Echhey Gaon is a picturesque village in the lap of Himalayas surrounded by dense forest of Juniper, pine and birch where you will feel detached from human civilization. With loads of greenery and peace and quiet, this old-world village has not been spoilt with materialistic pleasure of the city life. This is an ideal place for the nature lovers at an altitude of 5,800 feet none of the machines can disturb you from relishing the natural abundance of this village. Only 12 kilometers away from Kalimpong and cab fare is around 800 INR, this incredibly pristine hamlet is home to approximately 30 families living in peace and happiness. If you wish to share their happiness then definitely visit Echhey Gaon or the Wishing Village.
The soothing pine wrapped village of Sillery Gaon is situated at an elevation of 6000 feet. It is only 8 kilometers from Pedong and is termed as New Darjeeling due to its beauty, accessibility and affordability. The name Sillery is derived from a plant which grows aplenty in the region. This hamlet has also has a huge cinchona plantation to boast off. This village is arguably the best upcoming tourist destination in Darjeeling with its wilderness, silver Kanchenjunga peak, diverse flora and fauna. With so much greenery around you and of course the appealing view of the world’s 3rd highest peak Kanchenjunga, Sillery Gaon is a place oozing serenity to calm your raging soul. Even the most hardcore pragmatic person is bound to become a diehard romantic after visiting Sillery Gaon. Continue reading
Latpanchar is a small and wonderful hamlet near Kalijhora which is also a part of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Only 13 kilometers from Kalijhora, you should not miss this beautiful and unspoiled forest village with an average elevation of 4,200 feet. The best part of Latpanchar visit is that you will be able to see many wild animals, birds and enjoy dense vegetation as it is a section of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an ideal place for forest lovers. However, in spite of such natural splendor Latpanchar has yet to become a primary tourist destination in the Eastern Himalayas.
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.