For most, when it comes to West Bengal, Kolkata and Darjeeling are the two obvious and sometimes the only destinations. And while Kolkata’s rich heritage, history in every corner, thriving culture, and lip-smacking street food, and Darjeeling’s impeccable views of the Kanchenjunga and the inimitable thukpa deserve to be explored, so do its other parts. In the north of Bengal itself, there’s a cornucopia of little hidden gems of architecture, culture, nature, wildlife, tribal villages, and much more.
Here’s drawing some much-needed attention to these unexplored North Bengal travel destinations:
The last hamlet of West Bengal located 127 km from Siliguri, Bindu lies in the lap of India and Bhutan’s mountains, perched atop 2000 ft. The journey to Bindu, known locally for its cardamom production, will warm you up for the lush greenery and the beauty of the nearby meandering river Jaldhaka. The surrounding forests are perfect for trekking and hiking. You can also visit the tribal village of Godak, 1 km before which is the cardamom curing facility said to produce some of the best in the country.
Located in the Dooars region of North Bengal, Raimatang is a forest village located amid the Buxa Tiger Reserve and surrounded by tea plantations and hills. Raimatang is a favourite among wildlife lovers who can not only take the jungle safari at the tiger reserve but also watch the many bird species that visit this village. You can explore gentle hiking in the surrounding hills.
Rangaroon Tea Estate
Just 16 km from the Darjeeling town is a quaint, sleepy hamlet of Rangaroon which is home to the Rangaroon Tea Estate. There is only one homestay in this village that commands stunning views of Darjeeling and the Kanchenjunga range in case you want to skip Darjeeling’s rush but not the majestic views.
Eastern Himalayas are all about spending time in laze, seeping in the surrounding beauty of the towering mountain ranges, the waterfalls, rivers, and of course, the tea plantations. One such place is Tabakoshi in Mirik which is one of the more popular destinations for tourists in Darjeeling. But just 8 km from the Gopaldhara tea estate, you can find solitude and serenity at Tabakoshi. Enjoy the produce of the plantation, camp by the river, and socialise with the locals and enjoy their warm hospitality.
Jhalong is situated on the Indo-Bhutan border, along the Jaldhaka river. About 99 km from Siliguri, Jhalong is apt for those who long spend time in solitude, close to nature, uninterrupted by the fast pace of life. The Jaldhaka dam near Jhalong invites many bird species like Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Salty-backed Forktail, Little Forktail, and more.
About 38 km from New Jalpaiguri is a village nestled between the Leesh and Chel Odlabari rivers, just 4 km from the foothills of the Himalayas. While Odlabari itself is slow-paced and mundane, the surrounding Kathambari forest and Patharjhora tea estate show a lot of promise. Baikunthapur, 5 km from Odlapari, is where Lord Krishna is said to have hidden with Queen Rukmani.
Located on south-eastern fringe of the Neora Valley National park is Suntalekhola, also referred to as the ‘land of oranges’. It is one of the least explored but most promising North Bengal destinations. The national park has an abundance of trekking trails for adventure enthusiasts, especially Mouchuki, 6 km from Suntalekhola. The astounding landscape that reveals itself on the way to and in Suntalekhola is unparalleled with the Murti river and Eastern Himalayas’ rich greenery.
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