The Eastern border crossing of Kakarvitta – Panitanki between Nepal and India serves as a gateway to beautiful places in Eastern and North-Eastern India. Siliguri — the nearest big city from this border on the Indian side — acts as a base to find transportation towards your next destination.
The Bagdogra airport near Siliguri provides domestic and and international flight connectivity while those willing to travel via bus or train can find their transport from Siliguri. For those entering Nepal via this route, the border town of Kakarvitta provides direct bus connectivity to cities like Dharan, Kathmandu, Pokhara and beyond.
Kakarvitta, also spelt as Kakarbhitta, is a small border town in Eastern Nepal. While the town itself does not have any place to visit or an activity to offer, Kakarvitta acts as a transportation hub mostly for people crossing the Nepal – India border.
The Kakavitta bus park has regular connectivity to major cities of Nepal where you can find local buses. There are some cheap lodges, hotels, restaurants, tea stalls, ATMs, and money exchanges in Kakarvitta. Money exchanges here give you lower rate for your Nepali rupees.
Having made no decision on exiting Nepal yet, I decided to spend a night in the town and found a place through a man at the bus station. Located in a street near a market, this was a noisy neighbourhood where they played loud music throughout the day — starting as early as 6 am. Unless you come here during the night time, there’s no convincing reason to stay in Kakarvitta and it would be better to take a bus towards your next destination.
On the Indian side, Panitanki, which means ‘water tank,’ is a small town connecting you to Bagdogra and Siliguri. Like Kakarvitta, there’s no reason to stay here but you can find ATMs, money exchanges, small restaurants etc.
Crossing the Kakarvitta – Panitanki Border
I will divide this into two sections for visitors exiting India to enter Nepal and visitors exiting Nepal to enter India.
For Visitors Exiting India Coming from the Indian side, you will be arriving at Panitanki. Unless you are a Nepali or Indian citizen, you must visit the Raniganj immigration checkpost to get your exit stamp.
After you get these formalities done, you can choose to take an auto rikshaw, an electric vehicle or walk to reach the border gate. Upon entering Nepal, you should visit the Nepal immigration office on your right and get your visa. Remember that they insist on receiving the visa fee in U.S. dollars.
After receiving your visa, you should walk to the Kakarvitta bus park nearby and get a bus to your next destination.
For Visitors Exiting Nepal Taking a bus to Kakarvitta from anywhere in Nepal will bring you to the Kakarvitta bus park. After this, you can continue to walk towards the border gate. Indian and Nepali nationals can simply walk through the gate while other visitors must visit the Nepali immigration office to get their exit stamp. Facing the border gate, the immigration office will be on your left.
After this, you can cross the border on foot and get a ride or walk to Panitanki. After crossing the Mechi bridge, you will stop at the Raniganj immigration checkpost to receive arrival stamp. Once you get your stamp, take a short walk and after the railway crossing, you can get a bus to Bagdogra or Siliguri from a busy street on your left.
If you are planning to visit Darjeeling or Gangtok, you will take a bus to Siliguri which takes around one hour. Once in Siliguri, you can find direct buses or shared taxis from a place called Darjeeling More.
The New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station in Siliguri offers trains to major cities of India.
Crossing the Kakarvitta – Panitanki Border: Summary
The Eastern India-Nepal border crossing lies between Panitanki on the Indian side and Kakarvitta on the Nepali side. Kakarvitta offers bus connectivity to major destinations in Nepal while Panitanki provides public transport to Bagdogra and Siliguri.
Bagdogra has a domestic and international airport. Siliguri connects you with cities like Darjeeling and Gangtok via road and rest of the country via trains.
That’s all, folks. This was a quick guide about crossing the Kakarvitta-Panitanki border between Nepal and India. I hope you found this guide useful and I would like to thank you for reading.