If you are visiting Dooars then you have many places to see which includes day trips to the hills as well as complete residential experience inside a forest. One of the most common day trips would be:-
Jhalong –> Bindu –> Murti
The first time that I had visited Dooars was in the year 2011 along with my family. That time my daughter was around one and a half years old thus I needed to plan my tour accordingly so that she can be rested as well as fed from time to time.
We were staying at a Tuskers Den Resort at Lataguri just opposite to the Nature Interpretation Center which is quite a prominent landmark in this locality and a very short distance from the Forest Office from where you can book the Jungle Safari tickets.
Apart from the obvious safaris tourists usually go for short day trips to various locations. One which I have already mentioned above is quite a common and popular day trip. Tourists usually depart after breakfast and return late afternoon to evening depending on the time you would like to spend at the different spots.
This trip will take you to the hills bordering the mountain kingdom of Bhutan thus you can expect a dramatic change in the landscape from lush green forest to rocky hills. The route also takes you through Chapramari Forest which according to me is much denser than Gorumara and even during bright midday sun you will fell the darkness all around you.
It is also to be noted that Jhalong and Murti lie in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal so technically we will go from one district to another.
We were enjoying the drive up the winding hills towards Jhalong when we came to a sudden stop while trying to cross a metal bridge over a small rivulet. A small signboard in Nepalese confirmed that the bridge is going through urgent maintenance and all traffic would be stopped for a time being. This would mean that we go back to our hotel or wait for the repairs to get completed.
One good thing I have seen in the hills is that the locals help the tourist out of their way. In seeing us they laid temporary metal plates on the damaged section and let the vehicle cross over. Just to keep us safe in the event something might collapse during the crossing we were not allowed to sit in the car when it was crossing and had to cross the bridge on foot helped by the locals.
After driving for some time we reached Dalgaon which is near Jhalong and has a fantastic view of the Jaldhaka River which also acts as a natural boundary between India and Bhutan. You can see the beautiful valley below and the villages far in the distant hills in Bhutan.
There are few shops here and would recommend you stop for a cup of tea and some lovely hot steamed Momos. I was surprised when the shop owner returned me the change which was Bhutanese Nu (Bhutanese Currency). Apparently villagers of this region use both Indian as well as Bhutanese currency since there is a very active day to day trade between the two neighbors.
Moving on we head towards Bindu, this is the only road that ends up with the Indo-Bhutan border. Officially the border is restricted for movement and you cannot visit Bhutan, for that you have to go to Jaigaon. There is a good presence of BSF (Border Security Force) personnel and the dam on the Jaldhaka River are secured by them. This dam is quite an old dam and is used to generate Hydel power.
This is the closest that you will come to Bhutan from this part of the world and even though the boulders on the river looks easy to jump and cross over to Bhutan I would definitely put a word of caution as the water current is quite strong and there is a high chance of you injuring yourself.
On the way back when you reach the plains again you will be taken to the banks of river Murti. With crystal clear water from the melting glaciers of the Himalayas, the water is actually quite cold. I have tried taking a bath during the peak of summer and the temperature was still quite cold. This river goes and merges into Jaldhaka River downstream.
By the time you reach back to your hotel it will be late afternoon or evening totally depending on the amount of time you will be spending in each of the locations. I would recommend you to have your lunch along the way so that you do not hurry back and enjoy the day tour to the maximum.
My next blog will be on Samsing –> Suntalekhola day trip from Lataguri. Thanks for stopping by I hope you have enjoyed going through the blog.