Long Weekend Break: 5 Lesser Known Places In The Eastern Himalayas

These tiny towns tucked into the folds of the Eastern Himalayas' mountain slopes are using their strategic location and natural riches to promote sustainable tourism
Beautiful view of the Himalayan mountains in Ravangla, Sikkim
Beautiful view of the Himalayan mountains in Ravangla, SikkimShutterstock


Dooars makes you think of cotton-like clouds, emerald-green tea plantations, and smoke-blue hills. The Dooars region is split into western and eastern sections, which are scattered over Sikkim and West Bengal, by the Sankosh River. Situated in the eastern Himalayan foothills, Dooars serves as Bhutan's gateway to India. Suntalekhola, located in the Gorubathan CD block between 650 and 950 metres above sea level, is one of the Dooars' lesser-known tourist attractions. This tranquil region gets its name from a small creek called Suntaley Khola. This region, which physiographically makes up the Kalimpong Range, is distinguished by sharply rising hills and many tiny streams.

Stunning view of the Himalayan mountains in Ravangla, Sikkim.
Stunning view of the Himalayan mountains in Ravangla, Sikkim.Shutterstock


Namchi, a charming town in Sikkim, lives true to its name. In Sikkimese, 'Nam' signifies "sky," while 'Chi" means "height." The capital of South Sikkim, Namchi, is located at an elevation of 1,675 metres above sea level, offering excellent views of the Khangchendzonga range and Rangit Valley. It is known for trekking, birdwatching, and religious tourism. The trekking paths are interspersed with stunning views of the Kalimpong and Darjeeling valleys. The view of the confluence of two rivers — Teesta and Rangit — is the crowning feature here. People come from all over to see the 135-foot-high copper and gold statue of Padmasambhava, which sits on a lotus platform atop the Samdruptse peak. It is said to be the world's tallest statue of Padmasambhava. It can be seen from portions of Darjeeling when looking out over the town and across the hills. Namchi also boasts one of India's oldest monasteries, Ngadak, which was erected in the 17th century under the reign of Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal. The setting is a beautiful reflection of old Sikkim architecture. A new monastery has sprouted up nearby. Some of the best contemporary monastery artwork in Sikkim can be found inside its prayer hall.


Although there is no record of how the location gained its name (which loosely translates as "medicine water"), most tourists swear that Dawaipani has a calming effect on their stressed nerves. Jorethang is the gateway to Dawaipani, located on the Darjeeling-bound route from New Jalpaiguri. The cosy wooden buildings are decorated with pots of flowers, cacti, and orchids on their slender balconies and window sills. Some of them now provide homestay services, which are simply furnished, provide spectacular views of the surroundings, and home-cooked meals made with ingredients acquired primarily from their own kitchen gardens or locally farmed.

Scenic beauty of Ahaldara viewpoint in Sittong, Darjeeling.
Scenic beauty of Ahaldara viewpoint in Sittong, Darjeeling.Shutterstock


Though the area is known for its orange orchards, it can also be a tranquil hideaway and a base for exploring the neighbouring areas outside of the orange season. Sittong is approximately 55 kilometres by road from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. You'll have to stay in one of the simple yet clean and cosy homestays. Make a trip to see the Sittong church, which was formerly an old bamboo church but is now a brick-and-mortar structure. The location is lovely, with a view of the surrounding hills. In Upper Sittong, there is a very old monastery made entirely of bamboo and mud; this monastery and the land next to it are ideal places to see the Khangchendzonga range in all its majesty. Jogighat is a bridge across the Riyang River in lower Sittong. This is a popular picnic location for locals, but tourists may also find the small creek and bridge to be great for spiritual rejuvenation. Jogighat, Shelphu, Ahaldara, Latpanchar, and Mungpoo are some of the prominent attractions that can be reached from here. All of these locations are also connected to Siliguri, making the subsequent journey to Bagdogra Airport or NJP Railway Station easier.


On a clear day, the hillside village of Sillery, which takes its name from a green vegetable it grows, offers a panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Don't miss the play of colours on the snow peaks at sunset. With its green hills, peaceful vibes, and hospitality, the village of Pedong will warm your heart even without it. Check out the nearby pine forests, which locals refer to as the Silent Forest because it is so tranquil. The Ramitey View Point offers views of Mt. Khangchendzonga and the wavy Teesta River.

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