Travelling to Suntalekhola: A Place to Fall For Green and Orange

Suntalekhola

A mesmerising canvas of diverse shades of green, surrounded by hills, bejewelled with river and streams, hamlets, orange orchards and untouched nature – Suntalekhola is perfected with a unique charm that is hard to get over with. It is a small locale and is best explored hiking around into the woods. Suntalekhola, is undoubtedly, one of the freshest and newly explored destinations in the Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India.

Located about 4 km from Samsing, this beautiful location of Suntalekhola (also known as Suntaley Khola) at once transports one to a completely different space bounded by unadulterated nature. It’s so green that it rather feels to be a different planet! In Bhutanese, “Suntale” means orange and “khola” means river. There is an abundance of orange trees in and around the region of Suntalekhola and Rocky Island. During the harvesting season in December, Suntalekhola becomes a hub for oranges and the whole place looks like a canvas of green and orange, gaining a bewitching beauty to fall for.

Walking through the Woods

The road through the woods leading to the river is scrupulously clean, lined with pine and oak trees, bushes, various species of flora, and cardamom gardens. The 3-km-walk to the river is convincingly delightful. It engulfs with its striking greenery; the calls of various insects permeating the air; the sight of local houses, cow sheds, and people working on their farms. The overwhelming serenity and the purity of nature that one gets to experience here is something that’s desperately to be missed, once leaving the place.

Walking through the woods

The road through the green wild of Suntalekhola

Wild Flower

A wild flower

It was early morning when I had started my journey from Mateli towards Suntalekhola. Driving by captivating tea gardens, the road took a constant elevation from Mateli. On reaching Samsing, I took a short break and had my breakfast done in a restaurant, overlooking the amazing green hills and the valley. The check post of Suntalekhola falls one kilometre after Samsing. I drove till the check post and decided to walk 3 km from there to reach the Suntalekhola Bridge on the river. On the way falls the West Bengal Government Forest Department Cottages (nearer to Samsing) where I had a booking. You can check the availability and book online here.

WBFD Cottage Suntalekhola

West Bengal Forest Department Cottages in Suntalekhola

Suntalekhola River Camp

Suntalekhola River Camp in the midst of amazing wilderness

After checking in, I went ahead to walk my way up to the bridge. The Suntalekhola River Camp is nearby and the surrounding is very tempting to put up a stay. The wilderness definitely beefs up expectations waiting ahead. Walking past the river camp, the road furthers down to the river. The sound of the river water gradually gains prominence from the distance. Grazing mountain goats adds more beauty in the oh-so-perfect canvas.

Suntalekhola Bridge

Suntalekhola Bridge

The Suntalekhola Bridge

It gets more beautiful as I near the river. With an essence of a picturesque frame alike the woods that we get to see in Discovery and National Geographic channels, Suntalekhola slowly casts its spell. Finally, I arrived at the Suntalekhola Bridge. This is a touristy spot and spending time hovering above the river or dipping toes in the river water and jumping across the rocks and boulders is a pleasant getaway. The bridge leads the way to the Suntalekhola Resort stretching through more woods and green.

Wooden Bridge Suntalekhola

On the wooden Suntalekhola Bridge

Greenery

The beautiful scenic view of Suntalekhola

Enjoy Bonfires and Campfires

The Suntalekhola Resort Camp and various other resorts provide optional campfires and bonfires near the river to give the tourists a memorable experience, though with the strictness of not damaging the resources or the environment. However, personally, I feel these open fires bring pollution to the virgin nature preserved here and though they are enjoyable factors for tourists and an entertainment add on for businesses, they don’t attract responsible travellers much.

Beautiful Cardamom Plantations

Cardamom

Cardamom Plant

Cardamom is grown in almost every house over here. They can be seen even from the roadside. However, the local folks are very watchful so that tourists or travellers do not create any nuisance in the name of seeing and clicking pictures. Creating any disturbance to the nature is considered very offensive in this place.

Exploring Hamlets

Farm

Farms of local folks

This small locality gives a direct view of the rustic lifestyle of the place. The local folks are amicable and engaging with them on their farms can be an interesting experience. Women are very active here and can be seen running hotels and restaurants, working in the fields, shop keeping and everywhere.

The Sound of Nature at Night

Travelling to Suntalekhola remains incomplete without a night stay. The amazing sound of the rippling waters of the river feels like music. The insect calls and the whistling winds occasionally haunt the silence and the stillness of the woods but the location never ceases to seem like a faraway haven in the midst of virgin nature.

Other Places to Visit in and around Suntalekhola

A number of trekking routes begin at Suntalekhola. Notable trekking spots are Neora Valley, Tree Fern Point and Mouchuki, which offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the Dooars. The hills of Bhutan stands on the other side and the Jelep La Pass which connects Tibet with India can also be seen from here. Other places of interest nearby are Samsing, Rocky Island, Faribasti village and Murti.

How to Reach

Suntalekhola is well connected by roads with Siliguri (85 km), New Jalpaiguri or NJP ( ) and New Malbazar Jn (35 km). The nearest airport is Bagdogra ( 95 km) and the nearest railway station is New Malbazar Jn or NJP. You can then hire a car to reach Suntalekhola.

Where to Stay

There are many hotels, homestays, tourist lodges and rest houses in Suntalekhola, both private and Government undertaking. All the Government accommodations in Suntalekhola offer pleasant staying experience. Luxurious resorts and camps are also available.

Best Time to Visit

Suntalekhola can be visited throughout the year. However, visiting after the monsoons (post September) and during the harvest season of oranges (December) can be the best bet.

I came to know about Suntalekhola when I’d read a news in 2015 when the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, explored the region around Suntalekhola and also trekked up to Mouchuki.

“She expressed her desire to plan to develop a large scale tourism circuit comprising the entire area consisting Mouchuki, Suntalekhola, Samsing and Rocky Island. She met the local people and spent time with the children. She took stock of the roads and the facilities in the area and pointed out to the officials present the need to take measures develop facilities for tourists. She also expressed the need of setting up a youth hostel in the area.” (Source – Chief Minister’s Office Government of West Bengal)

West Bengal Tourism is growing fast and attracting travellers across the globe. I had been planning since to visit Suntalekhola and it finally happened. I really fell for the striking wilderness of this small locale, still preserved and untouched. Have you been to Suntalekhola yet?

 

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20 Responses

  1. Sindi Girl says:

    Oh wow! Look at this place. So lush and so green. Can we rewrite eat pray love and make that pray is done in Suntalekhola?

  2. Kallsy says:

    I would LOVE to go camping here sometime. The lush greenery and that bridge are stunning. I also never realized that cardamom plantations existed, I can see where the people working there might find tourists to be a nuisance. It’s hard to step away from the camera at times!

  3. Travelgal Nicole says:

    This looks like a special area. I love your photos and I didn’t have a clue how cardamom was grown!

  4. Milena says:

    It’s so green there, that’s amazing! I would love to camp there and breath the fresh air. Thanks for sharing, another place to my never-ending bucket list.

  5. Interesting, I really love your graphic photos, but anyway, awesome destination, great post and thanks for sharing

  6. John says:

    What a gorgeous place! I would love to visit someday! Thanks for putting together such an awesome post about it!

  7. Mohit says:

    That’s such a beautiful place. Loved the nature and the details you’ve shared.

  8. Seems like the best place to connect with the nature at its raw state. The photographs are extremely amazing. Untouched by human invasion this place is the ultimate destination for camps as well as a trail through the nature.

  9. Ance says:

    This is so beautiful place I would love to go camping here someday.

  10. FS Page says:

    THat is such a lovely place to be in the middle of nature. I can feel the calmness and silence of the place. Great post.

  11. Beautiful place. So calming. I have heard a lot about Darjeeling tea!

  12. Lusine says:

    Nature never stops surprising me. What an incredible place! I like the fact that locals here protect nature so rigorously, I thinks we all need to the same for our environment.

  13. This looks like such an amazing place to visit, thanks so much for you’re great descriptions of this hidden gem! I love a good nature walk, and your pictures made sure that I’ll plan to visit on my next trip to the area.

  14. Anita says:

    It looks like awesome place for a hike. Cardamom plantations sound interesting. Thanks for the information and nice pictures.

  15. Everything here is so green and beautiful! It looks wonderful! I fall for any place that has lush greenery like this. Something I just never get since I live in the desert!

  16. I haven’t been to Bengal, but it reminds me bit of Kerala and its greenery and tea fields.
    It also loos a bit like Dhudwa in Uttar Pradesh. I will definitely consider going during my next trip to India.
    Loved the bridge too 😀

  17. R D Mathur says:

    Looks like a very interesting place.

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