Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Zurich, Geneva, Interlaken, JungFru of Switzerland and same way Kashmir, Manali, Nainital of India are well acclaimed scenic places and attracts enormous of tourists all over the world. But then, there are places, which are beyond anybody’s imagination as far as their natural beauty is concerned and one of those is Kalapokhri, a place in North Bengal which is 4 hours drive from Darjeeling. Unless you visit, you cannot imagine the panoramic beauty, tranquility of this hilly village which is shackled with forests. Visiting this place will make you mentally sedate, allure you for scribbling thoughts and more importantly tantalize you for shooting photos / video shooting. Hullabaloo of urban life when makes you tired, visit to this place will lead you to the psychological path of exuberant. If you want to observe, compare and contrast between cloudy sky at one moment and mild sun immediately after that moment, Kalapokhri is the place to be definitely visited. 140 varieties of rhododendrons and its colors are beautifully dazzled to charm you who are encompassed with the chirping songs of 600 types of birds. Kalapokhri is also a holy place as per the old persons of the village. They will also make you hear about the story of the village, if you start be friendly with them. As per their religious belief, this place belongs to the abode of Blacknag and the name of the village of Kalapokhri has been derived from the black water pond situated there. Kalapokhri is known for a holy pond which is fenced by Buddhist prayer flags.

Kalapokhri is in the down side of Himalaya Mountain and at an altitude of 3170 meters, surrounded by Singlila national forest. Its hilly beauty, calm and quite environment, friendly behavior of local inhabitants will make you vivacious to stay there for couple of days to offset the hurly burly conditions of daily hassles being faced in life. Place is not popular for tourists as it is not well propagated by the tourism ministry, perhaps because of not that well accessible roads.
After a tiring day, will be quite serene and rejuvenating to watch the lake view and gushing clouds. People, who are having incredible fascination for ponds which is clean and clear, offer good reflection of sky and surroundings and also at high altitudes will not be able to restrain their temptation to visit this place.

Distance of the Kalapokhri from Darjeeling (North Bengal) is only 51 Kms. Foods, namely milky products, meats, she-yak’s milk are abundantly available. By road, one can visit here from Darjeeling. Another route is from Siliguri, again a place of North Bengal, then to Manevanjan. This route of Manevanjan to Kalapokhri will make you dance in side your landrover 4 wheeler when scaling up and down on the mountains roads. During journey many small hilly villages some of them namely Chitra, Meghwa, Tunglur will come and disappear only to take you in the mood of enjoying scenic beauties with time to time closer to napping. It will take almost 3-4 hours to reach to Kalapokhri of course, in between an entry pass is to be taken from Singlila National forest office at Gouribus. From Gouribus to Kalapokhri is 8 Kms and this distance again will be full of beauties of rhododendrons and may be a distant sight of Himalaya Bear, Leopard. Landrover will cross the beautiful forest of Magnolia, Silver fur, Giant bamboo, Teefarn, Mapel, Oak, Birch, Orchid & you can have the glimpses of forest beauties.

While enjoying the natural beauty, you will not know when you have reached Kalapokhri and start taking the photographs of surrounding hilly beauties and after a passage of time tranquility of this village engrossed with charming and colorful rhododendrons will prevail you in that state of mind as if you are drinking ambrosia.

How to visit: Tourist is to visit first Kolkata and then to board a train to get down at “New Jalpaiguri”. From there to Manevanjam via Siliguri by bus. From Manevanjan to Kalapokhri by reserved taxi.

When to visit: Any season except rainy one.

Where to stay: There are lots of hotels, lodges, and booking is done normally from Darjeeling or Manevanjan. Since this place as of now, is not that famous, booking is not mandatory. Some good hotels of reasonable standard are K.B. Hotel, Singlila Hotel, Pandim, Changu.

From Kolkata, it takes nearly 12 to 14 hours to reach Kalapokhri and it is better for a plan to stay there at least for 2 to 3 days to be in the lap of natural beauty.

à For your ready information, Kalapokhri is part of North Bengal,
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