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Tabakoshi : An Offbeat – A New Tourist Destination


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11th February 2020 – The call of lush-green tea gardens, murmuring of Rangbhang River and moonlit sky were the only things I could think of when I thought of the last weekend. I yearned for them; dreaming of several offbeat destinations(some fancy, some fancier). After a bit of research, I picked the quaint hamlet of Tabakoshi. The place is nestled at the lap of Rangbhang river and the foothills of Gopaldhara Tea Garden(Lower Division). With little of my tour planned, I convinced my wife and off we went.

Siliguri to Tabakoshi

We avoided the Siliguri Town and took the road through Khaprail. The road from Siliguri to Mirik is dotted with scenic beauty. After a half an hour journey the fresh air of the hills will act as a soothing balm. The car sped through the winding roads and the hairpin bends. You can have a stopover at ‘Tingling Viewpoint’. The view of the valley is breathtaking. You can try Chai, Coffee, Momos and other refreshments at Tingling Viewpoint. From Tingling its only the sprawling tea gardens known for famous orthodox Darjeeling Tea. First comes the Phuguri Tea Estate. As we climb upwards we had a forced stopover at Mirik Police check-post. We were told to stop. The police official was prompt to check the vehicle documents. From there the road on the right goes to Mirik and on the left goes to Tabakoshi. He suggested me to take the road onto the left.

Homestay at Tabakoshi

Upon reaching our destination, we were greeted by Sanjog Rai, the owner of the home-stay we had chosen to stay at. It’s a fairly long walk from the off-road to the home-stay. The setting in which the home-stay is located is nothing less than a ‘wow’.

I will try to put it in words. The Rangbhang river and the home-stay shares a porous boundary. The small lawn adds to the beauty of the place. Surrounded by mountain trees like Pine, Juniper from one side and Gopaldhara Tea Garden on the other side of the off-road. Birds chirp and flutter day long. The lawn has a water reservoir which is fed by a natural stream, a dining place and a fireplace to keep you warm. The fireplace is also used for Barbecue. To my surprise, there is a natural waterfall within the compound of the home-stay.

The hospitality of Sanjoy and his wife will be engraved in the heart forever. Wife of Sanjoy prepares delicious food. The home-stay of Sanjog is in true sense a homestay. Along with rooms, tent accommodation is also available. Options for riverside camping and dining are also there.

Rooms are cosy from inside with clean attached toilets. You don’t have a geyser in toilets but hot water is provided. nightsky-tabakoshi Night Sky – Tabakoshi

Attractions/ Things to Do

  • Go for a Village Trail – After lunch, we went for the village to places like a) Vishnu Mandir b) Shiv Mandir c)Tabakoshi Park. The temple was as much a place of worship as it was a stunning viewpoint.
  • Spend your evening on the banks of Rangbhang River.
  • Chicken Barbecue – We enjoyed the warmth of the fire with Chicken Barbecue in the company of moonlit clear skies. We roasted a whole chicken and polished it off quickly. I had certainly worked up an appetite and have no shame in admitting gluttony.
  • Orange Orchards– Just on the backside of the home-stay along the Rangbhang River lies orange orchards.

Turzum Tea Garden and Sukiapokhri

Next day we had an early breakfast and checked-out by 9:00 am. We took a different route this time. We headed uphill till Sukhiapokhri. The wanding paths, amazing vistas are simply indescribable in words. You will pass through tea gardens like – Sungma, Turzum and Pokhriabong. The road from Pokhriabong to Sukiapokhri goes through mountain forest and is well-known for leopard sightings.

Simina and Pashupati Market

From Simina you can the trekkers’ hut town of Manebhanjan downhill and narrow path leading to Sandakphu on a clear day. A small local market has developed at Simina with shops selling tea, coffee, momos, chocolates, caps and gift items. Downhill from Simina is the Pashupati Market gate in Indo-Nepal border. The main market is about a 1 km walk from the border. You can either walk or take a Nepal taxi at the border to reach the main market. Alternatively, you can take your own vehicle after completing vehicle permit formalities at the border check post. The market is known for electronics and imported items. For me, the items are too cheap to be genuine.

Gopaldhara Tea Garden

Gardens are not new to me. But, I have never seen a tea garden more beautiful than Gopladhara. It looked like the entire valley is wrapped in a green blanket. As a result, I had a stopover at Gopaldhara. You can try authentic orthodox Darjeeling Tea at Gopaldhara Tea Stall. The place is always crowded with tourists busy in the photoshoot.

Tip: Visit Mirik at the time of return. Spend sometime around Mirik Lake. You can enjoy a horse ride along the periphery of the lake and engage in local shopping. If your itinerary is like ours, the time you will be reaching Mirik is lunchtime. You can have a sumptuous lunch at Mirik. There are multiple dining options from high-end to budget hotels/ restaurants.

How to Reach Tabakoshi

Tabakoshi is about 65 km from NJP/Siliguri and about 8 km from Mirik. From Mirik Police Checkpost you need to take a left turn and follow the road that goes to Thorbu Tea Garden. Once you cross Thorbu Tea Garden, you find a yellow signboard which says Tabakoshi is at 4.5 km. From the yellow signboard take a right-turn to the off-road and go down the hill. Continuously you will be moving down until you reach Rangbhang Valley. As you go downhill you will find a milestone which says Rangbhang is at 0 km. This is ‘Tabakoshi’.

Best Time to Visit

Tabakoshi can be visited all around the year. For adventurous souls monsoon(June to August) is the best time to visit. If you love to have a lazy vacation then Summers and Winters(November to May) are the time you should be in Tabakoshi.

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