Darjeeling is the main town of the Sadar subdivision and also the headquarters of the district. It is located at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,000 m) in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region on the Darjeeling-Jalapahar range that originates in the south from Ghum. The range is Y-shaped with the base resting at Katapahar and Jalapahar and two arms diverging north of the Observatory Hill. The north-eastern arm dips suddenly and ends in the Lebong spur, while the north-western arm passes through North Point and ends in the valley near Tukver Tea Estate. The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak, 8,598 m (28,209 ft) high, is the most prominent mountain visible. In days clear of clouds, Nepal’s Mount Everest, 29,035 ft (8,850 m) high, can be seen.
The hills of Darjeeling are part of the Lesser Himalaya. The soil is chiefly composed of sandstone and conglomerate formations, which are the solidified and up heaved detritus of the great range of Himalaya. However, the soil is often poorly consolidated (the permeable sediments of the region do not retain water between rains) and is not considered suitable for agriculture. The area has steep slopes and loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides during the monsoons. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-IV, (on a scale of I to V, in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes) near the convergent boundary of the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates and is subject to frequent earthquakes.
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Guarded by a private forest on one side and lush green tea gardens on another, Dilaram is a little village tucked within nowhere in the Kurseong Hills. Here, you can take long nature walks, enjoy birdwatching, take a tea garden tour or visit a tea factory. But, the best thing to do in Dilaram is to do nothing but sit and watch the shadows of the clouds move across the deep valleys, slopes and tea gardens of Mirik, Sandakphu and the adjoining hills. You can also trek to nearby Chatakpur or Bhanzang Salamander Lake. A day trip to Kurseong and its nearby attractions can also be on your itinerary.
Places to see in Dilaram:
Lush green tea gardens surround Dilaram. Here, you can pluck tea leaves or just watch the daily activities of the tea plantation workers.
There is also a nearby Hindu Temple of Lord Shiva with a unique feature. This age-old temple has a stone carving of the Buddhist Guru Rimpoche – it is a perfect example of communal harmony.
Nearby attractions of Dilaram:
Bhanzang Salamander Lake, which is the natural habitat for the Himalayan Salamander is just 10 kilometers from Dilaram by road. The emerald lake, tucked within the endless stretches of tea gardens and forests is a sight to relish. You can also visit the famous Margaret’s Hope tea estate, which produces some of the finest tea varieties in the world. Sitong – the orange village, the forests of Chatakpur, Balasun Tea Estate, Chimeny, Bagora and Kurseong are all located within 10 kms of Dilaram. You can also visit Mirik, Rangbang or Darjeeling in a day trip from Dilaram.
Things to do in Dilaram:
Take a walk in the lush forest of Magnolia, Chestnut and cardamom plantations surrounding Dilaram. Bird watching is another activity you can undertake. Dilaram is surrounded by tea gardens and you can take a tea garden tour and visit a local tea factory to see tea processing. You can also pluck a few handfuls of tea leaves if you want. A village walk around Dilaram to watch the daily chores of the villagers can also be rewarding. For the more adventurous, a full day trek can be organised to nearby Chatakpur View point. The trek passes through dense Cryptomere forest and small hamlets. Trekkers would experience a varying vegetation as the elevation changes. The sight of Mt. Kanchenjungha range and its adjacent valleys and hills from Chatakpur watchtower is breathtaking. This trek is very rewarding to bird watchers.
Best time to visit Dilaram:
The winters bring lots of birds and butterflies to Dilaram. Treks and peak watching can be best enjoyed during winters. Snow covers the Sandakphu Hills in the distance and the sight is awesome from Dilaram. However, the monsoons cover Dilaram with lush greenery and it is one of the best destinations of Darjeeling Hills to watch the rains on the Himalayas.
How to reach Dilaram:
The little village of Dilaram is 45 kms from Siliguri and 8 kms from Kurseong. You can always hire an exclusive car from New Jalpaiguri / Bagdogra / Siliguri to Dilaram. You can also take a shared car to Kurseong and then hire a local taxi to Dilaram. Local taxis also ply from Darjeeling to Dilaram.
Lodging and dining facilities in Dilaram:
There is a lovely luxury homestay in Dilaram. The wall-to-wall carpeted rooms of the homestay are very spacious with attached private balconies and western bathrooms with hot water geysers. There are open spaces for kids to play, a garden, a private forest and all modern amenities for the guests to feel cozy and comfortable. Few other facilities include 24 hrs hot and cold water and 24 hrs power back up. The home stay serves standard Indian cuisine and various Gorkha local cuisines where the guests can also practice and prepare the delicious local dishes with the family members at their kitchen of the home stay.
One of the most untouched parts of the Darjeeling Himalayan foothills, Sitong is a treasure trove yet to be discovered. This little picturesque Lepcha village lies is a valley crisscrossed by a rivulet (Khola) and guarded by lush green hills. Every house in Sitong has a garden and every garden has orange trees. The whole village turns orange during the winter. Visiting Sitong is like time travelling – there’s a bamboo bridge, a church, some winding village paths skirting through orange orchards and few meandering streams and a rivulet, which the locals love to call Riyang River. The church guesthouse has been renovated with modern facilities to accommodate guests.
Places to see in Sitong:
You can visit the local church. Previously, there used to be a 100-year old Bamboo church here but now a new building has come up. There is a Bamboo Bridge, which you would love to see wobbling when someone crosses. But when you are in Sitong, there is one thing you cannot miss doing – “Enjoying Oranges.”
When the oranges bloom, the whole village is covered in a hue of orange. You can also spend time walking all around the village along the farms or sit idle on the banks of Riyang river and watch the Lepcha kids returning home. In Sitong, you would love doing “nothing.”
Nearby attractions of Sitong:
The house of Rabindranath Tagore at Mongpoo is just 20 kms away and Latpanchar – the highest point in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is 13 kms. from Sitong. Latpanchar is also known for being the home to the Himalayan Salamander and numerous species of birds and butterflies. Other touristic destinations like Kurseong, Dilaram, Bagora are all within 20 kms of Sitong. Chatakpur, the picture-perfect village within the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is also within 30 kms. of Sitong.
Things to do in Sitong:
Enjoy long nature walks along the villages and take a peek into the traditional lifestyle of the Lepchas, eat as many oranges as possible and visit the church to find some solace. You can enjoy a dip in the Riyang River and do some bird watching and butterfly watching too. You can also avail some light treks to the nearby Labda village and few nearby spots with a local guide.
Best time to visit Sitong:
November, December and January is the best time to see oranges is Sitong. The orange harvest takes place during late December and early January. As Sitong is located around 4000 feet above sea level so it is also a nice place to beat the heat during the according summers. The rivers and streams get filled after the rains and the lush greenery is something not to be missed during the monsoons in Sitong.
How to reach Sitong:
There are three routes to reach Sitong. The shortest route (55 kms) is through Siliguri – Sevoke – Kalijhora and Latpanchar. The second route (78 kms) passes through Siliguri – Rambhi and Mongpoo. The third route (75 kms) is through Kurseong – Dilaram – Bagora and Ghareytar. The last leg of the journey to Sitong (last 15 kms) is quite steep.
Lodging and dining facilities in Sitong:
The newly built three-storey guesthouse of Sitong church located on a hilltop has been modified with all modern facilities for the guests. There are nine double bedded rooms with attached western bathrooms, solar power and 24 hrs warm water. The lobby has a fireplace where you can get along with your family enjoying a cozy evening. Organic vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is served in the Guesthouse’s Dining hall.
Founded in 1859, Makaibari tea estate is one of the oldest and most prestigious tea estates on India. Spreading over 1575 acres of the Himalayan slopes at an altitude of 4600 feet, the garden overlooks River Balasun, a dense forest cover and the picturesque town of Kurseong. Makaibari is still farmed by the original founding family (presently, the 4th generation) in one of the most eco-friendly methods producing organic tea of the highest quality. At Makaibari, you can stay in one of the 16 homestays managed by the villagers and plantation workers and discover the charm of living in a tea estate. You would enjoy traditional hospitality in these Makaibari homestays and savour some of the best home-cooked food. You can enjoy endless cups of Makaibari Tea, participate in tea tasting sessions, try your hands in tea plucking and visit the famous Makaibari tea factory to see the various stages of tea processing from here. You can also go for a trek along the estate, visit a local Hindu temple, do birdwatching or just spend few days doing nothing.
Places to see in Makaibari:
Tea is everything in Makaibari. Endless slopes of tea gardens spread in all directions is a sight to savour. Sometimes the tea gardens seem to fade into the horizon and sometimes it disappears into the forests.
There is an old Hindu temple, a monastery, a bamboo grove and a nameless stream flowing through the jungle surrounding the Tea Estate.
Nearby attractions of Makaibari:
Makaibari is just 3 kms from Kurseong town and 33 kms from Darjeeling. All sightseeing destinations of these two towns can be covered from Makaibari in day trips. You can board the famous toytrain of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from Kurseong, visit local villages perched on scenic destinations like Dilaram, Chimeni and Bagora and trek in the forests around Chatakpur, staying at Makaibari. An early morning visit to the Batasia Loop, Ghoom, Tiger Hill and day trips to the Mountaineering Institute and zoo in Darjeeling should also be on your cards. You can also take a stroll across Darjeeling, do some shopping and spend some nice moments at the Darjeeling Mall watching people.
Things to do in Makaibari:
You can take nature walks along the tea gardens and take to the winding paths up and down the slopes skirting the tea bushes. You can try your hands in tea plucking with the some expert plucker or visit the tea factory to see tea processing. You can also take part in tea tasting sessions with tea tasters and start understanding why Darjeeling Tea is considered the world’s best tea. You are sure to return as a “tea pundit” from Makaibari. However, when you are not drinking, plucking or tasting tea at Makaibari, you can enjoy birdwatching, village walks, jungle treks and picnicking beside a meandering stream flowing through the jungle crisscrossed by bamboo bridges.
Nearly, two-thirds of Makaibari Tea Estate is covered by forests which are occasionally visited by leopards. You also stand a good chance of sighting exotic Himalayan birds like the Hornbill, Drongo and the Sultan Tit. You can also spend your afternoons watching the shadows of the clouds over the green stretches of the gardens.
How to reach Makaibari:
Makaibari is only 3 kms from Kurseong near Darjeeling. You can get regular Taxis from New Jalpaiguri / Siliguri / Bagdogra Airport to Kurseong and then hire a car to Makaibari Tea Estate. There are regular taxis from Kurseong to Makaibari.
Best time to visit Makaibari:
You can visit Makaibari any time of the year. However, if you are a tea lover and want to try your hand in tea plucking then you should visit during March to April for First Flush plucking, April to May for the Second Flush plucking, June to August for Monsoon Flush and October to mid November for Autumn Flush plucking. The tea factory remains open throughout the year but is mostly operational during plucking seasons.
Lodging and dining facilities at Makaibari:
There are 16 homestays at Makaibari Tea Estate located in two villages – one is near the tea factory and the other is around 15 mins walk from the tea factory. All the homestays are managed by local villagers and their families who are mostly plantation workers and belong to a local co-operative. All homestays are clean, hygienic and have attached western bathrooms for the guests. Homestays are allocated on a rotation basis to the guests by the co-operative to help every homestay with guests during the season. They all maintain the same standard and offer the same home-cooked organic food.
Lamahatta is located at an altitude of about 5700 feet and at a distance of 25 kilometers from Darjeeling town. A small village where farming and cattle rearing is the main source of livelihood; it’s lies on the Darjeeling-Kalimpong state highway. Perfect Place for Eco tourism, nature enthusiast and those who are interested to feel the wild Himalayas. A chance to feel the culture of the local people more closely with fooding, and home stay facilities available. Options of trekking in Lamahatta are four they are a short nature trail that leads to a small lake on a hill top. The villagers consider this to be a sacred lake or a Jungle trek of around 8 kilometers from Lamahatta to Takdah that goes through a maze of pine and dhupi trees – Next trek to Takdah Orchid Center nearly 5 kilometers. The Orchid center is however open usually during the season of February through April and the last one is a short trek to Gari Danda – an old fort on top of a hill which is nearly 3 kilometers away. There are ethnic shades around the garden and some meant for meditation. One can climb the watch tower and enjoy the excellent views on a clear day. Activities may include visit the tea gardens nearby i.e. nearly 1.5 kilometers. Some of the well known tea estates nearby are Takdha Tea Estate, Glenburn Tea Estate, Rongli Rangliot Tea Estate etc or visiting viewpoints like the Teesta Rangit junction nearly 8 kilometers to see the confluence of Teesta and Rangit rivers. Visit the cave temple nearly 2 kilometers or visit the Lamahatta village Monastery / Gumpa.
To reach Lamahatta three approach road and distance are as follows – From Siliguri the road distance to Lamahatta is about 75 kilometers and will take nearly 3 ½ – 4 hours. One can also drive via Jorebunglow near Ghoom and then take the road for Lamahatta. Easiest is to take a taxi from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) or from Jorebunglow. From Darjeeling the distance is nearly 25 kilometers. Best is to take an hour’s drive. If you are coming from Kalimpong, the distance is 43 kilometers nearly 2 hours drive.
Tathagata Farm (Lebong)
This farm offer dazzling views of the Himalayas in the backdrop, wake up within the idyllic serenity of a tea farm estate of Darjeeling. Situated 45 minutes away from Darjeeling town, here you can spend couple of days exploring the nature trails leading to sparkling waterfalls or simply relax with a book on your cabin’s porch as you soak-up the fresh mountain air and quietude of rural India. Your cabin is complete with electricity and en-suite bathrooms and the accommodation staff will prepare freshly made cuisine made from the local produce handpicked from the garden. Tathagata Farm has a few quaint, free-standing huts on our tea farm. They have baths and toilets attached with a big opening in the front of the cabins facing the farms where locals grow their tea, cardamom, ginger, vegetables, oranges and other crops. A tour to Darjeeling can be arranged staying here for the travelers with limited number of days to spare and would like to see Darjeeling and its beautiful surroundings. This is a trip that will include the essential of Darjeeling, its urban highlights and rural simplicity staying here. Tathagata Farm is located in a Certified Organic Village, a community of Small Farmers at Aap Botay, Mineral Spring, Darjeeling. Mineral Spring is approximately 45 minute driving from Darjeeling town. This place is ideally located and is surrounded by Puttabong Tea Estate, Kambal Tea Estate, Ging Tea Estate, Tukdah Tea Estate and Badamtam Tea Estate. The farm itself is a complete paradise with so many species of birds and greenery. The food that was made is simple Indian and was nice. They even cooked for guest down the river where guest can enjoy a nice picnic amidst pristine nature. The place is surrounded by hundreds of small organic farms that produce all the kinds of fruit and vegetables one can ever dream of like peach, pineapple, orange, pomelo, ginger, cardamom, carrots, taro, squash, sweet potato, potatoes and of course tea amongst the myriad of produce, It is a very happy and healthy place to stay
Two Tented Accommodation (Independent Deluxe Tents) which have attached baths and toilets and a balcony. Designed as a simple retreat with all the basic facilities that a traveler would need, Tathagata Farm has simple and minimalistic accommodations. Guided Village Walk and interact with the farming communities, go fishing or just wake up early in the morning and watch the birds – it’s a paradise for bird lovers. If you are seeking to experience local interaction at its best with the crisp Himalayan air and sweet spring waters, then this is exactly the place you’re looking for. There are plenty of things to see and do around the farm. The place is known as Mineral spring and is hardly 20 kilometers and staying here on the Tathagata Farm, you will not only have a relaxing experience with lovely views to the Himalayas, but you can also find out more about the local people. From Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport its nearly 108 kilometers and the last ten kilometers is breathtaking.
On a top of a hill, in a mountain area in Darjeeling district in West Bengal in India, is the scenic settlement called Latpanchor situated at nearly 4300 feet.Latpanchar is a destination of natural beauty covered with forests and Cinconha Plantation. It is the highest point in the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary with fabulous views of Teesta River, deep gorges and greenery all around. The place is serene. Surrounded by dark, deep forest adds to the mystery of the place. The atmosphere remains heavy with overwhelming fragrance of flowers. The activities and attractions include treks through Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary, visit to sunrise point just 3 kilometers away and discovering the natural habitat of the endangered Himalayan Salamander. There are few settlements scattered in the region. Jholi Basti is ideal for an encounter with wildlife. Don’t forget your binocular and camera. Herds of deer and elephants often drift towards the area. They are all covered with lush and lavish greenery. Accommodation facility at Latpanchar is in wood cottage home stay. There are three triple bedrooms in the cottage. The rooms come with wall to wall carpet, electricity, hot water and western attached toilet facilities.The destination is basically for leisure holidays. Latkothi that was once a British residence that the British set up in 1920 is now converted to Forest Department bungalow. The house is surrounded by the vast stretch of Cinchona plantation. Places nearby are Sittong, Mungpoo, etc
Perfect Place for Eco tourism, nature enthusiast and those who are interested to feel the wild Himalayas. One can enjoy the chance to feel the culture of the local people more closely with fooding and home stay facilities available. The food is essentially Indian, home cooked and the ingredients are mostly locally sourced and freshly plucked from local farm. The forest around is worth enjoying. The place in short is one of the best leisure holiday destinations. Nearby attractions is Mongpoo, one would visit the famous house of Rabindranath Tagore just 35 kilometers via Sitong and 45 kilometers via Rambhi. Sitong is another nearby settlement of Latpanchar famous for its orange orchards and natural beauty. One can continue further to Chatakpur near Sonada and further to Kurseong through the lush green Tea estate.
Other places to visit or enjoy are Gulma Hill (Mahananda wildlife), Salamander Namthing pond and Aahal sunrise point. There is a Lord Shiva temple at the peak of Raja Rani Hill. Ahal View Point is locally called Sansaridara View Point. From New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) one has to drive towards Sikkim by jeep via national highway 31 A and after about one and half hours one has to take a left turn and take a steep hill road, in one and a half hour more one can reach Latpanchar. From Siliguri Latpanchor is nearly 48 kilometers, one have to reach Kalijhora 5 kilometers away from Sevoke and take left turn and can reach Latpanchar.
Kathambari – This home stay is close to Siliguri and is situated near Teesta Canal. Birds and wild life can be spotted here occasionally. It is nearly 40 kilometers from Siliguri via Odlabari and is roughly 35 kilometers via Gajoldoba. New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) is 50 and 40 kilometers respectively. Bodaganj, Ambari, Kathambari, Odlabari are situated close by. All these places are at a distance of 25 kilometers to 60 kilometers from Jalpaiguri town. Bodaganj is 25 kilometers from Jalpaiguri in Shikarpur forest. Ambari is also accessible by road from Siliguri and Jalpaiguri. Kathambari is around 50 kilometers away from Jalpaiguri and is approachable by road. Odlabari is 90 kilometers away from Jalpaiguri by road. Scenic beauty of Forest and tea gardens, somewhere with a backdrop of hills is the main attraction of these locations. Teesta barrage is very close from Ambari. Thickly forested, with a few pockets of settlement where the Kathambs, Totos and Mechis lived. Bhotias, Lepchas, Koches and Rajbongshis were the other ethnic groups who made up the then tiny and scattered population.
Kathambari is situated close to Siliguri and is an hour’s drive. Kathambari is in Dooars. It is said that the word ‘Dooars’ has been originated from the Assamese word “Duar” which literally means door. Duars spreads from Goalpara district in Assam to the foot hills OF Darjeeling district of West Bengal. But now days Duars signified which was the then call as Bengal Dooars. It comprises with parts of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. Tourism has established itself overcoming the other three established economic factors of Tea, Transportation and Timber. There are numerous tourist attraction waiting for you to explore and enjoy along with various activity options. Guest can just enjoy the nature at its very best. The breathtaking view of the Tea estate, forest, background of the Mount Himalaya and the beautiful landscape is worth enjoying. Riding on Elephant into the forest or taking a Jeep safari to get a view of the wild life into the forest is two of the exciting options other activities are angling; bird watching at Gajoldoba could also be a memorable experience for any traveler. One can also enjoy village tourism, tribal life and their culture. In short Kathambari can give you the real experience of nature. 2 Rooms with quality home stay is worth visiting. Western toilet, warm water with decent ambience welcomes the guest. Indian cuisine, local fish is available during the stay.
This is a small hamlet close to Darjeeling. The beautiful Tinchuley village is nearly 32 kilometers i.e. one and half hours drive from Darjeeling. It literally means three chullas (chulla means oven). It is a relatively old destination and is close to Takdah and Runglee Rungliot Tea Estate. It is at a distance of nearly 85 kilometers from Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB). It is nearly 45 kilometers from Kalimpong and approximately 90 kilometers from Gangtok. WWF (World Wildlife Federation) contributed to the development of floriculture projects, forest nursery and by compost and vermin compost manure projects. There are few viewpoints in Tinchuley like the Gumbadara View point, which gives extraordinary views of River Teesta. The Tinchuley view point offers a decent view of the entire range of Eastern Himalayas with the majestic Mount Kanchenjungha. Gangtok and Kalimpong can be seen from here. Sunrise point is an excellent place to view the morning scene. The Gumbadara view point provides a view of the river Teesta. Nearby tourist destinations are Takdah cantonment and Rangli – Rangliot tea garden is just a few minutes’ drive. It is surrounded by Tea Estate producing some of the best tea in the world. Some of the well known Estate are tea gardens around here include Namring TG, Rangli – Rangliot TG, Gayle Bhanjan TG, Teesta Valley TG. During night and in clear sky magnificent sight of Kalimpong is worth watching. Being in the leeward side it is always cold. There are options of few walks through winding paths across villages and forests. One can also visit the local monastery and the holy cave.
From Siliguri one can visit there via NH 31A to Teesta Bazar via Coronation Bridge, Kalijhora or one can visit it from Darjeeling via Ghoom or from Kalimpong via Peshok or Runglee Rungliot route. This is a place where silence extends its own magic and loneliness finds its true definition. This is a small peak with one home stay with three rooms. To get the best of view full moon night is recommended to guest. This is a place to stay and enjoy the hospitality provided by the locals. Perfect Place for Eco tourism, nature enthusiast and those who are interested to feel the wild Himalayas. One can enjoy the chance to feel the culture of the local people more closely with fooding and home stay facilities available. The food is essentially Indian, home cooked and the ingredients are mostly locally sourced and freshly plucked from local farm. The forest around is worth enjoying.
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