murphy, who also walked in the show, described the collection as having "a modern folk vibe. I would steal a few pieces for sure."
Model Coco Rocha, who walked in Christian Siriano's show earlier this week, sat in the front row lamenting the future of fashion week.
"I feel like fashion is kind of transitioning into something else. I think in a few more years I don't know if we're going to have runways and fashion shows. I don't know if it's e-commerce and how online works and live streaming," she said. "This is the slowest it's ever been."
Monse founders Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia are stars in the fashion business — they're also the creatives behind Oscar de la Renta — but they see themselves as outsiders in the industry.
"We're not like mean people," Garcia told The Associated Press backstage after a runway show Friday for Monse's fall-winter 2020 collection.
"We're not like cool people," added Kim.
So when a mischievous rat character caught their eye in Wes Anderson's animated film "Fantastic Mr. Fox," they thought he was the perfect launch point for their new collection.
"He had a striped sweater on which we loved," Garcia said. "We love stripes."
The pair started to research punk, but as self-professed anti-cool kids decided to disrupt those concepts.
"It was kind of like doing (a) punk collection through an eye of someone who doesn't really know what it is," Kim said.
The collection mixed primary colors showcased on layers of heavy knits with both Scottish and '80s punk-grunge influences in plaid kilts and sweaters accessorized with combat style boots.
Other looks came in pops of animal print and the word "Monse" on shoes and some of the knits.
Kim and Garcia said they loved the idea of playing with textures, layering silk dresses and tops over silver sequins. They paired skirts, jackets and dresses with intricately beaded net stockings and sleeves. Many of the looks were adorned with safety pins — a punk staple — ranging in different sizes and shapes from tiny drop earrings to large clothing fasteners.
With the Oscars on Sunday, it was a busy time to prep for two fashion shows — de la Renta included — but Kim and Garcia said they were ready.
"You just have to plan ahead," Garcia said. "So as long as you get your ducks in order you should be fine."
One celebrity they've dressed lately in Monse was best supporting actress nominee Florence Pugh, who turned heads at the Oscars nominees luncheon in an orange silk one-shoulder dress.
"When I heard the nominations and she was a part of that it was so exciting for me," Garcia said. "When Rebecca Corbin-Murray, her stylist, brought her to us one year ago, she was unknown. And the work that she has done in the last year or two has been possibly my favorite of the whole year so we were just really proud of the fact that she championed us early on, and now when she went to the Oscar luncheon she championed us one more time."