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Travelogue / West Bengal

Tabakoshi – A Land of Pristine Tea Garden

tabakoshi

Nestled in the lap of mother nature and encompassed by tea gardens, Tabakoshi is a pristine small village of the Darjeeling district and is a part of the famous Gopaldhara Tea Estate. Located about 5.5 KMs from Mirik, Tabakoshi is the perfect place where you can soak yourself in nature, let your soul flow by the streaming Rangbhang river, enjoy yourself through the trails of various tea gardens while aiding your ear with the chirping sounds of various birds.

The word Tabakoshi has been adopted from the Nepalese dialect where Tamba means copper and Koshi means river. The clear water of the scenic Rangbhang river that flows through the Tabakoshi village changes to a muddy texture during the monsoon giving it an effect of the copper colour. Thus, the village of Tabakoshi obtained its name from this river. To escape from the hustle-bustle of life, Tabakoshi will be a perfect destination for a day or two.

Itinerary

Day 1 – 24th Dec 2020: CCU – IXB. IXB – Lungchu
Day 2 – 25th Dec 2020: Lungchu
Day 3 – 26th Dec 2020: Lungchu – Tabakoshi
Day 4 – 27th Dec 2020: Tabakoshi – Bungkulung
Day 5 – 28th Dec 2020: Bungkulung – Baasbari (Bijanbari)
Day 6 – 29th Dec 2020: Baasbari (Bijanbari)
Day 7 – 30th Dec 2020: Baasbari (Bijanbari) – Lamagaon
Day 8 – 31st Dec 2020: Lamagaon – Darjeeling
Day 9 – 1st Jan 2021: Darjeeling
Day 10 – 2nd Jan 2021: Darjeeling
Day 11 – 3rd Jan 2021: Darjeeling – IXB. IXB – CCU

NOTE: Lungchu is in Kalimpong district while remaining destinations of our tour are in Darjeeling district. Generally, this should not be a route plan of yours, however, as we wanted to explore Lungchu we planned it anyway.

How To Reach

Tabakoshi is located around 5 KMs ahead of Mirik in Gopaldhara Tea Estate. One can always opt for a private vehicle for pick up and drop to & from NJP / Siliguri or else if you are a budget tourist like us, the best way to reach Tabakoshi by shared vehicle is to hop into one going to Pokhriabong from Siliguri Darjeeling More or even from Darjeeling / Sukhiapokhri / Mirik.

What To See / What To Do

Tabakoshi being a natural destination, your best bet is to enjoy the trails through pristine Tea Gardens around. Or let yourself soak into the lap of mother nature by letting your soul flow into the streams of Rangbhang Khola. If you are up for a touristy attraction, Tabakoshi won’t fail you! You can visit the nearby nature park for an eventful afternoon. You may

Day 3 – 26th Dec 2020 – Lungchu – Tabakoshi :

Similar to yesterday, we started our day early in the morning. However, our luck completely deceived us today with the weather being completely foggy. As we had to go a long way today, without wasting much time, we quickly got ourselves freshen up for the day. Soon after having our breakfast and bidding goodbye to Mr Ashok Rai and his family, we left for our shelter for the day – Sunakhari Homestay at Tabakoshi.

The journey onwards via Lava – Kalimpong – Ghoom – Lepchajagat – Sukhiapokhri was mostly uneventful for us. We mostly chit-chatted amongst us en-route. I, personally would not recommend anyone to consider this as a route plan, however as we wished to explore Lungchu and most of our remaining plan was in Darjeeling district, we chose to go ahead with this. So as a reader, I’d like you to know that this can be done for sure, however, keep in mind the long journey hours while hopping between destinations in Kalimpong and Darjeeling district. We were pretty much okay with this and are habituated with longer journey hours. However, everyone might not be and thus it’s a point to consider.

In between, we stopped for a while at Sukhiapokhri as we are in love with the hand-made cookies and cakes from the local bakeries at Sukhia. We learned about these local bakeries in Sukhia during our Trip to Lepchajagat and since then we always stop for a moment while passing through Sukhia to saviour our taste buds!

Mr Uttam Lepcha, the son-in-law of Mr & Mrs Ramesh Rai, the owner of Sunakhari Homestay, came to Sukhia due to some of his personal work and decided to hold back for a while to guide us further to Tabakoshi considering we were already en-route to Sukhia. The further journey towards Tabakoshi was very enjoyable driving through the pristine lush green tea gardens.

gopaldhara tea estate

Upon reaching Sunakhari Homestay – our shelter for the day, we were greeted and welcomed warmly by Mr Deep. He looks after the place and manages all the bookings as the owners Mr & Mrs Ramesh Rai are very old now and both of their sons are posted out of the state. The thermal check was conducted for each and every one of us and our luggage were sanitized. We really loved this gesture of theirs considering the safety protocols. While Myself and Dilip Da continued with the entry formalities our wives took charge to sanitize the rooms. We were carrying our own pack of disinfectant sprays to sanitize each and every corner of the room, our luggage, clothes etc. on a daily basis.

It was already 2:30 PM by then, thus we opted to have our lunch instead of wasting much time. The food was really delicious and felt homely! Later after having our lunch, we decided to stroll through the property and explore the same. Sunakhari Homestay has 5 different types of cottages – Tree House, 2 x Stone House, Bamboo House, 2 x Wooden House and Bottle House. Other than the cottages they also have 5 Tents. The property is well decorated and a place of exploration in itself.

Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Our exploration started from the entrance of the Sunakhari Homestay which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The owners had turned a small pine tree into a Christmas tree which was graced with green rice lights. There were colourful balloons hanging at the main gate with other decorative items of Christmas. 

The Tree House is located just to the left of the entrance. Built upon the stout trunks of local trees one needs to climb a few stairs to reach the room. The Tree House has only one room and can accommodate a family of two. Various tree trunks are used to construct the room of the Tree House. One can have a view of the tea garden that is located just on a hill opposite the room. Considering the view from the room and getting an experience to spend a night in the Tree House it is considered as one of the best rooms at Sunakhari Homestay

Tree House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Beside the Tree House is the open-air restaurant. The restaurant is well decorated with modern crockeries and has a sitting arrangement for two groups at a time. To the left of the restaurant, there is an in-house shop which can help you with basic food items and soft drinks. The reception is located right across the restaurant.

Shop - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Restaurant - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Reception - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Reception - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

There’s a beautiful man-made pond right across the Restaurant and Reception, with various species of fishes in it right in the mid of the Sunakhari Homestay. A quaint wooden bridge has been built to cross the waterbed will lead you to the Stone House & Bamboo House. One can spend quite some time by the balcony of Stone House watching the activities of fishes. 

Pond - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

The stone cottage has two rooms and can accommodate two families at a time. The walls of the cottage have been constructed with real stones bound with cement and other chemicals. This cottage has a common balcony that has been beautifully decorated with various floras. Once inside the cottage, one will feel like staying in a stone house. During the summers the balcony of this cottage is the best place to spend your evening over a cup of hot tea adorning over the surrounding natural beauty. However, during winters, it becomes chilly outside. We were lucky to have been allocated the Stone House for the day!

Stone House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Stone House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

To the right of the Stone House is the Bamboo House. The Bamboo House has been constructed in the same way as of the Stone House except that bamboos have been used to construct the walls unlike the stones in the Stone Cottage. The Bamboo House also offers a similar view as of the Stone House. Bamboo House having a single room can only accommodate a family of two. To the left of the Bamboo House is the Kitchen with a seating arrangement for one or two groups at a time. During winters dinners are provided in the kitchen to cope up with the extremely chilly weather outside.

Bamboo House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Kitchen - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Beside the Kitchen lies the Wooden House. There are two rooms at Wooden House which can accommodate two families. The wooden house is as normal as any other wooden buildings you’d come across in the hills. A staircase beside the Wooden House will lead you to the tents. The tents are very basic with only sleeping arrangements and a single common washroom for all the five tents. A sitting arrangement with a scope of the bonfire has been built in front, for those staying in the tents.

Wooden House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Tents - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Another flight of stairs from here will lead you to the Bottle House. Considering the experience, Bottle House is one of the best accommodation options at Sunakhari Homestay. The Bottle House is constructed by using glass bottles. As there was already a guest present, we couldn’t explore it. However, from the exterior, we could see the bottom of the bottle was bound with cement and chemicals to construct the walls of this cottage. This cottage has a single room and can accommodate a family of two. Being located at the backside of the property, it’s easy to reach the river bed from this cottage. There is a gate right beside the Bottle House which leads to the river bank.

Bottle House - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

After strolling through the property and exploring the cottages for a while we went ahead to the banks of Rangbhang Khola (Khola in Nepali dialect means River). There’s a paved path from the Sunakhari Homestay itself that leads to the riverside. Although I’d not categorize it as beautiful as we experienced in Shivakhola or even in Jholung River Camp, but it feels peaceful to spend some time by the banks of Rangbhang river as you soothe your soul with the tranquillity of nature, watch the unconfined stream and listen to your own heartbeat.

Rangbhang River Tabakoshi

It started getting chilly as the sun went down below the horizon. A hot cup of Tea and some pakodas by Aunty provided to be a boon at that point of time! Rest of the evening we spent gossiping amongst ourselves and called off the day soon after having our dinner.

Day 4 – 27th Dec 2020 – Tabakoshi – Bungkulung :

To utilize the remaining hours, we woke up early. Our plan was to go for a village walk and explore the pristine beauty of nearby tea gardens. We took our own sweet time to get ready and left to explore the village. The mud road that leads to the Sunakhari Homestay is gracefully furnished with the canopy of trees. Across the junction of the main road and the mud road, there is a small iron bridge over the Rangbhang River. The colourful prayer flags of Buddhism finely enhance the beauty of the bridge. A flight of stairs will take to the public park and the public swimming pool just by the bridge. Though there was no water in the pool may be due to winter or due to maintenance you can still opt to spend some of your time in the park. However, we chose to go for a village walk rather than spending time in the park.

Rangbhang River Tabakoshi

Tabakoshi is located amongst the tea gardens. I gazed from the river bed one will see green all around with clusters of small cottages within it. We were out of luck to get such a view as the tea leaves were already plucked during the time we visited and the old trees were cut down for better growthment. With a heavy heart, we had to perceive the barren tea garden and return back to our homestay.

Soon after having our breakfast, we left for our shelter for the day – Bungkulung Jungle Camp.

Reviews :

Sunakhari Homestay, Tabakoshi : Located about 5.5 KMs from Mirik, Tabakoshi is is a pristine small village encompassed by tea gardens and a perfect place where you can soak yourself in nature or let your soul flow by the streaming Rangbhang river or even enjoy yourself through the trails of various tea gardens while aiding your ear with the chirping sounds of various birds.

Upon our check-in, the thermal check was conducted for each and every one of us and our luggage were sanitized. We really loved this gesture of theirs considering the safety protocols during this period. We found Sunakhari Homestay to be very clean and well maintained. The homestay being well decorated and the property itself being a huge one, is a place of exploration in itself. Sunakhari Homestay has 5 different types of cottages – Tree House, Stone House, Bamboo House, Wooden House and Bottle House. Other than the cottages they also have 5 Tents. There is a gate right beside the Bottle House which will lead you to the riverbank of Rangbhang Khola (Khola in Nepali dialect means River).

The owners Mr & Mrs Ramesh Rai, other family members and the staffs are very helpful, co-operative and always smiling. The food was really delicious and felt homely!

Room - Sunakhari Homestay - Tabakoshi

Costing :

Sunakhari Homestay: Rs. 1200/- per head per day including Fooding and Lodging

Contacts :

Sunakhari Homestay, Tabakoshi  : +91 83480 31197 / +91 62979 63288 / +91 95936 61864 / +91 95937 93057 | Uttam Lepcha : +91 83720 64419 / +91 85159 58912 / +91 81677 95334 | Deep : +91 78649 38583

Tea Village Homestay, Tabakoshi : +91 90831 11566 / +91 78727 66091 / Website. Although we didn’t stay here, however, during our trip to Tabakoshi, we came upon this fantastic homestay, owned by Mr Bijay Subba, amidst the pristine tea garden of Gopaldhara Tea Estate. Well, I just can’t stress it enough that I’d love to stay here if I ever visit Tabakoshi again! If you prefer to be amidst the Tea Garden and don’t mind staying away from the river, consider staying here instead.

Abhijeet Singha (Babai Da) : +91 89066 72949 / +91 99325 64080. Babai Da is always our trusted partner in Dooars and North Bengal. We just can’t think of a trip to Dooars / North Bengal without Babai Da being with us.

Abhijeet Singha (Babai Da)

About Author

Born and brought up in Kolkata I met Krishnandu in 2012. We fell in love and got married in 2016 and travelled to Bhutan for our honeymoon. We travelled throughout that year to various places and that is when I developed my passion for travelling. After our dream trip to Ladakh in 2018, I started noting down my travel experiences on a random basis. Krishnandu then urged me to pen down travel blogs. So I finally started scripting informative travel blogs that would help you to gain precise information about a destination.

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