The not-so-frequented hill spot of Suntaleykhola on the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal is a quiet little paradise, tucked away from the eyes of the typical traveller. If you want a few days (or a weekend, depending on where you are travelling from) of calm and respite from the noise and the fury of daily life, the little hamlet of orange trees beside a stream (in Nepali, ‘suntaley’ means ‘orange’ and ‘khola’ means ‘stream’) is where you should head to.
The only place to stay there is Suntaleykhola Nature Education and Wilderness Resort, maintained by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. A walk across a small hanging bridge takes you to the resort. Though the sole resort, it easily qualifies as one of the best anywhere in India. It consists of a group of beautiful little cottages surrounded by trees. A little clearing in a jungle, you can say. In fact, the experience is just like staying in a camp. Away from all the urban uproar, you can hear the twittering of the birds, the humming of the bees, the chirping of the crickets, the mumbling of a stream, the whispering of the cool breeze – and experience the bliss of being on cloud nine. The facilities are also quite appreciable.
Other than spending happy hours just being in the lap of nature, some exploring around can be fun. For the light trekker, the beautiful, serene hill village of Samsing is a mere 4 km away. Mouchuki and Fern Tree Point are other beautiful spots nearby. Rocky Island Nature Camp near Murti River is a camping spot. All these places are located around Neora Valley National Park. You can visit the national park as well. It is well-known for its population of a wide variety of birds. Entry tickets are available at the range office in Samsing. The best time to visit Suntaleykhola is from October to April. It is advisable to avoid the rainy season in the hills.
October to April
85 km by road from Siliguri, via Chalsa and Meteli
34 km by road from New Mal junction
Feature image: kolahal.com
Written by Anushtup Haldar for Team M3.tv