The combination of ham, sausage, burger, momo and thukpa might be a killer attraction for those discerning travellers who wish to merge mountains, valleys and quaint hill stations with their gourmandising instincts. But between the Darjeeling-Gangtok combo, sylvan Kalimpong has much more to offer. On one such exploration, I chanced upon a beautiful hamlet called Chibbo.
As one travels through the serpentine congestion of the Kalimpong streets and heads to Durpin Dara, approximately 3km off the main town of Kalimpong comes the village of Chibbo. Local residents refer to an Upper Chibbo and a Lower Chibbo.
The uniqueness lies in an uninterrupted 180-degree view of Mt Kanchenjungha from almost every corner of the village. I stayed at a charming homestay called Himalayan Eagle Resort (HER), run by Susanne Khati.
The property is spread over almost three acres of absolute greenery with lots of flowers to refresh your senses and their own organic kitchen garden to cater to your taste buds.
As one descends from the car, a short walk through a path of welcome ferns takes one to the lawn of the resort. The first building is the restaurant with kitchen. Cross it and you arrive at a well-maintained lawn overlooking the Sikkim hills, and parts of Namchi and Char Dham.
After crossing the lawn as one goes up to the rooms in cottage-style clusters, one can see the sauna and gym at the end of the lawn. Climbing about 10 to 12 steps, one reaches the first level of the four well-appointed cottages, each with a balcony overlooking the mountains.
I was intrigued to know every year a number of international tourists come here to enjoy the serenity and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding and mountain biking.
For shopaholics, it’s a bit disheartening to know that except for pure serenity, silence and solitude, Chibbo has little to offer them, Kalimpong town being the nearest option.
At night, I was mesmerised as I sat on the balcony and watched the Sikkim towns dazzling like distant stars and the lights of Char Dham emanating an aura of holiness. Then the floating clouds parted to show Kanchenjungha on a full-moon night.
Take a train to New Jalpaiguri station or fly to Bagdogra. Kalimpong is a two-and-a-half hour drive from NJP or Bagdogra. From Kalimpong, it will take 10 minutes by car to reach Chibbo village.
Himalayan Eagle Resort is a good option. For booking rooms in advance, write to [email protected] or call 9830649376/ 8972030484
(Metro on Sunday thanks reader Samrat Chowdhury for this contribution. Pictures by author)