Takdah located in West Bengal is now an offbeat tourist destination known for some of its untouched beauty, homely foods and stays, Let’s explore Takdah, a small town in Darjeeling district and get to know more of it and understand why it is now an upcoming destination.
WHAT IS TAKDAH ?
‘Takdah’ the name originated from the Lepcha word meaning fog or mist it is perennially under. Takdah (the alias name of Tukdah) is an enthralling expanse of Darjeeling reminding you of the antique reminiscent charm of the British period, with tea garden and Cinchona plantation in the surrounding area.
Situated in the Runglee Rungliot region of Darjeeling district, it has almost 5100 feet altitude at the foothills of the Himalayan Forest vegetation. Takdah is reputed for having the best British heritage bunglows and orchid garden.
It is not a popular tourist destination like Darjeeling, which remains pretty congested throughout the year.
If you are amongst those who like lovely mountains, orchids, tea gardens and walking trails through the coniferous forest across the mountain slopes then these small hamlets – Takdah would be the perfect answer.
Takdah – The sprawling estate has elevation of 4,000 ft – 6000ft above sea level and about 40 Kms from Kalimpong and about 28kms away from Darjeeling, yet far enough to be isolated and serene. Although the altitude is much lower than Darjeeling town, the place is comparatively cooler to its surrounding area.
WHY TO GO TAKDAH? FEW OF MY ANSWERS
1. Takdah is yet to develop as a full-fledged tourist place and so a treasure secret still.
2. The Orchid Center which is the best in Asia
3. Takdah, the little unknown hamlet has a pleasant weather all year round.
4. There are great sightseeing attractions in Takdah within short distances.
5. A rare opportunity to stay in a heritage bungalow and enjoy the old colonial charm & aura in such houses which belonged to the British once
6 . Takdah is close to coniferous forests where small treks and strolls are possible
7. The 100 year old suspension bridge is a great tourist spot in Takdah
8. The quaint town has some of Darjeeling’s finest tea plantations.
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE & OFFBEAT
Takdah has a pleasant weather all year round. It is basically a picturesque tea estate located at Teesta valley. Due to its magnificent views the garden along with heritage bungalow have been filmed in many movies.
A GRAND HISTORY OF TAKDAH: MUST READ
Takdah Cantonment started as a military quarters during the British colonial days in early 1900s. During those days, senior British officers frequently visited this heavenly abode and therefore many bungalows mushroomed here for their accommodations. Those bunglows were built in traditional British architecture with slanted fashioned roofs.
Takdah was originally established in 1864. In 1960s, the tea plants from the Takdah gardens were uprooted and replanted with new ones with the objective of producing delicate first flush. The estate these days produces approximately 231 tons of tea that includes black, green and white novelties, and is a bio-organic estate.
While after India’s independence the British have left India, the establishments and remains they built were left behind and Takdah lost its significance substantially.
They now either belong to famous people there or have been taken over by other establishments like schools (Green Shields and Griffith High School ) and church. Some locals have renovated the houses and offer them as guest house accommodations. So that is the reason we get this unique opportunity to put up in a heritage bungalow and enjoy the vintage colonial charm & aura in such resorts which belonged to the Britishers once.
Did you know ? In the days of the British rule, Takdah used to serve as a prominent British Army Cantonment area in pre-independence era a century back and was famed for its tea plantation.
The heritage bungalows located here are older than over a century, are kept intact.The majestic structures erected during the British era are the living manifestation of the story untold!
RECOMMENDED ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND TAKDAH
I will give you the best places to visit when in Takdah. However, do visit few selected one from the below list and take out time to sit back , enjoy and relax.
Amazing enough, there are few great places of interests and sightseeing attractions in Takdah within short distances. There are soft trekking routes as well. Some of the finest tea gardens of the district are located in Takdah.
You can walk down or take a local vehicle to few of them and enjoy the tea estates on rolling hills, but it is recommended not to cover them in one day. The lush green tea garden landscapes surrounded by mountains and Teesta flowing distant below makes a stunning ambiance.
Here are the main attractions:
As Takdah is celebrated for its heritage British Bungalows, you can book lodging at these beautiful bungalows while you visit this idyllic mountain region. There are approximately 12 colonial bungalows at Takdah renowned for the intention of visitors stay over and these bungalows are popularly well known by the local name of ‘Kothis’. The bungalows were built in 1908. Although over a century old, these bungalows has been restored quiet well in its previous glory with upgraded modern facilities. There is a spacious English styled porch where one can spend enamoring evenings watching the beautiful verdant greenery of nature with companion guests.
GIELLE BHANJYANG -A MUST SEE
From Gielle Bhanjyang Bazaar crossing point, if you go downhill you can reach several other tea estates. From Gielle Bhanjyang you can see many spots in one shot like Kalimpong Town, Durpin Dara monastery, Ranju vally, Rambi Khola, 6th mile, Takdah and specially Tiger Hill.
RUNGLI RUNGLIOT TEA ESTATE
The main tea estates here are Rungli Rungliot, Poomong Namring, Jinglam, Gielle and Teesta Valley estate. Rungli Rungliot is one of the charming ones and most picturesque. It’s about 2kms downhill from Takdah market area. You can also visit some of the estate factories and take a glimpse of the tea processing.
TAKDAH ORCHID CENTRE
Takdah has a renowned Orchid Center distributed across vast stretch of area with a wide variety of rare and most exquisite collection of Himalayan orchids. It’s about a kilometer and half from the market area towards 6th mile. Different kinds of unfamiliar and vibrant Himalayan Orchids are cultivated and grown and spread across the pathways along the deciduous shelters of pines and cedars. Tourists mostly visit Takdah particularly to visit the Orchid Center. The Orchid Center which was the most outstanding one in Asia, was unkempt for a long time. However, the state government has taken a fresh initiative to revive the center.
As you go towards Gielle tea estate and crossing the Gielle Bazar, there is a very old hanging bridge. The bridge connects two villages. It is in a state of neglect, but this bridge can be made into a great tourist spot. Walking down this long 100 years old hanging bridge can be a great experience and is an interesting piece of relic is located here in Takdah.
DECHHEN PEMA TSHOILIING MONASTERY
Dechhen Pema Tshoiling Monastery, locally called Takdah Monastery is a sacred monastery beside the Durga Mata caves and is considered a holy place among locals . A sheer steep boulder road after the bazar leads to a steep stairway. On reaching, climb several flights of stairs to touch the Monastery. But once there, the views are awesome. From here you can get sweeping view of Teesta Valley Tea Estate, Rungli Rungliot Tea Gardens, and Kalimpong town, Durpin Dara View Point, etc.
This Takdah cantonment is occupied with cedar trees and offers a panoramic scene of the nearby locations. The main junction of Takdah is called Dara Dokan which is a market which is held every Thursday. It is a sight worth watching as villagers come to shop their weekly needs. For those interested in getting a feel of the village culture can visit the local weekly village market on Thursdays at Dokan Dara which is the epicenter of prime village trade and fair.
SONPUR HOUSE / TAKDAH PALACE
Build by the king of Sonpur in 1911, the Sonpur House of Takdah is arguably the best bungalow in the area. It is constructed in British colonial style and is referred to by the locals as Takdah Heritage Bungalow number 12. There has been major renovation in 2015-16 to bring the bungalow back to its previous glory. The new owners have also renamed the bungalow as The Pine Castle. The Sonpur House is located away from the main town in a very peaceful and serene environment.
Darjeeling’s hidden gem called Tinchuley, is only 4 kms from Takdah. The picturesque Tinchuley offers some breathtaking views of the Mt. Kanchenjungha. Witness a sunrise here for an experience of a lifetime, and enjoy the coolness of the river Teesta and experience nature like never before.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
A numerous tourist destinations in the surrounding area includes Baramangwa, Chotamangwa, Tinchuley have come up. The beauteous orange orchard of Bara Mangwa and Chota Mangwa are just 12 kilometers away from Takdah. The Peshoke Tea Garden is another enchanting view point which is only 14 kilometers far from Takdah.
BEST RECOMMENDED RESORTS & STAY IN TAKDAH
A good, comfortable & affordable hotel, resort or stay is must for a memorable holiday and to enjoy the visiting place. Takdah is a developing tourism place and there aren’t many hotels here. But luckily there is a great option.
After all Takdah’s history is firmly connected with the British colonial days and there can’t be a better option than staying in a heritage bungalow which has been now converted into a guesthouse with modern amenities while retaining the original British architecture, sprawling lawns and the colonial aura.
SAINO HERITAGE RESORT
Once colonial house and now a guesthouse is Saino heritage bunglow – owned and run by the Moktan family. This used to be a bungalow of British officers and was built in the year 1907. It has been beautifully restored by the Moktan family with refurbished rooms with standard yet modern amenities.There are double and triple bedded rooms, which are spacious and airy and have magnificent views of sunrise through all windows. All rooms have attached western toilets with geysers. The double bedded rooms are equipped with fireplaces which is an additional boon during the winter time.
Contact: Anand Mokhtan 09434462806, 09735953404, 94749 63183 Email: email@example.com
FOREST REST HOUSE OR TAKDAH CLUB BUNGLOW[Update March 2017] Recently Takdah Club has been refurbished into forest rest house and tourists are allowed to book the rest house. There are five rooms and every rooms have attached bathrooms. The main attraction of the bungalow is the dinning cum drawing space with fire place. All the rooms are well decorated with reasonable prices — Rs.2000/-, 3000/- and 4000/-. The quality of the food is excellent (Charges are only Rs.600/- per head per day).The staff are well behaved and co-operative. You may relax in the lawn (previously tennis court) attached to the main building. In fact, it is a great view point as you can see the green surroundings from this spot like pine forest, tea garden
It is one of the best home stay at Takdah with all modern amenities present therein. The home-stay is run by Mr. Rajen Pradhan and his wife. The hospitality they provide is incomparable. Rooms are super cozy, with an attached balcony having amazing view of mt. Kanchenjunga and Namchi-Chardham through the orange garden.
Contact: +91-9804493838, +91-9836755550, +91-9874474989 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested awesome stay: Check out and decide the best hotel yourself by clicking the button below.
WHERE TO EAT?
The food served here in home stays and resorts are purely home cooked delectable Indian cuisine and organically sourced from local markets. On special request of the guests English breakfasts and continental dishes are also served.
THINGS TO DO IN TAKDAH
Doing nothing is what you should do when you are in Takdah. Going for sightseeing, taking a nature walk around the local villages and pine forests and enjoying a picnic in the lawns of the colonial bungalows are few other things you may like doing in Takdah. A visit to the local Chagporti Tibetan Medical Institute can also be rewarding for all those interested in local culture. An early morning visit to nearby monastery viewpoint to witness the sunrise and Mt. Kanchenjungha in a cascading hue of gold with the river valley below can be the “moment” of your life.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT TAKDAH
Usually summers and monsoons are the best times to visit this mesmeric abode of nature situated in the foot of the majestic Himalayas. The welcoming monsoons shroud the valleys and tea gardens of Takdah with lush greenery. The sunshine, the chill and sparkling weather in other times of the year makes it an ideal destination to escape the heat of the plains. However, for those who love the frosty chilly winters and the warm essence of burning fire woods, well then this is the place where you’ll find a perfect unison of warmth and cool.[BetterWeather location=”26.6821,88.3291″ /]
FEW SUGGESTED TIPS FOR YOU WHILE VISITING TAKDAH
- Food And Drink: Drink only bottled water. It is always advisable to carry dry foods like to carry biscuits, chips, dry fruits, fruits etc. Foreign Liquors / Alcohols are not available here.
- Health Facility & Health Precautions: It is advisable to carry specific medicines as there are no pharmacy shops in here. Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhea, fever etc, also band aids and an antiseptic ointment.
- Card Payment & ATM: Credit/Debit Card is not accepted in Takdah. In Takdah there is also no ATM. Please carry cash for all your transactions.
- Telephone / Mobile phones: Most of the major mobile operator covers Takdah. However, in many occasions signals are not strong enough. It is advisable to carry mobiles phones from two different mobile service providers.
- Clothing & Luggage: Travel as light as possible with least minimum clothes, toiletries and other essential commodities. The weather of Takdah during summer requires light woolen garments. In the winter, heavy woolen is required.
- Electric torches: Emergency lamps can help in case of temporary power outages, which are frequent in this hilly region. Most of the resorts in Takdah have their own backup generators. However, I recommend bringing flash light for your emergency
- Do not Litter: Please do not litter the environment with plastics. The hills are clean and so we all should respect the mother nature
- Respect the culture: Respect the culture of the state, destination and its local community.
BEST WAY TO REACH TAKDAH
Takdah is about 70 kilometers from Siliguri. Commutation is easily accessible in various modes of transportation from Siliguri, NJP and Bagdogra. Takdah is very near to Darjeeling and you would get regular shared cars and buses from Darjeeling to Takdah. The fare is around Rs 2800 for a cab.
A shared taxi is available from behind Vishal cinema hall, 2nd mile, Sevoke Road or from Ranjit garage behind 9/10 hotel, Sevoke road, Siliguri. The fare from Darjeeling is Rs 1400 for a taxi. The mode of transportation gives you flexibility to choose to reach Takdah by road or train or air.
New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest railway station and is 86 km away & well connected with different parts of the nation.
82 Km from NJP Railway Station via Kurseong – Sonada , Jorebunglow , 6th Mile. Avg. Travel time from NJP– 5 hours
The nearest airport is Bagdogra(IXB). It is 93 km away and connects with Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata. From Airport, you can hire private taxi.
DRIVING DIRECTION TO TAKDAH
Takdah is located in the hills between Darjeeling and Kalimpong town. You can access Takdah either from the Darjeeling or Kalimpong side. From Darjeeling you have to travel through Peshok road via Ghum. About 10kms into the road you will reach 6th mile, a small village on the road side. From 6th mile take a right turn and drive another 7 to 8 kilometres to reach Takdah.
If you are coming from Kalimpong, you may take Peshok road from the opposite direction and take a left turn once you reach 6th mile. There is an alternate road from Tista Bazar which travels through Baramangwa, Chotamangwa and Tinchuley before reaching Takdah. This road is quite steep and the present condition must be known before travelling on this route.
People travelling from Dooars or Siliguri may take a 3rd route to reach Takdah. You have to follow Sikkim Bengal national highway till you reach Rambhi Bazar. From here a small road leads you to Takdah through Teesta Valley and Rangli Tea gardens.
CONCLUSION & TAKEAWAY
If you want to spend an ideal and relaxing holiday in the lap of cold Mountains of the Himalayas, then Takdah is the apt place to visit. Sightseeing, nature walks, solitary reveries and occasional market sprees can be a wonderful way to spend a memorable vacation at Takdah. A vacation spent in this homely stead with the pretty warm morning sunrise glistening through your window is sure to make for a treasured memory for years to come.
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