For the most part, 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 around every corner, thriving culture and lip-smacking street food, and Darjeeling’s impeccable views of the Kanchenjunga and the inimitable thukpa are worth exploring, its other parts too. In North Bengal itself, there is a cornucopia of little hidden gems of architecture, culture, nature, wildlife, tribal villages and much more.
Here is a well-deserved attention to these unexplored travel destinations in North Bengal:
The last hamlet of West Bengal located 127 km from Siliguri, Bindu lies in the lap of the mountains of India and Bhutan, perched atop 2000 feet. The trip to Bindu, known locally for its production of cardamom, will warm you up for the lush greenery and the beauty of the winding Jaldhaka river nearby. 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 drying facility which produces some of the best in the country.
Located in the Dooars region of North Bengal, Raimatang is a forest village located in the middle of the Buxa Tiger Reserve and surrounded by tea plantations and hills. Raimatang is a favorite among wildlife lovers who can not only do the jungle safari at the tiger reserve but also observe the many species of birds that visit this village. You can explore the gentle hikes in the surrounding hills.
Rangaroon Tea Estate
Just 16 km from the city of Darjeeling lies a quaint and sleepy hamlet of Rangaroon which is home to the Rangaroon Tea Estate. There is only one homestay in this village which offers stunning views of Darjeeling and the Kanchenjunga range in case you want to avoid the Darjeeling rush but not the majestic views.
The Eastern Himalayas are all about spending time lazing about, soaking up the surrounding beauty of towering mountain ranges, waterfalls, rivers and of course tea plantations. One such place is Tabakoshi in Mirik, one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Darjeeling. But just 8 km from the Gopaldhara tea estate, you can find solitude and serenity in Tabakoshi. Enjoy the produce from the plantation, camp by the river, socialize with the locals and enjoy their warm hospitality.
Jhalong is located on the Indo-Bhutanese border, along the Jaldhaka River. About 99 km from Siliguri, Jhalong is suitable for those who spend a long time in solitude, close to nature, uninterrupted by the fast pace of life. Jaldhaka Dam near Jhalong invites many bird species like Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Salt-backed Forktail, Little Forktail, etc.
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 and mundane, the surrounding Kathambari forest and Patharjhora tea estate hold great promise. Baikunthapur, 5 km from Odlapari, is where Lord Krishna is said to have hid with Queen Rukmani.
Located on the southeastern fringe of Neora Valley National Park, Suntalekhola, also known as the ‘Land of Oranges’. It is one of the least explored but most promising destinations in North Bengal. The national park has plenty of hiking trails for adventure seekers, especially Mouchuki, 6 km from Suntalekhola. The amazing landscape that unfolds on the way to and at Suntalekhola is unparalleled with the Murti River and the rich greenery of the Eastern Himalayas.
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