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Next weekend you can be at ... Gahunbari

Gahunbari is nestled in the Dooars in north Bengal, close to Sikkim and the Bhutan border. We caught a glimpse of the majestic Kanchenjunga while making our way to the quaint resort from Siliguri by car.

The serpentine road is flanked by lush green tea gardens on both sides and the foothills of the Himalayas are visible in the horizon. The tea bushes grew less dense as we sped along and vanished after a point, making way for tropical forests.

The ride to Gahunbari took us through the jungles of Gorumara and Chapramari. We stopped by the picturesque Murti river and then headed towards Jhalong district. The fresh air and virgin natural beauty worked wonders for us.

After a 45-minute hilly journey, we reached our destination — Gahunbari. We stayed at a resort off the highway, which was comfortable though not luxurious. The little resort is perched on the slope of a hill, offering a breathtaking view of the Jaldhaka river, flowing at a drop of around 3,200 feet. A tricking waterfall right next to the resort added to the beauty of place. The resort is cut off from civilisation save for a couple of huts belonging to the local people.

Dusk descended slowly on Gahunbari, painting a memorable picture. Suddenly darkness enveloped the surroundings and a cool breeze started blowing. Local residents say the breeze is a round-the-year phenomenon, not seasonal, and comes from the direction of the frozen Tsangu Lake in Sikkim.

There is no electricity in this remote corner of the Dooars and the resort depends on power from a generator.

View from this side

Next morning, we got up early and were greeted by a bright sunny day. The nearest tourist spot is Bindu, a border town between India and Bhutan.

Bindu is famous for its dam across the Jaldhaka river. Tourists are allowed to take a tour on foot of the dam and the bridge across the river. The Jaldhaka looked inviting, but tourists are restricted from taking a dip because of the swift current.

Uphill from Gahunbari is a spot called View Point, which offered a spectacular view of the Dooars. Acres of green hills and dense forests stretched in front of us, as far as the eyes could see. A fine mist hung over the forest and the river wound its way through the greenery like a thin satin ribbon.

The gardener of View Point pointed out the direction of the China border and the Bhutanese border to us.

The peace and tranquillity and natural beauty of Gahunbari make it an ideal destination to recharge your senses, though you will be disappointed if you go looking for the usual tourist activities like eating out and shopping.

Going

Take a train to New Jalpaiguri station or a flight to Bagdogra. Then hire a car to Gahunbari. It is 101km by road from New Jalpaiguri station.

Staying

You can stay at Gahunbari Country Resort-cum-Shivaji Dhaba. There are six double bed cottages and require prior booking. Contact: 9474586749

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