About this blog: There are times when we all need to get away from our daily life to find recluse in nature. Bidyang, a small hamlet in North Bengal is such a place where you can spend a couple of days in peace and happiness. In this blog, we talk about our experience of visiting Bidyang and other information like how to reach, where to stay and what to do.
The sparkling river flowed just before us as we stood admiring the peace and quiet before us. It was winter, so the river was not as boisterous. It was now a bit calmer, just like the landscape around us. We were at Bidyang, an offbeat getaway near Kalimpong in West Bengal. It was the proverbial ‘golden hour’, the time before dusk approaches. And everything around was gorgeous.
The sun was setting down giving an orange hue to the blue skies. There was a slight nip in the air. I was standing on a large boulder just in the middle of the river while Agni was sitting down at the bank of the river with a beatific smile in his face. It was one of those times when I feel completely mesmerized by his smiles (Yes, the place had already charmed me with its entire romantic vibes.) However, I choose not to digress here and go on with the task of introducing Bidyang, a quaint hamlet near Kalimpong in West Bengal.
We always love to visit places that are offbeat and less crowded, places where peace and solitude are easy to get by. Our quest brought us to Bidyang Valley this time. The village is located on the banks of Relli River, a small river perhaps originated from the heart of Sikkim and concluding its journey at the Teesta River. This place is a perfect getaway from the crowd and concrete. With a couple of days in hand, Bidyang valley can be a very good weekend destination from Kolkata.
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What to expect at Bidyang Valley? What was our Experience?
We usually associate North Bengal with snow-clad mountain views and the rolling tea gardens. While these are an absolute delight, these are also not what you will find at Bidyang. Situated at an altitude of about 3000 feet on the banks of Relli River, the beauty of Bidyang lies in its simplicity. There is greenery everywhere you look.
All that you can hear at Bidyang are the sound of the flowing and the chirping of birds. Silence is beautiful here. And so are the clouds that are often cast over the mountain ranges ahead. A full moon night simply enhances the beauty of the valley. The river and the valley bathed in the soft light of the moon might make a poet out of anyone!
Trip to a charming village
So after our almost botched up trip to Silk Route (the weather was so bad that we were unable to reach Gnathang Valley), we were driving through the winding roads beyond Pedong towards Algarah. We always like to drive through these roads beyond Kalimpong. Driving becomes a pleasure under the thick canopy of greenery that is found here.
We took the diversion from 14-Mile and started on a serpentine downhill road towards Bidyang. To be honest, we did not anticipate our homestay to be so close to the river bank. We kept on driving downhill after a particularly dirty and rocky trail before finally reaching near the river bank. There stood the homestay just beside the river.
We found there is another homestay at the opposite side of the river. The river is not much deep at that place and the vehicles crossed the river bed to the other side.
We stayed at Sanjay’s homestay. It is named River View Homestay. Later we came to know that it is also known as Pine View Homestay. However, as Shakespeare had said ‘what is in a name’; we really did not care about the name of the place. The homestay is quite cosy and beautiful having all the basic amenities.
What to do at Bidyang? Our Experience
We reached Bidyang at around 5 PM. Once we were there, we simply went to the river bank to enjoy nature’s bliss.
Soon it was dusk and we retraced our steps back to our homestay. The night was equally charming, though it was not a full moon night. We could hear the soft sounds of the rippling water amidst the silence of the night. It was totally enchanting.
The next morning, we took it on us to explore the area. There is a wooden hanging bridge over the river. It looks quite lovely over the rocky bed of the river. From the bridge we got a good view of the surroundings. We crossed the river to the other side and went on towards the homestay on the other bank of the river. This one also looked equally beautiful.
We walked along the river bank, crossed the river a number of times. Sometimes we were maneuvering our way over the boulders while at other; we simply crossed the river over the small bamboo bridge. It was a fine morning, after all. Bidyang is the home to a number of Himalayan birds and butterfly. Though the place is not for bird watching as such, you might see a few while you are there.
There is a small waterfall on the river bank quite close to the hanging bridge. You can just walk by the river to find your way to the waterfall. This waterfall is perhaps unnamed. Because no one could tell me what it is called. There is another waterfall named the Dima Falls. A narrow and rocky uphill trail leads to the waterfall. We could go there as the trail at that time was quite slippery due to rains.
Later, we explored the village, visited the vegetable farms and the orchards. There is an orange orchard nearby. You have to trek about 15 minutes to reach there. And yes, if you want to take a bath at the river, you can do that as well! However, be careful of the rocks and the depth of the river. At places, the river flows quite rapidly. Accidents can happen.
After exploring Bidyang at our hearts content, it was time for our return. Our retuen train from New Jalpaiguri was in the evening. We started from Bidyang at noon, explored a bit of Kalimpong and then finally drove back to Siliguri.
All over, Bidyang valley is a wonderful weekend getaway from Kolkata for a couple of days. Even if you are staying at Kalimpong, you can visit Bidyang as a sightseeing tour. But I would always recommend staying at Bidyang for at least a night to feel the true beauty of the place.
How to reach Bidyang Valley?
Bidyang is located about 15 km from Kalimpong town. An overnight train journey from Sealdah will take you to New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP). The nearest airport is Bagdogra. You can hire a car from NJP or Siliguri or Bagdogra to Bidyang.
If you are the one on a budget, you can avail shared sumos from NJP and Siliguri (near Siliguri Bus Stand) to Kalimpong. Usually, shared sumos to Kalimpong are available from NJP Station. However, if you do not get one, take a shared auto to Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand in Siliguri. From there, you will get shared sumos to Kalimpong.
Wizzride also runs shared cabs from Bagdogra Airport and a few other places in Siliguri. They provide Innovas and are much more comfortable ride than the sumos.
From Kalimpong, you can get a cab to reach Bidyang. A small car will take around INR 800-1000 and a larger one will take around INR 1000 – 1200. Shared jeeps to Bidyang are available from Kalimpong Stand, but they do not run everyday.
If you are driving your own car, then to reach Bidyang, you have to take the diversion from 14-Mile before Algarah. After that a 15 to 20 minutes’ drive from Wachipa through a bumpy track will take you to the river bed.
Where to stay at Bidyang?
As I mentioned before, we saw 2 different homestays at both sides of the river. We stayed at Sanjay Ji’s homestay. Contact No. 8670057310.
The homestay has 6 rooms, 3 on the ground floor and 3 on the top floor in a quaint cottage like structure. The homestay has all the basic amenities. There is a small balcony cum verandah in front of the rooms. This is the place for having meals. The rate is INR 1300 -1400 per head per day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The other homestay is Bidyang Doon Valley Nature Eco Retreat. This one has some separate cottages, rooms and dormitories as well. The rate here is similar to the other one. This one is on the other side of the river. So either you have to cross the river on the boulders or drive your car through the river bed.
Both the homestays take proper measures for sanitation and cleanliness after the Post-Covid situation.
A few things to remember
- These homestays make a lot of effort to make your stay comfortable. They are not professionals, so please do not expect star rated hospitality. Try to be a little amenable, they usually go all the way to make your stay comfortable.
- When you are exploring these new places, please keep them as pristine as you find them. Do not leave your plastics, thermocol and broken beer bottles on the river banks and in between the rocks. We actually saw a mess of beer bottles and plastics strewn around a part of the river bank. Quite obviously, some people had gone there for a good time and decided to leave behind a part of themselves there. Please keep the place clean.
- There are no shops near the homestay. So if you need medicines, cigarettes or drinks, then it is better to get them from Kalimpong beforehand.
So what do you think of Bidyang? Isn’t it a beautiful place? Would you like to spend a weekend at Bidyang? Let us know in the comments below.
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