Mongpu is a lovely tranquil village in the mountainous Kalimpong sub division in north Bengal. It is about 30kilometers from Darjeeling; 49 kilometers from Kalimpong town and 54 kilometers from Siliguri. Located at an elevation of 3,500-4000 feet, it is famous for cinchona plantation which has lot of medicinal value. Mongpu is also well known as the retreat for the Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Attractions of Mongpu

The road taking you to Mongpu from Darjeeling is awesome. Huge tea estates, beautiful scenery punctuated with orchid and cinchona plantations will make the trip worthwhile for you. You will also pass clear streams and flower nurseries which are a common scene in north Bengal. Various species of beautifully fragrant and colorful flowers are grown in these nurseries. The first Quinine factory was established in Mongpu in the year 1864. However, the cultivation has declined in the present times with other alternatives of cinchona.

The biggest highlight of Mongpu is the summer residence of Rabindranath Tagore, the great literary personality. Although Mongpu does not offer a view of the mighty Kanchenjunga, it has its own charm and appeal. It is a peaceful and quiet location where the poet would find inspiration for his compositions. His residence has now been transformed into a museum where objects used by him are on display. Among the exhibits are Tagore’s bed, his mahogany writing desk, poems, verses and exclusive paintings. The poet visited Mongpu 4 times in his lifetime and during his last visit he fell ill and had to be shifted to Kolkata quickly.

How to reach Mongpu

Reaching Mongpu is easy from Darjeeling via Peshok Road from Ghoom taking east towards Takdah. Alternatively, it can also be reached through the National Highway 31A by taking a diversion from Rambhi Bazaar. The journey through Peshok Road takes around 1.5 hours. The nearest railway station from Mongpu is New Jalpaiguri and the airport closest to the region is Bagdogra Airport.

Accommodation in Mongpu

Accommodation in Mongpu is sparse. Since it is not a typical tourist destination, not many accommodation units are available. However, for tourists wishing to stay here can avail of the home stay facilities provided by the residents of the village. The amenities are basic. Some new accommodation units have been set up near Riangkhola River at a distance of 8 kilometers from Mongpu.

When to Visit in Mongpu

 The best time to visit Mongpu is during mid June and again in October through December when you will be able to see the cinchona plantations clearly and enjoy the dip in the temperature.

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Kalimpong sits at an altitude of 1,250-1600 meters and is seamlessly connected to other parts of Darjeeling district. Kalimpong, known for its scenic beauty, hospitable people, fantastic climate and central location is a popular destination of the tourists who love hill stations. For those who prefer oceans will also fall in love with this town which has a glorious history and an equally captivating present. The wonderfully snow capped peaks of the Himalayan mid ranges are most beautiful in this town and it perfectly connected to the railway station and airport being within a range of 80 kilometers. Tourists find Kalimpong to be an easily accessible hill station whose charm can mesmerize even the non-romantic treading this earth.

Kalimpong bazaar is a bustling area with a wide array of objects like hand beaten silver, Lepcha daggers, Buddhist thankas, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, being sold here. The town also boasts of religious unity where churches, temples of Hindus and Buddhists, monasteries all coexist peacefully. Gardens and alleys full of orchids, other exotic flowers and cactus nursery make it a picture perfect location for photography and painting and also movies.

The magnificent view of Kanchenjunga and other peaks like Pandim, Simbhu, Janu, Siniyolchu and Chomio Mo renders it an ethereal beauty. The peaks changing colors throughout the day from scarlet to copperish and finally white is a rare phenomenon in other parts of the world. Not only peaks you will also be astounded with Kalimpong’s natural variety in the form of forest, the valley above the Railey River and the Sinchal range covered with trees.

How to Reach Kalimpong

Kalimpong is easily accessible from Siliguri, New Jalpiaiguri Station (NJP), Gangtok and Darjeeling.

Air– Bagdogra, 60 kms away is the nearest airport. It is possible to get a pre paid taxi from the airport to Kalimpong.

Railways– You can also avail the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway facility to reach Kalimpong.

Road– Direct buses from Kolkata ply to Kalimpong at regular intervals from 6.15 in the morning to 4.15 in the evening which arrives at Teesta Bazaar. If you are traveling from Darjeeling, hire a jeep or landrover to reach Kalimpong which will take around 2.5 hours. Alternatively, buses of DGHC also ply to Kalimpong via Mongpu taking almost 3.5 hours. The route through Mongpu is enjoyable with cardamom plantations on one side and the eco tourism center called Teenchula.

Attractions & Activities in Kalimpong

Wandering around the city and trekking in the nearby mountains is an excellent activity that most tourists indulge in. Apart from the spectacular scenic beauty, Kalimpong is also famous for its places of religious interests namely, churches and monasteries.

Deolo Hill and Garden – This is a picnic spot that offers a morning view of the Kanchenjunga range. It is close to a tourist lodge, run by the Department of Tourism. Entry fee of Rs. 10 per person.

Preparation of paragliding at Deolo Hill-KalimpongParagliding in Kalimpong– Paragliding in Kalimpongstarts from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm depending on wind conditions. Take off point is Dello hill. There are two types of flights, Medium and Cross Country. The medium flight’s lands on Homes Ground near Dr. Grahams Homes School and the Cross Country flight’s lands on Relli River ground near Relli resort distance about 10 km. Continue Reading →

Rafting over the teesta river

Rafting over the teesta river

White Water Rafting – Teesta River at Kalimpong has become one of the most popular hotspots of River Rafting in eastern India. It starts from Beni, the confluence of rivers Teesta and Rangeet provides the major base of rafting. Continue Reading →

Kalimpong Golf Course – A beautiful, mountainous golf course which enjoys tourists from all over the world.

The Pine View Nursery – Also known as the famous Cactus nursery, this nursery has almost 1500 varieties of cacti ranging and other plants from the mountainous region from just Rs. 20. Entry fee: Rs. 10 per person. 

Durpin Dara – This is the highest point of Kalimpong that offers a breathtaking view of the city and the fast flowing Teesta River.

Pedong Monastery -This is a Buddhist monastery of Bhutanese origin.

dr.-Grahams-home-at-kalimpong-entry-gateDr. Graham’s Homes – A self sufficient educational institution, located on 500 acres of land, 50 cottages with its own farmhouse, poultry, bakery, hospital and garments department. This missionary school was set up by Dr. J A Graham in 1900 as an orphanage cum school for the destitute Anglo Indian children. It is located on the way to Deolo Hills.

Mangal Dham – Mangal Dham is situated about a kilometre away from Kalimpong and spreads over an area of 2 acres. On the ground floor of this temple lies the “Samadhi” of Guruji Shri Mangaldasji. The prayer hall is on the 1st floor and the walls have of the GuruJi’s with Lodr Krishna and other scenes from Krishna Leele.

Reshi Retreat & Farmhouse – It is a retreat about 37 kms from Kalimpong. It lies on the historical Silk Route and offers excellent trekking, fishing and adventurous activities.

buddha statue at kalimpongLord Buddha Statue – Near about Deolo Hill there is a small rock garden in which you will get this wonderful statue of Lord Buddha sitting in a lotus position.



Mac Farlen Church in Kalimpong

Mac Farlen Church in Kalimpong

Mac Farlen Church – Mac Farlen Church was constructed in the year 1890 – 91, this magnificent building has been the landmark of Kalimpong. This church was built on 1 Nov 1891 by the Scottish Missionaries. . In the early days the sermons were in 10 different languages for the purpose of spreading Christianity.

Tsonga Gumba – This is the oldest monsatery in Kalimpong which was built in 1692. It’s also known as the Bhutan Monastery and located near to Mangal Dham. 

Nature Interpretation Center – Visitors must visit at this museum for getting a good idea about the wildlife of the hills. Samples and photos of fauna like the beetles, butterflies and animals are explaining the nature and environment of Kalimpong area.

Lepcha Museum – The museum is situated about a kilometer away from the town. This museum has various articles of interest for those who want to know about the Lepcha culture and heritage. The entire are of the darjeeling and Sikkim is known as The land of the Lepchas. Various articles of worship, original lepcha musical instruments and many other articles can be seen here.

Morgan House – It is located opposite to the Golf Course. This used to be an old British property with a typical colonial architecture with a garden and views of Kanchenjunga. Now it has been converted into a hotel and run by West Bengal Tourism Department. We can enter the premises and walk around, but cannot go upstairs in the building.

Hanuman Tok – Hanuman Tok has a large statue of Lord Hanuman approximately 25 to 30 ft in height located on a hill top near to the Science City. There are fantastic views of the both sides of the hill and a nice view of Testa River can be seen along with the Himalayan range. A small temple of Goddess Durga is found right side of the statue.

Hanuman Tok kalimpongtemple-of-goddess-durga-at-kalimpong-beside-hanuman-tok-


The confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers

The confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers

Beni-the lovers point – Beni is the confluence of rivers Teesta and Rangeet provides the major base of white water rafting. Teesta River at Kalimpong has become one of the most popular hotspots of River Rafting in eastern India.


RC Mintri Road – There are a line of shops which have been there since the trade days and provides for one of the most delightful shopping experiences in Kalimpong You can get Buddhist thankas, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, Lepcha daggers, masks and a lot more stuff.

Kalimpong Market – If you want to know the Kalimpong culture, then a visit to the market is a must! This market is held only Wednesdays and Saturdays from early morning.  From agricultural and farming items, homemade items, vegetables, clothes, bags, umbrellas, spices, shoes, you can get them all at the best bargain prices. One side is for clothes and likes and the opposite is full of spices, vegetables and fruits. Behind one particular side, lies a segment hidden from the regular eye. You will see few groups of people playing carom board and various card-games. With these games they enjoy the freshly made Momos, Phambi, Alu Thukpa (with soup), all of the local street delicacies.


Dharmodyar Vihar/Krukuti house

Science City – There are various examples of science-magic as we would like to call it are displayed and also has a hilltop garden with various outdoor activities like tyre ring-swings, climbing ropes , see-saws, along with models of dinosaurs like Jurassic Park.

Relli Khola River – There are so many beautiful picnic spots along the river, the most beautiful one is on the Relli bazaar. During the spring and winter many picnic groups enjoy here. You can enjoy swim or simply enjoy the river banks and the nearby forest. There is a beautiful public swimming pool at Relli bazaar by the river side.


Accommodation in Kalimpong

There are numerous hotels, suiting every budget, in Kalimpong. It is also possible to stay in retreats or guest houses located away from the city.

Morgan House, You can book online directly through the WBTDC (West Bengal Tourist Development Corporations) website.

Hotel Elgin Silver Oaks, Rinking Pong Road
Phone: +91-3552-255296, +91-3552-255767

Hotel Garden Reach, Upper Cart Road, Below Bankim Chandra Park
Phone: 03552-255091, 09832040822, 09331107996

Himalayan Hotel,Upper Cart Road
Phone: +(91) 3552-255248/258602

Sood’s Garden Retreat, 8.5 Miles Mr. Siddhant Sood
Phone: 9733123113
Fax: 91-03552-260321/260322

Deki Lodge, 10th Mile, (Near Power House), Tripai Road
Manager: C.D. Bhutia / Kamal Pradhan (Asstt. Manager)
Phone: +91-3552-255095, 9434329695

The Orchid Retreat,Ganesh Villa, (P.B. No. 7)
Phone: +91-3552-274517/274275
Fax: +91-3552-274489

Bethlehem Lodge, David Gas Building, 10th Mile, Reshi Road
Phone: +91- 3552- 255185/255847/258798/255847/255185, +91- 9434735225, +91- 98320-96611

RANGEET LODGE, Dr. B. L. Dixit Road, Near Jubilee High School
Phone: 03552-257447/259039, 9832076147

Alkananda Resort, Upper Cart RoadSanjogita Subba
Phone: (03552) 256251, 98320 33410

Dew Drop Villa, Galanka Road, Hill Top
(A Himalaya Home Stay at Kalimpong)
Phone: 03552-259883, 98324 59067,97330 51821, 98325 49009

Hotel Mountain View, Kalimandir Phatak, Besides Tashi Petrol Pump, 8 1/2 Mile
Phone: +91 3552 255123/ 255440, +91 9832039412 – 8016218762 – 9434048370

Deolo Tourist Lodge, You can book from GTA tourism office. Check out Tourist Centers to know location and contacts of GTA tourism offices and how to book.

Deputy Director of Tourism, GTA Silver Fir Building, Bhanu Sarani

Phone: (0354) 2254879 / 2255351
Fax: (0354) 2254214

Indradhanush Madhuri Mintri
Phone: +91 9932893350, +3552 255697

Gompu’s Hotel, Damber Chowk
Phone: + 91 (3552) 255818, 9832435448 Fax: +91 (3552) 257062 / 256758

Himalayan Hotel, Upper Cart Road
Phone: +91-3552-255248
Fax: +91-3552-255122

Contact person: Mr. R. S. Prasad, Mr. Ravi Gupta and Sashi Gupta
(Member of HORAK & Listed in Lonely Planet)
Phone: +91-3552-257457 (O) / 260186 (PP), +91-9932332017

Kalimpong Park Hotel, Rinkingpong Road
Mr. Amode Yonzone
Phone: +91 3552 255304/256656, +91 80164 80665
Fax: +91 3552 255982

Hotel Oasis, Sheela Building, D.S.Gurung Road
Mr. Sudesh / Yogesh Phone: (03552) 256385 / 260030

Pineview Resort, Atisha Road
Phone: +91-3552-255843

Hotel Tres, Primtam Road, Kalimpong – 734 301
Phone: +91 92335 55456, +91 92335 55457


Parijat Lodge
Phone:  91-03552-256698

Phone: (03552)255074/259654
Fax: 91 3552 255290

Chimal Hotel
Phone: +91-3552-255776

When to Visit

Kalimpong receives tourists all through the year on account of its pleasant climate. However, it will be wise to avoid the monsoon months of July-Sept due to frequent landslides which may cause roadblocks.

Photo Courtesy: Kalyan Mohan Paul, Flickr/Sharat Kolke and Asim Shah 2008

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Rimbik falls on the southern part of Darjeeling towards the Singalila National Park. It appears to be perched on the top of the Himalayan range like a roof. Rimbik sitting at an altitude of 2,286 meters is a little village in the shadow of the Kachenjunga overlooking the River Ramman. It is close to the Skim and Nepal border area. The village is naturally endowed with scenic beauty and offers a captivating halt to the trekkers enroute to Sandakphu. Arguably the best view of the Kanchenjunga is achieved from Rimbik. Along with the mighty Kanchenjunga, other snow capped peaks can also be seen from Rimbik village. The play of colors on the top of the peaks is incredible.

Attractions in Rimbik

Rimbik is like a fresh breath of air for people who have landed in crowded Darjeeling and Kalimpong. This path is often treaded and thus you can have a peaceful sojourn in Rimbik. Nowlekh and Darjeeling can be viewed from Rimbik in the morning and during the night you will be spellbound by the sky full of stars shining like little diamonds. Standing under the vast canopy of star-studded sky is an enriching and fulfilling experience. Once you reach Rimbik, you will be one with nature. Take a stroll on the hilly trails flanked with pine, birch and oak trees and listen to the beautiful music of the birds. A steady urge to capture every scene and moment might overwhelm you.

After you have admired the natural bounty of Rimbik, it is time to start early next morning to trek to Srikhola with the morning air filled with the fragrance of rhododendron. From Srikhola trekkers generally take the trekking trail to Sandakphu and Phalut. Rimbik is normally a halt point for the trekkers during moving up and returning as well. This place is paradise for the adventurous souls. Apart from Sandakphu and Phalut other trekking trails leading to Darjeeling via Lodoma, Jhepi, Bijanbari is also popular. You will cross the lovely Rangeet River on your way marveling at its course.

The Singalila National Park is another place of interest for the tourists visiting Rimbik.

How to reach Rimbik Falls

Reaching Rimbik is easy via Kurseong through Hill Cart Road. You can also avail cabs, buses and jeeps from Ghoom station to arrive at Rimbik. Alternatively, the Mirik-Sukhia-Pokhri-Manbhanjan route can also be taken to Rimbik. The fruitful journey will take approximately 5 hours. Do stop over at Lepcha Jagat on your way and then continue the enjoyable journey.

Accommodation in Rimbik

Rimbik along with offering cool comfort to the tourists also offers a wide variety of accommodation units. From the luxurious to the basic; all are available at Rimbik. The hotels at Rimbik will charge between 800 and 200 INR per night. Some of the popular hotels are Sherpa Hotel, Shivapradhan Hotel, Green Hotel and Sherpa Tenzing Hotel. Alternatively, you can choose to stay at the forest bungalow which has an excellent ambiance and facilities. For enjoying a stay at the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Trekker’s Hut you have to make an advance reservation.

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Chimney Village of Kurseong is a lovely place amidst the mountains of Himalaya. There is an interesting anecdote regarding the queer name of the village. There is a 23 feet high chimney in the village which was constructed during the World War I under which the British soldiers and officials used to take rest. Hence, the name Chimney village. It is also sometimes spelled as Chimeni. This village is actually located in a valley overlooking the two swift rivers of the mountains- River Mahananda and River Teesta. The beautiful snow capped peak of Mt. Kanchenjunga can be seen from the pine covered valley.

Location of Chimney Village

Chimney village is at a distance of only 53 kilometers from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) from where it can be easily reached.

How to reach Chimney Village

From NJP you can hire a local cab or a private car and arrive at Kurseong from where Chimney is easily accessible as it is only 8 kilometers from Kurseong, the town. Buses are available from the Tenzing Norgay bus terminus at Siliguri to reach Kurseong.

Accommodation in Chimney Village

Accommodation in Chimney is easy. There are hotels and guest houses here which offer all the facilities for tourists. Some of the residents provide guest house facilities at Chimney where they also serve home cooked food which is delicious at reasonable rates. However, Kurseong nearby is dotted with boarding and dining facilities.

Photographer’s paradise

The pine and cedar trees cover the valley of Chimney which makes it appear like a scene from a painter’s canvas. However, the biggest attraction is the 23 feet high 100 year old Chimney built by the British. Moreover, you can have a panoramic view of the valley and also of Kalimpong and Nathu-La from here.

Not to miss tourist hotspots

Makabari, Ambotia, Goomtee, Castleton tea garden: Apart from the chimney and the breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga and Kalimpong there is certain other tourist attractions located close by. The famous Makabari, Ambotia, Goomtee, Castleton tea gardens are located nearby.

Toy train ride and zoo: Enjoy a ride on the toy train which appeals to people of all ages and visit the satellite zoo at Dow Hill. Kurseong is a place of religious unity and thus beautiful temples like Jagdish Mandir, Ambhotia Shiva Temple, Giddapahar Durga Mata Mandir; Buddhist Compa in Montieviot; Juma Masjid in Hat Bazaar; St. Paulseak Church are all found at short distances. The Downhill Park, NSC Bose Institute of Asiatic Studies, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum are located on the Downhill Road. Also do not miss the Zero Point which is the highest point in Kurseong and the Eagle’s Craig viewpoint from where you can savor the fantastic view of the surrounding region.

The Bhangzang Salamander Lake: The Bhangzang Salamander Lake situated 14 kilometers away from Kurseong is home to the rarest species of salamanders. Visit this lake along with the cave housing a figure of Virgin Mary.

For adventurous tourists the trekking trail from Chimney to Mahananda waterfall will be an interesting experience. While the others can explore the forests and be busy bird watching all along. Do not forget to watch sunrise and sunset over Kanchenjunga.

Chimney can be visited any time of the year although the rainy season can be avoided.

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Kurseong, the name in Lepcha means small white orchid and the place is often referred to as the land of the white orchid which grows in abundance throughout the year. Kurseong is located at a distance of 32 kilometers to the south of Darjeeling and is often referred to as the young sister of the Queen of Hills that is Darjeeling. Kurseong stands at an elevation of 1458 meters and experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year. It is also known as the gateway to north Bengal and is surrounded by beautifully trimmed tea estates attracting tourists all the year round.

Attractions in Kurseong

Kurseong is a popular destination where lots of eminent personalities have spent a considerable time of their lives. Among them were Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sister Nivedita and also Mark Twain. One of the highlights of Kurseong is the Makaibari Tea Estate. Visitors are allowed to see the organic procedure of processing tea here. Trips are free and mornings are the best time to visit.

The Ambootia and Castleton Tea Estate also welcome visitors to their aromatic factory. There is an old graveyard of St. Andrews as a poignant reminder of the era of tea planters. Walk down to Eagle’s Craig or trek to Deer Park to enjoy your day. From Eagle’s Craig you can witness the golden rays of the sun on the Himalayan range which is a visual treat. Visit the Museum of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and also the Forestry Museum to gather knowledge. On the way there are several religious temples, churches, Buddha gompa and mosques. Do not forget to trek to the Balason River and visit Chimney village which is home to a 100 year old gigantic chimney.

You will be able to enjoy your trip to Kurseong if you visit during March through Mid June and September through December.

How to reach Kurseong

Getting in the little town of Kurseong is easy as it is nicely connected with the rest of north Bengal through railway and road. Shuttle jeeps are available from New Jalpaiguri station to Kurseong which approximately takes 2 hours by Hill Cart Road and 1 hour by Old Army Road or Pankhabari Road. The route through Hill Cart Road is often preferred by tourists because they can relish on the visual treat provided by the Himalayan range. The jeeps normally charge 40 INR for 1.5 hours from Darjeeling. Traveling by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s steam toy train is the best experience you can have enroute to Kurseong. Leaving at 6 in the morning it provides ample opportunity for the tourist to capture the pretty sight while moving up the winding railway track.

Where to stay in Kurseong

Accommodation in Kurseong is aplenty. Right from tourist lodges to hotels are available for the visitors. However, if you want to experience the lifestyle of the residents, then homestay facility is the best option. Many families of the Makaibari tea estate offer this facility which includes rooms, typical Kurseong meals, exploring the tea garden and also taking part in the local development programs. They usually charge 800 INR for rooms and meals.

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Phalut is a table top on the Singalila ridge of the Himalayas located on the same trekking trail as Sandakphu. Its distance from Sandakphu is 23 kilometers which takes around 7 hours to trek. Phalut means a bare table top mountain and is 3600 meters in height. The Singalila ridge is a famous spur lying at the southern end of a prolonged crest running down from the Kanchenjunga massif forming the Sikkim and Nepal border. Trekkers love to climb the various ridges of the Himalayas not only because it throws lot of challenge to them but also because of the scenic beauty of the surroundings. The route along the high ridge through small settlements is absolutely spellbinding.

How to reach Phalut

Phalut can be reached easily by a jeep from Sandakphu which is the highest point in Bengal. You have to reach Chitrey to start the trek and it can be reached from the NJP station by jeeps and cars or by jeep from Ghoom railway station in Darjeeling. If you are availing the Ghoom route, you will reach the Sukhiapokhri town from where you have to arrive at Maneybhanjung by jeep and then walk up the steep road to Chitrey for 2 kilometers.

Accommodation in Phalut

Tourists interested to relish the scenic beauty can stay at the hotel, The Lost Valley at Samaden. But trekkers generally put up at Phalut, by availing of the D I Bungalow, the Trekkers’ Hut of DCHC or the Bunkers, 12 in number offered by the Youth Hostel of Phalut. The trekkers usually put up at bunkers from the hostel for a heavy dose of adventure and relish it all the way to the peak.  Also there is another Tourist Lodge and Didis Trekker Hut available on the route from Sandakphu to Phalut. You can take rest and have a meal at Molle on the same route.

Trekking Routes in Phalut

The trekking route itinerary includes traveling to Manybhanjyang from where the trek starts.

Date 1: Start walking uphill from here to arrive Tonglu (3020meters) and camp there for the night. On the way you might be carried away by the attractive sight of magnolias and rhododendrons.

Date 2: In the morning start for Kalpohkri from Tonglu. This walk takes around 5 hours through hamlets of Tumling, Jobari and Gairibas to arrive at the trekkers’ hut at Kalpokhri (3100 meters). On

Day 3: Trekkers start walking for Sandakphu from Kalpokhri after breakfast. Sandakphu is the highest point from where you can view various peaks like Everest, Lhotse, Makalu of the Himalayan range including the Kanchenjuga massif. It takes about 3 hours to reach Sandakphu (3636meters).

Day 4: Begins by taking the trail from Sandakphu to Phalut. Enjoy the scenery and spot the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ peak formation during the walk. Reaching Phalut takes 7 hours.

Day 5: The nest morning climb atop Phalut to witness the spectacular sunrise over the Himalayas and the start downwards from Phalut through Gorkhey and Rimbik. This trails offers bird watching opportunities as you pass through the beautiful valley of Samanden crossing the Srikhola Bridge to arrive at Rammam and eventually Rimbik village.

The best time to trek the Sandakphu-Phalut route is during April and May.

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Chamurchi is a small hill town located at the Indo-Bhutan border. It is a relatively new tourist destination and is far from the madding crowds. You can explore this hill station without much chaos and people who have already visited the town wish to come back here again and again. It is a place of natural abundance and generally has a soothing effect on the mind and body of the tourists.

The lush green sprawling tea gardens, the cascading rivers and the small market add to the charm of this small yet pristine hill station of Chamurchi. One of the major attractions of this small town is the view of Mt. Kanchenjunga which looks breathtakingly beautiful.

Top tourist attractions in Chamurchi

The Musical Stone Cave – The Musical Stone Cave is another highlight of Chamurchi. The interesting part of this cave is that when you strike one of the stones inside the cave, the sound traverses as a musical tune to the ears. It is a unique experience for the visitor and the best part is that it is located at a distance of only 3 kilometers. If you decide to trek the road to the cave you will be considerably rewarded with beautiful scenes from the natural reserves of Chamurchi. The Diana River flows through this region giving life to the flora and fauna around it. Wild animals are sometimes spotted drinking from the river.

Garuchira, Kalapani and Rohiti – Garuchira, Kalapani and Rohiti are located close by and do not miss them while you are exploring Chamurchi. They are equally rewarding in terms of tourist attractions. The forests of these regions are home to leopards, elephants and gaurs that are easily visible.

Tea Gardens – One of the primary attractions of Chamurchi is the tea garden. The quaint tea gardens at Chamurchi though not in a good condition can still attract tourists. There is a Mukti Bungalow in Chamurchi which not many people know about. Thanks to the discerning travelers to these parts of the world that this bungalow was discovered and now tourists with adventurous interests are finding it interesting.

Shopping in Chamurchi – Take a walk through the Chamurchi bazaar and explore the shops there. You might also collect a souvenir.

Best time to visit Chamurchi

Chamurchi can be visited through the year, however, try to avoid the rains because it gets dangerous at times.

How to reach Chamurchi

Tourists generally visit Chamurchi on a tour of Dooars though it is slightly off route on private cars. The easiest route to Chamurchi from Kolkata is boarding the Kanchankanya Express departing from Sealdah and arriving at New Mal Junction. You can hire a car from here to take you to Chamurchi and the fare will be 900 INR.

Accommodation in Chamurchi

Accommodation in Chamurchi is sparse. The only place for tourists is the Eco Resort which charges 800-900 INR for double bed rooms and 325 INR for food.

After you have reveled in the natural beauty of the place, it is time to visit Samtse in Bhutan. It is only a short distance away and is equally spectacular. There is a monastery in Samtse which can be visited early in the morning.

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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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Darjeeling, situated on the lofty Himalayas, is a part of West Bengal. It was built by the British and is known as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations.’ It is particularly famous for its natural beauty. The mountain ranges, tea gardens and snow covered Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, provide a unique opportunity to tourists who can relax amid nature here. The sight of red rhodendrons, swift flowing Teesta river and green tea estates are particularly breath taking.

How to Reach Darjeeling

Darjeeling is very well connected to Kolkata and the rest of India.

Air- Bagdogra, the nearest airport to Darjeeling is located about 95 kilometers away from the hill station. Daily flights from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati operate from here and it is possible for the tourists to hire a taxi or private vehicle from the airport to travel up to Darjeeling or Siliguri, the nearest city to Darjeeling.

Railways- The nearest rail station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP)which is easily reachable from all parts of India. Darjeeling Mail is the most well known train plying from Kolkata with the other options being Kanchenjunga Express, Kanchankanya Express, Kamrup Express, Guwahati-New Delhi Rajdhani Express etc.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway operates between the hill station and NJP. It is known as the toy train and has been declared as a World Heritage by the UNESCO.

Road- Shared jeeps and taxis are the most popular form of transport from NJP to Darjeeling. Passengers usually have to pay Rs 200-Rs 300 for a seat and shell out extra if they have too much of luggage. Air conditioned taxis are also available at the rate of Rs 1800-Rs 2000. Special luxury vehicles are available too on the basis of advanced reservation.

Bus- There are regular bus services available from NJP. However, they take more time due to the narrow, steep roads and break down often due to overloading.

Attractions & Activities in Darjeeling

Tiger Hill – A famous site for watching the sunrise which lights the snow clad peaks of Kanchenjunga with a golden hue.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute – Created by Tenzing Norgay, one of the first men to climb Mt. Everest, this institute offers a glimpse into the life of mountaineers by showcasing their achievements as well as the equipments used for climbing.

Zoo – The zoo has an excellent collection of Himalayan animals including the Red Panda. The authorities charge Rs 50 from Indians and Rs 150 from foreign tourists with an additional fee for clicking photographs. It remains closed on Thursdays.

Japanese Peace Pagoda – A group of 30 pagodas built by Buddhist monks from all over the world  is a popular tourist destination.

Rock Garden – A place full of indigenous vegetation with many varieties of local flowers. The waterfall and landscaping makes it an ideal site for picnic.

Batasia Loop – A famous loop where the toy train takes a turning. The site is also home to the Gorkha Martyr memorial.

Srubbery Park –  A beautiful park that offers live entertainment in the firm of cultural performances. Visiting hours are from 4 P.M.- 8 P.M. every day.

Accommodation in Darjeeling

There are numerous hotels, tourist lodges and cottages available at Darjeeling. West Bengal Forest Department also has a guest house in the city apart from the West Bengal Tourism Department’s accommodation. Mayfair Darjeeling and Windamere Hotel are two of the most expensive places to stay.

When to Visit Darjeeling

The summer months of April to June are considered to be the peak tourist season. However, many backpackers and travelers also visit it in winter  for witnessing snowfall. Visiting Darjeeling during monsoon is risky and fraught with difficulties due to landslides and closure of tourist attractions.

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