Plan to promote Mungpoo as tourist destination
Tourism stakeholders in Mungpoo, a tiny hill hamlet in Kurseong that was a favourite getaway for Rabindranath Tagore, want the government to take steps to promote it as a tourist destination and augment infrastructure.
Tagore first visited Mungpoo and stayed in a bungalow, later converted into a museum, in May 1938 on the invitation of author Maitreyee Devi.
Mungpoo, 35km downhill from Darjeeling town, is also famous for its cinchona plantations, which produce quinine that is used to treat malaria.
Anil Thapa, a representative of the Mungpoo Eco-tourism Welfare Society, said that apart from the memory of Tagore and the cinchona plantations, there are several other tourist attractions in Mungpoo.
“The place is a hub of medicinal plants, orchids and orange orchards. There are more than 100 small orchards across Mungpoo. The full range of the Kanchenjungha can be seen from Siksin, barely 4km from Mungpoo. The range of the Senchel wildlife sanctuary is also located at a similar distance from Mungpoo,” Thapa told The Telegraph.
“It is a perfect destination for those who prefer to stay away from the hustle-bustle of congested tourist spots like Darjeeling and would love to spend a couple of days in the lap of nature,” he added.
Thapa is in Calcutta to attend a travel and trade fair where he is showcasing Mungpoo. He said that over the years, around 20 homestays had come up in and around Mungpoo.
Raj Basu, a veteran tour operator, said Mungpoo had immense potential.
“There are at least four to five heritage sites across the valley that stretch from the old railway station at Gail Khola to Rabindra Museum, Suriel bungalow and the cinchona plantations,” said Basu.
He said a proposal had been submitted to the Bengal government to decentralise administrative offices and set up some at Mungpoo.