About this blog: Mahaldiram or Maldiram is an offbeat tourist destination in the Shelpu Hills of Kurseong. The place is known for its picturesque natural beauty, tea gardens and panoramic views of the mountains and plains. We had visited Mahaldiram on a weekend and simply loved this place. This blog is about our experience there, how to reach, where to stay and what to do at Maldiram.
It was after a long time we were travelling again. It was going to be a short trip just to get out of the daily rut. Several discussions and research later, we decided on going to North Bengal again. There are several beautiful and offbeat places in North Bengal that are not only bestowed with great natural beauty, but also away from the crowds. Just what we needed at that time! We finally decided to visit Mahaldiram or Maldiram near Kurseong, all for our love for tea gardens and the mountains.
Once decided, we booked out train tickets, arranged for the stay and were all set to travel again. We did not find much information on Maldiram on the reliable internet. We found out that this place was located somewhere near Bagora, another beautiful Himalayan hamlet we had visited a long time back. Well, I was fretting about what to expect at Mahaldiram, but Agni, while enjoying my flustered state, also reminded me of the joys of unexpectedness. So here we were travelling to a place without having much idea what to expect. We only knew that there are tea gardens and the place was beautiful!
The Beautiful Mahaldiram (Maldiram)
Mahaldiram (Maldiram) actually made me realize the beauty of unexpectedness. The moment we reached the place, we were simply awestruck. The homestay, Mahaldiram Salamander Jungle Camp, was located just beside the tea gardens. From the homestay itself, we could see the vast expanse of tea gardens, rolling green hills and the vast plains of Siliguri. The place was simply breathtakingly beautiful. So well, we found out another weekend getaway from Kolkata that had simply bowled us over.
We reached New Jalpaiguri Station at around 8:30 AM and took a shared jeep towards Darjeeling. We asked the driver to drop us at Dilaram, from where we had to take another car to reach Maldiram. By the time we reached Dilaram, it was almost noon. We hired another car from Dilaram and travelled towards our destination.
The road towards Maldiram is a beautiful one. Both sides were surrounded by dense pine and oak forest. The car moved slowly through the serpentine mountain roads. On our way, we crossed Bagora as we remembered fondly of our time spent there. The road continued through the hills and often passed some small villages. The last part of the road was quite bad. Our driver informed us that there was a bike accident a few days before on this road.
Finally we reached our homestay – Mahaldiram Salamander Jungle Camp. Although it is named ‘camp’, there is actually no camping involved here. The homestay was a quaint two-storied building having a beautiful terrace with great views.
Let me just share our experience of spending 2 days at Maldiram.
When we reached the homestay, it was already past 1 PM, so we had a sumptuous Bengali lunch and then decided to go out for a walk along the tea gardens. But nature had different plans for us. It started raining heavily and we were stuck in our rooms only. It was only in the evening when the rain stopped and so all our plans to explore the place in the afternoon were cancelled.
But the rains that day cleared the sky the next day. We woke up to a bright and sunny morning. The sky was blue with white clouds and thankfully there was no fog and we could see the plains and the hills quite clearly. Only the Kanchenjunga ranges were not visible. Yes, you actually get a very good view of the Kanchenjunga ranges from Maldiram!
After breakfast, we decided to go out and explore the place. Just then, the mighty Kanchenjunga decided to give us all an appearance. We could see the peaks amidst the clouds. There is something about viewing the Kanchenjunga ranges when you are near Darjeeling. It is like an emotion. We always feel that a view of the mighty mountains always makes the day better.
So we went out, explored the tea gardens, the nearby villages, took photographs and finally reached back to our homestay before lunch.
What to do at Maldiram?
Mahaldiram is a place where you can simply sit and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. Infact that is what we spent doing most of the time. We simply sat down at the terrace and enjoyed the views, the peace and quiet. After all, that was what we were looking for in this weekend trip. And if you want some activity, then you can definitely go the following –
- Walk through the tea gardens
- Explore the villages
- Visit the nearby monastery. We did not visit the monastery though.
- Being a part of the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, you will find a number of Himalayan birds at Maldiram. So if you love bird watching, this is a great place to be.
- You can also go for a Kurseong sightseeing tour from here.
Nearby places to visit from Maldiram
Like I mentioned before, Bagora and Chimeni is located quite close to Maldiram. And so are Chatakpur, Latpanchar, Ahaldara and Sitong. If you have time, you can club these places and visit together.
Namthing Pokhri is also located about 7 km from Maldiram. This is a beautiful lake and is a natural habitat of a number of Himalayan birds. We had previously visited this lake during our Latpanchar and Ahaldara trip.
How to reach Maldiram?
Maldiram is located about 70 km from Siliguri and about 20 km from Kurseong.
The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and if you are flying in, then you have to reach Bagdogra.
You can hire a car from NJP, Bagdogra or Siliguri to Mahaldiram. A small car will charge you about INR 4000 – 4500.
How to reach Maldiram by shared cab?
If you are on budget, then you can take a shared jeep from either NJP or Siliguri Junction towards Darjeeling. A shared jeep will cost you Rs400 per seat. Buses are also available from Siliguri towards Darjeeling. To reach Maldiram, you have to get down at Dilaram.
From Dilaram, you have to hire a cab to reach Maldiram. The car will take around Rs 700.00 – 800.00
Where to stay – Homestay at Maldiram
The best place to stay is the Mahaldiram Salamander Jungle Camp. The homestay is located at a place known as Hawa Dara (‘hawa’ means wind and ‘dara’ means mountain).
This beautiful homestay has 6 rooms in total. It has a lovely terrace from where the entire vista can be seen. You can see the Chatakpur hills, Latpanchar, Sittong and the SIliguri plains from here. On a very clear day, the Kanchenjunga ranges, Nathula Pass and Sikkim can also been seen from the terrace of the homestay.
The stay cost Rs 1600 per head per day at the time we visited. This includes stay along with the food (breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner). The rooms are cosy, though I would say that they require a bit of maintenance.
The food is quite homely and tasty. We had very tasty Bengali cuisine for lunch, aloo paratha for breakfast and chicken and rice at night.
There is another homestay nearby as well – Sonam Homestay.
We spent a very relaxing time at Mahaldiram. Mountains, tea gardens and great views – the place had all. Infact, it is one of the places that we have thought of revisiting again!
A Few More pictures of Maldiram to Entice You
What do you think of Mahaldiram? Have you stayed in a tea garden before? Let us know in the comments below.
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