Every time I feel the deep need to resolve the poverty of the mind amidst the abundance of our materialistic civilization, I plan a trip – a trip that enriches my mind, body and soul. Little Himalayan villages with rustic home stays and hospitable people do wonders. My stay in West Bengal’s Tinchuley bears testimony to this. Tinchuley, nestled in the lap of Mother Nature, is close to Darjeeling, a tremendously popular hill station. It is called so because it has ‘tin’ or 3 prominent hilltops which appear like ‘chullahs’ or oven chimneys.
Here are 7 things to do in this cute and tiny Himalayan hamlet
Hike Around the Village
The hike is beautiful; through the serene valley, woods and tea gardens and the simple village. Soak into the splendour of this romantic solitude; hear the chirping birds and the sound of the colourful prayer flags fluttering in the air. If you are lucky, you may also get to hear the enthralling music of Tibetan trumpets, gongs and drums together with Buddhist chants from the nearby monastery for their scheduled prayer services. Still untouched by man’s greed for urbanization, the villagers are contented with fewer material belongings. They celebrate nature’s bounty and their pure bonding with each other. Whoever I met on my way, greeted me with a broad and warm smile. Some were even willing to offer me evening tea.
Attend Prayer Service at Tinchuley Monastery
The Tichuley Monastery is pivotal to the lives of the locals. It is a small colourful monastery situated amidst fir and deodars. The vibrant prayer flags all over the place brew up some kind of mysticism. The young monks are warm and the prayer service is divine with the chants and gongs. Walking uphill from the monastery leads one to a view point (Sun rise Point) from where Kanchenjunga is visible. Fill your hearts with the panoramic view.
Spend some time at Gumbadara View Point
The breathtaking view at Gumbadara viewpoint will make one speechless. It is one of the most scenic places at Tinchuley. Stand amidst the lush tea gardens with a cup of freshly brewed tea and observe the serpentine roads going down and the fluffy cottony clouds weave their own magic. On clear days the gorgeous Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world is seen. The snow-clad mountain peaks definitely look sacred. Sikkim’s Namchi Chardham and Samdupchey at the north and the Kalimpong Hills, Durpin and Delo in the east are also visible. Well, don’t forget to take a look down. The Teesta and Rangit Rivers can be seen meandering below.
Visit the Orange Gardens at Baramangwa
It is a short guided trek through an amazing forest trail. There are different types of trees and plants, including some from the dinosaur era. Vegetables, fruits and berries are grown and the forested garden is left absolutely natural. The entire firm is organic. The guide often plucks fresh juicy berries and gives the guests to eat. The walk is so relaxing. You can meditate or sit quietly on special machan seats for meditation inside the forest with the humming sound of a small stream flowing, calming and soothing your mind. Finally, such a rejuvenating walk ends in their factory selling products using fruits and veggies from the firm. The orange marmalade is definitely a good buy.
Drive to Takdah
Takdah, 3 kilometres from Tinchuley, was a military cantonment for British troops in the 1900s. This serene place still has the old world colonial charm because of the presence of the imperial bungalows. The serenity of the place is better experienced at the tea gardens of Takdah. Rungli Runiot Tea Estate is one of the finest in Asia. The view of the stunning tea garden and Teesta River can be observed from the Takdah Buddhist Monastery. Takdah is also popular for the one of its kind Orchid Centre. For a unique experience of a hill market, visit on Thursday. Every Thursday the weekly local market operates and fills the place with lots of life and fun.
Lamahatta Eco Park
Drive 6 kilometres from Tinchuley to Lamahatta Eco Park. It is a beautifully manicured natural Park or gardens on a hill with conifers. On the hilltop, there is a serene pond which is considered sacred.
Enjoy the hospitality of a Himalayan Home Stay
Wake up with the sounds of the chirping birds. I remember we did so and as I removed the curtains of the windows behind our bed, and opened the large glass window, the magpies and the numerous bright green barbets flew away with flapping wings. It seemed the bright morning glories wished us ‘good morning’. This trip to Tinchuley was meant for leisure and rest, somewhere far from the madding crowd. The Gurung Guest House, run by the local Gurung family, hosted us. They were very hospitable, courteous and friendly, making us feel at home. The neat and tidy rooms are nicely done with most of the provisions and amenities of modern day standard hotels. However, one should not expect WiFi. Even mobile phone signals are weak.
It is bliss if the purpose of your visit is to rejuvenate the mind and soul. From our room, we had wonderful views of mountains and conifers. We could see the clouds gushing in through the pine forest. In the evening we could see the twinkling lights of Kalimpong town on the opposite hill. Clouds rushed inside the room the moment we opened the windows. The bed tea with such a view is therapeutic. The Gurungs served us delicious home-cooked sumptuous meals. For me, a happy belly is key to a happy soul.
Well, there is not much to do or explore in the evenings in Tinchuley. If relaxing and resting is your motto of the trip, it shouldn’t matter. You will definitely love your cosy comfortable room. The smell of pine wood furniture and the flowers plucked from the garden itself form a different kind of freshness to welcome you into the room after the day’s outing. Enjoy your evening tea with hot smacking mouth-watering momos. Music and bonfire are often arranged.
How to reach Tinchuley?
A 4 hours’ beautiful drive, with meandering Teesta River along the road, is what you need to reach from Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. Stop at Loharpool and grab some tea and momos or other snacks at a roadside eatery by the gurgling river.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.