Kalpokhri is a scared lake located at an elevation of 3170 meters. It is found enroute to the famous Sandakphu peak of Singalila Range from Gairibas. The local people believe it to be the home of the formidable Kalnaag or the huge slithering black snake. Pokhri in the local language means lake and Kaal is derived from Kaalnaag and hence Kalpokhri. The Kalpokhri contains black water and is a rare presence at such an elevation. During spring the region surrounding the black lake is full of the magnificent rhododendron and orchids. The lake doesn’t freeze even during winter because the water is muddy.

Journey through Kalpokai


Since Kalpokhri is considered as a halt for the trekkers moving up towards Sandakphu, it can be reached on the 3rd or 4th day of the trek depending on the itinerary. The distance of Kalpokhri from Tonglu/Tumling is 16 kilometers and the route is covered in 5-6 hours because it is steep climb. From Kalpokhri the distance of Sandakphu is only 8 kilometers. Tourists can also reach Kalpokhri on jeep. It is especially for the non-trekkers who wish to undertake the journey on a vehicle.

Accommodation in Kalpokhri


Staying at Kalpokhri is hassle free because there are private lodges and trekkers’ huts. If you are with a trekking group, then tea, snacks and packed lunch will be provided or else if you are traveling without any affiliation you can eat at the small food joints.

From Kalpokhri start next day towards Sandakphu. The road from here descends to Bikhaybhanjyang or the Valley of Poison. Aconites and other medicinal plants grow in abundance here. From this valley Sandakphu is 4 kilometers but the route is extremely steep and the journey arduous. Buddhist flags surround Kalpokhri Lake and you will have an awe-inspiring view of the Sandakphu from this place. Once you reach Sandakphu, you will be mesmerized by the fascinating view of some of world’s highest peaks.

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Mirik is a lovely getaway located at the Himalayan Hills. Tourists visit Mirik for a sojourn or as a one day trip from Darjeeling. Situated on the south western side of Darjeeling it is surrounded by the Singalila Mountains of the Himalayan range. It is a popular destination during the summertime in West Bengal as people want to beat the heat during the humid summer in Bengal. This hill resort is situated at an altitude of 1767 meters and is at a distance of 49 kilometers from Darjeeling. For people who find Darjeeling crowded often prefer Mirik Himalayas as a getaway because of its peaceful atmosphere.

Major attractions in Mirik


The main attraction in Mirik is the Samendu Lake nestled in the hills. It never freezes and looks beautiful covering 1.25 kilometers. Enthusiastic tourists often find the boat ride in the lake very refreshing. You can either hire a small boat permitting only 2 people or a large one allowing more than 2 to enjoy the reflection of Kanchenjunga on the waters. There is a bridge over the lake which runs for 3.5kilometers joining either side of the lake flanked by rich forest covered in Cryptomaria-Japanica trees. The hiking trail within the forest is befitting for adventurous tourists.

One of the premier attractions of the Himalayan range in this region is the Kanchenjunga Mountain with its snow capped white peak which is clearly visible from atop the Ramitedwara hill. If you are staying at Mirik then climbing the hill to witness the golden peak of Kanchenjunga during sunrise and sunset will be unmatched experiences.

An observatory point can also be found at Deoshidwara from where you can view the spectacular town in all its glory. Mirik produces the best variety of oranges in Darjeeling which is exported. You can see the plantation as well. Nepal’s Pashupati Nagar is only 11 kilometers from Mirik and tourists love to visit the town and its market where you can get a wide variety of products at the lowest price.

How to reach Mirik


There is a helipad in Mirik and you can go on a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of the small but beautiful hill station. Apart from that, several government and private buses are available from Darjeeling to reach Mirik. You can avail the NBSTC buses at regular intervals from 8 in the morning to 2.15 in the afternoon. Besides, travel packages are offered by DCHC/WB Toursim during the peak season, when price for bus ride is 180 INR per passenger. For private buses the prices vary between 150 and 225 INR. Apart from these options, you can also travel in shuttle jeeps and private cars to arrive at this charming hill station. Enroute to Mirik from Darjeeling you will spot beautifully trimmed tea gardens on either side of the winding road. It is a breathtaking sight especially when it rains and the fogs settle on the streets.

Accommodation in Mirik


Accommodation in Mirik is hassle free because of the presence of several hotels and even Mirik Tourist Lodge maintained by West Bengal government. If you are visiting during the peak season, making prior reservation is advised.

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an abode of natural beauty. Some of best tourist destinations of Bengal are located here. These are great places to unwind for the weekend. The crimson red soil and the varied landscape have much to offer to the tourists. Beautiful water bodies, dense green forests with colorful blooms, historical sites all these things make it the most sought after weekend destination for nearby cities.

Purulia has many water bodies. Purulia Lake is the biggest and most famous among them. It is also known as Saheb Bandh. The huge water body spanning an area of almost 83 acres adds to the aesthetic beauty of the district. Visitors and locals enjoy fishing and boating in this lake. This beautiful lake is located 1 kilometer from the main town.

History


According to history, the process of digging this water pond started in the year 1843 under the supervision of Colnel Trickle. It was a mammoth task undertaken by the freedom fighters who were convicts. The purpose was to search for a permanent water source for the British.  Even after so many years of independence this vast expanse of water body serves as the only water source for the residents of Purulia Sadar Town.

Attractions


This lake is also a haven for bird watchers. It is a home to many migratory birds. These birds travel long distances from Baluchistan and different parts of Europe to spend some time here. The mornings are beautiful. The feel of fresh air and the rising sun is a thrilling experience. Mornings and evenings are perfect time to spot migratory birds. This is a perfect place for family outing where you can enjoy boating.

Saheb bandh has been playing a crucial role in the lives of the residents of Purulia. However, in recent years due to neglect and lack of maintenance the condition of the lake is deteriorating and the water level is receding. This is a serious concern and attempts of restoration are on by the local civic bodies. The lake is filled with water hyacinth and also needs some cleaning up. The water level in the district is receding and the authorities were unable to identify any alternative sources of water other than this lake.

Other Attractions


Near the lake there are two parks – Subhas Park and the District Science Park which is an educational park. An island in the middle of the park is a site for migratory birds. The park is clean and beautifully landscaped. This patch of green the park turns into a riot of colors when the seasonal flowers are in full bloom. The District Science Park was created in order to inculcate scientific awareness among the residents and students. Various exhibits in the four popular science galleries allow students to learn science in a fun way through discovery and interactivity.

If you are planning to visit Purulia for the weekend make sure you explore the surrounding areas of Ayodhya Hills. People here are known for their hospitality.

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