Takdah is surrounded by tea gardens and forests near Darjeeling

Takdah, a little-known mountainous terrain near Darjeeling was once a British cantonment. The place remains covered most of the time by mist and fog that creates an envelope that the Lepchas, the local inhabitants, lovingly called Tukdah, meaning fog and mist. 

The idyllic destination where the sun plays hide and seek and loads of mist descend upon the mountains covered with vast tracts of greenery creates sheer magic with its serene beauty. The amazing beauty of the meandering roads, nature trails passing through the deep forests, the chirping birds among the tall trees, and the vast tea gardens along the hill slopes make Takdah an irresistible tourist attraction.  

The British legacy is still very much visible across Takdah, which has many houses and bungalows in the colonial area. Many of these houses have local ownership or converted into schools and other establishments.

Takdah – The location

Takdah is located at an altitude of 4,000 feet and is reachable from Darjeeling, about 28 kilometers away. Despite its proximity to Darjeeling, Takdah is a sparsely crowded village where you can enjoy nature at its best. The quiet and peaceful environment among the laps of nature allows busy souls to refresh and rejuvenate for a few days filling the heart with happiness. 

The temperature is lower than in the surrounding areas, mainly Darjeeling. The destination is ideal for those who want to escape from the tiring city life and take a deep breath of fresh air while soaking in the beauty of the rich flora and fauna that gives a sense of endless joy. 

How to reach Takdah

Takdah is about 60 kilometers drive from the Bagdogra airport and New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP). The average travel time varies between 2.5 and 3 hours. The distance from Siliguri town is 52 kilometers, and to reach Takdah from Darjeeling, you have to drive 28 kilometers which take about an hour and a half. From Kalimpong, it takes about 2 hours to cover 40 kilometers to reach Takdah. Regardless of where you approach Takdah, you have to reserve a cab for an exclusive ride or go for a ride-share if you want to save some money. 

Where to stay

Options for staying in Takdah are limited because there aren’t many hotels. A few guest houses that were once British bungalows are excellent for spending a day or two in the heritage buildings while enjoying all the modern amenities. 

It can be a wonderful experience to spend time in the bungalows with sprawling lawns while getting a flavor of the grand Victorian architecture. Unless you are an avid nature lover keen to explore the locales, a day trip is considered most suitable for tourists. 

There are several homestay options available in Takdah that offer a more authentic and immersive experience of the local culture and lifestyle.

Places to see

 Since Takdah is a small village, a day is enough to go around and visit some of the landmarks dotted by the picturesque tea garden. Takdah is home to the world-famous tea brand RungleeRungliot, and you can see the tea gardens of the company. 

The Orchid Center is one of the main attractions besides the Takdah monastery and the adjoining Tinchuley and Lamahatta villages. 

One of the major attractions of Takdah is the Takdah Cantonment, which was established by the British during their rule in India. The Cantonment area has many old buildings and bungalows that were used by the British officers and their families. Another popular attraction in Takdah is the Tinchuley viewpoint, which offers stunning views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range.


Chatakpur is famous for eco-tourism near Darjeeling a height of 7,887 feet

A sparsely populated village atop a hill located at a height of 7,887 feet, Chatakpur is 7 kilometers from Sonada inside the Senchal Reserve forest. This nondescript village is gradually gaining popularity as a tourist attraction mainly because of the earthly appeal of simple living. The government’s initiative to popularize newly discovered tourist spots helped Chatakpur gain prominence on the tourism map of West Bengal. 

To attract tourists, the forest department has built cottages in Chatakpur and the local forest protection committee members are responsible for managing and maintaining the cottages. The quaint village now sees a regular stream of visitors who want to relax and rewind amid nature. Natural beauty is sure to refresh their body and mind. Interacting with nature is a great experience in humility, as Mother Nature teaches us how inconsequential humans can be.

Chatakpur – the location

The Kanchenjunga mountain range is to the North of Chatakpur and the river gorge RellyKhola is to the South. Located at a distance of 64 kilometers from Bagdogra and New Jalpaiguri (NJP), it takes close to three hours to reach Chatakpur by car. The village is close to Jorebungalow, Ghoom (14 kilometers), and Darjeeling, which is 25 kilometers.

The imposing Kanchenjunga seems to be holding Chatakpur in its lap as the lush green surroundings and hilly landscape with its quiet ambiance seems to wield a magical spell on the visitors who seem to get lost in time. Nature lovers would find Chatakpur the perfect destination for rendezvous With Nature.

How to reach Chatakpur?

From Bagdogra airport, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Chatakpur by car. From Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri railway station, you must head for Sonada and then travel for another 6 kilometers along the forest road to reach the eco-village. Travelers from Darjeeling must follow a similar route from Sonada.

Where to stay

Cottages built by the West Bengal Forest Department are the only places to spend the night at Chatakpur. The cottages ensure comfortable living for the guests and have all the modern amenities to encourage guests to spend more time in the village, which is a showpiece of the government. The cottages have carpet-laid rooms with balconies in the front and back to enjoy the splendor of Kanchenjunga and the widespread greenery all around. To encourage tourism and provide the villagers with an alternative source of income, the government allows villagers to open homestays. These are more genial places that assure heartwarming hospitality despite lacking in amenities. The local delicacies prepared from farm-fresh ingredients make your stay even more pleasurable.

Best time to visit

Chatakpur maintains an equitable climate throughout the year, and its opulence of natural beauty remains the same throughout. You can visit Chatakpur at any time of the year. Mist and haze prevail during the rainy season (late June to September), and in winter to have a clear view of the Kanchenjunga, it is advisable to plan your visit between October and December when the sky remains more or less clear.

Viewing the Rhododendron and pine forests from the Chatakpur viewpoint and spotting a wised variety of birds is a delightful experience.


Sittong, orange garden of West Bengal

Sittong is a cluster of villages covering an extensive area, unlike other newly discovered tourist spots, and are like self-contained villages and tea gardens of the Darjeeling district’s Kurseong sub-division. Depending on the places you would like to visit in the region, you must travel between upper and lower Sittong. 

The area is famous for its orange orchards and gradually becoming a tourist attraction as people are eager to discover North Bengal in a new light by looking beyond Darjeeling. Tucked within vast stretches of pine forests, Sittong is a quaint hamlet dominated by Lepchas. 

Like many other places in the region, Sittong has an abundance of greenery lined with flowing streams that weave a magical appeal. The serene beauty of the surroundings and the surreal view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range makes a delightful treat for tourists in search of some peaceful place to de-stress and relax. 

How to reach Sittong?

All journeys to the hilly regions of Darjeeling start from Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri (NJP), and Bagdogra airport depending on whether you travel by air or rail. However, Siliguri is the starting point for traveling to Sittong, and you have three options of routes to choose from. 

The most preferred route is Siliguri to Sittong via Sevoke and Latpanchar because it’s the shortest distance – only 55 kilometers by road. Travel time is a little over 2 hours.

The second option is to reach Sittong from Siliguri via Rambi and Mongpoo, but it’s the longest distance (78 kilometers) and travel time is around 4 hours. You have to travel for the same time if you choose the third option of traveling from Siliguri via Kurseong, Dilaram, Bagora, and Ghareytar to cover a distance of 75 kilometers.

 Best time to visit Sittong

As happens with other tourist spots in the Darjeeling belt, the best times to travel to Sittong are more or less the same as that of other destinations in the region, like Takdah, Dawaipani, and Peshok. Although you can visit Sittong any time of the year except the monsoon (July to September), November, and December, despite being quite cold is the time for enjoying the splendid view of the orange orchards with the trees overloaded with oranges. Visiting Sittong during the orange season is truly an experience of a lifetime. Birds of various types crowd the place throughout the year, and Sittong is an attractive destination for bird watchers. 

Where to stay

 The renovated church guest house is the most popular retreat for travelers who have the option of choosing some homestays that promise to play the perfect host. Regardless of where you stay, you get a feel of the local culture of the hill people who are highly hospitable and treat guests as their most revered patrons. You can taste the local cuisine prepared from fresh organic vegetables. 

Sightseeing in Sittong

From monasteries to tea gardens and from waterfalls to orange orchards, there is a lot to see in Sittong. There are a few viewpoints to enjoy the grand sight of the Himalayas, and visiting the cinchona plantation is an exciting experience.  

Going for treks and nature trails is an exciting option for adventure lovers. 


Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary

Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Darjeeling in West Bengal. It is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of India. It was set up as a sanctuary in 1915. This sanctuary covers an area of 38.6 square km. Altitude of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary varies from 4900 ft to 8,500 ft. Two lakes situated inside the sanctuary supply drinking water Darjeeling district. This is a popular picnic spot too. Continue reading


Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located in between the Teesta and Mahananda rivers. This Sanctuary is situated in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary can reached from NJP in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 14 km from Siliguri , 8kms from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra airport.

This sanctuary covers over 159 squer kms. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary to protect the bison and Royal Bengal Tiger. It is considered as the most important sanctuary of North Bengal.

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Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary

Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the way to Sandakphu in Darjeeling District in West Bengal. It is the habitat of some high-altitude animals like Himalayan Salamander (Tylototriton verrucosus), locally known as ‘Gora’. It also houses many other local animals such as the rhino, tiger, and many different birds.

Best time to visit

Best time to visit Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary is June to August.


Mirik, a lovely getaway at Himalayan Hills

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.

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Kalpokhri lake at an elevation of 3170 meters

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.

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lepchajagat-view-point for kanchenjunga view

Lepchajagat sunrise point of 6,956 feet

Lepchajagat literally meaning the world of the Lepchas, the original tribe of Eastern Himalayas is now a beautiful tourist destination famous for its romantic atmosphere and sunrise point. Located at an elevation of 6,956 feet, Lepchajagat offers a fascinating sunrise from the Ghoom Rock which is unparalleled in its appeal. Though the place is located at a short distance of 19 kilometers from Darjeeling main town and is only 45 minutes drive from Ghoom, it seems like a completely different world. Quiet, tranquil, romantic; it is an ideal destination for honeymooners to spend time each other forgetting all about the world. Lepchajagat is now a reserved forest area maintained by the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation.

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Chatakpur Eco Resort

Chatakpur Eco Resort is located on Siliguri-Darjeeling Road and is only 7 kilometers from Sonada and 18 kilometers from Jorbanglow. Enjoying an elevation of 7887 feet, this lovely little hamlet has only 90 villagers and is being developed by the forest department as an eco resort for tourists. It is an ideal destination for people seeking peace and quiet in the Himalayan Mountains. Amidst the lush greenery, wooden cottages, forest trails and the majestic Kanchenjunga, this is a paradise on earth. The best place for bird watchers, Chatakpur offers that much awaited freedom and freshness from the confined city life.

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