Away from the milling crowd, this small village of West Sikkim provides a great atmosphere to spend some days in tranquility with its balmy weather and great sunset views.
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
This place is paradise for adventure lovers. This is the highest point in West Bengal and you have to trek for around 12 hours from Maneybhanjan to reach this place. You can also hire a landrover from maneybhanjan. This is also a village and is a part of the Singalila National Park. As you reach on top of this [point, you will be welcomed with some of the most awesome views including the famous route from Bhutan till Mt. Everest. The view of the mighty River Teesta is also very attractive. This river is apt for river rafting due to the high speed in which the water flows. If you can put in physical effort for the love for nature, this is the right place to choose.
One of the most important attractions in West Bengal, this is around 12 kilometres from Darjeeling and is a point 2555 metres above sea level. The Tiger Hill is famous for the rare views at dawn. The only condition if you want to enjoy this enthralling experience is that you have to be awake and ready by 4AM in the morning. You go straight to the Tiger Hill before the sun comes out and take the last views of the snow capped Kanchenjunga Peak. As soon as the sun comes out, the color of the sbow turns absolutely red and a little later Orange and then turns to Golden which again cpmes back to white when the sun is completely up. This natural show of lights is extra ordinary and is a visual treat. Starting your day to something like this is complete bliss. You can come to this place at anytime of the year except for monsoons and deep winters as the climate is extremely uncomfortable at this time.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The Darjeeling Zoo is also known as the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park to honor the ex- governor of West Bengal, Padmaja Naidu. This is a beautiful zoo where you can find some of the high altitutde animals as well as some endangered species of animals too. The zoo is in the Birch Hill area which is presently known as the Jawahar Parvat. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had dedicated the zoo in the honor of Padmaja Naidu who was also a poet and the daughter of the famous freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu. This is one of the best zoos in the world and is the first recipient of the International award of "The Earth Heroes 2014". This is an award given away by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The reason this zoo was chosen among more than 300 zoos all over the world is that it has successfully conserved and looked after Himalayan Animals and also those which are of the Alpine Region. You will find the endangered species such as Red Panda, Snow leopard and Tibetian Wolf here among many others. There are also a number of Siberian Togers and Yaks here. Very old herbs, shrubs, climbers, medicinal plants and orchids cover most of the zoo and you will also find trees such as birch and aldar here. There is a huge aviary too where very bautiful birds find home. The birds conserved here include Rose ringed Parakeets, Ring Necked Pheasants, Himalayan Mynahs, Blue- Gold Mackaws and others. There are steps on many sides inside the zoo and these are for the ones in search of extra adventures. Beyond these steps are the area which are home to H8imalayan bears, Sambhar deer, Blue Sheep. tahr, barking deer, goral and Musk Deer. They roam about openly ball around and thus a trained guide is a must when you opt for these places. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is also closeby.
This is a railway loop a few kilometers from the beautiful Darjeeling. The toy train goes round this loop and there is also a war memorial here. This war memorial was built after independence in memory of all the brave people of Darjeeling who laid their lives in various wars since the time of independence.
Singalila National Park
Fact File:Itinerary:Day 1: Train From Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri (NJP).Day 2: Reach NJP. Take a car or shared taxi for NJP to Dhotrey. It takes about 5 hours to reach Dhotrey. Night stay at Dhotrey.Day 3: Start early from Dhotrey for Tumling (Distance: 5kms, Altitude: 9,600ft) or Tonglu (Distance: 6kms, Altitude: 10,130ft). Night Stay at Tumling or Tonglu.Day 4: Trek from Tumling/Tonglu to Kalipokhri (Distance: 13kms, Altitude: 10,400ft). The trail passes through the villages of Jaubari (Distance: 6kms from Tumling, Altitude: 9,186ft), Gairibas (Distacne: 1km from Jhaubari, Altitude: 8,600ft), Kaiyakatta ( Distance: 2km from Gairibas) and finally on to Kalipokhri. Night stay at Kalipokhri.Day 5: Trek from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu (Distance: 6kms, Altitude: 11,929ft) via Bikeybhanjan (Distance: 2kms from Kalipokhri). Night stay at Sandakphu.Day 6: Descent from Sandakphu to Sirikhola via Gurdum. The trek downward is strenuous and the length of the route is about 16-17 kms. Night stay at Sirikhola.Day 7: Take a car/taxi from Sirikhola to NJP. Board train for Kolkata.Alternate Route/ Extended Trek:Day 1: NJP/Siliguri to Maneybhanjan by car, stay overnight at Maneybhanjan.Day 2: Maneybhanjan - Tumling/Tonglu Trek, stay overnight at Tumling/Tonglu.Day 3: Tumling/Tonglu - Kalipokhri Trek, stay overnight at Kalipokhri.Day 4: Kalipokhri - Sandakphu Trek, stay overnight at Sandakphu.Day 5: Sandakphu - Phalut Trek, stay overnight at Phalut.Day 6: Phalut - Gorkhey Trek, stay overnight at Gorkhey.Day 7: Gorkhey - Srikhola Trek, stay overnight at SrikhoilaDay 8: Srikhola - Rimbik Trek, then to NJP via Manebhanjan by jeep/car.Places to Stay:There are numerous places to stay. But most of them are trekker's hut or homestays and private lodges. The best place to stay in Sandakphu is the Sherpa Chalet Lodge. Please see here. Also there are government lodges run by GTA. Please see here to for information on booking GTA Lodges.How to Reach:By Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri. Taxis/Jeeps/Cars are available from here.By Railways: The nearest rail head is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). From NJP numerous taxis (shared as well as reserved) are available. It takes about 5 hours to reach Dhotrey from NJP Station.By Road: The trek begins from Maneybhanjan/Dhotrey both of which can be reached from Siliguri via Jeeps/Cars.Best Seasons:The best time to visit is during the Spring from March to May. This is the blooming season of the famed Rhododendrons. But occasionally one may find cloudy skies. Autumn, from late September through to November is accompanied by clear skies and lush mountain slopes. Winter is bitterly cold here, with heavy snowfall, but winter treks offer an unique experience. Singalila National Park is closed during monsoon.Other Essential Information:* Guide is mandatory. Porters are also available.* Mobile Phone: Indian mobile networks do not work for most part of Sandakphu/Phalut trek. Vodafone and BSNL are the only mobile networks that work in patches along the way (but are inconsistent).* Clothing & Accessories: Sandakphu can be very cold even in summer. So carry adequate woolens & jackets. In winter take heavy woolens, gloves, caps, and of course wear woolen inners. Additionally, take a rain coat (a must in all seasons ), use good trekking shoes, carry extra pair of socks, a wind-cheater, gloves in winter, cap etc.* There is no electricity or power for most part of the trek route (available up to Tumling).Indicative Costs: For Sandakphu- Phalut trek (Updated April 2016):You need to pay a Permit Fee (i.e. Singalilla National Park Entry fee) of Rs. 100/- per person for Indians and Rs. 200/- for foreign nationals. You can pay this fee at Manebhanjan or Singalila Park check post located shortly after Tumling. Without paying this fee, entry through Singalia National Park (near Tumling) will not be allowed. Carry Photo Id cards (like driving license / Voter's ID Card etc) which may be checked at several intermediate check posts along the route like Tumling, Gairibas, Batasi etc). If you are going through a trek operator, they will take care of the permits. Foreigners must carry passport.Still Digital Camera: Rs. 100/-; Video Camera: Rs. 400/-Cost of food along the trek route would be around Rs. 500 - 600 per person per day.Rate of dormitory bed in trekkers huts = Rs. 100-200 per person per day.Double/triple bedded room in a good private hotel or lodge can cost between Rs. 1,000 to 2,500 per day. Cheaper ones available too.NJP/Bagdogra to Manebhanjan: Rs. 3,000/- for reserved small car.Darjeeling to Manebhanjan shared Jeep fare: Rs. 50/- per person and reserved small car fare: Rs. 1,200/-Rimbik to Darjeeling shared Jeep fare: Rs. 200 per person and reserved vehicle fare: Rs. 2,500.Rimbik to NJP/Bagdogra reserved vehicle fare: Rs. 5000/-.Rate for Guide or Porter (if taken from Manebhanjan) is Rs. 600/- or Rs. 500/- per day respectively. Rate for foreigners is Rs. 900/- per day. Guide & porter rate includes their stay and food. One porter will carry up to 25kg of load in summer and 20kg in winter.Several lodges along the way use solar power or generators and allow you to charge your mobile phone, camera battery etc at a small nominal charge per hour (indicative Rs. 10-15 per hour).
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
They say that "All things are difficult before they are easy" . And it was time to experience this at The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Darjeeling where I had gone to get the Basic Mountaineering Training.Imagine yourself climbing a Himalayan peak, all roped up, walking with a bagpack and an ice-axe with the crampons and snow boots training to climb rock-walls and snow slopes for a month. If this is what you want to experience then Basic Mountaineering Course offered by HMI should be your next destination.
Built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso, this monastery in Darjeeling is mainly known for the beautiful statue of the Maitreye Buddha or the 'Future Coming Buddha'. This place is also blessed by the very famous Tomo Geshe Rimpoche of Tibet. The Monastery has conserved some very rare Buddhist Writeen Manuscripts. The monastery will fall on your way back from the famous Tiger Hill.
After the dropping of bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Buddhist saint Fuiji decided to spread the message of peace and harmony all around the world and this pagoda in Darjeeling is just one example of the movement. This is a Japanese Style pagoda built by the Buddhist Monk. The foundation stone was laid down in 1972 by Nichidatsu Fujii and the pagoda was completed by his biggest disciple Guruji Fuiji and opened in 1992. It is a white pagoda and white is the symbol of peace. The aim of this place was to entertain everyone irrespective of their caste and religion. You will find immense peace when you come here.
Yuksom Dzongri Trek is one the most mainstream short high elevation trekking destination in Sikkim. Dzongri trek is a shorter variant of the Goechala Trek. This specific trek begins from Yuksam and winds up at Yuksam in 5 days. Dzongri trek is extraordinarily suitable and intended for the trekkers who needed to investigate more in shorter duration of time. Indeed Dzongri and Dzongri La is the best spot for a mountains' perspective and its extents in the Sikkim Himalayas. Alongside Mighty Mt. Kanchendzonga 8585m - The third most noteworthy mountains on the planet, the absolute beauty seen amid this trek from Dzongri, View Points from here are Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabur north, Mt. Kabur south, Mt. Kumbhakarna, Mt. Simvo and many more. The best time to visit Dzongri is from mid March-April, and afterward from September to mid October, in order to maintain a strategic distance from snowfall and storm downpours.
Happy Valley Tea Estate
This is a tea estate in Darjeeling and rolling meadows of emerald green tea plantations. It is a bliss watching the women plucking carefully the tea leaves. There is also a factory where you can see the making of tea and fermentation processes. It is both an entertaining as well as educational trip
Sirikhola. The descent from Sandakphu to Sirikhola is wild, enchanting through thick forests of Rhododendrons, Pines, oaks, chestnuts and bamboos. We listened to the concert of the mellifluous birds. But the descent was steep and tiring and our guide warned that the forests were infested with Himalayan Black bears. We reached Gurdum by late afternoon where we had lunch at the Trekkers hut. Then from here the road follows the Siri river through small settlements and paddy fields interspersed between forest to reach Sirikhola.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or more dearly known as the Toy Train. With its narrow gauge trains of two feet, things do not get more exciting than when one is on a ride on the toy train. The length that the train covers is about 80 kilometers. The starting point is New Jalpaiguri in the district of West Bengal and the train goes past Siliguri, then Kurseong and Ghum while chugging along many loops and reverses. After having been out of service for quite some time, the toy train is now back in action and promises one a ride of a lifetime.
How does the thought of a cable car ride between hills sound to you? Exhilarating is the word that describes the Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway. Open for the enjoyment by the public since the month of February in the year 2012, this ropeway is perhaps the best way to enjoy the hilltop view of all that Darjeeling has to offer. The ropeway is completely safe and spans across 298 metres making it the longest of its kind in India. The journey begins at North Point in Darjeeling and goes up till Singla.
Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway
Darjeeling ropeway is also known as the Rangeet valley passenger cable car. It gives a mind blowing view of the valley below, the lush tea gardens, dense forests, mountain streams all over along with the breath taking waterfall and snow peak in the background. You can even get down at the lower station and enjoy the tea garden by walking through it. Its really difficult to experience so many things together at the same p lace.
Neora Valley National Park
Situated in the unexplored terrains of Kalimpong Hills, the untouched natural forests and dense bamboo groves of Neora Valley give shelter to several endangered species that are protected in this area. The national park is also connected to the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, another habitat of the Red Panda.To reach Neora Valley National Park, you have to reach Lava (34km from Kalimpong), which is the nearest village. From there take a jeep ride to the national park, which because of the bad roads, takes upto an hour. You can easily get the permit from the forest office in Lava.
Pelling is approximately 130 km far from Siliguri and 115 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and is very well connected by transport and jeep services. The lovely little town of Pelling is popular for magnificient views of the snow-topped Kanchenjunga range, the third most elevated crest in the world.The Placid town pulls a large portion of the guests for its representative status in history, and nature of the state of Sikkim. Situated at a height of 6,800 ft, Pelling offers great perspective of the whole Kanchenjunga mountain reach including Koktang, Kumbhakaran , Rathong, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Siniolchu and many more. This is as close as you can get to the Kanchenjunga range without leaving the material solace of good lodgings. Because of its worthwhile area, numerous hotels and cabins have come up in and around Pelling taking into account shifted tastes and budgets. Also the climate in Pelling may change from bright and sunny to blurred and miserable in a matter of minutes.
Char Dham or Siddheshwar Dham is a popular vacation spot in Sikkim. It is a copy of all the 12 Jyotirlingas and Char Dhams in India. You'll discover here a 33 m tall Shiva statue raised on the Solophok peak. It's an enormous journey complex with Hindu sanctuaries all around. Generally, it's a decent place that gives you positive vibes. Char Dham is a journey destination arranged at Solophok Hill, which is at a separation of around 5 km from Namchi Town. Solophok Hill has a verifiable and religious significance, as it is trusted that meeting this spot washes away one's sins. The venture is visioned by CM of Sikkim. They have built the sanctuaries of all the 12 jyotirlinga, Char dham and other essential sanctuaries. The sight is awesome and you will love to see the climate there. Best time to visit Char Dham or Siddheshwar Dham is during summer or during winter.
Around 3 kms from Pelling and couple of minutes walk further down from Pemayangtse Monastery are the Rabdentse ruins the second capital of Sikkim, established in the year 1670. The spot has stunning perspectives inundated with history all around. All around secured remains with clear signs of the rooms and other areas. These remnants are accessed by a short wooden walk which is extremely wonderful. The stroll from the sanctuary to the remnants will simply make your day. But these remnants have a story to tell. Its a half kilometer stroll from the main street perhaps a little more. In any case, once there, your effort is justified. Everywhere in this place you will see what remains. Not a large territory to cover so it's manageable by walking and on the off chance that you stroll up here from Pelling, you may have a decent half day trip. This spot is genuine amazement, regardless of the possibility that somebody is not excited to watch historical ruins, he can still visit for stunning perspectives.
Rock Garden Road
The Rock garden is located between Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake. It is filled with man-made interlinked waterfalls and numerous different models that have been made of waste and scraps and different sorts of squanders like glasses, bangles, jugs, tiles, clay pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc which are displayed on walled paths. The beautiful nursery is visited by more than 5,000 individuals every day, with more than 12 million guests since its inception. Nek Chand was offered a salary, a title Sub-Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden, and 50 workers so that he could focus full-time on his work. It showed up on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of reused materials. At the point when Chand left the nation on an lecture visit in 1996, the city pulled back its subsidizing, and vandals assaulted the recreation center. The Rock Garden Society took control over the organization and upkeep of this interesting visionary environment.
Near the giant Buddha Statue in the Thai Temple Complex is the Idosun Nippon Japanese Temple. This is a typical Japanese Temple which was made quite a few years ago but has recently opened up for the public. The temple posses very authentic, minimal designs like many other Japanes temples. There is a huge, 80 ft idol of Lord Buddha inside the temple and from outside it looks nothing but a nice, Japanese mansion and nothing more. There are a number of temples close to the Mahabodhi Tree and this is one of those. All of these are equally beautiful and has a unique charm. Make sure that you have enough time in your hands to explore all of these.
Known by most as Ghum, this place stand 7407 feet above sea level and at a distance of 6 kilometres away from the town of Darjeeling. This place happens to be the highest point where the toy train can reach. When here, the Batasia Loop should be the place to visit with its landscaped gardens and awesome views of the snow-capped Everest and the Kanchenjunga. From Ghoom, one can reach many other locations including Siliguri. The place is a quaint little town that offers one a peaceful and healthy stay. Around three kilometers away is the Senchal Lake that should be a priority to visit when one is in Ghum.
Also, the must visit place to this route is the Singshore Bridge. This is the Asia's 2nd highest suspension bridge built on the Rangit River and is surely an Engineering marvel. This 500m bridge connects two hills of the Himalayan Range and also leads to the no-mans-land of the Indo-Nepal border. There is a huge valley that runs right under the bridge at a depth of 600 ft. The scenic beauty cannot be explained in words.You will find kids and children are playing in the ground at upper pelling .
Pemayangtse Monastery, Pelling: Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim, also the most famous in West Sikkim. It is situated in the town of Pelling. The monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim.
The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist religious community in Pemayangtse, close to Pelling in the north eastern Indian state of Sikkim, situated 140 kilometers west of Gangtok. About 2kms from Pelling, you can visit the principal monastery belonging to the Ngingma group (one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism) which was implicit in the year 1705 AD. One of the first and couple of oldest monastery in Sikkim, it was fabricated by Gyalwa Lhatsun Namkha Jigme.The most important one amongst three monks, who blessed the first religious ruler of Sikkim at Yuksam in 1641 AD. These days, the child monks get a legitimate classroom and teachings by the educators in the correct monastic school called Laptha. Today numerous youngsters having a place with this religious community are in the enormous Buddhist learning centers in different states of India, such as Namdoling Monastery of H.H. Penor Rempoche (Mysore), Mindoling Monastery of Thichen Rempoche (Mousori) and inside Sikkim are Takche Dubda of Ven.
In the evening, spend the day at Mall area shopping or strolling down the Observatory Hill Road and watching the sunset.Day 4: Day long sightseeing. Places of interest includes :1. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and Darjeeling Zoo.2. Darjeeling Ropeway (Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car).3. Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda.4. Rock Garden.5. Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple.6. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center.7. Tea Gardens.Day 5: (Optional). One may stay an extra day to explore some lesser known places in Darjeeling. Visit the churches and monasteries in Darjeeling and may also explore the markets selling beautiful handicrafts. Hire a taxi and visit the Ramakrishna Mission in Darjeeling and enjoy the unhindered view of Mt Kanchenjunga and the lush hills below.Day 6: Darejeeling to NJP. One may take the conventional taxis to NJP railway station, or if time permits, book a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway all the way to Siliguri. Board a train to Kolkata.
Bengal Natural History Museum
It is a house of various birds, mammals and animals. The displays here are the specimen of real creatures that had been captured and preserved. It had been started with an effort to display butterfies and birds of Darjeeling but fortunately it now has collection of various animals.