Tabakoshi at the lap of luscious green tea gardens really made us lost in the beauty of nature and the brooding majestic hills. Tabakoshi or Tamakoshi is a small hamlet near the Gopaldhara Tea Estate a few kilometers away from Mirik. The place is relatively unknown to the tourists and is quite peaceful unlike the crowd of Mirik or that of Dooars.
“Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost.” – unknown
Just imagine yourself in a picturesque home-stay with stretches of tea gardens as long as your eyes can see, and the babble of the flowing river just beside the little village. There are no everyday chores to be managed, you can simply soak in nature and enjoy the solitude of the mountains. Wouldn’t that be simply wonderful? Tabakoshi is such a place where your strained eyes can relax and your stressed souls can find things to cheer.
We chanced upon Tabakoshi while searching for a beautiful place to spend our extended weekend. The name sounded fresh and the few pictures that we saw looked wonderful. So packing our bags, we were off to Siliguri to visit this new destination. Just as our love for Darjeeling is now well known, we first enjoyed a day in rain-soaked Darjeeling before going to this new place. From Darjeeling, we travelled to Mirik. Whenever we had travelled from Darjeeling to Siliguri via Mirik, we have stopped at this place. We have marvelled at the tea gardens while having fresh Darjeeling tea from the tea shop at Goalpahar. But never did we know that this place hides among itself such a beautiful spot for eco-tourism. From Mirik, Tabakoshi is just 8 kilometers downhill near the Gopaldhara tea estate standing at a height of about 5000 ft.
Tabakoshi has only one homestay – the Sunakhari Homestay run by Ramesh Rai and his family. We had pre-booked before visiting the place. This was one homestay where we were really made to feel at home. Sunakhari Homestay has a total of 5 rooms – there are one bamboo cottage, two stone cottages and two rooms. A small artificial pool in front of the cottages with fishes moving around increased the beauty of the place.
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Mr. Rai had built this homestay all by himself only with the help of his sons. We will always remember the warm welcome we received on arriving Sunakhari homestay. The hospitality shown by the Rai’s were simply outstanding. We just felt that we have come to stay with some relatives. They served us food in beautiful brass utensils, we simply felt overwhelmed by the warmth shown by the family.
Two of Mr. Rai’s son is working in Afghanistan. His elder son was at home on holiday during our visit. In the evening, he sat down with us and shared his stories and encounters from the land of Taliban. Not only visiting new places but also meeting new people, listening to their tales is all added treasure to our experiences!
Now a little about the place itself. Tabakoshi is a respite to the tired eyes and the battered souls. The Rangbhang river flows by this little village. Subhash Ghishing named the village as Tabakoshi after a river in Nepal by the same name. He was totally smitten by the beauty of this place. And so were we. Tabakoshi is a part of the Gopaldhara Tea Estate. The Thurbo and the Sangma Tea Estate can be seen also surrounding Tabakoshi. There are two temples beside the river, one near the homestay and the other one after crossing the river over a metallic bridge.
The Bengal Tourism has made some seating arrangement and made concrete paths for the beautification of this place. But like other places too, they now lie unattended and without maintenance. We were also surprised to see a swimming pool like structure there. The water was dirty and full of moss. Wonder if anyone would like to swim there!
Monsoons at the tea gardens are ethereal. The surroundings become green and fresh. In the morning we saw local ladies with the basket in their head plucking tea leaves. Their colourful clothes among the green tea gardens were simply a colour fest. The place is also a bird watcher’s paradise. The chirping of birds could be heard from the room itself early in the morning. We enjoyed a rain-soaked weekend in the midst of tea garden away from the buzzing crowds. Was it rejuvenating? Yes, it was definitely and was much more. It was an exhilarating experience walking beside the gushing Rangbhang river, a long cherished wish coming true in the form of staying amidst the tea gardens. And more so, the kinship felt with the local people and the family that made our stay so memorable.
How to Reach Tabakoshi
From Siliguri, it is about 47km to Mirik. You can book a car from Siliguri to Tabakoshi. Alternatively, you can take a shared jeep from Siliguri to Mirik. From Mirik, you have to take a private car to Tabakoshi. The fare of a private car from Mirik is around Rs.400/- to Rs.500/- depending upon your bargaining capacity. You can also come from Darjeeling.
The Sunakhari Homestay can also arrange a private car for you if you let them know beforehand.
Place to stay at Tabakoshi
There is only one homestay at Tabakoshi – the Sunakhari Homestay.
Best time to visit Tabakoshi
Tabakoshi can be visited throughout the year. Best time to visit is the winters. And if you plan to visit during the monsoons, please don’t forget to carry your umbrellas or rain jackets.