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Trekking Adventures

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ST/ 01: 06 Days Kalimpong Nature & Culture Trek

  • Altitude 1500 m
  • Grade easy
  • Open throughout the year except June to Aug

This is a trek based at the Samthar Farm House, far from crowds.at a comfortable altitude with easy walking trails. Explore the remote mountain countryside. Forests, river valleys, ethnic hamlets, and terraced cultivation. Meet people in their homes and fields. Minimum 04 days. Includes sightseeing at Kalimpong River rafting available as add-on.

Trek tour starts & ends at Bagdogra airport/NJP rail; station or Kalimpong.

Day 01: Bagdogra- kalimpong, 1400 m

Arrive Bagdogra. Met by car with driver and driven to Kalimpong. The 80 Kms journey passes through the forested and scenic Teesta River Valley. Check in at the heritage Himalayan hotel, dating back to the days of the “Raj”, or Gurudongma House.

Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950's The Lepchas, who were the original inhabitants, were subjected to Bhutanese, Tibetan, British, and Nepalese influences. A gentle and docile people, they have almost lost their identity, and are now called "The vanishing tribe". However history has left behind a fascinating ethnic blend of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese people. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gumpas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society. Flower and orchid nurseries, colonial bungalows, churches of the "Raj", and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazaar, is a Pandora's box of surprises? Kalimpong is a wanderer's delight. Buddhist tankhas, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, hand crafted paper, Lepcha daggers, Nepali Khukaris and Buddhist masks, are some of the shopping attractions. The Wednesday and Saturday "Hat", or village market, brings together people from surrounding areas, selling an amazing variety of products.

In the evening take a walking tour of the interesting bazaar. Overnight at your hotel.

Kalimpong monastery Colonial church Gurudongma House sunrise Kalimpong HAT bazar

Day 02: Kalimpong, 1500 m

Kalimpong tour by car. Visit Buddhist Gompa, and view point, Catholic church of “Raj” period, flower & orchid nursery, Nature Interpretation center, Dr Grahams Homes campus and chapel, and Deolo View Point.  Overnight at your hotel.

Lava monastery Lava Monastery puja

Day 03: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon: drive cum trek to Samthar Farm House, 1500 m

Drive 35 Kms, in 1.30 hrs along old trade route to Tibet passing through virgin forests to Lava, a small bazaar and village, at an altitude of 2100 m amidst forested hills. It originated as a halting place for trade caravans going to Bhutan. It was fortified during the Bhutan rule, and captured and destroyed by the British during the Anglo-Bhutan War. A Buddhist monastery of the same period has been expanded and is active. At Lava you can view the Rachela Pass, which opens into Bhutan, and visit the Monastery. Drive back 4 kms to take the forest road to Lolegaon. Now you have the choice of taking one or both the Nature & Culture walks, described below.

If you choose walk 1, it starts after driving 6 kms to a village Buddhist gompa. It descends through forests, to the waist of the hill, continues through hamlets, terraced cultivation, and cascading streams to terminate at a village bazaar from where we ride our jeeps to the heritage forest ( described below) to start Walk 2. Trekking time is 3 hrs

If you choose to take only walk 2, you will first drive for 25 kms, in 1.30 hrs, through unspoiled forests, with hardly any habitation. Enjoy nature at its best, and see the incredible variety of flora. After a picnic lunch and a visit to over 100 years old heritage forest, take a short down hill trek, whilst your jeep traverses a wilderness trail. Trekking time is 02 hrs, and you will walk through the heart of the forest, to a Tamang Village, cross a mountain stream, and reclaim your jeep, for the last 06 kms to the Samthar Farm House. Dinner and overnight at The Samthar Farm House.

Scenic and remote, The Samthar Plateau, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is surrounded by  river valleys, terraced cultivation and forests. The inhabitants are a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. The original Lepcha tribals lived in the valleys. They were woodsman, and utilized the forest resources to live off the land. Knowing no religion, they worshiped nature spirits. When the Bhutanese ruled this land, many were converted to Buddhism. Latter the British rulers brought in Christian missionaries, who converted some of them to Christianity. Hinduism arrived with the Nepalese settlers, who also taught the Lepchas to farm the land. Today the ethnic groups are fused together in harmony. They have adopted Nepali as a link language, yet maintained, their diverse cultural identity. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows. The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted by General "Jimmy" Singh for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.

Samthar view Samthar Farm House Khangchendzong from garden Samthar Farm House front Samthar Farm House lounge

Day 04: Samthar Farm House Culture Trek

Get up early morning, to the chirping of birds, and the cry of the rooster, to walk to the top of the terraced nature garden. Sit atop a rock and sip your tea, whilst you take in the breathtaking view, as the sun rises, and the first rays touch the snows. Weather permitting, you see the entire panorama of snows - Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and then in an easterly arc the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet. After an leisurely breakfast, trek around the Samthar plateau for 03 hrs Return to the Farm House for lunch. After lunch another 02 hrs trek to nearby hamlets. Meet people in their homes and fields to get a glimpse of rural lifestyles.  In the evening sample local Millet beer, "chang", served in traditional bamboo containers, in lamp lit atmosphere.  Overnight at The farmhouse.

Minstrel Sisters Family outing Basket weaving

Day 05: Samthar Farm House - Lepcha Valley trek

Another chance to view the sunrise. After breakfast take a full days trek to remote Lepcha valley. See flora, birds, traditional Lepcha houses, and a 100 years old Lepcha temple. Meet people in their homes and fields. After picnic lunch return by a different route. Dinner and overnight at the Farm House.

Day 06: Samthar Farm House - Teesta Valley trek - drive next destination.

After breakfast trek down to the Teesta Valley, You will pass through forests, terraced cultivation and hamlets. It will take about 04 hrs to reach the confluence of the Teesta and Rilli Rivers. Take a break for  a picnic lunch. After lunch cross the  Teesta River over a  suspension bridge to the national highway. Thereafter drive to next destination.

TREK TOUR ENDS


 
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