Obscure Heights of Bengal

As winter prepares for hibernation, spring slowly rolls on with its fresh promises. Weather in the hills is turning pleasant and it’s high time to zip up the rucksacks and go out to the lesser-known hilly areas of Bengal.

Exploring the northern geography of West Bengal, quite a number of places assert their mountainous presence. A mere 19kms from Darjeeling town, Jorpokhri is a small hilltop village whose significance lies in its twin lakes and a panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Breathtaking nature holds fort at Samsing, a backpackers’ haven 85kms from Siliguri. Amidst brooks, forests and tea gardens, one can camp in tents and set out on treks towards the Himalayas. Takdah is another peaceful dwelling, 4000ft from Darjeeling, which offers meditative roads, a dense flora, streams and foggy slopes. If one is fascinated by wildlife, then Latpanchar, which covers the highest area of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, about 50kms from New Jalpaiguri, should be the first pick. The place holds barking deer, elephants, leopards and wild boars.

Quite close to the hubbub of Darjeeling, Lepchajagat is all about pines and rhododendrons, Kanchenjunga and a lone cup of steaming tea. Even in this metallic age, this hamlet offers the serenity one searches for.  Sitong is a story yet to be finished; a village on the Himalayan foothills, guarded by green hills and a winding stream with plenty of orange trees. Although a few hours journey from Darjeeling, Sitong remains one of the few places relatively untouched by tourism.

Indeed, the hills beckon. It will be a perfect retreat for all the travel-hungry souls scattered around Bengal.

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