Takdah or Tukdah literally means ‘mist’ or fog in Lepcha language. True to its name, Takdah, a former British cantonment area near Darjeeling remains covered with mist for most of the time. Think of a dreamy place where the sun and clouds play hide and seek with glee and mist descends at its own will. There are foggy nature trails, blooming orchids, sounds of chirping birds and majestic mountain views. Takdah is all these and much more.
Located at an altitude of 4000 feet, Takdah is merely 28 km from Darjeeling. Although it is located so close to Darjeeling, it is not yet so crowded with tourists. This serene destination also remains quite cooler than the surrounding areas. The best part is you can also visit other offbeat destinations like Tinchuley and Lamahatta from here. So if you are looking for some offbeat weekend destination from Kolkata, Takdah might just be the right place!
- 1 A brief history of Takdah
- 2 Heritage Bungalows in Takdah
- 3 Things to do in and around Takdah (Attractions and places to visit)
- 3.1 Tea Gardens
- 3.2 Runglee Rungliot Tea Estate
- 3.3 Teesta Valley Tea Estate
- 3.4 Gielle Bhanjyang
- 3.5 Takdah Orchid Centre
- 3.6 Barbetey Bridge
- 3.7 Dechhen Pema Tshoiling Monastery or Takdah Monastery
- 3.8 British Bungalows
- 3.9 Sonpur House or Takdah Palace
- 3.10 Dokan Dara
- 3.11 Durpin Dara View Point
- 3.12 Peshoke Tea Garden Viewpoint
- 3.13 Tinchuley and Lamahatta
- 4 How to Reach Takdah?
- 5 How to reach Takdah from Darjeeling?
- 6 Where to stay in Takdah?
- 7 Where to eat in Takdah?
- 8 Best time to visit Takdah
- 9 Our Takdah Itinerary
- 10 Other Offbeat Weekend Destinations near Darjeeling
A brief history of Takdah
Originally established in the late nineteenth century, Takdah was formerly a British cantonment area as early as the 1900s and it still holds that old world aura. The British had chosen this place after much deliberation. The place is surrounded by hills and cannot be seen easily from the other side of the mountains. Thus it served as a perfect place for their cantonment. Also, Takdah is located quite near to Darjeeling as well as away from the oppressive heat of the plains.
A number of British officials visited Takdah during those days and so a number of bungalows were built as their accommodation. The tea gardens in the area were also replanted in the nearby areas with the objective to produce fine tea. Even so many years after independence, these bungalows remain and many of them renovated and refurbished. The best part, however, is that these bungalows still hold the old-world colonial charm.
Heritage Bungalows in Takdah
As expected, there are a number of old British bungalows at Takdah still holding on to the colonial era. And we don’t complain. With the Darjeeling Mountains all around and the forest trails to follow coupled with these old and heritage bungalows, Takdah is unparalleled in its beauty and charm. Most of these bungalows are practically more than 100 years old. Majority of them were built during 1905 to 1915.
At present, these bungalows belong to the local populace. Some of them have been converted to schools like Griffith High School and Green Shields School. Some are converted to offices and hospital buildings while a few others have been converted into guesthouses.
These bungalows were all built in traditional British architecture. The buildings have slanted roofs and all of them are flanked by well-maintained lawns and gardens. Most of the bungalows are located on top of hillocks. So from the lawns, you will get a beautiful view of the valley. Pebbled pathways lead to the entrance of the bungalows. The rooms are large and airy having fireplaces in them. Some of the furniture too belongs to the colonial time. In one of the guesthouses, we saw a century-old water filter! You will be transported to a different time at Takdah, and believe me, you will definitely going to enjoy it.
We happened to experience the hospitality at one such guesthouse at Takdah – Saino Heritage Guest House. The experience of staying at such a beautiful place coupled with the amazing hospitality was just perfect. We had visited Takdah for a relaxing time and it was totally worth it.
Things to do in and around Takdah (Attractions and places to visit)
Takdah is surrounded by a number of tea gardens. The RungliRungliot, Gielle Tea Estate and the Teesta Valley Tea Estate are all nearby.The vast stretches of tea plantations and greenery all around are soothing to the eyes. There are a number of places of interest within a short distance from Takdah. There are a few easy trekking routes as well.
While some of these attractions can be simply done by walking around, for the rest you can hire a car for sightseeing in and around Takdah. It is difficult to cover all these places in a single day. Later in the post, we will give the itinerary that we followed. It might help you in planning your holiday. Here are the attractions and places to visit in and around Takdah.
As we have told earlier, Takdah is surrounded by some of the most beautiful tea gardens in Darjeeling district. The main tea estates of the region are RungliRungliot, Gielle, Namring, Teesta Valley Estate, Poomong and Jinglam. You can also visit these tea estates and watch the tea processing. Please note that during the winters, the tea factory remains closed. The rolling green tea gardens with the mountains at the backdrop look nothing short of stunning.
Runglee Rungliot Tea Estate
Runglee Rungliot is perhaps the most beautiful tea gardens that we have seen in Darjeeling.I had first read about Rungli Rungliot in “Adventures of Tenida”, a Bengali children adventure storybook. For Bengali book lovers, Tenida is quite an iconic character. So I felt a special urge to visit this tea garden. I hope you have by now understood that I love to visit the places that I have read about in storybooks. The tea garden is only 2 km downhill walk from the Takdah market area. If you are up for some activity, you can take a walk to RungliRungliot tea gardens.
There is an interesting anecdote regarding the name of this garden. RungliRungliot literally means ‘thus far and no farther’. It is said that a wise monk was in search of the finest tea in Darjeeling. His search ended here, at this tea garden. So this place was named RungliRungliot!
Teesta Valley Tea Estate
Teesta Valley Tea Estate is another important tea estate of the region. You have to hire a car to visit this one. The tea estate also has a large tea factory where you can see how tea is manufactured. We visited the Teesta Valley Tea Estate, but it was closed for Durga Puja. Tea production also does not take place during the winters and the factories remain closed.
Remember: The factory remains closed on Sundays and holidays.
Further down the Rungli Rungliot Tea Estate, is the Gielle Bhanjyang Market. This place is also known as the Gandhi Chowk. From the crossing point, you can visit the Gielle Tea estate, and further down are the Namring, Poomong and Jinglam Tea estate.
But apart from the tea estates, Gielle Bhanjyang has another unique beauty. There is a vantage point here from where you can see Kalimpong town, DurpinDara, Mongpu, RambiKhola, Takdah and Tiger Hill. Isn’t this a reason enough to visit Gielle Bhanjyang?
Takdah Orchid Centre
Takdah is renowned for orchids. Takdah Orchid Centre is a place for these rare orchids and other medicinal plants. The Orchid Centre is located about 1.5 km from the market area, towards 6th Mile. It was kept neglected for quite a few years, but recently initiative has been taken to revive the Orchid Centre.
The Orchid Centre has a well manicured garden with a number of green houses and a few fountains at strategic places. You can spend some quiet time at the gardens while you get a knowledge about the various exotic Himalayan orchids.
As you go towards Gielle tea estate and crossing the Gielle Bazar, there is a very old hanging bridge. The bridge connects two villages. It is in a state of neglect, but this bridge can be made into a great tourist spot. Walking down this long 100 years old hanging bridge can be a great experience.
Dechhen Pema Tshoiling Monastery or Takdah Monastery
Locally this monastery is known as the Takdah Monastery. The monastery was built in 1985 and follows the Buddhist Nyingma sect. The monastery is located a few minutes walk away from Takdah Bazar. There is a flight of stairs that will take you up to the monastery. From the monastery, you can get a panoramic view of the valley. The RungliRungliot, Teesta Tea Estate, Kalimpong town can be seen from the monastery.
The monastery is located just above the Saino Heritage Guesthouse. We were staying there and so for us, it was just another few steps up to the monastery!
In all probability, you will be staying in one of the British heritage bungalows that have been converted into a guesthouse. While you are enjoying the hospitality there, also visit the other heritage bungalows of Takdah. There are approximately 12 heritage bungalows in Takdah that are refurbished for the purpose of hosting tourists. Locally they are called ‘Kothis’. These bungalows also have a number given to them. Like the Sonpur House is known as Bungalow Number 12. Thesekothis are renovated keeping the old charm intact while also keeping the modern facilities in mind.
Some of these bungalows are converted into schools and government offices also. The Takdah Club House has been converted to Forest Rest House, Rani Kothi is converted into a church.
Sonpur House or Takdah Palace
This is one of the most beautiful bungalows in Takdah. It was built by the King of Sonpur in 1911 in British architecture. Located away from the main area, this bungalow is a place of serenity. Takdah Palace is located near the Club House and Old British Post Office.
Takdah is such a beautiful place with the pine forests beckoning to come and take a walk. The place is still quite serene and quite away from the rush of bigger towns like Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Just by taking a walk along the roads and seeing the beautiful buildings we were simply overwhelmed. And not to forget, the night view of Kalimpong town seen from Takdah is sure to make one spellbound. The mountains are dotted with lights making the place look like lights of festivity.
Dokan Dara is the local market or haat in Takdah. The market is held every Thursday and if you are at Takdah on a Thursday, take a visit to Dokandara. It is a place where you can see the villagers with their produces and wares, buying and selling stuffs. It is a great place to get an insight into the life and culture of the local people.
Durpin Dara View Point
The Durpin Dara Viewpoint is around 10 km from Takdah. You can get an all-encompassing view of the meandering Testa River against the backdrop of the mountainous landscape.
Peshoke Tea Garden Viewpoint
Peshoke Tea Garden Viewpoint is located about 14 km from Takdah. This is a beautiful place with the view of the rolling tea gardens. From the viewpoint, you will get a great view of the tea gardens and the valleys.
Tinchuley and Lamahatta
Tinchuley and Lamahatta are two hidden gems of the Darjeeling district. Located very near Takdah, both these places are beautiful in their own rights. Tinchuley offers some breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga ranges. Lamahatta too is a beautiful eco tourism destination. You can either make day trips to these places from Takdah, or can also make a night stop to these places.
How to Reach Takdah?
The distance from Siliguri to Takdah is about 75 km. Shared jeeps are available from Siliguri to Takdah. Darjeeling is around 30 km and Kalimpong is 40 km from Takdah.
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra
Nearest Railway Head: New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
From NJP/ Bagdogra/ Siliguri, you can reserve a car to Takdah. A reserved car will cost you around INR 2000, but the prices vary according to season. You can talk to your guesthouse from before and arrange a car after negotiating.
Shared jeeps are available from Sevoke Road in Siliguri. The stand is behind Vishal Cinema Hall or Ranjit Garage.
How to reach Takdah from Darjeeling?
From Darjeeling, shared jeeps and buses are available to Takdah. Buses leave towards Takdah in the afternoon. Reserved car from Darjeeling to Takdah will cost you around INR 1500.
Where to stay in Takdah?
The best places to stay in Takdah would be heritage bungalows converted to guesthouses. Most of these guesthouses come with sprawling lawns and gardens, British architecture with a colonial aura. Of late, due to more influx of tourists, a few homestays have also come up.
Here are a few of our recommendations.
1) Saino Heritage Guesthouse
We had stayed at Saino Heritage Bungalow during our stay at Takdah. The bungalow cum guesthouse is owned by the Moktan family. The bungalow was built in 1907. The guesthouse has a large verandah with beautiful view of the gardens adorned with Mexican grass and seasonal flowers. There are 2 vintage fountains in the garden. The rooms have a fireplace in them. There are 2 rooms in the main heritage building. Now they have come up with an extension building that has another 2 rooms. The hospitality of the Moktan family is simply amazing and I am sure you will have a great time there.
Room Rent varies from INR 1800 to 2200 per room. Food is around INR 600 per person per day.
Contact for booking: +91-9434462806/ +918637367437
Read our review of Saino Heritage Guesthouse.
2) Sai Hridayam Guesthouse
Another beautiful heritage bungalow of Takdah that has been converted into a guesthouse.SaiHridayam Guesthouse overlooks the Teesta Valley and you can get a great view of the valley from its garden. There are 6 rooms all decorated in taste. This is Bungalow No 6 and is run by SangamThapa. He is quite a jovial person. He showed us around his property and also shared some lovely stories about the place with us.
Room Rent varies from INR 2400 to 3600 per room. Food is around INR 500 per person per day.
Contact for booking: +919547876135 / 7908112226
3) Forest Resthouse
The old Takdah Club has been refurbished into the Forest Resthouse. There are five rooms here, all spacious and big.
Contact for booking: +91 9830534781
4) Glenmarie Cottage
This is a beautiful homestay in one of the most coveted locations of Takdah. The rooms have attached balcony and have amazing views.
Contact for booking: +91 8334852352 / 9163755845 / 9836955186 (Holiday Home India)
5) Takdah Homestay
Experience staying with a local family at Takdah Homestay. There are both single bedded rooms (INR 1000 per day per person) and double-bedded rooms (INR 1500 per day per person). Food costs around INR 600 per day per person.
Contact for booking: +91 8116869700/ 9593950146
Where to eat in Takdah?
The homestays and guesthouses provide all the meals at a nominal cost. In some, the meal cost is included in the room rent. Ask the details before booking. The meals provided by the guesthouses and homestays are all home-cooked and made from fresh vegetables from their own farms or local markets. Indian and Nepali cuisines are commonly served. If you want vegetarian food, please let them know beforehand.
Best time to visit Takdah
The best time is from October to March when the weather remains clear and you can get great views. It can be visited throughout the year.
Our Takdah Itinerary
We had visited Takdah along with a few other places. As promised, here is our itinerary:
Day 1: NJP – Takdah.
We visited the Takdah Monastery, Orchid Centre and the market.
Day 2: Takdah sightseeing
We had hired a car for this day. We visited the Rungli Rungliot Tea gardens, Gielle Bhanjyang, Barbetey Bridge, Durpin Dara, Peshoke View Point.
Day 3: Takdah – Tinchuley – Lamahatta – Darjeeling
We took a day trip to Tinchuley and Lamahatta and then went on to Darjeeling. We returned back to Kolkata after spending a day in Darjeeling.
Takdah is truly a land of mist. The meandering roads often get shrouded into fogs giving the whole place a dreamy look. If you are looking for a weekend getaway near Darjeeling, Takdah can be a great choice.
In the meanwhile, why don’t you have a look at the 52 Offbeat Weekend Getaways from Kolkata that we have collated for you!
Other Offbeat Weekend Destinations near Darjeeling
You may also like to check out these weekend destinations from Kolkata. All these are located near Darjeeling.
- Bunkulung–an unexplored paradise.
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