A complete detoxification from modern lifestyle and an experience of a lifetime in this charming village nestled in the mountains of north Bengal.
I visited Charkhole (north Bengal) in April 2018. At a height of 5500ft above sea-level, it takes about three and a half hours traveling from Siliguri and about one and a half hour hours from Kalimpong to reach Charkhole by road. While moving towards Charkhole, we crossed the Teesta and Rali rivers. We escaped the scorching heat of the planes once we started our ascent in the mountains. I had bookings in Blue Pine Retreat owned by Mr Gautam Chakraborty for our stay. Incidentally, he is the one who discovered this place in the year 2001. He himself checks upon the comfort of the guests who stay at his resort. The members of staff at the cottage served us all through our stay with ever smiling faces. It’s one of the best places to relax from the hectic urban lifestyle, as there is no network in the area resulting in no phone calls or notifications to disturb the peace and quiet. This place is all about capturing the beauty of nature, sometimes reading books, exploring the unknown villages nearby, interacting with the natives to learn about their lives.
Since I am a lover of trekking I got the chance to trek for about half an hour to a nearby village ‘Kaladan’. I was accompanied by Mr Renchain as a guide. The village was surrounded by pine forests, good view of the Darjeeling City, Pelling and Algarah. The only negative side is the presence of leeches. On the 3rd day, I visited the Lava and Lolegaon. The condition of the roads is simply deplorable. On the way to Lolegaon, I visited The Hanging Bridge. It is said that Queen Elizabeth had visited this bridge. She used to come and observe the birds from this bridge in the midst of dense forest. The ruined structure of the watchtower can be seen. But the security members warned me of leeches should I want to sit at the place for more than 2minutes.
On the 4th day of my stay, I decided to visit the nearby villages. I observed that most of the people are farmers. They are very self-sufficient. They harvest potato, cauliflower, eliachi, and rear cattle and honeybees. They stay in small log houses but the houses are neat and clean. One of the oldest monastery is situated in Charkhole, just a 2 minutes walk from the resort. I got to see some two-storey houses belonging to people who once visited this retreat for vacations and fell in love with the place. So they built their own holiday homes to enjoy some part of the year in the serenity of nature. I myself was reluctant to leave this place but made up my mind to visit again as I was not lucky enough to get a view of Kanchenjunga this time.
This place is best to visit during the months of October, November and December.
Read also: Revisiting the moments in the wild
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