A Guide To Suntalekhola In Dooars

Located in the Dooars valley, nestled between the Teesta and the Sankosh rivers, bordering Bhutan, Sutanekhola is surrounded by lush forests and tea plantations
Tea gardens of Dooars
Tea gardens of Dooars

Dooars brings to mind images of smoky blue hills, emerald-green tea plantations, and cotton-like clouds. The Sankosh River divides the Dooars into its western and eastern portions, which are distributed over Sikkim and West Bengal. It serves as Bhutan's entry point into India and is located in the eastern Himalayan foothills. One of the less well-known tourist destinations in the Dooars is Suntalekhola, which is between 650 and 950 metres above sea level in the Gorubathan CD block. The name of this serene area in the Dooars comes from a tiny creek called Suntaley Khola. This region, which physiographically makes up the Kalimpong Range, is distinguished by sharply rising hills and many tiny streams.

Things To Do

The region is a natural variety hotspot with numerous tea gardens and wildlife hotspots like Manas National Park, Buxa National Park, and Gorumara National Park. White water rafting is available on the Teesta River for nature lovers and thrill seekers. There are also some interesting treks and forest safaris available here. The area is home to a vast diversity of avian species, making it a birder's paradise as well. 

The region is a popular spot for birdwatchers. Pond herons, black eagles, hill partridges, red-vented bulbuls, ashy wood pigeons, blue rock thrushes, scarlet minivets, smaller racket-tailed drongos, rufous sibias, grey treepies, spangled drongos, and common green magpies are among the bird species that can be found here.

Treks and other natural routes are other options. Suntalekhola is the starting point for a number of trekking trails, the majority of which are found in the nearby Neora Valley National Park. Many people are drawn to it because of the area's picturesque nature, which includes hills, forests, and green tea gardens.

Drive To Neora Valley National Park 

Several trek routes originate from Suntalekhola, most of which are within the Neora Valley National Park, located adjacent to this place. The river that flows through Neora National Park's boundaries gives the park its name. The park's numerous hill streams and torrents support a magnificent variety of plants, which feed the Neora River and run throughout the protected region. There is an amazing variety of flora here, which in turn supports an impressive population of birds and mammals. From tiny wild strawberries, wild white orchids (Kurseong white orchid), and primulas to the towering Himalayan yew and hemlock trees and about ten species of rhododendrons recorded in the higher ridges of the park. More than 200 different bird species can be found in the area.

The Kangchenjunga serves as the backdrop for the park's outstanding trekking paths. More experienced hikers can hike up to Rechi La, but beginners can start on the straightforward journey to Alubari, break it there, and return to the starting point. You could also take a jeep safari in the jungle. You have a good possibility of seeing the showy male satyr tragopan, golden eagle, magpies, and a large number of finches and sunbirds if you go on a hike. Big cats like the tiger and leopard are among the mammals found in the area. The Asiatic black bear leaves pug marks and scratch marks frequently. However, it may be challenging to see the rare red panda. Regular appearances from the goral and barking deer show their appreciation.

Where To Stay

You can find many basic stay options in the area. The West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) maintains several cottages and lodges for tourists. For instance, you can book a stay at the Suntalekhola River Camp, which is located near Samsing village in Gorubathan Block III of Kalimpong district. 

Getting There

Bagdogra is the main airport for the entire region of the Dooars. Siliguri, 12km east of Bagdogra, is the gateway town, from where buses, jeeps, and taxis head to the hill area. The nearest mainline railhead is New Jalpaiguri. Other accessible rail stations are Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, and Cooch Behar, from where one can hire a jeep/car to this place. 

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