This Hamlet In North Bengal Has Stunning Views Of Mt Kanchenjunga

If you're seeking a calm and relaxing vacation, head to Charkhole, a hidden treasure in North Bengal close to Kalimpong
Mist-laden walks in Charkhole
Mist-laden walks in Charkhole @swaratghosh/Instagram

When you think of holidays in the Eastern Himalayas, what generally comes to mind are the popular twin destinations of Darjeeling and Kalimpong. However, if you are looking for a more tranquil and slow holiday, hit up Charkhole, the hidden gem in North Bengal that is located close to Kalimpong

Also known as Charkhol Loleygaon, this cosy Himalayan hamlet is around 27km from Kalimpong, and the drive takes you under two hours. 

Charkhole is a Lepcha village overlooking valleys in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. On clear days, you can see the mighty Kanchenjunga from here. Also spelt as Kangchenjunga or Khangchendzonga, it is the third-highest mountain in the world. 

Charkhole offers stunning views of Mt Kangchenjunga
Charkhole offers stunning views of Mt Kangchenjunga Shutterstock

Things To Do And See

There is not a lot to do or see, but that is the whole point of this place. Come here to switch off from your 9 to 5 grind. Bring along all those unread books and some of your favourite tea or coffee. And unwind. 

A bird's eyeview of Charkhole
A bird's eyeview of CharkholeAnwesa chattopadhyay/WikiCommons

Located at an altitude of 5,500 feet, Charkhole is surrounded by forests of tall pines, cypress, shal, and rhododendrons. You can go for exploratory walks in these forests. The forest areas continue on to Loleygaon (it is a 45-minute walk) and Pabong. The forests here are well known for a few rare species of butterflies.


If you are so inclined, this is a marvellous place to birdwatch. Among the birds you can spot here are the Green Backed Tit, Pipit, Ashley Prinia, Blue Fronted Redstart, Indian Robin, Verditer Flycatcher, and the Himalayan Bulbul. Due to its relatively unspoilt nature, and few real estate constructions, it remains a pristine area and hence a birding paradise. 

Neora Valley National Park

The Neora Valley National Park is around 54 km away. Established in 1986, it is regarded as one of the finest biodiverse zones in India. It is home to the endangered red panda, as well as the Indian leopard, Asiatic black bear, sloth bear, barking deer, wild boars, the Himalayan flying squirrel, the satyr tragopan, golden-throated barbet, Darjeeling woodpecker, and many others.

Nearby Treks

You can trek to Fatak Charkhole, a stunning tableland with a park. Sit on the wooden benches and enjoy the views of the peaks. The place also has a statue of Har-Parvati and some play areas for children.

You can also do an early morning trek to Gamphus Dara to witness an amazing sunrise.

The canopy walk in Loleygaon
The canopy walk in LoleygaonPrithwishc/WikiCommons

Charkhole lies near Loleygaon, which has a number of trekking and hiking paths. The Canopy Walk at Loleygaon is a must-see. It is a network of interconnecting hanging footbridges. Pabong is another neighbouring attraction. Charkhole and Pabong (about 2km away) are a nearly continuous stretch separated by a strip of forest. 

Where To Stay

There are a few families who run homestays in the village. In the last couple of years, some resorts have come up. For instance, Charkhole Resort has an in-house restaurant and even a library. Check them out here

Getting There

You can access Charkhole from Darjeeling/Kalimpong or through the Dooars area. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which is around 75 km away. The nearest airport is Bagdogra, around 80 km away. 

Best Time To Visit

Avoid the rainy season. Summers are pleasant here and winters are cold (but not to the extreme). If you want to get a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga, April to May and October to November is the best time to go.

What To Pack

Due to its altitude, Charkhole remains cold (or, at best, chilly) most of the year. Make sure you pack adequate warm clothing. And bring all basic necessities, including medication as Charkhole has no market and few shops. 

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