Takdah – the land of mist
A dreamy place where the sun and clouds play hide and seek with glee and mist descends at its own will, the foggy trails, the blooming orchids and the majestic mountain views – if all these are making you want to leave your desk just now, then Takdah is just the right place for you. Takdah is merely 28 km away from Darjeeling and stands at a height of 4000 ft. Takdah is also called ‘Tukdah’ that is a Lepcha word meaning mist. So you can easily imagine why the place remains foggy for most of the time.
Takdah was formerly a British cantonment area as early as the 1900s and it still holds that old world aura. The British had chosen this place after much thought. The place is surrounded by hills and cannot be seen easily from the other side of the mountains. A perfect place for their cantonment! Also, the place is quite near to Darjeeling away from the oppressive heat of the plains. So many houses and bungalows had come up for the accommodation of the British.
As expected, there are a number of old British bungalows at Takdah still holding on to the colonial era. And we don’t complain. With the Darjeeling mountains all around and the forest trails to follow coupled with these old and heritage bungalows, Takdah is unparalleled in its beauty and charm. The bungalows were all made during the 1900s and all of them are practically more than 100 years old with most of them were being made during 1905 to 1915. These buildings now belong to the locals. Some of them have been converted to schools and offices while a few others have been converted into guesthouses. We happened to experience the hospitality at one such guest house at Takdah, and believe me the stay was majestic.
Takdah is also flanked by a number of tea gardens. The Rungli Rungliot, Gielle Tea Estate and the Teesta Valley Tea Estate are all nearby. Rungli Rungliot is perhaps one of the most beautiful tea gardens we have visited. With vast stretches of tea plantations all around, we just seem to get lost amidst the greenery. We visited the Teesta Valley Tea Estate, but it was closed for Durga Puja. Barring Sundays and holidays, the tea factory is opened for guests to take a look at how this wonderful beverage is processed.
There is also a monastery – the Dechhen Pema Tshoiling Monastery or the Takdah monastery as it is known commonly. The monastery was built in 1985 and follows the Buddhist Nyingma sect.
The Orchid Center is also a center of rare orchids and plants. It was kept neglected for quite a few years, but recently initiative has been taken to revive the orchid centre.
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.
Takdah is such a beautiful place with the pine forests beckoning to come and take a walk. The place is still quite serene and quite away from the rush of bigger towns like Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Just by taking a walk along the roads and seeing the beautiful buildings we were simply overwhelmed. And not to forget, the night view of Kalimpong town seen from Takdah is sure to make one spellbound. The mountains are dotted with lights making the place look like lights of festivity.
Another great thing about Takdah is that it is wonderfully located. You can visit Tinchuley, Lamahatta, Bara Mangwa, Chhota Mangwa and Mongpu from Takdah.
So while your stay in Takdah, you can plan a trip to visit these places.
Takdah is a delightful offbeat destination near Darjeeling. Visit the place to experience the beauty of the hills and to experience the nature closely.
How to reach Takdah:
Nearest railhead is NJP and airport is Bagdogra. Takdah is about 60 km from NJP and it takes around 3 hours to reach Takdah from NJP/Bagdogra.
Darjeeling is 28kms away and Kalimpong about 40kms away.
You can get reserved cabs from NJP, Bagdogra, Siliguri and Darjeeling. Shared Jeeps are available from Siliguri to Takdah. They leave from Sevoke Road, behind Vishal Cinema Hall or Ranjit Garage behind 9/10 Hotel Sevoke. Buses are available from Darjeeling to Takdah.
Best time to visit Takdah:
The best time is from October to March when the weather remains clear and you can get great views. It can be visited throughout the year.
Places to stay:
There are a few heritage bungalows here. These old bungalows have been converted to guest houses retaining their old aura, but renovating them according to modern tastes.
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