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.
What to see
he village is known for its serene environment, beautiful tea gardens, and stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. Here are some of the top tourist attractions at Chatakpur:
- Chatakpur Viewpoint: The Chatakpur Viewpoint is located on a hilltop and offers stunning panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. The viewpoint is a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers.
- Trekking: Chatakpur is a great place for trekking enthusiasts. Visitors can take a trek to the nearby forests and enjoy the scenic beauty.
- Bird Watching: Chatakpur is a birdwatcher’s paradise and is home to a variety of exotic birds like the Himalayan Monal, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, and Red-billed Leiothrix.
- Tea Gardens: Chatakpur is known for its beautiful tea gardens. Visitors can take a tour of the tea gardens and learn about the tea-making process.
- Balsun River: The Balsun River is located near Chatakpur and is a popular spot for picnics and leisure activities.
- Eco-Tourism: Chatakpur is known for its eco-tourism activities. Visitors can take part in various activities like nature walks, village tours, and cultural activities.
These are just a few of the top tourist attractions at Chatakpur. Visitors can also explore the nearby villages, monasteries, and natural attractions to make the most of their trip.
Here are some nearby places of Chatakpur that visitors can explore:
- Darjeeling: Darjeeling is a popular hill station located about 20 kilometers from Chatakpur. The town is known for its stunning views of the Himalayas, tea gardens, and colonial-era architecture.
- Kalimpong: Kalimpong is another popular destination located about 50 kilometers from Chatakpur. The town is known for its scenic beauty, Buddhist monasteries, and handicrafts.
- Mirik: Mirik is a picturesque hill station located about 60 kilometers from Chatakpur. The town is known for its serene environment, tea gardens, and the Mirik Lake.
- Kurseong: Kurseong is a quiet hill station located about 30 kilometers from Chatakpur. The town is known for its tea gardens, colonial-era architecture, and the Kurseong Museum.
- Sandakphu: Sandakphu is a popular trekking destination located about 50 kilometers from Chatakpur. The peak offers stunning views of the Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks.
- Singalila National Park: Singalila National Park is located near Chatakpur and is known for its diverse wildlife and stunning natural beauty. Visitors can take a jeep safari through the park and spot animals like red pandas, Himalayan black bears, and musk deer.
These are just a few of the nearby places of Chatakpur. Visitors can also explore other nearby destinations like Lepchajagat, Ghoom, and Jorethang .
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.