Weekend Trips from Darjeeling

The Road That Leads To Our Favourite Weekend Getaway

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

Cottage At Plamajua from DarjeelingPalmajua, a forest hamlet located on the border of the Sangrilila National Park, is our first destination. It takes around 2.5 hours to drive down to the place from Darjeeling town. Along with peace and tranquility that is part of such hamlets; Palmajua offers fantastic view of the Kanchenjunga.  It looks so large that one feels as though the village is located right at the feet of the mountain.

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

Bijanbari from Darjeeling Bijanbari in the Rangeet valley is another great weekend getaway. It is around twenty eight kilometer from Darjeeling and hence one can return the same day. However, if you want to experience the life of the hill people, you must spend at least a night here.

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

Lepchajagat from Darjeeling

Lepchajagat located just 19 km away from Darjeeling is indeed a place to experience. Located inside the forest areas, surrounded by trees such as pine and oak, the place offers nothing but peace and serenity. All day long, you walk about its meandering pathways watching the nature at its best and as the night falls you sit beside the fireplace to listen to the sound of the night. There is no shop or any other commercial activities to disturb the peace that comes naturally with places such as this.

Mirik from Darjeeling

Again, many people take a day trip to Mirik; but to enjoy the ambience, one should spend at least a night there. Unlike Bijanbari, there are many hotels or restaurants offering standard accommodation as well as meals. There is neither any shortage of tourists’ spots.  The Lake Sumendu/Samendu, located at the heart of the town, is indeed a beautiful place; apart from scenic beauty it also offers boating and horse riding opportunities. On one side of the bank is Debisthan, a temple dedicated to Goddess Singha Devi. Nearby, there are also temples dedicated to Goddess Kali, Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva.

Mirik on the bank of Sumendu Lake 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

Church at Dr Graham's from DarjeelingKalimpong, located on a ridge overlooking the Teesta Valley, was a major trading point between India and Tibet before it was annexed by China. For many people, the town is a destination by itself; but majority of those who visit Darjeeling also try to spend one night here.

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.

Tea Tourism near Darjeeling

Today, many tea gardens have opened their doors to the visitors. A weekend in their fabulous bungalows allows the visitors to sample not only life in the tea gardens, but also the ambience surrounding it. Makaibari, Glenburn,Tumsong, Selim Hill, Goomtee are few of the tea estates, which have succumbed to the demands of the tourists and ultimately opened their door for holidaymakers.
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