Charming and blissful — that’s the most apt description of Kaluk. Situated in the buffer zone of the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in West Sikkim, it’s nothing short of a paradise for nature lovers, even for someone with a passing interest in flora and fauna.
At 5576ft, Kaluk is nestled atop a lush green hill teeming with birds and aflame with shrubs of rhododendron. It is a four-hour drive from New Jalpaiguri (NJP). The way is utter beautiful. You will enjoy the view of Teesta on the right and lush green hills on your left. The young river flows at a furious pace. You may even spot some rafters in training.
The Mandarin Village Resort offers gorgeous views of the Kanchenjunga from the rooms. The resort is itself inside a green forested area, with clumps of rhododendron, orchids, bamboo, chestnut and other trees in the compound.
There’s a lot to see and do at Kaluk. The Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a must-visit. You could also go to the Rinchepong monastery, the third-oldest monastery in Sikkim, built in 1730. It houses an exotic statue of the Buddha, commonly referred to as the Ati-Buddha. You must not forget to visit the Singshore bridge, which is Asia’s second-highest bridge. It is a suspension bridge, and only light vehicles are allowed to cross.
The Sai Mandir at Daramdin, the KhechhipalruLake, the Temi tea garden and the hot spring at Legship are also short drives away. If you want to stray from the beaten tourist path, there’s a variety of activities you can opt for. You could go exploring the Alpine forests that is a bird photographer’s delight or go for short treks.
If, on the other hand, you long for the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting along the Teesta, you won’t be disappointed.
You can visit Kaluk all through the year, except perhaps during the monsoon. The best time to go is between April and mid-June. If you do not shy away from the cold, however, the winter months (mid-September to mid-December) are your best bet for sparking weather and getting a panoramic view of the snow-capped peaks.
How to go ?
Catch a train to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) from Sealdah or fly to Bagdogra. From there, it’s a 140km drive to Kaluk, which takes four hours. There are two routes to Kaluk via Jorethang — one via Zoom, Soreng, Sreebadam and another through Rinchenpong. The first road is quite narrow and steep.
Where to stay ?
There are numerous eco resorts and budget hotels in Kaluk and Rinchenpong. Rinchenpong Village Resort is a good option. Contact Details: Head Office: +91 3592 231017, Resort Contact :+91 9932408141, +91-9932408151,+91 3595 245209,+91 3592 231017