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To spend some relaxing days away from concretes’ jungle, you may trip to Shivakhola that is an unknown tiny village at a distance of around 27 km from Siliguri. Being situated on the lap of Himalaya, this small rural hamlet is enriched with unforgettable scenic beauty, unexploited pleasant climate (all year round) and a close connection with nature. Although the village is comprised of a handful of rural households only, its beauty has been enhanced by a narrow stream that is flowing through the village. Shivakhola is surrounded by Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and so it has become a heaven for Nature lovers and Wildlife Photographers.
There are many stories related to the origin of this place. It is popularly said that the place has got its name ‘Shivakhola’ from Lord Shiva’s ‘Shiva‘ and ‘Khola’ – the narrow creek flowing through the village. An ancient Shiva temple is situated on the bank of this river and the place is claimed to be the holiest place of this region.
Few local dwellers of Shivakhola have started ‘Shivakhola Adventure Camp’ at the river bank where many adventurous sports activities are offered to the visitors at an affordable price. So whenever you are paying a visit in Shivakhola you may experience River Trekking, Rappelling, Rock climbing, River crossing, Nature walks and so on. To avail their services, it is recommended to have a talk with them in advance.
This small beautiful village Shivakhola is closest to Mirik of Darjeeling district. As we know that North Bengal's queen- Darjeeling is well connected with major cities by rail, road and sky so its 'yet-to-be-explored' most promising weekend destination Shivakhola is also easily accessible by road. Darjeeling, Siliguri, and Kalimpong are its nearest cities.
- Bagdogra Airport is the only nearest airport from Shivakhola. It will take around 3 hours to reach Shivakhola from Bagdogra by car. Frequent shared and private rental cars heading towards Mirik or Sukna, are available from Bagdogra airport. The way towards Shivakhola passes through Sukna forest and Rongtong. From Rongtong, you have to turn right to reach Shivakhola following a steep road.
- New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is the mostly used railway station to reach Shivakhola although Kurseong, Mahandia and Darjeeling Railway stations have connected Shivakhola with other parts by railway connectivity. 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 or Sukna Forest or Rongtong or directly to Shivakhola at an affordable cost. The drive takes approximately 3 hours from Siliguri.
- 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 your destination.
- Shivakhola Adventure Camp is presently the most popular accommodation in Shivakhola. The camp consists of wooden huts and proper tents that are well decked with all modern facilities and necessities. Friendly camp owners of Shivakhola Adventure Camp take care of their guests and also provide customized arrangements on prior request of the guests. Various sports activities, Nature walks and camps are offered by the hosts at an affordable price.
- Traditional home made hilly style Bengali, Nepali and other Indian dishes are served here in a healthy & hygienic way. On special request, the camp owners also arrange Bonfire and Barbeque to let the guests enjoy exotic dishes in such pleasant environment. You can also enjoy candle light dinner with your loved ones in the romantic attire of this nature camp.
Getting closer to natureGetting frustrated with the daily work loads, I was deliberately searching for an offbeat hilly destination to rejoice myself. Fortunately, on internet I read about the Shivakhola Nature Camp of Darjeeling district and got their contact details. I immediately called them up to know more about this place. They guided me with all details and suggested an affordable adventurous trip for me. Without wasting much time, I booked the trip to Shivakhola Adventure Camp. On scheduled date, I caught Padatik Express from Sealdah Railway Station ( Kolkata) and got off the train at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) on next morning. As per the booking facilities, the camp owners already sent a private car that was waiting for me at NJP's entrance. The friendly car driver greeted me with a broad smile and took me to a nearby eatery for breakfast. Then we headed directly towards Shivakhola. Keeping congestion of bustling Siliguri behind when the car was passing Sukna Forest, I was literally spellbound by the loads of greenery and cool breeze of the hilly area. From Rongtong, the car turned right to take a steep road leading Shivakhola. I was little scared of the road but the driver was too efficient to cover the road smoothly. At the end of 3 hours' drive, I finally took an entry into the most awaited destination - Shivakhola. At the first glance, I was mesmerized by the scenic beauty and pleasant climate of this picturesque village. I came out of the car to reach the Shivakhola Nature Camp crossing a footbridge on the narrow stream. Welcoming hosts of the camp were waiting for me with their smiling faces. Enjoying a cup of Darjeeling tea and informal chitchat with the camp owners, I followed the owner to choose a suitable tent for me. In my well decked, neatly arranged tent I kept my luggage and freshened up quickly. Meanwhile, I was called for having lunch in their dinning area where I loaded my stomach with freshly prepared, affectionately served traditional Bengali dishes. In late afternoon, I went outside to explore the village. One of the camp members accompanied me in my stroll around the village. We went to the years-old Lord Shiva's temple where the priest was then getting prepared for evening arati. We attended the arati and I took some snaps of the temple & the idol of Lord Shiva. On the way back to camp, we walked through the village, passed by the tiny beautiful households, interacted with the local dwellers and enjoyed a plate to steaming hot momos along with cup of masala tea. In late evening, the camp owners arranged bonfire and traditional Nepali dance performances for the guests. I happily joined the programme and enjoyed the true essence of camping. In dinner, the hosts served special fish dishes for their Bengali dishes and it was really an add-on happiness of my trip to Shivakhola.
A day- full of AdventuresMy early morning at Shivakhola was started with chirping of birds and cool breeze of the hills. The camp owner already told us about the Sunrise point that is 14 km away from Shivakhola. As everyone of the camp was keen to witness the sunrise so I along with other guests headed towards the Sunrise point by a car, arranged by the camp. At the point we witnessed a breath-taking view of the sun rays reflecting on the crystal clear peaks of Mt. Kanchenjunga. The car dropped us to the camp again and on the way we enjoyed cup of aromatic tea at the roadside tea stall. As per the trip package, I already enrolled myself in the adventure sports offered by the camp. So coming back to the tent I got ready to take part in the adventures. I participated in River trekking and Rappelling. Both of these were thrilling experiences for me. Then I joined a group for nature walk through the nearby Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary where I came across uncountable number of wild innocent animals, colourful birds of unknown species and eye-catching butterflies. Then I came back to the river bank, sat on the pebbles and spent some lonely moments in the river side to inhale the fresh oxygen and create a connection with such peaceful nature. My silence was broken by the call for lunch from the camp. Another meal of mouth-watering dishes were waiting for me in the camp. I finished the lunch and packed my bag. My pre booked car was waiting for me at the camp gate so I bid goodbye to the hosts and got into the car heading towards Siliguri. Shivakhola - the pious place of Lord Shiva gave me loads of happiness, peace, adventure which helped me to boost myself for the coming struggles for survival.
For details, contact the local host.
For details, contact the local host.
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