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Do you want to inhale the true essence of aromatic tree plants? If so then you must consider spending a weekend in Tabakoshi – a magnificent rural hamlet amidst the luscious tea gardens. Just below the popular tourist spot Mirik, Tabakoshi is the new offbeat hilly rural tourism destination for the troop of nature lovers. Being a part of Gopaldhara Tea Estate, this peaceful rural hamlet Tabakoshi is still untouched by bustling crowd of Mirik & Dooars.
At an altitude of around 5000 feet, Tabakoshi is located as a retreat for struggling souls and tiring eyes. On the lap of hills, this picturesque hamlet is surrounded by fully green tea gardens. The beauty of this village is unique due to Rangbhang river, flowing through the village. The village has got its name ‘Tabakoshi’ from Mr. Subhas Ghising who named it after the river Tabakoshi of Nepal. Sangma and Thurbo Tea Estates are on the periphery of this village and this has few households, one homestay, and two ancient temples.
Besides spending relaxing moments amidst the hilly greenery, you may also opt for paying a visit to the following places of Tabakoshi:
- Shiva Dham Temple,
- Tea Gardens,
- Tea Factory,
- Fishing point,
- Ginger Farm, and
- Orchid house.
All these places are at a walking distance from the homestay of Tabakoshi.
Just at a distance of 8 km from Mirik, Tabakoshi is situated as a part of Gopaldhara Tea estate in the downhill of Mirik. Being a popular tourist spot of Darjeeling district, Mirik is well connected by road from Siliguri and other parts of North Bengal. If you are looking for an offbeat destination near New Jalpaiguri (NJP), then this beautiful hamlet - Tabakoshi would be an ideal destination for you.
- Bagdogra Airport is closest to Tabakoshi. It will take around 3 hours to reach Tabakoshi from Bagdogra by road. Frequent shared and private rental cars heading towards Mirik or Tabakoshi (directly), are available from Bagdogra airport. The road journey from Siliguri to Tabakoshi would itself be a memorable experience.
- New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is the mostly used railway station to reach Tabakoshi. Regular super fast express trains - Darjeeling Mail, Kanchankanya Express, Uttarbanga Express etc. ply between Sealdah or Howrah Railway station (Kolkata) and NJP. From NJP station's entrance, plenty of shared or private cars head towards Mirik at an affordable cost. The drive takes approximately 2 hours to reach Mirik from Siliguri. At Mirik bus stand, there are available shared or private cars which drop the tourists at Tabakoshi homestay at the end of a 35 mins' drive. Fair price is charged by the car drivers.
- AC/Non AC Volvo buses also depart daily from Esplanade bus terminus (Kolkata) and from other particular towns to arrive at Siliguri bus stand. Shared and private rental vehicles are easily available from Siliguri bus stand to reach Mirik or directly at Tabakoshi.
- At the center of Gopaldhara tea estate, there is Sunakhari Homestay which is the only accommodation available at Tabakoshi till date. The homestay is owned, run and managed by Mr. Rai & his family. A warm friendly hospitality and guidance are key attractions of this homestay. Sunakhari homestay is comprised of a bamboo cottage, two stone cottages and two basic rooms. All its nests are fully decked with modern basic facilities. An artificial pond has also been built in front of this homestay to enhance its beauty. Whenever you are in Tabakoshi, you would definitely feel good to spend your holiday in Sunakhari Homestay.
- Traditional home made hilly style traditional Bengali, Nepali and other Indian dishes are served here in a healthy & hygienic way. Mrs. Rai herself takes care of the meals and snacks. Freshly prepared authentic Darjeeling tea is the special attraction of Tabakoshi. On special request, Bonfire and customized dishes are also arranged by Rai family. In road side eateries you would also get sumptuous delicious local hilly delicacies.
A LEISURE WALK THROUGH THE TEA GARDENThis year I have chosen Darjeeling to spend my summer vacation. Being a hill lover, I have already discovered many parts of Darjeeling so I was looking for any offbeat destination near Darjeeling. Suddenly on a blog, I came across the name of Tabakoshi. Immediately I started to know more about the place. Luckily on Google, I found some useful information about this unexplored hamlet and also got the contacts of its only homestay 'Sunakhari Homestay'. As per the plan, I boarded on Kanchankanya Express from Sealdah Railway Station (Kolkata). The train a little late and I got off the train at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) on next morning at around 10:30 am. From a nearby eatery, I had some breakfast and then went to catch a shared jeep for Mirik. As the jeep needed more passengers to fill up the seats so I waited some time outside and after half an hour, the jeep started its journey towards Mirik. It took almost 2.30 hours to reach Mirik, keeping behind the jams and crowd of Siliguri town but the way leading the hills was a treat for my tiring eyes. The more I was getting close to the hills, the more I started to inhale its toxic-free pure oxygen. The jeep dropped me at Mirik bus stand where a pre-booked car was waiting for me as I requested the homestay owner of Tabakoshi to send a car for me at Mirik. I got into the car and the car took me to my much-awaited destination Tabakoshi at the end of a 35 minutes' drive. The misty road through the downhill and lavishly green tea estates already healed my soul and vanished my fatigue. Mr. Rai - the owner of Sunakhari Homestay heartily welcomed me and after a formal conversation over a cup of home made authentic Darjeeling tea, he led me to the bamboo cottage allotted for me. The cottage was just amidst the tea garden and from the window I just could see only splashes of greens surrounding me till the end of the horizon. All basic facilities were present in the cottage and it was neatly arranged as well as elegantly decorated. It was late afternoon and I was terribly hungry so without wasting much time, I rushed to the dining hall to grab the delicious lunch. Traditional simple Bengali lunch was freshly prepared by Mrs. Rai with much care and affection. During lunch I got familiar with other family members of Mr. Rai and I made some plans with them. The plans included a leisure walk through the tea garden, a tour around the village and a picnic in front of the homestay at night. Before sunset, I along with children of Mr. Rai went out to explore the village & the tea garden. Before sunset, we entered into the Gopaldhara tea estate so that I could capture the beauty of tea garden. The sun was then about to set behind the tea garden and the tea-leave collectors were going back to their homes. The last rays of the Sun, the colourful clothes of the gardeners and the whitish fog created a majestic environment throughout the tea garden. The essence of the young tea leaves was so fresh that it energized me at very first touch. Enjoying a leisure walk through the tea garden, we came into the village. My guide cum friends made me acquainted with each and every detail of the village. We interacted with some of the local dwellers, strolled through the muddy hilly roads, enjoyed special local delicacies from the roadside eateries and finally came back to the homestay in late evening. Mr. and Mrs. Rai were already busy in arranging food for picnic. We all joined them to help. Mr. Rai lit up a bonfire and we assisted Mrs. Rai to prepare Tandoori Chicken. I completely enjoyed the picnic and spent some joyous moments with Rai family and a few neighbours. Post dinner, I dozed off early under my warm quilt.
EXPLORING EVERY NOOK AND CORNER OF TABAKOSHIAt Tabakoshi, my early morning was started with sweet chirping of colourful birds. Getting out of the bed, I took my brush and went for a walk through the metallic foot bridge over the Rangbhang river. I spent some 'me-time' in the river bank as it was a chance to get connected with such lovely nature. On my return in the homestay, I joined the family members in morning tea and healthy breakfast.Then I got ready quickly to reveal the secret beauty of each nook & corner of Tabakoshi. One of the members of Mr. Rai's family accompanied me in my endeavour. My first destinations were the nearby tea gardens - Sungma and Thurba. The two gardens were flooded with loads of greenery and the tea leaves were dancing with the pleasant cool breeze. Beauty of these tea gardens was flourished more by the colourful dresses of the local ladies who were there to collect tea leaves in the perfectly weaven baskets tied on their backs. Capturing this pure beauty of tea gardens we moved towards the Gopaldhara tea factory where the famous Darjeeling tea is processed out of the freshly plucked tea leaves. The manager of the factory was very friendly and he described me the whole tea-producing process as well as showed me the machines used in this process. Our next destination was the Shiva Dham temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This beautiful temple of Lord Shiva was located just beside the Rangbhang river and it is considered to be one of the holiest places of Tabakoshi. We attended the daily worship of this temple and I was astonished by the ancient architecture of the temple as well as the idol of Lord Shiva. There was another temple of Lord Vishnu at some distance. We paid a quick visit to this temple too. Then my guide took me to the Orchid house that was basically a well-designed nursery filled with varieties of flowers, trees and orchids. We also entered in to the Ginger farm where organic gingers are locally produced in traditional method. On the way back to the homestay, we took a halt at the Fishing point where I tried my hands out in fishing and it was obviously an amazing experience. We reached the homestay before lunch and an aromatic lunch awaited for us. I enjoyed the mouth-watering lunch with all the family members and they gifted me some more beautiful moments. After lunch, I packed my bag and bid goodbye to Mr. Rai's family with heavy heart. Mr. Rai already booked a car for me so that I could easily reach Siliguri within late evening. I got into the car and returned back to Siliguri keeping behind the fragrance of surrounding tea gardens. In the solitude of the mountains, Tabakoshi is the place where my strained eyes were rejuvenated and my battled souls were learned again to be happy.
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For further details, contact the local host.
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