It might come as a surprise to many travellers, but there are several lesser known hill stations in north Bengal where you can easily spend a lazy weekend. These include Charkhole, Chatakpur, Samsing, Lava, Loleygaon, Sillery Gaon and a few more. Some fall under Dooars (Jalpaiguri) and some under the Darjeeling district. Let’s take a quick look at some of these.
Set amongst undulating skyline, a drive through the Dooars will take you to the small hamlet of Samsing. Blessed with nature’s bounty, the region boasts of natural forests. Small streams and tea gardens assemble together to make a picture perfect landscape. Samsing is also a consign where the forests of the Neora Valley reach the plain and the Murti river cuts through the valley, making the region almost picture perfect. Take a lazy stroll across the river or simply laze beside it as you listen to the eternal tunes of the flowing waters. For the adventurous soul, Samsing offers some offbeat trekking routes. Birders can also enjoy a gala time observing some species of aviary like Grey Nightjar, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Maroon Oriole, Greychinned and Short-billed Minivets and others.Accommodations are available in the form of forest rest houses, guest houses and a very recent development—homestays.
A hidden treasure of the Darjeeling district, Tinchuley is an upcoming travel destination. The name Tinchuley means three chullahs (three chimneys) and this is represented by three hills surrounding the hamlet that resembles three chimneys. By embracing the concept of Sustainable Village Tourism, Tinchuley has transformed itself into a model village that supports organic farming. Further supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), seventeen families in the region have turned out to support themselves through organic farming and sustainable tourism. They indulge in vermiculture, floriculture and organic farming. They offer homestays for visitors that are indeed unique. If you are the kind of traveler who wants to get immersed in the lap of nature or simply want to experience a place like the locals, enjoy garden fresh organic food, you must plan your trip this time to Tinchuley.
Locally known for its cinchona plantations, Sillery Gaon is probably North Bengal’s best kept secret. Nestled at a height of around 5000 feet, the region is a perfect Himalayan hamlet. Melodies of the wilderness, eternal tunes of the flowing river water and chirping of birds—Sillery Gaon makes for a perfect getaway from the chaotic city life. Apart from catching majestic vistas of the Kanchenjunga, you can also visit local scenic spots like Ramitey Dara and Damsang Fort. Catch a glimpse of the twisting River Teesta from Ramitey Dara and tour the Damsang Fort, there’s no dull time here. Constructed in 1690, by the Lepchas, the Damsang Fort was destroyed by the British right after the Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864. While in Sillery Gaon a trip to the Sanghen Dorjee Monastery is a must. A number of homestays offer excellent accommodation in Sillery Gaon. Fondly referred to as New Darjeeling by the locals, Sillery Gaon makes for a perfect travel destination.