Wandering In the Queen of Hills
Placed in the lap of the serene Himalayas, overwhelmed by the vibrant emerald tea plantations, and lofty standing Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling has always enjoyed a reputation of its own and has constantly been favourite hill station for the people of Bengal. Every hill station is portrayed as a beautiful mountain and valleys, however, the queen of hills provides colossal diversity tourism spots and the entire tour of Darjeeling is also quite reasonable. Apart from the well-known places in Darjeeling like the tea garden, rock garden and Batasia Loop, there are a number of places that one shouldn’t skip. There exist a lot of hidden surprises for the one wandering in the hills. The views of the elegant snow-capped mountain ranges, lofty valleys, dense forests always surprise the traveller.
How to Reach?
Bagdogra is the nearest airport. It is well connected with all major railway stations in India through the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP). Shared cabs are available to reach Darjeeling. If you love to move slow to its natural beauty then Toy Train service with 7 hours journey and halts at Batasia Loop will get you to Darjeeling.
To reach the destinations mentioned below one need to get in touch with the local cab driver from the place of arrival i.e either from Bagdogra, NJP or Siliguri as this would be the most convenient option for the traveller. One can also contact the hotel staff for the same.
TIP: People travelling to any of these mentioned places should visit Darjeeling first as travelling to these spots would be easier from here.
Around 12 km from Darjeeling town and at an altitude of 8441 feet above sea level lies the highest point, Tiger hill, to experience the best sunrise view, one should definitely visit the tiger hill of Darjeeling. The scenic beauty of the enormous Kanchenjunga with many other flurries of snow clad eastern Himalayan peaks also appears clearly from here. As the rays of the sun strike the mountain peak, the changing colours that it reflects are truly awesome. The weather in Darjeeling at any time is unpredictable. The clear sky can be suddenly be covered with fog so the best season to have the full view of the snow-capped mountain peak as the sun rises in between the mid of October to December. March to April can also be considered as a good time.
Sabdakphu is one of the adventurous and offbeat tourism spots and has gained its name as Trekkers Utopia which is also the highest peak in the state of West Bengal. It provides some of the spectacular views of the beauty of nature. The poisonous aconite plant grows abundantly in Sandakphu. Four of the five highest peaks in the world Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be viewed from its summit. The immense beauty of the Himalayan mountain ranges is clearly visible from here. The vintage 1950s made land Rover are most famous climbers that travel to Sandakphu. The famous river Teesta flows through Sandakphu and which also offers a number of adventurous sports like river rafting.
Lepchajagat is located at a distance of 19km from Darjeeling. It is enclosed by rich dense forest and provides a pictorial view of Mt.Kanchenjunga. It is an offbeat hidden treasure of Darjeeling with no gatherings of the tourist. Lepchajagat is enriched by a collection of adventurous views and experiences. Tourists can have a thrilling experience amidst wildlife and the outstanding views of the snow-clad mountain ranges give a pleasant feeling. It also offers the best bird watching site for its traveller. The best time to visit here is during summers. One should explore this hidden jewel of the queen of hills.
Manebhanjan is an amazing town located at the foothills of the highest point of West Bengal. It is about 28km away from West Bengal. Manebhanjan means the junction of stupas. It is basically known for being the gateway towards the Singalila National Park. It has numerous amenities and due to which it has become the base for trekking heading towards the Himalayan destination. To travel here, the only car which is suitable to run through the rough terrain is the Land Rover and Manebhanjan is the only place in Darjeeling that owes a large collection of vintage 1950’s Land Rover car. It has good homestay facilities and offers great comfort away from home. It also provides a pleasant experience to enjoy the exquisite flora and fauna of the Himalayan region. Manebhanjan is one of the most soothing and cherished offbeat places in the Darjeeling hills.
Kolakham is a place of adventure and a peaceful remote area located beside Neora Valley. It is situated at a distance of 8km away from Kalimpong. Kolakham is a perfect spot to capture the wilderness from a close distance. As it acquires the place near Neora Valley National Park, it is possible to grab the view of several wild animals. The most cherished experience of this place is the fascinating and amazing perception of the colour changing Kanchenjunga peak during unclouded sunrise. The traveller can enjoy other trekking routes in and around this village or a day trip to Lava, Lolegaon, and Rishop. Kolakham also provides other exciting activities like bird watching, rock climbing or simply roaming around admiring nature’s beauty.
Chuikham is a wondrous village located on the southern side of Kalimpong. It is a small village and is a home for about 260 families. It has a peaceful environment and one should visit Chuikham to experience the calmness of a village away from the city rush. The amazing Leech Chu river flows through the village that adds beauty to it. Chukhim provides an uncountable enjoyment like the beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges, a number of swiftly flowing streams through the valley, the magnificent view of the sunrise, the eyecatching vibrant Himalayan birds and orchids. You can also opt for your own adventurous activities. Trekking around the village or walking down the forests admiring the beauty around or just feeling the dark sky above with twinkling stars in the company of your loved ones.
Chimney is located a distance away from the main town of Darjeeling and is about 8 km away from Kursheong. The village is occupied by largely spread dense forest accompanied by the alpine trees. It is a place that has quite a number of historical monuments/ architectures. A bevvy of birds can be easily spotted which acts as eye candy for the birds’ watchers. Chimney offers some of the popular religious sightseeing places such as ST Paulseak Church, Buddhist Gompa, Ambotia shiva Temple and so on.
A newly discovered colony hidden in the focus of green vegetation and about 17 km away from Darjeeling town lies the Nayabasti has also gained distinction as an offbeat destination in recent years. A village comprising of 150 to 200 houses with alluring natural undisturbed beauty is the main attraction of the place. Apart from small occupation, people are mostly engaged in vegetation and plantation and that is the reason the place is greenery and full of blooming flowers. The enchanting glimpse of The Tiger Hill can also be visualized from here.
Bagora is one of the splendid destination found in the hills of Darjeeling. It provides the untouched scenic beauty and a pictorial ambience that one would cherish. It retains some outstanding varieties of the Himalayan flora. The river Teesta is at its full pace alongside the hilly terrain of Bagora. The place is immensely covered with terrace farming and inherits many medicinal and herbal plantations. Abundantly available trees of oranges add a distinctive beauty to the village.
Embellished with the dense alpine forest which is about 10 km away from the Darjeeling district is the Gumti Goan. It is a newly established region. Gumti Gao has such ambience that it creates enthusiasm among its travellers. Like the other exciting destinations of Darjeeling, Gumti Gao too capture the amazing view of Mt.Kanchenjunga. This enthralling village is surrounded by evergreen forests, large agricultural lands and vastly stretched tea gardens that make the place attractive. Various fascinating places such as The Gorkha Stadium, Racecourse and the children’s park are situated near this hamlet.