North Bengal as the name suggests is the Northern part of West Bengal in India. It is the vast domain dominated by the majestic mountains, a vast stretch of plains that seems to be ceaseless. So, step into the place that accommodates every preference of the travelers. With Golden sunrise and fascinating vales, lush green tea gardens and milky white streams, forests covered with flowers and quaint villages- North Bengal is the home to the world’s cutest Toy-Train, whose laidback pace never frets the leisure-seeking passengers. It is the abode to mixed ethnicity that includes some of the oldest tribe in the world.
So, below is the list of 10 offbeat places in North Bengal that you should visit before you die!
1. Sillery Gaon- another Himalayan paradise
Dwelling at an elevation of 6000 feet, Sillery Gaon is another paradise that is enveloped by tranquility. Enjoy nature walks at this picture perfect Himalayan hamlet, listening to the chirping of the Himalayan birds and treating your eyes and senses with fascinating sights.
Location: Kalimpong District.
Distance: 96 kilometers from NJP/Bagdogra via Kalimpong.
What to do in Sillery Gaon?
Tin Chuley: Famous Viewpoint, from here you can enjoy the 360 degrees view of the Himalayan ranges including Sikkim, Jeep La, and Nathu La region.
Ramitey Dara: a famous standpoint that offers jaw-dropping views of the Teesta River with approx 14 turns along the mighty Himalayas.
Damsang Fort: Concealed in ultimate serenity, it was built by the Lepchas in 1690. Later, it was demolished by the British in the post-Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864, only the ruins exist now.
Sanghen Dorjee Monastery: Its origin has been hunted back to 300 years. It contains wall paintings that depict Tantric Buddhism. It has mummified body of the Bhutanese hermit.
Cross Hill: Established in 1882, it is a significant pilgrimage site for Christians.
Other attractions: Shahid Park, Cinchona Plantation, Aritar Lake or Lampokhri.
Places to stay in Sillery Gaon: It’s a small village and it does not host any plush hotels. However, homestays provide a delightful stay amid the serene nature. Homestays holds a unique essence of hospitality that is exceptional and nowhere to found in the professionalism of the hospitality industries.
Best time to visit: September to March.
2. Tukdah (now- Takdah): The charming land of mists
Originally ‘Tukdah’ is a Lepcha word meaning the ‘land of mist or fog’. This former British cantonment enchants you with tall dense woods, chirping of birds, orchids, streams rushing down a few yards as you walk, peaceful ambiance, and nature.
Distance: 60 kilometers from NJP/Bagdogra and 28 kilometers from Darjeeling.
What to do in Takdah?
Tea Garden: Lush green Tea gardens in this region are pretty appealing. The major tea estates of Darjeeling like Rungli Rungliot Tea Garden, Namring, and Jinglam, Poomong, and Teesta Valley estate are located nearby. You can stroll amid the freshly plucked tea leaves, inhaling the fragrance blended in the misty air.
Orchid Center: This vast expanse is located at a distance of about half kilometer. Here, varieties of rare Himalayan orchids are cultivated.
British Bungalows: Built in the 1900s during the colonial rule, the British Bungalows and cottages (about 14 of them) still reflect the colonial charm.
Dechhen Pema Tshoiling Monastery: Also called the Takdah Monastery, this is accessible via a flight of stairs from the market area. From here, one can enjoy the stunning views of the Tea Estates, and Kalimpong.
Dara Dokan: It’s local market (haat Bazar). Don’t miss this if you visit Takdah on Thursdays. You will see people coming to purchase veggies and other essentials; on the other hand, you’ll have a glimpse of the local life.
Nature walks through Pine and Cedar forests: You can trek through the forests and villages. The dense coniferous forests are well maintained by the forest department. Experience the bliss of being secluded from the hassles of cities.
Places to stay in Takdah: As Takdah is a developing tourist destination, there aren’t many hotels here. But, one can stay in Heritage Bungalow, Forest Rest House. Besides, you can have better alternatives for homestays.
We Recommend: Shiwani Homestay & Anugrah Homestay.
Best Time to visit: September to November, and March to May.
3. Samsing: immerse in tranquility amid nature
Dwelled in the serene lap of nature, Samsing is one of the places that offer the much-needed seclusion from the chaos of the cities. Comprised of lush green tea gardens, hills amid the tranquility, it is the delight for the nature lovers.
Location: Jalpaiguri District
Distance: 82 kilometers from NJP/ Bagdogra
What to do in Samsing?
Rocky Island: The delight for the nature lovers and peace seekers, Rocky Island is encompassed by the luxuriant forests and you will find a river rushing amid the quaint ambiance of greeneries.
Suntalekhola: In Nepali language, Suntala means orange and Khola means River. Pronounced as Soontaleykhola, it is a serene and beautiful village located at a distance of 4 kilometers from Samsing.
Murti: It is the nature’s lover’s delight. In this major picnic spot, one can enjoy the nature and the breathtaking sunset.
Fari Busty: Located close to Suntalekhola, Fari Busty is a quaint village that comprises 50 houses. This small village is excellently maintained and flower gardens are seen in each house you pass by.
Places to stay in Samsing: Tempula Inn, Humro Home Samsing Homestay, Trishna Homestay.
Best time to Visit: September to April.
4. Tinchuley: the serene hamlet in the Himalayas
Tinchuley means three ovens. This mesmerizing Himalayan grandeur is the haven for the off-beat explorers. Tinchuley was eco-tourism, actively supported by World Wide Federation (WWF) to develop a model organic village and boost village tourism.
Distance: Tinchuley is 32 kilometers from Darjeeling, 35 kilometers from Kalimpong, and 73 kilometers from NJP/Bagdogra
What to do in Tinchuley?
Climb up the Tinchuley View Point. Begin your day by witnessing the first sunrays that nudge the Himalayas. Enjoy the unhindered view of the Kanchenjunga and other ranges sparkle as the rays touch them.
Tour the beautiful orange orchards of Nirmal’s. The property owned by them even consists of a factory producing orange juice, pickles, and jams which you can procure at a reasonable price.
Spend some time in Tinchuley monastery, its where a lama meditated for 17 years! Enjoy the serene ambiance and you can even see a long line of prayers wheels on the wall.
Explore the lush green and beautifully maintained tea gardens. There are 6 tea gardens within a short distance. You can have a glimpse of life at the tea garden, tea plucking, and tour the factories to watch the tea making process. The most famous tea estate is Rungli Rungliot.
Walk through the woods of ferns for about 20 minutes to reach Gumbadara, which is another viewpoint from where you can have a glimpse of Rangeet River and a part of Sikkim. The massive rocks which you will see here have historical importance.
Saunter through the woods. Enjoy nature trail, and treks amid the green goods and the peaceful and quaint ambiance.
Places to stay in Tinchuley:
There are no professional hotels in Tinchuley. But Villagers have developed enough guesthouses. Rooms come with affordable rates and charges for 3 meals would cost you around 600 rupees.
Best time to visit Tinchuley: October to April is the best time to visit here.
5. Lamahatta: Serene and mesmerizing village
With rows of colorful prayer flags fluttering in the air amid the tranquil woods and an excellently maintained garden on the roadside, Lamahatta means “Monk’s hermitage”. This enchanting offbeat destination lies at an altitude of 5,200 feet.
Distance: 23 kilometers from Darjeeling, 73 kilometers from NJP/ Bagdogra.
What to do in Lamahatta?
Lamahatta Roadside Garden is a major attraction. You can catch a glimpse of the exotic Himalayan flowers at full bloom. Besides, the rows of colorful prayer flags add to its appeal.
Indulge in trekking–there’s a trail that leads uphill to a small lake that is considered sacred by the villagers.
Trek to Gari Danda- an old fort that is located 3 kilometers from the hilltop.
Trek to Orchid Center at Takdah located at a distance of 5 kilometers.
Explore the breathtaking tea-estates. Nearby tea estates include Glenburn Tea Estates, Rungli Rungliot Tea Estate, Takdah Tea Estate, etc.
Visit the peaceful and appealing Lamahatta Village Monastery.
Have a glimpse of the provincial life and understand and enjoy the village farming at Lamahatta.
Other attractions: Cave Temple, Peshoke Viewpoint, tall and enchanting evergreen forests, etc.
Places to stay in Lamahatta:
As it is a small village, do not expect the professional and luxury hotels. Homestays are run by the locals and villagers. Other than the bounty of nature, experience the warm hospitality of the villagers, they will cook a meal for you and help you in the best possible way they can. Homestays are basic and simple.
Best time to visit: September to May is the ideal time to visit.
6. Petrichor, Gorubathan: where nature is the essence of living
You need not look any further if you want to escape from the hassles of the cities. Live in the quaint village experiencing the nature, actively taking part in the farming activities, surrounded by fresh greeneries at Petrichor! It’s a place where living in harmony with Mother Nature is the essence of existence. It is owned by Sweta and Siddhartha.
Location: Gorubathan, Lower Fagu Tea Garden area.
Distance: 2 hours drive from NJP.
What to do in Petrichor?
Visit the organic farm abounding with the green vegetables. Explore the forest that community has been preserving. Swim in the nearby river or, in the pool in the premises. Lie down in hammocks and relax. Read books and Paint. Walk through village and Jungle. Indulge in farming activities. Laze around and sleep.
If you love cooking different cuisine every day, then you should indulge in cooking classes conducted by Sweta on cooking Nepali food.
You can even join your hands with Siddhartha to learn how to build traditional ikora (earthquake resistant houses) while using bamboo.
Rent bikes on daily rates and wander off along the road to explore the areas.
You can create your own artistic impressions at the arts and craft studio. An hourly charge is applicable for using the art materials.
You can make pottery items using the manual pottery wheel. Charges are applicable for material supplies.
Other Things to do: Conduct workshops for the community, volunteer, treks and safaris, Yoga, etc.
Places to stay: Petrichor Farm stay.
Best Time to visit Petrichor: September to May.
7. Chatakpur: the realm of aesthetic charm
Standing at an altitude of 7, 887 feet, Chatakpur is the pristine realm of nature that exceeds the luxuries of the city life. It is encompassed by Kanchenjunga ranges in the North and Relli River in the south; it is a small eco-village within Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling.
Distance: 80 kilometers from NJP/Bagdogra, 26 kilometers from Darjeeling, 17 kilometers from Ghoom Jorebunglow, and 7 kilometers from Sonada.
What to do in Chatakpur?
Enjoy the enticing views of the adjoining areas and the sunrise from the Chatakpur watchtower. Located at a walking distance of 10 minutes from the cottages, these viewpoints offer a better view of the sunrise than that of Tiger Hill.
You can have an unhindered view of Kanchenjunga ranges all day long.
Just 100 meters uphill from the cottages lays the enchanting green forest with trekking trails allowing trekking expeditions.
Indulge in bird watching. It’s a paradise for the bird watchers. Know about the rare and exotic species of Himalayan birds.
Explore the village and get a glimpse of the village life that thrive with organic farming and eco-tourism. You can even indulge in agricultural activities, gardening, feeding the cattle, and milking cows. You can buy the fresh organic vegetables at the cheapest price to take them back home.
Enjoy the folk dance (on request) by the locals in the evening.
Places to stay in Chatakpur:Eco-Cottages, Chatakpur.
Best time to visit Chatakpur: Mid September to Mid- May
8. Lepchajagat: Paradise for nature lovers
Secluded from the hassles, Lepchajagat is a small village dwelling at an altitude of 6. 956 feet enclosed by the evergreen realm of pine, oaks, rhododendrons, peaks, wildlife, and serenity. As the name denotes, Lepchajagat once was the dwelling place of the “Lepcha Tribes”. It has a quaint world of its own.
Distance: (19 kilometers) 45 minutes from Darjeeling, and 3 hours from NJP/Bagdogra
What to do at Lepchajagat?
Experience Nature at its best, because it is mostly covered by the enchanting vegetations that are combined with the mesmerizing backdrop of the Kanchenjunga ranges all shrouded in a serene ambiance.
While you keep yourself warm by the fireside at night, gaze at the clear sky and witness the shooting star, be it a myth, but still, make a wish. Read a book while sipping a cup of hot tea or a bowl of soup. Read a book. Enjoy the smell of the burning woods.
Enjoy the tranquil ambiance, as there is no traffic or crowds or anything chaotic to disrupt your peace of mind.
Treat your eyes with the captivating views of the snow-decked peaks and enchanting woods bloomed with rhododendrons.
Ghoom rock, which is a famous sunrise point offers enrapturing backdrops and that of the break of dawn.
Bird watching and Trekking can be done.
Places to stay at Lepchajagat:
West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Lodge, Kanchan Kanya Homestay, and Lepchajagat Homestay.
Best time to visit: October to April.
9. Srikhola: serenity and seclusion
Maintaining the enticing aura, far from the chaotic cities, Srikhola is a small village located in the foothill of the Singalila National Park. It is reachable with the trekking routes from Sandakphu and Phalut that pass through Srikhola towards Maneybhanjyang.
Distance: 7O Kilometers from NJP/Bagdogra, 16 kilometers from Sandakphu.
What to do at Srikhola?
Enjoy the fascinating sight of the crystal clear Srikhola River meandering and bouncing down.
Indulge in fishing.
Walk to the wooden hanging bridge.
Embark on a wildlife safari to Singalila National Park.
During the spring season, get mesmerized by the heaven-like sight of the forest entirely decked by the blooming orchids, magnolia, and rhododendron.
Go for nature walk amid the birch, pines, and oaks to enjoy the secluded and serene ambiance.
Indulge in bird watching to spot the countless exotic species of birds.
Visit the gardens abounding with large species of cardamoms, corns, and peas.
Take a tour to Srikhola Village, visit the monastery and enjoy the tranquil ambiance while having a glimpse into the local way of life.
Places to stay at Srikhola:GTA Guest House, Hotel Shovraj, and Goparma Lodge.
Best time to visit: March to May, Mid-September to November.
10. Jhandi, Upper Lungsel-the valley of eternal spring & sunshine
Its the untouched Dooars of your dreams, detached from the hassles of the cities, Jhandi, Upper Lungsel, is a breathtaking region that dwells in the foothills of the Himalayas. Tropical forests abounding with wildlife, numerous streams cutting through the lush green Samabeong Tea Garden, low hills and undulating plains are mesmerizing.
Located: Upper Lungsel, Gorubathan Block, Dooars.
How to reach: Drive from NJP/ Bagdogra ➡️ Siliguri ➡️Mahananda Forest ➡️ Sevoke ➡️ Coronation Bridge ➡️ Oodlabari ➡️ Gorubathan ➡️ Upper Lungsel.
Distance: 32 kilometers from Malbazar, 75.2 km (2-hour drive) from NJP/ Bagdogra
What to see in Jhandi?
Jhandi Sunrise Viewpoint- welcome a new dawn with the mesmerizing sunrise.
Enjoy the fascinating view of Kanchenjunga mountain ranges, Nathula region, Terai, and Dooars region on the base of Himalayas, and sprawling towards the endless horizon.
Immerse in the tranquil ambiance while trekking amid the green realm.
Go for bird watching. Jhandi is a paradise for birdwatchers. It provides a glimpse of hundreds of species chirping and calling you from the tree-tops.
Meditate. Relax. Have some “me-time” sitting on the balcony and allow the mist to soothe your mind and senses.
Tea time Tales: Have conversations over a cup of tea, or simply gaze at the intriguing mountain ranges and beautiful landscapes. Enjoy the peaceful aura far from the maddening crowds.
Delight your taste buds: Savor the authentic Nepali cuisine that includes juicy momo, thukpa, Chowmein, chili chicken, and those who prefer traditional mustn’t miss Pahari macher jhol.
Places to stay in Jhandi: Jhandi Eco Resort
Best time to visit Jhandi: September to May
So, here’s the complete detail concerning the top 10 offbeat destinations in North Bengal that has self-accessed and handpicked based on experiences. So, you can keep aside the regular destinations and add these incredible places to your bucket list.