Rikisum is a beautiful and almost isolated village in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District in West Bengal. 15 kilometers to the north of Kalimpong, this quaint hamlet is only an hour’s drive from the main town. The hilltop settlement welcomes you with open arms to savor the unspoiled beauty of the village in its full glory. Since it falls on the Pedong–Lava Road the village enjoys an elevation from which the mighty Kanchenjunga and other peaks are clearly visible. The towns of Gangtok and Pedong also present a panoramic from this village.
Meghma is a mystic village situated at the Singalila Ridge at an elevation of 9,514 feet. Megh means cloud and this mystic village is mostly enveloped by clouds throughout the year. The beauty of the hamlet lies in its scenery and weather. Tourists who have visited Meghma once in their lives love to come back to the land of clouds over and over again. About 9 kilometers from Manebhanjan on the way to the famous peak Sandakphu of Singalila range, Meghma is a pristine beauty. Meghma has a tranquil atmosphere which will make you feel relaxed and sleepy. Continue reading
Kaijlia is a wonderful forest area near Bijanbari which tourists can visit while coming back from Sandakphu. It is 8 kilometers from Bijanbari which is considered as a halt by the trekkers returning from Sandakphu and also by non-trekkers visiting Sandakphu on vehicle. Nature lovers will definitely enjoy a walk through the colorful and enchanting forest full of Mandar, Rhododendron and Chimal trees with thick blossoms. Not only will the flowers fill your senses but also the mountain summits visible through the trail. Various Eastern Himalayan peaks are visible from the trail which will take your breath away. The best part is that very few tourists actually visit this area; so you can have a perfect rendezvous with nature.
Bijanbari is 30 kilometers from Darjeeling and can be reached by buses and cars from Ghoom. After you reach Bijanbari, you can trek to Kaijlia for another 8 kilometers to relish the view. There are no places to stay at Kaijlia. You have to find accommodation in Bijanbari which is aplenty to visit the forest. The road to Kaijlia is steep and not in a good condition. Hence, it is advised to return from the spot as early as possible.
Srikhola is a beautiful scenic hamlet in Darjeeling District which falls in the trekking route from Phalut and Sandakphu towards Darjeeling and Siliguri. The small river following its meandering course bears the name of Sri and Khola in the Lepcha language means small river and hence the name Srikhola. This village is an admirable halt for trekkers coming down from Sandakphu or Phalut. It offers lovely natural beauty and peace and quiet for the tired travelers. Stay here overnight and start for Rimbik the next day to catch a conveyance to Darjeeling or Siliguri.
How to reach Srikhola
For trekkers Srikhola can be reached via Gurdum at a distance of a little over 16 kilometers from Sandakphu. If you are coming from Phalut, then follow the route through the forests of chestnuts, magnolia, rhododendrons and oaks of Gorkey and Ramman to arrive at Srikhola covering a distance of 26 kilometers. For non trekkers hiring a jeep or traveling in a shared jeep is the best option. The jeeps departing between 6-7am and 11-12pm will take you through Srikhola to reach Rimbik. Srikhola from Manebhanjan takes 3.5 hours on vehicle. The road is not in good condition so it is advised to hire a jeep or Tavera or trekker.
Accommodation in Srikhola
Accommodation in Srikhola is aplenty but there is a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration hut situated close to the river. Advance reservation is required to stay in the hut. Book the rooms or a dormitory from the GTA offices. The other lodging facilities include Goparma Lodge run by Tshering Sherpa and Hotel Shovraj. The Goparma Lodge is a budget accommodation with 7 bedrooms with attached bath and hot water provided in buckets. Hotel Shovraj offers a number of rooms for guests. Whether you are traveling alone, in a group or with your spouse only, this hotel provides clean accommodation facilities. The toilets are common however; there is a restaurant inside the hotel offering delicious food for the guests.
Best options to stay here is Homestays. They are very friendly and clean. Check all Homestays available at Srikhola.
Attractions in Srikhola
Enjoy the scenic beauty of Srikhola while you are staying there on your way to return from Sandakphu or Phalut. You can laze around the bank of the meandering Srikhola River or take a stroll on the hanging wooden bridge. Sit outside the cottages savoring the view and fragrance of the flowers in the garden or visit the Singalila National Park to see Red Panda, Barking Deer, and Himalayan Black Bear. Take a walk through the rhododendron, magnolia and orchid forests or fish in the river. The hotel provides angling gears with which you can capture trout which is the most common variety in the river.
Once you are done with fishing, you can concentrate on bird watching. The hills are the best place to watch rare species of birds which are never found on the plains. Blue magpie is very common in this region. Ask the hotel manager for the route to the corn, pea and cardamom plantation. It is a visual treat. You can also trek to nearby villages of Timburey and Gurdum and Jareo Pokhri, the sacred lake.
Kolakham, a beautiful land in the clouds facing the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga is home to 62 Nepali families from the Rai community. Bird watchers and adventurous souls regard Kolakham as paradise on earth because the land is replete with natural abundance. Perched at an altitude of 6200 feet, the hamlet lies on the fringes of the famous Neora Valley National Park in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district. The mountainous village of Lava is located just 8 kilometers from Kolakham. Mt. Kanchenjunga can be viewed from here in its full glory along with other peaks of Eastern Himalaya which include Pandim, Kabru, Siniolchu. Kolakham is 108 kilometers from Siliguri, the gateway to North Bengal. Continue reading
Manebhanjan is a tiny hamlet that is located at a distance of approximately 26 km from Darjeeling. From Siliguri it is almost 92 kms away. It is located on the border shared by India with Nepal and it is nestled at a height of 7054 feet. It is also well known as the starting point for the well-known trek to Sandakphu as well as Singalila National Park. The major source of income for people in this small and cozy village is tourism. In fact, Manebhanjan is one place where you will still get to see the Land Rovers in use. The vehicles were in use during the British period and are ideal when it comes to climbing the gravel-filled roads that dot the trail to Sandakphu. There are only a few of them remaining now. You will be amazed when you see how wonderfully the owners treat these cars – it is as if their own brother or sister. Continue reading
Rimbik is a small town that is located in the Singalila National Park. This small town can be described as a major attraction for people who are trekking from Darjeeling or a nearby area to the national park – a road that also includes the famous trek to Sandpakphu. In the recent years, tourists who wish to explore new destinations in addition to the established areas such as Darjeeling, Lava, Lolegao etc. have been visiting Rimbik as well. The hamlet is basically situated atop a mountain that overlooks the River Ramman that flows from Sikkim into Bengal. It could be described as the last major habitation on the Bengal side of the border. It is located in close proximity with both Nepal and Sikkim.
Rimbik has a big market that serves as a source of supplies that are needed by the nearby villages on a consistent basis. This is also one of the reasons why the local villages depend on Rimbik to a certain extent. Continue reading
Singalila National Park located at the Singalila Ridge is a popular tourist destination in Darjeeling District West Bengal. Sitting at an altitude between 7,900 feet and 12,000 feet, it is a unique national park situated at the highest point in West Bengal. The Singalila National Park covers an area of 78.6 square kilometers and is popular for its wide range of flora, fauna and also because of the trekking route to Sandakphu and Phalut, two of the highest peaks in Singalila Range. Originally it was a wildlife sanctuary which has now been transformed into a national park where tourists are allowed to undertake jeep safari on the gravel road winding through the park starting from Manebhanjan. Continue reading
Tiffin Dara is a point from where the 360 degree view of Kanchenjungha can be seen without any interruption. Dara means point in the Lepcha language and Tiffin Dara is a point in the Eastern Himalayan range in North East India offering a breathtaking view of the world’s 3rd highest peak. 2 kilometers uphill from Rishyap, a small hamlet, Tiffin Dara can be reached by trekking on the mountainous trail. The best part of this trek is that it goes through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Chirping birds and some mountainous dogs might accompany you through the journey. Continue reading
Rishop or Rishyap, is a picturesque hamlet and a nature lover’s paradise. The term Rishyap when translated in English means Land of Lofty Mountains, Peaks and Old Aged Trees. This beautiful and peaceful land where mountains, trees, birds, animals and humans co-exist peacefully is gaining significance in terms of popularity. Nature lovers of course find it very close to their heart and the non lovers also fall in love with its unique charm. Rishyap is basically a Lepcha community village situated at the foothills of TriffinDara at an elevation of 2,360 meters. Developed almost recently, Rishyap is part of Neora Valley which offers a spectacular view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. For people who love to trek on mountain roads, the experience will be most rewarding through the forests of pine, Dhupi and Rhododendron. Continue reading