North Bengal and Sikkim are places that come into mind when a Kolkatan thinks of a compact budget trip. This blog is about two places which are comparatively remote and less known, however, the beauty and ambience of these places is unparallel which makes them a must visit then a North Bengal/Sikkim tour is planned.
Suntalekhola is a small hamlet in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal. The word Suntalekhola can be broken down into the words Suntale meaning 'orange' and khola meaning 'stream'. Surrounded by lush green tea gardens, Himalayan foothills and beautiful streams, it is definitely one of the most desired destinations if one is searching for peace and tranquility amidst the clumsy and dull city life.
The nearest rail-head is New Mal Junction, from which it is around 30-35kms (1-1.5hrs drive) via Samsing, a very picturesque village surrounded by tea gardens. Cabs are also available from Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri.
Situated at an altitude of around 3000ft above sea level, it is quite popular for short trek routes which mainly lies in the Neora Valley National Park belt. WBFDC(West Bengal Forest Development Corporation) provides luxurious accommodation at both Samsing and Suntalekhola.
Fauna commonly found includes : pond heron, black eagle, hill partridge, red-vented bulbul, ashy wood pigeon, bronzed drongo, white-throated fantail, blue rock thrush, scarlet minivet, lesser racket-tailed drongo, rufous sibia, grey treepie, spangled drongo and common green magpie. (Source: wiki)
Rishyap is a small village and hill station in the Kalimpong district, West Bengal, India. Rishyap - Ri stands for mountain peak (some say it is lofty) and shop means age-old trees in Tibetian. It is around 45mins-1hr drive owing to bad road conditions from Lava, situated at a distance of 10km.
Located at an altitude of 8500dt above sea level, it is known for the majestic views of the Kachenjunga range. A lot of homestays are available which provides decent fooding and lodfing facilities. Tiffindhara, is the highest point in Rishyap, which offers great views. It is an easy trek of around 1km, however beware of leeaches.
Photo blog :- https://www.tripoto.com/trip/monsoons-at-north-bengal-hills-5d600c1b9372f/photos/18bf56950b1c0a107db3addf9489be55