We all enjoy the sparkling sun, until the uncomfortably warm summers set in. In the plains of India, summers get really warm and humid. Thankfully nature has also blessed us with amazing places that are absolutely perfect for the summer season.
The northern region of Bengal and the state of Sikkim lies at the foot of the Himalayas and hence enjoys the beauty and diversity of the Himalayan ranges. For people getting baked in the summer heat, these places are an oasis.
Here are five destinations for nature lovers to escape in the coming summers –
Forget the hustle bustle of Darjeeling town and come to Tinchuley. Tinchuley is a village in the Darjeeling district that looks straight out of a postcard. Clear blue sky, miles of green tea gardens, beautiful river and the grand Mt.Kanchenjunga from your balcony. What else do we need?
Tinchuley can be reached through NJP (about 3 hours), Bagdogra (about 3.5 hours) or Siliguri through rented cars. There are a number of friendly home stays that will take good care of you.
In Tinchuley you can spend the days wandering around and soak in the ambience of the place. Nearby you can visit the Teesta Rangit confluence, orchid garden, orange orchards and a Buddhist monastery. Nights can get cold, so carry light warm clothing as a precaution. No ATMs are around, carry your cash.
If you want some adventure and snow clad peaks, select Zuluk. Earlier this was the name synonymous with the silk route, now Zuluk is the spot for adventurers, bird watchers and photographers.
The road to Zuluk takes you through dangerous hairpin turns and it is a ride of a lifetime. But all is worth it when you get to the majestic Himalayan range. Seeing the Kanchenjunga at dawn makes us speechless.
The summer season is also the time for thousands of gorgeous rhododendrons to bloom. The flowers bring birds and it turns into a bird watcher’s heaven. There is an interesting ancient Nag temple and Baba Mandir which tourists visit. There are many spots nearby to pay a visit and if you have enough time also see the Memenchu Lake.
Zuluk does not have hotels, only home stays. But the warm hospitality and delicious food will win your heart. Do not expect the comfort of TVS and ACs. Zuluk can be reached through Gangtok, it takes about 4 hours and about 6 hours from Darjeeling through car. Carry your IDs, you would need to get a permit on the way.
If you want to escape the city life now and enjoy doing nothing, go to Mongpong. About 35 km away from Siliguri is a small village out of a painting. Four little cottages run by WBFDC sit in the midst of a forest and the mountain river Teesta flows by. No crowds, no noise. Lie on the grass lazily, watch the squirrels play near you and enjoy the birds of the forest.
You can reach Mongpong through NJP station or Bagdogra airport. Book online on WBFDC website in advance.
Baramangwa is a nature lover’s paradise. The Baramangwa Farmhouse is a picturesque bungalow situated along the slope of a Himalayan hill with tall trees and bird songs all day.
Simple village folks prepare the most delicious meals fresh from the farm and garden. Zero pollution, zero stress and watching the Teesta flow from your balcony – what could be better? See more on Baramangwa here.
#5 Lachung & Yumthang Valley
Yumthang Valley of Flowers is one the ace tourists places of India. Period.
Lachung and Yumthang makes a long journey but it is totally worth the trip. From Gangtok it is a long drive to Lachung, about 118 km away. Lachung is a Himalayan hamlet at a height of 8,610 ft. Stay at Lachung and visit the Yumthang Valley which is about 90 minutes of drive away. Yumthang is blessed with millions of flowers in the summer – mostly rhododendrons blooming in shades of red, blue, pink, white and purple in the lap of the Himalayas.
Lachung and Yumthang have numerous spots for the traveller. At almost every corner, you will find a waterfall or a gurgling river, birds and beauty of nature. You can visit the Yumthang hot spring and you can take a rejuvenating bath here. For tourist there is the Zero Point where the roads end. Three mountain rivers meet at this point creating beautiful landscape. Pay a visit to the Lachung Monsatery and also see the Bhim Nala waterfall.
As this place is near to the China border and needs some permits, it is advisable to book your trip through a tour operator.
Image credit: Tripadvisor, tripoto.com, nomadicweekends.com, travelhi5.com