On the third night of the Darjeeling trip, I thought, how about going to Kalimpong! December is just beginning, so there is less winter. Because the height of Darjeeling is 2500 meters, and the height of Kalimpong is 1248, a little higher than our Keokradong, Tajindong. Wafika and my mother-in-law were shivering in the winter in Darjeeling. So we called the Gorkha driver, who was thrilled with Gangamaya, and told him to show up the next morning in front of the hotel.
The familiar path to sleep means the car drove along Tenzing Norgay Road. Then the couple crossed the bungalow and entered a new street. It is Peshak-Rishi Road. Nature changed in the moment. When he came to Darjeeling, he was worried that he would not enter any forest. Now I saw deep banani on both sides. Standing tall pine, birch trees. The year after we arrived, a journalist saw a cheetah on the side of a pair of bungalows on his way from Kalimpong to Darjeeling.
What our driver said in Hindi seems more hopeful. There are leopards and red pandas in the forest on both sides. I guess this high mountain forest falls into the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. Founded in 1915, Senchal is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. There are two big lakes on the border of the forest.
I know that there are red pandas in the forest of Singalila in other parts of Darjeeling, but I could not be sure about the red pandas in Senchal even after coming.
After running for fifteen minutes along this path, we parked the car at a convenient place and entered the forest on the left alone. I walked for five minutes, but there is no track in that sense, there is less time on hand. I had to get in the car again. According to the driver, deer come up on the road in the morning or evening. Shortly afterwards, two pairs of monkeys were seen sitting in the middle of the street at a party. Seeing us only moved to one side. Wafika is in a good mood after taking vomiting medicine today. Seeing his brothers and sisters, he opened his mouth through the open window and shouted. The monkey team seems to be a little surprised at the import of new crazy!
Mountains on both sides, when the car was running through the forest, it seemed as if this path would not end! The beauty of the path is never less pleasing to me than reaching a destination. After a while I noticed a surprising thing when the car was turning. Many houses are built on high hills in the distance. Like a city in the mountains. Asking the driver, I was shocked to find that the answer was Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Ah Gangtok. At that time Bangladeshis did not have permission to go to Gangtok. After a while, the Nepali man showed his house in another distant hill state and said that it was Kalimpong. Then my eyes once went to Gangtok, another time to Kalimpong.
The surprise of the road did not end here, Nepali driver, there is a view point in front of the window. Teesta looks amazing from there! We went down feeling happy. Pine forest on the right. The viewpoint is a little higher. A place to sharpen. A few shops around. There are teas, biscuits, chocolates and even oranges picked from nearby gardens. I came with a cup of coffee and stood on the edge of the paved place. I immediately took a push, so much so that if I had a little more, the cup would have fallen out of my hand, a push of wild beauty.
The Teesta flows through the middle of the high hills covered with green trees. Somewhere on the banks of a hilly river there is a line of fine sand, somewhere again it looks like a small dune in the forest. I thought if I was there, I could spend some time in that water-mountain kingdom! As if I were a hypnotized person, I could not take my eyes off.
Seeing Teesta, I poured a cup of tea around my neck and shared Wafika chips. Then, despite my reluctance, I got in the car again. Our misguided but kind driver gave new information at this stage that there is a system for rafting in the hilly river Teesta. Poonam is very happy to hear. Although he has never done rafting, bungee jumping, zip line climbing, he is very interested!
At one point the car came down, then started getting up again, towards Kalimpong. The road here is also very beautiful. The hill is just after the road on one side, the land is sloping on the other side, the line of hills is far away. The tourist mini bus passed by us and I found out that they run on Kalimpong-Siliguri road. At one point, one or two houses and hotels could be seen on the right. I understood that I have reached the border of Kalimpong.
Intimate acquaintance with Kalimpong read Samresh Majumdar’s Arjun series books. Arjun may get a pass mark in Tenetun from me as a detective, but there is quite a chance to wander in the forest-mountains with him. Mr. Bishtu, in the city of Kalimpong, the city of the man with the minor ailment, in whose language ‘criminals are giggling in Kalimpong’, I was also involved in the Sitaharan case with him and Arjun, the punk girl in Kalimpong.
Adjacent to the more hotel-motel market in Kalimpong, the place is quite crowded. Let’s find a hotel here. The rent is 1600 rupees. I always had a strong odor on my head because there was a bar downstairs. However, I did not see others holding hands. Here we fix the car to see several sights and lava around Kalimpong. I will hear the story of his driver in the next episode.
I have visited ten-eleven spots in Kalimpong. The Hanuman Temple is a favorite of both me and Wafika. Not too far from the city, not too close. After crossing the hill for eight kilometers, we reached in front of the Hanuman Temple on the hill. Some people know the place as Hanuman Peak. Stairs lead straight to the huge Hanuman sculpture. However, instead of taking the straight path, we use the detour of some of the winding cranks. From here, much of the surrounding hill country can be seen. Seeing Hanuman from a little distance is more respectful than seeing him standing close to his body. Inaugurated in 2004, the 30-foot statue is the largest in all of north-east India.
Durga Temple near Hanuman Temple. I saw it too. As a temple, it may not seem like anything ahmari. But there is no comparison to spend some time. It has been made like a garden with trees all around, there is a beautiful hour, we all played it, even Wafika had to be held high. From here we go to Dello Park. The way to go is very beautiful. I have heard before that there are various types of ride arrangements. The most famous of these is para gliding. Poonam Para wanted to do gliding. After a long hiatus, it was fixed at Rs. But in the end, it did not float in the sky, my mother-in-law, even more than Muna aunt’s veto.
Poonam’s mood goes away as soon as she comes to the next place. A statue of an amazingly beautiful Buddha, on the edge of Dello Park, takes four or five minutes by car. There are many beautiful statues placed in the lotus position. Planting assorted flowers all around. How many yellow-red flowers are there. You have to cross five or six stairs to reach the garden and the statue. In front of the feet of the Buddha in a large bottle of various soft drinks arranged as an offering. With biscuits, how much more fruit! Its big attraction is a great view point. From here, the surrounding hills, the houses on the hills are so beautiful that the mind did not want to leave the place.
I saw many more in Kalimpong. This includes Pineview Nursery. The establishment of this nursery on Atisha Road is the year of our independence. It is full of assorted cacti found in North, South and Central America. I have never seen so many species of thorny kings together. I spent some time in this nursery. Wafika was not agreeing to leave the nursery in any way.
Don’t forget to visit Mangal Dham too. It is one of the most beautiful temples in India. The temple took up two acres of land, and at the entrance, I was happy to see all the trees. Nearby is the Thongsa Cave. It is the oldest Buddhist temple in Kalimpong. The monastery, known as the Bhutan Caves, was built in Sikkim in 1892 under the direct supervision of the King of Bhutan. But when the Gorkhas were demolished in the nineteenth century, it was rebuilt here.
I liked the Army Golf Course very much as I had to walk along some jungles and mountains. The 9-hole golf course on the hill. The club’s restaurant is also basic, but the price of food is high. Sitting here for a long time, I saw golfers playing on the field with joy in their minds. I just thought it would be a pleasure to read a story book lying on this sloping ground!
I had a little trouble eating in Kalimpong. Poonam, of course, adapted well to their plate. I liked their rice very much, I didn’t like the curry either. However, in one of the shops along the road, Momota was well received. This time we have to talk about the danger of Muna Khalamani. Dogs were touching him wherever he went. Arriving at the hotel in a hurry to change clothes restless! While walking in the crowded market area, I was thinking that Arjun had secretly met Mr. Bistu in a hotel here.
I walked a lot along the side of the market at night, then how my body was in solitude, from here the green hills looked very beautiful during the day.
Apart from this you will find many more caves, museums etc. in Kalimpong. It is true that we got some benefits by staying in a hotel near the market, but I would say you will get up in a hotel or home stay in a little quiet area, from where you can get a good view of the hill state and even Kanchenjunga. Of course, it is not only the third highest mountain in the world to be seen, but also the green, sometimes buffet-covered hills of Kalimpong, the forests are very beautiful. Lava went from Kalimpong. There is a story in the next episode.
I came to Kalimpong. I will see the places here, how is it when you come around in the lava? After hearing the offer, Poonam sighed a little, saying that Wafika’s running and jumping was getting more and more. But in the end he agreed. Now it’s time to fix the car, that’s when I discovered that the drivers here, like our drivers, have a habit of ‘throat cutting’. Suddenly, like an angel, I found a medium-sized Shambaran man in Kalimpong market. While others said the lava and Kalimpong spots were priced at Rs 3,000, he wanted a total of Rs 2,000. 600 for 12 spots in Kalimpong, and Rs. That’s what happened. Let’s turn the lava around with this sociable, honest guy.
Fifteen minutes later, Wafika was calmed down by stopping the car on the way and buying chips. We quickly poured tea down our throats. The distance from Kalimpong to Lava is not much, I googled it, 33 kilometers. But I was surprised when the driver said it would take at least an hour and a half. After a while I realized, not exaggerated at all. This is a hilly path, then the road is in a dilapidated condition. However, there are not many vehicles. Sometimes on the left I found a hill next to it, on the right a fairly distant hill kingdom. On the other hand, the rule of plants is more.
When I was halfway there, I was in danger. Road work is going on in front, two trucks are standing in the road, standing straight. It is impossible for us to move forward without removing them. The commander of the car came out, along with me. Sand kingdom due to road renovation work on this side. Suddenly my face turned white in a gust of wind. There is another problem here, there is not a single driver. Eaten, this is not the end of the journey? Need to go back the other way?
This was when the situation became apparent on the left side of the road. Next to it are various road repair tools. We shouted, and at last a man came out from inside, with a handkerchief wrapped around his head. I was reassured when I saw him sitting in a truck.
To move the truck a little, there was a small space between the two monsters, through which our driver skillfully brought out the car. Tuktak was talking to him, he said that although he was not born in Kalimpong, now he has built a house here, the car is his own. Give the trip when desired. Do not want to cheat anyone, so want a fair rent directly. Sometimes he goes out on a one or two day trip with a car. Moved to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and even across the border to Nepal.
About an hour after the start of the journey, he parked his car in an open space on the side of the road. A shop a little further away. This time he opened his mouth, ‘You had a hobby of going to the rispot, the road on the other side is bad, if you go, the car will ring at twelve, the path of the rispot starts on the left. After a light snack, you can walk to the side of the risop. ‘
Two in one, home and shop at the same time. A small child in the cradle inside. However, Wafika’s eye is not on him, but in front of the shop, where various chocolates, mm, juices, chips, etc. are arranged in layers.
The young mother of the child is running the shop. Impressions are gained in a fluid, global, diffused way. The young woman smiled happily. With tea and Momo’s order, we turned our attention to the little child staring at us. Age should not be more than seven-eight months. A smile appeared on his face, as if welcoming us. I paid for the food and drank water from the shop jug, for fear of the young woman, it was spring water. Then I bought some chocolate-juice for Wafika and started walking towards Risop.
Just then the dog team noticed Muna Khalamani. The whole three or four were lying down. Seeing Khalamani, she got up and started drying her clothes. In the end, the shopkeeper’s father or father-in-law intervened.
The land on the left side rises from the side of the road and forms a low sloping hill. There is a pine forest. We climbed up the hill, our partner told us, after a few kilometers along this path we will reach Rispe. The height of the risop is more than 6000 feet. But from here the boundaries of the place start.
I don’t pay much attention to his words, I am drinking the beauty of Banani with fascinated eyes. The road goes through the middle of all the tall tree rows, through which we walk as small as Lilliput. Surprisingly clean place. If you want, you can sit under the tree and take it. The shop looked hot, but the weather in the forest here was surprisingly cool. In one or two chilts, the gap between the branches of the sun tree is melting like an uninvited stranger! Couldn’t stay too long.
The car started moving again, at a low speed. I noticed that there were small waterfalls on the left side of the hill, and the flow of water was low because it was winter. I came to know that there is a shortage of water, so the houses in the hills are being supplied with water from springs. There is not much left to reach the destination. We will go to Lava Monastery. Before I got there, I didn’t know how to start my love of caves.
Probably in class seven-eight. I have become a fan of Sunil’s Santu-Kakababu series. Of course, they are more of an adventure story than a mystery. The horror of the hilltop, the mystery of Egypt, the mystery of the palace, a hotel in the jungle, the key books of the jungle have been read. I lived in Brakshanbaria and waited anxiously for the book to arrive in Dhaka. In the meantime, the book Kakababu and Bajralama came in hand. Kakababu left Mirik from Darjeeling and took the sick Santu to an old cave. There, the mighty thunderbolt, the enchantment of Santu, the three-hundred-year-old lama with miraculous powers, the mysterious cave all seemed to enchant me. Then wherever my love for the cave became strong. Especially if it is a little old.
I sat in the front seat. Suddenly the eyes went to the right side. I was stunned, the body of a huge high mountain is covered with all the beautiful trees. However, I did not get a chance to see them as good as then, the car turned around and went to a place like a market. Various shops including hotels and restaurants around. A couple of curio shops were also spotted. This place looks a little cramped. However, our experienced partner confirmed that if you go up to the cave, the environment will change completely.
We left the car and its commander there and left. We walked a few minutes to the Lava Monastery. On the hill. I started to climb the pitch path and came to an open place to the left of the cave. I became dumb looking ahead. Here all the huge hills in front of me from the top of the hill, pine on the hill, oak and many other trees made me crazy. No doubt Neora Valley National Park, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is joined by the jungles of Sikkim on one side and the forests of Bhutan on the other. I realized that our driver had said that there were tigers in the forest here. Red panda, cheetah tiger, cloudy cheetah are all here. Alas, this time Dhu will not die in the forest.
We moved inside the cave area. Although known as Lava Cave, its name is Kegio Thekchen Lin Monastery. I have never seen a cave with such a huge area. Usually I have a lot of attraction towards the very old, mysterious caves, but it looked great even though it was established 300 years ago. The many buildings, the middle courtyard, the monks in orange robes here and there all come together in an obsession. Surprisingly silent one environment. I think those modern chil karo, picnic-loving tourists will also come here and become dumb. There are more than a hundred monks in this cave. Talking to a monk, I found out that the training of monks is also going on here, and this cave is in Tibetan Keda.
Going inside, there was a strange peace, the monks were meditating in front of the Buddha statue. It seems to be difficult to find even a single drop of sand somewhere on the floor of the tiles below. A strangely beautiful building with golden work on the red body pulled us the most.
On the way back, I parked my car on the side of the road and saw the forest of Neora Valley again. The mind was a little heavy not to die in the jungle. Another reason for frustration is that there is a detour to Siliguri through the lava, you can go by car, thinking of Wafika, we will not go that way back to Siliguri by the conventional road. But if I took that road, I could go to some famous jungles of Dwars including Garu Bathan. Maybe a herd of wild elephants standing on the side of the road. I got in the car and on the way back I crossed the road to Lelegaon.
The next day, the driver, who became very popular, fixed our jeep in Siliguri. The path was beautiful. Teesta, the bridge over the river, going through the forest of Mahananda, the group of monkeys sitting by the river eating bananas all left a lasting mark on my mind. I will come again inshallah, 99% of the places are left to be seen.
Darjeeling, Kalimpong were targeted but could take a few extra days in hand. However, you can spend some time at your own in a secluded resort or home stay in Rispo, Lolegaon or Colekham, from the green.
You can also visit the forests of Neora Valley. A little inside the forest you will find an impossibly beautiful waterfall.
Can tracking from the risotto to the lava. That charming village called Risap and that path will also delight the bird watchers. Great view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, including Kanjanjangha, from Risap.
In Lolegaon you will get one of the best Kanchenjunga views of the whole of West Bengal, from Jhantidhara Sunrise Point. The forests around the village of Lepcha, twenty kilometers from Lava, are also impeccable.
Bargain when fixing cars wherever you go. If you are not a big group, you can come from Darjeeling to Kalimpong, Kalimpong to Siliguri by share jeep. There is also Kalimpong-Siliguri bus service.
Rafting, para gliding can do everything in Kalimpong, but do damadamita.
You will get some benefits if you stay at a hotel near the mall or market in Darjeeling or Kalimpong. However, if you are in a distant home state, you will find solitude.
You can also set aside a day for Karshiang. Apart from this, if you search the net, you will find impossibly beautiful but lesser known hill villages around Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
From March next year, the passenger train will run on the Dhaka-Siliguri line. Then Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Risop, Lava, Sikkim will all come within reach.
Last but not least, keep the whole environment clean, including forests and mountains, wherever you go in the country and abroad, and make others aware of this.