The last two posts on this blog mostly focussed on the places to visit in West Bengal, and this place would have been included there too. However, once I read about this place and researched a bit, I felt it would be an injustice to this place to include it in the list of others, given the fact that this is a gem among places to visit in North Bengal.
This year, if you are looking for some not-so-crowded place to visit in the hills, I'd suggest you visit Bhalukhop, near Kalimpong. You have every right to ask me...why?? Why this place?? Haven't heard of it even! To get an answer to most of your questions, read on...
Bhalukhop (also known as Chotta Bhalukhop) is a pristine location near Kalimpong in West Bengal that is just the perfect place if you are looking for a weekend getaway from the mundane daily life we are being forced to live.
Perched at an altitude of 5300 ft above sea level, this village is a playground of the clouds and offers stunning views of the Himalayan Ranges along with the valleys below. More specifically, the sunset views of the Annapurna Range, the Kanchenjunga peak, and the glistening Teesta river flowing through the valley.
So where is Bhalukhop?
Bhalukhop is a small village that lies approximately 10 km away from Kalimpong and about 72 km from Siliguri. Situated on the slopes of the lower Himalayas, crossed in places by the Teesta and Relli rivers, this clouded and forest-covered village is one of the most underrated places to visit in India.
When would be the best time to visit?
I believe that monsoons are one of the best times to visit any place. It may get a bit messy, but the natural beauty and greenery make up for it. Bhalukhop is no exception. Rains make the whole place much greener among the contrasting blue skies and occasionally, you will be greeted by the rainbow with the Himalayan range in the distant background.
Winters are chilly and most of the time shrouded in low clouds and fog. It may get quite chilly in the winters but seldom snows.
Summers are quite comfortable though and although the temperatures remain high, it's never uncomfortable. You can call it pleasantly warm.
Awesome! You are planning a trip here, right? Read on...
Let's see how to reach there?
The only way you can reach Bhalukhop is by road. Either you can come to New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which happens to be the nearest major railway station, and is connected to the rest of the country. From here, you can take a cab that will take you to Bhalukhop which is approximately 70 km and will take 2-3 hours on a clear day. If you are coming by air, the nearest airport is Bagdogra. It is around 80km and takes around 3 hours. You can take a cab from the airport which will drop you at Bhalukhop.
Places to stay
Bhalukhop, despite being a small village, has an abundance of places to stay and they are equally as beautiful. However, one place that is highly suggested among them is Bhalukhop Eco Resort. It is tucked in the lush green forest and gives you adventure vibes all the while providing you with comfortable rooms and finger-licking good dining.
This lavishly built property is decorated with beautiful gardens, tea bushes, and natural green forests. The touch of nature accompanies you to your room. The interiors are made of carved raw wood and rocks and are just spellbinding to look at.
In terms of adventure activities, this place has options for (depending on the situation) paragliding, rafting on the river Teesta, an abundance of trekking options and if you want, rock climbing and bouldering.
Bhalukhop Eco Resort
Alternatively, you can also stay in the number of other options available for stay. A quick search on google (click here if you are feeling lazy) will give you several places to stay based on your budget and choices.
Nearby Places and Attractions
Bhalukhop is a relatively small village, but it has several attractions to offer. I can only list a few of them. Will update the rest once I visit this place, or better if you can visit and let me know. (I am being a bit lazy here... Please visit this place and bring me some pinecones please !)
Delo hills, also known as Deolo hills
This is a viewpoint that offers you probably the best sunset view of the distant snow-clad mountains and the town of Kalimpong, the surrounding villages of Relli valley, Teesta River, and its valleys. This place is just magical if you are visiting it at sunset and even at sunrise.
If you are fond of flowers, this would be the perfect place to visit. This nursery is famous as a great flower-growing hub. It exports flowers all over the world and produces 80% of the total gladioli produced in India.
A quaint hamlet that sits at an altitude of 6000m, is shrouded with tranquility, only interrupted by the chirping of birds. Only a few hours away from Bhalukhop, this place offers the best views of the Kanchenjunga peak during sunset and under the moonlight.
Another viewpoint that offers stunning views of the snow-clad peaks. This place is situated between Bhalukhop and Kalimpong. This place is much less visited by tourists as reaching here involves a short trek uphill through rocks and forests.
Jaldhaka River Valley
Just the perfect place to set up your camp and enjoy fishing in the stream and have a riverside picnic.
Apart from these, there are several places in and around Bhalukhop. You just need to ask the locals or at the place of your stay and they will be happy to guide you.
So what do you think of this place? Need any help planning an itinerary or a trip here? Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to help. Also, if you know something more about this place or have visited, I'd love to hear about your experience. Hit me up at my email address or dm on Instagram.
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Few things to remember:
Please do not litter here: I understand that you may visit here for just a day or two and may not think about it much, but remember that this place is pristine and not much connected to the cities. The waste management facilities are also not that functional. So I urge you to take care not to litter this place and keep it as it is - pristine. Here are a few steps that you can take:
Always carry your water in reusable plastic/steel bottles. It is better to avoid buying the bottled water from shops and then discard the empty bottle at your place of stay, or worse, on the trailside or roadside. If you need to buy a packaged water bottle, carry it along with you and discard it when you reach the city where you have a better waste management system.
If you are buying packaged food (chips or anything packed in plastic) don't throw away the wrapper. Keep them with yourself and discard them when you are back home or find a place with proper garbage management.
Don't play loud music over speakers. All these places are calm and don't have much noise pollution. Don't be the source of something like that.
Maintain your civility. Although this is your matter, drinking alcohol and creating a ruckus is not appreciated by others. If you decide to have fun, keep it within the limits. You represent a large part of our country.