Weekend Trips from Darjeeling
While talking about weekend trips from Darjeeling, the first place that comes to mind is Kalimpong, which is located on the other side of the great river Teesta. However, we will first try to visit little known offbeat places nearer home. Let us start with Palmajua.
Palmajua from Darjeeling
Nearer home, one can see birds and butterflies moving from tree to tree, from flower to flower. If you go inside the Park area, you may be lucky enough to come across a Red Panda. The park is actually home to several kinds of animals and more than 150 species of birds. A short trek away is the Ramman Hydel Project. There are other interesting places with trekking distance, but we will not go into that because we know that once you reach Palmajua, you will not want to move away.
Bijanbari from Darjeeling
Unfortunately, the only good accommodations available are the governmental bungalows; one should book them through government of West Bengal before undertaking such journeys. Of course, if you do not mind shared toilets, private arrangements are not hard to get.
The road from Darjeeling to Bijanbari offers beautiful views of tea gardens lying on both side of the road. In between, the visitors will find unspoiled jungle along with mountain streams and waterfalls. On reaching the destination, one may visit the local vegetable market known as the Haat at Poolbazar or go around to the orchards and farmlands that grow different types of fruits and vegetable. Some two kilometers away from Poolbazar market is a sericulture farm. If you want to see firsthand how electricity is produced out of running water, you may also visit the hydroelectric station at Lodhama. For hikers, the place also offers some exotic hiking routes.
However, to be fair we should add that, there are many other spots larking in the nook and corner of the Darjeeling Himalayas that offer similar opportunities. Chhota Mangowa, Lamahatta, Takhdah, Shrikhola Jorpokri, Lepchajagat are some such spots.
Lepchajagat from Darjeeling
Mirik from Darjeeling
Next is the Raidhap. Technically, it is the source of drinking water for Mirik town; however, it is also beautiful spot and ideal for picnics. There are also a couple of viewpoints such as the Rameetay Dara and Tingling. While the former offers breathtaking views of the mountains as wel as the plains below, the later offers a panoramic view of the tea gardens surrounding the area. Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling Monastery, located on the Rameetay Dara, is center for meditation for the Buddhists. The monastery is home to more than 500 monks.
Besides, there are orange orchards and orchid gardens to see. Incidentally Mirik orchids fetch a very high price in the international market. Bunkulung or Jayati Nagar is the place to visit for those who are interested eco tourism. Those who are interested in spending the weekend there can avail the home-stays facilities on offer. Those who have missed watching sunrise from Tiger Hill may do so from Sun Rise Point at Mirik.
Kalimpong from Darjeeling
Some important places to see here are Graham’s Home, Seventh-Mile View Point, Kalimpong Arts And Crafts Centre, Sericulture Research Center etc. Among the places of worship are Thongsha Gompa, Mangal Dham Temple and St. Theresa Church. Rinchingpong, located in the north of the town, offers magnificent views of River Relli and River Teesta.